Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Even as I'm writing this, and all of the festivities are over, I'm still not quite able to grasp my mind around the fact that we're already at Halloween! Where has the time gone?!!!

This evening, we had much of the "usual crew" joining us - sans Leona who is at an antique convention and the Whites who helped their nieces trick-or-treat (we missed all of you!). John didn't snag any pictures of the adults this time (hopefully Amy got one), but we had my parents, the Johnsons, the Meyers, and the Quigleys with us.

Here's the crew: left to right, top to bottom:
Cameron (mad scientist), Andrew (had a VERY scary clown mask that he didn't want to scare the younger kids with), Taylor (Lee Corso from GameDay), Brayden (nerd), Christina (Greek goddess), Erica (50's girl), Mikayla (vet), Adam (Spongebob), Jackson (Count Dracula), and Carter (Batman)

The girls are very outnumbered whenever the Johnson join us.

You can get a little more view of Cameron's mad scientist hairdo and Brayden's custom nerd ensemble in this view.

Sydney came along with us - she wore a Jeremiah Johnson jersey....UO Alum......and oh by the way, did you hear the news?! We are #1 in the BCS as well as all of the other major polls. First time's really quite surreal....and for the record, watching them play USC last night nearly gave me a panic attack.

Brayden came up with the idea for his outfit after goofing around in his room one evening (late summer), and coming out with about half of this outfit put together on his own (including the former 3-D glasses with duct tape). I love this kid's zest for life! (Do you like how he's hanging his candy bag from the pens in his pocket with a homemade pocket protector?)

The scariest part of Halloween? All of the leftovers with all of the calories.......these molasses cookies, the apple brie toasts, the caramel apples - and don't even get me started on the candy!

Thanks everyone for coming over, always a good time - it's no wonder why this is one of my favorite festivities of the year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mommy-Daughter Day

Despite the fact that my kids are both in schools in the same district, due to Brayden's school being run in trimesters and Mikayla's being run in semesters - Mikayla got Friday off while Brayden had to trudge his way off to school.

So, I decided to do something special with Mikayla. I had told her earlier this month that I would be available to go on a field trip with her, but then, I inadvertently took a two-day sub assignment that canceled out my opportunity to go with her. Due to that (and the fact that I ended up working more than I had planned on), I decided to indulge us both with pedicures (something Mikayla has been begging for since the day I first took her a year and a half ago...). Let me just say, it was BLISSFUL! While I'm super happy with how my feet feel and the color on the toenails - the real experience is the heated, rolling, shiatsu, vibrating chair, with the heat pack on my neck, and hot apple cider being served to me chair side. Not to mention the wonderful gals that were so sweet doing our pedicures.... Mikayla just kept saying, "I never want to leave, I want to stay here forever". Me too, babe, me too!

We followed up our pedicure appointment with a quick trip to the mall - and some special holiday jammies for Mikayla. Then, later that evening, we picked up Mikayla and headed over to the locally owned 50's style burger joint "Dickie Jo's" - for dinner with Kaela and Elaina.

From there, Kaela joined me and the girls to go to the UO volleyball game. Unfortunately, the Ducks lost (they were playing the 4th ranked Stanford team) - but, it was amazing to watch, nonetheless. These two girls will begin their volleyball season on Tuesday - were hoping they picked up on a few skills that they saw. (I highly doubt it though, as Mikayla was so wound up messing with Kaela....)

All in all, a super special day hanging with my daughter!

P.S. - In a case of pure freakiness, Mikayla woke up telling me about her "stress dream" of realizing it was the day before Christmas and not having purchased the presents she wanted to for her cousins....she said she was bawling in her dream. Interestingly, I woke up having had a similar dream - it being the night before Christmas, still needing to purchase presents and having nothing special for Christmas breakfast......What have I done to this poor girl!?!

Friday, October 29, 2010

BYOP Carving Party

Last year, when we went about carving our pumpkins, one of our college student faves, Aaron came over. He carved his own pumpkin and we realized that his presence helped make the experience that much more enjoyable for us and the kids. Fast forward a year and the idea for BYOP Carving Party was born.

