Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shop 'Til You Drop

We spent Thanksgiving in Iowa.  Mike has a couple cousins that are Black Friday junkies.  They really get into planning where they are going and what time they are all meeting to get there.  We've always thought it was fun/funny to listen to their plans and this year Mike said I should try to meet up with them and tag along. 

Shortly thereafter I convinced Mike that he should go along too because anyone that knows me is fully aware that I am navigationally-challenged.  I would probably have left and never returned.  I know one street in Davenport and we were going to Illinois. 

So we got in on the planning and it was decided that we would all head to Walmart first.  There were some good deals to be had there.  The plan was set for us to meet up with his cousins after the 5am opening.  Mike and I looked over the ads about 15 more times and decided that we really could use a few things from Kohl's which opened at 4am.  Luckily there was a Kohl's on our way to the chosen Walmart (and seriously...they planned which Walmart to visit because it was a little further out and probably wouldn't be as crowded as others.  Turns out that was false hope.)  Missy, our sister-in-law and Steven, our nephew, decided they were going to join us - not to shop, but to just go along for the chaos.

That night we set two alarms for 3am and 3:05am.

Here's a little run-down of events:

3:00am - Alarm #1 goes off.  Mike wakes up and says, "What time is it?"  I don't take this as a good sign.
3:10am - Begin scraping the truck windows with my library card.
3:15am - Arrive to pick up Missy and Steven.  They are waiting outside and start laughing when Mike accidentally drives past their house.

3:40am - Arrive at Kohl's and get in line.  Man is walking around with a bull-horn asking Christmas trivia and handing out prizes.  I think it's nice that Kohl's is providing a little entertainment for everyone. 
3:44am - We realize that the nice man is preaching to us about our sins.  Mike isn't sure how to take the fact that the man is only walking at our end of the line and not towards the other end of the line.
3:50am - We receive a million dollar bill from preacher man's helper.  In fine print on the back it stresses that God paid for our sins.  We cannot use this in the store.

4:00am - We enter Kohl's.  We each have an assigned object to locate and bring to the front.
4:07am - We leave Kohl's.  Complete mission accomplished and I am thinking this early morning shopping is the bomb!
4:20am - Enter Walmart but can't find the section for what we are seaching to buy.  Mike asks an associate who tells us that said item is only available online.  We somehow missed that despite the 37 times we looked through the Walmart ad the previous day.
5:00am - All men/women/children for themselves.  Walmart is open and this place is crazy.
5:30am - We are in line for Walmart.
5:50am - Meet up with Mike's cousins and decide to head to Target.
6:05am - Arrive at Target.  My home away from home.
6:45am - Mike ditches us to get in line at Target.  He heads to the front of the store.
6:50am - We see Mike at the back of the store where we've been talking.  He's still looking for the end of the line.
6:52am - Mike is in line at Target with our one item.
7:15am - Mike is in line at Target with our one item.
7:40am - Mike is in line at Target with our one item and his cousin has joined him with her one item.
7:45am - Mike tells me to find some food.  Missy, Steven and I head to the front of Target to get some Starbucks.
7:46am - In line at Starbucks.  I remember Mike mentioning there was a Caribou nearby. 
7:47am - We beeline over two stores and find the Caribou inside Hy-Vee grocery store.  It's a beautiful sight and I did a little jig when I saw it.

7:50am - Back in line at Target, but with nourishment.
7:55am - Finally done at Target.  I've never been so happy to leave a Target.
8:00am - We decide to head to the local mall for the deals there.
8:55am - In line at Children's Place.  Have already shopped at JCPenney's.  Took several pictures throughout shopping of jewelry I would be thrilled to receive for Christmas.
9:20am - Done at Children's place.  Mike heads into Radio Shack unsupervised.  I hope preacher man is still praying for us.
9:25am - While waiting in the wings Missy and I spot this man....sorry for the blurriness, but I was trying to be inconspicuous in taking this picture.  At least I remembered to turn off the flash.  You have to appreciate the man that's all-out-festive on Black Friday.

9:30am - I offer to buy Mike a pair of pants like the happy elf above.  Mike turns and walks away.
10:15am - Eat lunch.
10:55am - Lunch break over.  More shopping/looking/waiting in lines.
12:55pm - Doorbusters are over in 5 minutes.  Stick a fork in us, we are done.
1:30pm - The four of us arrive at Kay's and proceed to fall asleep one by one.

