Halloween Costume Angst

I enjoy Halloween. Like a lot. But it wasn’t always so. You see, growing up as a slightly nerdy kid with glasses didn’t afford too many costume options. Make-up didn’t work if the characters didn’t wear glasses – sorry vampires, sorry Freddy Kreuger. And of course, masks didn’t work – no werewolves here, bye-bye Jason. Maybe I could’ve gone ’70’s accountant, but I wasn’t that creative back then. But these days things are looking up.

A little better...

Better…

There is, of course, the age problem. I was already grown when Harry Potter and company came on the scene. I haven’t read the books and have only seen a few of the movies. So until the girls start reading and get into the stories, this one is a stretch. But there’s some good news that does have a connection to my childhood.

Yeah-who you gonna call?

Yeah-who you gonna call?

I guess the only stretch here is that I look nothing like Chris Hemsworth. We all know that he does not have a “Dad-bod”, and his jawline is pretty great. I like to think I’m a good-looking fella, but I’m no Chris Hemsworth. So my best bet – inspiration from a local mobile phone store.

Eh, not bad.

I can hear that-ha!

So no contest with last year’s costume, but it worked for the St. Viator Halloween Party. I scored a yellow t-shirt at the local Sears and away we went. I’ll be sure to put up a pic of the girls tomorrow. Again, their costumes are not as intense as last year, but they love ’em anyway. Now we just need something to hand out. Hey – hope you’re ready!

 

St. Viator Haunted House 2016

The “monster” fundraiser is almost ready for visitors! That’s right, the annual haunted house at Sweetie’s school opens this weekend. If you’re into haunted houses, or maybe want to go to one that is not as scary as the big ones, come on up to the near northwest side of the city. With a “PG” rating, the St. Viator’s Haunted House is worth a visit. Check out the details:

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Hope your prep for Halloween is going well!

Home Renovation: An Introduction (and update)

I mentioned in an earlier post that Wife and I decided to renovate our house. We have lived happily in our Historic Chicago Bungalow for the past eight years. We had done a bit of maintenance and light remodeling, but last year we started feeling constrained by our home. While its three bedrooms fit our family well, there was no room for guests. The kitchen was an awkwardly laid out, contractor-grade rehab that was completed to sell the house (just before we purchased). And the one bathroom, also awkward and freshly “redone”, made for interesting family parties. Especially with rookie and newly potty-trained children around. One main level of living space was no longer cutting it.

We had some ideas for renovations, but no real plans. The attic was unfinished but the pitch of the roof made the space challenging. The basement is unfinished and concerns about water and musty odors delayed any action. We looked around in the area at houses that had the additional space we were looking for, but we didn’t find any that felt right. Wife and I have been ruined by our stout little brick house – it is definitely our home. But we needed to make some changes.

Chicago loves its Historic Bungalows, so there are many resources here for preserving, renovating, improving and enjoying your bungalow. We had attended a Historic Chicago Bungalow Association expo some years back, and there we saw an architectural presentation showing how creatively our house could be tweaked without losing its bungalow feel. We saw plans for additions with lots of daylight and interesting architectural details that stayed true to the character of the houses. So we started saving.

The process started last year, but this feels like a better time to start writing about it. First, we are done with the planning stages, so nobody can weigh-in on any of the design items. Second, the construction is underway and the site is secure, so it’s not easy to steal the appliances anymore. Third, I finally made the time to start writing about it. There are plenty of details to share, but here are the essentials: 80% of the ground floor is getting re-worked and a second-floor addition is going up. We are going from three bedrooms to four, and one bathroom to three. Thankfully there was room for an actual master bedroom and bath – woo-hoo! Here’s the general picture of the end result:

Our "new" old house

Our “new” old house

So everything in dark grey was existing. The details in light grey are the new. I know the notes make the picture busy, but you get the point. And as I mentioned, the work is moving along, so updates should come frequently. The view from the sidewalk remains the same until you are right in front of the house, so it doesn’t look like someone just dropped a shoebox on top of our house. Pretty exciting and scary stuff.

And so where are we? We are renting an apartment on the Southside from our family. Specifically the McKinley Park neighborhood. So maybe we’ll see you over at that playground if you’re in the area. Funny, but I thought about a post entitled, “Our Year in Exile”, but that seemed a bit dramatic. And are you truly living in exile if you have chosen it? Well, we’re three months into the nine month project, so this story will definitely be continued.

