Saturday, December 27, 2008

Promises broken, (but luckily no arms)

I know I promised that I would get the pics up, but I got distracted by all the Christmas fun, and now, we are at the beach. Of course I will post, from the MRs. new MAC BOOK computer (Which so far is super fabulous, if not mildly daunting to be relearning to use the computer). Anyways, I was also lucky enough to receive an actual CRICUT Expression machine, so I will probably be AWOL as I die cut a million fabulous items!!

Moving on, I had to get this video up, because I cannot even believe it, but it's true!! 

Cubby can ride a Bike!! 
He went round and round the cul-de-sac after that, but of course I neglected to film that because I was watching so intently. 
So miss H is not too far behind, but her balance needs a little work still. Most likely she will be there in a day or two, but we had to take a little break from lessons so the Mr. could realign his spine. 

I can't even believe it, who would have thought, he's barely four!!
So, pictures to come of the Christmas fun, and Little Daddy's number 2 Birthday!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We survived three church services this week. The final Sunday of Advent, a Love Feast in Historic Salem, and a children's Christmas Eve service tonight. I love worship, and even though it is a challenge to get the children all properly attired (the Mr. literally wrestled Little Daddy into his overalls this afternoon) when the timing is right and the children are engaged, it is quite possibly the nearest thing I have seen to Heaven on Earth.

When the lights were turned off at the Love Feast, and they brought those handmade Beeswax candles out both Cubby and Miss H were absolutely stilled. They had just seen these very candles being made on a field trip, and to watch Miss H's quiet concentration, as she held that candle and her pure delight in there being hymns to sing that she recognized. Her candlelit silhouette complete with uplifted chin and eyes of wonder..I tell you it was not only a memory made, but a warmth in my heart. (I would have had a photo of it, but I really couldn't juggle Lil Bit the lit candle and a camera, I know many of you just gasped in disbelief)It is a wonder to me at how many little nothings of a moment move me to tears at the sheer grace I feel in having been given so many people to love. Granted sometimes it seems they have ants in their pants, but that makes these other moments that much sweeter.

So the children are nestled all snug in their beds... although I feel certain it's not sugared plums dancing through their heads. We do have a little treat for you posted below. I certainly hope you enjoy it!!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Old Saint Nick

I consider the whole visiting Santa and sitting on his lap to be one of the hilarities of childhood. I myself have quite fond memories of the entire experience, including one year in which I kid you not Santa had an actual live CHIMP. The holding of said Chimp was the responsibility of my older sister but I still remember the thrill of sitting near it!! That being said, we made our annual visit to the fat man this year, with the usual trepidation on my part. Somehow we have some terribly shy children who won't just go hopping onto laps. Also , with four kids, odds are someone is going to be crying!!

We arrived early (we were number one in line) and surprise surprise Cubby and Miss H were very enthusiastic. They made plans to chat with Santa about the kind of cookie he preferred, and put the final touches on their letters. There was a small discussion about if Santa would like Soy milk or regular milk.

The big moment arrived, the gate opened... and Cubby and Miss H hopped right up there, huge grins plastered on their faces.. Lil Bit was not impressed by the fat man, and following her return she promptly fell asleep in the punkin seat.

Little Daddy on the other hand.. well take a look for yourself...

Doesn't he look like he's being kidnapped!! Granted, he had made his opinion on the subject perfectly clear. Everytime we mentioned visiting Santa he said quite clearly "NO!" Whatever, the experience is not so much for him as for me, and I found the whole thing quite hilarious.

Post lap sitting, I asked Cubby and Miss H what Santa had said about the cookies and milk, quite sheepishly she looked up at me and said... "Oohh we forgot." They did manage to squeeze in that Cubby would really like a digital camera, and Miss H would like a sewing machine. Little Daddy did not even want a candy cane from Santa, so I suppose he will be satisfied with whatever should happen to appear in his stocking.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daddy's Girls

Having been one myself, I know the true comfort that comes from being a Daddy's Girl, and how in many ways your Dad is the first man you learn to love, and even now I measure my husband against this standard. What I wasn't prepared for, is what a treasure it is to watch a Daddy and his girls as they grow into their roles. I am painfully aware, that there will come a time when the Mr. and I will not be innundated by the caucaphony of young parenthood and instead of giggles and shrieks it will be silence that reverberates down the hall. I think from time to time what that will be like. My preliminary conclusion is that it will be bittersweet. I think to sustain myself through that bittersweetness, I will have not only my fabulous husband, and the abscence of sippy cups, but a catalog of great memories. Check out this daddy with his girls.

