Monthly Archives: October 2013

Great Griffin Halloween Dilemma

THE DILEMMA 

To dress up or not dress up? That is the question in our home come Halloween. Every year since being married and having children (7 years now) we have this debate: I want to dress up (and have coordinating costumes no less)… and Brian doesn’t care enough to want to spend the money. I guess it stems back to our childhoods…

Brian’s family didn’t put a whole lot of emphasis on Halloween and dressing up. They were content just pulling out items from a costume bin (that included a hodge podge of left over costumes anytime the family had to dress up) and made something work. Marghee’s family made a big deal about dressing up and got to choose different costumes every year… well every year that we were young enough to still want to dress up… which may have been 5th Grade when I was the Queen of Hearts.

Neither way was better than the other… they were just different. So now as a new family, forming our own traditions, we have had to compromise and incorporate both of our opinions about Halloween. Here is what this has looked like throughout the years… I’ll start with this year first:

HALLOWEEN 2013

The Idea

At the beginning of October I posted a picture I had assembled from online photos which was the blue print I wanted to use for our coordinating family Halloween ensemble this year.

Griffin Halloween 2013

Now the truth is I put together this collage back in July. It started with David telling me he wanted an Iron Man costume like one of his little friends had. My first thought was no! But I told David I would investigate and see if I could get him one for Halloween. He insisted on looking up the costume to see where we could buy it. So together we sat and browsed online for Child Iron Man costumes. When David went down for a nap I continued perusing online and found the really cute baby Hulk costume image. I squealed in my mind thinking about how cute Pierce would look in the Hulk costume. At the end of the day I had created the image above and was determined to pitch the idea to Brian as our family costumes for Halloween this year.

The Challenge

Not to my surprise Brian’s first comment was about the cost. “How are we going afford all those costumes when our budget is so tight? We don’t need to spend money on costumes.” Right before Summer my hours had been cut, Brian’s temporary promotion had ended and there was talk of mandatory government furloughs so we were out a good chunk of change every month. His point was valid as crushing as it seemed to my dream.

After discussing the matter further (I wasn’t going down without a fight… I had made a collage for crying out loud… this was happening) we agreed that if I could purchase the costumes AND stay within budget, we could be the Avengers for Halloween. YES! Challenge accepted.

The Solution (How Did We Buy All The Costumes & Stay Within Budget)

I started immediately searching for deals! It was only July after all, so I had the time. My initial thought was if I could buy a couple of costumes each month for several months then we wouldn’t incur a big hit all one month causing us to go over budget.

I found three of the five costumes on SALE within a couple of weeks!!! I am a member of Zulily- Daily deals for Moms, Babies and Kids (kind of like a Groupon just for Mom things) and they had costumes on sale all Summer. One day in August they featured Super Hero costumes and that is where I purchased our Hulk ($13.99), Iron Man ($13.99) and the Black Widow ($17.99) costumes. They did not have Captain America girl on sale in the right size and I couldn’t buy the Thor costume because it was the most expensive and would put us over budget in August.

In September I purchased the Captain America girl costume from Amazon for only $13.77! Sweet… about as much as the other kids costumes. I continued hunting for Brian’s Thor costume but it was never on sale… I guess an XL Adult Male costume is expensive no matter when you buy. In October I caved and bought Brian’s costume from Buycostumes.com who had it the cheapest at $46.99. Boo. The only way I could have pulled this off for cheaper was if I would have used a coupon from Party City I had let expire that would have give me $15 off a $60 or more purchase… but I would have had to purchase something else from them too.

In total I spent $106.73 plus tax here or there… so maybe $115 on five new costumes for our family over the span of 3 months. This allowed for thriftier shopping and staying within budget. I think the results speak for themselves and it was worth it to achieve a Halloween dream of mine (a coordinating family Halloween ensemble)… that we had not achieved since Halloween 2007 (read below).

