15 December 2010

The Apprentices, Part II

Never underestimate the faith of a 4 year old girl.

We visited my parents for Thanksgiving, and the kids ate up all the extra attention they could get. On the way home, Elizabeth kept saying "I want Grandma and Pocker (my dad, we don't know why she calls him that) to come visit us." We told her it would probably be a while before we saw them again, and we'd probably go see them.

Never underestimate the faith of a 4 year old.

My parents came down to visit this weekend. It was a last minute thing; they arrived Saturday night and had to leave Monday morning. But why the 6 hour drive? Our stake recently formed 2 new wards (a YSA ward and another Spanish ward) and had to do some shuffling to fill the gaps. They released 7 stake high councilors as part of this process, and needed to get new ones. Somewhere along the way, Elizabeth's prayers for a visit from Grandma and Pocker got in the mix, and I was called as one of the new stake high councilors (responsible for Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting). Not a high priest yet? No problem, we'll get that fixed. A late night call to my dad after that interview/calling extension last Wednesday night, some schedule shuffling on their part, and they would be on their way. We told the girls when they woke up Thursday morning, and the kids crazy with excitement all of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday while they were waiting. In between the excitement, Elizabeth had this look that she knew this would happen.

And yes, I already have a speaking assignment this Sunday.

So what does this have to do with graham cracker houses? Patience, young padawan.

My dad is known, among other nicknames, as Master Yoda. If he can't fix it, it ain't broken. My friend Matt and I once spent an entire day trying to change his brake pads. We knew what we were doing. We'd done this job before, and it shouldn't have been hard, but the danged things just weren't cooperating. We were getting sunburned pretty bad working out there, and after spending the entire day not getting anywhere, we were ready to give up.

Then my dad pulled up in the driveway.

He gets out of his truck, takes a look at what we're doing, gives it a nudge, and the durned things come right off! "I don't believe it!" "That is why you fail."

His skillz0rz aren't just limited to mechanics. He can build graham cracker houses. Sunday night, while I was dealing with grades and prepping for finals, my dad worked with each of the kids and they made their masterpieces. A total of 4 were made: one for each and an extra one to deliver to our friends the MacIntosh's (great FHE the next night).

Ok, ok, the pictures are below.

Now, these houses just aren't good looking, they're good eating too. Amelia ate most of hers last night while we watched The Santa Clause.

Jeb enjoyed his too, but mostly by smashing it before he ate it.

06 December 2010

The Apprentices

One of the traditions from my family is making graham cracker houses. For FHE tonight, the girls started their apprenticeship. Jeb started out by eating some of the building materials, but was so tired and fussy he went to bed before the construction really began.

He does like frosting, though.

So on to the houses. These are pretty good for a first attempt. They're not all the way complete yet, the pictures are that fresh! (Yet another special bonus for our elite subscribers and sponsors).

Elizabeth and her creation (yes, that is some of the candy in her mouth):

She is especially proud of Santa on his sled.

She also loves the heart-door made with candy canes.

Amelia was right there learning as well. She had some help from Mommy, but she's just as proud of her house as Elizabeth is of hers.

Next week we'll try to make a few bigger houses and give them to friends (another part of the tradition). For now, the girls are back improving their houses already with sprinkles and more jelly beans.

20 November 2010

Christmas Cards

My favorite Christmas cards have always been the ones where we've been in our Halloween costumes. It all started when Amelia was a baby and we got a great shot of all of us dressed as clowns. I was looking on Shutterfly and found the perfect card layout that matched our costumes in both color and mood. Last year we used a picture of us all dressed as monkeys. The year in between? Honestly I've been racking my brain to remember, and I think we just did some lame cards from the portrait studio where we took our family picture.
Seeing as I can't even remember that one, and the others bring an automatic smile to my face, I think I need to go with the Shutterfly holiday cards again. But we didn't do a group costume for Halloween this year, so what to do? Never fear! After just a few minutes in Shutterfly I found the PERFECT card and I just LOVE what we're going to send out this year.
And, to make it even better, I'm participating in Shutterfly's Bloggers Get 50 Free Holiday Cards promotion, and you can too!

