Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I feel like I haven't written anything of real substance for... well, a while. But tomorrow I'm headed for what will likely turn into a full two week hospital stay, during which I will have A LOT of free time on my hands. You know what that means? Lots and lots of blogging about completely random things. Lucky you.

I have a few posts rolling around in my head; I've even started two of them. I promise I'll update as soon as possible. I also promise that I'll try not to complain too much, and that at least one of those posts will be about something OTHER than how much I miss my kid.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

'Tis the Season

Is there anything better than a toddler's fascination the first time she sees Christmas lights? Maybe the way she carries the nutcrackers around the house, calling them her babies.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 Day of Thanks

nDay 1:  Today I'm thankful for understanding coworkers.

Day 2:  Today I am thankful for memories. My cousin and I shared some of our memories of my sister, Shannan, who passed away when I was 6, and I've felt her presence today more than I have in a long time.

Day 3: I am thankful that the recovery from my severed achilles tendon (and the surgery to repair that tendon) has been relatively speedy and complication-free. Here's to continued improvement!

Day 4: I'm thankful that I was able to come home from work and hug my daughter. Not everyone in our little community was able to do that today.  

Day 5: Today I'm thankful for random compliments from strangers. A few sweet, simple words can really go a long way.

Day 6: I am SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL to be a mom! I could list this one every single day for the rest of my life, and it wouldn't even begin to convey my gratitude.

Day 7: Today I'm thankful to have a husband who does his own laundry.

Day 8: Today I'm thankful that Mother Nature allowed us to have a few more absolutely gorgeous days of fall before we have to head into winter. That being said: Goodbye, Sunshine. See you in six months!  

Day 9: Today I'm thankful for friends. Over the past few years they have become fewer and farther between, but to those who have stuck around, thank you. You guys are amazing!
Day 10: Today I'm thankful to know that there are still decent people in the world; people who are willing to step up and do right by someone else.

Day 11: I'm thankful that I was taught to always be accepting and respectful of others. Some of the most amazing people I've ever met have walked a very different path than my own, and some of the strongest life lessons have come from those with different beliefs.

Day 12: I am incredibly thankful for my CF family. The online CF community is one of the most caring, supportive and encouraging groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Day 13: Today, I'm thankful for restful weekends.
Day 14: I'm thankful to have a husband who occasionally lets me sleep in while he feeds the girls breakfast and gets them ready for the day.

Day 15: I'm thankful that Adam and I live near both our extended families. They are a great support system and I love knowing that my girls will grow up close to their cousins like I did.  

Day 16: I'm thankful to have step-parents that I TRULY love. I'm also grateful that all the steps and exes in our family get along so well. I have learned by their example that a "broken family" is what you make of it... and ours is pretty amazing!

Day 17: Today I'm thankful to have a husband who can always make me laugh... even when I'm upset with him. (Although sometimes it drives me CRAZY when I'm trying so hard to be mad and he's sitting there just-a-crackin' me up.)

Day 18: Although it can be very challenging at times, I'm so thankful to be a stepmom. Morgan may have made me a momma, but it's Shylee who broke me in.

Day 19: I'm thankful for our jobs. They have kept food on the table, clothes on our back and a roof over our heads, and that makes us more fortunate than a lot of people out there. Some of the most meaningful relationships in my life are the ones I have with my coworkers.

Day 20: Today I'm thankful that my dad taught me how to glue a cake back together with icing. Shylee's cake was about 85% frosting, but it was still pretty yummy! Hey, I've never claimed to be good at this whole "baking" thing.

Day 21: I'm thankful to have a husband who makes me do my airway clearance and breathing treatments, even when I beg him to let me skip them "just this once".

Day 22: I'm thankful that both Adam and I are able to get health insurance through our employers.

Day 23: I'm thankful beyond words that the babysitter's house is not only conveniently close to work, but also a place where I know Morgan will be well taken care of and, most importantly, where she is loved like part of the family. Thank you for all that you do for us, Mindy!

Day 24: Today I'm thankful that it's a short work week. Bring on the long weekend, and BRING ON THE TURKEY!

Day 25: I'm thankful to be blessed with wonderful parents who have loved me unconditionally, taught me so much, and are awesome grandparents.


