Friday, November 27, 2015

Up To Our Elbows in Pumpkin Goop

We purchased our pumpkins at the beginning of October this year, and I thought we'd have plenty of time to get them carved before Halloween. However, time - as it often does - got away from us, and we found ourselves in the last week of October without any carving accomplished. We made a plan to carve pumpkins on Friday, October 30th, but ended up with sick kiddos instead. The Hubs and I had pretty much decided that we'd skip our tradition of carving pumpkins this year - and as much as I hated the thought of that - I was a bit relieved. Then, the Bigs asked and kept asking when we were going to carve those pumpkins we'd bought. So, Chris and I changed our minds and decided that we'd go ahead and do it as soon as everyone was well, even though it was after Halloween. Who cares about the date anyway? 

So, just a few days after Halloween, we brought a few of our pumpkins inside and cut into those puppies! 

I don't personally enjoy carving pumpkins much (at all), but Chris and the kids really like it. I'm happy to be the photographer and keep my hands out of the pumpkin goop!

Each of the kiddos took turns helping Daddy cut open the pumpkin.

I love the look on Brianna's face in this photo. She loves anything messy!


Bren was a little reluctant to stick his hand in the pumpkin, but once he dug in there was no stopping him!

Brooke surprised us when she would not put her hand in the goop. She even whimpered a bit when Chris tried to force her hand in the pumpkin. 

Ready or not . . . you're going in!

Brecklyn - who is generally cautious - was very curious about this activity and stuck her hand right in! The babies were full of surprises this night. 

Ummmm, Daddy? WHY does the baby have a sharp tool?!?

As the Big kids dug the goop out of the pumpkin, we had them separate the seeds into a bowl. I was thrilled that I didn't have to do it!

And, again . . . 

I specifically chose this large pumpkin at the pumpkin patch with photos of the babies sitting in it in mind, and I adore the photos we got of them! However, Miss Brecklyn was less than impressed when we put her in this pumpkin to make sure it was cut properly. Bahahaha!

After sitting in pumpkin goo, a bath was in order :-). Based upon Brooke's reaction to sticking her hand in the pumpkin, we didn't even try to put her whole body in it this night.

Who has goopy hands?!?

Aside from cutting our big pumpkin to put the babeis in, we also decided to carve one small pumpkin with a design. The Bigs chose a cat and helped Daddy accomplish it fairly quickly. We were all happy with how it turned out.

While Daddy was cleaning up the mess from the pumpkin carving, Brianna helped me wash the pumpkin seeds so we could roast them. Eating roasted pumpkin seeds is one of our favorite things to do in the Autumn!

Bren also wanted to help wash the seeds.

After carefully washing the seeds, we laid them out on a cookie tray and sprayed them with olive oil.

We added a bit of salt,

and put them in the oven for baking. The whole house smelled of roasting seeds, and we certainly enjoyed eating them for the next week.

Even though we were "late" with our tradition, we were all happy that we decided to go ahead and do it anyway! Precious memories!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hallo-booooo-ween, 2015

Ever since welcoming children into our lives, Halloween has become a week-long event for us. Before kids? It only existed as Chris's birthday . . . things have sure changed! When brainstorming costumes for this year, I was really thinking that we'd go with something family themed. My big kids are easy and will pretty much be talked into dressing however I want them to (for now), and the babies obviously have no opinion yet. However, while browsing Pinterest one evening, I came across a photo of little, chubby, twin baby girls who were dressed as Cabbage Patch Kids. I loved Cabbage Patch Kids when I was a little girl, so I knew immediately that that's how I wanted to dress the twins for their first Halloween. I was a little disappointed to let the idea of a family themed costume go (because I could not talk Brenson into being a CPK), but I knew that this was really the only year to pull off the Cabbage Patch Kid thing. 

For the babies' outfits, I printed a CPK logo onto transfer paper and ironed the logo onto the front of a pink shirt. I then found matching leggings and shoes that we already had. The "wigs" are actually hats I ordered from Etsy, and I completed the look by putting a little blush on each baby to makes their cheeks rosy and using an eyeliner pencil to give them each a few freckles.

Brooke Ellie

Brecklyn Sarah

Brecklyn - not too impressed - ha!

The girls were hilarious whenever they were wearing the hats. They would just look at each other, then look at me, then look at each other. They both wore them very well, and we only had a few instances of one pulling on the other one's hat.