Even as I'm typing this, I'm eating another one of those pumpkin muffins. When, oh when am I going to really start getting my act together regarding my food intake?!

Kaela offered to be the photographer for the evening, which really was such a's amazing how knowing someone else is looking for the "priceless moments to capture" takes such a load off. This was Mikayla, waiting for the bulk of students to arrive.

Walt thought this bowl of knives was hilarious - and asked if that's what we offered to Trick or Treaters who came to our door. Really, it was tools to be used for carving.

John doesn't mess around when it comes to carving - he goes for the heavy-duty tools.

(which Walt apparently also got a kick out of)

It was not without a little fear that I watched Brayden attack his pumpkin. Just how many times can a mom say, "Be careful!"?

The gentleman behind Mikayla is TJ - he was the one who informed us the World Series was on and that people might be interested. If it's not football at this time of year, we kind of don't know it exists (as far as sports go).

In preparation for the evening, we moved out our rug and coffee table and pushed our couch all the way back. It's amazing how much floor space that opened up for carving.

Chili, cornbread, cider, and treats were all available in the kitchen. From left to right: Kate, Emily, Becca, Michelle, Laurel and her hubby, Matt, Kimmie (and, me)

Heather and Jimmy - I don't think Heather was thrilled with the camera being aimed her way.

This is Cody - we haven't hung with her since last year's Spring Retreat - and Mikayla, especially - could NOT wait to see her!

I thought this was kind of a fun, artsy image

Kate, carving "3 Years" on her pumpkin - indicating the three years her and TJ (pic above) have been dating.

Laurel (Mikayla's soccer coach) - went for hearts.

Joe (engaged to Caitlyn - the blurry gal to the left) - carved GIANTS in his - he was ever-so-thankful to TJ that the World Series was being shown at our house.

Brayden picked out "Mickey Mouse" to carve - I helped him a bit with it, but pretty much it was all him - I love how it turned out!

Becca, Becky, and Kaela (finally getting in a shot, instead of behind the camera)

I'm not sure what the technology convention in this corner was all about.....great smile on Kimmie's face though!

Amanda and Kate, cozying it up in the corner chair

A family pic with Cody and her friend, Sarah - those two totally entertained our kids, particularly Mikayla

On to some shots of finished products:

How fitting that the final image shows a pumpkin with BE JOYFUL ALWAYS as its carving. This is Taylor - what a sweetheart.

So, this is definitely an event we'll want to make an annual occurrence of, but it didn't completely go off without a hitch. I ended up getting a "go-to-bed-immediately" migraine about an hour into it. I took medicine, which did end up helping, but it was a pretty miserable feeling to be around 25 or so people, and not having the energy or desire to interact. I hung in there, though - and didn't leave until there were only a couple of people left.

The good news: when I woke up, John had TOTALLY cleaned up and put everything back. What a job - I was thinking it would take all morning for that to be taken care of. What a hero!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

During the Break Between Storm Fronts.....

The Indian summer we Oregonians relished is officially over. Instead, there's now over a foot of snow in the mountains, the Willamette is running muddy and high on its banks, and the clouds are a charcoal gray dropping a deluge of rain. This will get old fast, I know it, but there was a part of me struggling to consider starting my annual Christmas music listening on the day after Halloween if we were still under a bright sunshine with 60+ degrees outside. NOW, it's feeling more like Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Wednesday was our one day this week between storm fronts - and at least until about 5pm, it was quite pretty. Katy and I embraced the opportunity and took Bogey and Sydney around the river walk - giving us a chance to chat and catch up.

Both dogs wanted to greet everyone and every dog that crossed our path, and heaven help us all when a squirrel ran past. Sydney, especially, was obsessed with them.

All of these crazy adventures led to a very tired Bogey for the rest of the day he was at our house yesterday. This is our bed (admittedly not made!) that he was snuggling in.

Right around the time the next storm came in, Brayden had his last regular Pop Warner game - play-offs begin next Sunday with the state championship game on Sunday, the 21st. It's a good chance they'll make it all the way there, as they beat all of the teams they played in regular season by at least 21 points. I'm just so impressed with that entire team of players and coaches.