13 Halloweens

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the various costumes my children have worn through the years! I even stumbled across a couple gems of JB and I dressed up for a couple of Halloween parties.

2001: 101 Dalmatians



This was Monkey’s first Halloween! Naturally, he didn’t really understand what it was about, but he grabbed onto this 101 Dalmatians costume in the store…so that’s what we got! I spent the entire night telling everyone he wasn’t a cow, he was a freaking dalmatian. Dalmatians don’t MOO. (pardon the rough scan…this was before I had a digital camera.)

2002: Cute Clown



I so loved this cute clown costume! By the time I managed this picture, he had lost the hat, and wiped most of the makeup off. I’ve looked several times, and I can’t find a better picture of him from this particular year. Sad face.

I saved this one for a long time, hoping Diva would wear it. But after the JoJo nightmare (see 2006) we weren’t about to attempt to get her in another clown costume of any sort.

2003: Mike from Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc.


This was the first year that Monkey informed us what he wanted to dress up as…and at that time, the original Monsters, Inc. movie was huge…so Mike it was! He kept this one for a long time, and it was a pretty typical sight to come to my house and see my kid walking around dressed like a chubby green monster.

2004: Harry Potter and Baby Snow White

Harry PotterBaby Snow White


Diva’s first Halloween, and she was pretty much a 3 month old lump in a Snow White costume…this isn’t the best picture of her obviously, but she looked so sweet! I went crazy with Monkey’s Harry Potter costume. It is still one of my favorites! You can’t see it under all his blonde hair, but he has a lightning scar on his forehead, too. :)

2005: Cyborg and Leopard Kitty

CyborgLeopard Kitty


Monkey just had to be Cyborg from Teen Titans that year. Even though up to this point, he hated any costume that required the wearing of a mask, and we desperately tried to talk him out of this one. Of course, he ripped it off pretty quick and said it made his face hot. Diva was a super cute Leopard Kitty. She would walk around half the night, saying, “Meow, Mama!”

2006: Mr. Incredible and JoJo’s Circus

Mr. IncredibleJoJo's Circus


This was a fun year. Nah, not really. I adored both of their costumes, but that picture of Diva? The one where she’s bawling? That’s pretty much what she did THE.ENTIRE.NIGHT.

Also pictured? My sweet Gizmo kitty. I miss that little bugger.

2007: Ninja and Little Vampire



This was year one for the Ninja. He really got into character for this one, can you tell? For Diva’s vampire costume, I attempted to put dark makeup on her to make her look more the part. Unfortunately, I’m practically lily white, and she’s dark…so yeah, my darkest stuff barely showed up on her at all.

2008: Scary Vampire and Tinkerbell



Diva was really into Tinkerbell that year, and there was simply no question of what she would dress up as. Monkey chose to be a vampire, and JB really went all out on his makeup. At one of the Halloween parties we attended, my son the vampire was ecstatic that he scared my friend’s daughter. She refused to come anywhere near him after that.

Gomez and Morticia


This was also the year we attended two Halloween parties, and we dressed up for them. First, we were Gomez and Morticia Addams. I rock a black wig, no? I still have it, but that’s the only time I’ve worn that costume…because it was some kind of hot. Not smoking hot, but holy cow I’m roasting alive hot.

Adult party


The second party was adults only…so my costume was slightly more, um…adult. I felt like I was about to pop out of my costume pretty much the whole night. JB had fun putting on his ghostly groom makeup…he freaked out our children, and he was happy about that.

2009: Snow White and Red Ninja

Snow White and Red Ninja


This was the second year Monkey was a ninja. This particular year, he and two other boys we went trick or treating with were dressed exactly alike…I had a hard time finding my kid half the time. My pretty little Snow White…the majority of the night, she ran around brandishing a samurai sword. Sigh.

