Monday, December 29, 2008

My Blog Anniversary!

I just realized that today is my one year blogging anniversary!!! I knew it was close, but actually had it in my head that it was on New Year's Eve. Good thing I was reviewing some old posts and noticed the correct date of my first post. 

I guess I just want to say that it's been fun blogging and getting to know readers from all over the world who share my passion for similar genres. I appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my blog. This venture wouldn't be nearly as much fun as it is if I didn't know there were people interested in what I have to say.

Cheers! :) 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Books in My Reading Queue

Here's a little run down on what I've been reading lately and the books I have sitting on my nightstand just waiting to be read. I haven't been reading nearly as much as I normally do in recent weeks, largely due to my preoccupation with all that's going on at home, but I'm hoping to write some reviews over the holiday break, and read and review a few other great selections I really want to get to.

In November, I read one and only one book the entire month and that was an ARC of Maximum Exposure by Alison Kent. Alison sent me the ARC over the summer in exchange for the promise to review it on or before release date and for the first time, I've failed my end of the author ARC bargain and for that, I apologize to Alison. I still plan on posting a review of Maximum Exposure, however, and hope to do it this coming week.

Last weekend, I finally finished reading The Windflower by Laura London for The Windflower World Tour, and will compose some final thoughts on the book very soon.

Right now I'm more than half way through reading an ARC of Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian, the fifth book in the Midnight Breed series. It is the story of Breed Warrior Nikolai and his breedmate Renata and so far, I'm really enjoying it. The story arc is consistent with the overall series arc, and the relationship between Nikolai and Renata is developing at a realistic pace, which is so important to me. I'm also really loving Renata. All of Lara's heroines are strong characters and compliment their hero really well, but I think Renata just might be my favorite breedmate so far. She's a strong, well trained fighter and a survivor of the truest sense. But she's also compassionate and a bit vulnerable, traits that round out her character really well.

Next, I'll be reading Stranger by Megan Hart. I've had Stranger in my hands for over two months already and I'm really excited that I'll be reading it next. If you haven't yet read something by Megan Hart, I highly recommend you do, specifically a Megan Hart novel from the Harlequin Spice line. Megan is a phenomenal writer in a genre class all her own. Her Spice novels are a unique combination of romance, erotica and women's fiction all rolled up into one unforgettable package. Her characters and their stories will linger in your mind and in your heart for months after finishing one of her books. You can read my review of Tempted that I wrote back in February 2008 HERE. Also, Carolyn Jean of The Thrillionth Page recently read Dirty by Megan Hart and composed a really thoughtful and well written review that you can read HERE.

I'll then be reading and reviewing the recently released novel, What A Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty that I won from author Ann Aguirre in one of her amazing contests.

Jaci Burton has also had a novella released this week that I'd like to read (but haven't bought yet...). The story is titled Unraveled and is a follow up to her Unwrapped novella that I read a few months ago. I love Jaci's writing style and her novellas are the perfect way to spend a few hours reading a simply lovely romance.

I was also gifted copies of the first two books in The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop from my dear friend Amy C from the Romance Book Wyrm blog and hope to get to them soon as well. Amy and I have very similar tastes in fiction, including a love of straight fantasy that may or may not include any romance (gasp!), so I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this Anne Bishop series.

And last, but certainly not least in my reading queue is Desired Unchained, the second book in the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. I was incredibly lucky and won an ARC of Desire Unchained back in October during the online reader appreciation party given by all the lovely authors at the Writeminded blog. Although I did not review the first book Pleasure Unbound when I read it back in June, many of you know that I absolutely loved it and am waiting on bated breath for more in this fascinating world. Desire Unchained is Shade's story and is to be released on February 24, 2009, but hopefully I'll be reading it in another week or two. Score!

So those are the books on my current hot list and hopefully I'll be sharing my thoughts on them in the near future.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

... from my home to yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meet Lulu

She's a snow-girl that my youngest daughter and I made last Friday afternoon.

