Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TWINS TUESDAYS: Little Freedoms

Spring 2011: 18 months-ish old
For a long time, we lived in a "gated community." As in gates blocking various areas of my home and/or blocking the twins in a certain space. It was the only way to survive. Multiples can be like a litter of puppies, full of energy and the ability to veer off in various directions. Keeping them contained can also contain your sanity!

We have two sets of these Superyard gates and they have gotten -- and still get -- their use. After we took the babies out of the gates, we used to them to block them in a room -- the living room. Then we used them to block off the stairs and the dining room, giving them the freedom of the kitchen/living room areas. A few weeks ago, I unblocked the stairs. Last week, I unblocked the dining room, not for them, but for the sheer fact I couldn't take it anymore. Right now, the gates continue to block the electronics under the TV (although it doesn't stop them from touching them; it's really just a mental barrier) as well as Big Girl's piano keyboard in the dining room and the dollhouse (although they are attempting to get past these as well).

I am trying to give the twins their freedom. To let them get over being contained and get all of it out of their system as we teach them what is off limits. It is definitely a test, a trying process. These little ones just want to go exactly where they can't. It definitely tests Mommy's patience sometimes.

I don't know if it's a twin thing or not, but I never had this issue with Big Girl. I put up a gate, and she looked at it and respected it. These two push the limits of everything. Big Girl was told not to touch something and didn't. These two? Well that just means "Go for it! And let's work together!" 

I'm not sure I have much advice about this issue. I'm more just putting it out there, to let other moms of multiples know that you are not alone! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Big Girl & her "Buddy"

Yesterday I saw a little blurb in our local paper about the "Cake Boss," Buddy Valastro. Big Girl is a fan of his cake making, and we already knew he was coming on "tour" to a local venue to talk about baking and family and what not. The tickets were pricey, so I opted out, but yesterday's blurb mentioned that on his way to this show, he was stopping at a little bookstore to sign some cookbooks.

It was about a half hour or less from my house, in a pretty remote area, so I figured it might be a chance for Big Girl to meet him in person. We hopped in the car and arrived 30 minutes early for the signing, securing the 25th spot in line. We picked out one of his books -- the baking one, of course -- and waited. The time passed pretty quickly, Mr. Valastro arrived in a Lincoln Navigator, and we inched forward to the table.

Finally it was Big Girl's turn. She was very shy, but he was so nice, so sweet, greeting her with a "Hello, Beautiful!" and making conversation. I told him he was very inspiring to her, and he said he loved that. He got up for a hug and pic:

He wished us a "Happy Christmas" before we left the table. Such a lovely man! Very, very sweet.

So -- mission completed! -- we checked this off Big Girl's Bucket List. Next up? A visit to Carlo's Bakery in New Jersey. She has already requested that for her birthday day trip next summer.

P.S. The cookbook rocks! We found several recipes that we will be making for Christmas!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day

Bunny Twin, Big Girl and Buddy Twin on Thanksgiving Day!
My Thanksgiving was very nice -- very "mellow," and the kids were relatively good. They had visits with other little ones, and kept busy. By nightfall, they were tired and ready for bed!

And I decided to brave the pre-Black Friday shopping deals. Our local Target was opening at 9 p.m., and they had a few things I had on my list at really great prices. I checked to see if I could get the items online, but only one was available, so at about 8:30 p.m., I said goodnight to Big Girl and hubby and headed over to Target. I found a friend and stood in the very, very, very long line that wrapped around the back of the store building, but it moved relatively fast. And I was able to get in the store and start shopping.

The line at Target, about halfway there...
I am not a seasoned Black Friday shopper. I think last year was the first year I ever went out, and I went out an hour after the store opened because I am just not a good early riser. I actually didn't mind heading out on
Thanksgiving night to shop; I'd rather do that and come home to bed.

