Monday, October 25, 2010

Countdown to Halloween

This time of year is so much fun!  Halloween festivities are everywhere, so we're taking advantage with a week-long celebration.  We kicked off our fun plans with a trip to the pumpkin patch on Saturday morning.  It was kind of chilly and windy, but this is Idaho and we're used to a cold end to October.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to snow by Halloween.  Psh.

Pumpkin patches are so much more fun than just picking up a gourd at the grocery store.  The boys loved tromping through the rows of pumpkins, while Neil had a great time being pulled in the wagon.  Everyone had a stipulation for the type of pumpkin he wanted:  Chris likes a huge one for his annual large-mouthed jack-o-lantern (see below) and he likes to have a handle; I like short, fat, round ones; Thomas wanted the first pumpkin he saw; Gordon required a pumpkin that was "all orange, no green"; and Neil wanted a "baby".  Lucky for us, we hit the jack-o- jackpot!

You can see how windy it was by my Trump-inspired comb over!

 A pumpkin is no good for Halloween until it's carved, so our next festivity meant a lot of work for Chris, and a lot of fun for everyone else.  Chris loves carving pumpkins and readily volunteers to do all of the dirty work-- including carving the boys' hand-drawn faces.  Gordon drew three faces, while Thomas drew one face, then a bunch of other stuff.  My pumpkin isn't pictured, but Chris punched out a bunch of little holes in the pumpkin and I put white Christmas lights in them to make something that looks a bit like Cinderella's coach.  So fun!

 We started the week off just right today by making caramel apples-- yum, yum, yum.  I'm a purist when it comes to caramel, so I made my own (no Kraft here!).  The boys dipped their apples in assorted sprinkles and toffee bits and they turned out so tasty.  I think a new Halloween tradition was born.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mmmm... Baking!

The older boys are at school and the youngest is fast asleep (ah! I love it when they still take naps!), so what's a girl to do?  Bake, of course!

We got Boo'd last night-- a fabulous tradition that makes me just love our neighborhood all the more.  Today, of course, it's my turn to make some treats and pass them to three unsuspecting families.  That part will wait until tonight, when I have pint-sized accomplices, but today, during my quiet time, I'm doing the baking.

You know I have a penchant for peanut butter treats, so I stuck with my favorite theme and made the Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies from the recipe found on the back of the peanut butter chips bag (and at the Hershey's site).  Oh yum.  It's a good thing that I'm giving most of these away today because otherwise, I'd eat the whole batch myself.  I love how they're almost Halloween-y, too, with the orange and brown.  Delicious!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soccer Mom

That's Soccer Mom with a capitol "S".  Somehow, last Spring, when I signed Thomas and Gordon up for Fall soccer, I managed to check the wrong box in the "are you willing to be the coach?" section.  Actually, I don't think I checked the wrong box at all-- I think no one else volunteered either, so they just picked the first person to respond to their e-mail!  Whatever happened, I'm coaching a U6 team, the "Rockets", and I *mostly* enjoy it.  I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it even more if Gord could have played more than 1/4 of the very short season!

Since I have never played soccer, and don't know much beyond the rule that you can't use your hands, this has been a real learning experience for me.  Here are a few tips I've learned for the soccer mom/coach:

1.  Offense, Defense... whatever.  In U6, as long as your kids are all kicking the ball in the same direction, you have a good thing going.  You'll notice in the picture above that this isn't happening at this point in the game!  I've yelled, "The other way!  The other way!" at pretty much every game.  Ha!

2.  Don't EVER forget the water.  Despite their seemingly endless amounts of energy, five-year-olds will actually drop like flies if they aren't properly hydrated.  They will also whine the entire time.

3.  Even though you have a bag with enough balls for everyone, after a couple of practices each player will have picked "their" ball.  Trying to give the wrong ball to the wrong person is not a good idea.

 4.  Coaching your own kid is both really fun and kind of tricky.  You can't play favorites, and you also can't be harder on your child than anyone else.  The good news is that you can take your own kids out for ice cream after the game, and that pretty much ensures that you'll be their favorite coach ever.

5.  Two-year-olds are especially cute cheering on the sidelines.  This one loves to say, "GOOOOO!"

6.  No matter how hot, tired and thirsty they are after a grueling 32 minutes, a cheer for the other team, high fives and "good game", and, most importantly, treats from one of the parents will restore all of their energy and team spirit in no time!

