Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Family: Week of 11/24-11/30

Monday started a week-off for Grace and Adam for Fall Break (Josh still had pre-school on Tuesday).  We spent it cleaning and playing and finishing up some last-minute Thanksgiving shopping.


On Tuesday my little stubborn Josh was w-a-y tired from staying up playing with Adam the night before.  After a day of playing and pre-school and fun he was exhausted, but refused to go to bed.  Josh is the world's best kid.  He gets along with every body, is THE hardest worker, is always looking for opportunities to serve, is an awesome problem-solver, and has a greatest sense of humor... unless he's tired.

Then he is the most stubborn kid you will ever meet.

I tucked him in, he snuck out, and refused to go back to bed without an additional tuck-in.

I out-stubborned him this time, though, and he fell asleep on the kitchen floor.


Mike had Wednesday off, so we went over to Wetlands Park.

We went there last year with my parents, but Mike had never gone.

It has miles of paths for walking, biking, etc. throughout Henderson and Las Vegas, that go through the wetlands in the area.

There is a really nice (free!) building that has lots of interactive activities for the kids.

After we went through the center, we went and walked one of the trails.

When we went with my parents, it was in the morning.  We didn't see too much wildlife at the time. We went in the late afternoon this trip and saw lots of birds (the kids LOVED the little lines of quail families and the bird that ran on the water), bunnies, and we heard a beaver slapping its tail against the water.

We had a great time there together.

We came home that evening for a quick dinner and a family movie.


On Thursday, we woke up bright and early and went to the Turkey Trot, put on by a cute friend in an another ward.

We opted to walk the 5k.

These guys do a stellar job putting the whole thing together, and I love getting to participate in it each year.

After we pre-burned our dinner, we headed home to cook!

We have a tradition of Mike making the turkey, and the kids each choosing two sides to help make.

Grace made my Mom's cranberry salad and green beans; Josh made the stuffing and rolls; and Adam made the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes.

We always have so much fun cooking together.

It was (obviously) a pretty warm day here, because at one point Grace got her swimsuit on and played in the water.  You know you live in Las Vegas when you can eat your Thanksgiving turkey leg in a swimsuit.  ;)

We all enjoyed our really yummy dinner, while we talked about what we were thankful for.

Sam hadn't been feeling very well, and ended up sleeping during dinner.

Which made me sad, because this kid just LOVES to eat!

When he woke up he felt much better and enjoyed his dinner.

After dinner we watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and then made our Thankful Turkey that had been neglected all month, while we ate pie.

It was such a good Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for this sweet family of mine and our traditions that I treasure.


I was up late that Friday night with Sam, and after I finally got him to sleep I decided to pass on the tradition of Black Friday shopping with my kiddos, just like my Mom did with me.

Also, I really needed some Pedialyte for Sam.


So, Adam and I went to Wal-Mart at about 1:00am.

It was completely dead, and we didn't really want to buy anything.

But, we can say that we went Black Friday shopping together.

For Pedialyte.

I woke up Mike at 4:00am to go to Home Depot to get our tree with our hard-earned yard sale money.

The rest of us woke up a little later to clean up after our fun Thanksgiving day, put our Thanksgiving decorations away, and get out CHRISTMAS!


On Saturday we continued to clean and decorate.... and do all of the Fall Break homework that we had neglected doing during Fall Break.


On Sunday I hung out in the Mother's Room during Sharing Time, like I do every Sunday, so Sam is fed and content while I teach my lesson.

He happened to discover his reflection while we were in there, and it was too adorable.

That evening we decorated our beautiful new tree.

Some of us were pretty creative in reaching the higher spots to decorate (that's a window he climbed through to reach the middle of the tree).

After we made our tree beautiful, we made foil dinners in the firepit, roasted marshmallows over the coals, and sang our favorite Christmas carols.

Our neighbors probably thought us strange, but I can't think of a nicer way to top off Fall Break and welcome Christmas than singing "Silent Night" in the cool evening while eating gooey marshmallows.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Family: Week of 11/17-11/23

Since I am w-a-y behind, and didn't take pictures at the beginning of the week for some reason, I don't know what happened Monday through Wednesday. There was probably a lot of driving, homework, cleaning, nursing, cooking, and homework. Sorry!


On Thursday, Josh's pre-school class learned about "bakers" (they are doing a Community Helpers unit), and baked pizza and cookies.

He had so much fun and was so stinkin' proud of those cookies!

After pre-school, Sam, Josh and I headed to the kids' school for their annual Multicultural Feast.

Each year on the last day of school before Fall Break, all of the kids bring in a dish from an assigned country.
Adam had Sweden, and we made a Swedish Tea Ring; Grace had China, so we made cream cheese wontons.

I'm not exactly sure those are authentic, but you know, it works.


There was a ton of food, and we had a fun time trying new things.

Sam enjoyed all that food a little too much.

It resulted in a little pre-Thanksgiving food coma.

The class that had Mexico made pinata for all of the kids to enjoy. Josh had a blast sneaking in and hitting it, too.


On Friday, after baby-sitting was all over, I was folding laundry when I realized I hadn't seen Sam for a few minutes.

