Saturday was so busy. It was one of those days where we had the whole day packed full and scheduled and we didn't even get a chance to breathe despite cutting out a few things. We started the morning early by dropping the kids off and trying out our recently renewed temple recommends. While we were at the temple, my mom took our kids to her ward's Halloween carnival. They had a great time, and would not stop talking about it.
After that, we headed up to Daybreak to celebrate Jim's birthday. There was food and family and fun. I like getting together with them all so often now. I love seeing the relationships between the cousins grow.
After that we went shopping for silly things like milk and bread. It had been a while. Days just seem to not have as many hours as they used to. Also, shopping is boring and kind of hard with 4 kids.
After that we got ready and headed over the to the Scott's house for a fun neighborhood party.
We have some fun ladies in our ward who live farther away from their grandchildren than they would like. This works out well for us as they like to spoil our kids to get their grandparenting needs met. They created a fun and kid-friendly spook alley for all the kids in the ward, and it was awesome.
The balloons were dropped from a balcony and had candy inside them.
There were games all over the house and food in the kitchen. The missionaries live at this house, and they were so cute to help out with some of the games. The kids loved that.
There is sweet Karen. She is the mastermind behind all of this, and one of the most Christ-like women I have ever met. I like her lots.
We thought about running down to my grandma's house after this for pumpkin carving, but 3/4 of the kids were asleep almost the instant we pulled out of the Scott's driveway, and the other one just really wanted some milky-dinner. We had run them ragged. Instead, we headed home and watched a movie while I typed furiously to reach a deadline for work. I made it. With time to spare. I am awesome. Feel free to tell me that any time you want.
It was a fun day, but I am hoping this next weekend will be a little more laid back. This mama is getting awfully tired.
My sweet friend Patti puts on a Halloween party for all the neighborhood kids every year. This is the first year we were able to attend. It was so fun. The kids had a great time.
She served sloppy Joes, and we all brought side dishes.
The kids got to throw wet sponges at this very nice dad. He was such a good sport.
Everyone got to pick a prize. Emma and Sara got markers and a notebook and Jack picked a football. I think it is funny that Emma insisted on wearing that headband even though she has been growing out her own Rapunzel hair just for this costume.
After this came the pinata, but my camera was dead. They started with the littlest kids and let everyone have two hits. The big kids got it open, and Patti, knowing all the little kids were being held back in the crowd snuck up behind them with a bag of candy and started throwing it down for them. They were so excited. Patti is such a sweet friend and I am so grateful for her.
Our wards decided to do a chilli cook-off instead of a Trunk or Treat this year. For part of it, we decorated pumpkins. These all came from the ward garden. They ran out of stuff to decorate with as the first people didn't realize how many there were. Luckily, I have a crazy supply of odds and ends in my purse, and ours turned out super fun. Landon even ditched his table to come add to ours.
There was a carnival of the kids in their costumes, but Mr. Jack did not want to participate.
I don't want to brag, but I totally WON the Chilli Cook-Off. I had never made chilli from scratch before. I'm pretty awesome. That, and I had a wonderful friend share her (easy peasy) award winning recipe with me.
We didn't get to try any that night, however, as there were too many people and not enough chilli. We had far more people attend than the committee anticipated, which is so awesome. It is great to see people turn out to events like this. Hopefully they start coming to other church meetings as well. I made the chilli again a few nights later so our family could have some.
Sara and her bunny ears crack me up! She insisted on them!
Everyone has feathers, fabric, sharpies, paperclips and plastic balls in their purses, right?
It was a fun night. I won't even mention the child who threw up all over my chair... The people who organized it should be proud. I hope they do it again next year with more chilli, and a bigger prize for my SECOND win. :)
When we went to Coney's during Fall Break, Ross saw that they were now serving Sonoran style dogs. These basically sustained him on his mission, so he had to give it a try.
When Ross ordered the Sonoran Dog, Emma thought he said the Snoring Dog, and this made a fun joke for the rest of the day. When Ross's tummy would grumble, she would ask him if she should wake up the snoring dog for him.
