Aylin and I moseyed through First Friday and she got her face painted (she loved it...)
We decided to take the Soobie out on some dirt roads and go for a couple of hikes. Turns out going on two back-to-back hikes so soon after being released back to normal duty from my surgery restrictions maybe wasn't such a wise idea. We got not quite out to the lookout on Hawks Bill Crag when I started to crash hard - dizzy, weak, out of breath. Jeff to the rescue - he ran ahead of Aylin and I back to the car to get more water and a granola bar while Aylin and I began slowly working our way back. We all slept good that night.
Aylin earned one final "Off-The-Charts" for the school year, and got to make cupcakes with our sweet neighbor. They had so much fun and sprinkles were applied generously. Then Aylin and I topped it all off with an ice cream cone reward.
My Loves generously spoiled me this year for Mother's Day - Aylin made my breakfast, she also made my a bracelet and a painted clay jewelry holder, plus they got me a fabulous Star Wars t-shirt, a Bob Ross figurine, and the most amazing vacuum ever a Shark! We also went out to dinner at Fish City where I thought I'd be adventurous and try clams - I tried them, and my curiosity has been satisfied. They are *not* something I will be trying again.
We also put new flowers in the window boxes as well as the front triangle garden.
I (Teena) started back at regular Zumba classes at the DAC. It was hard at first, but it has been fun to get back into it. It's also tremendously satisfying to troll Aylin with all my dance moves and to "ruin" her favorite songs with my moves. So. Much. Fun.
Aylin showed off her skills on her new recorder from school.
We found us a new hiking trail - Smith Creek Preserves - with waterfalls and a creek to play in, it was so beautiful! We found a huge, thick vine hanging over the trail and decided to swing like monkeys.
We finally got the telescope out and viewed the big beautiful Full Moon. Aylin had a blast! Then later on Jeff and I were able to see Jupiter and 3 of it's moons. It's so incredible to be able to see those things so closely with so much detail.
Last but not least we finally got to have our Last Day of School. 3rd grade is officially in the bag!
Aylin’s School put on a 3rd Grade Spring Concert last night. I didn’t get amazing videos - from where I sat the lighting for my phone ended up washing them out. But you’ll get the general idea. Aylin got tons of complements on her pretty dress, and if you can manage to spot her in the videos she is front and center on the bottom row. I don’t know if you can catch him on my videos or not, but there’s a super fun kiddo on the front right he’s got on a green long sleeved shirt and he was super expressive - he was super fun to watch.
April was an interesting month at the Melton casa. It was the coldest April ever recorded for NWA, we even got a bit of snow. It was often slow (and a bit boring) for me - as I was on physical restrictions post surgery. But we did have a bit of excitement.
We had a pretty low key Easter between cold and wet weather, and me being low energy from surgery recovery. Aylin had a lot of fun and enjoyed coloring eggs, as well as some fun things in her Easter basket.
Aylin got OFF-THE-CHARTS again at school and she got to have a fun ice cream date with our neighbor who has established a reward routine for when Aylin hits the off the chart goal. It's pretty special, and Aylin looks forward to their fun time together.
Nana came for a visit, and Aylin got to have some fun 1:1 time with her. They played games, and Aylin talked her ears off.
I got to go on a women's retreat with church and had an amazing time. I got to have some productive in-plugged down time, I had some great conversations with lots of ladies, made new friends and got to hug friends I hadn't seen in a while. Soaked in the words that the awesome Sue Addington spoke to us about our Identity in Christ. Learned more about Enneagram, Love Languages, and personality types like Lion/Otter/Beaver/Golden Retriever. Sat by a camp fire, worshipped with tears flowing, made paper flowers, and leather earrings. It was such a great refreshing weekend!
Aylin's school had a Breakfast for your Wonder Woman that I got to go to, and they also dressed up as Super Hero's for the day.
We found a really cool luna moth in our front flower bed.
