November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We have so much to be grateful for.

Thankful Turkey credit goes to Kyler. I wanted something creative to display our gratitude thoughts and he helped me come up with this.

I’ll close up on a few of my favorite things the people in our family are grateful for.

I loved Layla writing her “I am grateful” thoughts all on her own (though I can’t remember/figure out what some of them say...)

Some of us apparently feel very grateful for napkins and “jokes and people’s snarkiness.”

Bacon was written down at least three times. Because what would we do without bacon??

I see the irony in the fact that “quiet times” ended up being placed right next to “the baby and her crying” (though she really doesn’t cry that much so that was just a boy being snarky. Remember we are grateful for snarkiness, too.)

“Dad and his teasing” is actually one that all of the kids appreciate. They love playing with him. And he loves Dr. Pepper still.

I really love this quote about the disturbers of our happiness. If our desires are often disturbers, then being content and appreciative of what we already have would be happiness boosters. Noticing the good around us helps us feel happier. I am grateful for the Thanksgiving holiday and the invitation it offers us to reflect and give thanks instead of think about all the things we could want.

Besides our Thanksgiving Turkey on the wall, I did not get any pictures on Thanksgiving Day!! We hosted the feast at our house. We had two of our family friends over for a Friendsgiving (Scoresby and Rowe). We made them all play our traditional game of “are you thankful for your neighbor” before we ate the yummiest meal followed by delicious pies. This move to AZ has not been the easiest transition so we are grateful for kind, good friends to share the day with.

I hope you also had a happy thanksgiving!

November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Eve

My house already smells like spices and cooking. Eric made the brine for the turkey this morning and now the bird is soaking in it. Eric tried to skip a turkey this year and just smoke other meat instead. But there is no way in this world that we can choose not to serve turkey on Thanksgiving! B was likewise shocked by Eric’s suggestion.

To satisfy everyone, E has decided to make both a turkey and prime rib. Intriguing idea.

When it comes down to it, I am mostly just looking forward to the rolls, mashed potatoes, and the pie.

B’s ready for a big bite of pie.

And we are all looking forward to spending time with friends and family.

My to-do list is really, really long right now. But baby B forces me to slow down (and blog from my phone) as I feed her every three hours. I’m ok with this good excuse to procrastinate some things a little longer. Especially because I get to cuddle this little adorable baby girl.

Our Thanksgiving weekend is already filling up with activities, but I hope that we get some time to do nothing and just hang around here for awhile. The best moments often come when we have nothing planned (so why are we always so busy around here??). Layla played with B the other day and that is the perfect example of staying home without a plan yielding beautiful moments. She read to her and included her in her story game with her dolls. B was quite content getting all of that attention from her big sister. I can see many more play dates like this in their future!

November 20, 2017

matching sisters

When I was a little girl, I had a panda nightgown. My cabbage patch doll had a matching nightgown. Matching with your cabbage patch doll is totally cool.

The matching set was saved and Layla and her dolls have been wearing the panda nightgown set.

And then we realized—Baby B! Because matching with your sister is even cooler.  So the two girls put the matching panda pajamas on and Layla posed herself and B for pictures. They are such precious girls. 

November 18, 2017

day of gratitude

Six days until Thanksgiving!

Sometimes I wish I had it together enough to write about something I’m thankful for each day in November. My gratitude list is long. I have so much to be thankful for. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of just ten things I am grateful for today.

1. Eric! He came home from China last night. He was gone for just over a week and to say we missed him would be an understatement. He is my best friend and my everything.

2. Prayer. The last few months, especially, my heart has been so grateful for the power of prayer. I have experienced miracle after miracle because of it. I receive peace and comfort. I get answers. It strengthens my family and my marriage. I know there is a loving Heavenly Father who hears all of our prayers.

3. Podcasts and books. I’m trying to replace some time-wasting habits I fell into with more learning. I love listening to podcasts (my favorites are still Power of Moms and Happier with Gretchen Rubin) and reading. I have already read three books in the last month. I feel so much better all around when I use my time better in these ways.

4. Good people around us. The parents on Perry’s baseball team, sweet neighbors, dedicated teachers at school, some wonderful people we have met at church, and others! We are surrounded by kind, supportive, caring, and inspiring individuals. I am so grateful for that! (Especially this week because we had two different people surprise us with meals this week when they knew Eric was out of town.)

5. Good health and good doctors. Everyone on our family has been blessed with strong healthy bodies. What an amazing blessing that is! Sure, we have our fair share of sore throats, allergies, and sore muscles. But, really, we are healthy enough to do all of the things we would ever need to do or want to do in this world. And when things do come up (like Kacin’s ears) I am grateful for good doctors and for medicine to help us.

This picture grosses me out, but it shows Kacin’s ear in the process of healing from his surgery. Our bodies are amazing!

6. Children, especially my own. Children are light. They are easy to forgive others, quick to enjoy and to love, willing to help, ready to learn. They say the funniest, truest things. And have always been my greatest teachers. I love my calling in church, volunteering in the school, and mostly being a mom. Motherhood brings me the greatest joy. I am grateful for these children of mine.

7. This beautiful world. Fresh air, sunsets, looming mountains, green grass, red rocks, yellow, there are some lovely things in this world! I am grateful for the variety of things to look at, touch, and smell. Beauty can be found everywhere we look.

8. Things with wheels. We are blessed with a quality stroller, a nice roomy car, and bikes for everyone. And I will throw in how grateful I am for grocery carts when I shop, too!

