Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Halloween 2016

How is today the middle of November?  It doesn't feel like it at all since it is almost sixty degrees outside.  I figure I better get a few Halloween pictures on here before it is time for turkey and things get into super crazy mode. 

Spencer dressed up this year as a DC comic book villain named Shade.  I had never heard of him and had to put Google to use for the rescue.  He looked a lot like the character.  The hat and hair just kept reminding me of Slash from Guns N' Roses. 

Evan wanted to dress up as a wizard, but not the moon and stars pointy hat kind of wizard.  When he found the costume he wanted it was a Gandalf from LOTR.  It was cheap enough on Amazon that I figured by the time I bought fabric, a pattern and what my time would be worth...I just clicked and it was on my doorstep in two days.

The costume came and was exactly what he wanted, but he didn't want to be Gandalf - he just wanted to be a generic type wizard.  He repurposed the staff from his Pharaoh costume and he was good to go.

I love this picture because I can just catch the faintest glimpse of my Baby Evers.

Hailey decided fairly early on that she wanted to be Super Girl.  When looking for costumes online they were all the super flimsy fabric ones and were still kind of pricey or the way to grown up looking for a little girl type of costumes.  I ended up ordering a royal blue shirt and a red skirt and cape from Amazon for way cheaper than any costume I saw.  I made the logo out of felt and sewed it on.  The skirt is even cute enough to wear for Christmas or Valentines Day.

She had an old pair of boots that were super scuffed up and headed for the trash can until an idea clicked in my head and they were repurposed with a can of red spray paint. Perfection!

I can't get enough of this Super Girl!

We came up with the brilliant idea to carve pumpkins outside this year.  It was a bit of a chilly day but not bad at all in the sunshine.

I LOVE the fact that my kids are old enough to do most of the carving on their own.  We can for the most part just sit back and watch the festivities!

Spencer imitating his pumpkin.

Evan with his well pumpkin.

Evan with his sick pumpkin.

Hailey and her two sided creation.

We kept up the annual tradition of making our ghosts in the graveyard cake.

It was a beautiful night for Trick or Treating.  Finally!  It seems like the last few years have been terrible nights to go out in.

It was a great Halloween!  The kids are already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shameless bragging

The past two weeks we have had parent teacher conferences for all three kids.  I knew they were doing well because I have online access to the parent portal which is like a tattling second grader and lets me know about every assignment and grade they get.  Beep.  Spencer's math grade is now an A minus. Beep.  Evan's French grade is now an A.  If you want to be in the school loop, you have no excuse not to be with technology these days.

Trent joined me for our first ever high school conferences.  We met with three of Spencer's five teachers.  His choir teacher was out sick and Spencer didn't think we had much to discuss with his guitar teacher.  So English, Biology and History it was.  We left feeling very proud of our Freshman son.  All of his teachers thought he was a great and respectful student.  His Bio and History teacher told us that they thought he should really look into the AP (advanced placement) classes next year.  That was a shock to us.  We know that Spencer is smart - extremely smart - but he doesn't put much effort into anything he does and the fact that two out of three teachers were really pushing for AP was very encouraging to us.  His history teacher told us that he sees almost all of the Freshman as they start high school and Spencer was definitely in the top one percent.  What the what?  So far he seems to be adjusting to high school very well.  He auditioned for and got a role in the Players.  He is Alan-a-Dale in the upcoming production of Robin Hood.  He just finished auditions for the Allegros show Anything Goes this spring.  After the singing portion of auditions he got a call back to the dancing portion.  We will find out Friday if he will be cast - he doesn't feel super confident but you never know.  It would be a big deal to get cast as a Freshman.

Hailey's conference was last week.  I was most concerned about hers because of all my kids she seems to be the one who has to work the hardest at school work.  She is also still not a huge fan of reading.  I know all kids are not readers, but it is strange that four out of five of us in the house are big time readers and she just has no desire.   A point that kept coming up in Spencer's conferences was that his teachers could tell that he has always been a reader - that is so important for success.  The fact that Hailey is not a reader was a little scary to me.  I brought it up with her teacher and he was not really concerned.  As far as the testing they have done so far this year she is right where she should be as a reader in fourth grade.  It is hard to not compare your kids and maybe that is where my problem is - because the boys were always so far above grade level in reading.  Hailey is different from the boys in the sense that the work and learning part of school do not seem that important to her.  She is much more social than her brothers ever were.  She is always looking for a playdate or ahead toward the next party.  She loves being with her friends at school, but it seems like the learning gets put on the back burner sometimes. Don't get me wrong.  She is smart and her conference was great and her teacher thinks she is exactly where she should be.   She is still quiet at school and lacks confidence to take on her work sometimes.  So we will continue to work on that.  She is enjoying fourth grade so far and just finished up her cheer season.  She joined the school choir and is one month into piano lessons and loving them so far.

