Friday, October 14, 2016

Other Halloween Traditions

Well, we've been to the pumpkin patch and we've painted our pumpkins.  

Our house has been decorated for weeks.  Truthfully, I've never been all that into Halloween, so my decorations are minimal.  So one Sunday afternoon, Olivia and I had a date to Target where we bought some fun Halloween decor from the dollar spot.  She loves it (and Michael has always liked Halloween), so I like it for her.  Obviously we stick to bats and spiders and pumpkins, and stay away from the gross or overly scary.

While I was out of town the kids got a Halloween themed Cheryl's Cookie tin from their grandma.  This is two years in a row, so that makes it a tradition, right? :)

Michael's sister sent them a Halloween gift box--just like last year, so another tradition! :)  Halloween is her favorite holiday, and Olivia says it's hers too.  So Jenny hooks them up with all sorts of Halloween fun.  They got coloring books, light up rings, light up cups, stickers, treats, these pumpkin men they are painting, and the magnets on the fridge behind them.  The kids just love it!

We've been eating on Halloween plates (not pictured) and drinking out of pumpkin cups, and the BELOVED pumpkin/ghost peeps have been purchased and eaten.  Olivia remembers them from last year, and is overly excited every time she gets one for lunch.  She even made Michael take this picture of her eating her pumpkin. Ha ha!

Olivia's BOO shirt from last year *just* fits.  Even still, we hooked her up with a new Halloween shirt!  We're working on getting Logan one.  The boy selection is just never as good!  And I want a short sleeve one, because it's still warm here.  Hopefully we'll get him one this weekend!

One of their absolute favorite things is their glow in the dark skeleton pajamas!  They were running around like maniacs the first time we put them on.  They wear them every chance they get.  It's just so fun!

We still need to finalize their costumes.  Then we'll do trick or treating and we'll carve a pumpkin closer to Halloween as well.

Let the holiday fun begin!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Painted Pumpkins

We got the two small pumpkins from the patch, but then we headed to Aldi to get our other pumpkins for cheap!  We bought 4 giant pumpkins for $2.99 each!!

Then later that night we painted our pumpkins.

Last year we got some after Halloween pumpkin kits on super clearance (like 85 cents instead of the listed $10!).  So we painted with those in mind.  Logan and Michael worked together.

Then Olivia and I each did our own.  I thought for sure she would do exactly as the box said to, but she shocked me and decided she wanted to paint it on her own.

This picture cracked me up.  Michael had bent down to paint the bottom, and then suddenly Logan was doing acrobatics to get the paint at the bottom. :)

We also had a caramel apple, which is becoming a tradition as well.

Our finished products!  These plastic pumpkin sets were different and a fun twist for us.  However, I am glad that I bought them for super cheap.  I would never pay more than a dollar or two.  The kits did come with paint, but we just used paint we had on hand.  I've read some reviews that the paint that came with it didn't cover the pumpkin, so I'm glad we just went with our own.

And just for fun...




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Patch 2016

I'm not sure what happened, but I feel like October just snuck up on me... and now we're a third of the way through!  Before the month got away from me, I figured we better head to the pumpkin patch!

We thought about trying a new place, but in the end we went to the same one we've been to in the past.

Love these two!

I always feel like Logan is just the same size and has hardly grown... but then I looked back at last year's picture.  Wow!  Suddenly my kids only have one pair of shoes that fit, and a pair of jeans that I thought would be huge on Logan could barely snap.  Apparently we are growing around here!

We fed the animals first.  They tried feeding the Longhorn, but he was not hungry.

We moved on to the cows.  This is about as close as she would get.  The cows had MAJOR slobber, and the kids were not having it.  But they thought it was great that Michael would feed them.  I was trying to hold back the gags.  I don't do animal slobber well.

In awe of her brave Boppa!

They had no problem feeding the goats and sheep!

They just laughed and laughed because it tickled.

He wasn't afraid at all this year.  Which was a huge difference from last year!


We attempted the hay maze, but had to abort that mission.  It had rained the day before and it was just one crazy, sticky mud pit.

So we hopped on the hay ride instead!

Logan wouldn't look at me because of the sun, but then he didn't understand what Michael was doing trying to block the sun. :)

Taking it all in

Olivia was over pictures... hence the goofy smile.

Love my people!

We let them each pick a small pumpkin, and we called it a day!

Pumpkin Patch: Check!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Art Class

We all know Olivia has a love for all things art.  It has been our plan all along to get her into an art class.  Almost all of them start at age 5, so we were just waiting for our school year to start and then add it into our homeschool schedule.
After vacation and having to wait for the new month to start, it was FINALLY time for her class!  It's actually a homeschool class.  I didn't set out to find one specific to homeschool, but I figured it would work well with our schedule.

