Monday, December 29, 2008

The fire's still burnin'

Today is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. 35 years ago today they tied the knot, and then drove to exciting and romantic Nashville , TN for their honeymoon. They never left.
As their anniversary present to each other, they bought new gas logs for the living room fireplace. A friend of the family commented that the gift symbolized that after all these years, the flame's still burning strong. On the contrary, I told my dad, it represents that all you two do is saw logs together!
Congrats, Mom and Dad, on a long and happy marriage. Thanks for the wonderful example you've set for what it means to be a loving and committed husband and wife.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A very DIVA Christmas

Every year my college music BFF's get together for our annual DIVA Christmas get-together. When we were in school, it was always dinner out together before we all left for the holidays. Ever since, Nashville has been our meet up spot since Ari & I both lived here, and Conley would fly into Nashvegas before heading to Kentucky to spend Christmas with her family.

This year, sadly, we were only able to manage a 2/3 DIVA convention, with Ari unable to attend (we missed you, Ari!). So Conley and I got a few precious hours together and exchanged Christmas pressies. She hadn't seen Bradley since he was a few days old, so of course we had to take plenty of pictures!Aunt Conley & Bradley... the shirt he has on was a baby shower gift from Conley and today was its maiden voyage, now that he's big enough to wear it! The sheep and sleeper were Christmas presents from her. Also if you look up close, Bradley now has what I like to call his "old man hair" that covers his ears!

Conley with Bradleys Junior and Senior

the 2/3 DIVA quorum (we miss you, Ari!)

Grandpa B & Bradley, showing off his preppy duds! I still maintain that real men wear pink!

Christmas is almost here. I can't wait to see how Bradley handles all the chaos and see his interest in opening presents. A quick shout out to Emmy Sue- Happy Eve of the Eve!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa's Baby

Do we ever get tired of seeing pictures of Bradley? I think not. Then again, I am a proud mama and recognize my partiality.

We took Bradley to the mall to meet Santa, and darn it if my boy wasn't the cutest kid in line! One little boy a few people ahead of us even asked his mom if my Santa-outfit-clad-infant was "Santa's baby." The mom turned around and shared this with us as I beamed with pride.

Bradley was too little to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, but the good ole' Kindermusik song came through for us with us some big smiles for pictures.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Suddenly I'm not in the Christmas spirit anymore, but I'm trying for Bradley. This is his first Christmas and I want it to be special. I stumbled upon this site for free blog layouts and thought I'd give it a try. This one's called "Sassy Santa." I know this is a sorry excuse for a blog post, but Rhonda Lu beat me to the "Who throws a shoe, honestly?" joke with the Bush shoe-ducking fiasco.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

7 Things

Well, Natalie "tagged" me to do this, so I guess I have to... or should I say, I'm compelled to.

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die...
1. Get a dog
2. Have another baby
3. Visit Hawaii
4. Learn to play the guitar
5. Go back to South Africa
6. Have a reason to wear one of my many formal dresses that I accumulated through college
7. Be a good mom

7 Things I Can Do...
1. Play songs on my toothbrush
2. Sing
3. Read a book in a day
4. Eat until way past I'm already full
5. Write
6. Make people laugh
7. Obsessively organize

7 Things I Can Not Do...
1. Shop and talk on the phone
2. Run a mile without stopping
3. Be completely satisfied
4. Hate the color pink
5. Park straight in a parking place
6. Be spontaneous
7. See my family as much as I'd like

7 Things I Say Most Often...
1. Poker? I don't even know-er! (or some version of that)
2. Bradley
3. That's what she said
4. I'm going to Walmart
5. PTL
6. Bless his/her heart
7. Like

7 Celebrity Crushes
1. Brad Pitt
2. Mike Row from the tv show Dirty Jobs
3. John Krasinsky
4. George Clooney
5. John Mayer
6. Johnny Depp
7. Tom Brady

Tag: Ari, Bethany, MAB

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Handel-ing Things

Saturday was my first performance with the Pensacola Choral Society. It's P-cola's version of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, but it's apparent we aren't in Nashville anymore Toto!

