Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had a very nice day filled with family and food and fun.

I love the Macy's Day Parade...and the only good thing about Grant waking up at 6:30am was that he was ready for a nap at 9. So...Seth and I snuggled on the couch and watched the parade...dreaming of the day when I can actually see it in person. Wouldn't' that be the coolest...watching the parade..seeing the sights of NYC...someday...someday.
We did do a little cooking...fortunately I have parents who do all the cooking for Thanksgiving...so I usually just bring some appetizers/munchies. In addition to spinach dip and stuffed mushrooms, I saw this on FamilyFun.com and had to give it a shot. Seth and I had fun making our own fruit gobbler

And...I also made some persimmon pudding. Andy had grown up eating it at his grandparents. We tracked down some persimmon pulp and I made it Thanksgiving morning. I personally thought it was kind gross...but Andy loved it...so that is all that matters. And...Seth and I made these cute cookies on Wednesday while Grant napped.We headed to my parents around noon...munched on a quick light lunch...played with the cousins...talked...played cards...Andy and I did a quick running of the Kart at Dupont...sang to the player piano....chased Grant and Nia...tried to get babies to nap....fried turkeys ... (My dad has his own little side business of frying turkeys...I think he did 5 of them for some of his workmates plus one for us --YUM YUM...if you've never had friend turkey) and just spend time together.

We always celebrate Thanksgiving with some old time friends the Vollmers (you know, the ones who came from NC twice to watch Seth while Kate was in the hospital.) This is our 31st Thanksgiving together...and what was 8 has now grown to 20. We're not all around the same table anymore...but we're all together and that's what is important.

It was a great day...now if only I had taken more than 1 picture!

Side note: we did try our annual tradition of going downtown to see the lights get lit...but it was freezing and raining and gross. We waited about 10 minutes in the rain...Grant was screaming...his finger freezing (anyone have great gloves for a toddler) and we decided we'd just come back another night to see them all. It was disappointing since there were fireworks at the end... But...warm jammies, hot cocoa and a fire at home was pretty nice too!

And the winner is...

And the winner of my little comment contest according to Random.0rg.....

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 18 Result: 3 Powered by RANDOM

Amber....YEAH Amber. I find it ironic...that I met Amber via blogging...we've met in person once (way too long ago) and ran into each other once at the hospital...and the worst part is we even live in the same time. I've been following her journey...she has evidently been following mine...and now...I get to go visit her again.

So...Amber...I'll be calling you soon...to determine your special gift that will brighten your day...maybe come Christmas cookies...maybe a pamper basket...who knows...but hopefully it will bring a smile to your face.

To everyone else...thanks for your comments...your great Thanksgiving ideas (love the Thanksgiving tablecloth)...and for your support. You do brighten my day.
Oh and Kelly...willing to share your bean dip recipe?
And...my mother-in-law does make GREAT stuffing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving--10


Here we are...the end of 10 days and I will end with tradition...Yes...I am a traditionalist. I love tradition. I'm always looking for more traditions to start. Can you have too many traditions?

I loved reading some of your traditions. The holidays seem packed with traditions....I love it. Andy and I try hard to build those memories with our kids.


--thankful for our 31st Thanksgiving Tradition with the Vollmers. Looking back...a lot of the specific traditions have changed over the years (amazing what adding kids to the mix with do)...we may not go bowling....or to movies...or even play the 1812 Overture at the beating of the potatoes....BUT...we're together and that's what is important.


--thankful for the fact that Seth likes tradition too...he's catching on. In fact...he sometimes says: "But we have to...cause that is what we do"


--thankful for the Holiday season...which is packed full of traditions: seeing the Santa lighting (unless it's freezing rain)...driving through the Festival of Lights...Christmas Eve service...gingerbread house...Elf on the Shelf...picking out a live Christmas tree...making Christmas cookies...reading the Bible on Christmas Eve...pork ribs on Christmas Eve...driving to Portland on Christmas Day...the list goes on and on.
--thankful for the memories I have of traditions...all year long...and thankful that I have an amazing family with which I can build even more!
--Check back tomorrow for the winner of my little contest....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving--9

Well...I've been putting this one off...not sure how I can put all my gratitude into words...I just don't think there is the right words that will truly express my feelings toward Kate and her legacy, Kate's Kart.



