To be fair, chaos is a word I use to describe most of what raising 3 children is like. For example, right now is our 20 minutes of journal time. Big guy is going strong, big girl has spent the last 6 minutes looking for the “perfect” pencil and little guy is banging on something in a content but distracting manner.
The holidays bring out the best and worst of it though, between increased activities, increased excitement and a general disruption in our hanging by a thread routine. And though Halloween is really only one day (three days this year because of the weekend) it feels like the kick off to the holiday season.
This year Matthew has enrolled in Cub Scouts and they did their first big adventure shooting BB guns. I was thankful to have someone competent to teach him gun safety:
Not too shabby for a beginner!
I also hosted preschool in October which was my first run at teaching with a mobile, non-sleeping, non-strapped-to-the-chest baby. He was pretty eager to be included:
And our fall excursions wouldn’t be complete without John’s first trip to Rocky Creek Farm to pick pumpkins and play in the hay.
Daring big brother:
John could sit around banging on pumpkins all day:
Or gnawing on gourds:
And more cruising around the hay:
When we got home, we had a lot of raking to do, and not just because the kids were having fun with the leaves.
We then reraked bags of leaves AGAIN as James lost his wedding ring down in a bag. Through a system of raking, leaf vacuuming and combing through the lawn we found it just as we had decided to resort to a metal detector!
Meanwhile, John continues to think that this is the greatest play equipment ever invented:
And we made caramel apples for dessert!
John is super helpful in the kitchen as he consistently tries to bodycheck his older siblings off the stools:
And last but not least for our fall weekend of fun, we carved pumpkins. John thought getting his foot traced was hilarious!
And our finished products
The next day we went reverse trick or treating at the senior home.
Catherine was still debating between 30 different ideas for her “final” costume, so she took a dress from the dress-up box and went as Elsa:
And we got some good news that our pumpkin carvings had won third place in a local contest. The prize, more candy!!!
And Matthew in his final costume, a Lego Ninjago!
Catherine’s final decision was Marshall, a fire dog from Paw Patrol! She had her preschool party on Thursday and then Friday was downtown trick-or-treating. 3 kids are impossible to photograph together :-)
I was stalling them a bit so their defiance was to be expected. However, I knew we might run into some of their favorite people downtown so the wait was worth it!
The next day we met up with some friends for a trip through the Hay Maze! The maze is actually getting harder as the kids get older because they can now *insist* they know how to do it instead of blindly following along. We eventually found our way out and onto the hay ride:
Followed by the corn bins!
Which are great places to toss grandchildren:
Then it was home for some pumpkin pizzas and crafts with papa. The kiddos made little LED lanterns they placed around the yard!
And of course, then we went out trick or treating! It was WINDY but thankfully not too cold. We live in an older neighborhood with very few little kiddos, but our neighbors all have fond memories of the heyday years and are ultra generous with their candy. I think we hit 11 houses (3 of which people had just left a bowl of candy out and the kids only took one piece, 4 which gave out non-candy treats and 1 that gave out baking chips in a moment of panic) and this was their haul:
And in graph form:
John dutifully checked the candy for them!
After Halloween, James and I took advantage of having free childcare and headed out for a quick date night. We just missed solving the previous Escape room we did so we were pretty jazzed when we got this one done!
With extra hands around we took down the Halloween decorations, including this sun-bleached bat Matthew designed all by himself:
And we were in the midst of a warm spell before the snow set in so John tried out some scootering!
The next day we sent James off to the airport for a work training and Amma and Papa helped hold down the weekly routine of school drop offs and pick ups, scouts and swim! We also had a certain someone’s first birthday that needed planning :-)
And in the interest of full disclosure, this was not completed during journal time. Big girl eventually found her journal rhythm while big guy spent about 45 minutes contemplating one sentence to finish the card he was writing. Baby J meanwhile decided to whack his head on every surface imaginable so it is now post-bedtime as I wrap this up, glass of wine in hand :)