Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pumpkins + Costumes + Friends + Candy = Happy Traditions

Hands down autumn is our family's favorite season. The temperatures from late September through December are perfect for being outdoors. And even though this has been a rather warm autumn, the extra large piles of dirty laundry, the always-muddy shoes, and the frequent field trips on the calendar prove my point that we are always outside.
The littles and I went for a hayride to the pumpkin patch and they had so much fun running up and down the rows searching for the perfect pumpkin. Annalyse found one she was insistent on - and since it weighed a whopping 19 pounds I had the privilege of carrying it around the patch all morning since it was all she could do to roll it over.
Last year at the pumpkin patch we wore hats, gloves and jackets... this year we wore t-shirts and shorts! (Say what...?)
Carving pumpkins went a little something like this...

Annalyse: Cautious and hesitant, but after a few minutes she was full-force ahead. She carved her pumpkin 100% on her own this year!
Jaxton: "I can do it! I can do it! I want to do it!" And so, with full confidence in the label on the pumpkin carving kit, I handed him a "knife" and he poked and stabbed and sawed his pumpkin 75% all by himself. There was some slight parental help when he was distracted by something else.
Micah: Enjoys being creative - check. Enjoys scooping guts and touching the inside of the pumpkin - not so much. Somehow he is excellent at convincing his siblings to help him clean his pumpkin out so he doesn't have to!
Grady Lee: Orderly, organized, and neat. He found a pattern, taped it to his pumpkin, and very methodically (and slowly!) carved his pumpkin. And then he proceeded to go through all the pumpkin innards to get EVERY SINGLE seed to wash, salt, and roast. Bless.
Trick-or-treating the neighborhood is always so much fun. It's the one time each year that the neighborhood comes alive and everyone is out and about at the same time. We have an established "route" of sorts and we stuck to it again this year. However, neighbors must've been feeling rather generous because each kid filled their pumpkin bucket twice.

(So, yes, that was a whole lot of Tootsie Rolls and Smarties for the trash, and a whole lot of anything Reese's for yours truly!)
Grady Lee and Micah were baseball players, mostly because they have so many old jerseys and hats that I've paid for that haven't had the life wore out of them yet. Annalyse was Princess Leia and Jaxton was Gekko from PJ Masks. Too much cuteness.
Friends came over beforehand for dinner and we all trooped around the neighborhood together. Kids ran from house to house looking cute and getting me Reese's, and adults walked slowly behind enjoying good conversation.
The mad game of trading and organizing began as soon as we got home, and the nonchalant task of confiscating all things Reese's began. It's kind of like a parent tax: "If I buy you a costume and take you around the neighborhood for two hours, then you will pay be back with all things Reese's." Works like a charm.
Now that October is over we're shifting gears for the whirlwind that is November and December. By far the happiest time of year, and likewise the busiest time of year!

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Okay To Play

Sometimes school "work" is delayed. Sometimes errand-running is pushed back. Sometimes being serious is overrated. Sometimes chores aren't completed quickly.

And sometimes that's okay.

Because sometimes laughter is best. Sometimes smiles mean the most. Sometimes relationships take priority. Sometimes a deadline isn't that important.

And sometimes that's what we choose!
Sometimes? Sometimes it's simply okay to play!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Annalyse Joy: Seven Years Old!

My not-so-little girl has disobeyed in every way by continuing to ignore my rule to stop growing up and stay little forever. Try as I may to enforce that rule, she keeps on growing, learning, and maturing. She has a sparkle in her eyes that lights a room, a smile that is infectious to those around her, and a servant attitude that warms your heart.

Annalyse recently turned seven and answered some questions for me - simple things for me to tuck away and remember when she really is grown up and gone! The days are short and I do cherish them.
What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?
Going to places together without the boys so we can do girl things.
What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?
Special dates together where we go out together.
What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
Playing games like Tenzie or Uno or Spoons.
What do you think you might like to be or do when you grow up?
Be a mom and home school my kids. I will probably have four kids and will probably meet my husband in college.
What is something you really hope you get to see or do this year before turning eight?
Go to the beach - lots of times!
If you could have one wish come true, what would it be?
After a big sigh and lots of "uummms" she emphatically declared: I would have it be to have unlimited wishes!
Name a problem or situation that makes you sad that you would fix if you could.
When kids do't have a mom or a dad. When Daddy travels for long trips I miss him, but I know he's coming home to me.
What do you enjoy most and what do you enjoy least about second grade?
What I enjoy least is that I have more work than when I was in first grade. 
My favorite part is taking trips with my family and calling it school!
Happy 7th Birthday Lil Lady! My birthday prayer for you: "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)