Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween (Really Glad Ours Ended Friday!)

Ok, I'll be the naysayer, I am not really a fan of Halloween.  Never have been, and at this point in my life, I don't think there's a big chance that will change.  As a kid, I never was that good at coming up with creative costumes and as seemingly outgoing as I am (and as you all think I am - thanks for those great comments on my previous post), the thought of standing in front of someone's door who I don't know and asking them to give me something in return for nothing never was an easy thing for me.  It's the something for nothing that's tough - although I'd do anything for anyone no strings attached, I struggle in accepting the opposite, I know, I too am sure therapy is needed sometime yet in my future.

With kids though, can't really avoid it.  However I am thankful that because of where we live, I can minimize it some instead of it dragging out over the entire weekend when it falls on a Sunday.

Don't get me wrong, for those of you that LOVE Halloween, I don't wish to squash your enjoyment.  I am just glad that we are somewhat removed from the subdivision insanity of trick or treating, candy up to our eyeballs and 16 year olds still trying to capitalize on a kiddie holiday.

But again, with kids, gotta participate and so about a month ago I started the inevitiable inquiries, great big smile on my face and uplifting voice "What do you want to be for Halloween?"  A part of me wanted to hear "A Fireman and Policeman!" or "Pirates!", anything somewhat simple and generic and more creative than just a character on a movie that would just shout "Yes, my kids watch more TV than I'd like to admit..."

The answer and inevitable costumes:

And the irony was not lost on me that Duke wanted to be the "bad guy" while Jack dressed up as "peaceful" Yoda.  Their personalities fit pretty well with their choices. 

And so as the days passed and Halloween grew closer, we did all activities that fall affords, the pumpkin patch, carving our own creations, roasting pumpkin seeds and school parties...all leading up to the big kahuna - Trick or Treating.

Luckily for us country folk with homes are too far apart to allow for door to door cavity collection, our quaint town and county seat again hosted the "Monster Walk" in downtown Columbiana on Friday from 4-6 which meant we went straight from a day of Halloween dress up, activities and parties at school to trick or treating door to door at the businesses downtown.  The weather was gorgeous and plenty of people packed the streets.  Both boys were not shy to go up and ask for their treat, although Duke was a bit freaked out by McGruff the crime dog - he pretty much took a wide sweep out of the way to avoid him, and a couple of boys that were dressed as Mario and Luigi video game characters wtih oversize puffy hands until they took the gloves off so he could see they had real hands and then was calm enough to high five them.  But by 6pm we were able to finish our walk around the square and walk into our favorite local place, Bernie's, and have a nice meal to cap off our scary holiday tradition.

That's right, we were DONE! on October 29th!  Unlike all the other subdivisions that had voted to either trick or treat Saturday or Sunday, I had no children having to dress up yet again and bring home more candy to the house that I'd have to fight with them about not eating (or have Cory hide so I didn't eat it!) and we could have the rest of our weekend to enjoy this incredible weather quietly instead of crazily. 

Or maybe it's just not the same as it was back on William Street with sidewalks and darkness coming early because the time change was still in October.  Where the neighbors around the corner on Ruby Street saved pennies all year and gave us a baggie filled with them which was sweeter than any candy.  We got to finally stay up late and see all the decorations lit in everyone's yards and when we were older, trapse over to Florence Avenue where that neighborhood really put on the show to see who's house was the scariest. 

Maybe that's why Halloween isn't my favorite anymore, it's not the same as when you were a kid.  Hope our little monster walk and traditional Bernie's supper is enough for my two little guys to look back on and enjoy someday - at least it will be for me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seeing Me

This year I have spent quite a bit of time reaching inside to figure out who I really am.  Whoa, deep, I know.
I think it's because I am very quickly approaching another decade, or it could be that I have been playing so many different roles in life right now that I am searching for significance among them.   I also have begun to see others around me that I find myself defining based on the significant roles in their lives.

I think everyone probably goes through stages where one or two roles supercede most others, but for me, I'm really attempting to nail down the one or two that define me in the view of others, the particular traits that when my name is mentioned are what my friends and family think of first, because I feel that by growing that particular role in my life, I can contribute more significantly to this world than I can if I try to perfect say 10 things and do each of them "fairly well", instead of  INCREDIBLY well.

I will admit that in this past year, I have thought that way about several people I've met.  Not so much narrowly defining them or compartmentalizing them - although as I write this it probably sounds like I am, but more that when they come across my mind, it's what I first associate with them as impressive and passionate in their lives.  For example, there are some women I know who are incredibly fashionable and can pick out clothes and always look amazing, I do not have this ability but I know that if I needed advice in that area, they'd be the first person I'd call; some women have a gift for cooking - if I am in a rut with meals, I can call her and I know it would be easy for her to throw out a months worth of ideas; some women are incredibly patient parents, when I'm on my last nerve, I can call them and get a boost of confidence that I'm not screwing things up.  I guess that could be different for anyone's experience with another person and so I probably need an example to illustrate, but I also don't want to offend anyone in the process.

My question here - what am I about to others?  How do others SEE me?  If I could do something that I'm doing now in a much improved way or really focus on a skill, what is it that I would most likely succeed above and beyond anyone else trying to do that same thing?

I know I have special talents, what I really want to know is what special talents do others view in me?  I think if I focus on those, that I might have a shot at taking my life, my family, my marriage, my career, to the next level. 