We ended up buying a new vehicle. It's a long story, and although we were hoping to be car payment free for a while longer than just a few months, it ended up being a good thing in the end. We got a great deal, and the process worked rather smoothly (as smoothly as car deal can go). It was the first pleasant car buying experience we've had in our marriage. Mostly because we communicated better and worked together to listen to each other, but also because Adventure Subaru treated us really well. (I also found out, thanks for the beverages available at Adventure Subaru that Blue Sky has some pretty amazing soda flavors that are no sugar sweetened with stevia, AWESOME!) Most importantly Jeff and I are both happy with the outcome. The vehicle hits the sweet spot for all of our needs; I am comfortable with where our payment landed, and Jeff is finally in a vehicle that he enjoys (rather than being stuck in a vehicle I chose before my vision crisis caused me to not be able to drive). And we are tremendously thankful for neighbors who were willing to be on call if the car deal went long so that someone was around to get Aylin off the bus.
After the car deal was all settled Jeff got to turn around and head to Norfork for the men's retreat. While he was off having manly man time Aylin and I had a girls weekend. We had breakfast at the Bentonville Baking Company, shopped on the square, watched movies (Cinderella by Rogers and Hammerstein, Inside Out), made fun juice cocktails, ate junk food, and stayed up waaaaay too late. All in all it was a great weekend.
A quick recap of the Melton Casa happenings for the month of March:
Jeff and I celebrated 13 years of married bliss (and by bliss I mean hard work, laughter, tears, highs and lows). We celebrated with an actual date night out and a babysitter. We did lovely things - like had a nice dinner out (we went to Copelands, which we reminisced that once upon a time Copeland's was one of the few nice restaurants in the area), then we went for dessert at Bentonville Baking Company followed by coffee at Onyx.
We also got to see a bunch of brand new lambs out on Papa Joe's farm. Let me tell you, they are just as precious as you can imagine. They really do jump and hop around, and watching them frolic is just the cutest thing, and they are SO FLUFFY.
There were a couple of Ewes that had actually had triplets, which is problematic because we learned that sheep only have 2 nipples. So this cute little black dude with the white diamond was the smaller of the triplets and he got to come back to Papa's clinic to get bottle fed so that everyone gets a fighting chance to survive. Little Lambs On The Farm Video
I spent a good portion of the first half of the month pre-occupied by my (Teena) upcoming surgery. I poured my nervous energy into deep cleaning the house; getting everything as ready as possible for me to be out of commission for a bit. I had a hard time settling my brain because I didn't know what to expect, and the not knowing had me struggling. Jeff and Aylin were rock stars, though, and helped, and loved me through the chaos in my brain. We were thrown for a bit of a loop when we went in for my pre-op appointments and found out that the nurse who had told me the procedure would be outpatient and I would be home the same day - well she was wrong. Turns out all patients actually have to stay overnight after the procedure, which makes sense, and ultimately was a good thing. But it meant that we had to once again change plans for Aylin. But rock-star Grama Linda came to the rescue and even though it was her anniversary she met up with us to take Aylin for a few nights.
Spring Break: In spite of my surgery taking up a lot of brain space, Aylin got to have some fun. On Monday while I had my pre-op appointments Aylin got to go have a fun day with one of my sweet Taxi Ladies; she took Aylin to Chick-Fil-A, then they went and painted ceramics, and then they went out to lunch at The Crumpet. Topping all that off with a few nights with the grandparents (Shopping with Grama, lunch at Freddy's, and more baby lambs!) and it turned out to be a decent Spring Break after all for The Ginger Girl.