One more game this Saturday-- and I'm going to try to get more action shots of my cute Gordon.  


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

We love the fall!

And we love having a couple of trees in the yard that give us enough leaves to jump into!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Happy Birthday to two cute boys!

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet:  my wonderful hubster, Chris, and my little stinker, Neil.  Before I forget, if you want to see a truly awesome montage of these two, be sure to check out my mother-in-law's blog here!  Such great pictures-- aren't they handsome?

Two years ago, I secretly wished that our third little boy would be born on October 4th, Chris's birthday.  I thought it would be fun to have a double celebration every year.  Instead, Neil was 90 minutes late and now has his own day, which is really even better.  Now we get back-to-back parties!  

Last night, we celebrated Chris's 34th (man, he's getting old!) with a delicious dinner followed by three kinds of pie.  And today, we had a fun birthday cake with yummy fudge frosting for 2-year-old Neil.  Such fun, and Neil has almost figured out how to sing "Happy Birthday to you!"

For the past week or so, we've been teaching Neil to answer, "I'm TWO!" when you ask, "How old are you?"  In his baby babble, he also says something that sounds like capisce (ka-peesh), so we've taught him how to say it like an Italian gangster.  "I'm two, capisce?!"  It's pretty funny.

I love these two and I love celebrating them two days in a row!  Happy Birthday boys!

Friday, October 01, 2010

September Recap!

I miss blogging.  Sure, I enjoy sharing little bits of my life with all of you (ie: Nonny), but even more than that, I miss having a regular journal to look back on.  The other day, the boys were looking at old pictures and videos on the computer.  It was so fun to hear them laugh at themselves and remember all of the fun they had on this occasion or that.  The moment reminded me why I enjoy pictures, scrapbooks, and yes, blogs, so much in the first place-- it's all about creating memories.

So, in that spirit, I'm going to try harder to keep this online journal updated more regularly.  And you, my bloggy friends, are welcome to read along.

It's October 1st-- I can't believe it!  This year is flying by way too fast!  We did have a very fun September, so I thought I'd document a few of our memorable moments tonight.

First off, the boys went back to school.  Well, Thomas went back and Gordon started for the first time.  Things are going really well in the school department.  I feel very fortunate that both Tom and Gord love to learn and that they both enjoy participating in their classes.  And look how cute they are on their first day!

Gordon was quite the celebrity on his first day of school, due in part to his charming personality, but mostly because of this...

Yep, that's right-- he broke his leg.  It actually happened a couple of weeks before school, but he wore his cast until a couple of weeks ago.  Despite the stress and anxiety, mostly felt by me, I think the whole broken leg mess may have actually taught us both a little bit of patience.   Funny how that works sometimes.

Having a broken leg was a bit of a problem for Gordon's soccer team.  I'm the coach (don't ask me how that happened, I'm still not sure!) and it has been kind of sad to have my own kid sitting on the sidelines.  Luckily, he's back in motion and has been okayed to play in his last two games.  Hopefully we'll get some good pictures to share!

Tom is playing soccer, too, and is on the "Meteors" team with one of his best friends, Nathaniel.  These two are a couple of peas in a pod and they have a great time together.  Neither is very aggressive when it comes to soccer, however, so we've resorted to bribing them for just kicking the ball.  No goals have been scored yet (that would equal a giant king-sized candy bar!), but at least they're both trying.  And most importantly, they're both having fun and being great sports!

As for me, I've been keeping busy with a few active outings of my own.  A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I hiked Table Mountain, a pretty grueling, not-recommended-for-children hike on the West side of the Tetons.  It was tough, and long (more than 12 miles total), but man, it was gorgeous.  I'm talking about take-your-breath-away beautiful!  

I did this hike once before-- I think I was 17-- so I  *kind of* remembered how difficult it is.  Even though I had seen it before, though, the view from the top of Table Rock was just as glorious and awe-inspiring as ever.  I am sure that I don't want to wait another 13 years to do it again-- in fact, these ladies are already talking about next year.  

Some of the same group also teamed up for Idaho Falls' 4th Annual Run for the Cure.  It was a 5K and my goal was to run (er... jog....) the whole time.  And yay-- I met my goal!  I felt pretty good, too, and I think I may have gotten a decent time.  I would post it, but the race organizers still haven't posted the results.  LAME.  It doesn't really matter, since my goal had nothing to do with time, but still.

That's about all I had time for this time-- it feels good to get a little bit caught up!