Christmas Tree Outing

Can I just say how awesome the Thanksgiving break was?? We had so much fun. Saturday was extra fun because we got our Christmas tree!! 
James posing for the camera
 And when one does it, the rest follow...

 Bringing it in- it's amazing how much easier a twined tree is than one that is not to bring inside
 Down she goes... whoops
 "Mommy, take a picture of me hugging the tree"
As much as I love decorating the tree, the prep work for it is always a little tense for me. This year started stressful, but once I figured out what worked best for all of us, it soon turned to pure joy as those boys decked out the tree. They actually did a pretty good job, especially after Brad brought out a chair for them to stand on. Otherwise our bottom four feet would have been the only festive part. Short little dudes :)
 This face is why this kid doesn't get in as much trouble as he should... far too cute!
 What you may not notice here is the DEATH GRIP Jack had on Brad's shirt. He was super excited for his turn with the star, just not the actual in-the-air part
 "Hey Mommy... take a picture of me on the chair" There are about three more shots on this chair. Good thing my kids like the camera... almost too much...
This year felt extra special. The boys really paid attention and loved what ornaments they were putting on. I told them which ones had their names on it, were their first Christmas ornaments, which ones had stories, and they really enjoyed hearing all of it. They knew those made our tree even more wonderful. 

The Christmas season has officially started in our home! Now to figure out the presents...


Our Thanksgiving

I am so grateful for my amazing and awesome husband, my fantastic and spazzy children, our home, the gospel of Jesus Christ, our friends and family, our health, and so much more. 

I so wish we could go back to when the last week of November was about the holiday of gratitude. Of remembering the original feast, and what it meant for those pilgrims and Native Americans. Instead it has become commercialized and almost forgotten. Wishful thinking, I know. 

Our Thanksgiving went a little something like this...
Puzzles and Legos (and Rach and Thomas)
Making the food
Getting ready to dive in
 The spread- Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, roasted honey and cinnamon sweet potatoes, stuffing, carmelized green beans, rolls, and sparkling cider
 The lovely fall flowers from Rach and Thomas- thanks again!
 Finally some lounge time...
 ... watching Elf! Definitely has become a tradition to break this movie out on Thanksgiving
 Pies. Oh so good pies. Apple and Chocolate Cream. Plus homemade whipped cream and ice cream. They were ridiculously good
All in all, a great Thanksgiving day.

I am (happily) surprised at how ready I am for the Christmas season now. Ready, as in I'm excited it's here. In no way am I ready presents wise (though I had totally planned on being ready by now... ah well. it's high time i accept that is just not how i operate). 

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone!


Halloween 2014

Um, so Halloween happened. Apparently my blog didn't get that memo. I've been thinking what on earth to blog about and, hey! A major holiday is something to blog about! You'd think I'd take a clue from reading other people's stuff, but I am just that dense these days. Moving on!

I like to wait till about the beginning or middle of September to nail down costumes. Why? Because James might be just as indecisive as his mother and likes to change his mind. So, I give him time to mull it over and give a few ideas myself and then we nail that idea down. And since the other boys don't care (yet...), I decide (aka influence them to thinking that is what they want) what they'll be. This year James decided Peter Pan. And it actually stuck for a while so I was really excited! At first I was thinking Gav would be a pirate and Jack would be Tic-Toc Croc, but I had no clue how to do a crocodile costume. Or didn't want to know... take your pick. Then I got to thinking a bit more outside the Peter Pan vs Pirates box and thought of the other Neverland folk. Hmm... Tiger Lily!! Indians/Native Americans!! Seeing as how we have no girls, it became just one of the Indians from her tribe. Done!

