Thursday, November 01, 2007

Our 2nd Halloween in Calgary

Wow. It took a holiday for it to really sink in that we have been living out here for more than one year. Last night we were lucky enough to start some new traditions.. or at least, continue with a couple that we started last year. Halloween is always a chaotic holiday with the mad search for pieces of costumes, the chaos that is probably attributed to sugar overload and the crazy rush to feed the kids a proper dinner, trying to get the kids on webcam in their costumes for the grandparents and to get them out the door for trick or treating before it gets too late. We pulled it off and as we were driving home last night, I realized that this was probably our first holiday EVER that happened as it should. We were a normal family, celebrating in a normal way (with our normal share of blips of course). No tantrums. Cool kids. Lots of treats. Relieved parents.

Jake and I carved our pumpkin the night before. He says it was the grossest thing he's ever done. I tend to agree. Who likes touching pumpkin guts? Which reminds me, I still have to roast the seeds. Does anyone have any interesting variations of the 'recipe/instructions' to do this to spice it up a little?

Jake decided to make his own costume this year, from items in his dress-up chest. While we were searching through it all, Will decided to participate. He'd put on a mask or a pair of glasses, then run to the mirror to check himself out.

I can't help laughing everytime I see this pic. Look closely at the eye-hole of the mask.

So if you know our Jake, you'll know that he is a holiday-lover. He's not just in it for the candy and the presents, but he really treats a holiday like it's an opportunity to do nice things for the people you care about, or the chance to decorate, or to make a card. So when he woke up yesterday morning and as Jonathan was rushing to go to work, I think Jonathan snapped at him for something. Jake says "thanks a lot, Dad. And I was just about to wish you a happy halloween. Thanks for ruining my holiday". Ever the drama-queen. Love him.

All of the boys had parties at their school, I was only able to attend the one for Owen & Will. What a fun time. Chaotic, but fun. This year the boys have 5 children in their preschool class every morning. This year Zachary was Buzz Lightyear (his little sister & baby brother also joined us), Owen M. was Clifford the Big Red Dog (his sis Ella was a dinosaur), Eric was a pumpkin. Will was Shrek and our Owen was Donkey. One of the agency's directors also brought her two children as well.

The boys' preschool is located in an office complex and the school's neighbours are really good about participating in the festivities that the school puts on. Most of them had decorated their doors to the hallway just for our boys and also had treats waiting for the door-to-door trick or treating.

After the trick-or-treating, the boys had circle time in the classroom. I love watching how all of the kids do the actions of the songs (with the help of their aides Sherri, Melanie and Tara & sung by Teacher Erin) and follow along. When I think back to two years ago, Owen and Will really only smiled while watching the other kids sing the songs at circle time. Circle time wasn't without its drama. Without going into too much detail today, Owen is easily upset by the slightest inkling that Will may start to tantrum. So if Will so much as stubs his toe and whines about it, Owen anticipates a tantrum and starts to wail, as if to say "don't you dare throw a fit and don't you dare come near me. Waaanh!" I am sure it's partly self defence after having been Will's target for 3+ years, but he is becoming very intolerant to any sound that comes from Will. You can imagine that there is not a lot of peace in our household, since Will is VERY vocal. So during one of these moments, while Owen was screaming at Will, Will got too close to Owen and CHOMP! Owen bit down on Will's finger. None of us who were there think that Owen had any understanding of what he did, but Will suffered for it for the rest of the day with a pretty nasty cut and swollen finger. Poor little man. But you know what they say about payback..... After dishing it out to Owen for so long, he was overdue.

There are no real stand-out moments to tell on our trick-or-treat outing that evening. Besides the fact that ALL of the boys behaved beautifully and they all loved going door to door, it really was a simple event. Who would have thought? The ghoul used his manners, Benny Hill gave me a glimpse of who I would be married to in another 30 years and Owen and Will had to learn the art of patience in receiving candy that they wanted to open and eat immediately. Note that Smarties are the family's #1 chocolate choice. Jacob is already lamenting the fact that he has to wait an entire year until next Halloween and is talking about the next costume choice.

I just realized what a lie I just told. This really was a momentous holiday for us. In every previous holiday, Owen just went with the flow. He has never really cared about wrapping paper, doesn't seem to understand the excitement of decorations, the joy you receive when giving a gift or card and most of all.. he never experienced the childish glee of eating a sweet. Do you realize how many holidays incorporate candy/desserts to mark the event? And to a kid like mine, who doesn't have meaning for most of what is happening around him, now that he enjoys candies and chocolate, he can finally be a participant in this holiday with his brothers. He's one of them and he gets it. He got it when he had to say "eee" for the "e" sound in "Trick or Treat" and in exchange, someone would plop those magic Smarties into his loot bag. My heart was genuinely full last night, watching my boys (all four of them), having such a fun time together.

We ended the evening with a repeat of what we did last year. We've established a new Calgary tradition for ourselves. We headed over to Sally and Greg's to show off our costumes. Aunt Sally greeted us at her door in full witch costume, much to Jake's delight. The boys immediately got the gratification of finally being allowed to bolt inside someone's house who opened their door for them this night. We took a repeat photo of the boys in "the chair" in their den and another of Owen in the same pose he was in last year, draped over their couch.

This year has definitely not been one that has been full of rainbows and butterflies. Our ups and downs have been dramatic, not to mention tumultuous. But looking at the photos of my happy boys puts it back into perspective for me. Look how far we've come.

1 comment:

andrea from r.h.cronish said...

hey mr.haley
its andrea, your favourite student from your last year at r.h.cornish. my whole class miss u alot and we alll wish that you could still be here. it sounds like everything is going pretty good for you. i'm glad that your boys are doing better. e-mail me and i'll tell you about what's been going on here. my e-mail address is
hope everything is going well...

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