She was beyond excited, and was counting down all week until the day arrived!
She will go for an hour and a half every Friday morning.  They will learn about different artists and styles, and use all different mediums.  In her first class she made something out of clay.

Her teacher seems really sweet.  She's big on kindness, respect, and appreciating everyone's art--no matter what.  Which is exactly what Olivia needs.

The art studio is in a house.  Each room is rented out by different local artists who teach.  I wasn't exactly sure how it would be set up, or how Olivia would do, so we just hung close for the first day.  We went and grabbed some breakfast, and then this cutie just sat up front with me and thought he was hot stuff.  When it's not raining, we may walk around outside.  The library is a half a block away, so we will probably head there some days as well.

Olivia ran out of class and said, "Art class was wonderful!  I just loved everything about it!" :)

The teacher wanted to check in and make sure she could handle it.  Even though 5 year olds are welcome, they really need to be able to follow the directions and do the task asked.  Olivia said she was fine.  After talking with the teacher, she felt Olivia would do well.  She said she was actually going to move her away from the other two 5 year olds and put her next to some of the other girls, so that Olivia could "rise to their level and be challenged".

I'm so excited for her and all she will learn.  As of right now, this is her one passion.  It makes my Mama heart happy to see her get to do what she loves.

Since art class is first thing in the morning, we still had time to head down the street for First Friday at the local church.

It looks like they had the place to themselves, but there actually were other children there.  Not many, though.  The rain kept people home, I think.

I love that this can be my Friday morning!  I wonder what kind of class I'll be driving this one to in a few years?! ;)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Gratitude Lately

There has been a lot of talk in the mommy world lately about comparison.  We are the first generation of parents to raise our kids with social media and it's influence.  Social media is playing a huge roll in how we think of ourselves and of others!  We are constantly comparing, even when the comparison isn't fair (because we are just seeing the "highlight reel" of someone else's life).

One of the speakers at MOMCON said that we need to combat comparison with kindness and to celebrate ourselves and others.  We are good at mourning with others, but we need to be good at celebrating other women as well.  "Celebrating is the counter to comparison."

I have really been trying to work on loving my life.  Not loving the life I hope to have.  Not mourning the life I once thought I might have.  But to be present and grateful.  I don't want to look back when my kids are leaving the house and be sad that I wished these years away.  I want to remember the memories and be thankful for the opportunity I had to spend with them!

September has been an amazing month for us/me.

*We got to take our kids to the beach for the very first time.  This was a vacation that we so desperately needed as a family.  It wouldn't have been possible without staying with my dad and Judy, and I am so grateful for them opening up their home, loving on our kiddos, letting us rest, and feeding us well! Thank you!

*While we were on vacation, we CLOSED ON OUR CONDO!  It's gone, y'all!  Can I get an amen?!  We didn't make any money on it, but we aren't paying for utility bills, condo fees or a mortgage on a condo that is sitting empty!  (Our renter broke her lease and moved out months ago.)  You do not even know how happy I am to have that burden lifted!

*I came back from vacation and found out that I got a dollar an hour raise.  I was already pretty happy with my pay (I got a 10% raise in May!), so this was just icing on the Target cake. ;)  Oh, and that sweet girl babysat for us this month so we could go on a date night.  Our free babysitter moved to Colorado, so while we did have to pay for babysitting, we actually got our dinner for FREE and a gift card for next time because of slow service (we didn't even complain! They just offered).  I'm going to go ahead and say that is the Lord looking out for us!  Woo hoo!

*Not only did I get a raise, but a former boss of Michael's has since switched companies and contacted him to do some extra contract work on the side.  This is where being a hard worker with integrity pays off!  Why yes we will take that check, thankyouverymuch!

*I ended the month with 4 days away at MOMCON.  It was perfect, and I'm so thankful that I was able to go.  And along those lines, I'm thankful for a husband who believes in me, supports me, and wants for me to be able to do things like this.  Who also has absolutely no issues holding down the fort.

*I'm thankful for these goofballs daily, but one of the things I've been reminded of over and over of lately is their health.  There are so many kids (and parents) out there struggling with so many different things.  Both of our kids are perfectly healthy!  No food allergies, no occupational/speech/physical therapists, no developmental delays, no issues whatsover...  Even something as simple as Logan's speech.  He speaks so clearly, can talk in sentences, and communicates very well for a two and a half year old.  I take that for granted!  Or the fact that I can buy them any treat I want, and I don't have to read the labels for hidden allergens.  They don't get swollen eyes or runny noses due to seasonal allergies.  It's so easy to forget for us, but I am being reminded more and more how lucky we really are!