We planned to attend two large Halloween events, and knew that the babies would be riding in their stroller during those times. I decided that I wanted to dress the stroller up as part of their costume, and it was really pretty easy to do. I bought plain green fabric to cover the stroller (we cut holes in it to pull the straps through and secured it with plastic clips we purchased from Hobby Lobby), then made the face of the "box" out of yellow foam core board (also from Hobby Lobby). After cutting the foam core board into the proper shape, I used green duck tape to edge it. Then, I printed the CPK Twins logo onto clear sticker paper and stuck it to the foam core board. I also printed a sticker that says, "Twins Are Twice As Nice" to put under the CPK logo. After looking at many vintage CPK Twins boxes (on Ebay), I noticed that they all had a subtle stripe on the yellow portion of the box. I used a sharpie to stripe the foam core board. We then used velcro to attach the "box" face to the stroller. It wasn't difficult, but it was a good bit of work. We were very pleased with the result!

I always wanted a set of Cabbage Patch Twins!

Brooke, Brecklyn

After deciding that the babies would be CPKs, I had to figure out what Brianna would dress as this year. I wanted something fairly simple for her as I knew that she would wear her costume to school one day. She has recently become very interested in the show Odd Squad on PBS Kids, so I thought it might be fun to dress as one of the main characters on the show, Agent Olive (the show is about these kid detectives that solve "odd" mysteries). This costume was pretty basic. I was able to get the blue blazer and white dress shirt on clearance from the school uniform section of a store. I actually bought the white dress shirt in Brenson's size so he'll be able to wear it all winter. He also inherited the red tie and will be getting the shoes soon. Agent Olive has black hair that she keeps pulled tightly back in a low ponytail, so - of course - we had to do the same with Brianna's hair. I used cheap, black spray-on hair color to make Bri's hair black.

My cute little Agent Olive

For Brenson, I had several cute ideas, but he wasn't having any of them. Last year, I really wanted him to be Max from Where the Wild Things Are, but he didn't like that idea. However, after A LOT of convincing, he finally agreed. This year, he had it in his head that he was going to be Max again, and no amount of talking was going to change his mind. There *may* have even been some failed attempts at bribing. Oh well. I had the costume, it was still in great shape, and it {surprisingly} still fit, so we went with it. 

At least he makes a pretty cute Max :-).

Agent Olive and Max

Our first Halloween adventure was on Sunday, October 25th. For the past five years, we've participated in a Trunk of Treats event that is the Sunday before Halloween where my friend generally has a trunk (she didn't this year because she has a new baby instead). We always have a great time!

Russ, Lisa, and Chloe Jo joined us this year!

Ready to get some CANDY!

We never know what the weather is going to be like on Halloween . . . sometimes we're sweating and sometimes we're freezing. This year, it was pretty crisp during Trunk of Treats, so we had the babies wrapped up in blankets. I was thankful that the hats were part of their costume! Even with the blankets, they were a BIG hit. We had FIVE different people (random strangers) stop us and ask to take their photo. Ugh . . . I was not too comfortable with that, but we did say yes.

The big kids all enjoyed seeing the trunks, and of course getting a LOAD of candy. 

My friend, Kendall, and her family generally have a trunk, but they decided to skip it this year. They did attend the event, though, and were all dressed as lumberjacks. SO cute and funny!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before that Brooke is afraid of the dark? Well, she is and this makes for miserable car rides if it's dark outside as she just screams and screams (sometimes, it helps if we have Brianna turn on a light in the back of the van). So, once it became dark, Brooke started melting down in the stroller. We ended up carrying her the entire time while Brecklyn got all snug and cozy in the stroller and took a fat nap, ha! The dark did not slow the big kids down, though!

Chloe Jo and Brianna's favorite trunk was home to Anna and Elsa. Of course!

We had a great time at Trunk of Treats, and I'm so glad we did it because it ended up being the only family even we were able to do this year (more on that below). 

On Wednesday, October 28th, I took my three younger kiddos to Library Story Time. Every year, Ms. Tena asks the kids to wear their costumes so she can see them. This year, we also paraded around the entire library in our costumes, ha! Bren was so funny as he was very shy about wearing his Max costume for some reason, but we still enjoyed dressing up!

Below is the best photo I could get at Library Story Time. Sigh.

