Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall Festivals

Oh my goodness, it's been a busy week! Our social calendars have been full with Fall Festival/Halloween fun every night. 

On Tuesday night, it was the Fall Festival at the boys' school. 

And guess who got picked to say the blessing on stage, with a microphone, in front of the whole school? None other than our precious Buzz Lightyear! And he did absolutely awesome! So so so proud of this kid!

Following dinner, we headed into the classrooms where each class had different games set up for the kids to enjoy. The boys loved showing off their costumes to all their teachers and friends, playing all the games, and collecting all sorts of goodies.

On Wednesday night, we went to the Family Fall Fest hosted by my department.

Amazingly I got smiles out of both of the boys at the same time!

Libby and Emily were slightly more cooperative subjects to photograph!

We enjoyed the potluck and painted pumpkins with all of my coworkers.

Finally tonight, we ventured out to the MSC Hospitality Halloween party on campus. 

The boys dominated some more carnival games and won the hearts of quite a few of the college girls working at the event.

And of course this happened. =)

Whoop for no cooking since Monday night but I'm a little worn out from all the fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

It looks like we have another Halloween tradition! Pumpkin carving with Aunt Abby! Remember when we did it last year? Two years in a row now so I guess it's a tradition!

This year Jackson said he wanted a jack-o-lantern with a scary face, so we printed out a variety of faces for him to choose from.

Off comes the top, with boys waiting patiently.

Now it's time to scoop out the guts! Neither of them wanted to actually touch the stuff with bare hands, but were happy to use a spoon. Jackson used to be completely disgusted by it so we've come a long way!

"Hey mommy, look at my funny hat!"

Finally it was time for the more precise work of the actual carving. We didn't think Jackson and Andrew could help very much with this part but we were wrong. =) I'm sure it was easier for Abby to do the carving with 35 pounds on her back, right?

All done!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Visit with the Golden Girls

We had an impromptu yet delightful visit with our "Golden Girls" this weekend. Justin's grandma and great aunt popped in for the night and our boys were lavished with love and attention.

First, Andrew taught Aunt Janet how to use her iPad.

Then he showed off his throwing skills. 

Not to be outdone, Jackson showed off his batting skills.

I just love all the intense faces he makes!

The boys also enjoyed showing them all their toys. Jackson and Andrew loved having Grandma Ann and Aunt Janet there, but I think Gracie was the most pleased. She hardly left Aunt Janet's side the whole visit!

All too soon they had to go home, but we hope they come back to visit again very soon!

Monday, October 27, 2014

We did the Mash, we did the Monster Mash

The boys will get some mileage out of their costumes this year! They were so excited to don them for the first time on Saturday night for our annual Halloween party at the Acosta's.

It won't surprise you at all to learn that Jackson chose their costumes!

"Are we done yet?"
It was a good night! Even my treats were Pinterest wins!

We were greeted at the door by the lovely Elsa! I bet there are going to be A LOT of Elsa's out there on Halloween night!

And Olaf....I can't handle the cuteness!

The Acosta's threw such a fun party! Well done, Amber!

This is my attempt at getting a picture of all the kiddos. This was the best one....because taking a picture of 5 children under the age of 5 is harder than it looks!

Oh how we love our little Buzz and Woody!

 To Infinity...and Beyond!

Then Amber had a fun game for us where the little ones got wrapped up like mummy's. Most of the kids thought this was great fun. Poor Connor did not.

Then they did the mummy dance!

Andrew thought Daddy needed to blow his nose. That grin makes me swoon! He can rub tissue in Daddy's face all day if it means I get smiles like that!

Jackson and Jillian ended the night with a dance, complete with a dip. Where do they come up with this stuff??

We love getting to celebrate holidays with our friends!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I Said Yes (10 Years Ago)

On this date TEN years ago, after more than 4 years of dating, Justin asked me to marry him! I thought it would be fun to share our engagement story here, just as we wrote it 10 years ago to preserve in our wedding scrapbook. Enjoy our trip down memory lane!

The Proposal: October 25, 2004

Justin Says: 
I knew that surprising Meredith would be my biggest challenge in giving her the perfect proposal she had dreamed about for so long. She is an admitted snoop and very sneaky, and for the most part, we have a set weekly routine. I knew that any deviation from this routine would let her know something was going on. In order to ask her parents for their blessing, one Friday afternoon I had to sneak off from work, drive to Nacogdoches, and then travel back before she noticed that I was missing. Luckily I had enlisted the help of Meredith's best friend, Abby, to keep her occupied until I could get back. I pulled it off without a hitch. During our time together, Meredith and I have embraced the traditions that make Texas A&M such a wonderfully unique place. When considering how I would propose to her, I felt the most appropriate place was under a massive live oak located on the campus of Texas A&M. Thought to have been planted in 1898 and known by Aggies as the Century Tree, it is and has always been a major fixture on campus. As the legend goes, if two lovers walk under the tree together, it is a sign that they will eventually marry. Moreover, if a man proposes to the woman he loves under the Century Tree, it is a sign that their marriage will last forever. On the night of the proposal Meredith had a meeting on campus, and I was supposed to meet her at her house afterwards. I knew this was the perfect occasion to catch her totally by surprise. Again I enlisted the help of Abby, along with their friend Emily to do whatever was necessary to get Meredith to the Century Tree without expecting anything. When she arrived, I was waiting for her with a dozen roses. I asked her to sit beside me on the bench at the base of the tree. I told her how much I love her and how I am looking forward to making the next step in our lives together. I got down on one knee, asked her to marry me, and she enthusiastically said yes!

