Friday, November 28, 2014


It is unbelievable that Thanksgiving has already come and gone.  Here are a few of the least the few highlights I have photos of.

Hailey's "out of the backpack" Thanksgiving school work.

Hello my name is Bob and I will appreciate if you could not eat me or my cousins or any turkeys.  You can eat pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie and dessert pie.

Things she is thankful for:  house, military, the nice things that mom does, life, food, water, my clothes, cars, people, God -PS I love him, my brothers, bathrooms, I am thankful for my family. 

She does not excel in the spelling department by any means, but her list is pretty spot on. 

We made cupcakes to bring to my aunt's house.  They turned out super cute.  Thank you Pinterest for the pilgrim hat idea.  Who doesn't love a peanut butter cup on a fudge striped cookie?

We woke up on Thanksgiving morning inside of a snow globe.  It was absolutely beautiful outside.  It made taking photos of the kids a little challenging as the big ole' flakes kept on hitting them on their faces.

This turkey requested her picture taken by our turkey flag.

 It was a wonderful Thanksgiving for us.  We got to be together all day - relaxed and peaceful with our greatest blessings - each other.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Saturday at the 'Zoo

Hailey won our family tickets to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo by participating in the summer reading program at the library.  Even though it was a "summer" reading program - they gave us the tickets about a month ago.  The tickets expired at the end of December and we were a little worried that we wouldn't get to use them unless we pulled the kids out of school for a day.  Our weekends just seem like they have been crazy busy this whole school year - with no end in sight.  Fortunately some stars aligned and we found ourselves last weekend with a free Saturday. 

I was pleasantly surprised when we got there.  I had no idea what to expect and figured it would be crazy busy on a Saturday.  It was a very nice museum and not very busy at all.  At times it felt like we had the run of the place.

Hailey and Evan loved playing in the kiddie area.

They had a few smallish rides at the Air Zoo.  Hailey went on the spinning hot air balloons about three times.  She and Evan rode the other air balloons a couple times as well.

Spencer didn't want to ride any of the rides so he just hung out on the bench and watched all teenage angsty.

One of the highlights of the museum was getting to see the SR-71 Blackbird.  My Uncle Norm was one of the engineers of this plane back in the 60's.  There were only two ever made  - one crashed so this is the only one left.

I am not a "plane" person, but it was very cool looking.  It almost looked like something that would fly in outer space.

Hailey insisted on a souvenir when we left.  She bought that winged tiger.  They called him Kitty Hawk - she renamed him Lightening.

We left the Air Zoo and headed to Bilbo's pizza to quell my twenty year craving for cheese sticks and dill dip.  It did not disappoint.  Though Evan was a bit disappointed because he was picturing Bilbo's to be a lot more Middle Earth than it was.  

After "linner" we drove over to the Western Michigan University campus so I could show the kids my old stomping grounds.  Being there brought back a lot of memories - but the campus has changed so much in twenty years it also all seemed new.  I know that probably makes no sense whatsoever.

Hailey in front of "Rapunzel's" tower.  I don't even remember what that tower really is.  I think maybe the old hospital.

The bench they are by has a WMU etched into the rock that you can't even really see because of the snow. 

The library was just a few years old back when I went there.

We walked through the student union and I had to laugh when I came around the corner and saw the phone station that I used many times back in the day.  Those were the dark ages - way before anyone had cell phones.  When was the last time you saw a pay phone? 

It was funny because it wasn't that cold out, but the campus was virtually empty on a Saturday late afternoon.  Maybe everyone was napping before they were headed out for the night.

As we headed back to the car, I had a total catch my breath moment.  Spencer and Trent were walking ahead of me and it hit me that in only five years we could be leaving him here (or any other college).  The twenty years that have gone by since WMU was my home passed by so quickly - the next five years will be gone in a blink.  Just a vivid reminder for me to soak up every minute I can with these kids before they are gone.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two mornings...

Wednesday morning Spencer had late start and an orthodontist appoint where this happened.

He got his braces off!  It is crazy to me that I have a child old enough to have had braces and now those braces are gone.  I can vividly remember getting my own braces removed - how big and slimy my teeth felt.  I finally started to feel like I was growing out of my teenage "awkward" phase. Getting braces off is a big deal.  Now I figure I can't delay the start of Evan's orthodontic years much longer.

