Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving this year turned out to be a great one!
The days leading up to the holiday, John and I were both sick with a stomach flu and (reminisent of a food poisoning experience a couple thanksgivings before...) we were not up for a turkey dinner. The kids were pretty disappointed and I swear God listens to Caity's prayers like no one else I know, because what do you know? We started feeling better and decided around ten in the morning we were going to go for it! But...let me back track.
We woke up early in the morning to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade and have biscuits and gravy.  We hung out and played around the house for a bit while we tried to stream some football then...well, I guess that brings us to deciding to have thanksgiving after all at ten am. Wasn't much to stop the post and back up- but you know, it's good you know that we watched the parade and played together right?
I told everyone they were required to add at least five things to our our gratitude poster, haha, I know that probably takes away from the purpose...but eh, I still enjoy going back and reading what they put (even if it's because their mom makes them!) haha. 
Johnny was able to add in his own words this year, which I loved. William also threw in a couple scibbles. Caity's are always sweet and bless her heart, she is probably the most faithful contributor. 

As soon as she found out we were going to make a turkey, Caity got in her Thanksgiving dress and matched Jessie.

Johnny played Monster Match with his super heroes

Dad chased Johnny with our raw turkey

Caity dressed up Matthew while she played Queen Rainbow.

William helped me make gravy.

And at the end of the day, we had a mighty good spread:
It was a really, really, REALLY fun thanksgiving dinner.

That evening, John requested a very special Christmas present. 
As a family he wanted us to camp out in front of Cabelas so we could win a prize when the doors opened at 5:00 AM. I had my reservations, but gosh, I love that John of mine!! So, we bundled up, got our propane heater and joined the other crazies for a night of camping in a parking lot in seriously, not joking: ZERO DEGREE TEMPERATURES. It was cold. REAL cold.

The kids were troopers, but ended up spending most of the night in the car. I was positively miserable. But we drank hot chocolate, watched The Christmas Story projected on the building, won a couple t-shirts, and really had a fun time. 
(John didn't win the gun- haha)
(But we DID win two $10 gift cards!)
I'm telling you- there is no way, no how I could have done that with or for anyone else, besides John. He makes the worst experiences the best experiences. Right when I reach my end, he gives me that smile and what do you know, I realize I can go longer than I thought.
We also sold our suburban, which was sad, but also exciting because that meant rent for a few more months, haha. Oh life. We ended up buying a van, names Max the next Monday.
Also, on the way home, we stopped by Kohl's and I was able to get a couple more stockings for our set for 60% off, thank you very much. 
Friday, John went hunting with our friend, Eric, and put up Christmas decor and did homework. It was a great weekend together. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hall Buddies

Matthew had a hard day yesterday. We aren't quite sure what caused everything, maybe teething? Maybe an ear infection? Maybe digestion issues? I don't know. It's always a guessing game so we just treated for all three and hoped for the best.  We (as in John) finally got him to sleep right before church, but of course, he woke up in time for the sacrament.  Luckily, it wasn't until the first speaker that I needed to take him outside to pace the lobby. 
William made his way out to find me later with crayons in hand. I looked in at John who just smiled at me like, "Sucker." (I think it was his way of flirting?) So, it was me and the two youngest listening to the service from a speaker in the ceiling.  I didn't mind, I like spending time with just one or two of the kids at a time because it doesn't seem to happen as much as I would like. 
William ran up to me and put his hand out and said, "Uh HIGH!" (I high fived him) then rotated his hand down low, "Uh LOW!" and right as I went to low five him he whipped his hand away and exclaimed, "Too Joe-Joe!" (Too slow joe.) Then he laughed and laughed, stopped laughing abruptly and smiled his cheesy smile and shrugged. Then did it again. (And one more time.)
He pretended his crayons were guns and shot at make believe bad guys, his sound effects caused drool to get all down my skirt, but don't worry- he cleaned it up, with his crayon. 
All the while Matthew would trade off crying and watching his big brother in utter amazement like, "What's he gonna do next?" 
Since becoming a mom, there are a couple "rules" I have for myself for the time I spend in the hall with children during church.
1- Always go back into sacrament meeting for the closing hymn and prayer. 
2- Every Sunday, regardless of how many times I find myself roaming the halls with a little one, I need to come home with at least one deeper understanding of the gospel. 