I'm sure to miss a bunch of things...but here are just a few

--thankful that her heart defect was not discovered early...that we had 16 hours to love on her...and hold her...and everyone got to meet her...before everything changed

--thankful that she had some very good days...thankful that we were able to take her to the beach...to the Santa lighting...to the apple orchard...Kate had the chance to swing in the backyard and go swimming in a pool.

--thankful for the doctors and nurses who gave us extra precious time with her
--thankful for the days when I was the one that could console her...I was her mommy and she knew it and loved me!
--thankful for the opportunity to dress my little princes up in adorable dresses

--thankful that we had the chance to say "goodbye"
And then there is Kate's Kart...wow! I am so thankful for this. Honestly...I can't imagine not having Kate's Kart. It has (partially) filled a void...it has made me smile...it has brought me joy...it has made a difference...it has assured me that Kate's life mattered and she is continually making a difference...a HUGE difference. I would tell anyone who has lost a child...do something significant to help others in your child's memory. You will be blessed...you will heal.

--thankful for over 22,355 smiles on the faces of book recipients

--thankful for the amazing volunteers...handing out books, planning ice cream socials, labeling books, counting books, serving on board of directors

--thankful for the continued donations...even amidst the "economic downturn"...Kate's Kart is doing okay...we have continued donations...new people donating...and people who contribute regularly.
--thankful I get the chance to do presentations and tell Kate's story...over and over again. People ask me how I do it...honestly, I could talk about Kate all day.
--thankful for the emails and letters we get...solidifying that Kate's Kart is having an impact...parents are encouraged, kids are encouraged...during a difficult time...glimpses of "normalcy" are be handed out...over and over again.
I am thankful...I miss her...but I am thankful for her and her life and her legacy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving--8

Well...you didn't think I was going to be sappy the whole 10 days...surely I'm thankful for something practical. Well...today...that practical "thankful" gift was solidified...in this season of thanksgiving...yes, I'm thankful for insurance!


--thankful that when I pull a complete "dumb" move...take a corner too tight and get a little too cozy with a yellow concrete pole...when my van now has very yellow artwork all down the side and a few dings...that we have auto insurance. Yeah...I win the idiot of the day award...and as Andy keeps asking...why didn't I stop instead of keep going. Not sure...thought I would pull out of it...but I didn't.


--thankful that after this weekend...that I don't have to be worried about heading to the ER or Redimed...that we have insurance to cover it (well most of it anyway)

--thankful for the bounty of insurance coverage that Kate was under...thankful that after all those hospital stays...after over a million dollars of bills...that we have NO medical debt.

--thankful for that amazing AFLAC intensive care insurance that Andy signed up for years ago...his first year of teaching...thankful for that little duck that helped ease the strain of living in other cities for months and gave us a little cushion

Yes...insurance is a wonderful thing...especially when you need it!

And really...only 6 people read my blog? Come on people...EVERYONE needs to leave a comment on my last post (Thanksgiving 7)...JUST THIS ONCE....PLEASE!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Season of Thankgiving -- 7


So...I bet you're waiting for my big surprise. It's probably anti-climatic by now. In fact...I really messed up! I originally thought that this was going to be my 1000th post. However...when I went back and deleted all the draft entries that never got published...it took me down to 950. So...my big 1000th post party is just going to have to wait! And...all those rumors that we are expecting...well...sorry. Pretty disappointing huh? Sorry.


But hey..you're still reading my blog and so you are my thankful post for today. Yes...I am thankful for this blog...and the people we've met and places it has taken us.

