Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome to our Haunt

Halloween is a big deal at our house. BIG. Matt puts a lot of time and effort into making our house a spooky haunt every year, and each year he adds a 'little something' to the display. Nothing gory, just spooky. Two years ago he made columns to put at the foot of our driveway. Last year he added a fence. He makes the tombstones by hand, out of foam insulation - they are amazing. These pictures are from last year, taken by my father who spent the weekend with us. Enjoy! I'll post photos of this year's addition and our costumes early next week! Happy Halloween everyone :)

Our house, from across the street. Fence and columns are fake.

The columns are made from plywood

The view from our driveway

Front yard, from the sidewalk

A scarecrow based on Sleepy Hollow the movie

The cemetery in our front yard
Bucky sitting behind a fresh grave

Our knock-off Frontgate ghosts :) I love these!

The bleeding tombstone

Fake fence - it's pvc pipe and wood stuck onto rebar

The family plus my Dad, Halloween 2008
Sarah, because she was just so darn cute!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Numbers

Today I turn 39 years old. Which got me to thinking, how the hell did that happen and where did the last 9 years of my life go? A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say:

The best picture from our Easter disaster.

What most of the rest of them looked like.

I turned 30 in the year 2000, and 3 months later I was pregnant. We've had four children, which brings me to the following realizations: I spent 3 out of the last 9 years pregnant. I nursed all four of them for about a year, for a total of 4.25 years. We've had kids in diapers for 8 years straight, and for 3 years and counting we've had 2 in diapers at the same time. I guess I know where all that time went! Oh, and I gained 153 lbs (pregnancies) and lost 147 of it.

Hopefully in the next year we can manage to get the last 2 potty trained, I can lose the last stinking 6 lbs of fat hanging around from 'baby' Jason, and we will move out of babyhood just in time for me to turn 40. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! It's bright and blinding! And I want it!

I love my kids, I love being a Mom and I'm especially grateful that I can be at home with them. But sometimes I'd (not so secretly) like to run away. It's hard to remember who I am in the midst of all the day to day treading water we do. The last 9 years have gone by in the blink of an eye and by the time the next 9 are over I'll be 48 and Evie will be a junior in high school. What will I be doing then when all four of them are in school all day? I can't even imagine. Hopefully not accounting :)

Everyone needs to have something to shoot for in life, and being that I'm a homebody, I don't have any great desire to go off and conquer anything before I turn 40. I have more modest goals, and really would just like to be more even-keeled temper-wise and maybe more spontaneous. Not everything HAS to be planned out at least a week in advance, right? Oh, and I'd like to do all this without the help of Prozac, thank you very much.

My to do list for the next year:
  1. Have more patience with my family.
  2. Make better use of the time that I have - for them and for myself.
  3. Survive with my sanity intact!
  4. Cut out the junk food & be more consistent with exercise - which will hopefully help me to
  5. Get to my goal weight.
  6. Swear less. Srsly. Little pitchers have big ears.
So! Happy Birthday to me! Hopefully I can stay on task and be a better, happier parent & wife. If only the damn kids would cooperate ;)

And now for what I know you all REALLY stopped by to find out:

The winner of Pumpkin Edward (and the Starbucks gift card!) is......

I'd like to thank Pocket Edward for helping choose a winner from my scientific drawing

Jen at Tatertots and Jello!

I'm so excited Jen won because the giveaway was her idea in the first place :)

He's all packed and ready to go, I just need an address to send it to so Jen please contact me & hopefully he'll be at your house in time for Halloween!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Evie!

Dear Evie,

It's hard to believe it's been 8 years already since you woke me up at 1am to come barreling into the world at 6:08. Your story will be forever burned in my mind, as your Daddy and I both worked at the same company and on October 22nd, 2001 our employer layed off 700 people - Daddy included. THAT was not part of our plan. You decided to arrive early the next morning, which was probably the best distraction we could have ever had.

Baby Evie, not even hours old

Baby Evie, 6 weeks later

As you grew, so did our family. At 2, you were already a big animal lover, and so much fun to have around! Mostly you had me all to yourself & we would color & play, and watch Dumbo over and over and over and over again. But then William came along and you had to share.

Nothing says 2 like a ghost cake

Or maybe nothing says 2 like a morning cup of coffee.
We like to start them young!

A birthday trip to the Smithsonian

By four you could identify just about any dinosaur there ever was by it's proper name. It was pretty amazing. Your favorite animal would change like the flavor of the week, but dinosaurs were always at the top of the list.

At 6, as Queen of the Nile

Today at 8, you have a fair amount of artistic talent and a huge love of animals still...

You made me so proud in your first summer on the swim team

You're a wonderful big sister to Sarah and your brothers

And you're still super fun to be around!

