Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

November Update

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

I am not sure where November went, but it flew past!  One day it was October and it seems like the next November was finishing up.  It won’t be long now before our big trip in January.  December is already shaping up to be a busy month with the hostel’s Christmas camp/party, mini holiday getaway with friends, Christmas and New Years!!

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I love this "selfie" of me and my girl!

Since we missed out on Halloween in October we trick or treated in November.  You can read all about the kids costumes and evening here.  It was a fun night and I loved watching Mikayla share her candy with all her friends.

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Hanging out with some friends, watching a movie on the porch.

Speaking of holidays, we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of our staff members again.  You can read about our first year here.  This year we invited the maintenance and transport departments to the feast.  And once again, a feast was had!  There was so much food.  Of course it all quickly disappeared and everyone got to take home a hearty take away pack!

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The feast!

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Feast continuted.

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Dessert spread

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Some guests

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Katie hanging with Mikayla

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Staff member from maintenance department holding Simo.  One of the highlights from the day.  Traditionally Swazi men have little to do with young children, so this was huge that he wanted to play and hold Simo.


Post Thanksgiving snuggle session on the porch while watching a storm roll in.

And since we are on the topic of food, Mikayla had a first in the food department this month.  One morning she wanted scrambled eggs for breakfast, but she wanted to make them all on her own.  She did everything but turn on the stove and scoop the eggs on her plate.  She was so proud, and I think she did an awesome job!  She really is growing up way too fast.

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Max had a first this month too…his first overnight!  Oh dear, it was a bit of a mess.  I will leave it at there were four kids, all 4 and under (two under the age of 1) and not a one of them wanted to sleep that night!  The babies took turns crying throughout the night.  If one wasn’t going the other was!  And the two older kiddos also had a little trouble sleeping and had some bad dreams.  Needless to say we were all exhausted the next day, but still had a lot of fun playing!  We took part of our trip into town to go to a local play place called Neverland.  Mikayla and Max actually had the whole place to themselves so they played and played and loved every minute of it.  You can actually drop the kids there and come back to get them, so I left Mikayla to play and Max and I went to the grocery store.  It was much easier to shop without having to keep up with Mikayla!  All in all it was a great couple of days away from the mission, and despite the lack of sleep, everyone had a great time!



Unfortunately, November was not kind to the Kickert’s tummies.  We all three came down with some sort of stomach bug at the end of the month.  Ben had it the worst, but Mikayla was not her usual peppy self for a couple of days after.  Luckily, we were feeling mostly better in time for our annual Thanksgiving feast.

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Max was not quite sure what to make of all the picture taking while he was sitting on his own.

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Sibling Love

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She wanted to wear the towels like mommy does after her shower one night.


Halloween 2013

Monday, November 11th, 2013

I realize that we are a little late on this, but my philosophy is better late than never!  Since we live in Swaziland, and the Swazi’s don’t celebrate Halloween we did not have a problem with pushing our Halloween date back a couple of weeks.  On Halloween, Ben was in town at a meeting and both sisters were in the US.  There are only a limited number of people we can ask to Trick or Treat with, and with the three of them being gone it took away about half of those options!  So, we just went trick or treating last night. 

Last year Mikayla was a princess and all year long she had talked about wanting to be Santa Clause for Halloween.  At the beginning of October we asked her what she wanted to be again just to clarify and she suddenly switched to princess!  I didn’t want to push the Santa thing because frankly I wasn’t very excited about making that costume.  I also wasn’t very excited about her being a princess again so I subtly suggested that she be a wild thing from the book Where the Wild Things Are and that Max be Max King of the Wild Things.  She immediately agreed and we got to work on brainstorming costume ideas.

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Max was easy.  He just needed a white outfit, a crown and a tail.  Done!  I also referenced this picture of Bella (read here to see the importance of Bella in our naming of Max) for inspiration.


