Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween 2016: Star Wars

So I started out the month like this:

I mean I just wasn't feeling it. I blame the hot Texas weather. Again. Like always:) And honestly that is about how much effort I put towards decorating for Halloween. I bought a couple decorative squash at the grocery store and put them up on the mantle. Oh and my thoughtful mother-in-law sent the kids a fun Halloween package so thanks to her we have some bloody hands on the front door and mini ghosts and a spider web adorning the front of our house. And that's where my decorations end. We never even got pumpkins to carve this year. (And the kids haven't asked so we are letting it slide.) I did take the homeschool crew to the "pumpkin patch" for a story time. But it was so ridiculously hot we couldn't even enjoy ourselves.

Don't be fooled by these adorable pictures. It was HOT and miserable. And we all left hangry. Yesterday a friend threw a pumpkin patch themed birthday party for her son. So I quick snapped this picture of ALL my children in her backyard and called it good for this year. Seriously so little effort.

Done and done. oldest son had a vision for our family for Halloween and it looked a little something like this....................

{{ R2D2 - Anakin - Rey - Princess Leia - Yoda - Chewbacca}}

Considering I have NEVER seen a single Star Wars movie and I had very little motivation, I'm mighty proud of how well I made Isaiah's vision come to life! So how did we get here? First, Joe went to Las Vegas for (nearly) a week which meant I had extra time on my hands because I can NOT sleep while he is gone. So I sewed. And hot glued. And created. But before I could create a costume I had to google both the character and then costumes of that character because I honestly had no idea what I was doing. Oh and I tried to do it all on a very, very tight budget. So here's how it all came together...

Yoda & Chewbacca

I am ridiculously proud of these two costumes. The Yoda hood and feet I created without a pattern or tutorial. I just looked at a few pictures and went for it using green fleece I already owned! Oh and the hood even has forehead wrinkles on it. Too bad they don't show up in pictures. Speaking of pictures, this is the ONLY time Levi wore his costume. And I assume he won't put it on tomorrow either. He is just not having it. Even bribing with candy didn't work. I'm not sure how/why he let Joe slip his costume on for these few pictures before we left for the residency Halloween party but he did. And he was adorable! Even if his green was a little too bright (according to Star Wars expert Isaiah).

The kids really wanted their dad to be Chewy. But I was resistant because...well...its still ridiculously HOT down here. I love my husband too much to put him in a fur suit when it is ninety degrees outside. Then it dawned on me that a little bit of fur + a bandolier would be enough for everyone to recognize Chewbacca. And it worked, right?  $5 worth of fake fur from the fabric store sewn into fur cuffs for his arms and legs plus fake leather sewn in strips and Jenga blocks covered in tinfoil and he was transformed into Chewy:)

Princess Leia

I totally lucked out with Hannah's costume. I was looking at our church's rummage for a woman's white shirt (to alter) when I found an ACTUAL Leia gown in her size for 50 cents! It was meant to be:) The gun is one of Isaiah's Nerf guns that we spray painted and the belt is one we already owned. Super easy. Super CUTE. Creating those buns was slightly more difficult considering how short and thin her hair is. But one pair of brown socks and a whole lot of hair spray later and she had the correct do.


Isaiah LOVES dressing up so he already owned the black robe. He and grandma had created it together last winter. Meaning most of my work was done. With some scraps of fabrics in my sewing room I created the belt and leather strap thing that wrapped around his neck. The boots are mine. His feet are almost big enough for them to fit. To keep them snug he just wore two extra pairs of socks. And to complete the look he borrowed a friend's blue light saber. Totally free and totally awesome!


Ok. Now this costume was really the easiest...because our friends' already owned it AND they weren't using it for Halloween this year! But of course Isaiah insisted we create the stick weapon thing. (See I don't know Star Wars at all. I'm sure it has a name. I just don't know it.) We created it by spray painting an old broom handle and attaching strips of fake leather with hot glue and duck tape. Oh and the hairstyle was created under Isaiah's direct supervision and detailed instruction. And hair spray:)


Without the headband/hat thing I created (using a stacking toy, tinfoil and permanent markers) my costume was a bit of a stretch. It took some imagination to really see my character. But I think the cut up tank top over the dress worked well enough. Oh and YES I colored my hair blue. So what should have been a free costume cost $9. But its fun and not something I would normally do. But I like it.

But more importantly how amazing does that 12 person Star Wars crew look all together?!? We didn't plan for our families to both be Star Wars this year, but I'm glad we are! Trick or treating tomorrow night with them is going to be fun, fun fun. (Side note: I'm so thankful this family matched here for residency.)

