Tuesday, May 31, 2011

California Trip Day 1

We went out to California to visit Ross's parents for the Memorial Day weekend. I took a lot of pictures, and we were there for 5 days, so this blog is about to be taken over for our travel log. :)

We left here Wednesday night after Ross got home from work, and we drove through the night in hopes that the kids would sleep through most of it. It worked. My kids are rockstars. We stopped to sleep for a bit in a parking lot in Reno partly because we were tired, but mostly because we had made better time than we had anticipated and knew that if we didn't stop, we would end up in Yuba City far too early to check into our hotel or play at Grandma's house. Even with the 3 hour detour and a nice long breakfast at Denny's, we still ended up there at 9:00. I forgot about gaining an hour at the timezone change...

Fortunately, the hotel we booked was relatively unbusy and they allowed us to check in 5 hours early at no additional cost. This allowed us all to shower and nap and feel a little more human before heading out to the Goodman Ranch.

We ended up at the ranch just after lunchtime and Grandma had all kinds of good things planned for us.

Ladder Ball Bean Bag Toss

Playing fetch with the baby-- OK so maybe that was Emma's adaptation and not Grandma's. Drag Racing

Jack loved this walking toy. It could change into a little push bike as well. I want one. :)

After a while, Clay and Stephanie's kids came over to help prepare for the barbecue and to visit. The cousin in the yellow shirt was such a fun helper with Jack. They got to be good little friends while we were out there.

The girls fought over this tractor a lot. Ususally they traded between this and the car.

Emma and Macie.

The kids had a picnic in the back yard. The weather was perfect and the mosquitoes were nicely absent.

Everyone loves the baby. He was well adored on this trip.
She looks like a natural farm girl at heart. My boys.

The night ended well with ice cream cones and hugs all around.

We returned to the hotel to take a dip in the hot tub and snuggle up in our beds that were made extra comfortable after a full night of travelling and a full day of playing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emma's Pre-Schol Graduation

Here are some of the pictures from Emma's pre-school graduation on Saturday. None of the pictures are great because the lighting in the Cultural Hall was bad, but I love them anyway.

Check out his hair.

They are singing a song here. It was cute.

Her first diploma ever.

Emma and Miss Mandy.
She had such a fun pre-school experience, and it was all due to Miss Mandy. She is fabulous and we just love her at our house. Thanks for introducing Emma to school in such a fun and positive way.

Now for your viewing pleasure, here is a silly little video of Emma's part of the alphabet presentation. I love that she gives me the thumbs up at the end!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Busy Saturday

This Saturday was crazy busy, but crazy good. We accomplished so much and were able to have fun doing it all together. Here is a little rundown of how our busy Saturday went:

8:00 am- Got dressed and fed and loaded up in the car.

8:30 am- Headed to the stake garden to get everything planted and sorted. Jack ate lots of dirt and loved every minute of his dirty boyishness. Emma and Sara helped plant the carrots, pumpkins, and corn and were excellent dirt tillers with their little spades.

10:30 am- Ran home to get washed up and dressed.

11:00 am- We all went to Emma's Pre-school graduation. It was adorable. When blogger chooses to stop hating me, I will post some pictures and a sweet little video.

12:00 pm- Ate lunch and cleaned the house.

1:00 pm- Walked Emma to a fairy princess birthday party for a girl in her primary class. She had a blast.

1:15 pm- Put Jack down for a nap, Played Barbies with Sara, Got some work done, and Set up a computer system in the basement for games (that last part was all Ross).

2:30 pm- Walked to pick up Emma from her party.

2:40 pm- Walked back to the birthday girl's house to retrieve the fairy wings Emma had left there.

2:50 pm- Cleaned the house (me), and Played in the basement (everyone else).

4:30 pm- I went to a glitter toes party at a friend's house. It was fun and my toes are pink and sparkly and are supposed to stay that way for about 8 weeks.

5:30 pm- Loaded up the car and headed to the store for some floaties for Emma, some kielbasas for Ross and me, and some hotdogs for the girls.

6:00 pm- Arrived at Carrie and Nate's BBQ/Swim party. We (and by we, I mean Ross) got our meal fixed and then we chatted and swam and had a grand ole time.

8:45 pm- Headed home and blasted the heater not only to keep us warm, but to get Sara to fall asleep. It worked. We also listened to the audio book Ink Heart and I had dreams about it later that night.

9:20 pm- Came home and tucked little sleepers into their bed. Emma and I watched a scripture movie and sang some songs before she finally drifted off.

9:50 pm- Ross and I put in The A-Team to watch together without the kiddos. We hadn't had an alone moment for most of the day.

