Halloween 2015 – The Aliens Have Landed

Stevie and I have never been the greatest when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Somehow, they always sort of seem to sneak up on us, and by the time we find a free moment when we could decorate, we think it’s kind of pointless because we’ll only be putting the decorations up just to take them all down again.

It’s a vicious cycle.

But every now and then, I get a hankering to get into the spirit of things and I manage to drag Stevie along for the ride.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve always loved ghosts and monsters and scary movies. As a kid, some of my favorite memories are visiting haunted houses and trick-or-treating with my friends in Bird City (a town so small you could actually trick-or-treat every house in town and manage to eat your way into a full-fledged candy coma before bedtime). Now that I have kids, it’s been fun getting all excited about Halloween again. And now that we moved to a neighborhood where a lot of other folks are decorating and a lot of families go out trick-or-treating, I was feeling the urge to get motivated and do something creative this year.

It took a little convincing to get Stevie on board. He wasn’t getting inspired at all by any of my fun Pinterest finds…that is until I tossed out the idea of creating some sort of UFO crash in our front yard.

I can always count on aliens to get Stevie interested.

So, we planned and plotted and decided to give it a try. We built the UFO out of a garbage can, pvc pipe, wire, and some paper drop cloths that we spray painted silver. It took some trial and error, but I think it turned out pretty well for our first try. We had a half-dead tree in the yard that we were planing to cut down anyway, so Stevie thought it might be cool to make it look like the ship had crashed right through it.

The end result wasn’t perfect, but it gave us some good practice. And yeah, we’re already plotting the scene for next year. I’m pretty sure our neighbors think we’re a little crazy, but hey, when has that ever stopped us.

Stay tuned.

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Elf on the Shelf 2014 – Day 5 & 6

I guess all the talk about selling our house and buying a new one got Cosette excited. Well…either that, or she just really wanted her own clubhouse and figured this was the perfect opportunity with all the empty boxes just sitting around. Either way, Cadence went nuts when she came downstairs for breakfast yesterday morning and got a glimpse of what Cosette had been up to while she slept.

This little elf has got some serious skills…

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After such a surprise yesterday morning, Cadence couldn’t wait to see what sort of shenanigans Cosette had up her sleeve today. Imagine her surprise when she came down and found Cosette still hanging out in the clubhouse (aka Mommy-was-so-tired-that-she-went-to-bed-at-8:00-and-forgot-to-move-the-damn-elf).

After a few moments of confusion (and silent panic), we noticed that something was amiss in the pantry. I called Cadence in to take a look…

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Looks like Cosette pulled a fast one, getting into Cadence’s Halloween candy, and then hiding back in the clubhouse like nothing happened.

Tricky, tricky little elf.

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A Perfect Day for Pumpkins

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s almost Halloween. 2014 is flying by way too fast, and the fact that we’re still enjoying 80-degree summer-like weather here in the Heartland…well, it makes it feel like we’re still in the midst of summer, and not closing in on that frenzied holiday season that always seems to end the year in a rush.

Mom, Dad, and my sister Lindy and her family all came over today to hang out, watch the Huskers put the smack down on Rutgers, and decorate pumpkins with the kiddos. Odin decided to carve. Cadence opted for paint. And, well…we all had a blast.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 3

Mmmm…chocolate. It’s pretty much a toss up who’s the biggest chocoholic in the house. I probably win, but only by a short margin. Cadence is as fond of chocolatey treats as her Momma, and Steve…well, he may not crave chocolate the way Cadence and I do, but he can sure put a hurtin’ on a buttermilk chocolate cake, and the two of us often go egg for egg during the Easter season when Cadbury Creme Eggs are in stock.

We found out this morning that Cosette is one of us.

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I half-expected Cadence to be a little peeved that the mischievous little elf apparently raided her Halloween candy (a.k.a. Mom and Dad were getting so stressed out by the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead that they needed a little chocolate to calm them down and the only thing in the house was the leftover Halloween candy–go ahead, judge us, but if you are a fan of the show, you’ll understand). Yet, Cadence didn’t seem to mind, especially when she noticed that Cosette had only taken one smile bite of the Hershey bar and left Cadence the rest to eat for breakfast.

Nothing like starting the first Monday back from vacation with a bit of chocolate for breakfast. Yeah, that’s how we roll around here.

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Happy Belated Halloween

Well this post is long overdue! That’s just the story of my life lately…too much to do and too little time. And it’s always this blog that suffers first. I’m settling back in though, and really making it a goal to start blogging regularly again. I tend to go a little crazy when I don’t write, so yeah, it’s time. And I figured the perfect way to get back into it would be to share Cadence’s Halloween photos.

I gotta admit, I hadn’t been this excited about Halloween since I was a kid. Last year was a bit of a bust. Cadence was not quite 2-years-old, and just didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. Sure, she looked seriously cute in her little punk rocker costume, but that’s about where the fun ended. No matter how many times we tried to explain it, we just couldn’t get Cadence to understand that she was supposed to collect the candy in her little basket. No, the moment someone handed her that first piece, she wanted it NOW! NOW! NOW! Of course, we caved. We figured maybe eating one piece of candy would keep her occupied so we could continue to make the rounds.

What do you expect? We were first timers.

We learned quickly though, as soon as someone dropped a second piece of candy in Cadence’s basket, and she promptly spit out the slobbery, half-masticated piece of candy she’d been working on and demanded we open the new piece NOW! RIGHT NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!