So, my 11 followers, and anyone else that happens upon this post that knows me, well or not.  Please share, don't be afraid, be honest.  I promise that I will not be offended in any way.  I'm not looking for a boost of confidence, I'm looking to GROW, and I'm stuck in moving forward without help.  I'm asking for it here, and I'm desperately searching to see me. 

All you have to do is click on the little "comments" link below this post, type in your comment and complete the word verification - really it's not that hard.  And it could change my life (and yours) for the better!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Fun Begins

I love fall. Love it Love it Love it. (And really loved it last night when my Badgers pulled out an amazing victory against the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes!)

This weekend was our real first feel of fall. It's been in the 40s at night this week, the leaves are starting to turn and fall festivals are abundant.

We started off on Friday shaky with a phone call from daycare around 3:15 "Jack has a stomach bug" so early pickup and home we went. However it was apparent after a few hours that whatever it was, wasn't long lasting, and even more apparent as he finished off a big supper with no after effects. We also got a welcome phone call from Linda and Joe Grauwels, long time friends of my parents - you know, those friends that no matter what direction life takes, they will be there - and set some plans in motion to meet up on Saturday, since they are visiting Birmingham with relatives. And meet up we did. Duke and I picked up Linda in Chelsea and brought her to see the house and have lunch and visit. It was so wonderful to share a glimpse of our life here with someone from home.  It would have been better to get Jack to join us for the photo op, but I'll take what I can get.

Sunday brought a wonderful morning at church - gotta love having Pastor Chris deliver another wonderful message which closed with one of my most favorite verses, "Be very careful , then, how you live --not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." Ephesians 5:15-17

And for the afternoon, we wisely took the kids, along with Adam and Crystal, Elli and Noah to the Grand Ole' Pumpkin Patch for some fall fun.

Yes, that is Jack - NO FEAR on the bouncer slides.  Duke, feared, until he did it once, then ALL ABOUT IT!  But didn't catch him on film unfortunately!

We skipped the overpriced tractor and hay rides, since we can do that at home for free :) and I think the guys might consider the $25 helicopter rides next year, but there were bounce houses, a pettting zoo (ok, a few rabbits in a hutch, two pot bellied pigs, a couple puppies, some goats and a few ponies and cows which wanted nothing to do with any of us, and then - pony rides!   The last of which would have been better if either of my children had actually done it and my oldest not decided as we left our turn in line that he really wanted to go after all.   That's ok, I don't mind that feeling of having my heart ripped out as I have to tell my child, "I'm sorry baby, you missed your turn and we can't go back (because there are 30 more people in line)"...hopefully it will be one of those life lessons learned, right?  Let's just say, I'm at least lucky that we got a few photo opps prior to that episode - though side note - he did catch on pretty quick to the situation and what consequences he would face if he didn't get himself together, so Natalie I can admit to progress outside of the house too!  Plus, FINALLY a new family photo (not perfect but do-able) - only about a year overdue!

We capped off the day with a last minute decision for a campfire in the fire pit and roasting hot dogs and smore's with the Schobers while the kids ran around playing until dark (7pm here these days).   A perfect end to an "unplanned" weekend. 

Did I mention I LOVE fall?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


You know those times when you don't realize how much your kids are really learning and it blows you away?  I had one of those moments this weekend when I discovered that not just Jack but Duke knows the entire Pledge of Allegiance, by heart.  Jack has never in 4 years mentioned it or demonstrated it.  Something on Sunday on our way home from the park sparked an impromtu serenede from the back of the car and so I figured I'd share it.  Because it's the only way you can really appreciate the effort.

Was that "to the Republic for which it stands" or "to the real Publix"?  I can't quite tell.  But maybe we are going to the grocery store just a bit too much as a threesome lately.

And yes, that's me in the backround cracking up when I hear Duke's "shun shiny faces" I thought they were done with "justice for all". The rest was all new to me last night.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Little Late for Babies

I get lots of ideas for posts, just never time to post them.

About a week ago, this little fella made his way to our pond.  Not the bigger guy in the lower right but the smaller one in the upper part of the picture.  I think it's a baby goose, but this time of year?  In any case, he visited for several hours, snuggled up to the decoy who resides in our water to keep the anchor rope afloat for the water trampoline and gave us a little treat.

I just hope he found his momma. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Potty Training Without the Training

Can you really call it potty training if there is no training involved?

Been a big week at the Rath house.  Duke went from pull ups to underpants, so in about 5 minutes flat I saved $40 a month on my daycare costs and $50 a month in pull up costs.  I feel like I just got a raise for job performance.

About a month ago we tried one Saturday morning to see how it'd go and after peeing on the floor several times I figured we were in for a long haul again.  Jack was a nightmare - but the more I think about that experience the more I believe he was pushed too early because of room changes at daycare and had we given him the 8 months we'd spent training, he probably would have mastered it like Duke has.  Really Huggies "Enjoy the Ride" as the marketing campaign - well, I didn't.

But after last week when Duke woke up 4 out of 7 nights completely dry...hmmm, Jack still doesn't, but somethings going on.  So Saturday afternoon we put 'em on and nary an accident since.  (note I am not yet bold enough for nighttime, but since Jack is still not dry at night, I'm going to let that one go for now)

Wow.  That kid is good.  And this mom is $90 bucks happier.