Monday, September 26, 2016

'Tis The Halloween Season

I've raised my freak flag pretty high again this year as I'm working hard to put together another great family costume. In the meantime, I'd like to share some of the pictures from last year's family Halloween costume theme....Shrek

As you know, we go all out over here for Halloween. It started four years ago with Toy Story

 Next came Dr. Seuss

then Willy Wonka

Alice in Wonderland

and Beauty & The Beast

Here's the details---all costumes except for the Belle dress were assembled/hot glued/sewed from scratch or existing clothing items. Since I do not sew (but plan to learn) I hit up the local childrens consigment shops where I can inexpensively turn a nothing into a something. Take for example, Chance's beast coat--it was originally a size 10 girls blue blazer, that we cut and trimmed and bedazzled it up to look like just like the beast.

The Cogsworth costume was made from foam with wood looking material glued to it! It's amazing what can be done without actually sewing. I made the top of the clock out of foam and felt and glued it to a brown sweatshirt he wore underneath.


Here's the video from our photo shoot:

Last year we kicked it up a notch and did the cast of Shrek!

This theme was so much fun!

I mean, can you even with his hoofs? So funny!

While I look forward to the years when our themes can be wild and crazy, I think I'll always cherish these magical childhood years when my kids are still young and so full of imagination.

This is what Halloween is all about.  

Here's our video from the Shrek Halloween shoot--you've got to see it:

If you have any costume questions please leave a comment and stay tuned to see what we've got up our sleeves this year!

Happy Halloween!

My Addiction

(deep breath. deep breath. here goes)

finally realize it's a problem. It's always been there, for as far back as I can remember, it's been there. I'm sorry if this seems very unlike me and straight forward but I just need to get it out.

See, I've learned not to blame anyone but myself. What was so easily typed out just now, was actually a difficult and often painful realization. And the sad truth is that it's getting worse. I'm getting worse. And now I've got kids who watch me. Who watch my every move.

How do I look them in the eyes and tell them their mother is an addict? How do I admit that I can't seem to get enough? Of the candy corns and the pumpkin muffins. The acorns and the gourds. Don't even get me started on the mums, man.

Duuuuuuude, can you pass the Autumn? Mama, needs another hit. 


Eugene and I, in what can only be described as an all-out bender, got the ultimate autumnal high by taking the kids to Door County, Wisconsin for the annual Sister Bay Fall Fest.

It don't get any Fall-er than this!

We discovered Door County three years ago and vowed to come back again. 

We rented a two bedroom, one story townhouse that had the perfect amount of hiding spaces to keep the kids intrested. Can I jump on the bed Mom? Sure, why the hell not, it's not my house. God I love vacation me--so cool, so laid back. Can we make a fort Mom? Of course you can! Here's 43 blankets and an hour of time, go! 

The Fall Fest was just as we remembered, crisp fall air, warm apple cider, brats on the grill and corn on the cob.....

Zombie marching bands

and parade loot.

After the parade was over we got ourselves some local pumpkin beer (which was delicious) and took the kids to the park, which was smack dab in the middle of the fest. 

The sun was shining, Indy was sleeping quietly and cozy in the stroller, Mia was searching for ladybugs, Bella was lost in her imaginary world, Chance was lovin' the slide and Eugene and I just sat back, relaxed and got on the most amazing buzz. The kind of buzz that keeps you laughing. The kind of buzz that feels so wrong when it's 11AM but yet so, so right. It was hilarious. And fun. And it felt like college again. I, of course, got so paranoid that all the other parents were totally judging us, but we didn't care. Our kids were having the time of their life! It's not often that I take the kids to the park for an unspecified amount of time. They kept looking over at me, with a sad and desperate look like now mom, are we leaving now? only to find me smiling and laughing, a reassurance that playtime can commence. They played in that park FOR OVER 2 HOURS, which for us is like a playground eternity. And Eugene and I just sat back and watched it all.

Speaking of sitting, everywhere in Sister Bay benches are dedicated in someone's honor--a detail that I found so endearing. For a brief moment I wondered who John Anderson was, since he "supported" us and all our goofyness that afternoon. Was he a father or even a grandfather? Did his family chose the bench facing the park for a reason? It was also facing Lake Michigan, which isn't a shabby view either. These benches say more about this town than any tourism brochure could ever do-- sit, relax and remember. 

Mark my words family, I want a bench someday.

