Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Normal Day...

Last weekend my kids had a Friday off of school, wahoo!!  They got their chores/responsibilities done early and wanted to call friends.  No success there with finding a friend at home, so they hung out with me all day!  It was a great weekend.  Sometimes I get nostalgic and feel that life is passing by much too quickly, but then there are moments when I absolutely love the way things are.  Last weekends was one of those totally content and happy moments.  Not to say that things were absolutely perfect, of course not, but it was one of those moments where there seems to be a lot of happiness and laughter hanging in the air.  It is fun to have growing children.  We laugh a lot.  They can make me have genuine hearty laughs with some of the things we joke and laugh about.  They understand parts of life enough to really laugh with me about some things, and that is so fun!
We had a Little Rascal movie party, made caramel popcorn, played at the park for possibly the last time until spring, worked together, etc.  Good times.
Drew and Madelyn have read some of the Harry Potter books.  Drew has read 1-4, and Madelyn read 1&2.  We had movie parties with the big kids after the younger girls were in bed a little while back to watch the first 2 movies.  It was a lot of fun--but they thought the books were a lot less scary.  
 There is a spoof music video about Harry Potter that Studio C has done, and we have always thought it was funny....but never as funny as it was when we showed it to Drew and Madelyn. It is so funny to see them "get" things that we think are hilarious, and we were laughing to tears together! 
Just some moments of awesome for us to remember and enjoy.  :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Family Pictures....

We got our family pictures done!!  
I always feel like I need to record what family pictures is really like.  It always cracks me up that family pictures are so beautiful and smiling, but they have a behind the scenes story that usually no one ever knows!!
So here's mine:
We were scheduled to take pictures one week before we actually got them done.  The clothes were laid out....
I was pretty much focusing my all day efforts on being totally prepared.  
The timing would be tricky, Jed gets home from work with not much sunlight left.
I called him in the early afternoon to make sure he was going to be able to make it, he was working a ways out of town.  He let me know it was going to be iffy.  
I called my sister-in-law who was going to be our photographer and said lets just plan on it unless I hear from him, and we were just going to start with me and the kids and have him join in at the tail end, at least we were hoping.
But as I talked to my sister-in-law a little later, she was feeling the onset of a major migraine ( I felt so bad for her.)  So we cancelled, and it was a good thing too because Jed wouldn't have made it!!  He got home way past dark.  
I had 3 of us girls all ready to go, but we postponed til the next week.
Fast forward to the next week.  I didn't dedicate near as much time to preparation as I had the week before.  I got my shower in and then decided not to sweat it until the kids got home from school.  They got home and I kicked it into high gear--which suddenly put me into crazy gear.  I still had to run an errand to town and I needed Drew to stay home with some of the kids while I went.  My errand took probably 30 minutes longer than I had anticipated.....it wasn't supposed to take me long at all.  Then I got home and and got a phone call from my sister-in-law saying she was at our location.  (!!!!)   Keep in mind I had gotten as far as a shower for myself and that was it!!  So in the next 20 minutes, I was hurriedly doing kids hair and my own and throwing on a bit of make-up.  Drew also kicked it into high gear and completely got Claire dressed without my asking.  He was a saint. So I left Jed a sticky note with what to wear and how to wear it and we would meet him as soon as he could come.
I was certainly not the above-and-beyond prepared mom I was the week before!!  In fact, Madelyn wanted straight hair and the whole time I was trying to do her hair I had her tell me "It's not the end of the world mom.  You do your best and that's all you can do."  I was coaching her to on what to tell me.  It's amazing how helpful that was, even when I was telling her what to say...but hearing it come from someone else's mouth was somehow more reassuring than coming from my own mind.  :)
I get another phone call from my sis-in-law, making sure we were on our way.  And we were pretty much on our way out the door.  Phew.  We did it, not with the hair-do's I had planned, but I did my best and that was all I could do.  :)  But the house was a tornado.  Oh man.
Then the actual taking the pictures is a total adventure.  Kids running into photos.  Whining.  Complaining.  Tears shed.  Threats made.  Bribes given.  You know, the works.
That's family pictures for ya.  
But I love that they capture our family despite all the craziness.  They capture us.  We're frozen in time for a moment.  All those ones that I love surrounding me.  
It's beautiful!!

