Trick or Treat

Some photos of the kids before we headed out trick-or-treating! When we returned, Jack said that he knew what he wanted his costume to be next year...WARM!

Showing off their treat bags...Liv has a ghost one all ready for next year.

I love that my kids will still do silly poses for me...EJ roaring

and Jack pretending to bat.

Look at these 3...wouldn't you give them candy? They got enough to last us until Easter I think!

Halloween Parade & Playground Pics

Okay so I uploaded a ton of photos for this post and I'm writing this late in the evening (and feeling nostalgic & blessed) so may gush a bit...please hang in there with me!

Let's start with some crafting and the worst photo ever (possibly cause I took it at midnight when I finished the crafting). These are the pencil toppers (and pencils) I made for the kids in Jack's class (and a couple other special friends)...not my best work but got them done pretty easily. Saw the idea (and used the template) here, but had to hand sew them so they weren't as quick as her version (but still cute).

Jack's last day of school was yesterday and it's a half day filled with parties, games and the big Halloween costume parade. I had volunteer duty at school in the am, so of course the girls needed to dress in their Halloween best too!

Here is Olivia in her outfit...

...and EJ wearing the same outfit two years ago in Guatemala. I'm nostalgic because we landed in Guatemala two years ago today...the day was a whirlwind of lawyers and meetings and stressing about Embassy the next day, but at the end of it (and in the middle of the night when she was up for 5 hours straight) I was holding my daughter and knew I was never letting go! I seriously can't remember her being this little anymore though...where has the time gone?

So back to the big parade...we went and found a great place to watch with our friends where I thought I could get some great photos, and then...

Anyway...bringing the camera wasn't a total loss as we spent some time on the playground between volunteering & the parade and I was able to snap some great pics of the girls. I've been really bad about having my camera with me this summer/fall, so it was fun!

I even got to snap some of EJ & her friend Abbie. These two love each other so much (our week in hiding with the flu was torture for both of them). I can't imagine having such a close bond with a bestie at 2 years old...hopefully they'll be friends forever!

And now my newest baby is up crying (which never happens) so I'm off to cuddle & coax someone back to sleep! Goodnight!

Pumpkin Farm & Boo Boo Drive Update

One more week remains to donate for our annual Boo Boo Drive. Iron Cupcake was a great success! Thanks to all who attended we received well over $160 in donation money...thank you! We have been very blessed with donations at this point, but of course hope to receive more this last week! Please help if you can!!

And now...some pics of my kiddos as we made our last-minute trip to the pumpkin farm yesterday. Don't they look thrilled (at least they're all looking)?

First we ate & ate & ate...cider doughnuts...

caramel apples...

And we bought our annual ton of banana bread too! Then off to the fields...EJ said that her favorite part was the tractor/hayride, and that is good, because there were no pumpkins anywhere!

Livie surveying the fields on her very first visit! Seriously, there were like 20 pumpkins in the entire huge patch and they were all bigger than Livie (and usually rotting too). So...we got back on the tractor figuring we'd pick them out from the store.

Here's Liv by the stack at the store...not very nice (but yet still pricey). We ended up buying them from the garden store about 1 mile away from home (the pumpkin farm is a good hour away from home).

Pumpkins or not we still had a great time doing "country" middle city mouse was shocked that there were no cows at the pumpkin farm! And I had to include this pic to show you my crazy, happy baby! This girl always has a smile on her face and to prove that point, this pic is about 2 minutes after I beaned her in the eye with my camera lens (handing her to Jack for this pic & the camera swung around from my back & clocked her)...she rebounds nicely (obviously much better than her sibs!).

Look what Livie has been up to lately!

She has to really want to though or she's right back to rolling on her belly (and getting stuck)!

Iron Cupcake: Literary & Boo Boo Drive

It's finally here! Iron Cupcake: Milwaukee is hosting the Literary Challenge on Monday, October 19th. Please go, sample super yummy creations, enjoy hanging with some of our besties, and help us out with Boo Boo Drive 2009! $1 from each $5 admission will be donated our cause! Oh and there are prizes...not just for the bakers, but for those attending too!

We had really hoped to have the entire family make an appearance, but with some of us still being a bit contagious, we are going to miss it! However the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen (known as Auntie Sandy in this house) is a wonderful hostess and we've heard Uncle D & Auntie Alice (Vine Pewter of The M.U.T.E.S.) are making an appearance too! Take lots of pics for us and have fun!

For more information on the Boo Boo Drive, including ways you can help, please click here!

help me please!

When we bought our first house, we spent LOTS of time getting each room perfect! Before we even moved in, we spent night after night (just ask Joel & Angie...they helped us almost every night) gutting & redoing the bathroom, peeling wallpaper, finding the perfect window treatments, etc. We were young (and a little overeager of course) and really what else did we have to do? In the end, our house was SO nice and we really loved it! But the time came when we just couldn't live with the layout (split bedrooms between floors, one bathroom, etc) and we decided to move.

