I'm not sure how I manage it, but every year it seems that December 23rd is the day that we wrap up several of our ongoing Advent activities....it can be a little intense.
We made good on our promise to go for Chinese food. We discovered that not a single one of us likes Egg Drop Soup. Good thing we only ordered 7 bowls of it.
But everybody seems excited about the fried wontons...Chinese food's answer to the french fry.
We piled in the van for our "Minivan Express". Strangely enough, this isn't as surprising to the kids as it once was. I think from the trajectory of Everly's gaze, we can safely assume that we had a movie going.
It's not for them.
It's for us.
The Littles were put down to bed for Shepherd's Night and the big kids were off to their adventures with Dad. Sometimes I really love being the one "left behind" to read or hang out in my jammies.
The bigguns headed of to the Ward Ice Skating party that always starts at 9 pm.
Wah? 9 PM???
Despite Mathew's sore bickies, I'm pretty sure they had a great time.
As far as trios go, this one was perhaps on the untraditional side.
We through this one together for the Ward Christmas breakfast and even though we were unsuccessful in convincing Ethan to join us with his trumpet and we forgot to bring Mathew's music at the last minute, we pulled it all of and it's one of my favorite memories.
Every year in early November we start rehearsals for the Stake Nativity display. Adult choir, youth choir, children's choir and full orchestra rehearse for weeks to put together 3 nights of Christmas music in one weekend.
I look forward to it every year.
I'm not sure everyone in the family feels the same.
I'm learning to embrace it when it comes, because it typically doesn't last very long.
Halloween is over and we just put it all away....all FIVE totes of costume and spooky craziness and I had one sad little tote to get out for Thanksgiving. Half of that was filled with an old eighties-style wreath featuring a wooden turkey head.
So I've been on the lookout for some Thanksgiving ideas that I can produce with minimal cost or things I have on hand.
The last couple years we have done the "Thankful Tree" which looks kind of like this:
But I didn't love having to move it on and off the table for every meal.
I saw this one and I liked the idea of the picture frame and having it be in a less high-traffic area, but I miss the tree part.
So I was on the lookout for a frame at the thrift store that would let me do a kind of tree-in-a-shadow-box kind of thingy....
Then I found this cool cork board for 3 bucks!!! And I had a 20% off coupon....shebang!
I twisted up some brown lunch bags I had in the pantry and stapled them right to the corkboard to form a tree with several empty branches.
Then I made a little bag out of a couple leftover burlap pendants (stapled together, of course), and filled it up with some dollar store leaves and a box of brass thumbtacks. If I didn't have a sneaky 2 year old and a very capable 4 year old, I would also include a sharpie....but for now I will keep that in a high and top-secret spot.
It wouldn't be a Hufford Halloween without my pre-Halloween costume photos, now would it?
I will forever maintain that if I were to wait until the actual day of Trick or Treating to try to get these pictures, many people wouldl end up in tears....and most of the photos would involve dirty costumes and suckers stuck in hair.
Ain't nobody got time for that.
But we DO have time for a 13 year old pirate. I cannot tell you how happy in makes me that he still wants to dress up and that even though we showed up to the ward carnival and he was the only teenager that wore a costume, he didn't skulk off to the bathroom and stash his pirate dreads.
Way to hold your head up high, buddy.
Don't ever let anybody make you feel embarrassed for wearing your little sister's pirate pants from her 4th grade musical.
Ethan and his good buddy, Christopher.
Mathew went as a Royals player. I KNEW I was smart to hang on to those baseball pants even though we have never needed them for actual baseball! A little part of me (my inner hoarder) just grew a few sizes larger.
Mathew has no problem posing for the camera.
No problem at all.
Megan decided to (finally!) go as a gypsy. This was a costume we worked on two years ago and then it got bumped at the last minute for something else....probably a black cat.
I think she's a beauty.
I will now start brainstorming ways to ugly her up before she turns 16.
Laney settled on being a "China Girl".
Now, I'm fairly certain that being a "China Girl" isn't very PC....we are possibly offending somebody out there....but, hey....
She's doin ya proud, huh?
Anna decided on the pumpkin suit. We have two and although they are identical in every way, she was adamant that this is the one she wanted. I want to eat her up!
Everly is a little pirate girl....without the hat. She wanted to wear the hat for approximately 4 seconds and tossed it. 5 years ago, I would have done everything in my power (and I did) to get a photo with her (Laney) in that hat.
Now I just don't have the energy to fight that particular fight. Instead we are going with Pirate Pigtails.
And it's possible she thinks it's prayer time.
Which, just like actual prayer time, only lasts a few seconds and then she's on to more interesting things.
After 2 solid hours of running the fishing booth and allowing our children to enjoy the games and trick or treat completely unsupervised by a responsible adult, we sat down for the chili cookoff.
I don't know who won because a)We didn't enter b) I wasn't listening c) Let's just eat it.
Fred and Dylan Clarke are the only other adults that dressed up....I was sporting my Where's Waldo costume from yesteryear.
That officially makes us the 3 most righteous people in the ward.