Thursday, October 25, 2007

Haunted House

I often complain to Brian that since Ryker started school I don’t feel like I have much time with him. It is especially rare to have time alone with him, without Cainan or Kinley. It is hard to go from being together all 12 waking hours to just being together for the last 4 waking hours. I do his reading assignments with him and his piano practice but that is about all we have time for between church responsibilities and his playing with Cainan. Brian tries to find ways for us to be together. He’ll send us to the store alone or on a special errand, which is really nice. But his most recent idea was that I should take Ryker to the local Jaycee’s Haunted House.

I was not fond of the idea. I don’t particularily like haunted houses, especially not when I am supposed to be the big brave adult in the situation. If I have Brian with me and I can be the one that is scared and clinging to him with my eyes closed they aren’t that bad. Brian assured me that since it was just the measly Jaycee’s it couldn’t be too scary. It would be fun. So I wasn’t going to mention the idea to Ryker and just let it drop. No such luck. Brian told Ryker about it and he was so excited. He really wanted to go. So last Saturday night we headed out there. Brian called us on the way and was teasing Ryker about being too scared to eat supper when we got home. To which Ryker’s response was, “Bring it on!”

It was a little bit chilly and we had to stand in line for 30 or 45 minutes outside. Apparently they were only taking in 2-3 people at a time so the line was moving very slowly. We struck up a conversation with the people behind us. It was a man and his 13 or 14 year old son. They were irritated about the slow moving line so I told them that they could go in with us if they wanted to. They agreed. So finally we went into the pitch black fortress; Ryker first, then me, then the boy and then the man. The guide asked Ryker to hold on to her arm as she led us through the maze of cardboard box walls. It all started out harmlessly enough. We walked through rooms with dead bodies lying on slabs and saw prisoners in an insane asylum moaning. But then it started to get a little scary.

Thank goodness for the man behind us. Scary people started coming out of dark corners and chasing our group, but the man in back caught most of that and Ryker and I didn’t really see it. Then we came to a very narrow passage and the guide told us to be sure and stay to the right. I, in all my wisdom, scooted as far to the left of the passage as I could. I was not about to let someone grab my feet. My mistake. A chainsaw started up right beside my ear and blew my hair into a giant tangled mess as I screamed and practically trampled my son in my attempts to get away. It was at this pointed that Ryker started saying that he didn’t like it and wanted to get out. I tried to laugh it all off and make fun of the guys in dorky costumes, but I don’t think it worked very well. I even pointed out the fact that our guide had made two cell phone calls and yelled out things like ‘Hey Dave, it’s 8:30!’ as she led us through the maze. Ryker just continued to hold tight to the guide’s arm with one hand and cover his ears with his shoulder and his other hand. I don’t know if he kept his eyes opened or closed.

Well, to make a long story short we walked through a graveyard** and some kind of alien hospital room where a zombie tried to get our blood (which interestingly was the part that terrified Ryker the most). At the very end we had to crawl through a tunnel about the size of a refrigerator box laying on its side. Of course it had a couple of corners in it that you couldn’t see around and Ryker made me go first. I went, but I knew that something was going to be waiting for me around that first corner. Sure enough some kind of zombie guy came crawling toward us. I tried to back up but the guys behind me were staying firm. The undead man retreated so I continued to inch my way forward through the tunnel until the guy behind me said, “Hey, you’re leaving your boy behind.” Apparently, in fright Ryker had crawled backwards past both of those guys and was still cowering in the tunnel. I couldn’t turn around in there so the three of us coaxed him into crawling forward up to where I was.

We finally made it out into the fresh night air and Ryker said, “I am never doing that again! Why did Daddy make us do that?” I was thinking the same thing. The night ended OK because they also had a fun house that was shaped like a pirate ship. We went through that and Ryker felt a little better after laughing at himself in the silly mirrors. Brian felt really bad when we got home and told him what happened, but now he tries to put a positive spin on it and say that Ryker and I built priceless memories that night, blah, blah, blah. I guess it is one experience that we will always share and hopefully never repeat.

So in retribution I publish the following picture for all of the cyber world to see.

**On a side note I was once again reminded of how old I am, even in the midst of a haunted house. When we walked through the graveyard the guide told us to make a conga line and hold on to the waist of the person in front of us so that we wouldn’t wander off the path and step into any graves. I heard the 13 year old boy behind me whisper, “You do it Dad.”

Spelling Words

Every Thursday in 2nd grade there is a spelling test. There are 10 regular words (i.e. wore, shore, short, learn, bare, care, corn) and 6 bonus words (i.e. different, president, leaned, promise). We study every Thursday morning as we eat breakfast and it has obviously paid off because at the end of the first quarter Ryker had 103% in Spelling. But that is just the score for the words he was tested over. Ryker studies a slightly different set of spelling words than the rest of the kids in the class.

