A Wild Halloween...

We had a wild and fun Halloween! For about two months Emersyn has insisted on bring Ms. Hannigan from Annie. Radley has insisted on being Peter Pan. I came to terms with not having a theme. It was a struggle.

(and the struggle was real). 

But then... oh THEN... dear readers... they changed their minds and decided that they wanted to go dressed as Wild Kratts. It was the sweetest conversation, really, as they sat and watched the show and they got so excited and so proud of themselves. I really would have been fine with an uncoordinated theme, but not gonna lie... I was thrilled we could dress up as a family. 

Behold... the Wild Kratts.... 

Pretty good, huh?

Landry got to pick the animal she wanted us to be for them to discover and she really wanted to be a butterfly. They also discovered a ferocious, rare white rabbit-cat named Merv. 

Landry really loves Merv. 

The kids also begged me to let them trick or treat through our neighborhood again. This meant that we would miss the annual party at the Baileys house - I couldn't say no. Radley loves having a friend next door and he and Hudson were so cute to watch. 

And Harper is maybe the cutest strawberry shortcake I've ever seen. 

We walked the street, enjoyed the cool weather, and watched the kids get their fill of candy treats. 

Some of Emmy's besties from school live down the street so she was excited to spend the night with them.

I didn't realize my camera was on the wrong setting until I looked at the blurry pics later that night, but check out how fast they went from door to door.


Landry had a chauffeur all night long. She rode in the wagon from house to house and made Mr. Joel stop to let her out. It was pretty adorable. 

Before we realized it the sun began to set... and the REAL monsters began lurking about. 

Good thing we had some "brave" kiddos around!

We also had one of the kids' teachers come along. Emmy had been telling Miss Natali all week that she had to come trick or treating with us, so she did! AND she brought us pizza! Seriously, we hit the jackpot when it came to being surrounded by people that love on our kiddos. 

One last pic from our wild bunch and we made our way inside.

The first thing they wanted to do after changing was organize the candy.

I know. 


They went through their loot and set aside all the stuff they wanted and then we let them stay up late so they could hand out candy themselves which was their favorite treat of the night!

(Ryan and I are currently torturing ourselves with Nightmare on Elm Street, pt. 2)
(How was this every frightening?)
(It's seriously the worst).


On parade...

This morning as CHE's annual Book Character Parade - one of my favorite traditions at Rad's school. I love all the creativity that goes into some of the costume selections and I extra love how much the teachers get into the event. I vote that this becomes a monthly program. 

Landry and Gigi got to come along for the ride again (Emmy was having a fashion show at her school and didn't want to miss it). (Priorities). 

They were all very happy to be able to wear costumes to school - a "best day ever" kind of excitement.

The parade began and we saw everything from Wimpy Kids to Mine Craft kids to cartoon kids. Eventually first grade came around and then we saw my favorite kids.

Especially this kid. He was dressed as Jack from the Magic Treehouse books and if I do say so myself, was the cutest kid there. :) I mean that smile. 

All of his friends were adorable in their costumes.

Kayla the horse rider...

Bethany as Queen Elsa...

Braxton the Minion...

Brooklyn as Queen Elsa…
(yeah, lots and lots of those)

Carlos the race car driver...

Sage, the Queen...


and finally Mrs. Kammerer, the straw house from the 3 pigs. 


We had a fun morning and I can't wait for next year!


Pumpkin Carving 101...

We finally got to carve our pumpkin this week - the kids basically had to wait FOR-EVERRRRR. 
(I'll let you guess which of the three were so dramatic). 

Radley picked which pumpkin was to be sacrificed and I think he made an excellent choice.

Everyone got to join in the fun of cleaning out the goop and getting all messy...

And each kid got to hack into his nose. 

They were more than pleased with the results and couldn't wait to get him outside. 

We tried (and failed) to take a family selfie to remember the special occasion and I think I may use this as my Christmas card. 

We did of course succeed at getting the cheesiest grins around from these three. 

Except I wasn't quite sure who that old kid was in the middle.


Smell my feet...


I'm pretty sure Halloween has caused more of a spike in our social calendar than I anticipated. But I guess these sweet smiles are worth all the running around. 

Our week kicked off with the annual Fall Festival at the girls' school. The kiddos get to dress in their costumes, enjoy some pizza, play games and eat entirely too much sugar. 

The parents get to half-way pay attention to their kids because ALL OF THEIR TEACHERS ARE THERE! 

I'd call that a win. 

There is also a chili cook-off and not to brag, but Ryan was the big winner. Since he couldn't make it, Radley accepted the prize on his behalf (it's hidden behind that fantastic costume.) (Yes, that's his entire costume.) Ryan has "battled" back and forth with one of our friends for the last four years - they keep trading 1st and 2nd place. 

The night is really a great way for the kiddos to enjoy a safe celebration of a fun tradition. 

Mills wasn't fooling around with her coloring. 

