Thursday, October 31, 2013


Since today is Halloween, we decided last night was the perfect time to carve our pumpkins. We got them the first weekend in October, but we have learned to wait to carve unless you like pumpkin pie on your porch for Halloween.

Both kids were hysterical last night. Evan dove right into his pumpkin with a giant spoon:
Issa (who was a mouse for dance last night) was not so sure about the whole pumpkin guts thing:
Evan absolutely cracked up every time we said "pumpkin guts," but he also was no so sure about that slimy stuff:
We had four pumpkins filled with seeds, so once we had plenty for toasting, everything went in the compost bowl. This kid cracks me up:
The annual Daddy carving shot:
An Issa photo bomb:
And one weird boy:
I still don't know what he was doing.

Instead of carving the pumpkin from Evan's field trip, he decided to use our pumpkin head pieces to make this dog pig:
The actual carving was a bit different this year. We departed from the traditional jack-o-lantern and went with more artistic pumpkins. Issa wanted a leaf on hers:
And Evan wanted a witch:
Please let the record show all of these pumpkins were free-handed. I did a tree with a bat, and Daddy did the family:
I carved three, but Daddy still did the most carving. Please not in our pumpkin family portrait Daddy has an ax, Evan has a tail, Issa has horns, and I have a broom. Daddy declared it his best pumpkin ever.

Tonight, we trick or treat!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A-Booing We Went

One of our favorite Halloween traditions is Booing in the neighborhood. Monday night, the doorbell rang just after dark, and the kids went flying to the door. Sure enough: we had been booed. A basket arrived filled with Halloween treats, flashlights, stickers, and squirmy wormies. There was much squealing and no time for photographs. We hung our ghost on the door and started plotting.
Last night, we went shopping for the perfect boo baskets. Once you are booed, you choose two other houses to boo, which works out beautifully when you have two children. They each chose a house and filled Halloween buckets with the perfect treasures. Issa was very proud of her basket:
She even delivered it all by herself. She has this ring and run thing down.

Evan was also thrilled by his selection:
I helped him with the ring and run part. He dropped it on the porch and got a head start before I rang and ran. Mental note to self: change out of my work dress and heels before attempting this next year. Thankfully, we didn't get caught!

It really is such a fun tradition, and I love that the kids have just as much fun booing as they do being booed. Tonight, we carve the pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Festival

Friday night, we all headed to Issa's school for the Fall Festival. It's a crazy event with kids going everywhere, but it truly is the most organized chaos I have ever seen. Everything runs on a ticket system and is confined to one end of the school, and all of the school staff is on hand. Many teachers run booths, and the others wander about making sure everyone is on their best behavior.
Issa barely finished dinner before she was begging to go explore with her friends. Because it is so well set up, we let her take off with ten tickets at a time. She would use those up and then come find us for more. It was brilliant.
Evan wanted to hang out with us for the beginning of the evening, which was great! One teacher set up a crafting booth, and Evan and I made a witch's hat:
We also met up with Issa to make snap bracelets with the art teacher:
I don't know why, exactly, but I love this picture:
Evan was trying to decide what to do, and I was trying to convince him to try a game. Meanwhile, Issa was turning orange:
We played carnival games and came home with all manner of candy and junk. At the end of the evening, Brad and I sat in the cafeteria talking with other parents while Evan went off with Issa and her friend. They had a blast, and it's always good to talk with other parents that we don't get to see very often. I love that we are in a school where I feel perfectly safe letting the kids explore and have fun with friends.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of reorganizing, building, and play dates with friends. We even found a family that has kids the same age as ours and parents that are very fun. I think it's the beginning of a wonderful relationship.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Yesterday was Daddy's birthday. Unfortunately, it was also Thursday, which is our crazy busy day. Evan had his last soccer game, Issa had dance, and I worked until 7:30. Consequently, Daddy spent most of the day running around like a crazy person.
In the midst of that, though, we did make sure he was celebrated. Yesterday morning, the kids gave them his gifts:
 Look at how excited this sweet boy was for Daddy to open his:
 He gave Daddy a pair of Nerf guns so they could play together.

Daddy was greatly amused and then moved on to Issa's package:
 She was so nervous! She put a ton of thought into her gift:
She gave Daddy a bag of all of his favorite snacks for his week off. He was thrilled, and I am thrilled we are raising such thoughtful givers who know the importance of finding the perfect gift.

I put Daddy's favorite turkey breast in the crockpot, and I did make his pecan pie. I refused to take a picture, though, because your birthday is your one day to raid the pie crust before it's served. Within five minutes of coming out of the oven it was defaced.