The verdict was a solid, 'Not Bad'. From him. Not me. I wouldn't touch the thing.
One of the moms from Miss Corky's class is an amateur photographer, and she offered to come and take some pictures of the students in this cute class one day. She gave me a disc with these pictures on it, and I love them.
I really do love and respect Corrinne and I am so grateful for everything she is doing for Sara. Sara has a special bond with her, and it makes my heart happy.
Part of me wishes she had waited a couple of weeks to take these pictures because 4 more students have joined the class since then, but I love these small group photos. Sara has a crush on the boy in the stripes. We highly approve of the match! :)
We knew she was getting pictures this day, and she spent a lot of time picking out this out and fixing her hair.
So I have had some down moments lately. My friends noticed and did this for me one night. The kids were so excited about it. I will never be able to adequately express how much I love them. This was so tailored to me right down to the freshly baked cinnamon rolls that accompanied all that construction paper.
These are the three who did the actual heart attack, but there were 4 others involved in the planning who couldn't make it that night. I know this looks like something Beehives would do, and it is, but that isn't the point. They just know me and love me, and they knew that the best way to cheer me up would not be with a sit down confrontation or something serious. It was to do something fun and silly with little touches of meaning.
Here are the touches of meaning. Most of the hearts had something nice about me written on them. These are just some of them. There are some inside jokes thrown in there as well.
Many people (usually after driving out here for the first time) have asked us why we chose to live so far out in the middle of nowhere. In answer to such queries: this. This is why. The Lord sent us here for a reason, and these ladies are a big part of that reason, I am sure of it! The neighborhood here is so amazing. I have never lived anywhere (and I have lived in A LOT of different places over the years) where I have felt so loved, appreciated, and needed. We won't be here forever, in fact we didn't expect to be here this long, but no matter where we go, I will never forget the friendships I have made here and the lessons I have learned here.
So, we have a kitty now. And no dog. Funny how things work out sometimes.
One day whilst in the awful depths of a PPD moment, I was on a face book classified page for our area and saw a listing for a new little, neutered, sweet, mousing, stripey kitten that was being given away for free. I called the lady and went and got him. No picture. No hesitation. No talking with Ross about the subject. I just packed up my kids and the little girl I was watching for a friend, drove to the little farm about 5 minutes from my house, and brought home a new little family member. This is not typical of me. I don't normally (EVER) make those kinds of decisions and steps without consulting Ross. This was a singular instance, but I am grateful for it.
Ross came home and saw me snuggling with Leo and gave a little sigh of resignation, then showed me what a lucky gal I am when he sat down and snuggled up with the kitty. No lecture. No guilt trip. No questions. Just some enjoyment of our new purry resident.
A few days later we said goodbye to Molly. She is now living a few doors down with a family in the ward who already had a beagle and had considered getting another one, but couldn't afford one due to some extreme medical bills and a husband on the liver transplant list. I didn't want to do it and was very upset over this, but I am woman enough to admit that Ross was right in this argument. I think Molly is much happier in a family with bigger kids, an enclosed back yard, and another dog to run around with. The family is so great, and we are always on call to run over and help with the dogs when they have unexpected hospital stays or vacations.
The first time I went over to let the dogs out and play while they were at the hospital, my broken heart with a puppy sized void was greatly healed. Molly is so happy there. She still loves the heck out of me, and it is hard sometimes to hear her bark, but this really was the best decision for us, the new family, and Molly. It doesn't get more win-win-win than this. When the other family came to get her the mother and I kept thanking each other over and over.
That is probably way more information than anyone wanted about my puppy, but it was a harsh and important time for us, and I wanted to remember the unique circumstances that surrounded it.
