Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

So far our Christmas has been filled with joy and excitement. We have made so many memories with our family and are enjoying carrying out our Christmas traditions.

This is our first Christmas at The Lodge and it has been so magical. I hope I remember these days for the rest of my life.

One of the extra special memories we made this year was cutting down our Christmas tree from the forest on our property at The Lodge. Just as we made it to the forest it began to snow! We trudged through the ice crusted snow with our very own saw and found the perfect Ponderosa Pine. It surely isn’t like a typical Grand Fir or Fraser Fir most folks are used to, but this tree is the most perfect of Christmas trees I’ve laid eyes on.

Of course we had a very Christmas Vacation moment when we brought the tree inside and realized just how big it really was!

Alex trimmed it back and we got carried away with decorating our beauty.

Every year since Ben was born the holiday season has been more and more special and this one takes the cake. Seeing the joy now from two toddlers is extremely heartwarming. I can’t wait to see what happens after Santa comes!

Merry Christmas!

Hannah is 17 Months Old!

Hannah continues to be our little party girl. We’ve started joking that she’s going to be first in line for rush at the Arizona State University sororities. Look out class of 2040 {2040?!!} – here comes Hannah Maxine!

  • Weight: not sure – was 24 pounds 5 ounces at her last checkup
  • Length: not sure – was 31″ at her last checkup
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months
  • Shoe size: toddler size 4
  • Number of teeth: twelve! Four new teeth this month – she has all four of her first molars
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: tangerines, pomegranate, smoothies, bananas, mangoes!!, crackers, cheese, applesauce
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: doing anything Ben does, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dogs/people passing by, going to the park, climbing, bath time, pushing her toy vacuum around
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants, going in the car seat

New this month Hannah can: stand up in her high chair, ring the doorbell, flush the toilet, open the refrigerator, climb on top of the coffee table, roll her eyes and say “love you.” She has begun to answer “yeah” or shake her head no and say “uh uh” when asked a question.

Hannah is really beginning to become a bit more independent and able and willing to play on her own while I’m occupied elsewhere. Now, in all honesty, this is usually when she chooses to cause mischief.

We sure are entertained by Hannah’s mountain-size personality. Dang, she is a force. She is rough and tumble, she can hold her own and she will absolutely not stand to be pushed around by anyone else. Boy you better believe she’ll push back harder. Hannah has started to laugh when she hears laughter around her – it’s really sweet and rather amusing that she’s picked up on social laughter and wants to join in, too.

While she is quite rough, she does have a few sweet spots. It melts my heart to see when we’re out and about how friendly she is. She loves waving at a person or a dog passing by. It makes her day when the person actually stops and waves back. She loves to dance and sing and is very affectionate.

Hannah love, love, loves fruit and smoothies and cheese, but that’s about where she draws the line most days. Occasionally she’ll eat bread, pork, eggs, pasta and vegetables, but mostly she just wants fruit. If you put something she doesn’t like on her plate the whole meal will soon become food for the dog. It also seems like this month her appetite has decreased significantly and either she doesn’t need quite as much food anymore or the emergence of her new molars were playing a role.

Lately Hannah has been repeating all of the words. It’s been so fun. I have no idea what her comprehension is in terms of vocabulary, but she is extremely quick to follow directions and always seems to know what is being asked of her. Her spoken vocabulary is tough to decipher at this point.

Alex and I have really been working with her on pronunciation but it is extremely difficult to understand what Hannah is saying. Contextually you can guess, and she has the syllables down, but, it just sounds like most of her words are a slight variation of “dada.” She has been saying “mama” a lot more lately and some of her consonants are becoming more clear. I’ve noticed a big leap in her communication skills in the last week or so.

Climbing things has been very exciting to Hannah. I think she just grew a little taller and that has opened up a few new possibilities for her. She loves climbing the stairs and thankfully she’s starting to get pretty good at going down backwards. Hannah can climb up into the furniture in the living room and is getting more confident in her abilities at the park.

Hannah is generally a terrific sleeper. She is sleeping soundly for around 11.5 hours overnight and typically naps for 1.5-3 hours during the day. The catch is if she has a morning cat nap, she’s not going to have an afternoon nap.

{Faceplant 🙁 }

Recently Hannah has been imitating actions quite regularly. She’s figuring things out much earlier than we had expected based on our prior experiences. Hannah wants to do anything her brother does. She has been quite vocal about her preferences with things and is starting to show favoritism to the colors red and pink.