I first thought that as the month progressed, I may have a difficult time finding things to be grateful for each day, but I found that the real problem was trying to limit myself to listing just one thing per day. I've been humbled by this experience, and I've realized once again how rich with blessings my life is.

I will continue 30 Days of Thanks on Facebook through the end of the month. I just thought that today was a fitting day to post this. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My first blog award

I'm very honored, although I couldn't help but notice that they listed my blog as "My Life IS a Livingston" which reminds me of  the countless times throughout my school years that my name was spelled "Jennie Carmondy".

But totally cool, nonetheless.


Click on the award to see the entire list of Top CF Blogs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

They don't call it Black Friday for nothin'

Last week, Adam told me he thinks we should do some Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

If you know Adam, I'm sure you'll understand why my reaction to this was "Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?" If you don't know him, let me just tell you that this is more than a little out of character for him.

This brilliant idea was coming from the man who avoids going to Wal Mart on weekends because the lines are a bit longer than usual; whose blood pressure skyrockets when people stand just a little too close to him; who, no matter how much he wants to see a movie, will wait until it is released on DVD just so he can avoid listening to people in the movie theater crunching on popcorn. The People Hater wants to go to the biggest, most crowded, most people-trampling-craptastic sale of the year.

"I don't think you're comprehending just how many people there will be, honey. You're going to HATE it," I told him.

"It'll be okay," he said.

"You realize that I'm going to be totally useless, right? I'm not going to shove people out of the way, or punch someone in the face to get a toy. In fact, I'll probably ride in the cart the whole time just to be sure I'm not trampled to death."

"That's fine."

"And as soon as you start complaining that it's too crowded or that I'm not helping enough, I'm going to bring up this conversation, then make fun of you on my blog. You are aware of that, right?"


So, I guess we're going shopping on Friday. If you are insane hitting the big sales as well, please be advised that if you come across an angry man mumbling profanities under his breath while his wife shouts "REMEMBER THAT CONVERSATION?" you should not, under any circumstances, approach them.

Chances are, that man will be packing heat.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Take: fourteen

Take: one

Take: two

Take: three

My personal favorite is #3, wherein I am squeezing Shylee's leg telling her to please just look at the camera, at the precise moment she is smacking Adam in the face...

...which pretty much sums up every experience we've ever had with family pictures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

But I might stick a poison apple in your stocking

Shylee: Are we going to have a Christmas tree this year?

Me: Of course we are. Why do you ask?

Shylee: I just thought you might not let us have one.

It's interesting to learn that you're perceived as the kind of person who might blacklist Christmas trees. My mind raced, trying to pinpoint the moment I had said or done something to make her think that. I was sure I'd never given her that impression; I love Christmas!

Then it hit me -- I'm the EVIL stepmother! I'm supposed to ban Christmas trees and kick puppies and things of that sort. Sometimes I have to be reminded.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Hospital,

As much as I hate to say it, I think it's about time that you and I had a little rendezvous. I've got some weird stuff going on that I could really use your help with.

I'm definitely not happy about it, but I'm proud to say that I won't have to be bound, gagged and physically carried into a bed this time. (Look at me... I must be growing up.) But please don't judge me too harshly if I complain just a little - I know I'm luckier than a lot of people - it's just that I'm not quite used to these changes in my health; I'm not used to needing to visit you so often. I'm sure that as time goes on, you and I will begin spending more time together, and I really think I'll learn to be okay with that. I just need a little more time.

I've been making preparations this time around; I don't want to be caught off guard like I have in the past. I've made arrangements with work and a babysitter, and I'm coming to clinic in two weeks with my bags packed, entirely prepared to stay for a while. If by some miracle I'm feeling better by then, or if my doctor has an alternative plan, I promise that I won't complain even once about all this planning being in vain. (See? Grown up.) I'll just consider myself a lucky girl and be grateful that I get to go home to my family.

But I must warn you that if that is the case and I don't have to be admitted, as I walk out the doors, bags in hand, I may not be able to restrain myself from doing a little victory dance and telling you to go ahead and SUCK IT!

