Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Halloween

Well hello there.  It's been awhile.  Are you still there?  :)  

Halloween has become one of our favorite family holidays.

Six years ago I began throwing a Halloween party for my kids.  It's become one of our favorite traditions and we have done it each year since, with the exception of the year we were moving.

Here are pictures from our first two years. 

Sadly, I lost a whole bunch of photos from my big camera this year, so a lot of these are going to be from my phone. 

Two days before Halloween we hosted our annual party which included 5 families and 22 children.  There were games, crafts, poems, and lunch.  It was a total blast!  Mowgli also passed off a scout achievement by helping plan for, decorate, and clean up the party.  He did a great job on his decorations and carefully selected just what he wanted at the dollar store.    



The day before Halloween I realized we STILL hadn't picked pumpkins, so we loaded on up and went to the pumpkin patch.  


Halloween morning started bright and early (not really bright though since it was pitch black.)  I wanted to kids to wake up to fresh pumpkin muffins, but someone decided it was time to be up, so we did that together. 





After a morning of crafts and stories, we got costumes on and loaded on up to go to our homeschool Halloween party (something I was in charge of).  We had 240 people attend the event.  We roller skated and bounced for two hours and left with very sweaty kids! 


Then we were off to The Mr.'s office to trick-or-treat.  This is something we love to do too.  It's a peek into his day and it is fun to get to visit with his boss and co-workers.  (Side note, I know his boss well because prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked as a recruiter.  I recruited for the company my husband works for and I said, "Hey, I know a guy who'd be great for this job.  He also happens to be my husband.  Can I send you his resume to review and set up an interview?"  The boss said yes, but that I needed to be able to handle any negative feedback he may have and I said, sure, no problem.  Nine years later, he's still there.  I also hired a couple of other people for this company and so it is always fun to see them still there after all these years and to catch up with them.)



Then we were back home and there's nothing like waiting till the very last minute to carve pumpkins!  We did this in the midst of trying to get people dinner and just before they were off to trick-or-treat.   



We enjoyed this DELICIOUS soup for dinner.  Definitely a recipe that will be thrown in with our regulars.  

So happy to have my sister's family hang out with us!


Blurry, but it's all I've got.  :) 


The kids went trick or treating while I stayed home and attempted to clean up while answering the door every 18 seconds. 

By 8:00 that night we were all pooped and ready for bed. 
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekend Getaway

I'm not really sure what to call these getaways anymore.  They started out as "Girl's Weekend" but then my dad started coming, and well, he's not a girl.

How about: the annual sibling/parent getaway without kiddos weekend?

Seven years ago as my sisters, mom, and I sat in a Tuscon Chili's restaurant as we decided we would get together every year the same weekend as the LDS Women's Meeting.  It is the last weekend in September each year.  It just so happened that this was the weekend we sat in that Chili's restaurant.  We attended the meeting together, got some cute photos done together, and a new tradition was born.


We've stayed in a condo in downtown SLC, my parent's place in Wyoming, Phoenix, Tuscon, and this year at my sister's house (five minutes away from mine!)

Here are some pictures from previous years:


This collage hangs in my parents' home. 


This year's festivities began Friday morning by going for a hike.  This was a whole-family thing.  After the hike we headed back to my house so I could pack.  (Yes, I packed up to go stay five minutes from my house.)  We had lunch at Panda Express (my dad's choice).


Then went to see The Giver.  I reeeeeeally enjoyed that movie.  There are so many parallels to life and it made me think a lot about Adam and Eve too.


After the movie we met up with my biggest sis who just arrived into the city and attended the Jordan River Temple.
 

Followed by dinner at Chuck-a-rama.  (My mom's choice).

Saturday morning my sisters headed off to the gym and my parents and I went to the rec center for some exercise.

Then we enjoyed lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (my sister's choice.) Avocado egg rolls and Thai lettuce wraps anyone?

Then we headed to Hale Center Theater to see She Loves Me and it was FAB.U.LOUS!  We absolutely loved it.  Just incredible talent I tell you!


We followed that up with a little more shopping (I always bring the kids home a surprise.)

Then dinner at Cafe Rio (my other sister's choice.)

My sisters and I stayed up late chatting.  Love them.

Sunday morning was slow and relaxed.  We watched the Women's Meeting that was broadcast the night before and then went to church nearby.

Then we said goodbye.


I got home while my little family was at church so I set up a little surprise for them.  When I saw them pull into the driveway, I ran and hid.  I loved hearing their confused statements as they tried to figure out if I was really home or not.  I love how satisfied kids are by the simplest of things.   


These weekends are so special to me.  I am so grateful for these good people and for the examples they are to me.  They are healthy, responsible, kind people.  I appreciate a sweet husband who scoots me out the door each year and holds down the fort.  These kids have a blast while I'm gone!

Until next year!

