Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ward Halloween Carnival

I spent my Saturday night with these two lovely ladies manning the "Pick a duck" booth at our church's Halloween Carnival. We had loads of prizes and buckets full of rubber duckies floating in water.

The ducks all had symbols on their behinds. The kids came and picked a duck, showed us the symbol, and we told them which bucket to choose their prize from. The booth was very easy to run... although kinda boring after 2 hours :) Fortunately Kevin was nice and brought me some hot chocolate and soup while I was at my booth.

Meanwhile... Andrew and Kevin made the rounds and went to all the other cool booths. The balloon target practice one was Andrew's favorite... and he even threw a dart and popped a balloon! I heard all about it the entire drive home.

He also loved the cookie decorating booth and loaded up on lots of chocolate.

He also was very excited to run into some of his friends! (not the best pic of Andrew, but I love how they are holding hands).

We were all DEAD by 7:15pm and Andrew was tucked into bed by 7:30pm. Saturday was a fun but very crazy day!!

More pics and posts to come soon all about our awesome neighborhood Halloween carnival.

Relaxing Halloween Sunday

After a crazy Halloweek and an even crazier Halloweekend (which I still have tons to post about)... we decided to stay home and chill today and just have Andrew hand out candy to the trick or treaters.

Last night around 7pm I remembered that I was teaching YWs today... so I whipped up some mummy cookies. The lesson was about self-mastery and I wrapped up Andrew's bitty baby with cords and talked about how we can become bound by our bad habits... so I challenged the girls to pick a bad habit to work on and not become bound like the mummies :) Then I had them symbolically eat their mummies to show that they're going to get rid of a bad habit (gossiping, lying, etc.). The cookies were such a yummy Halloween treat!

After church we relaxed and cleaned up from the tornado that blew through our house over the weekend... and then we had a surprise visit from our Home Teachers.

Later in the evening the missionaries joined us for a Halloween dinner of chili (vegetarian and meaty) and corn bread. Kevin also made them his special hamburgers. These Elders can EAT! We made two different types of cornbread (Kev made one and I made one) and had a contest to see whose cornbread was the best. Any guesses? (my recipe includes a cake mix :) and they looked super cute in mini bundt cake molds) I also made pumpkin bars with loads of cream cheese frosting because one of the Elders is allergic to chocolate. He probably ate half the pan of pumpkin bars. Yay!

We spent the evening having a Cranium showdown with the Elders interspersed with LOTS of running to the door to pass out candy. I got a really good workout.

After the Elders left, we camped out by the door and passed out more candy. Andrew kept telling us to "shhhh!" so that he could listen for the trick or treaters. He didn't want to wear anything Halloweeny- he liked his Sunday shirt- so we just went with it.

We goofed around, built block towers, and cuddled while we waited.

It is nice that Andrew is still a little clueless and had no idea that he was missing out on not going trick-or-treating. Opening and closing our door and greeting his "friends" was way too cool. He hasn't really been excited about the eating candy aspect of Halloween very much either. He is more of a hoarder. He wants to have it in his pumpkin. He roamed around the house playing pretend "trick or treat" all afternoon. The three candies he has tried this Halloween season and has really loved are lemon heads, candy corn, and smarties... but even then, he'd rather give them than eat them. I dumped all of his candy from the ward party last night into our buckets and gave it away today. He won't even notice and won't ever ask about it.

Back to our relaxing night...
Around 8:15pm the doorbell stopped ringing and the little man hit the sack.

The highlight of the evening was when Andrew was manning the door and shouting greetings/goodbyes to the trick-or-treaters. I videotaped him a little bit because he was so adorable. The teenagers loved him. Here are my favorite video clips.

Earlier today we sorted our candy into "tier 1" and "tier 2" buckets. We fortunately only made it through the two "tier 2" buckets... so Kevin and I are excited to have lots of "tier 1" treats to snack on all next week :) I didn't buy our Halloween candy until Thursday or Friday... so we aren't candied out yet (which is a first). I have a feeling by Wednesday I will want all the candy out of the house though!

I am somewhat happy to be done with Halloween... and am so excited to start decorating and planning for Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Googleween 2010

This year marked our third annual trip to Googleween. It is so fun to see how much bigger Andrew is now. Check him out his first year and second year.

We started off the day by picking Aunt Jessie up and then heading over to Kevin's building to show Andrew off to some of Kev's co-workers.

Getting decked out in his pirate gear

Trying to scare Aunt Jessie with his hook

Then we headed over to the main event across campus. Our first stop (after getting lots and lots of kettle corn) was the Android table. Android was decked out a Count Dracula... and we got to take one home.

