Friday, October 30, 2015

Mickey's Halloween Party

Bright and early last Friday we caravaned down to Disneyland with my parents and brother and went straight from a seven hour car ride to Mickey's Halloween Party. The car ride is probably a separate post all in itself, but if I had to sum it up in one word, I'd pick loud. Thankfully we corralled my brother into driving with us, since Joe couldn't make it, and somehow we all survived. Our sanity, not so much. 

One of my favorite things about Disney during the holidays are the decorations. A complete overload of pumpkins and oranges and yellows, as well as touches of Disneyfied spookiness. It's magical festiveness at it's finest:

I have to give my boys props. After being cooped up for way too long and surviving LA traffic, they flipped a switch and were perfectly happy and content all through Mickey's party. We got to Disneyland a little after 5 and didn't leave till midnight. Talk about rock stars. Ez took a little nap, but Declan spent the majority of that time alert and perfectly content to watch all the people and take in admiring compliments on his costume.

This was Ez's first year really getting the hang of trick or treating. He finally understands what candy is all about and actually said trick or treat a few times. Then he climbed back in his stroller and let us wheel him through the treat lines, eventually falling asleep. He's either the laziest trick or treater ever, or completely genius. Fall asleep, wake up with a full bag of candy next to you. Not a bad plan, kid. Thank the grandparents for that one.

While the grandparents took over trick or treating duties, my brother and I went on a ton of rides. More rides than I've been on at Disneyland in a long long time. The great thing about the Halloween Party is they kick everyone out at 7 pm so the ride lines are super short. We walked straight onto Pirates, Indiana Jones, and Thunder Mountain. Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion had the longest wait at half an hour. We also squeezed in Star Tours before the night was over. 

I skipped the fireworks this year, because as my brother pointed out, while everyone is staring up at the sky it's the perfect time to sneak on a ride. My mom said Ez wasn't as into the fireworks as he was last year, but Declan stared at them completely rapt the whole time. I tell ya, that kid loves a good spectacle.

When we got back to the hotel close to 1 am Ez was bouncing off the walls. Thank you sugar overload. He finally dumped all his candy on the floor and settled down with Uncle Brett to survey his loot and learn all the candy lingo. Every kid knows that trick or treating isn't over till you've counted all your candy. Finally, after 2 am, everyone fell asleep and slept in nice and long the next day, till almost 10.

Thanks mom, for planning the whole trip! And thanks to both grandparents for taking care of the kiddos and giving me a break. We all had an amazing time!

And now for a bunch of blurry pictures. The lighting wasn't that great and the subjects were on the go.

More on the rest of our Disney trip to come!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 4 Months Declan!

Dear Declan,

You are the sweetest most expressive little baby. Those wide doe eyes always seems to understand exactly what I'm saying. And you just light up whenever anyone talks to you, chatting right back with your earnest little coos. You're quick to smile and laugh, but you've got a loud angry yell ready and waiting to let us know when you're not happy. If I don't get food in your mouth fast enough you like to flail and chomp like a spastic little monster. Don't worry, mama understands. I don't like being hungry either.

Right after you turned 3 months we got you an exersaucer and you started working real hard on your hand eye coordination. I forgot how cute it is to watch babies figure out difficult little tasks, like touching that really enticing toy right in front of your face. You stare intently while your hands hover in the vicinity of the toy, eventually swatting and batting till you make contact and get a content little smile on your face. Good job, baby boy. Mama's proud of you! Speaking of grabbing onto toys, your most favorite toy right now is your toes. You get pretty frustrated if they're covered up by socks. 

As far as stats go, you're a big boy. You're already wearing 6 month onesies, 6 or 9 month pants, and size 2 diapers. You're about 16 lbs, and you were 23.25 inches at your last doctor's appointment a month ago. Just take a look at the difference from two weeks to 3.5 months:

In other news, you can kinda sit up by yourself for a little bit before you topple over sideways. You've shed about half of your hair. You love to practice standing and you've been rolling over from tummy to back for well over a month now. You nap about two or three times a day. On a good night you'll sleep six hours, then wake up one or two more times. You often wake up in the best of moods, and like to lie there smiling and cooing to yourself. This month you've been congested and had a little cough which makes me so sad to hear, but you've been your usual cheerful self in spite of it.

