Sisterly love, May 2006
They were so adorable and loved each other. What happened?
My oldest daughter, Meagan, shared this picture on Facebook of her and three of her siblings in 2010 with this comment:
currently my favorite picture of all time. i wish jack was old enough at the time to get in on this, its just so darn cute. me and my lifelong friends. so thankful that i get to live and grow with my best friends
August 2010–we had just moved to this house a week before after a five-day, cross-country trek. In the back: Brenna (7 1/2) and Meagan (10). In the front: Owen (8 1/2) and Nora (4). Jack was a month old.
And here’s the most recent pic I have of all five of them together at Owen’s 8th grade graduation in June.
From left to right: Nora (1o), Owen (14), Jack (almost 6), Meagan (almost 16) and Brenna (13).
Here’s what else Meagan had to say about her siblings:
ive been around these kiddos forever. no matter who walks in n out of my life, these fuckers are the ones who will always stick. i dont even want to think of us all starting our own lives and separating. its scary. ive lived with them my whole life, i hate to think one day i might have a hard time getting ahold of them because we let distance or time get in the way
This from a girl that has always said she hates being at home because there are too many people in the house and she can’t stand any of us. I guess she’s getting wise in her “old” age.
I look at the second picture and can hardly believe these are my kids. Three teenagers–two of them in high school in the fall. Am I old enough to have a sixteen-year-old? When I think about them, I still picture those little kids in the first picture.
Or like this:
Brenna (15 months), Meagan (3 1/2) and Owen (2). So little.
I asked Brenna why she forgot her book (The Hunger Games) when she went to school. She looked all sad and said her teacher told her she couldn’t read it because it wasn’t a “good” book.
Who is the teacher to tell her what she can and can’t read? She should be happy that Brenna is not only reading but challenging herself. Hunger Games is WAY above her regular reading level (she’s in 3rd grade). I’m so proud of her. She’s on page 82 or something and is now telling me I can’t discuss the book with Meagan because we keep spoiling it for her, lol.
I wonder what her teacher thinks about her reading The Walking Dead comics. She’s on book 3 or 4 now. Owen is on book 5.
She probably thinks I’m a horrible mother for letting them read inappropriate books.
Meagan as a nerd.
Owen as a zombie
Brenna as a zombie
Nora as a hippie (all clothes the girls own, I love that top)
Jack as Tigger (wearing the same costume the other 4 kids wore their first time out trick or treating)
The kids: Owen (10), Jack (15 months), Brenna (almost 9–next week) and Nora (5 1/2). Meagan took off with her friends before I could get one of all 5 kids.
My little history post got me thinking about Halloween and how I can still pretty easily remember what the kids wore each year thanks mostly to the pictures. It’s a lot to remember, though. Five kids over 11 years of costumes. So this post is to put those memories to words and pictures.
And to show off my awesome costume making skills. Enjoy.
Halloween 2000: Meagan was only 4 months old and I was so sick with the flu I couldn’t talk. But the weather in Chicago was GORGEOUS. I mean I don’t recall ever having weather like that when I was a kid. Heck, when I was growing up you bought or made costumes 4 sizes too big because you had to fit your heavy winter coat (and, sometimes snowpants) under it. But in 2000 it was in the upper 60s and my neighbors were passing out candy so I dressed Meagan in this orange shirt we bought her at the GAP. Yes, I remember the shirt exactly (it had little pictures of pumpkins printed on the front with one square made of that ridged material that creates the illusion of movement…or, in this case, makes the scratchy noise that entertained her for hours as a baby). I remember this because Jack still wears that shirt. We bought it earlier that month on the sales racks for like $4 along with a yellow one (it had a duck on the front). I regret with all my heart we were too broke to buy more because 11 years and 4 kids later they are still being worn. The printed pictures have worn off but the fabric is in perfect condition. Anyway, we sat outside with the neighbors for an hour or so.
Halloween 2001: Meagan had just turned 16 months and Owen was turning 1 month the next day. We got Meagan the Tigger costume. One of those cheesy one piece outfits that has a picture of the character on the stomach. But it was cute and cheap and Meagan was only one so what would she care, lol. Hubby had to work so I pulled out our brand new double stroller and dressed Meagan up as the cutest Tigger ever and put the orange shirt on Owen (and, to show how much bigger he is than the girls–the 6-12 month size shirt fit him at 1 month the way it fit Meagan at 4 months, lol). We just walked up and down our block and a neighbor girl took Meagan up and down the stairs to get her candy. Then we went home. I was exhausted just with that.
