Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Okay, I'll admit it: I was a little cranky about Halloween this year. The weather has not been great and both of the girls have colds, so I wasn't thrilled at the idea of taking them out in the cold while wearing costumes that didn't protect them.

Thankfully, the weather held up pretty well with not much wind, and we had a great time at the Sapps' house! All of the families met on one of their streets to let the kids have a fun parade and then we went trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. Bella did great and obeyed Steve really well! We tried to get her to say, "Trick or treat, please!", but instead she would walk up to the people and state, "I need candy."

Evelyn was originally going to keep the tradition going of Bella's first Halloween and be a little punk rocker, but we started to get a little nervous that her fake tattoos wouldn't wash off before she gets dedicated this Sunday. (Not the look we're going for when she's in front of the church being prayed over.) I looked online for some ideas and remembered my friend, Ashley, dressed her daughter as a 1980's workout instructor a few years ago, so I decided to go with that. She spent most of the night completely bundled up in her stroller, but it was still a cute, DIY costume!

Bella was supposed to go as Cinderella, but decided at the last minute that she didn't want to wear her princess dress. Steve and I have been working on being more laid back as parents (Who are we kidding? I'VE been working on being more laid back), and one of the things we've been working on is not pushing issues with Bella that aren't a big deal. We just smile and say, "Okay! It's up to you! Just let me know if you change your mind." P.S. She never changed her mind about dressing up. We just told people that Bella was dressing up as Bella this year!

Which brings us to Steve and I. We didn't originally plan on doing anything, but I have to confess that sometimes it's just fun to dress-up! Mel created a simple "tooth fairy" costume to wear to a party with some of her friends, so I was just going to steal her things and do that. She carried around a big, plastic tooth (she works at a dentist's office), and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that while watching the girls, so I figured I'd just go as a normal fairy and wear some fun eye shadow. 

When I started looking online for makeup ideas, I saw a lot of images for Day of the Dead costumes. [Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that celebrates loved ones who have died. Obviously, we don't celebrate this holiday or belief; I just thought the faces looked fun!] The pictures were really beautiful, and I found a tutorial that helped with step-by-step makeup instructions. (Are you sensing a "last-minute" theme to our costumes this year?) Once I got started, it was so much fun! I found big flowers to put in my hair, did my makeup while the girls were napping, and convinced Steve to let me do his face when he got home from work. I loved the finished product! Okay, so we scared a little girl while we were all out trick-or-treating, but otherwise, I loved it!

It made me a little sad that this was so last-minute because I think we could've done really fun things with our outfits! Hopefully, no one thought we were too evil-looking; I don't know if this is weird, but I felt really pretty! (My mom thought we were zombies, but oh well.) I'm seriously considering repeating this next year, and adding outfits to go with it. Maybe Bella would let us paint her face. And then promise not to smudge it...

Tennessee Aquarium In Chattanooga

I could have posted SO MANY MORE pictures of our aquarium trip on Sunday! We've been saving for months to make a family trip to Chattanooga for Steve's birthday. It was so much fun! We had been told many times that the Tennessee Aquarium was much better than the Georgia Aquarium, and everyone was right! I wish the one in TN would have had more large fish, but overall, the entire set-up was just better.

It ended up being a great idea to go on Sunday morning - the aquarium was deserted and it allowed us so much more freedom! Bella was able to run around and explore the exhibits without us worrying that she was bothering anyone else or going to get lost. That aspect alone made it a relaxing, fun trip for everyone! 

We started out in the Fresh Water building; this exhibit was incredible! Bella kept gasping and saying, "Oh my gooooooooodness."

Turtles, "big fish", sting rays...she loved it all!

The piranha exhibit had a periscope-type compartment that you could crawl up into and peek up-close. Here are Steve and Evelyn, snuggling while exploring.

In the rainforest habitat room. It was beautiful! Waterfalls, parrots, and small fish.

Touching the sturgeon. We encouraged Bella to remember the "two finger" rule, but when we looked up to talk to the aquarium employee, she picked up the entire fish! (She chooses unfortunate times to be brave!) Luckily, we were right there to help put the fish back.

Sadly, this is the only picture we got of all of us. (Well, minus Evelyn) Why does this always happen? Our one group shot always turns out fuzzy, washed out...something!

I love Bella's face here! She was so enthralled b the butterfly habitat! We were able to gently catch quite a few and let her see them up close. She was super-impressed that they would sit on our hands!

Mel's about to pick up a huge brown moth. Bella wasn't so sure about his size!

I just love this picture of Bella and Steve!

Pointing out little seahorses.

Evelyn playing with Mel. She loves sticking her little tongue out!

Great picture! I love Steve's iPhone.

Our little baby girl is so aware of what's going on around her! She loved the jellyfish because they moved slow enough for her to follow.

The jellyfish exhibit was stunning! 

I want this picture to say, "My family went to the aquarium and all I got were these silly earmuffs!"

About to go into the IMAX 3-D theater. We didn't actually make Evelyn wear those glasses, I promise.

So, the story about the sea creatures...I was really excited about letting Bella pick out a toy from the gift shop. I had images of her squealing in delight over a fluffy turtle or an adorable polar bear. Well, it didn't exactly go like that; Bella found a bag filled with plastic fish and fell madly in love! We let her choose and she went home so happy! She's been playing with them non-stop all week and even lined them up "holding hands" on the counter when we got home.

The aquarium was a great ending to our weekend! We had a wonderful time as a family and loved the aquarium!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Steve's Birthday Dinner

Tonight was our family birthday dinner with the four of us. Sometimes Steve and I look at each other and chuckle about how different life is now than when we were first married! Instead of romantic dinners down in Buckhead, I'm taping up streamers while Steve runs to the store for his own cake mix. We have so much fun!

