November 8, 2016

Halloween Festivities

Halloween seems to be spreading throughout the month of October and so trick or treating began as early as two weeks before Halloween when we went to the "Spooktacular" at the square downtown.  We also went to the library right before that and got to see some creepy crawly animals which was probably the best part of the day.  Then we walked up and got some candy and took pictures in cardboard cutouts and threw some beanbags at things. 

As we were leaving Griz was begging me to let him get his face painted.  The line was super long for that and I told him I'd paint his face at home way cooler than they could.  He finally consented.  The time it took to paint their faces was WAY longer than the line would have but they got a full face paint job instead of just the cheek and it actually turned out really cool! Check it out...

Next Chico wanted a cheetah... He was one wiggly 8 year old but it still turned out cool!

This girl and her faces...
 I didn't think she'd have the patience for a full face job and she seemed fine with this simple job...

Talk about exhausting day, I consented to let the kids carve pumpkins that day.  Luckily Brent was able to help a bit. It helped me keep my cool.

We got candles  a few days later (before they rotted) and it looked pretty sweet!

For the big Branch Trunk or Treat party the kids wanted to be cheetahs.  But I couldn't do a full cheetah costume so we though of them being the Wild Kratts with a cheetah face.  My friend Sandra made these awesome creature power vests for us the day of.  She is awesome!!!
 When it came down to it, Chico didn't actually want to get his face painted. He just wanted to be Martin.
Griz was way excited for his chance to have a cheetah face and to be Chris.
 Sanna was Aveeva and we decided to have her transforming into a butterfly.

I went in to make the creature power discs to velcro on there and Brent came out and took these fun ones up in the tree...

 Considering how wiggly this cute 3 year old is I think the butterfly turned out all right! Such a pretty girl.

The trunk or treat was a lot of fun and they got a ton of candy. People liked my vegetarian chili too, ha ha.  I brought a healthy chili because I'm doing a diet bet this month which has been good so I don't binge on candy.  I'm also exercising a bit more which is good.
We went to a couple trunk or treats on Halloween day itself and they got more candy and even got to sit and eat  hotdogs.  On Halloween day itself Griz decided to be a ninja, Sanna was Aveeva again, and Chico was "a reader" (as in he went as himself with his "Rhea Readers" shirt and brought his book along). Funny kids.
Fall in Tennessee has been quite beautiful and nice temperatures and we've been enjoying it.  It almost makes it hard to leave here (we just have to remind ourselves how awful the summer is and how lame and cold the winter is).  Knowing we're saying good bye to the friends we've made out here is the real hard part though.  They've been there for us for the most difficult two years of our lives and have become like family.

October 29, 2016


My cousin got married and she asked me to be her photographer at their reception. It was beautiful, she was radiant and it was fun to be a part of it.

I loved hanging with the family during the dinner.  I have some dang cute nephews.  

 Seeing my uncle Kelly in these pictures reminds me of my Grandpa so much, I just had to include these pictures on here.  Kelly, I'll try not to cry when you remind me of Grandpa but it's going to be hard.

 My sisters both had fun dance partners.
 My camera was my only dance partner for a while until my brother in law cut in and took my camera instead and let me dance with my nephew.  We didn't dance though, we just cuddled. I had to get my cuddles in because I was flying away the next day and was going to miss this little guy!

When "O" is being babysat and I walk into the room and say "Hi Owen!" he gets all excited thinking I'm his mom and then a split second later he's like, "Oh.... it's you".  Jenni and I must have similar sounding baby talk and we definitely look like sisters.  He always warms back up to me after the initial disappointment of me not being his mom but it's still makes me laugh.


There were a lot of peaches, like a LOT of peaches, at my parent's house so we had ourselves some peach dessert.  In fact this peach dessert was made possible by me taking a couple shoeboxes full of peaches home in my carry on luggage... they got a bit smooshed but not too bad! 
I'll have to share the recipe on here someday, it's divine.


A week or so after we got home from Utah I told Brent I really wanted to go hiking.  We decided on the Nathan Bedford Forest outside of Camden.  It should have been called the Spider Trail.   We were waving sticks in front of us the whole time so we didn't walk right into a web.  Poor Brent was forced to lead, none of the rest of us were willing. He sure got a lot of webs in the face. Our friend from church, Chad, also came along and it was fun having him there and nice having equal adults to children ratio.
Look at that Monster of a spider.  Gives me the creeps.

I felt a bit like a cow, the kids kept stopping me for drinks from the pack.

Such a handsome husband.

Wish we hadn't walked through here.... I'm almost positive this is where we got the seed ticks on us.

We sure had a fun time with Chad along! He's good in the outdoors and funny with the kids.

