Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Each year in October we have a pumpkin carving party at our house. It's a great tradition that includes wonderful food, lots of friends (anywhere from 75 to 95), pumpkin carving, hay rides, a bonfire, and a spooky trail through the woods. Some years we've had fireworks (thanks to some friends), and this year a friend added impromptu graveyard tours at the old cemetary on our land.
This year we weren't sure about having the party. We've had a busy year with lots of family battling health issues, a busy Harvest time on the farm, and the third open-heart surgery of the year for our family was looming. We hemmed and hawed and finally decided to have a party, but change things up a bit and do it in a way that would better fit into our busy life this year.
Instead of our usual pumpkin CARVING party a week or so before Halloween, we planned a pumpkin SMASHING party for the weekend after Halloween and invited our friends and family to bring their carved pumpkins to be smashed!
This guy, enjoying the party here with his beautiful daughter, threw in the surprise of impromptu graveyard tours. He'd been helping on our farm throughout the fall, so was very familiar with the land and the old cemetery, and decided to take folks up there for respectful, but spooky little moonlit walks through the deteriorating old cemetery. It was a fun little addition to the night!
The party is a family-friendly event and there is something fun for people of all ages! Our friends Erin, Joe, Leo and Abram smiled for a quick photo for me! (Well, I'm not sure Abe is sporting a smile, and Leo's is a silly one, but they're all having fun!)
Cliff built a Trebuchet for launching pumpkins and it worked wonderfully! We only had a couple of flops where the pumpkin didn't release from the sling or released sooner than expected and it was so much fun watching the pumpkins fly through the air! It was hilarious to watch the kids launch their pumpkins because they had to pull with all of their might to get it to launch and then most often the kids ended up on the ground, watching in amazement as their pumpkin soared through the air!
This year, we encouraged costumes and although not everyone came in costume, it was fun to see those who did! This is my neice Katelyn, my niece Renee, me and my sister Liane!
Thanks to my sweet friend Alli for these last few photos! She and her family are always so much fun to have around!
I have just a few more photos that my sister Liane took that night that I might post later on when I have access to that file drive!
I know it's almost Thanksgiving and I am still posting Halloween pictures, but technically the party was in November so I'm really not THAT far behind... right?
Sunday, November 3, 2013
'cause that IS what Halloween is all about, right? I mean, we know what Christmas is all about, we know what Easter is all about, we know that Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for the bountiful blessings that we have in recognition of that first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and the Indians. We even know that the Fourth of July isn't just an excuse to play yard games, have picnics and shoot off fireworks. ...but Halloween... it's kinda just about the costumes and the candy. Okay, no, I'm not ignorant. I know its loosely based on All Hallows Eve, or the eve before All Saints Day and then there's the Mexican Day of the Dead, but here in the midwest, it really is about the costumes, and the candy, and the costume parties, and the candy, and the trick or treating... and ya know what? I'm okay with that. It is pretty silly if you think about it - Our traditions. Dressing up little kids in costumes and then sending them out in the dark, past bedtime, to walk door to door, and collect candy? Really?
So, let's concentrate on the costumes... and the cuteness.
I have to say, part of what I love so much about pictures of my kids is capturing how the two of them interact with each other. I enjoy taking pictures of each of them individually, but I absolutely LOVE catching on "film" ("catching on memory card" just doesn't have the same ring to it!) the interactions between them, the way they make each other giggle, the way one of them looks at the other as if to say, "are you CRAZY?", the way I can see their love for each other in their eyes and they're smiles.
Addison ADORES Gavin and I don't think Gavin has even the slightest idea how special that is. He loves her for sure and he is really good with her, but she absolutely thinks the world of him. It is amazing and heartwarming and incredible to witness, and then I pray that he takes care of her as they get bigger, that he protects her and loves her and treats her like a princess and I hope that she continues to look up to him and enjoy the amazing boy he is even more as they grow up together.
Oh yes, the costumes.
Well, Gavin was going to be a ninja...
and a dragon, and a monster. I'm not entirely sure it was in that order.