The second rule has yet to fail me. Even if I only get five minutes of class time, I have been able to find a moment where I have been uplifted and my understanding has increased.  It takes an extra level of mindfulness on my part, but I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost that confirms truths to me or ways I need to improve, or things I have to thank God for. 

Well, after the closing song, Caity volunteered to take her brothers to their respective classes. We later found her in the hallway literally dragging a crying William to nursery.  John volunteered to take him in and I made my way to Sunday School. Naturally, as I stepped across the threshold, that baby of mine completely lost it. 
Everyone turned around and looked, I turned around and walked. 
I told John to go to class despite his willingness to trade off because, OK- I'll admit it, I loved holding that poor miserable baby.  I walked past the nursery and recognized William's voice, so I peeked in and what I saw I can only describe as a "Hulk Tantrum." Knowing William enough to know that soon other children's safety would be in danger, I opened the door and beckoned William to come to me. 
I saw relief from the more than accomidating nursery leaders as they said, "Are you sure?" Haha, bless them!
He grabbed my finger and hiccuped his way down the hall and wiped his tears from his flushed cheeks.  I sat down on the couch with Matthew on one knee and William on the other. 
Eventually William calmed down and started to play with his truck.  I realized that before church we never finished getting Matthew dressed, so instead of the planned argyle sweater, he was sporting a moose onsie- haha, whoops. #Classy.
I sent John this picture to update him on our status. He said, "Awww" and I realized he is the only person in my life that understands perfectly how something as frustrating as two fussy children could still be so sweet and endearing.
After Sunday School, John came in to trade off. He took Matthew and I took William to nursery. 

He held me hostage there for the last hour of church. Every time I would say, "OK, Mommy's going to go "bye bye"" he would look up at me and pat my lap and say, "No, Mommy daaaay (stay) peeease?" And I just never had the heart to leave.  So I stayed and played one on one with William. 
We ate goldfish, crashed cars and fed cars to Rex. We tried not to lash out at other kids who took the vaccume we were playing with. We put blocks away and we apologized when we accidently clocked one in one of the leader's eyes and laughed about it. We practiced sharing, we sang songs, we petted plastic "doggies" and exchanged a lot of hugs.
It was wonderful. I am so grateful to have that little tornado in my life.  I'm also grateful that me just being there was able to comfort him and make him feel safe. 
I don't know if we are having any more children, sometimes it's a resounding "YES" and sometimes it's a "Seriously, we are barely holding on here." Somehow thinking Matthew could be our last, makes me cling tighter to the children I have and makes me appreciate moments that involve me sitting on the floor cross legged in heels playing "crash," because it just may be the last time I get to do that.
(not likely)
(but you get the idea.)
I love those four little ones that call me mom. I love that after church, Johnny ran up to me hugged me and started climbing up me with his arms and legs wrapped around me like a monkey. I love that Caity put a timer on on her CD player so when we walked through the door, church songs would be playing. I love the way William says "Bye MOM!" I love the way Matthew laughs when he hears my voice, even if it is just telling John we need to go grocery shopping. 
And most of all, I love the guy I get to share it all with. I couldn't ask for a better husband and father to my kids than John. 
Yes, I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

William Coloring and Growing Up

This morning as I was laying in my bed, I watched William walk from Caity's room his bedroom dragging a coloring book in one hand and her box of crayons in the other.  He plopped himself in the corner, still within my view, situated his book and crayons, and got to work, one crayon at a time. He scribbled with one crayon, then put back, sighed and grabbed another crayon.  This continued for a good five to ten minutes.

Monday, during family night, it was William's turn to say prayer. When John told him to go in front of everyone, He gathered his ninja turtle notebook and coloring crayons and juggled them with his short arms to the front of the room to say prayer. He put his book and crayons down while he folded his arms and when he said, " 'men!" he squatted down to start process of picking it up again to drag back to his spot so he could continue his masterpiece.

Coloring is a new hobby of William's. I love watching his little eyes focus and his squishy fingers grip crayons and blonde little eye brows furrow while I hear his deep breaths because he is concentrating so hard.

I also love walking in on all three older kids laying on a blanket in Caity's room coloring together. Caity and Johnny are talking about something and Wills just looks so proud of himself that he can hang out with the big kids.

