2018 Halloween Stuff

We’ve had a pretty packed last few days.

Milly spent most of Saturday playing with Abigail. They played with toys and dolls, which Milly doesn’t do too much aside from when Abigail comes over (though I like that she does it because it’s good for the imagination and it also shows she’s not totally grown up yet). They played Minecraft for a bit until we chased them off the Xbox and had them play outside. It’s been a little cold lately, but it’s been really nice out since the weekend.

We were invited to the Holland Halloween party. Last year Tristen and I went as Chuck and Wilson from Castaway, since her belly was as very volleyball-like at the time. This year Tristen didn’t go. She hasn’t been feeling great, and someone had to watch the boys anyway.

I helped get them ready for bed and Tristen did Milly’s makeup and put on her wig for her costume. She had chosen Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter in the Harry Potter movies. I’m still not totally sure why she picked Bellatrix, but I do think it’s a pretty cool choice.

I didn’t really have a costume, so I just went as a Duke fan. I wore a shirt and a hat and took a Duke backpack. I took a blanket to wear as a cape, but it was a little warm.

Speaking of which, Duke had both football and basketball games today. They lost to Pitt in football, 54-45 despite being up the last time I had checked. I can never seem to find the football games. They tend to be blacked out on ESPN or the ACC Network, but I can’t find them on any local stations I can get. It’s stupid.

The basketball game was a preseason exhibition against Ferris State. It’s hard to take much from exhibition games, since they’re basically extended practices, but Duke did win 132-48. That’s an 84 point win, which is ridiculous. Again, I’m not saying it’s indicative of much, but damn. Their first actual game is next Tuesday against Kentucky. Kentucky has more experience and I don’t know how Duke will look defensively, so I wouldn’t be socked with a loss. A win would be great though. (Sorry, Dad.)

Anyway, Milly and I had a good time at the Halloween party. I didn’t win an award this year (and I really don’t think I should have last year), but I enjoyed talking to Byron and Ryan (Milly’s librarian and art teacher, respectively). Milly had plenty of friends to run around and play with.

Sunday was mostly low-key, but we did go out to a fundraiser trunk-or-treat thing the hospital put on in the parking lot of the cardiology center. There wasn’t as much there are we thought there would be, but it was alright. Torrie, Johnny, Sebastian, and Gabriel came along too. It also gave me and Tristen a chance to wear our actual Halloween costumes. 

Sticking with Milly’s Harry Potter theme, we made Fawkes and Phoenix up as mandrake plants. In Harry Potter, they’re plants that look kind of like babies and when you pull them out of the ground they shriek and can knock a person unconscious. Tristen hot glued from leaves to some hats for them then cut up a plastic plant pot. The pot halves were then zip-tied to the front of the baby carriers so it looked like they were inside the pots that we carried around. Tristen and I wore them plus some Hogwarts colors and earmuffs (to block the shrieking). A lot of people thought it was cute, but you could tell the people who really got it.

We watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that night. We’ve tried twice and I fell asleep both times. Nothing against the movie- I just have this tendency to fall asleep during movies we watch at night sometimes. Milly got to watch about half of the movie, but we started too late for her to finish it. She told me on the way to school the next day that she enjoyed what she saw though.

I told her the story of how I was introduced to the Hitchhiker books. My mom had dropped me off at the library in downtown Durham one time when I was, I don’t know, 11 or 12, with my cousin David. I couldn’t tell you why now, but I was really upset about being dropped off at the library. David, who is my nerd-father, got The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for me to read, and at some point shortly thereafter I read all the books. It’s been a really long while, so reading them again might be pretty fun.

Maybe I’ll make the series the next set of books I read to Tristen. Not that we’re reading a lot lately, what with me staying up late to work. We’re currently (intermittently) reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a true story about a young Italian man’s adventures helping people escape to Switzerland and spying as an assistant for a high-ranking Nazi during World War 2. I just Googled something about that book and saw that it’s in development for being made into a movie. Funny enough, Tom Holland is set to star in it, just like he is the movie for the last series we read, Chaos Walking

Digressions, digressions.

On Monday morning I had forgotten to get Milly anything to drink for her lunch, so we stopped and got a bottle of water (her request), but she left it in the car when I dropped her off so I went back to the school to take it to the office. I took the boys in with me so any of the staff I ran into could see them. They caused a stir, of course, since most people there hadn’t seen them since they were about four months old, half their lifetimes ago.