For some reason Cainan loves the whole idea of spelling, so he challenges Ryker with his own special spelling list. We have to take turns quizzing Ryker. I give him the words off of the list and Cainan gives him whatever comes to mind, usually objects he sees around the house. So, Ryker can also spell candle, doorknob, light bulb (or light bob as Cainan says), iced tea, cereal, stop sign, milk, Honey Combs and stove. If Cainan ever comes up with something that Ryker has no idea how to spell, like refrigerator, Ryker usually suggests an alternate word, like tree. Cainan usually goes along with that. Of course Cainan has no idea if he gets the words right or not but he sure loves the testing process and Ryker gets a little extra brain workout. It’s a win win situation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tone Deaf

I am not a good singer. The only difference between me and those people that everyone laughs at in the first few episodes of American Idol is that I know I’m not a good singer and they don’t. I know my limitations. I can carry a tune and blend in with a choir without causing the audience to run in terror, but a soloist I am not. (I do feel compelled to point out that I was selected as a soloist for one song when I traveled with a choir after my senior year of high school. We toured Panama for three weeks and I sang my solo numerous times. I will admit that I was most likely chosen because I was the best Spanish speaker, not the best soprano.)

Anyway, I have always tried to avoid singing when anyone else will hear me. When my kids were born I never sang to them in the hospital or even at home unless it was just the two of us in a dark room. I don’t sing along to the radio if other adults are in the car, and if I want to tell someone about a cool song I have heard I just quote the lyrics like a poem instead of trying to sing the melody. (I even sit on the front row at church so no one is subjected to my voice in their ear during worship.) So really, my kids are the only ones that know what my real singing voice sounds like. They’ve never seemed to mind and often they sing along with me. We belt out tunes from WIBI or a VeggieTales CD in the car. We sing along with the theme songs to our favorite TV shows and as Ryker practices the piano we join in verbally.

A few days ago as we were traveling to Salem I was singing along to one of my favorite songs on WIBI when Cainan piped up from the backseat. He said, “That sounds just like that fish on Uncle Tom’s wall, the one that sings when you push the button.” Confused, I said, “What does?” He matter-of-factly replied, “Your singing.” Now, as I’ve previously stated, I am well aware that I am not a great singer, but I find being compared to Billy the Big Mouth Bass a tad insulting!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just Joking

I can remember coming home from school and telling my dad this great new joke I had just heard. His response was always same, “Oh, Crystal, they were telling that joke when I was in (fill-in-the-grade).” Of course it was true. Kids have been telling the same versions of the same old jokes for decades now. And, as things always do, these jokes have come full circle. Tonight Ryker wanted to tell me two jokes he just learned. The first one wasn’t really a joke unless you had actually seen the picture where the little boy is looking at a baseball bat when he says, “I didn’t know bats could fly.” Once Ryker explained this to me I gave the mandatory chuckle and said, “Well, did you ever see a housefly?” He said, “No, why?” I had to explain that my joke was referring to the insect not the building, at which point he gave the mandatory chuckle and proceeded to tell his second joke.
R: I bet I can make you say the word ‘brown’.
C: OK.
R: What are the colors of the flag?
C: Red, white and blue.
R: I told you I could make you say blue.
(I realize that most of you reading this, except maybe Jill, sorry, have already guessed the punch line and remaining dialogue, but I did not. I simply assumed that he had the joke messed up…not that he isn’t a great joke teller as you can see from the previous example.)
C: No you didn’t.
R: Yes I did.
C: You said you would make me say brown.
R: (fits of laughter)
C: Oh, I get it. (fits of laughter) That was a good one!!
The sad part is that they probably were telling that joke 25 years ago (yikes!) when I was in 2nd grade and I probably fell for it then too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Kinley's Hair

I never thought that I would be disappointed that one of my kids didn’t inherit my cowlick. Both the boys have it and Ryker’s is especially large and unruly, but Kinley doesn’t seem to have even the slightest sign of it. Her hair lays flat down on her head and, now that I am growing out her bangs, right in her eyes. If only she had a little cowlick just to part her bangs and hold them up out of her eyes. Since my genes haven’t helped her out any and Kinley now knows how to take out barrettes and headbands, I have resorted to “the Pebbles”, you know that pony tail right on top of the head that sticks straight up in the air. I leave out the bone, but otherwise it looks just like it. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve been waiting a long time to have a little girl whose hair I could fix, so I’m actually in hog heaven. Oh well, at least that cowlick is one less thing she’ll be able to complain about as she does her hair throughout her teenage years.