2010: Werewolf and a Bumblebee

bumblebee and werewolf


This was the first Halloween we stayed in our new town for the holiday. Monkey was a werewolf…that’s a “heart” he’s holding…he could pump it and it would make that “wound” on his chest would pulse. It was disgusting! Diva was an adorable little bumblebee…I loved her costume!

2011: Dorothy and…I don’t know what

no clueDorothy


This was the year that my daughter dressed as an adorable little Dorothy, complete with Toto in a basket. I honestly have no idea what my son was supposed to be…but I do know he hated that costume as much as I did, because he took it off halfway through the night.

2012: Gangster and Not a Geisha

GangsterNot a Geisha


This year was a fun year! Monkey decided after the previous year’s mask debacle, he’d go simple…and just paint on a beard. Diva told me she wanted to be a geisha girl after seeing the costume in a magazine. I was all for it, and then JB told me what exactly a geisha was…so um, here’s my daughter as Not a Geisha.

2013: Vampire and The Headless Horseman

Vampire and The Headless Horseman

This year was not particularly a fabulous one. All my son wanted to do was dress up as Slender Man. I had no idea who or what that even was at the time, so it was actually lucky that I couldn’t find a costume in his size! His second option was was this Headless Horseman costume, which he ditched less than an hour in. Diva fell in love with this vampire costume, and I have to admit, it looked pretty cute on her.


I love Halloween, and I have fun with the costumes. I love that my kids have always gotten so excited about picking their costumes out every year. This year feels like the end of an era…Monkey has decided not to dress up for Halloween this year, and that’s a decision that has been coming for a while. Diva is still debating if she wants a costume, so I’m hoping she doesn’t wait until the last minute to tell me what she wants to do!


[This post was originally posted October 2013, and updated in October 2014.]

Sweet Baby Love

I admit it…I have pretty much made everybody completely crazy the last few months.

I’ve been going on and on and on about how unbearably excited I have been for my latest nephew’s birth! (I apologize, dear coworkers…you’d think I’ve never been around a baby before, when the reality is that I’m around babies almost every single day.)

Baby E

I’m not sure if the level of my excitement was because it’s been so very long since there was a baby in our family, or if it’s because this baby would be my only brother’s offspring. Honestly, it was probably a little of both…I had just about accepted that he would never have a child with his first wife (something I’m incredibly thankful for now.) And then when my sister-in-law suffered an ectopic pregnancy, I didn’t think they would have the courage to try for a baby again.

The last month of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy wasn’t easy for her. She had to deal with gestational hypertension, agonizing headaches, swelling, and a few weeks of bedrest before her sweet little boy was born. Working in the field that I do, I was constantly on guard with every little thing she told me…it’s one thing when I’m caring for a patient, it’s something else entirely when it’s my family.


She was at last scheduled for an induction in her 39th week. I made the trip home the morning of her scheduled induction, but the hospital was far too busy to fit her in that day. It was incredibly frustrating, but everything went as planned on the following day. Her labor was blissfully short and mostly pain free after she got her epidural…he was born just 5 hours after they arrived at the hospital!

The Happy Parents

I had the honor of staying with the two of them when delivery time came. I was about to head out of the room with the rest of the family, when my sister-in-law asked me to stay! Of course I will! It was one of the easiest deliveries I’ve ever seen, and yet again, you’d think I’d never done this before…I cried like a baby when that boy was born!

And then I pulled myself together and started snapping pictures for the over the moon parents!

My Sweet Nephew

Father and Son

With my new nephew

The new family came home from the hospital the next evening, which is when my kids got to meet their new baby cousin! They instantly fell in love with him, and simply wanted to hold him all the time. If my son’s eyes look red to you in the following picture, it’s because he got pretty emotional while holding his cousin for the first time…he kept saying that he finally has someone in the family who looks like him! (for the record, my son greatly resembles my brother, and Baby E looks exactly like my brother.)


We are all head over heels for sweet Baby E! I can’t wait to get him in my arms again :)

The Flipside

I could say that I have been “Incredibly Busy” these last few months…yeah, I could. But it would only be partly true.

