Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

We did it! We arrived at the ward Halloween Party less than an hour ONLY 30-something minutes late and all wearing coordinating costumes! Hooray! This is serious progress, people!
We will NEVER be able to outdo this guy and his SUPER-INSANELY-CREATIVE mother who begins projecting on Halloween stuff way back in oh...JULY! Awesome. SO cool.
I was pretty tickled that Stephen passed for a pretty convincing Woody (we came as close as we could to a bright yellow plaid cowboy shirt, using only the options in Stephen's closet) and the kids, well, they always steal the show. If I were really good, I'd have stuffed my hair into a brown beanie and wore a big colorful hat folded up in the front with a big plastic white daisy. Oh well.
Lucy (on the left) was the only Rapunzel I saw that night. So cute! If Brooklyn was jealous, she didn't dwell on it, but the thought of dressing Brookie up as the Tangled princess did cross my mind a time or two.
This costume gets bonus points for originality and creativity! She even passed out mini-cupcakes to the trick-or-treaters! Can you see her "baker" husband in the background? This couple and their cupcake theme was way too cute!
Here's the Jessi costume before it got returned to the store. I bought it a while back when I spotted Ian's Buzz costume. Thinking I would thank myself when it got down to the wire. But the more I looked at it, the more I really was disappointed in the quality and I got a little bit prideful (?) thinking that I could do so much better than this if I made the costume myself. I did save some money by making it, but more than that, I was more satisfied with the durability and quality of the final product. Stephen even helped me create the hat that had to be altered.
So these are pictures of the store-bought costume which did NOT get used, but was returned to the store instead. I know, I'm ridiculous.
Next should be a picture of the home-made one, but it will appear again later in the post. Sorry about that.
Candy sorting and random yummy dish of asparagus that I made. The stalks were bundled in ham (though the recipe called for prosciutto) and the ham was dabbed with a swipe or two of cream cheese mixed with parmesan cheese and chopped pine nuts. This is a new favorite of mine. Thanks Lucynthia (and Family Fun Magazine, I think...)!
Here's the Kindergarten parade at Brooklyn's school. There's Mrs. R. herself! This is where the magic begins!

Below is Brooklyn's friend Calvin in the knight suit that his mom made him.
Jessi. Either she's already too cool to wave at her mom or she didn't hear me. I'm hoping it was option "B."
Okay, so I really do need a better full-body shot of Jessi just to compare it to the picture of the store bought one.

Here's a friend of ours from another class. He's one of the kids that carpools home with us. I'm pretty sure that's Ian's little hand waving at him at the bottom of the picture.
Speaking of the devil, here he is with a few other dressed-up friends. Funny thing, on the actual day of Halloween, he preferred wearing his superman costume that I threw together in all of 15 mintues. It started with a hand-me-down superman shirt and ended with a pieced-together cape made from the scraps of a much more elaborate home-made cape that got lost/adopted by someone else (?) at girls' camp this year. I'm sorta bummed about that, can you tell? Ironically, Ian wears this other one way more than the first.
cute girls

The big gang of trick-or-treaters that my kids were a part of on Halloween night. It was quite a sight! They loved it!

Pumpkin PATCH!

We were invited to visit a pumpkin patch with some friends and then carve pumpkins with them for Family Home Evening a week before Halloween. This pumpkin patch was created by some high school students as a fund raiser. We didn't realize this before our arrival, but quickly realized that the pumpkin prices were inflated and there were lots of other activities that required tickets or donations. Lucky for us, our kids are easy to please and creatively enjoyed themselves for free while helping us to pick out 1 pumpkin for each of the two families.
Wow, she's a natural, no?
If only he would open that wide for teeth-brushing time!
D.H.S.'s very own "Most Promising Actor," way back when? He's so camera shy too!
The wheelbarrows were the best. I couldn't stop laughing as I watched the kids and husbands bound through the straw paths with them. It was quite a sight. There may have been a race or two...
Time to carve! Our friends were so nice to allow Ian to help them out so much... while Stephen went to town with a slightly more INTRICATE pirate skull design....
The crack-up is that Ian wanted to use his own knife independently most of the time. He kept saying, "I can do it, I can do it!" When we'd try to offer our help. What's up with boys and their weapons??
The finished products:
My favorite part of the evening was munching on the freshly toasted pumpkin seeds. Thanks Sallee! YUM, YUM! Actually, it was more like a close second to watching the wheelbarrow races.

Time with Ian

So Ian and I had a couple hours to kill between doctors appointment on the property of the Scripps La Jolla Hospital. Here are a couple of funny photos taken at the little gift shop there. I thought the lady at the gift shop would get bugged that I was just browsing with no intent to purchase something, but instead, she encouraged Ian to test out these motion-sensored Halloween decos that were spooky and funny. Dancing broomstick, anyone?? It was a strange thing for me to try and find things to fill time while wandering around a hospital, but I realized it was also a great time to give Ian my undivided attention. We had a snack at the cafeteria. We watched hummingbirds flit around a big tree with huge yellow blossoms. We watched the rain. Last, we tried to get a good glimpse of some newborn babies on the same floor where Ian was born nearly 3 years ago. Though the morning was completely unproductive in some aspects, (the appointments were very insignificant ones), I had a great time hangin' out with my favorite (then) 2-year-old.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jenn and Derek's Wedding: Fun, Fun, FUN!

