Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This year was probably one of my favorite Thanksgivings yet.
We started the morning off later than usual, the kids didn't get up until 7:00: first thing I was thankful for! haha. We sauntered into the living room to watch the Thanksgiving Parade.  For some reason I thought Caity would be my sidekick, but Johnny was surprisingly the parade enthusiast.  He anxiously waited for each float and would exclaim "Wow! Mom! It's Thomas (or a turkey, or whatever.) Hi Thomas! How you flyin!?"  It made it a lot of fun.  Every time some Disney break-out star would sing some over computerized pop song, John would look over at me like, "Wow, I must really love you."  Haha, Caity liked that part anyhow.
I had ambitions of making some cute turkey pancake breakfast I saw on Pinterest, but settled on cereal. I did set the table nice for the kids though.  It was really a 11:30 pm the night before endeavor.  Good thing though, because first thing Johnny did when he woke up was run to the table and shout, "It's Thanksgiving!"  I made everyone a little turkey place holders, on each feather was something I was grateful for about them- Caity appreciated it, William just ate his, and Johnny didn't even notice his- haha.
Once the kids were all showered and clean and less homeless looking, I wanted to get a picture of them together.  This was an effort, but we did it. Kind of.
I really liked this one of William. That smile gets me every time.
I have about 100 pictures like this in my phone...that baby! So wiggly.

We were having Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Janae's house. So I was in charge of salads.  I made a caramel apple salad, a toss salad and a jello salad.  I'd have to say the caramel apple salad was the most successful, with the jello coming in at a close second.  No one....NO ONE touched the green toss salad, haha. I thought that was funny.
Johnny was my little helper in the kitchen.
Caity was outside helping Dad put up Christmas lights (by helping I mean running around the front yard singing...)
Johnny and I had a lot of fun cooking together. It was one of my highlights of the day. He kept sneaking bites of apples and he would smile at me and say, "I didn't do it! I didn't do it! OK, I did it." 

It was a long wait until Janae's house...but the rascals kept themselves busy.  No, this didn't end in William toppling out and hitting his head, OK, maybe it did.  

We took down our Thankful Poster, we kind of fell behind updating it...but it is still fun to see the things people put.  I think my favorite of Caity's was Contruction Workers and "I am grateful for Holidays." 

It was fun to spend Thanksgiving with family since the last couple of years we stayed in Moscow.  Janae used all the same recipes as my mom, so that was fun to have recipes I haven't had in a while. Mostly, it just felt nice being with family. The kids wrestled my cousin, Nick for about two hours straight, haha- I'm sure he slept well!  John and Katie kept pranking eachother and stealing eachother's phones.  At one point John switched numbers in Katie's phone and pretended to be her other cousin, Alyssa- it was pretty funny and it had us all laughing- when we figured it out, we were all pretty fooled at first!
By the time we got home, everyone was beyond exhausted and we crashed.
Friday morning started with....CHRISTMAS decorating! :) 
My type of morning.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Snowman, Sous Chef, and Lumberjack

With the rainfall on Friday, Caity knew her snowman building days were dwindling, so she set to work Saturday morning.  I thought she did an alright job! By afternoon, the snow melted enough that her snowman's head fell off, she was pretty ticked off.  Caity and I have been reading a simplified version of Little Women.  It has been fun.  With her improving on reading, our parent code of spelling everything out has become obsolete.  Kind of funny moments with that one. 

This little guy has figured out how to push a chair to the counter so he can help me cook.  It really is fun to hear his babble and tongue clickings while he takes all the oranges out of the fruit bowl then stacks them back in.  Yesterday, John tried to teach him how to juggle and it cracked me up.  William kept forcefully lifting the oranges but he didn't know how to let go of them, he would just watch John in awe.  He also uses my elliptical as a jungle gym (at least someone is putting it to use!) He will climb all over it for a good solid twenty minutes. 

John went and scavenged us some firewood.  Johnny wanted in on the chopping action. 
The other day Johnny and were walking around Tai Pan Trading (a decor store), and there was a giant life size Santa at the doorway.  Without missing a beat, Johnny gave him a big hug and squeezed him so tight he had to close his eyes and smile really big.  When we were leaving he said, "See you later, Santa stinker!" Then to me: "He's a stinker because he lives in chimneys."  It made me smile.  Johnny is still pretty anxious about turning four.  He has been three forever you know.  

