Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Silent Night, Holey Socks

I've been sitting in my house for the last two hours in silence. It's dinner time, I've nothing prepared and I am alone. I finally answered emails that had been long ignored. I caught up on some blog reading. I found a recipe for Thanksgiving. I put my worn-out-sock-clad feet up on the ottoman. I leaned back into the cushion of my chair and let the warmth of our fireplace surround me. I breathed deep into my diaphragm at least four times. A single tear of joy fell on my right cheek.

It's been blissful.

I covet the quiet. You see, something horrible has happened. No one naps here anymore. Those two hours that I was granted every day to sit and write have been stolen from me. Some of my insides have died a little. Some of the beauty has faded. My life is not my own!

Not only is there no napping, but everyone who lives here has a lot to say. Isn't it precious when your babies learn to talk? Yes, then no. I am being suffocated by noise. The children chatter excitedly about everything and I LISTEN, because I want them to know that what they say is important.  I talk on the phone to friends and family; they tell me their woes and I LISTEN, because I want them to be happy. Brock comes home from work and tells me about his day and I PRETEND TO LISTEN, because I want him to know that he is important but I am too tired from listening to everyone else that I can no longer really LISTEN, so we watch TV and drink wine on the couch. Even the fricken fracken animals talk all the time and not only do I hear them, but all of my neighbors hear them too, because they are a bunch of noisy assholes.

Meow Growl Nicker Popsicles! Oranges! Lemonade! Toast! Meow No! Bark Tractors! MEOW Why? whinny *Belch* Dinner? DOGFIGHT Poopy pants! HAHAHA I SAID POOPY PANTS! I'm hungry! PLAY WITH ME! Mom! Bark!TRUCKS TRACTORS Bark! DINOSAURS CHOO CHOOS! DO YOU WANT TO HEAR ME COUNT TO 100 AGAIN? Mom! MOM! MOM! MOMOMOMOMMOMOM commercials at volume 11 aaaaaand snoring.

Every. Damned. Day.
All. Night. Long.

It's about to unhinge me. And it is definitely cutting into my writing time and desire. Those who cannot think, do not write. Those who cannot write, shrivel up and die. This poor little blog. My poor little brain. *sigh*

I am a person who needs some amount of pure quiet on a regular basis. I know this and respect this about myself, yet no one in my family seems to recognize or respect that little factoid.

That is why I am moving to Canada.

I'm just kidding. Brock just put in this fireplace and I'm not moving my arse from of this chair. Plus, I know that I would eventually grow to miss the noise. Maybe. Well, not so much the noise, but the units that are making it.

So today, two days before the craziness of Thanksgiving and all the joyous sound, boisterous laughter and overzealous eating that it brings, I am thankful for two complete hours of silence. It is a gift.*

*A gift that I forced Brock to give me by making him take both of the kids to karate, then the grocery store for those items that I "forgot" earlier today.

Speaking of gifts, I need some new socks this Christmas. And napping. I would like Santa to bring me so much more napping.

Oh! There is the alert barking! The clan has arrived. Let me prepare myself with these earplugs that I stole from Brock's toolbox.

Have a Lovely Thanksgiving! May the naps and moments of silence be with you.
Peace, Love and Unicorns,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Old Navy Giveaway!

It all started with cargo pants.
I picked up a pair for each of my dudes for a family photo shoot. In fact, I bought more than pants for that shoot; as Tyra would say, I bought "H to T" Old Navy gear for my Things.

Photo from sugar photography. She's the best. Hire her.


Thing 1 was so in love with his tan cargo pants that he was attempting to wear them every day. I had one thing to say about that: Mama don't do that much laundry.

Being the fashion conscious kind and giving mother that I am, I generously loaded up both kids into my filthy pick up truck and drove to Old Navy in search of the same comfy pants in a different color. When we pulled up to the store, I noticed a sign in the window. It read "30% off the Entire Store!" which is basically a message saying "You are saving so much money, it's a crime NOT to buy all of the things."

I herded my children through the doors, where we were pleasantly greeted by the Super Happy Old Navy mannequins. I love those mannequins. I feel like we have a special connection- like maybe we are related. And my three year old always pets the shiny plastic dog. He's a real animal lover, that one.

This is me with my favorite mannequin from this
past summer. We're like... OMG! Twins!

 Knowing the children's clothing is toward the back of our local Old Navy, my options were to walk through either the men's or the ladies' section. Doi. I went through the ladies' section. I've always been a sucker for the scenic route. I was prepared to find a few cute things that I liked, as I always do at Old Navy. I was not, however, prepared for the intense feelings of affection from the depths of my soul.

