Saturday, November 28, 2009

My kids' new favorite snack mix . . . .

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix

1/4 cup (but I use less) sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups of Chocolate Chex
2 cups of Cinnamon Chex
1 bag of popped popcorn
1 tsp of cinnamon
a handful of baby marshmellows (my addition, not in the original chex recipe)

In a little bowl, mix sugar & cinnamon.

In a giant microwavable bowl, mix cereal & popcorn. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds on high). Drizzle it over the cereal mixture. Toss it all around until coated. Sprinkle half of the sugar/cinnamon concoction on - microwave on high for a minute. Take out, toss, add the rest of the concoction. Microwave another minute. Let cool. (Spread it in a thin layer on cookie sheets if you are impatient . . . . or leave it in the bowl if you don't want extra dishes OR are afraid dog-zilla will munch the mix off of the thin layer, wink, wink).

When cooled, add a handful of baby marshmellows. Mmmm. Delicious.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Prep

Okay, time to be overwhelmed. Time to spin your wheels helplessly as your list continues to grow. Time to lose your mind, and as you attempt to find it, allow multiple distractions in the form of sorting, organizing, or "getting ideas". Price checking works, too.

Time to wonder about Christmas. Time to think about the true meaning, ponder gluttony & doubt every decision you've ever made about gift purchases. Time to wonder if you can just sponsor a child on someone's behalf. Time to waste time with internet searches, flipping pages of catalogs & talking with relatives. Time to launch into at least one "spirit of Christmas" schpeel and lesson to the children. Time to illustrate to them how lucky they are. Time to issue warnings about behavior and what Santa might really be capable of.

Time to identify avesion techniques of women. Time to sort through 12 months of photos to find decent ones of each child for a card. Or, worse yet, time to schedule a family photo shoot. Perfect. We're all fat and un-tanned. These will be good. Time to be a pessimist, need more time in the day (uh, not with daylight savings time) . . and time to really waste time by putting up Christmas trees and digging through ornament boxes. As your mind clogs up about your above mentioned fat and un-tanned body, time to bake. Eat an extra cookie or two. Mmm. Pumpkin pie. Time to PAY a babysitter so you can go spend too much money on un-needed gifts that will see the inside of Goodwill in under a year.

Yes, indeed . . . time to be overwhelmed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Games . . .

How the hell did I forget Pictionary and Connect 4???

Big really wants the new Connect 4 x 4 . . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I just got off the phone . . .

I just got off the phone with Homestead. We re-hashed again how long the list is and the frustrtion factor with NOTHING IS ON SALE!! I went on a shopping mission today. I was out to purchase the karyoke machine. I stood in front of it, read it's specs & was ready to load it into my basket, when a friend of mine from school, Kristi, walked by. She said, oh, we thought about that and ended up buying the Wii Sing game. It was only $20.

I felt like the hand of God delivered her to the karyoke machine row. Small blue birds were circling my head singing and a light magically opened though a skylight. It's light fell through and illuminated me as if on centerstage. A choir of people sang, "aaaaahhhhhhh".

And I saved $179.

At about 5:30, I sent her a thank you note. People are placed in your life for a purpose.

At our house, Santa has a personal hygiene theme. Every stocking is filled with one or two things that keeps 'em believing . . . but mostly things that are needed . . . toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, socks. I can't even find a toothbrush on sale right now. I scoured the endcaps at Target. No red tags. Only Irish Spring Deodorant Soap is clearanced right now. Well, glucose tablets and some condoms.

I'm spinnin' my wheels. I think I'll order all my games on line tonight so I can begin to feel my wheels actually TURN, instead of just spinning.

Games We Love

I took one peek into the TWO game closets that I have in this house & decided that the most effective post might be to close my eyes and begin typing. So, I closed the doors and came to the computer. Here we go, Homestead.

Fabulous games that I KNOW we love:

Qwirkle. It now comes in cubes. We might need to get that.
Blokus. It totally tricks kids into using geometry, and they think it's a game. Ha!
Dominos. Of course.
And if you love dominos, you'll need to try tri-ominos. That's really fun.
Boggle Jr.
Scrabble. It's a holiday tradition. We record one game from every holiday inside the box lid. This particular game has been handed down into our family from MOTH's side. The first dated game is from almost 40 years ago.
Bananagrams. Good fun, folks. Good fun. And such a cool storage baggie.
Sequence for kids - we really like the states & capitals version.
Trouble. It's like Parcheesi. My kids can count to 6 about the same time they say "mama".
Tangrams, Mighty Minds & Super Minds.
Big plays Mancala with MOTH. She promised to teach me how last weekend, but we had an unexpected visit on Saturday night.

