Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween {2013}!

Some of you might be on my mailing list...but if you aren't...

From my animals to yours...Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October in a Nutshell

October has been a weird month. When I look back at my photos, I have almost none. I think the reason for this is that the weather has been SO glorious, I have just wanted to soak it all up. Instead of pulling out the camera, I've been snapping pics with my mind which we all know is a bad idea. 

So because I truly can't remember anything without a photo prompt, let's have a short picture show of what we've been up to.

We managed a trip to the pumpkin patch.

The girls ate donuts, played on the playground, rode the train and picked pumpkins...yet this is the only picture I snapped. 

Like I said, the weather has been ideal. Truly my favorite time of year. Sunny and warm, yet crisp. We've gone on LOTS of walks...during daylight hours even! woo hoo!

Charlotte is REALLY into bandaids at the moment. She wants to put bandaids on everything. Grace went through this phase too. So the other morning, we weren't too surprised when we discovered she'd put a bandaid over most of her eye and eyebrow. To remove the bandaid would mean removing most of her eyebrow. Not a good look.
So we left it. 

Then we REALLY got concerned when we found a rubber band - the tiny kind for thin toddler hair - around her wrist. I TOTALLY freaked out. We had a shake down in their rooms for any rogue rubber bands and SO SO SO thankful this ended up being nothing worse than an important reminder!

Caught a great pic of Charlotte sleeping...on top of Lucky.

He is SUCH a good dog!

Grandma sent some super cute Halloween outfits. The girls LOVED them and when I tried taking pictures of them in the outfits, they kept pretending they were spiders. 

We carved our pumpkins weeks ago and the insides have already turned black. I didn't get any pictures - of course - so I tried to get a picture of the girls outside by our front door. 

This was the best picture - by far - for a couple of reasons. The first being the 50 mph wind gusts that were steady ALL DAY. The other was Stranger was about to jump up and tackle both girls out of pure excitement.

And those winds? Those damn winds did some damage. They ripped off the roof of our outdoor dog kennel. Stranger has a wound that we think was caused by a bungee cord. At our old house, a tree fell and damaged a bit of the roof over Grace's old room. 


The wind also ripped my car door right out of my hand and the force was so hard that now my door creaks and groans like I am opening a tomb in ancient Egypt. 

That'll be cheap to fix.
Merry Christmas to me.

So that's what I've got for October. 

Hopefully, more Halloween posts to come!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Morning Routine Addition

Excuse the grainy, blurry and slightly scary photos...
but if life weren't busy enough I've added walking these two -
Stranger and Hiccup -
in the wee hours of the morning to wear them out, teach them some manners and maybe get a little exercise in return. 

I admit, it is a wee bit early and a wee bit dark...

That big rectangle in the photo? My iPhone.
Trying to take a pic in total darkness...except for my headlamp. headlamp. I'm cool like that. 
Thank goodness it is dark and no one can see me!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Does the Vet Make You Sweat?

I had to take Lindey and Lucky to the vet yesterday for routine annual checkups and to inquire about Lindey's limp that started recently. Does taking your dogs - and your kids - to the vet make you sweat bullets? I mean there is not much more awful, am I right?

You get everyone wrangled into the car only to get to the parking lot and have to get everyone out. Of course, the dogs and the kids all want to run in a 100 different directions. Even when I give the girls the leashes, they are still running around looking like magnets repelling. Not even in the door yet, I'm already sweating and cursing. I can feel the stares and the judgment.

Once we get inside, my dogs start barking or growling at all other lifeforms. Lindey, starts coughing and gagging, because even after 10 years she still can't properly walk on a leash. Grace and Charlotte get excited seeing EVERYTHING! Sometimes there are cats needing a home. Most often, there is an ancient, blind and deaf dog whose owner looks like she might bite if my kids get within a square mile. Of course, that is the dog they want to squeeze and pet and love now I am really sweating and really cursing. The judgment is thick.

Of course, the wait to see the doctor is next to forever. They are never on time - even if you are 15 minutes late - which I never am because I couldn't be late if my life depended on it.

Finally, in the exam room, the dogs are calm because they are petrified of what is to come. For some reason, this amps up Grace and Charlotte. Even when armed with snacks, iPads, toys - you name it! - they want to roll around on the ground, ask the vet 100,000 questions, stick their tongues out at each other, cry, talk loudly, call each other some horrible name like "pickle" which send the other one into ground-kicking spasms and did I mention cry?

Now I'm REALLY, REALLY sweating and the curse words are being shot like daggers through eyeball glares which seems to send Grace and Charlotte into uncontrollable hysterics. Judgment to the 10th power!

