Awake

Happy 2017!!

I don’t have any fun New Year’s pictures to share. I took an Ambien and was in bed by 9. Party animal. Scott did wake me up for our traditional smooch after midnight, but I was out again right away.

Sunday, we woke up to head to our pancake breakfast at church. When we arrived at the church, the colors of the sunrise were still present. It was so beautiful. The pond was smooth and at rest. The reflection was amazing. It was really breath taking. It was such a reminder to slow down and praise the Lord for all that He does.

I have been asking God to reveal my “theme” word to me for this new year. I was starting to wonder if I would ever figure it out. Finally..

AWAKE. 

Maybe that sounds strange. Do you ever just coast through your days? You are there, but not really there. Not fully enjoying the small moments, or even the big ones. So often, I am just waiting until the next thing and missing out on so much. I want to live life fully awake! There are so many wonderful things in this life if we just look around and see them.

My husband deserves a wife who is living life fully awake. My children deserve a mother who is 100% committed and there. The last couple of years have truly taken a toll on me- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Through many trials and more diagnosis’ than I can count, I feel like I have “checked out” in a lot of ways. I am just trying to make it through until bed time most days.

I refuse to live life that way anymore.

There are so many blessings in life. My kids are healthy and happy. I have an incredible husband who is so far above anything that I deserve. God loves me in spite of who I am. He has provided above what we could imagine or deserve.

Aside from having the theme of “awake” this year, I will be making some lifestyle changes. I realize that there are people with SIGNIFICANTLY worse ailments than I have, so please do not think that I throw a pity party for myself or am trying to be ultra dramatic. I know it could be so much worse. However, my health issues have caused me to feel completely depleted of all energy. The past several days that Scott has had off, I have literally spent over 12 hours in bed each night and still get up feeling terrible. I know that my crummy diet has contributed significantly to that.

I will be giving up gluten and dairy for good. A lifestyle change, NOT a diet. I know that being GF is trendy (Why? I have no idea!!) but I know that cutting gluten out of my diet is absolutely necessary for me. I am thinking about giving up coffee for a month to see if I feel any different. (Bring on the Matcha Lattes)

In summary (snort) I will be living 2017 fully awake potentially without coffee. HAHA!!

Do you have any resolutions or goals this year? Or, do you have a theme that you are going to live by?  I would love to pray with and for you to attain your goals!

 

 

An Assortment of Wintery-Things

*Groan* It is Monday already. I am pooped. We had meetings, dance class, Christmas parties, rehearsals, and recitals this past week/weekend. I’ve also been fighting off a miserable cold (along with the rest of my girls). Blah! Colds are dumb.

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It was a fun full week. Chloe did such a great job at her dance recital!!! She tends to get really shy when she has to be in front of people. To be completely honest, I was really worried about her getting stage fright. But, she rocked it!!! During rehearsal she looked overwhelmed for the first few moves and then found her groove. Show time was no problem at all for her. I am so proud, and sat in my seat fighting back tears. I was a backstage mom, so the above picture is the only one I have of her. I don’t know that I will ever volunteer to be a backstage mom again, but we will see. haha!

We actually got some snow here the night of the rehearsal. I don’t think that we even got an inch, but it came down really thick and windy while we were driving. It got below freezing, and I wanted to hide under many blankets inside.

If any of you girl moms are in need of a winter coat this time of year, Old Navy has these for $12.94 right now. For you boy moms, these are the cheapest I see. (Toddler girls/Toddler boys) I discovered a huge hole in Addi’s winter coat, and discovered that a hole was forming in Chloe’s in the same spot. I guess the moral of the story is don’t ever buy Gymboree coats because they fall apart easily. They did wear them all last year, so it’s not a complete loss.

I am really enjoying winter in Oklahoma so far. The temperature has been well above freezing, and the sun actually shines. I usually get in a MAJOR winter funk every year. So far, I am not feeling that one bit. It is so great to not feel clouded by depression. I can put on a coat and hat and usually feel pretty good outside. Though, most days I haven’t even needed the coat. Allllllllllll the praise hands!