P.S. For anyone keeping track that was a total of $14.50 for our costumes this year. Most everything was created with supplies we already owned or borrowed from friends. Not bad if I do say so myself. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

School pictures

It's that time of year again. Time for forced (somewhat) awkward smiles and stiff unnatural poses with terrible low quality backgrounds. All in the name of documenting a moment in time with the purpose of representing an entire school year. School pictures. I swear moms and kids both dread them. Yet I can not NOT get them. Because I know in a few years I will love looking back at my kids and how little they are/were. Awkward smiles and all. So without further ado I present my kids' 2016-2017 school pictures...

Admittedly the girls' pictures are slightly less awkward than Isaiah's. A perk of homeschooling I guess. Since these pictures were taken (or if I'm being Southern "made") Charlotte has lost two bottom teeth and her entire smile has changed. And Isaiah has quit spiking his hair (probably a good decision). Hannah still sports that same mischievous grin daily:)

And since Levi had never had a professional picture taken he participated in school picture day as well...

20 months. Better late than never! Though "professional" might be too generous a term for a photo shoot at your local mall chain department store. He would not cooperate unless he was holding that doggy stuffed animal. I'm glad I brought it along at the last second because he looks adorable and so sweet! But do not be fooled...

^THIS is a much more accurate "school picture" for Levi. He's cute. AND destructive. He created this mess/masterpiece while I was in the kitchen cleaning up a mess he had just made. Then while I was cleaning off and putting Hannah's backpack away he did this...

This is how he really looks at "school". That is why I've modified our school schedule a bit. As in our formal school hours mostly consist of the hours that Levi is sleeping. (For obvious reasons.) Mornings are a little more relaxed around here nowadays. I've joined a second "Mommy & Me" exercise group. This one meets at parks around town twice a week. And now we have LOTS of PE class each week between Zumba and Mommy & Me. 

And I hate to admit it but Joe was/is right, I do feel better now that I'm exercising regularly. On non-exercise days I feel sluggish and just "blah". It's like I've turned into a fitness person or something! I actually look forward to the days my classes meet. Never thought that would happen. Now before I give the impression that I'm a completely changed person I will admit that typically the first thing I do when I get home from working out is crack open my Pepsi. It tastes even better after exercise;) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

His father's son

This side by side comparison is (left) Levi about a month ago and (right) Joe about 30 years ago...give or take a few. 

I've seen plenty of childhood pictures of Joe in the seventeen years I've known him but not recently. The other day when he showed me this picture of the toddler version of himself I seriously did a double take because I could have sworn he was showing me a picture of Levi! It's like Levi is his clone! Recently any time we hang out with Joe's co-residents there are a lot of remarks about how much Levi looks like Joe. They often tease me about carrying around a mini Joe on my hip. And well they are right! Levi is a miniature version of his father.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I don't want to be a girl.

While Joe was gone in Vegas, Hannah came out of her bed at night crying two different times saying she couldn't fall asleep because she "doesn't want to be a girl". The first time I was REALLY confused (and slightly impressed by her bizarre stall tactic). When I asked her why she responded with "because I don't want a poke in my back OR my arm". Which only confused me further and caused her to cry harder. As I hugged her and comforted her it dawned on me...she was referring to the two most common pain medication options during childbirth: an epidural and IV pain medication. 

Yup. She's afraid of the treatment options during childbirth. Not childbirth itself. Because what 4 year old girl isn't contemplating the birth of her future child instead of going to sleep?!? I'm thinking that maybe we need to ease up on the dinner time medical talk around here. Either that or explain the alternative...unmedicated childbirth!  

Its tough being a girl! But she sure is an adorable girl!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oh toddlerhood!

Joe was gone in Las Vegas for 5 days...actually it was 5 nights and 6 days. He went for a work conference (poor guy). And Levi chose that time to become a one man wrecking crew. Like full on "I am a toddler and I will destroy your house" mode. I don't think this change in behavior was actually due to Joe's absence. More likely it correlates with the fact that when Joe is gone I don't sleep well. As in I can't fall asleep until I am EXHAUSTED which is typically not until 2 am or later. And my earliest riser is up at 6! Not enough sleep makes me a very tired and grouchy mom. Oh and not very vigilant either. Apparently:/ And Levi definitely took advantage of his sleep deprived mother. 

The first morning I got up with all my kids and then layed down on the couch while they were watching cartoons and promptly fell asleep. I woke up 30 minutes later to discover Levi had torn apart an entire roll of paper towel and covered me in individual paper towel sheets. I still don't know how he got that roll of paper towels!

Another time he found a rogue marker and went crazy coloring on books. Library books! Later in the span of a two minute phone conversation that I attempted to have with a friend Levi scaled the kitchen table and stood on it screaming until he had my full attention. He then grabbed his sister's oatmeal and tossed it on the floor. That successfully ended that conversation. 

