Thursday, December 6, 2018

Our Trip to LA! (Part One)

As most of you probably know, the kids and I (along with Sarah and her kids) were featured on a new Ellen web series called Fearless. It was a fun little adventure for us, so I wanted to share some details of the experience. It was kinda all a blur, so I'm going to try my best to recap it all without it being too long. That being said, if you wanna skip straight to the trip just skip over the 'Backstory' section below. 


It all started back in early summer 2018. I got a call on my cell from Burbank CA. I answered it and was enthusiastically greeted by "Hey! It's Alex from the Ellen show!" We chatted for a bit about me being a single dad and the idea of me dating again. It was a nice little call, but truthfully I didn't think anything would come of it. However, a few days later, he called back and wanted to set up a time to Skype with my kids. When I told my kids, they legit freaked out. Hahahaha. I explained that they call and Skype people all day everyday, and only a handful of people get pulled for the show. The call went pretty well. During the video conference, Alex explained that this was about my kids' quest to find me a wife. The kids were delighted, but were pretty nervous and acted a bit tame (for them). After that we didn't hear anything for a few weeks, so I figured they moved on. Truthfully, I was a bit relieved. That's a big audience. I was still on the fence about putting me and the kids out there on a national stage. Plus, I was kinda nervous that doing that would make me look desperate for a girlfriend/wife, which I was not. However, I promised the kids that if we got picked, I would let us do the show.

And wouldn't you know it, only a week or two after that Skype call, things kinda took a shift with one specific girl I had been messaging. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting anything from it initially. Of course she was mega cute, but I treated it just like anyone else that messaged me because of the blog. Just to be a listening ear and encourage them that they aren't alone. But like I said, a little spark started to grow between us. After a few weeks of getting to know her, I decided that I wasn't gonna worry about the distance between us or anything else. She was seriously the most amazing person I've ever met (in person or online). I told myself "I'm gonna pursue this girl." To my pleasant surprise, it took some time, but I eventually won her affection.

That being said, of course after Sarah and I had started officially "talking," my phone randomly rang at work one day. I glanced down... 'Burbank, CA'....

"Hello?" I answered.

"Hey Seth! It's Alex!! I talked to our producers and we want you and your kids to be on a new show Ellen is producing! We want to focus on you being a single dad and to help you find someone! I'll get back with you later in the week to talk about specifics, and set up another Skype call with your kids!"

"Sounds good. Talk to you then."

In my head, I really didn't know what to do. Sarah and I had been messaging before I even got the first call, but things had progressed. I realized I had feelings for her, and they were only getting deeper. But we still weren't really official. We hadn't even met in person yet. Truthfully, I wasn't even sure my deep affections were equally reciprocated. Just FaceTime and texting were really all I had to go on. I needed to make a choice... Did I want to do the show about meeting someone or did I want to pass it up for Sarah? I prayed about it for a few days. I wanted God to give me a peace in either direction. Sure enough, the next day Sarah and I FaceTimed. Immediately, I felt that godly peace. Even the chance of being with her was more valuable to me than any free trip, TV show, or other opportunity. So I called them back and turned down the show. Alex was a little bummed. They had built that whole episode around me and my kids, but he was gracious and kindly accepted my decline.

About a month went by and I got another call at work. I look down ...  'Burbank, CA'... "Why are they calling me? I already turned down the show about me being single." Anyway, I answered it, and it's Alex again. "Hey Seth!! So the producers still really want the kids and you on the show. We want to work with you to get you here." I was shocked. "Ok, what did you have in mind?" Alex responded, "How about we do a show on you starting a new relationship?" Of course I was excited and said "Yes!" He also called and Skyped with Sarah and her kids to get to know them as well. Sarah was excited for me and the kids to get the opportunity, but was pretty adamant about not wanting to be on the show with her kids. (Sarah's a private, humble, non-attention seeking gal. Which I adore about her.) Plus, she had some big work event the weekend of filming that she had been talking about for awhile, so I knew she wouldn't be able to come. And that's as quick as I can summarize the backstory. (Fun fact: As I was writing this, I decided my New Year's resolution was to be more concise in conversations and blogging. Hahaha, so hopefully that will pan out for everyone's sake.)