What I found in Old Navy was a section of clothing that was beckoning to me. Because I like to label things, I immediately named the collection "Cozy Cabin Chic". I'm not certain what Old Navy calls it, but I'm pretty sure it is "Lounge Wear". Whatever. The stuff was adorable and completely my style. Chunky cardigan sweaters, plaid flannel shirts, thick sweatpants, comfy thermal tees and beautiful scarves. Things that you can wear for cleaning out a closet, baking cookies, walking the dog, napping and meeting your girlfriends out later for a bottle of wine.Yep. That's how I roll. The best part was that I found not one, but TWO perfect red scarves. I had been looking for the perfect red scarf for the last few years because I'm nothing if not committed to the search, particularly when it comes to men, martinis or material items that match my favorite lipstick.

Nothing compliments hot tea and a fire better than this
Navajo print sweater and beautiful oh-so-soft red scarf.
Photo and fireplace courtesy of Brock.
Tea courtesy of Celestial Seasonings.

Red Dog thinks this is the perfect shirt for a little game of ball.
Photo and fence courtesy of Brock. He's a real hunny.

This sweater is officially the coziest one in my closet. I'm in love with it.
And this scarf? FABULOUS.
It's one of those giant squares that can double as a picnic blanket,
a parachute or a blanket for your tiny, imaginary boyfriend.
That is why Freda from the Grand Junction Old Navy is
giving away
two of these red scarves to TWO LUCKY READERS!

Photo courtesy of Thing 2. He works for Popsicles.

After scooping up an armload of Cozy Cabin wear for myself, I also found a boatload of new items for my six year old. Not only was able to score my oldest child blue cargo pants, but he also found two new sweaters, gloves, sweatpants and a pair of boots. The kid has style. What can I say? He gets it from me. In fact, both of my kids get their style from me. Literally. Because I buy them all their clothing.

Thing 1 in Old Navy.
Photo by Sugar Photography.

Thing 2 in Old Navy.
Photo from Sugar Photography.

Because of the killer savings, I left the store with a remarkably small dent in my wallet but a great deal of wearable fashion for myself and my kids. Brock can fend for himself.

JUST KIDDING. Of course I buy him all of his clothing too, but he only wears work clothes in front of me... probably because he never stops working. Ever.

On Black Friday, Old Navy will have 50% off the ENTIRE STORE. All of the clothing that you see in the pictures above, plus so much more, will be HALF PRICE. Get in there!

There are still some flannel pj's in there that want to be mine.

If you would like to enter the giveaway for the red print scarf you can win up to FOUR entries:
1) COMMENT here or on facebook
2) LIKE Grand Junction Old Navy on facebook
3) LIKE Confessions of Corn Fed Girl on facebook
4) SHARE on your choice of social media (blog. twitter, facebook or pinterest) and tell me about it!

Good Luck! The winners will be chosen on Saturday November 30th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

TMI Fridays: Bad Parenting Moments

Are you reading the work of Bethany Thies? I met her through our mutual affiliation with the best selling anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone. Bethany won my admiration and affection with her essay titled "In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Penis". She is also the creator of Bad Parenting Moments and Room for Cream. Go there now. I'll wait.

This is Bethany.
Such a beautiful mind inside that pretty head.

See? Bethany is BRILLIANT, you guys. She's humble. And she's gorgeous, talented and she writes poetry. Real poetry, not shitty limericks. Not only does Bethany write with unbridled honesty from the depths of her soul, but she writes fearlessly with cadence, rhythm and panache.  Even her blog posts are insightful, flowing and poetic. How does she do this? My blog posts are messy and often feel like the scrambled, unfinished thoughts of a slightly insane person who has been unknowingly inhaling tiny amounts of poisonous gas and cat dander on a daily basis. If I was a jealous person, I would be insanely envious of her. Instead, I just want to be her favorite vacation buddy. Together we could have a girl's weekend on a beach somewhere tropical and warm. We would pass the time eating, sharing our innermost secrets over margaritas and trying on each other's favorite lipstick in between naps on the beach. Maybe if I use her hairbrush some of her talent would rub off on me...

Where was I? Oh yeah...

Bethany is an artist. Keep your eye on this one, folks. She's one to watch.

