Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 Part I

While everyone is out being obsessed with shopping and crowded parking lots before they can even make it through the maze of endless retail cookie cutter giants (parking lot stupidity alone is one of the top reasons I will not participate in the madness), I'm sitting here trying to not scream at my kids. 

Well, I didn't do very well at not screaming at them, but Chris is here too. Therefore, at least we can double team on Thing 1 and Thing 2 with the cleaning up and responsibilities. Later, he and I will venture out in the crazy Black Friday world. But not to shop. 

It's a date tonight! 

However, we hope to make it a date afternoon and night. We'll see how things go with accomplishing such a feat that will also ensure no offspring are murdered by another offspring or require therapy for the rest of their lives as a result of our absence.                                                                                                       Yesterday's Turkey Run went okay. My timer said I finished in 39:07. However, according to their records, it's listed as 38:56. Okay, I can go with that! I'd love to get below 38:00, but I'm content with those two times for yesterday. This was especially due to the fact that about 2/3 in, I started struggling but I managed to keep a jog. However, for having mostly treadmill training for the last 6 months, I did surprisingly well.  That Downtown Phoenix route was flat, so that was a plus. However, no clouds were in sight. Therefore, at first, the sun was rather intense. Thankfully, we ended up along tall buildings that shaded the evil orb for a good portion of the route. 
This guy (left) was in front of me for awhile during the run. It's blurry because I was running too. If a run didn't produce so much sweat, it would be fun to do this with the costuming. The best was all the cops laughing as he passed them standing at the roadblocks.

As for my own costuming, I don't like the snapshots that were taken of me this time around, so these are more favorable:

Front of the shirt
Back of the shirt

Anyway, we were meeting our friend Billie and her in-laws in North Phoenix for Thanksgiving, so I had to acquire a shower. A location of my gym is in Downtown Phoenix, but that's only for the Platinum members (say it out loud with a highbrow snotty tone...). It certainly wasn't for a basic bourgeoisie membership such as mine. However, I went there anyway, because I figured it had to be empty due to Thanksgiving. And sure enough, the guy at the front desk had no problem allowing me to use the facilities to get ready, despite my Commoner or Cottager status being way below the usual royalty. 
(Yes, I am Queen, but it's not recognized as far as my gym is know, red tape and technicalities...)

He even said I could work out if I wanted to. Considering I just ran three miles and turkey and gravy was on the brain, that part wasn't going to happen. But I thanked him anyway and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving (as the gym was only going to be open until early afternoon, so he probably wasn't going to be missing out).

But there are drawbacks in using a club that is reserved for only the Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses and other Nobility: The women's locker room was empty with the exception of myself, and oh man, it was certainly posh and fancy. Having a taste of the good life is dangerous! I was thinking, "Wow, I can certainly get used to this!" 

No, even if I could afford it, I'm happy sticking with my typical Peasantry membership. I just hope they allow me to use that location for the same reason next Thanksgiving as well! 

Next we headed to join a huge family event in which we were lovely adopted into this year. 

That'll be covered in Part II. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Time, Art Update and Santa's Throne of Lies...

Sunday Doodle for 11/23 - Black is the drawing. Rest is part of the paper.
It's Turkey Week, and we're actually looking forward to this Thanksgiving this year because we have an event to attend. We're crashing a friend's family affair.

The last few years, we've flown solo for Thanksgiving, an it's been quite depressing. 

But not this year! Plus, that morning is the Turkey Run 5K. I admit I'm not as prepared for it because I haven't been able to run in the "real world" as much. It's been mostly treadmill since since Summer started.  I guess we'll see how it goes Thursday morning.

As for later that day, I just hope our crazy presence doesn't ruin any future Turkey Day invites.

On the art front, it's been busy. I think I have four or five projects going on in tandem. That's perfectly alright with me. As far as I'm concerned, that's the way it should be. 

Here are just a few:
Wedding gift - Congratulations Emily and Howard!
Coasters from the Lake of the Woods Preservation project

Another view of the wallet. I haven't listed this yet as an option on my shop. I need to do that!
Those are just a few of the current projects. (Come back for the address tile I also did last week...having trouble getting the image off my phone...)

