Monday, November 1, 2010

Our new little pumpkin...

Two years ago, a silly looking Joe Dirt and skimpily-clad referee joined forces to celebrate a Halloween night that included a haunted house, some karaoke, and a few margaritas in the basement of El Mariachis, a little Mexican dive on College Hill, owned by none other than, Mama Mariachi. We played pool, danced with friends, and took pictures with other costume-laden strangers. This year, Halloween looked a little different at our house. It involved a pair of warm leggings and my favorite mukluks. Sitting on the floor, clasping warm bowls of chicken and noodles, snuggling a baby dressed in a white fleece sleeper with little orange pumpkins, and stopping to pause ‘Scared Shrekless,’ or ‘The Office,’ to grab a burp cloth, warm a bottle, or pump a fresh one. Yes, Halloween looked a little different at our house this year.

This weekend, we celebrated Cruz’s first holiday and we celebrated in style. Fall is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons. I love the weather, the colors, the clothes, and especially the food. Each year, I try to outdo Martha Stewart by cooking as much comfort food as possible. Crock pot roasts and soups, breads, bars, cider, and anything pumpkin. This year, I wondered if I’d have the time or the desire to continue to cook after having a baby. And thanks to many special friends at Price Lab School, I haven’t needed to think about grocery lists for the past two weeks, as we’ve had meals brought to our house almost every night. Thursday night, however, I rediscovered my inner Pioneer Woman, thus beginning of weekend of wining, dining, and baby lovin’.

Home-Baked Cookies and Milk.

Although Cruz only enjoyed one of the two for his first Halloween, he did enjoy his first of many experiences cooking in the kitchen with his momma. I celebrated missing a Thursday night of parent/teacher conferences by spending some time with my boys in the kitchen. We filled frosty pint glasses with Sam Adams’ Winter Ale and sweet red wine, stuffed babies in oversized lambie chairs, and baked warm, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies. The dimmed cabinet lights and the click click click of the kitchen timer created the perfect combination for Cruz to sleep through my baking spree. Beau made some life insurance calls and I filled baking sheet after baking sheet with my favorite secret recipe.

Nap time.

Beau decided to call it a no-stress Friday and cut out of work a little early. I ran a few errands and returned home to this…

So I made this…


Last year, Beau escaped Halloween without having to carve pumpkins with his holiday-obsessed wife. This year, we sat as a family in the middle of the kitchen floor, got arm’s deep in pumpkin goo, and carved Cruz’s first ever jack-o-lantern. Then, much to Beau’s distaste, I attempted to strip down Baby Cruz and put him in his very first jack-o-lantern to further torture him with another photo-op. The cold, slimy pumpkin intestines were nothing close to Cruz’s favorite Gap blankie, and before I could even stuff his little legs into the pumpkin, I realized it was not a good idea. We stuffed him into a bathtub of suds instead, then captured a few pictures of a sleeping baby and his personalized pumpkin.

Tricks or Treat.

Saturday afternoon, we took Cruz to my mom and dad’s to experience his first night of trick-or-treating. Although the wind was a little too cold for baby ears, we managed to get a few pictures of Cruz in his first Halloween costume. Although Cruz and Charly looked pretty cute in their puppy and penguin costumes, my little hot box didn’t last too long in his costume. All the pictures and clothes changing proved to be a little too much for our little puppy, so after his first bottle with Daddy, Cruz fell asleep for the remainder of trick-or-treating. We laughed at Charly as she attempted to get in on her own candy fun, snuggled with a sleepy Cruz, and enjoyed a night of tricks, treats, beef burgers, and cheesy potatoes. Mom was in seventh heaven to have both of her grandbabies at home and it was fun to see evidence of just how much our family has grown in a short year.

Five Little Pumpkins.

Call me a bad mom, but since Cruz has been born, I haven’t read one book to him. Sunday, we made up for it. Grandma Kelly gave Cruz a couple of Halloween board books in honor of his first Halloween and together, for about a half hour on the recliner, we memorized Five Little Pumpkins. Cruz was wide eyed and alert, listening to the rhymes and concentrating like a bookworm on the fat little pages filled with orange pumpkins. He especially loved the “oooooooooooooooo went the wind, and out went the light” chant, almost piercing his little lips in an ‘ooo’ motion to match mine.

Naps with Uncle Barbiturate.

As it turns out, Uncle Gabe really does live up to the namesake he gave himself. Gabe and Gina came Sunday morning to spoil Beau and me with an amazing lunch, and spoil Cruz to sleep with lots of cuddle time. While Beau and I stuffed ourselves with asiago and prosciutto stuffed chicken and caprese salad, Gabe and Gina got their baby fix with a happy little Cruz.

Superheroes and Award-winning Chili.

Every year on Halloween, our little neighborhood turns into a scene straight out of a Halloween movie. Costumes of all shapes and sizes parade up and down the streets, followed by parents pulling wagons, carrying flashlights, and rehearsing the common lingo of, “please,” “thank you,” and “trick-or-treat,” with their littles. This year, Fleur Drive was in extra good hands with the presence of three awfully cute superheroes.

It was Mom and Dad’s turn to help us with our round of trick-or-treaters, and once again, we snuggled with a sweet baby, and stuffed our faces with yummy fall comfort food, including Beau’s award-winning chili, and my favorite turtle corn. We sipped cider, listened to Uncle Taylor tell us about his gum-stuck-on-shoe costume, and filled and refilled our candy bowl as Iron Mans, princesses, dragons, and ladybugs flooded our porch and scared our kitty.

And as the last trick-or-treater stuffed his little gloved fist into our candy basket and the light in Cruz’s very first jack-o-lantern faded away, we rocked an exhausted little baby to sleep.

It was our first holiday with a baby and I definitely learned a lot. While simple traditions like carving a pumpkin may take a little longer, and trips to family may require a little more packing, babies have a way of making the holidays, like life, just a little bit sweeter and a lot more fun. It’s two little hands peeking from a little spotted suit, and a sweet little scrunched face peeking from under a puppy-faced hood that made this Halloween complete.

And blew the socks off of Mama Mariachi's margaritas any day of the year.

Happy FIRST Halloween Baby Cruz.

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