Monday, November 17, 2014

Storm shelter and Winter arrive

Our storm shelter has been delivered which is the first step in starting our first round of renovations for our house. Pretty exciting. This metal box is going to give us peace of mind during the tornado season and potentially save our lives! We got the largest one that seats 10-12 people. I can stand up in the middle and we hope that Chris won't have to hunch over when he's sitting on the bench inside. :) Now we are all set for the soil/concrete/foundation work on the new garage addition to begin! Hopefully it happens this week. 

We really are enjoying the fall weather and colors, but since I took these pictures, we've had much colder/windy/rainy weather and most of the leaves are gone and it really looks and feel like a Mississippi Winter! How exciting. 

The schools are really ultra cautious about the weather here and because the temperature (with windchill) was hovering around or below freezing, the kids don't get to go outside and play for their one and only 15 min recess. So we decided after school to hop our back fence and roam the farm lands of Mississippi State's South Farm. 

Besides Fall and the current state of our house, the other things we have to say goodbye to are Gweny's red cowboy boots. The soles are more often then not completely bent back in 1/2 and they've caused her a couple of crashes on her bikes already. Chris says shoe glue will fix the problem but I'm doubtful. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


"What? they gave me the whole container?! That must have been Daddy's idea." (It was)

"Hmm... how does this spoon thing work?"

"Forget it, I'm going in without it!"

"Oh, thats good stuff."

"What if I tip it back even more?"


"Oh, there's the spoon thing again! Lets try that one more time."

"Hmm... that looks familiar"

"But no, nothing is coming out!"

"Whatever. Spoons just get in the way" 

"Can we do that every time?!" (No.)

Soccer season

Alec and Charlie have been on soccer teams this fall. Charlie's team is incredible and dominates every game. Charlie is a good team player, and positions himself in a good positions (meaning he DOESN'T just follow the pack with the ball like most kids his age do). He is a good defender and even scores a couple goals every game. Needless to say, Charlie has been having a blast. They're doing the "Academy" style training for the 6 and unders which means he meets about once a week for soccer, sometimes during the week for a game or a practice and sometimes on Saturday for an Academy Session where all the kids in the division do drills together. I think its a great way to teach and practice skills but still have the fun of being on a team and playing games.

Chris has been Alec's coach and they have made MASSIVE amounts of improvement since the beginning of the season. His team is full of really nice kids and super appreciative and supportive parents/families. But, they were literally the worst team in the U8 division with an average of losing by 6 and having only scored 1 goal (by Alec) in the first 5 games. I'm just being honest. Alec is the best player. He has good focus, knows where to be on the field, kicks the ball the farthest, and the most accurately. Most of the other kids on his team don't seem like they've ever played soccer before and a few don't really pay attention on the field 90% of the time. It was pretty hard for Chris to enjoy the games and usually came home hoarse, but luckily Alec is young enough to not get too bent out of shape about always losing. He notices, for sure, and often asks, "why do we always have to play really hard teams?"  Coach Chris stuck with it and scheduled an additional practice.  He does a great job of staying positive with the boys and complimenting and sticking up for them. One time he even collectedly questioned the ref on an absurd mis-call and got the resulting goal discounted! Some of the other kids on their team also joined the Challenge Division (like the club team with additional practices and games on Sunday). And guess what? They started getting better! A bit more aggressive, a bit more defensive. They finally got to play some teams with similar skill levels and they won a few games!! Whew. Winning sure is more fun than losing and it is more fun to be married to a coach who wins, than a coach who doesn't win. :) 

The games were mostly at 5:45 on Tuesday or Thursdays, sometimes at 6:45 and sometimes at both or sometimes at the same time! They made for crazy-feeling evenings and Frederick gets pretty antsy on the sidelines, staying up hours past his bedtime. Blessedly, he's really a pretty good baby when he's being held or fed and I can usually manage to stave off the screams whilst keeping tabs on Gwen and/or Charlie and follow the game(s). 

Its been fun to get to know the other parents of the players and watch the kids improve and my boys do so well on the field, but I'm also looking forward to break. :) Spring season starts up in February. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Finished clearing the tree debris!

Thanks to our good friend, again and again and again, we finally got the tree all cleared up! He came by again this past week to saw up the main trunk into lots of piece and again took them off to be firewood. Then Chris and I spent another Saturday morning hauling branches and branches into the bon fire. We had flames this time passing 25 feet high! This fire has had embers smoldering and burning constantly for a couple of weeks! Seriously. Even after a few rainfalls and a week after the last fire, I smelled and saw smoke coming from the ashes. We have like a 2 feet deep and 4 foot square pile of ashes.

