Happy Halloween! Each year I start to dislike this holiday a tad bit more.  I mean, seriously, it is a lot of work.  And I am a lot of tired.  But every year I fall a little more in love with it by the end.  This year when I was in the midst of my detestation of all the costume-idea-changes and all the candy and parties, the little girls and I scrambled to Target to try to find the last-minute costume finishing touches. It was crunch-time before a party.  Grace had worn me down for days that it was an absolute necessity to have bracelets to complete her punk-rocker outfit.  Lucy was not budging from her desire to be a black cat which we couldn’t find the ears for..even after trying four different stores.  And Claire had decided she didn’t want to be Amelia Bedelia after all. (That’s what she was for her school “character” day and here she is trying to show Lu who in the world Amelia Bedelia is:)2012-10-26 iPhone 63917Clearly Lucy is fascinated. But right there in the middle of the Target isles I realized I needed to chill out and slow down.  The kids didn’t care if everything is perfect for Halloween.  They just needed a mom to be excited with them.  Who cares if they didn’t get completely gussied up all the way for every party and get-together.  As long as they felt loved and happy and secure that’s all that matters. Isn’t that really how all of motherhood is?  The spirit in our home is so much thicker when I let little details fly to the wind and just love those little ragamuffins with all my heart.  I don’t want them to remember the frustrated, frazzled mother they see so often.  I’d rather fill their minds with rich memories of love and the sparkle in my eye because I let some things go to “be there” for real. So I slowed down and took in their big smiles and fascination with all the different outfits and Halloween ideas lining the isles of Target that day.  I let their excitement seep into me.2012-10-26 iPhone 63918 And this season has been a lot better since that little Target epiphany. Dave and I even dressed up for another party.2012-10-26 life 63624 And we even talked Max and his friend into getting dressed up for a teenage party they were nervous as all get-out to go to…especially since some cute older girls offered to give them a ride.  2012-10-27 life 63678(Max was a retired tourist in case you were wondering…) Our super traditional family pumpkin carving morphed into something new this year.  We decided to invite the cousins to join us… …and decided to add paint to the mix. So although we started out like this:2012-10-28 family stuff 63825 It turned into this:2012-10-28 family stuff 638342012-10-28 family stuff 63832 What are they so amused at about Max’s pumpkin?2012-10-28 family stuff 63836 This:2012-10-28 family stuff 63843 The little kids, sad from lack of their very own pumpkins took to painting paper plates.2012-10-28 family stuff 63841Yeah, paper plates are a super paint medium in case you didn’t know… 2012-10-28 family stuff 63845Sure do love those cousins. 2012-10-28 family stuff 63848 We do this pic. every year.  2012-10-29 family stuff 63868 How in the world did they grow up so fast from this stage??2006-10-23 Pumpkin Carving 0062012-10-29 family stuff 63869 Here’s a little preview of what’s happening tonight:2012-10-27 life 63649 Claire fell head-over-heels in love with that Mitt Romney mask she found at Target.  (I love Mitt by the way…and I’m really glad he doesn’t wear shoes like that…) We’re going to CHILL out with some chili and let it all soak in. Happy Halloween!

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  1. Thank you, thank you for this. Oh, man. I love Halloween, until I was letting those little details eat me to the bone last night!! It was our ward trunk r treat dinner auction thing, my husband was in charge which left me finishing details and prepping 5 kiddos on my own aside from cooking and preparing things to be donated at the auction and cooking a batch of chili. Whew. I kind of took some fun out of it and later felt so guilty that I wasn't just having more fun! Needed this. Now I need to relax and make the real Halloween more enjoyable!! Thanks! I love Claire's shoes with the Mitt costume–your caption made me laugh!

  2. we will probably never meet and this might not mean anything to you but can i just say i LOVE your family. just when my day is getting full of more and more things and stressful i quickly take a minute to read my fav blogs (yours being one on the top of my list) and my whole day is turned upside down. you make me realize the beauty of the excitement my kids have with this "silly" holiday called halloween and you help me to slow down and change my attitude to one that reflects the true mom i want my kids to remember.

    thanks so much for sharing your life with us all.

    and i LOVE mitt too! what an awesome costume!

  3. Shawni – there are some religions that don't celebrate Halloween due to the occult, pagan element. How do you feel about that as LDS? How do you explain to your kids that they should remain true to God and Jesus, yet still participate in activities condemned in the scriptures?