Truth be told, we didn't discuss his Halloween costume because I never planned on asking him what he wanted to be. Oh I had all kinds of cute ideas (LEGO block, thank you Pinterest), but I just figured he would wear whatever costume we had around or found cheap or free. As it turned out, I picked up a monster costume this summer for $5.00 at a garage sale. It was a REALLY cute monster costume and he loved it. He wore it around our yard for a few days and it's in his closet now. It's sort of Mike Wazowski meets Sully meets one-eyed one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater meets Carol from "Where the Wild Things Are" and it's adorable.
Then while I was treasure-finding while away on girls' weekend with my sisters I came across this adorable dragon costume (also $5) and Gavin LOVES dragons, nearly as much as he loves monsters!
Oh, but then I picked up a weekly flier from a local store that had all of their Halloween costumes significantly reduced and of course there was an awesome ninja costume right on the cover of the flier. If you know any boy between the ages of four and fourteen you probably know that ninjas are all the rage. There is a whole line of Lego ninjas... yes, Ninjago. Anyway, I happened to be at that store a few days after I saw the ad in the flier and I happened to check what they had left in stock and I happened to find the ninja costume in the size Gavin would probably wear next year or the year after. So, it just happened to make its way into my shopping cart and I happened to buy it. Just in case. In case Gavin begged to be a ninja for Halloween... this year or any time within the next three years.
I didn't mention Halloween costumes at all until just a few days before Halloween because I was pretty sure he'd change his mind last minute if given the opportunity. I asked him on Sunday before Halloween what he wanted to be for Halloween and, of course, he said "a ninja". I was relieved that he didn't choose a specific character or superhero like Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America, etc. because those too are very big right now in the world of little boys. They're everywhere. So, even though I had the ninja costume (that he would basically be swimming in!) I really wanted him to be a dragon. I told him that we could probably come up with a ninja costume, but that I did find a costume I thought he'd like. He was not enthused by the idea, but when I pulled it out of the bag, his eyes brightened and his smile stretched from ear to ear! I let him try it on and it fit perfectly. He LOVED it! We went for a walk / bike ride up to the other farm to see Cliff who was working on a tractor. Gavin the dragon was loving spending the day in his $5 costume!
Coincidentally, I bought Addison's bee costume at a garage sale for $10 two years ago for my niece Amelija to wear for Halloween. It was such a cute costume and my sister's family keeps bees, so I thought it would be perfect. Amelija wore it that Halloween, when she was 1 year old. I wasn't sure what I was going to have Addison wear, so my sister Kristin sent me the bee costume. Her 1 year old Julija wore a ladybug costume this year - funny the girls were all bugs this year. Amelija was a butterfly. Ironically, Halloween morning I was looking in a bin in Addison's closet for something orange that she could wear to daycare that day and instead found a Piglet costume in there, so she ended up being Piglet at daycare for Halloween, because I couldn't let the costume "go to waste" and I didn't want something happening to the bee costume at daycare that would have prevented her from wearing it that night. I already can't wait to pass Piglet on to someone else's baby though! I love being able to share my great finds and it was really cute too. I vaguely remember picking it up at a garage sale last summer I think when I was still pregnant with Addison!
I just love dressing up! I love costumes and playing dress up and make-believe. Gavin really had fun being a dragon (after the 40-minute meltdown that occurred just as we were literally walking out the door for trick-or-treating. It was a little chilly outside for my bare shoulders in my witch costume so I asked him if I could borrow his batman cape (my friend Carrie made him a black cape a year or so ago for dress-up). The mention of batman sent him into a complete meltdown because now he wanted to be batman. Half of us were already out the door. Many tears, some yelling, lots of hugs, some grouchy-faced Halloween photos and lots of frustration followed, but in the end, he wore the dragon costume and rocked it! He is the best little dragon I know!
I couldn't have chosen more appropriate costumes for these two. These two sweet and silly little trick-or-treaters! Love them!