Monday, November 18, 2013

Halloween 2013

A month before Halloween this year, I asked my kids what they wanted to be. To my surprise, they all said, "A monster." I toyed with this idea for awhile, but wasn't finding many non-scary off-the-shelf monster costumes, nor very many do-it-yourself alternatives. So finally I sat down, pulled up target.com, navigated to the costume page, and said, "Why don't you pick something from here?" Within 10 minutes, they had it narrowed down. Logan wanted to be a ninja and Savannah wanted to be a mermaid. (Izzy and Sawyer are still young enough that they get to be whatever I want them to be, which this year was whatever I could dig out of the dress up box.) We ended up not getting the costumes at Target, thanks to my mom finding them both at Costco, but in the end I'm pretty sure everyone was pleased with their get up. Phew! Another year down!

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We started off our festivities with our ward trunk-or-treat and chili cook-off. I am usually the lame car at trunk-or-treats with absolutely no decorations whatsoever, but I decided to try something simple this year. I think it's kind of great.

Halloween itself was a little bit of a disaster. I doubt the kids would think so, but I was a wreck by the end of the day. I think it was just the result of trying to do too much. It started when I got a phone call from the school saying Savannah had had an accident in her costume. Apparently shimmying out of her mermaid tail in time to make it to the toilet was a bit too challenging. So I ran over to the school, picked up her costume, brought it home and washed it, dried it with a hair dryer, then took it back to school in time for her class party. Both kids had parties at the same time, so Isabelle, Sawyer, and I ducked back and forth between the two to be at both as much as possible.

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After school I tried to hurry and make some donut dough, thinking that would be a fun thing to eat on Halloween. What I didn't think is that maybe making homemade donuts for the first time ever was not a good idea on an already busy holiday. By this time it had started raining, putting an additional damper on our plans. We pushed on, though, and made our way to the Walmart home office, where our kids trick-or-treated through miles of cubicles. I have to give Jeff some credit here. He was in Oklahoma City the morning of Halloween, and had to be back the day after, but didn't want to miss being with the kids on Halloween, so he drove all the way home (3.5 hours) to be there for the evening activities, just to turn around and drive back early the next morning.

It stopped raining around 5, so I made the kids go back outside for another round of pictures. Sawyer was starving/screaming, Isabelle was completely uncooperative, but I was determined to get some photos. (See what I do for you, blog?)

We finally bribed Izzy with some chocolate to take a few pictures. Sorry for the nasty chewed up chocolate mouth shot. Just keeping it real.

By this time we were all starving, but I had no plans whatsoever for dinner (besides the donuts-- not super nutritious). We ended up with a take-and-bake pizza which took longer than we thought to bake and made us miss trick-or-treating with our neighbor friends. Eventually we bundled up and hit up all of 5 houses before calling it a night. We then returned to our pumpkin-less house (second year in a row we've failed to carve pumpkins) to eat overcooked donuts and binge on candy.

I'm pretty sure our kids had a blast, so I guess it wasn't such a failure. It was just a LONG day all around, as it always is and probably always will be. Oh well. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grammie comes to town

Just shy of Sawyer's 1 month birthday, my mom flew into town to visit. She made great sacrifices to come (including traveling on her birthday! Happy 21st birthday, Mom!) but we are so, so glad she did. Jeff had just left on his first major business trip since Sawyer was born, and I was extremely grateful for the extra help while he was gone. With every other baby, my Mom has come as soon as we are home from the hospital. I actually really liked having her around a little bit later this time. It gave me a chance to regain some strength and energy so that I could enjoy her visit, instead of being lethargic or comatose the whole time she is here.

We started off her trip with a Wild West Apple Fest at the kids' school. Aside from Isabelle having an accident all over my mom as soon as we got there, it was a pretty fun event. The kids loved the inflatables and carnival games. The food left much to be desired, but luckily I had found a new recipe to try that day so we had yummy butternut squash soup waiting for us at home.

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Since it was the weekend of General Conference, we spent a lot of the weekend listening to and being uplifted by the words of our church leaders. The kids worked on some Halloween decorations while we watched and were almost well behaved. I have given up trying to get much out of General Conference when I watch it live. We try to absorb as much as we can over the weekend, but always go back and re-watch it later one talk at a time when we can focus better (i.e. when the kids aren't around).

Jeff returned home a day or two before my mom had to leave, so we all went on a nature walk when the weather was nice. We didn't realize it, but the spot we had decided to go hike was sponsoring some sort of festival with all sorts of demonstrations. We got to see animal skins, try out stilts and games, learn about medicine during the Civil War, and watch a saw mill in action.

My mom ended up having to go home a day early due to a work crisis, but we managed to squeeze in a child-less shopping trip before she had to go. She also helped me figure out a new furniture arrangement in my living room that had been bugging me since we moved in. I don't know what I'd do without my mom... whether it's parenting issues or cooking tips or decorating help, she always has the answer! We miss her so much and loved having her come to visit.