Monday, November 16, 2015

Chronicles of a Recovering Pintster

We let the boys pick one toy to bring to church each Sunday. As we were rushing out the door on our way to church, Carson insisted his toy for the day would be a pair of red gloves. We attempted to persuade him otherwise with a variety of other, seemingly more appealing toys, but he stayed firm in his decision. He also stayed firm in his decision to wear the gloves into church, but luckily removed the gloves shortly into the meeting. 
One evening, the boys were racing bikes around in our backyard as Lincoln watched with intrigue. As soon as the boys vacated their bikes, we let Lincoln take the wheel. He was so excited and visibly proud of himself to get a chance to try out what his brothers were doing.
Sadly, the cold weather has brought an end to our walking Eli to and from school. It started interfering with Lincoln's nap time a few weeks ago anyway, as we'd often find him sleepily slouched over on the side bar, practically begging to be put down for his nap.
Eli learned about measuring at school. He brought home an inchworm one afternoon and meticulously measured various objects all the way home.
The whole month of October was spent working on various projects for Young Women in Excellence. I was dying being stuck inside working on all my to-dos with the beautiful park friendly fall weather passing us by. There was one week I brought a whole bag of supplies to the park so I could cut, write a script and edit a video all while the boys ran around the park and Lincoln rolled around on the grass. It was basically my perfect day. The kids were happy, I was productive and the weather was ideal.

It was only while I was working on my video and ignoring Lincoln that I realized he had become a master roller! I kept dragging him right next to me, but in minutes he'd be clear across the King-sized blanket I had laid out, making his way onto the grass. This silly boy LOVES grass.
Lincoln has become quite proficient in eating. I am not a big fan of baby food, so we kind of bypassed it all together. He does seem to do better when we spoon feed him, but we mostly spoon feed him non liquid foods. And by we, I mean all of us. If the brothers notice a spoon, a tray full of food and an empty seat, they are eager to help shovel food into baby's mouth. Sometimes three spoons at a time.
The boys were excited one day to find some fun mail from Grandma and Grandpa Excell! They lovingly put these cards in safe places in their rooms and repeatedly got them out throughout the week to admire them.
Fall park days. I can't get enough of them! One Saturday Jeff had given me the morning to myself, so I took the boys to the park to give him a little time off. The boys were so sweet with each other. They are the best buddies when they're not bored at home picking fights with each other. I loved this moment when they took a break from running around and sat on a rock together for at least five straight minutes. I love watching them become best friends.
This is Lincoln's favorite thing to do in his high chair. He flops over the side and waits for someone to notice him and return the gesture by tilting their head to the side. Then he giggles, kicks his feet and does it all over again.
I made the mistake of taking all three boys grocery shopping with me the other day. Boo! I try to go on Saturdays or in the evening lately to keep my blood pressure levels in check, but this day, I thought we could handle it. I was wrong.

Eli got hooked on the idea of buying bakery cupcakes. I almost gave into the idea until I saw the bakery was going to try to charge me $5 for 12 mini cupcakes when I could make 24 cupcakes for $1. Through some skilled negotiation, I convinced Eli we would have more fun if we made the cupcakes at home. So we did.

I went to clean up the boys' plates after they "ate" their cupcakes. I found Carson had eaten only the bottom part of his cupcake and Eli had eaten only the top of his. They have so much in common that I often forget parts of them are complete opposites.
Lincoln sucks his thumb always, but for some reason it's still unexpectedly cute to check on him at night and find his little thumb still wedged in his mouth.
It snowed. A.K.A. We were freezing our buns off at 7:00 in the morning because the boys insisted they go play in the flurries before school.
It proved to be even too cold for their excitement and they quickly sought shelter.
The boys have been really into crafting lately. It cracks me up. We were never heavy crafters. To put it this way, on all of Eli's homework assignments, if he's asked to draw something, he only picks things that are square because the extent of his abilities does not currently reach beyond squares.

