Halloween 2011

Mommy and 'Mater'

We celebrated Halloween with our annual party. This is the third year we hosted it. I hope I can handle it next year when we have another two kids at home. Already things I meant to do were forgotten – I never managed to finish my costume in time. Unfortunately it was one of those costumes I can’t use next year. I was planning on making an oven with two pieces of Challah bread in it. Adam was to be a baker. Luckily I was only out the cost of a cardboard box.

Once again Jack dressed as Lightning McQueen and Ben was his side kick Mater. Adam has become quite seasoned at trick or treating. I wondered why he walked out with an empty backpack. Later when he returned, he and Jack proudly displayed all the loot they got both in the trick or treat bag and the back pack. At least it wasn’t as much candy as we gave out. I think we got rid of 4 Costco size bags of candy and another 3 bags of store bought stuff.

This year I used my Japo’s (mother’s mother) egg roll recipe. Jack and Adam helped me roll a ton of mini hot dogs. We also had finger sandwiches, guacamole, a veggie plate and some fruit. Kind of eclectic but I enough variety that I don’t think anyone went hungry. I’m pretty sure most of the kids were on a candy only diet anyway.

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Riverwoods Halloween Party

The boys are on day two of a four day, costume wearing, candy eating extravaganza.

Yesterday they were invited to a dress up bowling birthday party. Today they both asked numerous times if they could go bowl again. With the bumpers and the ramps for the balls it was even easy for a two year old!

Tonight we headed out to Riverwoods for town’s annual Halloween party. Bubbie is married to the mayor, which is how we got the invite. It’s all who you know, right?!

There was a hay ride, apple cider, pizza, hot dogs, candy, smores, and more…


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Pregnancy Update – Week 11

I’m happy to report that there is absolutely nothing to report right now. Yesterday we had our monthly check up which included an unexpected ultrasound. Normally our doctor just uses a little wand to listen to the heart beat but I guess it’s a bit confusing to find two heart beats.

The babies have grown quite a bit since the last time we saw them. Instead of just a little dot on the ultrasound we were able to see real babies. Heart rates were normal. Brains were developing equally on both sides. The nuchal fold, or fluid in the back of the neck which can screen for down syndrome, was normal. There were four arms and four feet. There were two placentas. There was a thick line between the two babies.

Since we do not want to find out the sex of the babies before they are born, our doctor says we will have no way of telling if they are identical or fraternal until birth.

Even though it’s our third time, it is still a miracle to see those tiny little babies up on the screen.

Since I’ve been pregnant, my skills as a human being, mother and wife have suffered. Before my hard working husband would come home to a nice, warm, healthy home cooked meal at night. Now he’s forced to forage in the fridge or freezer for whatever can fill him up. I’m too tired. And by the time I cook something myself I don’t want to eat it anymore. I think my cravings are on speed.

After seeing the ultrasound I’m pleased to know that at least somewhere, deep on a cellular level, I am still functioning well.

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Haunted Gingerbread House

One of the many great, fun activities that the school provides for Jack is decorating a haunted gingerbread house for halloween. I love that they provide this stuff for him. I am just not creative enough to think of these sorts of activities. I certainly would not have handled such a mess with as much grace and enthusiasm as his teachers do.

Jack is an old hand, having done it last year. He wouldn’t even let me help him with it.

This is the best picture I could take of him. There was no chance of getting his candy filled hands out of his mouth for a smile…

Haunted Gingerbread House

If you’d like to try it at home, under that black frosting is an individual milk carton glued to an aluminum covered cardboard slab.

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This morning at Target we passed all these carts full of toys…

It was St Vincent De Paul buying toys for Christmas.

I know it happens all around us all the time, but witnessing such a great act of selfishness first hand made me all giddy and happy and also a bit sad that I don’t do anything for charity. Maybe something to think about changing when I get all of the kids into school…

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Horoscope Predictors

I’m not sure how many people believe in horoscopes. My husband feels they are written so general that anyone can fit into them. Perhaps, but I personally can’t help feeling there something more to them than just mumbo jumbo.

Take my signs for example. I’m a Rat/Sagittarius combo. Both signs say I’m full of energy, and besides this pregnancy I would have to say that’s true. I remember when I was still single getting a lot of “bulging eye-ball” looks when I used to routinely stay out until 2am on a Saturday night then wake up three hours later, at 5am for a long bike ride – sometimes as much as 90 miles. The Rat lives for the moment, and the Sagittarius is an adventurer. Everyone knows I love to travel and unlike my husband, have absolutely no idea where the future will lead us. And not knowing is the most fun part of it all.

