Expensive Halloween Candy Debacle

"Hey, what are you doing right now?" asked my friend Karen last Wednesday night on one of our million phone conversations.  

"I'm just rolling into my driveway."  

"Let's go buy candy."

"What?  I'm not going to buy candy right now.  It's late.  I'm wearing sweatpants."

"Chris can watch the girls and I want to get it done."

"But I just got home and I need to get ready for tomorrow." 

"C'mon.  Let's go."

"No.  This is weird.  I'm not going to buy candy right now."  

I hung up the phone and walked into my house shaking my head.  But then I thought about my life for a minute and realized a few things.  One being I really did need to buy candy for the Halloween trick-o-treaters.  Two being I didn't actually feel like being home quite yet.  Three being I knew it would be adventure because anytime the two of us do anything, it becomes an adventure.   There was a buying potting soil incident at Menards one spring that will go down in the books. 

So I promptly called Karen back, "Yes.  Let's go buy candy.  Pick me up.  And I'm still wearing my sweatpants so you better not look cute."  

"I'm in sweats too.  Be there in ten."  

Off to Target we went.  On a candy run.  In our sweats.  Late at night.  We both are easily distracted and become over-stimulated at the snap of a finger...so standing in the Halloween candy aisle was nearly impossible.  I could not make up my mind about what candy I should buy to pass out to the little goblins.  I even asked the Target worker guy, "Why do you have so many choices?  I can't handle this."  

His answer, "So we can make more money off of people like you."

After taking even more time picking up a bag, putting it the cart, only to come around the corner and trade it out for a different bag, final candy decisions were made and we headed to the check-out.
I bought three bags of candy.  The big huge kind because my neighborhood turns into Leave it to Beaver Land on the night of Halloween.  The trick-o-treaters come out in hoards.  Old school style.   

My total was thirty-nine dollars and seventy-two cents.  Yes, you heard me right.  $39.72.  For three bags of candy.  

When we were putting the cart away, I stopped and stood and thought and said while holding my two target bags, "Ummm...let's think about this logically for a second.  I don't even like candy.  I don't even eat candy.  I don't even like candy.  I just spent forty dollars.  On candy.  That's like three new cute shirts.  I think I want to take this candy back.  Right now."  

Karen stared at me.  

I continued with, "I should give apples out or something like that." 

Karen stared at me.  And replied, "Yes Amy.  You should give apples out.  With razor blades.  Or maybe you should get a cat to put on your counter and make popcorn balls."  

"But for real.  That's a lot of money for freaking candy.  Maybe I should just not be home or something."  

"Right.  You can be the crabby lady who hides in her room while the little trick-o-treaters ring your doorbell.  Because that's really your style."  

"Fine.  I'm keeping the candy.  You're right."

We really did have that exact conversation while standing next to the carts at the entrance to Target.  I really did have total candy buyer's remorse and wanted so badly to take it back.  But without an excuse of somewhere to go on Halloween night, I knew I had to have candy.  Because like I said, my neighborhood equals Leave it to Beaver.   

While we were driving away from the Target, I turned to Karen and said, "Did you say 'Or you should get a cat and put it on your counter and make popcorn balls?'  Where do you come up with this stuff?"

Then we laughed.  Laughed because I wanted to take candy back immediately after buying it.  Laughed because Karen is ridiculous.  Laughed because we were buying candy in our sweatpants late at night.  Laughed because it took us a solid twenty-three minutes to even pick out the candy because we are that easily distracted.  Laughed because of cats on counters and popcorn balls and apples and razor blades.

Here is the best part of the whole Candy Buying Debacle of 2011.  My sister's volleyball team won their game on Friday so they are playing the late, late game at the district tournament tonight.  Which means, I won't be home for all of the trick-o-treaters.  Which means, I totally took back a bag of candy on Saturday morning and put the $15.49 back in my pocket.  Of course I picked the most spendy one to return.   

Take that expensive Halloween candy.  Remember, I don't even like you in the first place.

Before you start thinking I am some kind of holiday scrooge, I present you with this theme fashion statement.

I love holidays and all things holiday.  Just not spending money on candy.  

Happy Halloween to you and yours!  May you either have fun scoring candy from strangers with your own kids or passing out candy to other people's children.  Or maybe you are going to dress yourself up to go out and get a little wild.  Or maybe you'll have fun making popcorn balls with a cat on your counter.     


Air, Corn, and Sea Salt for Groove

It happened.  

My groove.  

It's back.

Yesterday evening, I was slicing mushrooms.  So very appropriate my groove would come flying in during veggie chopping.  

In my kitchen.  Music floating through the air.  Fire crackling in the living room {yes, it's natural gas...but I swear it crackles}.  Rain on the window.  

And just like that.  I looked up from the mushrooms and first thought, "Hey.  This is fabulous."  Then I actually said out loud, "Yes!"  

I flipped my knife around in a little oh yeahhh and danced a shimmy shake right there.  