- People watching - you love being out and about in the hustle and bustle.
- Being changed - you like getting dressed way more than big brother ever did.
- Chewing on your fingers. Or anyone's, really.
- Sticking your tongue out.
- Food. You haven't tasted it yet, but you knows you want it.
- Shows, music, dancing - any kind of spectacle really.
- Ez goofing off to make you laugh. 
- Baths.

- Getting out of the bath.
- Watching us eat.
- Car rides.
- Being tired.
- Ez invading your space.

You are such a sweet, calming presence. More than one person has commented on how soothing it is just to hold you in their arms. Your snuggly alertness always brightens my days. If I could I would bottle up every cuddle and freeze frame every smile. Your daddy, brother, and I love you more than you'll ever know. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Countdown: Days 19 - 25

5 days till Halloween! Is everyone stocked up on candy and finished with their costumes? Good! Cause we sure aren't. I foresee a mad dash for both those items on Saturday afternoon. 

I'm excited to see what everyone's been up to in the last full week before Halloween, so let's jump right in with the countdown, starting at 19:
Day 19: Monster Window Clings.

Ez had a ton of fun with window clings last year, so of course I had to snap some up from the dollar section this year. Ez loved putting them up just as much as he did last year, but so far he hasn't been taking them down and depositing them all over the house. A sign of maturity, I suppose. Declan had fun during this activity too, mostly because he's discovered his feet and that equals hours of entertainment for him.

Day 20: Fall Photos.
We did a fast DIY park photo shoot, and I'm counting that as our fall family photos. This month just went by too fast to plan anything else. You can see all the rest of my favorites here.

Day 21: Fall Decor.
Pumpkins everywhere make me happy! And Ez too. You're more likely to find pumpkins strewn across the floor than on our shelves, because #toddlerlife, but it's the idea that counts. You can check up our fall setup here.

Day 22: Monster Crafts.
Since Ez currently has a love of all things monsters, I rounded up a few of my fave Pinterest-inspired monster crafts over here.

Day 23: Mickeys Halloween Party!
We had a blast and I'm sad it's over. Expect to hear lots more about this later this week.

Day 24-25: Halloween Flashback.
We were traveling home from Disneyland, so instead of fun Halloween activities we spent lots of hours crammed into a car listening to Cars on repeat. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Halloweens past. And, a very special flashback to last Halloween morning when we got confirmation that baby Declan was indeed in my belly. Crazy how much has changed since this picture:

Your turn! Grab a button and post away!

  The Joni Journey

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Decor

I love getting a glimpse into other people's homes and decorating styles (Property Brothers addict right here), so I thought I'd give a little fall decor home tour. When it comes to fall decorations I tend to stick with autumn, harvest type stuff that I can leave up till Thanksgiving, as opposed to Halloween specific decorations that have such a short shelf life. It's a combo of laziness, lack of storage space, and personal preference. I'm a big fan of typical deep, rich fall colors, so I tend to just throw a bunch of pumpkins on every shelf in the house and call it a day. Both this year and last year Ez helped me make a garland. Last year we did pumpkins, this year we went for leaves. I also like to create a little holiday reading nook for Ez. He loves books anyway, but having his own little corner makes it extra cozy and inviting. I think I love it more than he does. In fact, I kinda want my own. I guess that's next on my agenda.

What's your style? Classic autumn or spooky Halloween? Or somewhere in between?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

6 Monster Halloween Crafts

Lately Ez has been really into monsters, mostly because of this monster bowling set that he's slightly obsessed with. So when it came time to do our annual Halloween footprint craft I knew I wanted to do Monsters. I browsed Pinterest for awhile and didn't really find what I was looking for, so I improvised, but I did find a bunch of other cute monster crafts that we have either done in years past or that I'm hoping we'll get around to this year.

