Mother’s Day in my Heart

I was kind of a toot on my first Mother’s Day.

The expectations I had built up in my heart — never verbalized, of course! – were sky-high. I wanted a new dress to wear to Sunday morning services. I wanted a wrist corsage (that’s right, a wrist corsage). I wanted to win the “newest mother” flower during the worship hour. I wanted a present from my husband, a present from my infant son and a present from my mom. I didn’t want to lift a finger the ENTIRE DAY.

Basically, I just wanted I and all of my contributions to the mothering world to be meditated upon by my entire circle from the first second of Mother’s Day to the very last.

That’s all, though. Nothing more.

Bless it. Needless to say, by ten o’ clock that night, I had crashed and burned into a sad heap of unmet expectations. Even though everyone was lovely to me and I had more than any woman in her right mind could ever dream of, it wasn’t enough.

Because, like a said, toot.

I was a big one.

Thankfully, as the years have gone by and God has gently and consistently pulled me away from myself, I am learning to celebrate Mother’s Day in a much healthier way, and it goes a little something like this…

My husband is off the hook.

My gosh, I KNOW this man loves me, I know he celebrates me, and I know he is thankful for me. Instead of expecting him to give me the moon and grovel at my feet, all before he preaches his Sunday morning sermon, I simply ask for a little time off sometime around Mother’s Day.

And sometimes, “time off” doesn’t always mean I want to be alone and away from my family. It just means that I’m free to do…well, whatever! By myself or with him or with the kids or with my mom or with Netflix.

For instance, last year, on the Friday before Mother’s Day, my mom and I loaded up my girls for a day on the town where we got haircuts, ate out, went shopping and, best of all, laughed and talked and celebrated not just motherhood, but the friendship that can grow between generations of women who are dedicated to one another for life.

That was our Mother’s Day. And it was awesome!!!

Rebekah and Betsie watched movies and ate snacks in the car while my mom and I took turns getting our hair did.

IMG_5765

Next we went to Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, one of those thoughtful places where hungry kids get balls of dough to keep them distracted until the food comes.

IMG_5771

IMG_5775

IMG_5779

#ohhoney

IMG_5784

Now, I have to interrupt this string of pictures to tell you a crazy story. See right over there below that American flag? And see the exit on the left side of the room? And see the booth right before you get to that exit?…

IMG_5788

I’m talkin’ about the area right beyond the lady in red…

IMG_5795

Yeah, so Ed Sheeran was sitting there, eating pizza.

We didn’t KNOW it was Ed Sheeran, at the time.

We noticed that he LOOKED like Ed Sheeran, and my mom might have even verbally pitied him for trying SO HARD to look like Ed Sheeran, but we never DREAMED it was actually ED SHEERAN.

Because…why would Ed Sheeran be eating six tables down from us at a pizzeria in Tulsa on a Friday afternoon??? The idea never even crossed our minds because it made absolutely zero sense.

Even though some of the staff were taking selfies with him.

But…

IT WAS TOTALLY ED SHEERAN.

He was apparently in Tulsa for a concert, and one of our friends who attended it said he actually mentioned Andolini’s Pizzeria during the show.

But he didn’t mention us.

Because he didn’t know we were there because we didn’t know he was there.

Nope, the only guy WE saw was a desperate Ed Sheeran look-alike. And the staff was taking pictures with him because he looked SO MUCH like Ed Sheeran that it was hilarious.

IMG_5796

I intently examined all of my pictures from the day and, sadly, there wasn’t one Ed Sheeran photobomb. Not a speck of red hair in the background.

Oh, well.

I did decide, however, that Betsie makes a great city girl.

IMG_5808

After Andolini’s, we popped down the street for some tiny desserts from Le Madeleine, heavy on the chocolate.

IMG_5817

And then we shopped our feet off!! It was an unscripted and lovely day — not a greeting card in sight! Not an expectation in my brain!! — but it was the BEST Mother’s Day experience I could possibly ask for.

Not because the world stopped for a day and recognized me.

Not because my husband sweated bullets trying to make sure he read my mind and gave me all the stuff I wanted.

