Monday, October 31, 2016

HALLOWEEN 2016

Having Halloween on a Monday seems like some sort of special torture for everyone involved.  It's done and over with, and it was a good one, but I feel SO BAD for our teachers tomorrow.  And also a little bad for myself when I will have to wake my darlings from their sugar comas and try to get them all to school.

This year, we decided to be a family of supers.  Here is the best family pic we got - but I must say - I do love it.  Askew masks and obstinate children and all.  It captures us in all of our super glory.

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Dressing as superheroes may be one of the most cliche costumes, but it was easy and also had a low-barrier of entry for John's participation.  Real talk here: costumes would not be John's idea in almost any universe, but he really loves me a lot and was a super (😉) good sport in this family theming.  Our kids LOVED all matching, which means they must take after me. 😂👊

My superheroes did turn out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Captain America.  He was quite pleased with his "muscles," and he kept yelling "Happy Halloween" and "Happy Birthday" and "Trick-or-Treat" all day.  2 out of 3 is not too bad.

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Captain Americana.  She loved wearing her costume and was the most excited that Daddy and Mommy were also dressing up and going with her.

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Batgirl.  She rocked being a superhero, even though I'm fairly certain she has never seen anything from the Batman franchise at all.

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Spidergirl.  She loves all holidays, but most of it comes down to the traditions and the people.  She made a fantastic Spidergirl - though again, there is a real knowledge gap when it comes to this non-existent character.

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Our church throws a Family Fest that we attended last night which was equal parts fun and chaos.  These pics will probably give you a sense of that.

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Crouching while eating your full sized cupcake won during a cake walk makes a ton of sense.  There were lots of games, lots of animals, lots of candy and lots of people.  It is a great event, and I'm so thankful for a great church family.

This morning, the twins got to wear their costumes to school and trick-or-treat with their precious teacher who was dressed as a Tickle-Me-Pink crayon and deserves extra jewels on her crown in heaven for the way she graciously shepherds a room full of 3 year olds.

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This year, my friend Court gave us a break from hosting the Halloween get together, and so we got to go party at their house!  Fun food and fun friends made this a fantastic time for all!

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This group of 31 kiddos did a pretty fantastic job grouping for the picture, with the exception of a few outliers who cannot be easily grouped.  #progress #captainamericantmakeusgetincloser
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We took off trick-or-treating, and as always, it was like traveling with a swarm of locusts descending upon homes to utterly clean them out of candy.  Our group moved impressively quickly, and we adults definitely had to hustle to keep up.  We made it safely back to the house with all of the children which felt like a massive victory.

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I cannot really explain why Clark Kent is sitting in the wagon for this picture, but I can whole-heartededly say that I love him and am so glad to fight crime with him.  So glad that I felt the need to smile manically to get the point across.
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It was a great night all around, though it did wear us out.  Honestly, it was amazing to see how both big girls took such good care of the twins.  They were constantly on the look-out for any candy with peanuts in it, since Violet is allergic.  As a double-bonus, this meant that all Reeces came straight to the parents.  Boom.  Halloween winning.

I'm thankful for sweet Halloween memories and even more thankful to be heading into the month of thankfulness!

Trip down Halloween Memory Lane:
{2015} {2014} {2013} {2012} {2011}

Saturday, October 29, 2016

THIS WEEK'S DOSE OF FUN

As I mentioned in last night's post, our lives have held a fair amount of crazy lately.  But some of it is crazy good - here are a few highlights from the past week.

Red Ribbon Week at school.  The girls got to dress out of uniform all week, and I do appreciate that our school doesn't make the days too outlandish or hard to dress for.

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(Join the fight against drugs by wearing camo.  Though, there was a funny Facebook video this week pointing out that drugs could still find you even if you were wearing camo.  😂)
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(Pajama day - I don't remember how it related, but it is always my favorite day of any spirit week, and I decided the twins should also go to school in pjs, because why not?)

Wednesday was wear red day, and it was also Lily's first honor roll assembly!  They don't do grades until second grade, so this was her first chance to make the honor roll.  So proud of her!

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Also - check out her check list for school-day mornings.  At least it seems we have an optimist on our hands.  "Say school is going to be fun. ✅"  So sweet and also funny.

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Thursday brought Bella's pumpkin patch field trip and superhero day!  I got to attend Bella's field trip, and she begged me to ride the bus, so I obliged.  I wish I could say that I LOVE going on field trips, but that would not exactly be true.  I am so thankful to get to meet other parents and so glad to spend extra time with my child, but I am always so glad that I am not a teacher and thankful for the sweet teachers we have been blessed with.

That said, it was a beautiful (albeit HOT) day at the pumpkin patch, and we had a grand time.

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Today (Saturday), we awoke to the unpleasant realization that William's breathing was not good.  Having been down this road plenty with Violet, I knew that he would need some intervention.  Thankfully, at home, we have all the tools, and so I've done a lot of breathing treatments today.  He is improving, but it is certainly no fun to see chest retractions and rapid breathing.

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Tonight, we carved pumpkins as a family out on our deck.  The weather was pristine, and our children were all in happy moods.  It was a sweet time of togetherness - though I forgot to take pics of the finished pumpkins.