I'm still not even sure we've caught up on our sleep yet. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Tale

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I thought I would share writing Maddie turned in for class.  They had to write about their Thanksgiving traditions or a Thanksgiving meal from the past.

Thanksgiving at my grandparents is great!  All my family comes to my grandparents.  They all bring some kind of food.  Usually my uncle brings a turkey that he shot.  Once he shot one that was running around in his yard!  There is lots of food at my grandma & grandpa's house.  We eat all day!  We celebrate it by talking, playing, etc.  We sometimes get presents.  But it's always fun sharing some time with my whole family.

This story is complete fiction.  I don't remember a time we've ever exchanged presents on Turkey day. I'm pretty sure she intertwined the Thanksgiving and Christmas day celebrations.  More to the heart of the story though is that my brother, to the best of my knowledge, has never shot a gun.  I KNOW he's never shot a turkey.  I'm not even sure he owns camouflage clothing. 

A more accurate story would have begun with, "My Uncle Dan likes to spin a tall tale or two.  One year he told a humdinger about a pretend time he went hunting..."

But in the end I'm thankful for Maddie's writing style and that she can find inspiration in anything....even her uncle's tall-imaginative-exaggerated-but-fun-to-hear stories.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthday Gift - Early and Late

This fall we realized both kids would need new bikes by next summer.  Maddie started riding mine a lot more and Jake was barely fitting his 16 inch bike.  We offered that, for their birthdays, we would buy them a bike.  Most kids, we thought, would be thrilled.  Not ours.  After much discussion we finally learned that they would be happy to get a bike, but they really wanted to be surprised.  They didn't want to know ahead of time.

This turned into more of a debate because a bike was not something we wanted to pick out for them at this point.  They both have strong opinions on what they like/dislike and it changes with the wind.  In the end we actually had to convince them this would be fun or at least fun to get in the end.

There's something wrong with that.

Since the fall when we sold Jake's bike in our garage sale, we have been searching.  Two criteria were involved:  he had to like it and it had to be in our budget.  He liked a lot of bikes for which we were not willing to pay.  We did find a couple orange bikes, but a giant must for Jake was that it had to have brakes at the handle and he really wanted to be able to pedal backwards. 

Monday night Mike saw the Menard's ad and said he thought he'd found Jake's bike.  He showed it to Jake who said as long as it could pedal backwards he was good with it.

Mike visited Menard's and the bike was chained to a post AND had a bike lock.  He told the salesguy he wasn't buying the bike unless he could see if it could pedal backward so the guy had to cut the chain.

Menard's hasn't realized that a better sell is not chaining it to a post, but offering free assembly.  It comes in a box.  Last night assembly took place in the front entry. 

Seems like an awful lot of tools for a bike assembly.  We had to pull out the big guns for lighting too.

But it's together.  One gift down and a month early.  Maddie is still waiting on her bike.  It's currently five months late.  We've tried several times to get her a bike.  But either she doesn't fit the 24 inch bike, doesn't like the color/style, or doesn't fit the 26-inch bike. 

We decided we prefer and miss the time when they didn't have an opinion.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Actually I'll change that..."Rat!"

Maddie was lucky enough last week to be the random student whose name was drawn to take home one of the science experiment rats for the weekend. 

"Awesome" was all I had to say when I found out.  It was said with about as much enthusiasm as a period at the end of a sentence can muster.

So, Pe Pe (you know..."PePe le Pieu") joined our household on Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning I woke up and remembered that Mike had already left for the day and that we had a rat to feed and a cage to clean.


Maddie did most of the work (thank goodness).  She informed us a dog would be so much easier to take care of.  Interestingly she didn't have a problem handling the rodent.  She HATED touching a great deal of the food.  But, generally that's how both our kids handle fruits and vegetables.

Jake summed up the experience with this comment:

Look...they have the same eyes!

On Saturday Maddie told us PePe kept her awake a lot of the night from all the scratching noises she made.  By Sunday night at 2am Maddie was knocking on our door asking if she could sleep in the guest room because she couldn't take it anymore.

