Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Halloween

This Halloween was especially fun as the kids actually trick or treated for the first time!  Technically, it was their 3rd time to trick or treat, but in years past they were either carried or pulled in a wagon and never let out.

Between all of our  fall activities, I tried to prepare the kids for Halloween as best I could.  We read Halloween books during story time, watched a few Disney Junior Halloween themed shows, made ghosts from cotton balls and construction paper, colored pumpkins and wooden Halloween characters, and ate banana ghosts and Reese's witch broomsticks. I thought about carving a pumpkin, but then decided we needed a witch pumpkin instead.  

Wise decision, right?

But, in the end, Halloween is nothing without costumes and trick-or-treating.  The costumes this year were quite the international feat.  The pants we received from Dave's Thai coworkers (same ones worn for the 2014 TCH Bad Pants Day) and the tops were creations by a good friend of mine.  I described my vision and she just winged it on the design and sizing of the tops.  Amazing!!  Not only did they fit, but they were completely perfect and adorable too.  I called them genies, but you could also go with Thai/Arabian prince and princesses.  Whatever.

As usual, we had quite the entourage going around the block.  Three other families, my parents and grandparents, and a couple close friends.  Yeah, you could see us coming.  I started out carrying 5 of the candy buckets and 3 of the kids being carried.  Within a few houses, I was down to 3 buckets and only 1 kid was being carried.  They really caught on to the concept quickly!  But, candy does that to people.  They made it around the whole block and racked up some serious candy.  I have allowed them to eat some in very small portions as dessert.  They think it's amazing.

Caroline was the most entertaining trick-or-treater.  Several times she rang the doorbell and walked right on in when the neighbor opened the door.  Luckily she was bribed out with the candy bowl!  Speaking of, when the neighbor held the bowl for the kids to get their own candy, Caroline eagerly put both hands in every time trying to grab as much as she could.  Did I mention we have a ton of candy at our house right now?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fall Bucket List

I have never done a seasonal bucket list before.  But I'm sold.

I made quite the ambitious list of outings and at-home activities for the Pack to do this fall.  And thanks to the trusty list and my master planner skills, we got every single item done!  {Even with a lovely week of stomach bug thrown in there to make things interesting}  I know you are on the edge of your seat waiting to read ALL about the fall bucket list fun... so without further ado...  here goes it...


The zoo is nothing new for us, but this fall we went twice.  One time during Zoo Boo {a fun Halloween event with pumpkin patches and candy stations and cool decorations} and one time during a school field trip day {I have a knack for picking those days}.  Both visits I let the kids WALK the whole time- no stroller, no wagon.  Just the walking rope and plenty of helping hands to hold.  And it went surprisingly well!  Allison and Andrew were carried most of the time, Ben walked along slowly, Levi stayed with us but was pushing to go quicker, and Caroline was ready to go off and do her own thing so her hand had to be held.  Of course Leah was fabulous the whole time.  What has been most fun is that they're more into the animals.  They really like the aquarium, sea lions, elephants, giraffes, petting zoo, and the playground.

Barnes & Noble

We did a retry of this one since our last visit coincided with Batman Day.  Glad we did!  It wasn't crowded at all so we had full reign of the coloring sheets and train table.  Unfortunately the train table only had 2 trains, so next time I'll bring a few extra.  The highlight was snagging this cute pictures of all 6 together:

Visiting Friends and Family

We made the long trek to the other side of Pearland {kinda joking kinda true} to visit one of our great friends and regular helper at her house!  The kids had a ball exploring the new environment and eating special snacks.  My grandparents came too and I think my grandpa wouldn't have minded if we left him in the media room.

Also on the list was to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew who live in another area of Houston. We all had a great time playing ball, bubbles, hide and seek, and exploring outside!  The kids gobbled up pizza for dinner {I'm talking some serious pizza eating here} and we ended the fun with a dance party!  You know that's my jam.

Children's Museum

This was our first visit.  I have been avoiding it due to the price, but thanks to Groupon we were able to swing it this once.  On this particular day I had decided Andrew and Allison had to use their legs and walk- no crying and being carried around all day!  Unfortunately for my helpers and I, Andrew put up quite the battle.  It took us 30 minutes to get from the car to the toddler area.  But we got there.  And he wasn't carried.

Once we were inside, they all had a blast!  It really is a neat setup for little ones.  Once we got the cues they were hungry, we headed to the cafe for lunch.  They were all wonderful eating in the cafe!  I was surprised/impressed myself.  The best part?  They ALL walked back to the car with no big meltdowns- took 10 minutes.  HA!

Brazoria County Fair

My grandparents volunteer at the fair every year and have been waiting for the kids to be old enough to enjoy at least one aspect of the fair.  This year I knew they'd love the animals!  So one morning we loaded up and headed to the County Fairgrounds.  We started out in the learning center with a fake cow to milk, stick horse races, and a petting zoo with goats, bunnies, sheep, and a donkey.  Then we made our way around the show animals: pigs, rabbits, cows, horses, chickens, and turkeys.  They really enjoyed seeing rows and rows of animals.  We ended our visit with a picnic lunch and a special treat of funnel cake!  I mean, what kind of trip to the fair would it be without funnel cake?!  And, surprise, they couldn't get enough.

Pumpkin Patch

Last year I debated a visit to a pumpkin patch and decided against it.  This year I decided we could handle it.  Especially with my parents in town to help :)  We chose to go to a small patch at a nearby church.  Great decision!  Plenty of pumpkins to choose from, a couple of cute set ups for pics, an enclosed playground, a train ride, and a huge pumpkin chunkin catapult were all there.  We spent most of the time at the playground, but the girls were pretty interested in picking out pumpkins.  Caroline was getting quite frustrated that she couldn't lift most of the pumpkins.

She eventually found some smaller ones she could handle- then put them in someone else's wagon!  Our attempted family picture has much to be desired, but we survived it, found the perfect pumpkin to keep, and got out with only one meltdown.  Success indeed.


We LOVE parks!!!  Especially in glorious fall weather.  One day Dave and I were feeling ambitious and took all the kids and dog to a close by tiny park (I call them pocket parks) in our neighborhood.  Perfect for our kids!  The right size equipment, enclosed, and no one else there.  On one visit there was another child there, but it didn't take long for us to scare the poor kid away.  Pretty sure he was overwhelmed.  We have also discovered a not too far away big park that has plenty of stuff for little ones to do.  They have a blast, burn tons of energy, and we enjoy watching them and sometimes joining in too!  Even Leah gets in on the action- I take her down the slides with me.  Seeing her face light up is priceless!