Friday, October 29, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

The time had come to get serious and carve up some pumpkins.

But first we needed a little sustenance.

Now....time to carve!

I have thankfully surrendered to reality and given up the need to control what/how/when my kids go about carving their personal pumpkin. It has saved us all a great deal of anxiety. This way I get to focus on mine and anyone else who can't wield a small, orange-handled, wavy-bladed safety carver.

That's just Laney this year. Although she did communicate to me her preference for a round nose and fangs. I was happy to oblige.

Mathew went minimalistic.

Ethan executing his vision for a scary jack-o-lantern.

Meggy did alot of her own carving this year and then went crazy with the Sharpie marker. She was jealous of Marks when she saw that he opted for heart shaped eyes and nose. She was kicking herself for not thinking of it first. Bummer.

All in all, it was a successful carve.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

School parties done right.

Back in Arkansas we were brainwashed into believing that Halloween parades were a thing of the past. In fact, the kids weren't even allowed to dress up. For shame!

But here they not only dress up, they disrupt each others valuable classroom time by walking throughout all the classrooms in one large kid-snake. I love it and it reminds me of the kid-snakes of my childhood. The parents were invited to set up camp in various spots throughout the school. It was fun! And it was also were we realized the error of judgment we had made in our choice of the Dorothy costume. Dorothys are a dime a dozen around here.

First we spotted Mathew:

He was without his ninja swords because they were considered "weapons" and therefore banned from the school grounds. I can see that.

Then Ethan:

Megan attends morning Kindergarten, so we went to her parade and her classroom party earlier in the day. I have to admit she is one cute kitty.

This is her teacher, Mrs. Reves. One thing I have to mention about her is that she never ever ever stops talking like a kindergarten teacher. It's mind boggling. She talks to me the same way she talks to her students...even when I'm the only one around! It's a little weird...but I respect her commitment. And she is FANtastic at what she does.

Then there's Mr. Kerney, the principal. Hands down the best principal in all the land. Here he is letting the kids turn him into a toilet paper mummy. We love him. I was told that recently he let the kids turn him into a fruitcake. They met certain requirements and so they got to cover him with eggs and flour and sugar and milk. Isn't that seriously awesome?

Here is the Mega Kitty getting ready to embark on her parade. Laney and I trailed along and "brought up the rear". Gotta love that saying.

Oh...and just for good measure..check out these very awesome glasses Laney was stylin:

Now that is a Sonic toy I can support.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Costumes - the preview (oooh aaah)

A few years ago I got smart and started taking pictures of the kids' costumes ahead of the big day. It worked like a charm because I simply forget to do it on Halloween. There is too much candy, too many parties, too much trick or treating to do on the thee day. Then I'm left with the task of forcing them back into there sticky costumes to satisfy my photo needs. And who wants that? no one. not a single one.

Ethan chose the "Pit Crew"

I love the poses that they come up with for themselves. Like this: Chin resting on drill and scratching head. Awesome.

Mathew chose the ninja.

We paired this outfit with the deadliest of his blue church socks.

Megan wanted the black cat. Then we bought all the stuff for it. Then she wanted to be an angel. then she wanted to be a princess. So she was a black cat.

Laney started the day as Dorothy. She liked it well enough, but I had totally forgotten that when you live in Kansas, there are going to be alot of Dorothys. Also, it was a little chilly for bare legs.

So we dug out the monkey costume of Halloweens past! It was perfect and she really loved the banana necklace. Who wouldn't?

Not a bad year. Everyone was warm and full of sugar.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Troop 3783

A new state....a new troop!

This is Ethan's first pack meeting as a member of Troop 3783. He received his swimming belt loop and a silver arrow point.

Then they did a great skit using their homemade instruments.

His den leader is Emily Gammon and she's great!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Another side effect of moving to a new town. You are starting from scratch when it comes to holiday traditions. We no longer have a solid foundation of trial and error from which to make our decisions on where to go for this years pumpkin patch/Christmas lights/horse and carriage ride/fill in the blank.

So we asked around and finally settled on Weston Red Barn Farm. It seemed to be a nice compromise. Mark and I differ on what makes a pumpkin patch a GOOD pumpkin patch. He likes low key, pick your pumpkin and get outta there. I like the maze, the train, the hayride, the corn cannon the petting get the idea. The more we can do....the better!

By the time we drove out there, it was looking like it was going to start raining and the wind was really picking up. We scored an awesome parking spot when the attendant took one look at my hugeness and directed us to a handicapped spot. You know it!

We strolled around and perused the animals and tried to decide whether we would spring for the hayride out to the patch where you would pick your own pumpkin (from the vine!). I romanticize things on a regular basis and this sounded like something I would like to do. The kids were seduced by the rows and rows of huge pumpkins and my frugal side gave in. We picked a family pumpkin and took a few photos. We did a little window shopping in the barn stuffed with over-priced craftiness awash in fall colors. Rather that finding a treasure or two, I found myself saying, "I could make that for a couple of bucks" over and over and over. I did consider a very snazzy butter dish, but in the end didn't think having a turkey on top of my butter dish would work for everyday use. frugality frugality.