My Rooster/Gemini husband, on the other hand, has an exact plan for us. When I met him he already had a retirement plan! The Rooster is confident, motivated, honest and organized. Geminis are highly cerebral and charming. When I first met Adam he told me I was coming to Chicago. I laughed at him openly. I was dating someone else and lived in Shanghai! Six months later I was here. True to his signs, he had vision, determination, and skill. Luckily I was also true to my signs and was adventurous and willing to live in the moment.

Our first born is a Pig/Pisces combo. Both signs have a compassionate, sensitive and submissive nature. He often can not decide what toy or dessert he wants, preferring that we decide for him. It also explains why our second born, a Ox/Cancer combo can often wrestle him to the ground even though he is 2 and 1/2 years younger. Oxen are strength, determination, and dependability. Cancer is home loving and nurturing. Our Cancer born son is a big snuggle bunny.

As I incubate this next set of kids, I couldn’t help checking out their horoscopes. Turns out I will most likely have a Dragon/Taurus combo. I remember living in China the last time it was year of the Dragon. Couples everywhere were scrambling to get pregnant for their one and only precious alloted baby. It is considered the mightiest of signs.

The Dragon is defined by dominance and ambition. They prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. They have tempers that can flare fast!

As a compliment (or perhaps complete nightmare) to the Dragon is the western sign, Taurus. Defined by solidity, practicality, extreme determination and strength of will. Generally dependable, steadfast, prudent, just, firm and unshaken in the face of difficulties.

If the signs are true, we are looking at not one, but two very determined, willful children. To be mothered by a flaky Rat/Sagittarius. How will that work? Well, I guess if we are believing in horoscopes, I can assume no matter how our signs match or clash, we’ll all have lots of energy, motivation and/or determination to keep up with each other…

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Pregnancy Update – 10 Weeks

Thanks to everyone for all your concerns about me right now.

As far as this pregnancy goes, it seems that everything is earlier and everything is much more. Double, in fact!

With the first two pregnancies, there were no signs of pregnancy before my missed period. This pregnancy found me spitting from nausea into a CVS bag on the way home from a date with my husband well before I missed a period. It was too early even to take a pregnancy test. Yet the hormones were working on me already.

My cravings barely have time to root themselves before I’ve moved onto something else. Sometimes a craving will gross me out mid-bite. We have a lot of opened, half eaten junk food around right now.

The exhaustion is much, much more pronounced as well. I know I’m older, and I know I also have two kids keeping me up all night so it’s hard to say exactly where the exhaustion comes from. But most days it feels like the middle of the night all day long.

Still, I can’t complain too much. I am not nauseous anymore. Sometimes queasy, but nothing like the horror stories I hear from some woman. I’m also very lucky to have a husband who is so considerate. I feel like the pedestal he normally keeps me on has been given a big riser. He’s really been stepping it up around the house and watching the kids more. All while trying to close nine different deals at work. And he does it all without complaint or expecting any thanks in return. Thanks Adam!

Next week I have another check up with my OB/GYN and I am also giving blood to another doctor for genetic testing. This blood along with an ultrasound they do in 2 weeks replaces the normal Amniocentesis and will let us know if our babies have any genetic abnormalities.

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Midnight Circus

My friend Pam suggested we try the Midnight Circus in the Park one of these weekends. Finally this weekend we made it work, along with a handful of our mutual friends. I’m not sure where she finds all these great things to do in the city but I feel lucky to have such a great resource.

Cotton Candy!

Once again Jack surprised me with his maturity. It was such a joy to watch him engaged in the show. He totally got the slap stick clown humor. Ben was mostly interested in dancing to the music, but he was fairly containable. Enough for us to enjoy most of the show.

Tickets were $15 per person for anyone over 3 years of age. The show is in a tent so rain is not a factor. There are bleachers and also open spaces in front to sit. As our friend Cindy suggested, bring a blanket to spread out, it can get muddy. It lasted about 2 hours with a 15 minute break. They change location every weekend and there is still one weekend left. Next weekend they perform at Chase Park. I highly suggest it and if they do it again next year I’ll definitely go again.

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