I'm also offering a Black Friday discount for my shop. Plus, shopping at my Etsy shop is easy and doesn't have the crazy Black Friday crowds. You also don't have to get up at some satanic time in the morning and wait in line in order to buy some mass produced item. I know, I paint such a great argument! haha Hey, I love to shop. But not on Black Friday. Gross. I don't like how the gratitude and traditions of Thanksgiving are overshadowed by greed and commercialism. Yes, I sound like a hippie. I guess I am about this. I have no problem with that.
30% Code BLACKFRI...No minimum purchase necessary. It's good for anything that day!

And it's Ornament Season again! 

In the meantime, Christian and his brilliant but technical mind is at full-force!  This is a business letter assignment he just completed for his class. This is just another perfect example of how quick his brain is moving and how it thinks. As for us, his worn-out parents (and not just because of him, but him and the 4,735 others factors in life), we know it will pay off later, but for head hurts. 
I guess some of this explains how I've gone off my rocker. This letter is also additional evidence why his pregnancy was an utter nightmare. As I've said before, I was carrying some immortal species from a planet with a different level of intelligence.

Anyway, with this house-building bank madness, I've felt so out of control as we try to reach for the proverbial carrot. I guess that explains that if there is something that is more realistically in my grasp to control, I sink my teeth into it no matter how stupid it may seem. Case in point -  A couple of weeks ago, it involved something that appeared unimportant. But no, it wasn't definitely not unimportant. I guess I need to back up a bit to explain:

(DISCLAIMER: PG-13/Cable TV language)
Okay, maybe to the unknowing ear or bystander with the wrong impression of what's really the issue, this appears to be a  'First World Problem' rant. But no, it's about sticking to your PRINCIPLES because the 60s Christmas production of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is so revolting.


Around the time that Chris and I took our weekend 20th anniversary trip, I ordered Christmas stamps for our Holiday/Christmas/Winter cards. I did the old school mail order through the post office assigned to our current, but temporary, residence. I immediately received the stamp order, despite the old snail mail way of buying them. 
However, for the half-dozen or so different type of Christmas/holiday designs to choose from, I received NONE of the three choices I made. But that isn't the complaint or what this is about. I am flexible. No really - I am! 

Accompanied with the three different sets of Seasonal/Christmas stamps was a handwritten note that said, "I hope you like the substitutions." 

2 of the 3 substitutions were fine. But the third? They were stamps in commemoration of the 1960s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Anyone ever watch that and see just what kind of douche Santa is in that show? What does it teach kids? It teaches them that Santa condones bullying and doesn't appreciate what the elves do for him. He's also a jerk to his wife. And after dissing Rudolph for being "different", Santa only cares about him when Rudolph can finally be of some use to him.  
Anyway, a couple of days after receiving the stamps, I had to mail an order to a customer.  I went into the main post office (not the one the stamp order came from).
After the business of sending off package for the customer was finished and I paid for that postage, I then brought up my issue with having the Rudolph stamps in my possession. I had no intention of adding them to our Christmas cards, or using them at all.

(Keep in mind, this was all friendly and no heated exchanges were made, despite my passion for the issue at hand...)

ME: "...Now I have these stamps that I ordered from the Morristown office. They didn't have any of the choices I made and they sent three holiday-related substitutions. The substitutions are okay except for this." I presented the awful Rudolph stamps.
Post Office Guy: "What's wrong with those?"
ME: "What's wrong with those? Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer is a horrible show. Have you ever really seen it? Santa is such an ass, for starters."
Cowboy dude customer standing in the lobby: "You can put those on the cards for people you don't like."
ME: "I thought about that, but I have already trimmed down my list. Plus, it's the principle of the thing. I can't believe this show is considered a classic. It has horrible messages in it."
PO GUY, turning to colleague: "Do we do exchanges on stamps?"
Other PO GUY: "Not usually, but in her case, yes...."
ME: Do you have the wreaths (design)?
PO GUY (looking in his drawer): "We have Gingerbread houses."
ME: "That would be fine. Thanks."
Poor Wickenburg Post Office! When we build our stupid house (whenever the hell that is), that office is just right down the road! haha  
I'm sure the guy at the post office was thinking, "This is seriously a problem for her?" 
Yes. Yes it was.

And for anyone that believes my calling Santa those less than stellar names puts me on the "Naughty List", I respectfully disagree. There is no way the Santa in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer represents the true Santa.  You know, just like Buddy the Elf called out the fake Santa! Just like the beef and cheese Santa in Elf, the one in Rudolph also sits on a throne of lies. 

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Can We PLEASE Have the Carrot?

My focus lately has been splattered all over the place. There are numerous projects and they will get done. But I cannot focus like I should. 

