Friday, October 31, 2014

This is Halloween - Pumpkins Everywhere!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


We had such an awesome day yesterday, full of our annual pumpkin carving fun. As you can see from the picture above, we are not fancy jack-o-lantern carvers. :) It's all for the experience, right? Haha.

Eric took a half day off of work so that he could go into Evie's classroom and help carve pumpkins yesterday afternoon. When they were asking for volunteers for this little activity I immediately recruited Eric for the job. I am not the family pumpkin carver for a reason, haha. Thought I would spare myself some public embarrassment. :)


Can't wait to go to Evie's teacher's house tonight and see all of the pumpkins lit up!

Since Eric was already home he was able to be there with me when I picked the kiddos up from school, and then we had a mission to complete. We still hadn't chosen a perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween, so we had to make an extra trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out our family specimen. (Oh, darn!)


Eric went about actually looking at pumpkins, because the kids just wanted to PLAY!




We took one last trip through the corn maze for the year....



And played and played some more. I kept looking around, trying to soak it all in...can't believe we have to wait a whole year to have this fun again!


It was amazing to me how many pumpkins were still left the day before Halloween. Unlike last year, there was an abundance of crops this season!



It was a rare treat to have Eric home with us this early on a school day. And look, he actually smiled for a picture, haha. 


We packed up and went home to make dinner and hang out, and then it was time for carving! All three of the kids were into this year.




Grace especially loved digging into the slippery, slimy pumpkin guts. When she was really small she wouldn't touch the stuff, haha. 

Evelyn absolutely insisted that I take this picture....


Haha, sorry. :)



Look, even Reagan was all smiles. Score one for me for getting pictures of both of my boys with smiles on their faces yesterday!


Once again, we set Eric to the task of carving our jack-o-lantern face. 


And then we braved the cold wet night to go and set our new friend on the front porch.



Reagan has never met a candle he didn't want to blow out. :)

It was such a great day!


And now we have a day of festivities to look forward to. I know that the girls are super excited about all of the special things they are doing at school today. Then tonight we get to dress up for trick-or-treat fun!! I can't wait to see everyone's kiddos in their costumes. I fully expect my Facebook feed to be flooded with cuties. :)

I hope that everyone stays safe and WARM this evening. I know it's going to be mighty chilly here tonight. Really thankful now that I went through all of that darn trouble tracking down fleece costumes for the kids. You never know what kind of weather we'll end up with on Halloween night around here! But usually you can count on wet or cold or both, haha.

We'll be firing up our light buckets (which were a sell out - you guys love those things, too!) and making all of our usual stops. I hope we see some of you around, and to everyone else - see you Monday!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Baby Girl Has a Name!



Eric and I have finally decided, without a doubt, what we want to name our baby girl! Hallelujah! I'm really happy with our choice after four months of back and forth. I know that choosing and sharing names is a very different process for every parent, but this mama doesn't feel complete until my baby has a name. :)

I've already shared a few vague details about the name we were leaning towards, and I thought it would be kind of fun to share a few more hints to see if you can guess it first! Scroll down and read the clues, and then see which name we chose! 



We chose one of the names from our list that begins with "C."
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It is a french name that means "free" or "petite and feminine."
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It is currently ranked #16 in the USA and #11 in the state of Illinois. (And it is even more popular in Australia and New Zealand.)
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99% of people who have this name are female
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Some of the most popular sibling names which accompany this name are, "Amelia," "Elizabeth," and "Olivia," and "Alexander," "Jack," and "William."
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It is a name used by Disney fairly recently in both a major animated film and a television show.
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Have you guessed it yet??
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You'll definitely get it after these next clues. :)
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Our baby will share a name with a fictitious web-weaver.
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The most popular nicknames for this name are "Charlie," "Carly," and "Lottie."

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Got it now?!



Our baby's name is.....




Hooray!

Oh, I just love this name. It is classic and feminine, even if it is currently trendy. I don't even care anymore, because I just adore it so much. :)

The only problem now is that Eric and I disagree on which nickname to use, haha. He likes "Charlie," and I like "Lottie." But it doesn't matter what we think, because our baby's nicknames always seem to come organically after they are born. When we see our baby girl, it will just come out - it always does! We have sort of a weird thing with nicknames. When choosing our baby's name we have to consider what the shortened versions would be, because we always tend to use one. Several names were knocked out of contention because of a lack of or weird nicknames.

I almost hesitate to share our other top choices, because inevitably someone will like one of the names we DIDN'T choose more. :) But that's okay. I'm cool with that. The other three names that I could actually get Eric to agree to and consider were: Eloise, Caroline, and Cosette. Believe me, there were many many other names I suggested that Eric threw out off the bat. But in our final days, these were names we were choosing from. And...yep...still happy with our final decision!

And now I can stop saying, "baby" and start saying "Charlotte," which makes this mama's heart happy. I looove our little Charlotte Rose so much!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prince and Princess Birthday Party!

I still cannot believe that Gracie is four and Reagan is two! I think I've shared before about how, before having kids of my own, I would look at or care for three years olds and think, "I could have one of these little people walking around someday." Now I have two babies who have surpassed that. That is just crazy to me.

Over the weekend we celebrated our October babies with a Prince and Princess themed birthday party. Eric protested at first for the sake of his son, haha. But I thought, hey. If I'm going to do a theme like this it better be when Reagan is too small to care. Plus, I needed something easy. Quick and easy!


