Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

We experienced our first school Halloween party at Alli's preschool. It was fun to see the kids dressed up in their costumes. Alli was proud of her pink cat costume made by Grandma. I was in charge of the craft at the party. While I was crafting, Ruby tried to steal cookies from the snack table. She licked some frosting off of the table too. Ick. Luckily there were leftover cookies and she got her very own... which she ate all the frosting off of and left the cookie part. (She does this with PB&J too. Sometimes I think about just giving her a scoop of peanut butter and jelly because she doesn't eat the bread.)
Grandma brought her costume makeup to put the finishing touches on our little pink cats.

Ruby was fascinated by the makeup on Alli's face.

Alli was fascinated too.

Alli is a seasoned trick-or-treater, but tonight was Ruby's first time. She caught on very quickly. Ruby would take the candy and put it in her bag and then reach out for more. She was so cute that she usually got extra candy.
The best part of trick-or-treating is coming home and dumping the candy out on the floor to count and sort the booty. And Daddy was all too pleased to help.
No, the best part about trick-or-treating is trying to figure out how to ration the candy... or just binge so it will be gone soon. (Any advice?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pink cats and the ER

What an eventful week we have had!

Grandma and Grandpa Utah were here. Betsy and Lucas were here. We had a full house.
We took our guests to the nature museum and zoo. We went shopping. We went out to eat (with three tired kids) and they gave us a private room... go figure.

On Friday we had a Halloween party at the church. Alli was a pink cat (costume by Grandma Utah). Ruby was a little pink cat (Alli inflicted her will on Ruby this year). I was a pink cat too. Andy was a blue cat. I whipped up Andy's and my own costumes moments before the party, so they weren't nearly as cool as the kids' costumes.

It was fun to see the creative costumes of our friends: a family of bees, propaganda poster figures, a bar code, blues brothers, and lots of other stuff that made me think, "Why didn't I think of that!?" Alli won a prize for her cute costume.

The party included dinner, games, and trunk-or-treating in the parking lot. Very fun. But the highlight of the evening for us was Ruby's injury which sent us to the ER.

Ruby was holding Grandma's hand when she (Ruby) dropped to the ground. A pop was heard. No crying nor fussing. A few minutes later, we began to notice that Ruby was not using her right arm. She would fuss if her arm was moved. I held out a piece of candy, and she couldn't reach for it. Then I knew that something was terribly wrong.

Everyone felt terrible. Ruby dislocated her shoulder in June, and we thought it was an injury repeat. We ended up taking Ruby to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital around 9pm.

Walking into the ER, I felt lucky to have the healthiest kid there. Ruby was cheerful, she just couldn't use her right arm. The triage nurse checked Ruby out and determined that it was Ruby's elbow that was dislocated. The nurse inadvertently reset Ruby's elbow in the process of checking it out. We didn't know it was healed, and we were sent to the urgent care area.

While waiting there, we noticed that Ruby was using her arm normally. We waited for the doctor anyhow. We were told to wait down the hall away from all the sick kids. We sat in the hall while Ruby ran up and down the hall laughing and playing. She tripped and cut her lip. Luckily it wasn't a big cut, but it bled a lot. She truly goes from one accident to another. (She currently has a scar on her forehead from the park, a scratch on her chin from ???, a bruise on her forehead, and a scrape on the side of her head from running into some furniture.)

I discovered I was still wearing the tail to my cat costume. Very cool.

We finally got in to see a doctor, and he confirmed that she was indeed fine. Apparently dislocated joints can be common in the under-3 crowd. Only a year-and-a-half to go with Ruby.

By 11pm, we were good to go. We walked the 1+ block home and went to bed.

I am now quite paranoid about Ruby's arms. We do not pick her up by the arms anymore. I am nervous about holding her hand. The monkey bars are a no-no. I feel like another dislocation is inevitable because she is so adventurous and active. I am going to pray that her guardian angels be extra attentive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Alli sings

To see Alli's performance of the Cuppy Cake Song at the wedding reception click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Picture Day

I think the worst pictures of my childhood came from school picture day.  Everyone dresses unnaturally, sits uncomfortably on a plastic cube in front of a marbled/brushstroke/non-descript background, sort-of-smiles for a complete stranger and is rushed through one quick photo.  And for these tacky pictures, parents have to shell out lots of money.  Everyone buys these lame photos, the pressure is on to buy them for grandparents and friends.  Lifetouch has their marketing strategies figured out.  Good parents buy pictures.

karyn kindergarten picture

Alli's picture day was this week.  She didn't have to wear her uniform, so I encouraged her to dress herself.  She picked out a bow for her hair.  She wore a floral shirt and two skirts (one plaid and one pink corduroy) layered and she wore floral fish-net tights with sequin flats.  Unfortunately the picture will only be a headshot.

I ordered the cheapest package so we could get the class picture and a few awkward pictures of our schoolgirl.