I used this tutorial for James' costume and altered to make it to look more Peter Pan looking. I actually used the idea of that tutorial to also do Gavin's shape of his tunic. So easy. As luck would have it, we had the perfect belt and sword for James on hand. Yeessss.
Making sure his hat fit- he was so excited and couldn't wait for that red feather
I went to JoAnn's to get all the fabric and found this suede-ish material on sale. I went to get it cut with everything else and was talking to the cutter about what I was making. She was like, "You could get a better material for the same price." She then took me over to the other similar materials and we found the one I used for Gavin. I loved it- detail without me having to do anything. Heck yeah. When I went back the next week (because of course I forgot some things), I even found one with a Native American print on it. I then got some trim to add a little more than just the brown material. Turned out better than I expected! I wanted more fringe, so I cut up the arms and the back of the tunic. I was going to add more, but I didn't. Ah well. Finishing his headband definitely put the finishing touch and I think he looked so dang cute!
This kid is TOO CUTE! Seriously- that face... The one on the left is him trying on his legit moccasins and the right is him trying on the almost-whole thing
 And now with the feathered band- ensemble complete
 Adorable brothers
Jack was the pirate, who should have had the easiest costume. But of course, his gave me the most trouble sewing. I'm just glad I got through the other two with no problems! It didn't help that I was doing Jack's on the day we had a Halloween party that night. I made his vest and got him a rope belt. Right when I told the cutter how long I wanted it, I knew it wouldn't be as long as I wanted. Too late, it was cut. Oh well. For his boots I found this on Pinterest. I couldn't find faux leather, so I used a chalkboard fabric that was only about $4/yd. Not bad, especially since I only got like 1/4 of a yard. I didn't want to make his boots permanent pirate boots, so I put velcro and elastic in the middle so I could put them on and off. Worked perfect.
We only got a beard on him for the Halloween party. Oh my gosh, his reaction to seeing himself with a beard- hysterical. He was sitting on the bathroom counter while I put it on and he turned to look in the mirror and didn't recognize himself and screamed. Luckily he recovered once he realized he had a beard just like daddy. Oh, it was so funny...
 Oh yeah- and I was Tinkerbell. Wings and a green tee- done
Halloween night!
 Uncle Thomas and Aunt Rach came down for Halloween and brought them glowsticks. When we were all done going out, we turned the lights out and let them go for it. Of course they became lightsabers...
The boys had so much fun dressing up and going out. They keep planning their next few Halloweens. Hard not to do when there are so many ideas! We already know what we are being next year though, and we're really excited. Hopefully it turns out well :)


The Big Three

Our Jack-Jack turned THREE yesterday. THREE. So that should mean he doesn't act like a two-year old anymore, right? Right?? One can hope :)

Jack was our surprise baby- surprise pregnancy, surprise blonde, surprise chubs, surprise trouble-maker, etc. But thank heavens his birth went completely according to plan, no surprises. And then I had the most amazing experience ever, being able to hold and see him immediately after he was born. Words cannot describe what that meant to me.
Some fun stuff about our three-year old-
- he loves to laugh. and be tickled. and just thinking about being tickled makes him laugh
- on that note, he is one (generally) happy guy
- he can throw a mean fit too. like, really big fits
- loves to sing. current fave is itsy-bitsy spider, switching between a fast and slow version
- is a cuddler. just like everyone else in this family
- LOVES his brothers. LOVES them. the relationship the three of them have is so special and awesome
- hates loud noises
- is a climber. especially of people, and more specifically, of his daddy
- such a sweetheart
- loves books. he is so cute when he sits down to look through a book
- is such a good (and adorable) talker
- trouble. maker. trouble, i tell ya!
- can eat like no other. especially my mac and cheese. it's almost disgusting and i usually cut him off most nights. no growth issues here!
- can sing most of the mainstream Primary songs and it is so sweet. i had no idea he knew them till one night i was singing to him before bed and he joined me in singing. wonderful surprise
- he is seriously hilarious
- is a fan of music in general. i made the boys a CD for the car (because i'm old school like that) and he knows almost all the songs. his favorite- "say it ain't so". oh yeah
-is a great storyteller. cracks me up, the way he tells stories

The list could go on and on, but that should suffice. Jack is one awesome kid. He may have thrown us for a loop initially, but I am so grateful he did. So very grateful. He belongs in this family, he fits, and he came exactly when he needed to. It's been hard. Shoot, it is hard. But there is no doubt in my mind that this special little boy had to come down when he did. He is a part of our family and has a part in Heavenly Father's plan. Everything is as it should be. And we love him so very much.
Happy birthday to our Jack. We love you!