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The kids did a surprising amount of the work getting the seeds out.
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(The girls got ahold of our phones to practice their budding photography skills.)
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So thankful for good moments rounded out with a dance party to close down the night.

Friday, October 28, 2016

THE DIFFERENCE A DATE MAKES

Life has taken on an unrelenting quality, and there are times when it feels as if we are magnets for crazy.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are anything but extraordinary in this regard.  Life throws out crazy like candy on Halloween.  It's unavoidable and everywhere.

I'm not sure about you, but *sometimes* John and I do not handle the stress very well.  We are juggling a lot of torches, and when a torch gets dropped, things get set on fire.  I might be going overboard on metaphors in this particular post, but I'm just gonna keep on rolling with it.  Just imagine that we are regularly putting out fires - some that were set by us, but most just happen to be set around us and we are somehow, someway responsible for them.

In the midst of the dividing and conquering that makes up our world, we can easily find ourselves divided a the end of the day.

Maybe you can't relate.  But I'm guessing you can, because, we are not exceptional or extraordinary - we all have far more in common than we might feel like when we scroll through social media.  We want our marriage to be great, and we have moments of greatness, but we have hard, sad, angry moments in the midst of our very normal, very complicated daily lives.  Just like you do.  At least, that's what I'm guessing.

So, I'm writing this post to remind us all of what a gift it is to spend intentional time with our spouse. I LOVE my husband and want to be on his team every day of the week.

Except for the times when I accidentally love myself a little more.  It's so easy to prioritize how I feel and see things through my own little lens.  Then I twist things he says or doesn't say.  I take things personally.  I want things to feel "fair," which is a pipe dream and certainly not what God calls us to.  We firmly believe that marriage is not a 50/50 deal - we both have to give 100% all the time.  And ultimately, we have to be leaning into God and his grace to get through each day.

For us, we have realized that date nights are mission critical - especially when the crazy seems to be closing in on all sides.  

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(From a date night this summer.)

As we are looking ahead to a busy holiday season, we had a meeting of the minds and decided to make weekly date nights a necessity until things calm down a bit.  Different seasons require varied approaches, and after having experienced a particularly difficult holiday season the first year we had the mall, we have a better understanding of what we will need to come out not hating each other on the other side.  

Will weekly date nights make everything magically better?  No - of course not.

But, we managed to wrangle a sitter on short notice Wednesday night of this week - a week that already had us in her stranglehold of hard.  I'm sorry to say that we had barely spoken on Tuesday night.  Not out of anger - mostly out of pure exhaustion.  Wednesday night arrived, and we were off to a rocky start.  Things felt stilted, and we weren't connecting.  But - we pressed through.  We asked better questions and really saw each other and listened intently.  We ate good food.  Someone else blessedly tucked our children into bed while we visited a new popcorn shop in town and picked up a fun dessert.

By the time we got home, we were laughing, and life seemed less layered with gloom.  We remembered how much we really like one another.  We were back on the same team, and we both knew exactly what that meant.  Date nights don't make everything magically better, but it is amazing what a difference a date can make.  👊🙌😄

Monday, October 24, 2016

WEEKEND FUN

Actually, this post will be the weekend plus a few fun things from last week.  First up: we watched a lot of Dodger baseball last week, and though the series ended badly for them, they certainly did have a great season.  William was having a hard time getting to sleep one of the nights, so John got him out for a little baseball watching.

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(We will now be cheering on the Cubs in the World Series, though this will be very confusing to the kids.  Who keep saying, "Go Dodgers!" no matter what.)

I got to have lunch with both girls and managed to snag a pic with this one!  People have really started to say that we look alike, and isn't it funny - I can't see it at all!  I also have a hard time seeing that I look like my mother.  I think it is all too close to me, but both feel like a compliment, so I'll take it. 😜

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Friday was my sweet friend Courtney's birthday, and her hubby planned a surprise party for her.  We got to help coordinate it and be in on the whole surprise, which was a ton of fun/nerve-wracking that we might wreck the whole thing.  But - we didn't, and it all turned out to be so much fun + she was super surprised!  She blogged about it here, if you want to see more pics.

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As a double bonus, we got a sneak peak at the current Miss America, who was our Miss Arkansas this year!  Court and I got to see her compete this summer, so it was fun to see her again and then sneak a pic on the red carpet.

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Other weekend highlights included lunch at CFA with Daddy after he worked a long morning at Race for the Cure.

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Continuing to potty train twins, which I am still doing very half-heartedly with very half-hearted results.

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Hitting up the Fall Festival at our elementary school.

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Enjoying some downtime as a family in the beautiful weather!

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(Bird-watching)
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(Snot+Ice Cream goatee.  Ick.)

Now that the kiddos are all in school, I am coming to really appreciate just how precious our time together on the weekends is.  I am trying to find the balance between my tendency towards maximization (i.e. - let's do every.single.possible. fun thing we can find) vs. chill time.  Thankfully, John is a good balance for me in this area, and we are working together to get it right.  And failing at least half the time, but at least we are trying!