10 November 2010

What I really wanted to blog about

I finally got around to reading a book I've been aware of since I was in elementary school, but never read, Across Five Aprils. And it reminded me so much of a family in my mom's ancestry. They lived in Illinois, and one of the sons went back to the area his father's family was from to fight for the South.
But I tried to look for the details and couldn't find them. I'm so sad. It was information I'd just found in the last couple of years and is trapped on the dead (presumably virus-laden) computer. Why, oh, why hadn't I backed up my family history data in so long? Oh, because the CD writing drive had been dead for a long time, and most of the USB drives, too, and I could never find a flash drive anyway since James was always taking them to work...and a million other excuses. But, honestly, I could have emailed myself the file at any time. Instead, I just "backed it up" on the hard drive.
And so many, many hours of work are likely lost, for the failure to take a few minutes. Hitting my head on the desk now.

The one condolence in this is that the most vital information, needed for temple ordinances, is mostly intact on NewFamilySearch. But that's the bare bones. The meat of it was in my notes.

Random things

A bunny outside the window by the computer desk. First time we've seen one here. One small Swiss Chard plant disappeared the same day. Fortunately that was the full extent of the garden damage.

James' department had a bowling night. The girls practiced in anticipation. They didn't quite seem to grasp the fact that square blocks do not roll.

Amelia got into James' birthday cake.

We ate it anyway.

Especially Jeb.

27 October 2010

2 Ladybugs and a Dragon visit the library

Worth staying up past midnight

...to have the girls wake up to this.
Had to try them on before breakfast with jammies still on!

I can't wait to see the full effect! First Halloween party at storytime today.

And, yes, as you can see I worked on costumes instead of cleaning the house last night!

18 October 2010

South Padre Island Oct 2010

Jeb was having the greatest time trying to throw Amelia's shoes in the ocean. I wish I'd gotten more video of before I alerted her; he was just cracking up when it was only me stopping him, trying again and again!
We had a ton of fun this weekend, even though the kids and I are all coming down with colds. Jeb and Amelia both liked the ocean a lot better than back in May. Neither of them could keep up with Elizabeth, however, so Saturday night James took them out to dinner while Elizabeth and I stayed out in the water just as long as she wanted to. It was great for her not to be held back by the "babies" and play to her heart's content. It was also great for me to only have 1 kid to keep my eye on, so I could actually enjoy the water myself.

We stayed at the hotel that was being built outside our windows last October. Love the pool and hot tubs. The part with a waterfall is a 1 ft deep kiddie area.

Saturday morning I took the kids to the Sea Turtle rescue center. I was surprised at how much Amelia loved it. She keeps going on and on about the sea turtles and how they got hurt. I guess it shouldn't surprise me as she loves to examine our bodies and tenderly ask about "owies." I just didn't realize how much she was listening and retaining as I rambled on about what they were seeing.

We headed over the the birding center after that, but it was getting warm outside, Jeb needed a nap, and we didn't have much time before meeting James for lunch, so we ended up just taking a quick look at the butterfly garden.

Of course the kids loved the hotel room. Jeb made sure all of the valuables were accounted for.
They are begging to go back. Elizabeth says we are going when it's Friday again. I'm sure she'd love to spend every weekend there!

Sunrise from our hotel room.

Elizabeth watching the sunrise.

15 October 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Ok, I couldn't get the text and pics to line up, but you can figure it out!
"Really, Mom? We're going to pretend like it's fall and wear long pants this morning before going to South Padre Island and playing on the beach? I don't think you're fooling anyone!"

Case in point...the sun was too bright in this pic and it totally washed Jeb out. B&W was the best I could do. I love the expression on his face.

Trying to get a picture of all the playgroup kids together...yeah, right!

Now THIS is what I was going for!

Batteries ran out right as I was going to get a picture of the three kids together, but at least that means they won't run out later on today on the island!

07 October 2010

Ok, so it's been a while since I've blogged, so I forgot that it posts the pictures in the opposite order that you pick them, so these are all out of order, but Jeb woke up while they were loading, so it'll just have to do!

These are pics of our backyard camping FHE last week. So nice that the weather is cooling down now!

22 August 2010

Growing up

It was time. But I miss my baby boy.

28 July 2010

Yesterday I got a little too into the book I was reading (ok, maybe I dozed off a little!) when I put Jeb down for a nap and I didn't get up when he fell asleep. Oops. Got up to this. We have an igloo jug on our counter with ice water and Elizabeth filled up all of these cups.
When Jeb and I got up he had a blast dumping them into the play sink. Just look at that face!
Pretty much sums up what life has been like around here lately, and why I really should be cleaning right now like I usually do at night, instead of blogging.