Our family took a fun little trip to Fresno to see our friends Jenn and Derek get married. We were looking forward to this event for a while. The anticipation began when Brooklyn and Ian both got their OWN invitations to the wedding which also came with fun gender-appropriate stickers for the kids to decorate each of their response cards. The wedding and following lunch/reception were no less kid and family friendly. I have to say, it was the most fun wedding I've ever attended. The proof is in the pictures. I couldn't stop clicking my camera because every where I turned were unique, classy, and down-to-earth details.
First of all, the ceremony was perfect: short, sweet, and to the point, about 15 - 20 minutes in length. The event was held on the groom's family ranch which was beautifully landscaped.
I also felt that it was very sweet of the bride and groom to include us in so much of their day! We saw the bride morning of the wedding as we left the hotel. She stopped by to say hi to family and friends who were eating the breakfast buffet there. She also made it known to us early in the day that she and the groom wanted to share a table with us at the lunch reception - wow! Talk about VIP treatment!
Before the lunch and after the ceremony, we had so much to feast on, visually and otherwise. First stop, the CRAFT TABLE, designed with kids in mind. The bride's mother did an awesome job with this one. There were only maybe a dozen kids or less total in attendance, but there was a craft table tempting enough even to the adults. It was stocked with coloring books, bubbles, bubble wands, paper crowns to decorate, markers, foam and other stickers. I literally had to pull Brooklyn away from it to show her the candy table only a few yards away. But before the candy table, there was this lovely beverage buffet table. It was one of many, I might add. The other tables had apple cider, water, soda, and a full-service bar, which Stephen and I didn't visit.
The lemonade was such a sweet refreshment on this warm day!
The table settings were so beautiful and no two were exactly alike, though they all coordinated.
Here's a table for making note cards for the bride and groom in lieu of a guest book. I love how the bride was very casual and had her own unique twist on wedding traditions.
Did I mention yet that there were two air-bounce structures for the kids?? Stephen spent a lot of time there with Ian. He was really sad about downing that orange soda too while minding our little kangaroo, don't you think?
One of the bounce houses was an obstacle course, the other was a gigantic slide. There were even people designated to supervise the bouncy things. Ian became fast friends with one of the super nice helpers, George, who is pictured later.
Ian's awe at the corner of the candy table.
Dad steps in to help out on the stuffing of bag #1. The almonds and grapes used for function and decoration were from the family farms.
Here's the staff that manned the ice cream booth from Marble Slab. I've never been to a Marble Slab ice cream shop, but I hear that they're the equivalent of a Cold Stone Creamery. Jenn and Derek make weekly stops to one near their home on date nights. So, it was only fitting that the crew there catered their signature ice cream at the wedding. Another fun twist - there wasn't a wedding cake, but it was not even missed. Sugar cookies were provided as another dessert as well.

Here were some of the topping choices
Brooklyn revisited the craft table several times.
One of the guests donning her paper crown from the craft table.
Ian and Brooklyn at the candy table. Brooklyn's holding her bag of loot...before it broke due to the over-stuffing it.
Crafting again.
Simple, yet stunningly beautiful flowers in Mason canning jars
A view of the farm-grown cotton that was included in some of the flower arrangements. I loved all the little farm touches! Ok, the boy with the crown in the background is pretty dang cute too.
More flowers with a touch of cotton at the base.
Jenn, the bride, and Brooklyn
Jenn and Derek with our kids. Derek was looking forward to seeing his "Buddy" Ian. Too bad Ian was playing Mr. Shy Guy.
mother and daughter
The three gals: Me, Brooklyn, and Jenn. I actually thought my hair might look more formal if I took it out of the ponytail just before this picture was taken - HELLO pony-dent!
Ian and George
Ian bounding through the obstacle course. Crazy kid!
Ok, I see a future teenager in this face. This could be the face I see in a future high-school sports game...if he's not too cool to acknowledge his mom/#1 fan on the sideline.
Down he goes! (Those shorts were put on after the ceremony.)
Brooklyn and a new friend Jillian, who attended the wedding with her grandma who is a friend of the groom's mom.
Now another kind of fun begins...the DANCING! Jenn was opposed to having a DJ and an official dance floor, but I have to say, the dancing was just so entertaining. First of all, I think we were all drawn to the beat by these energetic middle-aged mommas and grandparents who were ROCKING OUT! We couldn't just watch with out catching the FEVER!
My husband and kids are NO strangers to the dancing scene. Somehow I'm not quite so confident as them, but I do sneak in a few moves to the beat here and there.
This whole scene was highly entertaining. I couldn't stop grinning!

It was a perfect way to work that sugar through the kids (and Stephen's) systems!
I don't know who had more fun, me watching them or Stephen and the kids dancing like nobody's business! I shamelessly admit that I was totally adoring my family at this point.
Stephen was sure working up a sweat! He said it felt like Louisiana summer day - hot and humid. I was getting a little hot and bothered myself with this view of Mr. P90X graduate.
Cotton again!
The kids could not get enough of their Daddy's attention! They loved dancing with him.
Like I said, this man is no stranger to the dance floor.
I love reading between the lines of this picture. Big sister and friend teach little brother his first dance lesson. Classic.
Uh-oh! The shirt is untucked people, we are really getting down!
A too-scared-of-the-hot-plastic-on-my-bare-legs Brooklyn being escorted down the slide by George. Thanks for the rescue once again, George!
King and Queen of Bounce
Make that Prince and Princess. The true grand finale was the bride and groom's little escapade to the kingdom of air and bounce. I don't know about the other guests in attendance, but I couldn't help but think of her poor dress! Would it SURVIVE the slides? NO! It did not survive she later reported. Does she regret this? Not a chance.
Love this. Love them.
One of the bags of candy, sorted by Brooklyn upon returning home from the little adventure. (The two pictures following this should be first, chronologically)
This was Ian moments after being buckled in for the journey home.
And a few minutes after that, Brooklyn looked this way too. I'm chuckling that she was literally mid-stroke in the Strawberry Shortcake coloring page.
Jenn and Derek, thank you thank you thank you so much for including us in your momentous day. We loved every second of it was great to see you again! Best wishes!