Daddy and Lil Bit (The reason we missed the Duke Game)

Daddy and Miss H four years ago.. (I know the Mr. has hardly changed at all!!)

Lil bit, by the way is now more than two months. At her last check up she was rocking it at 11lbs 3 oz, and a mind boggling 78th percentile in length, making our Lil Bit the biggest of all the kids.

Who knew?
Also... Here is Miss H aged 2 months in the same outfit!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A little Mischief

There is a mysterious phenomenon occuring around here, each time I have downloaded pictures from our digital camera there are mysteriously a few I did not take... these for example:

Now who in this house could be interested in touching something they are not supposed to? Certainly not Cubby who has asked repeatedly for a digital camera from Santa? Certainly not his frequent partner in crime Miss H. Honestly, I have to admit, Cubby does have a pretty good eye, some of his stuff is a little artsy...

So here's hoping the fat man sees fit to keep them off the BBandG (Bad Boy and Girl List for those not following Santa lately) and grant Cubby's heart's desire... (Miss H has her heart set on a Hello Kitty sewing machine) I'm thinking of submitting a few to National Geographics"My Shot" contest. Below is a little collection of some of these "anonymous" photos. Although in all honesty, the kids do admit to taking the pictures, and I don't mind too much (it's just memory space). It is also interesting to see what they consider picture worthy. And, I may have invited this mischief showing them how the camera worked about a month ago.

The First Christmas Play

Well, I have a few un-finished posts. Something must be up around here, as I have no idea why I have not had time to complete my thoughts, whatever could be the excitement?

At any rate, instead of waiting to finish all the unfinished.. I will post the new posts, and fix the others up later. (You know in all my free time).

We were very fortunate to have Hannah and Connor's first ever Christmas Program at school on Friday. The pictures are not very great, in part because of the camera and in part because of the lighting I think. There was also a slight miscommunication, in which I thought arriving by 11:15 as suggested by the school head would mean an acceptable seat, apparently the more responsible parents had stayed since drop off that morning. Had I known the show would be a sell out, I would have camped out the night before!!

All in all, I found this first Rite of Parental Passage, quite entertaining and hilarious. There were slews of Dad's armed with recording devices, (some on tripods) and enough anticipation to merit a true Broadway debut. I don't know which was more entertaining to watch the chorus of small children outfitted in costumes of their choosing telling the story of Christ's birth, or the crowd of parents (myself included) clamouring for the perfect view. Parenthood is a constant wonder to me, for what other force could cause pure delight in a stage full of people in costumes made with safety pins and hot glue moving about as the Christmas Story is read. I must also admit a complete appreciation for Auntie Abby, Uncle Josh and Mrs. Robyn who indulged my parental wonder and oohed and ahhed in all the right places, and didn't tease me a bit when I was disappointed at the photographic evidence of this obviously historic event.

So below are a few pics (again the picture quality is quite poor). Connor was a fabulous Donkey who roved the stage quite dramatically throughout the show. Hannah played Baby Jesus, complete with blankie, and did some very convincing thumbsucking and sleeping. Hannah also did an excellent job singing.. which I think you can see in one of the later pics.

Click to play The First Christmas Play
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

It's here, it's here!! The Christmas season arrived full force in our house last Sunday (I don't know why it takes two weeks to post it). To our great delight, Cubby and Miss H are quite the Tannenbaum decorators, and while we are well aware that Christ's birth really has nothing to do with a Christmas tree, it is such a great opportunity for us to remind the children of their family history it is a tradition hard to part with. As you can see from the pictures, there is a definite spacing issue with the ornaments as each child had a particular "area" that they preferred to hang things.