--thankful for an online diary...especially since I'm over a year behind on my scrapbooks

--thankful that when I can't sleep...just thinking of Kate...I have this diary to go back and read. Wow...what a journey we were on. Really...sometimes I still can't believe what we were going through.

--thankful for the other heart moms I've "met" through blogging...thankful for moms that understood...thankful that I can rejoice with them in the amazing progress so many of these kids have made over the years...thankful I have a way of knowing what is going on.

--thankful for a diversion in the middle of the day...sometimes I just want to know what else is going on outside my little house...a quick jump onto google reader and I can laugh...relate...and know other moms are going through the same thing or find a great recipe for dinner or a great idea. I'm amazed at this blogging world...guess there are people making a living off their blog.

--thankful for the comments that are left..encouraging me....especially those written during Kate's illness. I still go back and read them...on those nights when I can't sleep.

So...my surprise...how but some free stuff. Not sure what it is going to be...depends on the winner...and what best fits you. I don't get many comments anymore (not pointing fingers...cause I'm not the best comment leaver either) but people tell me they are reading. So...just this once...leave me a comment on your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or food...or even just say, "hey...I'm really disappointed in your HUGE surprise". Then...random.org will pick a winner and I'll send you something cool...just because I'm thankful for you. Just remember...if you leave it anonymously...type your name at the end of the comment. Contest ends at midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Season of Thanksving -- 6


Today...(and everyday) I am thankful for my faith. Seriously I don't know where I would be without it. My faith is (I pray) what defines who I am...what shapes me...what molds me.
--thankful that because of my faith...because of Christ's death...I WILL spend eternity with HIM and with my daughter! I WILL see her again.

--thankful that HIS grace is sufficient..it is ALL I need.

--thankful for the authentic real relationships I made from church friends

--thankful for new friendships forming with new church friends

--thankful for 8+ years in youth ministry as a career...changing lives...building memories with students...who in turn taught me.

--thankful that I live in a country where I can freely worship my saviour and have several Bibles sitting on my bookshelf

--thankful for a church where I can learn, grow, serve, and be encouraged

--thankful for a church family that covered us in prayer during Kate's illness and death

--thankful for incredible worship music that lifts my soul

--thankful that I am made, accepted and given eternal life...my sin is FORGIVEN

--thankful for the HOPE I have...because of the promises He gave

--thankful that my faith has led me to live a life of integrity...one I can be proud of (Not that I have never made mistakes...but overall...it's been good)



There are many verses that are important to me...but the one I cling to...the first verse I ever memorized is this:

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path...Proverbs 3:5-6

Season Of Thanksving--5


Well...yesterday's post is a little late...I think I have reason. Yesterday afternoon...all of a sudden... I had the most excruciating pain radiating through my my upper abdomen...Within minutes...when Andy asked...I said "YES!"to... "Do you want me to take you to the ER?" We were in Portland...and their little bitty "bandaid" hospital was understaffed and way busy. So...2.5 hours later..after the pain has subsided...and we had no answers...we decided to just go home. After a trip to Redimed today...still not sure what was going on...maybe some kind of stone, maybe some kind of intestinal issue...who knows...but fortunately I am feeling much much better.

So...yesterday my thoughts went to my family...specifically my parents and inlaws
--thankful for Cathy and Ted who were so gracious and understanding when Andy, Grant and I left early and weren't able to stay for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. I felt SO bad...it was going to be a first meal with all of Ted's family. I'm sorry Cathy! Seth was our stand-in and represented our family for us.
--thankful for a mom and dad I can call at anytime...for whatever reason
--thankful for parents who "brought me up right" and built amazing memories for me...many times which I'm sure included countless sacrifices

--thankful for a mom who is a best friend

--thankful for a dad who watches out for me...and makes me feel like his "daddy's little girl"...even when I'm 40!