The Trip and Filming the Show!!
#hopeyouguysarereadyforsomepictures hahaha

Ok. The trip and show are on. I literally have no clue what to expect. All I know is that we'll be working with the Ellen team. They tell me there's a crew coming to film us in Georgia and then a week later, we'll be flying out to LA for the second half of the filming. I make arrangements with the kids' school, mark our calendars, and hope for the best. Hahaha. 

On the morning of the scheduled shoot in our home, Alex texts me and tells me they are on the way. I'm waiting for Alex and a camera operator to pull up together in a little rental car. However the kids say "Dad. A minivan full of people and equipment are here... Wait, another car pulled up!... Ahhh, another car pulled up. DAD!! Another minivan just pulled up." Yup. 4 cars pulled up. They sent Alex, the production manager, the director, two camera operators, an audio guy, and SO MUCH equipment. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you MY. KIDS. WERE. FREAKING. PUMPED.  They filmed me for awhile solo talking, then the kids solo, us cooking breakfast and getting ready for school, shots of the kids playing and acting crazy, us cooking dinner, cut away shots, etc. They were literally filming from about 7:30am- 5pm. I asked the kids to take some pictures so we could remember it, but they were too excited and forgot. It was kinda all a big blur, but my one vivid memory was Titus was so so so dead set on having whipped cream for every meal that day, and Neela walked around with a sound machine setting off fake farts behind all of the crew. Hahahaha (Side note: my kids are so cool.)

A week passes and it's finally time to fly to LA! My kids had never flown before so they were mega crunk. The folks at Ellen were so gracious to fly us out of our local Valdosta airport, so really there was no long drive or waiting. Stevie had the idea for us all to wear our Megow shirts so we could properly rep our family pride. 

Not trying to brag, but I felt like we were the coolest family on Earth that day. We had never worn them all as a group before. It was so fun! 

Olive held Titus' hand the entire takeoff since he was a little nervous. 

We had a connection flight in Atlanta to LA. If you've flown out of ATL, you know it can be pretty crazy there. We had about 15 minutes to get to the farthest terminal for our flight. I know I exaggerate *sometimes* ;)  but honest truth, we were sprinting through the airport to catch the flight to LA. As we were running, I hear Titus laughing hysterically. Still running, I say "Dude, what is so funny?!" Between his guffawing, he laughs out "Dad! This is just like in Home Alone! I love doing this!"  The last 100 feet, I had to full on track and field sprint to the gate as they were about to close the door. But geez, we made it. I felt so relieved. "Just like the dad in Home Alone," Titus pointed out.

Olive got my phone and snapped a few pics of the second flight. Hahahaha

After a 5-hour flight, we finally landed and then came my kids FAVORITE part. We had a chauffeur waiting on us to drive us to our ultra fancy-pantsy hotel :D 

Los Angeles county is big and takes awhile to travel across (especially during rush hour) and we didn't get to the hotel until dark. Given that they are 3 hours behind us, my kids were starving. We walked around downtown LA until we found somewhere to eat at some pizza place. Afterwards I asked the kids what they wanted to do and Titus perked up real quick. (Let me give you a spoiler about this weekend... Titus referenced the movie Home Alone like 17 times. Hahaha) His idea was to go get a ton of ice cream and eat ice cream in the giant comfy beds of a 5-star hotel. So we did exactly that. I remember really wishing Sarah (and her crew) were there with us. We hardly had anytime to text. Also, I didn't want to interrupt her throughout the day because of that big work meeting she had scheduled. 

"Dad. I feel just like Kevin!" (From Home Alone) Hahaha

The next day we woke up early and walked around downtown some more to find breakfast. Afterwards, we kinda just hung out until the driver showed up to bring us to the filming. I didn't really take any videos but one. Here's the kids hanging in the lobby for the driver. 