The Results

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HALLOWEEN YEARS PAST

HALLOWEEN 2006

Our first Halloween was an easy one… we had just had a baby and Eliann was only 11 days old. This didn’t stop us from enjoying Fall festivities like Pumpkin Patches and Royal Nite (our church’s family friendly Halloween festival). But we didn’t dress up, only Eliann did and that was because crazy Mommy had bought a cute duck costume before she was even born… mind you I bought the duck costume for a little boy, which we were told we were having, so we lucked out that a duck was pretty neutral when Eliann was a surprise baby girl!

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HALLOWEEN 2007

This year was a great compromise for us. We all dressed as a Cowboy Family with coordinating clothes. Brian’s mother bought a Eliann her cowgirl costume shortly after we were brainstorming idea’s for a family look… so that was the determining factor. We owned “cowboy” gear from our college line dancing days so we did not need to buy costumes. We enjoyed Royal Nite at SMCC again this year.

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HALLOWEEN 2008

This year Eliann’s birthday was Halloween Themed so all her little friends came out to celebrate her 2nd Birthday in costume. Because of the expenses of pulling together a bigger party for the first time, we did not spend added money on costumes for ourselves and I believe Marghee’s Mom bought Eliann her “Fairy” Halloween costume which was also her main outfit at her birthday. This was the first year we participated in Trick-Or-Treating and we went around the block with the Kay Family.

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HALLOWEEN 2009

Kind of a cheater year in terms of pulling together costumes. We now had a new member of the family who was too little to really sport a good costume. We learned from experience that he would not last long throughout the night so we didn’t waste money on a costume for David. I did get him a little skeleton onesie so he’d be in something. We asked Eliann what she wanted to dress up as and she opted to wear the same Fairy costume from the year prior… “Only if it fits!” I chimed in to Brian who was doing a happy dance since it didn’t look like we’d be spending any money on costumes this year… wouldn’t you know… it fit!

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HALLOWEEN 2010

Since we “cheated” in 2009, Marghee was determined to have real costumes this year (that matched!) for the kids. They were really into Peter Pan during this time so Marghee suggested they be Peter Pan and Wendy or Tinkerbell (although I wasn’t loving the idea of her being a fairy again this year). After a trip to look at costumes Eliann was sold… what was the costume she loved and would fit the Peter Pan theme? A pirate! Lol. I guess that works… so long as you bet your bottom dollar they matched. We returned to Royal Nite this year (our church took a couple of years off sponsoring that event).

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HALLOWEEN 2011

Since we spent money on matching costumes the year before, we compromised and did not do coordinate looks this year. Eliann wore a “Cat” dress/hat outfit to school during the day (Marghee had bought her the outfit the year prior post Halloween on sale). It was Grandparent Day at her school too, so Lita and Buelo came into town to participate with Eliann. She later changed into a “Repunzel” dress that she received from Marghee’s Mom on her birthday and that is was she wore to Royal Nite. David dressed up as the cutest “Astronaut.” This costume was free! Our friends the Kay’s had purchased it for their son, but their son refused to wear it and would cry if they tried to put it on him. They decided to offer it to us… score! We met up with friends at our house and Trick-Or-Treated down the hill to Royal Nite.

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HALLOWEEN 2012

This year was another hodge-podge year. Eliann really wanted to be “Merida” from the Disney movie that premiered that Summer called Brave. Of course the only really pretty Merida costume was the one for sale at the Disney store which Brian would not allow us to spend $50 on. Boo. A call to Marghee’s Mom and we were able to buy Eliann the dress as a gift (she really does score because her birthday is right near Halloween). Marghee’s Mom also surprised David with a cool “Dinosaur” costume when she came to visit for Eliann’s birthday. David looooves dinosaurs so he was excited to dress up as one. The newest addition to our family, Pierce, was the only one we had to buy a costume for. We opted to get him a super cute little “Raccoon” costume from Costco. David chose it for him because it reminded him of “Watson,” a favorite little raccoon character from a book the kids all enjoy.

