This was the first year we all could agree on a theme for Halloween. It was a Lord of the Rings Halloween this year. Abby was Queen Galadriel, Emma was Tauriel from the Hobbit, Peter was Legolas, Andrew was a Ringwraith, and I was Queen Arwen. Mike was really looking forward to being Gandalf but was out of town during our Halloween festivities the week before Halloween. The kids and I got dressed up and headed over to field behind our house for a mini photo shoot. I was so grateful for Emily who braided Emma's wig with some awesome braids. It would have taken me forever to do that. She also took our big group shot. The kids looked so good in their costumes and Andrew looked terrifyingly awesome in his Ringwraith mask. It was a bit chilly outside so I was quick in getting just a few photos of each of the kids in character. I loved Abby's sweet smile and Emma and Peter's serious poses but the best photo of the afternoon goes to Andrew who took my phone and said, "What's up Sauron." It was so funny we all died laughing.
After our little photo shoot we headed over to our church's Trunk or Treat. We got so many compliments on all of our costumes. I was told that my costume was awesome, epic and I even got a "your mom's costume is dope" from Andrew's friends. Emma and Abby invited their good friends Ava and Akira to the Trunk or Treat. The girls loved hopping between the different booths and just being silly with their friends. They were so excited to go through the Haunted House this year put on by the teenage boys in our ward. I was surprised that Abby went through it. I guess that is what happens when all your friends are there to do it with you. The boys were in charge of manning one of the booths. Peter and his friend Dallin were in charge of the Wheel of Candy and Andrew helped out with the Twister Terror booth. Everyone had a great time at the party but the highlight was definitely getting as much candy as they could at the Trunk or Treat. I was just happy to get rid of all the candy in my bowl!
On Halloween Day we got all decked out once again in our costumes and headed over to the Garlocks house where we ate pizza and hung out until it was time to go trick or treating. There are many parents I know who tell their young teenagers that they can't go trick or treating but I am not one of those parents. My boys know they are nearing the end of these trick or treating days and when they decide they are too old I will be good with that. Peter and Grant headed off on their own before heading to a teenage party. Andrew went trick or treating with his friend Chris and all the girls stayed together in our quiet little neighborhood. Our first stop was the candy reaper who always gives out full size candy bars. After that we had a fun surprise. Mike showed up and surprised the kids in his Sully costume from Monsters Inc. The girls loved that! It was such a fun night of trick or treating especially because the weather was pretty good. There were a few houses that scared Abby but we managed to make it around the entire neighborhood. There was a little candy eating later that night but the best was waking up to the kids sorting out all their candy on the kitchen table. There was SO MUCH candy it almost made my tummy hurt just looking at it. We all agreed, without too much arguing, that everyone could keep 15 pieces of candy seeing as they had already been eating candy the week before. Boy, it's good to be a kid!
With the last of the warm days of the fall season we have tried to be outside more with the kids. One of our favorite things to do in the backyard together is play family baseball. It is quite hilarious to play together. It is more entertainment than anything else. We play hard and laugh hard and when we lose a ball over the fence Andrew scales the fence and gets it for us. It's amazing how spending quality time together as a family can bring us even closer together. Laughter is really the best medicine for anything. When life is stressful, which it has been lately, all I have to remember is how grateful I am for my family. I feel so blessed to have such a great family.
ABBY'S HAIR SALON
October 3, 2015
Abby loves to play with her American Girl dolls. Lately she has been experimenting with different hair do's. Today she came upstairs and was so happy to show us what crazy hairstyle she gave her doll and her herself.
MOM'S MAD PARTY
October 4, 2015
As a mother of teenagers I sometimes feel like I fall short of being good at mothering. I think Mike sensed it because he planned a surprise MAD (Mother Appreciation Day) party for me with the help of our kids. Everything laid out was all sugar and all kinds of crazy. It was super fun. The best part was reading all of the notes my kids wrote to me. They wanted me to read them aloud but I couldn't get through them without tearing up. I am loved, I am blessed, and I am grateful! We ended our Conference weekend by driving and hiking in all the fall colors. It was a perfect day!
October 7, 2015
I always find Emma reading and I absolutely love it. She reads EVERYWHERE and will sometimes stay up too late trying to finish just one more chapter.
