Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween, everyone! We had a truly magical day and night here at the McGaugh household. Katie and I began the day with a walk, looking for pumpkins and other Halloween decor up and down the streets. After a bit of play time, we started cooking for our Halloween dinner.

We made caramel apples together:

Katie helps to unwrap the caramel pieces and put them into the pot.

With the dipped apples, cooling on the serving platter.

My perfect helper.
Katie napped while I finished some prep, and then we changed into our costumes. What a fun night!

Daddy and Katie with one of our pumpkins.

Boppa helped me take Katie trick-or-treating while Amie and Daddy passed out candy at our house.

The trick-or-treating begins. It was so much fun to dress up as princesses together!

The pumpking across the street. We have waved to it and sang, "Hello, Mr. Pumpkin" to it everyday for over two weeks. I promised Katie we could go up to his house and say hello on Halloween night. She was sooooooooooooo excited---she loves Mr. Pumpkin! We went around the cul-de-sac collecting treats, and she kept saying, "We will go to the pumpkin house!" When we got there, she offered Mr. Pumpkin her whole bucket of candy and started pretending to feed him! What a beautifully generous heart!

Belle and Snow White meet Mr. Pumpkin!

My Halloween princess.... She told us she only wanted to go to "happy pumpkin" houses. This neighborhood really gets into Halloween, and some houses were a little too scary. She had a good sense for the happy houses...

Eating M&Ms with Amie. Katie was thrilled. What is Halloween without a little candy? It won't hurt her...

I made jack-o-lantern quesadillas with jack cheese as one component of our dinner.

Katie finds another happy pumpkin and offers him her candy.

My sweet little trick-or-treater!

While Katie was napping, I made a surprise for her at our dining room table. I dressed our pink bunny in fairy wings and our bear in a renaissance hat. The bunny is holding a fork, and each of them have one of Katie's sippy cups and candy to eat...

When she awoke from her nap and saw the table with her costumed friends, she actually squealed in total delight and ran over to see them and wanted to sit in between them for awhile. Such little moments of wonder can make a lasting sense of awe and happiness in a child's heart... It was really cool that it meant so much to her, and it only took a second to do.

A little hazy....but this picture commemorates Katie's first trick-or-treat EVER in her life. First house, first candy, first time!

Halloween dinner! Menu: jack cheese jack-o-lantern quesadillas, penne with sausage and pumpkin cream sauce topped with fresh sage and romano cheese, and spinach salad (to fresh spinach I added diced red apples, carmelized red onion, roasted pepitas (little pumpkin seeds), and golden raisins and topped it with a olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette). I wanted to celebrate the pumpkin in this meal, both visually and by using different parts of the squash. YUMMY!

Snow White selects a candy from Amie and Boppa's neighbors. It was so awesome to be trick-or-treating in my own neighborhood. One neighbor that I have known since moving here had lined her driveway with pumpkins and had a small bonfire going. Lots of houses around here really celebrate---it's awesome!

Belle, with her sweater. ;-)

After trick-or-treating for quite awhile, we came home and had caramel apples and warm mulled apple cider (I use the Williams-Sonoma mulling spices, the best I have found---just the right amount of pungency). We ate a little more candy (after checking each piece thoroughly for safety), and had baths and cuddled. After reading, we turned off all the lights and Katie fell asleep looking at her glowing carved pumpkins. I told her how once, two years ago, I brought her home on Halloween---and that Halloween will forever be special to me because of that reason.
Sharing this magic with her is incredible, and I am such a lucky mommy.
Now, let the Christmas crafting and baking countdown commence!

Halloween Eve!

Happy Halloween Eve, everyone! Katie and I are so excited for tomorrow!

We had a busy day today, some of it fun and some of it business. Part of our fun was going to music class this morning, and we even got to wear costumes:

Katie had fun today, as she is gaining more and more comfort with singing and playing instruments in class. She loved that the little girl next to her came as a kitty.

We left class a few minutes early to return to Temecula for Katie's 2-year-old check-up. She is thriving. Dr. Paik was impressed with Katie's language (Katie spoke in several complete sentences for her). Katie weighed in at 27.4 pounds today and reached 34 inches tall. Her weight and height are converging, though she is a bit taller than average. Her weight is right on point for her age now.

And the very big news in terms of our appointment is that Katie finished her immunizations today. She will only need flu shots and maybe some boosters in the far future. It is such a relief to know that she is protected, truly. We're very excited that we have finished the journey and that she will be safe. We were also put on the waiting list for the H1N1 because they are prioritizing right now. Hopefully there will be extra doses; if not, Bill's district is offering immunization for staff and their immediate families starting in December. I hope we don't have to wait that long...we'll see. Toddler Time finishes in a couple of weeks. After that, the only public exposure Katie will have is at music class. We're about ready to hunker down for our Christmas crafting anyway, and I will keep store trips to a minimum. She is too precious to risk.

We had to wait quite awhile at the doctor's office, but we brought our play medical kit and one of our favorite word books to keep us entertained. Katie sang and twirled in the examination room, so she wasn't terribly stressed most of the time. She got to wear her Snow White costume and all of the office staff was dressed up, too. She loved that. The nurse administering the vaccinations was dressed as a witch, which Katie thought was funny when we discussed it later.

Katie was full of joking today. She kept making jokes about the Big Bad Wolf all morning. When the doctor asked me about Katie's food diversity, Katie offered, "I eat the Big Bad Wolf. I put him in the microwave. I put him in the oven. I put him on the plate." She actually said this in a sing-song voice, which made it funnier.