It was a beautiful place and excellent for the photo ops.

When all was said and done, we bought most of our pumpkins at Walmart for 2.50 apiece. It made it much easier to hack into them a week later.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A day with the kids

It was one of those days.

The really good kind. The kind that makes you tired to the bones and feel that you might want to drop yourself off at the Labor and Delivery ward on the way home. I'm positive I could forge a doctor's note confining me to bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I'm working out the details in my mind right now.

We were given Thursday and Friday off for Parent/Teacher conferences. The conferences were inevitably a mere afterthought by the time we finished our "what should we do?" planning session over breakfast. The suggestions:

A bike ride (We live 2 blocks away from the Indian Creek Trail system which is GOR. GEOUS.) Unfortunately, after our 6 mile ride last Saturday, I almost went into labor. So....we'll leave that one for Dad to carry out.

Chuck e Cheese. I have been unsuccessful in convincing them that Chucky only lives in Arkansas. Those kids have the eyes of an eagle when it comes to locating gaming establishments for the underage set. Blast you, Chuck.

Go to Wal-Mart. Really? REALLY? After all the precious hours of our lives we have spent there in a vain attempt to be entertained in our dear, sweet, Arkansas? REALLY?

Get a library card. Now this is something I think I can do. Does anybody know where the library is? Please tell me it exists in my 10 square mile "safety zone".

Go to Science City. Oh, yes. I can handle this. I'm sure my GPS can get us there and we already have a membership to Union Station, so it is free. AND there are benches all over that place so I can reasonably expect to park my pregnant behind for the majority of the time. An occasional head-count and a periodic "Oh, yes! That is a big dino!" will get me through. A win-win.

Go to the park. Can we count the park that you pass by on your bike ride with Dad?

In the end we did most of the stuff they wanted to do. Thursday was consumed by running errands, attending conferences and paying my children all the allowance I owe them after forgetting for 5 weeks. I'm not ashamed to say that we bought "How to Train Your Dragon" dvd on Monday and it has been viewed alot. ALOT. Totally worth 20 bucks. Unfortunately they now all want to be various viking/dragon characters for Halloween. That will end up costing more that 20 bucks. So we'll probably just get down the Halloween boxes and see what we can dig up from the costumes of yesteryear. I'm positive that vikings and dragons were close and personal friends with horses, giraffes, ninjas and Dorothy.

This morning we hit Chuck e cheese at 9 am. The only time to go. The kids had the place to themselves and the manager is still in the process of testing all the machines. That means he leaves a trail of abandoned tickets in his wake and my kiddos think it's Christmas. Thanks to you, Mr. Manager. Every Hufford child now has one more plactic ring and rubber frog to add to the pile of treasures destined for the Salvation Army next week. It truly is better to give than to receive.

Then to the library.

Then to lunch with Mark and Chartreuse Caboose (philly steak heaven).

And on to Science City. Played with the musical trash cans, bossed other kids around at the water station, brushed the dino bones out of shredded rubber mulch, played a game of chess, and soon it was time to whip out my secret weapon....the only way to get your kids to leave without a fight...."Who wants to go pick out some candy?"

Oh, yeah....that's right. Nary a tear was shed.

We went to one of those great candy stores where you can find such treasures as Neapolitan coconut thingies....and miniature gummy bears, and Tootie Frooties. Not to mention the rootbeer barrels and the peachy penguins. My only rule is you can't pick anything we see in the checkout aisle. No skittles or m&m's. Let's go for the candy legos and gummy lobsters. It's ridiculously expensive (8 bucks a pound?) but they validate for parking so I figure it's for a good cause. And off we go!

Happy kids full of sugar watching the dragon movie for the 15th time in the car on the way home.

I'm thinking it was a great day and the only thing that would make it better is to drop myself off at Labor and Delivery on the way home.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The tell tale potato

Perhaps you aren't familiar with one of the true indicators of "It's time to move".

The forgotten potato.

2001 - Leaving Utah (don't laugh. I was chunky and pregnant)

2010 - Leaving Arkansas (this one has already developed leaves. Yowza)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mathew sings!

Mathew was in choir this year!

Pro: Their first concert was just days before our move to Kansas City.

Con: I had to buy him this blue polo with a big "BCSA" embroidered on the front. This will be the first and last use of the shirt. Blast!

He sang his heart out and I was glad he was able to do it. I was also glad we brought the ipod for Laney to play with. A good time was had by all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just one small detail

Now that we are here....there is just one thing that will need to change. Unfortunately, it is slathered all over a 20 foot wall.

Thank you, Mark for being willing to risk climbing that rickety ladder to save our retinas from the baby poo walls. I love you, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A different place

Things are different.

I walk the kids to school now. We used to have a 15 minute drive into the next town. This was not conducive to a happy mother when homework/coats/lunchboxes were forgotten. Now? No sweat.

