Wednesday, October 28, 2009

croppin' and costumes

I had a busy weekend with lots of fun and very little sleep! I drove to Aledo, IL on Friday morning (the 23rd) for a scrapbook retreat, hosted by my friend Mandi. We stayed at The Slammer once again, though we were only there for the sleeping part of our weekend, not the scrapping.

On Friday night, we had a photo scavenger hunt around Aledo. Here are a few pictures from that...

Bridgette, standing on the statue in front of the high school: Some boy from the opposing football team who stole our idea:
Bridgette was our team's driver:
One of our tasks was to go to our friend Mandi's parents' house and take a photo with her mom. This is our team... Lissette, Chris, Bridgette... and Mandi's mom, Dreana:
We had to find this pop machine that is available 24/7 (and bring a can back to Mandi). We got extra points for creative photos, so here is Lissette posing for the camera:
Chris at the phone booth:
Our team had a blast trying to find all the items on the list. (We missed a few. Of course, it would've helped if it hadn't been pitch black out, and if we'd known the area better!) We even won... by one point... and received heavenly chocolate covered strawberries and 20 extra chances to win the door prizes for our efforts! :)

This time, the scrapping portion of the retreat was held at the Aledo Depot:
We all had room to spread out! I was busy and scrapped 32 pages!:

It was a wonderful crop... yummy food, plenty of scrapping time, fun games. The best part, though, was just getting to spend time with my friends!

Here is Laura:

And Jeanne:
and our awesome hostess, Mandi:
Unfortunately, I had to leave the crop early, and head home on Saturday night instead of Sunday. I wish I could've stayed longer, but Nick's Drama Team was performing at church Sun. morning, and I had to get the car back in time to drive him (and the rest of us) there.

The skit (Who Will Be First?) was very cute and all the kids did a great job! Nick played the game show host: Later on Sunday, my sister Christine arrived. She brought the boys' Halloween bug costumes that she's been working on. Ben's was mostly finished, but only the head piece part of Nick's costume was done, so she completed the rest while she was here.

I'm always in awe of Christine's costume design and sewing talent, but this was the first time that I've actually watched her making a costume, and now I am even more impressed! She does it without any patterns at all, only her own creativity. She worked almost nonstop, from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning, with only a few hours of sleep each night. It made MY hands hurt to watch her sew that whole time...:
...especially when she had to sew through leather for the stag beetle legs!:
Here is Nick, modeling his stag beetle costume once it was all finished (there is also a black jumper that Nick wasn't wearing at the time). It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the material Christine used is SO cool (and, apparently, it's a pain to sew!)... it looks red in some light and green in others, just like on a real beetle:
Ben, a very tired Christine, and Nick:
Emm and Christine:
Here is Ben, modeling his tarantula costume. It is so creepy (yet cute) in real life!:
We will even be able to use the tarantula costume in years to come, as a Halloween prop, LOL! The whole reason why Ben wanted to be a tarantula was to freak out his big (spider-hating)sister... heheh... so before Christine left on Tuesday (and after Emmalie had gone to school), we arranged the costume on the floor of her room and closed the door: It definitely startled her when she came home from school that afternoon, LOL!

Monday, October 26, 2009

our little headbanger

Benjamin loves all kinds of music, from country to church hymns to classical to hard rock. He especially likes to dance to his daddy's loud headbangin' music, though! Last night he wanted to show Aunt Christine his moves. She videotaped him through one song and then I recorded this one. We were cracking up!!

This video starts out a bit slow (like the song says, "it goes on... and on... and on"), but then the music picks up (around 2:40) and so does Ben ~ wait for it, it's worth it! LOL! Enjoy! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

fall colors, pumpkins, and apples...

And also lots of rain and cold weather. That's what our October's been like so far.

On the 10th, we headed over to LaMoille, IL to attend a benefit for my Aunt Donna (raising funds to go toward bills for her cancer treatments). We got to see many other family members there.

This is my Great-aunt Darlene, Mom, and Grandma: George, Christine, Nick, Ben, and Emmalie... we'd brought along some cards, and that was a good thing because there wasn't too much there for kids to do!:
Christine, Ben, and Emm play Uno:
We did go outside for awhile (mostly to escape the very loud country music, LOL), but it was c-c-c-cold, so we didn't stay out for long. Dad showed the kids this trail where a railroad used to go through. (He used to walk along the tracks as a young boy.):

Uncle Chuck and Uncle Ron:
Ben and my cousin's son Anthony had a good time playing with toy cars:
One of the events at the benefit (besides two live bands and an auction) was the "Ms. Benefit" contest. Several local men dressed up as girls and were judged on their costumes and their lip-synching. It was hilarious (though not always child-appropriate)! In this picture, you can see one of the contestants, and also my Uncle David in the black cap and Aunt Donna in the purple hat:
Ben's preschool held its open house earlier this month. Benjamin was so proud to show off his room to his dad and siblings! (Mom sees it all the time, LOL.)
I just love the kids' pumpkins! Ben's is in the middle of the top row:
Ben with his teachers:
And showing off the handprint tree his class made:
Last week Emmalie's middle school held Literacy Night, with all kinds of games and activities. Here she is (in the pink coat) with some of her friends, playing Password:
On Oct. 15th, I got to go along on Ben's preschool field trip to the pumpkin farm. Unfortunately, it was rainy and cold:

The kids all stood in front of this Dumbo decoration since they have class in the Elephant Room:
Ben in one of the tunnels, at the soggy playground:
Peeking out of the tree:
We took the kids in the Spook Shed, and I think they were all traumatized for life, LOL!:
Some wet pumpkins and gourds:

On the 17th, the five of us headed to the apple orchard! Again, it was cold, but at least it didn't rain (or snow)! We bundled up good and had a fun time!

Starting off:
Just a little bit of taste-testing:

And lots of picking (we ended up with half a bushel):
This was Ben's first time helping to pick the apples:

Daddy longlegs resting on an apple:
The kids and I went for a tractor ride:
When we'd finished picking, we headed to the orchard's petting zoo. These goats were cracking me up:

Nick loved the alpacas (all the other animals, too, of course):
Ben had a great time at the playground:
and riding this little train:

Before we left, we all enjoyed some apple cider (some had it hot, some had it in slushie form) and apple cider donuts, yum!:
As we headed to the car to go home, the sun peeked through the clouds for just a minute. George told me I should take a picture. He was right: