Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our Bridgeton Park Halloween

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

Since moving in to our new home, there is one thing we've heard from everyone we've met. -- You are going to love Halloween! And everyone was right.

For starters, a good portion of the homes decorated for Halloween. I hope this is a good indication of the amount of Christmas decorating that's going to take place because that excites me to no end. Also, we all partipcated in the 'boo' tradition until every house in the hood had the 'ghostly ghost' hanging on our front doors. The holiday-er in me has just been so excited about all of this good stuff.

So, that leads us to today. Rusty left work early and we loaded up the big Romero wagon as soon as he got home. We made our way to the end of our street to meet up with everyone else - all dressed up! - for the Annual Bridgeton Park Halloween Parade. There was a banner and hundreds of people. It was the cutest thing.

Elias was perched in the wagon, posing as Fireman Asher's very own fire station dalmation. He was just mesmerized by everything going on around him (and there was a lot). Asher explored and visited everyone and wasn't afraid at all by any of the costumes (and some of them were creepy). I quickly joined the scores of other parents with giant cameras snapping photos every 2.2 seconds.

Madelyn and her best friend Sophia, chillin.

The parade continued to the far end of the hood where it culminated in a block pizza party - complete with a kids DJ. Kids danced and ate and parents drank and chased.

Look at that circle of kids in there hugging.

Why didn't anyone inform me that the hat string made my cheeks so poofy? Oh well.
But my big boy (we dropped Elias off with Nini and my parents at the house during the parade so he could stay warm) wanted to play with the big, big boys. He walked in the middle of multiple sword fights. Climbed the hilly hills and fell a number of times (no tears here!).

There was this awesome tree (and if anyone knows what it is, please tell me because I need to plant one immediately) and many of the older boys played in and around it. And Asher.

Seriously. This is the coolest. Tree. Ever. I need one.

I didn't realize how creepy that skeleton kid looked until I reviewed the pics. Ha.
Our neighbor Gray (aka Wolfpack fan) is the sweetest kid. He plays with Asher here and does the best job of keeping him entertained (and safe). He took Asher under his wing and made sure he didn't hurt himself. He followed him around, played catch and just generally was so awesome with him. Thank you, Gray!

More fun in the coolest. Tree. Ever.

Rolling up his sleeves.

When the time came to trick or treat, Asher and his pal Madelyn just marched on up to the first house and did their thing. Asher's obsessed with doorbells, so clearly trick or treating was going to be a hit. Doorbells and candy. Duh. We caught up with Gray and his sister Molly and went to a few more houses. I heard Gray telling everyone, "He likes M&M's" when it came time to give Asher his candy. How sweet is that?

Look at my candy, Daddy!

Examining the creepy headless, screeching witch at one door step.

(Yes, I know, there are a ton of pictures here. But these next few just crack me up and therefore, must be included.)

Molly, come on!

Fine. I'll go on without you.

Priorities: AIRPLANE! I see AIRPLANE right 'dere!
It was cold. And we headed home to examine our loot with Nini and pass out candy from the warmth of our house. We had so many trick or treaters it was crazy. Asher loved seeing who came to the door. One reaction was the best. He said, "OHHH, whoaaaaa!" at one fella's wolf costume. We ran out of candy after about 45 minutes - and I started out with a lot, y'all. Next year: buy more. Much, much more.

It was a great adventure. A great Halloween. A great neighborhood event. Great memories! Yay!

Annnnnd as if those weren't enough.... Here are more photos. Thanks, Dad!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our new home: progress

We moved this summer - into our forever home. And it's amazing. And I love it. We all do.

There are still a handful of things I want to change, but money doesn't grow on trees. Duh. I made a few necessary-for-my-sanity updates when we first moved in. These include:
  • Replacing brass knobs on all cabinetry throughout the house with brushed nickel or white hardware.
  • Removing wallpaper and border all around the house. (Well, not me personally, but my wallpaper angel.)
  • Painting over the dark shades that were everywhere.
  • Bringing down the very brass ceiling fans and putting up more neutral, modern fans. (Again, not me, but I did the shopping.)
  • Taking down light fixtures and bathroom fixtures and spray painting them brushed nickel or bright blue or antiqued bronze. Thanks, Rustoleum, for your awesomeness.
After just those few things, it already felt much more tolerable to me. I just wanted it to be at a point that I was proud of it when I gave tours and not constantly saying, "Yeah, those knobs. I hate them, too." And it's unreal what a big difference these little changes made, particularly in the kitchen. The heart of our home.