There were so many people complaining on Facebook about how horrible it was that the stores were open and people were shopping. As far as I was concerned, opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving isn't so bad. I don't think stores should be open all day, but at night? I'm sure there might have been some employees grateful to get the extra shift. And some people are likely just grateful to have a job. As someone who worked many, many holidays, it's just a fact of some forms of employment: the media, police and fire, healthcare workers, move theater workers, gas station attendants, etc. You just kind of accept that it's part of the agenda.

All of the Target employees -- and I sincerely mean all of them -- seemed happy to be there, were joking and pleasant, and the managers were walking around and making sure people got breaks or had help. I saw a giant load of pizzas being delivered in a side door when I left, which I'm assuming were for all the hard working Target people

As for my shopping? It was a success. I got everything I needed except for one thing, and saved almost 38 percent off my bill between sales, coupons and a Red Card discount.

Ironically, the one thing I was not able to get was purchased the next day: Couponing to Disney posted an Amazon.com deal for it that saved me $15 off the price I would have paid at Target the night before. It was a win-win Black Friday for me.

My Christmas list is definitely dwindling; I am basically done with my immediate family. I have little things to pick up here and there in the next month, and I will do it as the money comes in. I am trying to avoid charging anything this year, and I have been pretty good about it. I think I've only put $20 on a credit card since I've started shopping. I'm going to try and keep it that way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it's a hard concept to grasp. I have been so busy with work assignments and life in general that I haven't had much extra time on my hands lately. Today I have to finish work, clean up the clutter in my house -- which is raging out of control right now! -- as well as bake, tidy and prepare for an overnight guest on Friday.

My husband is currently working on fixing up our upstairs bath. It's not a "gut" renovation -- our budget cannot afford that right now -- but a major spruce up: New fan, paint, floor, toilet and light. He is also adding some shelves. The bathroom is a teeny tiny bathroom. Very, very small. But it is our only upstairs bath and we all share it. Luckily we have a full bath in our basement with a shower, and a half-bath/laundry off the kitchen. We have plenty of places to wash up and primp while the work is in progress. But there is stuff all over this house where it doesn't belong right now, and today I'm hoping to deal with a little of that mess today.

And then there is the upcoming holiday season, the decorating, the shopping, etc. I do love the holidays, but I don't love the madness. I am feeling slightly cranky about all that needs to be accomplished. I have a good chunk of my shopping done, but not all of it. I am constantly looking at my list and seeing what can fit in the budget this week.

It is helpful at times like this, to put all of these feelings in check with a little reminder. You all know I love my Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I came across this little essay she wrote for a newspaper back in 1916. 

I suppose I should be thankful for what we have, but I can't feel very thankful when I have to pay $2.60 for a little flour and the price still going up," writes a friend, and in the same letter she says, "we are in our usual health." The family are so used to good health that it is not even taken into consideration as a cause of thanksgiving. We are so inclined to take for granted the blessings we possess and to look for something peculiar, some special good luck for which to be thankful.

I read a Thanksgiving story, the other day, in which a woman sent her little boy out to walk around the block and look for something for which to be thankful.

One would think that the fact of his being able to walk around the block and that he had a mother to send him would have been sufficient cause for thankfulness. We are nearly all afflicted with mental farsightedness and so easily overlook the thing which is so obvious and near. There are our hands and feet, - who ever thanks of giving thanks for them, until indeed they, or the use of them, are lost. We usually accept them as a matter of course, without a thought, but a year of being crippled has taught me the value of my feet and two perfectly good feet are now among my dearest possessions. Why! There is greater occasion for thankfulness just in the unimpaired possession of one of the five senses that there would be if some one left us a fortune. Indeed how could the value of one be reckoned? When we have all five in good working condition we surely need not make a search for anything else in order to feel that we should give thanks to Whom thanks are due.

It's always good to be reminded to count your blessings, especially when one is feeling that one does not have any.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be back posting regularly next week!

Monday, November 19, 2012


On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the city of Stamford, Conn., hosts a big balloon parade. More than 100,000 people cram the streets to see this spectacle, which is like a smaller version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and frankly, better -- you don't have to get up before dawn to see it on a holiday.

