Tuesday, October 31, 2017

HALLOWEEN 2017

Another Halloween has come and gone, and though I'm later to the blog tonight - I'm making it.  We are deep in the World Series Game 6. 🀞🏻 We are celebrating the Dodgers win tonight and looking forward to Game Seven tomorrow night!

This year, we were the Spenst Sweets.  I decided at the last minute to be an ice cream cone and had almost all the stuff on hand. πŸ™ŒπŸ»

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Lily was our Gumball Machine, and she made her shirt with almost no assistance from me. #crafterintraining

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Bella was a Candy Fairy, and we were able to use her dance recital costume and add just a few accessories.

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Violet was the cutest Cupcake we ever did see.

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William was Captain Donut, which included his donut costume and an added sword and cape.  He was so incredibly stoked about all of this. πŸ˜‚πŸ©

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We hosted some of our friends for a quick dinner and trick-or-treating.

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Our Trick-or-Treating weather was dicey at best, so we loaded our kids into the back of a car just in case the skies completely opened up.  We did a mixture of walking and riding and chasing down our children who were SPRINTING through our neighborhood.  My kids are now all ages where this is SO fun for all of them, so that feels good.

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After trick-or-treating, we came back and immediately turned on the game while kids sorted candy.

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I didn't spend the whole game in my sprinkles lashes (which William did NOT like but Violet deemed as "awesome," but they were fun for a while!

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Cannot believe November is tomorrow.  And World Series Game Seven - Go Dodgers and Happy Halloween!

Past Halloween fun
{2016{2015} {2014} {2013} {2012} {2011}

Sunday, October 29, 2017

WORLD SERIES GAME 4

Yesterday, John and I traveled to see the Dodgers play against the Astros in the World Series in Houston.  Y'all.  We had the best time, truly.  We saw this opportunity from a little ways out, as we avidly consumed the play-offs, but once the Dodgers and Astros had both clinched, and we realized we could DRIVE to a game, we became really serious about making it happen.

So very graciously, John's parents offered to keep our children to allow us this once in a lifetime experience.

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After watching ticket prices rather obsessively (John and I both have some obsessive tendencies when it comes to research πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ), we saw some trends where ticket prices tended to drop a few hours before the game.  So, with no tickets in hand, we headed to Houston.

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We made it to Houston and parked near Minute Maid Park before we continuously refreshed StubHub to see if we could catch a deal within the budget we had set, and at 5:49 (before the 7:20 start time), we did!  πŸ™ŒπŸ»

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The ticket scramble was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating, and we got to sit in a Field Box 35 rows up, which was amazing!

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This game had it all (for us as Dodger fans).  There was incredible pitching, and it ended with explosive offense from our team.  We were on the edge of our seats (though standing the whole time) through the last couple of innings.

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John has been a Dodger fan since his childhood in California, where he lived the last time they won the World Series.  Getting to attend a Dodger World Series game was a dream come true for him, and I super love big events, and we were both SO excited.

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After the top half of the 9th inning when the Dodgers scored all the runs, Astro fans started clearing out, and we raced over to the Dodger Dugout area where we finished out the game with other Dodger fans who were also starting to gather there.

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It was so fun to be celebrating with fellow Dodger fans and be able to see the players milling around and doing media interviews once the game was over.

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Attending a World Series game was truly an electric experience.  Every fan there is dressed for their team, so you know exactly where everyone stands. (I wish people were this easy to distinguish in all of life.)  As we were walking out of the stadium, I could not count the number of high fives we exchanged with other Dodger fans.  It was SO FUN.  Go Dodgers!

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We can't get over what a remarkable gift this entire mini-trip was for us.  Driving to and from Houston without children has actually been super relaxing.  (I'm blogging from the car.)  We slept in.  We ate what and when we wanted.  We relished being together, and the game experience itself was far beyond what we could have hoped for.  We are so thankful to John's parents for making it possible.

And, we will be continuing to cheer on the Dodgers through this series hoping for a big win! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MY FIRST EMAIL ADDRESS & WHY I STILL USE IT

I remember the day that my dad set me up with an email account.  He was an early(ish) adopter and was pleased to bring dial-up AOL into our Kansas basement that had mauve carpet and floral paneling.  I loved hearing the words, "You've Got Mail," because it was before the days of massive email spamming, and it meant that you actually had email you might be actually interested in reading.  IMing my friends also became such fun, until the phone line had been tied up too long and needed to be used for a phone call by someone else in the family.

And while that trip down nostalgia lane certainly conjures an entirely other life and person and time, it does not capture why I still use my very first email address.  Which I do.

First off, because my dad came up with it, it actually wasn't dumb.  I imagine that if I had been left to my own 14 year old devices, I probably would have chosen poorly.  But Dad wisely took this matter out of my hands and used my first name, part of my last name and part of my birthday.  So, this email address made sense all through high school, and I used it as a backup email in college.

