Thursday, November 29, 2012

First Day of Vacation

We got kind of a late start driving to California so we pulled into town late that night.  Naturally, the first thing on our agenda for the day was to take naps!  (After we had lunch at In-n-Out that is.)

I told Annie to read the girls stories and then we would go to sleep.  Annie almost NEVER takes a nap. I was skeptical, but she seemed excited since her cousin Amelia was asleep and she got to "tuck" in her cousin Presley. 

Jackpot, all three girls asleep...and I took a snooze too!

That night we headed down to Manteca to visit with old friends.  While the boys were getting haircuts and having a pizza party, Marla hosted a girls get together at her house.  She had the best orange rolls and Orange Julius's.  I am dreaming about them right now.  We always have no shortage of things to catch up on and we always laugh our heads off.  I don't know why we didn't think to take pictures before walking out the door when it was late and all our make up was worn off, but you get what you get.  

Dislaimer:  We told everyone to make a stupid face. (You know how teenagers always make weird faces these days and post them every other day on Facebook.)  Marla didn't get the memo that we weren't doing the crazy faces anymore.  So funny.  I couldn't help it, I had to remember this moment Marla! Anyway, I love these girls so much.  I know they would both kill tigers for me.  The only sad thing about the picture is we didn't get Andrea in it!  I know when she sees it though, she will probably be happy she missed it!  Ha-ha!

These guys were having all sorts of fun, they always pick up right where they left off.  I can't believe how much they have grown.  

The girls (Again, not the best picture ever. I am not sure if that is a shadow on Katelyn's head or what???)  I still can see these two as little seven year olds in my mind.

The babies.  

We left the girls in Lodi that night because they were still sleeping when we had to leave.  Having just the four boys that night was reminiscent of our days living in Manteca being an all-boy family. 

 We did sneak in some time with little Ezra.  He is seriously the best baby ever.  Doesn't make a peep and is happy as can be.  He actually reminds me a little of Michael when he was little.  I wish I had held him a little more. I don't know where the time went. 

Like I said, for a long time it was the four boys.  Now the four girls have taken over.  It is so fun watching them play together.  They love it. 

We had a great first day in California!  It is always so great to reunite with family and friends that are like family.  I await more pictures of our vacation from Dane, he took better ones and so he is going to send them my way!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Off The Beaten Track

I guess Idaho is a little off the beaten track.  We don't get a huge amount of visitors.  We were pretty excited that we had TWO in less than two weeks.  WOW. 

 Ryan's cousins, Jeni and Kolby, were in the area visiting their Grandmother on the other side of the family.  I don't know why I didn't get a picture of them.  I did get a picture of Jeni's sweet little girl.  Her name is Lucy and she is right between Annie and Sophie.  (Literally between them in this picture.) They were not really cooperating as you can tell, but I still thought it was funny.  We were so happy to have little Lucy to play! 

I like how these guys are all playing, but Sophie spies me taking a picture!  We loved having them over and in Lucy's honor we ordered Lucy's Pizza that night.  It is my favorite pizza in Idaho Falls for sure.  We really ordered it because I forgot they were coming and was not home in time to cook dinner.  After they had the pizza they forgave me.  It is so yummy!

The weekend before heading off to California we had more visitors....The Gonzales family.  The Dad (Robert) is a long time Engineering Buddy of Ryan's from their days at BYU.  Even though they live in Oregon, Robert does work out here and so we usually see him every month.  However, this time he brought his family!  It was so fun to meet them!  It seems that every time Robert is over it is crazy busy and this time was no different.  But, they are so easy going and didn't mind it a bit.  (We hope!)

With three boys, and then a daughter they fit right in and the kids had fun playing. No matter what visitors we have, it seems that the costume container always comes out.  Joshua even donned his costume from eight years ago.  I love Annie's face. I am not too sure what Luke is going for, and that is our friend's daughter Evie in the Incredibles outfit.

Our friends headed on to Utah Monday morning and we left for California.  Those dogs don't miss a beat.  Daisy knew we were leaving and made every attempt to get in the car.  This is where she was when Ryan locked up and went to get in his seat.  :(  So sad. 

To any friends and family out there reading my blog....come visit us!  We may be off the beaten path, but it will be oh, so worth it!  AND we now have cheap flights from many locations.  No excuses!

(We do have my side of the family coming at!)

1st Dance Recital

After hundreds of sports games with four boys, we had our first dance recital last week.  If you are thinking "Dance Moms" think again.  Annie takes dance in the neighborhood over from a lady that teaches out of her house. It is perfect.  They did a little Christmas Dance Recital and it was just the thing to make you want to bust out the Christmas Lights and start singing Christmas Carols.  (It was held at our local Festival of Trees.)