Previous years of these fun weekends are HERE and HERE

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Meet the Mormons

"Meet the Mormons examines the very diverse lives of six devout members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Filmed on location and across the globe, Meet the Mormons takes viewers on a journey into the day-to-day realities of individuals living in the U.S., Costa Rica, Nepal and beyond. From their individual passions to their daily struggles, each story paints a picture as rich and unique as the next while challenging the stereotypes that surround the Mormon faith."

In theaters today!

To find a theater near you, click HERE

More information about this film HERE.

If you see it, will you let me know? 




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Monday, October 6, 2014

You've Sure Got Your Hands Full

You've sure got your hands full, they say. 

You should see my heart, I say. 


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life

So.  You may have noticed things have been slowing down around here.  Here, of course, meaning this little 'ole blog.

There's been some changes and a lot of reflection.

I resigned from The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It was a wonderful experience and something I very much enjoyed.  But in the end it was so challenging adding new curricula into our routine regularly and there are SO many good things to do each day that I've really had to focus on what are the absolute BEST things I can do for my little family right now.  For me that meant giving up writing reviews and cutting back on blogging.

I met someone recently who recognized me from my blog (talk about crazy!) and she said she loved the reviews.  So to those of you who enjoyed them, I can direct you to some other blogs with excellent reviews:
Anyway.

Since I'm not posting very often this post is a beast.  But not to worry, there's lots of photos.  I've been thinking a lot about this blog and the future of it.  I've toyed around with the idea of going private because I want to really be able to write about what matters most to me and what is dear to my heart: my family and being a mom.  I've decided to hold off going private (as long as people stay kind to me!)  So please keep in mind that we didn't just do all these things in a day or two!  These are the perfect moments in our very imperfect life.  These are the moments I want to cling to. 

We took another roadtrip to Wyoming. 


I got to take pictures of these adorable kiddos while we were there.  This is a definite keeper!  


And I tried taking some of this little girl too, but she wasn't very cooperative.  This was the one and only shot I got of her that was decent before she up and walked away. 

Love getting together with some of my favorite people!  We enjoyed a delicious beef stew dinner at my brother's house.  

 Cousin friends are awesome. 

Grandma friends are awesome too.  




We've had heaps of family dinners.  It's my favorite part of the day.  These kids can't seem to take a photo without a hand sign of some sort. 



Butter Chicken (a recipe my friend shared with us a couple of years ago and has become a favorite) and naan.   Since we can't take these kids all around the world, we'll bring the world to them. 

Love when we get to have the missionaries over!  
 
My recipe book has been getting lots of use lately.  It looks like this these days.  I've had this great idea for years that I would stop cramming papers into it.  Ya.  I don't think that's going to happen.  

He has really taken to being my kitchen helper lately.

 She's just cute.  And a tad bit crazy.  

I told you she was crazy.  

But she is awesome fun too. I cannot imagine life without her. 

This boy is into all things Rainbow Loom. 

I find rubberbands EVERYWHERE! 

And Mowgli sneaks into my bed several nights a week after his brothers have fallen asleep so we can read together. 

We are participating in a geography exchange where we send and receive one package a month.  We shipped off our first Samoan themed package to The Netherlands.  

There was a visit to the Natural History Museum in there too.  Such an incredible place!  


Mowgli got both pins removed from his arm and had the second cast put on.  

He chose blue.




We've enjoyed some beautiful hikes.  




This guy has been up to some super fun projects like replacing brake pads.  

And window washing.

Ha! 

Bud is loving flag football.  He has one practice and one game a week.  
 
And then there's that homeschooling thing we do.






I pretty much died when I found this in Mowgli's journal.  Be still my heart.  


There was this that I posted on Facebook:


We enjoyed a day at the zoo and got to see everything except for the otters.  That NEVER happens!


More Meals on Wheels.

I'm pretty obsessed with the colors right now! 



 My early morning hours are spent like this: journaling, planning, and studying (with a short workout too).  

Mowgli earned his Bobcat.  Don't ask me why he is barefoot at scouts.
 

Now to get a little serious on you all.  I've been thinking a lot lately.  I tend to do that and get stuck in my thoughts.  But here's what I've been thinking about.  LIFE.  Perhaps I'm feeling particularly tender because of this homeschooling mom from Utah who is in the fight of her life.  Or because of this family in our stake (large church congregation) that found out she has weeks to live.

One morning as I sat in the silence and dark I couldn't stop thinking about these women.  What if I were in their situation?  What if I knew I was dying?  How would I live?  And I began to write.  I wrote in my journal all the things I would do.  How would I live if I were dying? 

I would lay by my kids every night till they fell asleep.  I would tell people I loved them more.  I would call my parents more.  I would chill the heck out.  I would laugh when Tigerlily made messes.  I would find joy in the mundane service of being a mother.  I would be so darn grateful I got to fold the clothes they wear and cook food to fill their bellies.  I would go out of my way to lift the burdens of those around me.

So there you have it.  If I'm not around here much, you'll know why.  I'm living and I'm clinging to all these perfect moments that splatter our messy, imperfect days.   
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