Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

We've been amped up here about Halloween for some time now.  Drew has mastered a convincing witch cackle ("Aa-aa-aa!") and his favorite word tonight was "creepy."  This year we decided to go with a basketball theme, since that's one of Drew's favorite things.  

Tess got to wear her costume in a parade for her preschool.  I volunteered to help for the parade and then managed to get a flat tire on the way to her school.  She was devastated that we might miss the parade, so we left the flat tire where it was and walked to borrow a friend's car.  I stayed for the parade and then headed back to rescue the bum tire (screw in the tire--they patched it pretty fast at the service station).  

Sure glad we didn't miss this!

Tess' cheers were a little muted after the anxious trip to school.

Her cute class.

Tess with her spirited teacher, Mrs. Atkins.

The basketball gang all ready for trick-or-treating.  

"Hoop, hoop!"

Drew's outfit kind of looked more like a male cheerleader than a basketball player, but he was still cute.  And he kept his sweat bands on the whole time.

This kid is a candy-a-holic.  He has no idea of the good fortune coming his way.

Happy Halloween from the Higginbothams!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm Sandy

We've been cooped up the past couple days weathering a mix of storms and hurricane Sandy, dubbed "Frankenstorm" in the area.  Storms have never really affected us in the past because we've never had a basement and our trees were far enough away not to threaten us directly.

It didn't occur to us until too late that our sump pump in the basement would stop working if the power went out.  Our inspector had recommended we get a backup battery powered pump, but it just hasn't be top priority the past couple months.  If the pump stops working, water builds up in the well and it can flood the entire basement.  Pretty dumb.  The whole point of a sump pump is to direct water away from your house, but it doesn't work when you need it most--a storm that knocks out power.

I was talking with a neighbor in the same boat and he said he'd been all over town looking for a battery backup, but everywhere was sold out.  Smarty-pants me went online and ordered one overnight from Amazon and thought we were good.

Well, I later realized these things have to be professionally installed.  "Easy installation" requires cutting and soldering pipe to the pump; probably not the best idea in the middle of a storm.  Not to mention that all deliveries were halted because of the storm and it still hasn't arrived.  We determined that a generator was our best bet to keep the sump pump running in the event of a power outage.

So morning of the storm, I'm running all over in search of a generator.  Ry called around and found 4 left at Home Depot in Manassas.  The models left were $700, but I figured we better be safe than sorry and got there as the last one was being sold.

So we said a few prayers and figured we wait it out and hope for the best.  It was a strong and kind of scary storm. Tess kept waking up and ending up sleeping with me; Ryan on the couch.  Our power flickered a few times, but never went out.  We checked the sump periodically, and it did its job diligently.

Our home and townhome are fine.  Keith and Wendy avoided a near-miss from a HUGE tree that came down and hit their shed.  They said it sounded like a bomb exploded when this tree went down.

Ry's back to work tomorrow after two days at home.  We've had lots of "together" time.  The kids did pretty well; very nice having a larger space to be together in.  Tess burned some creative energy.  Below are two of her storm projects.

Tess and Ryan playing "shoe store" with a foot measuring device that she made from a box our blinds came in.  Amazingly, it provides pretty accurate foot measurements.  Although I hate to see the customer that needs a size 38 shoe.

And this is a "playhouse" Tess and I made from one of our temporary paper blinds.
Here's video of the aftermath from our place.  Not too eventful, for which we are immensely grateful.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tess at School

I had a phone conference with Tess' preschool teacher, Mrs. Atkins, this week.  We had a long conversation about Tess and how she's been doing at school.  Mrs. Atkins said that she has seen none of the signs of anxiety that Tess exhibited at school last year.  She seems comfortable and has friends in class.  I was able to help in her class last week, and it was a world of difference compared with last year.  She was confident, comfortable and enjoying herself.  She was fine playing across the room while I helped other kids.  What an immense relief to see how far she's come.  

Her favorite center is the "writing center," which comes as no surprise, since that's how she spends much of her time at home.  She's also recent branched out to the "lego center," which is good because she pushing herself out of her comfort zone a little.

Mrs. Atkins also told me that Tess is a great role model in class.  There is a little girl in her class this year named Farhana.  I don't know how long she's been in the country, but her English is limited and isn't used to being away from her mom.  Every morning at carpool, we'd see her rush of tears as she had to leave her mom to go to school.  

I asked Tess if she remembered how it felt to be that scared to go to school and leave her mom.  I asked  Tess if she could do something to help Farhana feel happier at school, like maybe give her smile.  When I followed up with Tess, she said she'd forgot to do something to help Farhana that day, so I didn't push it. 

So, I was surprised when Mrs. Atkins told me that Tess was such a good role model in class.  She said there is a little girl named Farhana that Tess has reached out to.  She doesn't speak much English, but Tess has been able to become friends with her.  They play together and gather acorns together on the playground at recess. 

Mrs. Atkins said that Tess and Farhana share a similar temperament, and that Tess seems to understand the way Farhana is feeling.  Having a friend in class has helped Farhana feel more comfortable in class.  Mrs. Atkins was appreciative because in turn it has helped her teachers as well.

Can I tell you how proud I am of my little pumpkin?!  
She's a sweet and sensitive soul with so many gifts to share.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paper Projects

A few of Tess' paper creations.  She is a regular paper fiend these days.  I throw out probably 10 creations every day, and take pictures when I remember to.

Playhouse that she later turned into a "lemonade stand" that was later turned into a "jewelry store."

I had just returned from choir practice??

Cowgirl riding her horse.  Tess made an accompanying stall for the pony so he'd have a place "to go to the bathroom."  She later made a background scene, complete with a cactus, so they could ride in the desert.

Cardboard box baby bed on the inside.  Dining table on the outside.  
That's what I call functional furniture! 

Tess' List of "Good" Things:

"CTR" (her church class)
"Be happy!"
"Be nice to the birds"
"Leave some ice cream for your dog"
"No kicking people"
 "Say shh! when you're sister is sleeping"
"Do not steal jewelry"

I'm keeping this one as evidence that I have instilled some real values into my child.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The dining set in the room it was made for! It looks very happy there!

Ryan reading his LEAST favorite bedtime story to Tess. Inexplicably, she has loved it since she was little. Everything you never wanted to know about airport operations.

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Friday, October 19, 2012


Drew actually eating soup I made.  A rare enough incident to merit photography.

The drawing is Tess' rendition of Rapunzel and her chameleon Pascal.  She is wearing a flower hat.  She is singing:  "At last I see the light..." and holding another Rapunzel baby.  (Huh??!  I guess Rapunzel has been shopping at the Disney store.)

One majorly heavy dining set we bought off Craigslist.  It is beautiful, but it was a bit of work to get it home.  It was kind of a misty day for moving wood furniture, so we wrapped all the pieces in plastic.   The kids were little angels sitting on the lady's couch while we dismantled and wrapped the set.  We took the legs off the table, but it was still very heavy to lift. We hauled it home in a Lowe's rental truck and we secured a tarp over top to protect the set.   Amazingly, it arrived home in good condition!  We are tickled to have it!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Conversations with Carla: Part 1

A little in the way of explanation:  this was filmed on a ride to Nana & Papa's house.  Tess is having a discussion with her stuffed dog, Carla (which she got in Idaho).  I am playing the role of Carla the Dog.  These clips provide a pretty good glimpse inside the mind of almost-5-yr-old Tess.

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Conversations with Carla: Part 2

YouTube Video

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Conversations with Carla: Part 3

YouTube Video

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Totally Random Cuteness

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