He was running pretty late so that's why Titus looks a bit annoyed. ;)

We took another nice, long ride to the filming spot. I was still pretty clueless about what was going on. We got there and my kids were wired. The crew was so kind and helped watch the kids while I got ready to film. The makeup lady brushed my hair and then put some light makeup on me. And my kids. lost. it. HAHAHA. Dad getting makeup on for filming is apparently the funniest thing in the history of mankind. After getting ready, Alex pulled me to the side and excitedly told me about the show. He said, "Ok... You are about to be interviewed by.... ASHLEY GRAHAM!!".... I pray I masked my utter cluelessness of who that was. Because as soon as I had a chance, I got my phone out and googled her. "Oh yeah ok. I've seen her before." I told myself. I read a tiny bit about her before they got the text that it was time for me to go up to the interview. We walked up the stairs and she was standing there waiting to meet me. Geez, there were also like 15 people in the room and so many cameras and equipment. We chatted for maybe around 45 minutes about single parenting, church, boiled peanuts (she's from GA!), and then of course Sarah. On the video (analyzing myself), I seemed pretty nervous, but I really wasn't. Most of the crap I was rabbit-trailing about probably just didn't fit the context of a show. 

Ashley: "Hi Seth! So you're a single dad huh?"
Seth: "Yup! Wanna hear a funny story about us catching bullfrogs in the ditch by our house?"
Seth: *Not even waiting for a response*: "So there's this big ole, fat bullfrog that makes this farting noise in our ditch..."

Then after awhile of me rambling and telling funny stories about my kids, they said it was time to move to another room. In the next room, they showed me a little video of my kids. Ugh, they are just so so great. The video I watched in person was much longer than the short snippet that aired in that segment of the show. It melted me seeing my kids so carefree, not nervous at all, and of course hearing the sweet things they had to say about their daddy. Then to my surprise, Sarah was on the video! I was so excited to see her face! (Geez. She is gorgeous inside and out.) Hearing what she said in that little clip was my favorite part of the entire video. It's the only part I've watched more than once. Following the video, my kids came in and we chatted for a bit with Ashley. After admiring a full-sized stuffed crocodile randomly suspended from the ceiling, Neela took a few minutes to explain to the entire film crew the differences between a gator and a croc (because "everyone needs to know that"). They snapped a few selfies while we let my crew settle down for a bit.

She really seemed like a genuinely nice person. :) I enjoyed chatting with her!

Suddenly, Ashley told us they had a surprise and flung open the doors to reveal Sarah and her kids! I was floored. Seriously, I really was super shocked. Apparently, they had arranged to fly them out the same day as us. Sarah just rescheduled the work meeting, so she really had the perfect cover story. As excited as I was, my kids were probably more thrilled! They had been FaceTiming and chatting with Sarah's kids for awhile, but had never actually met face to face. I'll never forget Stevie's excited shriek, "Annika!!!!" (Sarah's oldest daughter.)  Right after that, Ashley gave us tickets to Disneyland! So as Sarah and I did a few more minutes of filming, the kids got to play. Stevie and Annika became immediate besties. Seriously though, they all just kind of instantly clicked. It was such a neat experience to have captured on film.

They made some weird combination of food on a plate and walked around grossing out the video crew. hahaha

Then we jumped onto a giant 12 passenger party bus and drove to the Disneyland resort! To be honest, I was excited for the trip to Disney, but just the fact that we had both of our crews finally together was overwhelmingly joyful for both Sarah and me. 

That's my look of pure bliss. I can't express with words how full my heart was in that moment.

Well, since this post is LOOONG (dang it, Seth. Errtime...), I'll split it up into two parts. Next time, I'll share about the second half of the trip: DISNEYLAND!

So before I go, I want to say THANK YOU to Ashley, Ellen, and the AMAZING team they had assembled. I made so many friends throughout the process, and I'm incredibly grateful for all of them!