Another huge praise is that we have a GARAGE. Scott worked his tail off on Friday and Saturday to get the rest of our boxes put in the attic or emptied out so that we could park in there before the cold set in. He was able to pull the van in before the “heavy” snow started. That man works so hard and does so much. I am so incredibly thankful for him.

Yesterday, he had to take our entire toilet apart. The handle to our diaper sprayer fell into the bowl as it got flushed and down it went. It got stuck and was clogging the toilet. He told me that I should start a blog series “Adventures with my Husband”. He was able to get something shoved in the pipe and pushed it up juuuust enough for me to cram my hand as far as I could get it and grab it. Who knew there would be such a celebration over things like that. Married life, folks. It’s never dull.

Hopefully the rest of our “holiday week” will involve less toilets. Do you have anything fun planned? I haven’t really planned anything this week other than Chloe dancing at an assisted living facility and our Christmas Eve service at church. I think that sounds like the perfect week.

P.S. I am hosting an intro to essential oils class over on Facebook today, so if you are at all interested in learning about them please join.

Catching Up

Hello, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend time with my entire family for the first time in 6 years. It was crowded and chaotic, but oh so fun! I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday with Harper throwing up the entire way. All of the girls got it overnight and now all have high fevers. Please pray for them to get well.

We had a full week of “vacation”. I use that term loosely because with kids there is no such thing as vacation. It’s all work! haha! The first half of the week was pretty low-key. Tuesday, we went shopping for the last of the items needed for family photos. It basically ended up being an item for each girl. We went to Target where I drooled over Christmas decorations for as long as the girls let me. Then we went to the mall and my dad met us for lunch. (Look at the cute deer at Target!)

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We hung out at my OLD.. I mean, older..sister’s house on Wednesday. We found out just how allergic Scott is to cats. Oops. It was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her catching up on life. We were so busy talking that the only pictures I really have are of her dog. HAHA! I brought her a coffee and she bought us pizza. It was pretty great team work.

We had our Thanksgiving on Friday since my younger sister was with her husband’s side of the family on Thursday. We did a lot of prep work on Thanksgiving Day. Chloe got to make merengue with my mom for a coconut cream pie (my dad’s request) and Harper got lots of Papa snuggles. He would probably disagree on the word “lots” being used, but for a two year old he got pretty lucky. haha!

Friday morning I went out for Black Friday with my mom and older sister. We ate a super delicious breakfast and Amy made coffee for me. I pulled an all-nighter and really needed it. We had our huge and delicious meal. I may have blacked out because I don’t really remember eating, but I remember it being GOOD. After everything was cleaned up we played Watch Ya Mouth and laughed (and drooled) a ton!!

On Saturday, the family all went to a Reindeer Ranch. We ate “lunch” there. We all agreed that it was more of a snack (an expensive snack) than a true lunch. Then, we got to go on a reindeer tour and feed them! Addison was too afraid to feed them, but Chloe jumped right in. Look how beautiful they are! Harper seemed to enjoy it as well. They had a playground for the kiddos to play on also, so they all had a blast.

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We also helped my mom put up one of her Christmas trees. Once again, I’m not sure how much help our crazy crew was, but we tried. haha! Sunday was the usual- church, lunch, and re-packing all of our junk. The girls also got to open their presents from Mimi and Papa. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!!!

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Even though our car ride was pretty rough on Monday, I feel really blessed. My grandparents are in a nursing home that is just slightly off our path home. We were able to stop and visit them. I left Harper with Scott. I honestly thought she was just car sick, but kept her out to be safe. I feel terrible that everyone was harboring this bug. Hugging my grandma and grandpa is one of the best feelings. They are two incredible people who I love so dearly.

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There is one more thing though! My best friend from High School was able to take some family pictures for us! We had initially planned on Wednesday, but it rained all day. It was a huge blessing (for us anyway) because we got them done on Friday. Our whole crew was together. So, we got our family photos, and then the rest of the family met us and we were able to take our first group shot in years. They turned out so beautifully!!! Meredith Michelle Photos has all of the credit for these beauties below:

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They are so stunning. I could just stare all day. Thank you, Lord, for a week full of blessings and for whoever invented the washing machine.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you get any good deals over the weekend?

