Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Tonight we had friends over for pizza and trick-or-treating. I think there ended up being 7 families altogether. Everyone had so much fun! The only downer was that I tripped and fell right before the party while trying to hang up spider webs outside. I have quite the mangled foot. I took a picture but then thought it was too gross to post. LOL It's nothing serious, probably just really bruised, but I cried like a baby.

Here's A smiling with her jack-o-lantern. She wasn't feeling like pictures in the first one. I didn't get very many pictures of the boys. They were too busy playing with their friends and I was too busy yapping with my friends.

After we got back I told the kids they could eat some candy and I look over and little A has this huge candy bar in her mouth. It was pretty funny. We also had this strange cat follow us all through the neighborhood and come right into our house when we got back. I really don't get spooked by cats on Halloween - we have the perfect "boo kitty." But it was starting to get a little wierd how this cat was following this gang of 3 - 7 year olds around. I guess we'll have to see if it's still hanging around tomorrow. Aahh, now it's time for Mommy and Daddy to scope out the candy to see if there's anything good! j/k Thankfully our kids really do like to share with us.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Time!

Tonight we carved up our beautiful pumpkins. The kids designed the faces (A had a little help from Daddy) and I was the one who had the honor of carving away. I think they came out great!

I did make them help pull all the guts out. :) Only one day until Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween is Almost Here!

Here's a preview of this year's costumes. B is Indiana Jones. C is a Texas Ranger. And A is a Flower Fairy. Just before I took the picture she handed me her wings and told me she didn't feel like flying anymore today. ;) We had a Halloween party with our homeschool group today at the park. The kids had fun wearing their costumes and filling up their trick-or-treat buckets. They can't wait for Friday!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Big changes today. I donated a nice fat 12 inch braid to Locks of Love. I have needed to get my hair cut for a long time, but I just kept putting it off. I'm not sure why. I guess it just wasn't a priority. I finally made an appointment and even had enough to donate. That was pretty exciting. I really was ok getting it cut, but it's nice knowing that it can go to a good cause. Here's the result....


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Great Little Holiday Book

I spent part of the afternoon today reading Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben. I know it's early to be thinking about Christmas, but I'm a planner. I've been thinking about how I want this holiday season to look for our family. Also, I'm really trying to incorporate some homemade gifts this year which take time. I saw a post on another blog (I wish I could remember where) talking about a homemade Christmas and that blogger mentioned this book. It was a really quick read but very inspiring. He wrote the book in 1998 so it's ten years old but I think especially applicable right now with all the financial worries everyone is having. Honestly, I'm not sure how I've missed it before, but glad I came across it now. Anyway, his tagline is "The Case for a More Joyful Christmas."

First he kind of goes through an abbreviated history of Christmas from wassailing in the medievel times to the uber-consumerism of today. Talking of today he says:
"Here's the bottom line: We have so much stuff that a pile of presents is no longer exciting, no longer novel...When you have a lot of stuff, getting more is less exciting than when you have very little. That seems obvious--it's habituation."
And a little later he says:
"If there's one way in which the world has changed more than any other since 1840, one thing that's truly different in our lives, it's that we've become such devout consumers. That consumption carries with it certain blessings (our lives are long and easy by any historical standard) and certain costs (first and foremost the damage it causes to the rest of creation). But the greatest cost may be the way it's changed us, the way it has managed to confuse us about what we really want from the world. We weren't built just for this life we find ourselves leading--we were built for silence and solitude, built for connection with each other and the natural world, built for so much more than we now settle for. Chirstmas is the moment to sense that, the moment to reach for the real joys."
His proposition - give yourself a hundred dollar limit. He says that there's nothing magical about a hundred dollars. He said he first thought of it because it sounded good with "holiday." lol But the point is to limit the amount you spend. Take more time thinking of other ways to celebrate the holiday to bring you and your family peace, time with others, connection with your spirituality. There is a lot of emphasis on homemade gifts that have real meaning instead of the piles of presents that really don't mean that much. Really inspiring.

I already know that we will be spending more than a hundred dollars this year. But I thought of some ways that I want to incorporate some of the ideas from the book. I thought I would make sure everyone (in my immediate family) receives at least one homemade gift. We will drastically limit the other gifts, something we had already been talking about. I want to think of ways to honor our neighbors with homemade gifts, nothing fancy, probably just cookies. But it's a way to show them that we appreciate them. I'd like to make sure we shift our focus to celebrating our Christian faith. Last year we started a Jesse Tree but didn't keep it up. I'd really like to do that this year. I also want to find a meaningful way for us as a family to give to someone facing harder times than we are right now.

I was even inspired to jot down a little pledge for myself in my notebook. Here is what I wrote,
"I will buy nothing unwanted or that I know will be unappreciated. No more junk or hastily chosen items just to fill the quota of the right amount spent or number of gifts for someone. Handmade and consumable is better than store bought and plastic (although I'm sure there will be some of the latter.) I will be intentional about creating meaningful traditions for our family."
I know, I know, I need to get through Halloween first. But since I'm already making lists, this was a perfect time for me to read this book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A New Friend

This is "Stripey" found and named by C. He found him on another bush in our front yard. We were feeling a bit sad because the cat-faced spider was nowhere to be found. The web was gone and hasn't been rebuilt. We had gotten in the habit of checking on her every time we came and went from the house. We were all a bit bummed about it. Then C started yelling that he found a new spider and that it reminded him of the one at the Botanic Gardens. It's not quite as big as the garden spider, but the pattern on it's legs and body is so cool. Not as cool as the tarantula that we saw at the GGYR Pumpkin Patch on Monday. We were there for a homeschool field trip complete with horse rides, face painting and of course, pumpkins. It had been caught at the horse ranch that morning. B and A both held it. C and I were happy to watch it from a distance. ;) What is up with all the spiders lately??? :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friendly Kitty

Normally our cat is quite the anti-social animal. He has no patience for the kids and spends most of the day in hiding. The only time he comes out is during a storm. He hates storms and looks for the closest human to sit by during the storm - no holding and cuddling, just close proximity. We had a crazy storm this afternoon complete with hail, wind, thunder and lightning. He was next to my feet for most of it. Once the storm was over, he went back to his hiding spot.

