What's Going Down

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Costumes 2011

Because I feel the need to brag, I have decided to post something.

I know. I'm filled with humility.

I have probably talked before about how when I grew up my mom didn't usually help with Halloween costumes. You were on your own. Not because she didn't want to, but because she had nine kids...
Basically, it has lead me to believe that the very best costumes are the ones that come from the bowels of your imagination. Pieced together with duct tape and elastic.  Yes, the homemade ones.

This year, I did have one child elect to use a costume we already had on hand (that we were given about 4 years ago and which FINALLY fit).

I present Anna as Mulan.
Might I add that she doesn't actually like the movie Mulan; she thinks it's too scary.
And yes, she's wearing makeup. In keeping with the tradition that my mother allowed, my girls are permitted to wear makeup one day per year: Halloween.

Lucas's costume was an easy recycle from a couple of years ago. Totoro.
He's such a little squirt that the hat totally swamped him and no one knew what he was... which didn't bother me in the least. I like the obscure.

The only instruction I gave Abbie on choosing a Halloween costume this year was to encourage her to choose a literary character.  Having just read both Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, she immediately selected Laura Ingalls.
And while I realize that her costume isn't exactly period correct, we sure tried. And also, yikes. I'm in trouble. Check this girl out:
9 going on 19, eh?

Miles wore an entire 14 piece ensemble that I spent a really long time agonizing over and working on. I sewed him a vest and gun holster (of my Dad's design). We borrowed chaps, boots and a gun.  He also had a hat (not pictured because it was in the back of Matt's car who wasn't home from work when these pictures were taken).
He would like you to know that he is NOT Woody. And yes, it is time for a haircut.

And finally, my crowning glory. Libby as Octopus. Wait, you're on Pinterest, right? If so, follow me!
At any rate, I found this costume idea from a link on Pinterest.
I must admit, I think my execution is better. Also, their octopus has 10 legs.
I filled the polka dotted socks I had lying around (supposed to have been turned into Babylegs for Lucas) with grocery sacks (I'm so green) and used safety pins to attach them to a harness I fashioned out of elastic. Safety pins, so I can use the socks again. The hat was whipped up out of some rib knit and felt.
It was pretty much the most hysterical thing anyone had ever seen. It helps that Libby's so tiny that it blows people away when she runs up to their door, holds out her bucket and says, "Trick Treat" just like a big kid. Then a "Thank You!" and a "Bye!" with a wave!  I love this girl so much.
Her joie de vivre is infectious. Absolutely.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Better School Pictures - Episode 4

Can you believe we've been doing this for four years?

Here's this year's information:

The Better School Picture Day
Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 8am - 11am at a location TBA in the Longwood/Lake Mary Area
                                                                       $25 per child. 
How it works:
I spend 5-10 minutes with each of your children. Just time enough to get 3-5 great shots of them. Your pictures will be fully edited and presented in an online gallery. The $25 pays for the sitting and ONE fully edited full-resolution file on a Data DVD with rights to print. If you decide you would like all 3-5 files, the cost is only $50 total (or an additional $25, make sense?)

Have you seen your children's school pictures? Last year, I used my own daughter's picture to demonstrate. Here, I'll show you again (much to her embarassment.)

Here is the picture that was sent home from the ACTUAL SCHOOL PICTURES.

Oh Mah Gosh.


I think you've all seen my daughter.

You have, correct?

She's not usually so demonically possessed.

I promise. 

No really.

Here is a picture I took of Abbie around the same time.
So yeah. Not really even the same child.

Here are some more samples.





Please Email Me or send me a Facebook message if you're interested!
Because honestly, you do not want Regular School Pictures to happen to you, and neither do I.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I knit stuff.

So, I mentioned at the beginning of the year, that I was hoping to knit through 5 miles of yarn in 2011. By mid August, I had met that goal.

Obviously, I haven't posted many of the finished objects I've knit. That would be because I haven't photographed them. Two of those items are sweaters which, frankly, it's just too dang hot to be wearing long enough to get pictures of.

