Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

Woohoo for Halloween, one of my favorite holidays! This bunch sure does enjoy Halloween and everything that comes with it! We were excited to spend this Halloween in our new neighborhood and see what it's all about. We had high expectations coming from our old 'hood. Halloween was always great there, so we were hopeful that there would be plenty of fun to be had in our new spot as well. We were definitely not disappointed. I should have known after the 4th of July block party that it would be amazing. Well, I know now. It started on Saturday afternoon when Suzy the face painter came to visit. Evidently she's been coming to our block for like 15 years to paint faces. Not just the kids, but the grown-ups, too. We headed down the street to have our faces painted, and it was great because I had already planned to do Callan's face in camo, and she did it for me. Score!

zombie, witch, army guy, and werewolf
This was the first year that Brody and Leyton chose to be scary for Halloween. They looked great, but I think they realized that masks are more annoying than anything. Callan saw this army guy suit at Costco and fell in love with all the accessories that came with it, so he was sold. And I had planned to dress Emme as a witch since before she was born. I had actually purchased that cute little witch hat while she was in my belly and knew I would use it in the next couple of years. I attached it to a black headband and it stayed on great. She loved dressing up!

Before we went out trick-or-treating, we joined a bunch of neighbors down the street for a Chili & Corn Dog Feast. It was so much fun to see all the kiddos dressed up and enjoy some yummy eats before hitting the streets.

Brad took the boys to meet some of Brody's friends, and they had a blast. Brody came home with no less than 10 full size candy bars and more candy overall than I've ever seen. I took Emme just around our block before we headed home to give out candy. She got into trick-or-treating right away and was just so cute. When we made it back home to hand out candy, she quickly realized how that worked and loved helping me hand out treats to all the trick-or-treaters.

Our neighborhood was party central. Everyone was out. Fire pits everywhere. People handing out beers and spiked apple cider to the parents. A golf cart covered in lights with costumed riders. There was even music and a disco ball. The weather was absolutely perfect--not too cold as it sometimes can be this time of year. I didn't want it to end.

I would have stayed out longer, but I probably would have looked like this jack-o-lantern the next day. :) Happy Halloween, ya'll!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Hike

This family has been jonesing to take a hike for awhile now, and finally we had a perfect day to take advantage of the nice weather and gorgeous colors. We headed to Lebanon Hills Regional Park to hit the trails and see what we could see.

The boys were thrilled and enjoyed off-roading in an attempt to find some wildlife. We did find three wooly bear caterpillars that made the trip home with us, but that was about it.

Emmeline was excited to follow along for awhile, but it wasn't long before she wanted to be held. That made it a bit more difficult this time. In hindsight, we probably should have brought the stroller, but we just weren't sure how smooth the trails would be.

Brody loved stopping at each map to point out where we were and where we should be going next.

I often marvel at God's amazing creation, but being out in it makes me appreciate it even more. We truly live in a place of beauty, and I just love being outdoors with my family and spending quality time together.

No fighting. No arguing. No stress or a checklist of things to do. Just a peaceful walk in a beautiful place.

Perfect day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Emmeline Turns Two!

My sweet baby girl turns 2 today! I can't even believe it, nor do I want to believe it. Man, that went way too fast. What a little joy she is to all of us. :)

I feel horrible that we didn't give her a party this year. I was so anti-birthday party and the only excuse I have is that we have just been so busy with moving and the start of school and constant activities. Plus, I think birthdays in September are just hard in general. New friends are made with the start of school, but then it seems weird to invite them right away to a birthday party when you don't really know them yet. And anyway, she's 2! She doesn't even really have friends yet! So then it would just be a bunch of moms from ECFE that I don't know with their little ones, and I just wasn't up for it. Emmeline, when you read this one day, please know that Mommy loves you so much and your 3 year party will be a smash! :)

Callan and I tried to buy her some super fancy cupcakes from Sweet Retreat, but they are CLOSED on Mondays. :( So we ended up getting some cute cupcakes from Yum instead. Not quite the pink girly ones I had envisioned but that's what you get when you wait until the last minute. When we got home, I went searching for birthday candles and could only find red spiderman candles in my stash. So I quickly grabbed some silver glitter and covered spidey's face so they looked sparkly and festive. Emme loved them and her cake! (Poor Baby Girl. One day she'll realize that things are different and often forgotten for the fourth child. I hope she doesn't hate me.)