We also have a myriad of standard family games: Parcheesi, Life, Candy Land, Payday. We like Checkers & Parcheesi so much that I burned (yes, burned) the game board into our coffee table.

We also like card games. We play ALOT of BLINK. It's a really good one for littler kids (like 3-ish). The bigger kids play War, Speed, Golf, Caravan & Spoons at least a couple of times a week. Big plays Solitaire and will play double Solitaire w/ me or grandma. Uno has always been a family favorite. We also like Skip-Bo, Memory & Old Maid.

Now for my possible list of games. Mindware has been one of my favorite places to game shop for a couple of years now. I also like HeartSong. I want Yahtzee. I think the big girls would like Monopoly Deal. I love the idea of Perplexus, Coloroku, Rush Hour, Crazee Cube, CrissCross, Equate, Dizzios & Flip 4. I also would love to get Majhong but am afraid it wouldn't be as much fun with tiles as it is on the computer. I secretly shop for smart games year round. I love, love, love seeing kids playing a game and learning without thinking about it.

Also on my list are these fabulous game storage boxes. Which one of us really has a Scrabble or Monopoly Box without scotch, electrical & duct tape on the corners??

Friday, November 13, 2009

E . x . h . a . l . e .

Ah, that's a resounding exhale as some of the stress of the week leaves my body. Out with the red air. In with the blue. I've hopped a few hurdles this week. Doggie transition time. Kids with the doggie. Even though he seems great with kids, I hold my breath until I KNOW. Until I've seen him react in every situation. Seem him be around kids in bright colors. Hats. Kids that run. Kids that bump into him. Rowdy, rambunctious kids. And, he's passed the test. He tends to think Little is playing when he's not. Yes, Little has gotten caught this week. In a playful moment, Moose just knocked him over. Plain and simple. I find it odd because he's ever so gentle around Mimi. He has a blurred line about how big Little is and how tough Mimi is.

It was an odd week at school this week. On for two days, off for Veteran's Day. On again for two days. Our rhythm of practicing spelling words when down the tubes. But, we passed. Little was star of the week this week . . . so lots of extra prep went into what he was bringing, sharing, showing. Heavy exhale. The prized lego y-wing that went to school soundly wrapped in the carrry all cake pan made it home in one piece. Praise the Lord.

I'm working on my December lists. I'm making a few purchases here and there to stuff stockings and build a stock of things. I'm all about preventing last minute shopping bedlam. I'm making final decisions on games. It's a family tradition. Every year, MOTH and I give each child a great game. Board, card, manipulative, math . . . some kind of great game . . . that we play together. (Yes, Homestead, I'll do a post on great game suggestions. I promised I would.) I'm close but not complete.

Though busy, I'm still rejoicing in the little things this week . . .

Big is stressed out about an upcoming "date" with Grandma. It was intented as a gift and should be fun, but she has herself tied in knots over it. She's asked several times if she can just not go. Here we are, between the rock & the hard spot, AGAIN. No comment will be taken correctly. Any words will be wrong. Shit, is what I have to say about that. These gifts that are happy for one person . . . really can be very stressful on the other end. She's stressed about her second quarter reading goal. She's stressed about research for a project she's doing. It's a virtual trip . . and she's spending Christmas in Australia.

Middle has made the best friend of her life. She's a nice girl from a solid family, and I feel both humbled & blessed by their presence in our life. Tonight, she is sleeping over for a birthday bash, getting pedicures from older siblings & watching Hanna Montana. Her sweet innocence is contagious. I love her messy hair, the thundering sound of her getting out of bed at night, her love of gymnastics & skill with power tumbling. I love that she adores reading & is thoughtful every day.

Little is just plain sweet. He's not adjusting well to the time change. He's up at the ass-crack of dawn every morning. He's gotten into the unfortunate habit of coming up within inches of my nose when he wakes up . . . to see if I'm awake yet. Uh, ya buddy . . . . I'm awake now. Crawl in.

