Halloween…Again and again…

Who knew that celebrating Halloween was an endurance sport?! In Florida, we celebrated Halloween on the actual day itself (i.e. today) and had a single evening of trick or treating. I’m not sure if this is a function of living in a small town, but we’re currently on day 4 of Halloween festivities! I’m not sure I’m cut out for so much socializing celebrating. First, Parker’s school had a mini-parade and a party on Friday evening where the kids dressed up and ate pizza and danced to the Monster Mash…

…then on Saturday, we took Parker-stein and our little ladybug downtown to go trick or treating from one business to the next (which is kind of a local tradition).

That was about 3 hours worth of craziness, but Parker had a great time. The one problem we had was that it was C.O.L.D. The Irishman and I were not dressed appropriately (it was in the low 50s and windy), so we decided to head back to the house around dinner time to fuel up on real food and to get warm. By the time we got home, we realized that we only had an hour to burn before we needed to head out to our friend’s annual Halloween party. While it didn’t start until 8pm, there were going to be lots of kids there, so we thought that we’d go ahead and chance keeping the kids up past their bed time. While I’m not usually one for throwing them off of their regular schedules, I figured that it was okay to walk on the wild side just this one. I’m such a rebel, I know. While we had a fun time, it was pushing 11pm when we finally got home and I was beat.

So yesterday (technically day three of the Halloween festivities), I was supposed to take Parker to a trunk or treak/holiday festival at a church downtown. When the time to leave rolled around, I just couldn’t do it. I was totally spent from running around like a maniac all day trying to catch up with chores around the house (since we had been out of town last weekend and playing all day Saturday). So, I took Parker on a “hike” instead (although we didn’t technically leave our property, there’s a lot of acreage to explore here). Here are some pictures from our driveway.

 In case you were wondering: (1) yes, Parker is wearing his PJs on our hike even though it was only 4pm; (2) that black thing in his hand is a homemade light saber; (3) in the bottom picture, he’s lying in wait to ambush any “bad guys” with his paper light saber; (4) I was wearing my PJs too. Good thing we don’t have neighbors!

Hopefully, this week’s agenda includes a whole lot of nothing. I’m sure that a couple of mini Snickers bars pilfered from Parker’s candy bucket will assist me in that endeavor. Now, to make a grocery list and get back to my regular senior citizen schedule!


My Momma Has Skillz

Please explain to me how I didn’t know that my mom knew how to knit until after Lexi was born?! This revelation came after I showed her a knit bunny hat that I bought. She looked at it, turned it around in her hands and said, “I can make that.” Twenty-four hours later, she had yarn in hand and was knitting away and Lexi had her first two handmade hats within the week.

Fast forward to last month, the Irishman came across a knit Yoda hat. Knowing Parker’s Star Wars obsession, my mom got right to work. Then this morning, look what arrived in the mail. Matching Yoda hats!

Cute, we are.

What’s more, she also sent Lexi this Princess Leia hat! You wouldn’t believe the laugh we got when we first put this on her.


I am a member of the Rebel Alliance...

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Finally (and to make sure that each child received an equal number of hats), she made Parker this seriously cool dinosaur hat.

How cool is that? I wonder what other skills she’s been hiding from me all of these years.

Game Time!

Well, we finally made it down to Tallahassee to take Parker to a Florida State football game. While the entire trip was rife with a comedy of errors (you can imagine what 16 hours of driving time in a weekend will do to your sanity), I’m glad that he got to go to the game. While he may not realize it yet, I think that this moment will be a big deal to Parker down the line. I mean, it’s Florida State football!

Keeping with tradition, we started tailgating about 4 hours before the game.

Note to self: I am not as young as I once was. Tailgating is hard work and while I hate to admit it, four hours was about my tailgating limit. Lexi joined us at the tailgate, but then went home with her Nana while we started the long trek to the stadium.