We dropped PePe off promptly at 8am on Monday morning.  Mike said he couldn't imagine it staying here a full week.  We now understand the shorthand of it's original namesake:  PePe LePEEEEUW!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time Out with the Cousins

As I mentioned, while we were cooking our portion of Kay's birthday dinner, Missy (our sister-in-law) took her four kids and our two kids to Chuck E. Cheese.  Our nephew works there and was going to be Chuck E. that afternoon. 

Not that my kids would have protested going anyway, but seeing Steven in a Chuck E. costume was a big draw too.  Before leaving we had to give them explicit instructions not to refer to the big mouse as "Steven". 

I was only slightly nervous they would make a slip and get him fired.

All pictures are courtesy of our niece, Samantha.

Before shots:

Our kids with the big Cheese.  Chuck E.  Steven.

Jake won a prize and played it up when he got back to Kay's house.  He came in and said he had a nail through his finger.  I looked at yelled to Mike, "Oh man!  We have to take Jake to the emergency room!" 

Kay came racing in from the next room saying, "What?  What happened?  What?"

Will someone please teach my son to pull pranks with a different finger?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nothing to BAWK at

This past weekend we headed down to Iowa for Mike's mom's birthday bash.  It was a big one (though I'm not allowed to say which one it was) so we all wanted to try and make it special.  Kay has been feeling under the weather lately so we were hoping to make it special, but not something she had to leave the house for.

One night as we were going to sleep Mike joked, "You know, we had chicken for dinner just about every other night growing up.  I think her party should have a chicken theme and we should serve all chicken meals." 

As dorky as I am I sat up in bed and said, "I have THE BEST stamp set to make invites with!"

So, he called his brother the next day and we were off to the races with our "Chicken Themed" birthday.

First the invites went out:

Then there was a lot of planning phone calls back and forth to figure out menus and last minute decorating ideas.

The big day arrived and we all got to work.  Pat and Missy cooked up their meals in the comfort of their own home.  Mike and I had to "borrow" Kay's kitchen.  I'm not sure who was more frustrated with this set-up - Mike who felt like he was being micromanaged by his mom or Kay who was nervous we were going to burn down her kitchen.  Pat stood on the sidelines laughing at it all.  Missy had wisely bravely taken the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. 

When the kids got back, Amanda (our niece) and I got to work decorating the eating area.  This is my favorite part! 

See that tin can?  Here's the scoop: I had saved five small cans, but served chili to my family one night for the express purpose of getting a LARGE can of tomato juice to use the can for a centerpiece.  I washed it out, peeled off the paper and set them all in the garage.  I found them in the recycling bin two days later, took them out again and found them in the recycling bin the next day.  I took them out again and set them further aside.  The next day I found the big one...FILLED WITH GREASE...from the previous night's dinner.  Hence - no large tin for a centerpiece.

Can I just say how hard it is to find chicken decorations?  Darn near impossible.  Turkeys are everywhere this time of year, but not a single chicken.

I finally found the perfect vintage chicken on the internet.  The rest of the theme was more "farm" than "chicken" but it worked great because the food definitely covered the chicken angle.

And can I just say - that bowl above with the crackers?  The yellow one?  I asked Mike to get a bowl and he rummaged through his mom's stuff and came out with this.  He found a yellow one on purpose!  Is he a fast learner or what?!

I had mentioned to Missy that I thought it would be fun to have mason jars to drink out of.  She found these at their dollar store.  They were perfect!  I will be picking up a set of my own when we are down there next time!

We had 16 people at our party.  We invited Kay's sisters (and their husbands) and a very close friend of hers.  The menu consisted of Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Cranberry Chicken and Chicken in the Woods (and I apologize to Pat and Missy if I got that title wrong).  There were a couple sides and some biscuits from Missy's friend which were delicious!!

Dessert was cupcakes.  I owe this find to my sister - she forwarded this idea to me after I asked for any good party ideas on "chickens".

It was a tight sqeeze to get 16 people in this area, but it was all worth it to be able to be together to celebrate this special occasion. 

And because I've told about five people how much Maddie loved this soup - here's the recipe:

Crockpot Wild Rice Soup:

1 cup uncooked wild rice.  3 cups chicken broth.  Simmer 20 minutes.

In crockpot mix: 
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 quart half & half
1 cup chicken broth

Add wild rice.