It has been fun watching him grow up and spend more time playing (as opposed to taunting) his older siblings.  Johnny, William and I played some board games yesterday afternoon.  William was so excited every time someone got a match. He would shout, "YAAAAAY!" and clap his hands together. Then we read books and every time he would see a bug he would say "BUG! Smash!" and procede to slap the book page where the bug is located. To which Johnny says, "William! We don't kill bugs!" (His sunbeam teachers at church taught him that we don't harm God's creatures, even bugs- and he has taken it to heart.) After Johnny's miniture lecture, William looks at Johnny, looks back at the page and says, "BUG! Smash!" and smashes that bug to reiterate to Johnny what he is about.

As I have been typing this, William has sat next to me to me organizing hot wheels cars by color.
It has just been such a joy to watch him grow into his own (slightly stubborn) person.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adventures Walking Home from School

When we walked to get Caity from school yesterday, Johnny would run ahead and William would run after him yelling "VEEEEEEE!" (He can't quite say his W's.)  I held Matthew in a big poofy, marshmellow coat with his wide eyes and red nose, taking in the beautiful November evening.

Caity was waiting for us by her classroom window, so Johnny and Wills walked up to peek in the window with their hand binoculars.  She came out the door and said, "Mom! Why are you late again?" (Again, not late, just not early...haha)

On our way home we decided to go the park. We found a secret passage way through some trees. When we got to the other side, I said, "Oh look! We are in a secret world, there is the castle!"
Caity said, "Not just ANY castle, a Halloween castle!"
Johnny said, "Oh no and here come some skeletons, I'll get them!" Then my brave four and half year old began fighting off those skeletons.
Caity: "And a witch's cottage! I hope she is a nice witch."
William was still trying to build up the courage to crouch between the branches of our "secret entryway," he eventually opted to run around the trees all together. As he made the turn and saw us, he growled with his arm in the air and provided back up with Johnny against the evil skeletons.  I don't know that William knew what was going on though, he just kind of started copying Johnny battling (in his mind) himself.
Caity saw some dogs and said, "Oh no! Werewolves! I'll distract them and throw a zombie arm!"
Me: "Ew."
All the kids start laughing. (They love grossing me out.)
William: "Doggie!" He commences to chase a stranger's dog and I have to run after him to intervene.
Caity: "Oh no! Here come the bats!"
Johnny: "It's OK! They are my friends, I'll talk to them and tell them we just want to play on the Halloween castle!"
Caity: "I change my mind, this is Thanksgiving land. Whoa, look at all the pilgrims and the....(long pause), pilgrims!"
Johnny: "I don't like Thanksgiving land, I'm just going to pretend like this is Porter Park!"
(We were at Porter Park.)
Caity: "But look at all these Pilgrims and look over there, there are some...(long pause) pilgrims."
Me (seeing Caity's imagination was running low on what could be found in Thanksgiving land): "And giant turkeys! They want to eat US for Thanksgiving dinner! Ahhhh!"
Johnny runs off and "Ahhhh! RUUUUNNNN!"
William starts after in a couple seconds later: "Ahhhhh! Nonny! Nonny!" (Trying to catch up with is brother.)
Caity: "I'm done with this game now. I just want to push Matthew on the swing."
So we did. Meanwhile, Johnny and William played tag with some kids at the park, though the kids didn't realize William was playing with them.
When it got too cold for Matthew, we made our way home and had one of the cookies Johnny, William and I made for family night and some oatmeal because isn't that what everyone has for aftershool snack? Dad got home later from work and I was sure ready to tag team by that time. Those kids can wear me out some nights!

The other day, Caity chose matching outfits for everyone (me included.) She wanted to make sure we got a picture to document it. 
Easier said than done

Getting William to sit still and not watch John the whole time and/or pull someone's hair? Sheesh. At least we got one. :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Two Jensen Families, Two Parks, Two Videos

We had another great weekend here at Brassell House. We try to wrap up all studying and work on Friday so we can some good ole family time. 
On Friday, Shaylee and Kevin brought some pizza over and we had a movie night. I also made some fudge and brownies to have with ice cream. It was so much fun hanging out together.
We woke up at 4:30am Saturday morning because of sick kids. John and I debated going to hike R mountain to watch the sunrise but then we remembered the sick kids and enjoyed our warm bed, haha, and by enjoyed I mean with four snot nosed kids crawling all over us asking for popsicles. Livin' the good life. 
Later Saturday morning, our friends, the Jensens visited us from Boise! Yay! John and Kendon went pheasant hunting, here are the two of them holding up their bounty.
Yeah, they didn't have a lot of success, haha. But they had a good time. It was a beautiful day and I am a little jealous they were able to enjoy it in the peace and quiet of fields. 