--thankful for grandparents who adore my kids and will watch them almost everytime I ask. (What a blessing to not have to pay for sitters...we only have 2x in 6+years of parenting). Wow...they watch them at work...they drive over an hour...they give up their plans...they take them camping...they keep them for weekends...they take them to Disneyworld...they give them a week on the beach with their cousins. So thankful they are intentionally building wonderful memories with my kids.
--thankful for all the amazing love and support they showed during Kate's illness...they were where we needed them and when...no questions asked...once again...putting their schedules on hold

--thankful that Cathy and Larry raised a G0d-fearing, hard-working son.
--thankful for the adorable matching outfits Cathy buys for the boys :) Just wait until Christmas!

and...Doug and Amy...I'm thankful for you too...and for cousins that Seth adores! Thankful that we can build those family memories together with our own families.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving -- 4


Today my thoughts go to how grateful I am that I am able to stay home with the boys. What an honor and privilege it is to spend my days with them. I love that I get to experience first hand all those first time milestones. Now I won't lie...there are those days when I wish I was in a cubicle, by myself...but most of the time I find complete joy in being home.

--thankful for the time that I have with each of boys. Love that I have that one-on-one time with each of them....mornings with Grant and nap time with Seth.
--thankful that I don't have to make last minute plans when one of them wakes up sick.
--thankful that the boys get the comfort of their own home
--thankful for the lunchtime conversations
--thankful that on those cloudy, rainy afternoons we can just play games
--thankful for the picnics and play dates on a warm sunny afternoon

But most of all...I am thankful that Andy puts in so many extra hours...working detention and tutoring after school and working at the pool during the summer...so that I can stay home. I thankful that we agree that keeping our boys at home is a priority for us. And if that means pinching pennies...that is a small price to pay.

I by NO means am criticizing those who aren't able to stay home...today...I am just thankful that I can.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving -- 3

But of course I must mention my boys! What joy they bring me. What an honor it is to be their mom.





So there is Seth...


--so thankful that he LOVES to be read to...that is usually his activity of choice when I tell him it's his time...and even better when he cuddles with me.


--so thankful that he LOVES to learn. Very rarely is it a hassle to get him to do his homework (I know it's not much at this point). But he loves anything academic...learning math, learning geography. And..he is teachable...he wants to to do it right.

--so thankful that he LOVES to help. He always has...now, I admit, not ALL the time...but generally he will help when needed, especially daddy outside. But..he also sweeps, unloads the dishwasher, sorts laundry. He always has...I pray he always will.

--so thankful that he LOVES his little brother. It brings me so much joy to see them play together...to see Seth letting Grant chase him around the house is precious. I am thankful that Seth is old enough to "watch" Grant while I hop in the shower...and is willing to do it!

--so thankful he is a generally well behaved kid. He has yet to pull a card at school and we always get great reports from sitters and Sunday School.
--so thankful that I had him waiting at home to hug and kiss when I made that lonely, long trip home from Michigan on January 15, 2008.
--so thankful that he doesn't see the time/work I put into Kate's Kart as a distraction or burden. He is eager to help...he will go to the shed...will go to presentations...and LOVES to go book shopping with me.
--so thankful that he LOVES to cook with me...especially cookies. I love that time together in the kitchen.
--so thankful for his health
--so thankful when he tells me he loves me and that he never wants to move away, not even for college!

And there is Grant...


--so thankful for his energy...he keeps me moving....he keeps me on my toes...he keeps me young.

--so thankful that he loves to cuddle. I love that he will just crawl up in my lap and put his head on my shoulder. I love that he always wants a little bit of rocking before bed.
--so thankful for his health...it was scary pregnancy...once bitten, twice shy.
--so thankful that he forgives so easily...I love it that I can discipline him for hitting/biting and he instantly wants me to hold him.