Did I mention that she accomplishes all of this writing success while parenting FOUR children? Dude, if you can do anything that requires brainpower and creativity while parenting four kids, you have my respect. It took me two months to get Bethany these interview questions; don't even ask me about the other stuff that I'm failing at in my life. In unrelated news, did you know that my 3 year old NEVER stops talking during waking hours? EVER? I'm serious. THE CHILD NEVER STOPS TALKING. I'm losing my mind.

Where was I? Oh yeah... the interview. Meet Bethany Thies:

>When did you first know that you wanted to write?
 I'm pretty sure I came out of the birth canal holding a pen and that is how my mother ended up with a perforated uterus.

> What was the birth story for Bad Parenting Moments?
After the birth of my third child, I was having a really intensely difficult time adjusting to the new level of chaos. With a 4 year old, 2 year old and newborn at home, I was drowning. I needed a home to explore the rarely to never picture perfect parenting journey I was on. Initially, this started as a very small, private support group called Bad Parenting Moment of the Day. It was a group of women who could do the online version of screaming into a pillow. It grew and grew and grew and...well, now we have Bad Parenting Moments, the public version of that still sacred group. I am still very much a part of that "secret" support group and I consider those women (and some dudes too...don't want to leave them out), some of my closest friends and allies. It's amazing what can happen when parents chip away at those perceived walls of perfection we try to hold up and start getting honest. When we truly listen and embrace each other's parenting paths, no matter how different; amazing, beautiful things happen.

> What is your ultimate goal/dream with your writing?
It's so cliche. I mean, I can hear the cliche pouring out of my fingers as I type this. I have many books living in my head and heart. I need to write them. I hope one day I'll have the opportunity to be a novelist. But, daily? Daily, my ultimate goal is just to connect. Connection and the shared experience is why I keep writing.

> What outfit in your closet makes you feel like you could take on the world?
I'm a firm believer that there is nothing a push-up bra, some Spanx, red lipstick and some 5 inch patent leather peep toes can't fix. 

But seriously, my Snuggie makes me feel like I could take on the world, while still wearing a blanket. The best of both worlds.

> Who inspires you creatively?
Oh, this is a good one. You crafty, little minx. Let's see...authenticity is my biggest motivator and there are some writers that are so beautifully honest that I never miss a post. Naptime Writing, Suburban Snapshots, Nicole Leigh Shaw, Hollow Tree Ventures, Full Metal Mommy and so many more. When a writer is honest, you can feel it on the page. I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by really creative, supportive women.

And, my biggest female inspiration is Dorothy Parker. She took on the "Boys Club" with humor, grace and ease. She was flawed and had a really difficult personal life, but, she was a genius and a true humorist.

> Describe your creative process.
 It closely resembles a trash receptacle being emptied into a Public Works trash truck headed to the dump. 
 I know, I have such a way with words.

> What foods do you find repulsive?
 If you'd take a close look at my ass, you'd notice that I've never met a food I didn't like.

> What life event had the most profound impact on you?
 The birth of my children. New life is the most...to say the least.

> Marry, Fuck or Kill: Miley Cyrus, David Caruso, and John Tesh.
 Oh good GOD.
 Marry: David Caruso. This one was a no-brainer.
 Fuck: Ugh, do I have to? Ok, John Tesh. But, I'd have to put a gag on him. No speaky for YOU, John and if he  played one of his piano CDs, I'd have to put a bag over my own head.
 Kill: Sorry, Miley. Girl, you gots to go. She's like a race horse with a broken knee. It's a public service, really. 

> Would you rather hang out with me:
> In a rustic cabin in the mountains, where we hike during the day and grill fish and drink beer around a campfire at night
> In swanky downtown club where we are dressed all fancy and eat tapas and drink martinis while listening to live music and fending off the advances of men with my "Repulsive mouth" (Brock's words)?

 Cabin and beer. Preferably a non-haunted cabin. 

> How often to you move the furniture to clean under it?
 That's hilarious.

> What is the most disgusting thing you found in your car?
 A sippy cup of rancid milk with a banana shoved in it. I apologize to anyone who just vomited in their own mouth.

>Describe your perfect day.
I know I should say I want to spend a lovely day with my family but, that's not the case. What I'd really love to do, is spend the day alone... completely alone by myself, alone in my aloneness. I would write, read, and eat food that I did not prepare. If I had time, I would get breast reconstruction surgery. It would be painless and I would heal in 7 minutes flat. At the end of the day, I would sit around a kitchen table eating cheesecake with my best girlfriends a la the Golden Girls. Then we would have a Beastie Boys, margarita dance party and call it a night.

