Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Nights at the Outnumbered House

When I was 13, Saturday nights were Mall Nights.

When I was 23, Saturday nights were Date Nights with the New Hot Husband.

And at 33, my last Saturday night was spent doing this:
1 hot husband, 4 pumpkins, and 4 very clear ideas on what was to be carved on the pumpkins.

Aidan wanted "a cross with Jesus on it". We convinced him that since Jesus didn't stay on the cross, and because it was too hard to carve, that just a regular cross would be better.

Harper and Emerson wanted "happy faces and bows".

As I was carving Harper's pumpkin, my sweet girl leaned forward, put her chubby little hand on the pumpkin, and whispered "I'm so sorry."

Dane carved a ghost, which he designed and drew out himself.
This Mommy carved Harper and Emerson's pumpkins, leaving Brandon slightly impressed that I could do something almost artistic.

I said almost.

The kids were very pleased with their pumpkin creations when all was said and done.

And speaking of "said and done", the jack-o-lanterns that have been sitting outside for the past 6 days will not be around to see another Saturday. Houston humidity + open pumpkins= nasty pumpkin mush x4 sitting on my front porch.

I'm so sorry, pumpkins.

But I'm secretly hoping that my Saturday night will look exactly like this 10 years from now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin "Patch" 2011

Got another one checked off the Fall Bucket List!

Friday evening we grabbed a couple of buddies and headed out to one of our favorite spring-time haunts to check out their first ever pumpkin patch. I have been wanting my place to have a pumpkin patch for several years, so we would have another reason to visit besides picking strawberries.

Well, um, they may need a couple more years to perfect their pumpkin patch. It wasn't really a "patch" per se, more of a "dig through all of the shipping crates and pick through 14 tons (yes, 14 tons) of pumpkins to find the one you're looking for."

The good news is, it wasn't crowded.

I don't think they have quite figured out that most people go to a pumpkin patch to take cute pictures of their kids sitting amongst the pumpkins. If I just wanted to purchase a pumpkin, pretty sure I would just go down the street to the Kroger and get one there, instead of driving 45 minutes away to the advertised "pumpkin patch".

Undeterred, we selected our pumpkins, grabbed a couple of wagons, and enjoyed a perfect evening at the beautiful farm with our two little buddies. We tried our best for a couple of cute pictures of the group,

but Harper was having NONE of it.

I just love these pictures. I think I love them more than if they had turned out absolutely perfect, each child perfectly posed and smiling at the camera.

Imagine Christmas trees instead of pumpkins, and that's pretty much what our Christmas card pictures will look like this year.

Dane perfectly posed. Aidan's face completely revealing his mood at the moment. Emerson a bit distractible. Harper throwing a wall-eyed, completely irrational fit because clearly we are torturing her with all the sibling coordinated outfits and seasonal props. Life is hard when you're two.

Behind us is the corn maze, which we chose not to spend $64 for our group to walk through.

Instead, we enjoyed a picnic lunch (complete with cute little miniature orange sodas bought just for this occasion) and the kids played a few rounds of hide and go seek amongst the pumpkin crates.

We (might) see you next year, Not-Quite-A-Pumpkin-Patch!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fishin' In The Dark

Our church has a lovely little fishing pond. A little fishing pond, that, like every other body of water in Texas lately, is much lower than it has ever been. For the first time in several years, the church leadership informed us that it was our CONGREGATIONAL DUTY to catch the catfish and tilapia, take 'em home, fry 'em up, and eat 'em. Before they all die a slow, miserable death related to low pond levels. Or cold weather. Or spawning season. Or something else "fish related". I have no idea why, really. But they were all about to DIE if we didn't catch them.
Though I never had any intention of eating anything we caught (I'm pretty sure that would involve touching dead fish at some point, and, um, no thanks), we decided to enjoy the decent weather while it lasted and take the kids to do a little fishing.

The professional fishermen that we are, we loaded up our Sponge Bob fishing rod and hot dog bait, and settled in for a lovely evening at the church.