I suppose it's old news by now, but the NY metro area had a little snow-rain-ice storm late last week. The roads were a slippery mess before noon on Friday and consequently, the kids were dismissed from school at 12:30 pm. And what's a snow day without a little romp in the snow, so Anna and I got busy rolling, packing and piling snow to build a snow-girl. We brought her to life with eyes, a nose, mouth, hair, buttons down her front, and even earrings! We stepped back to admire her and my daughter said, "Her name is Lulu." And that was that. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For my husband

Last week I made some comments in a Windflower Book Tour post here on my blog that were inappropriate, hurtful to my husband and not representative of my true feelings. The post has since been deleted and modified, but in it I wrote inappropriate comments about a construction worker within the post and in the comments. At the time, I suppose I thought it would be fun for my fellow blogging friends to have some "women's locker room" talk and giggles about the romance cliched construction worker, but am now  quite ashamed that I would ever suggest having a thing for anyone other than my husband, whom I love, respect, and cherish more than words can ever express.  

I realize that for a lot of couples, it is perfectly acceptable to 'check out' other men and women while in each other's company and to even comment freely on their sex appeal, but my husband and I are not like that. We've always strived to keep our thoughts to ourselves and our eyes on each other, not because of insecurity or untrustworthiness, but out of respect, love, caring, and exclusiveness for one another. Not only did I cross those lines with last week's blog post, but I did it publicly--both actions I deeply regret. I want to apologize to my husband in the same forum in which I violated his trust carelessly and without respect to him and our marriage. Some may think what I wrote is trivial and its ramifications insignificant, yet it is never trivial when the trust between husband and wife is jeopardized and the bond between them weakened.  

This post is dedicated to my husband . . .

The man whose thoughts of love, companionship, and affection are always for me.

The man whose eyes could take their fill elsewhere, yet only fall on me.

The man who never hesitates to do what it takes to make me happy.

The man who stops at nothing to keep me physically safe and emotionally secure.

The man who does whatever necessary to help heal my body and soul.

The man who satisfies my needs, both physically and spiritually.

The one and only man who is the hero to my very own happily ever after.

I love you.

I'm so sorry. Please forgive me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Windflower is now docked in . . .

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos New Jersey, USA.

Have you gotten wind of The Windflower World Tour Yet? It's a blogging extravaganza that was started by Ciara Stewart and Ana of The Book Smugglers. You can read the details of The Windflower World Tour at Ciara's blog HERE, but basically a single, rare copy of the 1984 romance novel, The Windflower by Laura London is being sent around the world between twenty-three blogging friends in order to acquaint romance readers with this historical romance novel that is beloved of many romance readers and considered classic old school romance that shouldn't be missed. Each blogger has two weeks to read, review or discuss the book on their blog, and post a picture of The Windflower in their town/city before shipping the book off to the next blogger. So far The Windflower has reached the following ports:

UK flag Pictures, Images and Photos Cambridge, UK.
Ana of The Book Smugglers discusses The Tour and reviews the novel.

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Carolyn Jean of The Thrillionth Page discusses the Windflower.

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos Alabama, USA.
Kmont of Lurv a la Mode discusses the novel and reviews it as well.

I encourage you to click on those links and read the Windflower posts by those three wonderfully insightful bloggers. Be sure to read the comments in those posts as well for some really interesting discussion. The observations and insights into this much loved classic novel by different readers is fascinating and I'm really curious to see how it is received on the remainder of the tour.

And now The Windflower has landed in my port. Well, technically it landed here almost a month ago and shamefully, I let it sit in my bunk without cracking it open for a few weeks. Out of fear of having to walk the plank on The Windflower Tour, I begged for mercy from my fellow Windflower shipmates and asked for an extension. In order to defend my reason excuse for not having started it yet, I present the following picture of The Windflower sitting on my once upon a time kitchen window sill when my kitchen was being gutted back on November 13. 

The verdict from my Windflower shipmates? I have gratefully been granted an extension. I'm so glad that I did, too, because I finally started reading it and guess what? I like it! I'm about a hundred pages in and am actually fairly captivated by the characters and plot. Yes, the language is often "flowery," and yes, the author can be overly verbose and descriptive on topics seemingly completely irrelevant to the story, and yes, the characters and plot devices seem a bit stereotypical and cliche, but really, so far . . . I find it a bit amusing, quite entertaining, and kind of sweet.