Not because my children took a moment to thank me and read me a poem.

But because I was with the people I loved.

That’s what Mother’s Day should be about.

With the help of the Spirit, I don’t ever want Mother’s Day to be about ME again, because I am starting to learn that, without fail, when things become about “me”, they go downhill really, really fast.

If my kids want to do something for me someday, hooray, if my husband orchestrates a breakfast-in-bed, yippee, but God forbid that I ever end another Mother’s Day in that heap of misery again, not when I have living and loving to do with the very gifts that made me a mother in the first place.

So. That was Friday, but my “Mother’s Day” weekend continued to be sweet and fulfilling, solidifying lessons in my heart that had been a long-time coming. .

On Saturday night, even though they’d already had their church baths, the kids and I wound up outside in the street. Mr. Gore had called from the church (where he had gone to fix the computer) to tell us there was a brilliant rainbow in the sky.

Well, because of all the trees in our driveway, we couldn’t see it.

So we walked out into the street.

We still couldn’t see it, but after days of heavy rain, the lightning and thunder finally allowed us outside, and what was left were little rivers cascading down both sides of our street.

It was irresistible, and before I knew it, the kids were DRENCHED.

Cheeks flushed, eyes dancing, bodies jumping and running and kicking, their childhood was on full display, and I, the mother who, eight years ago, threw a hissy fit because Mother’s Day was not what I thought it should be, was absolutely at rest. I’d had more than enough to call it a successful holiday, and it wasn’t even Mother’s Day yet!

This was sincerely all the gift I needed.

IMG_5841

IMG_5856

IMG_5898

IMG_5918

IMG_5952

IMG_5966

IMG_5974

Listen, one thing the internet has taught me is that Mother’s Day is an awful day for a lot of people. People who have lost their moms, people who have terrible memories of their mom, people who want to have babies but haven’t succeeded, people who have suffered miscarriages of their precious children, people who aren’t married yet and feel like the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking…

this holiday, for so many of the people we love, is the absolute pits.

So much that it makes me wonder if I even LIKE this holiday anymore!…

But at the very least, I am just more and more convinced that, if God has woven motherhood into my story, I have more than I could ask for, period. I don’t need to be recognized at church, I don’t need to be pampered, I don’t need to become a Mother’s Day tyrant, I don’t even need all the gifts and all the thoughtfulness.

In other words, I don’t so much need to be celebrated…

I need to CELEBRATE.

Lucky for all of us, the only necessity for that is a grateful heart.

No corsages needed.

~

p.s. Great news! Late that Sunday night, the kids and Mr. Gore DID surprise me with an at-home pedicure and manicure that they ALL took turns administering. It was like a hilarious nightmare, all the way down to the box of polish they all chose together at Amazon, titled “Jingle Splash”. Happy Mother’s Day to me?…

11203587_926502410736034_7105237208827573667_o

An All-American Halloween

A couple of years ago, I saw this precious costume in the Chasing Fireflies catalogue (click on the picture to be taken to the product page).

31257_main

Rebekah was singing by then, and I could just picture her in this vintage-inspired get-up with her chubby toddler body singing “God Bless Am-ayy-ica.” Here, I’ll help you to imagine it better.

So I added that costume to my (sorta sad) Halloween wishlist at Amazon with hopes to someday center our family costumes around it.

Is that normal for people to have Halloween wishlists for their family-themed costumes?

Don’t answer that.

But then, darn it, these kids ’round here started getting opinions.

We did “Red Riding Hood“. (Okay, which I was totally pumped about).

Leaning2 049

Then Mr. Gore had his back surgery and I barely had time to throw this “Hospital” idea together (which actually won us the costume contest that year! BOOM. Mic drop.)

IMG_6720

Then it was “Star Wars“, all for the love of our then seven-year-old son, Gideon.

And I hope you’ve noticed the glaring omission of the Chasing Fireflies patriotic costume that had now been on my wishlist for THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS.

Nope, no red-white-and-blue sequined number, just a slumping Darth Vader who doesn’t know how to hold a lightsaber.

IMG_8465

It’s like I’m in prison or something.

