Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

The kiddos (aka Wonder Woman, Dorothy, Super Minnie...slight costume change today, and the Cowardly Lion) were so excited about trick or treating tonight! This was the first time in 9 years that we have been at our house for Halloween so I had no idea what to expect as far as how many trick or treaters we would have and how many houses in our neighborhood would be giving out candy. There weren't a ton of houses giving out candy, probably less than half BUT the ones that were giving out candy were giving out HANDFULS! My kids were over the moon excited every time they'd leave a house with 6 or 7 pieces of candy! Paul and I took everyone to a few houses and then Paul took JP back home to pass out candy and the girls and I went around the rest of the neighborhood. We went to one house where they had set aside a separate bowl of nut free candy...totally made my night and my girls were thrilled as well!
helping daddy

When we got back the girls dug into their candy. Even after I pulled out a gallon bag of peanut candy they still had a TON of candy. They ate some of their candy and were thrilled to get to pick out a few pieces to eat!

Funny story: this year the big girls were much more laid back about the whole peanut thing. If they were told to pick candy out of the bowl then they made sure to pick things without peanuts but they didn't say anything if people gave them candy with peanuts. Ruthie however was very concerned about peanuts. She didn't say anything to the people passing out the candy but she asked us often to take the peanut candy out of her bucket. We told her we would take it out at home but I guess that wasn't good enough. At some point she started pulling peanut m&ms out of her bucket and handing them to me. Then refused to let me put them back in her bucket until we got home. So some people who were in a car following a trick or treater got a few packs of m&ms (because I really didn't want to carry them all around the neighborhood)!

Friday, October 28, 2016

State Museum

During the hurricane the state museum had free admission for children while we were out of school. Woohoo! We had never been before so we headed over there to check it out. It was definitely too "old" for Ruthie and JP for the most part but Emmie and Ellie had a great time.

Right now their special exhibit is Wizard of Oz which thrilled my girls!

They were doing 2 different science projects. One where you made a "witch" out of some kind of baking soda mixture and then squirted vinegar on her so she melted. The kids thought this was hilarious. The other project was making slime...of course they LOVED that!

JP is following the yellow brick road!

The museum has a room with lots of fun things for the small people. The girls had a great time playing dress up (Emmie quickly organized all the kids playing dress up and had them putting on a show) and JP had a lot of fun with the foam building pieces.

There is a saber tooth tiger skeleton near the entrance. The big girls were really excited about it because there is a saber tooth tiger in one of the Magic Treehouse books we had recently read.

Hanging out the scarecrow.

(Ruthie wouldn't go near the tiger or the scarecrow!)

JP playing in a canoe.

This was the first time I had taken the kids to the state museum. It had a fair amount of stuff for Emmie and Ellie's age. I probably wouldn't recommend taking smaller ones. We would have loved to do the Wizard of Oz 4D show but I'm pretty sure it would have been too scary/long (about 15 minutes) for my two little ones to hold still.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Summerville Trip

We had a day and a half off of school a few weeks ago so we packed up and headed to Summerville. We were hoping to go watch Papa coach a Berkley game but the game ended up being rescheduled. We did lots of other fun things though!

We got to Summerville early Thursday afternoon and after a quick snack took the kids to the park. Gin-g and I were apparently too busy chasing after children to take pictures but we had lots of fun! That evening Gin-g kept the kiddos (and Rita came over and helped juggle kids for a bit!) while I went to Charleston to have dinner with my friend Susan. I hadn't seen her in quite awhile and we had a great time catching up!

On Friday we went to Isle of Palms. It was pretty chilly but the kids had a great time anyway...although it didn't take too long before they were ready to put on warmer clothes and play on the playground.

After naptime (for Ruthie...JP didn't think he needed a nap apparently) we went to Berkley High School to visit Papa during practice. Gin-g had Berkley shirts for all of them and I hate we didn't get a picture! The kids had a great time. They loved watching the players and Emmie ooh'd and ahh'd over how far the kicker could kick the ball. It was pretty funny. We were getting ready to go and Ellie sat down and started chatting with the head coach. I asked her if she was going to dinner with us. She said "no. I'll just stay here." and resumed her conversation. It was pretty funny.
We went to Gilligan's for dinner which was of course delicious!

Worn out after a busy day!

Saturday morning we got up and went with Papa and GG to a different park. We were the only ones there when we arrived but there were a few other families that came after we got there and the kids quickly made some new friends. Papa took JP over to the swings and I'm pretty sure JP stayed in the swing the majority of the time. He was delighted to have someone willing to swing him!

Big sisters come in handy when you need a push on the swing!

