Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Five: Halloween

Last night my darling bunch performed their annual scooping of guts and carving of faces.

It's not nearly as gruesome as it sounds, and it wasn't nearly as family-oriented as it sounds, either. However, Halloween is now in full swing as happy pumpkins rot on my back porch. Cheers! Today is Friday, so I think we should celebrate. In Five on Friday fashion, here are my favorite things about the spookiest time of year:

ONE: CANDY Who doesn't love a holiday that leaves kitchens overflowing with chocolate? My favorites are tiny Kit Kats, tiny Snickers, tiny bags of M&Ms, and tiny Milky Ways. Although I'm almost certain the word tiny doesn't help the calorie count when you eat a whole bag...

TWO: CARVING You may already know pumpkin carving is not my favorite. Anxiety levels peaked last night as I accidentally knocked one of the Nora pumpkin's teeth out, but once they're done and placed in the dark of night, it's worth it. Mostly.

THREE: CREEPY My kids enjoy being just a little scared. They love venturing into the moonlight, they stare at the scariest pages in Halloween books, and spooky cartoon specials are on repeat. While our horror films are basically Harry Potter and Halloweentown, kid-level frights are big here.

FOUR: COSTUMES I love seeing the local kids decked out in their most creative costumes. Monday night will likely bring dozens of princesses, cupcakes, and adorable woodland creatures, but my little darling will be a skeleton. Nora wanted the scare factor this year, and even shamed her daycare BFF for choosing an un-spooky version of Ariel. Rude

FIVE: COUNTDOWN Halloween is fun and creative, but it serves a greater good. It kicks off the holiday trifecta. Some years I am more of a Grinch than I should be, but I can already feel the holiday magic creeping in. Don't tell Jonathan, though, it's too early for Bing Crosby.

Happy Friday, friends! May your weekend be filled with ghosts, goblins, and too much chocolate.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016


A few weeks ago, the topic du jour at our youth group was being courageous.

We talked about what it might look like to stand up for Christ, even if it means standing completely alone. Before we related the whole talk back to Jesus {and after we asked the youth to crack eggs on their foreheads...}, I asked a simple question. I was curious what required these teenagers to truly summon their courage.

They answered with things like asking their parents a hard question, going to confession, or approaching a crush. One kid said walking into school every day. I admire the honesty. While these run-of-the-mill answers were expected, we dug into deeper territory from there. However, as I was mulling over the night's talk, I started to think about my answer. What everyday things do I have to brace myself for?

Curious? I won't leave you hanging. For your Wednesday entertainment, these are the things for which I need to summon courage {and no, I don't just mean the liquid kind}.

Editor's Note: This post is not serious, and written purely to bring joy to your life. Carry on.

  • Dumping a cup of chocolate milk into the sink. A cup you found on Owen's desk. A cup whose contents are either liquid or solid.
  • Telling Nora it's time for bed. It's a process. One must reach deep down to pull this off without a fight. It involves assuring her there are no tigers, spiders, zombies, bugs, ghost, etc. in her room and a brief rundown of the following day's agenda. Whatever works?
  • Stepping foot in the gym after slacking for a few weeks. I am well aware that this is going to hurt.
  • Folding the damn laundry.
  • I pray twice before I sit down at the piano beside my son. Nathan's at the point in lessons where he probably knows as much technique as I do. This means arguments over what's right, and usually it is him.
  • Announcing that the delicious pan-fried tilapia and broccoli are ready for dinner.
  • Propelling myself from the couch to the kitchen to see exactly how many dishes my husband can dirty whilst preparing said fish and veggie.
  • Pulling my hair out of the drain. {Tell me I'm not the only one who dry heaves.}
  • Walking into the chicken coop after putting off its cleaning for a few extra days* {*could mean weeks}.
  • Exploring the refrigerator in search of a smell that's a combination of rancid milk and dirty diapers. Then noticing a bag of off-color vegetables bought with good intention.

In the spirit of all things Halloween and spooky, I am dying to know if what keeps you up at night? What would be your answer if I asked what commands your bravest face? Do you, too, turn white at the sound of a finished dryer?

Let me know I'm not the only one, y'all. Happy Hump Day!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Be Nice

"Say you're sorry for yelling at me, Mom. No, say it nicely this time."

Through gritted teeth and at the sake of both mine and my loving three-year-old's sanity, I apologize once again while we wait parked in the car line. There's nowhere to run. There's nowhere to hide. Who knows what brought my sweet, motherly demeanor to its breaking point. It could have been picking up a Paw Patrol book she dropped for the 19th time, saying her hair looks pretty instead of curly, or even opening her Capri Sun before her goldfish.

Whatever it was, I didn't do it right.

And when I do something incorrectly a certain number of times in a row, I tend to lose my cool with my sweet daughter. Arguments at any time, in any place can reach fever pitch with this little lady {don't warn me about the teenage years - I already know}, but she's the one who always reminds us to play fair.

Often my sickeningly-sweet pseudo-niceness that comes after she demands I "be nice" doesn't work for her. She sees right through it and will command me to "be nice" over and over again. Sometimes I get high and mighty and start the diatribe of "I am 32 years old. I am the parent. I don't have to do what a three-year-old says." But then it hits me that all she's wanting me to do is be nice.

The arguments we get into are ridiculous, and many of the demands requests my darling daughter makes are the same. However, I think I owe it to her to be nice. It doesn't hurt, it's 100% free, and Lord knows it saves the whole bunch when I can be like Elsa and let it go. If you have never been witness to the parenting of a three-year-old, know this: you can't always win. Why not just be nice?