He is advancing quickly in the artwork department though. The boys probably spend at least an hour every day doing some sort of drawing/coloring/cutting/gluing/Christmas List Writing. We took a turn for the creative when Eli insisted on pulling out the art supplies even when a friend was over. It was so cute to see two boys get intricately artistic, drawing robots and clocks and a series of superhero badges.
Now before I go further, it's important for you to remember that I was actively anti-Pinterest in its early years. As a young mom, the last thing I needed was someone to tell me my house wasn't clean enough, my body wasn't toned enough and my kids weren't dressed hip enough. Also, it seemed like a  lot of, "This is how I unrealistically want my life to be. Let's swamp my mind with things that are completely unattainable to send me into a depression of wasted time and false dreams."

You see? I hate Pinterest. But after enough reliable sources repeatedly referenced Pinterest, I began anonymously stalking the pins of the internet -- not yet willing to add my name to the list of account holders. I would not succumb to the pressure of being perfectly pinterestable...until Kenz got a hold of me.

"Sarah!" I remember her saying, "You would love Pinterest. Because you're the type of person that would actually do the things you pin."

A few hours of explaining and convincing, and an invitation to join Pinterest in my inbox later, I was hooked. It was exactly the addiction I was attempting to avoid. The app has been downloaded/deleted from my phone more times than I would like to admit as evidence of my inner struggle with the appeal and my disgust of Pinterest. Huff.

I would say I am since a recovering Pinterest-aholic. No longer do I spend my evenings scrolling through tutorials, life hacks and 6-minute ab workouts. Though I do occasionally dabble through pins for a recipe when desperation arises.

Now that I have gone through the natural cycle of hating Pinterest, to scrolling through it anonymously, to openly being addicted to it, to recovering addict, I feel like I have found the Pinterest balance in my life and now use it in a healthy, usually productive manner.

Was I scared agreeing to attend a Pinterest Conference with the one who introduced me to the drug would rekindle my addiction? Yes. Was I headed in a downward spiral at home with my children who had been screaming at each other for a solid month, basically pushing me back into the arms of my unhealthy Pinterest habits? Yes. But said downward spiral also helped rationalize that I was overdue for a girls' night, so I abandoned my Pinhibitions and agreed to see what Pinterest had to offer in the flesh.
The answer is free bread. Because Pinterest knows the way to make a bunch of girls happy is to throw free carbs at them. They also know free carbs will lead them back to Pinterest for free ab workouts which is why Pinterest will never die. They set you up to fail to ensure you come crawling back into their arms when you're +5 pounds, laying on the couch late at night with bread crumbs riddling your keyboard as you scour through the internet looking for ways to burn off all the bread you just ate.

Here Sarah. Here's a great workout for that overindulgence. Oh. You like that dessert that just popped on the screen? You should try it. It's delicious. And your attempt to make it will definitely look exactly like the picture there. And after you've made all these recipes you've pinned in your carb-loaded pinning frenzy, let me give you some makeup tips to contour your face to be less round. Also I can help you dress for your post-dessert body shape that you won't know what to do with. I have everything you need, Sarah. Evvvvveeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyyyyttttttthhhhhhhiiiiiiinnngggggg. 

It's a trap! (Star Wars quote. Don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed about that.)

If the free carbs didn't convince you of their conniving ways, they also give you free coloring cards to take home to your husband for the moment when husband finds out you spent $42 on makeup. I'M ON TO YOU, PINTEREST!
And while I'm at it, can I just express the difficulty one faces in getting Pinterest ready for an event filled with Pintsters? Like, seriously. How many times have I seen, "53 ways to tie your belt!" or "Layering Survival Guide!" or "Hairstyles for Blondes with Oily Hair!" flash across my Pinterest homepage? And then how many times did all those titles flash through my head as I realized I DIDN'T know how to tie my belt right, I DIDN'T know the tricks of layering, and I DIDN'T know how to correctly style my oily hair.

