Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving at home



We started a 'Thankful wall' at the beginning of November. Not because we wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving in some meaningful way but because we literally needed to have SOMETHING to use to get the kids to stop complaining about EVERYTHING. We used it as a consequence for whining, although we tried to not make it seem like a punishment. It was pretty funny some of the stuff the kids wrote on there. 

I was nervous about the double whammy of staying home and not having any family come and stay for Thanksgiving. I was afraid we'd be lonely and sad...especially after a good portion of us getting sick towards the beginning of the week. Turns out the whole week was really restful and enjoyable! I had fun doing some pre-thanksgiving cooking in the kitchen while I watched Chris and the kids start a big lego project: resurrect the pirate ship Chris got for Christmas when he was a kid.  


Even when I had to give up my plans of having a fun day out in Birmingham to go to the temple and Costco and do something fun with the kids, we still kept a good attitude. The kids didn't have to try too hard since we still ended up driving up to Tupelo and letting the kids play in Chuck-e-cheese for an few hours.





We had taken it so easy and prepared well the days leading up to thanksgiving that on the actual morning of we only had 1 pie to make and the turkey. We invited our good friends, the Gine's over and also a new couple from our branch, Karlie and Levi.





We just chatted and set up, then chatted and ate, then chatted and cleaned up while the kids played and football games streamed on the TV. Everything tasted so good and the company was really comfortable and interesting.  It is so nice to have friends that are practically family.  Although if you ask Chris, he wouldn't be able to say it was a culinary success since some of our favorite things we didn't quite make as good as we like them. Note to future selevs: grapefruit juice in the slush is not a good idea.. it is quite bitter and flavorless, also even if it looks really runny, don't cook the vanilla pudding too long for the banana cream pie because there is such a thing as too-firm for a pudding.  When everyone left for other engagements and Chris and I put the kids to bed and enjoyed a movie on the couch together.... our favorite thing. By Saturday we were all feeling a little better and able to start on a project: getting more organized and set up in the garage. We're going to put some insulation and peg board up by the tool bench and some shelves up along the back.  Here's the before picture:


We'll get an after picture when we finish it... whenever that ends up being!






Sunday, November 6, 2016

curtains, preschool, soccer, wrestling, dedication

I finally finished the curtains in my bedroom.  The arched window was really difficult to figure out. I wanted to maintain the beauty of the arch, and not hide it behind a bar going across it or above it, but I also wanted the be able to see through as much of the window as possible.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, even though it didn't look terrible before, I just love getting things closer to how I imagine it. I wish I could just turn my brain off sometimes though because I often imagine things that don't exist. 



I haven't kept up with the preschool with just Freddy. Its so much easier to just let him entertain himself with toys and whatnot. But he asks for it often and sometimes I will drop whatever project or household duty I'm trying to accomplish and impromptu a preschool for him. This particular day we learned about leaves and went on a nature walk and made a collage. (Can you see in the background of that picture the cheetah stuffed animal sitting on the carpet? Freddy wanted to have classmates so we set out the stuffed animals and he helped them answer questions and participate in the songs and doing the calendar, etc. Cute kid)


Charlie's last soccer game couldn't have come any sooner! Its so busy with all the stuff the kids are involved in and it was starting to get 'cold' watching the games. (I feel like I have to put quotation marks around the word cold now because after experiencing Edmonton cold, everything else just seems not as legit.)  We were really lucky that not 1 game got canceled due to weather. It has been such a warm and dry fall! Practically the whole state is on a burn ban.


I love it when Chris does a serious wrestling match with the kids. It usually happens on a Sunday and it starts to get more and more elaborate as the years go by. This time the kids initiated an opening ceremony where they have to march in a line into the room as Chris announces the match.  Then the rules are that the if Chris pins one kid, they have to sit out on the bean bag for 25 seconds before coming back in and if Chris can pin the rest of the kids within that time frame then he wins. If the kids pin Chris down, they win. Sometimes I jump in after a while and help the kids, but this time, they pinned him all on their own.




