Tuesday, November 30, 2010

november notes

And, in the blink of an eye, November is over! We've had a busy month... here are a few pictures of our November activities:

These photos were taken on the 8th, Ben's last day of gymnastics (for that session). He loves this class so much! Somersault on the balance beam (with some help from Miss Cindy):
Going up!
Flipping over:
One of his favorites, the trampoline:
On the evening of the 17th, we all attended the Swim Team Awards Banquet. This is Emm with her friend and teammate, Alyssa:
Several months ago, I agreed to take Emmalie and Nick to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. At the time, I was thinking that it would be on a weekend or over Thanksgiving Break. It wasn't, though! It was midnight on a school night. George and I decided that we would still let the kids have this treat, especially since they have both been doing so well in school. Emm, Nick, and I arrived at the mall around 8pm. Having never been to a midnight premiere before, we had no idea when a line would start forming. It turned out we could've waited a bit (till 9 or even 10), but we had fun walking around the mall and snapping a few pictures:
Of course, Emmalie was all decked out in her Gryffindor gear, and Nick brought along his snowy owl:
We all enjoyed the movie, and we all managed to stay awake till we got home at 3 am.

We spent the next few days getting ready for Thanksgiving, and on the 24th, the first of our company arrived, George's mom and his brother Nathan. Fran brought me this beautiful Christmas cactus:

Mom, Dad, and Christine arrived on Thanksgiving Day, around noon. Then we feasted! :) We managed to squeeze everyone around the table... Ben and Christine: Mom, Emm, Dad, Nick, Fran:
Nick and Fran (again) and Nathan:
George and me:
When our tummies were full, I forced everyone to get in place for a group picture... :)
Later on, we played a rousing game of Pictionary... and spent much of the time laughing!

What was that about no hand gestures, Mom??

On the 26th, we had an early Christmas! Ben was very excited, and couldn't wait to open his presents. He had several big ones from Grandma Fran:
Emm and Nathan:
Fran, Ben, and Mom:
Emm and Christine:
We spent the rest of the day playing games ~ Apples to Apples, TriBond, and Scribblish. Again, there was much laughter! :)

Our company all had to leave on Saturday, unfortunately. Mom, Dad, and Christine headed out early, but Fran and Nathan stayed till 1pm or so. Nick made pancakes for us, for breakfast:
And the boys arranged Ben's new Criss Cross Crash set so that it had additional thrills for the Hot Wheels cars... a ring of fire, a T-rex, a shark, a squid, and King Kong, LOL:
A new session of gymnastics started up this month, and Ben asked me to enroll him, so I did. We were surprised to find the gymnastics building all decked out for Christmas... too fun!

Now the month is over, and another busy one is set to start! 'Tis the season!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

hectic (however, happy) halloween!

What a busy, busy end of October we had! Most of it was very fun, though, and, as usual, I took a ton of pictures! :)

Earlier in the week it wasn't quite so busy, though I did work on cleaning up the house for company. Nick practiced "his" clarinet (borrowed from our friend Karen). He just started learning how to play at the beginning of the month, but I think he's doing a great job with it!

The boys also made lollipop ghosts to take to school for their Halloween parties:

On Thursday night, the 28th, my sister Christine arrived. We were so happy to see her again!! We were also anxious to see the awesome costumes that she made for the boys this year. As always, they are fantastic!!

On Friday we ran some errands in the morning, and then headed over to preschool for their Halloween parade and party. All of the kids were adorable, but I thought Ben the fly was especially cute. :)
For some reason, the classes only paraded inside the building this year, and didn't go outside as they always have in the past. The lighting was horrible for pictures, and this is really the only photo I got of Ben in the parade:
We did get a group shot of the whole class afterwards, at least:
Next, Christine and I hurried over to Nick's school for his parade and party. Nick (Mr. Albino Pacman Frog) definitely had the best costume there!

Unfortunately, when Nick got home from school a little while later, he was not feeling very well. It turned out that he was running a fever and had a bad head/chest cold. We had plans for the evening, but he ended up staying home and resting.

