Happy Halloween (A Little Late) (Okay, A LOT Late, Shut Up)

Here are some pictures of our trip to Hersheypark in the Dark. It was awesome, as you can see.



This costume turned out to be one of Shae's better ideas -- and, yes, it was hers. She wanted to be "Bad Sandy" from Grease. I drew the line at the leather pants because I am decidedly anti-yeast-infection. She really looks like a generic "Pink Lady" but with her particular hair and the faux-pleather jacket it's pretty easy to make the connection. (She's also on record more than once as being dressed as "Lela" from Teen Beach Movie, if you're into that sort of thing.)


Movin' up in the world! Last time I took a "you must be this tall" picture at Hersheypark, Shae was a Hershey's Kiss (36" to 42" tall). Now she'd be a Twizzler (54" to 60" tall) if she'd stand up straight. I am not complaining, because I got to avoid roller coasters for most of the day by claiming height restrictions. We'll see what happens when we go back later this year, around Christmastime.




It's much more funner to be at Hersheypark when you're with other kids -- Shae had a "ride buddy" for most of the day. By the time my niece is finally tall enough to go on the big kid rides and coasters with Shae (in approximately 2025), I'll be able to just hang out in the Food Court, as God intended parents to do.



Yes, we had a costume change in the middle of the day. My niece went to participate in the Hershey Half Marathon Kids' Fun Run and while we were already in the parking lot, we switched over to warmer clothes and more comfortable (read: not school) shoes.




We stayed out until dark, which we've never done at Hersheypark before. Granted, we normally go in the summertime, when it doesn't get dark until 10pm instead of 6pm, but still. Shae was even going to get a chance to go on a coaster with her Daddy, until it started to rain and all the "good" rides shut down. (Her word, not mine.)


A (mostly) good time was had by all. (And of course there was free candy, which never hurts.)


Children of the Candy Corn

Earlier this month, we took a seasonally appropriate trip to the pumpkin patch to go ... pumpkin patching, I guess. Is there a verb for what one does in a pumpkin patch when one is not Courtney Stodden? (Don't run out and Google "Courtney Stodden pumpkin patch," okay? Trust me on this one.)

Patchin' Fashion

This is what you wear to the pumpkin patch when you're my kid: a Halloween-themed T-shirt that is maybe but not quite too small, but still big enough to wear in public, generally speaking; pieces of not one, but TWO years' worth of Halloween costumes over capri pants, because hey, why the hell not; an assortment of LiveStrong-style bracelets from only God knows what organizations (I think one of them might say "Got Milk?"); and one leg warmer as an arm cover.

Oh, and let me take this opportunity to point out that it was in the mid-70's that day. So, you know.


The short version of the story is that those tiny little pumpkins were a huge hit. Also the gourds. I am a fan of gourds, and I have to say that the kids all had an excellent eye for nice, nubby, grotty-looking gourds that look positively fantastic in a nice arrangement that my husband made at home in a pretty red bowl. LOOK AT THAT: married almost fifteen years, and I am still learning about his special skills.


Children of the (Indian) Corn

Perhaps unexpectedly, my favorite part of this pumpkin patch trip was traipsing "through the corn maze" -- a/k/a looking for Indian corn. The kids found some pretty Indian corn, too, and we let them run around in the cornfields for so long that I'm pretty sure we had them convinced that they were actually in the corn maze that was advertised in great big letters all over the place. (I don't "do" corn mazes, because with my luck I'll get stuck out there forever and they'll need to call out the National Guard to find me and it will be too late because Voldermort will have already ported me away to Little Hangleton and I think it's possible at this point that I might be getting my pop-culture references confused again.)



SPOILER ALERT: There were pony rides. There are ALWAYS pony rides at these things.


Shae did end up finding us a lovely pumpkin that she and G carved up the very next day, and which ended up in the trash already because hey did you know that fresh pumpkins can get all gross and moldy and "smell like the cat's butt"? Trust me on that one, too: we learned that the hard way.

Special thanks to Anthony's mom for letting me us his picture. Thanks, Anthony's mom!


Flashback Friday!

UGH. It's mid-October, rushing headlong into LATE October already, and I haven't put up any pictures in 5,000 years because of reasons (mostly involving ways in which I suck). So today let's celebrate "Flashback Friday," where in this case we'll be flashing way the hell back to ... late August.


OF COURSE there was a slip-and-slide involved. Why wouldn't there be? It's not like we were at my uncle's house, in his backyard, where there is an in-ground pool with hot tub, or anything.


Isn't it kind of amazing how slip-and-slides are, like, the great social equalizer? I mean, sure, they're plastic-coated death traps, but have you ever met anyone who didn't have a great time at an event that featured a slip-and-slide?


I, personally, have not. I wish I had [1] a bigger yard and [2] actual water pressure so that I could put a slip-and-slide in my own backyard during the summer. I mean, we love watching "Adventure Time" while sitting in front of the giant-ass window air conditioner and eating popsicles, but sometimes you need to go out and make your own adventures, you know?


GUH, just looking at this pictures reminds me of how much I miss the summer already, and we have another nine months until it comes back around. This summer was weird, hot in the beginning and cool at the end and many kinds of sinus headaches in between, but the worst day of summer is still better than the best day of any other season except possibly my kid's birthday.


Okay, and maybe Christmas. I like Christmas. And Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, too. Which reminds me: I just learned about bacon vodka and I am thinking about making bloody Marys to have with my Thanksgiving dinner that I'd make with our traditional V8 and bacon vodka, if I can find any. Doesn't hat sound delightful?


SHUT UP YES IT DOES. A bloody Mary made with V8 and bacon vodka sounds like Thanksgiving dinner in a goddamned glass. Veggies, bacon, and alcohol, all in a Dixie cup? That there equals ZERO clean-up, and if I have TWO I'd be asleep on my uncle's couch before everybody else even got home from the football game.


I also like Halloween, because I love Reese's peanut butter pumpkins. Although I will admit that, except for possibly pumpkin pie, which I adore (just the the crust -- only the pumpkin custard and whipped cream parts), I am kind of over pumpkin everything right now. But pumpkin-shaped chocolates? Yes please.


So here we are, face to face, a couple of Silver Spoons ... no, wait, that isn't right. Here we are, all caught up. Ish. I have more pictures to put up but I need to ease myself into it. For now, just enjoy this little flashback to the Last Major Federal Holiday. Hopefully this will be enough to get you through until next time.

(Oh hey I just realized there are no pictures of me as usual but I wanted to prove that I was participating in the festivities. So, [1] you can either pretend those pictures of my sister are actually me, or [2] you can enjoy this screen print of a Twitter conversation I had with an actual NPR personality. Your choice.)


Coast of Carolina

Oh yeah ... vacation. We've been home for more than a month, so it's probably time to put some pictures up, isn't it?

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Truth be told, I haven't written about vacation yet because I'm practicing my usual Zennish strategy of better living through denial. It's like, if I pretend that vacation isn't over yet, then it isn't.

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It was our usual family vacation: a chaotic mess of early rising, child limbs, Crocs, pancakes, ice cream, tantrums, Disney movies, mismatched outfits, and missing pacifiers -- and that was all on the first morning.

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The weather wasn't the greatest, too hot the first few days and almost too cold after that, and the ocean was cold even by my standards (in the mid-60s, which -- look, I can tolerate A LOT, but I draw the line at hypothermia on vacation, you know?), but we barely even noticed, to be honest.

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All the kids were just phenomenal. My sister's boys get more awesome every day, my niece is just the bee's knees, my kid was fairly well behaved most of the time ...

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... there are even a couple of photos with ME in them, for a change, although let's be honest here and admit that I have GOT to learn how to pose so that I don't look like I'm made up of, like, 75% boobs and back fat.

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I always hesitate to say that I can't wait to do it again, because that's such a gigantic understatement. I'm ready to go on vacation again pretty much the second we get in the car to come home. If I ruled the world and could do whatever I wanted, I'd arrange it so that we could all be together whenever we wanted, always.

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Are we going back there, to the coast of Carolina?


As soon as possible.

PS - If you're interested in seeing ALL my vacation photos (all the good ones, anyway), you can view them here, including the Instagrams. If I can figure out how, I'll add my sisters' pictures, too.


Simple Man

I don't talk about my husband much here except tangentially, partly because he doesn't really like me to, but also because I don't like to. He's my best-kept secret, and like all good secrets, it's probably for the best if I don't go on about him overmuch.

But today is his birthday, so I'm making an exception. (Also, I didn't get him a present yet, so ... here you go, babe.)

I have said before, and I will say again, how lucky I am for having my husband for a partner and spouse. I will shout it from the hills, the treetops, the dunes, the cliffs, wherever -- I am so damned lucky, and I know it. Literally my only complaint about my husband, the only "real" one, is that I have absolutely no complaints. He is one of those rarest of specimens: a true and good and simple and uncomplicated man, a true and good and simple and uncomplicated person, someone I am proud and honored and thrilled to be able to swear my allegiance to, someone who still drinks the same beer he drank in college.

That's not a backhanded compliment, either: that's high praise, coming from me. I am a cynic and a drama queen and a neurotic overthinker and a compulsive oversharer and kind of an asshole, and I honestly believe that there is nothing in the world more wonderful, more beautiful, more perfect, than having something or someone in your life who is true and good and simple and uncomplicated. And he is mine, all mine.

