Monday, November 30, 2009

A Thanksgiving Leftover

On the way home from our Thanksgiving weekend Ben treated us to this little serenade. No matter how many times we heard it, how out of tune it may have been, or if the words weren't exactly right, it still brought a smile to my face and reminded me that even after a less than stellar holiday, I am a blessed woman with much to be grateful for.

So tonight before the giving thanks of November ends and we head into the excitement that only the Christmas season can instill, I reflect on the performance of a sweet boy's favorite song and I give thanks.

I give thanks for a little spirit that is drawn to the truth of a particular song that teaches him who he truly is and why he is here.
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And the part where he still thinks his parents are "kind and dear" is something to be grateful for too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks



As I sit here in my parents family room staring at the unfinished walls in the mismatched pajamas my good husband dressed me in yesterday because I was too weak to dress myself, I find it fitting to be sick here. I am laying on the couch where as a girl I watched "The Sound of Music" while I waited for the virus or infection that had taken up residence in my body to move on. Today it is the same, except today the movie is "Charade".

Cary Grant always has a way of making me feel better. But today Cary's magic doesn't work so well. After all, it is Thanksgiving, and I am sitting in a basement- alone.

It is okay really, when I don't think about what I'm missing; turkey, potatoes & gravy, yams, stuffing, and pie. Really the food has no appeal to me; my tender tummy warns me against it. It is the other things about this holiday that I miss today. 

It is gathering with a large group of family, much too large to fit in anyone's home, but we do so anyway. It is the 50 or so (I lost count a long time ago) grandkids & great-grandkids running around in between all the adult bodies perched anywhere they can comfortably or semi-comfortably fit. It's the plotting of the most efficient routes amid the scattered newspaper ads to aquire the best early morning deals on Black Friday. It is catching up with my sister-in-laws while the men catch glimpses of football through their tryptophan induced slumber.

It is the experience of Thanksgiving I miss. The experience of being together.

But luckily for me, I married into a family where they love to be together and do so every chance they can get. Most holidays, monthly Family Home Evenings, missionary comings and goings, weddings, baptisms, baby blessings, and in a family of 10 children there are a lot of those. So now I can happily look forward to the Christmas season and all the family gatherings that will ensue. I can look forward to the experience of being together again.

And hopefully, by tonight or tomorrow, I can look forward to a plate of leftovers.

Those are some things I can definitely be thankful for.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Predicting the Future

It seems everyone around me is excited for Christmas. Some of my friends are already listening to Christmas music (which I think is a sin, until after Thanksgiving) and one of my friends in Canada even has her tree up.

I am not there yet folks. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around Christmas this year and it's bugging me.  And then the fact that it's bugging me starts to bug me.

Maybe it's because Thanksgiving isn't even over yet; it is still in fact, a week away, and  my children are on their 2nd or 3rd Christmas lists already.
Or
Maybe it's because all my Christmas money is still tied up in a dedicated savings account waiting for its maturity date. That's got to be it... Shopping would definitely make me feel better...
Or
Maybe, it's because I have a cold; my head is foggy and my teeth even hurt, plus being snotty always makes me a little snotty.
Or
Maybe, it's because my hubby's supposed vacation time next week has gotten eaten up by a business trip, yet again...
Or
Maybe, it's because I am stressing over being asked to substitute and teach Relief Society this Sunday.  I haven't been in RS for how many years, let alone ever taught it, so I really hope the ladies in my ward like to play concentration and color pretty pictures to take home because that is the type of teaching I'm used to.

But there is one thing I am enjoying about the upcoming Christmas season; something a mother can never use to early in the year, but works particularly well with Christmas only a month a way- the phrase "Santa's elves are watching."
Even the most whiny, disobedient, and unruly child feels the power of that phrase- especially mine.  Call me evil, I don't care. A mom has to do, what a mom has to do, to get things done and the phrase is it.

So I unveiled the phrase the other day when I could no longer stand looking at the playroom that looked more like a war zone; complete with overturned furniture and all. Dallin and Ben were given their orders- clean the playroom and remember...Santa's elves are watching. They worked, but I didn't get up there to check it out until yesterday and I found it still needed a lot of work.

