November is here.  The birthday month has passed, marked by the first of many end-of-the-year celebrations--- Halloween.  The summer warmth has been replaced by the crispness of fall, which will soon be replaced by the first flake of snow, the anticipation of that first snow day, and the warmth of that first fire in the fireplace.  The end of the year is upon us and I am grateful for the everyday comforts of home.  

Monday was Halloween night, and I felt like I was stuck within the pages of a children's story.  I felt as though the baton had been passed, and it was my turn to create the same Halloween experience I remember as a child.  Like a child, I watched the clock all day long, waiting for the end of the school day, waiting to go home, and waiting to get Cruz dressed up.  Like a child, I hurried through my supper and lurked by the picture window, waiting to spot the first costumed little.  It's true those same, childlike feelings of excitement, anticipation, and happiness still exist into adulthood, and there is nothing in the world that brings this out more than being around a child.

We had so much fun.  We lit candles in the living room and danced to The Monster Mash.  We got cozy in hats and gloves and my favorite Uggs, and stuffed Cruz in his little caterpillar heat box.  We arranged our jack-o-lanterns just so, and watched house light after house light after house light flip on in our neighborhood.  Our neighborhood has such a life to it on Halloween night---you could fill your pumpkin without ever leaving our street.  Jordan, Kelli, and Charly decided to come and trick-or-treat with us, and we had so much fun watching Cruz and Charly's attempt to score big in the candy department.  When Cruz wasn't riding in his Radio Flyer, he was riding high on his dad's shoulders, his little caterpillar tail trailing behind him.  Charly was a little hesitant at first, but quickly caught on to the gig.  She pridefully trudged from house to house, smiled sweetly at the people who filled her bag, and just as quickly marched back to the sidewalk, only to look ahead to the next one.  Cruz, on the other hand, didn't seem to truly understand what was going on, but was content with the action, the laughter, and the lights of the bright jack-o-lanterns that were propped on many porches.  

Cruz loved his costume.  It is definitely the only hat he'll wear to date without vast attempts to remove it, and he playfully inched around like a little caterpillar the minute I turned him loose.  He had lots of opportunities to get his use out of it, with a few mom-and-Cruz photo shoots, a Halloween parade and party at daycare, and his debut as a caterpillar on Noah's Ark at his daycare's annual musical program.  He definitely looked cute as a bug, and I'm having a hard time packing it away.

Big boy is taking steps...

It was a Halloween for the memory books, filled with old and new traditions that added a special magic to the day and weekend.  I'm so thankful for a husband who plays along with my deliberate holiday antics, and hope one day maybe Cruz himself will want to carry on some of the traditions that we have carved out.  

And speaking of carving...

Next year, my dad suggested we have a family pumpkin carving contest.  He used to be known around my hometown for his articulate designs.  And while I cheat and go for the cuteness factor with my baby's name carved in orange muck, Beau goes for the disturbing factor.  When I talked him out of the puking pumpkin, he settled for a pumpkin eating a gourd.  

Cruz 'helped' us carve our pumpkins by eating raw pumpkin seeds, attempting to climb into Beau's lap while he took a power tool to his pumpkin, and pulling the stem off one of the pumpkins.  

It wouldn't be a holiday without some attempts to bake, and my attempts are typically either very successful or a complete and utter failure.  While my chocolate caramel turtle corn turned out fine, my candy corn inspired cupcakes looked anything like the picture.  They tasted good, however, as did my Nutter Butter ghosts, and my new favorite--- butternut squash soup.

I love this time of year, and look forward to the simple pleasures of another change in season.  But for now, a new pair of fleece pajamas for Cruz, his favorite blankie, and a new Halloween book from Grandma are calling my name.  It's a great night to be stuck inside.