Dad died the week I graduated college, and then the email address became something else entirely to me.  It became a reminder of him and a little wave from my past as his daughter.

The years have worn on, obviously.  AOL is LONG past its prime.  #understatementoftheyear  And yet, I love my little AOL email.  I do.  Even when I have to spell out the first letters of my maiden name to someone over the phone.  Even when I get made fun of for still using an AOL account at all.

Years ago, I did set up a gmail account with my married name, and I also use it regularly.  I also have a cookie email and an email connected to Immerse/Walk for the Waiting.  Not to mention Facebook, two Instagram accounts and even a SnapChat account that I only ever use for the fun filters, so there are no shortage of ways to get ahold of me, per the norm of 2017.  Clearly I have evolved past my one little AOL email.

But I never moved past the love.  Though I have certainly accepted and grieved my father's death, it never stops being part of me, and his legacy of love for Christ and our family lives on in my own life and my own family.  Being raised by him (and my wonderful mother) is a gift far beyond anything I could have ever asked for.  While certainly not perfect, our family was loving and equipping, and I am still reaping all of the benefits that entails.  Now that I am up close to the world where families do not look like that, I can more fully appreciate and rejoice in the childhood I was given where love and security were the norm.

As an adult now 14.5 years past this loss, I am surprised at the things that remind me of my dad.  In the fall, it's often candy corn.  He loved candy corn, but he was very clear to communicate that it had to be Brach's.  All other "Candy Corn" was only a pale, useless imitation, and to this day, I never buy or consider eating any other brand.  Dad also loved orange slice candy, and I remember the crinkle of the clear plastic bag as he would retrieve it from it's hiding place on top of the refrigerator.  I did not inherit a love of orange slices, but I do also hide candy strategically around my home, so there's that.

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Now that my original email address is more than 20 years old, I think I'm just gonna keep on keeping on with it.  It has weathered so much of life right along with me and deserves to stand beside me though AOL may be sold again and again.  Most times I type it, I remember my dad, and I'm thankful for the man that loved me so well.  I wish wish wish I could email him with a long list of questions and exclamations about life, and I long for the day when we will be reunited in Heaven.  When death will be beaten and tears will be no more.

Until then, I'll hold on to hope for that glorious future and candy corn in this glorious present.

Monday, October 23, 2017

BELLA'S UNICORN PARTY

We celebrated Bella in high style with a Unicorn party Saturday afternoon, and it turned out magically. πŸ¦„

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Truth be told, Bella initially wanted a Shopkins party, and I gently steered her away from that.  πŸ™ˆ She did become quite excited for her Unicorn party once we got things underway.  My sis, Ellen, generously designed the invites for us.

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We had it at a neighborhood clubhouse, which made it easier for us, since it wasn't at our home.  My party helpers were in full effect πŸ™ŒπŸ».  I kept it smaller, and all in all, it wasn't too crazy.  The weather was overcast, and there were a few gusts of wind that threatened the decor, but the rain held off until just after we had cleaned up!

We started with lunch, which was basically lunch meat + cheese and carbs.

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(plates are from Talking Tables, ordered through Amazon)
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(I dyed some bowtie pasta for a fun feel, and the "Unicorn" popcorn was almond bark + sprinkles + popcorn and was a hit!)

For drinks, we had mini water bottles and punch.

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On all the tables, I had sprinkled cereal marshmallows which can be ordered on bulk from Amazon and some Skittles.  This meant that quite a bit of these got thrown into lunch as well.

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Such a healthy lunch! πŸ˜‚ For activities, I honest to goodness worked to get a live "unicorn" but struck out on finding an all white horse to attend the party.  So, I stuck to tried and true (and much cheaperπŸ‘ŠπŸ») party favorites - a piΓ±ata and "Pin the Horn on the Unicorn."

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I originally ordered the Talking Tables unicorn pinata and clearly, did not pay attention to the size, as it ended up making a much better table decor item.  I ordered a second pinata from Amazon and was quite pleased with it.  We might have over stuffed it, which made it really difficult to break open - John had to bust it open in the end.  The whole thing proved to be quite a lot of party fun for all.  I stuffed the pinata with rubber ducky unicorns and "unicorn poop" marshmallows and Smarties.

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Then it was time for cake and singing Happy Birthday to our oh so sweet birthday girl.

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Everyone had a great time playing, and it was a delightful group of girls and family who joined us!

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We sent everyone on their way with what turned out to be gigantic cookies. 😳 However, nobody complains about big cookies. Especially when they have a glittery unicorn on them!

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Happiest of birthdays to you, our precious Bella!  We love you so!

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(her glasses really are the cutest! πŸ€“)

{To see past Spenst birthday parties, click here!}