Halloween, family, big brothers

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick and Gavin are 28, 26 and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching [Game of Thrones], and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:


"They laugh a lot during the shoots," Patti told People. "The boys are good sports. They adore Avery."

That much is clear. How lucky is this little girl?

Middle son Patrick, who is a professional surfer, told People "It's fun, and Avery has a blast."

Patti is the one who comes up with the theme, which she surprises the kids with. This year's theme remains a mystery, though she asked followers for ideas. People offered some fun possibilities including:

- Goldilocks and the Three Bears

- "Alice in Wonderland," with the boys going as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the Doormouse

- "Brave," with Avery going as Merida and the boys as her little brothers

- "Sleeping Beauty" with the boys going as the fairy godmothers

- Frankenstein's Bride, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman

- "Friends" with Avery going as Phoebe and the boys as Ross, Chandler and Joey

- "Guardians of the Galaxy"

- "Harry Potter"

Patti offered one vague clue for what this Halloween holds when she told TODAY, "There may or may not be a good-natured groan or two when I pull out the next theme." Hoo boy, can't wait to see what it is.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the brother dressed as Westley did yell "As you wish!" as he rolled down the hill.

@pattiaveryschmidt

Reply to @hmccrow Here it is with audio 😄 #bigbrothers #babysister #theprincessbride #halloween #halloweencostume

And no, the boys and Avery don't just get together for Halloween. The boys and Avery do all kinds of things together, which Patti shares on her TikTok page.

"They are close despite not only age differences but physical distance," Schmidt told TODAY. "Our two oldest sons live in different states, but they're within driving distance, and I try to get everyone together as much as possible."

Here they are teaching Avery how to skateboard:

@pattiaveryschmidt

Families that skate together… #goskateboarding #bigbrothers #familytime

Avery is a seriously lucky little girl.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

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The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

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