It's a lot of fun -- they have 18 giant balloons in the parade, as well as bands, floats and assorted entertainment.

The parade is so much fun to watch -- the balloons are gigantic, and if you encourage the balloon handlers, the group runs in a circle and spins the balloon!

The kids really love the balloons and they are so big you can't miss them! It's definitely a fun family event.

This is our second year making the drive to see the parade, but it is already a beloved annual event. The parade really kicks off the holiday feeling, and I don't have to travel to New York to see it. Of course, it's free to watch.

In case you missed it, late last week I posted A Mom's Guide To... Thanksgiving. It has a lot of ideas to help you get ready for the big day with your little ones. I know our week will be filled with "getting ready" -- how 'bout you?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Mom's Guide To... THANKSGIVING

© The Norman Rockwell Estate; used with permission
Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" (1943)
Thanksgiving is coming! Time to count your blessings. I love this Norman Rockwell painting, as so many others do as well. It is a gentle reminder of a simpler time, of time with families, and how blessed many of us are. Rockwell captured such beautiful images of life is such a perfect manner.

I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. But that said, it is also its own holiday and should be honored as such. It's hard not to get caught up in the holiday hoopla early, however. This post will hopefully inspire you with some true Thanksgiving fun and traditions for families with little ones.

That's why it's

"A Mom's Guide To... Thanksgiving!"

We don't actually have Thanksgiving at our house. We have family to visit and see, and that said, I don't make a turkey with the trimmings. My specialty is dessert, particularly cookies. I try and make a few different kinds to offset the numerous pie options that abound for the holiday.

Last year's cookies: Snickerdoodles, chocolate turkeys and pumpkin pie cookies.
I try to make kid-friendly cookies. Turkey cut-outs, in some form, are always a must. Last year it was chocolate turkeys, this year it will sugar cookie turkeys, I think. One year I made these:

They were easy and adorable, but not my "taste." They looked cute, but the combination of fruit roll-ups and icing and Reese's Pieces and cookie was too much for me. I think I might make Aunt Ruthie's Snickerdoodles again this year and some Oreo truffles, which are easy and loved. I've pinned a few other cookie ideas this year on my "It's Fall, Y'All" board.

Thanksgiving decor does not have to break the bank. I think natural items are best for the harvest holiday, like acorns and pine cones and gourds. 

I love this little centerpiece:

Source: 2.bp.blogspot.com via Kellie on Pinterest

It's also great to leave the decorating to the kids. Have them make handprint turkeys on this cute free printable page. Family Fun also has a great printable placemat activity sheet. Older kids might enjoy this Mad Libs-style fill-in story sheet. And how cute is this FREE paper doll printable from TipJunkie:

So cute! If you have little girls, this could be a fun project for them to do on the holiday.

I'm not a big sit-around-and-watch-football person on Thanksgiving. Last year, the twins were so active and crazy I actually packed them up in the stroller and walked them around my aunt's neighborhood a few times. I was by myself -- everyone else was too stuffed or cleaning up to walk with me, but it was probably my most enjoyable moment of the holiday. I might do it again this year. When I saw this (below), I thought of my walk and realized how fun it might be for Big Girl and the twins to try and do this:

Source: familyfun.go.com via Kellie on Pinterest

Now on to other distractions for the little ones: If I had some extra cash, I think it would be cute to have this to pull out every November for the little ones:

It's a Fisher-Price Little People Thanksgiving set ($17 at Fisher-PriceStore.com). It's so cute. We have Christmas ones that I pull out every year and they are always annual hit. I'd like to add this to the collection, but I don't really want to spend the money right now! You can use them as a decoration that the kids can actually touch! And it would make a great little centerpiece for a Thanksgiving kids' table.

Of course, no holiday would be complete without some entertainment! (It's also good to have a few special things to watch when you need to be in the kitchen preparing, right?) Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday with a Peanuts special, would it? A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is fun, especially with Snoopy's unconventional holiday meal.

