Tuesday, November 1, 2016

So Long, Halloween Twenty Sixteen!

November 1st is always a strange day for me.  I look around my house at our "Halloween hang over" observing a diaper clad toddler running through the wreckage with his chubby cankles protruding from his ankle socks. I take in the other toddler with his then-black-now-gray-spiky hair, sorting his candy for the third time on the couch. I watch the older kids viciously scrub at the remnats of a captain america star and the dripping vampire blood, looking in the mirror with sleepy eyes.

I have vague memories of last night, October 31st. 
Memories of picking up William and running him from house to house so he could keep up with the older kids...and on that note, Caity shouting "WILLIAM!" as soon as she saw the homeowner begin closing their door, only to realize Johnny already grabbed a candy for his little brother.  
I think images of jack o lantern and ghost pancakes for breakfast and dead man's toes and pie crust tombstones in potato swamps for dinner.  
I see William and Johnny working on the witch hat craft at the Library with William's proud smile and Johnny's tongue sticking out of his mouth while he colored in the lines, them both being watched by a little tiger trying to figure out how to open his sucker. 
There was Caity in her jack o lantern shirt and striped tights helping me make treats for teachers at school, and there was a lego-made trunk-or-treat by Johnny.
I swell with gratitude and pride thinking about John braving the winds to fix the van for me last minute.
I have memories of trying about a million pictures unsuccessfully of my kids' costumes before we headed to the Season's Medical Trick or Treat.
I see my kids blend with swarms of neighborhood kids dressed as witches, super heroes, and tigers going door to door, and the fun I had greeting all our wonderful neighbors.  I remember a very shy hulk when he finally had the courage to say "Trick of Treat!" and the intense face of a cute baby Tiger every time a piece of candy made it into his Frankenstein pail his white knuckles clutched for dear life.
I see Caity posing, and re-posing to be a more convincing Vampire as she dripped with confidence, swooshing her cape over half her face.
And I see Johnny flexing his fake muscles and flexing again and tackling and speed racing with his fist in the air. 
I see wilting Jack O Lanterns and wind blown wreaths.
The face expressions of cute newlywed couple, Becca and Tyler, as they came out to the car to see their excited to-show-their-costumes niece and nephews.
I think about the piles of candy being sorted, a certain little girl sorting them by type, then size, then finally settling on alphabetically. Then, Johnny trading "anything you want in my pile, even milk duds" for a pumpkin donut flavored laffy taffy, and then every time William found a KitKat, he'd say, "ANUDDER ONE!?" All this while Matthew watched in his crib until he fell asleep.
I remember the pure exhaustion as children dragged their sore feet to their beds, while their Mom and Dad confiscated their candy to pull out taxes that we enjoyed while we cuddled and watched a show together with the kids asleep. 
My crowning moment of every Halloween is the time I get to spend with John.  I think about that on November 1st. I think about his amused face as he walks the kids to the doors, and talks about hometowns, big foot, and politics with the other parents. I think about his smile while he humors me and my themed dinners, and how he brings me back down to earth when I get too worked up about making everything perfect. I think about how he fixed the van without having any clue how to when he started. I think about dumping out Matthew's candy to find a flower he picked for me along our trick or treating route. I think about how great it is that I get to go home with him every night and we get to laugh about all our favorite kid moments and spend time together eating their candy. Haha.
Yes, it was a good day with good memories. 
But on the morn of November 1st, it feels so foreign and the wilting bats on my walls and the smiling witch suddenly become clutter of a distant memory and I get all excited for this new turned page.  It is the holidays. It is time for Thanksgiving- a time for gratitude and family and autumn harvest and gosh, I love that.  So, I get to spend my November 1st switching gears, pulling out the gratitude poster and preparing my family for our next great venture, all while yesterday's adventures still keep me smiling and feeling all nostalgic. 

In other news....I think I am making breakfast for dinner tonight because, hello- breakfast for dinner.

Coming home from School

A Vampire, Iron Man, "Hoek", and a Tiger

Swampy graveyard, bloody bone (biscuits), dead man's toes, Frankenstein's brains.