Back where it wasn't so "peace and quiet", Adrianne and I got to have girl time catching up amongst my loud, excited children.  Her kids stayed behind since mine are all sick, but hopefully we can get together with those kids soon! Kayden deals with Wills' bullyish ways, and Maddi plays "best friend" to both my kids, so they were very much missed. The kids made do and water colored and danced to Taylor Swift.  It was so fun spending time together with Adrianne and talking about our lives and (yay) Christmas plans! 
The day we moved from our storage unit to our apartment in Rexburg, the Jensens surprised us by driving all the way from Boise and just showing up at our storage unit.  John and I both say it was probably the most surprised we had ever been.  They are saintly people in that way, they are always a step ahead of us and offering service to others without complaining or recognizing any inconvenience it may have caused them. Some day we just may we be worthy of being their friends! Haha. Until then, we'll just enjoy that they look beyond our faults (as many friends do for us) and enjoy our friendship with them.

Later, we went on a walk. It has taken a week of snowing, seriously, to convince William it is worth wearing a heavy coat and gloves. Here is Wills staring at me  holding his outdoor gear and him just standing there, staring at me, like I'm on out of my mind to suggest he wear them.

Meanwhile, Johnny graced us with an original song.  I don't know why this song cracks me up so much, Johnny is just is a funny phase right now that I have really enjoyed.  When the Jensens (not Shaylee and Kevin, but our Boise friends- I just realized they have the same last name, haha! I suppose it was a Jensen weekend!) Anyway, when the Jensens were talking with Johnny he was telling them all about his Bat friends (There are five Johns and a Tommy) and Adrianne thought he said "bad friends" when I corrected her, Johnny said, "Yeah, and their bad, like. they teach me how to steal and stuff."

Here we are on our walk to Broulim's. We saw Shaylee and Kevin drive by and an H1, so it was a successful walk in our book.

On our way home we went to Porter Park. Caity and I made a pile of leaves that Johnny happily volunteered to jump in.

Caity wasn't feeling so well, so she went home with John and Matthew while Johnny, Willliam, and I played for a while.

While I cut the boys' hair on Sunday Morning, Caity had a make over session with Matthew. Big sisters have fun with little brothers. I would feel sorry for him, but he seemed to be having a pretty good time. Caity was in a fit of giggles with every ward robe change.

William sat in here for about thirty minutes playing with the drill. 

Sunday, we had the children's program at church. Caity asked me to curl her hair, she looked so sweet and earnest up on the stand singing her little heart out. Johnny was more smug and confidant the whole time.  I don't know who chose to have Johnny front and center, but he sure enjoyed the attention.  They did so great in their parts and I felt so happy to know those kids. 
We took off after sacrament since all of our kids still looked contagious and we didn't want to infect the entire ward, and we decided to go for a family drive.  We invited Shaylee and Kevin to go with us to Sheep Falls. 

The air was so clear and we got such a great view of the Tetons!  I suppose it is hard to see in my camera phone picture....maybe if you zoom in, or maybe you'll have to take my word for it. It was gorgeous. 

We were so surprised that once we hit the turn off for sheep falls, there was a ton of snow! Unfortunately, we weren't dressed for snow and therefore didn't hike down to the falls. It was a pretty drive though.

We the Jensens off and went to Smith park to get some fresh air. The kids were all doing a lot better which was a huge relief. 
And here's a video of Matthew complaining while Caity asked John to show her a Taylor Swift music video. This video shouldn't make me laugh the way it does! Haha.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Chunky Cheeks, a Fort, and Cookies!

Caity has designated bedtime accessories: her hello kitty head band, mini mouse slippers and friendship bracelet.  These two sharing a room has been so much fun. Sometimes I'll walk past to catch Matthew laying on her bed and Caity putting on a show for him with her original Taylor Swift choreography.

We've had our first snow, people! I am not a huge fan of cold, but snow in November and December is so magical. I love being in a warm house watching it fall then taking my kids out to play in it. 
Today we all walked to pick Caity up from school. It was Matt's first time in the snow. He was fascinated by it all. Johnny said, "Oh no! The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"

Johnny and William built a fort today

Therein was an epic battle between the dinosaurs and the zoo animals. I bet you can guess who won.

This year is the first time Johnny has been able to write on our gratitude poster.  For the record, "MOM" was the only word written in bold, thank you very much. Yesterday he said, "Mom, I'm going to stay with you every second of today." Melt my heart. 