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Mikayla was a little bit trickier.  She looked through the book and chose which wild thing she wanted to be.  From there we started brainstorming ideas on how to make it happen.  Of course we "brainstormed" up until the week of our trick or treating  and did most of the costume work on Saturday and Sunday (we went trick or treating on Sunday)!  Ha!  Nothing like last minute preparations.  To make her costume I cut out felt in the shape of fish scales and then roughly sewed them onto a pair of leggings.  We attached a piece of fabric that looked like animal fur to the butt to look like a tail.  Next we chose one of her striped dresses so she could be a mommy wild thing! 

The hardest part was the head, but thanks to team work between Ben and I we were able to make it happen.  We had a broken fan laying around the house so we took it apart and used one side of it for the face.  We used paper mache to outline the face, leaving a large mouth opening for Mikayla to see through.  Ben also attached some string so the face would sit nicely on her head.  On Sunday morning I painted the face brown and attached eyes and nose made from felt.  Ben made some horns from cardboard and those got glued on next.  The final touch was adding yarn all around the edges for his hair.  I think we did a pretty good job and she was very excited about it.  The only unfortunate thing was that we spent all this time putting together her costume for 15 minutes of fun!  Oh well, I think she really appreciated it and her mask is now hanging in her room!

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She doesn’t look thrilled here, but trust me she was so giddy and excited.  She just didn’t want to stop to take pictures, she wanted the candy!  She did make sure to roar her terrible roar and show her terrible claws at each and every door.

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Here she is showing off her tail.  She wanted to make sure everyone knew that she had one.

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Showing off her candy stash.  This is one of the only pictures we got of her by herself.  She was really not excited about pictures!

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Max wanted a turn with the mask.  I think it was a little big for him though…

Posted in Life, Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings 10/29-11/4

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

We had a beautiful week here in Swaziland this week. The weather was gorgeous (much different than the sweltering November we experienced last year) and Ben even had some meetings cancelled in town so he was home (working regular schedule) all week.  Next week is a different story, but this week was nice!

We started our "Thankful Tree" this week.  I drew a large tree on some chart paper and posted on the wall with fall colored leaves.  Each day in November we will work together as a family to say what we are thankful for and put on our tree.  Basically Mikayla gives us an idea and we fine tune it!  So far she is thankful for food (especially the people who make corn), art supplies, toys and maps!

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On Wednesday we passed out some candy to our neighbors and they graciously allowed us to let Mikayla trick or treat at their houses.  Since we only have a few Americans here that understand the concept, we trick or treated at both front and back doors.  Mikayla was so excited and had so much fun!  Ben even got in on the action too.

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Pretty (albeit cheesy) princess grin.

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Twirling in her dress from Uncle Tim and Aunt Chelsea!

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Mikayla and daddy ready to go.  Please notice his massive bag!  I think he was a little ambitious.

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Stephanie (a long term volunteer) passed out candy from both office doors.

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Sister Barbara even got in on the action!

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Joe, knowing Mikayla’s love for cooking, gave her spices in addition to the candy.  She LOVED this!

Joe’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but we were waiting until the sisters got back in town to really celebrate.  He requested a dessert themed party, so on Friday and Saturday I spent the day making desserts!  We ended up with quite the spread and all were on a sugar rush when it was through!  We had donuts, churros, cookie dough brownies, frozen cheesecake, fudgy oat bars, and rainbow cupcakes with icing!  We ended the sugared evening with a showing of A Bug’s Life on our "screen" outside!

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Joe with his birthday candle and spread.  The picture of the desserts is not great, but trust me there was a lot!

Today we have had another lazy Sunday filled with a walk to the river to skip some rocks, tomato basil soup (thanks Joe) and then plans to grill out tonight!  Last weekend we introduced Mikayla to "Family Reading Time".  Basically this is where we all take our respective books and spend some time reading (or in Mikayla’s case looking at pictures).  Last weekend she spend almost 45 minutes "reading" and then asked for it again later in the week.  This morning she asked if she could paint during Family Reading Time.  She spent a good hour painting this morning!  She is doing so good at painting and staying in the lines and is so proud of herself when she does so. 

