Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feeling thankful...

I have many blessings in my life to be thankful for, especially family and friends.  We were all happy that my mother-in-law Fran and brother-in-law Nathan were able to drive out here for a few days and spend Thanksgiving with us!  We had a good time with them, as always. :)  Here we are at dinner on Thanksgiving Day, November 24th...

Ben, Fran, and Emm: 
Nathan and Nick:
George and me:
A sampling of our feast, which turned out yummy, if I do say so myself!
We had dinner AND a show.  Ben regaled us with a puppet/stuffed animal concert after we ate:
Ben and Nick and the wishbone:

Ben gets to make a wish:
Later that day, we had our first Christmas celebration of the season!  Fran had brought along gifts for all of us.  Ben was the first to open one:
A guitar!  (A Cars guitar, even!)
 Cool!  Thanks, Grandma Fran!!
Emmalie's turn:
Nick opens one:
Train books for George:
Nathan's turn:
We all received wonderful gifts from Fran.  Among other things, she gave me two new penguin figurines for my collection ~ one an Isobel Bloom and the other made from blown glass! :)

We played lots of games when Fran and Nathan were here, including Apples to Apples and Five Crowns:
And we put together this K'Nex rollercoaster set that Fran gave to Benjamin.  (Okay, there's no "we" about it ~ I didn't help at all, just watched!)  George and the boys worked on it off and on all Friday, and finally finished it around 11pm.  It's fun to watch!
Yesterday after lunch, Fran and Nathan headed back home.  We miss them already, but hope to see them at Christmas!

Monday, November 07, 2011

apples, pumpkins, and dinosaurs, oh my!

October was a busy, busy month, and I'm just now getting around to sharing photos from the second half.  (Now that it's almost the middle of November!) 

On the 15th of October, the five of us went apple picking at Royal Oak Orchard.  Here's Ben, Nick, Emm, and George on the hay wagon ride out to the apple trees:

Many of the good apples were high up, so Nick stood on George's shoulders to reach them:
Got one!
We ended up picking half a bushel of yummy apples:

The Royal Oak:
It's a big tree!
When we'd finished picking apples, we visited the petting zoo:

and the playground:
and we also sat in front of a roaring fire and enjoyed some apple cider and apple cider donuts, yum:

All three kids conked out on the way home!  (I couldn't get a good shot of Nick from where I was sitting, however.)

The kids and I had fun decorating our house for Halloween.  Here are just a few shots of our spooky decor:

I got this idea from a book on decorating for Halloween.  I used vellum to make "masks" for the kids' pictures:

On the 23rd, Ben performed in his very first play, along with his Drama Team at church, "The Fruits of the Spirit".  He played a judge at a county fair:
On the 27th, Ben made lollipop ghosts for his classmates (I helped tie the ribbons.):

That evening, we all went to a choir concert at Emm's school.  The Community Choir that both Emmalie and I are in sang two songs:
And the high school choirs (including the Chamber Choir that Emm is in) sang several songs, as well.  (She's the one in the peacock feather mask.):

On the evening of the 28th, I took the boys over to Ben's school for their Halloween Spooktacular event.  Both Ben and Nick wore costumes from two years ago:

Ben had a lot of fun playing games:
and making crafts:

Nick liked this monster that one of the classes had built in the hallway:
On the 29th of October, Christine came to visit ~ yay!  We were all glad to see her again and to celebrate Halloween with her! :)  We were also excited to see the very cool dinosaur costumes that she had made for Nick and Ben!

That evening, Emmalie had a Halloween party with several of her friends.  We made cupcakes for it:

as well as meringue bones and a Jello brain:
The kids and I also created a mini haunted house in our back hallway:

Emm dressed up as a fairy, using a mask she painted, a dress we bought at Salvation Army, and wings from the Dollar Store:
I was a witch:
Christine, the scary jester:
Ben the T-rex with Tori the cat:
Nick, trying some brains:
George the zombie... "Braiiiiins!":
Emmalie and her friends played some games, like "Murder":
and bobbing for donuts:

(Ben discovered that it's very difficult to bob for donuts when you don't have any front teeth!):
The girls also told some spooky stories and then watched the movie "Sweeney Todd".

The next morning, we went to church.  All the Sunday School kids were wearing their costumes.  Here's Ben the T-rex with his friend, Ben the stegosaurus:
After the church service there was a special Trunk or Treat event out in the parking lot.  Emmalie and I had a Harry Potter-themed trunk:
while Christine and Nick had a zoo theme going on:
George took Ben Trunk-or-Treating:
T-rex in the bouncy house:
When we got back home on the 30th, we carved pumpkins:

Emm with her Trick or Treat pumpkin:
Nick and his Cyclops pumpkin:
Christine and her cobra pumpkin:
Me and my vampire pumpkin:
Ben and his witch pumpkin:
All the jack-o-lanterns:
That night, we watched the movie "Little Shop of Horror", and got ideas for next Halloween! :)

On the 31st, Christine and I walked Ben to school:
 Later, there was an all-school costume parade.  Here is the Kindergarten class:
 After the parade, Christine and I attended the Kindergarten Halloween party:

 T-rex plays BINGO:
 T-rex practices writing words:
 Ben and the crossing guard after school:
 T-rex in the graveyard:
 T-rex in the foliage:
 Posing for Aunt Christine:
 Nick the velociraptor.  This costume is even more incredible in person!!:

 Don't let the friendly pose fool you...
 Velociraptor vs. Baby T-rex:
 Baby T-rex didn't stand a chance...
 The boys with their amazingly talented Aunt Christine:
 Me and my dinos:
 Spooky sisters:
 Dinosaurs trick-or-treating:

 T-rex and his candy haul:
 Pumkin bowling:

Emmalie (who missed much of the Halloween festivities, due to play practice and homework) with Christine:

That night, we had our traditional Batwing Soup supper and watched "The Nightmare Before Christmas".  It was a fun Halloween, and we were all so happy that Christine got to spend it with us! :)  Now we are looking forward to seeing her again this month, along with my parents, Leah, Fran, and Nathan!