Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Pumpkin Carving 2019

We typically try to squeeze in our pumpkin carving on Halloween itself so that we can then turn our pumpkins into puree later for pie, but this year Halloween is set to be a little crazy schedule-wise, as is tomorrow, so we carved our pumpkins today.

Alexander was 100% invested in this project so prepare yourself for a lot of pictures of him. He loved every step of the process. Zoë is feeling a little out of sorts today but she's usually not terribly into activities that get her hands messy (unless it's mud)—finger paints appall her, for example. I didn't think she'd love the sliminess of pumpkin guts. 

(Don't ask me how she manages to eat with her hands. She's a mystery.)

In addition to her touch sensitivities, she hurt her finger at yesterday's Fall Festival. This festival is held at the home of some people in our ward. They have a ginormous yard, as you can see:

Zoë loved the inflatable slide and spent most of her evening there. At one point one of my cute Activity Day Girls—who was dressed up as a lifeguard and who spent her entire evening carting injured or otherwise crying children off to their parents in true lifeguard fashion—brought a screaming Zoë to me.

She'd gone down the slide on the lap of one of her big-kid friends and they had landed in the bottom in a tangle and Zoë's finger is swollen and purple and I don't really know what to do about it. But here it is:

I'm not sure that it's broken because she's been using her hand all day, more or less. We went to an indoor playground (more on that later, perhaps) and she was playing pretty hard. But she's also been a bit out of sorts, which you can tell from the pictures of her.

Also, you can tell in this picture that she has definitely inherited my classy toe-thumbs! Hooray!

We're studying life cycles right now, and to make things a bit more challenging because this early on in our textbook things seem to be moving a little slowly for Miriam (though it does seem to get more challenging/interesting later) we're diving deeper into inheritance and have been practicing punnett squares with Mendelian traits (and talking about statistical probability to boot).

Stubbed thumbs just happen to be a Mendelian trait so perhaps we can figure out where it came from and what chance my children's children have of passing on the trait. My mom and one of her sisters each have one, my sister Josie has one. I—ever the lucky one—have two (and I think Zoë does as well, though sometimes it's hard to tell on tiny little hands).

Yesterday we talked about hemophilia and did some punnett squares to figure out the probability of our cousins presenting with hemophilia (0% since it's passed along the X chromosome and is recessive so needs two such chromosomes to present) and the probability of our cousins being carriers for the gene (50% since both Maren and Arwyn will be carrying the gene from their dad), and the probability of their children presenting with hemophilia (25%).

(Disclaimer that all those statistics were calculated using very primitive math/punnett squares, and I'm sure it's much more complicated than that considering the dozens of entries on the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man website.


We carved pumpkins this evening!

Here's Andrew getting the big kids started on their pumpkins:

Here are the little kids doing their best to wait patiently:

They did a good job:

Zoë wanted a unicorn pumpkin, since that's what she dressed up as for the Fall Festival (though she's adamant about wanting to be a princess for Halloween; she always wants multiple costumes and/or doesn't make up her mind until the very last minute so it's a good thing she's my third girl/fourth child and we have plenty of costumes in our "tickle trunk" for her to choose from because with her wishy-washy attitude about costume selection I'm not about to spend any quality time pulling together a costume for her). I found a pattern for her and transferred it to the pumpkin and Andrew cut it out...

...after letting the kids scoop out the insides, of course (which Alexander was super excited about and Zoë not so much):

So without further ado, here's a bunch of pictures of Alexander really enjoying his pumpkin:

When Zoë finally got the scoop she'd been waiting for (the purple one), Alexander wasn't happy about sharing his scooping duty. "My turn! My turn!" he cried, shoving his hand into the pumpkin alongside hers, as if he hadn't just been scooping away to his heart's content (and I suppose that was the problem; he had been scooping away to his heart's content and then we asked him to stop and let his sister have a turn?! The nerve).

Here are a few pictures of all my people:

And now more of my baby with his pumpkin:

His head didn't fit inside the unicorn pumpkin (and we didn't want to end up like this girl) so...

...we tried Rachel's pumpkin and it was a perfect fit (you should have heard him laughing from inside that pumpkin (perhaps I'll upload the video later, but not tonight)):

Here he is hugging his pumpkin:

And here he is sneakily grabbing the knife that we had realized earlier was too close to him and which we moved farther away but which he could still apparently reach...


Here he is taking a whack at Rachel's pumpkin:

And here's Andrew reaching out to disarm him:

He wasn't very happy when he realized we weren't going to give the knife back, but he soon forgave us because...pumpkins. He picked up the little pattern-poker thingy (the orange thing you can see under the knife in the picture above; it's like a glorified toothpick) and used that to poke at the pumpkin, a job he took very seriously.

Here's Zoë with the lid to their jack-o-lantern:

And here's Alexander with the finished unicorn jack-o-lantern with Benjamin and Miriam working in the background. Those two couldn't decide on how best to split their pumpkin-carving duties so instead of designing one face they ended up putting several onto their pumpkin (four or five, I believe), which meant they both got to do plenty of carving. I thought that was a wonderful solution for them to have worked out!

Here's Rachel with her pumpkin; she's worried about the teeth because she didn't realize that black line would be down the middle of them...


But it turned out alright. She turned it into a bunny of sorts:

Here's Zoë admiring Rachel's handiwork:

And here's my sweet Alexander squishing through the pumpkin guts:

He was fascinated with the lid of the jack-o-lantern. He'd take if off and look at the carving to see how light it was, then put the lid back on and look at the front again, which had then gone dark.

It's fun to watch him explore his world.


It's hard to get those lids to line up right, so his cute, little concentration-tongue kept popping out.

 Here are Benjamin and Miriam still hard at work:

Their pumpkin took the longest to carve, by far:


 Zoë hadn't done very much to get messy, so we went hunting for candles together.

We found some (electric ones from Grandma's stash that we adopted when we moved):

I scared Alexander by using them as eyes, so then Zoë had to scare him as well. Here he is begging me to pick him up because he's scared (though I think he was having fun being scared, which means it was just the right amount of scary):

After we tried washing him off at the kitchen sink we realized he'd be better off in the tub. He was covered in pumpkin goo from his head to his toes! But it was a fun—messy but happy—evening.

Here are the kids with their finished creations...

Zoë with the unicorn Daddy (and Alexander) helped carve:

 Benjamin and Miriam with their many-faced pumpkin:

And Rachel with her buck-toothed pumpkin:

Now we're all ready for Halloween (assuming our jack-o-lanterns don't shrivel up into soggy, moldy shells of their former selves before Halloween night).


  1. How fun! I am glad you call it a Tickle Trunk! Long live Mr. Dress-up!

  2. Those look great! And I love how much Alexander enjoyed all this!