Some of his new favorite activities include finding his sisters' school supplies and dumping them all out...including all 96 crayons, smearing glue on every horizontal surface (though he prefers the entryway floor), pouring cereal across the entire living room, and dumping every toy bin in the playroom and then leaving the room without actually playing. He also loves to search out contraband. So far he has found scissors, his big brother's Legos, Joe's allergy pills, and my sewing kit. All of these items are stored out of his reach. Or at least I thought they were. Gone are the days of sitting quietly building duplos and reading board books together. The relative peace and quiet of babyhood has left my house. And general chaos and disarray has arrived in its wake. I'm not sure I'm ready because this kid might be my most destructive toddler yet!

(No actual pictures of his destruction were taken. I was just trying to survive and make sure he did too.) 

Friday, October 14, 2016

My kids this Fall

This morning Charlotte saw I was wearing my navy and white striped shirt and ran into her room and found her navy and white striped top. She wanted to match me...


Naturally I went to Hannah's closet and found a similar-ish striped romper and asked Hannah if she wanted to match us. She firmly responded "Um no!" and marched that romper back to its proper place and chose a pink dress instead. 

Well joke is on you Hannah because you are my twin every day regardless of what you are wearing! You are my mini-me. Take that Hannah! 

Right before I snapped that blue mouthed photo she informed me that it is a good thing they gave her two straws because her mouth is way bigger than one straw. Makes perfect sense. Oh four year olds! Just on the cusp of logical thinking. And that brand new logic is adorable. 

Something else I think is adorable is the fact that Charlotte periodically mentions the fact that we should move. Like to a new city and state. Because we've lived here long enough "it's boring. We go to all the same places and do all the same things". Apparently 15 months in one location is too much for her! The first time she told me this I was shocked because she is NOT normally my adventurous child. But I guess moving isn't an adventure in her mind. Just a regular part of her little life. She has lived in 4 states in  6 years (not including the two states we stayed in for away rotations). Which is the complete opposite of my childhood during which I lived in two different houses that are within 10 miles of each other. (My parents recently moved 70 miles to a new town after being in their current home for 25 years! I was shocked that they actually did it.)

Same old boring fall festival we went to last year and this year. ;-) 

Nothing says FALL quite like tank tops and snow cones, right?!? Oh how I miss autumn. With real pumpkin patches and apple orchards and changing leaves. Jeans and boots. I know I'm becoming a broken record about this lack of seasons here but fall is just my favorite! And I miss it. If Joe keeps us here after residency....errrr....I mean we choose to stay I WILL be flying "home" every fall. I just need my time in Autumn. 

Moving on. Levi has entered the always enjoyable toddler-must-accompany-his-mother-to-the-bathroom stage. And lucky for me our master bathroom has no lock on it and easily pulls open. Because going to the bathroom with an audience is just so much fun. ;-) Before the kids completely broke the toilet seat off their toilet I would sometimes use their bathroom with a lock much to Levi's great disdain. Until that toilet gets fixed its back to having an audience for me. He's also into exploring his diaper these days. Grrr. The other night at bath time I discovered a toy he had stowed away in there. I have to give him credit for creativity. His outfit had NO pockets so he had to improvise. Enough bathroom talk. 

Isaiah joined Cub Scouts this year and he's really enjoying it. And I'm so relieved he likes it because truthfully it was a consolation activity. His first choice was karate. Which I thought would be really good for him. But holy buckets THAT is an expensive sport for having very little equipment. It just isn't in our second year of residency budget. Hopefully next year (i.e. The year Joe can moonlight and make extra money)! But oh my how handsome and grown up is he in that uniform? I'll answer that. Too handsome and so grown up!  And most important: he's happy. 

So fourth grade at Isaiah's school involves a lot more writing than third grade (or so we've been told). Isaiah is typically quite reluctant to write. (Read: he's been known to spend an entire evening at the kitchen table refusing to write 4-5 sentences for one assignment.). However he says he likes the way his new teacher teaches writing and he's been enjoying his writing assignments. Small miracle! Joe was checking his vocabulary journal recently and he stumbled upon this gem. Under the definition of "BLISS" Isaiah had written, "My mom was in bliss when she was at the hospital having my baby brother."   I think it's hilarious that he chose that experience to use the word bliss. I suppose he is partially correct. It was quite blissful after I delivered his baby brother and was holding him in my arms. Which is the part Isaiah experienced:)

Last and most certainly least...

Last month Frankie (the tortoise) turned ONE! And earlier this month (10/9/16) was the one year anniversary of Frankie living with us. Clearly I'm not a very good pet person. I completely missed both of those dates. Oops. Happy One Year Frankie! I can't believe we actually kept you alive for an entire year. 

P.S. That last picture is deceiving. Levi is not the least bit afraid of the tortoise. It's quite the opposite. Levi is his biggest fan! He must visit his "turtle" daily.