Thus, even as Rebekah and I conceded last year to what felt like maybe a Holy-Spirit-led Star Wars decision at our costume planning meeting (don’t judge), we both made it clear before we adjourned that NEXT year (meaning, this year) we would finally do it…

AMERICA.

No comments, no questions, no take-backs.

There was only one problem, however.

Rebekah wasn’t digging the costume I picked out for her all those years ago at Chasing Fireflies.

I’m sorry, WHAT????

images-4

Rather, she fell madly in love with a random Betsy Ross costume that we somehow stumbled across at Amazon one day.

In fact, she loved it so very much that she put it on her Christmas wishlist, even though the smallest size was for 9-11 year olds (she was 5).

And…she got it.

Her Grandpa and Grandma, who have this uncanny ability to sense what their little ones will love the most off of their lists, bought it for her, and it’s true, when I asked Rebekah what her favorite gift was after Christmas, she got all dreamy-eyed and sighed “My Betsy Ross costume!”

So I decided to love it, too.

It was way too big, but she adored it so much, and I said “buh-bye” to my little 1940’s USO girl before 2014 was even over.

Maybe the next time I have a chubby and fabulous preschooler who voluntarily memorizes and sings patriotic songs, I’ll buy it for HER.

But, in all seriousness — if we’re allowed to “be serious” when we’re talking about Halloween costumes — it’s important for a mama to learn somewhere along the line that, if she will just GO with it and release her freakish control-freak tendencies, life can be great and maybe even better than it would have been if she had remained dictator-of-the-costumes-and-all-the-other-stuff.

(For instance, I wouldn’t trade the memories of our “Star Wars” Halloween for ANYTHING!)

But before we get to the costumes, there’s one more thing I want to tell you about.

You guys know me well enough by now to know that we wouldn’t just be dressing up on Halloween and then calling it a day. Everything has to have meaning around here and things that happened on this day need to line up with things that happened on that day and ALSO with things that will happen in the future and I couldn’t help myself…

sometime around two years ago, this costume theme began to grow into another complicated vision that I just couldn’t let go of.

You see, I love the 4th of July almost as much as I love October 31st, and most of the characters we would be portraying on Halloween had also, long, long ago, conveniently been featured in 20th Century wartime propaganda posters.

Well, guess what? I HAPPEN TO LOVE WARTIME PROPAGANDA POSTERS!!! Golly gee, who doesn’t?!?!

So here was the plan: as each person got dressed in their costume on Halloween Day, I dragged them out to our shed through the wet grass to try and replicate the posters that we had found of our characters. Soon, I’ll be sending the photos off to a graphic designer to be turned into posters – featuring us! – that I can hang up every July.

Do I exhaust you?

Because I certainly exhaust myself.

And definitely my husband and my mom.

ANYHOW, I look forward to showing you next summer the wartime posters we’ll hopefully have hanging all around our house!

But enough with the whys and the hows and the whats and the posters.

Are you ready to see this year’s costumes?!?!

~

First up, we have Uncle Sam, played by the best of good sports, Mr. Gore.

41ba38a5a16bbaadc3ac936197150539

IMG_2967

What a hero. Not only does he play along with my photo shoots, he then scurries down the street to head up our town’s Trunk or Treat, never once acting embarrassed that he is wearing a taped-on goatee. I love that man.

(p.s. If you are looking for details and links to our costumes for a future Halloween, I have a follow-up post in the works!)

~

Next up! Rosie the Riveter, played by your truly.

83a153afb59b983a3e6d720b2a57b7f7

I spent a good amount of time on Halloween afternoon practicing Rosie’s pose in front of our computer camera:

Photo on 10-31-15 at 1.47 PM #3

The pose was much harder to replicate when I was outside in the cold in front of the neighbors without a mirror image!

IMG_2882

Can I tell you, though, what I enjoyed most about my costume this year?

Most days, I feel the need to cover up my arms with a cardigan, but I was kinda unexpectedly proud on this day to show off my Mama guns as a tribute to the men and women of the Greatest Generation. There were so many vamped-up costume versions of Rosie out there, making her look all pin-up-y and such, but I ask you, fellow citizens, would the women that Rosie represented be trotting all over town trying to look sexy on Halloween night?