I also have always loved the Thanksgiving episode of "The Brady Bunch," with the funny film they make about the pilgrims. So retro and cool. If you are looking for this episode on DVD, it is from Season Two of the series.

Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday without a Disney movie! Pocahontas is the perfect choice for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is also the perfect time to watch "Miracle on 34th Street." The classic holiday movie begins on Thanksgiving, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can choose between two versions: the 1947 original or the 1994 remake. Both are worthy of watching and make great entertainment to kick off the holiday season.

Hallmark's An Old-FashionedThanksgiving is a great addition to any Thanksgiving family movie marathon. The film was inspired by a short story about Isabella Caldwell, a high-society woman in late 1800s New York. Her estranged daughter Mary falls ill and is too proud to ask her mother for assistance. Mary's daughter, Tilly, contacts her daughter and pleads for help. Isabella's arrival is not welcomed heartily, but the film chronicles how to heal deep wounds in a family-oriented way. The 2009 made-for-television movie is available on DVD.

I hope that some of these ideas make your holiday more special. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Bit of Time

I will likely be taking a few days off from posting. I have so much to do -- many work assignments are keeping me busy and I am always grateful for work. Life is also a little big crazy right now; I have a lot on my plate as far as things to do in my house, volunteer obligations, and this weekend my husband started work on fixing our bathroom, which has created a bit of upheaval in this home and a large hole in my bathroom ceiling. Luckily today was a day off from school, so I was able to spend time outside with the children and my mother raking the ridiculous amount of leaves that were cluttering up the front and side yards. It's good to be among the sun and earth sometimes.

Busy schedule aside, I am also very preoccupied: I lost a former co-worker this past week to suicide and it has deeply affected me. This person was the last person I would have expected to take his own life. It is so puzzling, so incomprehensible! Why? Why would someone do this? There are so many questions and so few answers. My community of current and former work colleagues have been shaken to the core by this tragedy. We just cannot fathom how this happened. He leaves behind a wife and four children. Please say a prayer for this poor family as they deal with this unspeakable event in their lives.

I had already put together a post about Thanksgiving that I'll put up later this week; keep checking back for it. And if I have time to write, and feel inspired, I will post something soon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holidays on the Brain

I feel like my calendar and to do list is a mile long, and I've got holidays on the brain! I thought it would be good to share a bunch of links today related to getting ready for the late December crunch.

First, I have been writing up a storm for Yahoo! Voices:

You can find all those holiday stories on the individual links. I hope they are helpful to you!

One of my favorite sites is Organized Christmas -- they have so many great articles and ideas, and you can even print out a Christmas planner.

Here's another link for a Christmas planner:

It's a very cute one, isn't it? I have to make one of these, I think. I would love to keep my lists in something like this, as well as things like recipes for the Christmas cookies I make every holiday, and all the clippings of ideas and inspiration I seem to acquire!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Holiday Countdown: Clothing!

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming! Now that November is officially here, it's time to get serious about the holidays! Thanksgiving is only two weeks away -- two weeks! I guess it's the earliest it could ever be.

I am really in the holiday mood now. This is a picture out my front door yesterday -- SNOW!! Yes, a little Nor'easter which was supposed to be not-so-bad turned into inches and inches of snow. Of course, it was a crazy day all around: My car wouldn't start. Couldn't get to the store for my supply of milk for the storm. Had to borrow my parents' car and head out into the insanity, then school got out early, and the twins were like two cooped-up wild animals. Fun day!!

So back to the holiday talk: Have you made your lists? Checked them twice? I still have shopping to do, but I'm only purchasing things when they are deals and when I have cash to get them -- trying not to charge a thing this holiday season if I can help it. I'd rather be chipping away at debt than adding to it right now, which is why money is so tight in this house. (And who knows what is going on with my car now :( Hoping it's just a dead battery. We will know more today after hubby gets a better look at it.)

I'm working on firming up my need-to-buy lists. The twins' December birthdays definitely add to the December economic hardship! If you ever have twins, don't have them in December -- like you can control that, right? Ha ha. I always used to say I didn't want a December baby and I ended up with two. Which just proves that you can't control life because I wouldn't trade my December babies for the world. They were the best Christmas presents ever. Even if some days right now they drive me absolutely nuts.