The pumpkin patch was full of cute pumpkins for "picking"

They had the good sugar cookies again... and Andrew went to town on them- he loved the ghost and moon cookies the best.

I tried to get some cute photos on the hay bales... but there was Beatles music playing... so Andrew was distracted. We were expecting the "Monster Mash" or other Halloween music favorites... but nope, we got the Beatles. Guess who was really excited about that? (not that you can tell in this picture)

They had an area full of blow up things and there were people passing out candy and prizes. Andrew thought the spiders were pretty awesome.

There were also spider webs everywhere...


The tall man on stilts gave Andrew a high five

There were guys walking around with hot apple cider containers strapped to their backs... we had to do some sampling.

The hot spot of the party was the reptile area.

Kimodo dragon? Little dude had no fear.
Jessie and I thought the reptiles were fake... nope, not so much.

Kev even braved wearing the boa constrictor. Eeek!

Once we'd seen the reptiles, Andrew enjoyed savoring his yellow moon sugar cookie and of course getting Kevin's shirt totally covered in yellowness :) For some reason whenever he is messy... he is like a magnet towards Kevin. I love it ;)

We also decorated a pumpkin with foam stickers. I am loving this new trend. I don't think I plan to ever paint a pumpkin again with kids. The foam stickers are so much less messy and you can move them around if you mess up and hate what you did.

Hugging his newest creation

We ended the afternoon with a little rest on the hay bales while we finished up our treats.

Little dude loved throwing hay and getting it all over his pants
(his costume got scrapped about 10 min into the party... Jessie, Kevin, and I were each carrying parts of it as he stripped down- good thing there were 3 of us :))

Andrew was so happy his buddy Aunt Jessie got to come with us

Happy Googleween 2010!

New arrival and trashy car

This little present arrived today for baby Caitlin ;) I love it when REI has good sales.

Andrew is really excited. He doesn't really get it that Caitlin will be sitting with him in it... he thinks it is for me and him to ride around in together.

Tonight he kept asking Kevin, "Are you going to push us?" and me, "Mom, you going to ride with me?"

Yeah, highly unlikely little buddy...

Now we're really set for Caitlin's arrival- stroller, carseat, diapers, crib, and a lot of cute outfits.

I keep getting worried that I won't be prepared when it is time to go to the hospital... until I looked inside my car today and realized I pretty much had it stocked for any emergency.

- 2 backpacks full of candy, treats, snacks, water bottles, socks, diapers, wipes, sweatshirts, and extra outfits for Andrew.

- Enough empty diet coke bottles and water bottles to store water in through the millennium.

- Blankets and a flashlight... just in case we have to deliver the baby in the car in the dark? :)

- 2 large pumpkins... just in case Andrew gets really hungry. :)

- Running shoes for both of us- just in case we had to run to the hospital...

- fully charged iPod with our favorite songs and a fully charged camera

- and a LARGE quantity of pink M&Ms (think 2 of the large Costco M&Ms bags) thanks to Aunt Jessie.

I'm less worried now ;) We are obviously set with all the essentials. Bring on the baby.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Argh, Matey!

This morning we had our Music Makers class and the kiddos did a costume parade. I managed to bribe Andrew to let me take some pictures of him in his costume before we left... since I knew it would be tricky once he was running around at class. Anyone recognize his costume? Yep, it is the same one from last year and I feel great about it... and so does he. It was huge last year and fits a little better this year.

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He has all sorts of accessories to wear with his costume and changes up what he carries... so we will be lugging a lot of stuff around. I love the hook that I found for $2. He likes chasing after people and saying "Argh, Matey!" He uses his telescope as a drum stick.

At music class we sang songs, did marching time (in costumes), did a march and freeze around on the pumpkins (kinda like a cake walk w/out candy), and basically just checked out everyone's costumes.

Andrew was in love with a kid in a kangaroo costume and one in a lion costume (both girls). He went up to them and said hi and then ran back and told me about it... like they were celebrities. "I said hi to the lion mommy and she said hi back!"

Little man also wanted me to march around with him. I wore my pirate hat too. This is not my most attractive picture, but I love his cute little cheesy smile.

He spun around and around during marching time and did a lot of rolling on the floor... so this is his "I'm a little dizzy" look.

We cuddled together during story/snack time...

and his cool teacher gave out ghosts treats at the end of class. He loved the idea of the ghost treat, licked it once, and was done.

We spent the rest of the morning trying to find a skull and crossbones t-shirt to go under his pirate jacket. Last year I made one using a plain white onesie and brown felt. It is obviously too small this year. We'll see what I come up with before our next Halloween event- Googleween!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great Pumpkin Party

Today we had our "Great Pumpkin" Halloween party. You can read all about what we did here.

