Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

Remember my last post (I know it was really long) how I kinda complained about Thanksgiving being the forgotten holiday? Well, I do have to say that a perk of that happening is the retail world clearanced the scarecrows that I used as place holders to a measley 25 cents! I know, can you believe it? So who wouldn't buy all 30 for their table decorations.
Now, I like to host Thanksgiving. I like to make everything look pretty and eat on real dishes and, as I explained to Tyler, make it FEEL like it's a special meal that represents ALL that we're thankful for. So, yes, it's totally worth the hooting and fluffing of preparation and decoration.

This year we were so grateful that the Mohlers, my parents, the Cupits, the Batts, the Childs, and our brothers, David and Brandon were able to join us. Tyler brined a 25lb. turkey for 36 hours before roasting it and then cooked two other breasts on his rotisserie outside. Erin brought the yummiest mashed potatoes and rolls. My mom brought our family's traditional jello salads. Even better, though, Mom made the gravy. What's Thanksgiving without gravy? I know, right?! My dearest friend, Barb, brought all sorts of goodies with 3 delish pies and an appetizer dip that was pretty much cleaned out. Terry totally showed up with her stuffin' (and Matt, her other stuffin'.) I wish I would have gotten a picture of all the food, but there was tons and I feasted on leftovers all weekend. Thanks again everyone.

And here's one of my best blessings of 2008. Happy 1st Thanksgiving Briggers!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Well, it's 5:50am and THE BIRD IS IN THE OVEN. Tyler's in charge of the turkey(s) this year and, I must say, I think he's outdone himself. He's brined and rubbed and wrapped and seasoned a 25 lb.-er and 2 turkey breasts for our feast this afternoon. When the alarm went off this morning, I just kept waiting for the kids to wake up from the banging around in the kitchen (which they didn't), and thought of my mile-long to-do list (which "to blog" was on there) until I had to help Tyler bag the bird. Then I was up and my brain will not shut back down . . . I'm glad I made myself go to bed last night at a decent hour. I'm sure today will be a long day.

So, yeah, I haven't been posting too much lately. I've been trying to be productive during my day and sitting down to blog at the computer usually ends up with me wasting a lot of time perusing facebook, my email, and other people's blogs. Sooo, instead I've been prepping for today and trying to maintain my house for the after-thanksgiving-events. What might those be, you ask? We have a wonderful tradition in my family that right after Thanksgiving dinner is finished, Tyler packs up the kids and takes them camping until Saturday. It started several years ago when I announced I'd be doing most of our holiday shopping on Friday and Saturday. He deduced it would be worthy of a campout if he was going to be stuck at home watching the kids anyway, and OH THE BEAUTY of that plan. BECAUSE that leaves me with about 36 hours of time in my own house to get stuff done. Now, I know many of you are not Black Friday shoppers, but I kinda enjoy it. I love the rush of blowing a crap-load of money all in one day (as opposed to my normal nickel-and-dime approach.) There's other things, too, that I love that USED to be marked by Black Friday, like the beginning of the Christmas season, but APPARENTLY, someone forgot to tell every stinkin' retailer about that unwritten rule because THEY all kicked it off the day after Halloween this year. And that bugs me. I kinda feel like Thanksgiving is that unwanted stepchild who gets in the way of the fancier, glittzier sibling of Christmas. But you know what? I think Thanksgiving has feelings and we should not ignore it. Don't clearance all the "fall" stuff November 1st! Don't start decking your halls and finishing your Christmas shopping (those people kinda stress me out . . . ERIN!) I'm just sayin'. I have held fast to my anti-Christmas-until-Thanksgiving-is-over philosophy (well, mostly. I'll admit I do listen to 106.5 in the car every now and then to see if I can catch a good Christmas tune since they're already playing it 24hours a day.) So, mostly my big plans for the weekend are to decorate and to shop. And to wrap. And to make my Christmas cards. (Which, btw, I totally appreciate all the opinions in the card picture vote. Tyler and I are now, still, happily married.) All of a sudden 36 hours isn't feeling long enough.