Happy Birthday Evie, I hope you enjoyed your day.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Giveaway! Win your very own Pumpkin Edward

Ask and ye shall receive! Jen Jen from Tatertots and Jello mentioned I should give a Pumpkin Edward way so she could win it. I'd been thinking about doing a giveaway for my birthday this coming Monday & couldn't decide what to do - this fits the bill perfectly I think! Sort of combines my love of Halloween & Twilight together. Heck I'll even throw in a Starbucks card so you can have a latte while you gaze at his Sparkliness.

From Harried Mom of Four

How do you enter to win your very own Pumpkin Edward? Leave a comment here at the blog. And to give you incentive to tell others about it & not just keep this information to yourself to improve your own odds of winning, I will give you 2 EXTRA entries for mentioning this somewhere. Just make sure to tell me about it in the comments. And for the lurkers and Facebook friends? Comments on Facebook don't count, if you want Edward, make note here please!

In summary,
  1. this giveaway starts: NOW
  2. this giveaway ends: Sunday, October 25 at midnight on the east coast
  3. to enter, leave me a comment on this post!
  4. get yourself 2 extra entries by telling others about it & linking back here
  5. come back on Monday October 26th to wish me a Happy Birthday & find out WHO WON!
For all you non-Twilighters what is wrong with you, I had originally planned a giveaway completely unrelated to Twilight- but that will have to wait for now - in my frame of mind right now, this is more FUN!

*** Clarification - I am not giving away MY Pumpkin Edward, I'm making another one - just for the one lucky winner, who will also receive a $5 Starbucks gift card! ***

Good luck! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crafty! Pumpkin Edward

While trolling the blog-o-verse a few weeks ago I ran across a reference to the Edward Cullen pumpkin stencil on Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils. What did I say to myself? Hale yes! I am getting me an Edward pumpkin. Of course, it would have to be a white pumpkin. And sparkly.

When we all traveled to choose our pumpkins on Columbus day, I did indeed choose a white pumpkin for myself. However, I really didn't like the idea of Pumpkin Edward getting all full of fruit flies, turning moldy and shriveling up. He's supposed to be immortal, you know? So what else could be essentially immortal than a faux pumpkin made in China from foam! I bet that will outlast me AND my children. And probably their children too. So! Off to Michaels I went, and came home with this:

Did you know they made Sparkle Mod Podge? I didn't, but I do now! It's great! This weekend I purchased my pumpkin stencil (there is a free one out there, but I thought this one was more 'Edward') & got to work. Here's a close up, taken indoors. It's really hard to get the 'sparkle' to show up in pictures - plus I have no idea what I'm doing, and I used my iphone - bear with me.

Here he is outside, all carved, and with four coats of Sparkle Mod Podge

And finally, all lit up! I think it turned out pretty well :)

I'm debating whether to put it outside on Halloween with the other pumpkins. Don't really want him wandering off, you know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

8 Days a Week

********** Warning: Venting Ahead ************

I need another day in the week. Seven is not enough. I would prefer it if this eighth day was 'mine', sort of in another dimension where I would not be required to do the daily things that seem to suck my day away - cooking, dishes, small child care, laundry, cleaning up the daily messes that seem to get made - the endless loop of putting Jason back in his bed that I seem to be right back.

Sorry, had to tuck Jason in for the 8th time. Last night tucking Jason in went on for an hour. I'm getting tired; William is tired because they share a room. This weekend we will spend some time removing all the dangers from their room so that I can just lock him in there & he can roam until he passes out. But for now, he really needs to stay in the darn crib so he doesn't get hurt. Did I mention he's not even 2 yet?

So here I sit on the hallway floor with the door cracked, blogging on the netbook & sipping my coffee while I try to wait him out. The big kids will be home in less than an hour and I'm really starting to resent the fact that he's stealing what little time I used to have to myself. Add in the fact that he's miserable, because he's tired, and he fussed at me all through the grocery store. Sarah was no pleasure either; at least we had the crazy old guy serenading us with "America the Beautiful" - that was odd.

As soon as Jason dozes off, I'm ignoring the stack of receipts and bills on my desk I need to deal with, the dishes in the sink AND the baskets of laundry waiting to be washed - I'm going to curl up on the couch with this (which wasn't supposed to be for sale until tomorrow! Wahoo!) and go to my happy place. Please hold all calls.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crafty! Halloween Ribbon Wreath

Way back in June Laurel at Ducks in a Row featured a guest blogger, Kristi, who shared a whole bunch of July 4th/patriotic decorating ideas. I fell in love with the ribbon wreath she did (click the link to Laurel's blog to see my inspiration). I never got around to doing one for July 4th, but the idea stuck in the back of my mind.

While at Wal-mart a few weeks ago - yes, I'm a Wal-mart shopper, but I try to go early in the mornings - you know, with all the old people - before it gets all crazy in the afternoons - but I digress. I was at Wal-mart, and they had all these cute Halloween ribbons! Candy corn! Pumpkins! Spider webs! Happy Halloween! I knew that the time was right for me to give it a go.

