Fight or Flight

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So we just arrived home from Kansas (well, "just" two days ago - but at like 1:30am, so yesterday didn't really account for anything more than "waking up") and I've concluded that traveling via plane with children is as close as I'm going to get to actually running a marathon. I mean, I've never ran a marathon (and don't ever, ever plan to), but trust me - traveling with a toddler and a baby is just as exerting as running a marathon...underwater...while carrying two children...and luggage.
Why is this so difficult?
Is it the grossly underestimated expectation I have about my children? or the actual task of traveling? or the insanity of TSA? Where have I gone wrong in my thinking that this should be something that normal, average, capable and educated human beings should be able to take on????
Not that the airlines help at all. (AT. ALL.)
I guess I always figured that if a normal person saw another person in need and was able to easily do something about it, they would most likely go out of their way to help. HAHAhahaha.....ahem. Ah, naivety. No. Not if they work, board, or are in any way associated with United Airlines, apparently.

We had a stop in Denver both ways on our way to Kansas over the Thanksgiving (count em) that's 4 actual flights in total...with two babies, three carry-ons, a backpack, and a partridge in a pear tree somewhere in there, I'm sure. I won't get into the toddler-melt-down-ness that was Matilda...there's been plenty said about her wonderful love of flying on previous posts . No, this time I (let's be honest here) want to complain about the airline. Sigh....
One of the flights we boarded, both girls had just fallen asleep prior to boarding. I reach the doorway of the plane where two flight attendants are standing as we board.
"Both our babies just fell asleep," I say as I motion back to Josh holding the weary Matilda (granted we are lugging all our luggage as carry ons aboard), "could you please help us put our luggage up so we don't have to wake them?"
The flight attendant looks us up and down and says "No. We don't do that anymore. We don't lift luggage for you."
Um. What? I honestly thought he was pulling my leg. They don't do that anymore? Seriously? I basically told him then that they were going to have to choose between helping us find a place to put the luggage or have a screaming child (and potentially frantic mother) on their hands. They found a place in a closet up front for our stuff pretty quickly after that.
Then, twice on two different flights, we got to experience the fine character (sense the facetious tone) that airline passengers bring aboard with them. We weren't going to be able to sit in the same row together - we were going to be split up across the aisle - so, naturally, I ask the person in the window seat if they would possibly be willing to switch. I get it - the window seat is nice and all - so I said it like this: " you like, really love the window seat? Or, see, I have these two babies - would it be possible if we swapped with you so we could sit together as a family and our kid wouldn't have to bug you the whole flight?"
The first guy actually said "Um no. I'm a comedian, so your kid won't bug me. She'll just give me more material for my act." (My first thought was - oh, I'm so blogging about you and your stupid window seat.)
The second person was a smug, emo girl in her early twenties who just glared at me and shook her head no. "Okaaaay," I warned her. And, as harsh as it may sound, I didn't feel too sorry for her when Matilda screamed for the first half hour of the flight.
Do these people seriously think I just want to snag their position on the plane so my comfort is heightened or something? Do they not realize that it is to benefit the stress (and hearing) levels of everyone aboard so I can attend to the needs of the screaming banshee (I mean child) I brought with us? HELP ME HELP YOU, people!
That being said. If a family boards a plane and looks at you with hopeful pity in their eyes and asks if you would ever be so kind as to sit somewhere else to accommodate them.....Do it. Please. For heaven sakes. Just give them your precious window seat (it was nighttime, by the way, what exactly is there to look at?) and be done with it.
Anyway. We made it. I hope we don't have to fly again any time soon. Even without children, the whole "hop on a plane and travel" thing has truly gone down hill through the years. When I was a kid, flying on a plane wasn't "new" by any means- but there was still a fun thrill about it. Free peanuts! Soda in a little cup on a little tray! Tiny bathrooms! And voila - we're there in a flash - hooray!
No more. Now, they should just rename all brands of airlines to "Hell or High Water Airlines" at least there is a reasonable expectation of what is in store when you tell your relatives "Yes, I will be coming to the family reunion, come Hell or High Water! You can pick me up at Terminal 666."
For as much as the cost of flights is going up, up and away, you'd think they would try harder to make the journey merely tolerable for the passengers. Instead, they pack the passengers in like sardines, tell them to fit all their belongings in a fanny pack, and charge you $9 for a snack you will regret the rest of the day. Everyone is on edge when they travel today - not just us insane parents trying to keep our toddlers out of the "is-your-carry-on-the-right-size" display bin. Everyone is antsy all the time. People are either eager to check in, in a rush to board, or in a hurry to deplane. How can this many people be late for everything? Where are we all headed here?
In a way, I felt like Matilda was the only reasonable person on the flights. At least she was expressing all the distress we were all feeling! Looking around at scary strangers, funky smells and eerie sounds, being totally confined and asked to sit and be still when every instinct is telling you to run far far away from this scene and never return. This is your inner voice telling you to seek haven. And instead, you're forced to buckle up and enjoy the ride? Something's gotta give. Either the cost or the experience needs to change here, folks. What's to be done?
Perhaps a road trip is in our future. Not that the idea of strapping down a toddler in a car for hours on end is appealing in the least. Certainly the ends justify the means when it comes to traveling with kids. I mean, we had an awesome time seeing family and friends while we were in Kansas, don't get me wrong...I'm glad we went...but, man, the whole airplane thing is just ridiculous.
Who wants to start an airline with me? You're only allowed if you're willing to give up your window seat. And help me with my luggage.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksiversary! Well, Happy Thanksgiving to most of you...but, for me, it is also my five year wedding anniversary to my, Happy Thanksiversary, babe!