Jeff and Aylin took (and still are!) such great care of me after surgery. Aylin waited on me hand and foot on Friday after coming back from her time with her grandparents. She stepped up her game big time by helping with laundry and dishes. We have been so proud of her and her willingness to help out around the house. She's a pretty great kiddo; we're lucky to have her. In some of my down time I did a little painting. I will likely do some more over the next few weeks since I'm not allowed to lift much, or do any strenuous exercise. It's been hard to _not do_ things because I've been feeling so good after surgery that it seems like I should be able to just pick up where I left off. But I get easily tired, and that reminds me that my body is still healing. So for now I have to find a happy medium between doing things I do have the energy for, and letting Jeff and Aylin pick up where I can't. They've been pretty amazing. Now I just need to find enough things to keep me occupied over the next few weeks until I'm fully healed. Aside from Netflix (which has gotten a lot of airtime the last couple of weeks) suggestions as to how to fill my time are welcome! And so are visits, and coffee meet-ups!
A big THANK YOU to all those who helped out in so many ways last month, either with Aylin or with meals, or your checking in and spending time with me/us. It's all been such a huge blessing, and we have felt very loved on and cared for.
Lots of FUN in the month of February around the Melton Casa!
We had a cozy Super Bowl viewing just the 3 of us, I made sweet potato waffles and chicken with a honey sriracha aioli sauce. Jeff and I liked it, Aylin wasn't such a huge fan of the sweet potato waffles. We all marveled over JT and his crazy talent and generally PG halftime show. Then cheered on the Eagles as they pulled out a WIN over the Patriots. It was a pretty impressive game over all, and I'm not usually in to football... So there's that.
Aylin worked hard at school, and had set a goal to get OFF THE CHART on her behavior chart. They use a clip up/clip down system in her classroom; for good behavior they clip up, and bad they clip down. Often times her chatty nature causes her problems and she hovers around green (which is neutral). So hitting pink (highest color) or off the chart (highest possible) is a pretty big deal. She made a pact with a neighbor friend that if she got off the chart, our neighbor told her she would take her for a hot chocolate treat. So it was a big deal when she finally did set her mind to it and she reached her goal. In fact by the end of the month she had reached off the chart TWICE.
IF:Gathering - This isn't something I would typically write about in the family blog, but I decided it was ok as a little blurb because, after all, it was something that happened in February. IF:Gathering is an awesome Women's Conference (of sorts) that takes place in the beginning of Feb, and this was the 5th year. It's hosted down in Texas and was the brain child of Jennie Allen. I have watched it online in the past, and last year watched it with friends. This year though I decided to go watch the simulcast with a friend at her church. It was so so good! If you've never been a part of it, you should definitely look it up. They keep the videos available online on their website for you to go back to and re-watch, or host a gathering in your home at another point in the year if February isn't a good month for you. I think there is a small fee for downloading it, but it is so so worth it. It's great to be able to hit the pause button on all the other things that keep us busy, and connect with other women in such a deep and meaningful way. It's so inspiring, and it fills me up each year. It was so fun to get to do it with a close friend this year.
Valentines! I had fun spoiling my loves with yummy food and decorations for Valentines. I made toad in a hole for breakfast using a heart shaped cutter for the holes. For dinner we had chili and cornbread but I colored the cornbread pinkish red, and set the table all nice with our red place mats and used real napkins and set the table all fancy like.
Aylin made an ADORABLE unicorn for her school Valentine box, and made rainbow colored hearts for her valentine cards. I love that she loves to make her cards herself. She had a lot of fun thinking through and then putting together the unicorn box. Yay Pinterest for ideas, and then figuring out how to make it work with what we have and putting her own unique touches to it. I love her spunk and creatiity.
Aylin got to enjoy some cousin time with baby Eliza and learn a little bit about babysitting. She had so much fun, and Eliza is just such a doll! In a few short years she'll be doing the babysitting all by herself! Oh my!