So, although I was raised to have a real tree, we made the switch last year to artificial when we realized that the expense of a real tree coupled with the purchase of new lights was a little steep, not to mention the little pine needles I was always finding everywhere, and the constant threat of fire!! Although the smell of warm plastic in no way can compare to the fresh smell of a real tree, these days I am a little more interested in economics than I care to admit.

By far the favorite ornaments are those sent by my loving Aunt each year (along with a box of See's Chocolates) from Disney. These Storybook Collections come in a box shaped like a storybook, and have excellent resin renditions of all the characters. Disney only releases two stories each year, (This year is Sleeping Beauty, and Toy Story) and they are quite affordable. It is my fantastic Aunt that taught me the importance of labeling my ornaments with the year and storing them in their original boxes. Every year when I open the huge Rubbermaids containing our ornaments I am overwhelmed with nostalgia for the weekends I spent with her and her careful attention to raising me right. This is just one of the things we share with the children as we decorate.

Other favorites, an adorable ceramic house my brother Michael painted in 1984, it is complete with reindeer hoofprints on the roof and a menorah in the window. Whenever I see it I am instantly flooded with memories of Legos, and Matchbox Cars, Scrabble, Monopoly, and a Chinese Game called Go. As well as a thousand rafting trips, hikes and nature walks. This was the brother who loved logic and reason, but seemed also to have a soft spot (very un-Spock Like) for his sister. When he converted and began celebrating Hannukah, he included us in his celebration, I have very fond memories of his patient teaching of the meaning of Hannukah, and the correct way to light the Menorah.

The children are conditioned now (with their own interest in connecting to the past) to ask about each ornament and where it came from, and it is a delight to me to share our history this way.

When the tree was all decorated the highlight of the evening was (this will make you laugh) the argument Cubby and Miss H had over who could re-tell the story of the first Christmas using the nativity set. They did opt to take turns, but the pure enthusiasm and desire they had for retelling the story of the birth of the Christ child warmed my heart. It is a delight for me to see these children of ours learn about their Savior and tell His story. When I get these little glimpses at the great goodness that can come from patient parenting I am thankful, it is a blessing to see the small fruits of your labor so soon, as well as an encouragement to know that this is only the beginning.

I hope your Advent is shaping up well, it is afterall the most wonderful time of the year!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Time

Thanksgiving, like nearly all of the holidays evoke in me a kinda "Martha Mania" in which I have these grand plans to create a picture perfect holiday complete with the delicate and perfect balance of tradition, and hallmark, commerical and homespun, these "good things" as Martha would say that my holiday would not be complete without. I am proud to say however, that the advent of our fourth child in four years has led me to part with some of my "superhero" ways in exchange for actual dare I say it, enjoyment of the holiday.

Our family was lucky enough to be hosted by the Mr.'s little brother and his fabulous wife. Who invited us to come early, and didn't seem too put out when we left late. It was quite fun to be indulging in good conversation, while trying what can only be described as gourmet cooking. (Let's just say the side dishes were quite a departure from my crockpot or 30 minutes or less meals, and quite delicious I will say!!) I will also say, that I warmly welcomed and took full advantage of the opportunity to hold Sleeping Beauty, and let someone else tend the dishes, the children, and all the other stuff. It was thoroughly enjoyable to spend time with Uncle Josh and Auntie Abby and have a little glimpse into the way things were before the Mr. and I brought forth all these children. It is afterall quite fun to reminisce about how life used to be. I just hope we didn't scare their pants off with what the next phase could be!!

So we of course had the obligatory turkey dinner with many trimmings, including a fantastic homemade apple pie by my sister in law, and a pumpkin cheesecake that was amazing. Perhaps one of the tenderest moments for me was watching the Mr. teach Cubby, Miss H and Little Daddy to make "his" cranberry sauce that he learned in four year-old school. I am a sucker for tradition, and watching this man that I have been in love with since the moment I saw him (11 years ago and counting) teach our own children this tradition was, well, overwhelming.