Streamers and all the fixin's for tacos!

Sneaking in some kisses before dinner.

Yep. We wore birthday hats. 'Cause we're cool like that!

I had to include this picture because it was our second attempt to get a picture of all of us. Love the hot sauce bottle blocking Evelyn's view!

Bella holding up Daddy's new motorcycle sign from Papa and Mimi.

Daddy and his girls! In some beautiful miracle, all three of them are looking at the camera and smiling!

Bella took this picture, so we were really impressed that it was just a tiny bit blurry.

I let Bella frost the cake all by herself. She did a great job! She ate a ton of icing in the process and the center of the cake got demolished, but still!

I think it was 50/50 for how much icing got on the cake and how much ended up in her mouth.

My turn for birthday kisses!

Evelyn licking off the candle from Daddy's cake. I think this counts as her first official food! She wasn't really sure what to do with it!
[P.S. How great is it that we used a big tapered candle for Steve's cake! The poor guy - his wife forgot to buy him birthday candles.]

The four of us enjoying our cake! It was such a fun night!

Tomorrow is our trip to Chattanooga and the Tennessee Aquarium! Bella is SO excited (okay, we all are!), and she hasn't stopped talking about how "we go see sharks on Daddy's birthday!"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farm Day At Preschool

I think today was Bella's dream come true! There were animals at school - two of her favorite things in the world! We got a note home on Tuesday saying farm animals would be visiting school today and we could dress up in "farmer" clothes for the special occasion.

I ran to Goodwill yesterday to look for a plaid shirt and thought I found a winner with a boy's 4T. When I put it on her this morning, she kind of looked homeless, so maybe it shrunk! She looked super-cute from her waist up! And she looked a little comical from her waist down...that's how we roll.

Posing right after she got her braids done! She was extremely proud of them and kept looking in the mirror.

We're watching Lucie again this week - she's like our third child - so Bella has been extra excited and hyper! Poor Lucie!

On our way...I just loved this picture of Bella with her sunglasses on. I wanted to stick around and watch so badly, but I felt like I shouldn't hover, so I didn't get any pictures of her class with the animals. Miss Cheryl said Bella picked a chicken up by its neck, so she must have felt comfortable around them!

She also came home with a little bit of a bloody nose. I can't even imagine how that happened, but it was clearly an eventful day!

Once we got home, it was warm enough to just play in her tank top. She had some fun playing with flowers and rolling around in the grass!

She looked so cute in her pigtails and braids today, but I couldn't stop chuckling in my head that she looked a little like Snoop Dogg...

It's the braids!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving Party

Can I just say again how much I love this time of year? As soon as September begins, the air gets a little cooler, there are fall parties, pumpkin patches, apple orchards, trick-or-treat, and costumes. (Oh, and Steve's birthday!)

Saturday night was our pumpkin party, and it was a great success! We had about 15 kids and 12 adults - it was a big crowd! Moms and dads carved pumpkins, and the kids painted their pumpkins or played on the swings.We all just hung out in the backyard or around the fire was just what we wanted - a fun, relaxing night with friends.

We used Bella and Evelyn's pumpkins to welcome everyone! They were a big hit!

I made little ghosts out of a cut up pillow case and leftover googly eyes from the girls' pumpkins. I just wrapped squares of fabric around grapevine globe lights I had and it ended up really cute!

Yep, two pictures of the ghosts. I was really proud of them!

Painting pumpkins! Mel and I got in on the fun and painted pumpkins, too!

The kids had a great time and they were so creative with their pumpkins!

Steve and Evelyn watching the fun.

Roasting marshmallows.

One of our friends, Kevin, fixed our swing, so Bella got a ride from Lindsey!

I never got a picture of their finished products, but Kevin and Abby rocked the pumpkin carving! They definitely earned the prize at the end of the night! Kevin carved a Spiderman face and Abby carved the spider insignia...very impressive! And sadly, this is also the only picture I got of the two of them working on the pumpkins. (I really need to step up my picture-taking skills!)

Mel getting some quality time in with Bella and Evelyn.

We ended the night tired and happy! Bella had a few (okay, like 6) meltdowns over sharing her swing with a bunch of other kids, but she's getting the sharing thing down little by little!

The white chili was a big hit, and Mel made the yummiest dips! P.S. I was so thankful at the end of the night that I listened to Mel and used disposable serving dishes! We got the whole place cleaned up with only one load in the dishwasher!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

This is our fourth year of going to the pumpkin patch down the street. The people at the Methodist church are laidback and so friendly, and their prices are wonderful!

We spent the morning cleaning and getting ready for our pumpkin party tonight (pictures to come!), so it was nice to take a little break in the afternoon and visit the pumpkin patch.

Checking out her options...

Her shirt says, "Daddy's Little Pumpkin". Love it!

Bella found one she liked right smack dab in the middle of all the others.

"Helping" Daddy pull Evelyn in the wagon. We were a little impressed that Evie managed to stay propped up!

These days, everything goes in her mouth! And doesn't she look a little worried that big sister is the one steering?

Taking a break to look at traffic. We're still in the "that one's my favorite" stage, so no matter what we're doing or looking at, Bella picks out her favorite.

(yelling) "Mama! Look!"
(whispering) "A spiiiiiiiiiiiderrrrrrrrr..."

Yes, I did lay my baby in the dirt just to get a cute picture! It was totally worth it! 

Sorry, Mom, this was the only picture I managed to get of the two girls together. Bella wasn't thrilled that she had to help Evelyn sit up.

The family! So thankful that Steve is always willing to take part in these little outings with us!