Yesterday we went to an interfaith Thanksgiving concert at CenturyLink Arena. It was beautiful. For the first few songs, I felt I was living a sort of fairy tale.  The  music was so moving, and the kids sat at the edge of their chairs.  Johnny kept pointing out all the instruments and Caity just sat there, smiling.  William sat on John's lap playing quietly with John.  I looked over at all them and was filled to the brim with happiness.  Then we overstayed our welcome and Johnny shouted, "TOO MUCH SINGING!"  John was forced to take the littlest one away to another level of the stadium so he didn't jump off the steep stairs and Caity kept saying she was "Sooo bored." Then, when I asked her if she wanted to leave she said, "No! This is just perfect." Silly girl.  So...we took our leave and hustled through the lit streets of downtown Boise.  It was a valiant effort,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Waiting in the Car and Making Turkeys

On Monday, I got the boys all bundled up and began my trek to Caity's school.  I don't know why I thought the sidewalks would be plowed.  The weren't.  It was eight and half inches of snow chiseled into little mountains from pedestrians before me.  By snow, I mean ice. I pushed with all my might and after a couple blocks, I had to turn that makeshift double stroller of mine around and run to the van while cursing mother nature for making me late picking up Caity. 
Since the snow has made itself at home, I have been driving this whole week.  I try to get there early to make sure I can get a parking spot since I have to get out to get Caity. This leaves some good talking with me and Johnny.

Here is a picture of Johnny waiting in the car with me looking like a little homeless man, cute homeless man though. Today he said the funniest and I almost wrote it down, but then I figured it was so funny I wouldn't forget it, but what do you know...I did.  Sometimes we play games like "would you rather" or I spy. For the record, Johnny would rather have a rocket ship than an airplane because he really wants to go the moon and airplanes only go to Florida (apparently.) Also, he would rather have a race car than a big truck because then he would have to go potty in the car, he can just drive "really super boom" fast.  He would also rather have a red car than a blue because blue is his favorite color.  If he had to choose between a toy monster and a toy dinosaur he would choose both because that one was just too hard.
When we play "I Spy" it will go something like this:
Johnny will look directly at yellow fire hydrant and say, "I spy something yellow."  I 'll guess the fire hydrant, because I wasn't born yesterday you know.  He'll look at me and say, "Are you crazy? Crazy mom."  Then on the third guess I always get it, "Good job mommy! You are a good looker!"
All the while, William hangs out in his car seat trying to figure out how to take off his mittens. 
I like hanging out with those guys.

In other news, Caity has made it quite clear that I have dropped the ball on November crafting opportunities. She has picked up the slack though.
Here she is trying to make her own turkey.  I really enjoy walking in on her doing her little projects. Her desk is like her sanctuary. And yes, that is a calendar in the background, she is obsessed with calendars and day-planning. 

I also feel the need to tell you about how William is a little box of sound effects these days. When we play airplanes or cars he makes "woooosh" ing noises or "vrrrroooom"ing noises. I think it is darling.

And right now, this very moment, what feels like an earthquake is really just John laughing next to me on the bed watching prank videos.
What a life. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

The last couple of night we have been serenaded by a crackling fire. It is just so cozy and comforting.  The kids are fascinated by it. All three of them line up in front of the fireplace with their backs against the fire to see who can stand the heat the longest.  William kept trying to put little sticks in the flame (but is stopped by the metal protector, to which he would say "Nuh oh!")  It has just been such a treat. Last night, John and I laid down with our feet to the fire for warmth and talked about a dream get away- haha, in Salt Lake of all places! Ha! Some day maybe somewhere farther....Jerusalem for him...Greece and Rome for me.
A fire in the fireplace puts a soft glow on my memories of the last couple nights.
Now, if only I had marshmallows... :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Made Over by Caity

I thought it would be fun to let Caity put on my make up today.  Lately, it doesn't seem like we get a lot of one on one time.  She was so precise and methodical, I thought it was so cute.
I loved watching her face as she applied different things.

We sat on my bathroom floor and talked about school, Elsa, and friends while she worked her magic.  I didn't tell her what to do, or in what order or how things worked. 
I was impressed when I looked in the mirror, though! You would have never guessed a 6 year old did my make up. Granted, I had a rainbow eyelid when I closed my was still pretty conspicuous. I know, I know, I should have taken a picture. Maybe next time...
It was good bonding time for us, I like that Caity girl.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The First Snowfall

There is just something so magical about the first time snow float from the sky. Kids start jumping on couches exclaiming "It's snowing! It's snowing!" or in Johnny's case, "Yay! It's Christmas!" 
It started about 10:00 AM yesterday, by the time we picked up Caity from kindergarten, the world as we knew it was a winter wonderland.  Despite my best herding efforts, Caity remained about fifteen feet behind us on the sidewalk, with her mouth open wide trying to catch the snowflakes in her mouth.  It snowed through the night and we woke up to the glow fallen snow seems to reflect in the twilight hours. 
We opened all the blinds and enjoyed our life size snow globe experience. 
The kids were itching to play in it, so I set to work getting them all perfectly bundled and puffy.