There I was. Feeling very unworthy to cross the paths of the Pinterest experts with my sad attempt to be as hip and trendy as my limited wardrobe allowed. And that was all the reminder I needed of why I was correct in my initial hesitation towards Pinterest. Glad to be on the other side.
Just as adamantly as I was against Pinterest, I was equally adamant I would NOT purchase the makeup for our class with MaskCara. She's a makeup wizard in case you're unfamiliar. I sat through the class with arms folded, glaring at all the gullible patrons in the room eating up every word of the sales pitch, knowingly smiling at yet another con I was watching unfold right before my eyes.

And then Kenz got up to buy the makeup. And I was like, "Wait. Whaaaaaaattt? I thought we were against this together!" I glanced at the before and after pictures on the screens and explained to Kenz, "It's like painting. You can give me all the tools I need to be a great painter, but I'm just not a great painter, so even if I had all the right makeup, I could never make my face look like that!"

Kenz rolled her eyes at my closed-mindedness as she contoured her face. My eyes darted around the room, trying to find just one other person not buying into this idea. All the darting did was force me to see the amazingly contoured faces in the room. The perfectly blushed cheeks. The illuminated skin.

With a deep, "Oh no." I found myself hypnotized, weaving through the crowd to purchase my very own set of overpriced makeup. And the Pinterest cycle keeps on cycling. I've fallen victim again. Eli, Carson, Lincoln, if you're reading this...wait...let me rephrase that...if your wives are reading this...TURN BACK! Save yourselves while you still can! Say no to Pinterest!
Despite my sus-pin-cions, the Pinterest event was actually super fun, but mostly because I was with one of my favorite people!

Moving on! Here's a cute "K" craft we did one week at my house for preschool. Might I admit after all my Pinterest moanings that the logistics of this craft were found via Pinterest. Though I did come up with the general idea before I sought help from the world's greatest stifler of originality and creativity. So take that, Pinterest!
One afternoon the boys were being so good and quiet. Until I heard a crash, boom, crash. I peeped over the top of the stairs to see what the heck they were up to. Eli informed me Carson had just gone down the stairs in Lincoln's walker. Super.

After explaining to them the lifelong effects of neck injuries and detailing the catastrophic things that could happen to their bodies and land them in a hospital bed should they choose to continue to throw their bodies down the stairs in the walker, Eli looked at me smugly. "Mom. I'm going to hang on to the handrail. For safety."

Ohhhhhhh! In that case! Go ahead! I'm sure that will end well for you. As Eli ran the pros and cons through his head at the top of the stairs, slowly crawling into the teetering walker, he once again reassured me, "Mom. Don't worry. I've been around the block."

"You've been around the block?!?" I could not hold back a full blown laugh. "What do you mean you've been around the block? Do you even know what that means? Where did you hear that?"

"Mom. I've been around the block. One time I rode my bike around the block. So I know things."

I died laughing. And then I slowly approached the all-knowing Eli, removed him from the walker and  promptly increased our health insurance coverage.
This little dude is still...little! He had his 9-month check-up a few weeks ago. He weighed in at 14 pounds 11 ounces. He's 50% on head, 50% on height and 11% on weight. I hate going to his checkups because he is never doing any of the milestones they ask about. Does he wave? Does he clap? Does he cruise along furniture? Does he crawl? Does he say "mama" "dada?"


"He sits up pretty good!" I beamed.
"Pretty good?" The doctor questioned. "Is he still falling over?"
"Yeah...when his brothers run by him and he gets scared."
Concern sweeps over the doctors face as he continues to question about all Lincoln's delays. 

So poor little Lincoln is still trying to catch up from his preemie days and the doctor is no longer cutting him as much slack. I guess he's supposed to be pretty much caught up by now, but I still consider him to only be an 8-month old!

And then, without fail, days after we go to his appointments, he will immediately start doing all the things they just questioned me about. So lo and behold, in the last two weeks he's started standing on furniture, saying "Dada!" clapping, waving and being generally adorable (that's not new).