Danced in my kitchen.  By myself.  With a lime green knife.  

I have grown.  I have learned.  I have my groove back.  

The other day, I air popped my own popcorn to bring to Sister Pister's volleyball game.  Because dangit, I like to eat popcorn at sporting events but I don't like to eat a bag of oil.  So I made my own.  As I sat there with my camera and a ziploc baggie of popcorn which had been finagled out of my purse, I realized that sometimes my groove is as simple as air, corn, and sea salt.  

Not everything needs to be rocket science.  


Doing Some Life Loving

Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams.

I'm not sure if I read or heard that nugget, but it stuck with me.  

When the rest of the cow working crew walked across the yard to make their way into the house for lunch, I traded my leather gloves for my camera and ambled down the winding driveway.  

It's part of loving my life.  Capturing it in still frames.  

The sun on the stacks of hay.  Neatly stacked hay is pretty.  Not neatly stacked hay makes my heart beat fast.

Crispy leaves beckoning me to lay in them.

Taking a brief pause to pick out a model leaf.  Feeling the rest of the world slipping away.

The wind causing me to sweep the escaped hair from my pony-tail off my face.  And in the seconds of looking up, catching a glimpse of leaves swirly blowing down the driveway.

My creative beast successfully fed.   

For dessert, catching the sun bouncing once I found myself back in the yard.   

I can't explain why I laid down in the leaves before going in to wash my hands and eat lunch with the rest of the cow working crew other than...it simply is me being the person I am meant to be

And when I finally squeezed in a place at the crowded table, no one even wondered where I was.  It's like they just know when I take off with my camera, I'm doing some life loving.   

At the end of that long day, when all the work was complete and the cattle were carving their path back to the pastures, it happened again.  

The pull to stop.  The pull to capture it.  To make it still.    

The pull to love the life I have while I create the life of my dreams. 


Leftover Mascara and Cow Poop

Last Friday, after snuggling that sweet baby, my friend Jessie and I made the road trip to Bismarck to attend the grand opening celebration of our forever friend's new business venture.  April owns CC's Physical Therapy and added a twist to her normal operations.  Feminine Fitness.  Let's just say this.  It does involve poles and dancing, but it's so much more.  Women being powerful and confident and fabulous.  

We had oh so much fun at the opening with wine and demonstrations, but also afterwards with dancing and singing karaoke and getting phone numbers handed to us on paper napkins and being ridiculous.  I love getting together with the girls I used to attend bonfires in high school with and the girls I used to road trip to football games with and the girls I used to gossip about cute boys with and the girls I used to run from the cops with in college.  I love being with them again because they know me on a different level than most.  Because we went through the awkward together and that pretty much bonds you for life.  

As we were all click click clicking down the streets in our variety of heels, I had one of those moments of when did this happen as I realized the goals and dreams we used to talk about when we were all smushed on one of our bed's at a sleepover are starting to come to fruition.  This growing up, going after career goals, getting married, having babies, dating, buying houses, dating some more, getting wrinkles...is happening.  We are doing it.  And I have truly amazing friends; the kind of ladies everyone hopes they have in their life.  

I could not be more proud of you April and your ventures.  Because I believe it is such a winner, I will even be making the trip for some classes this spring when I don't have to worry about being stuck in a snow bank.  I hope you will let me sleep on your couch and wear your sweatpants.  Just like the old days.  Except without your dog peeing on me in the middle of the night.  That part I do not want to be like college.     

Feminine Fitness.  Check it out.  

After getting in at an hour even I'm not used to, Jessie and I woke up at six 6:30 on Saturday morning to leave so I could make it back it time to help work cows.  Coffee was necessary for the trip home.  

But, I knew I didn't want to miss the fall cattle working.  I missed all the rounding up and hauling this year because of a pesky thing called a job and I like time with dirt, sun, and family so Saturday was a must.

I wish I had some pictures of my fashion from the night before.  A blazer from the "teacher store."  I am aware the word blazer put in the same sentence as teacher store probably makes you think tacky, but I swear it was not nerdy.  What might have been nerdy was us getting ready in the Wendy's bathroom.  Yes, I said the Wendy's bathroom.  We didn't eat there.  Just changed there.  Classy.   

Cute blazer and a necklace so fun even a guy noticed...to...seven layers of random with squished hat head.  Variety is the spice of life. 

Now here is when I will admit to the fact that coffee and a brownie were necessary in the late afternoon during the calf working when I pretended I needed to go to the bathroom.  I really just needed a break from pushing the tub because the wine from the evening before was starting to take its toll.

And fine.  I actually had two brownies.  Cow working absolutely counts as a holiday.         

At this point in the early evening starting to set sun, I do think this calf and I were feeling the same.  Feeling the maybe I had a little too much fun last night.  The good news is we both made it through.   