The kitty is so fun. He doesn't get to go outside EVER because cats just don't last long outside around here. If the coyotes don't get them, the speeding Nissans will. He snuggles and purrs like crazy, and he likes to have his belly rubbed. He chases strings and toes under the blankets, and has a funny look he gives us with his ears back when he wants something that makes him look like an owl. I personally would have given him a different name than Leo, but when I went to pick him up the lady called for him, and he came racing around the corner. The cat knows its name and comes running whenever we call him. It is so cute. He has also proven his worth by catching at least two mice that we know of. This is the time of year for mice, and every house in the area has had a problem. We are just too close to all the open fields. It took me a couple of years before I had to admit that no amount of cleaning and keeping doors closed would keep the mice out. I spent those first two falls feeling like a domestic failure. Last year we fought pretty well with traps, but hopefully we won't need them anymore because Leo has been earning his keep.
Last night we heard him running up and down the stairs, which isn't too out of the ordinary during the frisky hours. Then we noticed that there was another unfamiliar sound that was almost akin to a Horcrux. Yes. You guessed it. Leo was playing with his dinner on the stairs, the stinker! Maybe we are the kind of people who sat and watched and cheered him on like a mini version of the gladiator arena. If we were that kind of horrible people, then be assured that we were also the kind to TOTALLY disinfect the entire area the next morning.
Moral of the story: We are cat people, but I miss my dog all the dang time. Also, I am in a chatty mood, but can't get to my phone with the two cutest boys on the planet sleeping on me.
Since we weren't planning on going anywhere during Fall Break, I wanted to make sure that we did something special and fun each day to make it a good weekend. One of the things I love most about my kids is their enthusiasm for pretty much anything. I am not the most creative person, so it is a huge relief to me that simple things really do thrill them.
The first day of Fall Break, Wednesday we did caramel apple slices and had a movie night while we ate them.
The movie was exciting to them because it was one they hadn't seen before, and it was the movie of a book Emma and I are reading together. When Emma told her piano teacher that she was reading Charlotte's Web, Miss Heidi let her borrow her copy of Charlotte's Web. She is nice. The kids LOVED it and we were all singing 'Chin Up' and 'Zuckerman's Famous Pig' all week.
On Thursday the kids and I went online and we found some fun Halloween pictures to print, color and hang up around the house. I know it sounds silly, but they really did love this!
Friday was Ross's day off work, so we went to a fun park in the area and then to dinner so Emma could use one of her free meals.
Saturday we went down to Orem so I could meet up with my favorite Emily, and after that we went to Coney's for burgers and ice cream. We had every intention of taking them to a pumpkin patch after that, but it got really cold all of the sudden and we forgot to bring a stroller for the baby. The kids did get a fun preview of the fun that is in store for them when we do go, which we will since we bought the family pass online for half off... Instead of the pumpkin patch, we decided to take a page from my mom and dad's book. When I was little, they used to have in-home-date-nights where they would rent a kid's movie from Blockbuster and send us to the basement with our favorite chicken nugget meal and some snackies while they had a candlelit steak dinner in the kitchen. We LOVED these nights and always looked forward to them.
On our way home from the pumpkin patch, we stopped to get some take-out Thai food, and then we nuked some chicken nuggets and locked the kids in the basement with their dino-shaped nuggets, some popcorn, and some fruit snacks. Ross and I hid in our room and had our Thai food while watching a favorite show and got in some much needed snuggling and talking time. It was so simplistically wonderful.
On Sunday, we went to my mom's house for Caulene's birthday party.
Monday was a house cleaning day, but to make it special, I gave the kids some money for every room they helped me clean up. They were all about that. When Daddy came home we went to get the girls some much needed new shoes, and while at Target, we let everyone pick out a trick or treat bucket and a Halloween window cling set from the dollar section. We got some dinner at Chillis since kids ate free that night which meant they all got to choose their own meal and didn't have to share with us.
I know it sounds really silly, but it was such a fun week with my kids and they are so amazing. I really enjoy being with them and I am so proud and fond of the little people they are becoming. Of course the break was littered with tantrums, lost shoes, and bickering because as much as I love these munchkins, they are still kids. For the most part, however, they played really well together, and it was so nice for me to not have to drive all around and have my kids gone. I miss them when they are away because I am needy and pathetic like that.
I am a fan of Fall Break and I can't wait for Thanksgiving Break!