Brooke, Brenson, Brecklyn

The following Friday, we had a packed day planned. When the babies woke up that morning, Brecklyn was SUPER fussy and had a low-grade fever. I checked her gums and discovered she had her first tooth popping through! I decided that we would go ahead and go to Miss Shelly's class, braving the cold and the rain.

Max didn't mind wearing his costume this day, although he didn't want to leave his hood on (too hot).

We studied about dressing up, trick-or-treating, and jack-o-lanterns . . . because of course!

We had several regulars missing from class this morning, due in part to the weather. Because of the rain, I didn't bring the babies in with the stroller, but they did wear their outfits and wigs.

After Miss Shelly's, we went home, grabbed a quick lunch, then loaded back into the van to go to Brianna's Halloween party at school. The weather was still super yucky with wind, cold air, and rain, and Brecklyn was certainly not acting like herself. I assumed it was that tooth giving her the blues. Chris met us at the school, and he pushed Brooke in the school in our umbrella stroller. I wore Brecklyn in our Ergo, and was shocked when she snuggled right up to me. She generally hates being "worn".

I had told Brianna that I didn't know if we'd make it to her party, so she was thrilled to see us! I felt like a bit of a circus coming into her classroom with all my littles, ha!

Brenson SO loved being there with Brianna. He made himself right at home and was perfectly behaved. When we got ready to leave, he was insistent that he didn't want to go. The boy can't wait until he's old enough for school! You can see Chris with the babies in the background of this photo (we had been there a while at this point so we let them down to play).

I was thrilled to join my girl in her classroom!

Brenson fit right in!

After getting home, Brecklyn started acting pretty lethargic and sick. I took her temp again, and was felt so sad and guilty when the thermometer read 102! I realized that she was actually sick and not just teething, and here I'd had her out multiple times that day in the cold and rain. :-( Mommy fail :-(. As the evening went on, she started coughing and wheezing. By about 9:00pm, her temp was just above 103, and her breathing was labored. We called the on-call nurse at our pediatrician's office who told us we needed to take her in to our doctor the next morning (our doctor's office is open on Saturday mornings during the winter). Ugh. I felt horrible for my baby girl! 

She ended up being up most of the night just wanting to be held. At the same time, Brenson developed a cough and was up for over two hours in the night coughing. We tried everything to calm his cough, but to no avail. It was a miserable night as Chris and I only slept in 20 minute increments all night. At 8:00am sharp, I called our pediatrician's office.

We rushed around to get everyone out the door to drive almost an hour to see our pediatrician. He said that Brenson's lungs sounded okay, though he did have an ear infection and a virus. Brecklyn, however, didn't sound so good AND with her fever he was concerned about her possibly having pneumonia. I accompanied her to a chest x-ray (so miserable. . . she screamed and screamed the entire time) which confirmed that she did have pneumonia in her right lung. My poor baby :-(.

She was lethargic most of Saturday (Halloween). My mommy heart hurt so bad for her.

As soon as we got home, we discovered that Brianna also had a fever. By that evening, Brooke had some nasty eye drainage and was acting sick, as well. Have I mentioned that this was also Chris's birthday? Happy birthday to him, haha!

Two families from church brought food in for us, so we ate a buffet of Olive Garden and fried chicken with the fixings for dinner. All of the kids were being super needy, so we were beyond grateful for the food! Without our generous friends/family, Chris would have had sandwiches or cold cereal for his birthday dinner.

I was glad that I had already had the kiddos make him cards, and we had already wrapped his gifts. He loves pumpkin pie, so I had already baked that, as well.

The Bigs were both in a pretty good mood despite being sick.

The babies were much more miserable acting.

We had planned to go to an event called Boologah that evening and do some trick-or-treating, but obviously those plans changed with a houseful of sick kids. As tired and disappointed as we were, we tried to keep our perspective and realize that it could be soooo much worse.

But, that doesn't mean we weren't sad to have sick babies and miss out on the Halloween fun!

Since it was Daddy's birthday, we wanted to document the day with a family selfie. Poor, poor baby Brecklyn :-(.

Crazy and cooped up! Eeeeep!

We stayed in all day Sunday, and by Monday the Bigs were both on the mend. It took the babies a bit longer, but thankfully everyone got over whatever illness was plaguing us fairly quickly. This was certainly not what we had planned for our Halloween this year, but we're getting better and better at being flexible :-).