He also kind of said "Baby" when we showed him a baby doll that he loved. And I swear his first word was "HI!" He says it all the time. I thought it was just a baby noise, but he's consistently said it at alarmingly applicable times. Such as when the nurse walked in the room to question me on all his unreached milestones, "Hiiiiiiiiiii!" He squeaked as I unknowingly informed her, "No. He isn't talking yet."

I think you're right on target, baby. I don't mind if you stay carefree and happy baby-esque for a little while longer.
One day Eli required a little disciplining. I put him in timeout and went downstairs to finish my lunch. When I went back upstairs to get him out of time out, I saw he had gotten himself out of time out and was emerging from my room looking suspicious.
"I wrote in your notebook, Mom." He immediately confessed.
"Eli! You know you're not supposed to write in that notebook. You have your own notebook!"
"But...but...but...I want to show you what I wrote." He ushered me over to the crime scene where I was greeted by this:
My eyebrows raised as I guessed what he was trying to spell. "You're Ugly, Mom." immediately jumped off the page at me, though I didn't say this out loud.

A smirk came across my face as I prepared to forever burn this moment into my memory bank, proud he was following in his mother's footsteps. With caution, I asked, "Eli. What does this say?"
He looked at me proudly and replied, "Read it!"
Not wanting to make him think his writing was indecipherable and not really wanting to give him the gratification of hearing me repeat the words, "You're ugly mom" out loud, I gave it another try. It was then I realized it said, "You're a good mom."

I guess I'll have to wait it out a little longer before the hate notes start rolling in. Darn it.

Lincoln is hilarious. Whenever we wipe his face, he excitedly sticks his tongue out to lick the rag. It's disgusting and amusing every time.
Eli has been bringing home "Alphabet Adventures" to do every week. Last week one of his adventure options was to have a picnic. The boys got busy preparing their interpretation of an ideal picnic. It was cute to see them set everything up and watch what they thought needed to be part of the experience. Too bad I was serving lasagna for dinner which was not very compatible with their picnic plans, but they did have a nice serving of fruit on their blanket before we coaxed them over to the table for the main dish.
Last week we went down to Salt Lake. I drove the Rav which I usually don't do, so the boys were all right next to each other. Eli and Lincoln seized the opportunity to hold hands the entire way. Melted my heart.
We did a Minute-to-Win-It activity for mutual last week. It involved me blowing up balloons to prepare for it. We learned Lincoln grows very concerned at the sight of a balloon being blown up.
We also learned Carson's an expert cup stacker. My Minute-to-Win-It games kept the boys busy rummaging through my supplies for two full days after the activity. Boo Yeah!
The now written, but previously unwritten rule of our home is that if mom comes downstairs on a Sunday with her hair curled, pictures must be taken before church. Oh, quit your whining, boys. If you smile cute enough to make it Instagram worthy, I'll give you some marshmallows. So there. Everyone's happy. Except Jeff. Who unfortunately is not longer swayed by marshmallows.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Hazards of Buying A Cute Notebook

In an impulsive moment of desiring to be more productive and organized with my life, I wandered down the office supply aisle at Wal-Mart. It was then I found an adorable spiral-bound notebook with anchors on it that screamed my name. 

I proudly brought it home *after purchasing it*, eager to fill its pages with great plans and deep inspired thoughts and acquired wisdom...only to realize I had....none of the above. Just as I was trudging through my thoughts, trying to form anything worthy enough for the first entry in my new, cute notebook, I got an email from my friend Megan, the Young Women President:

Hey Ladies! Be thinking about ideas for Young Women in Excellence for our meeting tonight! See you there! 

My face lit up with pen in hand as Megan had just unknowingly given me the perfect writing prompt for the first entry in my new, cute notebook. May I offer some life advice and tell you how effective a cute notebook is in bringing out some great ideas. The notebook was begging to have its pages filled, and I was anxious to fill each page with any hint of an idea that came to me. 