>Favorite essay in I just want to pee alone?
Honestly, I don't have a favorite. There is something so unique and wonderful about each essay that appeals to all 37 of my unique personalities. Shameless plug in 5, 4, 3, 2... If you have not purchased a copy yet, what are you waiting for? Its like crack for your funny bone. Obligatory PSA for the kids at home: Crack is whack, yo.
BETHANY THIES is a writer and the proud mother to four, young Vikings. She is the author of Bad Parenting Moments and the chronically unread poetry blog Room for Cream. She can often be found searching for socks, keys, discount non-perishables and a bathroom lock her children cannot pick. Bethany's work has been published in two bestselling humor anthologies, on several parenting sites and in old fashioned black and white in her local, independent newspaper. You can also listen to her pontificate on Vermont radio every month. Her children are unimpressed.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Giving Thanks to our Teachers

My oldest child went to Kindergarten this fall. In preparation, I spent the summer helping him with reading. He showed some early interest in learning to read, which was quickly replaced by a variety of distractions ranging from playing with tractors to making fart noises with his mouth. The knowledge of what was truly happening was no secret to me. I'm a writer, an artist and a pathological smartass. What I am not, is a teacher.

Not wanting to make his learning experience unpleasant, I backed off the reading wagon. My husband and I both read to our boys daily, so they were getting plenty of exposure to books. We had engaged in multiple discussions about letting our kids "be kids". We decided as a team that we didn't want to "push" them too hard at too young an age. We also were secretly thrilled when they engaged with each other instead of making us entertain them... so there's that. I let the reading progress marinate and we turned our attention to other things- like playing in the dirt and drawing pictures of tractors... and of course, making farting noises.

The day that school started I held my breath. As I watched my precious baby boy proudly climb into the school bus, I prayed for the things mothers hope for their kids. I prayed that my sons fit in socially and made friends. I prayed that they learning would come easy, without struggle. I prayed that they were focused and listened to their teachers. Most importantly, I prayed that they both enjoyed school and developed not only a love of learning, but the self motivation and desire to always want to do their best.

When my oldest child and I looked at his first homework assignment, it was reading. We pulled the books out of his green and black HotWheels backpack and sat together on the couch. As he wiggled and squirmed next to me, the way that Kindergarten boys do, I listened to him work at sounding out the words. I helped him when he stumbled. Because of his attitude, it was a task I enjoyed. He was excited. He was learning quickly. He comprehended the story. He was smiling. I felt that breath, the one that I had been holding since that first day, exit my lungs. I felt pride. I felt relied. But most of all, I felt grateful to his teachers that have been in his life and helped instill that passion for learning. Those underpaid, overextended teachers who treat my children with the patience and compassion that I am not always capable of. Those teachers who give attention and show kindness to not only my children, but the 20 others (or more) that are also in the classroom. Those teachers who give relentlessly of themselves and provide such a critical influence in the lives of children.

We all had teachers that stand out in our educational experience. Every one of us has been affected by an educator. In my past, I have teachers that pushed me, inspired me and encouraged me when no one else did. These people, who dedicate their life to education, offer something individual and unique to each student. Something that standardized test scores cannot measure. That is why organizations like the Milken Educator Awards are so relevant for recognizing standouts in the educational community. Teachers deserved to be honored for their daily triumphs: inspiring a disenchanted child to learn, sharing their contagious passion for a subject, or giving a struggling child personalized attention and encouragement. The Milken Awards provide stand out educators with $25,000, and money is a beautiful way to say thank you. In fact f anyone wants to thank me for that time I made you snort coffee through your nose, I take checks, cash or vouchers to DSW.

In this season of thanks, I offer sincere gratitude to the teachers of my past and my children's future. They are teaching our kids not only reading, writing and arithmetic, but also instructing them in socialization, attentiveness and appropriate behavior. There is no quantitative measurement for the inspiration that they provide on a daily basis. They are the writers of our future. While many of us paint and draw, teachers are truly the greatest artists of all, patiently sculpting our society one person at a time.

I raise not only my glass, but my entire box of wine to our teachers! Here's to you!
Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below about a teacher that inspired you or someone you love.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Come to think of it, I never really liked that sweater

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of my cruel, bitchy friends. Everyone knows I'm heartless so that's no newsflash.