I realized after the trip was over that I neglected to take very many pictures, probably because I was enjoying myself, and holding the baby so much. Naturally, the children were still wearing coordinated outfits, but this year I only made Sleeping Beauty's, and the children ate on handcrafted placemats, but this year I let Miss H and Cubby design their own. It was fun, and relaxing, and for me a great opportunity to reflect on how many gifts we have been given. For me, I count not just the Mr. and our great children, but the knowledge that these are gifts to be appreciated and are given in love by a Heavenly Father. In asking the kids what they are most thankful for we were none too surprised:

Miss H-- All the things, especially a baby sister.

Cubby-- The Cubs

Little Daddy-- owl book (Peek A Who) and Tonner too.

Although it's not a Hallmark card, it sure tugs at my heartstrings to have them express thanks for one another. Probably, this post is getting a tad long, but here are a few "flashback pics" although as I was preparing to put these up, it occured to me that The Mr. and I had 6 Thanksgivings together before we had kids, and somehow I don't think I have a single picture of them.. funny how that works..

Click to play Thanksgiving Review
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Here's hoping you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and that the simple things bring you the greatest pleasure.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All The Small Things...

It finally happened (I knew it would someday but I was hoping to put it off as long as possible) a friend called and invited Miss H on a playdate, but not Cubby. (Now for all of those who are judging this friend I will explain that this friend did not have enough seats in her car for both Cubby and Miss H, and happens to have a daughter.) Not only was it a trip to see a newborn baby (you know how we love those) but also a trip to the science museum. Needless to say Miss H accepted without delay, and Cubby promptly went into a disappointed tear filled tantrum. Graciously, he excused his teary self to his room (perhaps less than graciously) where the moaning reverberated down the hall. Miss H and I made a list of all the things that needed to be done so she would be ready on time. Locate jacket, brush hair, choose hairclips, retrieve shoes, find matching socks. about halfway through this process she lost focus, and I realized it was taking an inordinate amount of time for the hairbrush to be presented. I went into her room, honestly prepared for a battle, and found her vigorously shaking Mrs. Potts (her piggy bank). What are you doing? I asked not even remotely betraying my growing frustration; "Cubby is so sad Mommy, I thought maybe I could get him a little something when I went." Well talk about melting a mother's heart. I forked over my last five dollars, (you know the one I save to bribe the kids with a trip to the Number One Dollar Store when I am ready to tear my hair out).

Miss H did indeed go to the museum, and at the end of trip she selected from the gift shop a dinosaur stamp for each of her brothers. Thinking of course in her super thoughtful way of something each of them would like. Saying, "I will get this for Cubby and this for Little Daddy, and maybe next time I can get something for myself." There was enough money for her to have gotten something for herself, but she didn't, knowing that the money was given to her to spend on her brother. How blessed we are to have such a great reminder of generosity and thoughtfulness. I love knowing that just as I hope to grow these little people, so also will they teach me to grow myself.

More Small things...

There have been a myriad of moments these weeks that have made me grateful for the opportunity to be a mother (probably brought on by the realization that Sleeping Beauty is our last lil bit). We had corn on the cob the other night and I got a glimpse Little Daddy's pure enjoyment. I tried to recapture that look, but this is the best I could do.

Speaking of being Little Daddy, The Mr. Captured this "Kodak Moment" in which Little Daddy, replicates The Mr.'s favorite posture.

Finally, the squirrels were right!! Because for the first time in a very long time (perhaps since the twins were born) we had snow before Thanksgiving. Here the Cubby makes an angel on the deck. Now there is nothing in my mind that compares to the gift of a few extra hours with your husband and children, and while the snow had completely disappeared by lunchtime (prompting a series of pleas and protests from Cubby) the blissful two hour delay was yet another reminder of the small graces our Father in Heaven sends our way.

So many things to be thankful for this year. And for those of you wondering where the pics of Sleeping Beauty are.. well the girl has got to be awake so we can get her picture, but here is a little video of her smiling, because as it turns out.. that really was a smile. And, we have been seeing it everytime she opens her eyes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A day in the DAZE

There is a reason I chose to label this blog Summer Daze, and that is because sometimes, well I ask myself..."Is this really my life? How did I get here, exactly? What happened to my abs of steel?" All kidding aside, a few days ago a very dear friend of mine brought over a fabulous chicken tortilla soup cookies and and entire, homemade derby pie. The gift of cooked food at this point in my life ranks right up there with sharing a kidney, as I already dread the idea of having to do grocery shopping with all these kids in tow. See funny Costco story I will post someday.

