Sunday, February 12, 2012

Halloween 2011

Someday I will be one of those moms who home makes each of her children's unique and absolutely fantastic Halloween costumes--and no later than a month before Halloween.

Or hey, maybe not. But regardless, this is certainly not that day! Especially considering I can hardly sew.

This year for Halloween costumes, the kids and I headed over to a thrift store (after a day of autumn yard work), where I told the kids they could each have up to 5$ to spend on costume items. I explained that they were welcome to look on the rack of actual costumes but my recommendation would be to use a little creativity and scour the entire store.

So they did, and it was a lot of fun!

Obviously this picture does not show the results of our outing. It does however represent our traditional family night pumpkin carving activity. This year our pumpkins were spooky green (thanks to Kevin's great friend at work ... actually thanks to friend's garden).

Here we are all together in costume, geared up for our annual ward trunk-or-treat. Since Joseph does not make it into any additional pictures, I will point out here that he is an adorable, chubby robot bug. Shortly after arriving, our poor cute little robot vomited all over the gym floor, and in front of many a person trying to consume their potluck dinner:). He ended up spending the evening at home with Grandma--thanks, Loo.

Kevin and I may appear to be hockey fans, but we are in fact Canadians, although Kevin is missing his furry hat in all the pics ... got too hot, I guess.

Brooks obviously did find his cool Iron Man costume right on the Halloween rack. It was perfect because he already had Iron Man's battery charged heart (see round thingy on his chest) and helmet to go with it. Although, admittedly he refused to wear the helmet;). Yeah, yeah, you're cute.

James was an eclectic ninja spy with this hooded black snake shirt thing that he found. He also wore a Jedi robe that we had at home and pin, tucked, and tied all kinds of daggers and other weapons to the inside.

Porter wanted to be Wolverine from the beginning. Since I knew coming up with an x-men-type suit would be difficult, I encouraged him to go with the lumberjack Wolverine theme. He found this great thermal shirt, grew out his hair a little, and added in the balloon muscles and "dog tags" at the last minute. Despite how he looks in the picture, he actually did have a great time (I think he's in character here:).

And then there's Mae who couldn't wait to be a gymnast. My always-creative sweetheart picked out a dazzling, construction-sign orange, circus meets disco unitard (such a fun word, right?). She wore it and wore it and wore it any chance she could get! But then, on the big day, she opted for a leotard I had recently purchased for the start of her actual gymnastics classes. Paired with tights and leg warmers to keep her toasty, and cute pink hair accessories, some might say (and did ... you know who you are;) that she looked more like an 80s aerobics fanatic than an actual gymnast. Either way, she was perfect ...

... even with a mouth full of white powdered donut. Grandma D obviously agrees.

Here is my fellow Canadian trying to maintain order for an insane round of piñata swatting ... I'm thinking this may have been the piñatas first and only year at the trunk-or-treat.

And here we are back at home counting and sorting candy. Best part of the evening, right?

For the actual night of Halloween we (most of us at least) met up with some friends and toured around their community. It was one of those neighborhoods straight out of a Halloween movie--mass decorations and tons of people hitting the sidewalks. We had a great time and are so appreciative of wonderful friends, not to mention those unique individuals willing to rent an entire storage unit for the sole purpose of housing mass holiday decorations (not that Halloween is a holiday)... which we then benefit from.

As a side note, this was the first year we let Porter go off on his own (along with a friend) for an independent evening of crazily running from house to house begging for candy. Kind of a bittersweet foreshadowing of things to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh, General Conference weekend, how we love you! There is nothing like hanging out as a family and listening to wonderful, inspired talks from men and women (including the prophet of God and his Apostles on the earth today) who live their lives so in line with the Savior and His teachings. Individuals who love freely and are in the constant service of others--and inspire the rest of us to try and do the same. Of course all the delicious food at g-ma/g-pa's house doesn't hurt either, but that's just an added bonus;).

Here we are together (straight out of bed from the looks of it ... which is probably why I"m not in any of the pictures:). Mae and Brooks working on Conference activity books. Gotta love the Internet (and in this case, in particular) for all the fun and free printables.

Just love my family!!

And an "action" shot of President Uchtdorf. Thank you ipad for allowing us to watch on the big screen. Huddling around the computer in the office was starting to feel a little crowded.

Of course, as seems to always be the case, I didn't get any photos of Sunday with the grandparents (the pictures above are from sat.), but we had a great time there as well.

All the talks were really magnificent, but the ones that stand out at the moment are "Children" by Neil L. Anderson, "Love Her Mother" by Elaine S. Dalton, and "Counsel to Youth" (and specifically the poem about the young and old crows) by Boyd K. Packer. Can you tell parenting is on my mind??

Okay, and finally, here's a little excerpt from Elder Anderson's talk:

"Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: '[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.' She then adds: 'Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for."

Oh and I can't leave out the wonderful quote from the young mother on the bus with seven children ...

"The bus driver asked, 'Are these all yours, lady? Or is it a picnic?'
'They’re all mine,' she replied. 'And it’s no picnic!'"

Love it!!!

the not-a-party party

Okay, so in our family we don't have friend b-day parties every year. The official rule is every other year, but even then, we try to make it somewhat enticing to opt for some kind of alternative. Awful, I know. We got to realizing this year, though, that Porter had not had an actual "party" since he was five. It was a monster pool party (because the two things go together so well), during our Houston days when late September was still crazy hot!

Needless to say, we decided the awesome (I will not go into just how awesome, since I did that in my previous post) 10-year-old needed a party! Turns out, I had a couple of really amazing epiphanies through planning and actually experiencing the big event;).

First... 10-year-old boy parties aren't really parties at all, they're just super cool and laid back hang out sessions! Yep. Fun times when boys see who can eat the most pizza, attempt to play wall ball in the upstairs game room, and finish off a package of football-shaped Oreos received 20 minutes earlier as a b-day gift.

Second ... Crafts are absolutely not required!! No, seriously.

Oh, how my outlook on a house full of boys has changed;)!!

Okay, so we actually did do just a tad more than hang out. Porter and his buddies (including James, of course) all headed over to the arcade with Dad for an hour or so while the two younger boys, Mae (plus friend), and I finished decorating a bit, got a few snacks ready, and waited for g-ma to arrive with pizza.

Shortly after double L showed up, the boys came piling back in the door ...

... and started chowing down.

We had yummy cake ...

James made sure Brooks could not spit on the cake (I mean, blow out Porter's candles) ...

And then Porter opened presents from all his great friends.

At this point the boys headed upstairs for some gaming and wall ball (as mentioned). Later that night after everyone had gone home, Porter (in his new Seahawks shirt) and Kevin played a few more games. Must have been pretty late because Dad's looking a little tired and, in case it's not obvious enough, Brooks is sawing some serious logs on the arm of the sofa.
Oh, yeah. He's out.

So much fun! My only regret is that in attempting to only invite as many kids as could fit in our beast of a car, I think we overlooked a boy or two who I really wished we would have invited! Ahh well, there's always next time.

Love ya, Porter. Double digits? Really??