Also on our to-do list this Saturday was to do one last mow of the yard before storing the mower out of the way for the garage renovation. Chris wrapped up each of the kids (except Frederick who doesn't like the loud noise) and let them drive the lawn mower for a bit. 

Hail State and a Tailgate

We're #1! Seriously. Mississippi State Football is nationally ranked #1. Apparently, the tailgate parties here have always been legendary but now they're even more crazy. We try to make it to at least one and would have gone to more this season if we could figure out where to park. We rode bikes up to one a few weeks ago but today was windy and cold, we weren't sure biking would be a good idea, so we left early enough to find parking by our old house on campus. Chris' Department Chair made a couple of enormous pots of gumbo and it was DIVINE. I loved the chicken and pork version. The computer science department's tailgate basically consists of eating good food under a tent in front of their building as we watch football on a flat screen, talk, and occasionally play some lawn games. Pretty relaxing and enjoyable. On our way back to our car we like to walk through "the Junction" to see the mass of tailgaters. 

We were lucky enough to run into the drum line! Brought back memories of watching them practice in our backyard when we lived on campus. 

Friday, October 31, 2014


We love to dress up around our house. The kids do it on a regular basis, but adding face paint and bucket loads of candy into the mix still makes Halloween a favorite around our house. 

We had a fun Branch Truck-or-Treat the Saturday before. We brought chili and popcorn. Frederick wore the traditional Tigger costume. Gwen was an ice princess, Charlie was wolverine (with some AWESOME claws that Chris made), and Alec was the green ninja from ninjago with a costume that I made him.  Even Chris and I dressed up. I a witch and Chris was...anyone know?

He was skeptical that anyone would know who he was. But if they were at all familiar with the show, they guessed it right away: Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes from BBC's recent TV show, Sherlock. One of the sister missionaries had said that Chris looks just like him once and that gave us the idea. I had thought about matching him somehow as Irene Adler but didn't think I could pull it off.

Gwen wore her batgirl costume for her Preschool party.


We tried to space out the sugar overload by doing the eat-a-donut-off-a-string game the night before.  I wasn't going to do it at all this year, but Chris had already bought donuts for his class for their midterm that day and had left overs... so we just had to play it. 

The boys couldn't wear their costumes to school, but it was "Red Ribbon Week" so they could wear pajamas for some reason. It was a pretty chilly day so I thought bread bowls and soup were in order. I made the bowls look like pumpkins by putting a knob on the top. They turned out pretty good, but the soup was a complete bust. Who messes up soup? 

Gwen chose to be a fairy for trick or treating and wanted face didn't look too bad in the dark from far away. :) 

Alec was being an absolute pill and almost didn't even get to go trick or treating. In typical fashion he BARELY pulled it together as the other kids and I were walking up to our neighbor's house.  But the rest of our neighborhood doesn't really do Trick or Treating so we hopped in the car and crashed a nearby neighborhood.  Too much candy, and lots of walking later...Chris and I put the kids to bed and watched a Wallendar episode on Netflix. Whew! What a long but fun day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Oh my sweet Charlie. I love this boy so much. Last year his birthday got lost in the shuffle of our crazy cancer-fighting time, so I wanted to really try and make this year special for him. We had the usual breakfast in bed and surprised decorated the house a little the night before. 

He got to open one present in the morning...a batman jacket he had asked for at Costco a month or so ago and we surreptitiously put it in the cart. He was very pleased. 

Then it was a normal school day and Chris, Gwen, Frederick and I brought a treat for him to share with his class at lunch time. We had the sister missionaries stop by just before dinner so I asked them to join us and we had pudding cups to sing Happy Birthday since we were having his birthday cake at his party the next day. 

He wanted a costume party and with it being a week before Halloween, it worked out just fine. We just let the kids playoutside and then let them smash the wolverine pinanta Chris and I made the night before. WHEW...this whole thing actually was a lot of work and it makes me not want to do anymore birhday parties! I totally understand my mom's every-other-year, then every-four years rules. :) 

This year, Charlie's request for his cake was "A lime cake with wolverine and spider-man fighting 6 bad guys in a city." Huh. I tried my best. 

A week before his birthday we were killing time shopping up in Tupelo while Chris had Stake Meetings before the Adult Session of Stake Conference at which I was speaking. Charlie saw these cowboy boots and fell madly in love. I told him he could buy them with his own money and have them right now, or maybe he could ask for them for his birthday and get them in a week. He didn't want to wait a second and paid for them himself. He's worn them every day since then (and I'm writing this post a month later).