Halloween was fantastic and busy this year! It seems that each year gets bigger and we hand out more candy than the year before. It helps that we are literally two blocks from a cemetery and our neighborhood gets festive with decorations and people in costume sitting on porches. Our house is known as "the monster house". We have huge scary wooden teeth shapes fastened to our porch (from atop and along a rail in center), and two red Chinese lanterns in two windows on the second floor to resemble eyes. Throw in cob webs, bats taped to the windows, a plasma lamp, creepy ghost things hanging from the porch and yard, scary sounds blasting from the windows, and a skeleton in the grass and you've got over a 100 kids at your door over the course of the night. I started out generous handing out 3-4 pieces at a time, maybe even throwing in a small toy too. As we began scraping the bottom of our bucket at 8:15, I was much more reserved. Rusty dashed out for a few bags to refill us. Every year we exaggerate on how much candy we buy and how busy our porch is then the next year meets that exaggeration. Next year I've got an idea to add arms to the side of the house, I want to get a red flood light for the porch, some walk-way lights, and a few more yard trinkets. Next year we will buy more candy & treats to last us comfortably until at least 9:30. Next year I'll need someone to help us manage the mayhem!

This year Joshua was a Transformer and Elliot was Underdog. Both boys had a super good time both trick 'r treating and handing out candy on the porch.

My older son is so excited about Halloween that he asks me several times a day whether it's Halloween yet. He wants to know if it will happen after Elliot's nap or after dinner or in the morning. The repeated explanation of one more week doesn't connect with him.

Meanwhile, I'm already preparing for a Halloween party at our house on Friday. I'm expecting about ten kids and their chauffeurs. I love hosting and Halloween so much it's hard not to go all out. Tonight I'm cutting construction paper into bat shapes to hang around the patio. Thursday night or Friday morning I'll bake either cupcakes or muffins with a pumpkin ingredient. some time this week I'll make a playlist of music. I already have matching plates, table cover, napkins and goody bag toy. It's a compulsion of mine to not just open my home to others but to also include an element of entertaining. I want my guests to feel welcomed, to have a good time and remember the event. Think of it as my brand of hosting.

With that in mind, I've got some tracing and clipping to do. Better not stay up all night typing!

I survived my third week of work at my new job. I have to admit I've got it very easy right now. I decided to re-enter the working world not with a canon ball jump but with one toe in to test the waters first. My schedule allows me to be home two weekdays and home late afternoon to I can prep dinner and prepare for everyone's home coming. The job doesn't pay well ($12/hr) but I'm not in retail, food service or a customer facing position. Not to say those types of jobs are undesirable. At the end of my day as sales support, I am done with work- no obligations, no lingering responsibilities, no emails to check, I'm the opposite of on-call. Alas, it's not a career move. I'm still looking for something that will make more money per paycheck and engage me a bit more.

But I know a career move means giving up some of the perks of a small job. What I'll miss the most are my days off with the kids, even at the expense of tantrums, sticky floors and snacks tucked into the couch cushions. The second thing I'll miss is being home in time to prep dinner well before everyone else comes home. It's more than being able to cook a (somewhat) healthy meal; it's about having that moment to get ahead of the crazy evening to come. And, admittedly, catch a segment of Ellen or Oprah. I'll also miss the flexibility that comes with a low-impact job. If I need to leave suddenly, I can just leave. There's no shift changing, no reports to finish, no deadlines.

Did I mention the low pay?

I have an interview next week with a reputable company for a marketing reporting analyst position. It isn't glamorous work but it would pay better and put me back on the career oriented path. It will probably mean the end of perks too. Although I'm a working mom like millions of other mothers, I feel like I haven't walked their shoes yet. If I get this next job I certainly will.

I just hope the shoe fits and that I don't trip too often.

The first baby is always an exciting time for parents-to-be. Not always happy excitement either considering the added coming financial stress, decisions about work versus staying at home, the physical discomforts of carrying a baby to term, and all the anxieties surrounding unknowns. Will the baby be healthy? Will labor go smoothly? Will my baby be colicky? What IS colic??

For this, we have baby showers! A time to celebrate the positives, collect unsolicited advise, and hopefully get a few gifts to help the new parents. We treated a good friend to baby shower this weekend. The event was a smashing success by most standards: good food, games, gabbing, gifts galore, and a buzzy happy friendly mood that spread person to person like a wildfire. In the background, sometimes unnoticed, sometimes a discussion point, was the music. I created a playlist of music to last most of the party. After an hour of downloading a few must-haves that I didn't already have in my library, I added a mix of all-around good tunes for any party scene.

Several people requested the playlist. So here it is presented in the order played, which is roughly by duration.

Buddy Holly - Little Baby*
The Beatles - I'm So Tired*
The Beatles - All My Loving
The Drifters - There Goes My Baby*
Bobby Darin - You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby (Rock Version)
The Beatles - And I Love Her
Aretha Franklin - Baby, I Love You*
Smash Mouth - Can't Get Enough of You Baby*
Presidents of USA - Ladybug
Diana Ross - Baby Love*
Jonathan Coutlon - Stroller Town*
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Bing Crosby - You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby*
Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out*
Sufjn Stevens - DECATUR, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!
Smash Mouth - Then the Morning Comes
Paul Simon - Mother And Child Reunion*
The Beatles - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry*
Smash Mouth - Home
Phoenix - 1901
Sarah Hudson - Girl On The Verge
The Shins - Caring Is Creepy
Ben Folds Five - Battle Of Who Could Care Less
Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire*
Smash Mouth - All Star
No Doubt - Sixteen
ThruYOU - just_a_lady
Modest Mouse - Float On
No Doubt - Just A Girl
Beastie Boys – Intergalactic
White Stripes - The Hardest Button To Button
Cat Power - Free
Monty Python - Always Look On the Bright Side of Life*
ThruYOU - the_mother_of_all_funk_chords
Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get It Started
Madonna - Lucky Star
ThruYOU - someday
Pizzicato Five - The Girl From Ipanema
Beastie Boys - Hey Ladies
The Shins - New Slang
Ben Folds Five - One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces
Talking Heads - Up All Night*
Madonna - Material Girl
Supreme Beings of Leisure - You're Always The Sun
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
DaVinci's Notebook - Another Irish Drinking Song
Basement Jaxx - Hush Boy
Jewel - Who Will Save Your Soul
Basement Jaxx - Tonight
Pizzicato Five - Twiggy Twiggy
ThruYOU - this_is_what_it_became
Lamb - Alien*
Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
Jewel - You Were Meant For Me
No Doubt - You Can Do It
Supreme Beings of Leisure - Last Girl On Earth
Basement Jaxx - Red Alert
Basement Jaxx - Cish Cash
Talking Heads - As The Days Go By
Talking Heads - Our House In The Middle of the Street
Gorillaz - Demon Days
Eels - Trouble With Dreams
Basement Jaxx - do_your_thing
Basement Jaxx - wheres_your_head_at
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
Jonathan Coulton - Creepy Doll
Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart
Fatboy Slim - Praise You
Beastie Boys - Body movin' (Fatboy Slim remix)
Mighty Dub Katz - Magic Carpet Ride
Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely*
Stretch 'N Vern - Get Up! Go Insane! (Fatboy Really Lost It Mix)
Fatboy Slim - You've Come a Long Way, Baby
Beastie Boys - Brass Monkey
White Stripes - Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

* Indicates songs put on a CD for the mom-to-be.

PS- I should add, for those who don't know Tommy & Kathy, they are expecting a girl, hence some of the girl themed songs like "Isn't She Lovely".

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