Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: Fire Chiefs, Fire Trucks and Dalmations, Oh My!

Well here we are at Halloween 2011. Halloween has never been a big holiday for me. Though I am reminded by one of my cousins via Facebook that I once cut a pretty cool figure as Indiana Jones and enjoyed myself. But that was different. All you needed was a fedora, a bunch of khaki clothes and a whip. If you want to enjoy your Halloween, I suggest you carry a working, snapping whip. Strictly for affect.

But here we are Halloweening with a 3-year-old boy and a one-year old girl. Finnegan let it be known mid-summer that he wanted a Fireman's costume for his birthday. He got it and was thrilled, but I predicted then that he wouldn't want to be a fireman for Halloween and we'd be buying another costume. But he stuck to his water-guns and proved his old man wrong. All he has wanted to be is a fireman. And a striking one he is.
Fireman Finnegan

But that wouldn't be good enough for me. As his father I foresaw a glut of fireman coming this season and needed to make his uniform (yes I took to referring to it as a uniform) stand out. Thus was born my month-long obsession with creating a cardboard firetruck to wear around the rest of the suit.

You start with a trip to see the fine folks at our friendly neighborhood Upland Brewing Growler Shoppe and ask them for one of the boxes the growlers come in, six to a box. Gently and carefully use your box-cutters to open a hole in the bottom and cut away the extra flaps and open up the windshield. If you are obsessive, you can cut sixteen circles of extra cardboard and glue them together in stacks of four to create tires. Once painted black the corrugation looks like tire tread. Paint the rest of the box red and decorate to your hearts content, I recommend bumpers, ladders and the number of your local fire station.

At some point you spouse will doubt your ability to pull this off and they will likely focus their attention on questions like, "How is he gonna wear it?" Rest assured that the answer to this problem, as it is to most difficult problems in this world is: duct tape. In this case, preferably red.
Daddy's Obsession
Voila! Firetruck!

Then came the first test; trunk or treat.  Yes, trunk or treat. I was unfamiliar with the notion until we were notified by Finnegan's school that there would be a trick or treat for the young devils in the parking lot of school. I was not however aware of my need to truly decorate my trunk. My one orange and black bowl with Kit-kats and Skittles was definitely found lacking next to parents dressed as witches with skeletons and cobwebs adorning their vehicles. I will see you ladies next year.

I wish I had gotten a picture of Finn with his two other fireman classmates, both looked great but they didn't have firetrucks and did not have FIRE CHIEF emblazoned on their back, so I'm thinking that made Finn their boss. Anyway...

Trunk or treating!
His poor beleaguered sister, unable to formally request a costume, was simply amalgamated into the fireman theme as a dalmatian. Poor dear. This year she was simple an accessory. Next year we will make it up to you, Millie. I swear. 
"Bad enough you put me in this ridiculous get-up and take me to a trunk party in a parking lot, but to hoist me into this contraption and just leave me sitting here is just the ultimate insult."

Trunk or treating wears a Fire Chief out after a while but, not wanting to shirk his duties, he did not allow himself to nap before going to ZooBoo at the Indianapolis Zoo. Thusly he was certain to be cranky and make sure no one enjoyed the experience too awful much. Except of course Grandma, who loved it all. The costumes, the animals, the "carry my fire truck for me" duty.
Sometimes the duty of being Fire Chief wears you down.
"Look at the ghost Grandma!"

ZooBoo at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Tonight we trick or treat our neighborhood and should there be need of reporting, this space will offer a follow-up. But for now rest assured that it is just 24 days until Thanksgiving and the all-but-certain pilgrim photos to go with.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Millie Loves Her a Good Game of Peekaboo

If you Facebook with us, you've already seen this, but it seemed like it oughta be on the family blog. Seems like a great time to give a Millie update. At 13 months she is a super cheerful little thing who is extremely close to walking. Especially since her Grandma Sandy made sure the good people at Stride-Rite were put on the case. She stood up for about a half a minute yesterday before she realized she wasn't really ready for that. There aren't really any words yet, but how is she supposed to get a word in edgewise with her brother around. Peekaboo has taken on a huge role for her as has her daily attempts to remove my snout and ears like they were bullfight trophies.
We'll keep you updated as further stuff comes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Artist and his Vision