I really wanted to have a super cool Halloween Party and do some fun games, decorate my house really well, and make some awesome treats... but let's be honest, I'm tired and I grunt loudly every time I get up lately... and stumble and walk weird. It scares Andrew. So instead, I came up with a very simple craft the kids could make, got a few movies, and had people volunteer to bring different pumpkiny or Halloweeny treats.

Mostly the moms wanted to chat and the kids wanted to run around and play with toys and eat food, so everyone seemed content and happy.

I made pumpkin cakes again in my heart mold. They were delicious and I ate them all day as I made them. These were the ones that were left. I probably had already eaten 4-5... or more.

These were my favorite candies. Andrew kept thinking they were bouncy balls and would throw them at things.

We made "Great Pumpkin" masks and watched a Charlie Brown and a Max & Ruby Pumpkin movie.

I think we had about 15 kids and 8-9 adults at the party, so that brought a lot of energy and fun people to chat with. I was too busy socializing and running around giving Andrew kindness rocks, so I didn't really get any pictures of the party.

I kind of wish I would've thought to have the kids dress up in their costumes... but since I'm lazy and still haven't finished putting Andrew's costume together yet, it was probably for the best. I am excited to live vicariously through Elise & Sarah's cute upcoming Halloween party... and then maybe try to be more creative and less boring next year!

I miss being an elementary school teacher and having a "Room Mom" to coordinate the party and make my ideas come to fruition without me having to do much work.

Kindness Rock Experiment

After all of our adventures last week, we've been having a bit of an adjustment to being back home all together without the fun that comes from being on vacation.

The positive = Andrew has taken a 2 hour nap every day... which he didn't do the whole week before we left. Hopefully I didn't jinx that by writing this.

The negatives = Little dude has been on again/off again not feeling good (lots of stomach aches) and has had some adjustments to being back with his friends and being kind.

I think his behavior is pretty typical for a 2-year-old, but it doesn't mean that I like it. He got bitten by a friend yesterday... and in turn, chucked a train at the kid's head (leaving a good sized bruise). His toddler impulsivity trumps all the language that he knows sometimes... and he just reacts. Keeps us all on our toes... and as some friends suggested, I might need some armor to protect baby Caitlin and my belly sometime soon :)

Today we started a little kindness experiment... kinda like I used to do in my classroom.

Andrew got a little empty container and we filled a ziploc bag up with "kindness rocks." We carried our rocks and our little container around with us all day.

Every time he did something kind, he got a "kindness rock" to put in his container. Kind things he did included sharing toys, hugging or saying hi to friends, giving things to me gently (instead of throwing them), using kind words, listening, saying sorry if he did something he shouldn't, using good manners, etc.

It was pretty awesome to see the power of the rocks. At the beginning of the day I told him that when his container was full, he would get a special present for being such a kind boy. He ate it up.

The point of the kindness rocks experiment was two-fold:

1) It reminded me to look for his positive behavior... it is always easiest to focus on the negative... especially when I am busy.

2) It positively reinforced all his good behavior in a visual way that he could understand... and that was motivating and didn't revolve around treats.

The little dude LOVED the rocks and his behavior was remarkably better. He ran around the house all day finding things to "share" with me or help me with... and then he'd say, "I get a kindness rock? I'm a kind boy." My favorite part was when he found an entire cup of candy corn and proceeded to hand candy corn to me one by one... each time saying, "I'm sharing with you. I get a kindness rock."

I learned pretty quickly that I could use my new power for good or evil :) He would basically do anything for a rock.

After practicing being kind all day, we had a little Halloween party this afternoon where he got to try out his skills with his friends (much harder than just sharing with me). His behavior at this party was head over heels better than our last party where he was a MINE monster. He held it together till almost the end and earned several "kind rocks" during the party. I think it helped that I was trying to "catch him being good" the entire party instead of just responding to his negative behavior (thus positively reinforcing it). This did mean that sometimes I couldn't socialize as much as I wanted... but overall I was still able to have a lot of fun at our little party.

I love a good behavior experiment... and challenge. :)

He ended the day by filling up his container and earning a cool present.

He was very proud of himself and is excited to work hard to earn more kindness rocks tomorrow. I loved hearing him say, "I'm a kind boy." Such a cutie!

He really is such a sweetheart and overall is a very easy kid so it is fun to see how quickly he responds to praise and something as simple as rocks... and it is so good to remind myself to focus on the positive and remember what a special little spirit I have been blessed with!