Friday night was dancing, singing karaoke, and click clicking heels with my forever friends.  All day Saturday was family time and cow working with left over mascara on my eyes and cow poop on my shirt.  A slice of random and a full life.  Which is just how I like it.


A Beautiful Baby Girl

My eyes might be biased, but I do believe Hazel Faith is one beautiful baby girl.  For real beautiful.  There's something about her already. 

I snuck up to the hospital on Friday morning to get some snuggling in with the little bug.  When I first arrived, the other three munchkins were loving on their littlest sister.  Talk about melt your heart right into a puddle. 

After the room cleared out, Sil and I had a fabulous heart to heart talk.  It seems like we aren't able to do that very often with the distractions of the every day, so sitting there in the quiet morning with my niece in my arms while visiting with my sister-in-law was a fulfilling way to spend a vacation Friday morning.  

And like I said before, Hazel Faith is one beautiful baby girl.  Sure this aunt might be biased.  But she is.  Beautiful.    

On a fun side note...it's my brother and sister-in-law's anniversary today.  Eight years ago they promised to always be together and look what they have now.  Four perfect children and they are on their way to a life time of family memories.  Happy anniversary to you both!  I'll babysit the kiddos so you can go out on a date.  I'm almost certain I can handle all four.  It might take some twirling and foot stomping, but I think I can get the job done.  Just think, eight years ago, I chipped my tooth on a champagne bottle at your wedding.  And now, I'm offering to babysit your four kids.  Life is running crazy fast.  


This Time I Was There

What if you only had today what you thanked God for yesterday?  

A friend asked me this a few weeks ago and it made my heart skip a beat.  Because I am often not thankful enough for the unbelievable blessings in my life.  When push comes to shove, I have it all.  A family that knocks my socks off with their greatness, friends who fill my cup, an inspiring and satisfying career, a house to call my own, and the list goes on.  Blessed.  I am blessed.  I better be doing my thanking every day.     

On Thursday morning, when I was curled up in a hospital waiting room chair waiting for the elevator door to open with the newest member of our family making a grand entrance, I was blinking back the tears for the enormity of just how much I indeed have it all.    

Tears that could only be a sign of one thing.  Blessed happiness.  Minutes before the tears started rolling down my cheeks, my big brother had walked through all of us...his family and his wife's family all mixed together waiting for the arrival of the baby that would join in the web of togetherness.  Waiting to find out if it would be a girl or a boy we would all be loving on.

And I can't even explain why, but it about sent me over the proud edge to see him in his scrubs with an enormous smile on his face saying to his other three children, "The baby will be here soon."  The brother I used to ride bike with and the brother who was the drummer when I put on lip syncing shows with my friends and the brother I spent hours with doing barn chores...my brother...the father of three, soon to be four...walking through the waiting room.  It about sent me over the proud edge.

I turned to my mom and said, "I'm not sure I can handle this.  I'm already a mess."   

You see, this baby's birth was the first time I was able to be there for the monumental moment of the elevator door opening.  When the other three were born, I was either in college or at work and I had the agonizing wait by the phone.  This time was different.  I was there.  

There for the elevator door opening with my brother exclaiming, "It's a GIRL!"  

There for the first glimpse of a tiny baby girl who will always matter to all of us more than the air we breathe.  Because that's how it is with family.  Instant all-in love.  

There for the grandparents' tears and camera clickings and the littlest brother's first time of seeing his sister.

There for witnessing the unbelievable perfection of the miracle of life.  Perfection that takes your breath away.  Literally.

There for the priceless reaction of Firecracker who so desperately wanted a sister.  There to see her dream come true.  There to know that now forever, she will have that special sister bond in her life.  

There to see the instant protective love between father and daughter.   

There to see instinctual sibling love.  It can only be described as instinctual.  The look in their eyes says they simply know that new little being will forever be a part of them and their stories.   

There to see the cousins over the moon excited about having one more to play with and scheme with and make memories with.  

There to capture this moment.  One that requires no words and brings me to tears every single time I look at it. 

There to be an observer to my fantastic sister-in-law's mother love.  That little girl has no way of knowing just how fabulous of a mom she has.  She'll figure it out though.  She'll figure out she is one of the lucky ones.   

There to be amazed by every tiny feature.  

There to wait "patiently" for the name.  And there to squeal with delight at the announcement of Hazel Faith.  A pretty name for a pretty girl. 

There to kiss those cheeks and smush on her precious face.   

There to watch my little sister be an aunt and know exactly how she feels inside.  

There to see my mom and dad extend their family.  And there to wonder what it feels like to see the legacy of your family continuing on.  

There to see my brother and sister-in-law become parents again, knowing in my heart they are the people meant to raise their brood of four children.  Because they instill them with confidence and nurture their independence and love them to pieces.    

Yes, this time I was there.  There for it all.  And being there for Hazel Faith's birth day reminded me to be thankful for the unbelievable blessings I have in my life.

And I am doing my thanking.  Thanking God for what I have in my life today.