FIVE years. Awesome. Five years ago, I traded in my 9-letter Dutch name for a name that would forever make me smile (not only for it's homonym but also for its ease of spelling).

Five years ago, the sun was shining on the crisp morning after Thanksgiving Day and I woke up, jumping up and down on my bed that I was getting married that day!

Five years ago, I walked into Starbucks, ordered drinks for all my bridesmaids, and when the Barista said "Have a good day" I loudly proclaimed "I will! I'm getting MARRIED today!" and (I kid you not) the entire Starbucks burst out into applause...just like in the movies.

Five years ago, I stepped into the doorway of a chapel, minutes after my niece turned and threw her flowers at me just before she walked down the aisle in front of me.

Five years ago, I exchanged rings with my favorite person in the world, a symbol of our devotion and love, and surprised him with the inscription PUT IT BACK ON engraved on the inside (true story).

Five years ago, I said "I do" to not just that day to that person...but to every day, forever, to the man that he was, is, and will be. And you know what? I DO!
And thank heaven I did. It's no coincidence that we got hitched the day after Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday (what with all the eating and shopping and gratitude, what's not to love?) and it is the one day a year that everyone is somewhat forced, no matter what their belief system may be, to stop and count their blessings. I knew that, regardless of what life may bring us, I always wanted our anniversary to be a time that we would stop and reflect on how God has shaped us individually and truly blessed us with the mere presence of each other in our lives.

How, I simply would not be the person I am today without my husband...and, shucks, I'm the better for it!

Society continues to shove images of husbands at us that make us think husbands are either too dumb to understand us or too controlling to care. Heck, I even saw a commercial for yogurt the other day that could have been an ad for "Idiot Husbands R Us". Media tells us that we should just roll our eyes and put up with them for killing spiders and opening pickle jars while we gab with our girlfriends over "why my husband is more despicable than yours"? least they gave us cute kids and use a coaster on the coffee table most of the time.


Are these things you would have married? Are these qualities you would have listed in your vows on the day of your covenant? "I take thee, in sickness and in health, in stupidity and frustration, as long as we both can tolerate it"? It makes me want to gag, people.

I married a stud. My best friend who also happened to be super smokin hot. And, chances are (in your eyes, granted) you did too! Give thanks for that amazing man! Certainly, I don't know your situation. But, as most weddings kick off with a foundation of love, surrounded by the support of family and friends, I'm thinking the majority of people get hitched with sincere intentions.

Find that. Seek that. It's still there, trust me. Five years, fifty years...the vows are meant to run deeper with time. I'll fully admit that we have no secret to our marriage and happiness besides that of fully, individually submitting ourselves to a relationship with Jesus. Absolutely, He directed our paths (far and wide) until Josh and I were face to face with one another (and the next minute, head over heels!)

Five years ago, I was so incredibly thankful to be surrounded by my family and friends as Josh and I celebrated our union. I was weepy with gratitude for the man God had given to me, to lead and protect me, to the father the children that were yet a twinkle in our eyes.

But, "five years ago" isn't a dreamy, idealized memory for me that I wish I could go back and relive. "Five years ago" was wonderful...but, it was just the beginning. Good grief! If I thought I had any inkling of what to be thankful for then, it would take me the rest of my life to count the blessings that I have just up to this point!