And in other random news:

**My Thanksgiving list has faltered. I have such good intentions, then I beat myself up over failing at my blog goals, then I decide that's one thing I have to let go, but then I find myself making lists of things I'm grateful for . . . so I can blog them. It's kinda a disease.

**I had an altercation with another mom at preschool yesterday. Long story short, I parked where I wasn't supposed to under pressure from my 5 year old to get closer to the door because of the rain. My big, 'ol car with it's loud 'ol engine scared this little sister of another preschooler when she walked out the door, so her mom totally wigged out on me. AFTER I said I was sorry. She totally was yelling at me like I was her kid or something and THAT irritated me, so I finally just hollered, "CALM DOWN!" After preschool, I sought her out and apologized for freaking her out that morning and instead of just graciously accepting my 2nd apology for the incident, she continued to tell me what I had done wrong. I was kinda proud of myself for not being snarky (which was my first idea) or defensive (which was my second reaction). It did make me wonder why she would be freaking out, though. Did she really think I intended to hit another kid? Because I'm pretty sure me dropping of my two preschoolers would indicate I have small kids too, whom I also love. I think she must have forgotten that when she accused me of being reckless and careless and "that just brought out that side of [her]" that yells at another mom. Please. Spare your energy, you unhappy woman who needs to shave your mustache. And have a happy freakin' Thanksgiving weekend!

**My kids are doing really well. LOL. I can say that since they're all sweetly sleeping. Caylee and Mackenzie brought home straight-A report cards and I love that. Neither of them are loving math, so I was really proud of them for eeking out A's in the number department as well. I'm getting used to the boys, which probably sounds funny, but it's been an adjustment to have the girls gone at school all day and just have my little guys to tend to. I find my days are all about getting rid of their energy so I don't want to hog-tie them by the end of the afternoon. Brevin and Brock are loving preschool and the daycare at the gym. I've noticed lately that Brevin has been more of a homebody, but I think it's because he wants to watch Cartoon Network, which he now knows how to turn the channel to all by himself. (See the milestones we're reaching at the Barlow house?!) The problem (er, I mean bonus) of having a surprise 5th baby is that now I have 2 mamma's boys. Brock, for 2 1/2 years, was our baby and my little man. Now that Briggs is here, he, too, is my biggest fan, so while Brevin sneaks off to watch TV, I'm usually trying to convince Brock to self-entertain while I tend to Briggs.

**And, oh, that Briggs. He is sooo sweet. My dear friend, Angela, posted some REALLY cute pictures of Briggs at 6 months, HERE! Go look real quick because he's pretty yummy. At his 6 month check he was 19 lbs. and carting him around is catching up with me, but I love me a big boy baby. All smushy and squishy. He likes to sit and play with his toys and/or anything he can grab. And yes, he has the quickest hands in the west. The other night he yanked Tyler's dinner bowl right off the table and into Tyler's lap. I keep thinking he'll figure out he can crawl, but I'm not overly encouraging it because then we'll have to have a lego-moratorium for a bit and that will prove to be catastrophic for the older kids. He's FINALLY eating baby food, but still being a stinker about taking a bottle. When I try he just looks at me with a, "Are you kidding me lady?" look and the formula dribbles out of his mouth. Does anyone have any tips on how to wean from the breast to the bottle? Cuz I am ready to be done. He's already nursed longer than Caylee, Brev and Brock and considering the pace we keep, it'd be nice if others in the family could help provide his liquid nourishment. Not to mention he's become quite aware of his surroundings and when he gets a hankering to check out which kid is making noises whilest he's eating, Briggs just yanks my nipple with him while he turns around. Ouch, right! And yes, TMI!