They had a blast.
Especially William- am I right?
Unconvinced? Here is a closer look:
Yeah, he was loving it.

Trying to make a snowball.

William after he ate snow for the first time.

Making a snow angel.


Kicking up snow together and trying to catch the falling flakes.

Johnny kept marching around the yard, then would say, "Here's my buried treasure!" Then, he would bury himself in the snow. He was so, so, SO happy. 

Caity making a snow angel.

After a while the boys got a little cold and headed inside to warm up.  They offered a great audience for their big sister.

She was making a snow castle.

Eventually she came inside, and all three kids hopped in a warm bath, while I threw snowballs at them.  We made hot chocolate and threw down pancakes, eggs and fruit for lunch, because on a snow day like today, that just seemed like the thing to do. 
I'm not a snow bunny by any means, but I can't help but feel all giddy and magical know, it's beginning to look a lot like...nope, not saying it...but I'm thinking it! :) (Christmas!) (OK, so I said it.)
Perhaps when John gets home, we will go sledding...he is always good at making sure we do that fun stuff.
Happy Snow Day to You!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Locks of Love

Well, a couple weeks ago, Miss Caity got the notion she NEEDED short hair.  Her reasons: not so many tangles, doesn't take so long to wash and dry, "I just feel like a change, OK mom?" 
I asked her how short she wanted it and she indicated right under her cheek bone (to clarify here: not under her chin/jaw bone, but her cheek bone.)
I told her we would wait until after Halloween and see if she was still on board.
She was.
Better yet, she had heard about Locks of Love, and she wanted to donate her hair to her teacher's mom who has cancer.  I explained the process and how that isn't exactly how it worked, but she still wanted to donate it to "at least someone!" 
I was pretty proud of her.
So, Monday morning, much to her excitement, we headed to Great Clips.

Paperwork is filled out and her hair is sealed and ready to be dropped off at the post office.
Caity loves her hair cut and says it is exactly what she wanted, so that is good. 
She keeps acting so surprised when people recognize her.
"How do they know it's me? I don't even recognize myself!"

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Little Morning People

Morning snuggles are the best.
I've come to terms with my 5:00 to 6:00 AM wake up call.  I'll admit, I first thought it was a phase. It's not. 
I'm glad they are so happy in the mornings, it takes the edge off. :)
This morning I woke up to do some homework
First came Johnny. He trotted in a zig-zag-not-quite-awake fashion. He sat next to me and started sorting face cards.
Next, I heard William, squawking from his crib, while he hit a car against the wall.
That didn't last long though, because Caity woke up soon after and pulled him out.
She glided softly to the table and said, "What a night, my head is killing me." 
William baby-sprinted toward me and smiled mischievously at me as if he was saying, "Look! I'm awake!"
Homework went on the back burner and three shivering little bodies hopped in a warm bath. Johnny lined up his trains on the side of the tub, William knocked them over. Johnny cried, then William cried, then Johnny laughed, then William laughed.  
Meanwhile, Caity was in my shower, singing "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs. 
I think our neighbors got a morning alarm as well out of my children.
Everyone got dressed and ate some oatmeal and now we are watching Aristocats
"I go first because I am a lady."
"You're not a lady, you're just a sister."
Love that line!
By the time John gets home from basketball, I'll say "What a long day!" To which he'll reply "It's not even 8:00 AM"  
Then, I'll realize it isn't time to make lunch, but the kids will be ready for their second breakfast soon. Then, William will go down for a nap and wake up again at the time I wish I was waking up in the first place!
They are great kids. I am glad I get to hang out with them today.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's November!

Yesterday was a brisk autumn day. Our front lawn is completely blanketed with leaves now, and I think our tree is only half way through its shedding. 
I tried to be particularly grateful yesterday, despite being surrounded by whiny voices, teasing hands, and stubborn toddlers that insist climbing on the dining room table.
It was hard but there is a lot to be happy about.
Just like the pumpkin assignment, Caity brought home a turkey in need of a disguise for Thanksgiving. Caity asked me if we were going to kill a turkey. I said, "No, we're just going to eat one." That seemed to appease her...for now.
After hashing out many options for her turkey's disguise, from mummies to penguins to Santa Claus, we narrowed in on a pinata.  It was a lot of fun to make together. 

