Saturday, October 31, 2009

Frito Pie Fright Night!

When we were at Love Creek Orchard with the Collins and Sullivans families, we got into a conversation about Frito Pie. Mainly how it is so good, but you never make it at home because it would involve buying a five gallon can of Rico Cheese. Then genius struck. What if you had a party that was centered around the presence of that huge-mongous vat-o-cheesy goodness? That's how we ended up hosting a Halloween pot luck... Frito Pie Fright Night!

The party was attended by the Sullivans, the Collins, the Jones, and the Schwartzs. The parents contributed to the Frito Pie fixins (we also had fruit salad and cupcakes) and the kids represented a diverse cast of characters. After a yummy, albeit nutritionally lacking, feast, we headed out into the neighborhood for some trick-or-treating!

Ben ready to go!
The rest of the party on the move!
It was a first Halloween for Grant and Grace! They were troopers despite the fact that they had no idea what was going on and they would not be able to participate in the candy eating!

Halloween babies & Mamas!

All the walking around was really tiring! Ben bummed a ride with Princess Avery, and Grace just passed out all together!

Thanks for the lift, Avery!
Not at all bothered by her crazy hood!
We ended the evening back in our driveway where we examined our goodies and Ben handed out candy to the big kids who were still out and about. It was an awesome night filled with yummy treats and great friends, and we're hoping to make it an annual event. Happy Halloween!
Get your candy here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Funny day around the house

This past Monday was really fun. It was just an ordinary day and we spent it, for the most part, at home (just us). Ben kept me laughing, though! The first thing we did was a craft project. Last week I came home from the scrapbook store with a brown paper bag and I saved it to make Ben a mask. He helped cut the eyes and mouth out. The he colored it and we attached yarn for hair and a button nose. He was so excited to try it on (and let me take a picture)! The only drawback to stuff like this is that he immediately wants to show Daddy, and Daddy was still sleeping. :(
Here's Ben trying on his mask
And sharing with Gracie :)

Later, Ben was playing by himself while I was trying to get some work done. He brought one of his toy animals (which is the size of a quarter) to me in a plastic jar. He said he locked up the bear because it was biting the other animals. I thought this was a good idea, but I didn't want the poor bear to go hungry, so I asked Ben, "What do bears eat". He said, "Bears eat fruit." So I suggested that he put some food for the bear in the jar. This is what he came back with. You can't even see the bear under all the fruit! I laughed so hard! Here is Ben with his bear and jar of fruit. He was so proud. I've added an arrow to help you see the little bear.

Once Brian got up, I tried to work again (I usually work at the front table), but the three stooges kept distracting me. Could you work with those smiles vying for your attention?

The making of Boo & Sulley

"What do you want to be for Halloween, Ben?" Ben replies, "I want to be a monster". So onto Ebay I went. I typed in Monster toddler and a bunch of "Sulley" costumes came up (from Monsters, Inc). Easy enough - Ben loves that movie, and I liked that he was going to be a nice monster. Now, what should Grace be? I wanted to stick with a theme, so the choices were "Mike Wazowski" (a large green eye ball with legs) or "Babbling Boo". Not a tough choice. The Ebay search continues. Do they make Boo costumes? Yes. Do they make Boo costumes for a 5 month old? Nope. Uh oh.

Last year, I borrowed Liz's showing machine and set out to make a shower curtain. Easy enough - I believe the project consisted of sewing 6 straight lines (which my striped fabric made relatively easy). Liz taught me the basics of how to thread the machine, start and stop a stitch, and use the guidelines. Easy enough. Since then I've moved up to burp cloths and nursing covers (those require boning... oooohhh... moving up the sewing food chain). But an entire Halloween costume, with multiple pieces, a lining, and CURVES?

As my husband rolled his eyes (seriously, you're going to take on ANOTHER project), I set off for Hobby Lobby. Patterns were on sale for 99 cents! So I picked up a pattern for a baby bunting, some cute purple fabric and all the other "notions" (hey, I'm learning sewing language), and I was off. Or so I thought. I think I took out the pattern and returned it to the package once a day for two weeks. It may as well have been written in Chinese. Ok - I can understand what a seam allowance is, but what the heck are the "selvages"?! Why does this thing not come with a glossary of terms? Am I supposed to somehow put all these marks onto the fabric? It says to cut two of this piece, but if I cut two out - they won't be opposite. Aren't they supposed to be opposite?! Deep breath. Call Mom. (The woman transformed me into E.T., webbed feet, plush mask, red-tipped finger and all. Enough said). Aaahh - tracing paper and wheel. Back to Hobby Lobby!