Re: Work – There have been some changes. I’m still in the same job, same department. I was asked a while back to consider working primarily in the nursery, and after a bit of deliberation, I agreed. I worried that I would regret limiting myself to the one area so often, but the truth is, I actually enjoy it. Not to say it doesn’t get hectic and extremely busy some days, because Oh, Boy it definitely does!

I have also spent much of my time at work the last few months orienting newbies…first a nursing school student shadowed me for several weeks, and then immediately after that, I was orienting a brand new nurse to our unit for two months. While both of these girls are awesome, the mental toll it takes on this introvert to never have ANY time to myself has been quite significant! I’ve had a couple weeks without an orientee now, but next week, the original nursing student from before will be starting her preceptorship with me.

Re: Family – School for my littles started in early August. And as expected, 8th grade and 5th grade have come with their own unique challenges. Both kids are doing well enough, but each has a particular area they are struggling in.

Monkey made the decision to drop cross country and track this year. He had a lot of knee pain this past year, and I think that is ultimately what led to his decision. He still does the multiple bands at school, and I have many days when I think his band teacher has totally flipped her lid this year because she is demanding so much.

Diva changed from attending regular gymnastics classes once a week to twice weekly competition gymnastics sessions, and she’s getting pretty good! She has her first competition coming up in early November. It can get a little annoying to have her cartwheeling and handstanding all over the place, but I tell myself she’s just practicing…

And? My sweet baby nephew was born last week! He is the most perfect little creation since, well, my kids ;) My brother and sister-in-law gave me the honor of staying in the delivery room with them, and seeing Sweet E enter the world was nothing short of amazing.

Re: Health – Eh. I’m not really sure what to say about this, other than it is what it is. Nothing I can really point to, and I haven’t been sick exactly. I just have zero get up and go these days, and absolutely no motivation. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been incredibly LAZY…not working out, not reading much, cleaning the house just enough to get by, and I spent far too much time watching shows to clear out my Hulu queue. I’m due for thyroid labs in a few weeks, and I’m really curious how those results are going to look…based on how I’ve felt as of late. (and yeah, I do blame as much as possible on my crap thyroid.)

Re: Reality – The truth is…I burned out, in more ways than one. I was mentally drained, and stress was coming at me from multiple sources. I changed up the blog design hoping to spark something. I stopped checking in on Twitter because I was overloaded and overwhelmed every time I logged on. I have sat down many times, fingers on the keys, ready to write something…and nothing comes. I felt like I was constantly having to figure out what to post here, write a post for every day, and I was running out of ideas. And that was not what I wanted for my blog…I don’t want to be someone else, I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. I want to be me, and I want to be real.

I’ve cleaned up my Twitter account, pared down my lists, and I’m actually trying to get back into it. I am considering killing off the blog’s Facebook page, maybe even the Google+ page that I rarely ever use. Not even going to lie, I haven’t even touched my feed reader in months…I’m a little scared to look in there. Baby steps, baby steps.


So there you have it…life in a nutshell these days! I hope to get back into the swing of things soon…perhaps even post about our vacation over the summer, my adorable nephew, who knows?


I took this photo in the early part of June. It is a walking path around a large pond, in almost the farthest area of our county.


It is where my son’s cross country team meets up for running practice. It is also where I sometimes get some walking and thinking done.

When I took this picture, I remember being struck by the view…it was so serene, so peaceful. Lily pads on the water, a nice breeze to counteract the 90+ degree heat. At that time of the morning, not many people were there…just me, my son, and a couple of people out for a stroll.

Honestly…that day is probably the last truly peaceful day I’ve had since the summer started. Now it’s all kids arguing, dogs barking, chaos in my house 24/7.

When does school start again?


Mama Kat's Writers Workshop

Shake Off The Dust

Tap, Tap. Is this thing on?

This summer has proven to be quite a busy one. The kids keep us hopping pretty much every day!