We got there a little early so Annie was able to sneak in a visit with Santa.  She wouldn't talk to him. 

Annie takes from the same teacher as her cousins, Isabelle and Emmaline.  I know, Annie's underwear shows...everyone reminded me over and over throughout the show.  Sheesh, cut me some slack people. I told you this was my first Dance Recital.  How am I supposed to know proper four year old underwear etiquette for dance recitals?

I had terrible lighting problems going on.  Here she is though, doing her first dance. 


How is it that my best picture of the night was of a little girl I didn't even know.  I just thought she was so cute I could not resist getting a picture.  

Annie's second dance..she stayed in this position a lot. 

Man, I tried to get some action pictures of Emmaline and they all turned out horrible.  Not reflective of her dancing skills!

And that's it, our first dance recital.  (Bad pictures and all.)  I am back from our Thanksgiving we spent in California and have sooooo much to catch up on.  Right now though, I have to go pick up someone from Basketball.   I started decorating today!  Christmas is here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We have a birthday, shout hooray!

Can you tell I am in the Primary by the title up there?  Joshua's 14th birthday was this Monday and I don't know where the week has gone.  I can't believe it is Friday in a few hours...AHHHH!  (I have so much to do!)  And remember my goals in my last post?  Get to bed on time?  HA-HA!  I think I might have to save them for 2013.  It has been so busy this week!

Anyway, on to Joshua's Birthday.  He had a pretty low key birthday this year.  I didn't take very many or very good pictures, but here is a quick recap.

The celebration started the night before.  Joshua had requested ribs and homemade fries for dinner.  It was a labor of love.  :)  The ribs were actually easy as pie.  I borrowed a deep fat fryer from someone at church and we made some seriously yummy fries.  From all my years of watching cooking shows and reading blogs I had heard that they key to crisp golden brown fries is to double fry them.  We did a 5 or 6 minute fry at about 325F and then took the fries out until the oil was 375F.  They were then dunked for 1-2 more minutes until they reached golden perfection.  We hit them with some sea salt and they were so delicious! We had Grandma and Grandpa join in the celebration...

After dinner the cousins all came over to help celebrate.  Abigail's birthday is the day before Joshua's so this was actually her REAL birthday.  They didn't mind sharing the spotlight together.  Since she turned 16...yes, you heard me right, SIXTEEN, and Joshua was turning 14, I put 15 candles on the chocolate cake.  These two have lots of fun together.  I am so glad they are not only cousins, but also friends. 

Max and Lauren.  Such cute hats!

I took a picture of the whole clan at the party.  However, there were some serious underwear shots that I had not seen when I took the picture, so to protect the innocent, they are not pictured here.  

In one month there will be seven more cousins added to the mix.   We can't wait! 

The morning of Joshua's real birthday just seemed like a regular old Monday morning.  (Which are usually not our best mornings.)  We decided that to make up for it we would surprise Joshua when he came home from school.  The younger kids get home about an hour before he does.  They made all kinds of birthday signs to hang on the wall to greet him.  Then they kept running out side so they could see when the bus was getting close.  

Michael spotted the bus..."Here he comes!  Run!"

It is quite a trek up to the top of our cul-da-sac, so these guys had to wait behind the wall for a while. 

Our sweet decorations...(Surrounding our Thanksgiving Thankful Tree that my sister Heidi made us.)

Joshua pretty much loved it. 

That night we went to one of Joshua's favorite restaurants, "Pizza Pie Cafe" and then we came home and opened presents.  He received books,  a new ski helmet, money, clothes, a tub of Huckleberry Reeds Dairy Ice Cream, and the best present of all from Luke....left over Halloween Candy.  THANKS, LUKE!

Happy 14th Birthday, Joshua!  We sure do love you!  He is definitely a full-blown teenager now.  Pray for me. 

(Just kidding, he is actually a really great kid.  However, if you do want to pray for me, I will totally take the prayers.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Moments of Peace

I usually have at least two guaranteed moments of peace each day.  They might literally be a "moment", but I usually get them each day.  Today I happened to capture them on my iphone.  

Moment of Peace #1-Right after the boys catch the bus each morning.  The girls are often still sleeping. It doesn't last long, but don't they look sweet.

Moment of peace #2-All the kids are in bed, and I finally finish cleaning the house.  It is about 11pm here.  This is the only moment the house is clean. 

