This year the boys wanted to take a different approach to their Halloween costumes so we took the homemade route. Inspired by his jack-o’-lantern style front teeth, Ezra wanted to be a pumpkin. Finn, originally slated to be a pirate, called a last minute audible on Saturday and decided he wanted to be a ghost.

I’ll start with Ezra’s costume. First, dismantle Finn’s old Apple Sale booth and cut it into strips.

Apple box

First fitting.

First fitting

Bruce pulls out all the stops — the glue gun and the clamps!

Glue gun

Second fitting.

Second fitting

Cardboard strips finished; time for the papier mache.

Papier mache pumpkin

Ready for the spray paint. Safety first.

Safety first

Starting to paint

Second round of spray paint after first one didn’t cover.


And finally, voila!

Painting: done

Ezra then drew a jack-o’-lantern face.

Ezra's jack-o'lantern

Here’s the finished product — complete with a green cap so his head can be the stem.

The finished product

And now, the ghost (a much simpler process).

First attempt just didn’t work so well.

Ghost, take 1

He couldn’t keep the eye holes in the right place and didn’t like the weight of the sheet over him. We decided to go with a hood for the second try.


Much better. And even more comfortable once we added arm holes.

Ghostly Finn

These boys can’t wait for trick-or-treating!

A Perfect Day at the Park

Cari and I took the kids to Hamilton Park this afternoon to ride bikes and scooters and generally just burn off some energy. When we got there we noticed that the sprinklers were on and the extreme sogginess of the field suggested they’d been on all day. The concrete area was full of water which we foolishly thought might hinder the kids’ bike/scooter riding. Not so much. Pretty soon they were mostly soaked, especially Ruby and Finney, who had chosen to sit down in the puddles.

About a half-hour later, Chapin ventured onto the field toward the sprinklers. Cari called out to him and he just cackled and kept moving toward the water. There was no use in fighting it — pretty soon all five of them were running and jumping and generally going crazy in the sprinklers. Here are some pictures.

Beautiful day, slushy field

In the water

So happy

Ten minutes later they’d all stripped down to their underwear and were warming up in the sun having a “pretend feast” with pretzels, goldfish crackers and whatever other snacks they could pilfer from our bags.

Getting Ready for Halloween

Everyone’s in various stages of colds here but on Sunday we managed to pull ourselves together enough to decorate the front porch for Halloween before we got ourselves kicked out of the neighborhood for lack of effort. It seems people take Halloween pretty seriously around here. But first, the boys needed to work on the landscaping plan. Ezra’s got it all figured out where the zip line will go.

Drawing out landscaping plans

Then, there was body art.

Body art

Body art continued

And finally we were ready for decorating. The plan was a big twine spider web, so Bruce started spinning.

Building the web

Ezra wanted to add the spider web stuff we bought at Target.

Adding the spider.

Finn wanted some shade.

Finn finds some shade

And finally, voila!

Spidery front porch

Now we need to get ready for what we hear will be a deluge of trick-or-treaters. I guess I better buy some more candy!

Mommy, Can We Do Mud?

It’s hard to resist this plea, especially after a fairly difficult week, yet at first I did just that. And then Ezra pleaded with me and I gave in. Once again, I set the ground rules and they agreed. This time, Ezra wanted to make a list of the steps. Here it is.

List of Mud

Um, the spelling is a little hard to parse so I’ll help.

List of Mud
1. Make a desert.
2. Get the water.
3. Cook.
4. Serve.
5. Put mud sunscreen on.

And they were off.

Here they go again

Sadly, today’s mud day was not as successful as last time. There was lots of screaming and fighting, I think stemming from the fact that it’s a cool day and they were spraying each other with the hose.

So here’s where they are now.

The aftermath

A Father-Son Moment, 4-year-old Style

Last night I had a Board meeting so Bruce was on bedtime duty. At some point in the evening, Finn was in the bathroom and wanted Bruce to come in and “chat.” “Let’s talk about penises, Papa,” he said.