The next morning we woke up to this:

Not unexpected, but it still feels to me like we just got done with snow.  The kids couldn't have been happier.  Hailey was giddy every time she looked out the window.  She was disappointed that they didn't have a snow day because she wanted to play in the snow all day.

They were on the ground at the bus stop making snow balls and tiny snowmen.  I talked myself blue in the face trying to convince them not to get all wet before school even started.

Today brought nothing very eventful (yet) and more snow.  I hope we see our yard again before it sticks around for good.  We haven't even finished getting all of our leaves out of the back yard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A free fall Sunday

It seems that it is rare this time of year for us to have any free time - especially on the weekends.  When we found ourselves with a whole Sunday with nothing pressing to do, we were all overjoyed. 
The little kids started off the day painting the canvases that we purchased last weekend as a craft project.  I tried to get all Pinteresty and art teachery and told them to paint a fall scene so we could display it with our fall decor.
Evan painted a porcupine on a log over a river with a fall tree in the background.

Hailey couldn't think of anything to paint, so we looked on Pinterest until she found something that sparked her creativity.

She made a hand "tree" with fall leaves around it.

After her tree her creativity was unleashed and she wasn't ready to be done painting. So she found a piece of paper and went to work on her homage to Frozen.

It wasn't too chilly out so the whole fam headed to the back yard to try to get some of the leaves up before the snow falls (gulp) this week.  I grabbed the camera to get a couple of pictures of my babies in the leaves.

It was a relaxing, wonderful day - I wish we had more like it!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween 2014

What is really spooky is that we are almost two weeks past Halloween and I still haven't had a chance to post anything yet. 

This is the second year in a row that we haven't made it to the pumpkin patch.  I think there are three reasons for that.  The first is time.  As the kids get older and more involved in things, we just run out of weekends.  The second reason also has to do with the fact that they are older.  They just don't seem to care that much whether they go or not.  They were just as happy to pick out pumpkins from the back of a truck at the farmer's market.  And third, since they don't really care whether they go or not, we would rather not spend a king's ransom to go to the pumpkin patch where you have to buy tickets to the corn maze and the jumpy pillow..etc.  The "farm" where we always went has gotten so commercial and so expensive.  

So that being said, a few nights before Halloween, we carved our farmer's market pumpkins.  I only have a couple of phone pictures from the festivities.  I wasn't really in the mood to haul out the big guns. 

My favorite part about Halloween is the kids' costumes.  I absolutely LOVE putting their costumes together.  I love coming up with ideas.  I love the hunt for pieces.  I love stitching and sewing pieces together. It is one of my favorite times of the year.

Hailey decided over the summer that she wanted to be Maleficient.  I was thrilled - for one, not Elsa- and second, there is not much better than a good villain costume.

One of my favorite parts of the costume was her staff with Diaval attached to it.  I almost jumped for joy when I saw that bird at the dollar store.

We purchase the dress on ebay - it was a standard Maleficient kit costume.  I didn't like that the dress was all black so I added a purple underskirt from a thrift store prom dress.  She wore a purple top she had underneath.  The costume came with tiny horns on a headband, but when she trick or treated at the campground nobody knew who she was.  They all thought she was some kind of devil.  So I knew I needed to make her some substantial horns.  They turned out pretty amazing.

Evan wanted to be an Indian brave.  We were able to throw together his costume pretty easily.   We found his pants and that amazing shirt at the thrift store.   The shirt had beading and fringe and even some real animal fur.  We purchased it for one dollar!  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

We found that faux fur vest at the thrift store too.  I don't know if he really needed it for the costume, but he liked it and it was a good addition to the dress up box.

Spencer was not sure he wanted to dress up this year.  Insert super sad mom face.  Then, typical Spencer, decided the night before he wanted to be a zombie.  Never fear - there is an app for that.  It is called "text your dad and tell him to bring home makeup and a blow torch to zombiefy your old clothes".  Thank goodness the boy has a dad in the theatre business or I would have had to wring his little neck!

These are the best photos I managed to get of the three of them.  They were freezing.  We were rushing around like lunatics.  Evan was still chewing on dinner.

I can't wait until next year!