I still had a ton of questions, so I was so excited that Liz's sister-in-law, Kayla, would be in town one night. She does so many great sewing projects (she's so creative!) so she came over and explained to me about all the weird symbols and the mysterious selvages. These are, consequently, vital to the cutting process so that my pieces would, in fact, be opposites! Pattern transferred and pieces cut (thanks, Mom & Kayla). Let the sewing begin! Or not... why is this so confusing? Why did I forgo Home Ec so I can take more English & Math?! Failed by the public school system, I tell you!

Ok, so the Lord is gracious and merciful, ask and you shall receive! So I received, in God's perfect timing, my mother-in-law in the flesh for 3 days! Saved! Not only was she available to be my sewing coach and dictionary, but she took the kiddos off my hands for an entire day so I wouldn't have to drag this thing out for another two weeks. I converted the body suit of the bunting into a little dress for Grace that ties closed in the back. Instead of attaching the hoodie, I kept it separate and made Boo's mop hair and googly eyes with a few craft supplies and the hot glue gun (my nanny would be so proud!). Then, feeling extra brave, I took the pattern for baby PJ pants and used it as a guide to make some blue shorts for Ben's costume, since the one I purchased only came with the hooded vest. Done and done! Here are some pics to document the process:

First fitting - a little big, Mommy!

Trying on the hoodie - fits great!

Finished costume!
Finished hoodie!
Grace's 5 Month picture - modeling her costume!
Sulley & Boo - all smiles!

Love Creek Orchard

Last week, we went out to the pumpkin patch at Love Creek Orchard for the second time. (The last time we went was in 2007, and we were really bummed to miss it last year.) Liz, Tanner & Avery rode with us (who's hating the 8 passenger van now? hee hee) and we met the Sullivans there. I think it's a great outing for the kids. There are tons of things to see and do - good clean fall fun! I love dressing up in warm colors and taking pictures - they all came out great! (So this is a very picture-heavy post). We're definitely trying to make this an annual tradition!
Before we could even pay the admission, Ben and Tanner had run off for the hay bale maze. (This was warning #1 to not run away from Mom & Dad). There was a little play area with hay bales for them to climb on (and jump off, if you're Ben).

Grace was too little to really enjoy it this year - next year I'm sure she'll be doing her best to keep up with the big kids!

She is just big enough to sit supported, so we tucked her down in this little pumpkin pile! She was all smiles, having a great time!

This is her "crazy smile" She cracks me up when she does this!

Ben was all smiles, too. He was having fun looking at the baby chicks with his daddy, though we kept having to remind him to sit so that he wouldn't accidentally stomp on a chick. Easy, Lenny!

Trying to get a hug while he was still for a minute! You can tell that he was merely obliging me!

Our next stop was the hay ride. We tried many times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture of the three friends together. This was the best that I got!

Wow - everybody looking and smiling! Enjoying the hay ride through the apple orchard.

This was the result of Ben ignoring yet another warning not to run away from the group. Three strikes and you're out (which is one more than he usually gets at home). The point needed to be made, so Brian found a "time-out corn stalk". He looked so pitiful watching all his friends play in the maze again!

His foul mood was short lived - as soon as his time was up he was off and running again!

Our last attempt to get all the kids lined up (Seth and Brian were ready to kill us)!
Tanner, Avery, Ben, Grace, Emily & Grant

It was fun to compare our pics with the ones from two years ago:
Ben was barely eye level with the hay bales - now he towers over them!

And we have one more little person to sit with us among the pumpkins!
Happy Fall!!!

Louisiana trip

At the beginning of September, Mom flew the four of us down to Louisiana for a visit. I had some very specific goals for the trip:

1. Go to the beach
2. Get a stuffed Strawberry Cheesecake Sno-ball with whip cream on top
3. Eat the crabmeat casserole from Anthony's/Toupsies/Whatever it's called

Well, I'd have to say that we were 1.5/3 on goal accomplishment. Our plane landed in the rain on Thursday morning, and it pretty much didn't stop the entire time we were there. We had planned to go to the beach on Friday, but it rained ALL DAY! Mom's yard flooded, though, and Ben had a blast "fishing" from her porch and in the ditch. (We did worry that if he slipped into the ditch, we might not see him again!)