For family night we learned about the First Thanksgiving and talked about Pilgrims and gratitude.  We started our Gratitude Poster.  It will be hanging in our house through the month of November and everyone can add items on it every day.  It is fun for me to see what kinds of things people put down.  Johnny was thankful for his two robots, Caity was thankful for "famlees" and "skool." John was thankful for 3 wheeler rides with Caity and I was thankful for bedtime (because yesterday it couldn't come fast enough!:) )

So, here's to a good November! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Hallow's Eve 2014

We had a grand time this Halloween!
For my "Days of Halloween," Halloween was  Pumpkin Day! 
For breakfast we had Orange Julius in jack-o-lantern cups, jack-o-lantern mandarian oranges and waffles cut to look like- you guessed, jack-o-lanterns.  We watched Disney's Halloweentown while we ate breakfast. 
Next, we made some Halloween goodies for Caity's teacher and then decorated the left overs for ourselves! :)  I was in charge of organizing Caity's class "Harvest Party."  It was fun to get in the classroom and meet all the classmates I hear so much about.  I manned the freeze-dance station, every time the music stopped, the kids had to find a Halloween Picture to stand on and if I drew their picture, they got a prize.  These kids had some moves! Would you believe I didn't get one picture of the party? I must have been too busy getting a dead arm from holding William while chasing Johnny down the hall between "music stops."  By the time we left, we were all exhausted. Kindergarten teachers are awesome, I don't know how they do it- and always with a smile on their faces!

When we got home from school, Dad greeted us wearing his costume! He was all decked out in Camouflage. The kids were so excited. We finally got to carve our pumpkins. Once again, we competed boys vs. girls.  

 Caity was pretty grossed out by the pumpkin guts!
For whatever reason, the boys found it more enjoyable! :)
Johnny wanted a dinosaur pumpkin...correct that, a "Sharp Tooth" Pumpkin and Dad delivered! (see costume pics below.) William just toddled around eating whatever we pulled out of our pumpkins.

Caity wanted a very girly pumpkin that absolutely had to have eyelashes and puckered lips and ear rings.

After pumpkins, we ate stew (we have that every Halloween), then  got in our costumes. 

So you may notice that Caity isn't the pink ballerina she was last weekend, and wanted to be all. year. long.  A couple weeks ago, you know- after I finished her ballerina costume- she decided she wanted to be Elsa from Frozen. I explained that we were already done with her costume and though she was let down, she didn't complain once.  She did make sure to give a disclaimer to anyone who asked her about her ballerina costume, though. ("Yeah, I wanted to be Elsa, but my mom wanted me to be a ballerina so, yeah- it's OK, I still like it- maybe next year or something. At least my mom is happy." Yeah, I felt like the worst mom ever.) 
I thought it through, and looked around the house and knew I could throw together an Elsa costume pretty easily with little cost.  So, I figured, "Hey, you are only 6 once- why not?" Besides, her ballerina costume cost nothing, so it wasn't a real big deal.  She already owned a blue, shimmery, poofy dress, so that was easy.  For the cloak, I chopped up a thrifted wedding veil and sewed it to an old lace shirt I below the sleeves.  I sewed on glittery snowflakes I found at the dollar store and covered that thing with spray glue and glitter. The crown was made from silver pipe cleaner I had. I wish you could have seen her face when she saw the costume.  "This is the best day of my life!" It was totally worth it.  She probably sang "Let it Go" a million and one times.

I told her she was the prettiest princess I ever saw. She bashfully said, "Well, actually I'm a queen, remember? It's OK, I get it confused too, sometimes." Here she is with her pumpkin^,

Johnny with his pumpkin. ^
Now, since Caity got a costume change- it is only right Johnny should too, right? Well, he thought so. 
Funny side story here.  We went to another Trunk or Treat on Wednesday.  There was a little boy in a Batman costume. They were playing super heroes and it got a little out of hand.  Johnny walked away with a fat lip. I felt kind of bad for him because for the first time in the history of ever he actually listened to me and didn't fight back.  So, ever since, Batman has been Johnny's mortal enemy. Like, his batman figurines are the bad guys now when he plays with his toys. When he switched to his Iron Man costume, Johnny said, "Yeah, Hulk is scared of Batman, but not IronMan, I'm gonna win this time, right mom?"  Thank goodness we didn't run into any Batmans while trick or treating.

William stayed a Lion. :) About ten minutes into trick or treating, this little lion conked out in the stroller.

Our only family picture from the night.