Aylin's BIRTHDAY! It's hard to believe that tiny little munchkin has grown into such a sweet, responsible, kind-hearted 9 year old! We started the celebration off with dinner after church Saturday night, we had to go to secondary options though because her first pick was such a long wait it would have been disasterous. So she picked Whole Hog BBQ that we took home to enjoy while watching a movie (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!). Then Sunday we surprised her with a day in Spingfield, MO - we matched up with Papa Joe and Grama Linda at the Mall and did some shopping, part of our gift to Aylin was letting her shop (I'm pretty sure shopping is one of her love languages) and pick out some things. Justice, and Build-A-Bear were the main attractions (shocker). She loved picking out an adorable bunny and going through the whole routine of picking out what sound thing goes inside, putting in a beating heart, she added a bubble gum smell packet to it, and then picked out a cute cheerleader outfit for her. Now Lilie Bunny gets pampered and sleeps beside her with her very own sleeping mask. It's adorable, even if the music inside the bunny drives me bonkers. We also enjoyed the Bass Pro Aquarium and Wild Life museum. Holy Cow! That place is huge, and amazing. It was a lot of fun (and walking!) and there were so many neat things to see! We could have probably easily killed the whole day there. As it was, our feet were getting tired and we still had a long drive home. So instead of a nicer dinner out we made due with a McD's happy meal, and Starbucks for mom & dad before heading back home.
DAY OF THE BIRTHDAY: #theGingerGirl requested chocolate chip pancakes for her breakfast in bed, and P.F.Chengs style lettuce wraps for her birthday dinner. Plus I took my baking game for an adventure and made a rainbow-layered unicorn cake. Let me tell you; that was the hardest cake I've done yet, but also the most fun. I had to do the layers of the cake twice (because the first set of layers didn't turn out how I wanted them to - they were uneven and lumpy), so I was glad I had thought ahead and bought an extra cake mix just in case... But it turned out great, and Aylin was blown away. It was totally worth it. I went with the Unicorn/Rainbow theme - and made a homemade birthday banner. She also got a new unicorn beanie boo, and a locket necklace.
All in all, I think she got everything her sweet little heart desired, and then some. It's been a fun tradition to do a birthday experience of some sort each year. She had been really hoping for a party with friends, but I think(hope) that ultimately the fun memories we make will outweigh the need for a party with friends. Because while I love doing fun things and going over the top for the family - the party with friends idea stresses me out. Our house isnt big enough to host a lot of people, and February is just such a gamble for hoping for nice weather to do something outside.
Finally - a fun little bit of celebration is in order as I (Teena) have been working hard at losing weight. With a little pharmecological assistance and sticking with a low carb - smart eating diet; I've managed to lose 15 pounds so far! My goal is to be down 20 pounds by the time I have surgery in March, which I am on track for. I just need to keep making good choices and stay focused on the long term benefit (being healthy, more energy, better quality of life, etc) rather than feeling sad because I want a sweet treat. Most of the time it's not been a problem. But occasionally I slip up. Generally I have been doing really well with it as long as I stay out in front of it, and have food handy that both appeals to me, and fits my guidelines. Because if I don't have something handy, easy, or already planned all bets are off and the plan goes out the window. So, here's to heatlhy choices!
Once again - after a year hiatus - I would like to attempt to do a monthly blog update. Here is a collection of happenings from January:
Aylin attended a painting class during the holiday break (she had a blast) and made some pretty amazing paintings. Painting With Mrs. Guillory is a guided art class for kids; usually she has a pre sketched image to help give the kiddos a vision and then she'll guide them through painting each piece and making it come to life. It's a similar idea of a Painting With A Twist, but it's for kiddos. Mrs. Guillory is a super sweet lady, who Aylin had as her Global Connections teacher while she was at R.E. Baker. She is amazing with kids, and obviously loves what she does. (https://guillorysart.weebly.com/)
Also while on our long holiday break (it was like the "Song that has no end... it just went on and on, my friend!") Aylin had some fun with a hammer (!) and smashed open some geodes that she got in a kit from Aunt Rachel for Christmas.
We had a couple of wintery weather days. Which got Aylin an additional day off of school following Martin Luther King day.