As you can see, it was a pretty perfect day. We were, however, racing the clock to get inside so that Parker could see Chief Osceola throw the spear into the field, so we didn’t stop for too many pictures.

Upon first walking out of the tunnel and onto the field, Parker simply said, “Whoa.”

During the first quarter, Parker was overwhelmed by the noise. He spent most of it plugging his ears and trying to crawl into my lap. Once he realized that he could join in the excessive noise, he got more into the spirit of the game.

He enjoyed watching the band’s halftime performance and before we knew it, he made it all the way to the 4th quarter.

It had been a very long day, so I decided to go ahead and beat the crowds leaving the game since we still had a 30 minute walk back to the car. Before we left, I did manage to snap a picture of the boys with the field behind them.

Next time we head down for a game, it will be for a bit longer than a weekend since the trip itself was just brutal.

Halloween Gingerbread Cookies

My dear friend, Meg, passed along her mother’s gingerbread cookie recipe to me years ago. It was her family’s holiday tradition to make and decorate Halloween cookies. She and I continued the tradition when I was still living in Tallahassee and I think the first year we made them together was when I was 9 months pregnant with Parker. I’ve made them every year since, even after I moved 500 miles away. As the years have passed, Parker has gotten to help with more of the process and I can’t wait until he can make these entirely by himself.

Here’s what you need:

½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup molasses or syrup (I prefer molasses)
½ teaspoon vinegar
3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream the shortening.  Add sugar, gradually cream through.  Blend molasses into this.  Sift 1 ¼ cups flour with baking soda, spices and salt.  Blend the flour mixture with molasses mixture.  Add vinegar.  Add remaining flour (2 ¼ cups), alternating with buttermilk.

Chill the dough for at least an hour – it will be much easier to work with. Using a liberal sprinkle of flour, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.

Once these cool, they are fantastic with lemon icing. Here’s the recipe for that.

Lemon icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Then and Now.

Apparently, I’m in the throes of nostalgia because when I posted the pictures of Parker and his lightsaber, I realized that I had taken a picture of him on that same bench almost exactly 2 years ago. That was shortly after we moved here, not long before his 3rd birthday.


And here he is now, a couple weeks shy of turning 5.


Gosh, what a difference! Here he was for his first real haircut at a barber shop (again, two years ago).


And here he was last week.

When I stop to think about it, he was really not much more than a baby when we got here in the summer of 2009. What’s really mind-blowing is that two years from today, Lexi will be the age that Parker was when we moved here and he will be turning 7 (!?!). And me? Well, I’ll be ready for a walker and a stiff martini.

First Solids. Lord Help Me.

I’m not going to lie, I am not ready to start feeding my baby girl solid foods. I mean, she was just born! She can’t possibly be ready for solids. The other day, I literally had to count on my fingers to confirm that she was indeed turning 6 months old this week. It just doesn’t seem possible. Now, before you think that I’m one of those nuts who wants to keep their children infants forever, that is not the case. I actually love watching them grow and learn and all that jazz. I know that people say this all the time, but the past 6 months have literally flown by.

Well, the reality is that whether or not I am ready for solids – Lexi is showing all of the signs that she is. So, I ripped the Band-Aid and we dove into the world of mashed bananas.

“I’m ready, mommy!”


“Yum, food!”


“Um, mom, you left a little something in my mouth.”


“Here, let me give it back to you.”


(Parker was not in a very good mood that morning – look at that mug- , but we called him over so that he wouldn’t miss Lexi’s first official high chair feeding.)


Pretty soon, he got into the spirit of things. We were all cracking up over the faces that Lexi was making. In the below picture, she actually managed to swallow a little bit and didn’t know how she felt about that.


These kids are seriously too cute for words…even with food hanging out of Lexi’s mouth!


Stay tuned for more chronicles of the disappearing first year of Lexi’s life. Perhaps if I just hold her forever, she won’t get a chance to start crawling…