The Wedding!

The second our anniversary was over, wedding prep took its place and we were busy. Well, I was busy helping prep and Brad was watching the boys and being awesome. *LOTS of pictures!!*

Getting manicure and/or pedicures! I opted for a mani because I am far too ticklish to really enjoy a pedi
The bride and our SIL, Angie
We spent the night in Sacramento because the sealing was at 9:30 in the morning and I really didn't feel like waking some boys up to get nice clothes on, sit in the car for over an hour, and be to the temple by 8:30-9ish. Nor did the rest of my family :) We had a family picnic at a fantastic park my mom found about twenty minutes away from our hotel. I have never seen such a cool park. There was a castle. A CASTLE to play on! Now that I think about it, they were both kind of castles, but one was a for sure play castle. 
 On the drive to Sacramento. I was taking a pic of Jack sleeping and Gav wanted more pics of him hiding behind the racoon. Silly weirdo
 Cousin Lucas being awesome on the rope web
 I realized going through my pictures I did NOT get a picture of the castle playground. Garg. But this is the other play ground right next to it that they mainly played on and was awesome
 My brother, Sam, swinging the kids on the tire swing
Our amazing hotel room. They were all out of the rooms my mom reserved so we got a suite. Yessss
The wedding went wonderfully. I was lucky enough to go with my mom and help Rachel get ready for the sealing. It was definitely a special time together. When Rachel was taken to be with Thomas before the wedding, I went into the waiting room with the rest of my family... and lost it. Like embarrassingly lost it. I think the combination of my sister getting married, just celebrating our anniversary, having ALL of us in the temple together... all of that emotion just came pouring out my eyes. Luckily it didn't last too long (though longer than I would have preferred). The sealing was beautiful and Rach was aaaallll smiles through the whole thing :) Just like that, she became a Mrs! 
The morning of
On my way out to help my sister!
 The LDS Sacramento Temple. I forgot how beautiful this temple is. I haven't been inside since the open house in 2007 and it was so wonderful to be back for such a special occasion
 Thomas and Rachel are married! I actually missed them coming out of the temple doors because I was chasing my crazy two-year old. Thanks, Jack ;)
 Cousins (minus Jack, the maniac)- Sadie, Darci, James, Lucas, Chloe, Gavin, Rylee, and Maci
 Apparently in front of the temple is the PERFECT place for a lie down. I'll wait...
I am in love with these doors- the entrance to the temple
 Lucas was feeling the wait after the wedding. James was trying to wake him up a bit and help out his cousin
 The photographers pictures-
Everyone who came to the temple
 Nieces and nephews...
 ... and the very bright sun
 The four of us... and me being the lone laugher...
 Brothers and the baby sister
Us girls
 All the sisters
 Do we know how to fake laugh or what!
All the brothers
 The wonderful parentals
 Nephews and nieces
Our Family
The happy couple
The rest of the day was taking pictures, a luncheon at Mimi's Cafe, driving back to my parent's house while the bride and groom went on their honeymoon (no reception for them), playing in the backyard with cousins, a delicious BBQ, having my in-laws spend some more time with us, eating wedding cake, and lots of talking. My family hasn't been all together since we lived in Idaho. That was five years ago! It was about dang time! And, man, was it awesome. Really really awesome- all of us and our families being together and loving one another. I know my kids were in cousin heaven, it was so cute.
Bride and groom chocolate covered apples
Gavin "patiently" waiting for his grilled cheese
Cutting the cake
 How we found the boys when we went to bed that night
Guess our bed looked more welcoming than his sleeping bag
Sunday was the day we all went home. Too quick of a trip, but so glad it happened. Our usual 9-hour trip with stops turned into 11-hours. Poor Brad didn't feel too well through the mountains after Redding and we had to stop a few extra times for him to regroup. Then we ran into the most random traffic thirty minutes before we were home. Gah! But we made it. 
At one of our Target stops. Lobster Boy! Thank heavens for Halloween to entertain at a stop
We are now missing our family something terrible, but looking forward to a family reunion next year. We sure love our family, especially now that it has expanded by one :) Welcome to the family, Thomas!