Dallin stayed home from school since he threw up during the night in his sleep...first off, before I go on, someone please tell me how that is possible?  How can you sleep through vomiting? Anyway, since he was feeling well enough to play soccer in my kitchen, I figured he was well enough to clean. So I herded them up to the playroom along with all of the phrases:
"It won't take that long."
"You'll feel so good once it's done."
 "Daddy will be so surprised to see it clean when he gets home."
 And of course,
"And remember, Santa's elves are watching."

I opened the toy room closet and found this from the previous cleaning attempt...


If Santa's elves are watching, I predict coal in two boy's futures.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not your mother's church music


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Around our house on any given day there is music. This was even truer last week during "Turn Off the T.V. and Get a Life Week". There was a lot of listening going on in the Parke household. Unfortunately, it was mainly of just a few songs- over and over and over and over... My kids really know how to ruin a good song for me. It had gotten so bad that this morning, I told a friend I thought I felt like I was going to gouge my eardrums out if I heard "Fireflies" one more time. But in all honesty, I can't complain too much because when I was able to gain control of the music choices my family most likely had to endure listening to my current favorite song also. So I guess we are even.

As much as we love our contemporary music, on Sunday, they are given the day to rest and we cue up the 'Church Music' playlist. 296 songs and over 20 hours of music takes good care of us on Sunday and most of the time puts us in the right frame of mind fitting for the day. Most of the time...

A few months ago, we came home from church and I began making Sunday dinner. True to form, I turned on my laptop, opened iTunes, clicked on 'Church Music' and hit the play button... and Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er" started playing. Not exactly the Kenneth Cope or Afterglow type music I was expecting.

I knew I had clicked on the right play list, but I double checked to be sure. Sure enough I had the right playlist, but ‘Church Music’ had been added to by about 100 songs that were definitely not church music. I figured that either my playlists got crossed somehow or church music had really changed in the last week. Anyway, I spent a good hour moving all the non-Sabbath worthy songs and forgot about the incident until about a month ago.

With Benjamin in pre-school he has learned his ABC's and a month ago that was his favorite song. He would sing it over and over and over and over... I was experiencing the same eardrum gouging symptoms I have been having lately. Figuring that distraction was my best line of defense against the never ending ABC song, and since our Primary program was about a week away, I decided to download all the Primary songs we would be singing into a playlist. It was pure genius. We could practice and learn the songs we desperately needed to and hear the ABC’s sung in different keys, tempos, and expressions- as cute as they were, a little less.

When I told Ben what I was planning to do, he sat excitedly waiting for the songs to download. They finished and I clicked play… and “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica started playing.

I don’t think I have ever moved as fast as I did right then to stop that song from playing any longer.

Ben was wide eyed and at a loss of what was going on and questioned why I stopped the music. You try explaining to a 5 year old why we can’t sing Metallica songs for the Primary program… It’s not so easy.

So I checked the playlist and sure enough it had happened again; non Primary songs had been moved into the Primary playlist. I was getting a little miffed at iTunes about now, but you know what, it sure made me take a good look at and think about the music I have downloaded. Still, I had no idea what was going on with iTunes or why this kept happening.

But I have a theory.

I will tell you, but only….if you promise not to laugh.

My computer is possessed.

Back in high school I had this boyfriend who listened to the above mentioned group that begins with a ‘M’ and ends in ‘etallica’ and after spending much time with this boy, I grew to like a few of their songs. These songs just happen to be those which I downloaded, right before this iTunes music switching happened.

Call me paranoid, but now these songs sit unchecked as not to be played in one of my 'less active' iTunes playlists.

Just for the record, I would just like to report that the Primary program ended with out any strains of Metallica from the mouth of my son, but don't worry he had plenty of other irreverent and embarrassing behavior to frustrate me with.

So in the end, since I am now a mother and must be forced to grow up and cast off my bad habits, I guess that some things really should stay back in the glory days of high school… right along with old boyfriends.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feedback

In August, during the training for my 10K I hit a wall.  I didn't know what was wrong with me. Normally, I wake up at the same time every day, whether I want to or not, and I don't have a difficult time getting the bed off my back. But I found myself sleeping in and pulling myself from under the covers terribly difficult. I was tired and felt like I dragged most of the day accomplishing very little.

My runs were even worse.  I was supposed to be building up my mileage to make it through the upcoming race, but found myself barely making it through 2 & 3 mile long runs. My legs acted like they had no clue what I was trying to make them do and my stamina had decided to take a vacation.

