Friday, October 31, 2014

This is Halloween! This is Halloween!

Oh boy!  What a fun-filled, busy, exciting day.  The boys did phenomenal, particularly when you consider that Jack started a sore throat yesterday and got a froggy voice today, and Sam sprouted a molar yesterday and is still pushing it up.

They had SO much fun.  Let me just share photos to recount the day.

Driving Jack home from preschool (taken in a parked position, Betty).  His lap loaded with goodies from their party.  The most common costume I saw at his school was Elsa by a landslide. 

Halloween 2014

Sam after lunch with a lollipop dessert.

Halloween 2014

Luminary crafts (thank you Target!) I had squirreled away to help pass the afternoon.  Glad I had done that when he started chanting "I'm bored, what should we doooo?"

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Trying to keep them up until proper nap time, we took a ride around the block and looked at Jack-o-lanterns.

Halloween 2014

Apparently it's tradition now for me to make hot dog mummies.  I didn't bother with faces, they were too quickly devoured.  The quesadillas were special request from Jack, after I made them this way last week. 

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Costume pictures!  At first Ben and I took them of each other.  Then we tried to get Jack to take one of us together.  This was the best:
Halloween 2014

The rest look like this:
Halloween 2014

Ben with the boys:
Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

First, don't our pumpkins look great?  Sam couldn't really contribute this year.  Unless you count dramatically flinging goop onto the floor.  He did that twice before we removed him from the arena.  Jack couldn't work the knives yet and refused to help scoop.  So I had him draw all the faces and I traced them.  If you comment to him, please remember that they are SCARY, not silly or cute. He will get mad.

Second, note him eating the hot dog.  We couldn't get the boys to stop eating for photos.  After reviewing my camera, I found that Jack left a hilarious series in my portrait with him.  I provided zoom to guide the narrative.
Halloween 2014

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Halloween 2014 








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Halloween 2014
Halloween 2014

I took the boys together to a few houses.  Sam still has no idea what's going on.  Jack was easily spooked by the decorations at our neighbors.  I worried how the night would go later, since he has declared that he will do the whole neighborhood. 

Mike and Ellis showed up and we finally got a picture of the four of us. 

Halloween 2014

The dads and older sons took off and I put Sam down after more wandering and snacking - true hobbit behavior. 


Halloween 2014



Halloween 2014

He dropped to sleep instantly.  I set up the dog guard so I could answer the door without her butting in or escaping and sat back.  We had a decent amount of trick or treaters.  I bought much more candy than we needed, but I'm sure I'll find a place to put it ;-) 

Halloween 2014

Over an hour later, the boys came back exhausted.  Ben said Jack was very brave and even went in the haunted garage that a family does every year.  He said they used flashlights and made it very friendly for him, but that's still a big deal considering the hanging ghosts scared him earlier.  They both got buckets of candy and Ben met many more neighbors of ours.

Ellis and Jack were hungry and thirsty and chilled, so we indulged them in youtube Halloween videos while they rested.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014 

Ellis is Felix and Mike was Wreck it Ralph - a really great set of costumes, they looked perfect!

Exhausted, we insisted on bedtime at 9pm for both.  Ben just shut off our porch lights.  I took a tally out of curiosity so we can plan for next year.  32 kids came.  Not a lot, not too few.  Mostly princesses, ninjas, and vampires.  One teenage girl with a lightsaber and a grocery sack.  Her mom was with her though, so I'm not sure what to make of that.  My favorite costume was a gypsy.  Most of the parents I spied on the sidewalk were dressed up too - so fun!

What a great year!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Costumes

Once again, I can't wait to share the costumes with you!  Our church Halloween party was last night.  They had carnival games, trunk or treating, and some prizing winning pumpkins on display.

Sam was, of course, Samwise.  I think he's ADORABLE!!!

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Jack has been cycling through many costumes.  Michelangelo was rejected when the store-bought costume didn't fit perfectly.  Then he got a cheap plastic disguise set at the dentist office.  With the eyebrows, glasses, nose, and mustache, he declared that he would be "Gwampa" for Halloween.  I didn't think the set would last that long, and he didn't like any of my other ideas for clothing for that costume.  Then he found his old pirate set and decided he wanted to be a pirate.  Sensing a theme, I decided to trick Jack.  I secretly made him some chain mail and a knight helmet.  Sure enough, once I showed it to him he declared that he wanted to be a knight for Halloween.

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Ha!  Perfect!  He already had accessories and cut quite a dashing figure.

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Ben and I got crowns and made capes to go as king and queen (or "Princess Mom" as Jack calls me).  Amanda attended too, in a thrown together but still stunning fairy godmother costume.

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Ben took a little video of the boys.  So stinking cute. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

After shots of the yard

I didn't mean to leave you in suspense about our yard makeover.  Life got really good and fun and blogging slipped by the wayside.  It's super fallicious out here.  Crispy leaves and cooler days, pumpkin and apples everywhere, Halloween costuming, and lots of other fun things for me.

