- Ainsley's 8th Birthday on the 18th
- Our wedding anniversary on the 19th (18 years this year)
- The end of soccer season
- Taylor Swift's album release (much anticipated by Evie)
This year thanks to Evie (and Trader Joe's) we celebrated October with pumpkin foods galore.
It was very fun. Though Adrian grew tired of pumpkin quickly and reminded us of it at every opportunity.
We took this and this and made.....
...Pumpkin ravioli with Alfredo sauce sprinkled with nutmeg served with mixed greens with pumpkin cornbread croutons, Parmesan cheese and spiced pumpkin seeds with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Yum! It was fun and seasonal. Quick and easy too!
Against my better judgement we decided to throw a party with a week's notice since Ainsley's birthday, October 18th, fell on a Saturday this year. We have a thing about 18's. Steve and all 3 kids were born on the 18th of a month, (May, February, July and October) along with many of our friends and family.
So was born the theme of our party, Celebrate 18 Octoberfest, a mixed party to celebrate:
Fall and all things October.
Ainsley's 8th birthday on the 18th.
Steve and I's 18th wedding anniversary.
And though I didn't tell anyone it was also in a my mind a little bit to celebrate Ainsley getting her trach out. This month on the 21st it had been 3 months. It hasn't been easy. I'll post more about that later.
Of course Evie helped me with the welcome boards. We had a great time making die cuts at Ben Franklin.
We served pumpkin macaroons, pumpkin seed brittle, mini pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice cupcakes (a few vanilla and chocolate too), pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin candies, toffee and mixed nuts.
We had German cheeses and spiced apple goat cheese with pumpkin cranberry crisps, Utz pretzels, hummus and veggie/flax seed chips, a veggie plate, salt and pepper chips, assorted bratwursts with onions, roasted potatoes with bacon, Cesar salad with pumpkin cornbread croutons and spiced pumpkin seeds (I really wish I'd taken more pictures but it was too busy).
We served root beer for the kids, an assortment of Oktoberfest and seasonal beers, a variety of hard Apple Cider, wine and cocktails.
My color selection for the party of blue, orange and white was based on these beautiful hydrangeas that I had an abundance of in our side yard. I've always wanted to make arrangements with them and thought they turned out beautifully. We enjoyed them for a week after the party.
My birth father painted this for us. Isn't it beautiful?! 18 years of marriage is no easy feat, especially with the extra demands of 8 years caring for a medically complex child. We love her like crazy though.
I think she had a great time at the party with the people who love her most.
After most of the guests left we played charades. Ainsley always loves that and tries her best to play along. It was a fun night full of lots of drinking and food, good friends and family.
Thanks to whoever gave us the idea to use our left over brats and potatoes for breakfast.
Our anniversary is actually the 19th so we spent the day cleaning up and hanging out with the kids.
Ainsley finally got to open her presents.
Adrian photo-bombing their hug.
Ainsley cracks me up. For not being able to speak she sure is able to get her point across a lot of the time.
She loved opening presents.
The grocery store comes with so many stickers to apply and parts to put together it's going to take me days to fold all those food boxes(not shown). The hundreds of parts is why we didn't buy this set sooner.
More than anything though I think she liked the balloons. Evie and Adrian blew them all up because they know how much she would enjoy them.
I braved the rain to attend Adrian's final soccer game of the season. I decided to leave Ainsley with Evie. It's nice to be able to do that now that she doesn't have the trach. 3 months later I'm feeling more comfortable doing that for periods. I've missed a lot of games over the years because of Ainsley. There is just too much mud to get her wheelchair through on anything but the nicest days. It is beautiful there.
There was a crazy amount of mud due to the heavy rain that week. Areas around the fields were the worst.
For weeks (and months) Evie has been looking forward to the release of Taylor Swift's new album. She'd been begging to skip school that day and insisted she had to buy the digital version (with her own money) because she couldn't stand the thought that she might have to wait a few hours to hear it. She is nothing but persistent. Finally we agreed if she went to bed early we could wake her up at midnight so she could listen to it. I knew she wasn't going to sleep anyway until she'd heard it. Better that than her possibly staying awake all night and morning in which case she might be in no shape for school. I was so glad when the e-mail came, at 10:00 because we're in the Pacific time zone, announcing it was available. I went to her room. Of course she wasn't asleep. What a change technology makes. Sheesh! She was SO excited she nearly burst.