Mimi has globbed onto a stuffed Mouse that my mom bought for her last week. She's got an armload of stuff she hauls around right now. Paci. Bee (her blanket). Mouse. A clicker (yes, we are puppy training, remember?) And usually some sort of drink or snack. She's been walking Tana to school. It's a funny picture, I agree. It speaks to how well behaved Tana is on leash. I'll post a picture.

MOTH has been working his ass off. Nearly two weeks ago, their driver had a seizure while driving that caused a single car, but really massive accident. He's fine . . but needed medical clearance to come back to work. The last two weeks have been long . . . . like the first 9 years of our married life, before they had "help". Several days, he was gone at 6 am, and darkening the door at 9 pm. UGH!

Now, I've exhaled and purged my mind through rhythmic tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard. Time for bed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moose. The Final Chapter . . . For Now.

Touch and go has turned around. He's off lead. He's playful. He and Tana and getting along. Last night, they slept in the same room.

Good things:
* He loves the kids & is tucking them in every night & waking them up every morning. Good on school mornings. Not good today -- Veteran's Day & we had no school, but Moose wanted everyone up to see him go potty. Waking up to a child laughing because 130 pounds of dog has his ears turned inside out is a good way to wake up.
* He's already taught Tana not to zoom around the house after birds & squirrels. He thinks that means, "play with me", and he lauches into chase mode.
* He's asserting his dominance with the annoying yappy dog that lives above us. For four years, he's come to the back fence & yapped and yapped and yapped when we are out to play. Now, Moose gives him a series of baratone "woof, woof, woof" and he settles right down. That was a bonus we did not expect. The neighbors will thank me soon!
* Day three and four and his quirks are coming out. He likes to sit on laps. He likes to sit on my lap when I'm on the potty. He likes to sit on everyone's lap. He's a little big for Little & Mimi. He mostly leans on them, but it makes them giggle.
* He's great in a kennel. Nice and quiet. I'm hoping he'll teach that to Tana.
* He's great in the car . . . . took Grandma to the airport yesterday. He draws lots of stares but is a good rider & has nice manners.
* He loves toys. More than any other dog we've ever had. He likes to sleep with the squeeky chicken hanging out of his mouth like a pacifier. It's cute.

Bottom line: He's a keeper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moose. Chapter Four.

When we got home.

When we got home, we unloaded from the car. A man with a black lab walked by. The reaction was NOT good. I learned very quickly what 130 pounds of pulling dog feels like. It was a baptism by fire experience and a call for the importance of obedience training.

The kids were introduced next. Mimi was great. She took a kiss, held a paw and walked away. Little was fabulous. He is the same height as Moose. They see eye to eye, if you will. Kid introductions were fabulous.

Tana. Not so good. We put both dogs on leads. We stocked up on training snacks & treated them frequenty with calm behavior. We soothed & smoothed and positively reinforced. And when Moose saw Tana, we went bananas. And we pulled him out of the situation. Again, and again, and again.

It took a solid two hours to get them within 5 feet of each other. With treats. And praise.

When they finally were that close, we let Tana be the dominant dog and show him around the house. We did the lower level. On leads. With Tana going in first everywhere. She really showed him around. He wanted to go up. Tana went up first. Tana showed him the back yard. But Moose seemed super short sighted. He'd take a whiff & a sniff, follow Tana and then pull to her. He wasn't showing aggressive behavior, but was certainly unsettled.

As the night wore on, bile began rising in my stomach. I had the sinking feeling that we'd gotten into something we didn't want. I looked for skin reactions on the kids. Tried to concoct things I could cite if we had to return him. My heart ached for him, and for us. Emotions were everywhere, many off the charts.

Sunday morning came with a gorgeous orange sunrise, coats, hats, leads & two dogs in the backyard. Better. Certainly better. With rest, his behavior looked more like play. He was wagging. They came nose to nose several times over. What first was 5 seconds of nose to nose time, both in my arms stretched to 10 seconds, to 30, to a minute . . . and by noon, we had Moose off lead in the backyard. With Tana.

By Sunday afternoon, it felt like we were on our way . . . . more to come . . .

Monday, November 09, 2009

They warned us.