Gosh this girl is a blast. She keeps us on our toes like none other, but boy is she fun. It’s fun to imagine her as she carries on through toddlerhood.

Ben at 17 months

Holiday Traditions

One of my absolute favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies. I love to package them up in a cute little box and bring them around to our neighbors to spread some holiday cheer. This year was our tenth year of doing this!

Ben got really into cookie baking with me this year. We had so much fun baking sugar cookies together. I will say, though, nothing tests your patience quite like baking with a toddler! The kids loved decorating them, too. Ben also requested making M&M cookies which turned out to be his greatest idea to date – they were SO GOOD.

I ended up having more energy for baking this year than I expected, still nothing compared to pre-kids! We turned out probably 15-16 dozen cookies this year and I hope to bake more at The Lodge. I would love to bring them around to some of our neighbors and the fire station there.

Here are the recipes we used for our favorite cookies this year:

Happy baking!

Chronicles of a Stay at Home Mom: Traveling Dad

Recently Alex flew to Chicago to celebrate his mom’s birthday. It was a huge surprise for her! This meant the kids and I stayed put in Seattle. Given it’s the month of December I packed our schedule with holiday fun to help pass the time while Alex was away.

{“Mama! I’m driving us to the North Pole!”}

I started to see the light at the end of the toddler tunnel during our Children’s Museum trip. It was our best trip ever. Both kids were so engaged, such great listeners and we all had a blast. I had my first moment where I could see that life may very well just get a little less crazy soon. Whew!

{“Mama! It’s just like your new car!”}

Our sweet neighborhood put up a big Christmas tree in downtown for the first time ever. We were so excited to participate in the lighting ceremony on Friday night. We met some friends and braved the rain to get a little change of pace and some fresh air.

The kids had the pleasure of discovering St. Nicholas had left a special treat in our shoes overnight on Saturday morning. Ben was very into the concept of St. Nicholas Day and was eager to learn more and see a picture of him. He had so many questions about St. Nick!

Our big holiday event was riding the Santa Train on Saturday. It was definitely a highlight for us all. This was the kids’ first real train ride.

We met my cousin, Chris, and his family for the ride. Their kids, Henry and Claire, are 4 and 2 respectively, so very close in age to Ben and Hannah. Life keeps getting in the way and we don’t see them as much as I’d like to which made it all the more special to get together.

The train took us on a 3-mile trip to visit Santa! This was the first time Ben had shown any interest whatsoever in meeting Santa. I was happy to oblige for a Santa picture.

We finished out the day by watching the new Grinch movie down in the playroom. It was a little scary for Ben at the beginning but overall I think it was a hit!

The rest of the weekend was a bit more low-key. We hosted a playdate at our house, spent Sunday morning at the park and made a big batch of gingerbread playdough.

{Gingerbread playdough was a HIT! It smells SO amazing! Here is the recipe.}
{Thank heavens for a coffee shop next door to the park!}

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put up the Christmas lights and decorate our front porch with my two toddlers running around in our non-fenced in front yard. Pro tip: don’t do this! It ended up being fine, albeit stressful, but it took about 17 times as long as it should have. I would love to see a time lapse video of me doing this – every time I made one minor adjustment to the lights I had to drop them and run to grab Hannah who was darting down the sidewalk or the driveway.

The weekend was a huge success, but boy was it exhausting to be *on* as a parent for an extended period. It’s always hard when Alex isn’t around at all – we all miss him, that’s for sure! We made a lot of really special memories together and I had a great time really playing and bonding with my kids. Sometimes I feel like all we do is go from point A to point B and try to squeeze in cleaning up, doing the dishes, getting ready and doing the never ending laundry but I took a lot of that pressure off myself this weekend and really enjoyed my time. One of my parenting goals is to truly be present with my kids as much as I can and I feel confident that I hit that goal this weekend for sure.

Thanksgiving 2019

The holidays are in full-swing over here. We had such a memorable Thanksgiving – our first at The Lodge – and enjoyed kicking off the holiday season in the mountains. We have so much to look forward to this first winter in the mountains.