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meet Sarah!

So as most of you know, I'm currently seeing someone. A mini version of our story was featured on a show produced by Ellen and hosted by Ashley Graham. I promised the people from Ellen to keep things with Sarah under wraps until the show aired (even though I've been busting at the seams for months to introduce her). I'm planning a post on that whole experience soon. Also, Sarah and I are writing a joint post about how we met and the story so far. However before all of that, I wanted to give a "brief" introduction for everyone to get to know her. I say "brief" because I can never do ANYTHING briefly. Hahaha. Especially when I'm describing her :D. But I'm going to try my best! Sarah keeps a pretty reserved social media/online presence so I thought this would be a great way for everyone to get to know this mega cute Philly girl.

I feel like when I say she is amazing, it kind of falls flat. I’ve heard so many people described by that word, that it’s kind of lost its flair. However, Sarah legit is. In my 34 years on this earth, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as selfless as her. She puts others before herself in about every situation presented to her. Whether it be parenting, friendships, work, or just about any other environment, she is always wanting others to feel their value. It’s one of the reasons that I initially found her so attractive. Sarah understands that everyone has worth and works hard to meet others the way God sees them. While she doesn’t enjoy arguing or conflict, she also has the wisdom of holding others to their high level of self-worth and importance. Many people I’ve met try to encourage others or hold people accountable by telling them what to change. Not Sarah. She is so gifted at sensing where people are and giving them love, support, and most importantly a listening ear. When you speak with her, you instantly feel comfort and at ease. There’s never a hidden agenda or someone just waiting for their turn to talk. There’s a quiet yet confident strength in any relationship with her. You know she’s there for you. Not to tell you what you should do, but to walk through life with you as a support and encouragement. I just love that about her.

Her spiritual and moral compass is on point. Seriously, it’s legit. I’ve never seen or heard her taking a “holier than thou” mindset, though. She just lives her life to the upmost standards. It’s one of the first things I noticed about her. If there is ever an issue or decision, I can GUARANTEE she has prayed about it. Sarah is never willing to negotiate any personal wants or desires to compromise her integrity. As I’ve grown to now her over the past 6 months, I’ve learned that this not only comes from daily choices to make good decisions, but from a strong understanding of her godly self-worth and value. Seriously for as reserved and meek as she is, she is just as bold and empowered. I’m just glad she found enough promise in me to initially give me a shot. That girl is not one to settle. The fact that she picked me, kinda makes me feel like I’m doing something right. HAHAHA.

For her age, she is so incredibly wise. At the beginning of us becoming a “thing”, she explained the concept of guardrails. Just little things we individually struggle with or character flaws that either of us might have. I gave her my list and vice versa. We had long talks about how we deal with stress, make big (and small) decisions, time management, parenting decisions, etc. She was wise enough to understand that the initial puppy love stage will eventually wear off, and while our attraction/affection will of course remain, there will be legit things we will need to deal with in the future as a couple. If we had mega opposing views on things, then this might not be worth continuing.
Holy moly is she easy to be with! Nothing is ever forced. She’s so extremely intelligent, has an incredible sense of humor, and we share love languages. It’s just a good blend. We fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. At times, she gets giddy and excited about things, so I just smile and listen. Other times, she might ask me to make her laugh or tell her a story. Hahaha. If you know me, I’m all 'bout telling some stories. I’ll talk all day. Sarah is so sweet to just listen and stay engaged while I jump down about 23 rabbit trails and stretch a 5-minute story about work into a 90-minute epic tale involving my 7th grade trip to SeaWorld. That’s not saying she doesn’t make me laugh. She would just never tell people “I’m funny.” It just comes naturally and spontaneously.

