Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

For those of you who don't know me very well and haven't heard me discourse on the reason I enjoy Halloween so much, here it is: Halloween is really the best holiday, and I'll tell you why. It is the first "decorating holiday" of the year, you get to have parties, eat candy, dress up, basically do all of the fun holiday stuff. But here is the catch–there are no expectations. You don't have to get the perfect gift for everyone you've ever met, you aren't expected to travel for days in a car to "be home for the holidays," you don't have to cook a fancy meal or any of the other things associated with the traditional holidays. It is all of the fun without any of the pressure. And that is why October is "the most wonderful time of the year." And with that little rant, I'll step down from my soap box.

As you can see this is Jack's year. In every way. This kid has confidence and charisma in buckets. He can hang out with any group of kids and have them eating out of his hands in minutes. Trick-or-treating was no exception. He lead our little goblin party all over the neighborhood and AJ was the first to give out. I'm pretty sure Jack would have kept going until dawn. We had a great time, it is really fun to be in a neighborhood with so many kids.

Something to think about...

Today I listened to a speech by William Galston, a political theorist who formerly taught at the University of Texas in the Government Department. He quoted John Stewart Mills, a 19th century theorist, and I think it is very profound,

"He who knows only his side of the case, doesn't even know that."

It has stuck with me and I keep going over it in my mind. I just wanted to throw that out there and let anyone who reads it take from it what they will. I think it is profound with far reaching implications.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Carving Pumpkins

The kids carved their pumpkins today. AJ had the idea that they should carve their pumpkins to look like their costumes. She drew the cat all by herself, and scooped out almost all of the pulp, then I helped "carve" it. It is so cute. It looks like it should be in a country store window. Seriously cute.

Jack's Yoda was a little more difficult. The pattern I found was pretty tough and unfortunately a big chunk broke while I was carving it, so it isn't super recognizable. But hey, we tried. Jack wasn't too interested in helping with the carving, he only wanted to light and blow out candles over, and over, and over...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here is a little movie from The Halloween Party last night.
The kids had a blast, I'm just tired–being a "single parent" is exhausting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Moon Picnic

I saw on the news that Thursday night the full moon was going to be the closest to the earth (due to the elliptical orbit) for the year. I'm not sure if this is true of the whole country, or just here. You should definitely check it out–it was very cool.

And lately AJ has been telling me that Kevin's family has "moon cakes" on full moons. So I looked into moon cakes and they are a Chinese tradition having to do with the Chinese new year (I believe Kevin is Chinese). So I thought this would be a good time for our own version.

I made big, round sugar cookies (moon cakes) and we got a blanket and set up outside to watch the moon rise. We were soon joined by a neighbor family of ours, so we all had a little moon picnic together. It turned out to be a really fun thing–probably a new tradition of ours.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


And finally...the moment we have all been waiting for...the grand "finally"...B-L-U-E
(can you tell I'm getting a little sick of these?)

Nightrain baby...

This was at AJ's Fall Carnival at her school. Brett had to supervise the kids while I worked in a booth. He did a great job, they were having a blast every time I saw them!

Class of 2020

Kindergarten Picture

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crow's Nest Farm

On Friday AJ's class took a field trip to Crow's Nest Farm. It is an educational farm that has all of the usual farm animals, plus a lot of "exotics" which are wild animals who have been resued and can't be released into the wild for various reasons (I'm beginning to think I may need to start up a similar operation!)

They got to go on a hayride tour, see cows milked and pet lots of farm animals. It was really fun but exhausting. I don't know how Kindergarten teachers manage–honestly.

In this picture AJ really wanted her picture taken next to this emu, but it kept hissing at her and acting like it was going to bite her. She could hardly hold still for the 2 seconds it took to snap it off. It was so funny, I was cracking up, making it even harder to get the shot.

Dane & Angie

We were super lucky to have a visit from Dane and Angie, who happened to be in Texas visiting Angie's family. They decided to make the 3-4 hour drive over from Beaumont, unfortunately (due to one omitted word in MapQuest, and a couple other really stupid mistakes like the fact that there are 2 Bee Cave Roads on our side of town!) they ended up on the opposite side of Austin from us, and we had a heck of a time getting them to our front door. So roughly 6 hours later, they finally made it. We stayed up late talking and had a good time. The kids were already in bed and we knew AJ'd feel very bummed if she missed out on anything so we let her stay home.

Thursday we went out to eat to WholeFoods and afterward went for a walk along town lake and got some cute pictures. It was a really nice day. We planned to go swimming when we got home but someone forgot to bring her swimsuit and despite scouring a whole mall, couldn't find one.

They promised to come back around Thanksgiving, and they are going to be held to it–AJ will see to that!

Halloween Party

So this year since I was suffering major party withdrawl I volunteered for the Girl Scouts Halloween Party. I was nowhere near as much fun as the last few years owing to the combined facts that it was during the day and I couldn't do anything even vaguely "scary," but it was fun none the less.

We decorated caramel apple (of course!) and the girls just really got into that. Being girls, they had all kinds of cute motifs going on, and they ate a lot of candy. Isn't that really the point.

