Happy Halloween!

Wow. Halloween is definitely different from the parent end of things. We had fun today, but I am now exhausted. Our ward had a truck-or-treat at 4:30 this afternoon followed by dinner and a bit of a carnival. It was perfect. The kids had so much fun, and they have enough sugar in their systems to get them through until Christmas. I had a bit of a time getting either of the kids to sit still and look at the camera at the same time, so the pictures I have are the best I could get. Enjoy!


Carving Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is simply fun. It's gooey, slimy, silly work, i.e., a perfect kid activity. Especially when it's finished off with soft ginger snaps. Fun! Emma loved getting her hands dirty; Ashlyn wasn't so sure. We all had fun, though.

Wedding Dress

While we were driving around in the car the other day, Emma asked rather concerned, "Mom, which dress am I going to wear when I get married?" It took me a while to convince her that she didn't need to worry about it right now, but that when that day does come, we'll get her a beautiful wedding dress. Yikes! 3-year-old minds are fascinating.



A week ago yesterday, we were finally able to venture to Yellowstone. We live too close to pass that one up. We left Friday night for Grandma and Grandpa Millar's house in Rexburg so we could get a head start Saturday morning. Little did we know that Emma would wake up at 4:30 and refuse to go back to bed. It was an unplanned beginning, but we put our sleepiness aside and hit the road as soon as Ashlyn woke up.

We saw several sights that neither Nick nor I had seen since we were younger. Emma wasn't so fond of Norris, however, and keeps saying that she doesn't want to go back to the stink pots. As we walked through the steam she would plug her nose and walk as close to the ground as she could. She has never been fond of yucky smells.

We were pretty fortunate to see all kinds of wildlife. Come to think of it, we only saw elk, buffalo, and a grizzly bear, but the bear was impressive and the big animals were plentiful enough to make up for any unseen critters. We also had a lot of fun seeing the waterfalls in the park. To get a close-up view of the Lower Yellowstone Falls, we climbed down 385 stairs. Going down, I went with Emma at a 3-year-old's pace. I kept looking at the steep slope below the stairs and getting dizzy. It was worth it, though. The falls were beautiful. The climb back up however was tough since we were each carrying one if the girls. It made up for all the sitting in the car we had done.

All in all, it was a good trip. The only thing that could have made it better was if we had been able to meet up with Adam and Ranee. We'll have to plan better next time. We did get a pass, though, so I know we'll be back at least once next year. This is an open invitation. We always enjoy company!

These stairs to the falls just went down and down forever.

The trek was worth the view. The kids, however, were almost done.

Ashlyn loved seeing everything. Her eyes were huge the entire time.

Can I say that these girls love their daddy? He's quite fond of them, too (can't you tell!).

See that tiny, black dot? That's a grizzly, I promise.

The family at Norris Geyser Basin (where the mud or "stink" pots are).


Waking Up

This morning when my alarm clock went off (Ashlyn crying out like the does every morning when she wakes up), I went in to get her out of her crib. It was still dark, so I was surprised to pick her up and feel something on her hand. Here is her morning attire.

Socks will always be one of the coolest toys money can buy. She wore her sock on her hand for quite a while.

Then, as we looked out the window, this is what we saw. A kiddo's first memorable snowstorm is always exciting. She kept climbing on the table and saying "See, see!" It's fun to be little. This afternoon Nick took the girls sledding down our hill. Emma had a blast, and Ashlyn wasn't quite sure what to think.


Pumpkin Patch

Emma's preschool visited a pumpkin patch today, so I canceled my class and Ashlyn and I joined the crew. The kids had so much fun. We went through a corn maze ("It's dark in here, Mommy"), fed corn stalks to the horses, cried when the pig squealed too loudly (Ashlyn), pet a duck, and then got to pick out our very own pumpkin to bring home. I'm so glad we went. I'm a bit tempted to go back out with Nick and get a bigger pumpkin. I couldn't figure out how to carry anything larger than the one we got since I was also been packing Ashlyn. It was so much fun.


We had a couple of friends over yesterday and got to play dress-up. How Halloween appropriate is that! We had a lot of fun, and the girls especially loved posing for the camera. Too bad Ashlyn refused to put on the butterfly wings (she thinks the ladybug costume is hers).


They're Done!

My pears are done! Whew. That was a lot of work. Several hours and 20 quarts later, I have a good supply of fruit for the winter. I keep thinking about why in the world I can. It's tricky to do with little hands wanting to help so desperately, jars are not cheap, and they really do take a long time to do (at least for me). But you know, I love looking at the final product. In fact, I like looking at it so much that I sometimes have a hard time opening a jar to eat it. Weird, I know. But honestly, my cupboards are so colorful right now. I have apricot nectar, apple sauce, peaches, and pears. Do any of you want to come over for some fruit cobbler? My treat. Next year I want to try green beans, tomatoes, and whatever else comes my way.

Also, my students' papers are graded and returned. I wonder who dropped class since Wednesday. Just kidding. Some of you have asked about my teaching. I love it. I'm just teaching one ENGL 101 course this semester for Idaho State University. It's perfect. It gets me out of the house for just 6-8 hours a week. Even better, I teach during Emma's preschool and Ashlyn's nap, so I don't feel guilty about leaving the girls. The pay isn't too bad either for the time involved. Mostly though, I just love to teach. There's just something about it that gives me a high. Part of it is that writing is a necessary fact of life so it's worth my time to teach, and, well, Nick sometimes teases me that I have a social cavern that must be filled, and teaching seems to help there. What more can I say? I love it.