Our life isn't perfect (ha!) Our marriage isn't perfect (haha!) But, our God is perfect (hooray!) and gives us focus to the bounty among us. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for my husband.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So, as some of you may know from my twitter feed...this morning, on the way home from Bible Study, I witnessed a horrible car accident that I will not soon forget.

I was traveling down the 57 South and out of the corner of my eye, only about 100 feet ahead of me and two lanes to my left, I see an explosion of glass and metal spray into the air. In an instant I realize it's not two, but three cars that have collided, still spinning and struggling to come to a halt. I hit my brakes and catch my breath just in time to glance at the debris. One car is hit, but I see the driver moving. The second car is facing 180 degrees backwards on the freeway and the entire side of the small vehicle is caved in. But, the third car (Christ have mercy) was upside down on top of the median. This is when my heart sank. I honestly don't know how someone could have survived in that car.

I pulled over, quickly realizing traffic was coming to a stop behind me, but knowing that such a severe accident had to be reported immediately. I was about to exit anyway, so I was able to safely pull to the shoulder and dig for my cell. I have never had to call 911 before. The call got dropped at first (are you kidding me?) and to be honest, as stupid as it sounds, I was so flustered with shock that I was thinking "Do I just dial 911? Does it work that way with a cell phone?" When finally they answered. "911 Emergency, what are you reporting?"
Fortunately, they told me that the police and firetrucks were already on their way. They took my name and hung up. So, that's it? I probably just saw someone's life end and now I have to go home and heat up leftovers and give my toddler a nap? Those people just experienced possibly the worst thing of their lives, and I get to go home and complain about sorting the laundry?

Yes. This is life, people. Every day horrific, unimaginable things happen (accidents, murders, abuse, starvation). Every day amazing, miraculous, lovely things happen (weddings, births, proposals, baptisms). And every day, super normal, mundane, ridiculously boring things happen to the rest of us. Laundry. Leftovers.

But, that's not the whole story...

Of course, after witnessing something like that, I couldn't help but think of the mere moments leading up to such a crash. I don't know what those people in those cars were doing. I don't know and I will never know. But, here's what happened to me...and I'm totally serious.
As I was leaving the parking lot of the church, I happened to look down at my mileage and see the signal that there was a door ajar. I stopped, taking the extra 15 seconds or so, to get out, and re-shut Matilda's and my doors knowing it was one of them. Sure enough - and we are back on our way. I approach the freeway and Daphne has lost her pacifier and starts screaming. I, just this morning, realized if I bent my arm a certain way that I could reach through the top of her car seat and get the paci back into her mouth. It's a little tricky, though, and I didn't really want to do it on the freeway, but I didn't want a screaming baby either. She got the paci, and that was that.

Then, I got this overwhelming sense to pay attention to the road. I thought to myself, Okay, if she loses the darn paci again, I'm not getting it. I'm going to let her cry. But it was more than that. I felt this entire sensation of fear pour down over me. I literally thought Am I going to die today? Is Josh going to die today? Something feels terribly wrong. I actually got these visions of us being in an accident, of being in the emergency room, of Josh getting horrible news and having to raise our daughters alone. It all flashed through my head in a couple seconds before I started to block it all out with prayer.

God, protect us. God, be with Josh if he is on the road. Send your angels to surround our vehicle. Keep us safe, Lord.

I will be completely honest in saying that, even as I was praying it I was realizing how dramatic it all sounded. How I must be crazy to jump to such insane conclusions that are certainly unreasonable.

Then, about 15 seconds later, I decide to take the Imperial Exit. It was a totally flippant decision. Last week I took the Chapman Exit - and I would have been in the left lane if I decided that this week. But, I wasn't. I was in the right lane. In more ways than one. And when those cars hit each other, it literally looked like an explosion. It was loud, and terrifying, and I can not be more thankful that I didn't experience it myself.

When I got off the phone with 911, I burst into tears. My prayers were not silent anymore. THANK YOU, JESUS. THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US SAFE! It seems a little funny to me now, but I instantly had that Amy Grant song from my childhood echoing in my ears "Angels watching over me, every move I make..." Such a chipper song for such a serious truth!

But, yes, absolutely Amy Grant, my angels were watching over my every move today, and thank you Jesus for them!