We weren't out there long before Dane and Aidan started reeling in some cute little fish. Nothing big enough to keep (thank goodness), just the right size for a little boy to reel in alone and to be pretty proud of himself.

They were pretty excited about their catches.

The trick to taking Harper anywhere is just to continuously feed her. Sandwiches. Apples. Pickles. It doesn't really matter, she'll stay out of the water and out of trouble if she's got a snack in hand.

Princess Eyelashes was not about to smile for her mommy.
I feel I should discuss my husband's hair situation at some point. I don't think I'm quite ready yet. But yes, Hot Brandon's hair is looking unusually long and luxurious lately. He's cut it once this year, and I'm not exactly sure what his hair-related goals are right now.
I'm getting a little sidetracked. The luxurious blond locks are distracting. We had a great time fishing. Fishing is fun. The hair is very long. And it blows in the wind and is sometimes worn in a ponytail. Like mine, except mine is much less blond and flowing and much more stringy and flat. But no, I'm not missing his short hair at all. I IN NO WAY have hair envy of my HUSBAND.

And clearly I'm just not ready to discuss the hair situation yet. Fishing. I was talking about fishing. Fishing is fun. We didn't keep any of them. Hallelujah.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Before and Not-Quite After: Boys Room Edition

I feel like we have been trying to finish Dane and Aidan's room FOREVER. By the time we get it just how we want it, the boys will be going off to college, and like my mother before me, I will be redecorating their room before they're even out of the driveway.

Another story for another time.

Back to the Boy Room.

Before: Twin beds from Uncle John's old room when he was a little boy.

Matching dresser with a broken drawer. Underbed drawers which held shoes. An antique chair from my grandfather that was super comfortable, but sat in the boys room because I had no where else to put it.

Stuffed animals everywhere. Posters in various stages of being torn down covering the walls. No toys, because they were taking up the upstairs playroom while the downstairs living room was overrun with little girl/toddler toys.

The plan? Bunk beds. Storage and room for all of their toys, away from the destructive hands of their little sister and away from the non-discriminating mouth of their littlest sister. Get rid of the posters, and find something else for the walls. I wanted them to have plenty of room to actually play with their toys IN THEIR ROOM instead of in the upstairs playroom, so I could transition the upstairs playroom into a girl playroom, moving all of the dress up clothes, dolls, books, Legos, etc. out of the downstairs living room.

The solution? Twin-over-double bunk beds (the boys sleep in the same bed anyway). I was looking for something very specific for the beds, I wanted a rail at the top, a ladder that went all the way to the ground, and I did not want to take up additional floor space with a "loft style" bed. And I wanted someone to come and put it together in the room. Me no likey furniture assembly.

We got rid of the shorter dresser with the broken drawers, and moved a dresser that had been in my closet, into the boys' closet for some of their clothes. We moved one of the short bookshelves into the girls' room to accomodate their ever growing collection of books and stuffed animals. These three pictures occupy the remaining bookshelf:

Brandon with each of the boys as a newborn in the hospital, and a cute shot of the boys sharing a snack after a soccer practice.

This little mat sits at the foot of their bed, Brandon bought it from a villager in Kenya.

I got a bunch of baskets for their growing collection of Legos, toys, Beyblades, etc, that fit nicely under their bed. I'm still not completely satisfied with the toy storage, and I am on the lookout for some sort of bench with storage space underneath. Maybe a space that can be used as a bench, or as a play table if needed.

Remember this desk?

After a little (actually, not enough) sanding, primer, and at least 3 coats of paint, it was finished. Not perfect, but finished.

The boys LOVE having the little cubbies and drawers for their treasures, and they've already found a bunch of pictures to tack to the little cork board. We moved the trophies out of the way of little hands (it's a little embarrassing how many trophies have been broken in our house) and moved the "Rock Bros" picture above the desk.

We still need to get a chair for the desk, and move some of their writing and drawing supplies up here. This room will never be all the way finished. Never.

And for the walls? Well. I wanted to put a couple of their favorite verses on the walls. Brandon and the boys liked that idea, but wanted to somehow incorporate Pokemon characters. Of course. We thought about painting something directly on the walls, but ultimately realized that the boys would want something different in a few years and that a canvas would be easier to switch out.