9. Sacred things. Taking the sacrament each week, temples, wearing garments. I am grateful for the peace, blessings, and protection of sacred things and the closeness I feel to my Father in Heaven because of them.

10. America. I’m grateful for our freedoms, education, opportunities, and safety. I love being an American. I am grateful for all of those who serve to protect and lead our country. Even though I don’t really like everyone who gets elected to positions in the government, I have a deep respect for our system of government 

November 17, 2017

kid dates

We are really trying to be quite diligent about taking our kids out one-on-one. I was lucky to be the one to take each of our kids out this last time around. Mostly because Eric has been out of town so much these last few weeks.

Perry and I made plans to go to the movie theater to see the Lego Ninjago movie. I was hoping some of his challenging behavior during Eric’s week in Italy was because he needed a little more attention. So we talked about our date and made plans to see the Lego movie and get “spicy juice” and popcorn. He was excited! And I got excited, too.  Like I always seem to do with all of my grand ideas, I imagined a picture perfect outing soaking up my sweet boy and he in turn enjoying all of the special attention and showering me with love in return. I think sometimes with my grand ideas, I write these play scripts in my head of how things will go. But then when it comes down to the actual performance, the actors don’t always seem to know their parts! Or maybe the actors have turned into playwrights themselves and decided to make my play into a drama or tragedy. That’s what happened. And in hindsight, I should have known better and accounted for Perry’s needs for routine and this “play” would’ve turned out differently.

I will tell you how it went. In order to get to the movie, Perry and I would have had to leave right when he got off the bus. When he got home (which was my downfall! I should’ve picked him up from school and I’m certain this would not have happened), he wanted to follow his normal routine. That routine includes checking his folder and work with me, putting his stuff away, and then setting two timers while he plays xbox. I tried to skip the routine and hurry him to the car, but he was not happy about that. In the end, it was a huge battle and he chose his games over a movie with me (insert silly hurt mom feelings here). It was a really big drama trying to convince him, to no avail, to come to the movies with me. After a while, I calmed down and came up with another plan. It would affect our night plans, but it was a compromise that allowed us to go to the movie a little later than we planned. I’m glad it worked out because it ended up being a nice evening out with him (we had the whole movie theater to ourselves so he could talk to me and stand up without bothering anyone else!). But I need to remember that autism means I need to be a little more proactive, thoughtful, and flexible when it comes to our plans (and maybe hopefully someday he will learn the flexible part, too).

I took Layla to the theater to see “Meet Me in St Louis”. I loved watching the Judy Garland movie when I was younger so this was a fun one for me. Layla would’ve been quite happy if the play had ended at intermission. But, overall, she really enjoyed it (especially the Halloween and trolley parts she said)! And of course she loved the candy I bring in my purse for her, too.

I surprised the older boys one day and kidnapped them from school for lunch out at MOD pizza. Though, I know this doesn’t count as true one-on-one time so I still owe them one.

The boys were on a camp out over Veterans Day weekend so on the day off of school I took Layla and Macie on an outing to the natural history museum in Mesa. We also got some cupcakes and went to the park.

I’m going to roll these next things up under “kid dates” as well. I met Layla at the zoo for her kindergarten field trip.

Today I volunteered in Layla’s class at school (like I do most Thursdays). I stayed for kindergarten lunch and then first grade lunch to eat with both of my elementary schoolers. I loved watching Perry play basketball with some of the other kids.

I love spending time with each one of my people.

November 15, 2017

happy 14th anniversary to us

14 years!

And in those 14 years of marriage we have experienced a whole lot together.

One marriage in the Mesa Temple
Two graduations from ASU (that we didn't actually attend the ceremony of)
Three states we have lived in
Four amazing children we have adopted and are ours forever
Five countries we have visited
Six homes we have lived in
Seven cars we have owned
Eight Disney vacations
Nine special foster children in our care for various amounts of time
Ten nights that we have missed saying nightly prayers together (in 14 years, that's a solid record!)
Eleven pounds (give or take ;)...) gained
Twelve plus different capacities that we have served in at church
Thirteen jobs between both of us
Fourteen states we have traveled to together
And countless laughs, cries, disagreements, frustrations, hugs, conversations, inside jokes, decisions made, heartache, walks, and moments of fun and joy.

Yep, that's how it's done.

We celebrated our 14 years with a hike together up a mountain. It was B's first hike!

We stopped for lunch and B gave us her first real laugh!

Then we traded in our mini-van for a bigger van. Buying a car takes FOREVER. It kind of ruined our plans of eating cake with the kids to celebrate, but in the end we came home with a new car. And the kids were pretty thrilled about that.

So here's to fourteen years, and many more!

November 13, 2017

the real deal Halloween

Something changed for our family this Halloween. Older kids now means that we are a lot more divided and going in all different directions on Halloween. This was the first year we felt that. 

Kacin invited a few friends over for pizza and trick or treating. As a 12 year old (per our family rules), this was Kacin's last year trick or treating. And he was determined to make it the best yet. He hurried off with his friends as soon as we got a few trick or treaters to our door.  

They went through every house in our neighborhood and then we drove them over to one of the boy's neighborhood and they went off to do a little more trick or treating. And so Kacin came home at 9pm at night with a ridiculous amount of candy. Goodness, look at that pile!

Instead of trick or treating this year, Kyler invited a couple of friends over to our house. They passed out candy to trick or treaters (and ate plenty of candy and cheetos themselves), played games, and hung out all night.

Jacqui brought her kids over so that the younger cousins could trick or treat together. 

Layla and Perry definitely brought home plenty of candy themselves.

But our favorite treat of the night was this little skeleton baby.