Today, if nothing else, was yet another reminder of how precious and fragile our lives are. How thankful I am for the moments filled with laughter and love...and laundry...and leftovers.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Believe it or not, this is my 100th blog post! (I knew that girl talked a lot.) And, to be honest, it is often your encouraging comments and honest feedback that keeps me coming back to this computer, this blog, still having something left to say. So, thanks for reading and I hope you stick around for hundreds more! :)

Having reached this little milestone, it occurred to me that apparently I do have a lot to say about parenthood, babies, survival, and how I am at least getting by with a chuckle or two. In fact, I've come to a, I've had an epiphany...yes, that is even more fitting, an epiphany: God created humor so parents don't kill their children. I'm sure of it.

I think it was around "nap attempt number seven" today that I swayed, holding my screaming toddler who had yet again thrown herself on the floor in a bit of rage, only to hit her head and cause the drama to quickly turn to actual pain, demanding that I not only focus my attention on her alone, but comfort her with the single remaining nerve I had left...that I caught myself laughing out loud (barely audible above her cries) in utter, weary, survival.

It wasn't that I was laughing at her pain. No, I think I was laughing at mine! The parents' nerves are ever-so-finely frayed into what can only be left as...laughter! Humorous synapses, triggering uncontrollably as we pull our hairs out, wipe our brows, and giggle in sweet relief that, well, we are still alive and kicking. (Turns out, there can be a fine line between bursting out in laughter and throwing your toddler out the window.)

Certainly, it must have started with Adam and Eve? I can only imagine Eve, in total horror, asking God to repeat Himself:
I'm sorry, God, you want the baby to grow where? And come out how? And feed it what? Could we review this one more time?

Can you imagine being the first person to experience that? Um, no thanks. It's not like Eve could run down to her local Barnes & Noble and pick up a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" or even gab with her girlfriends...she hadn't birthed any yet!? Yes, it is all a bit mind-numbing to comprehend. Then again, at least she had Adam - the naming expert - there to "help" her. Hmm.

"Hey Adam, what do you think about the name Parakeet?"
"Oh, um, no honey, I already called those little birds parakeets, so that's taken."
"Oh. Okay. How about Tiger?"
"Yeah, no. That giant striped cat gnawing on that gazelle over there - yeah, I named that tiger, so that's a no-go."
"Adam! If you don't help me out here, I'm going to beat you over the head with this..."
"It's a cane, honey."

I can't imagine being the first parents. Granted, their first two kids didn't grow up so, they had a long way to go on the whole "don't kill each other" rule in parenting. Ahem. But, somewhere in there I'm pretty sure God had to give Adam and Eve the gift of laughter to be able to make it through. Needless to say, I'm sure thankful the trait has made its way down through the generations, reaching me and my screaming, napless, blurry-eyed child - giving me an avenue to choose other than giving up.

Just think how we would cope if we couldn't laugh about our children? My husband would probably come home, wade through piles of laundry, find the babies screaming and strapped to their high chairs, sippy cups full of pinot grigio, as I'm locked in the bedroom, plowing through an entire cheesecake, crying and watching Nate Berkus give someone's dining room a makeover. Okay - maybe there are some days we would like to do this (I mean the whole cheesecake part is appealing at least)...but, it has to be only by the pure grace of God and His gift of humor that instead we can choose to step back, see the big picture, and laugh hysterically (emphasis on hysterical) at ourselves, wipe the poop off our hands and keep going.

It's a funny job we have, us moms. No one else has to get up every morning and wonder if their co-worker is going to spit-up on them today so "should I wear the black shirt or not?" No one else gets the privilege of searching for the ever-elusive baby sock under the dusty couch only to find bits of the last 82 snacks you fed your child hidden under there. And nobody (I hope) asks "Do you have poop?" more seriously than we do - with total straight face - about a million times each and every day.

And I can only imagine that it was God Himself, after explaining over and over again to Eve the ins and outs of her duties as a mother, who coined the saying: It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.


Monday, November 7, 2011

It's been said a million times before - being a mother is a full-time job. Not only full-time...but constant. That is, it's an all-time job, really. No matter what, at any moment, those small little humans might call on you to fulfill a need that only you can answer. Sure, "it takes a village" and all that. Certainly, mothers are not alone in their parenting contributions. But, for most families, the mother is the one who pioneers the leadership in childrearing (lest we forget the most common of sidekicks - the handsome, handy, emotional-stronghold of courageous hunk of steel known as daddy - who can change a poopy diaper with the best of them - of which, in my household, I am most grateful). The the child "expert" if you will.I was pondering this thought the other day. I'm the mama. I'm supposed to know my child best. How does someone so small and cute bewilder me so much? Aren't I supposed to know what I'm doing with you?
In fact, it's often acknowledged that to become an expert at something, one has to have achieved at least 10,000 hours of experience. In a typical full-time job, this breaks down to around 5 years of working somewhere. BUT, in motherhood, the all-time would reach expert status in just over a year! Master. Conquerer. Super-hero-domestic-extraordinaire.
So, why, then, if I am such a "Matilda expert" do I constantly feel like a captain who is navigating a ship (a big ship) in a fog (a thick fog) with a broken compass (and no iPhone or GPS or treasure map or anything!)???