There were just a few royal touches here and there. Nothing super fancy, but I think it turned out pretty cute! As I was hanging up streamers I looked around and thought, "How in the world did I do bigger parties than this before??" I have no memory whatsoever of what it's like to have that kind of energy. Maybe it will come back someday. :)


I hung up a couple of suits of armor by the present table and called it done. Easy peasy.


And once again, we just made our own cakes. Actually I should say, my mama made these for me. It was a very last minute thing, and they were just what I had in mind. Simple, and most importantly - delicious!


I love having these smaller parties with family because there is like, zero stress involved on my end. I make up a taco dip, we order pizzas, and bam - time to party. The hardest part is making sure the house is relatively clean, haha.

Our princes and princesses made crowns to wear....



And the girls enjoyed modeling them. Don't ask any of the boys for a picture. It's just not going to happen :)



Grandpa Greg brought his quadricycle over and gave everyone rides. You can think of it as our royal carriage, haha.


Soon it was pizza time!



I caught Reagan trying out his crown, but as soon as he saw me he crinkled his nose and threw it right off. Those darn boys! 



"I want to wear it, but I don't want you to see me wearing it." :)



I just love watching kids when people sing "Happy Birthday" to them. Reagan tried really hard not to smile, haha. I honestly think that he hates the attention. The older he gets, the more introverted his personality becomes. He typically hides behind his mom, and when he can't do that, he just tries really hard not to show any emotion on his face whatsoever. :)


But he does love blowing out candles!

My girls, on the other hand, love attention just fine. ;)



Then there was cake and ice cream and presents and all of that typical party stuff.




Evelyn loves giving gifts - usually ones that she has made herself - and she had decorated a headband and wrapped it up for her sister.

She was thrilled when everyone loved it and made a big deal about it. :)


She's a sweetie pie!

I think you all know what happened after this....


It was a great way to end the evening. :)

So, overall I think the party was a success and everyone had a good time. The kids LOVED their gifts and have been playing with them nonstop. Aunt Amy got the kiddos new scooters and they've been zooming around on those things to get everywhere they need to go. "Gracie, can you please get a diaper for me?" "Sure, let me get on my scootah!" For real. This is my life now. 

I'd be lying if I said I didn't take a trip around the kitchen a time or two myself on those things - pregnant and all. :) Okay, they are pretty fun!

The next birthday we'll have around here with be a real BIRTH day. Can't believe it! Thanks for checking out Reagan and Grace's special day!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn Days at the Zoo

Well, it's feeling much more like a fall day outside today! It's been extra warm in our neck of the woods lately, which I have a love/hate relationship with, haha. But we definitely took advantage of the warm up this weekend to enjoy a family day outside! We're rewinding time a bit today and going back to last Friday when the kids had a day off of school and Eric decided to stay home from work for Reagan's special birthday trip. I'm not sure exactly when we started doing this, but somewhere along the way we began taking a day for each of the kids' birthdays to do something fun just as a family.

After finding out I was pregnant and getting sick and tired, we had to miss out on some of our normal summer activities. So we decided to make up for some of that by finally taking a trip to the zoo! I was excited for Reagan, because this would be the first time he would get to go and actually be aware of what was going on, haha. I think it had been a whole year since we had gone together as a family. That's just wrong.

But our waiting paid off, because we may have picked one of the best weather days ever for a stroll around one of our favorite St. Louis spots.

We had timed our trip just perfectly. As we were arriving there were several school groups leaving, so we were able to walk around and enjoy the sights with very low crowds in the autumn afternoon. This time of the year is so much fun, because there are fall and Halloween decorations displayed all around for Boo at the Zoo.


We also had plans to hop aboard the Zooline Railroad on this trip! This is something we don't typically do, but with Reagan's recent fascination with trains, we couldn't skip it this time! It was so serene as we walked in, with the sunlight beaming through the trees and the sounds of "choo choo!" chugging on the warm breeze. 

We always go right first, straight to the River's Edge.


Some of Evelyn's photography skills. :) She wanted to make sure we had a picture of the hippos!


Going on a mild weather day is ideal - the animals are all out and playing!



I just love this picture...just as I'd hoped, Reagan was so into it this time!

The last time I was able to go to the zoo was in May for Evelyn's school field trip. At that time a lot of the River's Edge was under construction to make way for the bears to move in. We LOVE the new bear exhibits! They are beautiful and the viewing areas are fantastic. One of the top-rated zoos in the country just got better. :) I can't wait to see what they are doing with the polar bears on the other side of the zoo! If you haven't been in a while, there are some new things worth seeing.



Checking out the giraffes...Grace's face, haha.


We really could have walked around all day. We saw all of our favorites, even got to hear a lioness roar at her man. She made him get up off of a rock and come into a cave with her, haha. The kids enjoyed roaring back at them after that. :)

Finally it was time to get our tickets and take a ride around the zoo. 




Every time the train started to go, Reagan would make the same fishy face he made on the rides at Disney World. So funny! Speaking of that, I told Eric that I'm glad we went on vacation when we did, because at this point in my pregnancy I would have been BEAT. It took a lot out of me just walking around for a couple of hours here. And this was actually the same week we had originally planned to take our trip. Good thing we changed our minds, even before we knew we were expecting!

It was a great family day, and I think Reagan really enjoyed his special trip. By this time next year he might be able to actually tell us where he wants to go, haha. But I think we chose a good spot. :) 

I'm not sure how much nice weather we'll still have left this year, but if you can squeeze a trip to the St. Louis Zoo in, you should! It's a wonderful place to spend a fall day. 


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