Nay, I say!

They’d be flexing their big ol’ arms from working hard and holding down the homefront and toting around old-fashioned, heavy babies, and they might be a little thick in the middle because they weren’t averse to a good piece of pie after supper. In that regard, the role of Rosie was created for me.

In fact, I mentally called my costume “paunchalicious” because the elastic band of my worksuit sat right on my biggest problem area. It was all good, though.

For this night, I embraced it.

I think it must all go back to the red lipstick. That stuff does something for a girl’s confidence, even when she’s wearing something akin to Carharts.

~

Next up, we have the amazing Captain America! I had never seen this particular poster before, but I LOVE it.

dbd2119e59b04ed662bfe97b09d46271

And here’s our “Cap”, about as handsome and inspiring as the original, if I say so myself.

IMG_2890

Gid the Kid loved this costume, purchased for 40% off at the Disney Outlet in Branson, and my biggest struggle was keeping him from wearing it day and night before Halloween. He is still wearing the gloves every day, with every outfit.

I’m just personally thrilled that he’s still cool with wearing costumes. I don’t see Peter Pan much around here anymore, and I was afraid we’d lost him.

~

Next we have the beautiful and industrious Betsy Ross. I couldn’t find a Betsy war poster, but this artwork served as our inspiration.

d0faac361c6f1c08c99062d000f85d97

Here’s our Betsy. Not to be confused with our actual Betsie. This is really Rebekah, my co-heart behind this “America” theme, and the biggest fan ever of the costume she FINALLY got to wear. Special thanks to Grandmother for hauling a sewing machine over at the last minute to shorten the skirt to a wearable length!

IMG_2978

Next, we have the statuesque Lady Liberty!!!

469989bea88c02c0c649fa3f0db6adec

Played by our actual Betsie (not to be confused with our Rebekah Betsy). Betsie loved, loved, LOVED this costume, and I did, too! I can’t help but feel that it went on sale just for us, after years of being too expensive!!!

IMG_2941

We actually did two poses with the Statue of Liberty, and this second one just positively slays me. Betsie is shy in some scenarios, but on costume picture day, she’s our best actress!

8ce13b389a0f57fc760738f5283250c7

(#ohhoney)

IMG_2944

And, lastly, I present to you our majestic national bird…

45a4f0936ec82837d572ada89ff10e41

played by Shepherd Gore!

IMG_3024

I would have made him a nest, but everything was wet, and we had to hurry to get his photos before his 2-year-oldness started showing.

The funniest thing about Shepherd is that he HATED his costume SO BAD. We had tried to put it on him a couple of times, but he ran away from us screaming his head off. I had honestly assumed that he would be wearing his American flag shirt on Halloween night.

Thus, imagine my shock when I was finishing up Rebekah’s photos by the shed and this little eagle came running across the yard towards me, flapping his wings, so he could get his picture made.

IMG_3015

It made me want to say old-ladyish things like “Well, I never!” and “Will wonders never cease?!” It was the best surprise of my night.

So. Those are the official “poster” poses that will be made into our 4th of July decorations.

Now here are just some fun shots we got of each character in between takes.

First, Uncle Sam:

IMG_2967

Okay, so that was the only pose I had of him. I have, like, fifty of that same pose, and you’ll notice in the upcoming pictures that he holds this pose for the entire night. The sky could be falling in on our heads and he would never break character.

Here’s Rosie (these were taken by Gideon, my budding photographer!):

IMG_2886

IMG_2926

IMG_2925

Captain America:

IMG_2897

IMG_2902

IMG_2904

IMG_2905

IMG_2907

IMG_2913

Betsy Ross:

IMG_2997

IMG_2999

IMG_3008

IMG_2981

IMG_3012

IMG_3002

The Statue of Liberty:

IMG_2935

IMG_2956

IMG_2951

and our Eagle-boy:

IMG_3021

IMG_3026

IMG_3050

IMG_3060

Finally, here’s the whole crew. I will cherish this picture forever!