Meredith Says:
I knew the proposal was coming because after four years of dating, we knew marriage was our next step. In fact, we already had a wedding date set! He had just gotten a full-time job following his graduation from Texas A&M a few months earlier and so finally actually had the means to buy the ring. So I was on high alert thinking it could be any time. On a random Monday night, I had a meeting on campus, and Justin and I had planned to meet at my house afterwards. However, when I got out of my meeting, I had several frantic messages on my cell phone from my friends, Abby and Emily, saying that Emily was having "boy problems" and that she wanted to meet with Abby and I when I got out of my meeting. When they met me outside the library, Emily looked devastated. She launched into this terrible, incredibly convincing story about her boyfriend troubles. We talked for a few minutes until I made the suggestion to go get ice cream to cheer her up which they thought was a great idea. Before we started walking towards where Abby had supposedly parked her car, I told them I would need to call Justin and let him know that I wouldn't be home right away. I called him and he sounded perfect normal. As Abby, Emily and I were walking, they got me to talk about Justin, and they made the comment that they were both just going to live vicariously through me since I had such a great guy. As we rounded the corner in front of the Academic Building and began approaching the Century Tree, Emily and Abby began to tell me that we weren't going to get ice cream, and that none of Emily's boyfriend problems had actually happened. I was totally confused. They went on to say with huge smiles on their faces that Justin was a great guy, and that they were so excited for me because Justin and I were going to be very happy together. I was still confused. Then Emily said, "and he's right over there waiting for you" as she pointed towards the Century Tree. At last I understood! I walked nervously toward the tree where I could finally see him waiting for me. He looked so handsome and I was just a tiny bit annoyed that I looked like such a slob because I of course didn't know that this was happening tonight! Once I got up to him, he sat me down on the bench under the tree, and told me some really beautiful things that I don't really remember. Then he got down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring, and asked me to marry him. I said yes about a dozen times!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cousins at the Corn Maze

Last year we went to a Corn Maze and it was Jackson's Fall Bucket List request that we go back. We loved the farm we went to last year, but decided to go to a different one this year so that we could meet up with my brother and his family. A day at the Corn Maze is fun, but a day at the Corn Maze with cousins had Jackson up at the crack of dawn, excited with anticipation!

Glad we snapped these pictures first, as you'll see the group shot we tried to get at the end didn't go so well!

First everyone tried the bouncy ponies. They were interesting but didn't hold the kids' attention for very long with so many other things to see and do.

Next up was the cow train! Definitely a favorite. Jackson, Annabelle and Andrew were all pumped and hopped in the cars closest to the front. Breelie didn't share their enthusiasm for the front cows since they are too close to the stinky exhaust of the engine and picked the very last cow. Smart little girl!

Once the ride got started though she was a little more excited!

Andrew's hands down favorite though were the goats. Oh my he would have cuddled and kissed these goats all day if he had the chance. This face perfectly sums up how he felt about them.

Next, the boys rode the big trikes while the girls got their faces painted.

Our last attraction before the corn maze itself was the jumping pillow. Everything had been going great--everybody was in a good mood and excited about the day. Everyone enjoyed their jump and then they blew the whistle signifying their jump time was over and that's when things went south. Quickly. I'm not sure exactly what happened but Jackson hurt his leg. Like, you would have expected bone to have been poking out of the skin from the way he was carrying on. I scooped him up and he sobbed that he was ready to go home. We went and sat under a tree for a little while and gave him lots of hugs and kisses on his boo boo. There was no swelling, no redness, really no indication of any kind of serious injury, just that he absolutely refused to walk and insisted he was ready to leave. Awesome.

I'm such a mean mom because I made him go through the corn maze anyway. I did carry him most of the way, so I guess I haven't waived my Mom of the Year Award altogether.

I love how this picture captures both Andrew and Jackson's little faces. Andrew thought the corn maze was delightful. Jackson...not so much.

And then we asked the kids to stand in front of the corn for a picture. Yeah, that went well.

So then Ali and Annabelle and I made our own version of the little sob/pout fest that was their picture attempt.

While Jackson pouted, Andrew picked out about a dozen pumpkins!

Since it was getting hot and everybody was getting a little cranky, we called it a day and went to get some lunch. And then this happened.

He actually fell asleep at the table!

I guess all of his excitement and early morning wake-up caught up to him. Poor boy was exhausted. He proceeded to sleep most of the hour drive home and then another almost 3 hours in his bed! 

p.s. His leg was perfectly fine the next day.