Back to the Christmas countdown.

So the first holiday chore I am working on is...

Possible Christmas Eve wear with a "navy" color theme:
Buddy Twin's polar bear sweater from last year
and a hand-me-down velvet dress from Big Girl for Bunny Twin.
I always want my kids to have cute outfits for holidays, and even if money is tight, I will still try to make sure they look their best. When Big Girl was an only child, I always bought special outfits for her holiday wear, but the budget doesn't allow for brand-new things for the holidays as much anymore.

Our holiday attire doesn't have to be fancy-schmancy, ruffles and pearls, but appropriately festive and neat. I've been cleaning out closets and drawers lately and weeding out warm weather items, especially since winter is officially upon us. While getting things in order, I decided to see what we have for the upcoming holiday season that will suit our needs for three special days: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Luckily, the twins are really in a good place as far as festive clothing. Buddy Twin has several sweaters, some of which I bought last year that will still fit, and a few I bought on clearance late last winter. I am so thankful that I have the sense to shop the clearance racks for the future sometimes!

Bunny Twin is also all set, with many things her grandmother purchased on sale, hand-me-downs from her big sister, and things I purchased on clearance last year, like an adorable candy cane dress from Gymboree.

The only thing Bunny Twin will need is a few sets of tights to wear with her little dresses. Knowing this now makes life easier, which is another reason it is good to weed through the clothing far in advance of the holidays. I can shop for the best deal on tights or whatever odds and ends I need to round out an outfit.

Big Girl was not in the same place as the little ones. She is always growing, so it is hard to have things fit more than one season. She needed at least one new holiday outfit or two. For this, festive-yet-practical is in order -- no fancy dresses, but more like sweater- or tunic-legging combination that can be worn for the rest of the colder season. My mother had expiring coupons for a few stores this week, including Justice, so a trip to the mall was in order.

Here are two holiday choices that came home in a Justice shopping bag:

Both have leggings to wear with them, so they are comfortable, which is important to my oldest. And they are her favorite colors. They are not too Christmas-y that they can't be worn the rest of the winter. And not too Justice-y. Sometimes I think their clothing is over the top and too sassy. Big Girl likes that store though, and I want her to have things to wear that she both likes yet are appropriate. (Why is Justice so expensive? They always have 40 percent off the entire store. I wish they would just make the prices lower and offer the the same 20 percent off coupons that you tack on the 40 percent discount anyway.)

Now that the closets are cleaned out and clothing decisions are made, I'm relieved that this is one area that I've already tackled. I'm moving on to firming up baking chore lists and ingredients to buy; finalizing the gift list; ordering Christmas cards; and planning the twins' birthday party. There is a lot to do in the next two months.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today's the day! I'm a little late in posting but I wanted to send a reminder out to everyone to vote today. I had to post this picture of the twins when they were smaller. They were already showing their civic pride!

I can't tell you how important it is to me to vote. It is such a privilege that many people do not have. I registered to vote when I was 18 years old and I am a regular voter in local, state and national elections. Although it is amazing to be able to cast a ballot to elect the President of the United States, I hope everyone who reads this realizes how important the "smaller" elections are as well. Be involved.

I guess my interest in politics and being aware has rubbed off on my oldest. This is what she ASKED to do today on her day off from school:

Yes, that is my daughter waving signs in the freezing cold weather. She wanted to be involved in some way today, and since my dad is involved in our town's Republican party, she teamed up with him. Although I think she is too young to choose a "side" just yet, I will support her interest! I hope it lasts long into future and that she is an informed, aware adult who seeks out fair news coverage to form her opinions.
Don't forget to VOTE TODAY!
There's still plenty of time!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Ladybugs are great for the garden!

In the past few weeks, there seems to have been an explosion of ladybugs on my sliding glass door. I know this sometimes happens in the fall, or on Indian summer days in fall. It's like the little eggs hatch and they take over. I don't remember it being so prominent as it seems to have been this year, however.