Fabry

Last year, my sister and her two boys were diagnosed with Fabry disease. This is an x-linked genetic disease that is typically passed from mothers to sons- those sons to their daughters- those daughters to their sons, etc. TYPICALLY.

After a lot of convincing, my parents finally underwent some genetic testing to find out which side of the family it come from. Now, if my mom had it, there would be a 50% chance that my other sister and I have it. If my dad had it, we all had it. Does that make sense? No? Yeah, it’s confusing.

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A few weeks ago, I got a text message from my dad saying “I’m the one..” I stared at my phone for quite a while digesting what that meant. Listen, I am not asking for a pity party. The specific mutation in our family tends to not really be a huge deal, especially for females since we have two X chromosomes. But, not a lot is known about it. My dad’s diagnosis was an automatic diagnosis for myself and my other sister.

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What is the point of this post?

Awareness.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago “How can I pray for your family with this?” All I could say was pray for more research to be done.

Most people have never heard of Fabry disease before. I had never heard of it until last year. The state my nephew was born in had just started the newborn screening for it days before he was born. We would still be clueless if it weren’t for that screening.

I am so thankful for the advances in technology that have allowed discoveries like this to be made. These discoveries give people who suffer from this disease a better chance at life.

Visit the National Fabry Disease Foundation website to learn more about this disease, and what can be done to help.

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This is Halloween

I cannot even believe that Halloween is just 12 days away!! Where has the time gone? October seems to be flying by, and I’m a little disappointed. October is my favorite month, but the dramatic shifts in temperature have left me feeling pretty lousy through most of it. Pull it together, Oklahoma!!

Anyway, twelve days away, and my children will not make up their minds about costumes. For months now, Addi has wanted to be an elephant and Chloe has wanted to be a bunny. Awesome. That’s not too hard other than making an elephant nose mask. Yikes. This month, however, everyone keeps changing their minds. Addison wants to be Marshall (from Paw Patrol), then a cat, then back to an elephant, well maybe elephant ears/cat face/marshall paws, just an elephant, OH WAIT I WANT TO BE A WITCH! Chloe has mostly stuck with a bunny, but then will pick other random things. They have to decide today so that I can get their costumes started and done.

Harper still can’t say what she wants to be, but LOVES puppies. Seriously, the kid is saying “woof” instead of words to other people. Scott had the really awesome idea for her to be Skye from Paw Patrol since she already has the pink glasses. (Skye wears pink goggles if you don’t know.) She is easy, and currently my favorite child. I’m just kidding.. she’s always the favorite. 😉

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I pulled out our decorations from the van today. Yes, our beat up white van is a storage area. (Just 23 days until our hopefully move-in-the-house date). The girls lost their minds. Everyone was so excited. I always let them pick where to put the pumpkins. I really don’t have a whole lot of Halloween decorations. I love decorating for Holidays, but usually end up buying fall things so they can be out for several months. Anyway, most of what I have is from Dollar Tree or the clearance section of Target post-Halloween. I always wanted to hang witch hats from the ceiling so it looked like they were floating. I finally found some for VERY cheap a couple of years ago after Halloween, and I love it.

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I wrapped cobwebs around the wooden map that is hanging up year-round. (I won this beauty in a giveaway, and it is my favorite piece of art that we own.)

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The girls love that our lamp now glows purple. What could be better?

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I also filled our giant pumpkin with candy. I saw these at Target several years ago and thought “I must have one!” It went on clearance and I bought it; immediately wondering what on earth I would do with a MASSIVE plastic pumpkin. Usually I put huge rocks inside of it so it decorates the outside. This year, we will actually get to hand out candy at home so it has a real purpose.

Am I the only one whose kids won’t decide on a costume? Do any of you parents dress up? My mom always took us out trick-or-treating and I don’t remember her dressing up, so I have just never planned on it. This is our first year actually going, and I’m out of my mind excited! Maybe we should dress up though? Let me know in the comments!

Weekending

We had a pretty special weekend!!!