1. Monster Mobile from Happy Hooligans
2. Frankenstein Footprint from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
3. Rock Monsters from Free Kids Crafts
4. Mix and Match Felt Monsters from And Next Comes L
5. Glove Monsters from Craftaholics Anonymous
6. Monster Footprints:

This is too easy to even require instructions. All you need is some paint, some glue on googly eyes, some glue, a sharpie, and some willing (or not so willing) feet. Dip feet in paint, make a footprint, and let that dry. Then using your finger make different colored dots on the body and hair. Once that's all dry draw on the mouth and glue on some eyes. I'm sure you could figure that all out from the picture though. The hard part is successfully getting unwilling feet onto the paper. For that I suggest laying out a bunch of sheets of paper in a row and just stomping their feet on each one as quickly as possible. That way, if you're lucky, you'll get at least one good one. Good luck if you're trying to get two different feet on the same piece of paper!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Photos

It's not fall without a good leaf photo shoot. Staged, impromptu, professional, iPhone... I don't care, I love em all. There's something so classic about kids sitting in piles of leaves. Even if they're so little they need to be propped up. Or maybe especially when they're that little. The ones I got of Ez when he was just a few months old still stand out as some of my favorite photos of all time:

Since I don't think we'll have time to get actual family photos this month (the rare kind, where we're all in the shot), I decided to take a few quick photos at the park by our house. Fifteen minutes (plus a few tears and some spit up) later we got some new family classics.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Countdown - Days 12 - 18

Twelve days till Halloween! Pumpkins are everywhere, the evenings are crisp, and we've already gone through two bags of Halloween candy. It's definitely feeling like fall.

Thank you for joining us in week three of our countdown to Halloween linkup party. If you're just now joining the party, welcome! The more the merrier. You can read all the details here, but the idea is to share all things fall related, no matter how big or small. And be sure to visit all the co hosts - Courtney, Amanda, Elizabeth, and Kelly - for lots more fall fun inspiration. So grab a button and post away!
  The Joni Journey

Here's what we've been up to this week, starting at day 12:

Day 12: Sick Day & Monsters University.
Ez was sick all week, so we've been laying low and watching lots of movies. On Monday Monsters University happened to be on, and it's the first movie besides Cars that he actually sat through. Unfortunately I think that had more to do with how sick he was feeling and less to do with how much he liked the movie. I thought it was cute though.

Day 13: Halloween Books in a Fort.
This fall I really wanted to build a blanket fort with Ez. There's something so fun and cozy about a secret hideout. I envisioned a rainy day nestled in a blanket fort with some Halloween books. What we got was a cloudy sick day. Close enough. I also figured a tent is basically a fort, and Ez has had this tent since his birthday back in May and we hadn't used it yet. So voila, indoor camping! Ez liked it as long as I was in there with him. He's pretty much been glued to my side this whole week. Nothing like mama snuggles when you're not feeling well.

Day 14: Pumpkin Everything.
I'm a little late to the party, but I finally jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon. Pumpkin English muffins for breakfast, pumpkin fro yo, and this banana bread, but I subbed one of the bananas for a third cup pumpkin. Perfect for afternoon tea. But iced tea, because this is California.

Day 15: Paint Pumpkins.
This was a classic last year and it was just as big a hit this year too. A big thanks to Grampa for hooking us up with all the supplies. Also, I gotta point out what a trooper Ez was. He had no voice and I'm sure he felt like crap, but he's still smiling and having a good time in these pictures. And just for fun, here's a comparison picture from last year:

Day 16: Baby Dumbo.
Cutest little elephant ever. 'Nuf said.

Day 17: Monster Footprint Art.
Neither boy liked having their foot painted, but I liked seeing the comparison of their feet sizes and now I have a new monster to compare to Ez's from last .

Day 18: Pumpkin Festival.
Good food, a fire truck, pumpkins, giant bubbles and grandparents is a guaranteed good time. Would I wait in three hours of traffic to do this again? No. But we got lucky that our car seat-hating baby didn't put up too much of a fuss. Also we FINALLY picked out some pumpkins. PS - I just noticed my cheesy smile in the reflection of the fire truck. Ez was just so proud to be sitting up in that seat. Cutest thing ever.

And here's how we're doing on our fall bucket list:

Thanks for joining in! If you'd like a little recap, here's days 1-4, & days 5-11.