We had so much fun in Summerville!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Teal Pumpkin Project

I love this letter found on so I thought I'd share it here. The Teal Pumpkin Project means so much to so many families, including ours. Ruthie is more and more aware of her peanut allergy and my big girls are her biggest protectors. Last year Emmie and Ellie asked at if there was peanut in the candy. Most houses there was. It was sad for the girls to take the candy knowing they wouldn't get to eat it. This year Ruthie will be aware as well. It means the world to those of us in the food allergy world to have others supporting our kids on Halloween so I hope you'll put out your Teal Pumpkin and have non-food treats available this Halloween!

Dear parents who have put out a teal pumpkin this Halloween,

You are doing something so important to parents and children with life-threatening food allergies. I want to acknowledge your effort to mark your home as safe for my food allergic child and others like him this Halloween. I can see you painting the pumpkin teal and thereby teaching your child about empathy and compassion. I blink away the tears, because I am so very grateful for homes like yours that will allow my child to focus on being Albus Dumbledore this Halloween and enjoy the magic of the night.

For our family, Halloween used to be downright scary. The truth is that I used to dread trick or treating with my son. I remember vividly a few years back when my sister invited us to her neighborhood. My son was so excited to dress up in his Thomas the Train costume and even more so, to trick or treat with his cousins. I’ll admit I was nervous, but armed with my EpiPen and safe candy, off we went. House after house, I remember my son asking if there was any safe candy for him, only to get looks of pity or blank stares. Even though I had safe candy with me, he just wanted one door to have something special for him too. His disappointment was palpable, and for a mom to witness this, heartbreaking. I swore to never go to homes I had not vetted again.

If I have to be honest, it can be truly exhausting both physically and mentally to prepare for any celebration that focuses on food. After all, if I get it wrong, or don’t do my research, or miss an ingredient, there can be catastrophic consequences, even death. This weighs on my heart day in and day out. I fear for my son every day that he goes into a world rife with peanuts, his particular poison. I love him so fiercely and just want to keep him alive and safe.

I want you to know these things because I can easily bet our family is not the only grateful one this holiday. Just in case you were wondering if it was worth the effort, please know that you are helping to erase the stigma of food allergies. You are bringing magic into the world of a child, one teal pumpkin at a time.

Thank you again for participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

With gratitude,
A Food Allergy Mom

~Lianne Mandlebaum

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Boo at the Zoo

We headed to Boo at the Zoo tonight for some trick-or-treating fun! We showed up with Wonder Woman, Dorothy, a (not so) Cowardly Lion, and Minnie Mouse. The kids had great fun!

I saw this lion costume when I was looking for a costume for Emmie's first Halloween. I have waited six long years to have a reason to buy it! I was so pleased that my little lion kept his mane on all evening...he knew he was cute! (And he was super squished into his costume! Good thing Halloween is in a week!) JP's favorite part was when we gave him his bucket and he realized there was food in there! Thankfully there were some pretzels that he could snack on while we trick or treated!

Originally Ellie was going to be Little Bo Peep and Ruthie was going to be her sheep. Then Ruthie decided to be Minnie Mouse. So since JP was going to be a lion Ellie decided to be Dorothy.

A rare family picture! They had a volunteer who was offering to take pictures for families...I loved that idea!
Ellie said the foam was her favorite!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zoo Trip

Yesterday morning I took Ruthie and JP to the zoo! It was a gorgeous morning and we had such a good time. This was the first time that JP was really aware of all the animals at the zoo and he was SO cute. He "talked" to all of the animals. Ruthie had a great time because she got to decide which animals we saw and when and what rides we rode. (She likes to be in charge) At the top of her list: ride the train, see the elephants, see the monkeys, and we need to feed the giraffes (and by we she meant mommy).

riding the carousel

She was so excited about seeing the elephants! This guy was standing right in front of us drinking water and she was fascinated!

This alpaca (?) was so interested in JP. It kept following him around! (Perhaps he looked like a tasty morsel?)

I just had the BEST time with my little wild animals!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why you need a big sister...

Everyone needs a big sister. Just ask my brother. How would he have made it to adulthood with just one mother? Everyone needs a second mother. JP thinks those other mothers come in handy. Especially when you need your shoes off.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


A few weeks ago we did pictures with Kennerly. We did family pictures, a few of each child by themselves, and JP's 1yr old pictures. My poor kids were such troopers. It was 90 degrees outside and I had everyone except JP in fall clothes!

I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from our session!

(I have a monogram bloomers picture of each of the kids at 1...JP is my only one standing though!)

So I LOVE this next picture. The rocking chair was my mom's and I have professional pictures of everyone except Emmie in it (and I need to dig out a snapshot of her in it...I know I have one). The outfit (including shoes!) was Paul's from his one  year old pictures! I'm so glad we were able to (literally) squeeze JP into it for his one year old pictures!

Paul on the left and Blake on the right

I just realized too that JP's hair is just like Paul's in the picture...totally unintentional!