With resentment love,
Your (perhaps not totally grown up) friend,

P.S. Before I come, can you please warn the nursing staff that I will cry EVERY TIME they ask about my baby, and also tell that guy from Respiratory that I have absolutely no desire to talk about his love for Jack Johnson during every... single... one... of my evening treatments. Thanks.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

On expectations and being "normal"

In the past year or so, as I've become more involved in the CF community, and as my own health has become increasingly harder to manage, I've noticed a certain concept creeping quite regularly into my discussions with other CFers -- the strong desire we have to lead a normal life. Growing up, I had a picture in my mind of what a normal life should look like, and over the years I've done my best to make my own life resemble that picture.

Last year I became very sick. At a particularly low point, I found myself in a hospital bed, barely able to breathe, in severe pain, absolutely terrified and feeling very alone. I allowed myself to cry for a long time that day; I cried because I was finally beginning to come to terms with the reality of this disease, because I was emotionally and physically exhausted, because my family couldn't be there with me when I so needed them, and also because I felt as if I were being robbed of the normal life I'd always wanted.

From where I sat, the portrait of my current life and that of the normal life I'd envisioned looked NOTHING alike; where there were supposed to be bright splashes of color, there were gray shadows and instead of beautiful scenery, there was a mess of odd, senseless shapes. I felt discouraged and lost, and at the time I was furious with CF for stealing my chance at normality.

In the weeks following that hospitalization, I slowly started feeling better and as my energy returned, so did my morale. I began feeling excited and optimistic about the future again. Before long I was even feeling, dare I say, normal again. And that's when I started thinking, what is normal, anyway? Who or what is the standard that we are supposed to measure up to? Because you and I are different, does that mean one of us is not normal? Do our personal challenges make us abnormal? What exactly constitutes a normal life?

When I hear other people with CF say things like "I just wish I were normal", my heart hurts because I truly feel for them and can relate to what they are going through, but I also feel grateful that I've moved beyond that place. I no longer wish to be normal, or mourn for the normal life I'll never have. I have come to realize that normal doesn't exist.

If it's not CF that threatens someones normality, it may be depression, down syndrome, spina bifida, mental illness or one of hundreds (if not thousands) of other diseases. Besides handicaps and illnesses there are people dealing with poverty, violence, abuse, neglect, etc. The physical and emotional scars caused by any one of these things could just as easily steal someones chance at a normal life. Some trials may be life-long and noticeable, like CF, while others remain completely hidden to everyone but their owner. The bottom line is that NO ONE is immune to the possibility of facing a major, often times heartbreaking life disruption. I firmly believe that everyone, no matter their situation, will at some point experience their own personal hell that will make them reconsider their idea of normal.

CF (and all that it entails) is just a part of me. It may seem foreign to someone else, but it's all become very normal to me. This is my life -- my normal life. It may not match your description of normal, or anyone else's for that matter, but it's the only normal I'll ever know.

I still see those portraits in my mind: real life vs. the life I'd imagined. It wasn't until I reached a very low point in my life that I really examined those pictures, and at the time I was disheartened by their differences. In time, however, I began looking at those pictures in a new, more forgiving light. The more I looked, the more I began to see some very significant similarities between the two. All the important things are still there, I just have to take a step back every now and then to see them. Sure, there may be a little more gray than I planned on, but it makes the colors seem that much more vibrant in contrast.

This life of mine is very different from the normal one I once strived for, that's true, but I can guarantee you that it's JUST AS BEAUTIFUL.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Even though he has two first names

I can finally share with you something that, until this point, I felt like I really couldn't say much about - for legal reasons. (Does that sound cool, or what?) But first, I think I need to back up a bit.

July 25, 2010
  • We purchase a lawnmower at Home Depot
  • Home Depot employee fails to deactivate security device on said lawnmower 
  • Ear-splitting alarm sounds as we prepare to exit the store
  • I'm startled by the sound and pause momentarily
  • Adam continues walking and runs into the back of my legs with mower
  • There is pain... so much pain (and possibly some profanity)
  • We rush to the nearest emergency room and find that my achilles tendon has been completely severed in two  

A couple days after the accident, I got a call from a man named Tom Scott at Home Depot's corporate office. He explained that an investigation was being conducted in order to clear Home Depot of any liability. He also said that TORO, the manufacturer of the lawn mower, would be getting in contact with me simply because it was their product involved in the accident.