**What else? I totally saw Twilight at the midnight showing last week and I really enjoyed it. I've been curious what non-readers thought about the movie because there were audible gasps when characters showed up in a scene because EVERYONE knew the story and I wondered if any non-reader would be like, "UH? Who is that guy?" I had a great time there with my girlfriends and I do have to say a couple of the most exciting parts of the night were the Harry Potter trailer and the row of high school lesbians sitting in front of us, a couple of which totally went at it as soon as the lights dimmed. Trust me, after teaching in a high school, this doesn't surprise of phase me, but it made me wonder if they waited til the lights went down in case someone might see them . . . or maybe tell their parents . . . or something. I don't know. It was weird.

Brevin's soccer season ended. I can't remember if I mentioned that or not, but it did. YAY. Thanks to Coach Webb! He put in tons of time that beyond his already full schedule and I really appreciate his kind, loving nature. Brevin had a great time.

**I was gonna do a blog about the family history family home evening we did the other night. It was fun and I think it'll be something we do monthly so the kids can learn more about their heritage. (Good idea Mom!)

**And finally, on this Thanksgiving morn, I want to let my family know how grateful I am for all of them. We met on Sunday with Tyler's family and today most everyone will come to our house from my side. Of course, I've missed/will miss spending time with Grandpa Bruce and Nate's family and Elder Mike, but I love them all the same. Here's Dodie with all her grandkids (mine are the cute ones and the big onry one in front . . .j/k Mindie, Amy, and Lex!)
I'm incredible blessed by my Heavenly Father to have a wonderful family and great friends. I'm so thankful for each of them and the light they bring into my life. Words can never express the gratitude I have, specifically, for my husband and my kids. They make me better than I could ever be by myself. I've been so blessed to have family who are my bestest friends.

I'm eternally grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the gospel my Heavenly Father has allowed me to have in my life. I'm thankful for the stories of testimony I have read and heard that strengthen my own. And I'm grateful for a sure knowledge that transcends just faith that I am a daughter of God; that He loves me; that I can return to live in His presence again; and that I will have my family with me forever.

I'm grateful, this year, for Tyler's job in these financial stressful times; a church calling which adds water to my well; our home and the nice things in it that convenience my life; girls nights out; date nights (especially with good friends); a baby that was not planned, but evidence that God does know what we need in our lives to make us happier and better; and for good books.

***BONUS FEATURE*** Just as I was getting ready to post this, my dad called and told me to go outside with my camera to face the western sky. And this is the gem I found.

Thanks Dad! Yet another blessing I can add to my list this year . . . a true, full, rainbow. GORGEOUS!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Owned, Daniel!

I told you, Daniel, I had some treasures that I unburied in my garage! Daniel and I coached a soccer team of little 'uns circa 1989. I can't remember any of the kids' names, but I do remember being at the games every Saturday morning. I was probably more concerned with the cute referrees than I was winning our games. Truth be told, a couple of years later when I tried out for soccer my freshman year in High School, having never actually played soccer before, it was probably me explaining to the HS coaches that I had "coached" a young team and had an understanding of the game that got me onto the team. (I have to believe I squeaked by that initial tryout.) Anyway. Good times. And see, I made it through the post without mentioning your super-sweet transition glasses. Love ya!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Card photos

HELP! My most wonderful, sweet, great, favorite-ist, one-and-only sister took some photos of me and the fam today and I have searched through all the 145 pictures and narrowed it down to these 4. I need y'all's opinion. Cuz I'm all about being motivated by approval. And if I get any votes for these pictures than I won't make Tyler re-take them. Which will mean we'll end up divorced if I have to do that . . . so no pressure or anything, but vote. Just click on comment and leave the number (and any pertinent commentary.) And then, you'll still be surprised when you open your Christmas card and your photo won. And if you don't vote I'm crossing you off the card list this year . . . JUST JOKIN'. I'm all about empty threats, don'tcha know???
Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Option #4

And yes, I'm still grateful for stuff, I just haven't had time to sit down and write about it. Soon, soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I am grateful for veterans