{Alex’s parents and my mom came for part of our Thanksgiving week.}
{Our first project of our 10-day trip to The Lodge was stock up on firewood! This is what a half a cord of firewood looks like.}
{Needless to say, we had a roaring fire all weekend long and worked very hard to deplete our firewood supply. It felt so, so cozy inside the house!}
{It was rather disappointing to find there was no snow on the ground. We made do and enjoyed the frosty mornings instead. The weather was cold and clear most of the time.}
{We had a few days just the four of us before everyone arrived. It was fun to have some family time and we enjoyed exploring a bit.}
{Whew! Hannah is finally getting to a point where she’s able to go down the stairs safely by herself. We have four flights of hardwood stairs in the house, so it’s a bit nerve wracking with the little ones.}
{Thanksgiving arrived and, per our tradition, we started the day with a Turkey Trot. There was a dusting of fresh snow and it was COLD.}
{The Turkey Trot was unanimously the highlight of the day for the adults who ran it.}
{There’s just something about starting a holiday dedicated to gratitude and eating with a 5K.}
{I had so much fun putting together this charcuterie board. It tasted great and my kids loved it too!}
{We had a pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, fruit, pumpkin pie… I love cooking Thanksgiving. I think I may switch up some of the recipes/methods for next year though, just to add a little variety.}
{Friday afternoon we headed to town for Leavenworth’s annual Christmas Market.}
{The highlight of the Christmas Market for me was the mini donuts. Yes, I absolutely had a full dozen all by myself and no, I had no regrets.}
{The Leavenworth Christmas lights are truly magical!}
{Surprisingly one of the highlights for me was our trip to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. It was SO neat. I loved being up close to the reindeer and learning more about them. Hannah seemed into it but Ben would have rather watched from afar.}

{The grandparents offered to watch the kids so Alex and I could have some much needed time together on Saturday afternoon. We tried a new restaurant, got more mini donuts and took a stroll down by the river.}
{Our last big activity was a jaunt over to Lake Wenatchee.}
{We built a campfire and roasted s’mores and enjoyed the dreary day amidst nature’s beautiful backdrop.}

{Finally! On our last night we got the teeniest tiniest amount of snow!}
{It was enough for the kids to bring out their sleds and play around.}

{We took a walk through the forest on our property and decided to cut down one of our very own trees to use as our Christmas tree this year. Stay tuned!}
{These two littles adore their grandparents!}
{Our trip ended like this… Jackson got to ride in my new car for the first time. Look at all of the space he has (there is a full-size suitcase behind him!)!!! He’s always sad to leave The Lodge.}

Our first Thanksgiving at The Lodge was a very special one indeed. We’re so, so grateful to have a home in the mountains that allows us a retreat with our family and friends.

Ben is 3 1/2!

More and more each day this sweet boy is becoming a big kid. He’s growing so tall and he’s so confident and so articulate. Sometimes I’m taken aback by how big he seems. We’re having such a blast with so much about three and love the boy Ben is turning into.

Ben’s stats:

  • Weight: about 31 pounds {as of about a month ago}
  • Height: over 40 inches {75th++ percentile!!!}
  • Clothing size: mostly still 3T except 4T in PJs and some tops
  • Shoe size: size 8 toddler
  • Favorite foods: crackers, pasta, any type of cheese, yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, most meats – especially slow cooked, roasted chickpeas
  • Favorite activities: make believing, pushing his cars/trucks around, lining his cars up, doing puzzles, listening to music, playing outside, riding his bike, reading books together or looking at books independently

As a 3 1/2 year old Ben is still super sweet. Sometimes I find my heart swelling because of his sweetness. He is a world class cuddler and loves to get cozy on the couch with his stuffies and a blanket. He is so thoughtful, typically quick to apologize or check on someone and so genuine in his random notions of appreciation. “Thank you for building this house for our family, dada!”

One of my favorite moments with Ben this last quarter was taking him for a bike ride while I ran around the 2.2 mile loop at Seward Park. Seward Park is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Washington. The day of our activity was very chilly but it was a picture-perfect fall day. Ben kept stopping every 25 feet, it felt like, either to wait for me or to take in his surroundings. He kept pointing things out and saying “look, mama! It’s so beautiful!” Ben sure loves nature and he is extremely observant.

Ben started a new preschool this quarter and I’ve seen some remarkable growth in his independence and willingness to help and take on responsibility. Ben loves being in charge of feeding Jackson, especially at the mountain house. He’s careful to properly measure Jackson’s food for him and also loves to throw Jackson’s ball. Ben has been very interested in selecting and serving himself a snack and pouring anything he can get his hands on.