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Posted in Life |

This Week’s Happenings 10/24-10/30

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Ben went into town on Monday for a big Global Fund meeting and got a great lead on a car.  He stopped by the mechanic who Cabrini uses for a lot of their vehicles and he had two for sale.  We are working with the mechanic to get a few issues taken care of and then possibly purchasing it.  It is Suzuki SVU (similar to a Rav 4 but with full 4 wheel drive).  We should find something out this coming week.

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On Friday Ben went to Nelspruit, South Africa to drop off the sisters vehicle at the airport.  In the meantime he was able to check out one of the malls.  He said that if you didn’t know any better you would think you were in the US.  It will make a great little getaway town if we need a feel for the US.  He was also able to find some Gold Mountain sauce which we use in our Asian cooking.  We have developed quite the spice/condiment rack since arriving!  For the most part we have been able to find everything we needed/wanted.

This week seems to be the week of creatures!  It rained most of the evening and night on Friday and Saturday brought forth a whole new world of creatures!  It started with a (very brief) walk that Mikayla and I took after her nap.  While walking bugs of all sorts were crawling over our feet and flying around us.  Needless to say we turned around quickly and headed home!  Then Saturday evening while Mikayla was taking a shower our house was swarmed by flying termites.  By far the craziest thing we have seen yet!  Thousands of these flying termites were flying around the house and 20-30 found their way inside the house.  Sunday morning we woke up to find a porch full of their wings (which ironically look like helicopter seeds from the states).  A lot gross and a little cool I guess!

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Flying termites – Ben posted a video on Facebook if you want to really see how crazy they were!

We also found these guys in our front yard.

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Not sure what this guy is…any guesses?

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Giant African Land Snail – Steve we thought you would like these!

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And we finally got a picture of one of my favorite birds this week.  Needless to say it was a week filled with new creatures!

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Of course the big rain on Friday meant we were without electricity for 14 hours or so!  We have gotten pretty used to going without electricity, but 14 hours was a pretty long time.  We were lucky in that everything in the fridge an freezer made it through the power outage okay.

One of the most exciting things to happen this week was we discovered that we now have 3G at home. I am not sure what all the means, but it does mean we have faster Internet which means we can do things like call people from our computers and occasionally video chat.  It is still really expensive and the faster the Internet it is, the more you spend to be online.  We were able to make a few phone calls to friends this past week.  We haven’t done so previously because it is so expensive to call from our cell phones (around $1 for thirty seconds to a minute).  It was nice to be able to call folks without having to wait for them to call us!

On Saturday evening our friends John David and Brittany continued our tradition of having our annual Halloween Party.  We were sad to miss/host this year, but glad the tradition continued!  Because we now have 3G we decided it would be fun to wake up during the party to "see" everyone.  So we woke up at 3am and after a couple of failed attempts we were able to video chat with our friends.  It was so great to "see" everyone and take part in the festivities a little.  Our costumes were a little lame (on account of us waking up in the middle of the night), but we dressed up as a couple of sleepy heads!  Mikayla even woke up to see her friends, although I am not sure how much she remembers!

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We went for a brief walk one evening and it turned dark so Mikayla had to wear her "torch".


Halloween Bash 2010

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

We had another successful Halloween Bash.  The costumes were awesome, chili yummy (if I do say so myself), pumpkins amazing, and of course company off the charts!  Thanks to everyone who came out and helped us "go out in style".  My words can’t do the party justice, so here are some pictures to recap the evening. 

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Amazing Banner by Lara.

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Tribute to Willy Wonka himself!

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Cutest Dorothy ever!

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The Wizard of Oz Family!

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Avatar, Earbuds, and a Beautiful Ballerina!

