We began our Halloween holiday celebration by making caramel apples…

Caramel Apples

Then, we painted pumpkins.

Pumpkin Painting

We were all pretty excited for the Halloween grand finale of Trick-or-Treating in our new neighborhood. Dave and I dressed as zombies. Julia dressed as Eeyore.

Eeyore

We packed Julia’s wagon with flashlights, umbrellas and Buckeyes as 6:30 P.M. approached, then waited and watched for signs that the big event had begun. After a full ten minutes, nothing seemed to be happening. We got in the car and drove down our lane where the houses were dark and locked up tight. We live outside the city limits, but the inhabitants of the houses on our road behave like a little community. We had asked a neighbor about Trick-or-Treat and were given the date and time. Dave and I had assumed it would go down on our road. We quickly learned that we had to go to town to participate. The big Buckeye delivery would have to wait.

By the time we arrived in town, we had 45 minutes of Trick-or-Treat time left. We found a parking spot and headed toward the busiest street. Julia’s enthusiasm began to wane as we arrived at the first house, but after a quick reminder of Trick-or-Treat ettiquette and her candy reward, she was off. It was about the third house in that the reality of Trick-or-Treat hit Julia like a bus. She was getting candy! “More candy! More candy!” she exclaimed as we moved on. After visiting another house she shouted, “Mom, I get all the Trick-or-Treats!” She was in heaven.

Even through all of her excitement, Julia didn’t want to take a chance of messing up this free candy gig and was a perfect halloweener. She was very cautious of the kids around her and was sure to say, “Excuse me” each time another trick-or-treater crossed her path. She approached each house with confidence, making eye contact and greeting the candy-givers with a cheerful, “Trick or treat!” Not only did she thank them for the candy, but added, “Happy Halloween” as she left to move on to the next home. She even made small talk when prompted.

One man asked her, “Are you Eeyore?”

“No, I’m trick or treating,” she replied earnestly. The man started to laugh and she laughed, too. She had a great time.

Dave and I, on the other hand, were feeling a little awkward. On top of the stupidity and guilt we felt for getting a late start, we were getting a lot of hard stares and few replies to our friendly hello’s as we marched along the route. We noted that neither of us had seen an adult that was dressed up. Finally, at one house, someone made mention that we were grown-ups and we were dressed up. I confessed that we were new in town and, “Don’t you do that here?” I guess not. But that didn’t matter. Julia was having fun. She was thrilled that we dressed up, too. And the thirteen I Love You’s we got along the way for being the zombies with the sweet hook-ups was worth it.

The holidays are almost here, so I’ve started to make my traditional goodies for the season: peanut butter balls, better known as Buckeyes here in Ohio.

I started making them about four years ago. I had included some in goodie baskets I’d made for Dave’s family for Christmas. I made more than enough for the baskets, so I sent the leftovers to work with Dave to share with his co-workers. Soon, I started to get requests for more. By the end of the Christmas season, I’d established a bit of a Buckeye cult following. The next year, as Thanksgiving approached, the requests for Buckeyes began to roll in. I filled each order and experimented with requests to try some variations. By the end of that year, I was offering Buckeyes with dark, milk and white chocolate. Now, I have a regular little holiday business going.

Today, I made my first batch of peanut butter balls while Dave couldn’t resist making jokes like this.

Starting out each year is great. Julia watches me as I explain the special recipe I’ve become known for and it feels good to have something of my own to pass down to her. I imagine my family, generations later, making my Buckeyes and I’m the Grandma they refer to when they say, “Just like Grandma used to make.” Then, I start to think of Harry London and how his candy-making business started out much like mine has. I dream that my Buckeye business takes off and soon I’m selling Mama Grimmett’s Goodies (that are made lovingly by hand) all over the place. It’s confectionary bliss.

A few weeks and 50 dozen later, my attitude changes. Instead of dreaming of growing my business, I’m dreaming of sleep because it’s 4AM, I haven’t been to bed yet and Julia will be up soon, but if I don’t do it now she won’t let me do it later and I’ve got a deadline…

But, today was the first day and it was grand. I made 6 dozen Buckeyes to give to our new neighbors tomorrow evening as we visit their homes for Trick-or-Treat. I’m giving each neighbor half a dozen like this:

Buckeyes

Hopefully, they’ll love the Buckeyes, love us and welcome us into their tight-knit neighborhood. Maybe we’ll all become great friends and have giant cook outs and parties together. Or maybe we’ll just be cordial and wave when we pass by. At the very least, I hope they like the Buckeyes. And us.

My experiences in Mommyhood this past week are best articulated by this quote from the movie White Men Can’t Jump:

“Sometimes when you lose you actually win and sometimes when you win you actually lose, and sometimes when you win or lose you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie you actually win or lose.”

You said it, sister. That’s just what I was thinking.

Safe

by Leslie

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Safe

Here is Julia getting ready to ride the tricycle she got for her second birthday.

Helmet? Check.
Knee pads? Check.
Elbow pads? Check.
Bubble wrap? Who forgot the bubble wrap?!?!

1. Eat all of the Wheat Thins and then put the empty box back in the cupboard. This way, I can feel extra disapointed when I open the box and find the crumbs staring up at me saying “See what you missed?”

2. Instead of taking out the trash when the can is full, keep jamming the refuse in there. Stack some garbage on top, perferably wet or soggy items so I can get showered with slop when I take the trash out.

3. When I say, “I’m having a bad day,” sing that song by Daniel Powter to me.

4. Use the kitchen sink as your trash can. Fill it with dishes, chunks of leftover food, napkins, food wrappers, banana peels, the works. Make sure to run some water so it’ll be nice and gross when I clean it up.

5. Leave swirly skid marks in the toilet. Just completely ignore the toilet brush that has been placed right beside it for your convenience.

6. Explode stuff in the microwave. Leave it for me to clean up.

7. Tell me the cat just puked on the floor in the bathroom. Walk me to it and point it out, but do not clean it up. Let me do it.

8. Give my daughter a popsicle for breakfast.

9. Do not replace the toilet paper roll when it runs out. Just leave the cardboard tube.

10. Ask me, “Do you mind if I ______?” Then when I tell you that I do mind and would rather you didn’t, do it anyway.


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