IMG_3035 (1)

And these, too…

IMG_3037

IMG_3039

Psst! Little known fact. Did you know that Uncle Sam and Rosie the Riveter fell in love and had patriotic babies? They live underneath the Lincoln Memorial.

IMG_3047

It may feel, sometimes, that our country is going berserk-o, but we’re still mighty proud to live here and call the U.S.A. our home. We’ll fight for her, we’ll pray for her, we’ll pay our taxes and we’ll love her. Until she takes away our right to homeschool, then we’re outta here. Haha. Just kidding. But totally serious.

AMERICA RULES!!!

IMG_3041

~

Thank you, DEAR readers, as ever, for making Halloween extra fun for me!! Our Facebook group is my favorite place to go to on Halloween night once the kids have eaten ungodly amounts of candy and passed out on the floor.

If you haven’t already, pop over to our page and share a picture of your costume! And ‘like’ our page to get frequent updates and stories from the Gore family. Happy Halloween 2015!!

Halloween Costumes = Family Fun (Part Three)

Here it is, two days before Halloween, and I’m just getting around to posting pictures of last year’s costumes!

I had so much to share last year about our town’s Trunk or Treat and our little family celebration, but I guess I was too busy chasing down The Pioneer Woman (can you believe that was a YEAR ago?? If you don’t know what I’m referencing, click here, straightaway!) and then we moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now here we are, 365 days later. Time flies.

Anyhow, if you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’ll already know that I am a Halloween enthusiast – my family doesn’t travel much or spend a lot of money on extra-curricular activities – and so it is true that Halloween is one of our biggest days of the year. We spend money on it and everything. Mostly because I am not a maker of costumes, but an unapologetic buyer of them.

We had an awesome plan for last year’s costumes, plans that I have still tucked away for a future Halloween, but then I had a baby and, one month later, my husband had major back surgery, and then, three weeks later, it was the week of Halloween and we just had to scrap our “plan” and make do.

I have no memory of where this idea came from or who to credit it to…was it me? Mr. Gore? My mom? Rebekah? The Holy Spirit? The next-door neighbor? I honestly don’t know…but it turned out to be a super fun theme, and one that was actually quite meaningful and timely for our little family.

My husband’s back surgery (and the year leading up to it) was a huge deal, taking a major toll not just on him and me, but on our family and on our church. Thus, when 0ur small town’s Trunk or Treat turned out to be his very first post-surgery outing, my heart was just going nuts to see him up and walking again, pain-free, as he partook in one of our favorite family holidays.

When he was dealing with chronic pain, unable to sit at the supper table for meals, unable to drive without intense pain, unable to be at rest without heavy medication, I had wondered if our life would ever be normal again.

And now, on October 31st, 2013, it was.

It was a special Halloween, indeed, and I’ll never be able to look at these pictures and just see “Halloween”.

I see relief and victory and hope and love and joy and…

grace. Always grace.

IMG_6720

I was “Doc McFrazzled”, my husband was, you guessed it, a surgery patient, Rebekah was a nurse, Gideon was a medic and little Betsie was a “sick girl”.

We covered our car at the Trunk or Treat with the Red Cross flag we made for Gideon’s birthday party, and it was just so convenient to have Baby Shepherd nearby in his bassinet, portraying a newborn in our little hospital nursery.

Because, you know, he was one. I didn’t even have to dig that nursery tag out of storage – it was still in my bedroom!

IMG_6703

This was the most inexpensive Halloween we’ve ever celebrated! All we had to buy was a couple of rolls of gauze. 🙂

IMG_6704

 

The rest was found in our dress-up box and from family and friends who work in the medical field.

IMG_6698

IMG_6738

IMG_6782

IMG_6777

And when we won the costume contest later that night, I almost went into cardiac arrest and had to be toted off to our makeshift hospital. I can’t tell you the last time I won anything, and this was a really great moment for our homeschooled children who don’t have many opportunities to compete or win rewards. They…actually, WE…couldn’t stop talking about our luck that night.

IMG_6818

It was the best Halloween EVER, but then, I’m pretty sure I say that every year. Halloween does that to me.

