I went out with Gabe to Applebee's on Halloween so that we could have some Special Mommy Time. It was just feeling like it was time again lately. The kids actually had the day off of school, so it worked perfectly.
We've (Tim and I, taking turns) been doing "special times" with the kids for about two years, on no set schedule, just rotating, and it had been over a year (!!!) since we had been out together. Last year we went to IHOP, and Gabe got to order whatever he wanted, and he ordered a t-bone steak that came with scrambled eggs, pancakes, and hashbrowns, and he also ordered bacon on top of that meal, and chocolate milk to drink, and he ate an ASTOUNDING amount of food. I seriously could not believe it. He drank all his milk, ate all but a bite or two of his steak, most of his eggs, all of his bacon, a little of his hashbrowns (he wasn't really interested in them to begin with), and maybe 30% of his pancakes. It just wowed me. :)
This year we went to Applebee's since someone anonymous gave us a giftcard to Applebee's (THANK YOU anonymous person!!!), and it just so happened that on Halloween, children ate free from the kid's menu. So that was nice! This time Gabe ordered a 4 oz steak and four pieces of bacon and mashed potatoes. He also finished up with an Oreo shake. He informed me that he was "actually still hungry" but he didn't finish his shake (I did...yummy!!) so I think he liked the idea of still being hungry after all that food more than he actually was hungry. ;)
Applebee's has this little computer thing on the table that you can reorder drinks with, or call your server, and it also has a game tab, and Gabe really wanted to pay the 99 cents for "unlimited access" to all the games during your meal. At first I said no, but then I changed my mind because it was only 99 cents and I usually try to let them do whatever they want within reason during their special time, and it made him very happy and actually I really enjoyed it too!! :) We took pictures of each other and decorated them,
and did quizzes with each other, and both tried to beat this totally impossible game where you tried to get this bird to fly through holes in a tree.
I really enjoyed being out with just Gabe. It's so fun to take them each out individually. I honestly don't remember even much of what we talked about; just relaxed conversation as he wiggled around in his seat. He talked about wanting to watch football.
I think this is the third time we have been out. The first time was probably about two years ago, and we went to Panera Bread after I took him to the dentist and he got macaroni and cheese and he wiggled and squirmed and made silly faces and noises and laid all over the seat and honestly exasperated me a bit :D, and this time he did all of the same things still two years later (with less silly noises, and less squirming) and by this point, I just let it go and mostly let him lay down on the seat when he wanted, because it's just part of being with him and he really wasn't causing anybody any trouble, and the restaurant was mostly empty mid-afternoon. He was fun to talk to and fun to play games with.
After the restaurant we did a super quick Walmart run for diapers for Caroline, and I also bought Gabe a little container of Lifesaver mints. He was thrilled that he didn't have to use his allowance for them.
We started giving the boys allowance a few months ago, and I REALLY really like it. We give them $1 X their age per week, and they put 25% into savings, and tithe 10%, and have the remainder to spend on what they like. It frees me up from having to decide what to spend money on for them, and lets them prioritize. So it was a treat for Gabe to not have to pay for something he wanted. Gabe, so far, is the saver of the three boys. He doesn't spend money quickly, but when he does, it is generally something he really wants and he doesn't regret his purchase.
We got back home in time to get everybody into their costumes. This was accomplished later than planned and with some amount of tearful angst on Israel's part, who couldn't find a mask he wanted for his costume and then it was broken and then he had to make a mask out of construction paper and then it wouldn't stay taped and then he couldn't find socks and Zion kept changing his costume finally was Spiderman and he had to find the right mask that he wanted and Gabe was Ironman with an ever-changing array add-on items like a sword and gloves and Layla was a giraffe and then it was finally time to go trick or treating. Pheeeewweee.
Caroline stayed home with her daddy.
I just LOVE taking the kids out trick or treating. I really wished I had brought my camera along, because they were just SO STINKIN' CUTE running happily from house to house, with Layla's curls and giraffe tail bouncing, and Zion was this cute little happy Spiderman and they were just all cheerful and had a great time. I told them that they needed to say "Trick or treat!" (because I have discovered that it is awkward and seems kind of rude when someone comes to the door and they just stand there silently and wait for candy) and then they need to say a nice loud "Thank you!!" that the people could hear or they could say "God bless you!" By the end, they were all saying "God bless you!!", even Layla who said some cute variation in her cute little voice. Gabe said later - "Mom, at first I was really kind of scared to say God bless you, but by the end it wasn't hard anymore at all!" :) The air was cool but not too cold and people are always so friendly and kind. There were very few trick-or-treaters out this year, for some reason, and Tim said that no one came to our door while we were gone. We got two giant bowls of candy
and I let them eat a happy amount that night, and then even some happy amounts the next day, before putting the brakes on more firmly.
Caroline is walking now more than she is crawling. She walked really for the first time on Israel's birthday, October 15, about ten steps, and she walked to him. :) She is just so stinking adorable. She is cuddly and affectionate, and likes you to hold her so that she can tell you where she wants you to go by pointing her arm out and saying "ENNNHH!!" urgently. She loves books and loves to be read to. She LOOOOVES the dishwasher
(I know, I know, it's bad for her to sit on the door and I usually stop her but I needed a picture.).