The fact that I'm entertained by the relationship between Devon the rogue pirate and Merry the young, innocent, virtuous fair maiden is a bit disconcerting. I shouldn't be enjoying Devon's aggressive, unwelcome advances toward Merry. I shouldn't be enjoying her feeble, barely successful attempts at stopping his advances. But I can't help it! I love when Merry fights Devon both verbally and physically as she struggles to escape his embrace, all the while trying to understand and control her newly blossomed sexuality. And just when I think Devon is the ultimate jerk, he says or does something that makes me think he sees something in Merry that he's never seen in another woman. She stirs something in him that no other woman ever has, making her worth all the trouble in the world to keep. Assuming she figures out she wants to keep him as well, that is.

So I continue on with The Windflower, curious to see where the goings on aboard the pirate ship, The Black Joke, takes me next . . .

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twilight Movie REVIEW

Many of you know that I'm a big fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and that it was actually my gateway novel to being a full fledged romance reader back in September 2006. You can actually read about how Twilight turned me on to reading romance at the following link: How I became a Romance Addict, which is actually one of my very first posts on this blog. :)

In the summer of 2007, my oldest daughter read Twilight and New Moon and became an equally big fan of the series and we waited on pins and needles for Eclipse that summer and then we spent a year discussing the books, debating Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, listening to Meyer's playlists for her novels, and speculating on the future of the series for over a year, when we read the final series installment, Breaking Dawn in August 2008. You can read our chat review of Breaking Dawn at Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: A Mom & Daughter Chat.

When we learned that Twilight was going to be brought to the big screen, we had some mixed feelings. Our first response was excitement, but was then soon followed by extreme reservations. Like who in the world could possibly pull off playing the role of Edward? He's beyond beautiful and has an irresistible allure about him. It's not something any actor could really pull off, you know? It's one of those things that you just know, feel and sense when you're reading the book, but would be so difficult to pull off on film. Despite these reservations, we still knew we'd end up in the theaters on opening weekend. Turns out we went on opening night.

After months of over the top buzz and hype on the Twilight movie, I went to the theater to see the film with my thirteen year old daughter and one of her friends last Friday, November 21, 2008 and all three of us walked away from the theater pretty disappointed. I tried to go into the theater with an open mind, knowing I was going to like the book so much better than the movie, but was still really disappointed with the lack of depth in character and plot compared to the novel. My daughter felt similarly, as was evidenced by her grabbing and tugging at my arm, saying, "What? What are they doing? He doesn't say that! She doesn't do that! Wha! What? They're ruining it! How can they do that?" And this was all in the first fifteen, twenty minutes. I even had to "Shhhh" her!

Perhaps because I've read and reread Twilight more than once and the essence of the written story has penetrated too deeply into my mind that I can't help but be critical of the portrayal of the story on the big screen. The setting was great of course, and casting was very good for the most part. Cam Gigandet did a great job as the villain James, and Ashley Greene who played Alice Cullen was another great casting. She was just how I envisioned. Who didn't work in my opinion? Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen. I know that the fictional character makes some tough shoes to fill, but I don't think Robert Pattinson pulled off Edward Cullen at all. First of all, he didn't have the right look, but I could have gotten over that if he didn't always look so angry and brooding. He didn't capture the attention of the humans with his good looks, voice and charisma they way Edward Cullen would have. I thought that Pattinson's acting was sub par. Most of his lines seemed cold and unnatural. Not the least bit alluring.

Then there is Kristin Stewart playing Bella Swan. I think Stewart did well capturing Bella's character, but thought she went a bit overboard with the sad and confused emotions. Was Bella really that depressing in the book? I didn't think so. In the novel, we at least get inside Bella's head a bit more since it is written in her POV, so we see more of her upbeat side and sense of humor. I didn't like how she was so blah--do I dare say emo?-- throughout the film. Part of this could also be a result lacking dialogue and poor pacing in the movie.

Too many scenes and dialogue exchanges were not in the movie that would have better captured the tone of the novel. I know that it's impossible to include every sentence and every little scene in the movie, but so much was cut out that the pacing of the movie felt very choppy to me. I kept waiting for a scene between Bella and Edward that would capture the chemistry and passion between them, and it never happened. I never saw their relationship develop nor did I ever feel that strong connection between them like I did in the book.

What scenes did work?
+The parking lot scene when Edward saves Bella from Eric's van.
+When Bella meets the Cullens.
+The baseball scene.
+When Edward saves Bella from the thugs in Port Angeles.
+When Bella confronts James in the ballet studio in Pheonix.

