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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Halloween 2018 :: True and Zombie Orphan

Carys pretty quickly decided she wanted to be zombie orphan. She wavered between zombie bride and zombie queen and traditional zombie and a few other iterations, but somehow (!?!?) came up with zombie orphan. I'm gonna be real honest and say I don't know exactly WHAT about her outfit screams "orphan" but it's *exactly* what she wanted, so apparently she nailed it.

Carys's costume was easy. A dress from Goodwill, a length of black crepe-y fabric from Amazon, and some face paint.

Now Emmeline.

Emmeline wanted to be True. From some obscure Netflix show called "True and the Rainbow Kingdom." It's a VERY cute show and I highly approve of it, but approximately one person - a fellow 4-year-old - knew what she was. She also considered being Masha from another obscure Netflix show, but ultimately decided that blue hair wins (obviously).

Emmeline's costume was NOT easy. It was a mix of things I got off of Amazon (hair, leggings, shirt) and things I made (headband, backpack, belt, skirt), and things we had (rainbow Baby Legs, boots - which I had to spray paint yellow and which did NOT hold up after this one night, but whatevs).  Emmeline was SO particular - she almost refused to wear the shirt because True's shirt doesn't have buttons on it IN REAL LIFE. Emmeline. It's a cartoon. It's NOT REAL LIFE.

Having wishes (the little yellow balls) was VERY important to her, so I painted a bunch of ping-pong balls yellow and painted little faces on each of them.

The backpack was the hardest part of the costume by far. True's backpack in the show is like three rounded sections and wishes go in and out of each section. And I couldn't find a good picture of it online, so I had to watch the show, pause when True turned around, and the screenshot that to look at.  Per my usual method, I went into making the backpack with just a VERY vague idea of what I was going to do and figured it out as I went. And in the end I absolutely loved it, and Emmeline was thrilled with it (most imortantly, obviously). If you're looking for your own True backpack, I wish I could give you more specific instructions or that I'd taken more (ANY) in-progress pictures, but alas. I did not. Basically I started with the flat part that goes against her back and sewed the outside edge (strips of colored felt) in each of the three colors, then created the top by sewing three circle-ish (almost more teardrop) shapes together and sewing them to the edges. I left an opening at the top so she could put wishes actually in it. The strap as it is on the show wouldn't fit over Em's head, so I used a button closure. The badge was cardboard and beads, and I put elastic on the back of it so it could slide over the strap and cover the button. Once the backpack was done, I cut a little "x" on each section of the backpack and pushed the fabric inward, then hot glued a wish into the opening.

I made the headband using colored beads and pom-poms, and the skirt was a simple circle skirt. I cut the bangs and styled the hair of the wig, and spray painted the boots because somehow I couldn't find yellow rainboots for under like $50 and hell no was I spending that.

Speaking of the skirt, I MADE IT THE MORNING OF HALLOWEEN. Because Emmeline, my stickler for details, decided that the skirt we had wasn't good enough. SIGH. But the backpack had turned out so well I didn't want to skimp on the skirt, so back to the sewing machine I went.

Every year we go meet at our neighbor's and go trick-or-treating with a group of neighborhood kids, and I take pics of each kiddo.

What's that? Emmeline isn't in any of these group pictures? WEIRD. WHERE DID SHE GO? That was exactly my question! And the question of the other parents as we frantically searched for her! I tried calling Chris at home to see if she'd gone back home for some reason, but he wasn't answering. OF COURSE. So I ran home - literally - and found her and Chris, curled up in a chair, watching TV. What. the. fuck. She just....was done. She didn't want to trick or treat. She didn't want to take pictures. So she just....left.  And I'm going to be honest, I was more like...I JUST SPENT THREE THOUSAND HOURS MAKING YOUR COSTUME AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TRICK OR TREATING than I was OH MY SWEET CHILD YOU COULD HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED. Needless to say, I addressed the latter and kept the former to myself, except for bitching to my friends and of course writing it all out here so she knows in 20 years exactly how sad I was that my handiwork would go essentially unnoticed by the world.

Also look at this light. SWOON.

And they're off!

This is the house on our street that sets up a claw machine on their porch. It's so much fun. The kids go here first every year.

Carys loves trick-or-treating and is VERY insistent that everyone in the group gets their equal turns ringing doorbells. She'll get a little bossy exhibit leadership in making sure that no one is cutting in line and that the rightful person is leading the charge to the door.  It's gonna serve her well someday, the ability to take charge and the sense of justice.

So when we got around to our house, I saw Emmeline, absolutely in her element handing out candy. Now, this kid is a sugar FIEND. Addict, even. So it was shocking that she didn't want to trick-or-treat to get more candy. But we'd had other Halloween events (where she wore different costumes, because this one wasn't done yet) and we had candy at home. And she LOVES handing out candy. It was so cute that I had to forgive her, because...just look at her face.

