Memories of Halloween

Katie, Jamie, Marie and Andy. The Nelson clan at their finest.

Katie, Jamie, Marie and Andy. The Nelson clan at their finest.

It’s that time of year again. #TBT photos of you in your Halloween costume for the next couple weeks. And as I love to say, “If you can’t beat em, join em…but still mock them openly.” I kid!!

So today’s #blogtober14 prompt is “What was your best/worst Halloween memory?” Well, I don’t know if I have a best or a worst memory, but I have some fond memories. I also recall how my tastes in costumes changed drastically.

Costumes galore

As a kid, I was either dressed in hand-me-downs (see exhibit A) or trying to be a lumberjack. Yes that happened, stubbly beard and all.

Exhibit A: Some sort of hand-me-down shared by my sisters at one point.

Exhibit A: Some sort of hand-me-down shared by my sisters at one point.

In college, My favorite costume was an angel. Okay, maybe it was comparable to a low-class version of a Victoria Secret angel. Post-college, it was less about the lack of clothing and more about the comfort level (see exhibit B)…okay, sometimes I reverted back to my former college days (see exhibit C).

My first Halloween in Milwaukee...a mummy (me), St. Paulie girl (Lindsay), and Tinkerbell (Andrea).

Exhibit B: My first Halloween in Milwaukee…a mummy (me), St. Paulie girl (Lindsay), and Tinkerbell (Andrea).

Walmart Lady (Sarah) and Witch with black cat (Me).

Exhibit C: Walmart Lady (Sarah) and Witch with black cat (Me).

Now a days, I focus on the little munchkin. His first costume was a monkey (see exhibit D) and then last year he was a seriously adorable Pooh Bear (see exhibit E). This year? Well, stay tuned.

Exhibit D: My little monkey man.

Exhibit D: My little monkey man.

Exhibit E: Pooh Bear looking for his pot o' honey.

Exhibit E: Pooh Bear looking for his pot o’ honey.

And for kicks, let’s get a shot of Jake in one of his classic Halloween outfits (see exhibit F)…

Exhibit F: Jake giving a serious Oompa Loompa face. He rocked it hard.

Exhibit F: Jake giving a serious Oompa Loompa face. He rocked it hard.

Grandparents = Popcorn balls and birthdays 

Growing up, I lived out in the country so it was very typical to be driven to and from each house. Because if we actually walked, we could probably make it to three houses in one hour, and that doesn’t amount to a lot of candy. So while we were being driven all over the countryside, it was only natural to stop at both grandparents’ houses. The first stop was Grandma Nelson’s house. She made these delicious popcorn balls covered in a colorful candy coating for each of grand kids…and most of the kids in her neighborhood. We also got a whole bag of treats just from her. To this day she still makes popcorn balls. And they are still amazing.

The next stop was Grandpa Hoaglan’s house. October 31st was his birthday so it was always a fun day for him. At his house, we wished him a happy birthday, walked them through all of the candy we’d received so far, and then we’d each pick out a KING SIZE candy bar. And that was such a big deal back then. Do you remember that? Those were rare. Apparently we weren’t yet on the path to obesity that we’re on now. But I digress.

The tune that haunted my mother for a month

Every Halloween our mom would put out all of her fall and Halloween-related decorations. The one thing I always looked forward to was this wall hanging of a haunted house that was positioned just at my height, was painted by my grandma (I think that’s true, but someone can fact check me on that) and had an actual doorbell on the door that you could push and it would sing out this tune that I couldn’t get enough of. My mother, on the other hand, was probably sick to death of that thing. But god bless her, she put it out every year, AND kept it at my height AND had the patience to listen to me ring that damn thing eight million times a day. Seriously, I was obsessed.

I can still hear the tune in my head. And just to get it stuck in your head, I found a version on youtube. I didn’t realize this until last year, but it was the theme song for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” shows. Who knew? Well, now you do.

Raging at Halloween parties in high school

I don’t want to brag, but I was SUPER cool in high school. I attended these parties that were OFF. THE. HOOK. They were exclusive. Seriously, there were dues you had to pay (each year, actually). And I was the envy of all the 10-year-old girls. Yeah, that’s right. I was ruling that 4-H club in high school.

Okay, all kidding aside, I really did love 4-H.  I wouldn’t say I was ruling it, but I was the treasurer! And that was pretty cool (disclaimer: my definition of cool may vary from others). Anywho, those stories are for another day, but I stumbled upon this picture of me in 9th or 10th grade just chilling with my fellow genie cousin, Jenny. The moral of this story is don’t trust your cousin NOT to embarrass you, if given the chance. But who are we kidding, she’s obviously adorable in this picture and I’m the one who could take a lesson in finding a costume more appropriate for my age.

Exhibit G: Genie cousins unite at the annual 4-H Halloween party.

Exhibit G: Genie cousins unite at the annual 4-H Halloween party.

…and what’s up with those crazy shoes? Ugh. Jamie.

(hangs head in shame)

Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane. What was your favorite memory of Halloween? Tune in tomorrow for Lindsay’s latest post.

TBT: Memories from when we ran but didn’t consider ourselves “runners.”

If you run, consider yourself a runner. Scratch that – call yourself a runner. Hold your head up high and declare “I’m a runner!” Here, we take a look back at what running was like before we became the runners we are today.