By the end of the night, we had colored 1000 small pictures, pinned the nose on a pumpkin, and eaten too much candy.

Oh and made giant messes with our besties. 

We took a break on Wednesday and then celebrated some more tonight at MSC Hospitality's annual Halloween Party! They moved the event outside this year and it couldn't have been more perfect. 

Radley conquered the ring toss...

and was clearly thrilled at this feat.

Landry had no problem putting a spider back in his web (because her eyes were open)...

and Emmy was pretty darn good at the bean bag toss.

There was more coloring...

some eyeball touching…

and of course a ton of smiles.

Now let's bring on Halloween!!


Saturday Mess...

Saturday was a mess. A great big mess. But, like any mess, we cleaned up each spill (and there were lots) and finished the day feeling good. The day was going to be long - Radley's school had a fun run, followed by his soccer game, the usual Saturday activities and then Ryan and I were going out with some friends. I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the end. 

Before we left for the fun run, we had a small incident with a misplaced jacket. A jacket a certain 7-year old SWORE he didn't lose. A jacket that couldn't be found, even after he "looked EVERYWHERE!!!" At a glance, this seems like a small problem. A blip on the spectrum of things you face as a parent. And it was. Except that he has lost said jacket 8530 times, and I was kind of tired of finding it. 

I would like to say that I handled this calmly, but I would be lying. And this blog is about honesty. Instead I said, "Radley. When it is 12 degrees outside, I am sending you to school in a tank top and then I imagine you'll figure out where the jacket is."

It was at the bottom of his backpack. Where he swore he looked and has no idea how I found it there. 

So we drove to school and talked about doing our best - even when it comes to small things like looking for a jacket. And then I prayed out loud in the car - the passive aggressive "Mommy is trying to prove a point" kind. (Because that's helpful.)

By the time we got there, we were all smiles. 

The kids lined up to race by grades, so Rad and his crew were in the back. 

Sage and Bethany were all smiles before the big 1K.


And first grade was off!

Radley finished strong...

and got his finisher's medal!

The day was looking up. 

Until, the 5K.

The race started well enough - the big kids really wanted to run, so we let them, but we told them to stay together and to meet us at the maroon arch when they were done. They were off and ahead and we walked behind with the littles. 

At one point, Jenna and I headed back the opposite direction to meet the big kids and finish the race. We came across Jackson, then Carlos, then Kayla...

No Rad.

Which was odd. They all assured me that he was ahead and I was sure I never ran into him.

I began to panic. 

Really panic. I called Ryan he didn't answer.

I called back. No answer.

I finally got a hold of him and he hadn't seen Radley either. 

I began running. 

Finally my phone rang - Ryan was told Radley had finished and was waiting for us. 

He couldn't have finished. I had seen every runner - and ran almost 1.5 miles looking for him. Holding my camera. (I was so happy about this.)

So, I ran back to the school, where my kid was waiting. 

I was overcome with a mixture of relief and anger. I was obviously happy he was ok, but so confused why he wasn't with the group. 

(The group that he was supposed to stay with.)

He gave us a story about how people told him to turn down a street that they didn't tell anyone else to turn down and he was confused. We weren't really buying it, because he's never been good at lying. Turns out that he was frustrated that he couldn't keep up with one friend but was faster than another friend and didn't want to have to slow down. So he just turned down the street to the school. At the end of it, he was sad that he didn't finish like his friends. He cried and wanted to do it again, but we explained that he missed his chance. And it kind of stinks to see your kid so disappointed in himself. Tear streaked face, realizing that he gave up for one reason or the other. And those lessons are important to learn, but hard to watch. 

We got in the car and headed to the soccer game. Talking and praying again about doing our best and what that means. That it doesn't make us the smartest, the fastest, the greatest... that it just means never giving up. Working hard. Doing what we know how to do. 

And I'd like to say that he got it. That he took it all to heart. But, turns out... Radley doesn't like not BEING the best. And at the age of 7, his way of dealing with it is by giving up. By shutting down. By avoiding it. So, the only shot we have of him from Saturday is in this picture. 

Because there is a boy on his team that plays better than him. And Radley's not used to it. And he gave up. He was tired, he was hungry and he was mad. And he gave up. And, well, when your Daddy's the coach and you give up, you sit out. The entire game. 

With a tear streaked face.

And it leads me to think about all the tear streaked faces I have endured in my life. When I have cried. When I have given up. When I have been disappointed in myself. When I could have tried harder. When I didn't do my best. 

And that happens still. In life. In marriage. In parenting.

And I think about who never gives up on me and how thankful I am that He is with me. That God loves me and believes in me even when I don't love or believe in myself. When I think that there is no one in the world worse at being a wife/daughter/mother/sister/friend than me, He sees me at my best.

What an example to follow in Christ. So Radley, (and Emmy and Landry) know this. Even when you don't do your best. Even when you give up. Even when you don't believe in your skills and abilities.

I do. 

I always will.