November 9, 2008

This morning I was up early, to prepare a lesson, and I remembered to turn on “Music and the Spoken Word” on KBYU. I don’t know what it is about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday mornings, but I was lovin’ it! And as a bonus, there was this whole patriotic theme going on to celebrate Veteran’s Day. In the dialogue part of the show, the narrator explained how Veteran’s Day came to be and when President Eisenhower declared the November 11th to be the assigned day. I didn't realize it started in 1954. Anyhow, Eisenhower spoke of our heritage of freedom, the enduring peace we have enjoyed because of our veterans, and how our soldiers are brave, selfless, and honorable. I was really struck by how grateful I am for those who have served in our military (or who are currently doing so.) One of the last songs the choir sang was a number called, “Distant Land” by John Rutter and accompanying the music was a picture montage of servicemen and women doing what they do. I found so many of the pictures touching, starting with a picture of 2 women standing side-by-side, one holding a baby, both looking out at a big military ship. To see the hard-working, tough-looking soldiers extending their hands to a child, with their gun slung over their shoulder was particularly touching. And I loved the still photos of a soldier praying or looking out at a foreign sunset. Anyway, I was so enthralled by that whole thing I had to DVR it so I could re-watch it again and again. So, today, I am grateful for those who have served our country.

P.S. My friend, Dylan had this AMAZING video on his blog. Since I can't figure how to just have the video embedded, here's the link: SUPER COOL VIDEO or (if that doesn't work) just click on Dylan's name and watch it on his blog. Super cool.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm grateful for a goal

November 8, 2008
I'm grateful for Brevin.
When I first found out I was having a boy I was totally nervous. I wanted a boy, I just wasn't sure what to do with one. I wondered what it would be like to change his diaper and have something extra in there (I found out it is a wet surprise as he pee'd on me pa-lenty). I wondered if boys were really different from girls. I wondered if he'd look as handsome as his dad. Somehow I thought maybe he'd be born a little tougher, a little more rough, and a little more . . . I dunno, boyishly stoic and distant.
But, boy! oh boy!, was I wrong. When Brevin was born we learned little white boys are generally weaker than other babies. He spent the first two days in the hospital nursery under an oxygen hood until a small hole in his lung fixed itself (it's called a neumo-thorax) and at the time it was sooo hard to not be able to hold him and cuddle him. I worried those first hours of bonding that were missed would further my speculations that my relationship with him would be different than what I had with my girls. But it wasn't. In fact, I would often repeat my good friend Patty's words of wisdom: my baby boy was the best boyfriend EVER. Granted, Caylee preceding Brevin by only 16 months and her . . . let's call it impatience as a baby may have tainted our view, but Tyler and I were fairly certain Brevin was about the BEST, most sweet, completely content, easy, and lovable baby around, even though he was a boy.
Now that we've had two more boys, I can add my testimony that my other boys have been absolutely wonderful, too, as babies. Somewhere between 18 months and 3 years old they evolve into something closer to what I initially imagined with their climbing and hitting and fit-throwing and, well, throwing. I learned, when Brock followed the same course as Brevin (going from sweet baby to part-hellian - his current stage-), that I needed to cherish that first year. (Luckily I am totally sucking in all Briggs goodness before he turns to the dark side.)
Brevin is now 5. I'd say his charm has returned.
Brevin is my heart. He has the most sweet moments of genuine love and compassion. He doesn't hesitate to compliment me and he is getting so good about sharing his gratitude for the little things he enjoys. He's a pleaser (which I love to see cuz I know what a motivator it will be) and he makes me laugh with his cute little sense of humor. I am grateful to watch his imagination at work every day AND I am grateful he loves to read book after book after book. While he definitely has his own opinions, I think he's pretty easy to get a long with. And pretty much he's one of my most sensitive kids. I hope that doesn't change as he grows up. He has always reminded me a lot of my brother Mike, which naturally endears him more to me (if that's possible.) Basically, I'm pretty smitten.
And as his mom, I want him to be happy and to succeed. So at today's soccer game I cheered and cheered and yelled and cheered and side-coached as much as I could. I could feel his frustration with not being able to score against the other team and I could see him work really hard. Brevin's not THE most graceful athlete I've seen - trust me, he's got a hitch in his giddy-up - but he's improved a lot since he started playing soccer and he loves his team. He pumps himself up every Saturday before the game and since this week was the last chance for a goal this season, he was determined. The first time he was in, he worked and worked and . . . no goal. The second time was the same. I watched him bang his hands on his legs in frustration and thought if I bribed him $1 per goal maybe he could work a bit harder to make it happen for himself. The last time he went in, the other team had us by 7 goals! And as he worked his way down for one last goal I was a screamin' ninny wanting him to get it done so badly. And he did. And it was awesome. And I cheered. And he smiled his gummy grin. And he came straight to me and gave me a big hug. And he said, "I'm so proud of myself, Mom, that I scored that goal!" And so was I. And I was grateful. For him. And for that one silly goal.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm grateful to have survived today