Ice Blocking

 Ok, I'm going back in time to do my first catch-up post.  
Back in September, we headed to a park for our Family Home Evening.  We had a picnic dinner and then ice blocked our little hearts out.  It was the first time the kids had been, and I can safely say they all had a blast! 

 Even little miss Claire.

 That brave little girl......
 Me and my girl.
 Even troy and his special friend came with us.  About a month later, this special friend became a fiancee`.  :)  Exciting!
 For awhile Troy thought he was going to "surf" his way down the hill...
but it mostly ended up in this ^^   It was a fun idea though.  :)

Halloween-y stuff....

 Everything slightly Halloween related is getting posted here, saves time....  :)  And forgive the sideways pictures, I'm just not going to do anything about that.  Haha...  Our garden was a success this year!!  We had so much fun gardening.  It took a lot of work to get a garden plot.  It seemed like endless rock picking.  Good thing our kids get into so much trouble, they have to go pick up rocks when they are, or else we would never have a place for our garden!!  Ok, they don't get into tons and tons of trouble, but it is true that they pick up rocks when they do.  ;) The ground where we live is almost complete rocks.....
 So we were so thrilled to pick a healthy crop of pumpkins from our own garden!!  So fun!!!
 Everyone picked out their own pumpkin and got to cut them off the vine, some assistance was needed for some.
 That one that Drew is cutting off was our biggest.
 Cute little Claire joining in the fun, she loves the outdoors so much!
 Especially the trampoline, she often looks like this when we go outside.
 Sissy's turn...
 And Hannah's.
 Packing as many pumpkins as would fit in the wagon to set out on the porch!
 The girls helped me make some monster cupcakes for our ward carnival.  I saw these craft googly eyes around the house and knew exactly what to do with them.  They turned out pretty fun I thought.
 So we had a theme all picked out for our family for Halloween, and as much as we were all in favor of the idea....it was going to require  a lot of work and shopping to make it all happen.  Not always fun, or in the budget, so we eventually called it quits on that.  We were going to go in a Despicable Me theme.  Jed would have been Gru, I was going to be the box of shame, Drew would be Vector, Madelyn would have been Margo, Hannah would be Edith, and Lily would have been Agnes, and Claire a minion.  We drew lots of pictures of our family in our costumes just for fun, but that was as far as it went!  So instead, everyone chose some very simple costumes which made my life so sweet and smooth. 
 Madelyn decided on a rockstar, and we made this awesome guitar together which she named "Firebolt."
Drew was a fisherman, he likes the nice simple non-scary/gruesome costumes.  Lily went to the ward carnival as a duck.  That girl was very fickle and it was hard to pin down a costume for her.

 I'm not even sure what duck Madelyn is with, since Claire was a duck too....
 I love that we are to the point where we have a number of costumes already in our possession and they can go pick whatever they want from there.  Hannah chose the butterfly from our stocked Halloween costume box, so nice.  :)
 I didn't take many pictures from the ward carnival, but I did get Claire playing with her balloon.
 Nice, right?
 Claire stationed herself under her highchair while the rest of us got our hands slimy and gooey carving pumpkins, that was probably the only zone spared from pumpkin seeds and goo in the entire kitchen.  It's not pretty when there's several pumpkins getting carved!
 Some of the action....
 It is a lot of work, and I took this on while Jed was out of town.  I went to bed exhausted, with a messy kitchen.  :)
 Oh yeah.
 But it was worth it because we had a Halloween dinner the next night set to jack-o-lantern candlelight.
 Little jack-o-lantern parade:

 Here is my only picture from Halloween night.  Nice huh??  I pride myself on being a great photographer, hahaha.  I just love that flash in the mirror!  I'm sure this was a pretty hurried picture as everyone was so excited to get out the door.  Oh yeah, and Lily decided this day to be bat girl.  And we sprayed her hair black.  It was actually pretty darn cute!  Luckily that was in the costume box too.  I don't care how many times they change their minds, as long as I don't have to leave the house to get anything!!  :)
It was such a great Halloween.  Much lower stress than last year.  
We had a Halloween party at Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's this year too.  It was fun and we all dressed up for that too.  I even came up with a last minute snowman costume.  :)  No pictures though.
 And Claire climbs all over the place and has for several months.....but now she discovered she can get in the treat cupboard.  Things will never be the same.  :)
She reminds me so much of mischievous Hannah at this stage.  :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Growing Up...

