{Halloween 2019} ~ Boo to you!

October is a month that seemed to last about 31 seconds in our house instead of 31 days this year.  With two birthdays, a Gotcha Day, the State Fair, a weekend trip to the beach, several birthday parties outside our family to attend, just having gotten back from our anniversary hiking extravaganza in Utah, an all day zoo field trip and then Halloween, it seemed like the month vanished more quickly than the candy displays in stores.

It was the first night in ten years that we didn't trick or treat with the C4 family.  Impending weather kept them in their neighborhood.  We still had quite the candy haul and enjoyed ourselves, but it wasn't the same without them!

This year we had (in age order) a Smartie Pants, a mime (who did an amazing job of staying in character...silent all night), a cowgirl, Inky ghost (from PacMan...costume making a reappearance, the Avenger suit he ordered was "too scratchy" at the neck), Lilo and Spiderman.

unfortunately the best shot of miss smartie from the night

He only broke character and spoke express his extreme displeasure that the lightning we saw was cutting our trick or treat time short.
cutest cowgirl this side of the mississippi
(with a little inky action)

pac man got a power up!

Lilo had a time keeping Stitch from eating all her candy!

this year we picked up a new friend to trick or treat with
spiderman and his zombie buddy

the older kids decided to trick or treat "one last year" so we left our pumpkins glowing with a trick or treat bowl on the porch
And of course, what would Halloween be without "the Great Candy Swap?"  I love listening to the bargaining as kids angle to collect as much as possible of their favorites.  The favorites per kid were Peanut M&Ms, Reeses cups, Maltese malt balls, 100 Grands, Tootsie Rolls and "anything as long as it is CANDY!"

a Halloween zoo day!

Field trip days are the best days!

Even when it's a humid, drizzly Halloween day outside.

Being out of the normal routine of the classroom makes everything better!

The only bummer about having 4th grade "twins" is that means two kids to try to be with on chaperoning trips.

The teachers offered for me to have both kids, but as that meant Nat was going to be placed in my group of all boys, she opted to stay with her class and travel the zoo with some of her friends instead.

We covered about 4.5 miles of trails over the course of 3 hours.  Nicholas was wiped out by the end, but the lure of getting to the harbor seals and the polar bear was a good carrot to dangle in front of him and his friends.  Thankfully with the slightly cooler weather those animals did not disappoint.  The seals and sea lions were entertaining and Nakita was having a grand time swimming in his pool!

I carpooled to the zoo with the mom of one of Nat's friends, so both girls chose to ride home with us...Nicholas opted for the bus to hang out with his friends.  It was a quiet ride after the first fifteen minutes!

Proof that an early morning and lots of walking is exhausting...
Thankfully there were no bus issues and so we got home with plenty of time to get ready for trick or treating!


M8 pumpkin carving 2019

Halloween week snuck up on us this year.

Actually, I wish I could say "this year" as if it were an anomaly.

But that would be lying.

It got us last year too when we bought pumpkins early on but never got around to carving them.

And apparently the year before that too because Nicholas thought we were NUTS when we started reaching inside our pumpkins and pulled out the seeds and strings.  He had no idea what was going on.

AND he thought it smelled terrible.

This afternoon I had to run into Food Lion to grab one item for dinner.  Thankfully they had a GIANT container of large pumpkins reduced to $4 each.  I passed by them without thinking at first and then stopped in my tracks as I calculated Halloween was only two days away.

So I did the only logical thing I could do...came home, told the kids we were going to get pumpkins and loaded them into the car.  They were a bit surprised when we pulled into the Food Lion parking lot instead of a pumpkin patch, but perked up when they saw their selection.  For a $4 pumpkin we did have to dig around in the box a bit instead of seeing them lined up neatly on hay bales.  But did I mention they were only $4?

Over dinner conversation floated around theme ideas.  Pumpkin carving is serious business around here.

Orange pumpkin mustaches and all...

Amazingly despite the fact that there were knives in every hand, the only carnage was the pumpkin guts.

So. Many. Pumpkin. GUTS!

But once the mess was all cleaned up we had quite a great showing.

Mr. Happy

Captain America

Mr. Peanut




Happy Go Lucky

howling wolf

can you guess whose is whose?


a beach 5K weekend

One the first day of school back in August, our dear friends presented us with a "family fitness challenge."  They had found a 5K down on the coast to run in and wondered if we'd like to join them for a weekend at their beach house for a run.

A weekend with great the beach?  We didn't have to think twice.

Though perhaps doing enough research to know what time the race started would have been a decent idea.  Little did we know that we'd have to be on Ocean Isle Beach before they closed the causeway to one lane of traffic before 6am.  And that was a 35 minute drive from their place on Holden Beach.

To say that the group of eight tweens/teens wasn't thrilled about a 5am wake up call on a Saturday would be the understatement of the weekend.

But at least we got to see an amazing sunrise over the Atlantic!

We all finished our respective races.  The older four and I along with Team W did the 5K while Ian (who aggravated his knee on our hiking trip in Utah) did the 1 mile fun run with the littles.

My goals were the following:
     1). jog the entire way
     2). beat at least one of my previous 5K times
     3). finish before at least one of my kids

I accomplished all three goals.

Following the race we snagged our free pizza or BBQ even if it was slightly strange to be eating such things before 9am and then headed back to Holden where we prepared a huge brunch...scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, toast and melon.

The afternoon was spent napping, checking out the on island craft fair,

playing cards,

and the highlight of watching our sweet friend profess her faith in Christ and desire to follow Him by being baptized in the chilly waters of the Atlantic.

We prepared a grand feast to celebrate her decision and then caught a little football.  Literally.  Little.
The house didn't have the TV channel carrying the UNC game, and casting the game from Ian's phone to the TV wasn't working, so the guys had to settle for a tiny screen.

All too quickly our weekend was over and it was time to head back home.  But who can be 10 minutes from a Wake & Bake donut shop without a quick stop?

cookies and cream treat for the wee one


M8 at the State Fair {2019 edition}

In the fall as temperatures begins to drop and pumpkins begin to appear we get excited about one of our favorite afternoon/evenings of the year...


This year we decided to utilize the free parking (that comes with a bit of a "hike") at Carter Finley Stadium.  The disadvantage of having a further walk was set off by arriving at the entrance next to the Village of Yesteryear.  We hadn't made it to this section of the fair in years and it's always a good start when you get a free hushpuppy while touring the working grist mill.  

state fair or safari?
After checking out the mill and smith shop, we began to make use of our unlimited ride bracelets.

funhouse long legs
While I rode most of the rides, there are some that I've learned my limits on...Tilt A Whirl being one of them...

For the record, a desire to be "tidy," the love of comfy clothes and a distaste for being spun in circles rapidly seems to "run the family" and my nearly grown up mini-me stood on the sidelines several times with me throughout the afternoon/evening while the others spun in circles repeatedly.

Most of the rest of our adventure at the fair was rides...

...with the occasional walk through a building to check out pumpkins and farm animals...

...the winning cakes...

he looks just a little too comfortable behind the wheel...

...and of course sampling the good stuff...

...all of it!

M8 Fair day 2019 was perhaps the best yet.  8 hours, 7 fried treats, & 6 miles logged.
Now we look forward to Fair Night 2020!