Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another round of last-minute scrapping.

So after last month's mad rush to finish my scrapbook pages, I promised myself I'd get this month's done early. And now look. It's the 29th and I started them both today. And since I will be busy the next couple days, I also finished them both today. So without further ado, here are my November contributions to the digital scrapbooking world.

First off, we have Ella modeling her fabulous grass angel skills:

The words across the bottom say something to the effect of, when there is no snow, make the best of it, blah, blah, blah. You can comment on it if you so desire here.

Next up for your viewing pleasure is an oldie but a goodie. The photo is from 2 years ago. I've always loved the picture but never had the right kit for it. I think it turned out fairly well, even though I forgot to put a name or date anywhere on it, breaking my cardinal rule of scrapping. Shame on me. Here 'tis:

Ella is the same age in the picture as Alex is now. How do they grow up so fast? Comments here.

Well, you all have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Confusion and Clarification

So I thought everyone decorated for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. It's what we did all growing up. But after getting a bevy of comments from people wowing that I had already decorated I started to wonder. Am I weird? I thought I was late getting my decorations up since it was the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I mean, come on, we only get one month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shouldn't we make the most of it? Then again, I only have about 5 decorations I put out and I have just those 3 small trees which take about 10 minutes to decorate, so maybe that's why it is not as intimidating to me. But I must say it has been a bit taxing to keep Alex out of the trees. He actually pulled the smallest one over on himself today and has the battle wounds on his face to prove it. He got all scratched up. Poor kid. Ella keeps going around and turning off all the lights so she can see the trees in all their glory. It's so fun to see them excited about it. Though Ella is a bit wary about Santa. She keeps declaring that she doesn't want to see him. Easy enough. Saves on the gift giving for me!

In other news, I wanted to clarify one thing for a few people. Yes, we were turkey bowling in the chapel of the church. But it is OK. They are just a small branch and their chapel is also their cultural hall. Never fear! We were not breaking rules. Though I must say, it did feel a bit scandalous to be sitting in there the next day at church, and as Harmony said, thinking to myself "Hey, that's where I got a strike last night!" Though sadly I didn't get any strikes. I guess that's why it felt so scandalous to think it.

The next two days are going to prove to be busy. I have left all my monthly scrapping duties to the last minute, which means I have to do 2 pages tomorrow since we are going out of town on Friday and Saturday (yes, again). I've also just taken upon myself a project for a Christmas gift for my parents which will need a lot of attention if it is going to be a gift for this year. Plus I've also volunteered to work on my brother-in-law's family history. Luckily his mom already did quite a bit of work, but none of it was in the computer. So for now I'm just entering names. Such fun. But keeps me busy.

Anton called about his paper work the other day and they told him to bug off, it's going to be a while longer. So no plans to go anywhere yet. So Anton's parents have bought tickets to come down here for Christmas. We've never hosted family for a holiday so it could be interesting. Anton has already planned out all sorts of adventures to take them on.

Speaking of adventures, did you know Anton is planning on running a marathon this weekend? That's where we are going. His hurt back from last week has been feeling fine so he is going for it. He went today and bought all his nutrition supplies, like Gu and other pleasantly named items. He's really excited for it. I don't get it. Running is something I don't think I'll ever get excited about. That's probably why Anton is the thin one and I'm, well, me. Please pass the ice cream.

Though, I had to declare for all to see, Andrea and I have made a pact. We are both going to lose 5 pounds by Christmas or we owe the other one $50. I better start saving. Just as soon as I made the pact I got a cold, and any sort of outdoor anything sends me into coughing spasms. So exercise is being postponed. I'll just have to starve myself right before Christmas. I'm sure the sludgie thick hot chocolate I drank tonight didn't help matters. And it's a good thing I didn't have any block cheese or I would have eaten half. What is it about drinking hot chocolate that would make me crave cheese? I don't know, but I really wanted some.

But enough rambling, and all without a single picture for you to see! Maybe I can scrounge one up, just a sec......





There you go! And you thought I must have been out of scrunchy face pictures by now. Well let me tell you, it's hard to run out when it's the face he makes every time there is a camera within a 20 foot radius of him. Love him to death!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

End of Thanksgiving, Beginning of Christmas

Though Thanksgiving came to an end we didn't let that end our Louisiana fun. On Friday we tried to do a bit of shopping, but not being brave enough to get up at 5 AM, we didn't hit the stores until about 11. There were no good deals left. Oh well. On the way home we went in search of a couple of geocaches. We were not very successful. However, we did get some fun swamp pictures. Here's my cute family:

There was supposed to be a cache by this bridge:

But there were too many muggles (non-geocaching people) around to make a good search for it. But look at the fun swamp:

Next time we go visit we are definitely going to take a swamp boat ride. Alex wasn't too thrilled with all of our driving around:

So cute!

On Saturday Andrea and I left all the kids with the men and took off for Houston. Our trip was 2-fold, 1. visit IKEA and 2. pick up Clayton from the airport. The weather was terrible which made the roads nice and empty for us. Andrea had never been to IKEA before so I gave her the grand tour. It was very tempting to buy all sorts of things, but I managed to walk out with only a picture frame. We gathered Clayton from the airport, had dinner at Cracker Barrel and headed back home.

And that's where we discovered the boys had been playing Betty Crocker. Stacy even donned an apron:

What they were doing was making candy.

Yum. Stacy is quite the candy maker. He has all the equipment and works it like a pro.

Got to keep a close eye on the sugar temperature.