Halloween 2002: Meagan was 2 and Owen was 13 months (minus 1 day). This was the most hilarious Halloween ever. Initially I had no plans to take the kids out, what with me being 9 months pregnant with Brenna and all, but hubby happened to get off work early and was kind of upset that we weren’t going since he missed the year before. Then I remembered a costume that my mom had made me as a kid and dug it out of the box in the basement. Owen had to squeeze into the Tigger costume which is a 12 month size. At 13 months he was already wearing mostly 24month clothes so it didn’t fit. He was not amused. We went around the block with me carrying my 26lbs toddler and trying to help Meagan up and down steps. The stares we got were priceless. I’m sure some people wondered if my gigantic belly was a costume, especially with 2 toddlers in tow. It was kind of cool and I couldn’t even zip my coat up I was so huge. Brenna was born 8 days later.
Owen as Tigger, 13 months; and Meagan as Raggedy Ann, 2
Halloween 2003: Meagan was 3, Owen was 2 and Brenna was almost 1. This was another gorgeous Halloween. The weather was spectacular and I think it got into the 70s. We dressed the kids up and took them to Brookfield Zoo for the day. It was a blast but we missed the candy they hand out when it gets dark. Instead we went home and took the kids trick or treating around the neighborhood. Meagan was Raggedy Ann again because I didn’t have the time or energy or money to make her a new costume. She didn’t seem to care. Owen was Bob the Builder wearing his own overalls and his little tool kit and hard hat he got for his birthday earlier in the month. Brenna wore the Tigger costume which was a little big on her since at 12 months she was still wearing 9 month clothes (my kids are so very different it’s funny).
Meagan as Raggedy Ann (again), 3; Brenna as Tigger, 1; and Owen as Bob the Builder, 2
Halloween 2004: Meagan was 4, Owen was 3 and Brenna was going on 2. This was the year I decided to sew my own costumes. Yeah, somehow I managed to do that with 2 toddlers and a preschooler at home. I started by making Brenna a cute little clown costume but as soon as I got it done Meagan wanted one, too. So back to the fabric store I went for more fabric because it absolutely had to match, lol. Owen was a cowboy and I made him the duster to wear over his jeans and flannel shirt. His cousin happened to give him a pair of cowboy boots. I found the cowboy hat at Wal-mart. I spent a lot more on fabric and stuff to make the costumes than it would have cost to buy crappy ones at the store. But I wanted to be able to pass the costumes (and memories) down to my grandkids like the costume my mom made me when I was little. I got so many compliments on the costumes. Especially the duster. People were surprised to find out I made it. I was so proud. The weather also turned out fantastic again. We took the kids to the zoo in the morning and then trick or treating around the neighborhood when it got dark.
Meagan as a clown, 4; Owen as a cowboy, 3 and Brenna as a clown, almost 2
Halloween 2005: Meagan was 5, Owen was 4, Brenna was almost 3. We actually didn’t go out this year. We had moved to Pennsylvania and we were so broke. I started making Meagan a witch costume but I got sick. It ended up not being an issue because the town we lived in did trick or treating the Thursday before Halloween. That night it was like 40F and raining. And all three kids were sick (not as sick as me but were coughing and had runny noses). So we didn’t go out. They didn’t really seem to notice.
Halloween 2006: Meagan was 6, Owen was 5, Brenna was almost 4 and Nora was almost 7 months. This was our 2nd year in PA and the weather turned out much better on trick or treat night. The first year I thought the town’s celebration was screwy but it turned out so nice. At 6pm on the Thursday before Halloween the sirens went off and everyone came out. For 2 hours everyone trick or treated then at 8pm the sirens went off again and everyone went home. The police and volunteer fire department were out with lights flashing to keep order. I don’t remember being on any street that didn’t have a cop car going by. The weather was great and it was a lot of fun. On Halloween they did a little parade and costume contest for the kids. On Thursday it was like in the upper 60s that night. On Halloween it was only like 50F so it worked out great. I made the kids costumes again this year and got a lot of compliments along with stares and comments about me being out alone with 4 small kids, lol. Meagan was a witch, Owen was Batman, Brenna was a clown and Nora wore the Tigger costume.
Meagan as a witch, 6 years old
Halloween 2007: Meagan was 7, Owen was 6, Brenna was almost 5 and Nora was 18 months. We were back in Chicago this year. The weather was awful. I remember this was the year hubby took off work and it was freaking FREEZING. We had our winter coats and hats on and only made it a few blocks before everyone was miserable. There were barely any people out. So we headed home and were surprised to find my dad had ordered pizza. It was awesome to come home shivering to find our favorite steaming hot pizza waiting. Meagan designed her own costume and I made it. She was a devil. Owen wore this cheap-o Darth Vader costume. The kind of things you buy in a store. But someone had given it to us and it fit. Using the cape from his Batman costume and a plastic lightsaber he looked pretty good (he refused to get the mask). Brenna was a cowgirl wearing one of her own dresses and her cowboy boots. And Nora wore the clown costume I made for Brenna in 2003.
