Friday, October 30, 2009

Pre-Halloween Activities

Somehow, Halloween snuck up on David and me. We had all intention to carve our pumpkins last Sunday evening but last weekend came and went. David and I decided to have Madeline and me take care of the pumpkins during the day. We did this on Thursday. I included photos of Madeline creating her pre-carving design, a small video of our carving and a picture of our finsished products.

Today, was Madeline's school Halloween party. Although Friday is not normally a day that she attends, we certainly weren't going to miss out on the party! Papa had today off and was able to snap our preparations. Madeline was thrilled to be able to wear make-up with her costume. David also took some pictures at school - lining up for the Halloween parade, having fun with a school friend, and me working with kids to make a craft. (As a room mom I helped organzie the party. Kids rotated through making a craft, decorating a pumpkin cookie, and playing a game. We also had enough food there to feed an army!) Madeline had a great time! Tomorrow brings another day of festivities as there is a mini-Halloween shin-dig at dance tomorrow morning as well as trick-or-treating in the evening. The weather was unseasonably warm today. It is unfortuante that this warm weather isn't supposed to hang on for tomorrow. This, however, will not stop us from obtaining the perfect sugar high tomorrow evening!














And the video below......
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost In The Machine??

Here's another picture to make up for the delay posting photos of our visit with Karen, Huibert, Linus and Milana. I had little Halloween goody bags for the kids after dinner and these plastic fangs were in there. Madeline is sooooo looking forward to dressing up as Ariel (Disney's Little Mermaid). More importantly, she is looking forward to getting all the candy!!!

Anyway, why has there been such a delay in photos and posts?? My computer is a piece of crap! Don't know what the issue is....virus?? Regardless, I LIVE on this thing. Since I don't work and don't get out much this thing is my outlet to the outside world. So, Santa Baby......computer please??????

What else has been going on since Karen and Huibert's visit. I have been pulling out my hair at my attempts to strip the wallpaper in our dining room. Below is a photo of what I want to do in the dining room. No, this is not our dining room....just a photo I found online. But, yes....that is purple!!! Can't wait!! In the meantime I am pulling out my hair and using a few choice words. Aside from that project I am working on organizing stuff for a Halloween party at Madeline's Pre-School. Yep, room mom here......like I have nothing else to do....ha! But aside from making me more busy, I am having fun with it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

International Affair (PICTURES NOW ADDED!)

Saturday night our friends, Karen and Huibert, were in town with their children, Linus and Milana. Why is this an international affair? Aside from the fact that Karen is originally from England (with a great accent) and Huibert is originally from Holland, David and I met Karen and Huibert while we were in Russia for our adoptions. Karen and Huibert were in the process of adopting Milana from the same baby home as Madeline. Since we used the same agency and were going to the same baby house we traveled together twice a day to visit our daughters (Linus was also adopted from the same baby home 2 years earlier). In the evenings we would hang out, go to dinner, cruise the Volga River, gripe about the bitchiness of our coordinator, drink Balticas in the hotel lobby and wait, wait, wait for our Gotcha Days. I must say Karen and Huibert helped save my sanity during the stressful process living in Russia for a month, along with everything else that goes along with international adoption. Since our time in Russia, we have kept in touch and actually had the opportunity to stop by their place in Michigan while en route to visit David's parents in Indiana. This weekend Karen, Huibert and the kids were in town to visit Niagara Falls and we had the opportunity to visit with each other.

Saturday afternoon, after their visit to the Falls, Karen & Huibert's family came over. The three kids had an absolute blast together. They played so hard! I made the kids a kid-friendly dinner of tomato soup, grilled cheese, fries, carrot sticks & grape tomatoes. The kids ate while the adults snacked on appetizers. We planned for a babysitter and after more hard play and a viewing of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", we put the kids to bed and the sitter stayed with them as the grown-ups headed out for a late dinner.

