Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Costumes!

Peter really wanted to be Gandalf this year. But not Gandalf the Gray. He specifically asked to be Gandalf the White. This provided to be a bit of a challenge for me. I got the white robe and cape and started on a beard when I realized this could end up looking somewhat sacrilegious. So even though Gandalf the White doesn't wear a hat (at least in the movie), I made him a white witch hat too. He was so excited about it, and wanted to wear it around for a few days straight, which is when I noticed it sort of looked a little KKK-ish. Yikes. Anyways, I didn't need to worry so much. The white knotty staff helped a lot, and some good crumpling of that hat made it not so clannish-- or sacrilegious. He actually looked pretty awesome.
 Peter and his best friend Mason have birthdays almost exactly three weeks apart. We wanted to plan something low-key for them around their birthdays, and decided a Halloween-themed pre-Trunk-or-Treat party would be just the thing. Mason's mom Natalie is crafty too- she made all her kids' costumes. She and her sister-in-law pretty much planned the whole party too. We just provided our house. The kids had a lot of fun!
 The group- Mason, Peter, Eliza, Nora, Benjamin, Alex, another friend Brooklyn, and Mason's cousins Ellie and Charlie.
Benjamin as Frodo and Alex as a skeleton.
 Our three littles.
The two Tolkiens. Notice the ugly Hobbit feet. Toes and hand stitched hairs coming out and everything. I found the coat at Goodwill and (very amateurishly) sized it down to fit him. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.
 I found the pin and the ring on Amazon, which arguably made the costume. There was no question on anyone's mind who he was supposed to be.
Nora desperately wanted to be Hello Kitty for Halloween. The ones at the store were ugly and overpriced. And when I thought about making one, I remembered I actually am not that talented of a seamstress, and she would probably end up looking nothing like Hello Kitty. So when I found this adorable butterfly costume at TJ Maxx, I knew it was the one. After some convincing (and getting her some Hello Kitty pj's instead of a costume) we were a go.
Paul and I didn't really plan anything, but I came up with this sticky-felt baby skeleton sort of last minute. I'm eighteen weeks now, which means I'll find out what we're having in two! For a while, I wondered if I could wait this time and be surprised about the gender since I'm already set either way, but I finally decided I'm just not that type of person. I need to know. Somehow, knowing makes it so much more real for me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A few things about Nora

I just wanted to write a few things about Nora before I completely forget. She is like a ray of sunshine in our home. Every night, she makes sure we have "scripture time" and prayers. I think for a while, she was left out of this part of the evening since her bedtime is earlier than the boys. She loves "reading" a verse, where she essentially repeats it back one word at a time. She still resists saying the family prayer, but is often the little echo whenever someone else is saying it. She also instituted a new tradition after family prayers- "fammies hugs," as she calls it.
Nora is adamantly NOT on the potty train, which is strange to me since the boys were already trained by this age. I've tried about everything to get her interested, which is why I've now come to the conclusion that it's best not to do anything. I figure she'll come around when she wants to.
Also, and this is big news, she finally goes to Nursery at church on her own! After about a year and a half (I started when she was 10 months old, now she's 27 mos.), I've finally been released from my calling as the Nursery Leader and am currently enjoying just being between callings. It is a little strange still. I've never been apart from Nora at church, and have only been to Sunday School about twice in the past five years (since I was in Primary before Nursery). I'm now getting reacquainted with everyone and remembering what it's like just to sit and listen to a lesson. It's pretty nice. And it's also wonderful to walk into the Nursery room at the end and see my little girl's face light up as she runs over to me to give me a hug. I had forgotten what that feels like.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Four Years of Peter

Has it really been FOUR years since we brought this sweet, giant of a baby home from the hospital to an anxious two-year-old big brother?
It's crazy how the time has flown. I still think Peter was one cute newborn, all 8 lbs. 12 oz. of him. And it's funny to me how little his face has changed since then. His hair of course has toned down a bit and lightened from auburn to strawberry.
For breakfast this morning, we made crepes with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. We reminisced and talked about Peter when he was little. We told him why we love him, and he happily soaked it all up. He was delighted with all his presents, and most especially loved the beanie baby beaver that our elderly neighbor Marie gave him this evening.
Peter is exceptionally flexible. Since today was Stake Conference and we knew Paul would have to be gone from 4 p.m. until past their bedtime, we had an earlier dinner and cake. He requested pepperoni pizza, which we picked up at our favorite local pizza place.
Peter did give me a lot of mixed requests for what he wanted his birthday cake to look like. I think the final verdict was a transformers cake, but my creativity was seriously lacking at the end of it all, and I found this Spiderman candle instead...and then my icing job was really bad. Again, Peter was totally cool with it.