Well after devouring the tortilla soup, I prepared the kids for their flu vaccinations (which I know I am totally building it up, but really only consisted of making sure they looked clean, had on shoes and were buckled into the car). I was thinking about how delicious that pie would be once the kids were safely in bed, vaccinated and snoring. How the Mr. and I would snuggle up with our favorite things, each other, baked goods and the TV (not necessarily in that order) and enjoy a rare moment of blissful togetherness. I just have to survive this appointment I was thinking. Mr. will be home from his church meeting just in time to tuck the kids in, and then "Pie" I giggled in triumphant glee.

I schlepped those kids to their appointment, I cajoled and comforted Miss H into inhaling the flu mist, (which probably won't even absorb she was chortling so much). I snuggled and tickled and pinned Little Daddy so he could get his injection, I complimented Cubby on his bravery I returned kids in tow, properly vaccinated and prepared them for bed. The Mr. Returned just as we were finishing "stories" and said a little sarcastically from the kitchen. "I hope you weren't planning on having any pie." "What" I called.. "you can't eat a whole pie MR. you have to share." "There's an empty pie tin on the floor he said.. the words bouncing all around me.. "what" I said.. did you look on the floor (I was I'm not even kidding, fully prepared to eat it off the floor.) "The dog," he said, "The dog must have gotten it".

Now I am the first one to say I am always encouraging the kids to have kindness in their hearts, to love one another and be generous. Let's just say that is not what I felt for Roger (the dog) who ate my pie. Let's just be glad that that I do not have Jedi powers because the absolute rage I felt for the dog that ate my pie.. well I'm not proud of it.

SO we got the kids to bed, halfheartedly I snuggled up with my husband and prime time tv, and fell asleep, only to be awakened at an ungodly hour of 1:30 unexpectedly by the baby. What I thought.. no no no... she gets up at 3:30 this is all wrong. So I nurse her, and then just as I have drifted off I am awakened by a strange sound... the Mr. sits bolt upright (a very unusual occurrence) it is the dog. He is throwing up. I have to sleep I think.. because the baby will be waking up soon. And that dog is throwing up MY DERBY PIE all over the room. Well, the Mr. springs into Mr. Clean action, and although he is grumbling about it he is definitely cleaning up. Put him out I politely suggest from under the covers. (What I meant though was GIVE HIM AWAY). So the commotion, disturbs Little Daddy who now needs to be shushed and quieted.. a lulluby version of "Take me out to the ball game" appears to do the trick. And I stumble back into the bed.


Sleeping Beauty gave up her 7 hour stretch of nightly sleep that our pediatrician labeled "remarkable" as I basked in the glory of bringing forth what was obviously another "Super Baby". This absence of this extended sleeping period has left me less than desirable in the personality department and is wreaking havoc on my patience (already thin). So while the Mr. was away at this exotic locale he refers to as "work"; a mythical place where I am told no one spits up on you, requires you to wipe any of their parts, (hands, nose, or buns) and even the most irritating children are required to vacate your room every 45 minutes, the Daze part set in.

In my exhaustive and exceptionally inhospitable mood.
I had cleverly sent the older children, all three of them into the brisk fall morning to play in our fenced backyard while I nursed Sleeping Beauty and attempted the inevitable 30 minute shushing and soothing that she now requires to go back to her sleeping state. So as I began the nursing, I heard that delightful flushing sound I mentioned before that she makes when she's filling  her diaper, no cause for alarm we all know poop happens... only the sound did not stop, and then you guessed it.. we were both requiring a change of clothes. "Yay more laundry" I thought, because humor is one of the first things to go when I am sleep deprived. As I began to wrestle our newborn out of her layers of clothing I heard the distinct cry of Little Daddy from the backyard, "danddaid" he exclaimed clamouring towards me.. bloody finger extended... "