Fairly recently Ben figured out how to ride his pedal bike. This was an unexpected challenge for us all. It took a lot of practice and ultimately finding a tricycle at the park helped him put the pieces together. He’s definitely ready for the training wheels to come off, but now that winter is coming we have decided to hold off on that {we’re keeping that bike at our mountain house}.

Ben has so much confidence on his balance bike. He’s been going back and forth between his two bikes and it’s so impressive watching him at the pump track as a little 3-year old skirting past the big kids and flying over the little hills. Parents and older kids are quick to comment how comfortable he is there.

Very recently Ben had the opportunity to try skateboarding. He was very insistent upon giving it a shot and he loved it!

Puzzles, playing games and looking at books have become big parts of Ben’s life these days. He loves to sit down on the floor and put together a puzzle all by himself. We’ve really gotten into some games, particularly at the mountain house, and Ben loves to play Sequence for Kids.

This fall Ben had his first experience with soccer. I signed him up for a soccer program for 3-5 year olds at the park in our neighborhood. It was adorable but in my experience and in talking to the other parents it seems like 4-5 would be a more appropriate age. Ben had a very difficult time becoming engaged in the drills the coach put together. He absolutely LOVES to kick the soccer ball, and he’s really good at it, but when it came time to listen and follow directions he was off doing his own thing. We’ll try again next year…

As a 3-1/2 year old Ben is very inquisitive, observant and curious about his surroundings. He’s such a terrific car rider because he loves to look out the window and take it all in. He is now typically awake for most of our drive through the mountains and he does so well entertaining himself with his surroundings or reading a book in his car seat.

Ben asks a lot of questions and makes a lot of connections. He comes up with the sweetest things to say, like “mama, I think I want to bring Elephant with me just in case I need something to hold” when he was getting ready to go to the park with a babysitter. Or “dada, you look great!” It makes me smile every time he says something is “great!” – his typical response to our inquiries about how he slept or how his day at school was.

Ben’s teacher at school mentioned he is one of the happiest kids in the class. She found it fascinating and sweet that he regularly comments on how beautiful the day is or that it’s so nice the sun is shining. He has a very positive attitude. It is rare to hear him complain about anything.

The challenges we see Ben facing these days are fairly minimal. He is quite a sensitive kid and he feels his emotions very strongly. Depending on his mood, this can be tough and he can have a harder time calming down when upset. He also is very compassionate and empathetic. When we came upon a homeless person one day {I had always wondered when he’d start to ask…} and I told him about homelessness his response was “that is so terrible! Can we go say hello to him?”

Lately Ben’s friendships are starting to really take shape. He will talk more and more about friends and he has started asking to have friends over. At the park he loves to ride bikes with friends and it seems like that’s a really great tool for him to connect with other kids.

We’ve had a lot of friends come to stay with us at The Lodge and most/all of them have kids near Ben’s age. It was especially fun seeing him with Liam, the only other boy who came up, who is slightly older than Ben. Those two hit it off and had a blast running around, riding bikes and playing cars together. For whatever reason he seems to gravitate towards girls, but he relates to and plays better with slightly older boys.

As we officially round the corner towards four I’m so curious what this next quarter will look like – what will the major developmental milestones be? What challenges will come with it? What is on the horizon for Mr. Ben? All good things I expect.

Ali’s Favorite Things 2019

Back by request {!} I put together a list of some of my favorite things! At the bottom I kept a few tried and true items you may have seen on previous lists, as well as links to past favorites.

Clothes

Eddie Bauer Pajamas – I LOVE their jammies! I have several pairs of the flannel bottoms and new for me this year was the legging-style bottoms.

Cozy socks – another Eddie Bauer find {!!} and these are the best I’ve had yet! They’re the best. I think I have seven pairs!

North Face Thermoball Parka – I just love this coat! I haven’t tried it in super cold weather yet {below freezing} but it sure keeps me toasty in 30-40 degree temps. I love how it fits and the how lightweight it is. I have it in white.

Zella 7/8 pocket leggings – the latest Zella leggings always seem to end up on my favorite list. I am so brand loyal to Zella leggings because they are the best! These leggings have little pockets on the side which are so handy.

