Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fall Time Catch Up

This post is going to have to act as a catch-all for the past month- from about Halloween on. Later this week, we'll have twenty people stay at our house, which I'm sure will deserve a post all its own. Life has been full and good. 

One day after school, Benjamin and some neighbor kids all ran in, excitedly asking if they could go rake our elderly neighbors' yard. They spent a good hour or so out there, raking piles and bagging them up. I thought that was really sweet of them.
We've had a lot more leaves here than we're used to. It's been a constant battle to stay on top of raking, but luckily we have some good helpers. 
Nora's Joy School class has been a lot of fun. Those four girls are really cute together. For Halloween, they all got to dress up and they learned the "Mean Old Witch" song, which I still remember from my early childhood. 
We also met at the Butterfly House one morning. I had all the kids home with me because it was voting day and the schools were being used for the polls. 
 Nora acquiesced to my suggestion that she be Anna this year. She had wanted to be Elsa, but I thought this one would be warmer and cuter (and possibly a teensy bit less common). We found one of those dollar store hair extension headbands (which I braided) that perfectly matched her red hair, and paired it with this dress she got for her birthday and her black boots. I made the hat out of some old sweatpants. It certainly wasn't perfect, but I was pretty proud of it, considering I didn't have a pattern.
 Peter wanted to be a garden gnome, and he enjoyed running around telling people "Give me a treat or I'll make mischief in your garden!" His costume was pretty simple to make too. I made the hat out of felt and some fake fur, and reused our old Frodo coat (altered a few years ago, from Goodwill).
 Benjamin wanted to be a vampire, so I used some black velvet I already had on hand and some cheap red liner to make him a cape. He just wore his suit pants and white shirt, and we were good. Lydia's tiger costume was a Goodwill find, and absolutely perfect for her. She had her part down pat- saying "RAWR!" whenever someone asked what the tiger says. Cheap, easy costumes for the win!
I just realized that I have NO pictures of our ward's Halloween party, which Paul and I helped plan. That was a time consuming project, but it turned out pretty well. I headed up the decorations for it, and we had a fun trick or treat spook alley inside along one of the halls and a chili cook-off. It was a break from our traditional "trunk-or-treat," which caused a lot of grumbling- especially when the night turned out to be an unseasonably balmy 70 degrees. Oh, well. The past few years it has been all outdoors, and of course those nights were freezing, and people had coats on covering their costumes. Not to mention it was always really dark...and so that's over. ;)

 Peter lost another tooth this month! He no longer likes taking apples in his lunches...or anything crunchy. I remember feeling that way as a kid. Too much effort to eat. It would be really nice if his top teeth decided to come in soon, but I don't have much hope for them. It could be years if his genes are anything like Ben's.
 Peter had a cough for a while (much like Benjamin did at Disney World), that finally turned into pneumonia. We took him in to the doctor, and had flashbacks to this kid at 1 1/2 months old, when he had RSV and had to regularly do the nebulizer. The breathing treatment didn't do much for him this time, so it was strictly an antibiotic regimen, which he LOVED. (heavy sarcasm intended) ;)
He and I made a date to get frozen custard when it was all done. And just as a note of interest, raspberry is and always will be my favorite flavor. Pumpkin pie was just a waste. 
 Cub Scouts has been...going. I'm still finding it hard to really get into it. I've had so much on my plate with other things, that it's honestly kind of taken back seat. We have three boys. Two show up regularly. The one that we've planned it around comes about 50% of the time. We've got to get better at this.
 Earlier this month, some friends of ours invited us to help celebrate and commemorate 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. I got a great recipe from my sister who just spent the past three years in Germany, and brought it for our German themed dinner. It was SO good, I'm thinking of making it our traditional Christmas dinner.
The kids all got to help build and paint this wall...
 ...which eventually looked like this. It was a pretty great replica of the Berlin Wall.
 The kids then each took turns destroying it with a sledge hammer, then climbing through once the hole was big enough. It was a powerful lesson in history. I think my kids will have a better understanding of this moment in history than I did for most of my life. To help them understand the Berlin Wall, we also read a few books to them before we went- The Wall, by Peter Sis, and Christmas From Heaven, by Tom Brokaw. Both were excellent.
I snapped this picture at the Primary Program practice, the day before the actual program. The kids all did great with their parts, and Benjamin even sang a beautiful duet. I was really proud of each of them.
 Later that day, Paul came back from a five day business trip to Canada. It was so nice to have him back!
Snow came really early this year... It's gone now, but it was sure exciting for the kids. Benjamin's been really into Calvin and Hobbes lately, and was out there trying out all of Calvin's antics. I think he was out there at one point trying to saw some sticks to build himself a sled. :)
For weeks, I've been heavily involved in helping to plan our ward's Young Women in Excellence program. These things are a big deal, as in weekly 3-4 hour meetings for a month straight. Lots of planning and thought and preparation go into these nights, and this one was no exception!
We decided to go with a travel feel for this year's theme, which was "Come Unto Christ." We collected globes, postcards vintage suitcases, and had the girls make "postcards" highlighting where they'd been on their journey to Christ this year. I snapped these pictures after some of it had already been taken down after the program.

I made the poster, which was behind a decent sized Christus statue. It was already taken down by the time I had a chance to get any pictures. Of course. :) 
 I also prepared a short talk to explain the theme for the night, and I used President Uchtdorf's talk from the April 2013 Young Women's meeting about Journeys. It's a good one. Here's most of the gang. They all got up and spoke. Then there was a video of them each saying parts of The Living Christ. It was really powerful.
And finally, here's a fun project that I've been working on. A lady in our ward approached me a few months ago and asked if I'd be interested in designing a room for Haven House (like a Ronald McDonald House for families traveling from far distances to hospitals). Even though I knew my plate was pretty full, I couldn't turn the chance down. This was seriously FUN for me! Here's a few before shots of the room:
It has a queen bed and two twins. 
The bathroom was pretty bland too. 
 And here's where I went with it. These are more like In-Progress photos, to be fair. We painted the walls with Glidden Driftwood Grey, and got all new (donated) furniture. I made a bunch of art and hung them in old Goodwill frames. We were waiting on our handyman to hang the teal curtains here.
 I also spray painted the lamps and added some new lamp shades. The round mirror sitting behind the two red chairs is really pretty. It will go up on the wall right there.
 The bathroom got some minor tweaks. The wall color is Behr Aqua Smoke, and the art on the floor is just waiting to be hung by someone who can successfully drill into concrete. We're also waiting on some gorgeous track lighting to be hung. Hopefully I'll get some decent (not nighttime) photos once it's all done.
So that's been life this month! I'm grateful to have had so many good things to do and be a part of. And now hosting Thanksgiving is going to feel like a vacation! :)