Meagan as a she-devil (designed by her), 7 years old
Halloween 2008: Meagan was 8, Owen was 7, Brenna was almost 6 and Nora was 2 1/2. All of the good weather we had those first years went away. It wasn’t super cold this year but chilly enough that the kids needed jackets. I went out with my friend and her three girls (who were 9, 7 1/2 and 20 months old). She really knew the best routes to go and we got so much freaking candy I didn’t know what to do with it all, lol (I ate most of it). Meagan threw a huge fit about wearing her costume to school and ended up not dressing up. She was like the only kid in uniform all because she was afraid they would make fun of her hippie costume. She looked absolutely adorable and my dad thought it was pretty good (that coming from someone that lived through the era) but I don’t have pictures because she refused to get dressed and stand for the photoshoot. She threw one of her patented tantrums and almost didn’t get to go trick or treating. Owen wore his Darth Vader costume again, Brenna wore the witch costume I made Meagan in 2006 and Nora was a mummy. I just made strips from some muslin I had and wrapped her up. She looked really cute but I didn’t have time to sew the strips together so it all fell apart by the time we got home.
Brenna as a witch, almost 6; Owen as Darth Vader, 7; and Nora as a mummy, 2 1/2
Halloween 2009: Meagan was 9, Owen was 8, Brenna was almost 7 and Nora was 3 1/2. Another cold year. I remember this year because I took the kids out along with my friend’s older two girls (who were 10 and 8 1/2) because her youngest (3) had swine flu. It wouldn’t have been bad but her oldest daughter has a mouth. We got about 3 blocks from their house and I almost took her back home because she made fun of Brenna repeatedly for her speech problems. Poor Brenna is just the sweetest, most caring kid ever and she can’t help the way she talks. She couldn’t understand why an older kid was making fun of her. A 10yo making fun of a 6yo. That’s just wrong. But we kept going despite how annoying this kid is. I love my friend and her kids but she can be so annoying. Owen didn’t go with us because an hour after he got to school I got a call that he wasn’t feeling well. When I went to pick him up he was white as a sheet and shaking like crazy. It was our first case of the flu for one of the kids. Poor kid. He ended up passing out candy on Halloween because he was feeling a little better but not well enough to be out in the cold all night. And that was after I worked really hard on his costume. He was going to be a SWAT guy. I made the vest for him and it turned out really good. Meagan was a rock star, I believe, using her own clothes. But she threw a huge fit so I have no pictures of her again. Brenna wore the hippie costume (with a slight change from what Meagan chose) and Nora wore the clown costume I made Brenna in 2006.
Brenna as a hippie, almost 7
Halloween 2010: Meagan was 10, Owen was 9, Brenna was almost 8, Nora was 4 1/2 and Jack was 3 1/2 months. It was our first year in Washington so I didn’t know how things were going to go but everything turned out great. Our neighborhood is so friendly and quiet. There were tons of kids out. Meagan opted to go out with her friend, Jamie, and her sister and cousin. It’s the first year I allowed one of the kids to go on their own (they went sans parents). The rest of us started out with Owen’s friend Connor and his dad and sister (Teagan, Nora’s friend). But the kids were getting too far ahead for Nora so Owen and Brenna went off with them. Me, hubby, Nora and Jack in the stroller took our time just walking around our loop. That was enough for me. Meagan was a rock star. Her friend did up her hair and makeup (it was crazy). Owen was an old man wearing some clothes I picked up at the Salvation Army when I was in college. Brenna wore the devil costume with some stretch pants underneath. She looked really cute. Nora wore the witch costume from 2006 and Jack had on this cute Halloween jammies my niece found him at a yard sale and a pumpkin hat I knitted him up real quick the night before.
Owen as an old man, 9; Nora as a witch, 4 1/2; Brenna as a devil, almost 8; and Meagan as a rock star, 10
I’m not sure what the kids are going to be this year. The odds are nerd, hippie and baby are going to come up. They have to make do with what we have on hand and they’ve outgrown all the costumes I’ve made over the years. Jack is going to wear the Tigger costume just like all the other kids. Last year I was afraid it wouldn’t fit him but he ended up being small like the girls were so, even though he is 15 months, the 12 month costume will still fit him. Hopefully the weather will be nice this year like last year (the kids just wore light jackets).
My middle daughter, Brenna, is almost nine years old. She is such a great kid. She so sweet and caring and helpful. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She was a lifesaver when I was pregnant with Jack. At the end when I was so uncomfortable I could barely move she took up the slack, doing a lot of the household chores for me without me even asking. She was 7 at the time. She amazes me every day with the depth of her compassion. She is a very special little girl.
