Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The force is with me

I am quite impressed with myself at the moment.

I completed the boys' Halloween costume hunt a full month before Halloween! This is highly unusual for me, as I'm usually scrambling at the last minute. After all, I'm the mom who gets holiday cards out super late - as in January/February ("They're Lunar New Year cards!"). Last year, I didn't have to worry about Halloween costumes since Auntie Linda provided Nico's Iron Man costume and Nolan wore Nico's hand-me-down giraffe outfit.

This year's hunt for Halloween costumes started a few weeks ago. I had set up a recurring annual reminder on my Google calendar to "begin researching Halloween costumes" on September 1. So when my reminder triggered, I asked Nico what he wanted to be this year. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Why don't you and Nolan go as Transformers? You could dress as Optimus Prime and Nolan could be Megatron!
Nico: But Optimus Prime and Megatron are enemies.
Me: I know, but they're brothers.
Nico: But they're enemies.
Me: I know. That's what makes it funny.
Nico: Why is that funny? Nolan's not my enemy. I'm going to be Darth Vader.
Me: Then maybe Nolan should be Luke Skywalker?
Nico: What? That makes no sense! Nolan's not my son. I'm not his dad.

We flirted with a number of other dual costume ideas - Batman/Robin, Darth Vader/stormtrooper, black-costumed Spiderman/red-costumed Spiderman - but ultimately settled on Nico going as Darth Vader and Nolan going as an Ewok. If I go trick-or-treating with the boys, I'll be Chewbacca, of course.

I then did a bit of research and found out that a full Darth Vader costume cost around $70. No freaking way. That's not even including the light saber! Of course, there are less expensive versions starting at around $20, but knowing Nico, they would be unacceptable.

So I posted my Facebook status as:
[Lisa is] is trying to find a reasonably priced size 6-8 kids' Darth Vader costume and size 18-24 month Ewok costume. My life is incredibly exciting.

Next thing you know, I had 11 comments, ranging from "Holy cow, you're already thinking Halloween" to "A *real* dedicated Mom would sew the costumes from scratch. I'm just sayin'...."

I had procured a fantastic Halloween costume through eBay years ago, so I decided to try that route. In the next few days, I lost seven auctions. But then I won two. Voila, we now have a gently used children's Darth Vader Halloween costume, replete with full bodysuit and shoe covers, belt, helmet-mask and light saber. We also have a new toddler Ewok costume.

I can only hope to be this organized for the winter holiday season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September afternoon

Over the weekend, Nolan and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I wasn't sure how he'd do, since we stroll him most of the time. Usually, when we do walk anywhere, we don't get too far before he wants to be held. Now that he's two, though, he is ready for longer strolls. So on Sunday afternoon, he and I set out for a neighborhood walk - just the two of us.

It had rained the night before and the ground was still wet. Nolan was in a super happy mood. He and I don't spend much time alone with each other and I really enjoyed being able to focus on just him. Often, he is just along for the ride while I run errands or shuttle his brother to various activities. On Sunday, we had a great time just enjoying the fresh air.

Every few steps, Nolan stooped to point at something and comment on it. He stomped in puddles and picked up all kinds of things from the ground: pebbles, buckeyes, twigs and colorful leaves. He laughed as acorns fell on us and around us from the trees overhead. He picked up the acorns from the ground and threw them in all directions. He picked up fallen branches that had leaves attached and mopped the sidewalk with them.

The weather was perfect and I had a great time with my little guy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Farewell, NFL

A few weeks ago, my friend Chris sent his annual NFL football email to his pals: "Join my Yahoo! Sports Pro Football Pick'em group".

I was tempted. For about a second.

Then I decided against participating this year. The Brown are horrible and I have no idea what is going on with all the other teams. Plus, the Browns are horrible (did I already say that?).

It's been liberating having my Sunday afternoons, Monday nights and Thursday nights back again. I can use all that time to, I don't know, fold some laundry?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First haircut

Poor Nolan often has to stand in the shadow of his older brother, Nico. I just realized that at least the last five blog posts have been about Nico. And I still haven't gotten around to displaying any photos of Nolan in my office at work.

Anyway, Nolan also hit a milestone over the weekend: his first haircut. Not that I want to keep talking about his big brother, but Nico was around 10 months old when he had his first professional haircut. (Vic dubbed the trim I gave him months earlier as the "Dumb and Dumber" Disaster.) Nolan is two weeks away from his second birthday. Although he doesn't have as much hair as Nico did at this age, Nolan's hair is cute and curly.

Nolan did pretty well during the haircut and only whimpered a bit when the stylist tried to use electric clippers on him. I saved some of his baby hair, especially the baby curls.

First day of second grade

I can't believe Nico is a second-grader now!

Nico's first day of second grade went well. Vic and I walked him to school and stayed with him through the school flag-raising ceremony. It was great seeing everyone there - students, teachers, parents and other family members.

Nico was a bit shy when we first arrived on the school playground, but gradually got more comfortable. He wore his Batman backpack from first grade (he tried to talk me into buying a brand new backpack but I stood my ground), which was heavy with school supplies. It turns out that Vic was right - I *was* the only parent who labeled every single one of the 48 pencils with Nico's full name. But that's what the instructions said to do! Label everything, including pencils. I followed the school supply list to a tee. Vic said I was being obsessive-compulsive; I said I was merely being thorough.

Anyhow, Nico was happy about his class and his teacher. We're looking forward to another great year.