I remember joking with Adam about the saying "Never trust a man with two first names". I was hoping that Tom Scott would prove to be an exception.

In August, two representatives from TORO and a gentleman who worked for Tom Scott met with me at my house. TORO wanted to inspect the mower to be sure there was no product defect, and Home Depot wanted a representative there to speak directly with myself and TORO about the incident.

They obviously knew I was injured -- that's why they were there in the first place -- but I don't think they expected to see me hobbling around on crutches, with a cast up to my knee, a very noticeable PICC line in my arm and tubing trailing into the fanny pack that held my IV pump (as I was currently doing home IV therapy for a lung infection). Their stares said more than their words could, had they actually been able to say anything. All three of them stood there looking at me, speechless, until I finally broke the silence by extending my hand and introducing myself. (And if you know me, you know how much I enjoyed their discomfort in that moment.)

As I said, they were there to inspect the lawnmower and hear firsthand our account of the accident. It went without saying that they were also there to determine whether or not I was the type of person who was going to sue their pants off. In the next twenty minutes there were of a lot of questions asked, hundreds of pictures taken (of me, of my cast, of the lawnmower), some blame shifting between the two companies and an impressive reenactment of the accident, although the TORO employee who portrayed me didn't quite have the same panache I do.

By the end of the meeting it was pretty clear that if one of companies were to be held accountable, it would be Home Depot. There was no product defect or malfunction, so TORO had no liability whatsoever. They paid for two employees to fly from Minnesota to Salt Lake City, rent a car and drive halfway across the state for our meeting, get a couple hotel rooms for the night (I don't think the fifty-something woman and thirty-something man shared a room, although I could be wrong), then drive back to Salt Lake and fly to Minnesota the next day, plus their meals along the way, only to find that they really had no reason to send anyone out in the first place. Perhaps we should have discussed this beforehand, TORO. I'm sure we could have come to some sort of agreement in which you could have just given me the money you spent on that little business trip and in return, I'd have pinky-promised not to sue you. Heck, I would have settled for what you spent on just the plane tickets.

Home Depot was a little concerned that we would go after them since it was their employee who failed to deactivate the security device on the lawnmower (which is what caused the alarm to sound, startling me). That concern escalated when the TORO employee explained that the company generally places one security device on the handle of the mower, but that Home Depot had specifically requested that another device be placed on the deck of their mowers for added security. Basically he was saying hey, YOU guys asked for the additional security device, then YOU were the morons who failed to deactivate it. Good luck with your lawsuit, buddy.

The Home Depot guy didn't say too much after that, and I got the feeling he wasn't really looking forward to reporting to Mr. Tom Scott back at HD corporate headquarters.

From the very beginning, we were urged to hire an attorney. Literally one of the first things out of the doctor's mouth as he began examining my injury was "I certainly hope Home Depot is paying for this". And, in theory, it sounded nice: get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, quit our jobs and live like kings at the expense of Home Depot. But in reality, I think a big problem with this society is how sue-happy we are. So many people think that everything is someone else's fault, and that they should pay big time for it. This was an ACCIDENT! I didn't (and still don't) feel like Home Depot owed me an exorbitant amount of money. Of course we were hoping that they would offer to help cover the medical bills, and if they wanted to, say... give us the lawnmower for free, we certainly wouldn't turn them down. But neither Adam or I felt that it was at all necessary to file a lawsuit. We were just going to be decent and honest and hope that Tom Scott would do the same.

Over the next few months I was in regular contact with Mr. Scott. He would often inquire about my recovery and asked that I forward him any documentation of out-of-pocket expenses incurred in this whole process. He also requested a letter from my employer verifying lost wages from any work I had to miss due to my injury, including any time missed for doctor's appointments. At one point, I received an email from him which said that Home Depot did, in fact, have some liability issues in my case and that after I was discharged from medical care (related specifically to that injury) he would like to discuss a settlement figure.

Well my friends, the paperwork has been signed and I can tell you that, although it was not a large settlement by any means, it's enough that the lawnmower will be paid for, all of my out-of-pocket medical expenses will be taken care of, and we'll even have a little bit leftover for bills or Christmas. And we were able to do it all without the waiting, frustration and added expense that would have been involved if we had hired a lawyer. I feel like we were treated respectfully through the whole thing and that Home Depot definitely did their part in making sure I was taken care of. And no, I'm not being paid to say that.