We will celebrate big this weekend. Since today is Daddy's last day at work, he has declared the next week his Bacchanalian. Let the celebrating begin!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Work in Progress

I mentioned a few posts ago that we are working on (finally) finishing the bookcases downstairs, but at that point I could go into any details about why. We are converting that space into a home office for Brad! He will be leaving his current job tomorrow, after nine years, to start a whole new adventure. We are all really excited about the possibilities and the work he will be doing. He will still be traveling, but when he is not traveling, he will be working from home!
He's taking next week off to give himself some space to transition and to finish the bookcases, but last weekend we made some major headway! Ironically, it started in Evan's room because the window seat turned into storage for his room. I didn't take any before pictures because he room was just too scary, but here is the after:
Look at those organized shelves:
A week later they still look that way, too! And his dressers got a tidy:
And his desk resurfaced! It's a miracle:
He is thrilled to have more space and a system that works for him again. He was also thrilled to help Daddy build:
And here is the current state:
The horrible blinds and curtain are gone, and the shelves are in. Brad just has to finish the trim and then paint them white. We also found Roman shades to install in the windows, and the desk should arrive next week. We're on our way!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cows and Preschoolers

I am still recovering. Yesterday, I went to the diary farm/pumpkin patch with Evan's preschool class. I made the same trek with Issa's class. Issa's class of mostly demure girls. Evan's class of not a single demure child was a whole different trip. I am still tired.

Despite the fatigue and the very real fear one little sprite was going to get run over by a tractor, it was a fun day. The kids loved seeing the animals, and Evan loved having me there. I had strict instructions that hand holding was absolutely not allowed, but he did snuggle up to me on the hayride. I'll take what I can get on that front.

The hayride was by far the highlight. Evan snuggled up next to me, and all the kids loved seeing the cows--especially the calves. One friend had never been on a hayride and he belly-laughed the entire ride. I couldn't help but giggle right along. There is nothing more fabulous than the pure joy of a child.

I also met a new friend in Evan's class yesterday. She just moved here from China, and she speaks no English. I don't even think she recognizes her Americanized name. It was her second day in school and we were at a dairy farm where people talked at her all day. It was a disaster. My heart broke for her; I can't imagine what that feels like at four years old. In a new place where no one speaks your language and you don't speak theirs. Needless to say we had some behaviors.

When I got back to work, I asked a colleague for suggestions, and I sent the teacher some ideas to help with the transition. The best suggestion was to get her a buddy, someone who could show her the ropes and smile a lot. So...I enlisted Evan last night.

As I was snuggling him right before bed, we talked about how she must be feeling scared and sad and a little helpless. We talked about how she really needed a friend, and what being a friend to her might look like right now. He was hysterical. His little earnest face looked at me, he put his little hands on his eyebrows, and he said, "I have been smiling at her for 14 hours and she just keeps throwing balls over the fence." This is the highest crime in Evan's world. Once I pulled myself together, we talked about being kind to people who need it most, and he agreed he could see if she wanted to play with him and his friends today--but probably not with balls. I agreed it was a solid plan.

This morning, as we were getting ready, he reminded me that he was going to smile a lot and be kind today--but not with balls. He's thinking Legos would be a good start because she likes Legos. I love this little boy's sweet heart..

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Birthday Bowling

For Issa's birthday, we gave her a day trip. We had envisioned a trip to the beach, but we gave her the option of choosing something else--especially since this past weekend was the set date and it might be a bit chilly at the beach. (Life has been a little nuts.) She made a call that we didn't see coming: bowling. Not just bowling, though. We had to eat there and play the arcade games.
We started with lunch, and Issa was just a little thrilled:
We have weird children:
After lunch, we headed for a lane. Thankfully, we had the whole alley to ourselves, so we didn't have to be too embarrassed by our terrible bowling.

Issa likes the granny approach:
Evan loves the ramp...and his hood:
Daddy is the only one with any real form:
Evan gave up on bowling and wanted to take pictures. He took this silly face picture of us:
I love this one of Daddy:
And Issa:
And cuteness himself as captured by his sister:
We can't bowl, but we did laugh a lot...a whole lot, and I think it was exactly what our girl had in mind.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Littlest Engineers

This weekend was all just a blur of too much fun mixed with a lot of productivity. It's all too much for one post, so I plan to split it up over several. First, our children stayed up way too late all weekend because of scenes like this:
These two truly love playing together, and when they are building a fort, how do you stop them in the middle?

Eventually they both snuggled in to their fort:
I love that you can see Evan peeking out. What you are missing is the chatter and the giggles coming from inside that fort. Brad and I both just stood in the kitchen to listen, giggle, and beam. I pray that these two are always this close.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Best Little brother...

Another dance mom snapped this pic on her phone:
I know it's tiny, but she and I both thought it was too adorable; I had to share. Evan truly is the best little brother. We got to sit in the dance classes this week, and little man very contently watched for a while, and then he leaned on me and set himself up with the iPad. Not once has this little guy complained about going, and he usually says something along the lines of, "That was really good, Sissy," after class. He's adorable, and I think I will keep him.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I love my girl...

So, Issa is wicked smart and funny. The past 24 hours have produced some gems that warrant sharing.