November 6, 2008

I'm grateful I could do housework in my pjs today.

I'm grateful to unload the dishwasher and reload it AGAIN.

I'm grateful I made it to the gym today.

I'm grateful I took my book so I could sit on the bike, sweat it out, WHILE reading a good book.

I'm grateful Brock's fever doesn't seem too serious.

I'm grateful for Motrin.

I'm grateful I ate Cafe Rio today with some of ma girls.

I'm grateful someone else ordered for me so I actually got the salad instead of the fatty burrito.

I'm grateful I finished my prepwork for tomorrow's Beehive conference . . . well, mostly.

I'm grateful my girls came home a-celebratin' their 4 day weekend.

I'm grateful it's not a track break.

I'm grateful for sushi.

I'm grateful I don't have to share it with my kids; the only thing they won't mooch off of me.

I'm grateful I was able to finish ordering everyone's matching pajamas tonight.

I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about it being all color-coordinated, cuz it mostly is!

I'm grateful Kenzie was able to have a sleepover with good friends.

I'm grateful they went to bed at midnight and not 4am.

I'm grateful I was able to sneak away to Town Square.

I'm grateful Briggs was mostly cooperative.

I'm grateful for lemon cream brulee at Claim Jumper . . .yummy!

I'm grateful for good friends.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm grateful for Bruce and Dodie

November 5, 2008

I am grateful for my in-laws. They are good, good people and I have loved them for longer than I loved Tyler. (I know I've said that before, but it's true.) Last night my mother-in-law came over to my house to babysit my 5 and Mindie's 3 kids while we went and did our callings. Yes, she even kept Briggs, a true momma's boy. Just so you know she (and my father-in-law) babysit for all of us A LOT. And I really appreciate it. And the extent of their grandparenting doesn't just start or stop with the tending of our kids; they are our mentors, sounding-boards, cheerleaders, defenders, and supporters (kids, in-laws, and grandkids alike.)

A few weeks ago my father-in-law took a job in California. With this economy being what it is (and has been), he took a job as an independent contractor working in different stores around the country. He's specializing in closing down stores, so he seems to have plenty to do these days. Luckily, he hasn't been sent too far, but it's still been hard to have him any kind of far for so many weeks now. We're hoping, and yes, praying that Grandpa Bruce will be able to make it home for Christmas. What a gift that would be :) I can't completely express the sense of loss I sometimes feel to know Bruce isn't right around the corner, waiting to come over and play games with my girls or watch western shows with my boys. Bruce has always been a hard-worker for his family's benefit, and Dodie has always been willing to sacrifice. So, her days have been busy with work and, well, life, and her nights have been solo, yet she still has been willing to help all her daughters-in-law with the raising of our kids. And for that I'm grateful.
Here's a photo of all the grandkids with Grandma and Grandpa the night before Bruce left for Cali. [No, Jared and Alexis (in the back) aren't grandkids, but the rest of them are.] I know. D'ems a lot of kids! And, yes, they are THE CUTEST!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm grateful for the right to vote!