Meanwhile, the doctor is telling me that both dogs have tartar build-up and need their teeth cleaned, that Lindey has a "raging" (meaning how could I have missed it if I were a good pet owner) ear infection and also needs a thyroid and two heart medications. Oh and that weird limp she's been doing lately? There are endless possibilities of what could be causing her not to use her hind leg - most needing an X-ray and oh by the way, both dogs are due for vaccinations.


What do you do? Do you get the X-rays? Do you put your dog on medications that she needs for the rest of her life? Do you get her teeth cleaned?

You try to think through the questions, the possible solutions and the probably price tag associated with each remedy but its hard to concentrate when your kids are licking the floors where a dog probably just urinated 20 minutes ago.

Then, THEN, when you opt out of the xrays or the teeth cleaning or what have you, you are met with looks of disapproval (judgment to infinite times infinite) like you are some animal abuser because you aren't considering the laser therapy for your dog's cataracts. SO. MUCH. JUDGMENT!

Finally, FINALLY, the appointment is over but not so fast. I still have to pay (and have a mild heart attack at the charges) which requires a 45 minute wait in my favorite place - the vet waiting room amongst intimidating large dogs, cats that like to hiss and small dogs that whimper, whine and yap...and my kids. Oh my kids!

I'm telling you I'd rather be locked in a room with snakes and spiders than go to the vet with two dogs and two kids. It is THAT bad! I mean it is almost enough to never have dogs or pet...of any kind...ever.


Court can only dream!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Charlotte's Hello Kitty Picnic 3rd Birthday Party

Last weekend we held Charlotte's third birthday party! When Grace turned three, she had a Hello Kitty party. After a busy summer of moving, surgeries and recovery, I really didn't have the time or energy to be creative. Since we already had a lot of the

Hello Kitty paraphernalia, I decided to give Charlotte a Hello Kitty party - but with a picnic style twist!

The last few years, the weather on Charlotte's birthday has been perfect! Warm and sunny! So I figured that the weather would be nice once again and as our neck of the woods would be in apple harvest, why not celebrate outside with a picnic and apples?

Here are the invites -

I added the picnic basket part - it swivels around on a brad to reveal additional information - so that I could inform guests that we were planning on getting wet!
I had a lot of outside, water activities planned!

Next on the to-do list was a birthday outfit for the birthday girl! Nothing says picnic like gingham, right?

This dress was my own creation - kind of. I saw a dress like this online but they didn't make it in Charlotte's size. I couldn't find a pattern that was my exact vision, so I used portions of different patterns and winged it a bit - and this is what I came up with! 

Amazingly - it fit!

A few days before the party, the weather report was not good. The temperatures dipped, the skies clouded over and rain, rain, rain. Lots of rain! So we had to move the picnic indoors and make some last minute revisions. 

The decorations -

I had some fabric left over from making Charlotte's dress...and Grace's dress. I know the birthday girl is the only one who should get a party dress but I couldn't resist the gingham fabric. Anyway, with the leftover fabric, I made a garland and a centerpiece to hang above the children's table.
Unfortunately, all the party prep finished moments before guests arrived and I didn't do a very thorough job photographing the party. In fact, there are huge chunks of the party where I didn't get any pictures at all. Huge bummer! Hard to host a part and photograph it at the same time!

The cake once again was from Frost Me Sweet and they knocked it out of the park once again! You can't see it, but Hello Kitty is sitting on a gingham picnic blanket and the little apples on the side match the invitation perfectly! We devoured this cake!!

I made a few little things just to make it Charlotte's - since I didn't want it to feel like Grace's party all over again! Above was a little C for Charlotte and below a mason jar garland that says 'celebrate.'

This is a poor picture, but it was a candid camera moment so I didn't have time to make sure my camera was on the right settings. The little "flowers" have a letter on them and all together spell Charlotte. Charlotte was pointing to the letters and saying the letters as she pointed and at the end she yelled - CHARLOTTE! THAT'S ME!!

I dressed up the apple garland I made for the Back to School party with some photos of Charlotte from the past year. This was one of my favorite items I made. In fact, it is still hanging in the kitchen. I don't have the heart yet to take it down.

Each guest had a little picnic basket at their seat. The kids got a sucker and the adults got some minty gum. 

Our house is set up kind of funny. It has a front door and a side door into the kitchen. Everyone uses the side door. Everyone. In the off chance someone did use the front door, I set up a little welcome table.

I found this little shutter at a thrift shop and painted it a light blue. 

In fact, Charlotte helped me paint it one day while Grace was in school. A few apples, a few Hello Kitties and the party favors for all the kids!

Once guests arrived, the skies parted and we were able to set up the bounce house outside!
We bought this a few years ago and it has been the best money we've ever spent. It's amazing how kids never get tired of bouncing.

You can see the back of Grace's dress that I made!

While the kids were outside, burning off steam, the adults were inside munching on appetizers and having a cocktail...or two. 

I blew up a ton of balloons and threw them all over the play room - another hit!

The kids were totally content running from the playroom back to the bounce house. They could have done it for hours I think.

Balloons just never get old!

Warning - pictures get very thin here! As a great deal of our guests - all family - travel from out of town and rearrange their lives to attend a three year olds birthday party, we try to make it as adult friendly as possible. Liquor, wine and dinner! As this was going to be a picnic, we had flank steak, pasta salad, fruit salad and a quinoa salad. For the kids, we had cheese pizza.

The kids all sat together at a table and the lure of the bounce house had the fast eaters scarfing down their dinner. In order to keep them seated, we had them go around the table and ask each other questions. That bought a little time because a special visitor was on her way!

After dinner was complete, Hello Kitty surprised the kids with an appearance. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken during this time. Heartbreaking because the look on my niece's face was priceless. She didn't know whether to laugh, cry or run away screaming! 

Hello Kitty moved the party to the play room where she had hidden little apples filled with candy inside. Click here to see what they looked like. The kids were to find the apples hidden around the room - like an easter egg hunt. Not sure what it is about us Boyajians, but we can't seem to keep track of where we hide the eggs. Enough apples were hidden so that each child could find five. After searching and searching, we finally called it quits - of course, I found all the remaining apples the next day - and Hello Kitty handed out bags of treats to each participant! It kills me that I don't have any pictures! UGH!

Hello Kitty keeps a busy schedule and she had to move on to her next party! So we had the kids head downstairs for cake and ice cream while Hello Kitty made her departure. 

Everyone knows that guests are supposed to wear party hats while the birthday girl blows out candles. So I made these party hats for all the kids and I forgot to have them wear them while we sang Charlotte Happy Birthday! It's so hard to remember all the details in the heat of the moment. 

The special thing about these party hats is that the little flower yo-yo came off and could be worn as a headband! I absolutely love the idea of a party hat with an alternative purpose and I LOVED making these!

My niece in all her party hat glory!

After cake, we had all the kids huddle with Great Grandma Jean. This was only the second time, all the great grandkids were together so a picture was in order. Unfortunately, none of my pictures turned out. 

I did get a silly one of Charlotte and Great Grandma.

Such a goofball!
We opened gifts, said our thank yous and when the last guest left, started the clean up!
Another birthday party, come and gone. So much work but worth every minute seeing the kids and guests enjoy themselves. 

Thanks to all those that came to make Charlotte's third birthday so special!
Hope you had as much fun attending as we did hosting! Until Grace's 5th (gulp - better get cracking) birthday party....

If anyone captured any great pictures while at the party, I would love to see them! I clearly failed in the photography department this time!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Grace's pre-k class took a trip to the pumpkin patch and Charlotte and I got to tag along.
(Mind you this was after a trip to the doctor's office for Charlotte's 3 year check up and flu shots so to say our tanks were low is an understatement).

Last year when Grace's class went to the pumpkin patch, I made them each a Halloween skirt and matching top. This year, because of the driving and running around we are doing, my creative time is severely limited. I was only able to muster up little t-shirts this year. With all the rain and cold weather we've been having, I figured this was the best option. Why ruin a good outfit or good fabric at the pumpkin patch, right?

It was a bit chilly in the shade but the kids got to learn all about apples and farm life. 

Charlotte got upset because she wasn't picked to go up and count apples with the teacher. Mind you, this is Grace's class and Grace's teacher. That doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be in the mix of everything.

The kids got to visit the petting zoo, go on a hayride and pick out a pumpkin. 

Charlotte picked this first pumpkin she saw but Grace took her time and found the perfect pumpkin. 

After the pumpkin patch, everybody got a fresh, homemade doughnut and some time to burn off the sugar high on the playground. 

Both girls eventually erupted into tears because of this and that, clearly it had been a looong day but a trip to the pumpkin patch is always fun and totally worth it!

We'll be going back in a week or so - as a family - to pick out some big pumpkins for carving and for decorating. They have the best pumpkins!

I really do love this time of the year! I wish I had more time to REALLY enjoy it...I just find myself hopping from one thing to the next and waking up far too early and going to bed far too late. 
I'm tired (all the time) but it's the kind of tired that is worth it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ready or Not, Here Comes Halloween

No Halloween decorations up as of yet, but we do have our Halloween countdown up and running!

Do you do anything special to kick off Halloween?