  4. So, random parenting question for you: Do you/did you have any pouters? I was a pouter as a child, and I have one. He pouts when he gets into trouble, when he doesn't get his way, when he's annoyed…sometimes we find him pouting and we didn't even know anything happened. Do you have any suggestions with how to handle pouting because I really don't want him to pout when he is mad at his friends (or worse, his wife!)

  5. first of all, I love your outlook on motherhood, chill the heck out! Love it. Needed it. Second, we tried your cinnamon rolls over conference weekend and now my whole family is head over heels with the yumminess! So delicious…and we are getting fatter by the minute. Thanks!! (Not for the fat part, of course.)

  6. In regards to TazLady's question- there is no doctrine in the LDS faith regarding Halloween. I think most Mormons who celebrate Halloween think of it as a fun time for their kids, with fun traditions.

  7. I love your blog and your family seems really nice, but it saddens me that you support Romney, a man who is against human equality and women's own personal rights to do what they want with their bodies. He thinks airplanes should have windows that can open! Most of the civilized world is for Obama, I hope Romney doesn't win to put your country back in the 70's.

    What do you teach your children on homosexuality? Do you tell them that it's wrong and that they do not have the right to marry who they love?

  8. I am just curious why you said you "love Mitt Romney". That is a strong feeling to feel towards a politician. I never heard of anyone feeling so strongly about a politician, even if they do share the same faith. Would you care to expand? Thanks so much and enjoy the weekend!

  9. I really enjoyed reading this tonight. I also tried to chill out with all the Halloween stuff and I just opened my bin of costumes and let the kids pick whatever they wanted (I get lots of stuff on 90% clearance after the holiday). That is so funny about Claire. We had a Romney carved pumpkin. And I love how you take the same picture of your kids every year sitting on the chairs with their carved pumpkins. What a great idea. Thanks!

  10. Man I love how Claire's personality is revealed by her choice in costume! Cutest idea ever! I also love that your family is big on traditions and family and you don't let it get complicated. I almost fell into making everything complicated due to an extremely overwhelming week, but like you I just took a breath and went with it. Turned out just wonderful!

  11. ChrisKatieKelly – yes it may be a "fun time for family traditions" – and you celebrate it because it's fun for your kids. Do you think that makes it ok? If it is based on pagan traditions that glorify day of the dead traditions, the occult, and witchcraft – which is condemened in the Bible (not sure about the book of Mormon, but it doesn't matter as it is fiction) – if you claim to adhere to the Holy Bible, then whether it is fun or not, then how can you do it if it is not Scriptural – more than that – if it offends "HEAVENLY FATHER" – do you think he will excuse you participating in a pagan holiday just because it's "fun for your kids"???

    Your kids need to know that some "fun" things have to be shunned because HEAVENLY FATHER condemns them. Find something else "fun" to do that does not offend God.

  12. Just curious…do you have to pay for blogger? You put a lot of pictures on here, does google ever ask you to pay money? Sorry for the random question but none of my friends use blogger and the other day I was uploading and got a message that said I had used my 1GB of storage and I needed to pay monthly now! Is that normal!? And thanks for your great posts!

  13. Funnily enough, a trick or treater just came to our door whose mother said she was supposed to be a cat but she couldn't find ears! She wouldn't accept fruit snacks OR cheez its so maybe she really is a cat!

    Great pics!

  14. Uh oh…looks like you opened a can of worms 😉 I just wanted to comment and say that although I am not Mormon, although I am voting for Obama and don't particularly like Romney…I DO like you and am thankful for your blog that has given me a lot of inspiration and things to think about. It's nice to see that even though we probably don't have the same ideas on everything (yes…I'm speaking like I personally know you) moms of all faiths, political convictions, etc. can support and learn from each other. And even though some of your comments may be negative or we disagree with their thoughts…they are interesting to read and learn how everyone is different. Thanks for sharing everything. Your blog is delightful 😉

  15. Wow! You just made my day! I love the way you tell us which ideas work, and which just don't. Although every family/child is different, it does help reading other people's successes.

    Can I just say that I LOVE Mitt/Claire?! The is ADORABLE! 🙂

  16. I can't speak for anyone else's views on Halloween, but I always understood it to be rooted in Christianity – All Hallow's Eve, when people prepare to commemorate their dead ancestors (my church refers to the Faithful Departed, who we will pray for on Friday due to the way our cycle of services fell this year). It doesn't seem incompatible to play at dress-up and eat sweets, as well as observe this element. As long as children know that there is no such thing as a ghost or a witch, and that the only "spirits" are the Holy Spirit and the souls of people who have died, it doesn't seem harmful to me. But I would be interested to know what other types of Christianity teach about this issue! In the UK unfortunately Halloween is mostly an excuse for adults to dress immodestly and get very drunk.