I wanted to expand on her humor a bit more. Part of the reason Sarah is mega hilarious to me is her charming ability to be both kind and sarcastic simultaneously. I mean she’ll never belittle anyone. Ever. She’s much too empathetic and loving to do that; however, since she is such a good listener and observer, she can pick up on people’s little idiosyncrasies and loves using them to poke fun. There are things she’s noticed about me that literally no one in my life has ever commented on or seen before. I love lighthearted jabs, and oh boy can she dish them out at the perfect times. :D  Another reason I find her hilarious is her utter awkwardness in certain situations. Now like I said earlier, she’s extremely confident so this awkwardness isn’t caused by insecurities. Sarah is just adorably awkward and slightly weird in certain situations. It makes me feel very at home because I’ve always been kind of a weird person myself, so it’s nice to be with someone similar. No lie, we started talking daily in June and started “talking” in July. When we finally met up in September, it was pretty set that this was a thing. I got off the plane and she was waiting to pick me up. I jumped in the car super excited to finally meet face to face. I was about to go in for a hug, when she kinda stared at me while jolting her hand out. That’s the first thing she did when we met…. she awkwardly shook my hand like a Disney character shakes hands with a nervous 3 year old. Hahahaha. I immediately knew she was the one in that moment.

I hate to bring this up as to not sound shallow, but geez Louise is she attractive. She will probably kill me for talking about her looks. Hahahaha. She's so modest and humble about those things. Really she doesn't put a ton of stock in her physical appearance and would rather focus on growing as a person and helping others. However, I think she's hecka fine, so Imma talk bout it ;). When she first messaged me way back when, my initial thought was, “Wow. This girl is a mega cutie.” If I could work up my ideal women somehow, Sarah would be it. She has the most gorgeous auburn hair and hazel eyes (which has always been my favorite combo). She has a slightly roman nose with a strong but feminine jawline that gives her face such an attractive profile. She takes excellent care of her skin, so it’s extremely soft and healthy. I’m a sucker for nice skin. Her height and little body is also something I find super attractive. The top of her head is the perfect height for me to rest my chin on. I just like doing that sometimes. Also, when she smiles the top of her nose crinkles and it melts me. Seriously, I think she has the best smile I’ve ever seen. On a rare occasion, she’ll smile with a tiny bit of her tongue playfully poking out of her teeth and it’s seriously adorable. It makes me want to kiss her every time. Her style is also on point to me. While she’s breathtaking dressed up, her favorite "look" is also mine - just some jeans, t-shirt, ball cap, and braids in her hair. *drools* Ugh, she’s just so attractive. And the person she is on the inside is even more attractive, if you can believe it. 

 I mean not trying to brag, but I hit the freaking jackpot.

Back to more serious stuff, Sarah is ultra mindful of my relationship with my kids. If I need to spend time with my kids (and vice versa), it’s just understood. No upset feelings or unhealthy boundary issues. Right now, we are single parents dating. We are both aware of this. Not once has she overstepped into my realm of parenting. On the contrary, she has made a solid effort to get to know each of my kids individually and build a relationship of trust with each one. I love that we agree that both sets of our kids have moms and dads. Neither of us wants to mess up those relationships. To be honest, I was always worried my future wife might use my kids to boost the relationship with me. Not in a negative way, I was just afraid that it would be unhealthy for the relationship with their own mom. However, she has done the opposite. There’s been no tension in that regard. We both agree that we are building a relationship which will eventually lead to a blended family if it continues. Although she adores my kids and has excellent advice when I ask, she is not one to try and replace their mom. If anything, we both encourage and booster the kids’ view of the other parent with each other’s children. I really love the fact that I respect and trust her as a parent, but being single parents isn’t what bound us together. It’s the desire to build a relationship and do life together. That gives me confidence that once the kids are grown and gone, we won’t be sitting there trying to make a relationship work that was solely focused around parenting.