But I do have two items to share with you.

 The first of which is this adorable sweater vest which I knit for a colleague of my husband They just had their first little baby boy. And if we're being honest with each other, we can admit that there isn't anything cuter than a baby boy in a sweater vest. Right?
 And the back. It ALMOST makes me wish I had a teeny boy to wear it.
 As it is, Libby looked adorable in it. This was just so I could make sure of sizing. It's about 12 months.

The other project is probably the most favorite thing I've ever knit.
 This is the Clara Dress. Unfortunately, you can only get the pattern by purchasing it as a kit. But I was desperate. I had to knit this tiny dress.
I think you can see why.
 I only wish I'd have made it a couple inches longer. I was worried about running out of yarn, but I totally shouldn't have been. I could easily have knit another 2 inches and still had plenty left over.
But I actually adore the length. I just put a pair of frilly bloomers on her and we're good to go. And I think she can continue to wear it as a tunic type top for quite a while.

I'll be back with more knit items soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And Good Riddance.

Due to the nature of our incredibly long summer spent cooped up here at home, I was really about to lose it.

School couldn't have come soon enough. I'm not kidding. Not even a little.
Monday was the day.

 We all, the entire family, trekked on out to the bus stop.
 There was a great fanfare as Miles headed out to his first day of Kindergarten. You know, where he will probably be extremely bored. I was informed they are working on the letter C this week. Have I mentioned Miles reads on a 2nd grade + level?
 And ohmyword, I have a 4th grader. FOURTH. As in, old. As in, the originator of all that sass. Save me.
 And I also possess a 2nd grader. Everytime I look at her, I have the sneaking suspicion that in about 6 years, I'm going to be in a LOT of trouble. BOYS BE DAMNED!
And there they go! Buh and Bye. See you at 3:30. But I can't celebrate too much. I've still got these two waiting at home for me. 
 Herein he informs me that it is time for us to go buy HIM a Star Wars Tshirt. 
And my Libby Mae, who I'm fairly certain thinks Abbie is her mom. At least a little.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What I did last summer. A report.

As you probably know, on the Saturday before Memorial Day Matt decided to take Anna to a wall to wall trampoline facility. Fun times. Except the part where he shredded his patellar tendon. He had NON arthroscopic knee surgery on Memorial Day.

It would be 10 weeks before he could drive again. 10 weeks = our entire summer.

So, our summer. Yeah. Blown, mostly.

We did end up flying to a family reunion in Branson, MO. Our original plan had been to drive the 20 hours. Not really all that broken-hearted over that one.

But the truth is, having to load all five of your kids into the car and drive your husband the 20 minutes to work and then home and then turn around at 6pm and do the same thing, really wears one right out. So, we had an incredibly low key summer. With an enforced quiet time between 1-4pm. Yes, my children read a lot of books.

The last thing I wanted to do was any more driving. So we spent a long summer here at our house. Several times a week, it looked almost exactly like this:
 The sprinkler.
 Playing in the gutter.
 The kiddie pool.
And sass. So much sass.

Today is the first day of school. That's why I can post this.
Matt can drive. His knee bends again.
Here's to hoping I'm on the other side of this Bummer Summer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Leave of Absence

I think it's obvious that my heart's just not in this right now.

So, for the time being I'm not going to worry about blogging.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I've got some.
An update for the Grandmas.
 My little mini-mom helper and the Bibs.
 Starts 4th grade in August. Kicked butt on the FCAT. Finished the year with straight As. Has been invited to join the gymnastics team. Amazing girl.
 Says "Thank you, Please, No, Yeah, Uh-oh, Wow, Dad, Mom" and a couple other words I can't remember.
 Is the light of our home.
 Finally becoming mildly manageable. And sweeter than pie. Sometimes.
 The husband likes to make fun of his Chiclet teeth.
 Just finished 1st grade. Pretends like she hates reading but has already buzzed through 8 books since school let out. Has also been invited to join the gymnastics team. Doesn't want to. It's just not in her personality. And that's fine by me.
The peacemaker of our home. Usually. Sometimes.