Earlier in the year, for New Beginnings, we had a cruise ship theme because this year's Mutual Theme is "Oh ye that embark in the service of God." So we set sail, making our way to all the different values, beginning our journey in the service of God.

Through a series of group brainstorming, much editing and the evolution of many ideas, we decided to close our year of service pretending to be on an airplane on our way home from the journey we started at the beginning of the year. A big thanks to my little notebook because its filled pages led me to appear to be the most suitable leader to orchestrate the evening which is how I was put in charge of Young Women in Excellence this year. 

Cute notebooks should come with a warning label.
We had a mutual activity where we took the girls to the Ogden Temple to get their picture taken which ended up being their souvenir from the evening. We wrote each girl a note on a "postcard" that we attached to the back of their picture telling them what we admired about them from the past year.

We also set up a "You Are Here" board where each value was a different continent. The girls pinned their names onto the value color that they felt best represented them this year. 

We had each girl bring a suitcase for her display filled with different things that represented her journey from the year. The girls did an awesome job filling their suitcases with really neat, meaningful things!

And then we had our "In-flight magazine" which was our program for the evening. The invitations were tickets, but I don't think we got a picture of those. 
We split the gym in half and had everyone enter into the "terminal" first. The terminal is where we had the "You Are Here" board, the "Baggage Check" for their displays and a bunch of chairs set up in circles to look terminal-ish.

At promptly 7:05, one of the leaders got on the microphone in another room, so you couldn't see her and it sounded like an intercom and notified everyone it was time to board the plane. We ushered all our passengers through the partly opened partition into the plane area.

As the passengers sat down, two of the flight attendants handed out water bottles on a cart from the kitchen. We had blocked off this half of the gym with the free standing white boards so it felt more plane shaped. We drew windows on the whiteboards which was one of my favorite touches.
We had two of our young women dressed with the rest of the leaders as flight attendants. I wrote up a script for them to get us through the program:

Kaelee: Welcome aboard Clinton Airlines Flight 22! Please be sure to stow any loose articles underneath your seat and to turn all electronic devices to airplane mode.

Makenna: The engine is having some minor technical difficulties. As the mechanic looks into that, let’s sing "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" with ______________________ playing the piano and ___________________________ leading the music. Then __________________________ will say a little prayer for us and hopefully we’ll be ready for takeoff.

Opening Song:
Opening Prayer:

Kaelee: Okay passengers. We are moments away from takeoff. Should we experience turbulence, engine failure or a crash landing, _____________________ will lead us in reciting the words we should tell ourselves to overcome such emergency.

YW Theme:

Makenna: We would like to turn your attention to the fasten seatbelt sign.
We are ready for takeoff. Many of us aboard this flight began our travels on a cruise ship at the beginning of the year. That cruise helped us embark on a yearlong journey of serving God.
Kaelee: On this journey, we have climbed the White Mountains of Faith, been snorkeling in the deep blue waters of Divine Nature, graced the green gardens of Good Works, and even explored the gold, sandy beaches of Virtue.
Makenna: If you will now turn your attention to the screen in front of you, a few of your fellow passengers have offered to share some of their pictures and experiences from their travels. A big thank you to Nicole Curtner for putting the slideshow together.
Kaelee: First, _____________________ will tell us about her experience this year at mutual activities, and then as the slideshow directs,_________________ will share her experience at girl’s camp, _____________________ will tell us about Youth Conference. And ______________________ will share her experience at Laurel Legacy.


Kaelee: As we have visited different locations on our spiritual journey, we received stamps in our passports. ______________________ will now share with us the kinds of activities we did to earn stamps.

Makenna: The captain has just notified me that we have a few passengers aboard who received all the stamps in their passports and have earned their wings! Would the following passengers please come forward?

Kaelee: It is now time for us to offer you some in-flight entertainment. Please direct your attention to the screen for a special premier of “Flightline."