Finn has noticed recently that his looks a little different than his circumcised pals. (It’s interesting to me that Ezra has yet to make the same observation; I imagine he hasn’t noticed.)

Anyway, there was apparently a lot of chatting going on, but this part is my favorite:

Bruce: When they cut off the tip of your penis, it’s called a circumcision.

Finn: That’s too hard for me to say… I’m going to call it, “Cut off piece of penis.”

Finn at School

When I got to Cottage to pick up Finn on Wednesday he was … well … either break dancing or exercising, depending on who you talk to. You be the judge.

More Bike Riding

It’s been all wheels all the time around here lately. On Sunday I took the boys over to Hamilton Park so Ezra could enjoy the wide open space. He loved it.

E&F riding at Hamilton Park


After a few minutes of riding, he came over to me and said, “Mommy, I really like the big space here. I feel so … free.”

He also loved the little paths and being able to try to negotiate new corners. (I guess going up and down our straight sidewalk isn’t that exciting after all.)


This week of school for Ezra has been all short days to accommodate parent-teacher goal setting conferences, so we’ve been riding a lot. Ezra learned how to do a little jump off of a break in the sidewalk. I’m sure it’s only the beginning.

And on Tuesday we went to a new park that ended up only having dirt paths. The boys were very happy to ride for the two hours we were there. Here are a couple of shots.

Finn comes to a stop

Ezra's first trail ride


We discovered we have an orb weaver spider just outside our back door, and as much as she sort of freaks me out, we’ve decided to let her be. In the mornings, her web looks like this, but during the day she eats most of it and hangs out on the roof above it.

Our Charlotte

The boys love watching her and seeing her web change from day to day. Bruce, of course, figured out a way we could be more active participants in her life: he and the boys hunt for beetles and then throw them into the web and we watch her go after them. She’s amazingly fast at poisoning them and then wrapping them up in webbing.

As one of my friends said when I posted the video on Facebook: “If only I could make dinner that fast.”

Mom’s a Pizza

The other night at bedtime, one of the books we read was William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza, which tells the story of a sad little boy whose parents pretend to make him into a pizza in order to cheer him up. The boys love this story, and of course, they wanted to play the game as well. But I was exhausted, so I told them I just didn’t have the energy to make them into pizzas. Then Ezra said, “What if we make you into a pizza?” So even though what I really wanted was for them to go to sleep so I could do the same, I said yes.

So they set off to cut up some paper (two different colors) that would serve as the cheese and pepperoni. Then, just like in the book, they sprinkled it all over me.

Mom's a Pizza

They used flashlights as cooking instruments.



And then once they realized I was taking pictures, they started hamming things up a bit. Here’s my toothless wonder.

Toothless chef

And my “van-pire.”


Believe it or not, at some point they actually did go to bed. And I got a little satisfaction knowing that I, at least a little bit, lived the spirit of this poem, which I love.

how to really love a child

Apple Sale: Done

Last week marked the end of the apple sale and all that remained was “pack-out” where a bunch of Cottage parents take over part of Whole Foods and pack all the apples we sold into bags so purchasers can pick them up. I had a great plan for that day — Finn was going to be at Cottage, Bruce took the day off to help with pack-out and then take over my carpool and kid duties in the afternoon while I finished at Whole Foods. As they say, the best laid plans …

Bruce ended up with a stomach problem overnight and because there was vomiting (worrisome with his heart condition) his doctor wanted to see him right away Thursday morning. Luckily, Cottage moms are the best and my friends flew into action. Cari took Finn from Aveson over to Cottage and then she, Jerri, Emily and a host of other wonderful moms handled the first two hours of pack-out without me while I took Bruce to the doctor. After an EKG and exam, the doc decided it was unrelated to his heart and they gave him shots of Compazine and Benadryl to alleviate the nausea and basically knock him out. It worked. It took a few days, but he seems to be back to normal now.

As for pack-out, by the time I got there (about 11:00) the Mom Brigade had packed 300 of the 500 bags of apples we sold. Here is a fraction of them.