What? Don't pretend like I'm not missing pictures of Miles. He was with his dad when these pictures were taken.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekend Update

1. It's fitting that I use that title since I'm currently buzzing my way through Bossypants by Tina Fey. Hilariously good read. My husband even read it.

2. My husband had time to read it because he exploded his knee (ruptured his patellar tendon) on Saturday while on a Daddy/Daughter date to one of those wall-to-wall trampoline places. He had surgery earlier today and should be home tomorrow.

3. This throws a major wrench in our Summer plans. The first of which was to drive to a family reunion in Missouri. That now has a very real possibility of NOT happening since I'm not known for my long distance driving abilities, and the disploded knee was his driving leg.

4. It also ruins my plans of knitting all the way. This is more painful for me than having to drive... NOT getting to knit. Just cruel. I had several projects all planned out and I now stare disdainfully at the yarn I had selected. I'm blaming the yarn. It's easier that way.

5. My husband will be fine. He's currently enjoying a lovely cocktail of post-operative drugs. I wish I had some.

6. School is out on Wednesday. I will henceforth have a 4th and 2nd grader and a Kindergartener (why does this word always look wrong?... is that even the correct spelling?...blogspot says no, but they didn't like "disploded" either and that's OBVIOUSLY a real word.) My children really ought to either 1. Stop getting older. or 2. Get older much faster. It's painful like ripping off a band-aid super slowly. Either leave it alone or rip that bad boy off in one quick move.

7. I knit some stuff.

8. I finally picked up my camera last week for the first time since April. No lie. I'm contemplating challenging myself to take a picture a day during the summer. Which may also force me to actually do fun stuff with my kids during the summer so that I will have something to photograph. I even made a big old Pinterest board full of stuff my kids will enjoy doing. Find it here. (Are you on Pinterest? Let me know!)

9. Here's the stuff I knit.
Beyond Puerperium
A sweet little, slightly too big for Libby right now intentionally baby cardigan. Should fit her perfectly come the two weeks of so-called Winter we enjoy in January.

Lacy Baktus
This is a neckerchief-ish shawl called Lacy Baktus. It started out really fun, then turned really boring, then turned positively excruciating as I just wanted it done already. Which is why I don't knit scarves, typically.

10. How bout that hair o mine? Crazy right? This is AFTER I had it severely thinned out.

11. Hope your weekend was much more injury free than ours.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Try To Contain Yourself.

Yes. I'm blogging.
No, I'm not going to try to tell you everything that happened on the rest of our Spring Break since that was over a month ago now. I AM LAME.

What I've been up to?
5 kids.
They insist on eating and being dressed, and of all things, making messes.
Why haven't I found time to blog?
Several reasons really.
1. Facebook
2. Knitting
3. Laziness
What am I talking about on Facebook?
1. Knitting
2. Laziness
An example of my most recent status updates?
1. A very large pot of oatmeal with apples, apricot, and craisins. Dinner.
2. Is starting a petition to move mornings to 11am. 
3. My children keep talking about transmogrifying. A sure sign they've been into the Calvin and Hobbes.
4. Wonders if I can get away with blaming my dirty house on the fact that my baby is terrified of the vacuum.
Yeah, you're not missing much.

I do, however, have a crap-ton of completed knitting projects to share. As soon as I photograph them since holding them up to the screen for you to feel doesn't seem to be working. 

Do I have any pictures to share with you?

Where is Abbie? 
I don't know! Probably too busy being embarrassed by me. Yeah, we're at that stage. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What I Did During My Spring Break...Part One

AKA, How I made my children love me for very little money.
Wait. What? You can't buy love? Tell that to my 9 and 7 year old daughters.