And I'm losing faith in that our house will never get started. Well, I lost faith a long time ago. Then the appraisal came back with flying colors and hope grew again. However, that appraisal was over a month ago.

It's almost Thanksgiving! We call the bank every day. They ask weird questions and we answer them. Now they're asking about our budget for a well now. THERE IS ALREADY A WELL THERE. It's shared by ours and a few other properties. That was all part of the initial paperwork, write-ups, our mothers' maiden name, blood type, and our second grade elementary school teachers' political affiliations.

It's as if they want a stool sample or something and we're waiting for a lab in Tibet on the peak of one of the Himalayas (where the lab work is being transported to the summit and back by Yak) to send back the results. And even then, the results have to go through forty different committees (five or six committees per continent) and then reviewed again. Then they have to check if the Yak was a carrier for Mad Cow Disease. If it was, we'll need another stool sample and send it again, but it has to be accompanied by Sherpa.

Therefore, we're that pathetic bunny. We're just a pawn in their funny games. There's nothing we can do because we're two dimensional - at the mercy of the big three-dimensional bullies.  

And there's nothing we can do.

And a lesser annoyance, now that it's almost December, if we don't start building soon, we'll be stuck moving in the summer again! But at least the house will be done.  

Or will it?

I'm doubtful. Very doubtful.
Anyway, another project that needs some attention are the Christmas cards. I wanted to wait to show off some of these family picture shots, but I'm so frustrated with other things, now is as good of a time as any. 

Now to figure out the Christmas cards!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blessings Rising from the Ashes

This is an emotional post for a Sunday night. My emotions are all over the place. I know it's a sentence I've probably written over a dozen times here. Well, tonight is no exception.

Today the Phoenix Arizona Temple was dedicated. It was such a privilege to attend one of the broadcasts. Sure, it would have been nice to be in the temple again for one of the sessions as Chris and I were for one of the Gilbert Temple dedicatory sessions last February. However, it didn't change the excitement for the event. 

I know I talk about the valley as "hell" due to the heat and other factors that add insult to injury. And believe me, it is. 

But I was born in Phoenix, so I do feel some hometown pride due to this event, and whether I like it or not, the Phoenix area is home. Plus, at the Cultural Celebration yesterday, part of the accompanying video about Phoenix and church history spoke about Good Samaritan Hospital, and how it was able to stay open after struggling financially (due to The Great Depression) due to help from the church. I was born at Good Samaritan. I was previously unaware about this part of its history.

Earlier in the Cultural Celebration, I was especially moved during the musical number that honored the U.S. Armed Forces and the various fight songs of the different military branches.  I don't know what it is about the Air Force Fight Song (Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder), but it gives me chills. And last night, it brought me to tears.

Anyway, only 2% of the youth in the church are blessed with the opportunity to participate in a Cultural Celebration. Mikelle has now participated in TWO! I don't think she realizes yet, at ages 13 and 14, how fortunate she was to be able to have these two experiences. 

My hope and prayers are someday she will. 

At lasts night's Cultural Celebration, her group is in the purple and later her dance is about the talents. She was dressed as one of the painters with the ribbon.

Part of my emotional roller-coaster tonight also contains sadness that Mikelle dodged so many potential pictures taken of her and her Wickenburg youth for this Cultural Celebration. There was a group photo posted on Facebook tonight, and she was not in it. It wasn't because she was left out. Nope. I knew exactly why she was absent in the picture. She avoided being in the picture. 

I finally broke down into tears. I had been trying for months now to have patience and wait out this teenage "phase" (Gosh, I hope it's just a phase!) of her not wanting any picture taken of herself. But when such a Cultural Celebration occurred and she wasn't even in the group photo with her fellow ward youths and bishop, I couldn't extend that patience anymore.  

When I expressed my frustration through the tears about how we couldn't have the evidence in photos that she was part of this memorable event to share and reflect on for years to come, I think the message finally made it through. She said she wasn't thinking of that. She apologized and even offered to put on her purple shirt and lanyard and pose for a picture. I said that would be fine, but maybe tomorrow as I needed to just "process" all of this for the evening. 