I'm starting to believe that saying may not be of much consequence after all. I think that there are men with two first names who can, in fact, be trusted. I mean, Tom Scott turned out to be an alright guy. And what about Benjamin Franklin or Clark Kent?

And c'mon, Clive Owen? I'd trust him with my everything.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 2010 Newsletter: 15 months

Dear Morgan,

Lately when people have asked me how old you are I've told them, "She's 15 months... going on 15 years." Just the other night we dropped you off with your Grandma Candy for a few hours so your dad and I could have some much needed alone time (something you'll understand when you're older... much, much older) and when we came to pick you up later that evening, all she could say about the experience was, "She certainly has a mind of her own, doesn't she?"

That you do, kiddo. THAT YOU DO.

But it's not as if this is new information. In fact, I knew it before you were even born. Shortly after discovering that I was carrying you, I began having complications with the pregnancy. There was a time very early on that I thought I'd lost you. In fact, everyone did, including my doctor and the ER nurse I spoke with on the phone. But during an ultrasound the next morning, I looked up at the monitor and saw your little heart just beat-beat-beating away and that's when I knew: you were strong, you were a fighter. It was only the first of many pregnancy scares, but after that experience, each discomforting moment was accompanied by a feeling of peace. I could feel your strength already, and even though the things we went through were scary, deep down I knew that you were going to be fine.

Sometimes I curse your willpower, as it makes my life considerably more difficult. I imagine my stress level would decrease significantly if I had a child who would listen to me, simply because I said so. But that's not you, my love. Once you get an idea into your head, there's no changing your mind. You are determined and stubborn and even downright defiant, at times. Your ability to throw tantrums is incredible, really. If it weren't so darn frustrating, it'd be impressive. I think there have actually been a few times that your voice has reached frequencies undetectable by human ears. I see these tendencies now and it makes me fearful about the future, but I try not to think about it too much, because the few times I've let my mind wander and imagined you as a teenager I've either ended up in tears, or involuntary, full-body convulsions.

In other news: sometime in the past month, you discovered my belly button. The BEEP! sound I made when you pushed it resulted in hysterical laughter, and now you have a new favorite game. While you definitely prefer to beep someone's "button", if your playmate is not a willing participant in your game (your dad thinks it's weird when you stick your finger in his belly button), another body part will do just fine. Everything in the house beeps now. The couch beeps. The dog beeps. Your food beeps before it enters your mouth. There's no end to the beeping! One morning, I heard a high-pitched BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! coming from the living room and walked in to find you repeatedly pushing your own belly button and giggling.

Your dad and I have recently started playing a game of our own where we say a word and ask you to repeat it. It usually goes something like this:

"Morgan, say: hi."
"Say: night-night."
"Say: dog."
"Di-dee." (All dogs are Dixie)
"Say: ball."
"No, Morgan, say: ball."

That's when we know our game is over.

We have entered the phase of your life (at least I hope it's just a
phase) where trying to put a diaper on you is like trying to mud wrestle a hyena: strenuous, messy, and one of us usually walks away limping. As I've mentioned before, you LOVE to be naked. And I may be crazy, but everything you do seems to be even more hilarious when you do it in the nude. For this reason, on the days that you win our little wrestling matches, we allow you to run around naked for a few minutes. Sort of a naked, victory dance, I suppose. The day you pooped on the carpet was the day your dad said he was drawing the line - your naked days were OVER! I told him that was fine as long as HE was going to be the one who put your diaper back on, then added, "You've recently had a tetanus shot, right?"

You were running around naked two hours later.

We usually make you wear clothes, however. In fact, you've never gone out in public without an essential article of clothing like pants or a shirt. I will admit to the time I became THAT MOM and took you into Wal Mart barefoot and actually let you get out of the cart. And walk. Barefoot. In the store. My excuse? I'd just spend the past hour trying to get your diaper on. At least your bum was covered up.