--so thankful for his giggle...oh he makes me smile...he can brighten my day so quickly

--so thankful for the smiles when he sees me pick him up from church, childwatch or MOPS...love Love love that he comes running to me with his arms spread wide

--so thankful for the years ahead...waiting in anticipation for who he will become, because I have a feeling he will be nothing like Seth.

So thankful for these two boys...these two bundles of joy! I am BLESSED! So thankful for many years to come...watching them grow into Godly men!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving -- 2


Today...my heart is truly thankful for the friends in my life. Wow...what a blessing some good ole' girlfriends can be. As I think about it...there are several groups of friends for which I am truly thankful.


The first group...4 in particular...are those 4 friends I've had for years...and I do mean years! There are 5 of us from high school (4 of which began in grade school). Fortunately...we've made an attempt to keep in touch even though we are now spread out in 3 states. But the thing about these 4 girls....it doesn't matter if it's been a year...we just pick up where we left off. We laugh together...we cry...we share...we love. It's amazing what 20+ years together will do. I'm so thankful that they will drop their lives to come and love on me during Kate's illness/death. I"m so thankful that we can shoot an email just saying: "Hey, pray for me, I've having a hard day"...or "Look what God is doing in my life. " I'm so thankful that I know I can tell them anything (and vice versa). I'm so thankful for their friendship (and a great time together celebrating our 40th birthdays.)

Krista, Sharyn, Karla, Melanee & Gina


And there are other great friends from years ago too...college roommates (love ya MJC)....old friends from HS who I've been reunited with who have blessed Kate's Kart and are a great scrapping partner....yeah, that's you Laura. Those friends who have known you for years are irreplaceable...there is just that history.


And...there are my "new" friends...my stage of life friends. It's been a true blessing to meet some wonderful "mom friends".... Moms of Seth's schoolmates...Moms from my Mops group...Moms from church. We share that common bond...and it's a whole new relationship I am just blessed to have. I love to get together for play dates...cause that usually means I get a chat date with it too. I love that on days like today...days where I have 3 different commitments...that I have 3 amazing friends who are willing to keep my kids for a few hours each.! Friends I can trust my kids with are priceless.


And...there are others....friends I've met through Kate's Kart who now volunteer...my parent's friends who are also my friends and mentors (gee....that generation gap keeps getting smaller and smaller).


I love it that a friend will send me 11 text messages within hours of me (finally) getting texting on my phone. I love it that a friend will call just to say..."I've been thinking of you." I love it that friends are willing to invest in my life. I love it that friends are praying for my kids. Relationships are important to me...I thrive on them. I love to be around people...I like doing stuff with people...I guess I'm just a people person.


So...today, in this season of thanksgiving, it's my amazing friends (old and new) who I am truly thankful for.


PS.. Remember...these are in no particular order

PPS...Yes, a surprise is coming...I guess in reality it's NOT that HUGE...but it is coming.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Season of Thanksgiving

I've been inspired...some are listing things daily on Facebook and some do a Thursday weekly blog. I've decided...for the next 10 days, until Thanksgiving...I'll share just a few of the things I am grateful for. Of course I am always thankful for dishwashers and chocolate and mornings when I can sleep in....but for these posts, I hope to really explore 10 things in my life that I am truly, eternally grateful for....some meaningful things...things that truly define my life and who I am. There is no particular order...yes, some I'm more thankful for than others...but for these 10 things...I truly thank the Lord.





I remember it was spring of 2000...I had a great job...I had my own home...loving family...caring friends...but I was DESPERATELY LONELY. I was getting ready to turn 30 and pretty much resolved that I would NEVER get married. I had tried it all: Internet dating, friend dating...I even called some dating hotline (yeah...not a real jackpot of quality men there!).

One day I got a phone call at work...a fairly new friend asked if I was interested in going on a blind date. I said "sure"...I trust you. He was a high school classmate of hers. And he met my only 2 qualification I had at this time: He was tall and he was a Christian. She gave him my phone number...he called..we chatted a couple times and he asked me out on a date! Imagine my surprise when this...