Ladybugs also make me smile. They remind me of my grandmother. Her house must have had a ladybug infestation, because they always seemed to have swarms of them at certain times of the year. When I see a ladybug, I can't help but think of my Gram and thinking it is a sign from her. I can't kill them. If they are inside, I gently get it outside as fast as possible.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks ladybugs are a sign from above. I was reading a post on SuperTy.org (I can't stop thinking about that poor little boy losing his fight with cancer! I even wrote a Yahoo! Voices article about it.) where his mother says after she returned from the crematorium the day after his death, she found ladybugs all over her sliding glass door and considered it a sign from above. In her post, she said she researched about ladybugs and found so many interesting little facts about them. Like how they are dedicated to the Virgin Mary as the "beetle of our lady" and they hold a special link to mothers.

Reading this was poignant to me as I consider them a link to my grandmother. Her name was Mary, and she was very religious, so the Virgin Mary connection to my grandmother is also important and relevant to me. And the link to mothers is also an interesting little link to something that happened to me.

When I was at the end of my pregnancy with the twins -- 37 weeks, to be exact -- I went to the doctor and they were concerned about my fluid levels and sent me to the hospital for yet another ultrasound and test. I had so many ultrasounds and so many tests during my twin pregnancy and I had been at the hospital many, many times. However, this time I knew, in my head, that all could not be right and it might be time for them to come out! It was an icy December day, and while I was sitting in that waiting room in the hospital to be called to have my ultrasound, I saw a ladybug crawling up the wall right next to me! On a freezing cold December day! It was the oddest thing, and I totally thought it was a sign from my grandmother. I knew right then and there, whatever that ultrasound revealed, that the babies were coming that very day. And they did. And it was fine. And I knew it was my grandmother's little way of telling me that.

I sometimes think people "stretch" the sign thing a bit too far, where every tiny thing is a sign from above. It's nice and comforting to believe that, but perhaps I am too cynical or practical in that regard.  That said, there are certain times when I really believe in signs. Not every ladybug moment is a sign, but always a reminder. That day in the hospital, it was not only a reminder, but a sign.

I don't collect ladybug items, but I love jewelry with meaning. I think I might put this on my holiday wishlist:

It's very sweet, isn't it? And a nice reminder to wear around my wrist. Do you believe in signs or symbols?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The End of Autumn

It's November now, the last days of fall are upon us. It's time clean up and hunker down for winter. Did you enjoy the leaves?

We certainly did. The twins are old enough to run around the front yard now without me worrying as much, although I have to be diligent about them heading toward our road. (We live on a corner and cars can drive fast.)

We enjoyed our leaves many times.. In fact, as soon as we get home, and get out of the car, the twins think it's good to take a quick run around the tree through the leaves. Most days, I let them!

And I have to say the squirrels enjoyed themselves too, eating our pumpkins before Halloween:

They totally gutted all three of our pumpkins. It was amusing to see them sit on top and spew pumpkin seeds eveywhere. And it was kind of disgusting, actually, too. I'm sure they are all fattened up for winter now.

We also enjoyed our fall sparkle and shine inside out house too:

I'm actually ready to move on from fall. Usually I'm a stickler for keeping things fall-ish through Thanksgiving. To me, Thanksgiving needs to be honored with harvest displays, not Christmas displays, but that seems to be a dying concept in our modern world.

Starting next week, I think it's time for holiday prep (note that I said "prep," not holiday decorations!). I think that it's time to start getting plans and shopping and cleaning done with due diligence so I don't have a crazy December. How 'bout you? Tune in next week.

And don't forget that Tuesday is Election Day! Big Girl voted her school's mock election recently:

Make time to do your civic duty Tuesday! And have a great, fun weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Hangover

It's over. Another Halloween behind us. 

