Oct 31, 2009

Halloween: A History

Halloween is one of those holidays that inspires vivid memories for me. Pardon my stroll down Memory Lane...

2001: Zach is less than two weeks old. We carve "Z" into our pumpkins, bundle up the baby, and walk around our apartment complex with friends whose children are old enough to trick-or-treat.

2002: Inspired by a sewing friend, I make Zachary a skunk costume, complete with faux fur and a foam-filled tail that wiggles when he walks. He is toasty warm outside in spite of freezing temperatures. He is the hit of the ward trunk-or-treat. I vow never to expend so much effort on a costume for a one-year-old.

2003: We borrow a bear costume this year, since I am puking through a pregnancy. Two-year-old Zachary charmingly performs for the video camera. This is the first year of real trick-or-treating, although we only go around the block.

2004: Two kids dress up this year, both in recycled costumes. Zachary dons the lion costume my mom made for my brother circa 1985. Tyler is a skunk. It isn't a stretch to have two wild animals -- one loud and one stinky -- in the house. This may be the only year the whole family dresses up. Garry actually goes to work as a vampire!

2005: Halloween costumes are sponsored by Old Navy. Zach, the largest preschooler known to mankind, is a dragon, and Tyler is a frog. Zachary is so shy at the preschool costume parade that he cries. The ward trunk-or-treat is easily the highlight of the holiday.

2006: The boys are cowboys courtesy of Goodwill flannel shirts, homespun vests, and hats and boots by ebay. Garry dresses up as a cowboy to take them trick-or-treating. It is freezing outside; the boys wear blanket sleepers under their clothing.

2007: Following an army-themed sixth birthday party, Zach is an army guy and Tyler takes a turn in the lion costume. Ty's growls are very convincing! My eight-months-pregnant belly resembles a pumpkin. In spite of my enormous size, I take a turn with the trick-or-treating so I can stroll and chat with my neighbor for an hour. It is unseasonably warm.

2008: Our family boasts a ninja, a transformer, and a feverish, teething turtle. Once again, I am puking through a pregnancy. I am in charge of the ward Halloween carnival, which saps my enthusiasm for the holiday just a bit.

2009: The boys are happy with recycled costumes again -- a vampire, an army guy, and a frog. Lexi gets a ladybug costume because I'm excited to dress up a girl, but of course the costume is only good for a photograph!

We enjoy an evening with friends. Can you spot five Bartles in this photo? (Click to enlarge.)

I wonder what our next Halloween will bring!

Oct 30, 2009

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...

...glad as I can be!

Garry returned from San Francisco last night to a literal chorus of applause and "Hooray!" gushing from every mouth. He had quite the fan club clustered around the garage door! (To hear the song we were singing as he drove up the street, click here. Be sure to select "Words and Music" on the left.)

We sure missed this guy the last few days. I'm so grateful for a husband who truly is my better half. He is fun and funny, down-to-earth and lighthearted,
a steadying influence when my boat is rocking, a faithful provider, an excellent father, and my best friend. I'm not quite myself when he is gone...and thankfully, that's not very often!

On his first morning back after business travel, Garry got right to work shoveling the driveway I couldn't face in his absence. This afternoon he shoveled our neighbor's driveway. Right now he is putting kids to bed, and in the morning he will help a family move.

Truly, he is the best of men.

And I am SO GLAD he is home.

Oct 29, 2009

The rest of the weekend

Zachary's baptism weekend was so wonderful! We owe much of its success to our wonderful families, who stayed, in part, until Tuesday. These photos don't showcase all that went on, but they fill in a few blanks.

We had a few meals when we were all together. Adding six adults to the household (only three stayed with us) required extra seating. Granny and Gramps took turns eating in "the annex." Here is Granny anticipating dinner with Tyler.

On Saturday after the baptism, we ate a scrumptious dinner at TGIFriday's. Among other things, we celebrated Zach's and Eric's birthdays. Here is Eric standing on a chair so that all of the restaurant patrons could see him as we sang. What fun!

Here is Gavin snoozing in Lexi's crib after church on Sunday. The silly boy wouldn't nap before, was a crazy man during, and zonked immediately following our meetings.

Just as we finished dinner, there was a knock at the door. I answered and found a friend on the porch with a birthday cake for Zachary. What a fun surprise! It was delicious.

For the visiting adults, the weekend included lots of cuddling with Lexi and lots of cuddling under blankets. Lexi is adorable; can you blame anyone for wanting to hold her? And unfortunately our house was a little chilly for our poor guests, who wore jackets and sat in front of the fire to stay warm!

Grandpa Bartle worked on a model car with Zachary on Sunday night. They painted it and everything. It was good practice for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby in the Spring!

On Monday morning, Zach cuddled in bed with me. In my fuzzy state I didn't realize something was wrong until it was too late -- Zach threw up on me, the bed, and the floor. Yuck! He spent the morning lying on my bathroom floor. (Can you see him in there?) Zach has a very sensitive tummy, and all of the weekend partying did him in. Although he missed school, he was back to normal by 10:00 a.m.