We all raced around looking for him, until we realized that someone had left the back door open.

Sam had been having a blast playing in (and sampling) Mike's charcoal.


On Saturday we finished up our Jesse Tree ornaments and got them mailed off.

Our theme this year was "Be Kind," and our scripture was Ephesians 4:32: "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you."

I wanted to think of a time when my kiddos were all really nice to each other and make an ornament that represented that, but I'm pretty sure my theme backfired (or, they are getting older and more competitive over friends and such), because there is more sibling rivalry than ever between Adam and Grace.

So, we went with a play on words and made playing card ornaments representing, "Four of a Kind" instead.

To be fair, Grace and Josh have the sweetest relationship.  Adam and Josh get along and have fun playing together, too.  And everyone adores Sam.  It's just the Adam and Grace thing that makes me want to pull out my hair daily.

It's just payback for the lovely way I treated Ethan for all those years.



In order to keep up my milk supply, I have to nurse Sam every 3 hours, which means I wake him up at 3:00 in the morning each day to feed him.

Unfortunately, my body doesn't like to wake up at 3:00am, so I have just been staying up that late, and going to bed once he's fed.

I normally use that time to write, but on Sunday I used it to be a super-cool Primary teacher (for once) and make my class + Mike's YM turkey cookies as a special treat.

They all loved them, and it was pretty fun sitting by myself and decorating cookies.

We had our version of Sloppy Joe's for dinner (ground turkey mixed with barbecue sauce), and since Sam is a big fan of barbecue sauce, he gobbled that stuff up and asked for more!

That evening Adam went with Mike to Priesthood Preview.  I can't believe this handsome guy is going to turn 12 and receive the Priesthood soon.

We are so proud of him!  He's turning out to be an awesome guy...

.... who would be even more awesome if he would stop picking on his little sister.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Family: Week of 11/10-11/16

On Monday for FHE I taught a lesson about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and had Mike make us some donuts Wilkins' style.

(I try to make my FHE treats tie in with the lesson... donuts have a hole... holy... get it? My kiddos think I'm weird for my excitement level over these things.)

The problem with being married to a quiet guy who doesn't talk all that much (and not living by family) is that you have to remember what your sister-in-laws told you eons ago about their life growing up, so you can pass some of those traditions down for your husband.

So, please excuse me if I have this wrong.

But, one of Mike's sister told me about Wilkins Donuts.

(I think.)

We made holes in canned biscuits, Mike fried them, and then we shook them in a bag with powdered sugar.

They were pretty darn good.


On Tuesday the kids were off of school for Veteran's Day, so they decided to go ahead and hold a "Veteran's Day Sale."

Grace sold exactly $1 worth of toys.

I was pretty proud of them... until they went and started offering Sam up for free with $25 purchase.

I went ahead and rescued him after that.

But, their sale got me thinking.

Our Christmas tree from D.I. died last year, and I want one that will last.  So, we are planning on doing our first real yard sale this Saturday, to try and raise some Black Friday shopping money for one.

It should be fun.


On Wednesday I turned 33.

It was filled with nursing a baby, bringing kids to school, cleaning, and chocolate cake.

I get a kick out of making my birthday cake every year, until I'm about halfway through and feel pathetic.

Then, I go ahead and lick the spoon, before my kiddos catch me and demand that I hand it over.

And then I feel better.



On Thursday, Adam and Grace went to school.

His cute math and science teacher takes pictures of the kids, and puts them on the blog.

I LOVE getting little snapshots of their lives when I'm not with them.

I wonder if she will be willing to follow Adam around on dates when he turns 16?

Because I'm pretty sure he's not going to be cool with me hanging out with him.



On Friday we baby-sat, and I gloried in not having to go to football.

I have a love-hate relationship with extracurriculars, like every other Mom.

I love them.

I want them.

But, when they are over and I get a break from the driving/practices/stinky uniform cleaning, I feel joy.

That evening I wrote.

Money has been a little tight since Mike lost his hotel job (I'm not complaining, we're fine, it's just tight), so I decided to try and earn a little extra by trying my hand at some freelance writing.

I "work" here in the middle of the night at Textbroker.

It's not as awesome or as lucrative as one might think.

But, it helps.

And, I need to tell all y'all something:

DO NOT believe things you read on the Internet.  Ever!

There is a HUGE chance it was written in the middle of the night by a sleep-deprived mom who has no idea what she's talking about.

You've been warned.



On Saturday we got up early and held our first-ever yard sale.

In Phoenix, people yard sale at the crack of dawn.

In Vegas it doesn't get hopping until around 10:00 or so, we found out.

The kids sold some of their old toys at their own table, and made just enough to run down the street to another yard sale and buy someone else's junk.

So much for cleaning the rooms, people!

And I made $56, which should be enough for a decent Black Friday tree.

More importantly, we had a fun time working together, drinking hot cocoa in the cool morning, and talking.

It was a fun memory.


On Sunday we went to church, and finished up leftover homework and finished up leftover laundry.

We tried out our "Sunday Cans" that we made for FHE.

We played quiet music all day.

And our Sunday was a little better.

(Though I once again vowed to be better about doing the homework and laundry on Saturday.)