So that's what I'm celebrating!  I'm ready to end this year strong!  (Can you believe it's already October?!?)  How about you?  What are you celebrating?

Thursday, October 6, 2016


MOPS International puts on a convention every year for their leaders.  They bring in speakers, have break out sessions that relate to being a leader/mom/wife/etc.  It's a way of training, but also a break from life to be poured into.
This year it was in Milwaukee (hello, motherland!) and I got to go!  Actually 15 out of our 16 steering members went.  The church where our group meets really invests in the program and it's leaders.  So while I did have to pay for my plane ticket and a small portion of my registration fee, the rest was taken care of!  Both Michael and I knew this was an opportunity for me that we didn't want to pass up!

We left very early Thursday morning!  We were all on the same flight.  We landed in Milwaukee a little before 10 AM, and we headed to our hotel and the registration lines.

 We went to a fun little pub right on the riverwalk for our lunch.  Then we headed back and went to a fantastic session on being an unNatural mom.  It was all about how you are the perfect mom for your kids, and how we all have different personalities/strengths/weaknesses and we need each other.  So it's OK if you are x, y or z, because somebody is counting on you to be you.

She did a mom personality test of sorts, and each personality was a tree.  I was the boxwood, and I can honestly say that no results have ever matched me as well as this one.

After the one afternoon session on Thursday, we headed to dinner as a group.  Which was paid for by our MOPS group.  Hello, cheese curds!

Sierra and I waiting for the evening session to start
Then it was time for our evening session.  To say it had been a long day was putting it mildly.  I woke up at 4 AM that morning, and our evening session didn't even start until 7:30!
But it was worth it!  We had praise and worship with I Am They, and then Lisa Harper spoke and she is hilarious!  One great quote from her was, "To be a good Mama, you must first be a good daughter (of the King)."  Oh--and she homeschools. ;)

Friday was full of more sessions.  Seth Haines spoke in the morning general session, it was a lot about being real and vulnerable and honest about our struggles.  It dug a lot deeper and was a lot more serious, but I think it's what is needed in our sometimes fake world.

I went to some great break out sessions, but my favorite was Loving My Actual Life.  This whole talk is exactly what I've been working through in my own personal life.  I didn't buy her book there, but I think I might have to pick it up.  I took two pages of notes, and it is exactly what I needed to hear!

Friday's evening session was from Chrystal Evans Hurst (Priscilla Shirer's sister).  She was also pretty funny.  The general sessions kind of went light, heavy, light, and then heavy again.  She just kind of kept it real, and spoke about the story of Ruth and related it to being a mom.  Oh, and guess what... she homeschools too! :)

Most of our group getting ready to head out for dinner.  How much Kendra Scott can you find in one picture? Ha ha!

Our dinners were usually late and took a long time because of the size of our group.  But it was nice to get to know the girls I'm leading with a little better.  I ended up sending Michael a selfie to pass the time. 

Rebecca Lyons spoke on Saturday morning.  It was a lot about the struggles that today's mom has.  She shared a quote that 1 in 4 woman today take medication for anxiety or depression, which is 400 times higher than in 1988.  Wow!  I can't help but think that is has in part to do with all of the pressures we are putting on ourselves!  Her talk was a lot about mental health and freedom from guilt and that it's ok to need help.  A great quote from her was that the enemy is bound by two things--Christ's blood and the word of our testimony.  And that the nature of God is for wholeness and healing.

I couldn't be in my home state without getting some cheese curds.  Of course, I had already had them fried twice at this point... but still! Mmmmm!

The last session of the event ended with a message from Mandy Arioto, who is MOPS CEO and Natalie Grant.  There is nothing like worshiping with 2700 other moms and Natalie Grant's beautiful voice!

Then it was out to one last fancy shmancy dinner (minus two girls who stayed back).

Some of the group had early morning flights on Sunday, but for those of us who had later ones, we walked around the Third Ward.

When we first started talking about the trip months ago, people were like "Milwaukee?  Who chooses to go to Milwaukee?"  So I wasn't sure how this was all going to go down.  But I was pleasantly surprised by all of the things people loved -- the weather, the architecture, it was clean, it had super cute shops, and on and on.  I guess Milwaukee isn't so bad after all. ;)

I mean, who doesn't love cheese... and beer?!  Oh the irony that the girl who grew up in Milwaukee has never had a beer in her life!

But I did get a Sprecher cream soda!

Overall I had a fantastic time!  I am so happy that I was able to go, to learn, to fellowship, to have a break from my day to day, and to just be Bethany instead of Mom.

Oh, and my kids were living it up at home with Boppa!  So it was a win/win for everyone!