Needless to say, we called it a night shortly after, and spent the rest of the evening passing out candy to the neighborhood kids.

This year, however, we had high hopes. Cadence was a whole year older, a whole year wiser, and (in spite of the occasional Mt. Vesuvius-style meltdown) a whole lot more mature than last year. She listened attentively when we talked to her about Halloween, and practiced saying “Trick-or-treat” and “Thank you much”. And, much to her Daddy’s delight, she even picked out her own Batgirl costume.

We decided to hit the mall for trick-or-treating again this year because, well, let’s face it, chasing sugar-fueled 2-year-old through a dark neighborhood when she’s dressed in a black Batgirl costume sounds about as fun as sitting down to eat a meal prepared by Jeffrey Dahmer. Between the hoards of other families escorting their costumed progeny in an orderly fashion and the added safety of being in a well-lit environment complete with security cameras, we felt pretty good about unleashing our very excited Batgirl to enjoy the Halloween fun.

After Cadence woke from her nap, it was time to start getting dressed. I was beyond excited when Cadence agreed to head outside so we could take a few pictures before her Daddy got home.

Are you ready for the cuteness? Brace yourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you…Batgirl!

And after a good half-hour of crime fighting in the yard, Cadence was starting to get antsy for Daddy to get home. After all, he’d promised to bring her a pumpkin bucket for trick-or-treating. She kept a watchful eye for his car.

And then…

“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Pumpkin bucket! My pumpkin bucket!”

At last, the costume is complete…

We arrived at the mall a little early, and had a little dinner in the food court. Cadence managed to eat a few french fries and a fruit snack in between giggles of delight as the other costumed children began to arrive. And then, it was 6:00, and the candy-feuled mayhem began…

Cadence wasn’t too sure about this guy’s painted face. But he got a smile, a “Thank you”, and a very enthusiastic “Happy Halloween!” after dropping a few pieces of candy in her pumpkin bucket.

We met up with Cadence’s cousin Odin and made the rounds. The kids had a BLAST! And I have to say, our girl sure made her Daddy and me proud. She waited patiently in line and only had to be reminded once or twice to wait her turn (there’s just something about an adult holding a basketful of chocolate candy at eye level that makes even the most patient kids’ brakes fail). She greeted each shop owner and candy bearer with an enthusiastic “Trick-or-treat!” (and even took to shouting “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!” to all the passersby in the mall), and remember to say “Thank you” to everyone who dropped a piece of candy in her bucket. When some of the workers held out the candy bowl and let her choose, she took it very seriously, and carefully chose one piece. A few were so impressed with her politeness that they dropped a few extra pieces in her bucket. She didn’t cry or whine. She didn’t even demand that we open just one piece of candy. She was an angel, dressed as Batgirl, and I’m surprised her Daddy and I didn’t burst with pride.

Halfway through our rounds, Cadence decided that her mask was impeding her vision (after all, it’s important to keep a close eye on the candy), so she handed it off to her Daddy. And you know Steven couldn’t pass up an opportunity to channel his inner Batman.

With a bucket full of loot, we headed back home to spend the rest of the evening handing out candy to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. After a few pieces of chocolate, and a couple pictures with Daddy, it was time to put our little Batgirl to bed.

We hope you all had a very Happy Halloween! 🙂

365 Project – Day 317 – Let’s Talk Turkey

Okay, I’ll admit it. I tend to get a little grumpy this time of year. No, I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder. And no, I’m not a Scrooge. Christmas may not be my favorite holiday, but love it for what it is–a time to spend with family and a time to celebrate the story of hope that is Christ’s birth.

My problem with Christmas, though, is what it has become. Every year, the gifts seem to get a little bigger, a little more expensive. Every year, the stores begin to decorate a little earlier. Every year, the pressure gets a little greater to make Christmas into a gigantic production complete with festive music and pretty dancing girls. Every year, Christmas becomes a little less of a holiday of hope and giving and a little more of a commercialized mess of avarice and greed.

I think what makes me the maddest though, is that Thanksgiving gets completely lost in the pre-Christmas festivities. This year, I walked into a store and saw them starting to put up Christmas decorations on October 28.

OCTOBER 28!!!

We hadn’t even made it through Halloween yet, and Christmas is already being stuffed down our throats! Really? REALLY???

As Christmas continues to plot its eventual hostile takeover of both Thanksgiving and Halloween, I find myself clinging to my two favorite holidays like a dazed shipwrecked survivor clings to a life raft. And I go out of my way to celebrate and enjoy the two while postponing my own Christmas preparations as long as possible.

I will not max out my credit cards to go overboard on gifts. I will not waste a day that I could be spending with my loved ones to go out and shop with a bunch of caffeine-crazed maniacs on Black Friday. And I certainly will not start digging out my Christmas decorations or music or movies until after I have sufficiently gorged myself on turkey and stuffing and collapsed into a three-day food coma watching football on the couch.

Time goes by too fast the way it is, and I for one am not going to help it pass even faster by hurrying through one holiday just to get to another. I’ll be here, enjoying today, while you rush, rush, rush to get to tomorrow. And when you finally decide you’ve had enough of the craziness, you know where to find me.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to everyone who thinks Christmas needs to stop cutting the line and wait its turn! Who’s with me?