I'm not going to get on this little mom blog and spew my political stances with an agenda of changing the minds of those who disagree. I am well aware this is the Internet and it doesn't work that way. However, I will make one single announcement this election season: Listen to Nora. Be nice.

There are going to be so many people shouting vile things from behind keyboards in the days to come, but I urge us all to just be nice. No matter how irritating the argument may get {I swear if I have to pick that book up one more time...}, be nice. If you can't, disengage. That's how I am trying to navigate life with a mule-headed toddler.

Funny how the same ideas apply so equally to politics...

Have a Happy Monday, y'all!

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Busy Bunch

The daily blanks on my planner have been completely scribbled in lately.

I feel like I have been running in circles, but today I carved out a few minutes to process it all by sharing with you. Lucky for us both, really. Election season is almost over, my kids are healthy and happy, and today's high is below 80 degrees. It's a good day, y'all. Here are some more cool things that have been happening for us:

Owen checked out fine after having his tonsils and adenoids removed. His ENT looked at him for 30 seconds and promised she'd never see him again. He was perfectly okay with that. As an FYI: Owen's recovery ended up being very tolerable. There's hope for your child/your sanity if your family ever has to go through it. Just stock up on bottles of Tylenol and Popsicles.

Two kids in after-school activities feels a bit like a marathon {not that I would know}. We have still been doing a decent job of getting Nathan to piano, Owen to soccer, and Nora somewhere between. This may mean a few more McNuggets than normal, but what are you going to do? They're delicious.

On that note, Owen scored his first goal at a game Tuesday night! I was home with Nora, but Jonathan alerted me to this happening with plenty of exclamation points. He said the kid immediately ran off the field to participate in a celebratory high-five. I wasn't there, so I don't know, but there was probably an 85% chance of fatherly emotion.

Speaking of proud moments, this week marked our first time to attend two different parent-teacher conferences. All five of us ducked into Owen's classroom to hear his teacher sing his praises. He knows all his sight words and how to write his numbers, and his behavior clothespin stays on the good side. Although Jonathan and Nathan {thankfully} ditched us for round two, I hear similar praises were sung on the fourth-grade hall. My son even maintained his straight-A streak. Think they get it from their mama?

Although Nora has no academic success to report, she did ask to ditch her diapers this week. So, that's happening.

As you can see, we killed it at this year's family photo session. Nora even wore fancy shoes with straps. It was a miracle! Maybe they weren't the most cooperative subjects, but they were captured in their essence. I only have a few sneak peeks now, but I am so eager to see the rest. Shout out to Bright Images!

That's the short version of where we've been since the beginning of October. My calendar is still full of reminders to drive small people places, but I am looking forward to a great fall season. Now I suppose it's time to get those Halloween costumes ordered...

Happy Thursday, y'all!

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dear October

You might not believe me if you walk outside this afternoon, but October has arrived.

We are six days in, and while a high of 90 degrees doesn't scream fall to me, I have been obsessed with the slow signs of a new season. Today I'm sharing snapshot for the month. Following are a few October-focused questions I answered with the first thing that came to mind. Read on with that warning.

  1. Favorite Thing: October is a month that smells like fresh air, decaying leaves, and fire. These scents are good for the soul, I tell you.

  2. Planning: I am excited about two photography sessions coming up later in the month. We'll have our annual family session to grace this year's Christmas cards {and this blog, obviously}. In addition to that, we are doing a photo shoot with the extended family on Jonathan's side. I am pumped to capture these memories and spend time with some of my favorite people.

  3. Eating: Too. Much. Fun Size. My office is stocked for Halloween with tiny Snickers, itty bitty bags of M&Ms, and one-piece Kit Kats. They're cute, but they're dangerous.

  4. Drinking: Wine. This one and this one are my favorites lately, and they pair perfectly with a breezy October night.

  5. Wearing: All of the button-up shirts, please. Fall is the season of plaid and boots. You can keep your pumpkin spice stuff, but let me have the basic-girl wardrobe.

  6. Listening to: Crickets. One of my favorite autumn sounds are the bugs that play lullabies during our evenings outside. I'm sure they're singing tunes all summer long, but at that time I am inside. In the air conditioning.

  7. Enjoying: My chickens. You laughed, didn't you? That's okay, I laughed when it was the first thing that popped into my head. Gardening season is over and the girls can once again free range. Any pecking, scratching, and eating they do in the garden now is helpful. Plus, it's fun to watch them interact and explore. I promise...

  8. Current Project: Every year I vow that my kids will narrow down their Halloween costumes and I will buy them before September ends. And every year I can be found paying ridiculous shipping fees to get them in time. Today is October 6, and we have nothing. It's officially time to get Nora's "great big pumpkin" outfit ordered.

  9. Hoping for: Peace. The start of the school year blows in with a rush of things to do. I love the new routine, but lately things have been too hurried and hectic. I hope the change of season gives me a time to unwind, relax, and remember that who I am means more than what I do.

  10. Doing: October starts our hot tub season. Jonathan and I dedicated much of our evening time to that last weekend {don't tell the kids}. The cool, clear nights painted a mesmerizing celestial view and we lost count of shooting stars. That feeling of being so tiny in the universe while cooking in an outdoor tub hits the spot. Welcome, October.

What's your favorite thing about October?
Share in the comments and have yourself a lovely Thursday.

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