Beauty & Personal

Acure Brightening Face Cleansing Gel – admittedly this is a weird one. This face wash is less than $6 but it’s one of the only face washes I’ve used that I’ve actually noticed a difference in how my skin looks. It is exfoliating and has actually made my skin look more radiant.

I use this weekender bag all the time and I love it. It’s the perfect size for a weekend away.

Meal planning is something I make an effort to do on a weekly basis. I’ve been using this menu planner for years and it works really well for me.

Technology

Apple Air Pods – these are all over the place now but I was skeptical at first. These wireless headphones are a game changer.

Home

Throw blanket – last Eddie Bauer link, and this one’s a good one. We have several of these cozy blankets at The Lodge and I just bought another one for our house in Seattle. They are SO soft.

Mochamaster Coffee Maker – this is an America’s Test Kitchen recommendation year over year and I can now see why. This is the coffee maker we have at The Lodge and it makes the BEST coffee. Even better, the carafe keeps coffee truly hot for hours!

Books

Mrs Everything – one of my all-time favorites. I listened to this on Audible and loved the story of Jo and Bethie coming of age in the 60s and 70s and how their lives transformed.

Where the Crawdads Sing – this book hooked me from the start and I could not put it down!

Longtime Favorites

Lalicious body scrub – this body scrub is a luxurious treat and I’m happy to indulge my feet every time I shower. There are several scents to choose from. I just love how this scrub makes my skin, particularly my feet, feel.

Athleta Pranayana Wrap – if I could just wear this all the time that would be great! It is so soft and so cozy. I’d love one in every color! It’s perfect for lounging, a cool-weather walk, casual daytime look or going to the gym.

Daily Organizer Notepad – I’ve been using these for years and years and I love how they help me plan my day.

2018 Favorites

2017 Favorites

2014 Favorites

Hannah is 16-Months Old

Hannah is 16-months old going on four. She is growing up so fast and figuring out all the things and doing all the things. Hannah’s personality is huge. She is a ball of fun and a barrel of energy. She brings the party with her wherever she goes. She’s loud and boisterous and so cuddly and loving – she is just plain fun to be around.

  • Weight:24 pounds 5 ounces {85th percentile – this is 2 weeks out of date}
  • Length: 31″ {75th percentile – this is two weeks out of date}
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months
  • Shoe size: toddler size 4
  • Number of teeth: eight! two new bottom teeth this month, and her first two molars just cut through.
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: tangerines, pomegranate, smoothies, bananas, mangoes!!, crackers, cheese
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: playing with Ben, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dog passing by, going to the park, climbing, bath time, watching the garbage trucks, pushing her toy vacuum around
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants

This month Hannah learned to run as well as how to open the front door at the mountain house in the same day. She mastered the art of opening all of the kitchen cabinets and pulling out as many things as she can possibly grab all before I can stop her. Hannah has earned the nickname “sticky fingers” this month. She just grabs hold of whatever she can get and holds on for dear life.

She’ll reach into Alex’s pocket and pull out his phone or wallet, she heaves herself forward in her high chair and grabs something off the dining room table, or when we’re at the library or store she’ll grab as many things off the shelf as she can. She used to be satisfied splashing in Jackson’s water bowl, but now she has graduated to getting a fistful of Jackson’s kibble and throwing it as far as she can, all while cackling and looking riiiiight at me. Her favorite, though, is amidst a diaper change she’ll fling herself to a seated position, grab a handful of clean diapers and throw them behind the dresser.

Hannah is a great communicator. She’ll shake her head for “no” or say “yeah” for yes. She knows where everything she wants is and she’ll help point it out. That said, her speech is very difficult to understand. She has a few words that are very clear, but everything else sounds like “dada” at this point. In the last few days she’s been working on repeating some new words and we’ve heard a few new consonants come out of her mouth recently.

Comprehension is something Hannah has really mastered already. She understands everything we say. At this point she’s really a terrific listener and follows directions with tremendous eagerness. She’s quite helpful, actually, and loves to pick up and put things where they belong.

On her own she will put her laundry in her hamper and throw away her yogurt after she’s done with it. She has had a couple of colds this last month and she can go and get a tissue, wipe her nose and throw the tissue away all on her own.

Being involved is very important to Hannah. She wants to be a helper when getting her shoes or socks on and she shows me which foot to take care of first, then second. She imitates diaper changes – she’ll reach over and grab a wipe and try to wipe herself amidst a diaper change {not always super helpful!!}, and if I’m holding her while putting on my makeup she has to have a makeup brush to use on her own face.