Thankfully, those that were there with the our youth looked through some of their various photos in attempts to find her in the background. We did find a few. 
In this one, she's in close to the center of the picture, looking at her lanyard.
And here she is holding the yellow paintbrush. Left-hand side of the photo.
Anyway, I reflect on 2014 and these wonderful two valley temples that were dedicated (Gilbert and Phoenix). We love that Mikelle could be a part of both of them in those Cultural Celebrations. Chris and I are honored that we could attend one of the dedicatory sessions in the temple. We love that it is also the year we celebrated our 20th year of marriage. 

Is it no coincidence that 2014 is also such a challenging year? I won't go as far to say that 2014 is our most challenging year. We have another year on record that gets that honor. Two, actually. 

However, 2014 is certainly up there. It has been filled with so much transition. So much growing pains. So many challenges. So many blessings. 

And we hope many blessings yet to come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Big 2-0!

Between changing computers and skipping town, the day of our 20th Anniversary did not get its shout-out here that it deserved. 

I still can't believe it's been 20 years. I hate to say it, but when I picture couples celebrating 20 years of marriage, I think of old people who shop at Sears for clothes and go to Home Town Buffet on dates! And we're not that, right?! Haha
Not Finished...It would say "Celebrating 20 Years! 11/10/94 - 11/10/14"
I didn't really get to finish this photo montage before our old computer finally said its last goodbyes, and then we took off to the Mogollon Rim to the Christopher Creek Lodge. I highly recommend that place, by the way!

This post is still under construction as I await Chris to send me some pictures from his phone. We didn't take the regular awesome camera even though we should have. Let's just say that despite being prepared for this trip, it's clear that our minds were multi-tasking while we prepared for it. I can list the things that were forgotten back home! Yeah, and some things that were forgotten at the cabin. (I hope the lodge mails Chris his phone charger, by the way.)

Here are some photos from the trip! 

Christopher Creek from our cabin...
Our weekend abode - one of the Pioneer Cabins right on the creek!

Christopher Creek flows through Box Canyon - downstream from the lodge

Enjoying the view of Box Canyon...this picture certainly doesn't do it justice though. It's really beautiful!
One of the familiar sights heading back home...
Taken from the Baptist Church across the street!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Answer: The Sun, the Moon and the Truth

Question: What are ‘things that can be hidden, but not for long’?

You know, on this Election Day, I am tempted to climb on my soapbox again. Actually, the temptation part of it is in the rear view mirror. I will climb on my soapbox.

Sure, I considered posting an art update or a comical anecdote resulting from the crazies that I live with. I mean, it sure takes away the fun when your 9th grader gets all upset and "offended" (her words) when you play this sound effect while helping her with her Algebra.

But of course, I’m veering off topic. Back to the soapbox. 

Political strife has always existed. The difference between the arguments we have with each other with political strife today verses arguments in a historical context are the sources of the information received and how often. The information of yore was also slower to travel. We had to wait until a newspaper was on our front stoop or until the 6 o’clock news for us to form our opinions on the new information. Sure, misinformation and bias also came with these sources, but it was still slower and further limited.

But now? Information comes at us from all directions and all hours of the day. And consistent with history, some of the sources are factual. Some of the sources contain some facts, but are slanted. Some of them are outright lies but painted to appear true. And yes, many of us fall for the misinformation. (A particular news network comes to mind, but I’m trying my best to keep this post politically neutral.)

Not only are we flooded with information, but these days we’re also able to instantly comment and share our thoughts with others. Just as quick as the information itself can spread exponentially in an upward trajectory, so can our thoughts and opinions on the source information itself. 

We live in a wonderful age where we won’t be kept in the dark for long (unless we choose to be by just watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Snooki and Jwoww…there’s no helping those people).

But with these modern perks of 24/7 Information also comes the downside. This is also a way for misinformation to spread just as rapidly. And when our opinions are being shared, it’s a crazy game of “telephone”. Who knows what facts remain from the original story after your sister’s cousin’s nail tech’s astrologer received the information and opinions that come with it!

One particular example hit this week pertaining to a speech President Obama gave at Rhode Island College in Providence.  Apparently, an article pertaining to this speech went viral with the headline: 

If you already don’t like the President and/or you’re a Stay At Home Mom or you’re supportive of those who choose to be SAHMs, wouldn’t that headline generate a little, um, ire?

Yeah, that’s what happened. 

My Facebook news-feed had five different examples (last I counted) of those who are SAHMs (or supportive of those who are) who already don’t like the President that linked the above article with added comments of discontent. Some claimed to be just plain sick over the words that the President said in his speech.