AKA, The post that helps you to understand the kind of cheap we are.

We had Spring Break a couple of weeks ago. It started on Friday, which I think just adds insult to the injury of having your kids home for a week. I knew if I didn't keep the kids busy, I'd be in for a terribly long week, so we planned out a couple of things in advance.


 I helped the kids (and our neighbor friends) set up cones for scooter obstacle races (please understand that I am aware that my child isn't wearing a helmet or any other protective gear in this picture, thank you) and taught them to play broom hockey. We also broke out the sidewalk chalk. We spent the majority of our day outside. Lovely.


 We spent the entire day cleaning out the garage. It did, in fact, take the entire day. We own four bikes, one double wide bike trailer, 5 scooters, 1 tricycle, 2 skateboards, and 2 baby "cars." I'm sure I'm missing something. It takes up a substantial amount of room in the garage.

Sunday is church. Church is almost always great. It was!
I had previously begged and pleaded with my husband to take off work a couple of days during Spring Break. I think my exact words were, "Please don't leave me alone with them for that long!!! I won't survive!" He did not fail me. So on Monday... Monday is the day I like to call, "FREE DISNEY."
Well, if you're like us, and can't stand the constant questioning and too much chatter, you don't tell your kids what's happening or where they're going until they figure it out on their own. It makes things much easier on our end and the surprise is great for the kids.
For the record, we packed a lunch and dinner. Lunch was sandwiches, apples, and cheese. Dinner was... well, you'll hear about it later.

We started off the day at Downtown Disney. If you don't know, Downtown Disney is simply a bunch of shops and restaurants that are affiliated with Disney, but it doesn't cost anything to go down and hang around see stuff. That is, unless you want to see a show, or actually eat there. Ha!
So first, check out my crew.

 Yes, they're all mine. Stop counting. Yes, they all have the same father, and no, I'm not the nanny. Thanks.
There is a really cool dinosaur restaurant there. We didn't eat there, we just looked at the SUPER HUGE dinosaur sculptures they've got going on which make Lucas freak right the heck out. It was hilarious. To us. He, on the other hand is severely traumatized.

We walked through DD, where there are a bunch of fun things for kids to see and do like fountains for the kids to splash in, and the next best thing to waiting in line for 1.5 hours to meet your favorite princess (gag me!).
We headed over to the LEGO store (which is currently being renovated) where the kids got to play with Legos! We opted to purchase one self-designed LEGO person for each kid (3 for $9.99) and then headed out to my favorite stop.

Goofy's Candy Company
Honestly, they have THE best caramel apples ever (yes, I'm looking at you Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, better than YOU!). The best part is that you have the ability to pick and choose what you want on it and they make it right in front of you! The kids LOVED watching it and the nice people who work there are so generous! 
 While we waited for the apple to be done, the kids played in the fun mirrors they have in the store.
Instead of taking the apple with us, we had them cut it up for us right then, and we went to town. We split one apple between all seven of us, but it worked perfectly because much more than one or two pieces of that candy loaded apple would have sent me into a sugar coma! Price: $8ish? WORTH IT.

From there we got to go see the Macaws outside the Rainforest Cafe which my kids maintained were fake. Totally real. If you go, be sure to go inside the Rainforest Cafe and take a look around at the amazing fish tanks they have. They're some of the best I've ever seen (I've never been to an Aquarium... judge my parents, not me).

Still Monday. From DD, we left and drove over to Disney's Campgrounds. Fort Wilderness. We've had friends telling us about this place for well over a year. We just assumed they were kidding. It is honestly Disney's Best Kept Secret (that a lot of people know about).

We pulled up to Fort Wilderness and they have a gated entry. The guard asks us our business and we simply said, "We're just here for the day!" To which he replied, "Have fun!"

Here lies our one splurge. We rented a golf cart. It runs about $60 for 24 hours, but since you can't drive through the campgrounds, transporting our whole family would be infinitely easier via motorized cart. We were right. But! You can take bikes in and everything in the Fort is easily within biking distance. You can also rent bikes there and I think their prices are reasonable (though I don't recall what they are offhand).