Meanwhile, Rusty tackled the curb appeal. I admit, when we first started house hunting I looked right past this house many times because I just didn't like the exterior. I know, silly. Rusty and I became weekend warriors, though, and got right to work.

We took down all the shutters and spray painted them. (Three coats. My tennis shoes and nose hairs were black, too.) I painted the front door. We had two bradford pear trees cut down (one was half dead). We cleared out all the shrubs that weren't our taste and seeded the front lawn. We (with the help of Asher and a few hard workers) relocated the little rock retaining wall to around the side tree and created a natural area. And I worked for hours on the bushes out front with my new trimmer. (No one warned me that my arms would be all quivery for hours after that I would be incapable of gripping anything.)

I learned during this process (and being home during work hours looking out my office windows that I can now see out of because the bushes are trimmed) that we are probably the only people in this neighborhood that do our own yard work. And our own painting and such. Neighbors (well, their landscaping teams) are laying sod, we are laying bright yellow grass seed mats. Ha.

All of this to say, we are so blessed to be in this home. And I'm so proud to show off some of the before, during and now photos. Check it!

Before: What were they thinking with these bushes, ya'll? This photo courtsey of Google maps.
When we purchased it, the weird perpendicular bushes were already removed.
During: The two pear trees are gone. Front giant wall of sidewalk shrubs remain.
Natural area with 'rock retaining wall' and two oddly-placed and badly-pruned crepe myrtles remained.

During: I didn't want to say goodbye to those crepe myrtles, but they were in odd shapes.
And, one was directly in front of our front door. With the other trees gone, they were really out of place.
Now: Grass is growing. (For the record, I hate that grass mat thing that's so bright and in your face.
But, it got our grass growing on that slope, so it'll do.)

Now: No more crazy bush wall along the walk.
Pretty house, I love you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh, Asher. I love you.

Tonight, on my post dinner walk with my little boys, Asher saw some of the neighbor's Halloween decorations.

I couldn't understand what he was exclaiming at first. He just kept saying something over and over, wanting me to understand and react accordingly.

And, as I usually do, I tried to sound it out and surmise the situation to piece it together.

Then I figured it out.

"Oh gracious!"

Oh gracious?

Damn I love you, kid. I definitely do.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Capturing the now

We set out on a family adventure this afternoon.

I had my camera in tow and wanted to capture some moments with my boys. I don't think when we left to go 'to the park' that Rusty realized I had a mini-photo session in mind.

Asher's been going through a 'no taking pictures' phase. But, Elias just started crawling and the boys had on their matching plaid tartan pants. And, hello, pictures are needed!

There was no such thing as a brothers photo together. Asher was having none of that. So, after trying to wrangle shots of my rock-climbing two-year-old, Elias was sweetly content with my mama-razzi rolling-in-the-grass picture taking.

So, these are our now.

"No taking pictures, Mommy!"

Sadly, the session was cut short when I had a bad (really, really, really bad) mom moment. I had E in my arms and the camera around my neck. I was setting him down in a spot for a great shot and while squatting down myself, I am not sure what happened. But sweet E leaned back and we lost our balance and he fell to the ground. He hit his head really hard - on concrete. I'm cringing as I type this. It was pitiful. He cried and cried. Rusty, thankfully, didn't yell at me. (I'm not sure how he managed that.) I feel awful. I immediately put the camera aside and loved on my little man and his big noggin. He seemed fine though after a few minutes. I obsessed over it (duh), checked his pupils for dilation (repeatedly) and examined his head countless times. And I still feel awful about it. Ugh. So, these are now the pictures I took before dropping my baby. Sigh.
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