They warned us that Danes love couches. They warned us.

We love how he crosses his front legs when he lays down. So cute.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Moose. Chapter Three.

The pick up.

Our original plan was to drive to Boulder to pick Moose up. Originally, we were scheduled to arrive at a RMGDRI event at 6 pm.

After the first leg of the transport, the phone rang. We all caught our breath. MOTH answered. Trouble. Two dogs unable to travel together. Moose and one other Dane coming to this area. Alternate plans were made for the other Dane. Moose has an on time scheduled arrival.

Change of plans. Since the two danes are not coming together, there was no need for us to drive to Boulder. Denver instead. Perfect. Five pm. A location was set.

We departed on time. And ran into traffic. Which stayed thick. We were late. But so was transport.

We parked at our selected meeting grounds. Tranport had arrived before us. He was out walking you. When we saw Moose, air got caught sideways in throats for the fourth time that day. He looked like a bear on a leash, ambling at us, sniffing & pulling his lead. When he came face to face with us, he sniffed Big, took a treat from me, put a gigantic paw up on Middle's tummy and yawned. He nuzzled and snuffled and leaned in for side scratches.

Transport said that he, apparently, bonds quickly. He said there was a protective scuffle at the time of transport tradeoff. It was Moose, protecting the driver. Or so he said.

We loaded him in the car on a dog bed. He easily filled the whole back end. We gave him the most gigantic rawhide chewie bone that we could find. We headed home. He happily chewed and napped for the ride home.

When we got home . . . .

Moose. Chapter Two.

I read the entire profile, probably 50 times, over the course of 2 days. But there were a few extra questions for his foster mom:

* Has he ever shown any sign of aggression toward children or other humans? She said, "No."
* Has he ever shown any sign of aggression toward other dogs? She said, "No."
* Has he been exposed to young children? She said, "Yes, ranging in age from newborn to 12 years."
* You live on property with acreage, but we don't. In your opinion, do you think he would do well as a city dog? She said, "Yes, he will be great."
* Is he containable? We have one fence that is lower than the others. She said, "he stays right with me when we are out and never goes anywhere he shouldn't. I think he'll be right with you, too."
* Does he walk on a leash? She said, "he's learning basic commands."

Moose. Chapter One.

The story of your adoption.

In 1999, MOTH and I were at PetSmart. The Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue was doing a community event. At the time, Big was a baby. We had Zeeke, our miniature daschund and Kori, a rotten little miniature pinscher. We had just moved into our first house. We knew we were planning to have more children. We were both working full time jobs. We wanted to adopt a Great Dane at that point in time.

Luckily, we thought that through. We decided to wait. Maybe not ever actually go through with it.

Zeeke's illness in the winter of 2008 started the talk about the circle of life, actions of death. It began a long conversation with our children about dogs and their needs for homes. It began as a dialogue about Zeeke. He was an adoption shortly after our wedding. He needed a good home. He was living with an Akita that wanted to snack on him for breakfast, lick him for lunch & eat him for dinner. It sparked some interest in providing a home (someday) for another dog who needed a good home. I don't mean to imply that ALL dogs don't NEED (and deserve) good homes.

Let's be real: Sidebar. Some people adopt children. The Angelina Jolie or Katherine Hiegl types out there who travel the globe rescuing human souls. Some rescue mothers who need guidance & a hand-up. Some rescue dogs. Deep within the hallways of my heart, it fills a square and makes me feel GOOD to help. And by that, I mean help in general. Old people in Wal Mart parking lot, cats stuck in trees, dogs who've been abandoned, babies who need to be held.

So, there's our note on intention.

In August of 2009, we began researching breeds. And missions. Organizations that we believed in, who held their animals at the center of their care. We really liked RMGDRI's website, mission, postings, requirements. I talked to our vet. I think I blogged about that earlier. We weighed options. Cost. Time. Future vacations. Kids. Responsibility. Yes, I still get a little bit of a knot in my gut. Change makes for some sleepless nights and anxiety.