2 cups cubed ham
5 slices bacon fried & crumbled
2 cups cubed chicken/turkey
Mushrooms with liquid.

Heat on low!

Note:  We didn't have a big enough crock pot so we cooked it on the stove and it worked great.  Just make sure to stir it every once in awhile so things don't get stuck to the bottom.  From the "optional" menu we added chicken (duh), bacon and mushrooms (we used an 8 oz can).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dream or Nightmare?

I woke up this morning actually remembering a dream from last night.

Mike and I (in present day) were in line at McDonald's.  Between us was a baby in a carrier.  Our backs were to the customers eating.

One man with shoulder length, gray hair and a beard/mustache came up to us and said, "Hey!  I was wondering...Yikes!  You're not in high school!"

How do I interpret this? 

1.  We look great from the back, but are hideously old looking from the front? 
2.  I've lost all sense of imagination if I'm only eating at McDonald's in my dreams?

It is NOT read as:

3.  We are having a baby.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Proof Positive...

That housework is bad for your health.

Or at least your jewelry. 

It should be avoided at all costs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Future Memories?

Last night during dinner we had fun conversations.  We were asking favorites of each other: five favorite foods, favorite thing to do, etc.  Mike asked if I remembered any conversations from when I was a kid at the dinner table.  I didn't remember anything specific, only that we always sat in the exact same spot.  Mike didn't remember any either (for those in his family, this will come as no great surprise).  He wondered if our kids would remember anything of last night's subjects.

This morning before leaving for school, Jake was telling us about someone at school.  Here's the conversation:

Jake:  A kid in my school says "fort" instead of "fart".  I told him it's pronounced "fAHrt".
Me:  I really don't think you need to talk like that at school.  We don't say "fart".
Maddie:  I don't.  I say "toot".
Jake:  Yeah.  I don't say "fart".  I say, "burp".
Me:  Just for clarification: a fart and a burp are not the same thing.
Jake:  I know.  But, a fart is really just a burp out of your butt.

And then they left for school and I remembered Mike's musings from last night and wondered if I really wanted them to remember some of these conversations.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indiana or Bust 2009

This past weekend one of my cousins in Indiana got married.  Tracy and I drove down to Indianapolis on Friday, attended the wedding on Saturday, and headed home with my mom riding along on Sunday. 

It's a 10 hour drive.  11 if you have too much coffee in the morning.

Tracy pretty much took over Friday's drive.  I managed to keep occupied by either messing around with her iPod and picking songs or knitting when all else failed to entertain me.

The rules for Tracy driving were pretty obvious:

1.  Tunes are a must.
2.  Anyone is allowed to sing.  The more the merrier.
3.  The louder the better (depending on the song).
4.  If you can act out the song while singing even better.

Tracy also made this basic statement about 10 minutes into our drive:

"I don't claim to have the best voice.  But I'm still going to sing."

This was honestly fine with me because I don't have the best voice either, but I sing awesome in the car.  Even better when I'm completely alone.  Tracy informed me after awhile she was disappointed with my lack of singing; she really thought I'd be doing more of it on this trip.  I clearly needed to kick it into high.  My problem was I didn't know any of the songs on her iPod.

Then I found "The Sound of Music" and them there hills became alive with the sound of our voices belting out the duets that we both finally knew.  Julie Andrews has nothing on us.  (We also do a mean rendition of some "Les Mis" if you were curious.)

Then I decided to photo-document our trip.  Here's what I've got:

1.  Tracy driving.  This is approximately 2 hours into our drive.

2.  Tracy driving.  This is approximately 4 hours into our drive.

I know they look astonishingly similar but that's pretty much how it looked between those two hours.

3.  About 15 years ago our family went to another wedding in Indiana.  Everyone else was sleeping except the two of us.  I was driving and she was keeping me awake.  We were probably singing then too.  Suddenly the family roadster started sputtering and we couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Turns out we had run out of gas.  My dad was flabbergasted that we could allow that to happen.  No one has ever let us live that down.  Before leaving my family reminded us no less than 50 times to check our gas gauge while driving.


We did finally stop. 

4.  Traveling note for everyone:  Don't let all the firewood outside this place fool you.  It has the coldest bathrooms I've ever experienced.  I thought I was going to have to break ice to use the facilities. 

