It wasn't easy, but on Oct. 22 Britney Spears
, 26, slipped by the paparazzi to buy Halloween outfits for sons Preston, 3, and Jayden, 2, at Sherman Oaks, Calif., party shop Aahs. "We were able to sneak out," she blogged. "[I] had a great day!" Then Spears, who secured visitation rights in July, giddily picked pumpkins with the boys the next afternoon.
"We're so happy she gets to be with them," says a family friend. (Meanwhile Kevin Federline
is "lying low and enjoying being a dad," his rep tells PEOPLE.) "She really loves her kids. She's getting it together, and thank God for it."