10:20 pm- We turned off the movie because we were too tired to enjoy it, and it is one of our favorites. We read scriptures, brushed our teeth, and then talked about our kids and our goals for the near future until Ross started snoring to let me know he was too tired to talk anymore.

It was a lovely and fulfilling day full of service, friends, productivity, celebrations, and love.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cute Things My Kids Say

While Jack doesn't quite speak yet, he still has some comical moments like doing his baby grunts at his girlfriend at church and using certain sounds to immitate things like dogs barking, the cat, and the dishwasher. Also, he can now say 'Banana' like a champ, and it makes me smile right down to my core every time I hear it.

I am pretty sure he said 'Love you' today in the Mother's Lounge. So cute.

Other cute talents of The Boy are:
Walking on his knees- funny kid! My girls never did that.
Crawling on the treadmill and then riding it back to the beginning.
Chasing the cat.
Giving horribly gooey kisses
Eating anything we give him- especially bananas
Pulling his sister's hair (another reason I tried to talk Emma into cutting it)
Drinking juice from sippy cups- my fastest kid to master that
Waking up 3 times throughout the night to eat. I'm not loving that
Climbing up the stairs
Climbing down the stairs

Walking- when he feels like it. He does good for about 5-8 steps and then figures that crawling is faster
Grunting- like Tim the Tool Man grunting- My dad would be proud!
Coloring- another thing he is doing earlier than my girls did
While my visiting teachers were at my house last week, Sara did something rude to Emma and I was asking her apologize. Sara was not in the mood to obey and was firing off every excuse in the book to not have to say the dreaded 'Sorry' to her wronged sibling. The excuses in her arsenal of obstinancy included, but were not limited to:
I can't.
I forgot.
My tummy hurts.
I'm too little.
I am hungry.
It is too cold in here.
I am too tired.
I don't have my shoes on.
She isn't even sad anymore.
It is too hard.
I don't think it is saying sorry time.
Your friends are here- talk to them.
It's not my turn.
I have a headache.
**Somehow in the end I got her to eke out a half hearted apology**

Sara likes to wear her pink flower dress, and would wear it every single day if I would let her. One day when she came downstairs wearing it for the second day in a row (and after having worn it for PJs that night) I told her that we needed to wash the dress and she needed a bath.

Sara: Can I wear the dress while I take a bath so we are both clean and I can still wear it?

Mom: Emma, do you want me to cut your hair? It would look so cute and then it won't be hard to brush anymore.

Emma: (while tenderly stroking her long tresses) Mom! A gift like this has to be protected! (if you don't understand this reference, then please go watch Tangled immediately.)

I found Emma spitting out some of her salad one night and got upset at her for wasting food.

Mom: Please don't do that- you are wasting food and it is good for you.

Emma: I'm not wasting it! I put it in my mouth first so it will still make me healthy.

We went to a swim party yesterday and we got Emma some new floatie rings for her arms. She did awesome with them and pretended they were different things all night like:
Spider bites
Puffy dress sleeves
Milk Jugs

These munchkins are a handful and a half on their good days, but I just love them to pieces and being their mom is so much fun!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Waiters Give You Lemons. . .

. . . Give them to the cutest almost one year old boy and melt over the cuteness.

He seriously loves lemons! He is so my child!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I entered a new stage of Motherhood this year- the stage where I get home made handicrafts as gifts. Emma painted a flower pot and planted a flower for me at pre-school. The pot is lovely and the flower was too while it was still alive. I kill things. I can't help it. :( Emma and Ross presented me with this loveely concoction after church on Mother's Day. Lovely, no?

Grandma Wallace prepared a nice ham meal for us, and while there, my sisters entertained the kids while I relaxed and sifted through the coupons my grandma had saved for me.

Heather, you are a wonderful aunt and an even better sister. Love you!

The men, (and Caulene) seemed less than impressed with the girl talk going on in the kitchen. . .

It was a nice Mother's Day complete with a gift of pearls from Ross. Something I have been asking for since we got married. I love them. And him. And this whole mother thing.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Last Tuesday

We had something of an adventure at our house on Tuesday. I can't decide yet whether it was a good adventure or a bad one- probably a bad one that brought about good things. That's how most things tend to be in my life. Anyway, enough philosophising. . . for now, at least.

On Tuesday, our basement flooded. One of our sprinkler pipes blew and flooded our yard which flooded into our window well which flooded into our basement Fun times. :( Since it was a cloudy day which kept me out of the backyard and I rarely go into our basement, it probably had a good couple of hours to get all nice and floody before we were alerted to the problem.

My visiting teacher had seen the swamp in our backyard and tried calling me to no avail. I don't usually know where my phone is. I hate talking on the phone, so I don't think about it.