I was really surprised to see him out this evening trying to be social. He walked up to C and laid down next to him. He allowed C to pet him. I think C was pretty surprised, too. I had to get a picture since none of my friends even believe we have a cat. Also, I wanted to prove that he's not that bad. ;)

Don't they both look like they have the same slightly irritated expression? How sad that this was the exciting moment of my day. We missed the Balloon Fiesta. I was so disappointed. They ended up canceling all of today's events because of bad weather. It was probably a good thing since my 3 yo is sick and I might have been tempted to take her out this morning if the weather had been nice. B did get to play his soccer game. It was really windy but it was before the rain and lightning. The rain started coming down just as we were leaving. C's soccer game was canceled. (We were secretly relieved.) Hopefully A will be feeling a bit better tomorrow. We already had to bow out of a birthday party tomorrow. Don't want to spread germs, especially to friends. Maybe I can get some much needed housework done tomorrow. Or get started on a few books I have laying around here waiting to be read.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

View From Our Backyard

This balloon got us outside this morning. We could hear it going over the house. When we went out we could see all of the balloons heading north. I love Balloon Fiesta!

It's hard to see in this photo. You probably need to click on it, but in the center is the Darth Vader balloon. The boys favorite balloon of all!

The Energizer Bunny balloon.

More balloons that we could see from the backyard.

It's hard to get a photo of the magnitude of Balloon Fiesta. It's just incredible to see all those hot air balloons in the air. If you can imagine, more balloons to the north and south too. Hopefully, if the weather holds out, we'll get to go on Saturday. It's even more impressive from the park.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Big Foot!

New shoes for all the kids today! B has been complaining about his feet hurting in his size 3 shoes. So, off we headed to the mall this afternoon to look for shoes and new jeans. We looked at a few different stores and were having a hard time finding anything we both liked. We ended up at Sears. A very nice sales clerk overheard B and I "discussing" whether or not the size 4's were ok. He was complaining that his toes were at the end of the size 4's and that he needed a 5. I, of course, good mommy that I am, didn't believe him. The lady measured his feet and sure enough, he needed size 5's. Man was I embarrassed. And what 7 year old wears a size 5 tennis shoe??? Thankfully, I was able to admit the bad mother that I am, and buy him shoes that fit. ;) I decided to save face and get new shoes for the other two as well, since they had outgrown their shoes too.

The good news in all of this (besides the fact that my kids' feet won't be deformed from being forced into too small of shoes) is that B has finally decided to tie his own laces. Yay! Again, the very nice sales clerk showed him once and he got it right away. Nevermind the pleading from mom that he learn how to tie shoe laces over the last 2 years. Oh well, he's got it now. He tied them himself in the pic above. At least the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard from Dairy Queen helped to soothe my ego. :P

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I really should change the name of my blog...

to something having to do with bugs. ;) We went to the Harvest Festival at the Botanic Gardens today. On our walk back to the farm area, we decided to take a path we had never seen before. On our detour we found this spider. Pretty sure it's a garden spider. I personally don't like it as much as "Pumpkin." But, it was cool enough to take some pictures. B is supposed to be studying insects this term. I guess we're getting that in without even trying!

Another picture of it moving around. I don't think I would like to find this in my house.

And a photo of a rose that looked so beautiful after our night of rain. I have taken my camera off automatic and am trying to learn a little more about digital photography. I am still pretty intimidated by all the settings, but a few of my photos are coming out. I'm really excited about that.

We did eventually make it back to the farm area where we met some friends. We got to watch apple cider being made, make corn husk dolls and crack walnuts on an antique nut cracker. And we bought some of the yummy cider!

Dinosaur Day

After soccer games yesterday, the kids and I headed over to the Natural History Museum for Dinosaur Day. C had to wear his T-Rex shirt in honor of our adventure.

They had a chance to feel real fossils and talk to a volunteer who explained how they grind down the rock to get to them.

They made coelophysis masks. Coelophysis is New Mexico's state fossil. I should post a picture of B's finished one. It was very cool. He had to finish it at home, because his brother and sister were getting impatient with him.

And here the kids are working in a pretend dig for fossils. It was complete with hats. Fun times!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Finally a Finished Project!

I got stuck on a couple of baby gifts this past spring and pretty much gave up my knitting. But, I decided I needed to make myself get back to it. I've only been knitting for a year, but I really enjoy it when I'm not frustrated. So, I picked a really simple baby hat for a friend's gift. She's allergic to wool so I chose a cotton-soy blend. I think it came out pretty darn cute. And it reminded me that simple is sometimes just as good as complicated and sometimes even better. Now I have to get my sister's baby gift on the needles...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Brothers and Legos

My friend Cindy inspired me with her post and photo of her kids playing together. I don't do those cool digital scrapbook pages but I thought I would try to catch my kids playing together too. When I'm frustrated with the bickering, I sometimes forget that they really do like to play with each other. It seemed like a good way to remind myself of the positive experiences. I didn't catch all three together but I did see my two boys working together on their legos.