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Scott’s parents came to spend the weekend with us, and it was lovely. As you can see, it got really cool outside on Friday. Addison was dying to take Mimi and Papa to see the fountains that she visits each week. So, that is what we did. Chloe had not seen them either, so she was pretty excited to go! As we were walking, we discovered a Starbucks kidding inside one of the buildings. WE stopped in for some hot chocolate (or chocolate milk) and cookies. God bless my mother-in-law for getting me a PSL! What I love about this is that Denise knows Harper’s food allergies and made sure that she got a treat, too. She got hummus and pretzels, which makes her dip-loving heart happy. 🙂

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Mimi also brought cowboy hats for the girls to wear. Addi wore hers the most often.

Friday night, Scott’s mom offered to watch the girls for us while we went out and spent the night at a hotel. It was glorious. We went on a double date with some friends of ours, and ate really delicious food with great company. Sleeping through the night without a child waking us up was also really amazing… plus I am a huge fan of continental breakfasts. Scott went downstairs and brought breakfast up for me while I was still asleep. Did I mention that he is the greatest husband in the world?

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On Saturday, we went to the park and even got Mimi to climb the tower! Chloe serenaded us with her stick guitar and a song that she made up. I love her imagination.

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I can’t forget to mention that Addison’s 5th birthday is later this month, and Mimi brought a huge present for her! This treehouse has been a source of constant entertainment, and is so darn cute!!

I really love having company come to visit. Living far away from family makes you really appreciate the time that you get to spend with them. I am really grateful that they were able to come.

My sister and her family will be here on Wednesday, and I am completely giddy because it has been a YEAR since I have seen them!!! Blessings upon blessings, I tell you!!!

Happy Monday, friends!!! How was your weekend?

Fresh Air

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The weather is FINALLY cooling off here in Oklahoma. It still gets really hot in the late afternoon, but you better believe that I’ve got the windows open all morning and evening! I love hearing the wind rustling the leaves outside my window.

These cooler days have also meant that we are hitting up the parks again. That may be my favorite part of homeschooling. We have the flexibility to go to the park when it is pretty empty. We can pack a picnic lunch and know that a table will be available. The girls were SO excited when I told them that we were going earlier this week. This playground is covered by a massive canopy, which is really awesome on a sunny day!

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Feel free to pin that super healthy meal right there. Don’t be intimidated by my skills.

We have continued our tradition of exploring the town while Chloe is in dance class. I feel like we see new things each time we are out and about. Addi loves getting to run around and pretend that she is riding on her imaginary horse named Whistle. It cracks all of us up.

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The fresh air has been absolutely incredible. I get grumpy when I am stuck indoors for long periods of time. I never imagined that it would get so unbearably hot that no one wanted to go out. Fall weather is my favorite, and I intend to soak up every moment and enjoy the fresh air blowing in the windows as long as possible.

I am also excited to do some Halloween decorating this weekend! I try to be good and save it for October 1st; though we do have some window clings up that I let the girls pick out. I have trained them well. 😉 As a bonus, Janssen over at Everyday Reading has written a post with her favorite children’s books for Halloween. I LOVE her blog. If you ever need book recommendations, she is your girl! Plus, she has three little girls and has girl #4 on the way!! I love that. I feel like we are BFFs, but she has no clue that I exist. haha!

Do you get excited for the fresh air and fall weather? What about decorating? Are you a just-can’t-wait-to-decorate kind of person, or a wait-till-the-last-minute person? 

Quiet Time

It is so hard to take time alone as a mom. I am terrible at it. I go to the grocery store alone. That’s really about it. I don’t even do that as often as I used to. *I want to add that this is in no way Scott’s fault. He is ALWAYS encouraging me to go out alone when he is home. I just don’t do it.*

I was talking with him about how I really wanted to get my hair done. He told me to go for it. So, I actually listened. ha! I called and set up an appointment. I had my pictures all ready. One was a balayage that was light blonde at the roots working its way into REALLY light blonde at the tips. The other was just a warmer color with some highlights. Now, I never do anything crazy with my hair. I decided that I wanted to do something fun.

This is my hair.. The first picture looks like a wig because I NEVER have that much volume.