This morning, I made a gut-bustin' "Hungry Man" breakfast (thanks Paul and Penney for the recipe). Knowing that Karen, Huibert and the kids had to hit the road to head home we wanted to find an activity to do that was close to home. We ended up heading to the pumpkin patch that Madeline went to the other day for her school field trip. Madeline totally didn't mind as she was having an absolute blast with her friends. After the pumpkin patch we made a stop at a local park to walk their dogs....and more play time for the kids as they headed for the playground equipment. Finally, the seven of us headed to Wendy's for lunch before our friends had to head home. It was such a nice visit and it was so nice to see the kids have such a nice time together.

Huibert recently accepted an offer for a new job in L.A. Huibert has to head west at the beginning of November but Karen and the kids are staying in Michigan until after the first of the year. We vowed to try to find time to get together with the kids before they leave. Hopefully we will be able to meet in Sandusky, Ohio at one of the indoor water parks for a girls (+ kids) overnight retreat. Let's plan on it!!! As for this weekend, we had a blast....thanks for making the trip!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Field Trip AND a Freak-Show Mom!

Madeline went on her first school field trip this morning. Although Madeline attends school two mornings a week, her teacher planned a nice outing at a local pumpkin patch. The outing was just way too cute! There was a big orange tiger bounce house, hay towers and mazes, farm animals to meet and pet, a big sandbox that was filled with corn kernels instead of sand and bunches of pre-school sized ride on toys. Our group was also taken on a hayride and was given a small pumpkin to take home. Both Madeline and Mama-Dirtyfoot had a nice time.

Yet, I did have a weird observation while there. This was completely unrelated to our field trip group. I am an avid people watcher and this mother-son duo was quite bizarre! A mom had brought her son (approx age 2) to the pumpkin patch (was still open to public while field trip group was there). The first thing I noticed was that the mother and SON had matching pants on....that in itself is ridiculous yet to make it more bizarre, the pants were LEOPARD PRINT. The little boy wanted to get in the bounce house while tons of kids from the field trip were in it. I do give credit to the mom for saying that the bounce house was too crowded but that they could do something else first and come back later. After our field trip group moved on I eyed the match-y, match-y dynamic duo *both* in the bounce house with the mom on all fours bouncing around with her kid. Now, don't get me wrong, I can get silly with Madeline and I give credit to the woman for playing with her kid....but I think her kid was capable of enjoying the public bounce house by himself and certainly in something other than matching leopard pants! Later, the dynamic duo ended up moving toward the field trip group at the corn kernel box and ride on toys. I noticed that the woman's leopard print pants were not pants but rather and entire one piece PJ-like set. Okay, I know it's near Halloween but c'mon, that's over a week away..... Finally, it was time for Madeline and I to head home. I gave Madeline the "head's up" by telling her we were going to leave in two minutes. Leopard Mom overheard me give Madeline a "2 minute warning" and said to me, "Does that work for you??!?!?" as though she were surprised it could be so simple. Having already sized up the leopard mom and surmised that she's the type that probably tries to reason and negotiate with her 2-yr old I simply responded, "I don't give her a choice". After the two minutes passed I said, "C'mon Madeline. Time to go" And without a complaint, Madeline left the play area and toys. That's my girl!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Texas Or Bust

This one's for you, Joe......you predicted a sappy farewell post.

"Buffalo Grandma"(Shirley) is on her way to her new life in Texas......and yes, the photo was taken as she was driving away. I know, I'm a dork! Anyway, it was an absolute pleasure to have Shirley stay with us during the past week. Not only was her company enjoyed by David and me, but Madeline absolutely adored "Buffalo Grandma".

In observing Shirley prepare for her big move over the past few days, I couldn't help but think how adventurous she is. Off she goes, moving from the town she has lived her entire life, selling her home that she lived in for many, many years, leaving behind her very active social life to DRIVE 1400 miles to move into a new home, sight unseen, in the Dallas area. Yes, Shirley is moving closer to her sons (Joe will live only 5 blocks away and Jon will be a 7 hour drive from New Orleans) but as I spent time chatting with Shirley over the past week I couldn't help but be completely impressed with how unfazed Shirley seemed to be by this pending transition. I was so excited for her and the newness of everything that lies ahead of her. But also, I hope that in 28 years from now, I too would have the sense of adventure that Shirley has. I am certain Shirley will love the lack of snow in Texas. I am sure she will quickly develop a large network of friends. I am sure she will enjoy having her boys close to her and will also quickly make her new house a home.