Halloween Costumes 2016


JOHNNY the "VAMP" (turned IRON MAN)

At his class party. He stood up before I could get a picture WITHOUT a cable cord. haha.

WILLIAM the HULK (pronounced "Hoek")



 And HERE is what trying to get picture of my kids in their costumes on Halloween looks like:

Someone was ALWAYS blurry...or making a face...or running away....or closing their eyes...or sitting. So, sorry for so many of the same things, I'm just going to put these here until I can decide which is the least terrible. haha.

It sure was fun dressing up though!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Making the Most of Fall

Saturday was just one of those very, good, best-day-ever, kind of days.  I feel like I was able to check off a whole slew of items off of my Fall Must Do list that I obsessively keep stored in my brain.  John was out of town for a one day business trip, so it was just the kids and me.  We missed him but tried to make the best of our day.
I think we really needed this day together. It had been a long week and it was just nice to have a good, focused, day enjoying each other and this magical time of year. 
I love fall. I love these kids. I loved this day.
I already know this is going to be a long one, sorry- it was just that good for me. I don't want to forget any part of it.

Our morning started bright, dark and early.  My sister came over and helped me assemble (basically assembled herself) a book shelf I got for the kids books in Caity's room (new discovery: I stink at assembling.) 
We deep cleaned our bedrooms and reorganized everything, bringing more books out of storage for the shelves.  Everyone was so excited when we were done. Something about a clean house puts us in  the best of spirits. 

At nine, we hauled ourselves over to Barton Elementary for the last soccer games of the season.  Caity was first. She did so well. She had so many great blocks and passes and steals and good runs with the ball, she scored THREE goals! She'd probably appreciate me saying, almost a fourth too, haha.  I was so proud of how much she improved this year.  It was a great game to end the season on. Despite the freezing wind, she was in good spirits laughing and joking and running around with her team.
Zandi and Cari came to watch the kids play which made it a lot of fun too.

 As you can tell from the below picture.....Johnny had a lot of fun at his game too...haha! By the time his game came around it was sooooo cold, like "Oh yeah, this is why people don't live in Rexburg, Idaho" kind of cold.  He hustled and got a couple goals but he mostly just wanted to get warm again! Haha. He also had such a great experience and met some great friends this year.  It was so fun to watch him play, he is aggressive  and confident despite it being his first year. I loved watching the joy in his face as he played.
After our games, we walked our frozen toes to the car and my frozen fingers ordered an Alfredo pepperoni pizza to go...or as Caity referred to it: Bloody Mummy Pizza.  We vacuumed and washed out the car, it was much needed- Johnny hopped in the car and said, "Wow, Caity-Our car is so clean, it's like it got baptized like you, right?" 

We went home and had that Bloody Mummy Pizza with hot chocolate with marshmallows Ghost in the Graveyard drinks. Then, the kids hopped in baths to get all clean and warm.  During Caity's bath, Johnny "read" books to William and during the boys' bath, Caity read Witches by Roald Dahl out loud to me while I tidied the house. This was one of my favorite parts of the day.

Matthew went down for his nap, the kids sorted candy from the trunk or treat while I finished some things around the house.

 Then, we finally carved our pumpkins!
We had so much fun playing with the pumpkin guts and planning the faces for me to carve. Johnny was determined to not actually touch the guts, because he just KNEW that his muscles would be able to get it all out with a spoon. I loved seeing their drawings over where I needed to cut.

Excuse the million and one pictures for the millionth time...I canNOT for the life of my get one normal picture of all four of them at once, haha.

Everyone was in such a good mood and joking around, I had such an enjoyable time just hangin' with my best friends.

I was pretty proud of Caity. She cleaned out and carved her pumpkin ALL by herself! Her smile when she finished was priceless. It was cute, Matthew climbed on the table and laid on his stomach and just watched her work, blabbering to her and sneaking a handful of pumpkins guts here and there, haha.