Lately, Peter's been on a coloring book kick. He reads books to earn prizes, then goes to the dollar store to find another coloring book to add to his collection. He'll sit and color almost every day during Nora's naps, and our living room has a pile of crayons strewn all over the rug about 90% of the time. So for one of his presents, I thought it was time he had a good pad of paper and watercolors to prop up on his easel. I think he already likes it.
This afternoon, the boys wanted to take a walk over to the Halloween store that opened up around the corner. They're on the hunt for a Lord of the Rings ring, a long white beard and a blue glowing sword. Any guesses as to what they want to be?
Early on, it was hard with two little boys with such different personalities, one dominating and the other sensitive and a bit more passive. Their personalities haven't changed much, but their love for each other has. It's been sweet this past year to watch them really bond.
I am so grateful to have Peter in our family. I'm just a little sad that he's not so little anymore.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Twenty Nine

I had a fun birthday last week. Everyone was so sweet, and I got lots of love. I also got in an accident. And then I picked a Mexican restaurant for dinner that was somewhat underwhelming (I'm so sad- the one good authentic Mexican restaurant in the area that I know of must now be under new management, because it wasn't nearly as good as the last time we went...time to start looking for a new favorite).
Anyways, the accident was also kind of frustrating. I rear-ended another car at the intersection of a green light when a police car pulled out across traffic in front of her (thankfully, everyone involved was fine!). So, according to my insurance company, I was at fault and would therefore assume all responsibility. But the other driver's insurance company called me and offered to pay for damages... so anyways, I was on the phone for much of my birthday trying to sort all of this out. And I felt so stupid of course that it even happened.
These made up for a lot. We had the most delicious cupcakes from a local cupcake shop. The peanut butter cup one was the clear winner of the night, although the boys initially had their eye on the "gold" one.
The next morning, we took Paul to the airport for another business trip. Ironically, he was going to present at a vehicle safety fair. :) Benjamin took this picture of our Google chat one of the nights.
Peter was anxious to show Dad on the computer that he finished ALL TEN "Max the Cat" books. And he read them all TEN times! We are sure proud of him. He's anxiously awaiting his prize to come in the mail now. He wanted a Spiderman Lego set.
On Saturday, we made up for lost time with Daddy by going to the pumpkin patch as a family.
I'm not sure why the boys started posing like this, but Nora seemed a little insulted when we asked to see her best strong pose too.
I love having my sweetheart back. Thankfully, he won't have any more long trips until February. 
The vintage fire engine proved to be the most exciting part about the pumpkin patch.
Eventually, we had to drag them off. 
After the pumpkin patch, we went to a new place that we'd heard a lot about- The Emperor's Palace. Since it's a buffet, I wasn't sure what to expect. But the food was really good (sushi, king crab legs, delicious soups, Mongolian BBQ...), and the kids had a blast. Especially Nora, who was enamored by all the ponds of koi fish around our table. I'm a lucky girl. I'm so grateful for my wonderful family and friends, who are the only things that really matter. The rest, is all just icing on the cake.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Creepy Crafty

We don't have a lot of Halloween decorations, but the ones we do have I love. My awesome mother in law gave me a few cute ceramic things for my birthday a few years ago, then just last year sent us a Halloween quilt. I'm not sure what it was (I should probably just blame pinterest), but I decided to get a little more festive this year. But I also decided to go as cheap as possible (anyone surprised?). And I think I succeeded. Total spent: $7. The materials I got were one black poster board ($1), one black raven ($1), one package of spooky cloth ($3), one bunch fall leaves ($1), and a pack of plastic spider rings ($1).
I stretched my poster board pretty far, and made the owl, the garland letters and the bats (below).  The spooky cloth I cut in half lengthwise, and was able to use it on both mirrors. (That strange pumpkin man on the door followed us home from a garage sale a few years ago. The kids are attached now, so I guess he stays.)
 Here's the quilt Grandma sent us. Nora was fascinated with it when we pulled it out, and wanted me to identify all the unfamiliar images for her.
 Here's a close-up of the garland. I pulled out my old pastels to draw the skulls.
 And a close-up of the mantel. I copied this owl, but I don't know who is the original manufacturer.
I sort of have mixed feelings about Halloween, and I've been trying to sort out what my "style" is. There's so much creepy, gruesome stuff out there that I have no use for. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I grew up with the cutesy, crafty decorations, that part of me still loves. Somehow, the cutesy stuff just seemed off in my house though. I decided that my Halloween style could involve spooky things of the natural world. Images of night-time animals and such. Maybe I'm the only weird one who thinks about this stuff, but at least now I feel comfortable decorating my own house!