October 8, 2015
I have really enjoyed being part of Supper Club this year with some fabulous ladies. Our last Supper Club of the year was at Hillary's house and it was a hunting theme. The food and decorations were amazing. We started out the evening by having a shooting contest in the backyard with the bb guns. I ended up placing 2nd which is surprising as I don't have that much experience with shooting. While everyone took turns shooting we snacked on the delicious appetizers. I was so impressed by how good the fried pickles were. I would have never thought that would be good. My favorite was the bacon wrapped chicken and the homemade root beer. I really had to limit myself so I wouldn't fill up before dinner. For dinner we ate the most delicious deer meet and barbecue pork ribs along with baked beans and dutch oven potatoes and onions. We topped it all off with dutch oven cobbler which was out of this world delicious. I'm so grateful that I got to know these girls better this year through Supper Club
(more photos to come).
October 9-15, 2015
Last year Mike built the most beautiful locker system in the garage so we would have a place to hang up coats and backpacks and a place to put our shoes. He did it all completely from scratch. I am always so impressed with how talented he is. We used our new lockers all year but decided it was finally time to add the finishing touch by installing and staining the bench and stairs. Before doing that we prepped the ceiling and walls to be painted. Mike mudded and taped the ceiling and then sanded it all in stages over the last couple of months. It was finally time to paint it white. We cleared out the garage and painted the ceiling and re-painted the walls. We also took the time to touch up the locker cubbies with some fresh paint. After all that was done we installed the bench and stained both the bench and the stairs. It was definitely a team effort to get this all done. I am so happy with the way it all turned out.
October 11, 2015
You can always count on someone to take a nap on Sunday afternoon. Today Peter fell asleep on the couch and Abby fell asleep on my floor. They both just looked so peaceful. Sunday naps are absolutely the best.
EMMA'S REFLECTION CONTEST DRAWING
October 12, 2015
Emma was so excited to draw something for the Reflections Contest this year. The theme was "Let Your Imagination Fly." Emma drew a Mountain View pirate ship decked out with a paw print on the sail and on the ship itself. She really is quite a talented little artist.
ABBY AND PIGTAILS
October 14, 2015
Lately Abby has been wanting to do her own hair. It has taken a lot for me to not go and re-do what she has done. To her credit, she does a pretty good job for a 7 year old. I am so proud of her for wanting to do things on her own. I don't like how fast she is growing up.
AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE
October 15, 2015
The girls didn't have school today because of Parent/Teacher Conferences so we headed up to Denver with some of our friends to have fun in the American Girl Doll store. The girls all brought their dolls and then wandered around the store looking at all the fun doll accessories. It is always fun to be in the American Girl Doll store.
THE GIRLS GET HAIRCUTS
October 15, 2015
It is always such a treat when the girls get their haircut since it does not happen all that often. The girls love going to the Veda Salon where they get to enjoy all the perks of a real salon. They love getting their hair washed, sitting in the special chair, and then getting their hair styled after. They got their hair cut by Lauren this time. She was fantastic!
FAMILY HISTORY FAIR
October 16. 2015
This weekend was the big Family History Fair at our church. We surprised Mike by going to the Fair on Friday night to support him since he is over Family History in the North Springs Stake. The kids had fun going around to the different exhibits and spending some time in the Discovery center. The girls loved playing with the pioneer outfits while Peter looked at photos of his ancestors on Family Search and Andrew documented some of his history in the new Story Booth room. After we were finished we headed over to eat Japanese food at Kura Sushi.
DECORATING FOR FALL
October 22, 2015
I am not a huge fan of Halloween decorations so this year I decided to just decorate for the Fall season. I went out and purchased a few new orange pillows, some matching kitchen towels, a fun pumpkin for the mantle, a banner, and some fun fall vase fillers to mix in with what I already had. I am happy with my simple decorations that I can reuse every year.
October 25, 2015
Today Mike was out of town so Andrew and I decided to take a silly picture at the beginning of sacrament meeting to send to Mike who was in church in a different state. Sometimes we do silly things to keep ourselves entertained when Mike is gone.
October 25, 2015
I tend to never have very much time on weekday mornings to cut up vegetables for the kids lunches so I decided I would take the vegetables in the fridge and cut them all up and place them in snack sized baggies for the kids lunches this week. I found an empty clear bin that I put them all in to keep them together in the fridge. Now everyone will have veggies in their lunch everyday and not just some days. One point for mom!