I was frustrated.

I decided the time had come for me to do something I had been putting off all summer. I went on e-Bay and ordered a Garmin running watch with GPS. I had been wanting one, but figured by running the trail with markers and using a stopwatch I could get away without spending the money and still time myself just fine.

I was wrong.

My new toy arrived and on my first run using it I couldn't believe how I ever got along without it. Running would never be the same. With just a glance at my wrist I could instantly see my pace,  know exactly just how much further I had to go to reach my desired distance, and see exactly how long I had been running. It made all the difference. Why?

Because it was feedback.

I knew exactly how my performance was. It helped me realize I was doing better than I thought I had been and it gave me that boost to make it through those hard weeks when all I wanted to do was quit.

A few weeks ago, I experienced a change that caused me to question my performance in a different aspect of my life. Change is not always bad; sometimes it is very good and sometimes it just is. This change was a mixture of the three.

I had been serving in our Primary Presidency for what would be 3 years in March.  I was privileged to have served with some wonderful women I greatly admired and had learned a great deal from.  We had a great time serving together and had become good friends as a result. Now we were being split up and sent in all different directions with new callings.

As well as being fun, those years had been trying too. We all endured pregnancy and had babies in that time which presented a little more juggling, stress, and chaos. We had husbands who frequently traveled for work or needed to be away for other reasons leaving complete responsibility of our homes and children on our shoulders along with the various other duties we had to fulfill. There were times I'm sure we wondered if it was really worth it, if we were making any difference to the children we taught and yes, there were days we just wanted to quit.

Needless to say, we started feeling a little burnt out.

Then the news came that soon we would all be released. The dam of emotion broke; sadness & relief worry & wonder. At first, I was more relieved than sad. Life was crazy; I was struggling and felt like a change was the prescribed remedy. But as the day got closer to our release the worry and wonder took over. 

A small part of me wondered; was it just a time thing that we were being released now? Why not wait until the first of the year or when our 3 years were up? A bigger part of me worried; was I being released because I had become so burnt out that my performance wasn't what the Lord needed it to be or was it simply  because a wise and omnipotent Father saw a child's need for a rest? 

The next Sunday in church I received part of my answer.  The new presidency invited us to join them and the Primary chidren for the last 10 minutes of closing exercises where they presented us with 'Thank You' cards signed by all the children. As I stood in the front of that Primary Room receiving my card  in front of all my little friends, I felt completely out of place and like I no longer belonged there. 

You would think this experience would make me sad, but it didn't. It was feedback.

I realized it was time. I had my turn and now it was time for someone else to share their testimonies with my friends and to grow from the experience of serving them. My stewardship no longer belonged there; it was time for me to progress elsewhere.

The rest of my answer came a few days later when one of those sweet Primary girls showed up on my doorstep with her mother holding a plate of cookies she and her Primary teacher had baked (3 different kinds- Wow!) and a homemade 'Thank You' card. The cookies were delicious (esp. for breakfast) and the individual gesture was greatly appreciated. In fact, it made all the difference to me.

It was that boost to help me through the tough days where I still struggle. 

It was feedback. 
 
It made me glad I hadn't quit and gave me hope that maybe my performance had been enough after all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rumor Control

This post is just a disclaimer that my last post was in NO WAY an announcement of things to come in 9 months time. In fact, I gave a few of my baby things away Tuesday with only an tinge of sadness & regret. I have a race to run in May and it would be extremly hard to do so being 7 or so months pregnant.  So sorry, no babies from this factory again anytime soon, if ever.

The cravings as far as I can figure, are just my body's way of wanting to add to my own figure. You know like an animal fattening up for protection against the cold. That or the weight I have lost is trying really hard to find me again...

BTW- I forgot to list Oreos, french toast with peanut butter and maple syrup, creme brulee, and hot almond punch...sigh.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Comfort



My mother's famous crepes with peach syrup.

Warm cinnamon rolls iced with cream cheese frosting,
meatloaf, scones dripping with honey butter, bacon,
gooey chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, mashed potatoes and gravy, pecan pie, McDonald's Cheeseburgers, German pancakes, pot stickers, crepes with peach syrup, pumpkin pie, crisp bean burritos, hot chocolate pudding over vanilla ice cream, carrot cake, hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream, coconut cream pie, caramel apples, fettuccini alfredo.