So Finnegan and his mother have a bit of a bedtime tradition working. Every night they turn on his turtle nightlight that projects constellations on the ceiling and they make a wish on a star. Contrary to how I understand such wishes to work, Alisha immediately asks him what he wishes for. For quite a while it was, "I hope we all have a nice time at the beach." Sweet, wight? So then we take our summer vacation where we have a lovely time at the beach,
After vacation Alisha asks him what he wants and, as he had been telling me for a week or so over lunches, he says, "I want to make Mama a heart and hang it on the wall." I leave this hanging for a while but definitely have plans of painting a heart with him on canvass. Well, his birthday weekend we go get some paint and a canvass and take to the backyard for the project you witness here.
I sketched a heart outline and held his hand to brush the initial hear outline, and Alisha helped fill in the background, but beyond that about 70 percent of the paint on this canvass is the boy's doing. LAregely by his demand. At one point early in the process when I was guiding his hand a bit, he just dropped the brush and said, "I don't want to do it." I apologized and gave him the brush and bit my tongue for the rest of the project.
I think at the lunches he often mentioned glitter, but I let that slide.
We are all so proud of the finished product and the artist, that it hands above our fireplace for all to see.
A perfect Valentine from our Finny little Valentine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The end of August and start of September will forever be the birthday season in our little household. Millie's first birthday was a road trip to Evansville.
In keeping with her "Cupcake" nickname, her birthday cake was an enormous cupcake. Above she's peeling open the more manageable fun-sized version,
She was intimidated for only a few brief minutes.
Finnegan was not to be outdone even at his sister's birthday. He monopolized the time of his Aunt Kara and partook of some home-made strawberry ice cream compliments of his great grandparents Gene & Carol.
His own birthday event was back in the friendly confines of our home here in Indy. Cars and Cars 2 were an overwhelming theme. I am quite amazed at how virtually everything can be redone into a Cars theme.

That said, I am heartened to see two old favorites from my far distant youth revamped for the Cars generation.If you remember the Playdoh fun factory, there is a great Cars spin-off version that involves Mater regurgitating various Play-doh shapes and the much beloved Viewmaster has gotten updated to be Finnegan's first binoculars that, with the flip of a switch serve as actual binoculars. Keen.

Another recurring theme of Finnegan's birthday has been his virtually year-long obsession with firefighters. The day before his birthday party we made a surprise trip to Indianapolis Fire Station 31 where Firefighter Dan, twenty-two years a fireman and second generation at that, enthusiastically gave a surprisingly intimidated Finn a great tour. My photos were crappy but our friend Tim took some that I hope to share in a separate post soon.
This visit was a great lead-in to Finn's Fire Chief uniform, complete with helmet, raincoat (this one fit better than the one he tried on with Fireman Dan), badge, extinguisher and a very annoying bull horn that cannot be used as a true voice amplifier but does have a very loud and very popular siren sound. The outfit is awesome and super cute, but that siren is killing us.

Worst of all, as Alisha realized late that night, we had no one to blame. The loudest most annoying gifts, usually an honor prized and relished by my sister, were this year entirely our own doing. In addition to the never-ending bullhorn siren we also gifted him, at my request, a saxoflute. Follow the link and laugh at our naivete. It came with two, count'em two whistles.
That wasn't all the excitement. There was a Lightening McQueen pinata which we filled with chocolates and then left hanging outside for three hours on a 100 degree day. Because we are brilliant parents. 

But seriously, look at the stance and the serious look on his face.
Did I mention it was a 100 degrees? So we sent him through the kidwash (my summer family craft and enjoyment project) a couple times which some how just got him dirtier. 

Don't freak-out. That is just mulch.

Any who. A first and a third birthday successfully celebrated fifteen days apart. Sounds like this will be a busy two-weeks for the rest of our lives.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Summer Vacation

Well we had a great little summer vacation last week in St. Joe Michigan where we've gone for 3 years now. Finn and Millie, as you can see, dug the beach.

Surprising to Daddy was how enjoyable our little blueberry picking expedition was. Finn ate as many as he put in his bucket, actually abandoning his bucket altogether several times.

That's an iphone in his hand, but shouldn't it be a harmonica?

Alisha took me to the worst Cubs game ever where they got razed by the Phillies 9 to 1 in 98 degree heat. Don't get me wrong. We were in the shade and the beer was cold, so it was fun.
Theree was also time spent on Miller's Time, the boat our friends Don and Julie Miller graciously hosted us on. Finn liked driving it with Don.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Millie Hits The Beach

Every bedtime for months when Finnegan wishes on a star he always asks for the same thing, "To have a great time at the beach." He got that yesterday up on Lake Michigan at Hager Park Beach. It was a lovely day and Millie's first beach visit ever but definitely not her last.

She is her mother's beach baby.

There will be more beach for the rest of the week.