Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

We had a lovely, wonderful, magical Christmas.  Granny was here to spend the week with us and we kept her very busy. We spent a night in Williamsburg, VA visiting Busch Gardens and celebrating the holidays and Nash's birthday at Great Wolf Lodge. It was fun for all of us except Scott who lost his phone on the scariest roller coaster ever, The VERBOLTEN!

 Christmas Eve was spent with our good friends The Johnson's. We ate,  reenacted the Nativity, ate, Granny bought the kids a pinata, and we ate.
Christmas day was quiet.  We were all tired from the previous few day's festivities.  We actually, had Mac & Cheese for Christmas dinner. Most of our day was spent being entertained by Scott as he attempted to get Atley's new drone out of a tree. The kids spent the day playing with their new toys and a trip to the movie theater to finally see the new STAR WARS movie. 

To ease the tinge of sadness that always arrives the day after Christmas, we drove to Delaware to watch one of our favorites, Jimmer Fredette play basketball. We even got to meet up with him and former BYU pitcher Kolton Mahoney after the game.
 Harley's favorite part of the day was getting her face-painted and the battle balls.
Here is wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

ICE at National Harbor

Harley literally crawled into the fountain during the water show and had to be yanked out. She was completely mesmerized.  Good thing it was an unseasonably warm winter's night because she was soaked to the bone.  
One place it was certainly cold, a balmy 9 degrees, was inside this year's ICE exhibit. The theme was from the movie Santa Claus Is Coming to Town!

 We love Christmas time, especially in the D.C. area!

Happy Birthday Boys!

I love these two A LOT!

Harley made Nash the most thoughtful book full of all his favorite things, Big Nate, Angry Birds, and the Baltimore Ravens.  So sweet! 
Tonight we celebrated the birthday of two of my favorite people. I won't get too mushy about the husband. I will just say he is a great husband, a great dad, a great provider, a great cougar fan, a great popcorn and pancake maker, a great fixer of anything, a great karaoke singer, a great Mountain Dew drinker and a terrible impersonator but I thank him for still trying and for always making me laugh.
My sweet baby Nash. My beautiful baby boy.  My baby that refused to open his eyes for at least a week. My dark-haired angel. You are the heart of our home.  You are our dancing bear and our sports fanatic.You are a peacemaker and you have the kindest soul of anyone I have ever known. You are keenly aware of the needs and desires of others and gladly put yourself second to help another. You are such a hard worker and a natural leader.  You have been given some tremendous gifts from your Heavenly Father, that not only influence the members of your family but all those who come in contact with you.  We feel so privileged that Heavenly Father sent you to us.  We love you forever and always! 
Happy 9th birthday Jo Jo Pet!

A Camel, A Shepherd and A Wise Man

. . .walk into a bar.

No just kidding! Those were actually roles played by our children in the Church Nativity.

Gingerbread Houses 2015

You have probably heard me complain about this tradition before but I'm not going to complain this year. You want to know why?  Because I hot glued the houses together before we decorated them.  The kids could eat all the icing and candy they wanted, just not the houses themselves. It worked beautifully because, honestly, who really likes gingerbread anyway!  Well, actually the dog apparently loves gingerbread seasoned with hot glue, because the houses were destroyed within 10 hours of construction and there was an abundance of dog barf under the Christmas tree. Well, it was fun while it lasted. Shout out to my favorite gingerbread houses from IKEA.  I make a special trip there every year just to pick up the gingerbread kits and it is well worth my time.


'Tis the Season of the Elf

Ispy turned our window into a winter wonderland.  Apparently, he is a BYU fan. He brought us tickets to see ICE and introduced the kids to Snoballs, of which they were not fans.
Ispy showed off his engineering skills by rigging a tire swing out of a Mason jar ring.  One night he ran into some trouble when our evil cat trapped him in her kitty food. He fashioned a cardboard Rudolph that he rode through the house.  He even created his very own "Kiss"ing booth. 
 Ispy is always mischievous and left us a few naughty little notes.
One night he brought one of his favorite reindeer all the way from the North Pole for the kids to enjoy and then he turned one of our doors into Frosty the Snowman! 
He brought us the beautiful book entitled, A Christmas Spider's Miracle along with some golden icicles to go along with the story and for the kids to use on the Christmas trees.  
Well, I don't know about you Ispy but I am exhausted and we still have 11 more days until Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

For the first time in seven years we actually stayed home and I cooked Thanksgiving Dinner. Much to my surprise it was actually pretty nice and relaxing. The kids made pilgrims and tee pees for our place settings. Never mind, Harley's Klan hood, we had a disagreement about pilgrim hats and she obviously won the argument.
The weather was beautiful so we spent an afternoon at George Washington's boyhood home, Ferry Farm, on the banks of the Rappahannock. We saw George's cherry tree, tobacco plants, and played with the cotton blossoms. By the way, the Ipad that appears to be permanently attached to Atley's arm is actually part of the tour.
At home the kids and Scott worked on the log chicken cabin that they have been building and had plenty of time on the tire swing Scott rigged for them in late September. 
And Harley taught us all about the first Thanksgiving by making a bracelet with  beads that represented all sorts of important things.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks

I have an abundance of blessings.  I certainly don't deserve all that I have been given and I could undoubtedly write a long list of the many things that I have to be grateful for but I really want to focus on a few specific blessings.