But when we moved into our new house, it was 2 weeks before Christmas and we had a 14-month old...things were different. Sure we still removed wallpaper & painted a few rooms, but things moved a lot slower and a lot of things we wanted to do never happened! Maybe because someone didn't help as much as he talked?

Our living room has always been a problem for us. When we moved in, we put our already aging furniture in best as we could and called it a day. Fast forward 5 years and we are in desperate need of new...well, everything! But if I'm going to replace furniture, I want to do it right! I've never been able to figure out where the furniture should go to work best/look coolest due to the windows, entryways, fireplace, & forced tv placement.

But I know that you guys are much better at design then I am, so I am reaching out for your help! Please check out the floor plan of our living room here and give me your thoughts! PLEASE!! What sizes of furniture would you buy and where would you place them? I'm desperate for help!

Some things to note...
-We have to have a tv in this room (but we think we need to replace ours soon, so I didn't put our mammoth tv in the layout...seriously, this thing is 20" front to back...old school!) & it has to be somewhere on that one wall/corner (note on the layout) as the cable connection is there.

-Window ledges are high enough (27" from floor) to be able to place a couch or table in front of them.

-The site shows a very modern layout (especially in 3D) and our house is definitely not modern! Dark wood floor, old leaded glass windows, white stucco walls...1905 Tudor style.

This pic shows our crazy fireplace (which also doesn't show up too well on the 3D version) to give you an idea of what we're dealing with.

photo courtesy of the awesome and amazing tsj photography

And this photo gives a good idea of the wall surface (which is pretty much not changeable or paintable), the vents (which are shown as radiators on the layout) and the leaded glass door (the same paneled glass is in our windows). Plus it's cute and seasonal right?

Again, I'm BEGGING you for help! I'm not even sure where to start so any help is GREATLY appreciated! Our living room desperately needs a fresh start!!!

On the mend...

We started this week out a little crazy...Jack woke up VERY sick Monday morning and when he said he did not want to go to school, I knew I should call the doctor. We all trucked to the doctor's office mid-day (in jammies no less) and found out that Jack has the flu. We're waiting to hear officially, but our doctor believes it is swine flu! Good times! So he's out of school for the week and has made a permanent daytime couch bed! EJ is pretty healthy, just a little cough and her continued 2-year-old molar arrival fun! Olivia is showing a lot of cold symptoms, but still smiling away...happiest baby ever! We had her tested for the flu too though (just not the rapid test).

So now we're on day two...and things seem to be looking up! Jack is forming complete sentences (yesterday I was lucky to understand any words he said) and keeping me on task with his medicine schedule. No one has a fever today (yesterday afternoon Jack was 103 degrees on Motrin). Everyone got showers/baths this am and we switched from jammies to "soft clothes"...all good signs for recovering quickly! And let's all hope that Mom doesn't go completely stir-crazy while we wait out the week!

Jack resting in his couch bed...

EJ can't decide what to do...she wants to play but knows I never allow a morning of tv, so she's trying to take advantage of that too!

Little Miss Liv also has an eye infection (but I think she's still pretty cute)..

Dancing and smiling...what an awesome baby!

Addendum: Well, as I was uploading my pics, Matt walked in the house (at 10am) saying he feels like he is going to pass out! Not good! It doesn't seem like he has the same thing as anyone else (I have a raging cold myself), but he's still not good! Of course now he is snuggled up in bed WORKING! (But are any of you surprised by that!)

Also, Liv just screamed for about 15 minutes before I could finally get her down for her morning cat-nap. That is SO unlike her I don't even know where to start. Everyone fingers crossed that the baby does not get the flu...she can't even have any meds for it if she gets it!!!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I'm already seeing all kinds of products in stores that give money from your purchase to help with research to find a cure! From the pink Yoplait lids to Mike's Hard Pink it! And hey, can someone give me a heads up if they see pink M&Ms? With my die-hard pink fan (EJ), I need to stock up for projects throughout the year!

Another awesome organization is Pantene Beautiful Lengths. They collect hair to make free wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments (it takes 6 ponytails to make 1 wig). In the 3 years they have been working, they have collected 1 million inches of hair! Your hair can be wavy or straight, colored (semi-permanent dyes only), but you need to donate at least 8 inches. Pantene takes the ponytails...processes them, dyes them to the same color, and creates the wig. It takes 3-4 months to make each wig which is then gifted through the American Cancer Society. I think it is awesome that Pantene is doing this and am glad I use their products so my money helps them keep up the good work!

So if you happen to have a ponytail you're looking to say goodbye to...I know just the place! In fact mine is heading there today...