Then she tried knocking on the door. That wasn't any good as I was out walking Emma home from school, and of course- that was the perfect day for me to choose to take the long way home.

Then she somehow found Ross's number and called him. That worked. Ross is not socially awkward like I am and has no phone allergies.

Then Ross tried to call my cell phone, and it sure wasn't anywhere near me and it sure was set to silent. When I found it later that day it had 28 missed calls. Oops.

Then Ross, already in his car and on the way home, called our land line. That was different. We got a land line with our internet. We never use it. We haven't even given the number to anyone. It is there for emergencies. Yay for that because the ringing of our always silent land line startled me as I was ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR TO THE STORE STILL HAVING NOT NOTICED OUR STRANGE AND WET PREDICAMENT!

That got me into action. I quickly turned off the outdoor water main, walked through the muck of our yard, located the burst pipe, and saw 2 1/2 feet of water in the window well with more pouring in. Not good.

I then ran to the basement to see 2 inches of standing water with more pouring in. Not good.

I gave myself a minute or so to panic and fret, and then I had to get to work. The first order of business was to find a way to keep more water from coming in. Since I am not strong enough to bail buckets out of the well by myself, I settled on setting up a little device to catch the water coming from the window into a 15 gallon tupperware bin. I used the lid to make a little slide, and I would say that from then on out, a good 70% of the water coming in never made it to the floor. I had to empty it every 10 minutes for three hours, but I think that saved us a lot of time and kept many of our possessions dry.

Then came the hardest part of my day. I had to get all of the stuff we have stored down in my basement and move it. Most of it ended up in our living room. I wouldn't have been so bad except that the girls were trying to help, and I had Jack on my hip so he would stop trying to play in the water. (I later gave up on that and just let him have fun in it.)

I then rolled up all the wet carpet and padding that we have laid down there. Carpet is heavy. Water is really heavy. Carpet soaked in water is ridiculously heavy for my little arms.

When I got this done, I got the girls, who had been asking to get in their swimsuits ever since they saw their new indoor swimming pool, to play a game with me. While I was directing the standing water away from the remaining dry areas (especially our food storage!) and into the drain, I had them take plastic cups and scoop up water into another tupperware bin. I don't think this really helped too much, but it kept them busy and made them feel like they were helping.

Just as I was beginning to panic again at all the work ahead of me while trying to keep my kids happy at the same time (Ross was still 40 minutes away) a neighbor came by and took my kids. She was wonderful. Jack was soaked to the bone, but she told me to get him some dry clothes and she would change him at her house. It was wonderful of her, and it was just the first of many acts of service we would receive that day. Oh, I lied- it was the second act of service. The first was sweet Carol, pregnant and alone with her girls going WELL out of her way to get our attention on our swamp. Anyway, it was exactly what I needed, and I am so grateful for her willingness and insistence.

When I was alone, I had time to really think about what needed to be done and the best way to do it. I changed into some clothes more suitable for this situation and kept emptying out the bin I set up at the window and directed the water there to the drain. It seemed like the best thing I could do by myself.

When Ross got home, he found that there was only about half an inch of water left in the basement, but still a good 1 1/2 feet in the window well. He had stopped at my grandpa's house on the way home and borrowed a sump pump, so he got to work trying to set that up when some more help arrived. A sweet older couple from the ward came over with a wet vac, and some buckets.

Soon after that Sam, the Elder's Quorum President came over with some fans from the stake. He and Ross got to work bailing buckets out of the window well. It was just faster than the sump pump at that point. Did I mention Sam was in his shirt and tie from work? I love this church!

At 5:00, everything was as under control as it was going to get. No more water was getting into the window well, and no more water was getting into the house, and all the standing water had been drained out or sucked up. It was at that point I had to make the decision of whether or not I still wanted to host my Book Club that night.

Yes, that's right. The ONE time of the year I am supposed to host Book Club, my basement floods. Awesome, right? I knew that I could ask one of the other ladies to host it in light of my extenuating circumstances, but I would have felt terrible springing something like that on someone so last minute. I had to weigh the work it would take if I hosted it over the guilt I would feel if I passed it on.

I decided that I had 2 hours, and since things were now past the panic mode, I could probably get everything set up. While Ross started the task of getting the ruined carpet padding to the garbage (the only thing we lost in the flood!) and laying out the wet carpet to be dried by the heavy duty fans, I got to work trying to make my house not look like the site of a disaster.

I moved everything in my living room that had been transported from the basement to our garage. Goodness, my arm muscles were mad at me for that! Then I got some dinner ready. I would have sent Ross to get something so I wouldn't have to bother, but fortunately, I already had most of it ready in the crock pot. I love that thing! Emma helped me get the BBQ chicken and rice dinner on the table, and we all scarfed it down so I could clean the dishes and get ready for Book Club while Ross played some more in the basement. :)

I made cookies (thank heavens for frozen dough), scotheroos (thank heavens for quick and easy family recipes) and salsa (thank heavens for my magic bullet and Bountiful Basket) and was cleaning up the very last dinner dish when the first Book Club lady came over. I had done it!

