River learned to drive and the girls painted lots of pumpkins. They were completely uninterested in carving pumpkins this year: they wanted all the paint and stickers and whatever else I would let them glue together for our front porch decor. We spent many afternoons on the front porch, sipping hot tea and making big messes with our pumpkins.
My cousin April and I took our combined seven children out for a trip to the pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful day that included hay rides, face painting, and pumpkin picking. April and I laughed until our sides hurt at our children's complete lack of interest in anything we had to say that day, an experience that could be compared to herding cats. But through the tears and toddler tantrums and bathroom breaks and diaper changes, we made some incredible memories together. And that's the good stuff, the stuff that makes my heart beat strong.
And, of course, there was Halloween. We did it big this year, taking the kids to as many neighborhoods as their little feet could carry them. You want all the candy? You go right on ahead and eat as much as you want, boo! We had hot dogs at a local church's trunk or treat event and then ended the night at the most awesome fall carnival complete with pony rides, a petting zoo, and inflatable jumpers. Isabelle even won first place in the costume contest! River wouldn't come anywhere near his scary witch mama for most of the night, instead hiding out in his stroller and looking around with his big hazel eyes. Brees was scared of some of the costumes until I reassured her that superheroes don't have to be scared because superheroes are AWESOME. She then put her hands on her hips every time she saw a scary costume, holding her ground and shouting "I'm awesome! I'm not scared at all!". It was the most fun night we've had in a long time.
It has been a beautiful season in our lives as a family: we are working hard and playing every chance we get. The kids are getting so big so fast and we don't want to miss one single thing. I love being their mom and I love seeing their little faces light up at just the simplest things. They remind me to stay humble, keep things simple, and to live in the moment. Shawn and I thank God every single day for this life we are living: the good, the bad, and the beautiful moments of clarity in between.