Halloween 2018: The Greatest Showman

October 12th, 2018

Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take

A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

Last year, the kids got really into Halloween. They agreed on a family costume and were super (pun intended) into dressing up as many times as possible for photos.

This year, Lincoln decided he HAD to be P.T. Barnum from The Greatest Showman. He is beyond obsessed with that movie, we’ve watched it multiple times a week ever since it came out. Caroline was fully on board with that as a family costume, since she wants nothing more in life than to join a circus as an aerialist. The rest of us agreed we could live with being assigned other characters, which Lincoln was happy to choose for us.

None of these costumes are available straight from the store yet. I had hoped that Chasing Fireflies might have them when this year’s catalog came out, but I think most kids still want to be superheroes or unicorns instead of characters from a musical with a pretty flimsy plot line. But I am not afraid of hot glue and sequins, and once I realized that wasn’t quite enough I learned to use my sewing machine. None of it would pass a close inspection, but for trick-or-treating (or photos!) they worked great.

So for Halloween 2018, I officially present:

Lincoln…as P. T. Barnum

Caroline…as Anne Wheeler

Evan…as Phillip Carlyle

Finnegan…as The Tattooed Man

And me…as Jenny Lind

the greatest showman costume

anne wheeler costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

 

 

These photos aren’t going to win any awards for technical perfection – taking pictures inside dark spaces is NOT my specialty, four kids is a lot of kids to pose, and toddlers are not the best listeners. But that doesn’t make them any less fun. None of the kids care if the pictures are a little grainy, all they care about is seeing their dreams come true.

Sources (all Amazon affiliate links):

Tiny tuxedo
Red vest
Pink wig
Purple leotard
Sparkle tank top
Cream bolero
Hoop skirt
Black hat (this is the only one of several I ordered that actually fit Linc!)
Red Hat
Temporary tattoos
More tattoos
Girl’s dance tights

All the trim and fabric is from Joann’s. One stick is a dowel I painted, the other is from Party City. Evan and Finnegan owned most of their costumes, I got the vest at Goodwill and Finn’s undershirt at Walmart. All the sparkly jewelry is also from Walmart. Also a huge shout out to my amazing hairdresser Jackie at Wild Love Hair Studio for making me a redhead.

And the biggest thank you goes to The Garde Arts Center in New London. I sent an email asking about maybe possibly using just their lobby for some photos and within 24 hours they had found me a time to come in and use the whole theater. Carolyn was beyond generous with her time and resources (I think Finnegan wanted to go home with her) and I could not have made this magic without them. They are a non-profit organization that has worked to painstakingly restore this old movie house to its original glory. I made a donation to thank them for their time and we’ll be attending as many events there as possible, both because it’s an amazing building and because they’re a wonderful organization. (They’re having an awesome Halloween Movie event! You can take the kids to see Hotel Transylvania on Saturday the 27th!)

Happy Halloween!

Where it’s covered in all the colored lights
Where the runaways are runnin’ the night
Impossible comes true, it’s takin’ over you
Oh, this is the greatest show
We light it up, we won’t come down
And the sun can’t stop us now
Watchin’ it come true, it’s takin’ over you
Oh, this is the greatest show

 

 

Best Weekend Of The Year 2018

October 1st, 2018

Previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015 part 1 and part 2, 2014, 2013, 2012

I really love the best weekend of the year. It kicks off the season of How Many Different Seasonal Activities Can We Fit Into Just Two Days? I love being able to walk to two different food festivals from my front door. I love taking the same photo of the kids at the fair every year. I love running into people I don’t get to see very often but then our kids are instantly best friends again. I love not cooking all weekend and saying yes to everything.

And I love looking back at the other Best Weekends and seeing how our family has grown.