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The Hippies

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Prince Charming, Cinderella, GusGus and their Rock Star Ladybug!

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Cat woman and Spiderman

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Collin and Allen (they were dressed as two other guys that were at the party…you would have to know them to get the costumes)

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Roller Derby Fan and Roller Derby Jammer

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Gorilla and Bride

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Whoopi cushion and Chilean Miner (and he stayed in costume all night, which meant no sitting down)!

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Pajama Party Girls

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Rocking it out with the Chilean Miner.

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Pumpkin Time!

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Brandi pretending to work hard 😉

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Best Pumpkin(s) ever!

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Scarecrow and Pumpkin being eaten.

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Scary face and Haunted House

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Apple and …(I can’t remember what the other one was…sorry)

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Stay Classy

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Posted in Life |

Halloween Themed Play Date

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Mikayla had one of her best buds over today for a play date!  We began the day by getting all decked out in our Halloween/pumpkin gear.

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Then we played some dress up and enjoyed the bubbles for awhile.Lylah Playdate 007

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When Lylah got here Mikayla was so excited, she ran up to the car.  The girls played outside for a bit and then headed inside for some homemade play dough action.  Lylah lasted a total of five seconds, but Mikayla played for quite awhile while the mommies prepped our lunch.  Unfortunately, I did not snap any pictures of Mikayla and the play dough, but will try to get some later.

For lunch we had Pumpkin sandwiches (ham and cheese sandwich cut into the shape of a pumpkin with cheese for the eyes and mouth), Frankenstein fingers (cheese stick with peppers for the fingernails), Skeleton Bones (Gerber Veggie sticks), Brains (broccoli), and Eyeballs (grapes).  For desserts we had Ghosts (frozen bananas on a stick covered with whipped cream and raisins or frosting for the eyes and mouth).  The girls ate it all up.

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Ghosts on a stick

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Frankenstein fingers and brains!

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Pumpkin Sandwiches

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They loved the ghosts!

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We ended our date with craft time.  Lara put together fun Jack-O-Lanterns for the girls to make.  They did awesome making them, but while we were trying to snap some pictures they promptly tore apart the craft!

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We had a great day, thanks Lara and Lylah for coming to play!


Kickert’s Halloween Bash

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Get ready folks because it’s October.  Which means it is time to start making your Halloween plans. It is hard to believe this is the fifth year of festivities, but its true. To mark this milestone, the prizes will be bigger, the guest list larger and the costumes more outrageous.  In case you have never attended, we always have a costume and pumpkin carving contest.  We also have some of the best chili around (if I do say so myself – afterall I am the chef)!  If you are in town on October 30, feel free to stop by our house for the festivities.

The rules are the same as every year:
1.) You must come in costume (or risk dirty looks from your peers who have more class and originality than you).
2.) There will be a pumpkin carving contest, so bring your tools and your gourd (or is pumpkin a fruit?)
3.) Food will be provided, but bring your own drinks and/or appetizers.
4.) Costumes and pumpkins will be judged with prizes given to the winners.

As always, the evening will be family / children friendly but with responsible adult fun as well. You are welcome to invite friends.
If you need directions just let me know.  We will begin the fun around 6:30!

Here are some pictures of past Halloween fun:

The Goodmans AKA Extremely Religious Couple

The Goodmans AKA Extremely Religious Couple

Will the real Steve Pavey please stand up?

Will the real Steve Pavey please stand up?

We were so honored to have Borat show up a few years ago!

We were so honored to have Borat show up a few years ago!

Dice or as some people know them, the Markhams

Dice or as some people know them, the Markhams

JudgeMint and JudgeMental (a little lame, but I was pregnant and battling morning sickness...the creative juices just weren't flowing last year)!

JudgeMint and JudgeMental (a little lame, but I was pregnant and battling morning sickness...the creative juices just weren't flowing last year)!

The Orkin Woman and her Pest!