Now many around here in this part of the country and in my faith do not like President Obama. That is not front page news. However, where I get all worked up into a tizzy is when the reason someone has a position on a candidate (no matter the party) or issue happens to be based on a lie. This even applies for those who have positive opinions on a candidate, constituent or issue.  Did you vote in that direction based on truth or what someone wanted you to believe? Did you do your homework? 

I include myself with those questions.

With President Obama, if someone doesn’t like him because of how he voted on a policy, fine. Fair enough. If they don’t like him because they disagree with his politics in general, fine.
What crawls under my skin is when it’s when words or an issue (or event…take your pick) is slanted a certain way to cater to those that already have a problem with him in order to rile up his critics and cynics even further.

That’s precisely what happened here.

I love the remarks from blogger Alice Carey on this very issue. She makes the point better than I have, and it is true that I’ve already rambled enough.

Take it, Alice:
A short video clip of President Obama has recently gone viral. In it, he states, “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.  And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

Those sharing this video, many of whom are members of the LDS church, have used it to claim that President Obama is “attacking” stay-at-home mothers. As a stay-at-home mother myself, I decided that I should investigate. After all, the choice to stay home and care for my children is a significant part of my identity, and I truly believe it is the best thing for my family at this time. Furthermore, we’ve been counseled by our church leaders that “The most important of the Lord’s work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 255). And that “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Salt Lake City, 1995).

I’d like to share with you what I found.

I began my investigation by reading the full text of the speech in question. It can be found here if you’re interested:

In case you don’t have time to read that speech, let me summarize and clarify some points for you. While the words in the video do come from the mouth of our President, they come at the end of this paragraph: “And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn’t have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child’s development.  And sometimes there may just not be any slots, or the best programs may be too far away.  And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.  And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.” 

What our President is saying is that he does not want American families to be forced to choose to have a stay-at-home parent because they have no other options. This is a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree! 

Not all women want to or are able to be stay-at-home mothers, which, incidentally, is acknowledged and respected by the LDS Church. 

Here’s Elder M. Russell Ballard on the subject:
"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."  (“Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2008, 108–10)

Personally, I have been a mom who works full-time outside of the home, a mom who works from home, a mom who works part-time outside of the home, and, most recently, a full-time stay-at-home mom. I’m blessed and grateful that I have had the option to make all of these choices about balancing my family and my career based on my circumstances. Not all Americans are able to make these choices.

President Obama would like to help parents living in every part of the country go to work if they so choose by improving policies on family leave, maternity leave, quality early childhood education, and pay for women. All of these were points that he made in the same speech where he supposedly attacked stay-at-home parents. That alleged attack was not the point of the speech, and it should not be the take-away.

In order to better understand President Obama’s perspective on this issue, let’s look at some information about stay-at-home moms.  As of 2012, 68% of stay-at-home mothers fit into the “traditional” picture of a married woman with a working husband. 20% of stay-at-home mothers are single parents, 5% are cohabiting, and 7% are married to husbands who are also not working. It stands to reason that some of these mothers are not actively choosing to stay at home, rather than working outside the home. In fact, while 85% of married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands say that caring for their family is their primary reason for not working outside the home, only 41% of single stay-at-home mothers and 64% of cohabiting stay-at-home mothers said the same. [1] Perhaps they would be working outside the home if they had access to quality childcare or could be paid for time off to care for a newborn or sick child.

Additionally, our President is correct when he states that a woman’s wages are affected by the choice to take time off to stay home.  According to research, mothers are subject to a “motherhood penalty” in the form of earning lower salaries than their childless counterparts, especially if their employment is interrupted by time off caring for their families, leading to fewer years of experience. [2] If paid leave was offered and quality childcare was available, women who choose to work outside the home may not need to take this time off, so they may not face as large a decrease in pay.

As members of the LDS church, many of us choose to stay home and care for our families. President Obama does not want to take this away from us, but we who make this choice are in the minority. 80% of American children are being raised by parents who work outside the home, and President Obama would like to use policy to strengthen our communities by alleviating parents of the choice between working and doing what’s best for their children. For that, I commend him.

Thank you, Alice! 

Those may criticize me (and Alice) because the source of her words came from a “Liberal Mormon”. Fine. Fair enough. For some, “Liberal” is a bad word. I feel that’s an unfortunate way to look at that particular L-word, but it is their right to feel that way.