I have SILVER hair! I wasn’t really going for silver hair, but it is the hip thing to do right now. I guess? I don’t know what is hip anymore. In my bathroom lighting, it looks like I have strawberry blonde roots with light blue hair. I seriously panicked and thought about selling an organ to pay to have it re-done. Thankfully, I went to church and everyone was raving about how much they loved it. I also got to see it in a normal light (I don’t know whats up with the bathroom lights..) and realized that it was pretty. It is SO different. But, really pretty. Plus, it is just hair.

It took 4 1/2 hours for this to be done. I had 4 1/2 hours TO. MYSELF. I love having my hair played with, so it was basically heaven. While I had a toner on my head, Denise sat me down in a huge massage chair for twenty minutes. You know what I love the most about Denise. She didn’t chatter away the whole time. Am I the only one who hates when a hairdresser talks the entire time. I just want to fall asleep in your chair and wake up looking fabulous. She was so kind and kept offering me drinks and snacks.

Honestly, even if my hair was actually light blue and orange, it would still have been worth it. I came home feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated. I love being a mom. However, you have to be “on” 100% of the time. My kids never give me a moment of peace. Someone is always wanting something and someone is ALWAYS touching me.

It is so important that we, as moms, take some quiet time. We need to do something for ourselves occasionally. We are better moms and better wives. We spend so much of our time pouring into others; especially as a ministry wife and mom. If we don’t take the time to fill ourselves back up, we will dry out. So, go have your hair done. Go get a cup of coffee alone. Take a walk alone or go for a job. Just do something to recharge your batteries. It does not have to be big and extravagant. Just make sure that you take care of YOU, too.

Taking Inventory

I really don’t have anything interesting to say, so I thought I’d give you a round-up of what is going on in our house and my brain. Welcome.

 

Making: I ate an apple with almond butter for lunch and have taco meat going in the crock pot. Tuesdays are always a little hectic with the timing of dance class, which makes the crock pot an excellent tool.

Drinking: Coffee.. It’s been a tough week. I should probably drink some water at some point.

Reading: I am still reading “Someday, Someday Maybe” by Lauren Graham. I am no farther than the last time I posted about it.

Wanting: November to be here. We should be moving out of our apartment, and I truly CANNOT wait.. I will have a fireplace, a bigger kitchen, and a yard!!

Listening: I can hear Harper babbling through the monitor. She has been refusing to nap, and I refuse to let her win, so “quiet” time in the crib it is. Also, I have our window open, and every car in town is driving by right now.

Looking: I just started researching ways to raise hormone levels naturally. Pre-menopause sounds great at the age of 28 and all (SYKE!), but hormone replacement therapy does not. I have been looking at essential oils that can help regulate it all. Any tips? I’m all ears!

Playing: The “what if” game. haha! Addison has been sick, and our options have become lyme disease or west nile virus..which both sound really fantastic… I would share pictures of her leg, but I’ll spare you. The doctor is now leaning towards it being west nile along with an allergy to mosquito bites, but she is being treated for Lyme just to be safe. This kid is so tough and brave, and she doesn’t even realize it.

Wishing: That the weather would cool off! It’s cool in the mornings, but still gets up near the 90’s (or above) in the afternoon.

Enjoying: The coffee mug that I don’t remember ordering. I have terrible insomnia and occasionally take Ambien to help me fall asleep. Don’t take it and start browsing Etsy. Bad idea..or brilliant. I can’t get enough of Winifred staring me down.

Loving: We have this old chair that was given to us by Scott’s mom and dad. It was actually part of a matching set, but our dog Daisy ate one. I wish I was kidding. Anyway, it had the skirt-like thing around the bottom that was really common in it’s day. I LOVE the chair. It is so comfy, but the skirt was really dating it. The girls also thought they could hide things under there without getting caught. *eye roll* Scott removed the skirt (what is the real name?) and it looks SO much better. Now, we just need to get it re-covered. There’s a hole in the back to go along with the scraggly cushion. Here’s a Pinterest-worthy visual for you.

Feel free to pin that. I know you want to.

Wearing: I desperately need to fold the laundry.. What I am wearing is not pretty.