I am really not a morning person by nature. I love it when I do get up early, but man it sure doesn't come easy for me. Those cozy flannel sheets feel so inviting when it is cold and dark outside.  I really want to switch up my schedule so that I have those quiet moments BEFORE the big kids wake up.  It would be really nice to get up and exercise before I wake them up.  However,  I just can't commit to that right now.  Somehow breaking a sweat before 6am has never felt right to me.  I COULD however, get up and put my exercise clothes ON so that after I get the kids out the door I would be ready to go.  I could also read my scriptures and be more focused before they wake up.  And wouldn't it be nice to already have a load of laundry in and breakfast going so they want to get up.

 I remember my mom saying that she would think of her job as a homemaker as a "regular" job and so she would get up and get ready just like she would for any job.  My job as a mom starts at 630am, so maybe I should get ready for it a little earlier.  I don't remember my mom ever wearing her nightgown as she was getting us out the door.  (Then again, I don't really remember what she WAS wearing either so it may not be too critical.)  But what am I wearing as I kiss my kids and send them out the door?  A bathrobe and my ugg boots. If I have to drive them, what am I wearing?  A bathrobe, my boots, and sunglasses.  I always threaten to get out of the car and blow them a kiss if they don't quit fighting in the car.  (PS I think that if I am wearing sunglasses no one will recognize me.) are a few goals I am going to make publicly.

1.  Lay out what I am going to wear the night before.   I HATE deciding what to wear.  My least favorite daily activity.  It might be that I have no pants.  And that might be that I can't bare to buy the size I need to get and am low on funds.  (See my train of thoughts here...I need to be more positive about my goals.)

2.  No TV past 10.  (1030 max)  I love turning on the news or whatever and tuning out, just not using my brain a bit.  However, since it requires so little brain also is inviting to stay awake way later than you would normally.

3.  Try to get to bed early and read a little.  Reading really helps me fall asleep and I love to do it.  For some reason I just try to get things done around the house until I am dead tired and then just fall into bed.

And a final quote to inspire and also makes me feel better...

"As you create a home, don't get distracted with a lot of things that have no meaning for either you or your family.  Don't dwell on failures, but think about your successes." 

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Could've been so beautiful...

Unless you are also a child of the 80's these wonderful "Tiffany" lyrics probably don't mean much to you.  But seriously people, it is really how I feel about the election....could have been SO beautiful.  Before I get going on that, let's go back to Tuesday, Back to those hours BEFORE Ohio was called for Obama.  Back to the hours that we still had hope in our hearts and the sun was shining.  I feel like from now on every event will be referenced as pre-November 6th and post-November 6th.  So here is a recap of that beautiful Fall day, November 6th, Election day.  (Okay, I might be guilty of being a little dramatic.)

That morning while doing the dishes I was having Annie practice writing her name.  This is what she wrote with NO PROMPTING.  I am serious, this girl can't even write and we had no campaign materials around.  I just knew it was a "sign" of good things to come!  GO MITT!

Ryan came with me to pick up Annie from Dance and we headed over to the school to VOTE! (Hope still shining in our eyes.)

So much energy in the air, Annie was literally dancing out of her seat.  

It was the loveliest Election day ever.  Who would ever guess it was NOVEMBER in Idaho.  We didn't even need a jacket on our little walk/bike ride.  

I can't believe this was only a few days ago and now as I sit here typing the wind is howling, the ground is white with snow and it is FREEZING outside. 

Okay, so you see where I was that day.  All is well in the world and I was so excited that my President was finally going to be elected.  I was counting down the hours until the polls would close.  I think I bit all my nails off as I watched the polls come in from each state. Then Ohio was called for Romney Obama...THUD.  I could just NOT believe what I was hearing.  This MUST be a mistake.  How did the running for President of the United States become a popularity contest?  Would Lincoln ever been COOL enough to have been voted into office?  I don't think so.  I think flying Air Force One around with JayZ and the Boss should be reason enough to NOT be elected.  Seriously, people?  Is that who we want to lead our country?  Does being hip qualify you for the job?  AHHHHHH!  Don't even get me started!

The next morning I could not watch the news.  I turned on the TV for just a minute and Megan McCain was on the Anderson show.  She said she took the election loss so personally she felt sick in her gut as if she had just split with a boyfriend.  Everyone laughed, but so true!  (I was also laughing because this was not the first night I was feeling sick and depressed over a Romney! Remember?)  But, seriously, so sad.