Maybe picture day is just a right of passage.  The unnatural pictures let you look back and gage your awkwardness each year.  This kindergarten picture is one of my better school pictures... it is quite awkward.

Right of passage or not, Lifetouch is making bank from bad pictures.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Newest Mrs. Mars

Congratulations to my brother Chris and his wife LaTrisha!  They were married October 12.


We drove to Ohio last Wednesday evening for a weekend of wedding fun.  We survived the drive by limiting Alli's liquid intake (after the second potty-stop), listening to stories on CD, and eating lots of snacks.  We got in late, but we were the first of my siblings to show up at my parents' home, so we got a bedroom to ourselves (this is a big deal when eight siblings, plus spouses and lots of kids stay in a four-bedroom home).

On Thursday we spent the day getting stuff ready for the reception.  I was given the title of "wedding planner" and the responsibility to decorate the reception fell on me.  Yikes.  We bought a few dozen pumpkins at a farm down the road and my dad painted them silver.

dad painting pumpkins

Friday was the wedding.  LaTrisha looked beautiful and Chris couldn't stop smiling.  They were so happy to be married.

chris latrisha 1

After the wedding we went to the church to set up the reception for Saturday.  I wasn't quite sure how the pumpkins and blue flowers would go together.

On Saturday morning I finally found a way to tie all the decorations together.  I collected several vases and clear glass dishes from my parents' house and arranged them at the head table with giant blue mums in the dishes, silver pumpkins, a silver bell garland, and lots of greenery winding through the vase collection.  It turned out much better than I could have imagined, but we were busy all morning getting ready for the 12 o'clock reception.

wedding decoration 1

wedding decoration 4         Chris and LaTrisha wanted Alli to sing a little song at the reception.  Alli told me she wouldn't do it.  Grandma Ohio (with promises of much candy) got her up on stage for a charming rendition of the Cuppy Cake Song.  Alli is still enjoying her candy today.

alli grandma cuppy cake 1

Ruby slept through most of the reception.  My former youth leader Sister Kris was delighted to hold Ruby while she slept.  Ruby had a good nap, and then enjoyed lots of attention from relatives and friends.

My youngest brother Ben looked quite dashing in his tux.  He is one of two unmarried Mars kids.  Marissa is available too... no hurry though.

ben joe izak wedding

Andy was a great help at the reception.  He and my brother Dan ran the pinata game.  Andy directed the kids and Daniel pulled the rope to make the pinata hard to hit. 

andy dan pinata

There were two pinatas.  The kids destroyed them in a few moments.  They had fun.

The reception was wonderful.  The Mars family can throw a good party.

Most siblings left Saturday night, and it was quiet at the Mars house again.  We drove back to Chicago Sunday morning after attending church.  Alli and Ruby both took long naps then ate lots of candy and treats from Grandma.  Despite the wedding and reception, it was a very relaxing weekend for us.


We have put out the welcome mat

We have a full schedule of visitors and family coming to stay with us this fall.  We have put out the welcome mat, and we are keeping the guest bed ready. 

Grandpa Utah was the first of many guests.  Grandpa came to Chicago on business and spent a bonus day with us.  Alli was so happy to see him.  Ruby was shy at first.  Grandpa was amused that Ruby was so friendly with unfamiliar dogs, yet she was shy with Grandpa.  By the time he left, she was sitting in his lap and playing with him.

ruby and grandpa utah

As soon as Grandpa Utah left, Jen arrived from New York.  She was here for a gorgeous, warm Chicago weekend.  Jen watched Alli and Ruby so Andy and I could go out.  We took her to a festival at the zoo and to the Navy Pier.  She played ponies, Memory, and dress-up with Alli and Ruby.  They love their Aunt Jen.  Alli keeps reminding me that she has never been to Jen's house in New York.  I think she is planning a trip.

Before Thanksgiving we are expecting at least seven more guests (not all at the same time).  The Nicoll Hotel is cheap... yet very exclusive.  :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A New Set of Wheels

Actually, two sets of wheels... last week, Alli got a two-wheeler bike  with training wheels (the bike was a super craigslist deal).  The day we got it, she practiced riding on the patio while I made dinner.  After dinner, Andy and I took the girls to the park so Alli could try her new bike.  It was already dark, but she was so excited for her first big-girl-bike ride.  She strapped on her helmet and sat on the bike, not quite sure how to get it to move forward.

Alli learned to pedal forward.  She hasn't mastered stopping yet.  She rode off of the sidewalk a couple of times.  And the training wheels weren't attached securely enough, so Alli took a couple of spills.

Ruby chased Alli and was chased by Alli, and she enjoyed both.

The ride was short as it was nearly bedtime.  Alli was sad to put her bike away for the night, and extra sad that she had to go to bed.

Alli has a week of bike experience under her belt now.  She can move fast, and now she can stop her bike too.  Always good to know.


Alli cruises down the sidewalk Ruby and mommy cross the street it's all fun until someone gets hurt