Makenna: I am happy to report that we are approaching our destination. As we settle in for a smooth landing, we will have our head flight attendant offer further instruction followed by a musical number from all the young women and a closing prayer by __________________.
We turned their temple pictures into postcards and had them write a letter to their parents including their testimony. We also had them write a post card about the value that best represents them and why. We strung those postcards up along the partition with clothespins and twine which you can see a little bit in the picture above.

As luck would have it, this evening was on my mom's birthday! In the afternoon, I texted my mom to see if she happened to have any evening birthday plans. She was just headed out the door to come up my way for lunch with her sister, so I told her to grab her church clothes and stick around through the evening. It was fun to have my mom watch this production I had been working so hard on. Plus she made a pretty great photographer for us which was an extra bonus!
Here's the 15-minute video I put together for our in-flight entertainment. It will admittedly be boring for those who don't directly know the girls in the video, but if you want to see something funny, watch the first minute of it where I pretend to be a reporter and forever confirmed the best decision of my life which was to never attempt to become a professional journalist.

It was a fun night that nearly killed me. But now that we're on the other side of it, sigh of relief, hallelujah, and I'm never buying another notebook again.

Monday, November 02, 2015

My Star Wars Conversion Story

At the tender age of 16, my parents disguised a road trip through the flatlands of no-man's-land as a family vacation. Our final destination? Nebraska. Our reason? To get a grand tour of the highly acclaimed "Least Appealing Vacation Destination to a 16-year-old" by my brother who had only been home from his mission long enough to pick us up and take us back to Husker Land. Being young, sassy, and relentlessly self-centered, any vacation destination without a beach to tan on or an amusement park to entertain me was appalling and resulted in many an I'm-too-cool-for-this eye roll.

Naturally, we drove. Because who can pass up the scenery of middle America?  Like the grass. And cows. And smell. Of cows. Really fun for a sassy 16-year-old. Probably even less fun for the parents of a sassy teenager who had to endure hours of whining, but this is my story, so you're on my side.

We were roughly 2 hours into our 13-hour drive as I was finally accepting our embark on a week-long beachless vacation to get endless tours of church sites when Abe (remember he's a chipper, enthusiastic, freshly returned missionary) said, "Good news, guys. I brought..." whips out three VHS tapes for dramatic effect "all three episodes of Star Wars!"

I almost cried. 

I was crammed in the back of a 5-passenger car with my over 6-foot brother infringing upon my personal space, dragging me across the country to see less than appealing attractions in the eyes of an adolescent, and now offering nothing but STAR WARS to occupy our time the whole way there. 

With that as my first real introduction to Star Wars, you can understand why I've always had a bit of a grudge against it. Plus its general association to nerds didn't help my lack of interest in it as sassy 16-year-old Sarah was very adamant about pretending to be cool. 

And then I met this guy who openly loved Lord of the Rings. And I was like, usually that's a deal breaker alone, but you're pretty cool, so I'll let this one slide. At least it's not Star Wars, right? Ha ha ha.

And then we get married. And we have a few kids. Like three actually. And then the kids go to a cousin's house for a routine visit and casually get introduced to Star Wars through a less traumatic series of events than I had to endure. And then they loved Star Wars so much that their lives became a never ending battle against Darth Vader. 
Just when the kids got too deep into their Star Wars fascination to turn back, Jeff had me right where he wanted me as we had this conversation:
Me, "I'm kind of sad their Transformers obsession is over. I loved Transformers."
Jeff, "Yeah they go through phases with what they get really into...but I hope this is more than a phase."
Me, "...What do you mean you hope this is more than a phase? How can it be more than a phase" 
Jeff, "I hope they love Star Wars for life!"
Me, "Wait. Do you love Star Wars???"
Jeff, "There's only 65 more days until the new Star Wars movies come out..." rambles odd, detailed facts about Star Wars that I never knew he had in him.
Jeff, "It's awesome!"
Me -- Reverted to 16-year old sassy pants and immediately rolled my eyes while storming off to bed to accept this nerd life that had now enveloped me. 
That's how it happened. Contrary to all the "Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years" high school essays I completed, I gave in to the Star Wars theme. High School Sarah D I D  N O T see this coming. 