Let me make a long story even longer.  When I was a little girl I loved dolls. I may even have 63 Cabbage Patch Kids in a plastic bin in my garage.  As a child all I ever wanted to play was "Mother" and my greatest desire was to someday have children of my very own.  As I got older and wiser, I realized that I might need a contingency plan or something to fill up my time, if children were not part of the equation.   In fact, I think Scott might have married me under the impression that I was headed to law school.  But after step one of "the have children plan" was a success, (find a husband) I told him I wasn't really into the whole law school idea and I graduated with a teaching endorsement attached to my Political Science degree. Honestly, I thought teaching would be the best job to have if I ever had the children I wanted.

(Side note to my future female posterity.  Get your education! Even if you never work outside of your own home your education is invaluable.)

Feeling a little embarrassed,  I must admit, that even in college when I envisioned my future I didn't imagine myself sitting in a law office raking in cash or even teaching in a classroom not raking in much cash. I always imagined a kitchen full of kids eating cookies and drinking milk. However, actually, having children seemed to be a little out of my control. I had some minor health issues that several doctor's told me would make it difficult if not impossible for me to have children of my own. After 5 years of marriage, and 4 years of teaching, we found out Atley was on his way.   I was so excited. The culmination of my childhood dreams were at my doorstep and then I panicked. Scott and I had decided that I would stay home with the children when they were small. It always sounded like a great idea but suddenly, being a full-time mom seemed so much more daunting than I had ever anticipated. I was worried about our finances, whether I would be good enough, whether I would even like the baby.  Could he possibly measure up to my Cabbage Patch Kids?  Even my classroom in an Atlanta ghetto seemed like a much less scary place than a kitchen full of kids.  Despite my fears and my acknowledged inadequacies I knew I needed to stay home with this new baby and any more that may follow. I wasn't sure how it would all work out. But, things have a way of working themselves out when you attempt to do what you feel inspired to do. Sometimes it would have been very nice to have an extra income. Frequently, I wasn't good at motherhood and I frequently still fail, but fortunately Atley and the two others that came later, were every bit as cute as my Cabbage Patch dolls. It wasn't always easy.  It was more often than not, thankless and a little bit like living out the Ground Hog Day movie.  But, I can say without uncertainty that being home with my children has been the greatest blessing of my life.  I gleaned so much joy from the 11 years that I stayed home with them.  I know that it isn't something that can work for every woman.  Everyone's circumstance is different but I hope that my own daughter and my son's will recognize the value of a stay-at-home-mom even as the world that we live in de-values that role.

So, when Harley started school, I was a little lost. All of my babies were gone for more than 8 hours a day. The days of playing "mother" seemed to be gone and I was in a little bit of a funk.  Not to say that my children no longer needed a mother but what they needed from me had changed dramatically and quickly .  Being home without them all day wasn't nearly as fun as I thought it might be.  After about a week I knew I needed something else beside the dog and the cat to fill up my days so I took the necessary steps to become a substitute teacher. I felt a need to be needed. I know, I'm so needy. My first assignment was at the kids school and an unexpected blessing came the day after my first substitute job.  I was offered a permanent position and just like that I was working again at my children's school-same schedule, same breaks. I certainly, hadn't planned to return to work full-time so quickly but it felt like the right thing to do, so I went for it.  It has been a bit of an adjustment, but wonderful just the same. I am needed by little "E" who suffers from daily seizures. She is a light and a joy in my life each day.  I am needed by "S" who only speaks Spanish, is autistic and has ADHD.  I would gladly bring him home to live with me forever. I'm grateful that, again my Heavenly Father has entrusted me to care for His little one's. I feel like the opportunity came as a direct result of the sacrifice we made for me to stay home while the children were young.

I am so grateful for my children, for the years that I was able to stay home with them, for a husband who supported my decisions, for the new and exciting opportunities in my life.  I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who is mindful of our desires and needs and in seemingly miraculous ways brings about unexpected opportunities.  He recognized the greatest desire of a little girl in a very small town and made a way possible for her to achieve those dreams and desires.He didn't send me the large family I once wanted, but he sent me three children so full of life most days it feels like I have 12 or 13. I am especially grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ who made it possible for me to be forgiven of my tremendous inadequacies as a mother, a wife, a teacher and a human being.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October & Halloween

There are many necessary steps that must be completed before we actually get to go Trick-or-Treating Halloween night.

For us that means creating Pumpkinhead for the porch, eating donuts, drinking cider and watching, Spookley the Square Pumpkin while going through the decorations of Halloween's past.

Including school parties, a trip to the pumpkin patch and a least one Trunk-or-Treat!


(But only after a minimum of 5 costume changes throughout the month)

Yeah, we thought it was weird that Atley got two cans of Root Beer while Trick-or-Treating too.