Every Monday night I go to rehearsals while Brian watches Bradley and somehow manages to get more housework done in 3 hours than I do all week sometimes. Every Monday I begrudgingly go, knowing I'll have fun and enjoy singing once I get there (I did this most Mondays in Nashville too, to be fair), and every Monday while I sit in the choir room of Pensacola Junior College, I think about Dr. Mabry, director of the NSC, and all the hard work we put into Handel's Messiah last year. And then I snap back into reality and look around at the much smaller, less talented, and much older chorus in Pensacola, and I wallow in self pity for a minute and think how much difference a year can make.

A year ago I was pregnant with Bradley. I sang in a brand new, state-of-the-art Schermerhorn Symphony Hall, with a professional chorus, and I sang my butt off and perfected every nuance of Handel's masterpiece with fierce concentration, an abundance of joy, and a proud appreciation for what we as a choir, and I as a singer, had accomplished.

This year Bradley is 6 months old. Saturday night I sang in a church gymnasium with plastic folding chairs for the audience. I dreaded the concert, embarrassed at how amateur our performance was going to be. And I wallowed in a good amount of self-pity as I drove the 45 minutes out to BFE where the concert was held.

But you know what? Handel's Messiah is still Handel's Messiah no matter where it's performed. And sure there were mistakes made all over the place; we sang at one volume level the entire time: forte, and our pitch was less than perfect, but as much as I dreaded that concert, something miraculous happened that night. I sang with a joy and passion I have been lacking for longer than I can remember. My voice felt strong and clear, and I worshipped God through music paying more attention to the text than the notes! And when it was all said and done, I was glad I had sung.

To be certain, I miss Nashville for more reasons than I can count, the Symphony Chorus being one of them, but I am still pleasantly surprised when I find reasons to be happy here too.

An added bonus to Saturday was that Ann, Jim, Jesse, Brian, and Bradley were all there to hear me sing, and Bradley loved the concert! He stayed awake the entire time, and bounced on Ann's lap to the music. Maybe he recognized the music from last year's in utero hearing?

Monday, December 08, 2008

St. Nicholas came to Florida twice this year! Brian and I opened our stockings from each other on Friday night before Ann, Jim and Jesse got into town, and then we let Bradley see what St. Nick brought him.

Sunday, St. Nick came again, this time with packages that he brought to TN and then shipped to Florida. I tell you, that St. Nick sure makes his rounds!

St. Nick brought us lots of candy, candles, Christmas socks, and Walmart gift cards, and Bradley got some baby's first Christmas ornaments, and lots of new toys.

6 months!

I cannot believe it, but we have hit the half-year mark. Yesterday was Bradley's 6 month birthday. It also happened to be the day that baby Wesley made his grand appearance into the world- congrats Wes & Jess! So now Bradley has a new best friend, right next door.

I can't emphasize how true the cliche phrase is that everyone has been telling me since Bradley was born- "enjoy the time while they're young, they grow up so fast." Our little chunky monkey has exploded in size. I'll have the official measurements next week when we go for his checkup, but my back and shoulders which ache after I carry him around for very long will attest to the fact that he is big for his age. Also, perfect strangers comment on how cute he is (of course!) and then ask how old he is. When I say 6 months, their reaction is always the same- their eyes widen, and then they say something like, wow, he's a big boy, or something similar.

The other thing people are always telling me is what a happy baby he is. I guess I lucked out there because Bradley really does have a cheerful disposition most of the time. He's sitting up now, as long as he supports himself with his hands, or we prop him up from behind. He also "swims" on the floor, and supports himself great on his stomach now. We had been feeding him one meal of solid food every day, but certain digestive issues have caused me to hit the pause button there. It seems my son has inherited my bathroom irregularity! Bradley wasn't all that interested in eating from a spoon anyways, so we'll pick it back up soon. I'm not terribly concerned. One other fun thing that Bradley discovered this month was his toes! He lays on his back and holds onto them, which I snapped a picture of yesterday on his actual 6 month birthday. Maybe the next 6 months will pass more slowly! ha!

Monday, December 01, 2008

We gave Thanks

So here's our much overdue recap of Turkey Day (Thanksgiving, not the country, Ari!).