We have known each other for 20 years now. More than half our lives. We were children then, college sweethearts, and we have grown up together. He and I have been through so much in that time: graduations, mortgages, unemployment, infertility, adoption, marriages and divorces of dear friends, deaths of pets and grandparents and parents -- he has been my rock and my happy place through all of it. He'll still slow dance with me if "our song" comes on at parties, at receptions, in the middle of the mall. He still kisses me goodbye every morning before work, and he still kisses me goodnight every night before bed. True and good and simple and uncomplicated.

He softens my edges and quiets the voices in my head. He washes the dishes, folds the laundry, makes the bed, sets the alarms, fixes the computers, changes the litter, stops the insanity. He encourages me, holds me, woos me, reassures me, laughs with me but never at me. True and good and simple and uncomplicated. He is my Benedick, my Han Solo, my Sundance, my yin, my constant. Without him, I am nothing. I am because we are.


And we are because he is. Because he is everything. It's a lot of power and a lot of responsibility, but he is just the kind of man who can handle it. True and good and simple and uncomplicated.

Happy birthday, G.


I Am The Worst #SorryNotSorry

MY GOD. I am terrible at blogging, which is probably why I'm never going to get a gajillion dollar book deal like Lena Dunham or Aziz Ansari. (Also, they're talented, and I'm ... whatever I am.) You could sue me over the lack of updates, but remember that I'm a broke-ass graduate student with basically NOTHING except a 12-year-old Volkswagen with 185,000 miles on it. Good luck with that.


Pretty much everybody else in the entire blogosphere (is that still a thing, even?) is doing back-to-school posts this week, but Shae doesn't start school until the Wednesday after Labor Day -- next week -- so I'll take this chance to let you know what we've been up to since mid-July when I posted last, and then I'll put up first-day-at-her-new-school pictures when they're taken, and then I'll probably forget I even HAVE a blog for, like, eleventeen weeks at a time. Again.


I mean, I went back to school this week -- my last semester of classes before student teaching, I'm scared, hold me -- but Shae is basically off having adventures with assorted relatives until next Tuesday. Yesterday and today she's with my mother-in-law, getting unauthorized haircuts and mani-pedis and stuff like that, while I'm freebasing caffeine because I'd forgotten how INSANE it is to get up at 6:00 in the morning and got to work and then go to class until 9:30 at night and THEN try to drive home without crashing into a cornfield/cow pasture while driving through the dark, quiet Butter Valley. That is a long-ass day, people.


But, you know, honey badger don't care. Tonight we're going to see her for a very short while before we shuffle her off to the next volunteer, who has been threatening for months to take Shae fishing. That ought to be interesting, because my kid has the same attitude about creatures with fewer than two and greater than four legs that I do (i.e., ewwww!). Then tomorrow night she'll be staying with my parents, who have a tent in the backyard and hopefully gallons of DDT, because the mosquitoes love my kid this year.


I miss her desperately, you know. And I'm so very, very jealous.


[ Something Witty Should Appear Here ]


It's hot and humid and I have a sinus headache and my kid is watching some trippy "educational" programming on HBO that involves talking dancing shoelaces (!!!) and I have an 8-page Canterbury Tales paper due at 3:00 on Monday and my brain is basically completely fried.

So here: have some random, almost completely decontextualized pictures!

Barbaric Yawp

This is from before 4th of July. I may be alone in this, but I think there is basically nothing in the world more adorable than a wet child in neon colors who smells of Coppertone and chlorine screaming for joy. This is pretty much my happy place, right here. The only thing that would making this picture better, IMNSHO, would be if (1) this were my own kid, and (2) neons were not involved. I lived through the original mid-1980s neon fad, and I am not so excited about this day-glo revival, because I have eyeballs, and I'd like to keep them.


I would like to find the bozobrain who taught my kid the word "chillax" and punch them in the neck (unless it's a kid, in which case I'd like to punch his parent in the neck). Otherwise, camp has been a rousing success so far -- even though (1) Shae doesn't quite understand the words "boa" and "constrictor," although she DOES understand the concept of one, and (2) this picture was taken at my grandmother's.

Bubble: 2013 Edition

This bubble is approximately 8,000 years old. Shae used to wear it. Of course, I can't find pictures of Shae wearing it because I never tagged any photos or blog posts with "bubble."

Deal Me In

These pictures are actually from July 4th. And, it's a good thing my sister is teaching my niece to play pinochle now, at a very young age, because I am 39 years old and I still don't know how to bid. I am basically the world's least competent card shark. (I'm great at spades, though.)




This what July 4th looked like -- an ENTIRE DAY of my crazy kid being crazy. It was pretty awesome, actually, although it was too damned hot.


I included this picture for no particular reason except that I love these two.