We rode over to the Horse Barns. Fort Wilderness is the home to all of the horses and ponies that they use at the Magic Kingdom. You can ride the ponies for $5/person (we didn't). We did however go over and take a look at many of the horses, and got to watch two receive a shower/bath (whatever they call washing a horse).

This is Ivan. He was HUGE.
We started to head over to the beach. Yes, they have a beach. I think one of my favorite things was that they had stuff lying around to occupy your time. Like a checkers board on tables, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and even monster sized dominoes for the kids. We played on the playground and finally walked over to the beach.
I let the kids kick off their shoes and wade in as far as they dared. Lucas ended up soaked. Of course.

Matt hates sand, so he took Libby and wandered over to the pier. You can rent boats. I believe that they have motorboats (little ones) that kids as young as 12 can drive by themselves. Crazy cool. There are ferries that are coming and leaving that pier all the time. Guess what, they're FREE.

So, we hopped on the ferry. Did it matter where it took us? Nope. Not even a little. As it turns out, it will take you over to the Wilderness Lodge which is this insanely cool hotel that Disney owns and I would love to stay in OR you can ride the ferry to the Magic Kingdom.

Or in our case, you can ride the ferry to the Wilderness Lodge, have a minor panic attack when Matt can't find his brand new cell phone, hop on the next ferry back to Fort Wilderness and retrace your steps until you realize that you left it in the car (actually it was my fault, sorry Matt!).
The kids loved the ferry. You have to realize how sheltered my kids are. None of them had ever been on a boat before. I quite enjoyed it myself.

Now, I didn't realize it before we left, or I would have made sure to come prepared, but Fort Wilderness has a really nice pool. And kiddie pool. And splash pad. We didn't get to use it because we didn't bring out suits. We are definitely going back. We don't have access to a pool locally (by choice), so it's nice to know that we can take the kids here once or twice a summer for some chlorine. I mean swimming.

Other things Fort Wilderness had that we didn't take advantage of: Charcoal grills (byo charcoal), fishing (bring or rent a rod), volleyball courts, lighted tennis courts, Organized Crafts and Activities. All of these things were available to us even though we weren't staying there.

 The rest of the story is that about an hour before dinner, they sent out Chip and Dale in costume (this is Chip). They played with the kids. It wasn't just "stand in line and get your picture with them". They played soccer with a gargantuan sized soccer ball. They drew sidewalk chalk pictures with the kids (all the kids, mine weren't the only ones there). It was truly a blast. After that, someone lights two huge fires (safely) and everyone is invited to come roast marshmallows/hot dogs (our dinner!) on the fire.  OR you can buy hot dogs already cooked at the concession stand.

After awhile, a "cowboy" came out and we had a huge campfire singalong. And FINALLY, after the singing, they play a full-length feature film on a big screen, outdoors. It was some honestly decent family fun. FOR FREE.

I estimate that the day cost us $100. That includes food, Legos, the golf cart and even the gas to get there. Now, that may seem steep, but when you consider the cost of taking my family to Disney's Magic Kingdom for one day... (hold... doing the math.) $414. Four hundred and fourteen dollars to stand in line for 2 hours to ride the Dumbo ride. Never. Gonna. Happen. That doesn't include food. Or gas. Or parking. Or souvenirs (my kids picked up pinecones and seashells at Fort Wilderness).

I know there are a lot of Disney Fanatics out there, and having gone to Universal Studios today (also for free) and seeing how dirty and sorta run down it is in comparison, I can understand why people like Disney. It's squeaky clean. Nothing is EVER out of place. It really is a magical thing. But not $414 magical. Sorry.

We definitely have plans to go back to Fort Wilderness and even camp there!

Uh... so, Tuesday.  Is this thing still on? We'll talk about the rest of the week tomorrow!

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