These days Hannah is the queen of mimicking. Anything Ben is doing Hannah wants to do. If he raises his arms, she raises her arms. If Ben wants to ride his bike, Hannah wants to ride his bike too.

Hannah is working very hard at figuring out how to be a kid and do all of the things. She is getting darn good at it, too! We’ve had a lot more success this last month with things like play dough, coloring and painting. Hannah has been very interested in exploring art and creativity. For the first time, not everything has gone in her mouth!

Sleep has been awesome the last month for Hannah. She is typically asleep by 7:15 or 7:30 and wakes for the day anywhere between 6:15-6:45 in the morning. She takes one long nap in the afternoon, anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. If provided the opportunity, she will fall asleep in the morning if we’re in the car or on a run. Hannah falls asleep happily on her own, with us in the room for the most part, these days.

We adore our first-thing-in-the-morning Hannah. She’s so so so so so cuddly and loves to curl up in our laps and read books while she has her yogurt.

Recently Hannah has been very fearful of new people and in various settings. She has had a lot of separation anxiety when I’ve left her with babysitters. She is very clingy and really enjoys her time with mama and dada and has always been more reluctant to go to someone else.

This month Hannah started dancing. She LOVES to dance. I think her favorite song right now is “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. She has the sweetest little dance bounce and it is precious!

Mealtimes in our house are often a challenge, especially at dinner. Hannah is very reluctant to eat most meat, aside from some pork products, and would happily survive only on fruit if given the chance. She does enjoy vegetables most nights quite a bit, too. She really is a terrific eater, though her preferences differ significantly from the rest of the family.

When Hannah is one-on-one with me {or Alex} she’s a different kid than when she’s around Ben. She’s much more calm and quiet and reasonable. I think she really appreciates her mama time and her dada time. She absolutely adores her big brother but he sure brings out her crazy!

Hannah is doing allllll the things right now. This is one of my absolute favorite ages and it’s a blast watching Hannah make the leap from baby to little kid.

Ben is 16 months old

Fall Family Photos 2019

We’re so grateful to our family photographer, Kim Hildebrand, for her talent and impressive abilities behind a camera. Kim shoots with film and we continue to be amazed by her knack for documenting our family perfectly, especially with a limited number of shots. Here are some of our favorites from our recent photo session:


 

Halloween 2019

Halloween has come and gone now, but I still wanted to share some pictures from the day. Both kids had a great time dressing up and going trick-or-treating.

Ben enjoyed a Halloween party at his school that day and got to dress up in his costume with his friends.

We had several last-minute costume changes this year from our three-year old. First, Ben wanted to be a dinosaur. Then he wanted to be a doggie, just like Hannah. Then, on Monday of Halloween week he changed his mind and wanted to be a “super alien” {an alien super hero} so we actually put a lot of time and thought into this costume and I ended up making the embelishments {thanks to Primary.com for the solid color clothing!}. Come Halloween morning Ben had no interest in wearing the adorable cape or the alien eyes I made, so he would have just gone to school in a green sweatshirt and green pants. Back to the doggie costume {I had a hunch I shouldn’t return it!}….

Both kids hated the dog head/ears but I managed to get Hannah to tolerate it for trick-or-treating. Ben’s came off after our picture. Maybe next year I’ll opt for a costume without a head piece…

Our area does a big neighborhood trick-or-treat in the downtown corridor of the business districts, as well as door-to-door in residential areas. We opted to do the Madison Park neighborhood trick-or-treat. Next year I’d like to do our block, too. I had some neighbors tell us they missed seeing us come around!

The candy experience this year was different now that Ben is three. I had seen a nutritionist mom on Instagram share how she deals with Halloween and her approach resonated with me. Halloween has become a holiday centered around candy, so why not let the kids indulge for a day? Candy is absolutely not a part of our normal life so it really was a special treat.

We let Ben go nuts on Halloween night – he got to try whatever he wanted {after I removed anything unsafe – i.e. choking hazard}, and that he did! I was very surprised to not see a sugar rush or the candy crazies come out. He was totally calm about everything. Prior to trick-or-treating I did my best to fill up both kids’ bellies with as protein-heavy snack as I could think – maybe that did the trick!?

Since Halloween, he’s completely forgotten about the candy!