Anyway, here's our stupendous new yard!!!!

Expanded back yard, rocks removed from this large tree and replaced with sod. 
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Rocks removed from two front sections surrounding porch, replaced with mulch.
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Front tree area rocks removed, replaced with mulch, and front view of our new expanded backyard.
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We are in love.  I play out here with the boys every day, even though we have to stay off the sod.  I was worried about the lack of privacy with our city code mandated style fence.  Instead I enjoy waving to neighbors and seeing a wider view.

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Lastly, here is a proud man.

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Do you see the grass?  On the right is the sod.  On the left is the grass Ben has nurtured.  He thinks his looks better, and he was beaming.  Then I asked him to do a Hank Hill impression for the picture.  Contextually appropriate, but doesn't convey his giddiness. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GJ, Speech, Illness, Dentist, Climbing, Fences

Pictures with titles don't really keep a good record of the Mason home.  Let me take a few minutes to give a real update on the last few weeks.  

Last weekend I schlepped the boys off to Grand Junction for a short visit.  No reason really.  Just wanted to say hi.  Jack had been asking about visiting and the weather couldn't get any better for traveling.  We played, ate lots of pizza, and endured a blackout.  It was "special rules" galore, to use Jack's phrase. 

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Below is how you track a toddler in a black out.
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Saturday I had the pleasure of being a speech judge for Amanda's home meet.  This was my second time and it's still a little nerve wracking.  There's a lot to keep track of: the times, the codes, the comments, and rules you only learned 10 minutes prior to starting.  But I have a really fun time at it.  I like to leave thorough and precise compliments and critiques, leaving my hand quite cramped at the end of each round from all the lightening speed writing.  My nurse-note-taking skills have faded.  Days go by without me hand-writing anything as a stay at home mom.  Kind of strange to realize that. Anyway, Mavi kindly joined me as a judge, so I had pleasant company on the drive.  My folks also came up to help Amanda, and we all shared an early birthday cake when the meet was over. 

Sunday I had a relatively mild case of food poisoning (I think the source was from something at home).  We had to abandon our Primary class so Ben could take care of the boys while I convalesced.  Bathroom trips aside, it was a relaxing day for me.  I spent a lot of time lying down and reading.  I've been re-reading The Name of the Wind and got through nearly half of it in one day.  Such a good book.  Another positive note, this illness marks a week without anyone being sick.  Woohoo!

By Monday I felt completely better and took Jack to the dentist.  Sadly, his teeth two front teeth have decided they are done with this world and are slowly dying.  Dr. Strange (yes, his dentist is named Dr. Strange) said this is common, that after trauma to a tooth it will seem fine for years, then suddenly the nerve decides to die.   There's inflammation now and a little bit of abscess forming.  We get to watch and take him back in for removal when it gets worse.  The dentist said they would "just wiggle it out."  I thought maybe that was a special thing they can do with baby teeth, but internet searching only results in that phrase as a euphemism for yanking the sucker out the good old-fashioned way.  It's actually both front teeth that are bad on x-ray, though the chipped one is worse.  However, last night Jack fell out of bed while trying to get down to go to the bathroom.  Big crash, lots of tears, no major injuries.  Then this morning at breakfast he complained his tooth (the non-chipped one) hurt from falling.  Uh oh.

Sam continues to climb whatever he can.  I'm extra worried about chipping teeth with him now.  It's inevitable and unavoidable, right?  I mean, I spend about a third of his waking hours feeding/changing/dressing him, a third playing, and a third chasing him down from high places.  HA! I just took this photo while typing that sentence:

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Here's a sample of other times he was caught in the act.
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The gym has become a regular part of our life.  I exercise there 3-4 times a week.  The kids love playing there, in fact Jack often asks if we can go!  Since buying the membership I've lost 12 pounds, bringing me below my pre-Sam pregnancy weight.  I love having strength and energy again.  My back aches are less frequent too.  My goal is to get to my pre-Jack pregnancy weight, but honestly, if I can keep steady through the holiday indulgences that would be good enough. 

Today our backyard is beginning it's transformation.  After installing a stair railing, then painting the house, we decided our next big improvement would be the backyard.  We have a wonderful side yard with lush grass under an ash tree - perfect for climbing.  But it's all outside of the fence.  After getting several estimates we settled on Highlands Landscaping to do the job.  Not only are we going to amend the fence, we will remove all the useless rock and replace it with mulch.  That way we can plant it on our own time/budget down the road. Here's some hastily taken "before" pictures. 

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I didn't realize Marko, the owner, was Russian.  I think that's what he was speaking to his team.  He also introduced me to the team leader for fencing, named Dragon.  Ben was very happy with that :-)