We spent Bradley's first Thanksgiving in Tallahassee with Ann, Jim, and his son Jesse. We got into town Tuesday night that week and went out to dinner at Applebees. After Bradley got bored being in his car seat, he entertained us on the table. Notice the little guy is sitting up now!
I have to watch him while he plays when he's sitting up still, because more often than not, he topples over! Wednesday we spent a lazy day at the house, and that night Ann and I went to see Twilight. It had been months since I had been to the movies, so I was ecstatic that we were able to go. I will say that going to the movies has been one of the biggest things I miss about my life before Bradley. Twilight was good because I went into the film prepared to be mindlessly entertained, and not expecting an Oscar winner as my friends and family warned me. Jim made stir fry for dinner and we all watched HGTV- there was a Househunters episode where an LA songwriter moved to Nashville, so that made me a little homesick. The house she picked was not my favorite either! We also played Scattergories that night, and I beat Brian by 2 points. I sense a rematch coming soon.

Thanksgiving Day the weather in Tallahassee was beautiful- sunny and in the mid-70s. The guys tossed the football outside and Ann, Bradley, Max (the dog) and I went for a walk. I also watched the Titans beat the pants off the Detroit Lions, so I was a happy girl.
Here's Bradley observing the Turkey being sliced

The food was delicious, and of course you can never eat everything on your plate, yet you fill up on the first helping. Even though Jim cooked the stuffing for way too long, I thought it tasted yummy, and the fried turkey was a big hit.

Here's me and Mommy's Little Turkey

And here's Brian and Bradley. Notice his "Baby's First Thanksgiving" onesie

Grandma Anna and Bradley

Jesse and Bradley

Blame it on all the travelling we've done lately, or all the carbs I ate and tryptophan in the Turkey, but Bradley and I both crashed on Thanksgiving night and took and hour and a half nap- something I rarely do! We got up Friday morning and headed out after a wonderful visit and a great couple of days. I'm sure I speak for Bradley in saying he had a good first Thanksgiving. Next year will be fun when he can actually eat some of the traditional fare.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confessions of a Shopaholic, and other weekend tidbits

So, funny story... what you don't see in the pictures below of Bradley in his Bumbo seat is that he is now so big, his legs get stuck in the chair.  I am determined to keep the Chunky Monkey from graduating to his high chair as long as I can, so I continue to feed Bradley in the Bumbo.  When we're done, I pick him up with one arm, and use the other arm to pry his legs out of the seat.  This sounds terrible, but I promise it's not as harsh as it sounds.  However, one day soon you might read a blog about a recent trip to the ER where they have to cut our son out his rubber seat using the Jaws of Life.

Otherwise, our weekend has been uneventful.  We went shopping at the mall in Pensacola yesterday, which will be my first and last trip to the mall with Bradley on a weekend before Christmas.  Overwhelmed is the word that would best describe me trying to push a stubborn-wheeled stroller through tons of people, and trying to occupy a fussy baby every time I stopped to look at anything.  We did have good luck at Target where we purchased several Babies First Christmas items, and upon exiting the store, feeling a strong sense of happiness and satisfaction with my purchases (none of which were for me, mind you) I asked Brian why it was a person feels so happy after buying things.  "It's an addiction like anything else," he said.  I thought about this for a minute and decided there was probably some truth to that, even though I have never considered myself a big shopper.  But apparently I needed a fix bad.  But it's okay... I can quit any time, no big deal.

The Titans lost to the Jets today, but I'm not deterred.  This loss will just spur them on to the Superbowl.  Kentucky didn't play, but I would say our chances of beating UT this year are actually good, so I'm looking forward to that game on Saturday.  Time to hop off here and head to my favorite place in the world (not), Wallyworld!  Just so there's no confusion, that doesn't count towards my new shopping addiction because I loathe Walmart.

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Feeding Festivities

Last night was our third attempt at feeding Bradley "solid" foods.  I use quotation marks because the term "solid food" for a baby is code for anything that's not mom's milk or formula, as the flaky rice cereal mixed with milk and water is anything but solid.  For more fun with incorrectly used quotation marks check out the blog recently added to my list on the right hand side of the page- thanks for this hilarious find, Rhonda Lu!

The first time Bradley tasted his rice cereal from the baby spoon, it went surprisingly well- most of it went into his mouth, he didn't seem confused about what was going on, and appeared eager to eat.  The second time, not so much!  He made the typical scrunched up face I was expecting the night before, and closed his lips tight, not allowing me to put the spoon anywhere near his tongue!  Last night, after a week relapse (since we've been out of town), we tried again and it went great.  I hope last night's success is met with more of the same tonight.  