One 16" foam wreath from Michaels, 16 spools of different ribbon and a little bit of hot glue later, I now have this to hang in the foyer (it's in the foyer because our little house with no porch faces due east and the blinding sun would fade this baby in 2 days flat - grow, shade tree, grow!)

Most of the ribbon spools were 9 feet long - those I cut into 4 even pieces, they were just the right length - so I guess that makes 2 feet 3 inches for each ribbon length. I used 3 types of wide ribbon, spaced evenly around the wreath and hot glued them in place, as they tended to slide around. This was enough to anchor the rest of the pieces in place.

I think this is the only hand-made Halloween item in my house that was actually hand-made by ME. Yeah! I feel so crafty :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This beautiful Sunday has been perfect for....

A chilly run through an empty town this morning

Pumpkin lattes from Starbucks Thank you Matt!

A thought-provoking sermon that makes me want to get rid of all the 'stuff' in my house that is cluttering up my mind and our space

Chicken and dumplings simmering on the stove

Blowing bubbles

Swinging with a friend

Making tombstones

And catching up on blogging!

It's been a crazy week, I'm not sure where the time went (it's not like I cleaned the house or anything!) Jason, at 23 months old, has figured out how to climb out of his crib. This started Thursday evening when low and behold, there he was out of his room - little stinker can open doors too. He's been pretty good about staying in bed at nighttime, but he's climbing out at least once at nap time. I was hoping to keep him in a crib until the spring when we'd get furniture for the boys to share (William's long-awaited bunk beds), but I also don't want him to get hurt climbing out. This is adding another dimension to my day, that of sitting outside his room for a few minutes to make sure he stays in bed. In spite of that, and the fact that Evie had a fever & was home from school Friday, I did manage to actually FINISH a project! And sew a zipper in my ridiculously close fitting witch costume for Halloween - I swear that thing was like a straight jacket that only a contortionist would be able to get on and off with any kind of ease - I, however, am unable to dislocate my shoulders at will - hence, the zipper. So. Here's a sneak peek at the project I finished, I'm going to make you come back Tuesday to see the whole thing :)

Enjoy what's left of the weekend!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Sarah

Dear Sarah,

How is it possible that 3 years have passed already? How is it that you've gone from this sweet little thing who was so kind to her Mommy and slept through the night at 4 months...

To this super happy girl who was always smiling and a joy to have around

To this big girl in just 3 years?

At the time I thought you were going to be our last baby (surprise! you weren't!) and I was determined to enjoy every minute with you. You made it easy by being such a sweetheart. At 3, you have your ill-tempered moments, but you really are a special little girl with a sparkle in your eye and a smile that lights up a room - I'm so glad to be your 'Mudder' :)

I wish you could have seen her face while we were singing to her!

The new Mickey Mouse DVD you had to have - thanks Grandmom!

Your very own Pet Shops (now you can stop stealing Evie's)

Nothing says little girl like dress up :)

I hope you enjoyed your birthday & I look forward to watching you grow this coming year. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Things are looking spooky

It's the most wonderful time of the, not Christmas, Halloween! Halloween is a big deal in our house. When I met Matt, I had no idea the depth of his love for Halloween. It wasn't until we moved into our current home 7 years ago (I'd known him for 8 years at that point) that it started to become apparent. I'll get into more detail about this as the month goes on, but suffice it to say that there is thunder and lightening, fake graveyards, and lots of spooky music and spotlights. And wait until you see the fake fence.

For the moment, I've dug out my Halloween stuff! It makes me happy to get it out every year and add a new piece now and then. (I apologize for the poor pictures, I have yet to master -heck, even attempt to learn - taking pictures indoors without the flash- maybe someday).

The kids love running around the house finding where I've tucked things

It seems to change each year

Amazingly enough, everyone is staying out of the jars of candy (so far) although they're all eyeing up the orange slices...those might not last long

This is a favorite of Sarah and Jason, Sarah likes the witch's hat :)

My mother made the lighted ghost in a ceramics class as well as the witch below

And finally, I had the kids paint new pictures for the frames above the sliding door in the kitchen. I asked for 'Fall' pictures in oranges and browns.

Evie gave me a dragon balancing a pumpkin on its tail; Sarah painted a dinosaur playing with an alligator in mainly green colors. William is the only one who actually followed my suggestion, his pumpkin patch makes me very happy! And Jason? just wasn't into the whole thing. He refused the crayons I was pushing towards him and substituted his own. Such is life with a two year old.

There are a few more things not out yet, and I want to make a ribbon wreath for the door, maybe this weekend. October is a HUGELY busy month, what with soccer, 3 birthdays (all us girls have our birthdays this month!) and Halloween. Add in other fall festival-type things and it's a whirl-wind. I'm flying by the seat of my pants and need to finish this post up so I can go make Sarah's cake - little girl turns THREE tomorrow! Where has the time gone??

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