Evan has always had the drive and ambition to succeed in school and this year is no different.  It almost seemed a waste to go to conferences because he has all A's and I get notes from teachers telling me what an amazing kid and student he is.  But the school really pushed for the student led conferences so I went with Evan in the afternoon and met with all of his teachers and got to hear in person how great he is doing and how he is a model student. I have to admit - I will never tire of hearing good stuff about my kids.  Even with his minor health challenges this year he has continued to do wonderfully in school.  He is super excited for Destination Imagination to start next week.  We wondered if he would try out for the middle school musical this year and he did.  He was thrilled to get cast in an actual role as well as the ensemble.  Play practice starts next week as well so he is about to get busy.  What I most love about Evan is that he is always his own person.  His English teacher told me that he comes from his Drama class to English class and sometimes he is wearing a chef hat or a note to remind him of something stuck to his face.  Last week he had to dress as a ghost in drama and borrowed a pair of white pants and a white Seinfeld-ish puffy shirt from Trent's scene shop.  When I went to pick him up from school I laughed out loud in the car when he was still wearing that get up after school.  He wore it from Drama to English and then out of school.  He is such a weirdo but he totally owns it.  I love that!

These three kiddos are truly the best parts of their Dad and Mom.  We are so proud of all of them.  As they continue to grow into their own people we are so blessed and humbled to call them our own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Monday least I tried!

I really tried!  On Monday I had the phone hooked up to the computer and everything but the computer did not want to recognize the phone and I didn't have time to mess with it and figure out why until now.  I still don't know why.  Either the phone or the computer is finicky and only wants to load with a certain cord in a certain USB port.  I swear I have this problem every week.  

It seemed like a busy week but nothing much to take photos of I guess.  Nothing until the weekend. 
Friday was a half day of school for Ev and Hai so we took advantage of a nice fall day and took a walk.  I also used it as an excuse to get some updated pictures of Hailey.  I thought Evan might need a haircut before so I didn't do his at the same time but looking at these photos, his hair doesn't seem too long. 

They were posting the cast list for Elf Jr. on Friday at 2:00 and it just so happens that last year when they posted the cast list we were on a walk and took a break to look at it.  We went to our "lucky" spot and sure enough...Evan was thrilled to be cast in the role as Fake Santa.  He smells like beef and cheese and sits on a throne of lies.

My two little cuties enjoying a gorgeous fall afternoon.

The nice weather held into Saturday so that afternoon we went for another walk.  Hailey and Ev decided to scale the retaining wall on the way.

We walked on a woods path and Hailey was running up ahead of us.  When we came around the corner she was standing still holding a finger over her mouth to shush us.   I guess when she ran around the corner she rustled up an owl who flew right in front of her.  We could see it in the branches - I tried to take a picture (it looked just like Hedwig from Harry Potter) but I couldn't get in very close.  That is the second owl encounter we have had this fall.

Coming out of the path to the rock.

Saturday afternoon was also Hailey's last football game.  She and her teammates cheered the Stingrays on to the championship!

She even had some adoring fans in the stands cheering for her!

It was a great fall weekend.  The end of this week should be full of lots of Halloween festivities around here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monday Moments...Hives edition

Two weeks ago Evan woke up in the morning with his left eye swollen shut and his hives were back.  A visit to the doctor later and we had a prescription for an antibiotic for a possible sinus infection and a prescription for Zyrtec for the hives. 

He was feeling better so we headed off to our tent that weekend for the Fall Festival at Hoffmaster.  The kids cozy in the tent.  Doesn't Spencer look thrilled!

Hailey took a selfie on the way to her pink game.

Some of the kids later that day all dressed up to trick or treat around the park.

And some goofy grownups.

Sitting by the campfire.

When we got home Sunday morning, Hailey couldn't wait to dump her candy and sort.

Picking up Spencer after play rehearsal.  He came out with three slices of pizza that he wanted for his lunch the next day.

Friday was the Walk a Thon at the school.  I was glad I got to walk with my favorite girl.

Evan had a Boy Scout campout over the weekend and Hailey spent the night at Grama's house on Saturday.  Trent, Spence and I went to Grand Haven to eat dinner and see a play.

I know Spencer's eyes are shut in this photo, but the pier looks so strange without the cat walk.

Spence poses for a picture while Trent geocaches in the back ground.  Bigfoot!

And after eleven days of feeling great, Evan woke up yesterday morning with the hives again.  Ugh.  Again, the doctor's office is not concerned - saying it is very common for hives to come and go for a long time.

Hailey's spooky mansion book report all ready to turn in a week early!

We had a court of honor banquet for the scouts last night.  My two boys left with many new badges and honors.

Evan went to bed with hives last night and unfortunately they didn't go away during the night.

I am sad and unbelievably frustrated that this keeps happening to him. He is such a trooper. I don't think I have heard him complain once since this whole hives thing started.  In fact after we left the doctor a week or so ago he said to me that he felt like the "fussed over child" because we were always giving him medicine or oils or whatever.  I just want him to feel better and be done with this.  If I could take it on for him I would in a second.  He doesn't deserve to have to deal with it.  It amazes me how he continues to do everything he has to do without a complaint.  He probably would have even gone to school with his eye swollen shut if I let him.  I gave him Benadryl this morning because he was a little itchy, but I think I need to just try to get all medicine out of his system and see what happens next.  It is so frustrating.  I have a constant pit in my stomach worrying about him and feel like I am always on the verge of some kind of breakdown.  It just sucks to have to worry about your kid.  I can't even imagine what parents of really sick kids go through.  So for now we just keep waiting and praying.