First bites!
Here's Bradley wiping his own mouth off with his bib!  
Yep, I'm making the classic "mmm this is good" face.  No complaints from Bradley though!

A full, happy baby

As far as getting him to sleep through the night, that didn't happen, but improvements are being made.

Focused on the Family

Yes, I know, I've got some splainin' to do!  No Wisconsin part two- not yet anyways.  No blog about the 10-0 Titans (but thankfully I didn't jinx them with the other blog!), and no post about Bradley's first venture into the world of solid foods.  I promise, they're all coming, but we've been in and out of town since last Friday.  

One week ago today we found out that Brian's Grandma Cimpher was diagnosed with late stages of cancer.  We dropped everything and made the 3 hour drive east on Hwy 98 (the road that never ends) to see her and Grandpa Cimpher.  The rest of Brian's family did too.  At one time I counted twenty people crammed into the house, and I know not everyone was present when I counted.  She's scheduled for surgery on Monday, so your prayers are appreciated.  Despite the circumstances, it was great to visit with everyone, and meet many of the family members.  Bradley was his usual happy self, passed from lap to lap grinning all the while.

A very happy boy- note his Mommy's Little Turkey bib!
Bradley meeting his 2 month old cousin Kristen

Bradley, Kristen, and Cameron riding the horses in G&G's house
Family photo-op
4 Generations- I love this picture!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Titans update

The Tennessee Titans are 9-0!  I know that as soon as I publish this blog I will have jinxed my team, but I have been wanting to blog about my beloved NFL team all season, and kept neglecting to do so because of my superstitious jinxing beliefs.  But I am throwing caution to the wind... we are Number One in the AFC south, and have a great chance at going to the Superbowl!  I know, I know, there's a lotta season left, but 9-0 isn't too shabby a way to start the season.  I'm proud of my boys.  

"In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power. Well that football field out there, that's our universe. Let's rule it like titans."
"No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house, and pushes us around."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

As our country moves into some hard economic times, and with a newly elected president in what was a very important election for our country, I would just like to pause today to wish you a Happy Veteran's Day.  

Before I married Brian I admit I gave little thought to this government holiday, but now as a military wife, this day has come to mean much more to me, and will continue to mean more to me in the future I'm sure.  I have friends whose husbands are serving and deploying overseas all the time, and I know someday Brian's time to serve overseas again will come too.  It is the service of these men and women, who devote their lives to serving our country that allows us to enjoy the freedoms we have.  They protect not only us Americans, but  others around the world in hopes to bring them these same freedoms.  Thank you Brian, thank you Bart, thank you Wes, Tyler, and the many others in our armed forces.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wis-CAN-sin, part one

Yes, that blog title is me poking fun of all the northern accents I encountered last week (because of course, I do not have an accent of which to poke fun!).  Funny story about accents, while we were visiting with Brian's uncle Paul & aunt Vickie, I mentioned that all I had brought with me to wear were sweaters and turtlenecks, but with the weather being so warm all week (in the 70s- it was gorgeous), I was hot.  Vickie did an aural double-take and asked me if I said I had brought Petticoats to wear!  Petticoats, turtlenecks, you can hear the similarities when laying on a thick southern drawl.  After I clarified, I quipped later that next time I'd leave both my petticoats And my slaves at home.  The northerners and southerners united in laughter over that one.

We flew into Brian's home state of Wisconsin last Friday, on Halloween.  It was Bradley's first plane ride, and I was a nervous wreck.  The plane rides went well (thanks for all the helpful advice Beth!) and we arrived in Milwaukee early Friday afternoon.  

