Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Fun In DM

One of the reasons I love Des Moines this time of year is for all of the fun events that go on. Our two go-to's are Night Eyes (I mean, my younger sister is in charge of the event, so it's kind of a must for us) and Living History Farms Trick or Treat event. I was unsure if the oldest mini would want to go this year, but he happily put on a costume and walked around with his brother and sister. Other than that, the weather was gorgeous so windows were finished up and there was LOTS of raking and jumping in the leaves...to be perfectly honest, the leaves have been raked close to twenty times in the last two weeks but haven't gotten picked up once because the minis are so sure they can create "the biggest leaf pile ever." Who am I to disregard that? Plus, it's less work for me at the moment.

Here's a look at our weekend fun during the Halloween season:

We had the house sprayed for stink bugs and I was shocked it worked! Until I went to put up the umbrella on the patio table so we could eat outdoors and I found those little suckers all hiding, hunkered up together. This was only one spot. Underneath the umbrella was covered. Little bastards.

Elizabeth is LOVING her one hour of Christmas jazz on Saturday mornings. Wednesday nights she still has ballet, tap, and tumbling for an hour. I'm quite certain she could dance every night of the week and still not have enough of it. When she got home from her recital practice, she told Alexa to play Santa Baby and she attempted to teach the boys to do "twisty legs."

Saturday afternoon we had an early dinner with my parents at Noah's and then headed to Night Eyes. It's much more enjoyable with fully tummies full of good food....much less of a chance for the kids to stuff their face with candy.

I think my favorite part of this Halloween was my little girly girl deciding upon The Hulk as her costume.

Animals, train rides, and limited pieces of candy make this our go-to trick or treating place before Beggar's Night.

By the time we got through the zoo, ate popcorn and drank hot chocolate, and made a stop in the gift shop, it was dark and nearly past bedtime. 

 This is how a kid multi-tasks: using the toilet while popping Skittles. Nothing like a little sugar before bed.

 As I put the minis to bed I noticed a theme with Elizabeth: my parents tend to buy her the biggest, most obnoxious presents. Huge furry pillow from our day at Adventureland ✔ large stuffed owl (that she's wanted for a year) ✔ Can't wait to see what she gets for Christmas...

Sunday morning started with brunch (that also included their new stuffed animals), followed by window work, raking leaves, and ending with more trick or treating and hot chocolate.

 Confirmation that she really is mine: flip flops with socks on...because it is getting colder after all.

Even the neighbor kids got involved in the raking of the (now known as) "incredible and incredibly fun leaf pile."

 Socks, sweatshirts, and jackets filled my front porch as the kids worked up a sweat.

 The oldest mini took a small break to help Dad with the new trim on the windows....and then jumped right back in the leaves.

 As we pushed the minis to get ready (really, why is it so hard to get ready??? Even when we're headed somewhere fun!), I glanced at the Halloween Lego's on the buffet (they're totally decoration in our house) and this caught my eye. When I picked it up giggling, my ten year old busted out laughing about it too. I didn't have to guess who thought this would be a funny thing to do.

 How most of our pictures start out...

 Someone wasn't thrilled to go on the wagon ride "because the horses smell and the wagon hurts my butt." I made him go anyway.

 Cake pops and hot chocolate at Starbucks after trick or treating.

Naturally, we ended the weekend with Sunday night chores. The boys are in charge of taking dirty laundry to the basement (white basket), getting the clean laundry out of the dryer and bringing it up (green basket), not getting in each other's way (no accomplished), unloading the dishwasher, 1 breakfast and 1 dinner per week, clean up each night of the daycare room, and vacuuming. Our Sunday night cleaning gets done, but not quickly. Just with a few more hands.

This time of year is always busy for us because of all of the fun events that are a MUST for us. What do you look forward to each year that are musts for you and your family?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Mom, I Don't Want To Go Trick Or Treating This Year

Surprisingly, when my ten year old spoke those words to me, they didn't sting. I was expecting it to, to a certain extent. In previous years, my minis spent an hour trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and spent the last hour handing out candy to other kids. It's something the boys enjoy. It didn't surprise me that he still wanted to dress up, but hand out treats instead. That's so very typical of this kid.

What I was shocked about is his willingness to do other Halloween activities. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, we take advantage of several of the Trunk or Treats around town and other Halloween celebrations at local museums and zoos. By the time trick-or-treat night comes around, my minis have already been to at least half a dozen Halloween events. At ten years old, he's getting to the point  where he's the oldest kid at some of these events.

I thought for sure that since he had declined to go trick-or-treating, he would insist on not going to the other events. That didn't happen this year, but it got me thinking (a lot), "will this be the last year?"

Will this be the last time we can even talk about a family Halloween costume without eye rolls being involved?

Will this be the last time we're all together for this event? Will be even do it next year?

Will this be the last time he even wants to wear a costume?

Will this be the last time that he experiences Halloween with the carefree happiness only children can have?

With the holiday season underway (let's be real, the holiday season starts with Halloween in our house), I can't help but project these thoughts onto Christmas. Will this be the last year of Santa? Will they still want to do all of the cutesy tradition that makes Christmas time so magical?