Oh wait. I get it. By the time I've reached 10,000 hours, I've become an expert at Matilda age 1. Now, with Matilda age 2, I'm practically starting over. The thing is, just when I think I have her figured out - she is no longer who she was! And what worked on "Matilda 2 years and 3 days" doesn't necessarily work on "Matilda 2 years and 8 days".
Okay, okay. So, there's no keeping up with the first kid. But, I do have a second daughter! (Hope!) Surely, having done this whole baby thing before I can cut some corners, gain some sleep, and tip-toe peacefully through teething and such. Right?

Oh wait. Daphne is not Matilda. "Daphne 3 months" doesn't match up to "Matilda 3 months". Though, my comfort level of caring for a baby may have grown, my expertise has not.
And yet - the scariest part of realizing that I don't necessarily know what I'm doing in this whole parenting thing - is that, evidently, no one does.

Don't get me wrong. I don't feel like a failure in the least (hey, I'm only 2 years in, let a girl enjoy the ride). I may not know why my daughter just tried to feed dirt to your son, and I may not have a clue why she smacks her head into the wall to get attention, and I certainly can't explain why she isn't scared of giant dogs that most likely see a cartoon toddler-pork-chop when they glare at her....sigh...but, I'm pretty confident that we're doing okay here. Again - evidently my parents (or yours or yours or even yours for that matter) didn't really know what they were doing with us either...and look at us! We're upstanding, law-abiding, bargain-hunting, blog-reading, teeth-brushing citizens, now aren't we?

But, it is scary to me sometimes to think that I am the one God has entrusted this little soul to. Privilege, yes. Terrifying, oh yes. She did not come with a handbook. She did not come with a set of rules. She didn't even come with a tag to tell me whether or not she can be dry cleaned. But, here I am - the Matilda expert. There is no one else on the planet that knows her better than I do right now. Wild. And the same goes for Daphne! Even in her littlest ways, I'm the one who knows how to tell if she is crying because she's wet, or hungry, or has another burp that would make any truck driver blush. And, if I don't know why she's crying - I guess! And when I'm wrong, I try again! And, evidently, I'm still the mother that is the best mother for her to have. Otherwise, I would've had your kid - (no, maybe not yours - I mean hers - the one that sleeps through the night. Yeah, I would've had her kid.) But, I didn't! (And thank heaven, really. Because I would've had to just keep calling you since you are the expert on your kid, after all.) Funny how that works.

So, there you have it. We're all experts on our own kids - and none of us know what we are doing.

But least the pay is good. ;)