We drove an hour-and-a-half up to Portage to have lunch with family friend Patti (the mom of Derek, Bradley's middle-namesake), her son Dustin, and husband Randy.  After not having eaten all day, that pizza was delicious!
After lunch Brian took me on a tour of Pardeeville, WI, his hometown.  I made him jump out of the car and pose next to the town sign for posterity!  He showed me the downtown area, his high school, his houses that he lived in right on the lake, and pointed out all the people who lived in the neighboring houses.  It was like Cheers- he knew everyone's name.
I spotted Bradley Farms from the road and made Brian turn around so we could take a picture of it.  Apparently Erin Bradley, a classmate of Brian, used to get fun of for sucking her fingers in elementary school girl, and her parents owned this place.  Maybe Erin and I are related, because I used to suck my fingers too!
Since we were going to be travelling, I didn't spring for the actual Halloween costume for Bradley, so instead I dressed him up in his Lion sleeper, where the face of the lion is Bradley's face, and the feet of the sleeper say 'trick' and 'treat.'  There's a tail on the backside, but you can't see that here.
We stopped at a roadside stand and got pictures of the Little Man with the pumpkins on Halloween.  
Halloween night was spent at a local dive bar with family friends, and Brian's sister Heather joined us for the festivities as well.  These were last minute plans, so rather than spend $40 a piece for costumes, Brian and I went as Hot Parents.  Nuff said.

Saturday we got up and drove a couple hours northwest to Chippewa Falls, WI to see some Air Force friends of ours from down here tie the knot.  After the shortest ceremony ever (seriously, it was about 5 minutes long) and before the reception began, we squeezed (Squoze? ha ha) in a quick visit to the Leinenkugel's brewery that's there in Chippewa Falls.  I was bummed because the tours were all booked up, but we at least got to visit the Leine Lodge, and purchased a few drinking glasses for souvenirs after sampling the local brews.  

Saturday night we drove a few hours back to Wisconsin Dells to stay and visit with Brian's uncle Mike, aunt Tina, and their boys, 12-year-old twins Alex and Chris, and 8-year-old Quincy.  Lord help me if I ever have 3 boys, because I think there must be a special place in heaven for these moms (Sandy, cousin Kara, and aunt Lisa, you all get props here too!).  I tried to understand why the city is called Wisconsin Dells, and not just Dells, but Brian pointed out other examples of cities with their state names included (NYC) so I settled with that answer.

I also did some research and Wisconsin Dells (nicknamed The Dells) is named after the Dells of the Wisconsin River.  Here the Dells are described as a 5 mile stretch of gorge carved out of the rock by glaciers.  These rocks are apparently pretty enough to attract lots of tourists and turn the town into a popular tourist destination, and warrant so many resorts and indoor water parks, that the Dells is nicknamed the water park capital of the world.  More on these water parks later.  A Dell can also be a small wooded valley, so says Wikipedia, aka the Farmer in the Dell.  

Sunday morning I woke up in bed by myself (Brian was hunting with uncle Mike) and thought to myself, it's my 28th birthday, but it sure doesn't feel like it!  I guess this is the first birthday where I wasn't home, or away at school (which I remember at the time felt weird too), but Brian made sure the day was special nonetheless.  A bunch of his family came over to visit and watch the Titans and Packers game.  I enjoyed the friendly competition and harassing his uncles when Tennessee eventually won.  
Bradley and I were the sole Titans supporters (to be fair, I put Bradley in a Packers' bib to be diplomatic)
At halftime, Brian surprised me with a birthday cake, complete with 28 pink candles, and everyone sang to me, so that was fun.

Here's Bradley with Brian's dad, Jeff
And here's Bradley with his aunt Heather, Brian's younger sister

Sunday after the game Brian's aunt Tina watched Bradley while Brian and I checked into Chula Vista resort and went to the indoor water park there.  I know that I'm not crazy about water slides, but had no idea what I was getting myself into when we went.  We just thought it was something fun and different to do for my birthday.  Well I climbed the stairs to the top platform (the stairs should have been my first clue that I was in trouble) where there were 4 slides to choose from.  However, They all started indoors, but then looped outdoors, so from inside I couldn't tell what path the slides would take.  I asked the worker at the top which was the least-scary slide, and she shrugged, so Brian and I took our double raft, and picked one at random to go down.  This turned out to be a bad choice.  I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the top 3 scariest moments of my life.  As the slide dropped severely I was paralized by fear, unable to scream, but trying to tell myself to hold on tight and that it would soon be over.  There were moments however when I thought it would never end, and that I might die of a heart attack on this "fun" water slide.   If you look at the picture, the one we did was blue & orange.
All I can say is thank the Lord we didn't pick the dark green slide because I might not have lived to tell the tale.  Once the slide dropped us back indoors into a pool, my heart was pounding and my legs were shaking so much I could barely walk.  I ignored a lifeguard who asked if I was alright because at that point I still could not speak, much to Brian's embarassment.  I somehow managed my way out of the pool and over to the lazy river, holding onto the starir raisl for dear life, with a bewildered Brian at my side.  Apparently he thinks these scary slides are fun, and did not realize how terrified I was. 