We didn't get just a whole lot in downtown Bentonville, but surrounding areas (particularly Bella Vista) got just enough more that the district decided to call a snow day. #TheGingerGirl was super excited and enjoyed getting out in the snow and playing a bit. She threw snowballs at the back door and giggled at us through the door. Jeff and I were more like:
An artsy thing Aylin and I did was attempt some 3D art:
Aylin had been learning about OpArt (or Optical Illusion Art) in Art class at school, and I remembered seeing a video on facebook about making a simple 3D hand. So we tried it, and this was our result.
I got brave with my new Instant Pot and tried a batch of Pork Ribs, which turned out AmAzInG! I have tried both beef, and pork ribs a couple of times before, with not so great results. So this felt like a huge win, that not only did they turn out good, but my new kitchen gadget helped me make them great. (Can you tell I'm not excited about that, At All?!)
A fun thing Aylin gets to do once a month is a thing called Lifeline, it's through Camp War Eagle and she gathers one night a month with all the other kiddos in elementary and middle school who attend CWE for a night of games, worship, and generally just a whole bunch of fun. This has also turned into a kid free date night (that we don't have to pay for a sitter!! Whoop Whoop!) for Jeff and I, and that's just awesome. January's theme was Carnival Craze, and as per usual she rang in her Friday evening PUMPED UP.
It's been fun, and good, for Jeff and I to be able to spend some time together as adults. We've been learning and growing as a couple and it's been nice to reap the benefits of our labor. We've been functioning together as a team in some really great ways lately and I am so thankful for how far God has brought us as a couple these last few years.
A couple of fun school things for January
Aylin had a week of themed dress days at school. One of the days was to dress crazy. Let me tell you: this kid pulled out all the stops. Mismatched shoes and socks, shirt - skirt - legging of all different prints, and pigtails. This girl ROCKED Crazy day.
Aylin's class got to lead her school's Rise and Shine (weekly Friday morning, school wide assembly). Their focus was on the word Commitment and they all worked really hard at making their own slides of things they were committed to. It was pretty precious (and funny) to listen to each kiddo speak to their commitments for 2018 (and beyond). I'll imbed a couple videos, which are admittedly a bit long but I just can't help myself.
Commitment video #1
Commitment video #2
Aylin received the Student of the Week award the same day her class made their Commitment presentation. Jeff and I surprised her at Rise and Shine (she had been asking all week if I would come see her presentation, and I kept being frustratingly non committal to her about whether or not I would come). So when we both showed up she beamed like a star. We're pretty proud of the person she's growing up to be.
(Attempting to wrap this book of a blog post up...), I spent a morning at my favorite place - Onyx. Got myself some breakfast, and did some journaling, and thinking. I'm learning that as an Enneagram 9 if I don't make space for myself to do those things, they don't ever happen. My head gets cluttered up and my brain gets overwhelmed. So I'm attempting to take some time every so often and do some of those much needed brain space activities so that the clutter doesn't eat me alive. I also had 2 different people, from very different areas in my life tell me in the last month or so that I needed to write out My Story. So I'm trying to wrap my head around that a little. I'm not so great at the story telling thing (ask my husband!), so I'm not sure how that will go and what that will look like. But in the mean time I am trying to actively contemplate it, and see where it goes.
Last but not least #TheGingerGirl and I went roller blading with some friends to the local Skate Place. What a Flash Back that was! We had So. Much. Fun! And holy cow, it was exhausting. Aylin did SO GOOD for her first time out on a big floor. I wouldn't necessarily say I picked right up where I left off, but I did stay upright the whole time, and I did manage a few fun things - like turning in quick circles and skating backwards. We all had so much fun, and agreed it should be a regular thing. The music and disco ball/lights really made it all so much fun. Plus it was a great workout!
That moment when you work on a new blog post and have it mostly finished and then you press the wrong button and the whole thing is lost... So... Here I go again!