When we got back to the house I gave them their bottles for breakfast. I was surprised they held out that long. I also kept them in their seats and played Baby Einstein – My First Signs for them. I’ve done that a bit here and there and I’m trying to make sure I do it once a day. I did that for Milly when she was little and she started doing signs I couldn’t even remember. I can’t remember how old she was when she started doing that, but I read that eight months is a good time to start it for babies.

That night was a rough one though. I hadn’t made a public proclamation of Fawkes and Phoenix sleeping through the night yet for fear of jinxing it, but that apparently didn’t matter because the 11-night streak ended. Here’s what I wrote that night:

Oct 29-30
After just over a week of sleeping entirely through the night to the point that I considered bragging on my boys, both woke up right at 1:00. It started with P, then F joined in. P got pretty loud and woke up T. 1:12 as I type this and he’s still making a little bit of noise after some gripe water, but he’s quieter and hopefully settling down.

1:14 T just walked out the door and F started standing up in his crib and crying. Went back in to try to settle him. She asked me to come back to help because neither was staying down. Bottles around 1:20. F still standing up and complaining but T got him down at 1:40, but he got up again. I went back in and put him down one more time. As of 1:45 I think it’s done.

The fact that they’d been doing so well and both of them woke up that night made it particularly frustrating. Phoenix had a bit of a repeat performance from 3:42 to 4:12 the next night, last night. So we’ll see how tonight goes.

Tuesday was fun. Tristen’s whole extended family went to the Cape Fear Fair. Tristen, Craig, and Johnny got walk-around passes while Milly, Laura, Torrie, and I got ride passes. Bash and the babies were all in free. Torrie’s crew got there when we were finishing up the part where you look at all the animals. We happened to bump into Milly’s friend Zoey, whom we haven’t seen in a while. (She was out of town a good portion of the summer.)

Once we headed out to the main concourse, Milly, Laura, Torrie, and Sebastian got on the carousel then Laura followed Sebastian through an obstacle course kind of thing. Milly and I went with him the second time he wanted to go through. Craig and Johnny were mainly there for the fair food, so they got some of that. Tristen, Milly and I had some fries and corndogs (and a funnel cake later, before we left).

The kids did a couple other things, but I had told Amanda I’d get Milly back to her by 8, so we started doing more big people rides. Laura, Torrie, and I went on a thing that just takes you up high (higher than it looked like once you’re on it) and then suddenly drops you. We all, along with Milly, went on the swinging pirate ship. Milly wanted to do the centrifugal force thing, so she and I went to do that. We were going to do the roofless version too, but just as the guy was closing the steps Milly decided that her stomach wasn’t settled from the last ride just yet so we dashed out of there. I can’t say I was upset at that decision because I think I’ve become less tolerant of things like that with my advancing years. I need more time in between them, anyway.

We were starting to run out of time and Milly chose the pirate ship as her final ride. We sat in the middle this time, which wasn’t nearly as thrilling.

I took her back to Amanda’s and Tristen had just gotten the boys inside when I pulled up to the carport. 

On the downside, I missed, I’m pretty sure, the firs scheduled ultrasound of any of my kids today. It was set for 1:00, which is right in the middle of normal nap time, but the boys were giving me a lot of trouble with that nap anyway. Fawkes had trouble going down, then when he finally did, Phoenix woke up and had trouble settling back down.

Tristen sent me a picture of the ultrasound though. She pointed out that it looked like Venom, although in reality he was kind of doing the cha-cha. She ended up getting another one today, but it was because thy needed to do one for some reason at work, and since she’s pregnant… That one didn’t bother me because it was unscheduled, and I think there were some unscheduled ones when she was pregnant with Fawkes and Phoenix anyway. It’s just knowing that there was going to be one I could be at and not going, that bothered me a little.

And then today was Halloween. I had told Milly that if she wanted more trick-or-treat time, she could let her mom get her a little early and just go with her so I didn’t have to rush her to be done at a certain time, not that I wanted to miss out on it of course. But she chose to do it with both of us anyway, which worked decently well anyway.

She and I left the house and went to Forest Hills, a neighborhood near ours that usually does Halloween right. Lots of kids, lots of decorated houses. It looks like some slice of Americana out of a movie with all the kids that trick-or-treat there. It’s even got a school nestled there in the neighborhood. The downside to it is that the houses and the lots are big, so you have to do more walking, and as early as we went we ended up doing even more fruitless (candyless?) walking. Still, she got a decent haul by the time Amanda came and picked her up.

