Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween and Tardis Dress

 I LOVE my TARDIS dress.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I could never have done it without the help of my Auntie.  I helped cut and pin and such, but she did the VAST majority of the work on this dress.  I did add the finishing TARDIS details though.  I made the belt, "PULL TO OPEN" sign, and light hair clip. Below is a crappy selfie, but it shows the glowing light.  I used cut up glow sticks to light it up.  I totally enjoyed my blue hair clip ins as well. :)

Halloween night started out a bit nutty.  Everything went wrong as I tried to leave my house.  Work stuff went crazy and I kept remembering other things I needed to grab.  I had various things the boys needed for their costumes and things I needed for mine.  I was a bit of a wreck by the time I finally left the house.  Then, about halfway to D's house, I realized that I'd left the face paint for N's costume sitting by my front door.  It was pretty necessary, so I had to stop at a costume store on the way.  Of course, EVERY OTHER PERSON ON EARTH was there too.  I stood in line FOR-EV-ER.  I did however make a fan while I was there.  This teenage girl a few people in front of me in line turned around, saw me, gasped, and squealed to her mother, "I LOVE HER DRESS!!! SHE'S THE TARDIS!!"  The whole time we were in line she kept turning around to stare at me, wave, thumbs up me, and grin.  It was pretty funny.

I finally got out of there and back on the road.  I pulled onto D's street only to realize that his van was not in his driveway.  I was totally confused for a moment and then it hit me...CRAP! I bet I was supposed to meet him at his parents' house where we would be trick or treating later.  I called him, and yeah...somehow that got lost in translation.  By this time I was frustrated and stressed and on the verge of a panic attack.  It took me the whole drive out to his parents' to calm down, but by the time I got there I was feeling much better.  

We had dinner and got the boys ready for trick or treating.  

I cannot even tell you how many hours of work went into these costumes.  It was a lot.  I think they turned out awesome though.  S was Megaman and N was Lion-o from the Thundercats.  N's hair was a blast to do.  I teased it like crazy and sprayed him down.  It was so much fun, and I think it looked great.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it when we were trick or treating.  Between his costume, saying "Trick or treat. Smell my feet.  Give me something good to eat" and his amazing way with people, he managed weasel about twice as much candy out of people as the other kids got.  I wish I knew his secret.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spooktacular Symphony!

 A couple of weeks ago the local symphony did a family Halloween event.  The boys had never been to the symphony, so I thought it would be a fun way to introduce them to something that I love.  The first hour of the event was trick or treating and getting hands-on with the instruments.  The boys had a blast getting to play on the cello, violin, trumpet, bassoon, harp, and some of the percussion "toys." The various members of the symphony were dressed in Halloween costumes and were giving out candy, so of course they enjoyed that as well. 
Many of the children who came to the event were also dressed in costumes, but we hadn't finished this years costumes a that point, so the boys had to go without.  

During the actual performance, the children were invited to come and sit up on the stage to listen and watch.  It was fun seeing all the kids up there in their costumes.

The concert itself had it's ups and downs.  I enjoyed most of the music they played, but I think they could have made some better, more exciting choices for something directed toward children.  I think if you want to get kids excited about music, you need to give them interesting music to start out with.  A few of their choices were fun and appropriately spooky for the theme, but much of it was a bit of a snooze...even for me. Still, we all had a wonderful time, and I loved seeing the boys get excited about the different instruments.
I hope we have the opportunity to go to another event like this in the future. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Michigan Vacation Part 6

Monday was less go-go-go than the rest of the trip.  It was the last day for both Aunt L and myself, and we didn't really plan anything exciting.  I woke up feeling pretty crappy.  At first I thought it was just pain from the bed I'd slept on, but it seemed to get worse as the day progressed.  I never actually took my temp, but I think I may be been running a low-grade fever.   Somewhere around mid afternoon, I broke down and took some pain killers.  The day greatly improved after that.