Sure, I’m more left leaning than most of the Western United States LDS Demographic. But my own political identity doesn’t change the facts of the President's actual speech in Rhode Island verses the position the slanted article attempted to accomplish with its choice of words and video snippet. 

As one of my more conservative friends said after I tried to clear up the misconceptions made in the slanted version that was posted, I really feel that the reason we are all so defensive about the initial article that the media put up is because there is such an attack on the family. I know you would agree. I am not a fan of Obama but I do feel it unfair for the media to portray his message the way they did.”

I agree. It is unfair. But it’s unfortunately the reality of the media and whatever agenda that particular news agency or reporter has when they put out a story. And if my blog is any indication, any bozo can publish something on the internet. It’s up to us to investigate and find the actual truth (or do the best we can to discover the truth. Sometimes the truth is buried under layers of twists, slants and plain lies) before we make up our mind.

The bottom line is, it would certainly be nice that if people aren't going to like something, it should be for a truthful reason. I know, keep your laughter to yourself. It would also be nice if teachers were paid fairly and stress burned calories too, right? I know.

This is especially true with how my LDS faith is attacked. If you (general you) do not like my faith, I hope it's because you don't believe what I believe and/or disagree with doctrinal aspects of my faith. That makes sense. What drives me batty is when my faith is attacked with slanted information (with some sprinkles of truth to add to the confusion) and those are the lies that are believed and further perpetuated by the aggressors.

And to end with an attempt at the actual truth, the below quote is also credited to Confucius. I do not know who actually said it, but I love the message expressed in those words. I certainly find them true.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Other Car is a Broom!

Despite being one of the most awesome holidays EVER...this Halloween proved more challenging due to the fact that despite the fun, LIFE still goes on.  Being human and not a superhero hit me hard earlier today.

Luckily by about 4pm, the raging headache that wanted to hang out with me finally subsided. Still, I admit a witch costume would have been more appropriate for my demeanor.  Sadly, Mikelle was the offspring who received the brunt of my, um, broomstick behavior. I have since apologized to her.

Anyway, here is this year's recognition of All Hallow's Eve 2014:

Night before Halloween - Preview and Dress Rehearsal:

Chris did wear his Andy Warhol garb to work on Halloween. This was his cubical:
 And this awaited him when he returned from a meeting:
Meanwhile, back at home, here are the boys ready to head out for the fun. Mikelle, I mean, the Grim Reeper Unicorn, was at a friend's house.
Alexander is wearing one of my favorite costumes ever! It was the astronaut costume that Christian also wore when he was 3. It was exactly how I pictured an astronaut costume should look. Therefore, when someone on eBay was selling it, I quickly found myself entrenched in a bidding war. I HAD to have it. Sure, I ended up paying way too much, but the costume was perfect! I was working full time teaching at the time, so it was easier to justify the expense that resulted from the bidding war! haha... I'm a Halloween junkie...what can I say?

Christian (age 3 1/2) and Mikelle (age 7) circa Halloween 2007!
However, because I ended up paying way too much, I told myself that if I had another boy, he'd wear the astronaut costume too.  It was nice this year not to have to worry about Alexander's costume. With the all the lack of energy and moving stress from the last few months, it was the perfect year for him to become the most adorable astronaut ever! (tied with his brother 7 years ago, of course)

Christian's Minecraft Enderman was the major project this time around.  

It was fun making it. And FINALLY, he's at a school that lets the kids dress up on Halloween! Hallelujah!

Well, the kids couldn't wear their costumes the whole time. It was just for the Costume Walk at the end of the day, but it's something! And teachers were dressed up the whole day. It was refreshing to see this as I dropped him off this morning. I haven't seen that since the late 90s when I worked at a junior high in Tempe. 

Wickenburg still hasn't lost the Halloween spirit that other schools have. It's wonderful to see. I hope it lasts.

Anyway, now that both boys have worn the awesome astronaut costume, I'd love to have a HUGE shadow box frame with the costume and pictures with them both wearing it. Well, before I do that, I have to have all three of their blessing outfits framed with pictures. THEN the next sacred frames can start (Halloween). And before I do that, I need to have a house with the wall space. Well, that means the house needs to be built. Let's get the house built!

Tonight Andy did join us for the Candy Grabbing not long after we arrived. It was fun watching him deal with the kids who kept coming back to our car for candy, even though they had received candy from us already.
Now for November! And we're FINALLY going to get the seasonal Fall Temps! Thanks a lot, Obam- I mean, October.  We didn't need that extra month of Summer.