2011 Rock n Sole 10K

Lindsay’s Take…

My favorite shoes are running shoes

Everyone can run. If you have shoes and can find a path, you can run. I started running three years ago in over-the-counter running shoes and ill-fitting yogaesk pants. Remember when they were cropped and flared? When I registered for my first half-marathon, I knew “real” running shoes were in order. Have you ever gone to a concert and fallen in love with the band? Earlier that day you really didn’t get what all the fuss was about now, after that amazing live experience, you’re their biggest fan. That’s what it feels like to get outfitted for running shoes. Oh, that’s what it feels like to run on pillows of air. Oh, my ankles are not supposed to turn this way and that? I may be running in clearance Target gear but I’ll never run in cheapo running shoes – worth every dollar.

To track or not to track

When I started to run, I manually tracked my progress by checking off the workouts on Hal Higdon’s running schedules. If, like me, you love to check off boxes on a never-ending to do list, this can be a helpful tool. But, as time progressed, I needed more stats to obsess over so I checked out Map My Run. I loved to map my runs. This is before FitBit and all that jazz so I manually (manually!) calculated my pace. Fast forward to the introduction of Nike Running apps (cue angels singing) – I’m not ashamed to call myself a tracking addict. This baby lets me know how many calories I’ve burned. It has built-in training programs and offers generic virtual coaching messages. It’s amazing how helpful generic coaching messages can be when you’re ready to throw in the towel. “HALFWAY POINT. KEEP GOING.” Ok, robot voice, I’ll keep going. Thank you robot voice.

Feed me, I’m rungry

It’s so easy to overeat after a long run. Here are a few dos and don’ts:

Do: eat a lot of protein.

Don’t: eat five servings of chili and cornbread.

Do: drink a lot of water.

Don’t: drink a lot of beer

Do: treat yourself to a cookie. You just ran!

Don’t: eat a lot of cookies and doughnuts.

Some races will really suck

After a successful run, I want to literally give myself a high-five. Yes! I did it! I can conquer my day with a big ol’ smile. Bad training runs are annoying at best and at worst, painful. A bad race? That’s another story. Weather, timing and anxiety can make a so-so race experience turn bad in no time. My worst race (to date) was the 2012 Crazylegs. The weather was dreary, that hill was insane and it kicked my ass. I ran fast to keep up with my friends and in the end, ended up walking a lot and  beat myself up mentally. Then, I got passed by someone in a banana suit. Awesome. Jamie, correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we both been passed by people in banana suits during races? Now, after experiencing highs and lows during training and come race day, I can push through and tell myself to do my best and not to get to wound up about the experience. That’s the beauty of running – if you have the courage to fail you have the courage to succeed!

Lakefront Discovery Run

Jamie’s Take…

It’s been eleven years since I first started running. There have been many ups and many downs, and years when I flat out didn’t run at all. The running part has never gotten easier with age, but a lot has changed since I first started out. Let’s take a trip down memory lane….

Discman:  When was the last time you heard that word? You probably dropped that vernacular as soon as you started handing over your paychecks to the bank of “All Things Apple.” But yes, there was a time before iPads and iPhones and iPods and Nanos. It was a simpler time. It was a bumpier time. It was the time of the discman. This was in the early internet ages when you could download songs and burn them to a cd…but it would take about 5 hours to complete the whole process. And why would someone want to do that? Because that’s how you listened to music on the go. The real challenge with this? Holding your discman in the exact right way so that the songs wouldn’t skip. Think of how annoying it is to hold a water bottle during your run. Now imagine the water bottle is a cup and you’re trying not to spill it…over miles and miles. That’s just about how annoying it was to run with a discman. But it was WAY better than running without music. So we put it up with.

WAY too much cotton: Unfortunately, the time in which Lindsay and I started running was the age of the “cool” sweatpants. This was right when Juicy couture was becoming popular and J Lo was rocking the velour sweatsuit. It looked cool. But that was an awful workout experience. As a Junior in college, this translated into wearing your college sweatpants or something from Victoria Secret with “PINK” on the butt. Sure, you could pull out your Umbro shorts that you used in gym class, but that wasn’t what the cool kids wore to the gym. Pair that with a cotton t-shirt, your normal cotton socks, and cotton underwear, and you were ready to workout to the point where you looked like a middle-aged man just leaving a steamy sauna. Not a pretty sight. This is also referred to as the “Age of Chafing.”

Garmin Shmarmin: The conversation would go something like this:

Me: Wow, I just ran four miles!

Lindsay: How do you know?

Me: I drove the path yesterday and watched my odometer.

Lindsay: Nice. Can we drive what I just ran? I went from here down to the DQ, up through the park, and over to First and back.

Me: Sure. And then let’s stop at Erbs and Gerbs on the way back. I’m starving.

Lindsay: Ohhhh. While we’re over there, let’s go tanning.

Me: Yes. And then a stop at the liquor store?

Lindsay: Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!

One thing was for sure, we had our priorities straight. But this is how you figured out your true running distance – you drove it. This was back before you had garmin or and any other easily -accessed technology.

The gear doesn’t make the runner…but it sure helps. A hardcore runner might think, “This is all just stuff…you can run with or without any of this.” I totally agree. In fact, I step out of my corporate job, toss my heels to the side and am fine running miles and miles in my pencil skirt, non-supportive bra, tights and accessories…said no one ever. But let’s get real. I’m a wimp. And anything that can make my run more comfortable and enjoyable, is one more thing that will keep me running in the long run.

So I give thanks to my iphone that rests on my arm during my runs, to my dri fit clothes and anti-wicking garments that destroy all forms of chafing, and to technology that allows me to accurately track my whereabouts and keeps me accountable.


Never leave, baby pudge. Never leave! #thatchin ❤️

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