October 31, 2014


Once again, deciding on costumes for Halloween was a challenge...

Actually, the first thing Allie said she wanted to be was a pink, sparkly princess, and the first thing Ryan said he wanted to be was Spider Man, but the costumes they wanted were crazy expensive - especially considering they had changed their minds within days of deciding on those costumes!  We went through a plethora of ideas - a ladybug and a ghost, a fairy and a dragon, Mario and Princess Peach, Wild Kratts.  So many costume ideas.  I finally suggested that if they picked a costume out of our existing costume box, we could put the money I set aside toward Christmas...and more Christmas presents.  It was a pretty immediate decision to be Iron Man and Cinderella (which we already owned).

But then we went shopping for canned goods (for the aforementioned competition).  We walked into the grocery store, and immediately saw their Halloween costumes!  On sale for 40% off!  And there just happened to be a sparkly, pink princess dress and a Spider Man in their size!  $10 per costume seemed like a bargain to get the costume of their dreams!
The lesson I learned was: Always stick with their FIRST costume suggestion!
It seems to always be the one we come back to in the end.  I could save myself so much time and energy!
For a fun special treat, Nana was able to join us for Halloween this year!  We went to her house a couple years back, but this is the first time it worked for her to travel to be with grandkids (gotta love a weekend Halloween).  I don't know if the kids were more excited about getting candy, or showing off their costumes to Nana.  Halloween should totally be added to the list of holidays that should be shared with family.
Halloween day ended up being the worst weather we've had yet - freezing rain and snow showers, biting cold wind, frigid temperatures.  I told them they were going to be "Nordic" Spider Man and princess.  Instead of going house to house, or waiting in line for the trunk or treat, we decided to go to the local college campus where they were having trick or treating in the dorms!  We knew that trick or treating at the rooms of college students wouldn't be the traditional experience, but we also knew that we could minimize our time outside and spend some significant chunks of time actually trick or treating indoors - so we tried it.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  The college students dressed up (which the kids LOVED) - many of them as princesses or super heroes (which they loved even more!).  The time indoors was exactly the solace from the storm we hoped.  And it turns out that college students buy good candy - like the really good stuff - and they are very generous.  Also, Lucas and I got to take them to our old dorms - ah, the memories!
Trick or treating at  my old room!!!
All in all, we had a Halloween that fulfilled all their hopes and dreams.
Save me, Spider Man!
Now on to Thanksgiving!

October 27, 2014


I'm not sure how it happened.  Perhaps not having a computer on which I can immediately download, view, edit, and enjoy pictures leads to me taking fewer pictures?  All I know is that October is...empty...In fact, I didn't take a single picture (not even on my phone!) until the last weekend.  What?!

I planned to take some family pictures for a friend, and Lucas and the kids tagged along.  They helped me pick some spots and get my lighting adjusted ahead of time.
I love catching them when they aren't look - Allie lounging in the leaves.
 I needed a posed picture, and Daddy jumped in to help  I kind of love the (relatively candid) result.
Then, of course, Ryan want a posed picture with Daddy and the football.  I love how perfectly posed Ryan is...and Lucas has no clue what is going on!
 Finally, a snapshot - from the top of the hill - of my favorite people playing football below.
The day before was a casual dress day at school.  The kids can wear absolutely anything (well...nothing revealing or inappropriate, but my kids don't have anything like that in their wardrobe, so there isn't any worry).  Their choice (without hesitation) - Husker gear!  The 7th grade teacher is also from Nebraska (which means he is also a Husker fan).  When he sees the kids he says, "Go Big Red!" and, as Ryan said, "We like that!"  Another one of the great influences that make me so happy with our school of choice!
So, since U of M was playing MI State on Saturday, we all dressed in our Michigan gear.  We also replaced our US flag for the first time with a very special Michigan flag.  Recently, we lost one of our newly graduated youth group members in a tragic accident.  His mom, a State fan, gifted his beloved Michigan flag to us earlier in the week.  We raised the flag in honor and memory of him.
 Of course, all of this fun was immediately followed by the twins getting sick.  It was short-lived, but the kiddos and I spent what was supposed to be an exceptionally busy Sunday at home resting and getting better.  Even though the twins almost never take naps anymore, I insisted they lay down.  They asked if they could snuggle together, and I agreed (anything to force a few minutes of rest!).  A little while later, I realized that it had been completely silent in their room for a long time.  I went in to check and found them like this...

The last week was full of competitions at their school.  One being a canned food drive for a local food bank - the 2 classes with the most canned goods winning a casual day (no uniform) or an ice cream party.  The other being a fundraiser competition where classes were competing to sell the most (also to win a casual day).  This competition had a daily update of class standings, and an opportunity for the kindergarten class (1/3 the size of the other classes) to win!  We sold our hearts out, and made it to 1st place just before the final weekend!
In the end, kindergarten not only won the fundraiser competition (woohoo!), but they came in second for the canned food drive competition (which happened, I think, because the kids had no clue they were 2 competitions and kept going home saying, "We are in second place, we need more canned food!"  The kindergarten class kept coming in with BAGS of canned goods!).  Considering that no one in the school can remember the kindergarten ever winning (the poor teacher!), this was a HUGE upset.  Gotta love a good underdog story :)

Since I can, I've decided to divide October into 2 posts!  We'll let Halloween have its moment to shine.