Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter has Arrived.

Winter showed up full force this week.  We went from sitting on the side of a mountain one day...

To bundling up for the first snow and brutal low temperatures of the year...

Because we had such a marvelous fall and we are inching towards the holidays, I have embraced this wintery weather.  It almost makes me want to turn on Christmas music, but I'll refrain until after Thanksgiving.  In any case, the snow puts the holiday spirit in my heart and I get excited like a little kid.  The week before Halloween, while walking through Target I felt annoyed by the Christmas decorations everywhere.  Rolling my eyes at the decorated trees and reindeer hanging from the ceiling.  The very next week when we entered November, I walked through the same aisle with a dreamy smile on my face, humming "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."  The snow really ups the ante.  I can't wait.

That being said, these below zero temps can go ahead and move along.  Cold is fine, but we gotta be able to be outside.

Anyways...back to pre-cold, while we were still enjoying the extra long fall Mother Nature was giving us.  The day before the storm came, Ava was at horse back riding lessons and for the first time got to ride in the outside arena.  For my first time, I enjoyed taking her to these lessons.  Maybe it was the sunshine and fresh air that calmed the usual nerves that come over me as I watch my baby on a giant animal that could throw her to the ground at any moment.  Maybe it was because as I watched her go from walking to trot to canter I saw how hard she was concentrating.  Instead of feeling fearful as she got faster I noticed how controlled she was with the horse.  How seriously she takes her teachers instruction and follows them...elbows straight, gaze forward, up down, up down...like a dance.  After she slows, seeing the look of pride on her face at having done this dance gracefully.  I see how much she loves it and I have to settle into a place of acceptance.  A place of letting a mama's worry go and let her fly.  Man, that's hard.

I also had this girl to keep me distracted...

Little miss walking back and forth on the stands...waiting not so patiently for her sister to be done.  Questioning over and over, why there aren't pig back riding lessons.  This girl, she is something else.  She makes me laugh every single day.  She is her daddy all the way.

I had an opportunity to write an article for another local publication.  I thought, like my articles for Distinctly Montana, it would simply be on their website.  To my surprise it was in their actual print magazine also...

I was pretty excited to see this.  Something about seeing your name in print is awesome.  Bozeman Magazine is a cool monthly publication and I am proud to be a part of it.  Even better is they asked me to do another.  So cool.  Here's the link for this one.  

As we settle into winter I hope these feelings of enjoying it continue.  Unfortunately the novelty of it tends to wear off for me somewhere around January.  This is too bad since winter usually drags on and on and on.  For now I'll ride it out...appreciate the beauty of the snow covered mountains, the crispness in the air and the holidays that are right around the corner.  These two certainly help with all of this...
  
Actually...these three...the dog much prefers winter to summer.  Silly dog.

Happy day to ya.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween and Hello to November.

The energy of Halloween changes once you have kids.  Sure I enjoyed it as a child.  I remember getting excited to dress-up and then have to completely cover my costume because of the cold weather.  I remember sorting candy with my sisters after trick or treating, trading to try to get the best possible assortment.  When I got a little older I went with friends...carrying pillowcases to fill, getting skeptical looks at the door...knowing we were pushing the envelope of being trick or treating age appropriate.  Halloween during the college years are appropriately a blur.  Now with my own kids I have found that I love Halloween.  Their excitement for it is contagious.  And rightfully so.  This day is about playing dress-up and getting candy.  Good stuff.

Our Halloween.

As per tradition, the carving of the pumpkins.

Extra festive when done with friends.  

And not very traditional, the addition of extra gore on our pumpkins this year.

I tend to carve a very boring jack-o-lantern so I was looking for inspiration.  In one magazine they showed using nails and other hardware  to jazz them up.  The other one showed melting red crayons for a blood like effect.  Apparently doing both on the same pumpkin just makes you look like a crazy deranged person.  Our front porch was extra creepy this year.  Probably not what Martha Stewart had in mind.  

Dressing up.
Each year we let the girls choose their costumes and then I try my best to make it happen.  Ava was a horse, no big surprise as her horse obsession grows each day.  Layla was a pig vampire.  I have no idea where this came from.  Her love of pigs no doubt brought that part around, but the vampire?   Hmmm...maybe it was the gory jack-o-lanterns that inspired her to insist on vampire teeth and blood on her face.  Weird.  

Our party.
Each year we have a Halloween party with our family and friends.  Everyone dresses up, fills our house and enjoys this crazy night.  Lots of food, a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a long neighborhood stroll with the little trick or treaters.  This year it was so warm outside...no coats were needed.  We walked for hours as the kids ran from house to house, gathering candy and checking out the creepy decorations.  Their energy level so high you could feel it radiating off them and get carried away with it.  Finally after making our way back to the house, all the candy is dumped on the floor and the sorting and trading begins.  With this little guy stealing a few along the way...

Kids go to bed, exhausted from the day.  I get up the next morning and erase all signs of a party.  While I'm at it, I get on a roll and suddenly all signs of Halloween are gone.  Decorations downs, pumpkins in the compost.  The house goes back to itself for the month of November before Christmas throws up all over it.  

All signs of Halloween gone except, of course, the candy...

It gets scattered on the floor once again for a second sorting and trading session.  Funny enough, after all the trading there wasn't one complaint when I asked them to combine it all into one bowl.  Now we will be eating candy for the next year or until I get sick of it and it all magically disappears.  All 107 pieces.  Yep, they counted.  

Welcome November...a glorious month of mellow, cozy nights and anticipation of holidays to come.