Aylin got to spend 3 Saturdays in January taking Art classes at Crystal Bridges Museum. The first week they learned about developing characters (she painted a Chef), the second week they learned about setting the scene (they colored their drawings using water and colored tissue paper), then finally they wrote a story (she wrote about a bear, it was a little terrifying actually). Then while Aylin was at the art classes mom got to enjoy exploring the museum, enjoy a cup of coffee, and then i discovered one of the museums best kept secrets - the library on the top floor overlooking the water and Eleven restaurant.
A few other things that happened in January:
Jeff & Teena had a weekend excursion with Jeff's company over at the Hard Rock Casino Hotel while the grandparents in Harrison kept Aylin and appropriately wore her out (and spoiled her).
Aylin had TACKY day at school, and may I say that she did that well...
Aylin lost tooth #5
We enjoyed some warmer than usual weather and as such enjoyed our walks home from school, occasionally accompanied by her buddy Stella.
We only had one minor snow (which sadly for Aylin did not produce enjoy snow either for a snow day from school, or enough snow to make a snowman).
Aylin at random decided to entertain me with her mad breakdancing/bridging skillz:
Then of course there is Christmas and all the fun that surrounds it. We decided for the first time to buy a real tree. Aylin and Mom got to attend a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet with friends, and it was SO FUN! Aylin dressed up as Cindy Lou Who for her Grinch Themed First Grade Christmas Party. Aylin decorated a gingerbread house.
Between Christmas and New Years Eve Aylin and Mom went on a last minute trip with friends to Silver Dollar City. Regrettably Daddy-O was not able to join us and had to stay behind to work. We watched It's a Wonderful Life, Frosty the Snowman, and the Rudolph Parade!
We then had a fun and quiet New Years Eve celebration at home eating snack foods and playing Sorry!
November was a fun month in the Melton Casa! Teeth were lost, Birthday's were had, Trips were made. Here's a quick recap of our month.
Aylin had lots of fun, she lost tooth #3 and the tooth fairy almost got caught when trading the tooth for her usual gift. We also went out to the final First Friday of the year and braved the crazy that is Toy Land on the square where Aylin got to have a Photo Op with Hello Kitty. She also enjoyed a sprite from a glass bottle, along with park time and the Amazeum Dinos with her best friend Stella.
Next up: we (with the help of many friends) managed to pull off a Surprise 40th birthday party for Jeff! I was planning on it for most of 2 months leading up to his birthday. I couldn't have pulled it off without: Amy & Colin who took care of distracting and detaining Jeff before the party; April who helped me with last minute errand running to help me obtain all the things I thought I needed as well as helped with cleaning up after the party; Michelle and Wes Fikes who arrived early to help decorate. We had a full house that night, it was awesome! Jeff was well loved on in celebration of his big Four-Oh!
After Jeff's birthday he headed off to Honduras to help with putting a large kitchen onto an existing community building for a children's home. It was a whirlwind trip - they flew down early Saturday arriving late in the evening, and flew back the following Saturday. It was a great trip. Maybe he'll get around to blogging about it one of these days. Here are a few pictures from his trip.
While he was gone Aylin and I missed him tremendously. Aylin helped me make him a "Welcome Home" table cloth. While he was gone we were well taken care of by friends, family and neighbors. We are truly blessed to be so well loved by our community.
Last, and possibly least compared to all the other fun we had in November, we enjoyed the opening of the new downtown Walmart Neighborhood Market as well as Onyx. It has been so nice having a store half a mile from the house. Being able to walk down to the store for something I'd forgotten during my big Walmart runs, or to stop in after picking up Aylin from school has been wonderful. And having an amazing coffee place that has a fun environment as well as nice and friendly staff, it's been heaven. Onyx Bentonville is my happy place these days.
October, October. You came far too quickly! I was not yet ready for fall, but you came and went just the same. Ready or not, here you were.