"What happened ?" I asked trying to determine the best method for changing the the the poopy beauty and myself while simultaneously retrieving and applying a bandaid. "Tonner throw my booball in the buu" I wracked my poor sleep deprived mommy brain trying to translate toddler to english only to be interuppted by another teary eruption this time by the aforementioned offender. What happened to your head? He didn't even get to begin his answer because a sqwaking Miss H was on his heels to defend her good name, while grabbing her own nose. Connor threw the football at my nose!" " Hannah.. catch..... hit... shovel"  "Boo ball.. buuuu" I tried to sort it all out, while stripping out of my poopy clothes, while holding the naked squirming baby while applying the band-aid. Just when I thought I had it all sorted out, the thought was interrupted by the horrible retching sound of that DOG vomiting up the last of my beloved DERBY PIE."

"The dog is throwing up your derby pie on the rug, Mom." Miss H explained helpfully. Her tears suddenly abated "It's disgusting, ewww gross." Added a charming Cubby. hmm I said, the last of my resolve fading.. "How did I get here?" I wondered, this must have been in the fine print at the hospital, where is the nanny? Is this really what I traded my skinny thighs for? All these thoughts swirling around in my sleep muffled brain.  

I think we need to watch a movie. I said aloud. And then more confidently, "yes yes yes, we need to watch a movie..."

First Smile?

SO you will have to be the judge, although it took the Mr. and I 75 frames to capture the tail end of what we think to be Sleeping Beauty's emerging smile, we are approaching extreme sleep deprivation so we could be wrong. Thus, you will have to weigh in with your vote.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Month of Beauty Rest...

Well, She's bigger.. she's louder and she fits right in!! Sleeping Beauty has been here one full month... and so far her party tricks include "urping" down my shirt, or on anything that has been freshly laundered (only when the "urp cloth" is out of reach), making a "flushing sound" whenever she fills her diaper, bringing her hands together in the same "excellent" way as Mr. Burns on the Simpsons, sticking her tongue out in nearly every picture, as well as delighting and amazing us at every turn, (as long as those turns are not between the hours of 2 and 5 am).

I will also say, that I already pity the poor boy who tries to date this one, because Little Daddy and Cubby are in LOVE with her. We have had several disagreements in this house about who Sleeping Beauty is "looking at" (I have to admit I'm a big instigator in these disagreements because of course she is looking AT ME!!) There is always a commotion if I mention that someone will need to hold the baby for a minute, because they are all clamouring to find the boppy (thank you Auntie Nea!!) By the way don't let Little Daddy hold her unattended because when he calls out "Dun" you have 1.5 seconds to rescue the baby before he shoves her off onto the floor. (I guess there are limits to his affection).

Below is a little walk down memory lane witha picture of all the kids at one month for comparison sake..
Miss H

just who does she look like?


Little Daddy

The Voter-ama

Okay so it is nearly embarassing to admit, but as much as I complain, until yesterday I had never exercised my right to vote. (I really meant to in 2004, but I was so tired because miss H and Cubby were only 2 months old). Although I am definitely more tired this time around, there is no way I was going to miss it, so the Mr. and I took turns schlepping the kids down to the polling place (I think that's what's it called) and explaining to them the significance and importance of using this freedom. Naturally when Cubby understood there was going to be a winner and a loser he was very excited about voting. So here of course are some pics of us, proudly wearing our I Voted stickers because we are good americans. Also, if you didn't know, poeple wearing their sticker were entitled to a free Krispy Kreme donut and a cup of Starbucks Coffee, talk about positive reinforcement!!

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama-- I certainly hope you're prepared to live up to Cubby's expectations!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

We're Going on a Leaf Hunt

So in case you didn't notice.. it is totally fall, and in honor of Fall my preschoolers today did a little "Fall" activity. After reading We're Going on A Leaf Hunt I (with the help of a parent volunteer) traipsed them outside to collect some leaves of their own. We then sorted these by color to enhance our "study" of colors. I've been working pretty hard to get the kids (Especially Little Daddy) to notice and name colors. So far, he can say nearly all the colors (if you say them first, the little mimic) but calls just about everything blue if left to his own devices. Anyway, here are some pictures of Miss H (probably my best pupil ever) enjoying the activity this afternoon.

