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Kate the Black Cat, Cooper the crabby Robin and Lauren a Monster High Doll

Kate the Black Cat, Cooper the crabby Robin and Lauren a Monster High Doll–Halloween 2013

Halloween is a fun time of year for most families with small children. It’s also a little stressful–finding the perfect costumes, the over-consumption of junk food, keeping track of your Trick or Treaters on dark streets. Thankfully Cooper wants to be a ghost this year…a pillow case with some eyes cut out. That’s his idea of a costume. Three cheers for low maintenance! My girls on the other hand, have always been more particular about their costumes. This year we will have a ghost, a black cat and a witch. Unfortunately, Kate the black cat, now wants to be Elsa because her best friend is being Elsa. Kate was also a black cat last year (see picture) but since the Elsa costumes are all sold out she’s decided she’ll just be a cat again (unless she changes her mind at the last minute and goes as something else entirely).

Until I had children of my own, I wasn’t a huge fan of Halloween as an adult. Once I outgrew my own childhood desire to dress up, I went through an Anti-Dressing Up for Halloween Stage that lasted until Lauren was a toddler. Suddenly Halloween was fun again because I had an appreciative audience–my child who got a kick out of seeing mommy and daddy look silly. This year I’ll don a hot pink wig and some funny glasses and call myself Crazy Mommy. My husband’s favorite go-to costume is an alarmingly realistic mullet wig that looks alarmingly natural on him and some fake teeth.

One thing that I love about living in the suburbs, that I didn’t have growing up in rural Vermont, is that we live in an actual neighborhood. It makes for good old-fashioned-family-friendly Trick or Treating. We know at least a dozen of the families around our block and it feels really safe  to trail behind our little creatures, princesses and ghouls, just enough to let them feel like they are on their own. It also means that we get lots of trick or treaters, another thing we never had growing up–both little kids with their parents and partially-costumed teenagers. We give out candy happily to anyone who knocks. Who are we to spoil the fun of someone who just wants to celebrate? Our kids will be that age before I know it. Even when they are gangly, braces-wearing zombies with a little acne on their chins, they’ll always be my little ghost, my black cat and my little witch which is why I really enjoyed this blog in the Huffington Post: What You Need To Know About Six Foot Trick or Treaters.

What are you kids dressing up as for Halloween? And if you have a diaper wearing infant or toddler, under what costume will you stuff their fluff?








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I love fall… the bright yellow, red and oranges leaves against a clear blue sky, the blazing heat of summer turned to perfectly pleasant crisp days. It’s cool enough for a sweater in the morning and just warm enough to take it off in the afternoon. It’s a cozy, snuggly time—we’ve had a few fires in the fireplace already–more for ambiance than warmth but soon enough it will be cold enough to have a fire every night. It’s also the time of year when I start to get excited for the upcoming holidays—Halloween, Thanksgiving and for our family, Christmas. Often by this time in October we’ve seen a flake or two of snow but not so far. That’s ok with me. As much as I love the cooling temperatures and the impending first snowfall, my tolerance for winter quickly wains after the New Year begins. So for now, I’m going to soak in all of the excitement and enthusiasm, cherished traditions and the apple cider that I can. My childhood memories of fall include apple picked, the haunted house at the town hall and of course, jumping in piles of fallen leaves.

Last weekend we practiced one of our annual fall traditions: we went to a local pumpkin patch. We jumped in hay bales, we climbed through an amazing tree house full of ladders and rope bridges, we fed some sheep and goats, road a pony and toasted marshmallows over a bonfire. The weather couldn’t have been better. We also did something last weekend that not all parents of young children might do: we visited the super spooky Halloween Store that’s taken up temporary residence in an empty spot in our neighborhood shopping center. My girls have never been afraid of the skeletal hands, the glowing red eyes and sharp teeth on display in these store and in fact, they love stepping on the buttons that make hideous creatures shriek or jump or pop up from behind a gravestone. I wasn’t sure Cooper would feel the same but I took him anyway. As it turns out, he’s just like his sisters. When the towering plastic ghouls leered at him, he stuck out his tongue and waggled his fingers right back at them. He wasn’t a bit scared.

Lauren, Kate and Cooper have also been engaging in a long standing American autumn tradition, dating back as far as apple pie itself: jumping in leaf piles. This always makes me chuckle because I remember doing it myself. My sister and I would rake leaves into the biggest, fluffiest-looking pile we could and then, with great anticipation, we would get a running start and launch ourselves into the middle of the mound. We were sure that the landing would feel just like landing in a heap of silk pillows. WrongAnd yet, I remember being surprised every time that the damp, scratchy leaves, which flattened into a few centimeters of decaying-vegetation when I landed bum first on the hard ground, didn’t feel good at all. This childhood rite of passage truly exemplifies how the idea of something is, quite often, not as wonderful as the real thing, and yet, year after year, generation after generation, children continue to pile up leaves and jump into them. They don’t let reality get in the way of having fun. They just keep believing that if they make the next leaf pile a little bigger, landing in them will be AWESOME.

Cooper, age 3

Do you enjoy fall with your family? What traditions do you do with your little ones every year at this time? And have your tried jumping in a pile of leaves as adult? If so, was it awesome?



I love blogging. I love writing about my experiences with my kids, sharing ideas and tips, and getting feedback and hearing the opinions of the readers who leave comments. For the most part, I try to keep my blogs upbeat and positive, even while discussing something challenging–like a hospital stay with a sick child or the never-ending cycle called housework. But just for fun, here are a few examples of blogs I might write, followed by what I might really be thinking:


Instead of:

10 Fun and Easy Ways to Braid Your Little Girl’s Hair

I want to write:

Crew Cuts: The New Look for Girls in 2014

Instead of:

Six Recipes that Will Appeal to Even the Pickiest of Eaters

I want to write:

Welcome to the Trough: Self-Service Dinner at Our House

Instead of:

Sibling Rivalry: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I want to write:

The Trampoline: The Cage Fighting Ring Right in Our Backyard

Instead of:

Date Night, Keeping the Spark Alive

I want to write:

Date Night, What’s That?

Instead of:

Holiday Recipes to Try With Kids

I want to write:

Flour, Sugar, Raw Eggs, and Too Many Bossy Little Helpers Elbowing Each Other Off the Stool: A Recipe For Disaster


If you could write a snarky blog today, what would you call it?

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