We’re ramping up to Hallowe’en (oh yes, I’m going to be that punctuationally pendantic), most beloved of non-gift-giving holidays here.   Today was International Children’s Day at the school.  Back in the day, it was a multi-room feast of the foods of many nations.  Each kid learned about a country, dressed as a child from that country, and brought a traditional dish to share.  But someone snitched and brought the “health” dept down upon us.  So pre-packaged poison full of dyes and hydrogenated oils and HFCS is FINE, but a nice homemade treat is forbidden.  Our country is f*ked up, my friends.  And our health reflects it.  Mini-rant over.

Julianna was from Germany, Ben was from Serbia, and Lily was from Japan.  I’d say about 1/4 of the lower Elementary kids were from Japan or China.  Costumes:

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Yes, Julianna is wearing the clothes I bought for ME when we lived in Germany.   I was a full grown lady.  I love events at the school that bring all the kids together b/c some of our 3 year olds look like they’re still steaming from the womb and some of the middle schoolers could get served at a bar. Ben, you’ll note, is just wearing the colors of the Serbian flag b/c he couldn’t be bothered to wear a costume.  That’s a Greek jersey.  I told him next year to just pick a country from his stash of soccer jerseys his grandparents have gotten him.  Lily is wearing the bathrobe that Julianna wore when SHE was representing Japan in first grade.  I’m pretty sure she was bigger.

Here’s Lily reading her report on Japan.  Did you know that in Japan, most of the people speak Japan?  It’s true.  Also, there are tiger sharks, which are scary.  Now you know.

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See how bright and cozy that room is?   Her teachers (That’s Miss Amy in the cheongsam) are wonderful.  The Children’s Day celebration is always a parade around the school (I took my traditional photo of the back of my kids’ heads.  By the time my camera takes the picture, they’re gone) and then everyone meets in the sanctuary (school is in an old church) and each class comes forward and the kids say what country they are representing.  The Primary kids are so. flipping. cute.  They never remember what country they’re from.  And then they sing a song and you just die from cuteness.

Look, here’s Julianna reading HER report on Japan in 2003:

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photo of a photo, sorry.  Gotta get that scanner…  Looks like the robe hits her about the same as it does Lily now.  But Julianna was in 1st grade.

Last weekend, we did our annual trip to the pumpkin patch with the Donalds.  You ride out to the corn maze on a tractor, walk through the maze an emerge into the pumpkin patch.  Traditionally, we pick our pumpkins according to our individual pumpkin needs and then head back to the Donalds for a shared meal and pumpkin carving.  But not this year.

We rode out to the maze, as usual:

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When we got out, we were surprised to see how sparse and battered the maze was.  The Donalds had been there a couple of weeks ago and said it was thick and lush then, but we’d had some of our famous West Frederick winds the night before.  We figured we’d just see over the tops of the corn, no problem.  A cake walk through the corn.

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And in we went!  I love to shuck and shell the dried field corn as I go and soon the kids were joining in, first just shelling for speed, eventually trying to make patterns on the cob.  They were properly horrified when I told them about the older uses for corn cobs in outhouses (they ARE pretty soft, though).  At one point, Lily saw what we were doing and said “Oh cool!  where’d you get the corn?”

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Brooke and Lily

Brooke’s teenaged sister was HORRIFIED by Brooke’s fashion choices that day…

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See?  It’s short and sparse.  And yet…we couldn’t seem to find our way out.  Sure we could have just cut through, but we were trying to do the maze.

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Day 10. corn maze. Running out of water, but still have plenty of corn.

And then, we we finally gave up, like two hours later, and just walked through the last bit of corn to get to the patch…there were no pumpkins.  Well, not NO pumpkins, but those that remained were green and/or full of rot.  We were peeved.  So we agreed to go get our pumpkins elsewhere and meet back at the Donalds.  They were headed for the grocery.  Julianna insisted that we at least buy from another near-by patch.  We had a limited amount of cash, though, and ended up getting Steve’s pumpkin from the grocery.  Three stops we made before we all had pumpkins.  For petesake.  I picked up one that was covered in warty bumps, because how fun is that?

Turns out, not so much if you plan to carve the blasted thing.  It had a skin like iron.  I literally had to carve the thing with a dremel.  For real:

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The other pumpkins were less hassle:

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The finished products:

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back row: Lily's, Jerry's, Blair's, Ben's, Brooke's, Mine. On table: Steve's, Molly's, Julianna's

Just realized that Bev doesn’t have a pumpkin.  And now I’m wondering if she EVER does a pumpkin or if she’s just Staff Mom, scampering around helping others and tidying…I’ll have a chat with her.  Three? Four years? and I’m just realizing this.  And I wonder where my kids’ utter obliviousness comes from…

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I liked my little pumpkin guy, but later it occured to me that he looks like Meatwad from Aquateen Hunger Force.

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So, tomorrow will be trick-or-treating.  Lily still hasn’t settled on a costume but she’ll just be pulling from the dress-up bin.  Third children do not get new, elaborate costumes made by mom.

Oh yeah, a couple of years ago, Steve took some cool photos of the kids standing on some hay, shot from below.  He wanted to update them a bit.

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