That face looks pretty joyful if you ask me, so I think we did good.

We certainly made up for it with the birthday gift. Emme got a kid-size double Bugaboo stroller look-a-like. She was in heaven! This girl is all about her babies these days. She has been having so much fun taking her new twin babies (thanks Auntie Kelli and family!) on walks around the neighborhood (after she asks me to help her dress them in their new outfits--thanks Grandaddy & Grandma!)

Look at her go! This is so much fun for me, and even the boys have been having a grand time playing babies all this week.

Happy happy birthday sweet Emmeline!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Apple Jack's 2015

It wouldn't be fall around here without a trip to an apple orchard or two. We decided to check out Apple Jack Orchards on this amazingly lovely day. We always have such fun there, and today was no exception.

ha ha! 

emme's first pony ride! she loved it. her brothers walked alongside to make sure she was safe. :)
obligatory four kid pic

this kid finds animals wherever we go. 
they just keep growing!
Look how gorgeous it was outside! We don't always get to wear shorts and t-shirts to the apple orchard. We are loving this weather!

Happy Fall!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This Guy

quiet and sneaky. fast as can be. loves to snuggle, eat cucumbers, and says his favorite food is eggs. sometimes overlooked. but so loved!

cowboy day at berry patch
an exhausting day of play and he's out before dinner hits the table
trying out his cool new skates! we found these in our basement. they're probably a thousand years old.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Renaissance Fest

Ok, seriously, this might be my most favorite day of the whole year. Call me crazy, but I am crazy about the Renaissance Festival! And I could not wait to get there this year, particularly since it had been two years since we last visited. Emme was in my tummy that time, so this were her first festival, and I was equally excited to see how she liked it. The kids couldn't wait to dress up and check it out! Plus, it was my birthday and an absolutely gorgeous day, so it was destined to be a good time.

brody (our king) emme (sweet baby fairy) leyton (woodland fairy) and callan (the brave knight)
I never knew when I bought these adorable wings how much wear we would actually get out of them. Not only did she wear them for a photo shoot and her Halloween costume last year, but they went perfectly with this hand-me-down velvet dress to turn her into the cutest little renaissance fairy you ever did see.

Mr. Leyton worked very hard on his costume, and it turned out great. He also wanted to be a fairy and thought his purple velvet shirt from his dance recital would be the perfect top. He borrowed a headband from Emme and made his wings (with a little help from Daddy.) He got numerous compliments on his wings throughout the day and was super proud of himself.

Emmeline LOVED the mermaids. She kept saying "more mermaids" for the rest of the day after visiting these ladies.

She also loved the fairies. Well, we actually all did. They are so magical.

When the king and queen walked past, Brody just had to go say hi since he was a king visiting from some other kingdom. They were happy to meet us and pose for a picture.

And, of course, we had to go find Twig, MY very favorite fairy. She had a meet and greet session in her shop, so we waited in line to sit with her and listen to her play the flute for us. I love her.

We always enjoy the shows, the games, and the food. This year was the first time Brody tried out this water bucket game. He got soaked.

I also tried fencing for the first time this year. Two things I learned: 1) The outfits are stifling and I thought I might barf from the heat. 2) Fencing is hard work.

I am not used to wielding a sword at my oldest son's head. It was fun but I was relieved when it was over. At the end I just wanted him to pop my balloon so we could be done. I was so tired. We tied. I think I'll let Brad fence with him next year.

Another great visit to the MN Renaissance Festival! Counting down the days until next year!