I love that our weekend getaways have become almost a necessity for us. Getting away from our comfort, isolating ourselves, tuning out and turning off is just what our family needs. 

Jeez, I've spent 5 minutes typing about family and I'm already jones-in' to write more about Fall. First stage is admittance, Gina. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. Truthfully, there just isn't enough time to APPRECIATE the fall season. If I were in charge I'd take an entire week (or 2) and just escape with my family like we did this past weekend and spend our days baking, and hiking and taking in every blessed color around us. It's a sin not to enjoy it. Until the leaves have fallen and the sky turns gray, I'm going to ride this high for as long as I can.

And sure, in two months when my buzz is killed and the snow brings on irritability, cold sweats and restlessness, I'll be comforted in knowing that my detox will eventually get better. I may have to wait 10 months, but the score will be worth it.

Note to my children-- if you're reading this years from now I hope to god you know what a metaphor is. If not, here's our vacation video to distract you:

A Mother's Promise

Eight years ago I began a journey that I had waited for since I was 5 years old. Those 1980 adventures of cradling, hugging, burping and singing to my dolls gave me a blinded confidence of motherhood that I've carried with me always.

There are certain moments in life that are so completely crystal clear that it becomes impossible to forget them. Trust me, some I'd like to forget but can't and then there's some moments that I cling so tightly to when I find myself questioning my strength. Here's one--February 27th, 2006, the eve before I became a mother. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and not just because I was a swollen mess but because I knew this was it. The moment I had waited for. I laid there next to Eugene, the absolute love of my life and realized that though he and I rely on each other for pretty much everything, only I can be her mother. I had spent the last 9 months reading every book published on taking care of children-yet not one of them taught me how to be a good mother. Sure, I could recite the step by step instructions to getting rid of a nasty diaper rash but how to be a mother your children would respect was freakin' foreign to me. Still is, sometimes.

I laid awake for hours that night, my last remaining moments as a care-free, irresponsible adult wondering what type of mother I wanted to be. And as nervous as I was about my c-section scheduled only hours away, the excitement started to build. The excitement that had been suppressed for so many years. This was my time. This was what I was going to kick ass at. I had no idea how, but I knew that I would.

That following morning, my new journey began.

On my last day in the hospital I met a woman who lead a new mom's group and she encouraged me to attend once I was released. I politely thanked her and stuffed her card among all the other breastfeeding pamphlets and postpartum fact sheets into the plastic hospital bag that laid on my bedroom floor for a week after I returned home.

After feeling an overwhelming sense of cabin fever I searched for her card and attended my first class. It felt great to get out of the house and it felt reassuring to hear that other moms felt the same way I did. We laughed, we confessed and we were given a homework assignment. What the hell?! As if waking up every three hours wasn't enough HOMEWORK, I needed to add this to my to-do list. I think I even rolled my eyes when I heard it.

Write a promise to your new child, a motherhood mission.

As the days followed after that meeting I knew that I would regret it if I didn't write it down. This was my chance to put it in writing. So on March 9, 2006 I did--and I'm forever grateful for that woman who made me do it because it has kept me grounded ever since--well, for the most part. And in case our house goes up in a nasty flame and I lose the frame these words are held in, here they are...

A Mother's Promise

Right now I am your leader. I believe that leadership is more important than friendship. But rest assure Bella, we will be friends one day. The very best of friends.

I believe the biggest form of punishment is stifling a child's freedom of expression. I want to support you in all that you do and help guide you to make the best decisions for yourself.

I believe that laughter is essential to having a happy family. I hope that we laugh every day.

I believe that helping others helps yourself. Bella, be thankful for what you have and know how important it is to share your wealth with others.

Respect yourself. I believe this just may be my undying quest for you. Always, always, always respect yourself. And your mother :)

Integrity. Live everyday with integrity Bella. This is such an important quality to have. This is why I fell in love with your father.

Right now you are my only child. Therefore, my focus everyday is on you. However, there will come a time when you are not my only focus, when I have to focus on my other children. You should not feel hurt. I will love all of you equally. But I will never forget how we went through this for the first time, together.

Bella, I promise to show you the world. We will travel.


I also promise that one day you can see the world on your own. It will change your life.


Your Mother

Three children later and a file full of mothering experiences--I try everyday to live up to the ideal mom I wanted to be. Some days I do and some days I don't. And that's okay. As long as I know which direction I'm headed in!

Trust me, it's never too late to write your mission.


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