She'd baked special 1989 (the album name) cookies that she'd saved for the occasion. We let her eat them in her room while listening to the album on her IPhone with headphones. I think she's already learned the lyrics to all the songs. She sings them all day.
We had a fun night of pumpkin carving at home.
Although we'd been invited to a couple carving parties, we just couldn't make it work.
It was so fun to see Ainsley with her hands in the goop.
Putting the finishing touches on our Grumpy Cat and Taylor Swift 1989 Album Cover pumpkins.
Ainsley stayed home sick from school and we had a nice morning watching the Heffalump Halloween movie before heading to pick up the carpool kids.
I made our traditional pumpkin alphabet soup, with a modification to so Adrian's could be vegetarian (it's been 5 months and I'm SO tired of it already).
Evie is at the age when she wants to be with friends so we compromised and she invited a friend over to stay the night. They had an awesome time. Adrian and Ainsley still got to be with their sister. We were all happy.
Ainsley's becoming such a strong eater. It's taken SO much work over the years. It's been nearly a year now but I could still practically cry when I think of it, and see her eating. And enjoying it.
Amazingly we (I) did better getting the food on the table earlier so they could get out earlier.
Less stress that way, which was nice.
Ainsley's homemade minion costume (The hat, gloves and shirt were Adrian's.) With a bit of duct tape on a pair of overalls we already had, we didn't have to buy a thing. That's my kind of costume.
Plus Ainsley loves minions so it was fun for her.
After a potential costume fiasco was averted Evie and her friend settled on being ketchup and mustard.
So Penny HAD to be a hotdog. Get it?!
Adrian was a banana rapper. His idea. I got it all with Amazon Prime. LOVE!
Our house looked amazing under the moonlight.
This year we hadn't cut back the grapes and they looked amazing with the addition of orange lights.
We put out the graveyard again.
Spiderwebs and ghosts.
The witch silhouette and haunted dining room. Bats, ravens and owl.
The giant spider at the door.
For all that effort we had 4 Trick-or-Treaters. Plus our 4.
It was SO disappointing. With the kids growing older I think this may be our last year with our current traditions. I'm ready for a lot less fuss.
Steve brought Ainsley and Penny back to the house so they could move more freely.
Though I did draw the line, refusing to open the full size Milky Way after she'd already eaten two caramel eyeballs, a few kisses and a bag of M&M's.
As always Penny helped Ainsley clean up her face. Ick!
But seriously what a good dog to be around so much candy and not eat any.
She deserved her own treats.
That's a dog cookie.
The big kids came back and checked out their spoils. Our neighborhood doesn't get a ton of trick-or-treaters so when our kids showed up they got handfuls of candy.
Ainsley was so happy playing with her bad of candy over the following week. It makes me really happy.
Evie and her friend decided they wanted to have rootbeer, ice cream and candy
while watching Elmo Says Boo. Seriously. It was awesome.
Evie at 13 sure is growing up but I guess not entirely, quite yet, anyway. I am so proud of he for so many reasons. Steve says every year when the kids trick-or-treat she always asks the person at the door for "candy for her sister" who cannot say the words and is there but in the shadows because the wheelchair won't get all the way to the door most of the time because of steps. When I think of what that must be like to do that your entire childhood, it makes me a little teary eyed. I gave her a heartfelt hug and thanks for always looking out for her sister. Sometimes I think my kids are a little spoiled at times, then I remember all the ways that their lives are impacted by having a special sister.
We do the best we can to have a normal life and we do the best we can to give Ainsley the best life it is possible for her to have. It's difficult to find balance trying to do both. In addition to all this other stuff going on in October we had much an appointment with a brain researcher who is working on genome sequencing. He has seen more cerebellum malformations than any other doctor in the world. It takes many months to get a pre-screening to see him and then many more months to get an appointment. We waited for an hour and a half past our appointment time and he spent a lot of time with us. It was a full day. He called Ainsley very complex, several times. There is much to share but I am going to save that for another post. Thanks for caring enough about our family to check in. I hope you had a wonderful October.