Then we made paper mache Jack-o-lantern votives. I really, really wish I had taken pictures of each one. I had cut out various eyes, noses and mouths and the way they used them was so unique. Each one was really different. They all definatly looked like Jack-o-lanterns, but some had "O" mouths for eyes and noses for mouths and everything. If was really interesting.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

And part 4 in the 5 part series: G-R-E-E-N

Don't worry–only one more to go!

Thursday, October 11, 2007




Homecoming week started out with a Pep-rally this Wednesday. A bunch of cheerleaders came to AJ's morning assembly to get the kids all psyched up and she couldn't wait to go. I was worried it might be kind of lame...obviously, I underestimated Texas Homecoming Week.

When we arrived they had a float parade with all the floats throwing copious amounts of candy to the spectators. The streets were literally covered with candy. Kids had bulging grocery bags full. I wasn't aware that we should have brought trick or treat bags, so the kids were filling their pockets and Brett's as well. It was so funny to watch them picking through the candy. There was so much they could afford to be choosy (AJ's specialty). We could have packed up and gone home then for all they cared, but we followed the parade to the field where they introduced the court and all that stuff.

Then the cheerleaders came out to do some dances. Jack got all excited because they were "Princesses" of the type that are allegedly going to take his pants off (see earlier blog). SOOO funny!

We watched the cheerleaders and then the band marched for a few numbers while the kids went nuts dancing--Jackie has the moves! I am bummed I forgot the camcorder. They get so excited for music with a good beat.

Then they counted down from 10 and killed all the lights for a firework show. Now being a High School pep-rally, I wasn't expecting much of a show--boy, was I mistaken. They put on a fireworks extravaganza the likes of which we have not seen outside of Utah (kudos to Utah for it's fireworks - they set the bar).

It was so much fun. The weather was great (it's finally cooling off at night) and the kids had so much fun, we all had so much fun! We can't wait for the game tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Austin Children's Science Center

Austin has this pretty cool Nature center for kids. It is all hands on, and they can use microscopes and do lots of interactive stuff. There are indoor and outdoor aspects, and they keep several animals who can't be re-released into the wild. It is totally free. And Brett said, "It looks like someone put a ton of money into this and then abandoned it." It's true. The place must have cost a fortune to create and now it is run by a very small staff and it is just a kind of weird deserted place. But the part the kids loved was the "dino pit" where they could excavate and AJ can't wait to take her cousin Kale in a few weeks.

Monday, October 8, 2007

One CRAZY fishing trip...

So a friend of ours came over the other night and we were talking about fishing. He said you could catch catfish in our little ponds with bread--so we thought we'd try it.

So we went to the pond the next afternoon. I put some bread on Jack's hook and cast it out. Before I could even bread AJ's hook, Jack had a sunfish. So while he reeled it in AJ cast out and caught a huge bass. So now I was helping Jack get his fish off the hook, and AJ's bass is flopping all over the grass. So I told her to hang onto it and I got both hooks out, and both fish into the water. While I was re-breading hooks, AJ had to wash her hands and slipped in the mud and got very muddy, of course I had to help her out and I got muddy as well. Meanwhile Jack has something on his line and is reeling in, AJ casts out and I help Jack land ( of all things) a TURTLE! So now we have a turtle with a big hook in his mouth that I am trying to get off and "zzzzzzzz" AJ has something BIG! So I tell Jack to just hold his pole with the turtle on it while I help AJ land a 4 lb catfish. So we get the catfish back in the water and decide to take the turtle back home to operate (you know me.)

Good story right, here is the crazy part--all that happened in exactly 10 minutes! It was so insane. But we got the turtle home and the hook out and he is recuperating nicely in the back yard. The kids named him captain hook, and he is eating and seems perfectly healthy, so we will let him go soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Jack Ranch

We saw this ranch on the way out to the pumpkin patch and just had to stop. I think it's destiny--I'll take it! Such a handsome kid!

Something else that I have to say about Jack. The last few weeks he constantly talks about a princess who is trying to take his pants off. I don't know if it was a dream or what, but he talks about it all the time and it is so hysterical. He is just convinced that he is going to be taken advantage of by a princess.

Sweetberry Farms Pumpkin Patch

Okay, it's no Vossler Farms (there will never be another pumpkin patch to take it's place) but this one is pretty darn beautiful. It is on a working farm (they also grow blueberries and raspberries), and it was breathtaking. As always, I went overboard with the pictures, but it was just so pretty. So, here are a few...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Whooo...whooo...who Booed you?

Here is AJ looking darling in her Girl Scouts outfit. I am an assistant leader in her troop and we have been working so hard to get everything organized: schedules, paperwork, uniforms, patches, dues, etc, etc, etc! It has been a lot more work than I anticipated, but we finally had our first meeting yesterday and the girls really had fun. There are 10 kindergarteners in the troop and I think it will be a great experience for AJ.

Here we are packing up goody buckets for booing...

And here are the baskets. We waited until it was dark to deliver them and it was so funny sneaking up to the doors and running away. At one house AJ almost ran out in front of a car, at another I couldn't get the headlights to turn off on the car, and at the last I couldn't figure out if we were at the right house due to faded addresses on the curb. I took my camera and I have to tell you they looked so cute sneaking around in the dark in their jammies, but amid all of the excitement I FORGOT to take pictures!!! I was so upset I considered making more Booes to re-do tonight, but it's not going to happen. So you will have to use your imagination and believe me that they looked SO SUPER cute!