I was planning on meeting her back at our  house, but she set out a few minutes earlier than I expected and we were at the far end of the neighborhood from the car. The timing was just about perfect though, as we’d just gotten back to the car (in the school parking lot) shortly before Amanda drove up. Milly did want to hit up the house next to the school before she left. They go all-out with their decorations and it was the first house we went to, but they had a sign up then that they were out trick-or-treating and would be back later.

Amanda took Milly to Harbor Island, which is another neighborhood with people who get into the spirit of Halloween (and also have money). They’re more tightly packed-in, too. Also a very good place to trick-or-treat.

It would be kind of pointless to take the boys trick-or-treating yet since they don’t have teeth and we don’t give them sugar yet, plus being out during their bedtime could be problematic. Tristen took them to her parents’ house. Her dad always does a great job decorating, but their neighborhood doesn’t get a ton of traffic. I said once we buy a house in Forest Hills (I do love the neighborhood, but houses start a little out of my range), Craig would have to come over there to do his decorating.

After Amanda picked Milly up I picked up a couple bags of candy in case anyone came by our house. I saw a couple groups in the neighborhood as I was driving back to the house, but nobody came. It was after 7 by the time I got in, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to give any treats out. A car stopped in front of our  house while Tristen and I were giving the boys bottles, but they didn’t actually get out or anything.

Tristen had a time getting the boys home. If I remember correctly she said Phoenix was crying when she left her parents’ house, but he stopped soon and even fell asleep, but then Fawkes started up and cried the whole way home. It’s so stressful when that happens.

That was pretty much the night. In other random life tidbits:

We started giving the boys puffs and yogurt melts to eat. There was some coughing initially, but they’re really good about them now.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but they’re climbing on every-damn-thing. Pulling themselves up, anyway. Their favorite things seem to be the baby gate and the recliner, both of which they have trouble getting themselves down from, which leads to them getting pissed.

Fawkes tried to climb up on this little activity table Torrie gave us. I’m talking feet off the ground. He’s also been doing something that looks like the yoga pose downward dog sporadically.

Phoenix is more apt to pull up on the recliner. He just wants to be held a lot.

They’ve both moved from doing butterfly strokes across the floor to crawling, Fawkes more than Phoenix at the moment.

Tristen said both of them have come to her when she has reached for them and motioned to them with her hands. They’re not really doing that very much for me, but man do they book it across the room when I put a milk bottle on the floor.

Speaking of the recliner, I’ve moved my office to the living room for the time being. I have my iMac set up on top of a chest and I sit in the recliner. It’s actually not the most comfortable way to work and I’m looking forward to moving back again.

The reason I moved the office for now is that we have people working on the storm damage. They’ve fixed the dining room ceiling, finished up the trim and put all of the wall back in place in what we call the Woods (the wood-paneled room that includes my office), and fixed the electric wiring. They’re working on the roof, will be fixing the rain-damaged bathroom ceiling, will repair (or replace, I suppose) the carport, and touch up the paint in the dining room. Lots of work. It’s mainly been one guy as the rest of the crew is doing other things. His name is Don and he’s the father of the owner of the company. Nice guy.

Tristen still gets nauseous a lot. That should be ending soon. Most nights she talks about how she should eat more then falls asleep on the couch for a while.

I lost a big client last week. Nothing I did, not that I know of anyway; they’re just having someone internal do what I do, although I did notice tonight that they hadn’t started doing anything yet. I was feeling kind of panicked about it, but it is what it is. I got by before they were a client and I’ll get by after. I just really need to bring on a few more larger clients and I’ll feel much better.

Milly’s interim report card came home yesterday. Three A’s and two B’s, although she might be able to do some work that I think could potentially raise one of those B’s to an A.

Oh, and it’s kind of shaming to realize this, but I didn’t write anything about our gender reveal last week. We’re having another boy! While it’s a shame that Laura and Craig will have five biological grandkids and not one of them a girl (unless Torrie and Johnny go for six and that’s a girl), I think it’ll make things easier here. All the boys will be able to share a room, which is good because I didn’t think Milly would need to be sharing a room with a baby when she’s ten years old and we don’t have any extra rooms here (and we’re not going to be in any financial shape to move anytime soon). Plus the new baby will be so close in age to Fawkes and Phoenix that they’ll never remember life without him. They’ll be triplets for all intents and purposes.

Anyway, I feel bad that I didn’t write a blog post about it, but it did get a huge reaction on Facebook and Instagram.