I love Matthew's chunky little face! There is a special recognition face babies make and whenever this boy gives it to me, I feel like a million bucks.  Million bucks covered in spit up and who knows what, but still, I feel good on the inside.

Last night I caught William making sure his car track was functioning at full capacity. He takes his "tool play" very seriously.  I think he likes that it makes him like Dad, and he thinks his dad is the coolest thing since Barney.

Yesterday, Johnny helped me make some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. My house smelt like fall, I loved it!

It was a messy process for my dough-loving boy!

Last night Matthew helped John study while I tucked the kids in bed. Not a lot of studying got done as you can imagine. As much as you want to just hold him while you get stuff done, John and I decided that is impossible. You can't hold him without smiling and playing with him! He is just so excited to see you and he kicks those little legs and snorts and giggles and any plans besides peek-a-boo are out the window.
John has been doing contract work at a firm in Idaho Falls, so we don't get to see him for lunch breaks and what not like we got used to. It is so nice when he gets home!

Walking with Johnny to school today. It was so cold!
He complained in a whiney-strike-two voice "The snow is trying to eat my face off!"

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Family Dinner

I don't know what happened, but at some point in Boise we got lousy at family dinners. Perhaps it was because John's work and class schedule didn't bring him home until after the kids went to bed most nights? Perhaps it was my pregnancy? I'm not sure, but since we have moved to Rexburg I have been a rockstar at getting our family together for dinner every night. I know, that sounds a little brag-y, but I am proud of myself! If your house is anything like mine 5:30 pm is when you want to throw in the towel for the day and start justifying a 6:00 pm bedtime. So, to take that morale and cook a dinner. sit those crazies still around the table and engage civilized conversation for thirty minutes? 
Yes, that very much makes me a rock star in my book!
The effort is always, always, worth it though.  
Nothing makes me quite as happy as seeing these five favorites of mine all sitting together and just enjoying each other.
(or pulling each others' hair, or saying "Ew, I don't think I like this. I'm full." or talking over eachother...haha, let's be real.)
Last night we had chicken salad, and while Caity was talking about hermit crabs and recess, you could hear Johnny in the background stabbing his fork into his bowl saying "GOTCHYA!" Salad is hard to eat for four years old, haha.
For our family dinner we go around the table and say our best and worst parts of the day, and in November we also each say something we are grateful for. In October Johnny would always ask us what our favorite part of Halloween was, and we'd all say "Ugh, we already told you!" and he would laugh and say "I know, but I want to talk about bats some more!"
I tried to take note of each child's best and worst part but they just talk soooo much I lost track, but here's my best shot:
Caity's best part was "this wonderful dinner" and "swinging like the whole recess and no one else even counted to get me off and learning my name in sign language so now I can talk to death people." and her worst part was me picking her up late at school. (I wasn't late. I just wasn't early like I have been the last few days....for the record.) and "William screaming at me for no reason." Then, I reminded her that it was because she wouldn't let him play and she said, "Oh yeah, I forgot. Still it was a bad part."
Johnny's best part was making cookies with mom, getting a snow ball from Caity, watching shows and "this wonderful dinner except the peas because I don't like peas, right mom?". His worst part was the peas in his dinner and "William taking all my candy when I wasn't even lookeded-ing." 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Walking with Caity

One of my daily highlights is walking with Caity to school.
It is always oh-my-gosh-why-do-we-live-here-cold in the mornings, yet there is something reviving about it.  The air tastes like a glass of ice-cold water and as you  exhale your breath warms your face. Sometimes Caity will pretend to be the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland when he is blowing out smoke, "Wahooo aaahaare yooohooou?" 
The grass and leaves are tipped with frost and they crunch underneath our boots. 
Caity's little hand works as a heater for mine and I try to imprint the feeling of its smallness in mind before those little bony fingers grow to be strong, independent hands. 

We talk, we laugh and we enjoy nature. We watch the sun rise.  At the canal we cross every day, we have watched a duck family prepare for winter. 

There is a tree that has taken a little longer than the rest to turn. Every day we see if we can tell a difference. We have watched it turn from green to red, to orange to yellow. 
We make it to the crossing guard and I hug her tight and tell her I love her, to make it a good day, and try to find someone who needs a friend. She says, "OK! You too! Love you!" Then she speed walks across the street, and says a chipper good morning to the guard.  Right as she gets to the double doors she usually looks back one more time and waves and smiles with her big toothless smile. Sometimes she blows a kiss, sometimes she signs I love you (points to her eye, crosses her heart and points) and sometimes she just waves. 