Sarah has such a unique mind. She’s extremely bright and left brained. She processes, contemplates, and analyzes decisions. That’s a skill set I lack. I’m prone to just jumping into things, so I love the fact that she does her due diligence before making any decision. However, for as analytical as she is, there’s this creative streak in her that is one of my favorite parts about her. I’ve watched her deep-thinking issues, while simultaneously hand lettering a little gift for someone. It’s such an interesting blend that’s fascinating to watch. She’s incredibly gifted at thinking outside of the box and coming up with original solutions to problems. It’s like all of her brain is running at 107%. I’m not afraid to take the lead on decisions since decision making isn’t a problem for me, but Sarah makes it so incredibly easy because she’s done the entirety of the work beforehand in her mind.

She is excellent at communicating. When something is coming up that might give her stress or put her in a not-so-great mood, she always makes it a point to tell me. I know her weaknesses and struggles, just as she knows mine. Sarah is not the kind of person that leaves you wondering where you stand with her (which I LOVE). There’s never a huge guessing game as to where she’s at mentally or emotionally. She explained how she prefers to be talked to or cheered up, when she’s not happy, mad, upset, or frustrated. That’s made it extremely easy for me to be there for her when she might need it.

I also admire her strong sense of family. In my trips to visit, I’ve gotten to know her family. They are also becoming some of my favorite people. It’s so neat to see where Sarah gets her strengths/personality from. She not only respects and values her family, she thoroughly enjoys being with them. They are a tight unit. There’s so much trust and shared confidence that’s been built into that family over the years. It’s super evident they that would welcome me and the kids. In fact, I can basically thank her parents and her older brother for giving me a shot when I started to pursue her. Hahahaha. After getting to know her family, I felt God confirmed a big answer to prayer I’ve been sending up for years. I wanted a super tight relationship with my future in-laws. I’m so grateful for the people they are and the incredible support, encouragement, and insights they have so kindly given. It’s just the best feeling to genuinely sense acceptance into a new environment, situation, and potential family.

That girl works HARD. Seriously, I am so attracted to her work ethic. She gets stuff DONE son. Parenting - check. Working a full-time job - check. Cooking, cleaning, community events, extracurricular activities for the kids, and serving others - check, check, check, check, and check. I used to think I was pretty legit… Hahahaha then I met Sarah. She is a freaking boss. But in everything she does, she’s ALWAYS mindful of others. There’s never a sense of gloating, Sarah just does it because it needs to be done. She always tells me the motto she tells her kids, “We go through problems and not around them.” I LOVE THAT. It not only demonstrates her physical/mental work ethic, but her emotional/spiritual work ethic as well. If something comes up with one of her children, she addresses it then. The moment she detects a potential problem, she’s on it. It doesn’t matter how exhausted she is from work or parenting, that girl rolls up her sleeves and takes care of it then and there.

There’s that little tongue. Isn’t she insanely cute?!?

Geez…  I had a mental list of things I wanted to share about her and why I find her so amazing, but I’m not even halfway through it. I don’t want anyone to get a hand cramp for scrolling through my endless post. Hahahaha (I could talk about her all day, just fyi). So I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her soon.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Megow Costumes Through the Years

It's no secret that our family loves costumes. I've had a side job working for Bouncin' Balloons and Costumes since I was 18. It's fun, easy, and something that comes pretty natural. However, I think having unlimited access to thousands of fantastic costumes for so long kind of ushered in a new way of thinking about dressing up. I just loved the challenge of trying to come up with things for me and the kids, that I'd never seen in a store before. Granted alot of these are kind of generic, but we do what we can with the free time we have right?  ;) One other challenge I enjoy about creating our own costumes is trying to do it for inexpensive as possible. I mean, I normally have to run to hobby lobby at least once, but for the most part it's exciting to stretch the ole' creative noggin to see what I can produce with just random supplies/things lying around the house. It all starts with the concept. Some of my favorite costumes were so basic and easy to make, but they were just the neatest idea so they stand out.

Another reason that I really love building fun costumes for the kids or dressing up as a family was my divorce. They were so shaken by it and still experience confusion/pain from it. I discovered that these costumes were something tangible the kids could have, wear, and show off. They could see the time/effort I was putting into building them since they normally would sit and watch while the costumes were being made. It was something they could touch & see that reminded them that they were worth people's time and effort. Also, after the divorce there were little signs of a lack of self confidence within everyone in our house. I think when the kids hear positive feedback about how cool they look, really helps lift their spirits and feel more secure in their awesomeness.