What important scenes were missing?
+Any scene not mentioned above, because it was done completely wrong.
+The blood typing science lab. The movie needed the humor of this scene.
+The meadow scene! They totally completely botched that scene in the movie. I don't know how Meyer let them do that! It was the scene on which she bases the entire beginning and ending of the story around. The shame!
+All the other great scenes in the book that had all those great lines that never got spoken in the movie.

Simply for frame of reference, here is a summary of my and my daughter's grades for each book in the Twilight Saga as well as the Twilight movie:

Maria: Christine:
Twilight A+ Twilight A+
New Moon A New Moon A
Eclipse A Eclipse B
Breaking Dawn B Breaking Dawn C+

Twilight movie D (ouch!) Twilight movie C-

(That is the grade Maria gave me when I asked her tonight, although I'm thinking it was a melodramatic teenager response. I'll ask her again in the morning for a serious answer and see what she says and report back.)

EDITED TO ADD: November 30, 2008, 10:22 AM EST, Melodramatic teenager or not, she's sticking with the D.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for YOU!

Several weeks ago, I read a truly heartwarming blog post by my friend Sarai, who despite having been through some really tough times this past year, was able to reflect on her life and find some really wonderful and important things to be thankful for. Her positive attitude was very inspiring and has stuck with me in the corner of my heart since I read her post.

I consider myself a pretty upbeat and optimistic person--something I strive for every day, (although at times my family may say otherwise...), yet even with the best of intentions, it is often easy to lose sight of the truly important things in life: to be alive, to have food to eat and a roof over your head, to have your health, and to share yourself with someone you love. I'm thankful for all of those things and more, but for this post, I'd like to express my thanks for something many may consider low on the priority list or even relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things in life, but is actually very important to me, and that is YOU.

Quite simply, I'm thankful for the friendships I have made through this amazing community of romance-sci fi-fantasy-reading and writing bloggers and authors. Some of you I've known for almost two years already (dd03, DarlingDiva, Terri a.k.a. moonwindt, Katiebabs, Kat), some of you for a little less (Amy C, Tracy, Anna), and some of you for only a few short weeks or months, but you are all important in my little world. You all have a great sense of humor, you're creative, smart, fun, supportive and hold a special place in my heart. Every day I look forward to interacting with you and I'm always interested in what you have to say either on your own blog or in your comments on my blog. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me think and you make me buy way too many books. I'm thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow US friends and happy-second-to-last-day-before-the-weekend to everyone! 

Christine :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Contest by Viral Kung Fu*: WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS by Carrie Lofty

*I stole this creative contest descriptor from Ann Aguirre without permission.

Climbing out beneath the construction rubble to announce yet another generous contest hosted by the fantabulous Ann Aguirre. I love Ann's work, but I also love the way she gets so enthusiastic and passionate about spreading the word about books she herself enjoys reading. Not only does she express her love of a novel, but she goes the extra mile to literally put her money where her mouth is and gives away a copy of the very book she loved. Often times her prizes are even more generous, such as giving away multiple copies of the book and or gift certificates to favorite booksellers and often surprise bonus giveaways throughout the contest period.

Ann's latest promotional contest is for the upcoming release of Carrie Lofty's historical romance, What A Scoundrel Wants. You can visit Carrie's website HERE. Here is the gorgeous viral widget promoting the contest:

So what are you waiting for? Click on over to Ann Aguirre's blog for more information on Carrie Lofty's upcoming novel and on how to enter this fantastic contest. It's so easy and you can even do different things to get more than one entry.

And while you're visiting Ann Aguirre's blog, poke around on her website and check out what Ann's been writing lately. Aside from her popular Sirantha Jax sci fi romance series that you can read about HERE (click on the book covers for more info). Ann is also writing an urban fantasy series called the Corine Solomon series that you can read about HERE, and a paranormal series that she will be writing under the name Ava Gray that you can read HERE. And if that isn't enough? Ann is also working on a Sekrit Project that you can find absolutely nothing about (because it's secret, of course) by reading HERE.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Construction Zone: A Roof Over Our Heads

. . . brushing away the cobwebs . . .

It's been two weeks since my last post. I don't know how that happened!?! 