Last night, we had a farewell dinner......"dinner theater" style. I initially planned to serve dinner in the dining room on our China however it was "Dancing With the Stars"night (We opted to feed Madeline early, we had an earlier spread of appetizers and then chose to have a late dinner after Madeline went to bed). We *had to* watch "DWTS" and therefore we chose to eat in the kitchen and David swiveled the TV for dining entertainment. I love Madeline to death, but without Madeline at the dinner table, dinner was quiet and we were able to chit chat over David's yummy steaks and red wine. Along for Shirley's road trip, Shirley's friend Sharon flew in from Michigan (also stayed with us the last two nights of Shirley's stay) and is driving with Shirley down to Texas and then flying back home to Michigan. Two great ladies that truly made me miss having my mom around......but their company during the day was so welcome.

As Shirley's visit wound down, Shirley would scoot off to meet with this friend or that friend, or get a phone call from this person or that person and each one would end up crying because of Shirley's departure. I guess I would cry too if I knew I wouldn't see her again but that certainly won't happen. We'll make a point to swing by next time we visit Uncle Charles in Austin or Jon in New Orleans. Instead I was happy for all the exciting things that lie ahead for "Buffalo Grandma".....or should I say "Texas Grandma"?? Happy trails....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let's Go BUFF-A-LO

Today, Madeline went to her first hockey game. The tickets are actually season ticket's for David's work that are used to entertain business clients and partners. So many times David doesn't come home until 11pm in the evening because he has to attend a game for business. Being a Saturday game, it was difficult for him to get a commitment from business contacts to attend the game. As a result, we were lucky enough to be the default guests tonight. Oh, by the way, the seats are GREAT!! - 200 level at the blue line!

Knowing that we were heading to a game, David started to get Madeline psyched up by telling her earlier in the day that we were going to a hockey game. Papa even spoiled his little girl by taking her to buy a Sabres sweatshirt (white with pink logo). Not only was Madeline thrilled to be wearing her new outfit, but she was thrilled to be at the game. Aside from Madeline devouring a hot dog, chips and a half tub of popcorn, she also took in the spectacle of the sporting event. I pointed out the "big kitty cat", Sabretooth, the Sabres mascot. Madeline kept trying to spot Sabretooth. When ever Sabretooth wasn't around, Madeline wanted to know where he was.....we ended up telling her that he went to use the big, big, big kitty litter......(at least she got the humor in that). Sabretooth just happened to be in a section very close to where we were sitting so, knowing where the mascot had to go in order to leave that section, I grabbed Madeline and ran over to that area. I called out "Sabretooth!" and the mascot waved. I kept running with Madeline in tow and yelled out "Sabretooth, it's her first game!" Lucky for us we were able to catch up and get a picture!! Madeline thought that was awesome and as we walked away she said, "Let's do that again!" Little does she know how lucky she was to have that experience, yet alone at her first game. Madeline also, immediately figured out (on her own) that when the music plays in between plays, that is the time to dance and boogie in hopes of getting on the jumbo tron. No, she didn't make the big screen but, boy, was she having fun!

But can a 3 year old have fun *watching the game*?!?!?! As best as she could, Madeline tried to know what was happening. She kept asking David, "what happened" and David was wonderfully patient with all her questions. Madeline also tried to keep up with the cries of the other fans and would yell out "C'mon!". (Small video of the Sabres newest fan below) The funniest thing was when the crowd started chanting "Let's go Buff-A-Lo!", Madeline joined in by chanting what she *thought* the crowd was saying. Yes, our daughter was chanting "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

I am thinking I may also need to take Madeline to an open skate at a local ice rink too. Madeline started gliding around in front of her seat and told me that she was wearing her "shoe skates". She also told me that she was going to "pretend to be a boy, like Mulan, so that [she] could play hockey". (Mulan is a Disney princess that pretended to be a boy so that she could fight in the Chinese army)

Other than the fact that the Sabres lost tonight, this evening was still a success in our book. At bedtime, Madeline went to bed with her stuffed Sabretooth (we didn't buy that tonight, we had it but at least now she knows who Sabretooth is) Hopefully we'll be able to bring Madeline back to a game. Although Madeline asked if we could do that again tomorrow.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

I can't believe that I haven't posted since Monday! What's been keeping me from the computer?? Nothing and everything. I don't have too much new to report here yet, at the same time I have been busy. "Buffalo Grandma" has been staying with us since Wednesday. I swear she brought with her enough food to feed an army.....she *soooo totally* didn't have to do that!! It has been nice visiting and Madeline has been enjoying the attention from "Buffalo Grandma".

