Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In search of Fantastic Beasts

halloween 2018
halloween 2018
halloween 2018
halloween 2018
halloween 2018
halloween 2018
halloween 2018
We're in search of Fantastic Beasts this Halloween! Alex and I are fans of the spin-off to the Harry Potter series, with much anticipation for the second installment in a couple of weeks. Thankful the kids are such willing participants in our family costume this year. Alex is introverted British wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander. I am down-to-earth, demoted Auror Tina Goldstein. Serene is sweet Legilimens Queenie Goldstein. Valor is friendly, No-Maj baker Jacob Kowalski. Reverie is head of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) Seraphina Picquery.

When brainstorming costumes, I used these photos for inspiration. We seem to be drawn to costumes from eras gone by as evidenced by family costumes from past Halloweens. This year was no exception, as 1920s New York was the setting of choice. Alex had nearly everything for his Newt costume in his closet already, except for a long wool coat, which took us longest to nab while thrifting for the past couple of months. I made a skinny navy bow tie reminiscent of Newt's. Alex wore the vest he wore for our wedding, pants, and a white dress shirt he already had. He carried a vintage suitcase we normally use to store Christmas decor, and brandished the pastor-elder wand he made during our Harry Potter wand-making party a couple of years ago. I scored a gray trench coat and black cloche hat while thrifting for my Tina Goldstein costume. I procured black pants a couple of days before Halloween to ensure they fit. Thankful my costume accommodates my 7 month pregnant belly well. I carried the wand I made during our wand-making party as well. Serene was thrilled to be Queenie because she wears a pink coat, which was a velvet holiday dress I thrifted and altered to look like Queenie's coat. Serene wore a navy dress underneath her coat, also thrifted. She carried a chopstick as a wand. Valor wore a gray shirt, vest, and pants similar to Jacob's. I made a toddler-friendly maroon bow tie to pin onto his shirt. I wanted to paint Jacob's moustache on Valor, but he refused, so I stuck a felt moustache on a stick for him to carry instead, which he found amusing and agreeable. We thought it funny to make the baby the head of MACUSA. Reverie wore a thrifted navy dress with metallic accents which reminded me of Seraphina's. I made a Seraphina headpiece out of navy, gold, and rose gold cardstock by embellishing the navy paper crown with gold 3D flowers and other accents. That piece took the longest to make; thank the Lord Reverie wasn't opposed to wearing it. It helped to give her a chopstick wand to hold during photos. Hopefully the kids will entertain family costumes for a few more years. Excited to trick-or-treat with church family tonight!

See our past Halloween costumes:
Halloween 2017: A wild, timeless trek
Halloween 2016: It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Halloween 2015: The sun will come out tomorrow
Halloween 2014: In Wonderland
Halloween 2013: The sailor man with a spinach can and his fam
Halloween 2012: I dreamed a dream of time gone by

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Our apple-picking trio

apple picking 2018
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months
reverie at 18 months
serene at 5 years
valor at 3 years 5 months
reverie at 18 months
apple picking 2018
valor at 3 years 5 months
reverie at 18 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months, reverie at 18 months
apple picking 2018
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months, reverie at 18 months
apple picking 2018
reverie at 18 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months, reverie at 18 months
serene at 5 years
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months
valor at 3 years 5 months
serene at 5 years, valor at 3 years 5 months, reverie at 18 months
apple picking 2018
apple picking 2018
Apple picking has been a tradition since Alex and I got married; we've gone nearly every year since 2012, except for 2013 when Serene was a fresh newborn babe at that time. It is so fun to watch our family grow as we enjoy the annual fall adventure. It has gotten easier each year as the kids have grown to make the long drive to and from the orchards near the mountains. Either that, or I've become more patient and flexible. Hopefully it's both.

This year, Reverie was able to join in on the apple picking since she's now a walking free spirit. The mild, slightly cloudy weather hinted that fall has actually arrived in Southern California. It made for an idyllic morning amid fresh air and stately trees as we watched the kids run about plucking crisp, ripe apples from trees within reach. We've been celebrating milestones on Serene's (academic) and Valor's (potty training) parts; so thankful we were able to make some time to enjoy one another as we made memories together at the apple orchard. Alex and I especially love watching the kids grow as one another's best friends. Praying their relationship with one another will continue to strengthen as they get older.

Apple picking through the years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Serene turns five

serene turns 5
serene turns 5
serene turns 5
serene turns 5
Our big girl is five years old! We praise God for her life, her enthusiasm, and her eagerness to learn about God and all that He's made. Thankful for her sweet example to her siblings as she lives out her role as "jie jie" ("big sister" in Chinese). Serene has a soft heart that yearns to obey. She is joyful, easily excited by the wonders of childhood: rocks on the path as we take walks, making connections in different things she's learning, and exclaiming over little details that I easily miss throughout the day. She loves the color pink, My Little Pony & Equestria Girls, Ariel, coloring, drawing, math, reading books on her own, family vacations, ballet, twirly dresses, arts & crafts, read-alouds, puzzles, pasta, wearing her hair down, homeschooling and co-op days, imaginary play, family worship, church family, and being a big girl.

We celebrated early on Monday at Legoland as a family for Serene's birthday, and tonight, we'll have an extended family dinner at a local ice cream parlour restaurant per Serene's request. We do a little cake smash for each of the kids' birthdays. This year, Serene requested a Twilight Sparkle cake smash with a balloon. She received a sparkly pink dress a la Equestria Girl Twilight Sparkle. I made cake toppers imitating Twilight Sparkle's cutie mark, which we stuck on a mini bundt cake. We blew up a giant silver number 5 balloon as the backdrop. It was simple but sweet and helpful because we had our homeschool co-op this morning.

I'm in awe of how God has grown Serene this past year, particularly in her inquisitiveness and desire to explore more of everything God has made. She's thriving and having a blast in her kindergarten studies, but moreover, is learning about God's love for others as she practices compassion and love for our community - our family, extended family, church family, and friends. I'm so grateful God chose Alex and me to be Sereney's parents. We are blessed indeed that God made us parents five years ago. We love you so, Serene Joy Joy!