Revelation can be a cruel and beautiful thing. There is a moment in every relationship that declares "it's over". The unraveling can be slow and often go unnoticed, like a sweater with a loose thread. One day you slip into your beloved cable-knit turtleneck and notice that you are wearing a dickie. That initial haze of being twitterpated has come to a bitter end and the ugly truth is revealed; you are lost in a relationship with no sight of the person you initially met... and you are holding onto mere remnants of the past. The ending of a relationship is usually marked by a new found knowledge of self; in turn a boundary is crossed and a standard is raised. Then, in a 10 second flash of greased lightening, that dickie gets thrown in the GoodWill bag and sent back out into the world, with hopes that someone else finds it useful.

Two of my girlfriends had joined me for martinis at a girls' night out. We had all suffered many break ups throughout the years and we were swapping our war stories of stale relationships and divorce. Every story shared a similarity: that moment of knowing that pushed us over the edge.

Chelsea said, "I knew it was over with my ex-husband when I watched him eat a Whooper."

We all laughed.

She shuddered, "I could hear him eating it. There was slurping involved. It was offensive down to my core. I have a problem with certain sounds... shit, I can't even handle saying the word moist'." She continued, "When I saw the grease run down his face, I knew at that moment that I would never have sex with him again."

We all nodded in agreement. We had seen her ex husband and wondered how she mustered up enough gumption to get two kids out of the deal. It's not like we expected perfect health or fitness as we sat there inhaling our calorie laden martinis, but a little maintenance and self-awareness will go a long way. If you need to eat a Whooper, have at it. Just be aware that you are a human, not a pack of hyenas on a zebra carcass.

Amy had a similar story, "I was dating this guy who made what he called his 'Special Cheeseburger'. It was literally dripping with goopy goppy topping. He basically needed a bib to eat it. In fact, he put on his 'special sweatshirt' before he ate it, which come to think of it, was his bib." We could see a look of disgust cross her face as she remembered the scene. "Grease was running all down his face and all over his bib shirt. Suddenly, I wasn't hungry... for any of him. I called it quits."

I put my hand on Amy's pristine white sleeve to comfort her from the foul memory. There was no way someone as well-dressed as herself could be in a relationship with a man who owned a sweatshirt designated for sloppy cheeseburger eating.

I sighed. I knew it was time to share my grisly grease tale. "It was my college boyfriend, "I said. "He had the three C's that led straight to my heart. He was Charming, Clean-Cut and Cute. I thought that he was the one. I was sure that we would eventually get married and have a family." I shook my head, "Then he started hanging out with a group of rather scuzzy dudes.  I wasn't particularly fond of any of them. He grew out his hair like Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire, except his was stringy; probably because he was constantly touching it to tuck it behind his ear."

"Not sexy," Chelsea offered.

"Not at all," I agreed.

"I should have seen the complete change," I said, "but I was too caught up remembering the way he was before, the way we were before. Honestly, we had both changed, just not in the same direction." I looked into the distance as I remembered, "It was a crisp fall day when he showed up at my house to visit. I remember, because almost all of my breakups happen in the fall. It seems to be a good time to clean out the dying feelings. When he walked into my kitchen, I immediately noticed a change. It was his hair. His hair was downright dirty. I asked him, 'When was the last time you washed your hair?' and he replied, 'Yesterday'. I told him, 'There is no way in hell you washed that oil slick yesterday,' and he responded, ' Well, I ran out of shampoo two weeks ago so I have just been using conditioner to wash my hair.'"

The table was silent as my friends stared at me, aghast.

"I know," I said, as I dropped my head into my palms.

"I sat there and argued with him about conditioner for... way too fucking long," I said. "He must have spent 20 minutes trying to convince me that conditioner had 'cleansing properties' and I held onto my view, which was that he was just added layers of clean grease to a foundation of old, dirty grease."

"So what happened?" asked Amy.

"We agreed to disagree on conditioner, and that is when I knew it was over," I explained. "I didn't want that head full of grime leaning against the back of my GoodWill red velvet couch that I bought for $20. It would leave a grease stain... and I loved that couch."

We clinked our glasses in celebration of those 10 second moments of knowing. If we hadn't made those decisions, all of us could have been trudging through the murky, swampy, oily waters of unfulfilled relationships for the rest of our lives. Those 10 seconds of knowing our personal abhorrence to grease had led us all to our to our current states of paradise- complete with clean shirts, clean faces, clean couches and not a dickie in sight.