5.  I took over for the night session and we finally made it to our hotel room. 

We were exhausted and only too happy to be able to move.  You can imagine our delight when the dog across the parking lot barked from 11:45pm to 12:15am. 

Saturday afternoon was the wedding.  Congrats to the bride and groom!  We met up with family afterward for a wonderful evening of drinks, laughs and general-catching-up.  We were introduced to a delicious new beverage: Margherita (slushy kind) mixed with Sangria.  Delicioso!!

Then Sunday morning came and we were back in the car.  Tracy hardly slept the night before so I took over driving much earlier.

Mom didn't sleep well the night before either.  She konked out about five minutes into the drive.

"Funky-Funk T.K." took over the tunes and was bopping along.  She started singing.  My mom informed her she was a little flat.  That's when Tracy went over the rules with my mom. 

Then Tracy came upon "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and she was truly inspired. 

And then she was just plain delirious.

"Mom...what do you think?"

Okay - I have to say - no matter how many times I look at it I laugh.  That is far and away my new all-time favorite picture of Tracy. 

We had snacks along the way.  My choice of treat was "French Burnt Peanuts".  Tracy thought the new shade of my tongue was hysterical.  Actually, this picture had her in stitches.  She didn't even think it looked like a tongue. 

All this and Tracy looked at the GPS system and realized we still had some time left.  Eight hours to be precise:

Back to the scarf.  Tracy should really learn how to knit.

"Wait.  I can't tell if mom is sleeping or awake."

Then the scarf got old and things got really

We practiced the "Mockingbird Song" sung by Toby Keith and his daughter.  I learned about 80% of my part.  Tracy's got both parts down cold.  I clearly have some studying to do before we head out on our next road trip...

A trip I hope will be no further than our favorite Caribou.  A day-spa if we are lucky.  I'll even go outside the city limits for that one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Okay, Dad.

If Jake doesn't grow up to be a lawyer of some type, I might feel slightly jilted on all the time we've had to endure his endless arguments for or against (mostly against) whatever we request.

86.4% of the time we ask/tell/remind him to do something he has a "But!..." followed by a lengthy explanation of why it wasn't his fault or why he didn't do it the first time (or 10) the request or order was verbalized.  These diatribes are usually repeated endlessly.  ENDLESSLY.  All capitals.  Sometimes we think this kid's absolute goal in life is to wear us down.

Or to get a Wii....

But mostly to wear us down.

Last night at dinner Mike asked Jake to sit up at the table.  This is a ritual repeated every night at least five times during dinner.  Jake went into his "But!..." speech and I put down my fork and as sweetly as I could muster given the grueling circumstances said:

"Jake.  I think you would surprised at how much happier this entire household would be if all you said after dad asked you to do something was, 'Okay, dad.'  Or if I ask you, then say, 'Okay, mom.'  I swear.  It would be a different place."

He just looked at me and said, "Okay, mom."  Then he burst out laughing and I said, "See!  It's already working!"

Has it lasted 24 hours?  Yes and no.  He's started a couple times with the "But!..." speech but I simply have held up my hands and calmly said, "Okay, mom".  His reply has sometimes been:

"Okay.  Mom."  (through clenched teeth).

Okaaaaaaay, daaaad (with rolled eyes he thinks we don't see).

This afternoon Maddie actually started to come up with an excuse as to why she couldn't do something we'd asked her to do and Jake broke in and said, "No, Maddie.  You are just supposed to say, 'Okay, dad'.  You can't say anything else."

Are we happier 24 hours later?  I am.  Am I living in la-la land that this will hold out?  Hardly. 

But, I'm heading out of town this weekend and as Mike told Jake at the dinner table last night,

"It's just me this weekend, Jake.  And if you don't cut the attitude I have no problem letting you sit in your room, all by yourself without a single toy all weekend."

Eek.  Okay, dad.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Heard Around Here

These are some fun conversations I've had with people recently:

With Ellie:

Ellie: What’s this?
Kerry: A Car. With Ronald McDonald.
E: Is this Kay-ens?
K: Is this Kerry’s?
E: No. Is this Kay-ens.
K: Is this Karen’s?
E: Who?
K: Karen’s?
E: No. Kay-ens.
K: Oh! Katelyn’s. No. It’s not Katelyn’s.
E: Is this Riley’s?
K No. It’s the Murphy’s.
E: No. It’s not the Murphy’s.
K: Yes. It belongs to Maddie and Jake.
E: It belongs to Ma-yee and Jake?
K: Yes.


