Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Collides With the Kofords

Halloween was a manic holiday of highs and lows this year. Although Owen was one of about 62 little boys dressed as Batman at our church Halloween party, I can say with much confidence that no other boy's costume was constructed with as much detail and intricacy (Thanks, Susanna!), and no other little boy was flanked by a trusty infant sidekick, either. Unfortunately our dynamic duo was beat out by Things One and Two in the costume competition. Our pot of chili almost didn't make it due to my Dad's recipe of epic spice proportions, but was saved by a can of tomato soup and quickly devoured by the Mormon masses. Then after Tim's sister Amber and I worked hard to decorate our car as the Bat Cave for the trunk-or-treat, we ended up parked under a light that was out and the bat cave became nothing more than a dark car in which no one correlated or commented on our clever combination of costume and car.
Halloween night culminated with dinner, trick-or-treating, and homemade donuts with friends. Owen, who was running with his pirate friend like there was a true Bat emergency (in Batman boots that were a bit too large), tripped and fell down upwards of 10 times. As I checked to see if he was okay (he was fine), I was reminded of the Halloween in fifth grade when I dressed up as a marionette and went to school with two strips of plywood criss-crossed on my head. On the way to the cafeteria for lunch, I fell down and hurt myself because two sticks were tied to my head as well as connected by strings to both arms and legs! I have become one of those parents who make their kids dress in the most ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothes (with props) on Halloween just because they are so darned cute. I guess it's time to get started on next year's matching costumes: Astronauts with real domed helmets!

Batman and Robin contemplate the danger in which they put themselves night after night to help clean up Gotham City.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness

I've been missing my Mom and Dad lately. I wish we lived in the same town, but it's really not too bad being about 3 1/2 hours away from them, and it's lots of fun when we get together. Mom and Dad are always in the mood for an adventure, so when I recently read about The Logger, an old steam train offering rides in the mountains just outside of Yosemite, it seemed like the perfect lure to get them to drive up for a visit. The train ride was fun, and the weather was a perfect fall day, if a little on the warm side. Owen, who as of late is infatuated by trains, loved hearing the genuine "chugga chugga, choo choo" sound of the engine and its whistle.
The train was used at the turn of the century in the logging industry. After the logs were brought out on the train, they were put on a flume that carried them all the way down to a mill in Madera (just outside Fresno). I think I would die of happiness if only the flume was still around for rides. Could you imagine a 12-hour version of the log ride? Now all I can think about is going to Knott's Berry Farm. Hmmm...I wonder if Mom and Dad are up for another adventure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For Those Of Ya'll Who Have Bubble Buckets

Ever since my friend Margaret told me about watching caterpillars turn into butterflies a few weeks ago, I've had an empty pickle jar on my counter, patiently waiting for the right specimen to be found in the backyard. I'm not at all a bug person, but the thought of seeing a butterfly come out of a cocoon sounded really cool and I thought O.K. would love it. Several times I thought about throwing it into the recycle bin, or at least storing it in the garage, but for some reason (read: laziness) I've kept the empty jar right by the sink. Finally today I had a chance to use it, and while it wasn't actually for the original point intended, I am so glad that it was right by the sink when I needed it.

Owen was playing with a friend in the backyard and brought me his long forsaken bubble bucket to fill with bubble solution. I opened it up in the sink and started washing out all of the dirty evaporated bubble gunk from the bottom container. When I picked up the lid to rinse it out, there was a GIANT black spider going crazy at the bottom of the sink.

I'm going to pause from my story for a second to consider my decision-making at this point. Regardless of size, I am always freaked out by any spider--but why is it that when an abnormally large one appears, my first thought is to grab the bug jar? I guess it's partly because I wanted to show Tim, but mostly because when I see spiders and know that Owen is watching, I always try really hard to put on my best bravado to kill them. (I really don't want him to be a sissy boy who is afraid of spiders. My plan is to raise brave spider-killing sons who will save me at any moment's notice--so for a couple of years, at least, I've got to brainwash him into thinking that it's no big deal to kill a spider.)

Anyway, seeing that spider caught me so off-guard that I jumped and immediately started screaming. At first glance, the spider looked like a mini tarantula; I even thought I could see fur on its legs...but then Owen ran into the house to see what was going on, and I quickly cleared my throat and became Super Tough Mom. Instead of taking the easy way out and washing it down the drain, I scooped it up with a spoon into the bug jar (so conveniently at hand, I might add) so that Owen could take a look. The spider is BIG. I don't know what kind of spider it is, and I'm not willing to spend any time looking at spider pics online to find out; I've felt like creepy crawlies are on my arms all day as it is!

After the spider was in its jar with its perforated lid in place, I returned to the sink to take a closer look at the bubble bucket. Inside the lid was a densely-webbed spider nest that is sure to give me nightmares for weeks to come--especially because at that point I was too chicken to clean it out! I put the lid back on the bubble bucket and threw it back in the backyard. Hopefully I can get Tim to take care of it, or it's going into the trash. So--the moral of my story--if you've got a bubble bucket sitting out on the porch, use caution when opening it up! Also, there is nothing wrong with having an empty pickle jar on the counter for a few weeks--it just might come in handy sometime.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Henry is officially crawling! After a few weeks of balance practice on his hands and knees, he actually went somewhere today. I guess it's time to move that crib mattress down a notch.


...yeah, so apparently learning to crawl is a bit frustrating! In other news, Owen took the Big Fresno Fair by storm yesterday! His favorite part was seeing the animals, where he got to pet a pig and says "the roosters made loud noises that were SCARY!" (Just lately he's afraid of birds--no idea where that came from.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

a wholesome recreational activity

And so we had times of great enjoyment at Tim's parent's house. Saturday afternoon we found ourselves magically whisked off to the enchanting land of Alameda, Ca. It was a beautiful day of windy proportions, a day filled with love, laughter, sea water, and a multitude of mini m&ms. Henry got his first feel of sand and we sat on the beach watching lots of kite boarders having fun.
We also visited the USS Hornet museum, an old ship from WWII that is anchored in Alameda and offers tours. As always, watching LDS General Conference is way more fun (not to mention comfortable) at Grandma and Grandpa's!

Owen has Grandma wrapped around his little finger. All he had to do was begin to pout and Grandma was passing out the treats like nobody's dentist. Today he told me he wanted "some more of Grandma's candy", and was sorely disappointed to learn that the treats he eats at Grandma's, stay at Grandma's! At least this time we remembered to bring his toothbrush!