Emma and Abby both had their Halloween class parties the Friday before Halloween. I stopped by in each of their classes to see what fun things were planned by the room moms. In Abby's class they did a mad scientist theme. It was so awesome. Abby's favorite station was definitely the one where they got to make slime with the mad scientist. The mad scientist was totally in character. It made us all laugh so hard.
Emma's class did a fun craft and then ate some yummy food. I wasn't able to stay long for her class party but I was there long enough to see how much fun she was having with her classmates. Class parties are the best!
I was so lucky to be able to be one of the parent chaperones on Abby's field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver. I didn't ride the bus with the kids but drove up with some of the other mom chaperones. Once all the buses arrived we found our group of kids and headed into one of the learning classrooms where we learned about some of the invertebrates we would see at the museum. The kids then got to go through some hands on stations before heading to the main area of the museum. The kids got to see some really nasty gigantic cockroaches, some camouflaged bugs, and a hermit crab. After the class was over we headed straight to see Rosie the Tarantula. Each of the kids in our group stood in line to hold Rosie. Abby was a little nervous but watched one of her friends do it and then had the courage to do it herself. I was so proud of her for holding that creepy tarantula. I would have never done that when I was her age. We then headed over to touch the horseshoe crabs and the sea stars. The kids really liked doing that. We definitely spent the most time in the indoor tropical rainforest where the butterflies were. We saw so many beautiful butterflies like the Monarch and the Owl Butterflies. We also saw a Malachite butterfly, a Luna Moth, the Green Banded Peacock, and a Blue Morpho. Abby and her friends saw a Blue Morpho with a damaged wing. The girls bent down to observe this sweet little butterfly when it jumped onto Abby's hands. She was so excited that she "caught" the butterfly even though they were not really supposed to hold them. She let me take her picture and then she carefully placed the butterfly on a leaf. That was definitely the highlight of the day for Abby. As we headed out we got to see lots of different kinds of chrysalises from different parts of the world. Some of them were even hatching which was neat to watch.
I was so excited to be a chaperone on this field trip. We had been up to the top of Pike's Peak as a family when we first moved to Colorado but we didn't get to take the Cog Railway to the top. The weather was gorgeous today and since it snowed last week we got to enjoy the snowy scenery closer to the top of the mountain. It took a little over an hour to get to the top but we didn't really notice as the views were quite amazing. Once at the top the temperature was about 18F so we didn't spend too long outside. We took in the view, saw the America the Beautiful monument, and snapped some quick photos before we froze. We warmed up inside the building at the top of Pike's Peak with some hot chocolate before heading back on the Cog Railway. The top of Pike's Peak is known for their famous donuts. Unfortunately, we weren't able to enjoy the donuts since the donut crew arrived only shortly before our big group. I guess that means we will just have to come back again. We are so lucky to live close to such beauty.
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I LOVE all the different colors when the leaves start to change. I'm not sure if it was all the water we had in the spring but the colors this year were amazing. In our neighborhood we saw yellow, orange, and red all at the same time. The colors were amazingly vibrant. Before totally missing the colors up in the mountains we decided to head up to one of our favorite state parks and go on a little hike. I was actually surprised that the colors weren't as vibrant as last year. We must have missed the peak by a week or so. It seemed like half the leaves had already fallen but it was still beautiful and we had a great time hiking with the kids. We hiked on the same trail as last year and let the kids play on the big rocks. The views really were incredible even without as much yellow in the distance as we had hoped for. Heading down the mountain and little further than we had gone last year we discovered some cool rock formations and the kids even found a little rock cave that they played in for awhile. After leaving the park we drove south on 67 towards Cripple Creek. The colors along this road were exactly what we had hoped to see. It was the most beautiful drive we had taken in a long time and well worth our time. We will definitely be doing this again next year!
In Abby's class at school they were learning all about butterflies. As part of their unit they each got to take home a chrysalis and watch as it transformed into a butterfly. Everyday before school Abby would go and look to see if her butterfly had emerged. She was so patient. One morning we were all surprised and excited to finally see the butterfly. For a few days we watched as the butterfly drank the sugar water and banana we placed in its cage. Then on a beautiful Saturday morning Abby decided it was time to release her butterfly. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. She was so excited. At first the butterfly just sat there but with a little help it finally flew away. Abby chased her sweet little butterfly all over the yard until it flew away for good. I'm so grateful she was able to have this amazing experience.