Trick or Treating was slow starting, but it got fun as it became darker. Johnny made sure to strike up a conversation with every person who answered the door. "How many dogs do you have?" Then as he was leaving, "I like your 3 dogs!" After about ten houses, Johnny was just too tired and with William asleep, the boys headed home. Caity wasn't giving in so easily. So together, we conquered.
This picture cracks me up.  She was horrified by the motion detector skeleton. We ran into some friends from down the street and trick or treated with Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West. Caity was so hyper: friends plus candy plus Elsa plus staying out late- this girl was in heaven. 

By the time our sore feet tuckered through the front door, Johnny was asleep on the couch and John was into his millionth hunting clip on youtube.  Caity was too exhausted to wash the glitter from her hair or take off her princess dress, so I just kind of let her sleep that way. She was out in minutes.

John and I enjoyed some hot chocolate and left over cookies and finally got to really see each other after a long, busy week. 

The next morning, the kids and I were up early and we sorted candy.  I love watching the littles concentrate on counting and pairing, it is just a fun way to watch their minds think!

Dear Halloween, you were good to us, see you and your spooky fun next year!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Therapy Session

Can we just have a little sit down? It is 3:07 AM, and I am awake. William woke up an hour ago and needed some special one on one attention and by golly, I always have trouble sleeping after those little episodes.
This morning, I woke up and went to the kitchen to not warm up the bottle I was not giving him, since, you know, he doesn't drink bottles being 13 months old and all....ahem. I looked at the Halloween remains in my kitchen: ceramic jack-o-lanterns on the dining room table, the large pot with leftover stew plastered to the sides, empty hot chocolate cups, my three felt spiders tiredly hanging from the ceiling fan...and I realized Halloween was over.  In a few hours I would be packing up all the spooky hoopla, folding up costumes, and saying goodbye to Halloween for another year.  I jokingly thought about that song from the Forgotten Carols, "I cry when I take the Tree the Down," replacing tree with "Ghouls" and realized how ridiculous I sounded. It's Halloween for crying out loud! :)  So why is a little piece of me dying with October ending?
Time is passing. It is going by so, so quickly.  Last night, I went to my neighbor's house and looked at all the pictures of her grown up high school children, and you wouldn't believe this- but there was once a time they were little like my own. This year, they were all out at parties and get-togethers and I just couldn't fathom that some Halloween down the road, my kids will all have their own plans that won't include gluing scraps of paper to a candy corn picture.  How exciting for the coming years, but how sad for the passing ones that won't ever come back.
Don't get me wrong. I am a fan of November- there are so many fun traditions to look forward to from our "Gratitude Poster" to being with family, to turkey and gravy (yum!), to Christmas preparations... I can't help but feel a particular warmth inside when I think about November.
But it feels like all Novembers kind of blend together over time as one large happy memory.  Octobers seem to separate themselves a little more. Like, remember that one year Caity was little red riding hood, and we thought the other person was pushing her stroller so she toppled over in a ditch?  Or, remember that time we made Johnny dress up as a clown even though he wanted to be Spiderman so he was the poutiest clown in the whole world?  Or how about that time we got the three kids matching skeleton jammies and laughed so hard as John and William did the skeleton dance?  Octobers are full of specifics.  It seems like just yesterday, I was pushing a newborn Caity around in my old pumpkin costume, positive she was the cutest pumpkin the world ever did see.
But that wasn't yesterday.
Yesterday, my little not-so-newborn girl joined the streets with the other Elsa's and determinedly stayed out an hour later than her brothers trick or treating.  Time is passing.  And in the wee hours of this November 1, 2014, I am hanging on by its coat tails.  The future is promising, and the unknown is exciting; but gosh, it's hard saying goodbye to the last Halloween I have a 6 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old, because next year Caity will probably have lost a tooth, and William will be talking and Johnny may not insist all five suckers need to be in his mouth at the same time(...or maybe he will.) This morning, life feels like an hourglass, people.
So, here I am. Sitting on my couch. Staring at our carved pumpkins with the fallen skeleton chain draping over the tops. I smile thinking about how Caity insisted hers have eyelashes, and Johnny insisted his be a dinosaur, while William insisted on eating the pumpkin guts as dug them out (ew.) I smile thinking about my awesome husband carving across from me, how he was dressed up in camo for Halloween by the time the kids and I got home from school, just to show me he liked Halloween too.  I can't help but smile as I take yesterday's memories and give them a big ole mental hug. I know I told the kids that Jack o Lanterns make their exit November 1st,  but perhaps they can stay a little longer...maybe just a few days...maybe just long enough to let those memories linger as "the present," so I don't have to admit they are the yesterday.

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