Then I turn around get a view of the Rexburg temple and no matter how cold, or what mess is awaiting me at home, or bills in the mail box, my heart swells with gratitude. 
It's a good life. And I feel that when I walk with Caity to school.

I want to get better about posting daily pictures, I love looking back on little moments from a year ago or five years ago! So, wish me luck and don't hate me for overflowing your blog-feed!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Little Things

This post is a testament as to why I should post daily, when I don't the posts end up being so, so, SO long.  If you make it through all these pictures, thank you! You are a saint. :)

Yesterday I took down our Halloween decor and replaced it with Thanksgiving turkeys and cornucopias.  Since we were blessing Matthew, I was feeling particular gratitude for God and the life He had blessed me with. I set my table for the family that was coming up for the blessing and I was just overwhelmed with joy.  Fall is my favorite time of year. Sunday was great because we had just had a full and fun October brimming with Halloween activities and outdoor adventures and November was starting with all its prospects, not to mention it was raining outside (you know how I love the rain!) I got excited about a whole month to evaluate our blessings, not to mention a whole month to anticipate Christmas!  November is a good month. When I think of October I think of fun activities, November I think of family and gratitude, and December I think of Christ's birth, his atonement and my faith.  It just an interesting journey for me to go through every year.
But, enough about my strange obsession with months of the the post. About October. 

This post is mostly just little things around the house that I thought were worth taking pictures of, but they don't go with any particular story- yet collectively they tell some of the in-betweens of our life. So naturally it is one I will read over and over again in a couple of years but may seem a little boring to all two of my readers. haha. Enjoy! 
(Oh, how I LOVE October!)

The only way we can get William to eat is if he sits on John's lap and eats John's food. He points to the exact bite he wants and is very particular about it. I make him his own plate every day in hopes that he'll come around, but I'm not so sure he ever will.

Matthew talkin about how he is growing to fast. 

Matthew again. I remember when William wore this!

Caity started a new school this month as we moved to Rexburg. She really loves it, and I am so grateful. I love walking to school with her every day and I love helping her pick out outfits. :)

My favorite is when the days just start to get dark earlier and everyone gets home from their various activities and I give them a bath and all my kids are all comfy, cuddly and content and they sit and watch a movie together or we read a book together before bed time. It takes my heart to its happy place.

Brittany got me this candle for my birthday from Anthropologie, I love it!

More cuddly pictures.

Matthew has had quite a few play dates with Eden since we live closer now. It has been so much fun.

Caity loves having two girl cousins on the Brassell side!

While Johnny holds Matthew, William digs through the lucky charms for all the marshmellows. Stinker.

Matthew has been loving his baths lately, he kicks his chubby little thighs and flexes all his muscles then laughs and it is so cute.

For the better part of the month, Matthew had some kind of head cold, I'd have to prop him up for nap time so he could breathe, when I took this picture, I was so relieved I finally got him to sleep.  

John's grandparents came up to visit! YAY! That was a big highlight of our October. It was so nice seeing them and spending time with them. We went to Mesa Falls and showed them campus. They also took us to a buffet which my kids are still talking about. French fries and gravy- please and thank you. Cinnamon rolls with a side of ham, why not? Yeah, they thought that was awesome. I miss them already.

Here we are at Mesa, so beautiful!


Sunday mornings usually involve building legos around here.

William loves, LOVES motorcycles. He will play with them for an hour, easy.

I have about a million pictures of lego masterpieces on my phone. They make me happy.

William getting ready to play "Trick or Treat" with Caity and Johnny.

Trick or Treat! Oh yum, Fruit Loops!

Aw, bath time!

We have been working on pouting and whining with Johnny this month. If he doesn't get three strikes he gets a small prize at the end of the day.  Usually when I say, "Are you pouting?" I get this face:

"No, I was just JOKING!"

All ready for church!

Caity made the boys a bat cave one Sunday (remember Johnny's obsession with Bats from my Halloween post?)  She is such a fun sister.

The boys like racing outside on our patio.

And by racing I mean, Johnny runs and William runs on after him.

Caity lost two teeth right in a row on the way home from school one day!  I was so proud of her for being so brave. I need to get a good picture of her new smile. 
Another new thing with Caity is her obsession with Taylor Swift, like seriously.  She worked through recesses picking up trash to earn money for the book fair so she could buy Taylor Swift's autobiography.