After our appointment, I took Katie out to frozen yogurt---a special treat to placate the stings of the shots. We ate by the fountain and several people told her what a pretty Snow White she was. At one point, she was twirling around and singing, "Someday my prince will come. Someday my prince will come" in the right tune. Pretty cute!!!

Home again, we both napped. I arose before Katie and did a little work and also made a big Halloween playlist for our dinner tomorrow. Then we carved our pumpkins, ate dinner, bathed, and played!

Here are some pictures of our handiwork:

Katie and Mommy with our happy pumpkins. She chose all of the shapes for the faces and wanted them all happy---she was clear about that!

" Hello, Mr. Pumpkin/So glad to see you..."

Precious Halloween Katie... Life is so much FUN!

Cuddling together in our pink girly jammies with our pumpkins.
Tomorrow is going to be AWESOME!!!! So many fun activities planned! And Katie is so excited about trick-or-treating!

A pumpkin kiss....
Nighty night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Katie Turns Two! (Part 2)

Happy Birthday to our beautiful daughter, our Katie June! Katie turned two-years-old today, and we are so proud of her. I am so grateful that I am her mother, that she is my destiny, the light in my soul, my forever love.

When she woke up this morning, I asked her if she knew why today was such a special day. Knowing of our morning plans, she said, "Pumpkin patch!!" I said, yes, we indeed were going to the pumpkin patch (one of her favorite places), and then asked if she knew of any other reason why today is my favorite day of the year. She thought a moment, as the sleep cleared, and then exclaimed, "My birthday!!" I sang to her and we played a little, had breakfast, and then got dressed for the first part of our day-long celebration.

Because Uncle David had a business mixer this evening and couldn't attend dinner, he offered to have an outing with us to the Peltzer Pumpkin Patch since Katie loves it so. Boppa also wanted to come along. Katie was so excited!

Katie is ready to go to the pumpkin patch and dances with our scarecrow decoration this morning right before we leave.

Katie checks out the train at the pumpkin patch. She calls it "Thomas" after Thomas the Train. She loved the engine and pulling the bell cord.

Oh look, it's a friendly ghost! Katie loves the freedom to run through the patch discovering all kinds of joys and thrills.

Peekaboo, Uncle David (whose face is in the left eye of the pumpkin).

Peekaboo, Boppa!

Katie runs around to many of the pumpkins calling, "Hello, pumpkin!" and "I love you, pumpkin!"

After visiting the goats again, we attempt the corn maze.

Follow the leader: Katie loves looking for her footprints over a path we have tread. Boppa taught her about looking for the imprint of our shoes.

My Little Autumn Girl in a field of corn. Every beautiful part of this season is forever part of Katie, to me.

We find a fairytale pumpkin!

Finishing up the corn maze...

Tonight after her small party, Katie put on her new Elmo jammies! She loves them so much! They match my pink and red and white jammies right now, so we feel like cozy matching girls.

See how delighted she is!!!!

Coming home from the pumpkin patch and after brief visit at Amie and Boppa's, Katie took a nap while I straightened the house and worked on her cake and dinner. When she woke up, we put on her party dress and my pearls, and the earthy day turned into a more formal evening.

Katie, who is holding her trick-or-treat pumpkin bucket, practices for Halloween as the sun sets and we await her grandparents.

I love my two-year-old! How time does fly... I love her so much.

Katie offers some treats to Tuna Cat.

When Daddy asks her where she is going, Katie puts her bucket on her arm and replies (as she heads to the front door), "I am going out."

Katie immediately loves her stuffed Peter Rabbit. The Beatrix Potter story is one of her favorites, and she had asked to go outside and show Peter around his "new garden."

Another present from Mommy and Daddy: tesselations. Katie knows what to do without any explanation and she asks to work on several boards at once.

Showing Peter Rabbit the strands of lights we have in our trees.

Opening Peter Rabbit! She tells him, "Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden." Good advice, Katie.

Opening the Elmo jammies. Katie definitely understands presents now. She was able to open two from Amie and Boppa this morning, but she had to wait all day for the final presents from Mommy and Daddy---which, at one point, was very difficult for her! But she sure had fun opening them!

Happy dancing birthday girl!

Smelling a vibrant red rose on her 2nd birthday.

Ready for dinner.

Birthday dinner: roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf. She ate quite a bit! We used her silver sippy and silver toddler utensils, and the rest of us used the china and Waterford. I love formality and making certain moments and memories distinct through formality. Even after bath, she asked me to let her use the silver sippy in the family room. It is a special occasion sippy, but since it was still her birthday, I let her have fun with it!

Our Happy Birthday sign and the birthday girl!

Here comes the cake! I did a thoroughly homemade chocolate cake and homemade buttercream frosting for her party, so I went ahead and did a box cake tonight. She seems to enjoy the funfetti cake that her Uncle David requests on his birthday, and I love that they have that tradition in common. Eventually, she will choose whatever cake she wishes. My mom always made my birthday cake completely from scratch (and still does, even though lately I have been asking for the slightly more intensive red velvet cake), and I can do that with just about every cake except for funfetti. So we'll see what happens...
Tonight before bath, we were playing with the little car and people that Amie and Boppa got her, pushing it back and forth upstairs. Katie suddenly danced into her room, twirled herself around and around in her dress, and said, "I love my birthday! I love my birthday!" That was an awesome moment. She looked so happy and carefree twirling, and she was just totally speaking from her heart. "I love my birthday! I love my birthday!" Just like that. I wanted her to feel like today was a magical holiday (which is how I feel about her birthday and her birth), and I think she did.