Lots o' apples

What I enjoyed the most was just how unprepared the produce guys were for the speed with which moms can get stuff done. They never in a million years thought we’d get it all done and they were scrambling to keep us in apples. Go, moms!

Sleeping Cuteness

I heard some noise coming from the boys’ room last night so I went upstairs to check it out. It’s usually Ezra roaming around in his sleep, but this time when I opened the door I saw that Finn wasn’t in his bed. A little worried, I looked for Ezra and here’s what I saw.

Nighttime cuteness

Apparently, they needed to be close last night. Crawling into bed together is not something they usually do, and it warmed my heart.

More Cycling

I took Finn to my old stomping grounds at Hamilton Park this morning so he could ride on their huge concrete area. Before today, he’d only ridden up and down the sidewalk, which means getting off and on the bike in order to turn around. This morning he was in heaven as he rode and rode and rode and barely got off the bike.

Finn rides at Hamilton Park

He also tried some new tricks like standing up on his pedals and putting his feet up like in this photo.


I expected some falls but he was fine. And then he passed out on the ride home. Perfect!

He Rides

It’s no joke that the second kid does everything sooner than the first one. Ezra just started riding his bike without training wheels a couple of months ago, and today Finn ditched his own training wheels because he wanted to be able to go where Ezra can go — namely on the weedy dirt … er … grass in our backyard.

And so, here he is!

Don't take my picture!

He had a big day of riding — several trips outside with a few breaks in between for snacks and rests, not to mention a couple of scraped knees. On one trip out, he decided he needed sunglasses.

Puttin' on the shades

Getting ready to ride

Pretty cute.

I did manage to get one decent video. Note: he’s not the first bike rider you see; he’ll come into view after a few seconds.

By the time the end of the day rolled around, he was one exhausted little boy. He got to pick the place for a special celebratory dinner; he picked Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. I wasn’t quite sure he would make it all the way through the meal.

Tired little cyclist

But he did.


We had four items on the agenda Saturday: 1) go shopping for a range (shopping trip #2); 2) attend Chapin’s birthday party; 3) send Bruce off to work after the party; and 4) send me off for an evening out with some high school friends. We managed to get 3 out of 4 done.

Our shopping trip got delayed because we had an unplanned visitor in the morning. Meet Popsicle.


Popsicle, you have to go outside!

She just waltzed in the house and came upstairs to find us. Ezra loves her. Finn does, too, but only from a distance. We had a hard time keeping her out of the house, despite the fact that she seems to have her own house a block away. I guess it doesn’t help that Ezra keeps leaving bowls of milk out on the porch for her.

Finally, we tore Ezra away from Popsicle (whatever you do, don’t call her “the cat”) and headed for the party where a good time was had by all. When it was time for ice cream, Bruce sat down with Finn and they were joined shortly by Finn’s friend from Cottage, Marietta. She seems to have taken a liking to Bruce, too.

Bruce and friends have ice cream

Bruce never did get to work because we went shopping after the party (which we stayed at way too long because everyone was having so much fun). But I got to go out with some old friends and we had a blast. A pretty darn good day.


One of my favorite things to do is to eavesdrop on a game the boys play with Bruce called Dinosaurs (as in, “Papa, do the dinosaurs!”). They usually play it in the morning just after waking up. Bruce magically turns each of his hands into a dinosaur — Nice Dinosaur and Mean Dinosaur. (As an aside, Mean Dinosaur sounds exactly like Dick Cheney. Well … like Jon Stewart’s impression of Dick Cheney actually.)

They often like to bring toys in so that the toys interact with the dinosaurs. Today, Finn brought in his stuffed puppy, Ruffy. I overheard him introducing Ruffy to the dinosaurs and then explaining to them that dogs wag their tails and it means they’re happy. Then, because he didn’t want the dinosaurs to overhear, he whispered to Bruce, “Papa, I’m pretemming that he’s wagging his tail.”