But what can I say? When your five-year-old comes to you asking to be R2D2 for Halloween, it easily one-upped the generic Wal-Mart Iron Man costume I was planning to buy, so I jumped on board.
And when Carson said he wanted to be C3P0, I had to do a bit of light Googling to even understand what the heck he was talking about, but as soon as I saw pictures of R2D2 and C3P0 together, I knew the boys would be adorable as their imitators. 

Carson was always in full character when he had his costume on. Not sure why he thinks C3P0 has a poked out lip, but it was ever present in all his mimicking.
Lincoln was out baby Yoda which turned out way super cuter than I ever dreamed it would. I made the hat, cloak thing and baby booties. 

Jeff was Obi Wan Kenobi.
My only regret about never seeing a Star Wars movie all the way through is that I don't have any puns to lace throughout this post.
Wait.. I feel one coming on... Here I am dressed as the bun and only.
Was that good?
You wouldn't dare Leia hand on me.
For as much as I continue to have no interest in Star Wars, I will admit that the theme made for some cute costumes.
We debuted our costumes at my Grandma's birthday dinner. My parents were pilgrims.
Ben and Haley were two of the sisters from Despicable Me.
My cousin and aunt were a fellow Star Wars character (one I have yet to Google) and Cruella Deville.
My sister was a Ceiling Fan.
Her posse was a ladybug, a bluebird and a beached mermaid.
Shortly into the party, Yoda made his rounds. My aunt was a hang nail. 

Carson can always be found near any meal prep. He stuck by my dad who was grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. 
My grandma showed up with bandaids all over her and an arm sling. We didn't know if she was in costume or had really injured herself! I'm sad I didn't get a picture of her, so Jeff is standing in her place, but she and my grandpa were "The Fall Deer Hunt." Now we see where I get my pun obsession. 
We went to a fun Pumpkin Walk by our house with 1,000 carved pumpkins!
As we were leaving, what did we find but a scene from Star Wars that caused JEFF to insist we stop for the photo op. Maybe I do like Star Wars if it's causing Jeff to request a picture be taken. 
My boys were obsessed with pumpkins all through October. We didn't get any until the week of Halloween, and Carson was frequently on our front porch checking on them, admiring them and rearranging them. 
We finally let them paint their pumpkins while Jeff and I carved ours. 
I made an unrecognizable C3P0.
Jeff made a laboriously detailed R2D2. Eli insisted on arranging his lizards, Star Wars action figures, and pumpkins for our Halloween day pictures. 
Here's the scene/poses he insisted on.
With a little rearranging, I got a few shots of my three cuties moments before we stormed the neighborhood.
Hugs just in case we encounter The Dark Side.
Eli was a rocket trick-or-treating. He ran the entire time. Including zig-zagging across the street repeatedly in an effort to hit every house with a light on in what he deemed to be the most effective manner.

Carson crashed and burned about 45 minutes into it. Literally. He biffed it hard. But luckily we were right in front of our house so I shooed him in to Jeff where I was sure gorging on his Halloween candy would soothe his scratches.

I didn't want to leave Jeff with a screaming Carson, all the trick-or-treaters AND a tired Lincoln, so I kept Lincoln out trick-or-treating with Eli because he was loving it. He made it the whole time without a peep!

The next morning, it was candy for breakfast. I made the boys take bites of breakfast foods between each candy I'd open for them, but beyond that they basically had free reign of their goods. Carson's candy was gone in a day and a half. That kid can pack it away!
Jeff woke up Sunday morning and said, "You know what the day after Halloween means?...Christmas music!"

At the mention of Christmas, Eli buzzed over to get some paper and a marker to begin his Christmas list. He's been learning how to spell at school. He spent most of the morning repeatedly sounding words out and attempting to portray those sounds onto paper.
It was such a fun Halloween!