Nov 9, 2015

A Boo Humbug Halloween 2015

This year while driving carpool one afternoon I confessed that I was feeling "Bah Humbug" about Halloween to which Adrian replied "You mean Boo Humbug?"  I thought maybe it was a new saying these days. Like "same" which comes out of my kid's mouth 100 times a day now. Adrian hates Halloween so I thought it was his new thing, but I guess he came up with it on the fly. Now I'm making it mine.

2015 was a bit of a Boo Humbug year. We have a lot of traditions that the kids love and sometimes it's a whole lot more than I want to do. This year I'd been busy trying to wrap up some projects so as Halloween approached we still  had no costumes by the week of Halloween. (Except Evie who'd bought a Merida dress when we were at DisneyWorld in June.) I didn't feel like decorating.  We hadn't carved our pumpkins. Adrian had been asking for weeks to leave us on Halloween and go out with friends and I was a bit bummed at the thought. October is my favorite month but I wasn't feeling it for Halloween this year.

I don't think you'd be able to tell by the pictures so that is why I'm telling you. Sometimes I think there is a real danger in our modern world of making things appear to be easy and picture perfect. The truth is that sometimes (maybe even a lot of the time) we have to do things we don't feel like doing. For me when I do it usually turns out that I'm glad. We pulled it together for Halloween at the last minute and in the end we all had fun, even me.

Ainsley heading off to school Friday morning as Little Red Riding Hood. Evie wore this costume two years ago. I was so happy it fit! If you remember Ainsley was Red Riding Hood's granny that year. This cape was mine when I was a girl. I made the basket for Evie when she was 3. 

Friday night Adrian went off to his school's dance. I was feeling a little under the weather and hoped to snuggle on the couch with Ainsley to watch a Halloween movie. Ainsley insisted on carving pumpkins with Evie and Steve.  With the beautiful pumpkins we'd been given by Remlinger Farms it would have been a terrible waste not to carve them. We had planned a fun night of appetizers and family pumpkin carving for Wednesday but I'd accidentally given the kids permission the prior week to go "booing" with friends.  That's how things were going this year. Boo Humbug!

Etching Harry Potter into the pumpkin.

As I prepared the seeds for roasting Ainsley decided to play under the table.

 Adrian came home from the dance after having a nice time but didn't want to carve pumpkins.

Ainsley was having fun (I swear) though she would not smile for a picture. My seeds got knocked on the floor.  I was done and went to bed and we left 2 pumpkins uncarved. Boo Humbug!

The finished pumpkins the next day on Halloween.

Evie's awesome "Harry Potter casting a Patronus pumpkin".

Ainsley's (with help) on the left and Steve's on the right.

Steve put out all the decorations this year with a little help from our kids. I was quite thankful not to do it. It turned out we had 25 Trick-or-Treaters (way up from 1 last year) making it more worth the trouble. Steve puts out scary music so it is quite atmospheric for the few brave kids who come. 

The "graveyard".

Our giant spider lair, with ravens and bats.

An inside view of the spooky dining room. I love that we found a use for our Medusa pinata.
 It sits at the dinner table with the skeleton and mummy baby.

Ainsley stole pumpkin seeds while I tried frantically to help Evie fix her hair. She'd neglected to set it in rag curlers the night before as planned (remember I'd gone to bed) so it didn't have enough time to dry properly, since her hair is so long. Then we quickly sprayed it orange. Poor Adrian. He did a good job holding his temper in check since he was supposed to already be at a friend's house, and was ready and waiting on time. We needed to get the group shot before he left for the night. 
I suppose he'll/we'll laugh about it some day. 
Boo humbug.

This may be our favorite joint family costume (though it's pretty hard to top the joint Harry Potter costumes): Characters from the hit show "Once Upon A Time" from left: Merida, Captain Hook, The Evil Queen (note the heart in hand), Robin Hood, and Little Red Riding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf.

The girls ate mummy dogs with mac n cheese and mulled cider before heading out trick-or-treating with Steve around our neighborhood. No soup baked in a pumpkin this year. 
Evie begged. Repeatedly. I refused. Repeatedly. Boo Humbug.

Penny went out trick-or-treating for a bit as the Big Bad Wolf but was a nuisance so they brought her home and we hung out. She was equally annoying at home barking every time the doorbell rang. Barking dogs are a pain in the ass on Halloween. Boo Humbug.

The girls with their piles of candy. I LOVE that Ainsley is now able to eat candy and really enjoy that part of Halloween.  She picked M&M's as her first candy to open this year.

Adrian had a blast with his friends and came home with the biggest bag of candy you've ever seen!
I hate the amount of candy Halloween brings into the house. Boo Humbug!

We had store bought mini pumpkin bundts with pumpkin and caramel butter pecan ice cream.
Like they needed more sugar. Boo Humbug.

Ainsley had an awesome Halloween and ended the day perfectly by falling asleep in front of the fire. 

Here is a video to kind of show how trick-or-treating works for a child who is non-verbal and in a wheelchair (although Ainsley's doing great in her walker it's just too much walking at once). 

For those with AAC users: Here is the "Quick Replies" page of her AAC device, which I  programmed for temporary use. The buttons are easy to find since they are orange and are quick to access on this page, making it easy for her to interact socially during the holiday. 

Life with child who is medically complex with special needs is hard, everything takes some extra effort, but it's really worth it to see your child be able to participate fully in life.

Oct 24, 2015

Ainsley Turns 9!

For Ainsley's 9th birthday, on the 18th, we spent the day at Remlinger Farms. When the kids were younger we used to take them there in the fall to get pumpkins because their fall festival is so much fun! This year my sister Leah suggested a pumpkin farm outing so we decided to wait and do it on Ainsley's birthday since it is pretty close. Evie and Adrian are a bit old for this place but they still had a great time! It was fun to spend time with cousins Issabella and Owen. At age 4 &5 they are the perfect age for the rides and special fun at Remlinger Farms. 

The grounds are expansive and this is just a glimpse of the property.

We started with a train ride around the grounds.

There are so many scarecrows around the property. It's so fun for the kids.

A pair of unlikely friends.

They had a blast riding the antique cars. The word is that they were retired from the Seattle Center. Ainsley had a blast driving our car!

Couldn't resist this photo op for my girl who loves dinosaurs. 
I love the message! We love old fashioned fun!

Grinding corn.

Feeding the animals.

E&A have a little thing about who is tallest. It won't be much longer that Evie can pretend she is taller, though Adrian is only recently turned 12. I love the way they are together.

The kids were sweet riding the rides with Ainsley. 

Evie was a rockstar climbing the wall! 

Ainsley tried crawling through the hay maze but didn't love the feeling of the hay on her hands but she made her way through walking with Steve. We couldn't do the corn maze out in the rain with the mud and wheelchair so the hay maze had to do. I was proud that she went in the hay pile. A lot of kids with sensory issues wouldn't get near this place. It was a sensory experience like no other! 

 Auntie Sarah was such a great sport playing with the kids in the hay pile!

After Remlinger's we went back to the house for cake and a bit of food. I thought Ainlsey would get a kick out of the 2 foot sandwich. We kept it simple and it was a great day for our special girl. All week she'd been pointing to a picture of the cake on her Courduroy's Birthday book.  In this video you can see just how happy she was about her cake! *(The bakery let me come back after hours and write the message on the cake since they didn't have someone to do it. I was so glad we went to the trouble. It was her favorite color, yellow. Perfect!)