It is so strange when Caity is in school because after having a girl for the past seven years, I am left with only boys. I love being a mom of boys and running errands with those crazies.

Matthew in his Elmer Thud hat! Rexburg is cooooooold.

Sending silly pictures to dad while he studied.

Four kids later, we finally invested in a Bumbo. Best. Purchase. EVER. Matthew got a little tired watching Caity color, he slept this way for a good thirty minutes!

As I mentioned in my Halloween post, John went and worked on a cattle ranch for a couple of days. We missed him! 
 John had to assist the farmer with herding the cows, de-thorning,  and giving immunizations. There were some crazy instances that sounded a little like running of the bulls! 
He sent home some beautiful pictures.

William really missed John while he was gone. He kept saying "No, Dada." whenever I tried to tuck him into bed or play with him.

Johnny and Caity coloring and talking about bats and school buses and other important things.

William and Matthew hanging on on Mom and Dad's bed while Caity and Johnny play with Legos.

For the first part of the month, we got to spend time with family while we waited for our apartment to open up.  Here are "The Matt's" together.

Spencer giving William a piggy back ride.

We were there for the LDS general conference which was an amazing conference. John was able to go to Priesthood Session with Spencer and his dad and I was able go to the Women's Session with my parents and sister. (for the record, Spencer is standing on his tip toes, I think John would want me to include that.)

My little sister, Rebecca came home from her mission in Puerto Rico and we were able to meet her at the airport, it was so good seeing her again.

David also flew in from Seattle, then James and Tayci surprised us and flew from Texas. Matt was at between semesters and at home so for the first time in four years all five kids were together. It was awesome. We took some impromptu family pictures.
I don't know how to describe it, but it felt so right to have everyone there together again. We only had one night with everyone there and it was one of the best nights I have had in a long time. I hope it isn't that long again.

While we were there, Caity got to go to school with Brittany- that was a dream come true. Caity basically wants to be Brittany when she grows up.  John also got to go to the classroom and meet Brittany's class.  Caity says she is going to have tee pee in her classroom someday.

 I love this picture of Matthew. It is SO him. His squishy cheeks and knobby little chin and wily hair, oh I love him!

We went rock climbing with the Jensens.  It was a blast.  They were setting up a haunted pathway so while we all climbed and repelled, the kids got a kick out of all the haunted decor. 

Repelling was a bit freaky, but thrilling at the same time.  I used to go rock climbing at Hiese a lot, so it was fun to go with John, Shaylee and Kevin.
Shaylee with Eden and Matthew, I'm not sure Eden was too keen on sharing Mommy.

The kids crashed on the way home from climbing. It was funny.

 As I mentioned on my Halloween post, we went to the ice caves.
Here is Johnny being a bat.

Caity the cave explorer.

The opening of the caves.

Remember how I mentioned Johnny's obsession with bats?  He wears this like every day. Seriously.

One day while I was doing homework, John took the boys bird hunting. They brought that bird home and made a quesedilla. Johnny ate the whole thing.  William was pretty grossed out by everything, but Johnny was fascinated.  He helped John clean out the bird and held its heart and everything. 

My mom made John a case of applesauce. All the boys drink it straight from the jar. (Above is William) We have seriously gone through 11 jars and I have had only one bite of applesauce.

This was more the last weekend of September, but we went paddle boarding! We borrowed the boards from a friend at the US Attorney's office and had a great time at Quinn's pond in Boise.

Matthew's swing kept breaking for a while and he would just sleep right through it, haha.

We moved this month! Good bye Woodhaven house! We thought we would save some money and get the smaller Budget truck. Ha! That cost John hours of refitting things. He is a serious tetris champ.  I especially like how John put cardboard boxes over the windows of the truck because he was afraid of vandalism- haha, in our quiet happy Boise cul de sac, vandalism. He is funny.  The night before our move, our neighbor Leah came over with her kids to say good bye. They brought each of us a going away present. Leah made me a quilt with each of my kids' sillouettes and each of our kids received a stuffed animal. Nathan got John a pocket knife.  We are going to miss them.

This last picture is one John took of the boys before he took them to the library for story time while I was at school. He thought it was funny because he knew I would never take them in public like this, haha. They raided my "donation pile" to find the perfect outfits. haha.

So there you have it, October according to our phones, minus Halloween. :)

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