I have yet to venture outside our 10 square miles. Within that boundary is a Walmart, the school, the church, Home Depot, my doctor and hospital. Pretty much everything we need to survive indefinitely.

We left one cul de sac for another. The kids here come out to play but I haven't gotten a sense for the dynamic with the grownups. If the other moms are out watching kids, is it presumptuous to come park my chair in their driveway to have a chat? Do we do that here? Or do they prefer a "you in yours and me in mine" approach? Only time will tell.

I miss you, Jen and Heather. We had already worked all that out. It was awesome.

Church was hard. The kids took to it like fish to water. Mark was stoic. I was on the verge of tears the entire 3 hour block. Luckily there were two very perceptive young moms - Emily and Regina - that must have smelled my sadness. They used their "someone's having a hard time" radar and located me every chance they got and helped me to feel like my world hadn't actually come to an end.

I miss you Rogers Ward Ladies. I'm the NEW ONE now. It's hard. I'm hoping I'll get over it. I will....right? Right?

Our stuff doesn't fit this house. I'm seriously considering furnishing the "family room" with large bean bags. I have visions of getting stuck in one of them while nursing the new baby. But perhaps that's preferable to our current "find a cozy spot on the tile floor" situation. And who puts TILE in their family room anyway? Brrrrr....

But lest I sound like I'm regretting the move, I do love the school and the area is beautiful. I know over time it will start to feel like home. Everyone so far is healthy and feeling positive about the future.

Now, if only I knew where to park my chair.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

A 4th grade musical

Exactly 4 days after his first day of school, Ethan took part in the 4th grade musical, "Go West!"
It was one of those moments when I fell in love with the school.We didn't have much of this at's something I've really missed. It was so well organized and the kids knew all their parts and songs.

With only a few days to learn it all, Ethan really had his work cut out for him. He sang his songs to us over and over. He graciously turned down the offer to be one of the dancers, however. Can't say I blame him. That's pushing it.

There was even a little girl that played the part of Brigham Young. I could never figure out which one she was, but she was in the program. That would have been interesting.

Our first program!
We are officially public schoolers! YEEHAW!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The beauty of verbal communication

Do you know my 2 year old?

Are you familiar with her mode of communication?

If so, you are aware that she is (in her words) a "good talker".

"I good talker!"

Her personal style consists of the syllable "uh" with key words peppered throughout. Something along the lines of this: "I uh uh go uh uh uh bikewide wif Dad". It is seriously cute and surprisingly effective.

Yesterday she was upset about something and finally managed to wrestle my attention away from the eleventeenth box I was unpacking in order to say...

"I uh uh bee uh uh nose."

I have to say that I highly doubt a bee could fit up that tiny nostril, but I have learned long and hard lessons as a mother and one of them is that it is easier, faster and substantially less painful to humor the child when it comes to owies than to attempt to convince them that they aren't hurt.

So I pressed my finger to the other side of her nose and told her to "blow!"

I fully expected nothing to emerge.

I was wrong.

I'm a B-liever.

Laney, you is a "good talker".

Saying goodbye

After we had packed everything up, we didn't have all of the necessary items to cook a meal at our house, so the Youngs invited us over for dinner. It was wonderful! They have been such good friends of ours and our children have known each other all of the their lives.

Ethan and Lyndee are born only weeks apart and probably don't remember a time that they haven't been friends. They really "get" each other and have always had a good time pretending to be horses and pioneers. Jen and I secretly hope that they'll end up together raising horses and running a farm. Did I embarrass anyone by saying that? Oh good. That's the point of blogging, right?

Megan and Katelyn have also been lifelong friends and are probably the most attached to each other. They were both so sad to say goodbye. Unfortunately, these tears are because they just had a big fight over the swing. Love hurts.

And then their's Laney and Brookie. Sometimes you just gotta squeeze the pain away.

Me and Jen. I'll miss you, girl. But somehow, I have a feeling we'll stay in touch and always be friends. Thank you for all you have done for me over the years. Now move to Kansas City! That's what a REAL friend would do, ya know.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ok, so I give up.

No matter how many times I tell myself that not only do you all not care that I have skipped blogging about the major summertime milestones, you don't even know. Am I right? So I officially give myself permission to forget about it. If I get around to it, I'll get around to it. But the pressure to get caught up is causing me to avoid my blog like the plague.

It's unacceptable!

Because we are going through some major life changes and I have stuff to say about it.

For now, I am going to say this....

In our final days of living in Arkansas, I felt truly loved. Really, truly, loved.

It seemed like whenever there was a need, whether anticipated or spontaneous, one of my dear friends or neighbors or family members simply rose up to meet it. Usually without being asked and always with a smile and the spirit of giving.

So I want to say thanks. You have no idea what it meant to me to feel so cared for and feel like we would be missed. Thanks for the meals, the cookies, the babysitting, the loaning of vacuums and carpet cleaners and the hard work of cleaning a home that has been lived in for almost 9 years. You are all phenomenal and I love you.

I really miss you.