Gramma had to spend a couple hours in the morning and evening at her church's food pantry, so the rest of us went along with her.  Her church is the church where I grew up.  Before I was born, my parents and a few other people started it.  When I was little, we met in a house that they had converted into the church.  As the church grew, my dad and others added on to the building, and made it into a very nice facility.  I attended there until we moved to Florida in 1991, and even then, I considered it my home church for many years.  We would spend the summers and often Christmas in MI, and we always attended that church.  I had many close friends there...people I still get to occasionally see or talk to.  

It was a strange feeling to walk around the building.  It was so familiar yet different.  I guess it was kind of like going back to your childhood home.  The walls and windows and memories are all still there, but the life you had in it is gone.  I walked all through the building.  I saw the rooms where I was cared for as a baby.  I saw old Sunday school classrooms and the gym we would play in on Wednesday nights.  I walked through the bathroom and went up in the balcony.  I walked up the ramp that I once was carried up as a spewed forth purple, grape juicy, projectile vomit (you are most welcome for that mental image.) 

 The church basement, where I used to be in nursery, Sunday school, and Kings Kids, is now used for the food and clothing ministry.  I remember spending the night with my sister and Gramma in the room in the top right picture once.  She would clean the church at crazy hours of the morning, and for some reason we ended up having a little sleep over there.  We rented Little Women and The Secret Garden I think. 

Once, in the gym (on the bottom right), a bunch of our friends got together for a big sleepover.  This was after we had moved to Florida, but we were "home" for the summer.  I guess we would have been in our early teens at the time.  We watched Newsies and stayed up all night talking and playing and being silly.  I have so many wonderful memories in that church.  Revisiting them made me a little homesick for my childhood.

In the afternoon, between shifts at the food pantry, I took a walk with my Aunts.  There were several pretty trees on our walk.  Have I mentioned that I love the colors of fall?  I have? Oh well.  I LOVE FALL COLOR!

Our evening at the food pantry was interesting to say the least.  Many of the people who help her there have various mental and physical issues.  I think their families bring them over there to give them something to do.  I'm glad they can have a place where they feel welcome and needed.  I must say though,  they would make for a good cast of characters on a TV show. 

When we finished at the food pantry, we went out for Thai food.  The four of us shared a curry fried rice and an order of Pad Thai, and had we could have fed another person on the leftovers from just those two meals.  It was delicious though.  

Monday night we played a quick game of dominoes and then all headed off to bed.  Tuesday morning Aunt L and I had to be at the airport around 5. 

I'm so glad I took this trip.  There are a lot of places and people that I want to visit, but I felt like I needed to go see my MI family.  I had been looking forward to it, but I'm happy to say that it turned out to be even more fun than I had expected.  It was also nice to be able to have the job flexibility to do it.  I was able to take my work with me.  It meant a lot of late nights and a few stressful daytime interruptions, but for the most part it worked out really well.  Thank goodness for WiFi and mobile hotspots!   :) 

I wonder where my next adventure will take me...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Michigan Vacation Part 5

 Sunday was a busy day.  Aunt M's son is a pastor, so in the morning we visited his church.  It was nice to be able to hear him preach.

After church, we went back to Aunt M's for lunch.  My cousin and her family made us fish tacos.  Holy Wow! They were yummy.  I think I was the only one there who'd had fish tacos before.  The rest of them had been missing out.  That is one of my top favorite meals.  The salsa they made to go on the tacos was A-FREAKING-MAZING.  I'm drooling a little just thinking about it.  mmmmmm.....

In the afternoon we went to a place called Kensington Park where we took a scenic boat tour.  It was absolutely stunning.  I could have easily spent the whole day in the park exploring the walking trails, fall color, etc.  The boat tour was about 40 minutes long.  Even though the color still wasn't at it's peak, what there was was gorgeous.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves

 After the boat tour, we explored a little farm area they had at the park.  There were cows, white turkeys, goats, horses, chicks, and these cute little piggies!
 For dinner we met back up with my Aunt E, her kids, and my Grandma at California Pizza Kitchen.  We were originally going to go to the Cheesecake Factory, but apparently everyone else in MI had the same idea that day.  Oh well, CPK was yummy. :) 
 Both of my beautiful grandmothers.  How Lucky am I? :)
If you count my cousins' spouses and children, which I certainly do, I got to see 13 cousins while I was in MI! I also got to spend time with both of my grandmothers and three of my aunts. I felt very blessed and loved the whole time. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Michigan Vacation Part 4