She did not want the kids to stop coming, so she sat on the sidewalk yelling at anyone she saw passing to come get candy. I finally pulled the plug about 9:30 and made her go to bed. But this vision of her (and look at that view of the backpack!) will forever be seared in my memory. Even if I'd wanted to murder her a few hours earlier.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Carys's Seventh Birthday :: Star Wars

Carys has enjoyed Star Wars since her dad first introduced her to it as a toddler, but she really started to love it when The Force Awakens came out and she was introduced to the Rey character (so suck it to all those die-hard traditionalists that hate those movies, because they're for sure creating a new generation of fans).  She decided a full two years ago that she was going to do Star Wars for her seventh birthday party (she also knows what she wants to do for her eighth!) and full credit to her - she didn't change her mind once.

Since I don't do the yearly letters anymore - MUCH TO MY OWN CHAGRIN - I'm trying to do a little blurb about the kids on their birthday post. Seven-year-old Carys is a tall kid with big hazel eyes, crazy hair (her hair frizzes like nothing else!), and long limbs. She's drop dead gorgeous, I think, with those big hazel eyes and scattering of freckles across her nose. I could look at her all day and not get sick of that perfect face. She can be the absolute sweetest, most generous kid and always (almost always) takes the imitative to share things with her sister.  She's incredibly nurturing - she's a great big sister (when she feels like it) and loves to take Emmeline under her wing, and loves to play with baby dolls. Carys has creativity like no kid I've ever met and is singing, dancing, drawing, writing, imagining, and using that creative energy practically 24/7. Just yesterday she told me she wanted to set up a "Star Wars Educational Camp" where she'd teach other kids all about Star Wars. She's constantly coming up with big ideas like that - business to set up, elaborate role plays, complicated games. She wants to be a YouTube star, but freezes up whenever anyone looks at her.  Ha! She can have BIG emotions and be overly dramatic at times and we're working on creating a mindset where she can realize that it's generally not the end of the world, whatever it is.  And somewhere along the way she lost her listening ears, so it takes about 15 repetitions and threats to get her to listen to my requests...but we're working on it. She still loves to cuddle and loves her mama dearly, to the point where she comes into our room and climbs into bed around 2am every night and just wraps herself around me. She absolutely loves animals and nature and her big goals in life are to "get rich so she can buy all of the green space and forests to protect them" and "to adopt all of the kids from BoysTown that don't have families." She adores learning about history and has been helping my mom clean out their attic, which is chock full of "olden day" memories, and she treasures each little trinket and story that goes with it. She generally adores school and loves to learn. While I always call her my little clone, she massively takes after her dad in one way - math is her favorite subject in school. At the end of kindergarten, she was adding 2- and 3-digit sums and working on fractions. She's very bright (in the 99th percentile on all of her standardized tests!) and reading well above grade level - she went into kindergarten knowing basic words like "cat" and left reading chapter books.

Anyway, obviously I think she's absolutely great. And I love that she has such big opinions on things like her birthday party themes.

Onto the pictures! That I need to post NOW, because while I started this post a year ago, I didn't finish. So I'm going to back date this...because as of the actual date today (July 8, 2019) I'm ready to post her 8th birthday. YIKES. 

So along with her big Star Wars party, we had a little family gathering where she requested donations for our local animal shelter. HER HEART, GUYS! She opened them just like she would regular gifts, and was exclaiming over each item with genuine excitement: "Oh, my gosh - the dogs will LOVE this! This is great for the cats! I can't wait for the animals to get this!"

One might look at these pictures and think to themselves that I should have brushed her hair. I appreciate one keeping those thoughts to themselves, because I assure you it was brushed at one point.


Obviously, decor is my jam and one of my favorite parts of the party. Go big, says I.

These "tie fighters" were delish, BTW.


THIS CAKE YOU GUYS. I could dedicate an entire post to this cake. I made it entirely from scratch (marshmallow fondant) and it's basically my crowning achievement as a human and I want a pic of it in my obituary. I made the cupcakes, too (swirly galaxy frosting!)...and the human child we're celebrating...but THIS FREAKING CAKE.

My grandma crocheted all of those Star Wars characters. Aren't they amazing?!?!

I wasn't going to make this a big party. I SWEAR. She had a big Moana party last year, so this was going to be a small party. But then I got an amazing deal on Rey visiting (in exchange for services) and so IT BECAME A BIG PARTY.

So Rey led the girls through some Jedi training, and they each got to train individually with her, watch as she battled Darth Vader, and then battle Darth Vader themselves if they so desired.

Then it was presents, pinata, and pool. (Honestly I don't know what I was thinking with opening the pool - we had PLENTY to fill the party time. It was completely unnecessary.)

And I have to share these decorations that Carys made. I particularly like the Death Star destroying earth (bottom middle).