Monday, December 29, 2014

November 2014.

November began with a good-bye: Pappy left after his week-long visit. 
Windy Faye on Veteran's Day. We should have gone out for free meals and such with our active duty military IDs, but Rick worked late. 
Isla the potty trainee. I will admit to sort of forcing this one to potty train on my time table. After seven years of diapers, I am ready to be done for a while! She caught on very quickly, although she's taking a while to get the poop in the right place... 
Candy turkey time! We used the turkeys this year for Carson's birthday treat to share with his class at school.
Helping me finish making the treats the morning of his birthday.
Carson was actually down sick the week leading up to his birthday. He even had to miss school one day, but luckily he bounced back in time to go in and share the turkeys, although you can still see his sick eyes!
Opening a couple of gifts after his requested dinner of tortellini.
We threw a party for Carson the Saturday after his birthday. He chose a Ninja Warrior theme, and we sent out invitations challenging his friends to try our awesome obstacle course. Unfortunately, the outdoor course was rained out! The night before the party, I reluctantly started looking up ideas for indoor obstacle courses. I turned around to see Rick moving furniture and taping lines to the floor with painter's tape. He had set up an amazing course in just a few minutes! One of Rick's many talents, apparently. Here, I led this kids in a warm-up, Insanity-style of course. 
We had parents helping out, timing each kid. Their times were recorded on their name tags, so they could try to improve each time they went around. Kaiya is off to a good start here!
First off was the quintuple step.
Competitors had to climb over the couch mountain...
and then crawl under it.
I got stuck here when I tried the course.
Across the balance beam. (Notice Isla in the background of the pictures, holding her "friends.")
Hopping across the chairs. (Did I really let 40 plus dirty kid feet step on my chairs??)
More furniture climbing...

The kids had to push a heavy can of wheat across the floor,
And then toss bean bags into a basket.
A final run through this hallway completed the course! Didn't Rick do a great job? He can plan all the kids' parties from now on.
We served hot dogs, grilled corn, and fruit.
Carson's friends also decorated Ninja-bread cookies.
This is one of those Pinterest fails! Luckily the kids thought it was just fine. If you've seen American Ninja Warrior, hopefully you can tell that this is a series of obstacles. The most obvious wuld be the warped wall on the left.
We gave out jump ropes so the competitors could keep training.
Which one is Bran Arnold and which is Carson Otto? Hard to tell.
Carson wasn't even five pounds when he was born. I remember being so worried that his little rough start to life would affect his brain or body negatively... that worry was obviously quickly put to rest! Carson has a strong, capable body. (Now that he's seven he can attend classes at the Y, so he comes to my Insanity class and keeps up the whole time!)  He also has an amazing brain. (He attends a third grade class for math and reading and keeps right up. He mentioned to me that, when playing a memorized piano song, he can sometimes see the music in his head. Often during the day I wish I could call or text Carson to ask him a question; he remembers things so much better than I do!) Carson also has a good heart. He is so obedient and helpful and always tries to do what is right.
That's my seven-year-old! 
Thanksgiving break began right after the birthday celebrations were over. All four love a good session at Pump-it-up!
Cute girls.
Making rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. (Second try since the first batch failed to rise!)
Everett punches it down.

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, Rick discovered that he had both Thursday and Friday off of work! So we decided to go visit Austin for the first time. We had wonderful hosts there who even let us crash their Thanksgiving family dinner.

Two-year-olds do not appreciate a good meal!
This boy sure does, though. He is starting to eat more like his dad when it's something he really likes!
Miss Faye.
Everett was determined to eat the drumstick. He did his best, and then his dad finished it off for him.

Austin was so fun! The weather was nice, we love hanging out with the Hales, and Austin has lots of great things for kids to do.
Amelia, Carson and Isaac.
Isla loves a good train ride.
Faye and Ruby. They took us on a nice short hike that finished with a beautiful view of Austin, just as the sun was setting.

We left cranky Everett at home!
At the Nature and Science Center.
Did Isla really think I was going to feed her to a bear?
Maybe these pictures are strange, but tiny two-year-olds on potties are really cute!
Digging for dinosaur bones.
Polka dots and hair accessories.
Carson and Everett's favorite pastime with Isaac is play fighting. It's pretty funny!
The Hales introduced us to Rick's latest obsession. Good, cheap burgers and amazing shakes!

This was our thankful tree this year.
Sometimes the bedtime routine involves tears and an impatient mom. Other times we have smiles and giggles all around! This was a good night.
A huge batch of waffles. That extra large blue bowl sees a lot of action at our house!
Celebrating the birthdays of our good friends, Kennan and Brynlee Allred. Another friend Kim made their absolutely amazing cakes! The detail is incredible. We try to ignore the fact that the Allreds are moving this summer.
Miss Faye in the car.
Our turn to pick up produce from downtown for the co-op. I just thought the colors looked so pretty I had to take a picture!
After Thanksgiving, we get the Christmas decorations right out! That's exactly how I feel about the mess, Faye!
I let the kids do the tree however they want.

We were all very grateful for good health at the end of November! I finally got rid of my bronchitis/sinus infection after over a month of suffering! And the kids took turns with little sicknesses here and there. Thankfully we were then all happy and healthy and focused on getting ready for the Christmas season.