Costume Roundup

By golly, the past three months have been so riddled with costumes that you would think our household resembled a Disney parade, a Halloween-themed sitcom, or a highly trained improvisation team with a specialization in historical characters.  Yes, it was a banner few months at the Roberts casa, with the Amazon Prime guys working overtime to facilitate the needs of the costume crack we regularly consume, much to the aggravation of Kate Middleton (the dog, not the princess. Ooooo, brain flash!  Next UPS box might need to be a royal doggie costume!)

The highlights: my husband wore leggings and a kettle suit in front of thousands of people (Tallahassee Democrat said 30,000, but gentle readers, you must err on the side of skepticism when it comes to the Democrat), my son went completely gray, and my daughter swapped candy with Abe Lincoln.

Lest you think I am exaggerating, I present for your viewing pleasure the Costume Roundup of Fall/Winter 2013:

Tom Sawyer Day, early October: We eased into it with a red gingham shirt and braided pigtails.
To quote City Slickers: "Scoop o' chocolate, scoop o' vanilla. Don't waste my time." 

Fall piano recital (don't let the guitar fool you): dress up required for this occasion. 
We went with the free, go-to costume for all red-blooded
American moms with blonde-haired daughters. 

Halloween was just a drop in the bucket.  As mentioned here, M followed the theme du jour: Scarlett O'Hara.

Boys went all-star--Star Wars that is--complete with little Yoda (green Eeyore? Shrek baby?)

And---BOOM---historical worlds collide!  Who knew that Scarlett
was head and shoulders taller than our tallest president?

Turning the corner to November: okay, not my people here, but I DID shop for this rad gladiator ensemble. Veni, vidi, vici!
Reidy's kindergarten class had the cutest pilgrim hats. If he had been my firstborn,
I would have preserved this getup.  As I recollect, it got squashed in the dark recesses of the car.
December, bring on the candy-themed fun.  The whole Roberts gang participated in the Winter Festival Parade in rockin' downtown Tallahassee.  I innocently asked M if she'd be willing to wear a gingerbread outfit.  She pictured facepaint, her sassy MK Shetland boots, and a puffy pen-decorated T-shirt. I deviously pictured Gingerbread Man from Shrek.  (insert wild laugh here).

All night, kids asked to have their picture taken with Ginger.  She hated loved it!
My cute cookie working the local crowd.

Which brings me to the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Hubs dressed up
as Red Kettle Man (or, as folks in the crowd shouted, "Hey Mr. Cupcake!  Red Guy! Bucket Dude!")

The entire SA gang just before the parade began.  Note that Ginger's little sister (green pants, center) got to wear the very ensemble that Madeleine was denied.  (insert second wild laugh here, this time by AM.)

And introducing our artist-in-residence, Andy Warhol, who created a to-scale masterpiece for the 4th grade exhibit of the (Mini) Metropolitan Museum of Art.  If you want to chat about Pop Art,  50s feminism, or Warhol's raison d'etre, Collin's your guy.

In honor of Charles Dickens, M used her stash to purchase this lovely green-and-red, fur-lined, plaid-accented getup to attend a Victorian Christmas Party.  Perhaps she can save it for next year's Winter Festival and pass Ginger off on her unsuspecting brother?

Happy New Year to you all!  Sorry I can't offer any Deep Thoughts in honor of the big day--I'm still fried from all the (mercifully costume-free) Christmas festivities!  2014---here we go!


Santa Left Us WHAT?

I wish I was the kind of person who could see a big tree in the backyard and visualize "fun"....

Thankfully, Santa had the foresight and practical
knowledge of our homestead to consider it an option.

Also, very thankfully, I am married to someone who not only
loves a good old-fashioned rec opportunity,
but can figure out how to install practically anything.

A few fancy knots,
a big green ladder,
bits of recycled hose,

 a measure of sturdy rope,
crazy-colored duct tape,
a handy red lighter,

lots of elf-like helpers,

if only these photos had audio....

the shrieks were loud.  REALLY loud.

possibly heard at the North Pole loud.

Poor Kate Middleton turned herself into a frothy mess trying to catch a ride.

Thanks for keeping us on the "nice" list this year, Santa.
 We hope you left the neighbors
plenty of earplugs in their stockings!


The Magical Dust of Christmas

excerpt from Max Lucado, It Began in a Manger
It’s Christmas night.
The midnight hour has chimed and I should be asleep, but I’m awake. I’m kept awake by one stunning thought. The world was different this week. It was temporarily transformed.

The magical dust of Christmas glittered on the cheeks of humanity ever so briefly, reminding us of what is worth having and what we were intended to be. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and warring.

We put away our ladders and ledgers, we hung up our stop watches and weapons. We stepped off our racetracks and roller coasters and looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem.


It’s the season to be jolly because, more than at any other time, we think of him. More than in any other season, his name is on our lips.

And the result? For a few precious hours our heavenly yearnings intermesh and we become a chorus. A ragtag chorus of longshoremen, Boston lawyers, illegal immigrants, housewives, and a thousand other peculiar persons who are banking that Bethlehem’s mystery is in reality, a reality.

“Come and behold him” we sing, stirring even the sleepiest of shepherds and pointing them toward the Christ-child.

For a few precious hours, he is beheld. Christ the Lord. Those who pass the year without seeing him, suddenly see him. People who have been accustomed to using his name in vain, pause to use it in praise. Eyes, now free of the blinders of self, marvel at his majesty. All of a sudden he’s everywhere.

In the grin of the policeman as he drives his paddy wagon full of presents to the orphanage.

In the twinkle in the eyes of the Taiwanese waiter as he tells of his upcoming Christmas trip to see his children.

In the emotion of the father who is too thankful to finish the dinner table prayer.


He’s in the tears of the mother as she welcomes home her son from overseas.

He’s in the heart of the man who spent Christmas morning on skid row giving away cold baloney sandwiches and warm wishes.

And he’s in the solemn silence of the crowd of shopping mall shoppers as the elementary school chorus sings “Away in a Manger.”


Emmanuel. He is with us. God came near.

It’s Christmas night. In a few hours the cleanup will begin—lights will come down, trees will be thrown out. Size 36 will be exchanged for size 40, eggnog will be on sale for half-price. Soon life will be normal again. December’s generosity will become January’s payments and the magic will begin to fade.

But for the moment, the magic is still in the air. Maybe that’s why I’m still awake. I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. I want to pray that those who beheld him today will look for him next August. And I can’t help but linger on one fanciful thought: if he can do so much with such timid prayers lamely offered in December, how much more could he do if we thought of him every day?

Max Lucado, It Began in a Manger