~

Want to see other Gore family costumes from years past? Click here to find Part One and here to find Part Two.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

IMG_9658

Love is in the air…

IMG_9662

Our house is ready…

IMG_9673

Papa is ready…

IMG_9679

Gideon is ready…

IMG_9680

Miss Sunday is ready…

IMG_9685

and Baby Betsie is ready!

IMG_9625

and although this week has been nothing like I planned, I am so ready to spend some time with my family and enjoy one of my favorite days of the year.

And I’d be so happy if you’d consider this your first Valentine of the day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear friends, from Mrs. Gore and family. No matter where you are in life (or how you feel about Valentine’s Day!) I hope your day is filled with the sweet contentment of being partakers of life and life abundant.

~

Today, our life abundant will include lots of sprinkles, chocolate, and sweet nothings, which is exactly why I love Valentine’s Day so very, very much.

December Party Ideas

I’m going to make this post pretty snappy, because time’s a’wastin’!

We had 2 kid parties last year that were so much fun, and there is still time for you to have one of your own before December zooms by:

1. On 11-11-11, my Mom had all the kids out for a weenie roast in the woods. The components: a) At 11:11 a.m., we threw confetti in the air. b) We took a group picture with printed off (and then framed) number 11’s, and c) Mom gave each child $11.11 to spend on someone else. (11-11-11 also happened to fall on Veteran’s Day, so this party had a patriotic theme to it).

All that to say, there is still time for you to plan a 12-12-12 party at 12:12!! It doesn’t have to be fancy, and could require very little thought, but don’t miss this VERY last opportunity to commemorate all those matching numbers. Why is this so important? I have no idea. It just feels super special.

11-11-11 party

2. And about a week-and-a-half before Christmas, Mama had the kids back over for a baking party. I loved this party because she actually let the kids do almost all of the baking and decorating, and she used it to help them learn to serve others. As the cookies were cooling, the children were instructed to decorate paper sacks and write little cards for some of the members of our church. Then we all loaded up into a church van and made cookie deliveries. We also sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” at each house. Take a look:

297224_10151305564473254_215464075_n

556664_10151305565833254_210051918_n

315858_10151305564793254_679116151_n

484187_10151305569628254_49424650_n

148232_10151305569838254_1340092710_n

205070_10151305569943254_1517680579_n

484212_10151305570318254_153942194_n

403388_10151305563703254_402724819_n

577984_10151305563853254_1366952200_n

305995_10151305570653254_459473293_n

44908_10151305570908254_1902501745_n

I won’t mention what happened about halfway through our deliveries, but…you can read about how Miss Sunday gruesomely smashed her finger and had to be rushed to the hospital (and later have surgery) here: Mrs. Gore has a DAY

Still…this was a truly special day and one of my favorite parties ever, no bells and whistles and very others-oriented. I want to do more of this with my kids.

Let me know if you decide to try either of these “parties” and how they turn out! And please forgive me if there were any typing or spelling errors in this post – I’m in THAT big of a hurry and had to get this published (without editing) so you would have time to plan your 12-12-12 party. Spit-spot!! Off you go!

Christmas Christmas Time is Here

I was going through pictures and videos the other day and came across a little nugget of Christmas cheer to help you get in the holiday spirit.

Here’s Miss Sunday (last Christmas, 2 1/2 years old), singing her rendition of The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late). Please don’t miss the “Alvin!!!” part at the end.

And please, don’t let the cuteness slay you like it did me. Just kidding. No, I’m not. This is really cute.

Even if this child was not my offspring and did not inherit my amazing singing voice.

Anyhow. Christmas Time is here!!! I, too, can hardly stand the wait.

Halloween Magic

Well, its finally here…

The day of our year that most inspires our imagination.

The day where it is perfectly alright to eat candy for breakfast, lunch, supper and dessert.

The day when my kids actually look normal and have minions of other costumed children to blend in with.

Happy Halloween, everybody!!!

Thinking back over all of our past celebrations has left me a bit sentimental tonight, and I have a gut feeling that someday, I’ll painfully miss these days of playing dress-up with my kids. I have a deep affection for all holidays, but Halloween is truly special with its beautiful Fall backdrop and its cozy warmth and whimsy. And there is something so fulfilling about helping the innocent dreams of my children come true as I scour the internet and our closets to find costumes that will best help them look like their favorite characters.