In order: Greek Food Festival, Ledyard Fair, Taste of Italy, Mystic Eats

 

Not A Beach Vacation But Better Than No Vacation 2018

September 30th, 2018

Our beach vacation got canceled this year because of a hurricane. I was VERY angry about it, that vacation means a lot to us as a family and as a friend group (we go with two friends from high school and my college freshman roommate). We didn’t want to completely cancel our time off though, and since E hadn’t been to the lake house yet this year we hung out in Virginia. It was a little colder for my taste, but it was still fun. Our best Navy friends came to hang out from Virginia Beach so Caroline got to see her favorite person. We even did a grown-ups only day in NoVa with most of the friends I was supposed to see at the beach, so we don’t have to wait another year to see my BFFs. It’s hard to complain about a lake vacation, especially now that we’re home and I’m just looking back on the pictures.

Knobels With Friends 2018

September 26th, 2018

Holy shirt you guys, this is the longest month of my life. I am trying to catch up on the photos I have to edit because this blog is basically just a photo album of my children’s lives now and I feel very guilty when I don’t keep it up. I mean, none of them have baby books, so hopefully, the internet still exists when they get old enough to want to see photos of their childhood. I thought I was two full months behind with updates. but then I realized our trip to Pennsylvania was actually the first weekend of September. AND IT’S STILL SEPTEMBER.

We spent a weekend with my freshman year college roommate and her family in PA. For most of the time, the kids absolutely DESTROYED her basement playroom while the adults ignored them, but once the kids started driving each other crazy we decided to take them out in public somewhere loud and crazy. Knobels is…hard to describe. It’s a free amusement park, in that there is no actual entrance and nothing to keep you from just wandering in (also no security checks which felt suuuuuuper weird). They have HUGE pavillions people rent for company picnics or family reunions. The rides all cost between $1 and $3 to ride. Most of them are legitimate rides, not the scary carnival kind from the fair, although a few of them are actual carnival rides. A lot of things are very old, but in a charming way. The food was shockingly good (get the pulled pork nachos). Sometimes they offer wristbands for unlimited rides, but most weekends they don’t. Luckily they did on Labor Day weekend so we got the unlimited bands for the kids and husbands. They offer free packets of tickets for military and vets though, so my friend and I both had $40 worth of ride tickets for ourselves. We didn’t even use half of them.

The kids had a blast. There was no height minimum for the kid rides, so little Finnegan got to ride a bunch of stuff. We split up so the big kids could ride roller coasters with the dads, and then met up later for food and so we could do some rides as a family. We were there ALL day and didn’t even see a single show or visit the water park side. I think next year we might rent a cabin and stay overnight. Mostly so the grown-ups could enjoy the no-rules nature of bringing in our own beverages while the kids ride.

I’m missing half my photos from our trip, but since I still have almost 300 I’m not too upset. You’ll just never see the pictures of the giant ice cream or the Ferris wheel or the kids soaking wet from the Viking boat log flume. I think you’ll probably survive.

p.s. You pronounce the “K” in Knobels, which is VERY HARD to remember.

 

The Gift of September

September 7th, 2018

Every year in New England, on September 1st, we all prepare for fall. It’s September. It’s Fall. It’s time to get out our cardigans and boots, sleep with the windows open and four blankets, pick apples, drink lattes, and throw around as many decorative gourds as we can.

And every year, on September 1st, we remember that it’s actually still summer.

But our surprise is a gift – doing fun summer stuff in September feels like cheating. I’m swimming in the ocean in September! (And don’t tell anyone the ocean is actually crazy warm in September, or we’ll have to share the beach with too many people.) I’m wearing sundresses in September! We’re having ice cream for dinner in September! Let’s jump in the car after school and do ALL of that on a Thursday!

All the things I was tired of – sand in my car, washing a million towels, late bedtimes, no plans for dinner, car naps – are once again charming and fun. I can sit on a towel by the ocean wondering why we don’t go to the beach EVERY day with absolutely no irony. It’s like my brain was wiped clean on the first day of the month and I’m ready for summer all over again.

The most pleasant part of the whole thing is in a few days (a week, maybe three if we’re lucky) it actually WILL be fall. I’ll vacuum all the sand out of my car and deflate all the floaties until next year. We will all start wearing pants and I’ll buy 3 new striped shirts. We’ll eat apples and chowder and cider donuts and the bakery in Mystic will smell like pumpkin and cinnamon instead of lavender and vanilla. We get our bonus, stolen summer right before the very best part of New England.

This is why we’re still here.

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