In September of 2009, we submitted an application. It's a lengthy piece of work that forece us to take a hard look at the animals in our life? What kind are there? Why? If they are gone, why? Are YOU responsible or is Mother Nature? Did you really do the best you could for them, during their time on earth? A few weeks after submitting our application & paying an application fee, a case worker was assigned to us. She called. Several times. We went over the application, current animals, pet insurance, estimated food costs, common ailments, general care, obedience. Yes, it was comprehensive. If I could lie and say I didn't know what I was getting into, this would have been an eyeopener. Good job, RMGDRI. I have a feeling that many prospective adoptive families back out at that stage. We nearly did.

Then came the home visit & more conversation from the foster care coordinator. She brought a Dane to our house. We watched our dog with the Dane. Our children were allowed to interact. We got a very real feeling for just how garhugic Danes are. Picture a deer. There you go. During our home visit, the visting Dane backed up (like a yellow truck . . there should have been a sound . . BEEP . . BEEP . . . BEEP) and sat on the sofa. Sat. Like a person. Hind legs on the floor. Front legs on the floor. SAT ON THE SOFA. And looked around as if he were searching for a cup of coffee or a book to read.

A week or so after our home visit, we received an official approval to adopt from the rescue. This means that you have access to the in-depth profiles about Danes that are available to adopt. On the website, the descriptions are real, but they paint every Dane in a positive light. When I scolled through those descriptions, any of them could have come to our house. It wasn't until we read our first in depth profile that we thought -- uh, no. That won't do. And sent it back. And requested another. And another. We feel lucky. Some families go through this "process" for half a year before they find a Dane that looks like a match for their family on paper. Yes, it's kind of like a dating website. Phrases like "not recommended for families with children under 5" were an automatic out for us. Any history of aggression -- toward dogs or humans. Out.

Last week, Zeus posted. About 90 minutes after his profile posted, I checked the site, saw him & requested his profile. I was number 3 in line. Two days later, we recieved his profile. On paper, he seemed too good to be true. Our hesitation. We thought his weight might be a typo. Even for a Dane, that's BIG! We had a phone conversation with his foster mom. It wasn't a typo. She assured us that he's really a big baby and is the perfect fit for a family.

He sounded too good to be true.

We signed a contract. Paid an adoption fee. And arrranged to meet the transport convoy at 5 pm.

Friday, November 06, 2009

He's Our Boy!

The transport chain begins in the morning & we'll have him this weekend :) I'm so excited!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

December Lists . . . Revised

Yea, digital piano -- OUT
Yea, new keyboard -- OUT

Some responses came back on ninetendos from parents at school. I'm leaning toward out, but could be swayed the other way, but only for a great coupon or fantastic pricing.

Revisions thus far:

Big: Nano (*Santa), bike ??, jammies, purse, game
Middle: Body ball (*Santa), beam (mission accomplished this week from craigslist), jammies, purse, game
Middle's birthday: Uh, long pause. Leotard, I guess. I'm shopping ebay next.
Little's birthday and Christmas: I figure I need 6 toys to spread around between both. I have 4.
Mimi's bithday & Christmas: I figure I need 6 toys to spread around between both. I have 3, could stretch to four.

I still really want the karyoke machine. But, I have to wonder . . . is this MY want? I think I would like to sing Cowboy Cassanova first. (The devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes . . yes, it reminds me of my old boyfriend!)

Now . . . . tell me, fellow bloggers, what do YOU do with family tradition & gifts from other kids . . . for example, each of my bigger kids LIKES to get a gift from them to EACH other sibling. I'm big on making them . . . but sometimes we don't. Big used part of her mall gift certificate from her birthday to buy a book for Middle. She spent babysitting money on a Star Wars pop up adventure for Little. It gets really stinkin' confusing, though . . . so tell me, what do YOU do.

Also, what do YOU do for teacher gifts? What is your price point & who do you include? Homeroom only or support staff/teachers too? Let's plan that next. I did some pricing today at costo. How about Spaghetti Dinner Baskets? Assuming I could find reasonable containers (baskets) . . or bags . . . . it would be about an $5-$8 gift if I included noodles, sauce, a baby parmesan & a loaf of fresh french bread. How about that?

Also, who makes the gift list within your family? Last year (and I bet she's reading) we made a gift alliance with MOTH's twin sister. It went like this: don't spend your money on us. In exchange, we won't spend our money on you. We made a similar allliance with my brother that goes like this: don't spend your money on us. In exchange, we won't spend our money on you. Exemptions, of course, are the children. We'll spend money on our neice(s) and/or nephew(s) . . . you can (but are not required) to do the same. MOTH's twin sister's dog, MRFE, stands to earn one hell of a chew toy basket. You do the math.