Yesterday, Shirley had some running around to do during the day so Mama-Dirtyfoot took the opportunity to get her eyebrows waxed.....oh yeah, they were BAD! Since it was mid-day and there were no customers, I also took the time to get a quickie pedicure. I figured I would have Madeline color while my gnarly feet were being taken care of. The people at the nail salon asked if I wanted to have Madeline's nails painted.....sure what the heck! That would keep Madeline busy as I was getting scrubbed, scraped, painted and waxed. You should've seen Madeline's expression during this entire process. It's not like I have never painted her nails, but the fact that she was getting "big girl" treatment made Madeline thrilled. The lady even included on each of her ring fingers and each of her big toes. Madeline couldn't wait to show Papa when he got home. The picture above is Madeline peeking over the drying table.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Appointments, Appointments, Appointments AND a Shopping High!

This is my second post today (see below for the other post) but I just wanted to share a bit of Madeline's and my day. Today Madeline went for her photo sitting for her 4 year old pictures. Here is a sneak preview of a photo that will be sent out to family (Grandma, this isn't what you are getting....just a teaser). We also had a busy day juggling appointments. Aside from the photos, we had to (in order to make our homeowners insurance company happy) get a rail installed on the stairs to the deck of the pool. Madeline also had a doctor's appointment to take a look at her for a cold that she has been hanging onto forever (Looks like the start of a sinus infection....oh fun, but the new meds should squash that). Finally, on the way to the doctor's Madeline and I stopped at a store to try to find a new mini-flag for our Fall decorations in front of our house. I must say, Madeline is becoming quite the shopper. I tried to capture her "shopper's high" on video (see end of this post) but the video certainly didn't quite capture the degree of her excitement. Madeline would run from display to display and dramatically spread out her arms like a Price is Right model and exclaim, "Mama, look at these..... They're beautiful! They're Sparkly!" And of course all along the way there were several pleads of "Buy this!"

I MUST, however, share my own shopping high!! I am super proud of my brilliant idea!! The store that I went to had extremely cheap Halloween costumes. They had knock-off Sleeping Beauty costumes for $6.99!! I decided to buy one without Madeline seeing me (it was quite the task distracting her) and give it to her on her birthday. But that is only *part* of the plan.... If you have ever been to Disney, you know that the place is crawling with little girls that just came out of their "spa day" at the Bippity-Bopity- Boutique. These children then walk around the park all made up and dressed up in princess costumes. Oh, by the way, did I tell you that the parents of these kids pay over $200 for this???? So, my grand plan is when we head to Orlando in November I will pack Madeline's $6.99 Sleeping Beauty birthday gift and when Madeline sees all the little decked-out princesses and begins to exclaim, "Buy this!" I call proudly forgo the $200 expense and pull her $6.99Sleeping Beauty costume out of my bag. Yeah Mama-Dirtyfoot (but damn, how I hated when my mom did stuff like this to me!)

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Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday Dad! Today would've been my Dad's 78th birthday. Yes....would've been. My dad passed away in 1993. I often write about my mom on my blog. Maybe that is because my mom was with us until 2007. But that doesn't negate the fact that my Dad is so much a part of who I am (yes, good and bad). All day today, I tried to think of what would be fitting to write about my dad. I can tell you that my father was an excellent photographer who actually won awards for what he did as a hobby. (We actually had a photography darkroom in the basement of the house where I grew up). Dad's eye was quite keen! I actually chuckled to myself that, like my brother Marty, dad would cringe at the fact that I was putting shabby quality photos on my blog. (Sorry dad about the one I posted of you here. The majority of my photos are still buried in boxes....and yes, I took a photo of a photo with my cell phone)

Despite the fact that composing this post was on my mind all day, I couldn't quite formulate what to write about my dad. I could talk about the fact that he was a lawyer and judge. He had a crazy, yet at the same time very cerebral/intelligent sense of humor. Oh....and speaking of intelligent, he was the most intelligent man. He was a father of six and raised us very strictly. But for those of you that knew my dad knew that he was much more complex than the words I just typed. He was a perfectionist yet with so many imperfections. So tough on those he loved but yet loved more deeply than he knew how to express. He gave me and my siblings our drive to succeed, our humor (albeit warped at times), and our strong wills - be that good or bad.