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today is my eldest's second birthday. Matilda Hazel Darling turns two! I can't believe it. No need to relive the anxiety her birth brought me (though, I don't think 10pm on Halloween night will ever pass by again without me thinking "that's when my water broke!" Ah, memories.) No, this year I had an entirely new year to think about - her first year - and ponder, and be grateful for. A whole other year has passed by in her life - I just can't believe it.
I wasn't sad today though. I got a little sad last night, thinking how she would be 2 today - total toddler status and absolutely not a baby anymore. It is strange. You have a baby and everyone starts asking you "how old is she?" everywhere you go. How old is she? How old is she? You answer in days, then weeks, then months...and the months thing really goes on for a while. Especially depending on if you are answering a fellow parent or not. Thirteen months is entirely different than "just over a year" to a fellow parent. Seventeen months doesn't require any math. And twenty-three months is not "2". No.
But, two is 2. And now my darling is 2! She won't ever be "25 months" or more - nobody does that, right? Just 2. Then 3. Then (for heaven sake, someone stop this time machine!) 4? Goodness me.
(Wouldn't it be funny, by the way, if people just always kept asking how old someone was? Like, just whoever you were with. It doesn't matter. Imagine being in Target and someone overhears you talking with your mom and then stops and says "Aw, how old is she?" and you're like "Um, she's 59 - almost 60." and they nod sympathetically at you and maybe wink with a "Hang in there, it gets easier" as they stroll off to look at the dollar aisle. Yeah. It's probably good we stop they whole "How old is s/he" bit before cognitive reasoning really sets in.)
Since Matilda's first birthday, she's grown more hair, surpassed at least a few sizes in Target clearance wear, mastered the fork and spoon (with her left hand, no less), learned nearly every animal sound (including, my favorite, "Haha" for Hippo) and many other words (whether indiscernible or perfectly clear, said with the same amount of sincere gusto) and most of all, built layer after layer of personality, shaping her into the kid she is today.
It struck me today, as I was getting all nostalgic watching her play, that I'm not really sad to watch her grow. When she was just a baby it would bring tears to my eyes to even think about her someday not fitting into that snap-up-onesie I just bought that says "I love mommy" or "Daddy's girl". (Don't get me wrong, I can still conjure up a hefty tear at the drop of a hat). But, watching her personality grow, take shape, expand in directions I've never known her before - I get to see this little person literally become. Who would want to rewind that? As much as I loved having her as a baby, I am almost entirely equally torn into wanting to see her continue her personality-growing-saga!
This is the ache of a mother's heart. I want her to stay small. I want her to become amazing. I want her to snuggle forever. I want her take flight and soar. I want her to be safe in my arms. I want her to slay dragons and conquer darkness. I want it all for her. I want her to want it all.
I love you, Matilda. Happy Birthday, Darling.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just taking a moment here to reflect on some Halloween memories. Nice ones. Ones that don't involve freaky corduroy jumpsuits with rickrack frosting: Yikes. If you read the comments from that blog, you may have seen what my friend Matthew John had to say - mentioning me in some of his favorite Halloween memories. Well, he stole the words right out of my mouth (computer?)

Growing up in a rural community, you'd think it was difficult to trick or treat - not having a neighborhood and all. And you would be right. A gang of us (usually including Jessica John [Matthew's sis and my best friend growing up] would pile into a car (driven by, I'm sure, whichever parent drew the short straw for the night) and make the slow-but-sure trek around not one, not two, but the three towns (the tiny trifecta that it was) that made up our community. That's what happens when towns consist of less than 500 people - they band together to support the neighboring kid's sugar high as well.

Rain, sleet, heat, or snow (well, there was that one year that
Halloween was actually postponed until the snow melted) we would make our way house to house, knowing nearly every person who answered the door. There was no X-raying our candy when we got home that night. There was no questioning who made that homemade ball of carmel corn. Candy was scavenged, devoured, and sometimes secretly stashed away before other siblings could begin bargaining and trading.

At some point during the night, we would need to take a break (okay, let's face it - our parents would force us to stop for one freaking second so they could catch their breath) and so we would go to the John's house for delicious chili - thaw out for a bit - and then hit the road running, hunting down that full-size Snickers that we just knew was out there somewhere.
The high school always ran a fundraiser on Halloween in which they overtook the local fire station and turned it into a haunted house. It. Was. Awesome.

You'd never seen so much black plastic in your whole life. I'm sure my memories are far more grand than reality, but I remember it being rather impressive (and downright frightening) at the time. Thinking about it now, I just have visions of bad wigs, fake blood, and the sound of a chainsaw (shop class anyone?) followed by the screams of little kids far too young to sneak in only to get the snot scared out of them. Good times.
I love those memories. Halloween is like a fall crisp day - covered in chocolate and waxy makeup. How can you top that?

I know. Have your own kids. Create these memories for them. Keep them safe, give them candy, have fun. This is Halloween today. Let's keep it that way.
I just loved dressing my girls up this year. A bunny and a carrot - how does it get any cuter than that? I pray they always keep October 31st as something fun and silly. Something they use their imagination for (and their sixth sense of candy scavenging radar, of course) and not something used to convey darkness or for that matter (being honest here, folks) utter sluttiness.

Apparently, these days, if you hack the legs off of any ole pair of jeans - that's a Halloween costume! If you just wear your underwear in public - that's a costume! Dear me. All that to say, there are a lot of girls out their who need help...and pants.

Now, I couldn't take my girls back in time OR to a small rural community for Halloween. But, we did manage to find some lovely houses in our neighborhood with razor-free candy, and we went to an amazing carnival at a nearby church (I mean unreal, amazing - multiple full scale carnival rides and food trucks kind of amazing). So a grand time was had by all. Afterall, isn't the measure of a good Halloween in the angst and regret of the tummy ache you get by morning? Sure enough - we hit "Berenstain-Bears-Too-Much-Junk-Food" status by late that night.

Totally worth it.

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