Halloween is supposed to be a holiday of surprises, but more of the "BOO!" variety. In our family, though, it seems to be of the Surprise Family Visit variety. Last year (2007), Ben showed up in Manistee unannounced (at least as far as the girls were concerned) to spend Halloween with us, and this year it was the Grandmas who showed up on our doorstep! Seriously! Grandma Gail and Grandma Linda decided they missed us soooooo much that they just had to jump in the van (with the dog, of course) and come our way. Mercifully, Ben shared the news with me beforehand (though they had sworn him to secrecy) but we did not tell the girls. Fiona was confused, but since all of life is pretty confusing these days, she just took it all in stride. Also, it was the dog that she was really excited about - the Grandmas were just transportation for Barkley, and therefore appreciated. Rachel, however, had the biggest surprise of all...
A few weeks ago I had signed Ben up to be the Mystery Reader for Rachel's class on Friday afternoon. This is a weekly event, on Friday afternoons, in which a parent comes in to read to the class. Only the room mother, who organizes this event, knows who will be reading. The kids love it, and Rachel had asked me several times when one of us was going to be reading. So Ben took Grandma Gail along with him, and they shared the reading fun. Rachel was beside herself with joy, and the whole class caught her excitement. They were all apparently thrilled that Grandma was here, and you can tell from the many pictures Rachel took during the reading, that there was much bouncing up and down and general merriment.
After reading, Rachel, Grandma Linda and Barkley walked home together, took a little nap, then we had a simple dinner, and got ready for trick or treating. Rachel was a fairy, and Fiona was a mouse. We headed out at about 6:30, and it didn't take long for the street to fill up with kids. It
also didn't take long for Fiona to figure out what this Halloween gig was all about. She watched Rachel, the old pro, go up to a door, knock, holler "TRICK OR TREAT!", hold out the candy bag, and get the goods. Well, after two houses Fiona took over. She proudly carried her bag up to the door, knocked, did not say the words, but held out her bag. Then, following Rachel's polite example, "Thank you (which sounds more like Di Doo)" and "Buh-bye."
For some reason, I gave them each really large bags. Rachel didn't have too much trouble, but Fiona's was much too big for her. Nevertheless, she insisted on carrying hers, All By Herself, thank you very much. As it got heavier (we ended up going 3 blocks up our street, then all the way back on the other side - a good stretch for a toddler, I'd say), she had to hold it up and out, away from her body. This caused some strain on her muscles, and she began to complain of pain in her chest, near her arms. I offered many times to carry it, but Fiona flat-out refused, saying quite firmly, "Mine, MINE, MINE!"
Rachel was off and away immediately. Ben accompanied her, as she quickly outpaced Fiona and me. Especially when we happened along some of her friends from school. They took off together, leaving parents to just try to keep up. We all ended up back at home, happy and tired. Our neighborhood is perfect for Halloween, and we all had fun, but I was expecting a lot more visitors, so we had a lot of leftover candy.
The Rest of the Weekend
...passed much too quickly, of course. On Saturday I did my last long run before next week's half marathon on the Outer Banks. Then we went to IKEA in the afternoon, and Five Guys for dinner. Everyone should have a Five Guys burger before they die, so you can call to arrange your visit when you're done reading! On Sunday, we went to church, and Mom and I spent the afternoon just hanging out together, goign to various local shops including the Crate and Barrel Outlet. The girls and Barkley had a great time, playing and walking and generally being kids together. They left Monday morning, and the house was very empty after they were gone. I kept Rachel and Fiona home Monday, then Rachel didn't have school on Tuesday for election day. So, today was our first day back to our normal schedule. And oh, what a happy, happy day it is...