This year is sure to be a special memory for all of us, and I’ll share more about that in the days and weeks to come…

But for now, I’d like to share with you the most special moment of last year’s Halloween. We had been busy, busy, busy, getting dressed in our pioneer costumes, meeting up with Jerry and Amy and the girls, taking lots of photographs, loading up into our covered wagon, trick-or-treating all over town, and I had been quite wrapped up in just keeping the festivities moving and keeping the children happy. We were at our last stop of the evening, a hustling and bustling Trunk-or-Treat at our town’s Assembly of God church, and we were stopping at each car to get candy, saying “hello!” and “how do you do?!” to townspeople we hadn’t seen in months, and the air was just positively thick with celebration and Halloweenish goodwill. That’s when I happened to look down and take notice of Miss Sunday, my fair-haired little Indian maiden.

She had reached up and taken my hand, and I noticed that her confident and bossy aura had been replaced by one that was subdued and watchful, and just for a couple breaths of a moment, I had the joy of seeing on her face one of the most beautiful facets of childhood. She was in awe. She was overwhelmed. She had slowed down in her running and gunning and had taken time to look around her and feel the wonder that a night of merriment with one’s family can bring. Halloween had captured her for a moment, and what I saw on her face and felt in her touch took me back to my own childhood, and the many similar moments I experienced growing up in our free and bountiful country. Moments so big and so over-the-top that the only thing I knew to do was sidle up close to my Mama and grab her hand, anchoring myself to what was normal and safe, even as my heart and my imagination were captured by what I saw taking place around me…

Trick-or-treating.

A hugely lit Christmas tree.

Musicians or actors on a stage.

Fireworks.

Sunday worship.

My heart would catch within me, and I would study the people and the scenery around me, trying to understand the mysteries of life and why we were doing what we were doing, sometimes unsure of how I felt about it, but mostly…happy. Especially with Mama by my side.

I can’t believe I’m the Mama now.

I can’t believe how wonderful it feels to anchor my little ones on their biggest days.

I can’t believe Halloween – and all the days in between – is even more magical now than it was then.

Life is beautiful. Enjoy celebrating it today!

And I’d love to hear from you…what are you dressing up as? What are your plans? Any special memories or funny stories to share?

Halloween Costumes = Family Fun (Part Two)

So, yes…

last year just happened to be my favorite Halloween EVER.

But how could it not be?

Gideon was in love with Davy Crockett.

My nieces were studying “Little House on the Prairie” in homeschool.

Amy’s parents made a covered wagon for us to trick-or-treat in.

The stars had obviously aligned for the perfect Halloween theme for an extended family of 10. Is it okay for a Southern Baptist pastor’s wife to thank God for Halloween blessings? Don’t answer that…

Anyway, Jerry, Amy and their 3 girls dressed as Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, and Baby Carrie Ingalls.

Our family dressed as a hodge podge of frontierspeople, starring Davy Crockett (played by Gideon), accompanied by his pioneer friend (who also doubled as Pa Ingalls friend, Mr. Edwards), his friend’s Indian wife (my very first costume repeat), and their two daughters. Our favorite part of this costuming was that Rebekah Sunday looked like the picture of a frontiersgirl who had been kidnapped in her infancy and raised by Indians, with her cornflower blue eyes and golden yellow braids. And I obviously read a lot of Christian fiction.

Truly, though. I have never in my life experienced such a joyfully fun Halloween, and I hope I never forget sitting in the back of the electric Mule watching my son and nieces being toted around town in a super-awesome covered wagon.

I seriously don’t know how we’re going to top it.

Actually, yeah I do. Halloween 2012. Coming soon to Mrs. Gore’s Diary…

Halloween Costumes = Family Fun (Part 1)

I love Halloween.

Always have.

Always will.