(picture taken June 30--dating less than a month)
showed up on my doorstep...complete with flowers! He was tall...and DARK..and HANDSOME!

Well..the first date went well...we continued dating...and 18 months later...he proposed on one knee underneath the giant Christmas wreath downtown. The wedding plans were in full swing...the friend who introduced us...well she took our engagement pictures. (Which I might just add....she now has an INCREDIBLE photography business...check out her works of art here!)
And.. on August 3, 2002...my dreams came true! I found the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with...the man I was going to build a future...a family...a lifetime.


I am so thankful for my husband...for the life we live TOGETHER.
--thankful that he loves me for who I am...the good days and the bad
--thankful that he adores our children
--thankful that he provides for us in so many ways
--thankful he encourages me to pursue my interests--
--thankful he does home improvement projects himself to save us money
--thankful we made it through Kate's illness and death (do you know the rate of divorce is staggering when dealing with chronically ill or the death of a child)
--thankful for his commitment to our marriage
--thankful for HIM...the man I love.

We've obviously had some sad times in our life together...and we've had some wonderful times. We've spent our anniversary alone in a romantic cabin in the woods...we've also spent it in a camper in a hospital parking lot. We're building an incredible journey of memories...nurturing 2 amazing boys...managing a very blessed charity...
picture taken July 2010...Cape May, NJ
Today...and everyday...I am thankful for Andrew Nathan Layman...
my husband! picture taken before Grant's c-section...I think he looks pretty studly here!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Starting Early

So tonight after dinner, Andy & Seth ran to the library to return a video. I started putting away the leftovers when I turned around I saw Grant doing this! I couldn't believe it...he evidently caught on just watching us every night! Then...when it was time to do the dishwasher...he chimed right in!

I teasingly told Seth when he got home that Grant was getting his (Seth's) allowance since Grant did all his (Seth's ) chores! Oops...that didn't make Seth a happy camper!
.




Stay tuned...10 days of intentional Thankful blogging coming up...WITH a HUGE surprise coming!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

As Time Goes By

And yet another week has gone by...and I have nothing to share. ..no pictures to brighten your day. In fact I even noticed that the picture card is still in the computer USB port from my last post. It's been just your average few days...the only excitement (really) was that Andy had jury duty and served on a 5 day trial.

Grant is still crazy Grant. He LOVES to be outside...so these past few days have been wonderful...we've spent a lot of time just playing in the backyard. He still is a man of few words...lots of sounds but no new words.

Seth is keeping busy. He went to Upward Basketball Orientation and is now on a basketball kick. We've gone down to the association hoop the past 2 days and paint cans are set up all over the garage as pretend cones to dribble around. We've been reading a bunch...and he is playing a bunch with neighbor kids. In fact today...he has been outside w/ friends since 11:15 (minus a 20 minute lunch break). I will have to FORCE him in at 4:30.

Andy...like I mentioned had an interesting week serving on jury duty. He was glad to have the opportunity. Now he is back at school...changing kids lives everyday! He keeps busy around the house getting ready for winter.

Me...just being a mom and trying to stay above water with all the Kate's Kart stuff happening. My cousin came to visit from S. Indiana so I enjoyed a nice afternoon with her. But...Kate's Kart is amazing...I have a bunch of speaking engagements coming up this next couple weeks...including a BIG one in Indy. (anyone want to road trip to Indy on Nov. 30 with me)
Plus Barnes and Noble has chosen us again as their holiday book drive recipient AND we are having a book fair on Dec. 5 (save your Christmas shopping until then..I'll give more info later)
Plus...adding new Karts/hospitals...volunteer appreciation event...new volunteers...I tell you...this Kate's Kart has grown into something pretty HUGE.

So...it's Christmas everywhere...bell ringers...decorations on buildings...music at the stores. But...we're holding out...enjoying this time of Thanksgiving. Thankful for so many wonderful things in our lives.