There's so many questions while raising kids. Many of these questions I pose I won't get the answer to until the time has passed. I'll never know as I'm filling buckets with Halloween candy or ordering costumes if this will be the last time. I won't know until the next Halloween, or event, or whatever it is that seems so insignificant but in reality makes everything so special. I can only enjoy the now. As I look at my growing children, I know the lasts are coming. They fill in every so often when I'm not expecting it.

Lasts can be so depressing, but remembering that the lasts just keep coming, helps me to live in the now. To enjoy each little moment, even the tough ones. Even the indecision of Halloween costumes, as we searched through three stores and uncountable aisles just for costume ideas. Maybe next year there will be no more costume searches. Maybe this was the last. And that's what surprises me. The quiet sadness in the lasts. The sadness that won't hit until much later when the last is realized.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Kind of Weekend Where It Snows In October

For real, the weather in Iowa lately. It's been rainy and cold. We seemed to have skipped right over fall and went into winter. We broke out the winter coats, shopped for new ones since the minis seem to think it's cool to keep growing, and stocked up on hats, gloves, and snow pants. For the third weekend in a row, we stayed home on Sunday. Towards the end of summer, the minis have been requesting to stay home more and more on the weekends. That's usually difficult for me, as the weekends are my chance to get out of the house! However, with our cold, rainy weather, it's been easier to say 'yes' to staying home on Sunday. Plus, Saturday was kind of crazy.

Friday night Hubs and I went out with friends for drinks while the minis spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa. As usual, we ended our night out with a shopping trip to the grocery store. This is how most date nights end with us. When we grocery shop with our kids it's all about efficiency, how quickly we can get in and out, while displaying to our children how one should act in public. When it's just the two of us, we tend to crack immature jokes in the toilet paper aisle. It's just a little more laid back than a run to the store with the kids.

Then came Saturday. The day I ran ALL around town from early morning until evening. Elizabeth decide she wanted to do the Christmas recital at her dance studio. This means practice every Saturday morning for an hour (in addition to her Wednesday night dance lessons). I woke up early on this first Saturday to pick the kids up from my parents, except I only picked up the one because the boys still wanted to stay.

So, I drove Lil Miss E to the dance studio expecting a two hour practice, only to be told it was just an hour. I had fully planned on dropping her off, grabbing a quick breakfast, and heading home to get ready for the day. Instead I had to settle for gas station coffee and a granola bar while I sat at the studio in my pajamas (no bra either) listening to the other parents around and pretending to be busy on my phone. I'm prepared for the coming weeks though....you'll still find my in pj's but I'll at least have my computer with me for working!

I sipped my extremely hot coffee while watching my daughter perfect her "reindeer trot" during Santa Baby. Then, I had just enough time to head home, get ready for the day, and inspect my husband's progress on new window installation. While I spent my day running to and from places, Hubs put in new windows for our 67 year old house. The plan was to lay Elizabeth down for a nap and head to the Children's Museum so I could get some work done for programming. However, Elizabeth requested to go back to Grandma and Grandpa's to hang out with the boys. So back to Grandma's we went. From there it was a blur of errand running, gift shopping, and email sending (27 emails sent in one hour. Boom!) before heading back to my parents to get the kids, drop the boys off at home to "help" with the last of the window installation (which really turned into playing with neighborhood friends), and run Elizabeth to a friend's birthday party. Like I said, a day spent running here, there, and everywhere.

I did have an hour to myself in Target while Elizabeth was at the birthday party. I probably should have found a nearby spa instead, but Target is a close second. After picking up Miss E, we stopped at Tasty Taco's and brought dinner home to "our boys" (as Elizabeth calls them). When the minis asked to watch a show after dinner to wind down, I happily obliged. I'm not used to a full day of running all around like that!

Sunday was a slow start and a day spent at home. Hubs had (and still has) to put up the trim around the new windows, but of course, as soon as we got moving for the day the rain, sleet, and snow came. The minis and I cleaned the daycare room and did a toy rotation. In the afternoon, the minis were busy playing in the snow and with neighbor friends, so I took advantage of my time and did some daycare prep and writing.

These fall days have been so wet and cool that I really have enjoyed our Sunday's at home. It's also given me time to get things done that need done, but I rush through doing them. I say these days at home are relaxing, they only are to a certain extent. I've found we have PLENTY to keep ourselves going all day long on these days at home. While I much prefer to be out of the house and doing new things (or the things we love), I do hope the minis will remember these (few) Sunday's at home, spent in our warm house, football on the TV, goodies, soups, and chilis being cooked in the kitchen, and pj's all day long. 

We removed the hay bales from the daycare room, which left us a HUGE mess to clean up. That took a solid hour to get the big pieces of hay out.

The cat was really confused as to why were we outside and he wasn't. 

The oldest mini was looking out the window when he discovered it was sleeting/hailing. Then it turned to snow (nothing that stuck to the ground) and the boys instantly went outside to catch snowflakes. Meanwhile, Elizabeth made herself hot chocolate and sat on the couch indoors and watched the boys.

The "awesomest" part of the day? When dad used a glass cutter on the huge (old) picture window.

Monday morning sensory bin of noodles and eyeballs!