 Ok, some major major news.  Lily is potty trained!!!!!!  Ok, I might need to add a few more of these  !!!!!    Does that show you how excited I am about this??   I hope so.  Lily is 3 1/2 and we have tried this potty thing a few different times.  All ended in me being too frustrated to try any more and we pulled out the diapers again and again.  And I'm hoping that this is the real deal.  No more diapers for this girls of mine, minus night-time.  I can't even say how nice it has been these last several days to just have one bum to diaper.  Heaven.  :)  Way to go Lily!  We're SO proud!!!
 This Hannah of ours has been gung ho in her "cool school."  She has known her letters and sounds for quite awhile, and this mom was just not with it enough to really get her going with our cool school that my other kids have done.  (a.k.a. Hooked on Phonics)  But we've been regular with it now and she is starting to sail through it.  She loves when she gets to read one of the many book included with the program.  I love that program!  It has real beginning books.  If you go to the library and look for beginning books, they all have sight words in them that beginners just don't know.  I love that HOP really starts from the basics and moves on in a great sequential way.  Way to go Han!!  Keep up the good work!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Back into the Swing of things...

Goodness!  I've been totally out of sorts with keeping our family's history....sometimes you feel like there is nothing to update and everything is always the same.  But then a few months later, you realize there are so many things that do not stay around forever, and those are the things I will miss and need to document.  So, here goes at trying to be better at this blog thing.  :)
So I totally missed recording our whole summer.  But I'm not going to look back and feel badly about that, I'm going to record the here and now....and worry about summer later, maybe.
Things are good at home.  Drew and Madelyn are in 4th and 2nd grade.  They are learning to stretch their little wings as they are in different schools now with entirely new teachers, and mostly new kids.  (boundaries have switched and there have been lots of changes around here).  They are doing a splendid job in school. 
O.K. I lied.  I am going to look back just a little to update a few first day pics:
 Traditional rice krispy treats on the first day.....
 This year, they were s'more flavor treats and they were awesome.
 Yep, everyone liked them alright!
So school is going well.  I'm learning how to let my own wings stretch also.  Drew came home one day and announced that he had to sing in front of the class, solo mind you, and sing the Idaho song.  Only one night's notice and they had never even sung it in school!!  Just looked at the words.  I thought maybe this was an empty threat made by the teacher, but we prepared for the worst.  The next morning I printed off the words off the internet and practiced with him....I'll just say it didn't go well and I sent my boy off to school with a huge knot in my stomach.  I was so tempted to call the teacher and weasel him out of it, he was really sweating this I tell you.  And as a result of that, so was his mom!!  I worried about it all day long.  I was outside when he got off the bus!  He came out of the bus smiling and confident.  He did it!!  And he did just great!!  I was so happy for him, and grateful for the opportunity to have prayers answered and learn that what is important to us is also important to Heavenly Father.  He helps us to be more than we can be alone.  A great lesson for him, but especially me.
Madelyn has a supportive teacher who has noticed she needs extra work.  Thank goodness!  She has perfect grades and was getting bored, so she is supplementing her with more work.  Hooray for teachers who are helpful!  Madelyn is so good at making friends, and it is something she has had to do a lot of this year. 
Ok, you want to see something totally nasty???
I knew you would.  Hahaha....