E: It’s not Ashley’s?
K: No.
E: It’s not Kay-en’s?
K: No.

[sly smile]

E: It’s not Ellie’s?
K: Sorry. No


With Jake:

Kerry [upstairs]: Jake - you left your closet light on. Please come and turn it off.
Jake [downstairs]: Will you please turn it off for me? I'll give you $10. Really. I will!


With Mike:

Kerry: Jake just offered me $10 to turn off his light. I'm having a moral dilemma. Part of me really wants the $10. But I realize as his parent I should teach him that you can't just throw around money.
Mike: [just stares at me]
Kerry: I'm not going to take it. I've already checked. He doesn't have $10. HA. I'm kidding.
Mike: Good thing you at least make yourself laugh. It would be awfully quiet around here otherwise.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Robbed the Cradle

Call me a Cougar but I definitely pulled in the younger man - thank you very much.

Yep.  He's 10 days younger.  Today is his 36th birthday.  (For those doing the math that means I'm 36 and 10 days.  You're welcome.)

I thought I'd put up a little picture from way back when of him.  He only reads this blog about once a month so by the time he gets to reading this blurb it'll be Christmas time and he won't want to make me upset lest he get a yucky Christmas gift.

Anyway - it really isn't embarrassing.  It's actually two pictures I put together in an album I made for him (with his mom's generous assistance) when he was 30 years old.

This is Mike around six months old.  Healthy, isn't he?  I can't really talk.  10 days before this was taken I was probably weighing in at about five pounds more.  I was a chunk.

Anyway, when I was putting this scrapbook together I loved this picture because I knew I had a picture of Jake from around the same age.  The best part was they were in a very similar pose:

And no, my six month old baby did not have a 5 o'clock shadow.  It was just a plain shadow and bad picture taking skills.  I like to think I've improved at least a little.

I think there's some similarities - the nose, the smirk, the hair. 

I'm sure if I asked Mike's mom I would discover they had the same attitude throughout growing up as well. 

Happy Birthday, Mike! 
Love, Your Old Lady

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

Last night was the big debut of the costumes our kids have been very excited about.  Our friends hosted a party.  You may remember from last year that Mike and I decided we should dress up the day OF the party.  The party was Halloween day and we did the best we could.

Maddie chose to be Hannah Montana this year.  My mom had purchased a blond wig for her, but Maddie decided her real hair looked more authentic than the wig.  Once I convinced her that I had a general idea of how to fix her hair after looking up some Hannah pictures, she let me at it.  In preparation for her outfit we also spray-painted her black boots white.  These were in awful shape and getting too small so we decided this would be their final foray in fashion.  She had so much fun painting these.  When she finally got the hang of it she finished and said, "Wow!  I never knew I'd be so good at this!"

She was hugely excited to get to wear make-up.  She did not want to take that off at the end of the night.  She was very happy when we couldn't get off all the mascara.  I assured her it would be off by morning just by sleeping. 

Jake announced awhile ago that he would be Dracula.  I was thrilled because we already had this costume from a couple years ago with Maddie.  My mom had sewn a cummerbun and neck-tie and found a perfect cape.  Jake was so excited to get use the teeth that the make-up kit came with.  He asked daily to try them on.

After wearing them about five minutes he realized they were not very comfortable.  No one could understand him either.  We had tried telling him all along that he currently had the perfect tooth configuration to pull off a Dracula look all on his own and that's what he went with the for the rest of the night.

Mike and I didn't wait until the last minute like last year.  We got his accessories picked out early in the week.  I actually bought a $3 sheet set from Walmart and my mom sewed my costume in 30 minutes.  I gave it to her the night before so while it wasn't as last minute as last year, I have not lost my touch in waiting until the 11th hour to get things done.  And I still go to my mom to sew my Halloween costume.  Yes.  I'm 36.

We decided to reprise our roles from high school:

I decided that I can see where being a make-up artist would be kind of fun.  I also learned that we cannot allow only 25 minutes to get everyone into costumes.  We were very late to the party.  Oh well, one problem solved per year.  Next year we might actually have our act together.