Here's Nels having his bedtime snack (or second dinner as we call it) and doing some subtraction just for the heck of it. Is it weird for a kid to write Wow! and 100% all over his own papers? To do recreational math? I thought it was hilarious when Nels's classmate Ben wanted to be called Bruce last year, but now that Nels is writing his name on his schoolwork in a secret code that looks like runes straight out of Tolkien, I guess the joke's on me.
Willem likes to keep busy too, though arithmetic is not his hobby of choice. He likes to make things, usually out of paper. For example, in preparation for Halloween, he produced several buck-toothed paper jack-o'lanterns and taped them all over the house, along with a smattering of bats and ghosts. He taped up a paper saying "Et Es Fall" (that's "It Is Fall"--he refuses to consult on the spelling) on our office wall, and he even posted a sign by the downstairs bathroom indicating that it is for the use of adults only. (In case you're wondering, it depicts a baby in the universal "no" circle with a line across it alongside a drawing of a grown-up and the word "yes.")
Willem's birthday is ten days before Halloween, and he dearly loves all things Halloween-y, so he always gets a "pumpkin party." I'm going to enjoy how easy that is while it lasts. Willem had outgrown his tiny bike, so Shaun got him a new one as a present. We surprised him and gave it to him right before his party. Because even though it was cheap and he needed it, nothing makes a kid look spoiled like a new bike and a big pile of presents.
We took advantage of the occasion to invite my friend Christine and her family over. Christine and I were friends in college, and her family has recently moved from Texas to Oregon. Sam and Nels were kindred spirits, and the two of them arm wrestling was about the cutest thing I've ever seen.
This year I wised up and made pumpkin cupcakes instead of trying to make an entire cake that looked like a pumpkin.
It's hard to believe that two years ago this little Transformer had his heart fixed up. It gives me a little something extra to be thankful for every Thanksgiving.