Oh So Yummy

There is still a lot going on in our lives, and so much to write about. I feel myself getting more “behind” everyday. I put that in air quotes because as long as the girls are good, everything else is just fine. But I do feel bad leaving you, my readership, without something to browse.

Now is not the time to delve into all of the home improvement adventures, vacation stories and successful recipes. Now is the time to leave you with a fun little story about the Cricket’s first trip to Starbucks. Wife and I were filling the hour while Sweetie was in her piano class (10,000 hours, remember?). 1-hour drive for a 10 AM class on a Sunday morning? Yeah, we needed caffeine. So the Cricket got her first taste of Starbucks’ hot chocolate.

Tummy happy now!

Tummy happy now!

She responded with things such as, “Oh, so yummy.” And, “Tummy happy now (while pointing at her stomach).” Oh, there where plenty of “MMMMMMs” (yes, in all capitals) as well. She did lose interest halfway through the kids’ sized cup, which meant Sweetie got some chocolate too. Even in a kid-sized cup, the chocolate in hot chocolate contains trace caffeine and sugar. So yeah, interesting afternoon for everyone.

Fun for everyone!

Fun for everyone!

With Fall upon us there will probably be a lot more hot chocolate. As for the rest, I’ll write more when I can. Maybe I should utilize this coffee thing for a little more late-night writing. Oh, so yummy.

Today’s To-Do List

Here is part of today’s To-Do list, in paragraph form for added effect:

Edge and mow backyard and sweep up; throw out project garbage; empty house recycling; change all bed linens; change towels; do laundry (times 5); start organizing clothes for pending trip; walk rental dog (times 3); make and serve all of days’ meals; go to Post Office to mail package; pick up Sweetie at school; bath two daughters;

Stop.

Because you get the point.

Some days you have to add “blow bubbles” to the list. Yes, today was one of those days. And yes, it was the most productive twenty minutes of my day.

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Birthday Cosplay

We had a surprisingly busy spring this year. Wife and I have been distracted by a home renovation project that will soon become the focus of our lives, and probably the focus of some posts, too. Add to that the other life stuff that happens every day and here we are already in June. Because we were so busy, we decided to keep Sweetie’s birthday party low-key this year. Tough to do in general, but she has been attending parties for classmates and friends and that just adds to the pressure. Needless to say there was not much to post about from this year’s party. It was nice and all, but nothing like last year. So I decided to take you all back..

Sweetie chose a Curious George theme for her 3rd birthday. That was great because there is plenty of stuff at the local party store for Curious George – he’s a popular little monkey. Sweetie’s godfather, Micompadre, upped the party ante though when he asked/suggested/challenged me to dress up to fit the theme.

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Micompadre let me know that he owned a monkey suit and would happily join me in the fun, as you can see. With his support, and a giant costume store just down the street, it was on. Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat were in attendance.

George!!!

George!!!

Now despite the obviously high quality of our costumes, not all of the kids loved it. In fact, many of them had a look that was either incredulity or horror. We kept moving and didn’t stay in front of any child too long in order to avoid breakdowns. And thanks to the quality costumes and unseasonably warm day, our time in costume was quick.

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Just a man and his monkey friend

I have to give all credit to Micompadre. Without his push I would not have added this to our party planning. There are wonderful and fun places to go when family supports you. So something else to add to the list of things I didn’t see myself doing: cosplay for a birthday cause. But the parents out there are not surprised; they’ve done it too. To the would-be dads: expect to wear many different hats as a father, some that you never thought you would even consider. I think this is especially true for a stay-at-home dad. But when you see your little girl’s face light up, and the mood of the party shifts to “fun-silly”, it’s worth it.

Happy Father’s Day!

Hello Readership! This post goes out to all the committed Dads out there, stay-at-home or otherwise. From all of us here at Dad’s Diaper Detour, Happy Father’s Day!

20160618_115439This is your day, dad, to spend it however you want doing whatever you want. That being said, I know you will probably be driving all over bringing your kids to visit various male relatives, possible grilling for lots of family members and enjoying many well-deserved ties and coffee mugs. Maybe that’s just a preview of my day? Anyway, that’s all a part of this adventure of fatherhood, right? And hopefully we are growing into this role with the grace that our elder men demonstrated.

Enough silly banter, though. I sincerely wish all of you a day filled with family and friends and overall good sentiments for the job you are doing well. Happy Father’s Day – now back to it!