No children/one dog vs. 4 children/1 (hopefully 2, by then) dog(s)

Heavy Sigh from the rows of Costco today . . . but good news, too. We're family no. 2 on the waitlist for the big Blue Merle drink of water I posted yesterday . . . please keep the positive doggie prayers coming for our Nebraska boy. Zeus, incidentally, is his name . . . which seems like a lucky dog-adoption name for us. When we adopted Zeeke 11 years ago, the sweet boy that died in March (God rest his furry little soul) . . . his original name was Zeus. Is that a sign?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A prayer to the puppy Gods . . .

Puppy Gods . . .
Oh, puppy Gods . . .
We think this dog is for us . . .
So hard to know for sure . . .
When he's fostered in Nebraska . . .
But . . .
Please, oh, please, puppy Gods . . .
Let the stars align in order for us to meet this sweet boy . . . .

Sunday, November 01, 2009

December Lists . . . Draft One

Okay. It's November 1st. 53 Shopping days left until Christmas. And y'all know I really prefer to be finished by December 10th AT THE LATEST.

So, here is my prelimary list . . . I always have to break things down into who they are coming from so Santa's secret doesn't slip . . .

Big: She really needs a new bike. That would be a great surpise gift from mom & dad. I'm almost certain she'll ask Santa for a Nano. I bought her xmas eve jammies at Kohl's last weekend. I have a purse to stuff full of fabulous girlie things. I'm still searching for her family tradition board/education game-type toy. In the spirit of my painfully practical past, she may get a new desk chair.

Middle: She's asking Santa for an inflatable body ball. I'm searching for a used balance beam on craigslist for her. She gets a purse with girl things too. Jammies are bought. She loves connectagons . . . I might get her a new set of those. I have a cute necklace. I'm definately getting her a new leotard. She wants a Shawn Johnson one. I'll have to see what happens for her birthday in order to fill out to/from tags . . .

Little: He's still in toy mode. Star Wars legos. A storm trooper voice altering helmet. A big transformer. The 35 round nerf rapid fire rifle. Yes, I realize I may as well paint a target on my ass. Again, I'll have to wait and see what he asks Santa for in order to figure out what's from me, what's from Santa . . and what gets held back for his birthday.

Mimi: Has a Little People schoolhouse that I didn't give her for Easter last year. She has a set of tunnels and tents . . . . from Santa or Me. She loves her kitchen, but needs more food. I'm searching for wooden cuttable food. Thankfully, she's still little enough to to NOT get the "my-birthday-is-in-December-and-it-kind-of-sucks" . . . She'll be happy with a box of balls (which I am currently collecting).

I really want to get them (collectively) a digital piano or full size keyboard. We have a keyboard. I moved it up to my office about 3 weeks ago and it's in constant use. Thing is: it's a clunker. In order to get it to play correctly, you have to turn it on, then shove a makeshift tool into the headphone hole, count to 3, turn around to the left, hold your tongue to the left side of your cheek while to close your right eye. Then, usually, it plays -- but it constantly flashes the low battery light.

I think the kid in ME wants the digital karyoke machine at costco. I know the kid (and rocker) in MOTH wants Guitar Hero. I'm surprising MOTH with a new watchband for his very most favorite watch (it's been broken for a couple of years) . . . and I'm buying a few things, for myself, of course . . . this is how I get what I want . . .

And, that . . is my first crack at December list making . . .

To Ninetendo . . . Or Not to Nintendo

Can I get some mommy feedback on Ninetendo systems, please? I'm contemplating Ninetendo systems as Santa gifts. That could/would be this years' "the proof is in believing" gift . . . something totally unwanted, unasked for and surprising . . . . anyone? Anyone?



Here are my 'spookables' this year . . . . we started our evening by visiting great grandma. It's not every day that you get to have your picture taken with a 99 year old woman.

Big was Velma . . . great costume that I highly recommend. Middle was a Japanese princess. Costume absolutely thrown together at the very last minute. Little was black spider man. Mimi was a giraffe. Yes, same costume the other girls have used gazillions of times. Worked perfectly, again.
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