Watching: I’m not really watching anything at the moment. Next week is the big premier week for most of the shows I enjoy! Blue Bloods anyone?

Browsing: I stumbled onto various blog posts from many sites about farmhouse decor on Amazon. I keep browsing and adding more and more to my wish list. This Salt & Pepper set is one of my favorites; along with this two tiered tray. Imagine it covered with fresh produce!

 

Happy Tuesday, friends. May your toddlers actually nap and give you some peace and quiet!

Our Favorite Books for Halloween

I LOVE children’s books. Back when I was an elementary education/early childhood education major at BBC, I joined a children’s book club. I got most of the Dr. Seuss books, Bernstein Bears, Rainbow Fish (one of my favorites as a child), and so many others. Then, I became a preschool teacher. Look out. Buy alllll the books!!!

When Chloe was born, we made frequent trips to Target. For some reason, that was the ONLY store that she wouldn’t scream through. I still don’t fully understand that one. They used to have board books in their dollar section all the time. I would buy a new one each time. Soon after, we moved to Burton and Addi was born. The only place with carts big enough for 2 under 2 was Sam’s club. So, guess where we went? You guessed it.. Sam’s Club always has such good prices on their books. I used to buy them too frequently.

Our bookshelves are now STUFFED with books. Overflowing, really. They are in every nook and cranny of all of the bedrooms.

Since we love holiday books, I thought I would share some of our favorite Halloween books! I know that Halloween is not until the end of next month, but I like to plan ahead. 🙂

  1. Room on the Broom.
    This book is easily our favorite Halloween book. It is so sweet and fun to read. The girls love saying WOOOSH with me. (The DVD is also adorable.)
  2. Big Pumpkin.
    This book is so fun! If you can find it at the library with the CD that reads it aloud, do it!! I laughed way too much! Who wouldn’t want a giant pumpkin to make pumpkin pie with?
  3. Ghost in the House
    I have to be honest, I have never read the “lift the flap” version. I cannot find the version that we have read. If you have toddlers that love to rip..err, lift.. the flaps, this version would be perfect! Yet another silly book that left us laughing.
  4. Halloween Hustle
    Since our girls are homeschooled, we don’t get book fairs. Thankfully, I’ve always had friends who work in the school and invite me to theirs. Last year, I picked this book up from the fair and loved it. I am a huge fan of books that are fun to read. Chances are good that your kids will want you to read them over and over again. This one is fun!
  5. Spooky Pookie
    This is another of the girls’ favorites. We have read it so much that they have it memorized. 🙂 Sandra Boynton is a genius at writing (and illustrating) and I love it!!
  6. Eek, Halloween!
    This is a new release from Sandra Boynton. As usual, I love it! Harper loved it. The older two haven’t been able to enjoy it yet (any tips for getting kids to clean up their messes?!) but I know that they will also. Chickens afraid of Halloween? Obviously.
  7. Frankenstein
    I really enjoy Baby Lit books. This is the one that I find the girls reaching for the most. It is an anatomy primer, so it teaches basic body parts while introducing your child to classic literature.
  8. Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?
    Honestly, this one isn’t anything super special. It’s really cute. Chloe (six years old) still loves it. This is another tearlift-the-flap book that toddlers love. Ours is totally taped back together a million times over. One of the closet doors has disappeared and so has the last flap.
  9. Goodnight Goon
    If you love Goodnight Moon, you will like this book. It’s so funny. Goodnight Moon is the book that Scott read to Chloe every night while she was in my tummy. When I found out that their was a spooky twist, I jumped on it. The pictures are a little scarier than the other children’s books, just to give you a fair warning. My kids are not afraid of them, but some may be.

 

None of these books are scary. I enjoy the silly fun of Halloween, and make sure that my kids know that it is all pretend. Almost every one of these books is totally silly and makes my kids giggle up a storm. I want them to enjoy reading as much as Scott and I do, so I try my hardest to make it fun and read to them often. Also, I like to use holiday themed books as decorations. Win-win!

**All links above are amazon affiliate links. For full disclosure, see “referral links” tab. Thank you for helping me support our family.**