Well, actually ... I have an idea. It's called living and breathing the partial demolition and rebuilding of your home right before your very eyes because you are living in it, making executive decisions on architectural, electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling system changes in the field, selecting roofing, siding, doors, plumbing fixtures, appliances, flooring, tile, etc., packing away your belongings, restructuring your living arrangements and trying to take care of your husband, two kids, elderly and easily disoriented father-in-law, and four cats the best you can so that their lives go on business as usual while you barely keep your head above water. That's what makes days and days and days go by without making a single blog post or finishing a single book. Yup. That would do it, all right. 

The last post I made here on the construction was Sunday, October 26 and the framing of the first floor addition had just been completed. Despite a few delays here and there due to rain, the construction has been progressing really well. It looks as though we are ahead of schedule, which has put a bit of pressure on me to make some quick decisions on things, but I can't complain. I certainly don't want to be the cause of any loss of momentum on this project. Besides, it's good for me to have strict decision deadlines, because I tend to be indecisive and change my mind a lot when I have too much time to think about it.

So here's what's been going on in the Construction Zone:

October 30, 2008
Second floor walls have been framed. The blue tarp in the background is there to protect the existing structure since the siding has been stripped to the studs on the outside of the house. Remember my 1920s house has no insulation in the walls. We're still at the mercy of the weather until they're ready to put up the new siding at which point they will blow in insulation in the outside walls. 

The side entrance from the driveway. I'm going to love that little covered porch. :) 

November 5, 2008 
Plywood siding has been put up and window openings have been cut out. The roofers are framing the roof for the addition and marrying it to the existing roof line.

November 11-12, 2008
Roofing Day. There was a ton of hustling and bustling and plenty of noise and mess these two days. The roof shingles on the existing part of the house were removed, damaged sections of the existing roof were repaired and new roof shingles were installed on both the existing and new roofs.  The existing roof stripped:

Poof! Just like that... a new roof. 

Note the mattress and box spring ready for the dumpster. My husband and I have no bedroom right now. We'll be camping on a futon mattress on the floor in the living room for a few months. So far it's very hard and very cold. It's only been a week and already I'm thinking of buying a sleeper sofa next weekend.

All the leaves have fallen from the magnolia tree out back and I can finally take photos of the back of the house straight on. 

On Friday most of the windows in the addition got installed, but it started raining so I didn't get a chance to take pictures yet. Next up on the Construction Zone feature will be the inside of the house. Namely the part where I have no bedroom and no kitchen and a skinny piece of plywood between my dining room and the great outdoors. In the Northeast, USA. In mid November. Nice. :) 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Pumpkin Sail

Last night my husband, youngest daughter (oldest was at another Halloween party!) and I went to a Pumpkin Sail at a local county park at which attendees bring their carved pumpkins to be lit and then set sail upon the lake at nightfall. We went for the first time a few years ago, and the images of dozens and dozens of candle lit carved pumpkins afloat on the lake in the dark of night was a stunning sight I could not forget. In the years following, it we couldn't manage to fit the Pumpkin Sail into our schedule because of homework or dance classes, or someone being sick, etc. This year, I was determined to go again and hoped to get some really good photos. I have this fancy digital SLR camera and was excited to get some professional looking photos. Well.... I guess that's where a professional photographer would have come in handy. Because I learned very quickly that it is very difficult to take quality photographs in such low light conditions. I took about 70 pictures and only about 5 of them are worthy of keeping, and even those are not so great. My photography coach, i.e., my husband, was helping me fine tune the settings, but it was still very challenging. I have a lot to learn. Good thing it's so much fun. :) 

I hope the photos I took at least give you a sense of the majesty of the Pumpkin Sail. It was quite beautiful. You can click on the images to view them full size so you can view them in their true low quality. ;)

The view was actually darker in real time. I had my camera set to let in the most light possible, with a very slow shutter speed. That's why the scene looks so well lit. 

This shot is probably my best one. At least the pumpkin faces aren't too blurry.  

My husband and photography coach. Check out the size of his . . . lens!  So sexy. ;) 

I saved the best for last--one of my husband's photos. Great composition, lighting, and focus.  