When Mr. Gore and I were first dating, it didn’t take long before I dragged him into the realm of my holiday madness. I’ll never forget our first Halloween as a couple. We dressed up in costume (I was a princess and he was a gangster), I made him an absolutely awful home-cooked meal (on accident, not on purpose), we went trick-or-treating at the homes of some of our friends, and then we went, in costume, to the movies – my giant puffy dress wafted up and over my theater seat, and I loved every minute…even though I hated the scary movie we watched with a passion.

Then we got married and moved to Kentucky. I cannot share a picture of the costume I wore that year, as we “stayed in” for our Halloween “party” (you know what I mean?)

Not surprisingly, the next year I was pregnant, and dressed as a miserable pregnant woman. Mr. Gore wore jeans and a t-shirt.

Had we lost our Halloween spirit? NO. WAY.

Because the next year we were joined by our first baby, and our Halloween spirit went up about 2,000 notches when I learned what fun could be had in dressing up as a family unit. Poor, poor Mr. Gore…

It should be noted that, I always come up with fun ideas and spend August and September being so excited about our costumes…until I am getting dressed on Halloween night. There, alone in my room, I berate myself for being such an IDIOT who still gets dressed up on a decidedly children’s holiday…

But that all washes away when I step into the living room and my kids just nearly die of excitement over what I’m wearing. Little ones are so very easy to impress, and I will gladly look like the dork of the century for them every October 31st, so long as they will enjoy it. And then probably when they don’t, just so I can embarrass them.

So. Our first Halloween with baby. Gideon was 7 months old and an absolute mizer. He didn’t like to be held by other people and he didn’t like festivities. Which was a problem, as Mr. Gore and I were playing a key role in our church’s Halloween festival…it was going to be loud and there were going to be lots of people there. Gid was sure to hate it. So I dressed him as a chicken (I glued a felt “beak” to his pacifier) and put him in a “nest” (a cheap laundry basket wrapped in burlap) of raffia, surrounded by Hobby Lobby craft eggs for him to play with. Throughout the entire party, he was able to be happily unsociable, and I was able to enjoy the party! Mr. Gore dressed as a gentleman farmer, and I was his doting wife, dressed in my Granny’s old pioneer costume that just happened to fit my new Mama body perfectly. I will admit, this was a very throw-together year for us – I spent very little time on our costumes (note the cardboard sign and the office clip), but we had such fun!

The next year was one of my favorite Halloween themes ever. We dressed as the “First Thanksgiving” – Mr. Gore was a pilgrim, I was an Indian maid, and Gideon was a turkey. We did not eat him. (and we kept news that I was pregnant again a secret until November – we didn’t want to get the Pilgrims in trouble).

No, I changed my mind…the NEXT year was my favorite theme ever. My brother and his wife (Amy! You know her!) had moved back to town, and we had more kids to play dress-up with us. Gideon was absolutely in love with Peter Pan at the time, and my little nieces were thrilled to play the part of Wendy and Tinkerbell. Mr. Gore reluctantly dressed as Mr. Smee, and I displayed just how much I love my kids by donning a faux mustache (my real one wasn’t impressive enough) and dressing as Captain Hook. I actually loved this costume, as I felt comfortably fashion forward with my knee-high boots, white ruffly sundress and black J. Crew 3/4-sleeve velvet dress coat (that I borrowed from my Mom). The hat came from the Disney Store, as did our Peter Pan costume (and all of these items are still being enjoyed today!). The sad news: I ordered a precious mermaid costume for Miss Sunday to wear, but it arrived the day AFTER Halloween. Tragedy.

The next year we went Biblical. Gideon was the young shepherd David, Rebekah was his little lamb, Mr. Gore was dumb Goliath and I was Goliath’s dumb groupie, who carried around a sign that said “Goliath Rocks!” (Get it? “rocks”…slingshot…yeah, it was the best I could do). We ordered some cool headgear off of Amazon, and the rest of our costumes were pieced together from our church’s closet full of nativity costumes. Rebekah’s lamb costume came from Chasing Fireflies (I think).

Man, that was fun. But now that I think about it…

the NEXT year (last year) was really my favoritest Halloween ever.

I love it so much, I’ve decided it needs its own post. Comin’ up tomorrow…