The end.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Halloween Chronicles

Halloween was never a big deal to me when I was a kid. Sure, it was fun to dress up and go into town for the night. My sister and I, in our crappy costumes, would knock on the doors of strangers with our buckets out in preparation for candy. Our nervous mom always waited close by.... watching her two blonde daughters approaching stranger danger and taking candy, the exact thing that she warned us never to do. I was an 80's model trick-or-treater, where the threat of razor blades, poison, and kidnappers was at an all time high. Everyone knew this, yet some people in my tiny hometown were stubborn in their insistence to give out homemade popcorn balls. Others even demanded that you come inside their homes to get the goodies. Halloween was also the beginning of my fear of clowns. I'm pretty sure a clown invited me into his house for a homemade popcorn ball full of razor blades, but I can't be certain.

Halloween was a time of cold night air, crunchy, decaying leaves, and homemade costumes. In fact, my sister and I were always dressed in zero-money-spent last minute costumes. I was either a hobo or an old man every year. There were no fairy wings and princess dresses for this kid- that would have been wasteful. In all honesty, it never really mattered what you were wearing as a costume. Your heavy chore jacket and gloves that were required for walking outside at night in the chilly Iowa weather covered up most of it. Thank goodness I was wearing giant ugly snow boots and a plastic mask that impaired my vision and steamed up my face. Those princess slippers looked flimsy and unpractical, I'm sure it would have been horrible to wear them and the pretty pink fluffy skirt that matched....

My sledding clothing and my Halloween costumes
were basically the same.

Then there were the haunted houses. My little hometown was full of decrepit buildings that lent themselves perfectly to becoming chambers of terror. With a big community effort, my small town boasted a scary house every year. This fact thrilled my friends and taunted me. I hated being frightened, but I loved hanging out with my friends. For me, haunted houses were a place of peer pressure gone wrong. Twice I was convinced by my friends that it would be "FUN". The first one scared me so senseless that I was sobbing uncontrollably. In fact, the person holding the chainsaw stopped pretending to attack us and removed his mask to show me that he wasn't really a murderer who was going to chop me up into bloody bits. The second one I went through in a group of friends. I closed my eyes tight the entire time and clung to my girlfriend's shirt. After that, my standard response to any pressure to be scared was, "No means no. Back off." That included the time that my friend's eight year old daughter tried to get me to walk into the yard bird pen with her and the moment that my other friend's middle school kid tried to convince me to watch Saw II. Both of those events happened about six years ago. Kids can be real jerks.

But hey, at least I got candy at Halloween! Come to think of it, I didn't even eat my Halloween candy. I ate the Snickers bars then the rest of it sat hardening in a bowl until that girl from my class came over right before Christmas and inhaled it all in a weekend.

So I had shitty costumes, candy that I had to throw out, weird strangers and houses that terrorized me to the point of losing friends and sleep. Come to think of it, I don't really think I liked Halloween at all when I was a kid.

But I like it now. 

One person changed my mind. It was Brock. You see, I married a man who LOVES Halloween. He loves costumes, carving jack-o-lanterns and decorating our yearly giant scarecrow. He loves pumpkin patches and corn mazes. He comes home from Target with bags of tombstones, spiders, and bats. He owns an entire Halloween village; a miniature town of scary houses, spooky ghouls, dead trees and creepy goblins. My husband's uncontrolled enthusiasm for Halloween rivals my children's manic passion for Santa. And it seems to be contagious.

I think I caught the Halloween Virus.

It all started with facial hair and pirates. Our first Halloween party we dressed as criminals of the high sea The next year we were a convict and a cop. Brock can rock creepy facial hair like none other.

The next year was a witch and another pirate. 
Then we were cowboys. 
Then we were an eighties witch and a pirate.
There was a definite pirate them with Brock... 

After some convincing, the next year we were Sonny and Cher. 
Then we were old school vampires and .... a pirate. 
Our costume bin was proving to be limited.

Each year, I heard my spouse describe the elaborate costumes that he wanted to wear. Then I visualized receipts with triple digit numbers at the bottom. Each year, I said "no" to spending that kind of money on a costume. Insanity! Costumes were to be made from pre-owned items! Everyone knows that! We should all just be hobos! Yet each year, as I watched him dress as a pirate again, I felt sorry for him. I started to collect treasures over a period of time- interesting items that I would find on sale- and stuff them into a box in the attic. Each year, as I watched my husband's boyish excitement over a holiday that most people think is for children, my Halloween hating heart grew a size. Eventually, it softened like the mid section of a woman who has given birth- specifically, my mid section.

This year, as we transformed ourselves into someone else, I fully embraced my inner "munster" and proudly walked the streets of our city with my Frankenstein, who worked for hours one night making his giant head. I even saw one evil clown and two haunted houses, but I still managed to have fun.

Oh, and my children liked it too.

And then I ate all the candy.