  17. May at Faint with Hunger:

    It may have been transformed, like many other holidays, into a "Christian" celebration – but it still has it's roots in not only pagan, but dark, spiritism, which is specifically condemned in the Bible.

    In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, at the end of summer…. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. Halloween was believed to be the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

    The carved pumpkin may have originated with the witches’ use of a collection of skulls with a candle in each to light the way to coven meetings.

    The idea of trick-or-treating is further related to the ghosts of the dead in pagan history. For example, among the ancient Druids, “The ghosts that were thought to throng about the houses of the living were greeted with a banquet-laden table. At the end of the feast, masked and costumed villagers representing the souls of the dead paraded to the outskirts of town leading the ghosts away.”

    Wow, as a Christian, I cannot in good consience take part in any of these activities – to me it is like slapping God in the face, since all of these things have to do with evil, Satan, and the occult.

    I don't recall a Scripture in the Bible where God says to take a day and "commemorate" your ancestors. In fact, he hates ancestor worship – he's a very jealous God and wants his followers to worship only him. Besides, even if he were to approve of a day to respect your ancestors, I doubt he would choose a day that is also used for such dark, evil purposes.

  18. Tazlady, I completely respect your decision to not celebrate Halloween in your house. You feel convicted to keep this out of your family traditions. I, however, do not feel that conviction. I'm a devoted follower of Christ and enjoy the holiday. My kids dress up as fun Disney prinesses, or candy corn, or any other innocent character and go around to our sweet neighbors who graciously hand out free candy. That's all it is to us. I don't get into the witch craft or the evilness of it, pure and simple it's a time to dress up and enjoy our neighborhood. Again, I'm not trying to get into a battle with you, I would just be careful about coming across as accusatory or judgmental to those of us that still choose to participate.

  19. The comment before me said she would be interested in other views. I gave mine.

    I am merely stating what my conscience allows me to do and not do.

    I am not being judgemental or accusatory. However, as I stated, as innocent as the costumes are, and as fun as it is – it stems from evil and references Satan and witches. That is not merely my belief, it is common knowledge. Can you imagine Christ putting on a devil or a witch costume on a day formerly used to conjure Satan? I can't.

    Perhaps the judgmental and accusatory vibes you are getting are twinges of guilt because you know it's not really the thing to do.

  20. Dear TazLady, there are so many people with different opinions in the world which is great, don't you think? Obviously not everyone is going to agree on everything. I personally do not believe that Heavenly Father has any problem at all with kids dressing up and visiting and bonding with neighbors. (Although I DO think there is something wrong with so much candy!! 🙂 From what I know of you, nothing anyone else says is going to change your opinion though, so it's not really worth the discussion as far as I'm concerned. You say you want to hear others' points of view, but when people give them you say they are false and wrong. Remember everyone thinks differently. I love how you think things through so well and you have a lot of good points, but please know that this is just a family journal. If there are things that offend you please do not come here because I don't want to make you sad or frustrated. I can tell you are a well-meaning person with a good heart.

  21. Point taken, Shawni. I will continue to read your blog. I actually really enjoy it and feel like I've come to know you and your family. Nothing you've ever posted has offended me, just raised questions in my mind.

    I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, and you're right, I don't plan on changing mine either.

    I was told not to be accusatory or judgemental and I wasn't trying to be.

    In my first post yesterday, I just wanted to know your view on the celebration and you gave it to me -I appreciate it.

    I won't comment anymore because my comments seem to be putting everyone on the defensive, and I don't want to do that.

    Please accept my apologies if I have insulted or offended you in any way. It was not my intent.

  22. When you put your family on the internet and invite comments, you have to take the good with the bad.

    You not only represent yourself and your family as people, you represent them as Mormons, and you open your religion up to questionings like Taz Lady's.

    If you don't want that, then disable comments. They are not all going to be, "Oh what a great family". Some will actually cause you to answer.

  23. LOVE this!! I just told a friend yesterday that I was turning into a witch for Halloween because of how consumed with details I was becoming. And my girls are 1 and 2- they have no idea! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your sweet family. I love your simple traditions! Oh- and I Love Claire's costume. 😉 it cracked me up. Happy November! PS- love the grace with which you handle comments.

  24. I agree with Chelsie and admire you for being able to respond to criticism and judgement with such kindness. That shows the real character you have. I enjoy reading the blog and plan to circle back for parenting tips and books when I have my own children.

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