On Saturday morning, the sun started to peek through the clouds, so we figured this was our big shot. We loaded up the car in a hurry and headed down to Port Fourchon. I'd say we had a good hour of beach play time before the dark clouds and wind started to threaten us again. (Goal #1 - Partial Success)

Gracie had enough pretty quickly (the tent we borrowed to keep her out of the sun was broken and wouldn't stay up) so Dee and Dad took her to the apartment on Grand Isle. Brian, Mom, and I splashed and played with Ben a little more before we decided to pack up and head down to the Island to meet them. We had lunch at the sno-ball stand (Nachos and YUMMY sno-balls - goal #2 = COMPLETE SUCCESS!). Then we headed back to Mom's house for naps and clean-up.

That night we went back to Fourchon to eat dinner. I love the Crabmeat Casserole at Anthony's - so I was SOOO excited! Well, apparently they've switched owners or management or something, because it was NOT the same - not good at all!!! For the price of food there, they should cook it in front of you to your exact specifications while you receive a mani-pedi or shoulder rub. Goal #3 = EPIC FAIL!

Oh well, I guess a 50% success rate isn't so bad, and there were additional perks and bonuses. I was able to spend 4 uninterrupted days with Brian and the kids and experience all of Mom & Dee's great cooking. The kids were, of course, spoiled rotten! These 3 little creatures were the highlight for Ben:

Dad took him out to breakfast and then shopping for beach toys and he came back with these little guys. They are his new BFF's. :)

The rest of these are our pics from the beach - there are none of Mom 'cause she refuses to be photograped :)
Getting ready to go with Dee
Gracie showing off her pretty swimsuit (1 piece per Daddy's specifications) and wiggling her toes in the sand)
Checking out what Bubba was doing - not sure if you can tell, but his face was COVERED in wet sand!
Wearing out pretty quickly - nap please!
Ben not wearing out at all (of course). He could have splashed and played all day!

One, two, three.... WEEEEEEE!

Lubbock Trip

At the beginning of October, the San Antonio Barricks headed west! Brian's brother Brad and his wife Jessica moved from Waco to Lubbock in August, just a few weeks before our first niece was born. (We are very sad that they are so far away, but really excited for Brad's new job opportunity and that Addison will get to grow up so close to one set of her grandparents). Anyway, enough time had passed and we just HAD to meet that little girl, so we loaded up the van, Brian took an extra day off, and we headed out I-10. The drive took us a little over 6 hours, which included a 1 hour stop in the armpit of the World, I mean, Ballinger, Texas. Where, you ask? EXACTLY.

Anyway, we arrived at Brad and Jessica's new house (VERY NICE, you guys!) on Wednesday afternoon. It actually took us a while to get the two girlies to meet, since they were pretty much on opposite schedules the entire time we were there, but here are some pics from their formal introduction:

Blanket time!
Holding Hands :)

Sitting pretty in our Bumbos and matching dresses

We added bows, which was apparently the last straw for Addison

This is my favorite - the girls trying to "over-snuggle" Brad, though I don't think that's possible!

While it will take me some time to warm up to Lubbock, because of the presence of "they who must not be named" I will say it had one very redeeming quality (not including our family) - this awesome playground. Ben loved it and he wore us out having timed races through the castle and over all the bridges and walk-ways!

Gracie liked it!

Ben sitting still long enough to take a pic with his sister. As soon as the camera flashed, he let go and took off. Luckily, I was close enough to save her from face planting into the cedar chips!

Tire swings! They also had an awesome swing with a back on it that was soooo comfortable - Gracie and I hung out there for a while!

Bridges, bridges, and more bridges!

There was also a little pumpkin patch near their house, so we made our way over there when Brad got off work. The sun was really bright and low, so it was terrible light to take pictures, but we did our best!

Grace spitting up all over herself
Ben trying to convince us to buy a pumpkin.

This pumpkin was on sale for $100!

The whole family squinting in the sun!

Brad, Jess, and Addison
The girls almost have the Barrick men outnumbered now!

Wait, recount, they're totally outnumbered! Girls rule!

A video of Grace's first meeting. I promise Grace is very sweet, she just really wanted to get over to her cousin to see what she tasted like! You know, like when dogs meet and they... well, nevermind.
This picture is random and I just included it here because we took it at Brad & Jessica's house. I find Grace sleeping like this ALL THE TIME - both hands behind her head. It cracks me up!