Get ready for it:
Guess what I found as I got ready to make waffles this morning?  This beauty.....   So for Young Women's a long time ago, we made waffles and I was talking to some leaders about how they take care of their waffle irons.  I totally wash mine, I ignore the "do not get wet" warning and wash it with soap, water, and all!  The other leader said she just wiped hers out with a paper towel. 
Well, I never gave it much thought, and continued to wash my waffle iron as always.  Fast forward to probably a week ago, I finally decided to resist my urge to wash my waffle iron and I just put it away.  OOPS!!  I guess I still had one last waffle in that thing......So that was totally disgusting, but we had a fun time joking around with it this morning.  Nothing like a good laugh to get ya going in the morning.
So for the last 8 weeks my family (on both sides for me) have been doing a health challenge.  The goals included 3 cups of veggies daily, 1 cup of fruit daily, 64 ounces of water, no eating after 9 p.m., no sweets 6 days of the week, and 30-45 minutes of exercise 5 days a week for 8 weeks.  I did pretty good on average.  A couple of doosy weeks in there, but for the most part I worked hard.  Well, one night we had a crazy day.  Jed and I didn't get home until after 9 p.m. and we hadn't had any dinner.  We were starved.  So we decided to go all out and make us hamburgers, because we just figured out how to make our favorite burger from a restaurant even better at home and we were craving it like no other!! 
So here is Jed hard at work:
 And here is us eating them after hours with no shame!!
 Oh yeah, eating at 10:29 pm at night!!  Oh man, I wish I had one of those burgers right now!!!
Ok, I totally lied I am going to do even more catch-up.  :) 
We've celebrated 3 birthdays here in the last couple months.  First was mine:
 The kids went shopping with their dad and Madelyn got the presents all wrapped.
 They made breakfast...
 New shoes for mom!  Wahoo!
 Sugar free drinks....we were on that health challenge, so they were so sweet to look out for me and not give me any temptations.  :)
 Oh yeah, check out those lips!!  They bought me some awesome red lipstick, and I dug it out again just the other day.....for Halloween.  ;)
 Sweet sweet handmade notes and pictures from my favorite people.
 A handmade pillow, made by Madelyn.
 Gorgeous rainbow.  To be totally honest, my birthday was a moody day for me.  It seemed that messes around the house were culminating and I wasn't handling it in the best way possible.....my poor kids.  Hannah felt like she ruined my birthday.  That was a heart-wrenching moment for me.  Then I was just a puddle of tears apologizing for being so cranky.....So, this picture helps me remember there is still beauty in dark days.  There is still hope for days filled with beauty.  Just hang in there!!
Then we had Jed's birthday, it was a Sunday and he was gone in church duties most of the day, but boy oh boy were these kids ever excited when he came in the door!!
 His gifts, gift bags have been a lifesaver here lately.  :)
 Receiving his various coupons from the kids...
 New clothes.
 I wasn't as considerate and gave Jed treats on his birthday despite our health challenge.  :)
 I was having pretty much the worst cooking day of my life that day.  His cake went from plan A, to plan B, to plan C.  Which luckily tasted totally delicious, and I just need to be more content when things don't go my way!!

 Hope it was a good one for that guy I love so much.

Next up Hannah's.  She was so excited to turn 5!!  Man, she is getting big!!  She really wanted a caramel apple for her birthday this year.  She went through several cake ideas, and then decided to forget the cake altogether and ask for a caramel apple.  Which is awesome...just hard to share with family.  So I made caramel apple cupcakes!! 

 We had family come and celebrate with us the night before the actual birthday.

 Then we woke up bright and early on her birthday because her dad had to leave town. 
 New clothes.....popular gift item around here.
 Princess polly pockets, a real hit!!
 And just look at this cutie and how big she is getting!!  Slow down time, would ya??
That night we went to Artic Circle's and had hamburgers, per birthday request, and we went to a candy shop and got a gourmet caramel apple for the kids to share.....darn health challenge!!  :)
We love that Hannah, she is sure a sweetheart.  I love her prayers she is saying right now.  She is so grateful.  She is grateful to be here on earth, for her body, for our home, and so many other things that I'm glad she appreciates.  So sweet.
Well I'm going to sign off here and call it good for today.  :)