 After we finished out pumpkins we saw that the weather lightened considerably. We decided to walk over to the Hocus Pocus Carnival. We met all sorts of superheros and Disney characters, enjoyed apple cider and cookies, and played a lot of fun games for treats.  We spent a good fifteen minutes trying to catch up to Superman so Johnny could give him a high five. He earnestly insisted Matthew would want to see Mickey Mouse, Johnny was pretty excited (for Matthew of course,) when we got to see him as well. There was spooky music playing and the candy must have put Wills in a good mood because he kept dancing spontaneously, I loved it. The whole carnival was a great, festive way to spend the afternoon.

On the way home, we decided to stop and play at Porter Park.  The fallen leaves were on fleek (the young women in my ward taught me that one,) and we basically knew those leaves wanted us to gather them into huge jumping piles. So we did.
Again....picture overload. It was just SO fun. Another favorite part of my day.

These leaves were the perfect fluffy, light leaves. We played in them for so long.

Johnny kept climbing up this fence and yelling, "Hey, Mom! I'm Spiderman!" Then he would half-cry once he realized how high off the ground he was and beg me to help him down. He is terrified of heights!

Matthew and William were especially enamored by the huge piles and the sheer joy on their faces every time they kerplopped, was absolutely precious.

"Small piles are special too, mom."

Even as the boys lost interest to go swing and play on slides, this girl kept at it. She was in heaven playing with those leaves.

I love Matthew on swings, it is just baby giggles the entire time.  Him and William could swing for and hours and I'm sure I wouldn't hear one complaint besides, "No small push! BIG PUSH! (please.)"  I got quite the work out pushing those two, then running over to Johnny to give him the nine underdogs I apparently still owed him.

Caity all this time was working on her "fortress." In this picture she is giving us her "upset face" because her brothers were doing what little brothers do best: destroy it. Haha.

The leaf fights commenced....I know...sorry, more leaf pictures! Haha, I just loved this memory.

 Then, while I played with the boys on the big toy, Caity was FINALLY able to finish her fortress.

She let Matthew in for a little while. Until he destroyed it again. Then he was banished.

He didn't seem to mind though. Him and I had quite the time at the toddler toy.
Those cheeks!!

He would blow me kisses everytime he went through the tunnel.

Gosh, I love that boy and his dimple!

I turned to find the boys, and saw the above picture. Aww, they are cute.

They soon fell down and William was kind of done with the big toy for a while. He sat out looking a little sad until he found Matthew and he quickly recovered while they crawled around together.

Our friend, Zandi showed up and that gave everyone an extra kick of energy and though we had been at the park for over an hour already, we stayed another hour with a favorite friend to play with there. Her and William raced down slides and played with Caity and Johnny in the leaves and nothing could swipe the huge smile off William's face. He was in heaven.

My Caity girl.

We took Zandi  home with us and decorated sugar cookies.

I'd say it was a success.

The kids played school until Zandi's mom came and got her.  Then, it was off to baths (again,) they got in clean pajamas, and ate Goblin Guts with Jack o Lantern juice for dinner.  While I did the dishes, they played crawl tag and then blocks after a few too many bonked heads during crawl tag.

Then, I made them get on the couch so I could a picture, because nothing warms my heart more than clean, comfy, happy, tired, grateful kids after a long day of adventuring.
Again...sooo many pictures, haha. 

Matthew gets all sassy when I try to get pictures. He'll hide and say, "No." and breathe through his nose, then suddenly change his mind and run back to the couch with the kids, haha.
Awww, they love eachother!

Next we lit our Jack O Lanterns!
From left to right: (William's, Johnny's, Caity's.)

We went back inside as it started to rain, and made muddy buddies or as Johnny referred to them: Bat Poop. Ew. Boys. Seriously.  Then we cuddled and watched Hocus Pocus until we realized it was too scary and switched to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
By the end of the movie, everyone was fighting sleepy eyes and they crawled into bed with big smiles on their faces.

It was such a good day. Good memories. Good life.
I just love that I get to spend all my days with these kids.

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