On the drive home I took off my shoes and noticed the specs of dirt on my feet were moving around and THAT's when I discovered the microscopic ticks.  Brent dropped me off at home while they went to launch the rockets and I immediately set to scrubbing off the microscopic ticks.  I think I was in the shower for half an hour with that loofa trying to get them off. I had to scrape them with my fingernails half the time.  It was awful.  You will see pictures of it all soon. 

Chico's says: "When we got home from Utah we saw a birthday present from Chad. When we opened it that night we discovered that it was a rocket set.  We wanted to put it together right away but Daddy didn't have time right away.  So about a week later he started working on it. We didn't help very much with the rocket but when we got it all together it was very cool. When it was together we went to the Eiffel Tower park  with Chad and launched it.  Then we used the button to launch it and it flew up into the air with a sulfur smell. It had a parachute with it.  It was fun doing all of that.

Turns out I wasn't the only one that got the ticks.  We all did.  Griz got them the worst followed by Brent and I.   Griz had them ALL over his body, that poor kid.  We felt so bad for him.  But how could we have known? They were this big: 
Yes, that speck of dirt in the highlight on Brent's thumbnail was a tick. These "seed" ticks caused itching that rivaled the chigger bites of last summer.  


Sanna being particularly cute as a pirate with a flower eye patch, "rrrr".

(They had a pirate story time, hence the pirate playing, we're not actually that big into pirates at our house)


Lots of studying and math going on around these parts lately....
It must be a good day, he's still smiling...

One of the best things about this school  year so far has been swim team.  It has been awesome seeing how hard the kids work to improve and get better at their strokes.  We went to the pool a lot even outside of swim team to get ready for the first meet.  They only knew front crawl and back stroke when we started and before the meet they learned from swim team, butterfly and breast stroke.  They are hard core man (a.k.a. adorable in my eyes)
This is them at swim team practice:

(Chico is always tightening his goggles)

Chico has just taken to the pool so naturally.  He says he feels like he was made for the water! It makes me so happy that he has a sport that he really truly loves.

And this is their first swim meet down in Millington:
 They write the events on the kids arms so you can keep track of when it's your turn to go up.

Griz can actually dive quite beautifully without hardly a splash.... and then most of the time he looks like a horse jumping into the water, lol.

Chico tightening those goggles again... so glad they didn't break until the week after the meet.

Coach Sarah reminding him how to do breast stroke I think. He seemed to forget in the pool during one of the races so she needed to remind him.

Chico says: "The swim meet was really scary
Griz says, " I was going to dive off the diving board and I had this weird feeling in my mind that I would drown and when I felt like I was going to drown I wanted to not be there. That day I was not happy."
Scratching those dang tick bites.

This cute almost 6 year old amazes me.  He is so hardcore, butterflying across the pool.

 I can't tell you how happy I am that they have this sport they can do together.
Griz says, "And when I got to that swim meet I felt the same feeling that I was going to drown. I was glad it was over."
Ha ha, I guess we have mixed feelings about this... ha ha.


I gave Sanna a much needed haircut.  I've never tried a bob cut before and I was pleased (for the most part) with how it turned out.  She went outside for some soccer and the light was just too good, I had to get some shots of her new do.
I wish I had put Sanna in soccer this year, it would have been so fun for her.

 "Soccer Sanna"

 Griz wanted in on this picture taking action.

Griz had a fun birthday party.  I can't believe he is 6 years old. It totally blows my mind. He picked out all the components for this cake... the halloween "orange" frosting (way lighter than it appeared on the packaging), halloween sprinkles and batman gummies... oh yeah and the inside was a blue velvet cake.  Totally random but he actually ATE the cake instead of just the frosting.  So unlike him! Guess you only turn 6 once and bright vibrant colored cake must be tastier.  

 I couldn't think of any fun games to play for the party (didn't want to do a pinata, or normal kid games) but then I thought of a donut eating contest.  I think those are fun this time of year.  With the party actually being out our house this time it worked out well to do it (thanks to Sandra's help tying them up).  I was busy making pizzas the whole time but Brent got some fun pictures.  I think the continuous pizza making was good for me so I didn't stress out about the amount of children running around in my house.  And it helped me resist eating all the food too, ha ha. I made WAY too many though.  I think total there were...12 pizzas made...? I estimated that it was how many we would need based on the amount Brent and I eat... I guess not everyone pigs out on pizza like Brent and I do.... or maybe they just don't do it in public. ;) am I right? (please tell me I'm right and that we're not the only ones, ha ha)

 There were also cute pictures of the friends eating the donuts but I haven't asked permission from their parents to post them so it's just my kids for now.

The adults also had a donut eating contest and maybe it's good we didn't have the nice camera out for those.  I was holding a baby and so I couldn't take any of the pictures myself.  There were some taken with the phone that I might use for blackmail later, ha ha, just kidding.

And a couple random ones of our beautiful girl that is growing up too fast!