Around 4, Christine, Ben, and I headed down to Aurora for Emm's final swim meet of the season, a conference meet. It normally takes 45 minutes to get there, but we ended up getting caught in some really bad rush hour traffic, and it took us an hour and a half. We were late to the meet, and JUST missed one of Emmalie's 2 events. The place was PACKED and there was no place to sit. Her 2nd event was to take place near the end of the meet, and we didn't feel like standing in a crowd of people for another two hours, so we ended up leaving without ever getting to see Emm swim. :(

We stopped and got some supper, and then headed to Nick's school (sans Nick) for their Halloween Spooktacular. Ben had been looking forward to it all day.... He had fun playing the games, like "stack the cups":
and the beanbag toss:
Christine, Ben, and I all played several rounds of the cake walk, as well. We each won a plate of coffee cake, plus Christine also won a big cupcake!

On Saturday, we ran a few more errands and then did a quick costume photo shoot because we knew that Sunday would be too busy for one. Here Christine shows off the cool skull and crossbones suit coat (with tails!) that she made for herself. (She also made the tie and cummerbund ~ you can't really tell here, but they have a skull pattern on them as well.):

The Fly:

Playing tag with Aunt Christine:
The Frog:


Frog and fly together:
Hmmm... you look tasty!
Come back here, dinner!
After that, we had a small Confirmation party for Emmalie (again, because we knew that Sunday would be too busy). You can't see it here, but the cake says, "Emmalie, let your light shine." She received the bouquet of flowers from me and George. The wooden plaque and metal cross were given to her by our church:
The (thrilled) confirmand:
Emm and her Aunt Christine, who was her godmother/baptismal sponsor at Emm's baptism when she was 3:
Opening cards and gifts:
Next, it was time for some pumpkin carving! Ben had originally told me that he did NOT want to touch the pulp in his pumpkin and asked if I would scoop it out for him. He ended up changing his mind, though, and scooped most of it out himself!
Nick loved getting gooey!
Christine and Emm:

Ben decided to make a 2-faced jack-o-lantern... with one surprised face:
and one mad face:

Nick made a happy jack-o-lantern, and was proud that he did everything on his own, scooping, designing, and carving:

Emmalie used a pattern to make a witch:

We had an extra pumpkin this year, one that a squirrel planted in our backyard, LOL. It never got very orange, but Emm wanted to carve it anyway....
It looked (and smelled) like canteloupe inside!

I made a vampire pumpkin:

And Christine used a pattern to make this skull:

All of our pumpkins:
That night, Emmalie dressed up as a zombie girl again and headed off to a Halloween party for several hours:
On Sunday, the 31st, Nick was feeling better, but George had caught his cold, and decided to stay home in bed. The rest of us all went to church (Emm had to help with Sunday School), and then we drove over to Walker Brothers for a very yummy lunch!

Nick, Christine, and Emm:
Me and Ben:
We had to take Emmalie back to church by 1 for rehearsal and pictures. The rest of us passed the time by browsing through the pet store, a Halloween store, and the bookstore. Then we went back to church at 3 for the Confirmation ceremony. It was nice but long, with 44 confirmands! After the service I took a few quick pictures:

And then we hurried home to get ready for trick-or-treating! All of us but George dressed up:
Christine and me:
This time Emm dressed up in all her Gryffindor garb:

The boys went to several houses in the neighborhood:

Emm tried to stupefy Christine and me with her wand:

Trick or treat!
Me and my friend, Skull:

After trick-or-treating, we enjoyed some traditional Batwing Soup, then settled down to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, another Halloween tradition.

Christine stayed for part of the day on Monday as well, going along to watch Ben at his gymnastics class, and then she took George (who stayed home sick from work) and me out for lunch at Chipotle, yum. She headed home after that, and we all miss her a bunch!

Now it's November, and I'm sick with whatever Nick and George had. Fun.