Just my latest cravings...and how I know that old man winter is sitting on my doorstep waiting to coat my world in a blanket of white.

Bring it on old man.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speechless

I'm not sure if viewing this counts for 'Turn off the TV and Get a Life Week' or not, but so I can in good conscience say I did the challenge in all honesty, I have not watched it. Your comments will have to tell me how it turned out. Regardless, just know that the real thing was amazing. It left me speechless and teary eyed.

Thank you Veterans for bravely and unselfishly preserving the freedom of the land that I love.

5th graders performing "God Bless the U.S.A" in ASL.


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We think we can. We think we can.

Did you know that this week is "Turn Off the TV and Get a Life Week"? Well it is. And if you haven't already, I invite you to join in...all the 'cool kids' are doing it.



Ashton took the challenge from his teacher and is working toward a party consisting of pajama wearing, cereal eating, and cartoon watching fun.  Knowing this challenge would be no easy task for Ashton, my Nintendo DS addict, Richard, Dallin, and I decided to join the challenge for moral support. It started yesterday and so far it has been pretty easy.

My biggest worry was bedtime. We are bad parents who let their kids watch a show or two while they are nodding off to dreamland, but after FHE last night that was a non issue.

Ashton chose to have a dance competition for our FHE activity. I really hope there are no hidden cameras in my house; although, I would have loved recording Dallin's break dancing (he's actually pretty good), Emma's twirling until she was dizzy, Ashton dancing ballroom style with his little sister, and Ben just trying to get his little body to move with the rhythm. It was hilarious and the type of moment a mother wants to freeze in time. And it wore them out. Completely. Halleluiah!

Oh... are you wondering who won our little competition?

That's right, with a little booty shaking, hip swinging, and the clincher... 'the centipede', I showed them all up!

Whoever said you wouldn't need the stuff you learn in jr. high?!?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mom & Dad date night




Happy Birthday Richard!


Dating is hard.

And it doesn't get any easier once you're married.  When you get married the dynamics of dating just change.  Sure you don't have to worry about making the right first impressions, but you do have to worry about continuing to endear yourself to your spouse; making him/her think you are still the most adorable creature on the face of the planet even when they wake up to your scary bed head, horrid morning breath, and ruddy, no make-up face every morning.

I am sure it is for this very reason we have been counseled to date even after marriage.  Once a week we should take a timeout from mom and dad duties to go out and get away, where we can try to be the cute and charming selves we once were; to reconnect, and remind our spouse why they fell in love with us in the first place. Right? Well, I'm sure that is what they intended when they suggested having a date every week, but in our real world- it does not work. 

You know it has a lot to do with budgets and other boring stuff, that I won't get into, but I will just say that hiring a sitter to watch 4 kids while we go away for an hour or two, let alone the 3 plus it takes to do dinner and a movie (cha-CHING!),  is not feasible.  So we have improvised.

Friday night is Movie Party with the kids and Saturday Night is Mom & Dad date night.  Every Saturday between 8:00 and 8:30 the kids are banished to the upstairs and we take our places on the loveseat, him on the left, me on the right and we begin our date.  Most often with an accompanying bowl of popcorn or plate of nachos, we catch up with our DVR. Like any other parent who has children with homework and extracurricular activities, there is not time to watch live TV, so we record our favorites like Ghost Hunters, Psych, Monk, & the Mentalist to watch on Saturday night. Sometimes we watch a movie. Other times, like tonight, we sit each with a laptop occupying our lap and we blog side by side. Yes, we still interact; we read each other's work, he gives me suggestions at things I can improve on, and I admire the way he can write. I share fun or thought inspiring blogs I read throughout the week and he catches me up on the news and most things political.  We may sound like nerds, but it works for us.

Well, kind of.

See the problem is that the kids never stay in bed, or upstairs for that matter, like they are supposed to. There is always the need for one more drink, a bedtime snack, or one last plea to lay with them. By the time they are settled it is usually near 10:00 and with Richard being a night owl and me being more of a morning person, by 10:30 or 11:00 I have trouble holding my eyes open and I usually fall sound asleep missing the end of whatever we were watching.

I am such an exciting date.

For this reason I decided to surprise Richard for his birthday, which was the last week in October, by taking him out on a real date. I figured it was time that I put a deposit in the proverbial "relationship account" and that really he deserved to go out and not have his date fall asleep on him. 