Determined to have a good time, since it was my birthday after all, I calmed down in the lazy river and then mustered up enough courage to try all the kiddie slides, a tame indoor log ride, and even did the orange and blue slide a second time for Brian since that was the only slide that required you to have 2 people per raft.  Granted, I was almost crying and trying to back out the second time, but Brian pushed the raft into the abyss before I could climb off.  Needless to say, we did not spend that long at the water park before retreating to our room.
I snapped this picture in front of the hotel- it's a local pizza delivery car!  
After we cleaned up and got some dinner, Brian went to pick up Bradley.  It's crazy how much I miss that kid after being away from him even for a few hours.

This blog is turning into a long novel, so that's part one of our Wisconsin trip- Friday-Sunday.  More to come when I get the chance!

High 5 months

My oh my has it been a while since there's been a new blog!  Lots has happened- Halloween, a week-long trip to Wisconsin, Bradley's first plane ride, I turned OLD on November 2nd, and yesterday Bradley turned 5 months old!  

While visiting family in Wisconsin, we got to meet the newest addition to the Huber family, my cousin Kara's 12-day-old baby, Carter.  I could not believe what a giant Bradley appeared next to the almost-nine-pound baby.  Was it really just a few months ago that he too was that small?  I miss my tiny newborn!  Can we make time go backwards?  

Ah well, having a 5 month old can be lots of fun.  Bradley's personality is coming out more and more.  He is successfully sleeping in his nursery in his own crib every night now, but alas, still not sleeping through the night (sigh).  We have a routine down now of getting a new diaper, getting into his jammies, reading a few books, and singing his nighttime songs to get him to go to sleep.  

Bradley has also turned into quite the chatterbox, especially first thing in the morning when he's the happiest.  A few mornings ago I heard him making all kinds of noises through the baby monitor and thought for sure that Brian was in there playing with him, but when I finally walked down the hall into Bradley's room, there he was all by himself, chatting it up with his mobile!

A few other of Bradley's likes & 5 month milestones:
  • He loves to play peek-a-boo 
  • This Little Piggie is another favorite game 
  • The Kindermusik welcome song that we sing at the beginning of class each week (this is my secret for getting Bradley to smile in pictures!  I sing a few lines of that song, and his whole face lights up!).  
  • He still loves his Baby Einstein activity mat 
  • He is rolling over both ways now  
  • He squeals with delight and kicks his legs when he's happy
  • Brian's teaching him how to give High Fives
The doctor gave us the go-ahead to start Bradley on solid foods, but I've been reluctant to try that yet.  Now the part you've all been waiting for... pictures and video of the chunky monkey:

a happy 'nakey baby'
ready for UK game day
a favorite pastime- playing on the Baby Einstein mat

playing with his giraffe

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumped about carving

Today was a gorgeous fall day here in Florida, and we celebrated by attending not one, but two pumpkin carving parties!

The first was hosted by friends and next-door neighbors Wes & Jess, and the second was at Ansley & Ben's house- a couple we know from church. Here are just a few shots from the festivities.
Here's Bradley wide awake and enjoying the pumpkins (or more so, his hand. He chews on them a lot these days.)

And here's Bradley zonked out- too much fun for him!

Here's me in an "action shot." Wouldn't you know it, I was the last one to finish my pumpkin!

Here's Wes' drunk jack-o-lantern. One too many Bud Light's apparently.

Brian's and my (aren't you proud of my grammatical triumph, Ari?) finished pumpkins. We both used stencils from the carving kit we bought. That was my first try at using one of those things, and my emotions are mixed. Sure, you can make cool designs, but it almost feels like cheating yourself out of the raw, basic pumpkin carving experience. But then again, maybe I'm over-thinking it?

And finally, our three happy jack-o-lanterns all lit up!