Math homework with Issa is often a challenge. She can absolutely do the math, but her sense of logic gets in the way. Case in point, yesterday, she flew through the first page and all but the last story problem on the second without a single mistake. Then this happened:

"Mom, I can't do this last problem. It makes no sense."

"Issa, you did all the others. You can do this one."

"No, I can't. It makes no sense."

I wanted to bash my head into the table. "Issa, you are being irrational. Just. Do. The. Math."

"Mom, this makes NO SENSE. A clown had nine balloons. He gave away six. How many does he have left?"

"What is wrong with that? You can totally do that problem."

"Mom, if he was doing his job he would have no balloons left. Why does he have balloons left? The answer should be zero."

It's funny now, but yesterday I nearly lost it. She did agree to solve the problem if we agreed that he needed to know how many more children he could make happy with a balloon.

Last night, we started to tuck as always, and Issa had a moment because her stuffed animals were not right. Since she sleeps with a zoo, Brad and I knew this was going to be a process, so we decided to tuck Evan first. When we came back, she had sorted her animals by mammals, aquatics, and "Fluffer is in the middle because he is an unknown species." How can you not love a kid that whips out "unknown species."

This morning, Issa and I had a wonderful chat on the way to school about Santa's Elves and collectibles (long story), and just when I thought I couldn't be more amused by her, she started to get out of the van and bonked her head on the ceiling--just like she does every morning. Without missing a beat, she announced, "I have got to remember that I am a giant in this vehicle."

Seriously, I could not love this girl more.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


One of my very favorite aspects of fall is that it starts to get chilly in the evenings, which means my kiddos start to get snuggley in the evenings. Last night, they asked to go put on snuggley pajamas, and we happily obliged. And then, in a moment that stole this mama's heart, they asked me to take pictures.
A current favorite of Issa:
 After so many pictures where she has looked incredibly grown up lately, I am cherishing this one where she dressed Kit in pajamas to match her and wanted the picture. My sweet baby girl.

And my boy:
He was too busy twisting showing off his Thomas pajamas for me to avoid the motion blur. Motion blur is just a part of him.

And with that, I managed two perfect pictures followed by lots of good snuggles. Bliss.

Monday, October 14, 2013


One of my favorite things about being a mom is noticing my kids' little quirks. My very favorite quirks always have to do with words--the cute little mispronunciations or slightly misused words. Evan still says popsicles in a way that I can't even phonetically spell but makes me melt every time I hear it. Both kids love "prentzels" for snack.

For a long time, Issa's favorite word was actually. Every conversation had an actually--even if there was no logical reason to use the word. "Actually, I loved dinner." So did everyone else, my friend.

In the past week, Issa has a new quirk--literally. I have no idea where she got the word, but it enters every conversation, usually a little incorrectly. As in, "I literally love dance." Yes, baby, we know. "I literally need to clean my room." Yes, baby, you do, but there is really no figurative interpretation of that sentence.

It was literally very cute the first million times, but for now I wish the word would figuratively retire for a while.

Friday, October 11, 2013

House Guest

We have a house guest this weekend:
Meet Sadie. Our neighbors are traveling, and we volunteered to keep this sweet girl. She is a very loving Akita puppy at about a year and a half, but she is still full of all kinds of energy and puppy snuggles. She and Viv became fast friends, and the kids are loving playing fetch and snuggle with two dogs. I think they would keep her forever, and I'm really not looking forward to when she goes home on Sunday. I see many puppy play dates in our future.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Company Update

Since I did a soccer update yesterday, it seems only fair to do a Company update today. In short, Issa is in love. Not once has she asked not to go or complain about all of the time at the studio, and I love watching her really work hard. She runs the dances at home, and if she's sitting on the floor, she is probably stretching. She has become good friends with the other dancers, and we still love the teachers and the family atmosphere at the studio. I have made good friends, and we all help each other and the other girls. We belong, and I love it.
Mondays, we have ballet, and this walked down the stairs:

She looked so grown up and so graceful. If I'm honest, I went to get the camera to hide the tears. How I love this dancer...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Soccer Update

We are a little over halfway through the soccer season, so I thought I would share an update about our favorite Zebra. First, a quick summary of my life:
I think that captures it.

This is Evan's game face:
Which might explain why he has not so much been a fan of games. He loves practice, but he had not wanted to actually go to the games. It seems trying to take the ball from the other team was not so much his style. He much preferred cheering and warming up.

Last night was a turning point, though, and Miss Steph was there to witness it:
It was freezing (okay, it was 56, but it was damp and felt freezing), and Evan really didn't want to play in the game. So...I bribed him with hot cocoa if he played hard:
And he did! He even asked to throw the ball in:
And take the goal kick:
And he really kicked it:
He also made his first goal! It was in the wrong net, but it's a start. He ended up really loving the game, and he never once volunteered to sub out. I guess it just clicked.

And in case you haven't had enough cuteness, his official soccer picture:
Soccer just might be his thing after all.