Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Octoberfestiveness

I love October! I had forgotten how much I liked this month, so it was a pleasant surprise. The weather is just about perfect, and the leaves are gorgeous! It was this time last year that we first came to western Pennsylvania, looking for a house...and while I wasn't sure if I liked the neighborhoods and schools, I loved the leaves :) Sure is pretty.
As Hannah's birthday treat, and as a nice break for us all, we spent General Conference weekend in Ohio. The kids weren't thrilled about watching Conference, so they begged to be allowed to take notes so they had something to do. Um....yes?! I was impressed that they actually did a good job! Even Aaron, although he basically copied what Nathan wrote.

We took a quick trip to a nearby farmer's market to check out the pumpkins, but got rained out before we could buy much :)


Aaron and I are usually at a loss for what to do during our afternoons, since he gets home from Kindergarten at noon and the other kids don't get home until 3-3:40. We went exploring, and found a fun science center (that worked with my membership from Indiana!). Aaron loved it, and we didn't even get to see everything. His favorite part is the real submarine they had floating in the harbor as part of the museum. We got to go down inside a 50 year old sub, which was about as cramped as you would imagine.


See the big yellow duck? Not sure why, but that guy spent 6 weeks floating in Pittsburgh. The city is currently mourning its loss, although I have no idea where it went or why it had to go.

 Also, its crazy just how much Pittsburgh looks like Seattle. The colors, the hills, the rain, the cramped city driving...







Last weekend, Center Township had a small fall festival, which was fun, and exactly what you would expect at a small neighborhood activity. It was way too expensive for an hours' worth of fun, but the kids loved it...Really, anything to get Rachel off the computer is a good idea right now.


 I have been working on a few projects around the house, so in the next day or two I will post some pictures. Oh, and Christian is in China right now, so when he gets back I'm sure he'll have some fun pictures or stories :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hannah's Birthday

Hannah turned 11 on October 3. Again, due to Christian's crazy travel schedule lately, we celebrated a few days early. This year we took a big step and decided to get Hannah a phone (and, incidentally, I got to upgrade my old slow phone, too :)  ). We didn't really intend to get her one this early, but eventually we decided that we needed a way to keep in touch as our schedules become busier. She was thrilled!

(Really, she was thrilled, despite her bored expression. I don't think she knew this picture was being taken, and all the other pictures were blurry because she wouldn't hold still!)

 
 To celebrate, she begged to have the Owens family, from church, come for dinner...mostly because she loves playing with their little girls! We had her favorite soup, Our Best Bites' sausage tortellini soup, with homemade bread bowls.

On her actual birthday, I let her pick dinner again and celebrated with a fun cheesecake.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Aaron's Big Party :)

Aaron turned 6 in September, and lucky for his, this was a party year--his first party! (We do parties every other year for the kids, since 4 parties a year is a bit much).

We started brainstorming ideas for his party months ago. Christian and the kids were really excited to do a Skylanders party, based on the video game.



Due to Christians' travel, we had to wait a week and a half to do the party, and we actually celebrated Aaron's birthday with the family 2 days early. Aaron requested a Crazy Cafe dinner--something that is quickly becoming a family birthday tradition. For the Crazy Cafe, I create a menu of the birthday kids' favorite foods, but with crazy names. Each person chooses 3 courses worth of foods without knowing what they are choosing, and it can be pretty nuts--especially when someone gets all condiments for the first course, or no drink until the last. We used to put utensils on the menu also, since it seemed fun to try and make people eat applesauce without a spoon, but that brought kids to tears the first time we tried it. Anyway, we had fun with our Crazy Cafe this year, and Aaron enjoyed a batman cave and Lego set.


Nearly 2 weeks later, on a super-rainy Saturday afternoon (which was unfortunate, since most of our planned activities were outside things), we held a party for about 8 kids.


Hannah dressed up as Kaos, the bad guy in the Skylander game.

I made mini-costumes for each kid so they could become a Skylander character for the game. The costumes caused quite a bit of stress for me, but they were cute and essentially simple hats or tunics with some distinguishing features. I also made several of them too small, and had to hurry to fix them after the party had begun. Whoops!

Christian and Hannah ran the whole party. We started with Find Kaos (or Sardines), a treasure hunt to find gold coins, and a card game called Sky Stones.



After that, we ate pizza, watermelon, and pretzels, classic Skylander power-up food, and started decorating rockets made from 2 liter bottles.


 Next, we headed out under the deck for Chompie pinatas (we made 5 pinatas), which took a long time to crack open, and then used a PVC pipe rocket launcher to shoot of the rockets--Christian made the rocket launcher earlier that morning.




The kids had a blast, and I was really proud of Hannah for how much work she put into her brother's party.
Aaron loves being 6, and he loves being in Kindergarten. He is still really sweet and cuddly, and I am savoring it while it lasts!