So let's take a look back at some costumes. Not all of these are from Halloween. Some are from birthdays, holidays, and other random events. I think it's neat seeing how our level of making costumes has evolved over the years. As my kids get older they start having more imagination and input, so that just makes things way more fun. This isn't an extensive list by any means. Just a few of my favorites that I picked out:

 Link from The Legend of Zelda. 
I think she wore this outfit two years in a row. 
Stevie sketched out the shield and we made it with card board and painted duct tape. Even years of play and being beat with play swords, that thing still is holding up. Besides the ears, we didn't have to buy anything else. Whenever I think of Stevie in costume, I always picture this.

Titus as a detective. 
Side note: I seriously loved this costume. 

Stevie and Neela as My Little Ponies. 
Of course, Stevie thought the boa mane was "too itchy" :)

McDonalds worker and French Fries
We had Titus's 3rd birthday at McDonalds. We wanted to blend in, so Stevie dressed up as some fries and I put together a McD's uniform. My favorite part of the party was asking random people if they needed anything and just pretending like I worked there as I strolled behind the counter for condiments. :D hahahaha

Captain Underpants
One of our more recent additions to our costume collection. At first, Olive was pretty adimant that the costume wouldn't be acceptable unless she was wearing only underwear and a cape. Fortunately, we comprised with some skin tone colored tights/shirt (you know... since she would be at school). 
Side note: I really dislike buying clothes specifically for costumes if I can avoid it. It just seems wasteful; so if you notice a lot of these shirts are just inside out and backwards to make them more plain. 

Lion Tamer
We found this old sequence shirt from a yard sale and got the top hat from Bouncin Balloons and Costumes. We were ready to go... Until Neela swapped toy animals and decided to be a "Moose Tamer" at the last minute. hahaha 

Ninja Turtle (Michelangelo
Titus and I had been planning to go see the Ninja Turtles movie in the theatre for a few weeks. The night before I thought it would be fun to put together a costume for him to wear to the event. So I just scrounged together some supplies (plastic toy bin, old t-shirt, pipe cleaners, and a magnetic fridge letter) and started after he fell asleep. My favorite part was the girls noticed what I was doing and stayed up late with me building the costume and helping me size it just right so it would fit perfect! I still think about both of those nights fondly. Building the costume with the girls the night before, and Titus loving his outfit a little 'too' much, while running up and down the isles, swinging his nun-chucks, and doing karate during the movie. I threw something together just so we could be ninja turtle twins together that night. 

Fox in Socks
Pretty proud of this one too. The reason? Stevie did the whole thing by herself. So proud :)

When Neela told me she wanted to be a cowgirl, I was a little disappointed that year because I was expecting something a little more 'out there'. However, when we started putting the costume together, it quickly became one of my favorites. I love the little twine rope we made. 

Joe Dirt(s)
After much begging and pleading with his mom, she agreed to let Titus have a mullet for his first haircut. Why? Because seeing a three year old with a sweet mullet is hilarious and awesome. So we took advantage of this every chance there was and dressed him like our favorite "Firework loving, Sweet Home Alabama singing, radio station custodian."

'Eevee' from Pokemon
Stevie begged for an Eevee costume. So we sat down together and whipped one up together with some old clothes, felt, and a hot glue gun in about an hour. I think I included this one of the list, because Stevie loved it so much. She was so proud of how good it looked, that in turn of course made my heart explode with joy :)

'The Wizard of Oz' Tornado
Hahaha. You knew this one would be on here. Titus asked me to come up with something "super cool and different than anyone else". I suggested the tornado, and he was all in. This is probably the best costume on the list, but oddly enough it was maybe the easiest to make. We found some old cardboard and brown packing paper. We cut a hole out of the cardboard, taped on the paper, spray painted it, added some printed pictures, and make a little belt and head mount. I just love when my kids say how much they love their costumes. And for sure, that boy loved his costume that day.