Our building was officially dedicated today.  We had a potluck lunch after to celebrate as a branch. It was very interesting to hear so much history from people who have lived in this area way long ago when the efforts to get a building first started. I'm so grateful for their efforts. I never thought about that before and here I get to enjoy the fruits of their labors! Also during the 2nd hour I was in charge of having an 'Its great to be 8' meeting for the 8 year olds (and soon to be's) and their parents to talk about Baptism.  Even though we were super short on time, I'm glad it happened and I think it went well. Thanks go to Pinterest for the donuts-in-a-bag-to-make-the-number-8 treat idea.  I also enjoyed putting together a bouquet for the chapel to make the occasion look a little extra special.  I wish I could take a flower arranging class or something, I really enjoy doing it!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Courageous Carter




We found out that my brother's 2nd oldest child (the handsome boy above in the yellow shirt) has leukemia. Carter is just a few weeks younger than Alec, and having gone through the cancer thing twice with Chris, we have a pretty good idea of how much this is going to suck for Justin, Radene, Carter and his siblings.  We thought of ways to help and decided that on his treatment days we could all wear his favorite color, green, to let him know we're praying for him, and cheering for him even though we're too far away to visit him and bring him treats. All of the kids have been praying for him in every prayer.  


Also during the week that Carter lost his hair we shaved Freddy and Charlie's head to support him through that uncomfortable change. I managed to buzz a C into the sides of their head too.  


On the honest side of things, I feel such pressure (only from my own desires!) to do something PERFECT to help them since I'm supposed to know how it goes...but thinking back to my own experience I feel like when it comes down to it... there's not a whole lot of practical and actually helpful things (besides trying to cheer them up) that we can do for them since the worst parts (and even most of the mundane easy parts) of it has to be done or decided or experienced by them and them alone.  And I feel this weird sense of defeatist despair that has prevented me from putting together any kind of package to send them like my sister (and I'm sure many other wonderful people) have.  I don't really get it, so the guilt mounts.  Its another eye opening experience to be on the other end of this cancer thing...I have more compassion for the people who want to help.) 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween and Potty Training

We started out the Halloween festivities with trick or treating to the sorority and fraternity houses on campus followed by a carnival on the quad.  Freddy was the cutest pirate I've ever seen (he kept the eye patch on the whole time!) Charlie was a dragon, Gwen was a princess, and Alec was a soccer player (perfect since we had to leave the carnival quite early so we could get him to his soccer practice). 


Then Friday before Halloween, Freddy and I helped with Gwen's class party:


Somewhere during this week, Freddy decided all on his own that he wanted to go in his potty so he could get some candy. He sat and sat for a long time and eventually did go! Hurray!  I'm not ready to really invest in staying home all the time so I'm still putting him in diapers all the time and only suggest every now and then if he wants to try and go on his potty. Notice the tape on Freddy's knee? He likes to play 'doctor' with me while we wait on the potty and take turns putting pieces of tape after hearing elaborate made up stories of how we got hurt. Charlie started the whole tape thing as a way to appease Freddy too-often requests for band aides whenever he gets bumped. 


Saturday we woke up early and got out of the door to finish setting up for the Branch Halloween Trunk or Treat and Carnival. (I had already been over to the church twice to try and set up but never had enough time to really get much accomplished). Then we went straight from setting up to tailgate at the MSU football game. We found coupons for $5 tickets since we have scouts in our family and therefore could afford to all go!


It was SO. HOT. What is with the 88 degree heat on the last weekend in October!! But the view and slight breeze from our tippy top seats was pretty awesome.


Then we left the game before half-time to arrive at the church barely on time to change into costumes and get ready with everybody there. The cub scouts, and YM/YW and some Activity Day girls and the Elders Quorum all set up some carnival games in the classrooms. Charlie chose to prepared by himself a blindfold 'pin the face on the pumpkin'


Alec did a 'Guess How Many' candycorn game. They both did so well staying happily at their stations helping the kids play and handing out candy.


Decorations were donated by a friend from the Branch who LOVES Halloween. The chili cook-off turned out good (even though my chili wasn't very good) and we had a good turn out of non-members, so thats always fun! The trunk or treating was good, we had designated parking spaces to avoid cars driving around all the kids and handed out glow sticks to all the kids.  Chris took the kids home and I stayed after to help clean up (along with ALOT of other non-primary people from the branch) We cleaned up so fast we were done by 7:30!! Whew. I'm so glad its over and I'm glad it turned out so well. I wish more people we invited came, but Miss Black came again, so that was very fun. I loved wearing my old costume from a Multi-Stake multicultural youth dance event. I'm not exactually sure what it was, but I told everyone I was a cuckoo clock girl.


By Monday the 31st, we finally had time to carve pumpkins and ate left over chili before driving over to a friend's place to go trick or treating. We already had so much candy at home from our previous parties that we only did like 10 houses and then called it quits.  This time Alec was a grim reaper kind of dude, Charlie was wolverine, Gwen the princess and Freddy: Superman.