Just thought you might like to try it!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!!

I know that Cubby of course has a flair for dramatic arts, and lets face it, he has loved dress up from the very beginning(Two christmases ago he asked for fairy wings). So it comes as no surprise that Halloween ranks pretty highly in his book but, when I heard a little "Trick or Treat" at 4:30 this morning, I thought I would never make it through the day. Hearing him discover his Halloween costume and becoming enamored with it was more than a delight to my heart. Isn't that funny how even though you do something for all of your kids, in your heart you know the act speaks more to one of them than another. Cubby was delighted with his costume, and his excitement spread right over into everyone, especially Little Daddy. And I have to say, that his delight made the stress of handmaking three costumes worth it, and when the Halloween party kicked off, the buzz between the Oompa Loompa's was electric! (If you haven't seen the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, I'm telling you these costumes are spot on)

So, I can't speak for everyone, but the Halloween Bash in my opinion was a super blast!! Umm, bouncy house, jungle gym, gigi ball, story time and pinata plus 30 kids makes for a whole lot of fun, but mix in a table covered with sugary treats a driveway filled with bikes to ride on and a day of perfect fall weaher, and you have by far the best Halloween I've ever had. (Even if I did have to sing in front of all those adults!!)

Here is a little slide show of all the fun (little is not exactly accurate, it's pretty long), and some highlights for me personally.
Click to play Halloween 2008
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1. Watching Mr. encourage Little Daddy to color carefully in the "crafts" area.
2. Meeting all Cubby and Miss H's super cool school friends, and their moms.
3. A guest appearance by Miss Robyn and Miss Amanda
4. Handmade treats by the famous Traci which were Little Frankenstein Rice Krispy treats.
5. Having 16 count them SIXTEEN leftover Costco cupcakes to devour!
6. A graveyard Dirtcake that all the moms agreed tasted best on pretzels (and I was going to put out pita chips and hummus!!)
7. Being able to spot the Oompa Loompa's from space (thank you red vinyl pleather)
8. Knowing we have enough friends to fill up your backyard mid-morning on a Friday!!

So we rounded out the afternoon with a visit to Mr. Richard and Mrs. Pazel, because they are the closest thing to family we have in town. So I snapped a few pictures of these great friends.

Finally Mr. Headed off to "work" and there was a blissful hour and half of silence in the house, as all the children slept. Of course this time was punctuated by political messages via the phone approximately every thirty minutes.

Then the fun began again, as we redressed, and loaded up our crew for trick-or-treating. A fellow mom of twins arrived with her twin boys (age 3) and 6 week old son and the 10 of us headed out into the night. There were lots of treats, a few tantrums and a very funny turn of events when Mr. decided to take Cubby and Miss H into a neighborhood haunted house (they didn't like it). Little daddy had had enough about 30 minutes in, and at that point was content to stay in the stroller lounging. Not even the lure of more candy could budge him. He also expressed great displeasure at a "Big Bad Wolf" that came a little too close. To his credit he put his hand up and said "No!" emphatically and repeatedly, instead of crying.

So I loved this Halloween, don't get me wrong, we are exhausted, and I may be a little sore from pushing that stroller so far with Sleeping Beauty strapped to me, but it was a pleasure to share our house, and backyard with so many friends, and bump into so many not as often seen friends in the moonlit magic of Halloween. How delighted I am to have so many great families around us that are creative and positive, what a blessing to have such great influences around us and our children. On the way back from trick or treating as I schlepped Cubby and Little Daddy in the Joovy Caboose, With Sleeping Beauty snuggled up in the Bjorn, Cubby called out into the night, "This is the best day ever, I got to go trick or treating in my costume." Talk about melting a mother's heart. I am always surprised at how much love your mother's heart can contain, and how much bubbles over. How thankful I am to just share this day with them, and a what a special sort of blessing to have a child express in earshot his thankfulness. Of course we all know, "This is the day that the Lord has made," but I made the costume myself!!

After a single piece of candy, several Oompa Loompa songs (more video to be posted soon) and a little talk about what next year's costumes would be, the kids are safely tucked into bed, and we, I have to say, are not far behind.

Happy Halloween!!