Monday, November 1, 2010

16 Months

16 Months
Monday, N0vember 1

At 16 months Grant:

--is ONERY...he still bites, hits and screams when he doesn't get his way
--lets us know he is done with a meal by throwing it all over the floor
--is pretty accident prone...and often has bruises, scrapes and bumps. He just likes to climb on everything and anything.
--thinks it's funny to put his food on his head and in his hair (this was an extreme night)
--has added "me"," daddy" and "hot" to his vocabulary. "Me" for when he wants something...and "hot" from us constantly tell him that from camping 2 weekends of the month.
--if you tell him his food is hot...he will blow on it
--is on a daily iron supplement for being a bit on the anemic side
--loves to throw things in the water...especially at Lake Michigan
--loves baths...hates showers
--is a pretty secure walker...is starting to try to run, especially when you are telling him it's time to come inside
--still adores his paci
--will attack his brother...if Seth is laying done...Grant will go and jump on him.
--loves wrestling with his daddy
--gets blotchy red spots when he eats hummus (which he loves)...we're pretty sure his skin is just irritated from an acid found in it as it goes away fairly quickly
--went trick or treating and discovered he is quite fond of candy...especially M&Ms, suckers and Smarties
--loves to be outside...and will make a run for it anytime he sees the opportunity
--played at a McDonalds playland for the first time...wouldn't go very far into the maze of tunnels...just watched the other kids
--still prefers 2 naps
--puts his hand in fists to his chest and shakes when you go outside and it's cold...laughs when you say: "Brrrr"
--can still be the sweetest most cuddly little guy ever!

Halloween Night

What a beautiful night for trick or treating. I tell you...it didn't take Grant long to get this trick or treating thing figured out! It was so cute...he definitely was living under the saying: one in the hand is worth more than 2 in the bag....cause he had to have his candy in HIS hand at all times!

Since we got SO much candy on Saturday at the campground...we only went to about 10 houses around the neighborhood before heading back and passing out candy ourselves. our little YODA...how cute is he?

Darth Vaderplaying in the front yard waiting on trick or treaters to come Yeah...Grant wasn't too happy about his one....until.....he had candy in his mouth...and in his hand! Greedy little guy! Checking out the stash afterwards
Seth's little friend from school came trick or treating! I tell you...we've got a budding little romance going on here!

Chain O' Lakes Weekend

It was another fun-filled weekend for us. On Friday afternoon...I loaded up the boys and the van and headed to Chain O' Lakes and met my parents there. (Andy had a TON of grading to do...so he opted to stay home and get some work done. He came up on Saturday for all the fun activities.)

We set up camp...which included our tent. Yep...Nana and Oompa got dibs on the RV ( I guess that's only fair since it is theirs!)...so I got the tent. We grilled hot dogs over the fire and took several bike rides and walks around the campground. It is their Halloween Weekend...and people go crazy decorating their sites. It's amazing the amount of "stuff" people have for Halloween. Doug's family joined us later that night for dinner and fun. Lucas stayed the night and he and Seth stayed in the tent with me. It was a little on the cold side...but the boys slept all the way through the night....me....well, not so much. Grant got to stay warm in the RV w/ Nana & Oompa.

Saturday morning we awoke to a beautiful fall day and lots of fun activities for all including:

fighting with our cousins over who is going to push the toy

tye-dying shirts



taking hay rides
dressing up for trick or treating around the campsites
the 5 cousins...ready to go!
I told you some people went all out!


some even dressed up their campers
there were tons of leaves to play inlots of yummy food to eat by the fire to stay warm


plus: lots of bike riding, taking hikes, sipping hot cider, painting pumpkins, playing football, playing on the playground and just relaxing with the family.
Sunday morning we packed up and headed home for some warm baths and naps before Halloween Night festivities.
It was a fun weekend...thanks to Nana and Oompa for hosting and making and cleaning up all the food.