I really love when we do get to go out. Eating somewhere new where I haven't had to fix the meal and going fun places where the only one I have to take to the washroom is myself, is a major draw for me, so I was pretty excited about my little plan. I hired a sitter and when Richard came home on his birthday he was completely surprised to find me dressed up and ready to go out. I wish I could say he was excited about it, but it had been a long day at work, he was bordering on a headache, and I think he really would have rather just stayed home. But he went and did say it was nice to have time with just me.

Since it was his birthday, I told him we could eat out wherever he wanted to, but for a man that travels a lot this is not music to his ears, as it is mine. He determined that since restaurants hold no allure for him, we should just eat in the mall food court since we had decided to see a movie after dinner. So he had a chicken quesadilla and I had Panda Express. Maybe it was not the fanciest of birthday dinners, but it fulfilled its purpose by filling our stomachs, and we headed off to enjoy the movie.

But "enjoy" is not the right word to describe our experience with the movie 'The Invention of Lying'... "excruciating" is probably more appropriate.  We both loved Ricky Gervais in 'Ghost Town' and the trailers made the story of 'Invention' look intriguing, so we thought it was a good pick. But from the disgusting opening scene, which thankfully we were spared visually because of a film malfunction, but not audibly, we should have known we were wrong. Richard walked out of the movie more disgusted than he did when we saw 'Happy Feet'.

It was an agenda driven movie basically saying that God is a lie and that religion is just the rules made up to perpetuate that lie.  Even if you didn't catch that theme while watching the movie, which I'm not sure how you couldn't, I don't know how any Christian person could not be offended by the end.

I don't recommend it.

So we went home and paid the sitter for an evening of crap (sorry, about the language- sometimes you have to call it what it is) being pushed down our throats, enjoyed Richard's birthday treat of brownies (instead of cake) and tapioca (instead of ice cream), and after the kids were in bed we took our usual places on the loveseat where the usual activities ensued, including watching another movie.  And do you know what? I stayed awake until 1am without nodding off once. And even though the rest of the date was a flop, I think that definitely counts as a mini deposit in the 'relationship account' and I should get some credit for at least trying, don't you?

You may be wondering why I am posting this now, after all it is Monday, and no longer Saturday night, well... that's because... you guessed it- I fell asleep.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I've still got it

The human body has always fascinated me. In school I was able to visit several cadaver labs which some might find disturbing or gross, but for me it was absolutely enthralling. The way everything fits and works together so perfectly, like the contours of a bone where a specific fossa allows a muscle to lay in perfect alignment to allow for movement to all the amazing organs working in synchronization to sustain and give life, it is in a word- incredible. We are truly 'miracles wrapped up in chemicals'- Wonderful, Gary Go.

These amazing bodies we've been given, I have found, also seem to be made for certain activities. The tall and slender build may lean towards ballet, the more athletic to soccer or football. Now, I am not saying that we are in any way limited by our stature; that would be quite prosaic of me; I may love to run, but the lean grace of a long distance runner is not something I possess. The short, squatty types such as I am, were made for a different type of activity; something I was once very good at. Tumbling.

Now this is when my blog becomes a brag. I'm sorry. But after having 4 children and being almost exactly 2 months shy of my 33rd birthday I feel pretty good that I can still do this. I haven't tried to do it since having my last baby 2 years ago, but I was out playing in the back yard with Ashton today and decided to try.

 Enjoy.



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FYI- Just in case you were wondering...nothing "snapped". Thank you very much, vocal camera boy.

Autum and an afternoon with the Ash-man

Today was beautiful. Autum has graced us with her prescence yet again after a preview of winter to come and I am so grateful! I'm not ready for the icy clutches of winter; I haven't fully enjoyed fall enough yet. So as to not let the balmy weather pass us by, today that's what we decided to do.

And enjoy we did. The Ash-man and I put the tramp through it's paces before it is covered with a blanket of snow.
Here are some of our 'tramp tricks'.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Heroes

Each year as my children carefully choose their Halloween costumes, I notice if they don't choose to dress up as some kind of monster or ghoul,  they choose to dress up as someone they look up to; a hero of sorts. Usually, it is someone who displays extraordinary skills, has super powers, or just gets to accessorize with some neat contraption or accessory. But above all else they have to be cool.