Let's see here. The first week of October was exciting because Jeff had a tooth extracted (the same one that he got to have a root canal on after being damaged in his bike accident ended up not surviving), and Aylin also came down with a stomach bug the day after Jeff's surgery, plus I had parent teacher conferences that day. So that was fun. Two pitiful sweeties at home, while I ran down to the school to have a chat with Aylin's teacher. It was a great conference, I ended up being the last appointment of the day (and last parent meeting period) and she was quite chatty, so I got to learn lots of fun things about how the Ginger Girl spends her days. As has been par for the course, she adores reading and will read anything and everything she can get her paws on. Her teacher recognizes that she has great potential if Aylin will allow herself to be pushed a bit. So she decided that after the fall break, she was going to bring Aylin and a few other excited readers into a group and begin teaching them how to start doing book reports. Aylin really loves it, and her teacher is very strict in making the children be responsible for their learning. It has been really good for her. She struggled a bit the first week, or so until she got the hang of what her expectations were. Her biggest struggle seems to lie in allowing herself to be actually fully challenged. She has a perfection complex where she wants things to come out right the first time (no idea where that comes from.... *looks around sheepishly*), so sometimes she doesn't even want to try if she thinks there's a possibility that she may fail. Her teacher recognizes this, and holds her to a higher standard as a result. Which is a good thing, but it also causes frustration for Aylin. Learning how to stretch with that has been an interesting process, but I can already see how well the reading group she's been doing the last several weeks has helped advance her.
I experimented with my painting a bit, and my sister Becky gave me the inspiration for a fun piece: my Abstract Peacock. I had a lot of fun making this one, and completely lost myself in it for most of an entire day. I started on it relatively early in the day, mid morning, and didn't realize how late it was until suddenly my phone's alarm went off to remind me to start walking to school to pick up the kiddo. I finally finished it up with a few extra touches about a week later.
Aylin and I made some fun fall decor:
On fall break Aylin and I spent a lot of time at the Park, the Library, and the Amazeum:
Momma got upgraded to an iPhone when my Moto X decided to kick the bucket. And to top off our fun fall break, we decided that while we were in Tulsa (to go to the nearest Apple store) we'd go ahead and make a day of it and go to the Zoo! That was the best decision yet, it was the perfect day to go to the zoo. The temperature was amazing! There wasn't a lot of people there, and we stayed all the way until closing time and got to have our very own personal tour back through the zoo from a friendly security guard on a golf cart. We were at the back of the zoo when it was 10 minutes till close and he offered to drive us back up to the front (mom was very glad for this because by then my feet were tired), and along the way he provided lots of fun commentary, and information about various animals as we drove by. Such fun! Family memories in the making! One of the fun/crazy things was this big brown bear who likes to terrorize children. It was on the other side of a large (THICK thank goodness) glass wall, so the kids would come right up and get close in it's face. It would lay there and act like nothing was going on, just chillin'. Then suddently it would turn it's head and get right in a kid's face and roar and paw at the kid from the other side of the glass. The kids figured out it's tricks though, and kept at it just to get it to try to eat them, and the screams and squeals were epic.
Then of course was Halloween. Aylin finally decided on Eowyn for her costume. We had fun finding something that would fit the bill (thankfully i found something on amazon in a decent price range that would work) and then added accessories to finish it off. I think we pulled it off quite nicely! Aylin also helped with the pumpkin fun. She picked the pumpkins, one we attempted to do melted crayons on (which worked, but didn't work as well as I would have liked) and the other Aylin picked out the pattern that she wanted me to use and I carved it after she scooped out the guts. Aylin had a blast at the school's Halloween Costume Carnival, which is total chaos, and loved by all the kids and endured by the parents. Then we got to go Trick-Or-Treating around the downtown area near our house with friends, which was fun. 4 adults following around 2 little princesses! Jeff even participated a bit (blow me over with a feather!) he wore his kilt, and a sweatshirt.