All Things Death Eaters.

I knew the day would come, when requests for Disney/Cartoon themed pumpkins and costumes would end. And so it has, for at least, Alex.

This year instead of a Disney Prince or a Knight, he wanted to be a Death Eater from Harry Potter. Okay, it's Harry Potter so I wasn't too sad.

Then he made the request for the pumpkin he took to his Cub Scout Pack meeting. He wanted it to look like The Headless Horseman. So I obliged. He won an award for "Best Eyes". Don't be too impressed, all the scouts get an award.

Another milestone is past us. Onto costumes that feature a cape, a mask and a hood. Hmmm. And scary pumpkin carvings. I can so get into all of those, really I can.

Enjoy letting go of some old traditions and accept the new with same amount of joy you reserved for the old. We'll try it out together and see what happens, okay?


All Things Holiday Photo Shoot.

Multi-generational photo shoots can prove exhausting but because my parents were in town we thought, hey why not. It's been a while. So we matched up our clothing fairly well. And posed and posed for the better half of ninety minutes.

Do you like the results?

I love this picture of My Boys. So tall, blonde and blue eyed.

Of course, the girls, light in complexion but dark in eye color and mood.

We do love these moments because they're captured and preserved forever. Yes, we did take the Holiday Picture, too but you'll see that a bit later.

Enjoy multi-generational moments, they may prove exhausting but they're magical in their own way.


All Things Student of the Month.

At Double Diamond Elementary School there are a number of ways you can become Student of the Month. But mostly it has to do to sticking to the core principles that every student needs to be Respectful, Responsible and Safe.

Right before she went Off Track (we're in Year Round school), Kata received a Student of the Month Award for exemplary achievement in the area of Responsibility. She came home with a beautiful certificate, her name on the main bulletin board at school and a free kids meal at Mimi's Cafe.

I've got to share that the management staff at Mimi's makes a Big Deal out of this, coming over to the table and congratulating the student and their parents on a job well done. I love when local places support academic goals.

So I challenge you to do the same. See how you can support your local public schools. They need your help in these extremely tough times. Schools often suffer the first round of budget cuts. So think about volunteering, or donating some books you may have lying around, or even calling the office and seeing what kind of supplies a particular teacher may need. Help them and you will help a future generation and I promise you'll feel great doing it.


All Things Last Preschool Field Trip Ever.

Bella's preschool took their annual field trip to Ferrari's Farm here in town. And while we go way out of the way to Bishop's Pumpkin Farm, I've got to admit that Ferrari has a nice selection and hey, they're so close.

The best part of the trip? Bella got to be bossy. She excels at that. Especially because Alex and Kata, who are Off Track from school, got to tag along.

We also got to see Bella with her friends from preschool. Here she helped a boy push the pumpkin wagon along. When I asked her what was his name. She replied by waving her hand in the air, "I don't know, he's a Panda not a Kitten." Pandas are the "grade" below her coveted Kitten level.

It was an unusually hot day, so after the quick field trip, we stopped by a nice, cool place. Yes, the Zen Palace for all Moms - Starbucks. Land of Lounge Chairs, Scones and Frappuccinos.

Note the happiness from just sitting in air conditioning.

The feeling of relief that this was going to be our Last Preschool Field Trip - EVER - was palatable from the big sister and brother. I was the only left thinking that another milestone had passed.

Wishing you a last something - ever. Be sure to notice how it passes and don't be sad, there is more adventure ahead. That, I know for sure.


All Things Ever the Same.

We celebrated 16 years of marriage on September 4th but we postponed our anniversary present until October 17th for a very good reason. You see my all time favorite singer/composer/rock star, Rob Thomas, was coming to Reno. Yeah. I know, imagine my joy upon reading this information on his blog.

But, Ken did something special. I mean you guys know he can't be like my favorite fictional characters because he is, well, a Real Guy BUT-he has his moments. I had no idea he actually paid attention to the email I forwarded which was full of teenage girl squeeishness and a request that perhaps, even though we couldn't afford it, maybe just maybe this show could be our Anniversary Present. But, he listened. He did, indeed. He pre-ordered the tickets and managed to get 10th row center at the Reno Events Center.

Sixteen years of marriage and he can still recognize a Good Thing when he sees it. Imagine my relief and yes, by all means, sheer delight.

It was one of our Best Date Nights. Grandma Sandi was here to assure that the kids would be well taken care of and we left the house at five in the afternoon, determined to enjoy our evening.

Have I mentioned why I love living in Reno yet? Yes, well, I have but not in a while. Reason No. 568 Why I Love Living in Reno - downtown is 15 minutes away. Yes, folks and the parking is free. And easy to get in and out of. No queues. No horrible waits to leave the dang parking lot after events. Just zoom in and out. Lovely.

So after a wonderful dinner, we marched into the concert and were amazed by the two opening bands - Carolina Liar and One Republic. For those who remember what it was like to attend concerts in college, this was just like that. The opening bands were as good as the headliner.

Speaking of the headliner, Rob walked out and announced he was going to play for two solid hours and a little over or until they made him shut off the equipment. And so he did. It was amazing. He sang songs he never sang in concert before. He brought out the opening bands to help him. He just rocked it. Go see him. You won't regret it. It ranks as one of our Best Date Nights. Ever.

And yes, I snuck up to get a pic with my iPhone camera. Some things never change. Some things stay the same. Ever the same. Enjoy one of my favorite songs of his below.

Here's a song that he left off of his cradlesongs album and as he said, "I immediately regretted it." It's about a Date Night with his wife. Enjoy those Date Nights, like we did. They remind you of why you started on this journey in the first place.


All Things Anacondas.

Alex is on a soccer team that he helped name - The Anacondas. They have a pretty even record this year and his skills continue to improve. There he is in the bottom row, second from the left. He's squinting against the wind and the sun.

The best part of watching Alex play these last five and a half years is that he really has improved. He may not be the best player on the field but each year he manages to be The Most Improved. I love the fact that he enjoys playing and growing and stretching in something that doesn't come easily to him. That fact alone showcases his personality for you. Sometimes, it's good to just get in there and try and be proud of yourself for just being in the moment and participating.

Try to do that today. Participate in something that might not be second nature to you. Go on and stretch.


All Things Half Magic

I posted the review over at Keep Reading To Your Child but had to mention it here as well.

I'm often asked what books inspired my strong love of fantasy fiction. And while I point to The Chronicles of Narnia most often, the truth is there was a little book found in the recesses of Stow, MA public library that truly started All Things Fantasy.

Half Magic by Edward Eager was published in 1954 and it's rare to see a book in the fantasy genre stand the test of time (yes, yes there's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and others) but a children's book? Narnia, for sure. But not many others after that.

If you have children aged 8 and up, I suggest you pick up Half Magic and immerse yourself into a tale of four bored siblings on summer break who find a magical coin. But as they soon find out, the coin grants them wishes with a catch. They get only HALF of what they wished for.

As a person who struggles with math but not with words, I loved the resulting squabbles when the children try to calculate twice the amount of each wish. If you love magic, time travel and stories where siblings have to overcome their inherent rivalries and work together, pick up this book.

Now go on start thinking about your own wishes. What if you got only half of what you desired??