However, as an American....I had to look at the big picture.  I had to pick myself up by the bootstraps and move forward.  (Although I now hate that was pretty much ruined by Obama and MSNBC for me.)  I thought about the eight years that Bill Clinton was in office.  I was no Clinton Fan, but in my personal life those were some great years.  I graduated from High School, headed off to college, got married, and had my first baby. Would I ever look back on that period of my life and define them in any way by who was in the White House?  No.  For the last four years we have had some great times too.  We moved to a new state, had baby #6, the kids are growing up and life is good.  I still live in America.  I have a great husband. I have wonderful extended family.  I have kind friends. I have working cars.  I have the most comfortable bed and feather comforter.  Seriously.  I can pray for my same old President even if I think his policies are un-American and stink.  It is not the end of the world.  (yet)

I found solace in this message posted by an old friend I lived by in Belgium.  It was floating all over Facebook.  It really is a beautiful reminder of what should be our REALITY.

But, back to my 80's song I was singing up there...."Could Have Been So Beautiful." I think that is why the election rejection was so hard for me to get over.  It was not just the idea of getting rid of the Jimmy Carter president of our day.  It was that I truly think that Romney and Ryan had the skills and talents needed at this moment in history.  They were the right men for the right time.  They are leaders and brilliant problem solvers. I was excited to see what they would have done with the mantel of the Presidency. I think they would have done a job that we have not seen the likes of for a long time. I think that even people that didn't think they liked Romney/Ryan just might have been surprised. I believe their expectations could have been exceeded.  (In contrast to the HUGE expectations of Obama in 2008 and then the HUGE let down.)  I know that both Romney and Ryan care about people over power.  I hated hearing the lie that Romney did not care about the common person.  He has given more service to the "common" person than most people do in a lifetime.  Bragging about his character was just not his style though.  Maybe to be the President, to win the "popularity" contest, you have to be more boastful, have more pride, defend yourself a little more.  That is not Mitt's style, and that is why he is not only a good man, but a classy man.

So back to my "could have been so beautiful" for our country and "when I think about what could have been, it makes me want to cry".  But for now, I will have to be content with politics as usual.  I might have to take a little break from current events 24/7.  But in case you are worried, I will be okay.  My life is pretty beautiful, and can't complain about that!

PS Joshua just read this post and told me, "Well, Mom, you are not having another baby, you are not getting married again, the best thing you have to look forward to THIS next four years is me leaving the house."  Ha-ha, he cracks me up.  But in reality that makes me MORE depressed since he will be 14 tomorrow and that means I only have him home for four more years.  FOUR MORE YEARS, put it that way and I am NOT looking forward to Obama leaving office.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random Wrap up

Here is a bunch of random things we have had going on...

Michael received his Wolf Award.  I told Grandma and Grandpa it was at 7pm and it was really at 630pm so they missed it.  It was still nice to have them stop by! Way to go, Michael!

We went to a Halloween Party a few weeks ago.  Jill and Randy, our neighbors and friends, were hippies.  Don't they look hilarious!?  They were drinking cream soda's I will have you know, but I thought the drinks added to the whole look perfectly. 

Dave made a hilarious Elvis.  (His wife was the chicken in my last post.) He stayed in character for much of the evening. 

The hostess, Kim.  She looked so cute.  She also had some awesome games for us to play!  Wish I had a better picture.  She is married to the Grinch, also in the last Halloween post. 

Haley rockin' it out in her Red Riding Hood Outfit.  She was on our team and the reason we won! You  can see Ryan in his Chinese outfit in the background.  We will have to prepare a little ahead of time next year!

We have had such a beautiful Fall here and the weather will change from Summer to Winter and then back again in an instant!  I took this picture out of my bedroom window with my phone.  It was right after a huge hail/rain storm. 

Autumn Rain

Driving down our street.  Isn't it a beautiful street?

I feel lucky to live where I can find beauty everyday! 

Although sometimes I still laugh.  We love that we don't have to worry about traffic living in Idaho.  No hold ups on the freeway.  We are pretty much never even on the freeway. The only time you might get stuck in traffic is when you have a huge combine tractor taking up the whole road.  Something about it was just so funny to me. 

Oh, and I forgot to tell you...I am four months pregnant.

Or at least that is what I told a couple people when I sent them this picture of me after eating too many cookies.  That was seriously my stomach.  It is a special gift I have. I can push my stomach out and have the unique ability to convince people I am pregnant.  Don't worry, I am not really. 

I was able to sneak James out of school for a doctor's appointment and a quick run to Wendy's.  We had fun. 
Love Annie's Autumn outfit here. 

This weekend we had a surprise visit from my cousin and her family.  We were so glad they were able to stop by.  Her kids are so much fun.  I would adopt them any day.  I wish I would have got all of them in the picture, but it didn't really work out. 

And finally, after a depressing day (November 7) and exasperating post-election debate on Facebook my dear friend Danielle sent me this picture.  So hilarious!  So thankful for laughter and friends.  I have had some pretty funny Facebook conversations with my Canadian Uncles too.  Fun times!

And that's it for  my random wrap-up.