Fall is in the Air and Christmas Stuff is Already on Display

I actually grew up with a mom who would have liked to skip Halloween and Thanksgiving altogether. There were some especially enthusiastic years when she actually had the Christmas tree up inside when all the pumpkins and faux spiderweb were still up and All Hallows' Eve had literally not been celebrated yet. I'm really not exaggerating here.

In retrospect, I shouldn't be surprised, then, when I see Christmas everything stacked up next to the fall garland at the store. But dang. I am.

I feel like Halloween was just last week. What we really did last week, though, was go to a Harvest Festival at Tivoli Village. Every Saturday, Tivoli Village has a farmers' market. Last Saturday, was a farmers' market on steroids. On top of the usual vendors, there were food trucks, music, and a petting zoo. I think there was more, but we honestly didn't get that far.

Here's what the petting zoo was like, though. I'll narrate.


"And chickens!"

"It got me!"

I loved being able to show her all the animals she has learned about in person. As you can see, she loved it, too.

Oh Yeah, Halloween Also Happened!

While contemplating turkey pot pies and appropriate sides, I realized that I never mentioned Halloween.

For the past three years, I have been a menacing witch in the Schulte haunted house that took place in my in-laws' huge courtyard in their equally huge home. We didn't do that this year. So for the first time as a family, we got to decide what to do on our own!

Growing up, my family were and still are devout Filipino Catholics. I make that distinction, because mixed into the Catholic culture in the Philippines is a whole lot of superstition (not that that little fact applies right now). So, my dad always made food for our little altar to celebrate All Souls' Day to commemorate his mom and in recent years, my other grandparents. He always made the same food: spaghetti and biko (Filipino-style sticky rice). He would then take a plate of each of the dishes and place them at the altar so that, as he always put it, "Your grandma can eat."

Faced with my first real Halloween at my own home, what else did I make but spaghetti and instead of biko, champurrado (chocolate rice pudding). Yum. That night when I parents dropped by to see the kids' costumes, I gave them some of my champurrado and felt a certain sense of pride when my dad said that he would put some of my food on the altar for grandma, too.

This was also a special year because it was Dean's first ever Halloween and the first year that Dianna actually had a clue as to what was going on. In the weeks leading up to the special night, I did crafts, read books, and watched Halloween-themed shows (It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown included) with her. I had Dianna practice saying, "Trick or treat!", which mostly sounded like, "Tri-tree!"

When the time came to dress the kids, Dean was in an awesome homemade Superman costume and Dianna was back in her flower girl tutu but with wings now included to be a fairy princess.

I've gotta admit that I was seriously nervous, because that little girl of mine is easily scared of people she doesn't know. But you know what? After the first couple houses, she sure got the hang of it. Walk to door, wait for Daddy to knock, door opens, hold up bag and say, "Tri-treat!" only sometimes, and "Thank you" every time. She loved it. And toward the end, "Trick or treat!" actually started to really sound like, "Trick or treat!"

What we found funniest was that for every home we walked up to that was the same layout as our own home, she seemed to just know that it was the same and walked right in. Cute now, but...we need to work on that one!

We already have a ton of ideas for future costumes: Dora and Diego for the kids, the Mr. and I as Dean Jordan and Cho Chang and the kids as Hedwig and Professor McGonagall in cat form, something Star Wars related...good thing we have a few more years before gently nudging their minds to fit our family-themed costumes just won't work anymore.

How He Worked for Nike for a Couple Weeks...and Some Other Stuff

In applying for several jobs at the same time, the Mr. inevitably got job offers at the same time: Nike Factory and Happy Feet Soccer (as a little kids' coach). So our conclusion to that was to accept said job offers. Duh, right?! No. Not really. Within two weeks, the jobs were clashing. Clashing with each other, with school, and daddy time. We had to choose one and hope for the best.

The Mr. has always been involved in sports, so both jobs were well suited. But we ultimately chose Happy Feet because of the flexibility and who would rather fold clothes than teach little kids how to play soccer? I actually think there are a lot now that I give a second to sink in, but for a father of two who loves every sport...there's no contest.

What does Happy Feet Soccer do as a company? Right now in Las Vegas, they are mainly operating their story time program that travels to different preschools and holds classes that imaginatively incorporate soccer skills into popular stories for a workout and introduction to the sport. The students use a smaller sized ball with a happy face on it and refer to it as "Bob the Bobcat" in order to make the ball seem like a fun, approachable friend. It's geared for kids between two and five years old. Chris and I do some of the exercises with Dianna often, and she now refers to all her balls around the house as "Bob". Ha! Later on, the company plans on having an office space and branching out into a soccer league for older kids as well. So far, the Mr. is really enjoying himself and gets to fulfill his love of teaching kids sports.

Another thing: Thanksgiving is one week away and I've just learned that it's going to be at my house.

Um. WHAT?! I need to clean, and shop, and make a menu, and did I mention clean?! Last month, we got to celebrate my little girl's second birthday. Again, WHAT? I know, right? Just a minute ago, we were at the hospital with her.

What I was getting to, though, was that I decorated and cooked everything: roasted chicken and carrots, bacon-wrapped asparagus bunches, three cheese bacon mac and cheese, apple brown betty, and super moist and delicious (if I do say so myself) pumpkin cake with Jack soaked golden raisins (don't tell anyone) and fresh whipped cream. BAM! Sorry, I felt that an Emeril-style celebration was needed at the end of that line of totally disgraceful bragging. I know. I'm embarrassed. Ashamed. But not enough to delete, because BAM! that was a freakin' accomplishment.

I've strayed yet again. To summarize: I need Thanksgiving ideas pronto. See you in a week...once I dig myself out of this planning, cooking, cleaning, and decorating hole. I shall emerge on the other side...to plan Christmas. Good luck on Thanksgiving to you. May your family disagreements pale in comparison to your post-feast waistline and ensuing drowsiness.
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