Brandon and I spent untold hours on the canvases, then shoved them into the garage when they were about 95% done. We just didn't know how to polish them up and make them look better, so Brandon's mom finished them up for us when they came to town a few weekends ago. Be forwarned: If you come visit us for the weekend, we're likely to give you a project to do.

Dane's verse:

Aidan's verse:

The spears and shield are from Brandon's trip to Kenya earlier this year.

I can assure you, their next verses will be much, much shorter than these.

The boys LOVE their new room, and spend hours and hours there, playing with stuffed animals, building Lego towns, and reading. I just hope they don't outgrow Pokemon characters any time soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Because I'm Ready for Some Football

A couple of weeks ago, the moment that Dane and Aidan have been waiting for for MONTHS finally happened.

The start of flag football season.

The endless nights of running plays with Daddy in the backyard, the hours spent watching college and NFL games, all the drama during the Madden tournaments would soon pay off.

The rookie had a great first game playing for the Texans ,

proving himself to be a bit of a determined defensive powerhouse amoungst the 6 and 7 year olds, pulling four flags in four quarters.

And it goes without saying that he's a pretty big fan of the eye-black. (Sidenote: the players name the teams, and all but a few of the teams in the league are named the Texans. It makes cheering simple.)

Dane is playing with many of the same boys that he has played with the previous two seasons. They were dominating their age bracket last year, so this fall the team of mostly 7 year olds is playing against the 8 and 9 year old teams. Dane's usually one of the smallest guys on the field when he's playing against kids his own age, and this season will be no exception.

Dane got chosen as a team captain this week and was on the field for the cointoss. And yes, Harper helped with the cointoss as well. Dane's coach, Coach K, is standing on the right side of this picture in the red shirt, and I don't have enough good things to say about this man.

Coach K has been coaching this little group of boys since last fall, when his son Zion was on the team. At some point Coach K realized that he was put on this earth to be a volunteer flag football coach. Now he coaches the team, holds additional practices for the ones that want to come, and his son Zion? Well, Zion decided he wanted to play tennis instead of football this year. Now Coach K coaches this team of little boys (who ADORE him), and his own son plays tennis.
Dane's team (the Firebolts, by the way. It's possible my Harry Potter fanatic was involved in the name selection) is working on learning a few new offensive plays, and just like last year, Dane's happy place on the team is on defense, rushing the quarterback and chasing down anyone on the field with a football.

I'm excited about these upcoming Saturdays...kicking back in my camping chair, doling out fruit and snacks to the little sisters while their brothers run around the field and their father yells something about "staying home" and "watch the blitz".

Happy Football Season everyone.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I'm not sure if I've shared this here this or not, but a couple of months ago we signed Emerson up for a "Princess dance class" at our local dance studio. For the past eight Mondays, Emerson has practiced her moves and learned precious little ballet technique for the first 30 minutes of the class, and then for the last 30 minutes, the girls put on their beautiful Cinderella costumes, read Cinderella stories, and attempt to practice a routine to eventually present to Cinderella's loving family in the form of a mini-recital.
I don't need to tell you how cute the recital was. Or that it took me 37 minutes to get Emerson's hair into the requisite bun this past Saturday morning.

Over the past eight weeks, the girls learned several moves necessary to accurately portray the life and times of Cinderella.

Sweeping the floor,

directing traffic using very-official looking arm motions
and briefly levitating.

(I apologize for the quality of the above photos. Either I had the wrong camera, wrong lens, bad lighting, or just don't take very good pictures. But it's definitely one of those reasons.)

After the recital, Cinderella received flowers from her adoring fans,

then provided an opportunity for the public to have their picture made with her.

Upstairs, during the cupcake-and-sherbet-punch portion of the show, a very special guest arrived to mingle with the little Cinderellas.

A certain little sister LOVED meeting the real Cinderella. Harper was probably wondering how she had the time to stop by and chat in between all of her traffic directing duties.

Enjoy, sweet princesses. This is the closest you're ever getting to Disney World.