The biggest excuse I have right now is that the camera is gone. It's been gone since my parents came to visit on their drive through to Columbus (hmmmm maybe they took it????).
That was in the beginning of October.
So for 6 weeks I've been taking pictures on my phone, emailing them to myself, downloading them, and not posting. When I print all this in the blog book, phone pictures aren't nearly as good either. So we broke down and ordered a new camera, but in the meantime, I really should post everything from our adventures the past 6 weeks. It should be a doozy.
I've been working on our family calendar for Christmas and my mom sent me a bunch of pictures that included one with my dad at the Arboretum!!! So I now have proof that he really was there!
The rest of October was dedicated to preparing for Halloween and we looked GOOD!!!! Every year our ward has a chili cook off and a trunk or treat. There were no costume awards given, but there were chili awards. So I need to preface this by saying that Chopper does NOT like chili. The only one he'll eat is a white chicken chili that I make. But he doesn't like the tomato sauce base of a red chili. But he got it into his head this year that he wanted to make some. He ended up winning spiciest chili and I thought it was really good (since I'm the one who tasted it and ended up eating all the leftovers -- there was a lot of chili!).
In addition to dinner and trunk or treat, each organization put together some carnival games and it was so much fun. There were donuts on a string, fishing for treats, cupcake walk, and bean bag toss. The kids had a great time. So did we!! We're finally getting to the point where the kids are old enough to pretty much manage themselves with minor supervision. I have to say, it's sooooo nice!
Because I often have to make costumes, my rule is that you can't change your mind after October 1st. Since we start talking about Halloween as soon as school starts, they've had plenty of time to decide. Abby changes her mind all the time so I have to put my foot down, but she was really stuck on being a ghost. Then she saw this mermaid costume at Costco and was hooked! She was a beautiful mermaid!
Megan wanted to be a peacock. But when we googled peacock costumes, they were mostly tulle dresses with feathers. Super cute, but Megan is detail oriented and very interested in animals. She wanted something that was an accurate peacock. This costume took a lot of thought and work and worry and frustration but we were BOTH happy with how it turned out!
William was all set to be a train (not Thomas -- he doesn't actually like Thomas) until after Chopper finished his costume. A week before Halloween we discovered the Nickelodeon cartoon Paw Patrol and he is obsessed. I think he is attached to this more than my girls have ever attached to something. As our weather gets colder, it's always a fight to get him to wear jackets and shoes. I have PURCHASED Paw Patrol shoes and jackets to get him to comply and it WORKED. It's crazy! In the end, we compromised with a Paw Patrol hoodie AND the train. During trunk or treat, Chopper said he used the train to his advantage to push kids out of the way and he loved that the back opened and he could dump his candy in. It turned out to be quite the success. And Chopper made it from cardboard and duct tape!!!
Chopper and I dressed up as Professor Trewlaney and Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter and looked pretty good!! The best part is that I thrifted most of our outfits and we bought the glasses and the "mad eye" online for pretty cheap.
After the trunk or treat.
Halloween morning we participated in a 5K fundraiser run/walk for The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. We only did half the walk -- but in my defense it was 2 loops and at the end of the 1st loop a whole group of families with strollers ended the walk. Abby was crying, William was in the stroller, and Megan said her feet hurt -- so I called it. We went into the Gaylord resort to an after race event with bounce houses, barbeque, a balloon artist, etc. and had a really good time for a great cause!
Of course we ran/walked for Team Aaron!!! Megan and William wouldn't wear the capes though.
The theme was Everyday Superheroes
After the event, we walked around the Gaylord. The middle of the hotel section is a replica of all the different areas of Texas and the Christmas decorations were in the process of going up. Chopper and I had been there before but the kids hadn't and they thought it was pretty cool.
Then it was home for resting before trick or treating!!!
Our neighborhood unfortunately is terrible about trick-or-treating. Most of the families go to a really big church up the street from us and do their trunk or treat. But I love traditional trick or treating!! I ended up carrying Williams train after 3 houses and we only maybe hit 20 or so on 4 streets but the kids were happy and who really needs all that candy anyway??
November started off well with awards ceremonies for the girls. Megan and Abby both got awards -- Megan got the Principal's Achievement award which is the equivalent of all A's. They just don't use letter grades up to 2nd grade now. When I texted Chopper during the ceremony, it auto-corrected it to Principal's Avid Enemy which was funny. Abby got a happy helper award. She has improved a TREMENDOUS amount from the beginning of the year! Both of my girls are smart cookies!!
The annual Reflections art contest happened about a week ago as well and Megan's picture won a blue ribbon! She's been obsessed with peacocks and draws them all over her school papers.
About a week ago we were able to go to the Arboretum at night for their 12 Days of Christmas display. We went last year as well on the COLDEST night of November and had a good time but rushed through with all the kids bundled in strollers and blankets. This year, they added strung lights in the trees and the weather was just chilly so jackets were all we took. It was so much more fun to wander the garden and see everything and then we sat down and had hot chocolate and cookies! These pictures are particularly bad because they're from my phone. Sorry!
The pumpkin village is still up too and it was fun and a little spooky to explore it at night!
Megan took this one of me!!
And finally last weekend we were able to go to Frisco Cowboy Days!! It's a pretty small festival in an historic area of Frisco and included a petting zoo, trains, armadillo races, tractor and stagecoach rides, and fun activities for kids.
Yep that's the real thing -- we usually see them smashed on the side of the road. To race them, you get in the pen and blow on their rears and they run away from you. It's cute.
This girl won't go near most animals but she'll hold a chicken!!!
The site of the shoot-out. We left because the gun noises were too loud but then caught another show from inside the museum. You couldn't hear much what they were saying but it was still fun to watch.
Panning for gold
They had fun free mustaches -- tattoo ones and fuzzy ones. William did not like his so I got to wear it.
Chopper took this picture of us riding the tractor ride and telling him where to go to get on. He laughs a lot when he looks at it because he says I look like a political person declaring my cause. Plus the mustache.
Again this year they had the old time photobooth. Again this year, everyone refused to do it except me. Well Chopper would have but we had gotten separated (the girls wanted to color, William wanted to see trains).
And then there's life. Cheetah girls, watching construction, running errands, doing homework, and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas! The thing is -- I can't believe how fast time flies lately. I don't know if it's because I'm busy or what but it doesn't feel like it should be Thanksgiving in a WEEK. The kids are at good ages -- even William at 3 doesn't throw a lot of tantrums. We still do a lot for them but they are getting more and more independent and have fun personalities and interests. It's been fun to plan Christmas for them this year because it's a lot easier for the most part to know what they will love. We enjoy spending time together as a family and the kids play well together. I feel like we're in a really good spot right now.