By 3 p.m. yesterday, I definitely was at my Halloween threshold. I had taken the twins to their playgroup for a tiny Halloween celebration, and it was overload at one point for me. They spent the afternoon at their grandparents while I fussed over Box Tops for Education at Big Girl's school, trying to make yesterday's mailing deadline. With two days of "no school" the Box Tops were going to be overdue if I didn't get them out the door.

Big Girl did not have a costume day at her school. She didn't have a party, snack or craft in honor of the holiday. It is what it is, I guess. Elementary school is coming to an end. Last year, the school changed the celebratory food policy, meaning we cannot bring outside food in for parties. You have to order through food service. Had I thought there would be nothing, I would have secured a snack for the class. But, again, it is what it is. 

After a rushed afternoon of homework, piano practice and a quick house pick-up, it was time for trick-or-treating. My parents came to dole out our candy, and my nephew arrived for our walk around our block. 

It was definitely an interesting experience with the twins:
  • Bunny Twin refused to walk. We had to pull her in the wagon, and take her out at every stop. (She has a newfound fear of the road/cars after she was taking a walk with my mom and my neighbor pulled up in his loud truck and idled right behind them. She freaked out and tried to climb up my mother's leg. So now she won't "walk" in any road (or sometimes parking lot) and needs to ride or be held. It is definitely not easy managing this new fear!) She was appropriate dressed as a princess riding in her "carriage" and ordering my husband around on how fast he should pull her. 
  • Bunny Twin also invited herself in the first house we went to -- walked right in and started walking around. I was like "What are you doing?" but cut her some slack because she didn't "get" the trick-or-treating thing. At least we know the people :)
  • Buddy Twin insisted on talking to every homeowner forever. A sample: "Those are stairs" (pointing in the house). "Do you have a dog?" peeking in the house. "Oh WOW!" while peeking in at just about everything. "A candle!" (pointing to candle). He could go on forever. I expected he might invite himself in for a cup of tea at any of the houses.
  • Buddy Twin was also very polite: He always said "Thank you!" and "Happy Halloween!" at every house. I love my little boy. My sister-in-law told him he had good manners and proudly he agreed.
  • Bunny Twin was obsessed -- OBSESSED -- with all the glow-in-the-dark gear we had. She was totally focused on the neon bracelets and necklaces. I think Halloween was more about those for her than the actual candy.
  • Neither twin would wear their "head gear" -- no crown for the princess or hat for the farmer. (Can I reiterate again how THRILLED I am not to have spent real money on these costumes? Bunny and Buddy Twin's costumes combined cost me $2 -- for a bandana and hat at the dollar store for Buddy Twin. I think he put on the hat for 10 minutes the first time he wore the costume.
Big Girl was a fox, as I said, and ended up losing her tail during trick-or-treating. I think I was the most upset about this. And only because I hope to recycle that costume in the future for either of the girls. I still plan on trying to scout it out tomorrow in the neighborhood. Of course, that's the costume I spent money on, and the stupid tail fell off the first of the three times she wore it. (I pinned it on last night, but apparently not good enough. Next time, I will use my instincts and spend more time with a needle and thread instead of safety pins instead of trying to let it remain detachable.) 

This Halloween just reinforced the lesson I learned last year. It's not worth it to spend major money on costumes. It's better to be creative with what you have or go really cheap. We almost didn't have a Halloween again due to the weather, and many area communities did cancel trick-or-treating because of widespread power outages. Who knows what might happen next year? 

I even stayed cheap on our trick-or-treating vessels. Big Girl has a Potter Barn bag with her name on it, but her favorite thing is the traditional plastic pumpkin. I wanted to get the cute bags for the little ones with their names on it. Then Big Girl persuaded me to get the plastic pumpkins in the top pic, especially since they have  lots of colors. "It's the traditional thing," she told me, and she's right, since it's the same thing I used in my youth. And they cost me $1 each at Walmart. And the twins love them. So now we have three plastic buckets for candy collecting.

Big Girl wants to be a witch next year, and I am thrilled about that since it is so easy. I plan on scouting out post-Halloween sales as soon as possible!!