The Orkin Woman and her Pest!

Robots - Probably the most work intensive costume to appear at our Halloween party ever!

Robots - Probably the most work intensive costume to appear at our Halloween party ever!

Pumpkin carving fun

Pumpkin carving fun

Yes, that would be my husband the pyromaniac with lighter fluid and a flame!  Watch out.

Yes, that would be my husband the pyromaniac with lighter fluid and a flame! Watch out.

Posted in Life |

10 Things I Love About Fall

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Out of all four seasons, fall is by far my favorite.  It has been since I can remember.  There are so many great things about fall, here are ten of my favorites!

  1. Apple Orchards – Growing up I would go pick apples with my grandma at Haney’s and grab and apple pie.  Now that I live in Bowling Green I like to frequent Jackson’s Orchard for an apple cider slush, apple pie, and great fall atmosphere!
  2. Pumpkins and Halloween parties – For the last three or four years Ben and I have hosted a Halloween party.  We aren’t very social people, but this has come to be something our friends expect each year.  We have contests for the best costumes and we even have a pumpkin carving contest.  Last year the carving was kind of a dud for several reasons, but we hope to pick it back up this year.
  3. Fall leaves – I love the colors that fall brings:  reds, oranges, yellows…they are all so great.  I like to watch them change on the trees and then float to the ground.  One of the best sounds in the world is walking along on a leaf covered path and hear the leaves crunching beneath your feet.  So peaceful!  And believe it or not, I actually enjoy raking leaves.  Too bad our wimpy trees don’t have enough to warrant raking!
  4. Apples – Caramel apples, applecake, apple muffins, apple pie…the list could go on forever!  Each year at school we have an apple unit and for the culmination we have an Apple Celebration.  Each family is invited to send in their favorite apple dish and then we have a taste test with the kids.  It is so much fun to see all the creativity and taste the deliciousness.
  5. Weather – Cool and crisp…not too cool like in the winter and not too crisp like on really windy days, but just perfect.  Perfect for long walks with my puppy and my baby!  Perfect for afternoon and evening rounds of disc golf with my husband and friends.
  6. Fires in the backyard – We haven’t had our fire pit for very long (I think right at a year), but fires on a fall night our the best.  I have just recently rediscovered my love for smores, but only if Ben makes them for me!
  7. Fall Food – Chili and Thanksgiving food are two of my favorites.  I could eat a big bowl of homemade chili almost every night in the fall.  And don’t get me started on Thanksgiving food:  mashed potatoes and gravy, veggie casseroles, rolls, pumpkin pie…just around the corner and my tummy is already starting to rumble!
  8. K-Scope Showcases – I love watching what kids can create when given a positive outlet to do so.  Kaleidoscope showcases never let me down!
  9. Fall Break – I love my job for many reasons, but one in particular is the many breaks I get throughout the year, fall break being one of them.  This year we are heading to the Smokey Mountains with some good friends of ours and I can’t wait!  Leaves, crisp weather, good food and wonderful friends all combined together.  Does life get any better?
  10. Fall memories – Some of my favorite memories took place in the fall season.  In college it was somewhat of a tradition for Ben and I, along with a couple of friends to take road trips to various places.  Two of my favorites were the road trips we took to Baton Rouge and Maine over fall break.  They were long car rides (which I probably wouldn’t be very good at today), but well worth it in the end!  In high school many of my friends played soccer (a fall sport in Kentucky).  I have many fond memories of sitting bundled up in a blanket cheering them on!

What are your favorite fall moments?  I will end with some favorite fall pictures:

Jackson's Orchard Fall 2009

Jackson's Orchard Fall 2009

Favorite Halloween Costume - Cave People Fall 2007

Favorite Halloween Costume - Cave People Fall 2007

Jackson's Orchard Fall 2008

Jackson's Orchard Fall 2008

Another look at our costume Fall 2007

Another look at our costume Fall 2007