Monday, November 07, 2016

Halloween 2016

We started Halloween weekend with a trip to Cape Cod. After my dissatisfying time at the Akron Marathon, I signed up for the Cape Cod Half Marathon for redemption. I put in a few solid weeks of training post-marathon, didn't bother with much of a taper (since it didn't seem to do me any favors for Akron), and went out and hammered the half in 1:22:39. I planned to run between 6:15-6:20 pace and did exactly that with 6:18s. It was good enough for third place, so I get $300 (if it ever comes in the mail!). After the race, Bruce and Phoebe wanted to go biking on a nearby trail so I put in a few more miles to cool down.
 Driving back from the Cape, we stopped at a cranberry bog. We have lived in Massachusetts for more than a decade and somehow still hadn't been to a bog. So we changed that: we stopped at this awesome little family-owned bog and took a brief tour, learned about the cranberry vines and how they grow, then checked out the cool equipment they sort it on. The kids got to try it out (above, sorting berries on a conveyor belt). We took some cranberries home and put them in an apple pie. Those little berries are tart, but they sure go well with sweet stuff. Yum.
After our cranberry bog experience, we went home and went to the church Halloween party. Phoebe was a skeleton, Oliver was Mr. Incredible, and Bruce was an obscure Jedi from Star Wars. Nobody had strong opinions about what they wanted to be for Halloween, so they raided the dress-up box and this is what they came up with.
 Phoebe found some vampire teeth at the trunk-or-treat to complete the look.
 On the real Halloween (Monday), we packed in a bunch of activities after school. We visited the fire station to get glow sticks and candy.
Then we went to Phoebe's school Halloween party at the park. The weather was fantastic so we stayed for a long time and played games, got more candy, and painted pumpkins.
After the school party, we came home and grabbed some dinner before heading out for trick-or-treating. We went to a nearby neighborhood and stopped by a senior center where a few elderly residents lined up their wheelchairs in the lobby and handed out candy in a sort-of buffet line. The place was decked out with decorations and the kids agreed it was their favorite stop of the night. By the end of the night, the kids got their weight in candy. Bruce ate a bit, then gave me the rest to donate to a food pantry. Phoebe ate a bunch of hers and is still eating it bit by bit. Oliver ate all the KitKats out of his pile and now just likes to count it and sort it, but not eat it.

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Middle school isn't so bad after all

 I was initially worried about Bruce entering middle school this year, but he is thriving. He recently had some art put on display at the Children's Museum, so we went to the opening reception to get a look at it for ourselves. His is the flamingo print.
 It was perhaps the funnest art reception ever because we got to play in all the exhibits too.
We had a blast playing there on a Friday night. Thankfully I packed this kid's pajamas; he fell asleep on the bus ride home!
Bruce joined the cross country team. I didn't want to force him into it, but was more than happy when the gym teacher encouraged him to join the team. It wasn't really legit cross country: they ran 1-1.3 miles twice a week on a small flat grassy field behind the school. They had one meet at the end of their short season where they competed against the other three middle schools in the district. Bruce's school team was the largest and they won handily. Bruce ran the just-over-a-mile race in a bit over 10 minutes and finished in the back of the pack, but was happy that he improved his time throughout the season.
While other parents chatted and walked their dogs, we were the most experienced cheer section out there for sure. We had our cowbells, drum, a sign, and lots of high-fives to give.

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Queen P turns seven

Phoebe started out her birthday by getting her front tooth pulled. It has been wiggling for weeks and Phoebe said it was going to fall out on her birthday. I think when one of her teeth fell out last Christmas Day, she thought it was pretty awesome. So the tooth came out - with a little help from Scott.
 Gross. Phoebe was so proud of her bloody nasty mouth. I don't think I looked when I took this picture. Ewww.
Phoebe had her birthday all planned out (for a long time). We started out with cheap-o Lucky Charms for breakfast. And milk sipped through a straw that fit nicely into her newly gapped teeth.
We had crepes for lunch. Phoebe's had about a gallon of Nutella on it and a bunch of powdered sugar and coconut flakes and raspberries. So sugar for breakfast and sugar for lunch. Thankfully, Phoebe requested mexicali chopped salad for a healthier dinner. After a good serving of veggies and fruit, it was back to sugar though...
Ginger chocolate cake and an ice cream cake that Grandma Raymond sent! Yummmm. Phoebe got a few presents, but the biggest gift was two pet hermit crabs. She named them Digger and Maxi. They were so traumatized from the ride home from the pet store (or something?) that they dug holes and stayed in them for a few days, so she didn't actually see them on her birthday. Several days later they made an appearance before digging themselves underground again. She put a picture of herself next to their cage and talks to them in hopes they'll warm up to her someday.
I had a parent-teacher conference with her first-grade teacher last week. The teacher said Phoebe is strong academically, but is so overly enthusiastic that it can be a disruption. Yep, no surprises there. She also said Phoebe is particularly good at helping out some of the tougher kids in class. Her kindergarten teacher made this same comment last year: Phoebe is inclusive and knows how to talk to kids with behavioral problems. Proud mom moment there. Maybe she will turn out ok after all.

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