Morgan, your personality comes out more and more each day, and I simply can't get enough of it. I love your energy, your affection, your enthusiasm for life, your infectious laugh, your goofy smile, and I have to admit, I even love your stubbornness. Although it makes my life challenging at times, I'm so very glad it's a part of you. It may get you into trouble at times, it may lead to some unnecessary hardships in your life, and it may drive the people around you crazy, but it will also be the fuel that keeps you going when you might otherwise give up; it will give you the motivation to help others and the the strength to stand up for yourself; it will be the reason you'll fight so hard for what you believe in, and once you learn to use it for the right reasons, in the proper situations, it will serve you well.


(Someone who's been known to be just a bit stubborn herself)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I'm surrounded by babies!

The almost daily "We're expecting!" or "It's a boy!" announcements I read on my Facebook feed, the very pregnant women I see waddling walking though the grocery store, my sister's recent adoption of sweet Baby Miles, one friend's impending due date, another friend's plans to try to conceive -- all of these things are making me feel like I'm being bombarded by babies!

And the more I see and hear about these babies, the more I find myself thinking... I want another one.

Now, let me explain: I don't want one now, or even in the foreseeable future. Between that sassy soon-to-be-five-year-old and that unyielding catastrophic force also known as my toddler, my hands are already full. Sometimes, a little too full (you may recall the paint incident).

But, maybe someday...

After I had Morgan (and became very, very sick) Adam and I decided that we wouldn't have any more children. Initially, I was okay with that decision. It just didn't make sense to put myself at risk for another serious health scare, and the progressive nature of CF must also be taken into account. Even if I were healthy enough to sustain another pregnancy, would I be healthy enough to care for another child down the road? And besides, we are so incredibly blessed to have had Morgan in the first place! We should just be grateful for that and call it good, right?

But as time went on, I began to realize that I wasn't okay with that decision at all.

I was unsure at the time what was causing such conflicting feelings.  Was it just the mother in me hating the thought of never holding another fresh-from-the-womb newborn to my chest? Was I upset about seeing my plans for a natural, peaceful second birth experience going out the window? Did I feel as if I'd somehow be letting Morgan down if I couldn't give her siblings? Was I disappointed that Adam would never get the boy he wanted? Or did it just feel so wrong because it was, in fact, the wrong decision for us?

I still don't have all the answers to those questions. But, as I began to express those feelings and concerns to Adam, he admitted that he also felt unsettled about it. Eventually, we came to the agreement that we do want another baby. (It feels good to say it out loud.)

So, now what? Will we try to have another, naturally? Would I even be able to get pregnant a second time? Would we consider adoption? Honestly, we have no idea. There are far too many unknowns at this point to make a plan. Right now we are simply trying to get my health to a more stable point and focus on loving the children that we do have. The details will work themselves out over time. I don't need another baby, or even a plan, just yet.

The HOPE of having another someday is enough to keep this mama happy....

...for now. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

A pretty safe bet

My coworkers and I often bring similar foods to work, which means that after a few days pass we aren't sure whose food is whose.

Usually, just to be safe, we ask each other things like, "Is this my yogurt or yours?"

"Did you bring Pop Tarts this week?"

"Are those my moldy leftovers?"

I don't remember exactly when I brought it, but I think it's safe to say that the can of Ensure I found in the fridge today didn't belong to any of my coworkers.


Shylee, our little princess/fairy/butterfly, depending on who was asking

I don't know about you, but we took advantage of Halloween falling on a Sunday this year and spread our activities through the entire weekend.

My office is pretty fond of any holiday, but Halloween is our shared favorite, so we dressed up on Friday even though it wasn't technically Halloween.

Later that night, we had a family party at my dad's house, thanks mostly to the planning of my brother and his wife. The kids played a few games, danced, and painted pumpkins. There was fun music, great company and lots of yummy food. Thanks Tommy and Megan, we really enjoyed it!

Pin the tail on the cat

Morgan loves her cousin

Grandma Candy, my sweet stepmom

We really wanted to get Adam up there, but didn't think Tommy would be able to hold him as easily

On Saturday, we braved the stormy weather and took the girls trick-or-treating (our town held a Trunk-or-Treat, where cars line up and hand candy out of their trunks) then we came home, bundled up, and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, which has kind of become a tradition for us. Then, after the little ones were asleep, a few friends showed up unexpectedly and we had a great time visitng until way too late/early the next morning.

I hope you all had a happy Halloween, too!