Yes, my dad was complicated. I guess that is why I struggled channeling my thoughts on today's post. But yet, I feel I have truly come to know and appreciate him. I only wish that I could sit and talk with him now that I am older. He was so very wise and unfortunately (at times) very misunderstood. But I get it now....I understand. I wish you were here to "inspect the stars" with me like when I was a little girl. But, I occasionally do that now with Madeline and think of you and remember our special moments. I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Step On A Crack

Do you remember in your childhood, saying "Step on a crack, break your mother's back"? I can still vividly remember walking the few blocks from my childhood home to my paternal grandmother's house. Along the way, I was careful to miss any cracks in the pavement. This afternoon, Madeline and I took a walk around the corner to a local hardware store. This in itself was a nice treat as the streets surrounding our old house did not have sidewalks. In our new neighborhood we are walking distance to many more places and there are sidewalks along the way. Anyway, as Madeline and I walked along I noticed Madeline skipping all the cracks in the sidewalk. I know (at least I am almost certain) that Madeline has never heard the old "step on a crack" saying (nor did I tell her about it today) yet, there she was jumping over each of those cracks. Funny how children are almost pre-wired to buy into those childhood games/superstitions/traditions. That must have something to do with why these quirky traditions have been passed down for generations.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nothing New.....Except Clothes!

I haven't posted since Wednesday but nothing new or exciting is going on here. Madeline has been buggin' out lately about wanting to wear skirts or dresses to school. Unfortunately, all of her dresses were summer dresses and it has been too cold here. So, Madeline and I did a trek out to the outlet mall the other day. I didn't mind doing this because we didn't do any back to school shopping as I wanted to wait until I pulled out the warmer clothes to get a good handle of how much stuff Madeline still fit into from last year. Besides, waiting like this would offer me the opportunity for sales. There is one wing of the outlet mall that holds the majority of the children's clothing stores (aka the Maddie wing). I am not sure who had more fun there, Mama or Madeline. I walked away with only one purchase from Carter's (a turtleneck to wear under her Halloween costume) but a bunch from Gymboree. Gymboree's clothes are sooooo cute. They have the potential of being expensive however I bought everything on sale at 60% off so I got some fantastic deals. The other thing about Gymboree's clothing is that it is amazing quality and will last forever. Needless to say, Madeline was a happy camper on Thursday when she had a skirt to wear to school.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Sooooo here is the story......late this morning I noticed this creepy spider. He was hanging out right at face level on the other side of the sliding glass door in between our kitchen and the three-season room (The 3 season room leads to our back yard and thus, the hot tub). Eeewwww......the spider was right at face level if you were to walk out the door so the thought of accidentally walking through his web gave me the heebie-jeebies. So that I wouldn't forget about the spider's new domicile by evening time, I put a post-it note on the sliding door that said "spider", however I couldn't get that creature out of my mind all day. I kept looking at him throughout the afternoon and at times I swear the two of us were staring each other down. When I talked to David on the phone I told him of our new house guest and this is when he told me that that must've been the web he walked through this morning. (David was bringing in our patio umbrella so that it wouldn't launch again in today's wind). Sure enough, as I examined the web I noticed a big semi-circle section missing. That must've been where David lopped some of the web off as he walked through. When David came home, he saved the day and rescued me (and the spider) by taking the spider outside. You wouldv'e tought, by the way David prepared for the spider relocation, that David was preparing to tame a wild lion. Alas, the spider was transferred outside.