Today she also reminded me that she is a very strong, brave girl, too. She was at the park with her friend and just came home a few minutes ago. She was a mess. I guess she wiped out on her bike. I couldn’t believe what I saw. She limped in covered in dirt and blood, tears streaming down her face. But did she errupt into a fit of screaming? Nope, she got herself a paper towel and started cleaning herself up even though I could see she was going into shock. She was pale and shaking and trying to control her voice. I stayed back and let her do her thing as I tried to talk her into sitting down. I noticed the more I tried to get her to sit the more wavery her voice would get. When she was focused on cleaning herself up she was strong and solid.
She just amazes me. She didn’t really break down until I woke my husband up (he had the door to our room locked and I needed to get in our bathroom where I had some gauze and other supplies). When she saw the look of shock on her face she just started bawling but quickly recovered. She’s now resting on the couch, still covered head to toe in dirt. Her friend was with her and they patched up her knee with some bandaids (about 6 of them). I haven’t looked under them yet but it must be bad. She had blood running all down her leg when she got home (lots of blood). And on her one arm from an inch long gash at her elbow. Both arms and legs and her clothes are just covered in dirt.
I have no idea what she was doing or how she fell all I know is that my brave, strong little girl got herself up despite the pain and fear and got herself home and was able to start fixing herself up. It was a proud day for me. I know I’ve taught her well if she can do all that on her own. But I also know it has to do with her, as an individual. Like I said to my oldest if it had been her that got hurt the friend would have had to come get me because Meagan would have never gotten up and walked herself home. She would have freaked out like she was dying and we probably would have ended up in the ER after a neighbor called 911 from the screaming. She spazzes out over a skinned knee.
I was also so thankful we were home. Our kids are allowed to stay home by themselves (mostly the older 3). Usually they are in the house and can’t leave except to sit in the yard with friends. But yesterday we ran to the store and Brenna was at her friend’s house. We stopped by to tell her we were leaving and she said she’d be there or at our house. This could have happened while we were out. I know she would have cleaned herself up bravely and waited for someone to get home but I’m so glad we were home for this. It’s one of my fears when we do leave them home alone. Usually they are all together (rarely does just one of them stay alone although we allow it) so I know if one gets hurt the others are there to help but still…
Anyway. I just wanted to tell everyone about my super special, amazing, brave little girl. I’m almost in tears typing this because I am just so freaking proud of her right now. And a little nervous about having to clean her up. We’re keeping an eye on her because she said she banged her head and now is demanding to take a nap. That worries me more than her physical injuries.
Another gorgeous Saturday up here in the Pacific Northwest (see, it doesn’t always rain). It was in the 80s today in beautiful Vancouver, WA so we all got in the car to go for a drive… naturally. We ended up in some Oregon ocean side town (don’t remember which one). It was a nice drive. We went through the Tillamook State Forest which was absolutely gorgeous. We finally had to stop to use the bathroom and ended up at the rest stop just outside the western border of the park. There was no one else there and this place was pristine and so beautiful. The kids wanted to explore but hubby wanted to get back on the road but the kids found a little path down to a creek flowing through the area. It was very pretty and serene. You didn’t even notice the road going over a few feet away. Like a little hidden piece of paradise.
After taking pictures we went for a little walk along the cliffside. It was very pretty but without a pack to carry Jack we couldn’t go far. The path was too narrow and steep for the stroller and Jack is too heavy and squirmy to carry him far. But I got some good shots of the kids climbing on some trees.
After our little hike the older three kids decided to climb down to the beach. There was no easy way down there so hubby and Nora stayed up above with the stroller and Jack. While I nearly broke my neck climbing down after the kids. But I got pictures of them playing in the ocean.
After our little excursion we got back in the car and drove all the way down to Newport, OR. Then after having dinner at some pizza place we drove over towards Corvallis, OR (where my brother lives) and then joined up with I-5 and headed home. By then Jack was really fussy. He wanted OUT of his carseat. We stopped at Wal-mart in Vancouver, though, to pick up some groceries and got home at like 10pm. Way past Jack’s bedtime. But he wanted nothing to do with bed. Eventually he just crashed on the living room floor, lol. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be just as nice but we’re going to stick closer to home and explore the riverfront in Washougal or go up to Lacamas Lake in Camas (the town next to us).
Oh, I also got these pics:
I LOVE this pic. This is Mt. Hood taken from the I-205 bridge crossing from Washington into Portland, OR. So pretty. This is what we see every time we drive home from Vancouver. We drive east on Highway 14 and this is the view you get. In fact you can see the mountain from the playground down the street from our house and you could see it from our porch if the house and some trees across the street weren’t in the way.
When we go into Vancouver we can also see Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helen. I love it here. It’s so beautiful.