Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Costume Photo Session

The weather is changing from lovely autumn sunshine to blah rain and I am sooooo glad that I took 20 minutes to do the kids' Halloween costume photo shoot this afternoon. I think I beat the nasty gray clouds by only an hour or two. There is only one day without rain in the 10 day forecast so this was probably my last chance for decent photos. Last year I never got decent ones of Ethan in his dragon costume so this year I wanted to be intentional about it. I find it's better to do photos of the kids in holiday garb before the holiday hits so that I can enjoy the holidays without stressing myself (and everybody else!) out about getting perfect photos the day of. Plus Halloween is pretty dark so most of my photos from that night are pretty grainy.

The kids and I had a little discussion before taking these photos. In order to wear their Halloween costumes they had to agree to let me take photos of them AND follow my directions. That's a tough one. They agreed because they both LOVE their costumes and would have agreed to just about anything in order to wear them. Including smiling at the camera.

I started with Grace. Mostly because her entire face lit up the moment we pulled the peacock dress and wings on. She absolutely loves being a Peacock Princess! I was shocked she agreed to the costume since she originally wanted to be a flamingo. We did some looking around for costume ideas to make a flamingo costume and found this Gymboree Peacock one on sale for $30 for the entire thing. Sold. Grace doesn't even care that it's not pink and insists that her $2.99 plastic purple shoes match perfectly. She's in seventh heaven.

Ethan saw this hamburger costume at Old Navy and it was love at first sight. The kid refused to entertain any other costume ideas and insisted that this was the one. Lucky for him Old Navy had a Baby Sale and the cashier was nice enough to give me the 40% off one item even though Ethan lost our coupon. We later found it in the Tonka Truck. It cost me $10 which is well worth the joy and excitement that Ethan has for his costume. Even if I probably would have picked something else. Anything else. What's wrong with Batman?

I'm not sure what Ethan is doing here...does he think he's tasty because he's a cheeseburger?

Do you have any idea how hard it was to get a photo of my children's feet? Ethan wouldn't stop stepping on Grace's toes!

"For heavens sakes just look at mom and give her a cheesy grin so she'll stop taking our picture."

Such willing subjects.

"EEEEEEKKKKKK! There's a bug! I can't work under these conditions!"

Bug crisis averted. How about you give each other a hug?

I said a hug! Not tackle each other!

I give up. Just look in my general direction. Perfect.

The End.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baking with Kids

Yesterday at MOPS we talked about our mothering styles. It was an interesting discussion and made me think about what my style of mothering is. I think one of my strengths is teaching my children to be independent. Unfortunately, when it comes to messy activities it can be hard to step back and let them have at it. Why? Because I tend to be a perfectionist and it's hard for me to give up control on things like making pretty cookies.

I had some spare time yesterday afternoon so the kids and I baked some sugar cookies to help use up some of the orange frosting leftover from Ethan's birthday cake. They helped me dump the ingredients in the bowl and I even let Ethan help me roll the dough out even though he tended to smash it more then roll it. I let the kids cut all the cookies out which was a great exercise in patience on my part. I resisted the urge to redo all of Ethan's half cut out scraggly looking leaves because he was SO proud to be helping. It helped to remember we would be frosting them which hides a multitude of blemishes.

Once our cookies were baked I did all the frosting (I'm not so good as to allow THAT mess to happen...I get a panic attack just thinking about it!). We did the pumpkins orange and tinted the frosting with more red to get darker orange for the leaves. I did give up all creative control to the kids to decorate with the black gel frosting. Grace did a GREAT job on the pumpkin faces. They really turned out cute! Ethan has a ways to go in the leaf decorating department, but he was so proud of himself that I just let him roll with it.

Baking cookies with my kids is definitely time consuming and messy but I hope it will help them learn to enjoy it. It was a good reminder to me to be better at stepping back and letting them do things their way even if it's less then perfect. Perfection isn't the goal right now, good memories and learning to enjoy time in the kitchen is what I'm after. I hope I'm accomplishing it. At any rate we did accomplish a very dirty kitchen floor and 26 beautifully decorated cookies that taste heavenly. It was worth it.

And here's a link to the sugar cookie recipe that I posted earlier. It's seriously the best sugar cookie EVER!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My baby turns THREE today!

I can't believe my baby is three. I don't think I'm ready for this. It's definitely bittersweet watching him grow up because he's most definitely our last child which makes me wish I could hit the pause button every now and again but he insists on continuing along his quest to become a Big Boy. I reminded him this morning that now that he's a big Three Year Old Boy he really shouldn't pee or poop in his underwear because that's just not something Big Boys do. He agreed and so far today we're back on track so that's a good thing!

He's sooooo looking forward to his party this weekend. He keeps asking when it is and is pretty disappointed it's not today. He's obsessed with the party decorations we've purchased (Dollar Store and Target's March Madness clearance rack last spring!). He hasn't really had a real party with friends and the whole bit so this is a pretty big deal to him. I'm glad David pushed me to throw him a party because if it was up to me I probably would have called last weekend's Blazer Fan Fest trip good enough and I wouldn't be enjoying his birthday party obsession this week.

We kept with tradition and piled Ethan's birthday presents on the kitchen table for him to find this morning when he woke up. His eyes lit up and he opened them all in no time flat! Grace picked out a Zhu Zhu pet with a basketball outfit for him (so they can play Zhu Zhu together since she got one for her birthday). His big gift from us was a Buzz Lightyear skateboard with the safety pads to go with it. He thinks the pads are uber cool because they make him look like a Skateboard Boy. This is a pretty big deal if you're a three year old boy.

Grace had the day off from school today so the three of us went in to Salem to ride the carousal a few times and hunt down some party stuff for this weekend's birthday party. This was the first time I've shopped for a pinata and I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a boy one. The first party store I stopped at had diddly squat for boys but a TON of overpriced sports themed party goods which we left on the shelves. Walmart had a zillion princess and pink pinatas and only a few Spiderman ones hanging too high for me to reach. I found an employee to climb up a ladder to get me one and I'm calling it good. Ethan held it the whole way home and wanted to know exactly how it worked.

Actually that's something I hear a lot from Ethan. "How does this work?" is something he asks me a hundred times a day. He wants to know!

Another birthday tradition in our house is choosing what you want for dinner and Ethan has chosen Macaroni and Cheese. It will probably be served with hot dogs, the dinner of champions. We might make a trip to Dairy Queen for a birthday cherry dip as well.

The photos I've shared here were taken yesterday during a hastily put together photo session at the park. He's looking so grown up!

Here's a few to look back to see how he's grown...

Ethan as a newborn...

The first birthday cake smash!

As a ball loving two year old...

And finally my happy smiley three year old BIG BOY!