Notice, however, that a shower and a change out of those wet working clothes was not listed. . . Sorry ladies. . . Even with that, though, it was a fun evening. We discussed a great book and laughed and chatted and ate and oogled over Gina's sweet new baby. Book Club is one of the highlights of my month, and this was the first time I had hosted it, so I was ever so relieved when things turned out so well after such a stressful ordeal.

My shower and I had some quality time when the last ladies filed out, and I had no trouble at all getting to sleep that night.

I know this is already long, but I wanted to record it since it was such a big event for us, and I also wanted to say how grateful I am for our church organization. Ross made one phone call to a member of our bishop-ric, and we had help at our door step almost immediately. Things would have been much more serious had we not had their lended equipment and muscle and vigilence. The way our church is set up is truly inspired as it allows us to bless each others lives with much more ease, convenience and organization. The hierarchy is there for a reason, and it works! My now dry and recovered basement is proof of that.

Thank you to those of you that helped in such an immediate fashion, and thank you to those who dropped by throughout the night to offer help that was no longer needed. My ward is amazing, and I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who I consider friends. That is not a term I throw around lightly. I am a very blessed woman!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Emma's First Piano Recital

The day before Easter was super busy for us because before all the easter egg craziness went down, Emma had her very first piano recital. She pretty much rocked it as you can see. I am so proud of her! Her teacher is one of my good friends out here, and Emma just adores her. Thanks for giving her such a fun and positive experience Miss Heidi!

*At the end of this you can hear people kind of giggling about her sweet little curtsy. When Emma sat down she was all frustrated because she thought people we laughing at her because they didn't think she did well. She had a big scowl and tightly folded arms like angry children get, and she was almost in tears as she said, "They are all laughing at me. I tried to do good." I assured her that they were laughing because she was so cute and she did so well and they liked her. That seemed to cheer her up a bit.*

Thanks for looking at my camera, Haleigh! :)

These are the special glasses Emma had to wear after her eye appointment last week. She needed them because they dilated her eyes, but she took to wearing them every time she went outside until someone discarded them. . .

We have been noticing her left eye wandering, so I wanted to get that checked out. It turns out both her eyes wander quite a bit, so we were referred to a child specialist in Salt Lake and have an appointment for next week. I get a little nervous about eye stuff because blind eyes run in Ross's family, but the doctor said her vision is perfect. That was a relief to me. We will let you know what happens at her next appointment.

Easter Sunday

The Easter Bunny came to our house, and he left lots of fun things. The girls got new dresses, flip flops, cups, sunglasses, and Disney Princess Barbies. Jack got a new game, a big red ball, and some Apple Jacks.

He loves it.
I got a kindle. I love it. I have over 100 free books on there now so it has already paid for itself. Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Ross got some new cologne (that ended up being a woman's variety so it has to be returned. . .), some cinnamon mouth wash (by his request), a new battery powered razor, and a Jimmer shirt.

Jack showed us what good quality the flip flops were.

When we got home from church, we found that the Easter Bunny had come AGAIN and hid some candy eggs for us. He also left little bunny ears for the kids. Emma was so excited by this extra visit. It was really cute.

OK bunnies, go get some eggs!

Thanks Easter Bunny. I love you!

Emma made that basket in Pre-School. I think she did a great job.

The following is our terrible attempt to get a family picture with all our Easter Duds via the self timer on my camera.

I didn't make it back in time for this one.

Sara got bumped just before this one flashed, so she is miserable.

I hit the wrong button on this one. I just think Emma looks so serene and pretty. Gosh, I make cute kids!

We are all in this shot and looking in the right direction, but nobody looks very happy about it. . .

This was as close as we got. Happy Easter family!

Mischief got in on the fun as well, although we had no dye at our house...

Maybe next year. How cute would he look with little blue socks? :)

At church, we enjoyed some wonderful talks about Christ and the Resurrection from our Bishopric. I sang in the choir for a beautiful number. I really love our ward choir. We have such a fun bond and I don't think I have ever been part of a more talented ward choir. It is really one of the highlights of my week. I also led the Young Women in a pretty rendition of He Sent His Son. It was my first time leading a choir in church, so that was interesting, but they did great.

At home, after all the pagan rituals were complete, we enjoyed a pork roast with all the fixin's and had a nice relaxing day eating candy and talking about what we had learned and heard at church that day. It was a lovely day and I was sad to see it end.