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And that is the story of how we ended up dressing in a coordinating family Halloween ensemble this year. Our family was due that kind of fun!

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What do your family Halloween traditions look like? Do you dress up?

Eliann’s 7th Birthday

Eliann… our little lady… we love her so much. She is smart and diligent, sweet and generous, loving and kind… basically a fantastic daughter! We were so excited to bless her and her closest friends with an awesome birthday celebration.

This year she chose a Rocking Rainbow Birthday Theme perfect for an almost seven year old lover of all things rainbow (which she’ll tell you is her favorite color). Throwing a Rainbow Themed birthday turned out to be a lot easier than I thought! You can read more about the different components we chose to include in her birthday celebration and how you can throw your own Rainbow Themed Party HERE.

We invited all of her closest girlfriends and these are the little ladies that were able to join us this year: Madelyn, Skyler, Cassidy, Ella, Sofia, Syana, Noelle, Maddie and Christina. Including Eliann, it made 10 little ladies in for a colorful surprise!

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Among the fun activities we planned for the party were canvas painting (Eliann loves to paint and art in general), bead necklace and bracelet making, rainbow makeovers, the Bible story of the Rainbow promise from God in Genesis, Twister and a Pot of Gold hunt.

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Probably my favorite activity of the party, however, was opening presents. If you were there, you know how genuinely full of joy and thanksgiving Eliann was as she carefully opened and read each card and thanked her friends for the gifts. Her facial expressions as she opened them all just melted my heart and made me laugh.

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So, did Eliann enjoy her Rocking Rainbow 7th Birthday Party?! I would say this picture sums up that answer entirely. We love you sweet girl!

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We were thankful that Marghee’s parents, Lita and Buelo (as our kids call them), were able to make the celebration and boy did they add to the fun with gifts galore for all our kids.

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A special shout out to Eliann’s Fairy Godparents: Mrs. Allison, Miss. Lauren and Mr. Robert (an awesome honorary term Marghee’s Mom dubbed to our friends) who helped us prep and execute this fantastic party for Eliann.

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Brian’s 28th Birthday

Every year Brian get’s pretty funny about his birthday. He thinks he wants a party… then he doesn’t… then he gets a little jealous that I have started planning Eliann’s birthday which is three weeks after his (like in someway I have already skipped over his in my mind). Silly Brian. This year, however, Brian knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to get a group of guys together and head out to play some poker.

Poker? Yes. He is actually pretty good… or is lucky… or both. Anyway he is nostalgic about playing poker because it something he and his buddy’s have played since high school. Brian doesn’t play to strike it rich… he plays for fun and loves the strategic thinking involved in playing the game.

So Brian called up a bunch of guys, sent out an invitation  and planned a fun night that included an All You Can Eat Buffet Dinner and a Poker Tournament at a local Indian casino.

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Wouldn’t you know that Brian did in fact make the final table and split the pot for the win. I told you he was lucky. Ha!

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But the birthday weekend celebrations didn’t really start or end there. Before his birthday we celebrated “Brian’s Last Night In His Mid-20’s” by going out to frozen yogurt at Menchies.

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On his actual birthday, our good friends Tim and Noelle were in town and we had a chance to sneak off for breakfast together kid free thanks to Noelle’s parents. We had breakfast at the new Broken Yolk in Mission Valley.

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We also got to enjoy a delicious breakfast treat the following day with the Williards. They made us a yummy homemade spread including Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Brian was even given the honors of using the Birthday place mat. 

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Brian received numerous gifts including: a manly shoe shopping spree, new athletic gear for flag football that he would be playing this Fall, new casual clothes for his wardrobe and a gift card to eat at Lazy Dog.

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I would say Brian definitely made out for his 28th Birthday! A poker tournament win with the guys, lots of time (and breakfast… our favorite meal) with friends and much needed gifts. Happy Birthday Brian!!!