Strawberry Shortcake
I mean seriously though.. does anything in the world exist that's cuter than 2 year old Neela in this costume? 

Uncle Sam/America's National Animal Bird (Eagle)
Two of my absolute favorite things to do are:
1) Dress up for events that aren't costume parties
2) In the middle of the event, take off my costume to reveal my other secret costume hiding underneath (in this case it was a female cheerleading top with Eagle across the chest)
This was one friends the Orozco's birthday parties. It was "America" themed. So of course, you gotta go full patriot on everyone in that scenario. 

'Young Kristoff' from Frozen
This was thrown together in 3 minutes, but it has stood the test of time in my mind as one of my favorites. 

David Blaine
Titus loves street magicians. Of course, he wanted one of those "beards that are there, but hard to see". Hopefully, he just won't actually grow one when he's older. haha

Steve Irwin
She's rocking her cowgirl hat with a safety pin to the side. That girl loves some nature/animal explorers almost as I love her in this costume. ;)

Monster Truck Enthusiasts
There was a monster truck show close to where we live. To blend in with the crowd, Titus and I dressed accordingly. 

'The Wizard of Oz' - The Wizard/Man behind the curtain
This one was overkill. I admit it. hahaha. But Titus was so so pumped about the Wizard of Oz day because of his tornado last year. I threw around some suggestions but he really wanted to be "the wizard and I want a BIG costume." So we did just that :)

The rig we built to hold up the costume so he could actually wear this thing. 

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from 'Alice in Wonderland'
Recently, our friend gave us tickets to go see a children's play of Alice in Wonderland. The girls LOVED the play and begged to be these guys for Halloween. So we put these together last Saturday. Super easy. Super cheap. Super cute :D 

'Sexy' Wilson from "Home Improvement"
This one was for an actual ADULT (not kid) event! hahahaha. So I wanted to do something fun. Even though this is still probably my favorite costume I've ever made for myself, I think a lot of people just didn't get it at the event. But I'm still laugh imagining that Wilson was secretly wearing a daisy dukes and a tied-button shirt behind the fence. Plus, I couldn't help poke fun at the way costume companies will basically release a "sexy" version of every character in the history of ever. Seriously, I've seen a 'sexy poop emoji' costume. hahahaha. We are the weirdest generation. 

Dress Like a Senior Citizen Day' at School:
Crazy Cat Lady and Grand dad who records every family get together with his video camera from 1997.
Still proud of these. Hahahaha.

Shark Mask
As you can probably tell from this list, Titus is main "costumer wearer". That kid loves a good costume. (Side note: He already has a job at the costume shop waiting for him. hahaha)
This year Titus saw some 'shark masks' for sale in a store. They were super expensive, rather cheap looking, and terribly hot/uncomfortable. To his major disappointment, I wouldn't buy one and encouraged him that "we could make one even better at home!" So before we left the store, we bought some light blue poster board. It was relatively easy to build it in my mind before we started, and to my delight, proved to be not that hard to actually put it together with random supplies/stuff we had lying around the house.

I can tell you that about 15 years of wearing large character costumes, that the key to comfort is a good halo. We made one out of duct tape, got it snug, and attached it to the the back of the mask, so it would rest comfortably on his head. That way he could put his focus where it needed to be: Getting Candy.

My favorite part about this mask is the coloring. It looks like it was some killer paint job in my opinion. Actually though I was originally not even going to paint it. After wrapping it with the light blue poster board, I accidentally scratched it. So I took it to the garage and did a quick pass of dark blue spray-paint on the edges and back. It's neat how our little mistakes can turn out to be blessings in disguise. :D

Making costumes- Yes! 
Cleaning up the mess- Ugh... the worst. 

Homemade costumes are just the best! So let those creative juices flow :D Get out the old hot glue gun and see what you can come up with! 

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,