November 4, 2008

Today I am grateful to have the right to vote. I'm grateful to have a voice. I'm grateful to the many, many, many people who have sacrificed their lives to allow me to live in such a wonderful country. I'm grateful for the women who demanded the right to vote. I'm grateful to have been born in a country and in a time when all men AND women are created equal. I'm grateful that there will be a change.

I'm grateful their wasn't long lines at the polls today, but that it was busy enough to mean more people than normal care. I'm grateful Nevada has computer voting and that the workers at my polling station were genuinely concerned with the integrity of every one's vote. I'm grateful to still have hope for our country; I feel bad for those who have lost faith in this nation (especially if it's just because their guy didn't win.)

I'm grateful for sweet, dignified concession speeches. I'm grateful to be touched by the inspiring words of a new president. I'm grateful my girls have had opinions about the presidency race . . . and even grateful that they aren't the same opinions as each other's or (in Kenzie's case, at least) as mine. I'm grateful for late night chat-sessions with Daniel and Erin to discuss all things hardly even political. And I'm grateful that even though I will be dead tired for being up 'til 1:30am tonight, that tomorrow will be one heck of a day in our world!

I'm grateful for a new book to read

November 3, 2008
Yes, I am grateful to be TOTALLY into the next cathedral saga. I love being totally caught up in book to the point when I hope I hit stop lights so I can read a paragraph or two before I get the green light (yes, I'm that annoying woman not paying attention . . . it's a good book.) I am grateful that this book caters to my need for tons of details. I am grateful there's a historical fiction genre. I'm grateful my good friend Vicki loaned me her hardback copy of it even though she hadn't even read it yet. And I'm mostly grateful today that I do not live in a time when raping and pillaging and living in squalor are not my norm . . . even in the name of the great and holy church of the dark ages.

I'm grateful for my husband's pontoon boat . . .

but NOT that it's in my living room!
I'm grateful my husband has hobbies that keep him happy. I'm grateful fishing is one of them because I can really get how peaceful and serene, yet challenging it is for him. I'm grateful he has really good friends with whom he can enjoy fishing and take SUPER fabulous/expensive fishing trips. I'm VERY grateful that a couple of his friends are in cahoots with him to supply him with really outrageous fishing gear; like a pontoon boat. And have I mentioned how grateful I am that he decided to finally assemble said pontoon boat in the middle of our living room (yes, complete with the 10 foot long pontoons and metal seating areas? Oh, and let's not forget that it will be in the middle of our living room for, well, probably EVER since our garage is pretty full of a lot of our other stuff and now the boxes that the pontoon boat has been REALLY happy in are on the curb for the trash men . . . cuz forgetting would mean I was ungrateful. And I'm not.
I am VERY grateful that today, on NOVEMBER 2, 2008 my husband shared his testimony in church. And I'm grateful that he was far more generous with me when he said I was an understanding wife, even though I'm pretty sure lying over the pulpit is not a very good thing, when he explained that he was building a boat in our living room. All this gratitude reminds me of one more thing . . .
I'm grateful for all the times Tyler doesn't blog about all my scrapbook/project/messy piles scattered all over our house, cuz he'd be a-bloggin' a lot!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm grateful for Halloween hangovers.

November 1, 2008

I'm grateful for Brock, who I found passed out in the toy room this afternoon with a lamp shining right in his face. I'm grateful he was napping because he had been CRAZY all day. I'm grateful for Spray-n-Wash that will hopefully get the chocolate smear off his shirt. I'm grateful to be the mom of a little boy who plays hard every day and ALWAYS ends up with dirty feet. I'm grateful that the sucker he had unwrapped was not wet and stuck to the carpet. I'm grateful to Leanne who made my kids their "smushies" where many-a-head have rested for a nap.