Monkey has his cross country running club meet ups three mornings a week, and only just finished up his Scouting for the year. He and JB recently ventured off on a week long camping trip, which of course…was difficult for me, as usual.

Diva has been keeping busy with several gymnastics camps, and she has cheerleading camp coming up soon. She also has her regular weekly gymnastics classes, too!

So much for a nice, relaxing summer! I need a vacation! (the planning of which is currently in the works…)

What’s going on for you this summer??



It Works For Me: CalenGoo App

Droste Clock

Chances are, if you have more than one child, or even just one child…you find yourself staying pretty busy on a regular basis. The older my kids get, the more activities they want to do, and it seems like my husband and I are constantly running the family taxi service to get them to each one.

So how do you keep your family’s schedules straight? Some people like day planners, others just use a regular calendar. Me…I keep everything in my phone!  (Every. Little. Thing.) Specifically, I use a scheduling app called CalenGoo. (app website)

Yes, it’s a little pricey, especially for a cheapo like me who doesn’t like to pay for apps! I likely would never have tried it, simply because of the price. But I downloaded it as a free app of the day way back when I had an Android phone. (yes, Android users, it’s available for you, too!) I loved it so much that I convinced JB to download it, and he didn’t even bat an eyelash about both of us spending $14 on iPhone apps when we got our new phones…because it works so well for us.

Buy on Amazon App Store ($5.99) | Buy on iTunes App Store ($6.99)

Sync All Your Calendars…

The beauty of this app is that it syncs up to your Google calendar (and your iPhone calendar). Both my husband and I heavily rely on our Google calendars to keep us on track. I don’t keep a set work schedule, so whenever I get a new schedule I sit right down and plug it into my CalenGoo calendar; it automatically syncs to both of our Google calendars, and when he checks his phone later, voila! He’s got my work schedule right in front of him.

JB is the Scoutmaster for our son’s Boy Scout Troop, and they go camping one weekend every month. Because he shares the troop calendar with my Google account, it also syncs up to my CalenGoo, and when I am setting my schedule up I know which weekends to not schedule myself for.

Now with our children becoming busier with their extracurricular activities, we have cheer practices, basketball games, band concerts, track practices and meets, birthday parties, etc, all scheduled in…and we just have to open our app to see what’s going on for the day. (plus, daily events all show up in your pull down on your iPhone.)

When I am scheduling doctor’s appointments and such, I don’t need them to give me an appointment reminder card that’s just going to end up floating in the abyss of my purse. I add the appointment on my calendar right then and there.

Altogether, I actually have four different Google calendars, pulled into one place. It pretty much rocks.

Now for the not so traditional ways I use this app…

Meal Planning 101

I am a meal planner. I learned this during my SAHM days, and wondered why I had never done it before, because it just made life so much easier (and the grocery trips cheaper)! I used to pencil and paper it, and that worked well enough. But then I started entering the day’s planned dinner into the calendar, complete with the page number in my recipe book and the recipe typed into the description field. On my work days, we usually have a crock pot dinner, so I plan 2-3 of those every week. For everything else, I tend to make the “events” repeat every couple weeks, so planning dinners for a month is a snap. Then the next month, I rotate them out for a new batch of recipes. Because it syncs to both our phones, whoever is doing the cooking that night knows what to take out for dinner.

I also discovered, quite by accident, that I could actually email my recipes to people directly from the app. This made one of my coworkers very happy, as she had been begging me for some recipes.

 Editorial Calendar

Another non traditional way I have used CalenGoo is as an editorial calendar of sorts. There is a plugin that does this on self hosted WordPress blogs, and that is what I currently use…but if you aren’t using self hosted WordPress, the Google calendar route is a wonderful thing! It helped me keep track of what I posted or what I might want to post at a later time, and it worked pretty well!

Sound off! How do you keep track of your busy life?


{this post was originally published in February 2013.}

photo by: Jlhopgood