Hopefully I get in a lot of practice over the next twelve months, and my photos will be even better next year!  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

I love Halloween. The costumes, the pumpkins, the decorations, the delicious seasonal foods, the fun tricks and treats, and the candy! This Halloween, however, pretty much snuck up on me without warning since I've been so preoccupied with the house, so I feel lacked its usual fanfare that I love, but it was a fun one in the end. I managed to at least decorate the front porch a bit last weekend, and get costumes together for my girls. My 9 year old was asked to be one of the Seven Dwarfs with a bunch of her friends. [She was Bashful, of course. Didn't even have to pose shyly for costume judging or photos--she fits the mold perfectly as is. ;) ] One of the moms did a lot of legwork to get matching details for each girl, so I just had to get the pants and shirt together. Kinda lame on my part, but the efforts of the organizing mom were well rewarded when the eight girls dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs won first place last Sunday in our town's Halloween Costume Contest and Parade in the group category. Yay! Little effort on my part and a first place trophy? Win win, if you ask me!

At the town Halloween Costume Contest and Parade. Happy is at a soccer game. 

My Bashful.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the school parade today.

The school librarian dressed as Mother Goose. 

So after school today, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, along with one mom dressed as Queen Maleficent, had plans to trick or treat together for an hour or so at the shops downtown before going their separate ways to be with other friends or families in their own neighborhoods. Well, my little Dwarf came home from school with tears in her eyes over who knows what, proclaiming that she didn't want to trick or treat downtown or anywhere else with the other dwarfs or Snow White. She doesn't even want to be a dwarf. What's a mom to do? Part of me wanted to pressure her to join her group for even just half an hour because they were counting on her to complete the ensemble. But the other part of me just wanted to say forget it. She did the town Costume Contest and Parade and she played the part all day at school. Halloween is supposed to be fun and happy, not stressful or tearful. If she really doesn't want to go, I won't make her. Needless to say, the second voice was the one I listened to and agreed that she didn't have to go with the group. I took it one step further and suggested she trick or treat on her own as something different. Of course, her first reaction was, "But I don't have another costume." Hellllooooo??!!?! Years of dance costumes and a basket of assorted dress up accessories on the shelf of her closet and she doesn't have another costume? I could have pulled together maybe a dozen or more last minute costumes. We found bunny ears, she wore a white t-shirt, white tights and a white corduroy skirt and voila! An Easter Bunny. Only she used a pumpkin head instead of an Easter basket for her candy bucket. 

My little bunny. The ex Dwarf.
Looking much happier.

This year my 13 year old finally used one of her past year's dance recital costumes for a Halloween costume. Finally! It's frightening to say, but we probably have a few thousands of dollars worth of dance costumes after the 14 cumulative years of dancing between both of my girls. And finally my oldest decides to use one. She basically took a gorgeous ballet costume and cut the lace off the tutu, shortened it a bit, wore fishnet stockings, Converse sneakers, and lots of blue and black makeup to be a goth ballerina. Okaaaay. Welcome to the teens.

My goth ballerina. 
In the 'pair of scissors $72 vintage 2007 ballet recital costume.'

Goth ballerina meets ex Dwarf Easter Bunny. 

I dropped my teen off at a friends house to go trick or treating with a group. Thank goodness for cell phones, I can keep easy tabs on her throughout the afternoon and evening. 

My bunny and I called on a friend of hers who was thankfully free to trick or treat with us for a while. The girls had a really great time together and I could tell by my bunny's relaxed and carefree demeanor that I made the right call in allowing her to change her costume and her plans at the last minute.

Look at that happy face. :) 

This house had the best treats ever: coffee for weary parents! 
What a wonderful idea, don't you think? 

I just couldn't resist posting a few honorable mentions, i.e., other people's kids. 

This is a little friend of mine (I met his mom just before she got pregnant with him). He's dressed up as Michael Phelps, of course. So incredibly cute! 

Another young man whose mother I've known since before he was in her womb. He gave his very artistic and talented mother very detailed specifications on how to make his 'Candy Robot' costume. So cute. So creative. So smart! 

My bunny and her friend had a great time trick or treating together, but after two and a half hours, we started to get cold and hungry and called it a night around 6 pm. Fine by me! :)

My teen, however, has been out since 3:30 pm this afternoon. Trick or treating with this group, pizza at this one's house, then more trick or treating before I picked four of them up only to deliver them to a party at a boys house! Eeep! I'm showing up a few minutes early to pick her up because the mom promised to give me the inside scoop on some of the boys I'm not so familiar with. In fact . . . it's time to go!

Happy Halloween!