Monday brought snow and a two-hour delay for the kids at school. Zach was home anyway, so I excused Tyler from half-day (or one-hour, that day) kindergarten so he could play with the relatives. Eric was the first to leave. We laughed as he slid around in flip-flops on the ice as he loaded his vehicle that morning. He was anxious to return to the Arizona sunshine! I was mighty sad not to go with him!

The grandparents got some last-minute cuddles in with the kids. Tyler amazed Gramps with his reading skills. Garry's parents left around noon.

Those who remained worked on projects. My mom sent me on a solo shopping trip to collect supplies for some sewing efforts: a baby quilt and burp cloths. Then she cut out all the quilt pieces for me! By now the burp cloths are done and the quilt is shaping up nicely, due in large part to her help that day. How cool is that?

Aunt Heidi baked and decorated sugar cookies with the big boys while the babies napped. They turned out so well, and the boys had a terrific time. (In the background you can see how the mantle arrangement finally worked out. I love it!)

My parents left late Monday afternoon, and Heidi left the following morning. Quite suddenly the house was empty and quiet! In the silence I could appreciate all of the wonderful things that happened over the weekend: happy family associations, a beautiful and sacred baptismal ordinance, and lots of fun and joyful memories. Thanks to all who came and contributed. We love you all!

Oct 28, 2009

Turkeys and roosters

Today was the school year's first snow day. Judging from the amount of snow in our yard, I'm not sure what merited the closure, but we managed to do pretty well at home.

We started with pancakes (I never make pancakes), then made friendship bread, otherwise known as a big mess in the kitchen. The boys did chores to earn back the video games they lost last week. Gavin and I did puzzles again and again and again and again.

Throughout the day, there was a little drama, a little quilting, and a lot of wishing that Arizona was closer to Colorado than it actually is.

We also did a couple of projects.

Please tell me that this turkey looks like a pirate. Tyler is thrilled with this silly kindergarten/family art project. I'm thrilled that he is thrilled. That is not my only opinion, but it's the only opinion I plan to share.

Lexi got a hair cut. For all of you who disapprove of buzzing baby girls' heads, take heart: I didn't use the clippers. But I did whack off the rooster tail and feel much better about Lexi's appearance. And she looked awfully cute in the sink!



There is some speculation that our travelin' Daddy (currently in San Francisco) will have trouble getting home tomorrow due to the snowy conditions in Denver. If any of you are inclined to pray for such things, we'd appreciate a blessing from heaven. We really need to see our Daddy tomorrow.

Oct 25, 2009

Baptism day

Saturday, October 24 was a special day for our family. Zachary was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are so proud of our boy for taking this step in his life. We are also grateful for the family members who traveled from afar to support us this weekend, for the friends who attended the baptism, and for the friends and family near and far who supported us in spirit!

Our family congregated at the stake center a little bit early to take pictures to commemorate this lovely occasion. Just as our van drove into the parking lot, Gavin peeled off one of the scabs on his forehead. A bit of active bleeding during a family photo is always entertaining, right? Many thanks to Melanie for once again being our photographer!

Then it was time to get ready for the baptism! Seeing Garry and Zachary together in their white ceremonial clothing brought tears to my eyes. I knew Zachary was following the example of the Savior as he entered the waters of baptism, and I was grateful that Garry was worthy, ready, and able to baptize our son.

To learn more about baptism and confirmation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, click here.

The service itself was lovely. We shared Zach's special day with the Nunnelly family, whose eight-year-old son, Keaton, was also baptized. Zach's Grandpa Bartle and Keaton's dad each gave talks. Keaton and his dad sang a song. Zach's Grandpa Dixon and Keaton's sister prayed. Zach's Grandma Bartle played the piano and his Granny directed the music.

A wonderful friend entertained Gavin during the meeting (maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much--thanks, Bob!). Gavin and Bob wandered the halls, enjoyed some snacks, and found the nursery with toys. Gavin did join the group to watch Zachary's baptism. When he saw Zach in the baptismal font with Garry, he seemed to think Zach was going swimming. He pointed to Zach and called out, "Fun Zach!" and then blew him kisses. The outburst was amusing and tender at the same time. Happily, he was quiet for the baptism itself.

The confirmations that followed were equally beautiful. Under the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, each boy received the gift of the Holy Ghost. As I listened to the words of my son's blessing, I reflected on my own baptism day and also tried to imagine the wonderful things that are in store for Zach as he embarks on a lifetime of service and dedication to the Church.

After the service we went home...and partied. First lots of friends came over to the house for root beer floats.

When the last guest left, our party of 12 went out for dinner at TGIFriday's. What fun! Delicious food, awesome conversation, and baby/toddler entertainment kept us all laughing. Free sundaes and server singing celebrated Zachary's and Eric's birthdays. Back at home, the night owls stayed up for a late movie and treats.

All in all, it was an excellent day full of the people we love.

pass it on!

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