I love my cousins!  I got to see a lot of them on this trip.  Thursday - Sunday we stayed at my Aunt M's house.  Her daughter lives there right now with her husband and two children.  On Saturday, Aunt M's son came over with his wife and two of his children (pictured left...they are not actually children anymore!)  All 12 of us drove out to a Cider Mill.  It was really beautiful there.  A few of us got in a long line for cider and donuts.  It was a fairly warm (75 degrees and sunny) day, so instead of my usual hot cider beverage of choice, I got a cider slush.  It was delicious! I hadn't ever had one before.  I would have liked to have walked around a bit and taken some more pictures, but the bees were pretty intense.  We kept getting them in our hair, and every few seconds someone would shriek and jump/run from another one.  I suppose it was a bit comical, but at the time it was just annoying.  After we finished eating and drinking, we loaded up and got out of there.  We tried to go to another cider mill, but it was PACKED, so we ended up just going back to Aunt M's.

While we were all hanging out, my cousin found a large praying mantis, and made friends with it. She is clearly much braver than I.  She let that thing climb all over arm and back and touch her face and get in her hair.  *Shudder*  I must admit though that it was pretty cool.

For dinner that night, we had a meal called Snow on the Mountain.  I'd never heard of it before, but it was fun.  You take a pile of rice, and then start stacking chicken cooked in cream of chicken soup, veggies, nuts, a bit of fruit and some cheese.  Then you top your "mountain" with a sprinkle of shredded coconut for the snow.  I left the coconut off of mine as I'm not a huge fan, but the rest of it was yummy.  I think I'll make it sometime when I need to feed a group.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Michigan Vacation Part 3

 Friday morning, I took a walk with Aunts M and L.  There was frost on the grass!!! I know, not really something a normal person would take a picture of and give 3 exclamation points to, but hey, I don't see that much in Florida.  It wasn't peak season yet while I was there, but I did get to see lots of Fall color.  This beautiful tree was one we passed on our morning walk.  I love Fall when I can get out of Florida and actually see it.  It's such a magical time of year!

After our walk, my Aunts, Gramma, and I went to Greenfield Village for the day.  I hadn't been since I was a small child, and I loved it!  If you don't know what Greenfield Village is, it is part of the Henry Ford Museum.  From Wikipedia,  

"Nearly one hundred historical buildings were moved to the property from their original locations and arranged in a "village" setting. The museum's intent is to show how Americans lived and worked since the founding of the country. The Village includes buildings from the 17th century to the present, many of which are staffed by costumed interpreters who conduct period tasks like farming, sewing and cooking. A collection of craft buildings such as pottery, glass-blowing, and tin shops provide demonstrations while producing materials used in the Village and for sale. Greenfield Village has 240 acres (970,000 m²) of land of which only 90 acres (360,000 m²) are used for the attraction, the rest being forest, river and extra pasture for the sheep and horses." 

I loved seeing all the crafts being made.  I even got to make my own miniature brass candle stick holder! I also had to pick up a few things to take home from the gift shop of course.  :) 

The grounds at the village are beautiful.  I loved seeing the old buildings, fall color, animals, and costumes.  We rode on a train and we got to take a ride in an actual Model T Ford from, I think 1919.  That was fun!  I loved hearing the stories from the driver.  Every car came off the line identical...even down to the ignition key! Black paint was the cheapest, so Henry Ford said, "They can have any color they want, as long as it's black." 
The Tavern where we ate lunch.

We had lunch at an old Tavern that had been moved to the Village from another part of Michigan.  We ate by candlelight and were served some yummy comfort foods.  We were also told that we were a shocking group...4 women traveling without the protection of a man! They decided we must be some of those women's rights activists. 

After lunch, we explored a few of the many homes and buildings they have brought to the Village.  It's pretty amazing to think of all the history in that place.  I saw inside the family home of the Wright brothers, Noah Webster's home, and the boarding house of Edison's workers where the first electric lights were used. 

Quick bit of Trivia. The only word that Noah Webster made up for his American dictionary was "demoralize."

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