November's Gratitude Attitude

One of my very BFF, Chris, suggested taking more time to be grateful for our blessings. I have many of them. I will be sharing my daily life with a list of what I am grateful for, hopefully every day this month.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Teeny Halloween-y Celebration

*NOTE* Brief recap after all my dialogue and pictures *
So, issues from my childhood would include bummer memories of Halloween. I HATED that every year we had to wear winter coats over our costumes and freeze our fannies walking around our neighborhood. And costumes, don't get me started on my bitter feelings about always getting to be a "dancer" and wear my previous spring's dance costume. (Mom, please don't take offense because, hello!, I so get the nightmare Halloween can present to a small income.) Once I got a little older, but not too old to trick-or-treat, I was the fab-u/LAME "punk rocker" (aka spray painted hair chic.) ANYWAY, I have tried, since having my own kids, to cater to their fantastical desires for Halloween. I DID put my foot down this year and tell my girls to pick something to be, not just someone (like last year's Miley Cyrus and Shar-pay costumes that basically meant wigs and a new outfit.) I DID NOT prevent Brevin from being yet another Star Wars character (add clone trooper to the jedi and Darth Vader costumes from the previous two Halloweens). Here are some pics from mid-week:
Briggs as a super-cute skeleton. Love the black skull cap and SOO glad he fit (barely) into the outfit since I've had it for a couple months. Trust me, it was a tight squeeze.

Caylee wanted to be a witch, but a cool witch. Not a scary witch.

And Kenzie opted for a devil. Her favorite part was the peep-toe sparkle shoes which she is already wanting to wear to church now that Halloween has passed. Wonderful.

Here's Brock and Brevin in their Spiderman and Clone Trooper costumes before their preschool party.

Here's all of them together before my sister's trunk-r-treat on Wednesday. Our ward does theirs on the night of Halloween and I think that's LAME. There, I said it. I hate that we miss it, but since we have our own family tradition, we miss it every year. Thanks, Erin, for the invite. And hats off to the Stonegate ward and Desert Bloom branch for their great party!

Thursday the girls had their school parties and a costume parade. My girls go to "sister schools" which means they share the same parking lot, but one school has K-2 (Wiener . . . yes, Wiener.) and the other one has 3-5 (Hill.) Usually they're pretty good about not scheduling things at the exact same time so parents can support both kids, but not this time. Soo, I missed Kenzie's fashion, er, I mean costume show, but here's cute Caylee:

Then that afternoon I let the kids paint pumpkins. We didn't carve this year.

Friday being Nevada Day AND Halloween was especially great cuz the kids were out of school and Tyler was off work. Tyler spent the day cooking chili and I cleaned the house to get ready for our annual chili cook-off. This year we had 4 entries and all the flavor-layering Tyler did must have worked because he won the title by a slim margin. We enjoyed having the Webb family, the Cox family, the J. Barlow family, the Laytons, the Mohler group, the Christiansen clan, Grandma Dodie, Kyla, (Kenzie's friend from school), and the N. Garrard family over for a good dinner, some donut-on-a-string eating, and then to hit the neighborhood for some candy-collecting. I think everyone had a good time; I sure loved having everyone over for the night :) PS, I especially enjoyed the white Christmas lights Mackenzie and I hung. It kinda got me looking forward to the holiday decorating.

*Notice above- the super-crafty-cute chocolate covered spiders my brother-in-law made.

And finally, here's a group of all the kids, well, minus Gus who was still changing into his penguin suit:

Parts I loved about this Halloween
Family night Wal-Mart trip to get costume paraphanalia
My kids getting to dress up three days in a row - LOVE more bang for the buck!
Having our friends and family over
Actually dressing up myself this year (no pictures, though, bummer. Next year!)
Painting pumpkins was way less stress
My dollar store find of plastic Halloween trays for our chili cook-off
Tyler winning back the chili title
The candy
Things that were LAME
missing Kenzie's costume parade
Fun Dip . . . seriously, I hate that stuff!
Our ward's trunk-r-treat ON actual Halloween night.
Wimping out on carving pumpkins with the kids.
I can't stop eating all the candy