For a variety of reasons, David and I decided to have me feed Madeline dinner earlier and then David and I would eat a later dinner after putting Madeline to bed early. The plan was that David would fire up the grill for hot dogs while I put Madeline to bed. When I came downstairs, one look at David made me laugh. He sat on the couch, playing on his laptop, with a baseball hat on. Why is this funny? I knew exactly what he was thinking. And without me having to ask what I was laughing at David knew that I was on to his thoughts. His only response was, "My mom may have raised ugly kids but not stupid ones". So what was this all about? Yes, I knew that the ONLY reason why David was wearing a hat was because he too had the spider heebie jeebies. Even though it was probably an hour after "the relocation", David must've thought that as he was outside cooking hot dogs, the spider was lurking and looking for revenge.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Buffalo Grandma

Not sure if I ever told the story of "Buffalo Grandma".... "Buffalo Grandma" is the mom of David's best friend, Jon. Jon and David are more like brothers than friends and since Jon is like family, Jon's own family is also very much like family to us. Since David's own parents live in Indiana, we (many years ago....it may have even been before Jon moved to New Orleans) began to affectionately refer to Shirley as David's "Buffalo Mom". Therefore, when Madeline came into our lives it was only logical to refer to Shirley as "Buffalo Grandma". Unfortunately, later this month, "Buffalo Grandma" will become "Texas Grandma" as Shirley is moving to the Dallas area to be closer to her sons (Joe lives in Dallas and Jon lives in New Orleans). Certainly, we wanted to see Shirley before she left and Shirley also wanted to see our new house before leaving. This afternoon, Shirley came out to visit and have dinner at our house. Of course, "Buffalo Grandma" also spoiled Madeline to pieces too (early Halloween AND birthday presents!!!) . The photo above was taken in order to give Shirley a tutorial on both Facebook and blogging.....hopefully I'll soon be able to follow Shirley's adventures on the computer. It is sad to know that another part of our "family" is moving away but at least it'll be one more place for us to visit. Meanwhile,there is a chance that you might hear more of "Buffalo Grandma" before her trek to Texas as there is a possibility that Shirley might stay with us for a week between the time that her movers empty out her house here and the time she departs for Texas. We would be pleased to have her however, Madeline already told us that she wanted to go to Texas with Shirley. I am thinking that by the end of Shirley's stay Madeline might just pack herself in Shirley's suitcase.

Opppps.....Video too

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Maddie Appleseed

Mama and Madeline had a nice mother-daughter day. The two of us took a ride out to orchard/farm-country to visit Becker Farms. Madeline had a good time picking apples....especially since apple trees are "Maddie-sized" In addition to apple picking, the farm had a petting zoo on premises too. Madeline was too funny with the feeding of the goats. Madeline would hold out her hands for me to put some food into her hands. She would hold out her hands for the goats to eat out of them but she would dump the feed onto the ground when the goats got about a foot from her. Madeline was freaked out about them tickling her hands when they ate from them. Madeline had such a good time that she actually cried when it was time to go. After a trip to McDonald's, a local vineyard and a stop at the pet store, Madeline and I also got the makings for apple pie (refrigerator dough.....do you actually think I make it from scratch?) Mama-Dirtyfoot did have enough time to make an apple crisp tonight and plans to make an apple pie for tomorrow. I do love Fall.....if only it didn't mean that Winter was coming!

Friday, October 2, 2009

WARDROBE!!

I really don't have much to share. Things have been quiet in the land of Mama-Dirtyfoot......but I thought I would share a few pictures. When Madeline and I left Margaret's house on Monday we left with two boxes of hand-me-down clothes from Madeline's cousin, Kate. Included in the hand-me-downs were two old dance recital costumes that Madeline could use to play dress-up. Last night, as I was shuffling through clothes and organizing hand-me-downs to give away (stuff Madeline outgrew) and hand-me-downs to store (stuff Madeline still has to grow in to), Madeline caught a glimpse of the pink dress and asked if that dress was for church. Today, Madeline had her first opportunity to play dress-up since we've been home and was practically giddy because she was able to try on the two new dress-up outfits.

This evening, more costuming took place. Madeline decided that David needed pink hair so she outfitted him with her pink hooded sweatshirt. She told David how much she liked his "long, long. long, long long, long hair".