In years past, we have had everything from superheroes such as Batman & Superman, to our everyday heroes like firefighters and policemen.  This year was no different.  All 3 of my boys chose a specific hero to emulate.

Dallin chose to be a BYU football player (surprise, surprise).  Sometimes, I feel like we give too much glory, and definitely too much money, to athletes, especially professional ones. I do however realize that there is a lot of hard work and determination that goes into perfecting skills to be good enough to play on college and professional levels and those values are something I don't mind him admiring.


Ben chose to be a freedom defending army guy and a cute one at that. Unselfishly defending our country and getting to carry a really awesome walkie talkie and gun; definitely hero-ish.
(Making his toughest army man face.)

From the day we first began talking about costumes for this year Ashton, knew who he wanted to be. He wanted to be a superhero of different a kind this year...

... his school teacher, Mr. Z.

And he wasn't the only one...
(The Z Squad)

...two other boys in the class did the same.

Of course, in this picture it was Halloween and even heroes like to dress up, so Mr. Z was pretending to be Wolverine, but on regular school days this superhero dons his suit of slacks, dress shirt, and tie and sports his extra cool accessory-spiky hair. And between the combination of suit and hair he unleashes his superpowers on unsuspecting 5th graders actually making school a great place they want to be, inspiring them to work harder, and simply to be better.
We could certainly use more superheroes like that.

Halloween 2009


With Halloween falling on Saturday this year it seems like we had 2 Halloweens- Friday at school  with the class parties and annual costume parade and Sat. at home. That made for a very fun Halloween! 
On Friday, I was able to help with both Ashton's & Dallin's class parties. I forgot my camera for Ashton's party, but it was held at a the home of a boy in his class who doesn't live far from the school. This boy's mom planned the whole thing and took up about 2 hrs with great activities.  It was fun and I am glad I was able to go and help.


Dallin's party consisted of making pumpkin puppets, halloween songs and poems, and lots and lots of sugar. The room mothers brought doughnuts & apple juice for refreshments and a girl in the class also brought cupcakes for everyone- every 1st graders dream... doughnuts and cupcakes both!
D with his teacher, Mrs. Anderson


The whole class in costume and hopped up on sugar.



These are the types of things 1st graders do when they've had too much sugar;
They talking in funny voices while their pumpkin puppet dances around, making their mom laugh.


They stick out their tongues at parents trying to get cute pictures; making the parents more successful than they planned to be.


And they give their friends "bunny ears" adding to the goofy face they are already pulling.

Friday night I had the chance to drive kids in Ashton's class to their Super Activity.  This was a special activity for those kids who had not missed more than 4 assigments this term.  We went to Doc's Pizza Buffet where they tried to out eat Mr. Z in pizza and then to Comedy Sportz, which is an improv group similar to 'Whose Line is it Anyway'.  It was very fun and the kids had a great time.
We were supposed to dress up for a costume contest, so I dragged out my witch and queen costume from the costume tote and Ashton and Richard both told me to wear the queen costume. After seeeing the pictures... I think they were wrong.  I think it should have stayed in the costume tote or better yet, gone in the DI tote to be given away. I can't believe they let me go out looking like that.
I'm hoping the pics look worse than I did in person.


Saturday we finally carved some of our pumpkins, most of which we actually grew ourselves.

Richard finishing Dallin's "Y".



Ashton with his pumpkin pre and post carving.  He did it all by himself this year. Very cool.




I did not buy Emma a costume this year.  She never really took to anything at the store and I wasn't even sure she would keep one on. So I didn't want to spend any money when I knew we had 3 or 4 costumes at home that would work just fine.  After trying out a cow costume for about 15 minutes, she decided to be a gorilla.
Not exactly feminine.


But she did want to leave on the Halloween skirt she had been wearing all day, so at least she was a girl gorilla.




For trick or treating Ashton wanted to have a different costume since he didn't think our neighbors would know who Mr. Z was, so he decided to be a ninja.
He had a hard time deciding what to be and waited until the last minute to pick his costume.  He told me that he thought, "he should be a spy or ninja, since that fit his personality." 
Try to keep a straight face, sitting in the car next to him when he says something like that.
He cracks me up and sometimes I wonder about the world he lives in inside that head of his.



The whole crew...





... doing what they do best on Halloween...begging for candy.


Happy Halloween!