Those are all the molds for the suckers. Good stuff! I ate a sour apple one today and it was so good. I think he ended up making over 100 of them.

And that brought our Thanksgiving trip to an end. On Sunday we hopped in the car around 10:40 and figured we'd be home by 6. No such luck. Between the pouring down rain and two separate freeway closures we didn't get home until after 10:30 PM. Yuck. But we did stop to eat at Cracker Barrel (yes, I ate there twice in 2 days). It was a long day. But I passed the time listening to Austenland, a book about a Jane Austen obssessed girl, by Shannon Hale. It was pretty good and passed the time quickly.

And now that the Thanksgiving festivities are over, on with the Christmas ones! I haven't gotten to pull out my own Christmas decorations for 2 years, so I was really excited to get to decorate. I pulled everything out this morning before I even got out of my pajamas. Ella stole my Santa hat so she could get in the mood too:

We had to make a Wal-mart run for a new string of lights and another stocking, since Alex wasn't around the last time we had our own Christmas. The poor kid also has a busted stocking holder:

It was broken when we bought them a few years ago and figured we'd get it fixed if we ever needed it. Well, I think it's just going to stay broken this year. He'll be lucky to get a photo in it. But I don't mind, I'm just so glad to actually have a fireplace to hang my stockings on this year!

Hooray! The kids had so much fun hanging the balls on the tree. Actually, Ella did the hanging and Alex kept pulling them off.

He also tried throwing them into the tree. That didn't work either.

But it all came out nicely in the end.

We have three smaller trees rather than one large one. We love it. And in case you were wondering, my IKEA obsession carries over into my Christmas decorations too. The balls on my tree? IKEA. My cool Christmas goat?

IKEA. My wrapping papers and bows? IKEA. Though I have to admit, our stockings?

So Wal-mart.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Thanksgiving!

So our Thanksgiving continued into Tuesday. We decided to do some horseback riding while our turkey was cooking. Since I had been forcing Andrea to watch me cook all weekend she figured it was only fair to force me to ride a horse. I haven't been on a horse in ages. Andrea promised me that the horse I was riding, Pearl, was nice and gentle and would be the perfect one for me. However, first came the task of getting on the horse. The stirrup was a tad bit too high for me to get my foot in it so Andrea had to give me a leg up. Next problem, my jeans were just a bit too ungiving for me to swing my leg up and over the horse's large back end, which led me to this point:

We were both laughing so hard that I couldn't get anywhere! I finally managed to suck the gut in enough and pull a few contortionist moves to get myself on up there. And true to Andrea's word Pearl was a good horse. I just had to show her who was boss at first and it was smooth riding from there on out.

Look at me go. We never went faster than a walk. Pearl had made it quite clear before we started that she would much rather have been taking a nap. So slow it was. Fine with me.

The kids also got to do some horse riding. They got to ride Bobo the pony. Alex was not too thrilled.

He thinks little ponies are beneath him. Give him a full-sized horse any day. He was much happier riding the play bull.

He was bouncing along and out of the blue copied one of us saying "Yee-haw!" It was soooooo cute! He hasn't said many words up to this point and all of a sudden this weekend he has started saying all sorts of things. But I have to say that yee-haw is about the cutest thing a little boy can say.

Ella rode Bobo like she was an old pro.

Whatever mom, I've done this horse thing a million times. And how can you not love a scrunchy face like this:

Sorry. Just had to throw that in.

So after all the horse riding fun we went back and showered and got back to making our feast. Ella was a great help in getting the food ready.

Too bad I couldn't have given her a knife and set her loose on the apples or something like that. But after days of standing in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove, the meal was finally finished. And what a feast it was.

We had so much food and not so many people to eat it.

Here we all are, minus Lane who was sleeping on the floor in the living room. We stuffed ourselves silly and still had enough food for a whole 'nother meal! It was all so good and I even got Andrea to try my sweet potatoes, and she liked them! After doing all the cooking I declared that I was exempt from dish duty. So to keep off my aching feet I took on the job of turkey stripper.

It's a messy job, but someone's got to do it. Then it was time for the food coma to set in and we watched movies the rest of the night. Such fun!

Wednesday found me up bright and early working on the cake that was going to be my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. I got it all frosted (after a scare that I'd used bad Crisco in the frosting, but got that all fixed) and then began the fun of putting on all the leaves.

I placed some on the sides and edges. Then decided that what would fall be without a giant pile of leaves?

First a giant mound of frosting was necessary.

Then on with the rest of the leaves. And finally, viola! The final product:

And just look at that tasty looking leaf pile:

Is this post long enough yet? Well too bad, there's more.

That night right as we were sitting down to dinner the power went out. And when the power goes out in the country it gets reallllly dark. Ella and Alex both burst into tears. But we busted out some candles and some flashlights and all was well again. It was lightning like crazy and I did my best to get a picture of it, but this was the best I could do:

We probably could have gotten by without candles since the lightning was so bright. We spent the night pretending like we were in a Jane Austen book. We gathered around the piano and sang songs and tried to have intellectual conversation. However, the powers that be must have thought the conversation not too great, for the power came back on about that time. It was kindof nice to have a whole night without TV and noise. The kids were really good in the dark.

Onwards to Thursday, Thanksgiving day. We had our 2nd feast at Andrea's father-in-law's house. Here is our gracious host with Andrea's husband Stacy:

The goofiness runs in the family. We all pigged out again on the usual Thanksgiving fare, with a yummy ham thrown in for good measure.

I thought the leaching blue coloring off the toothpicks was a nice touch. It was an interesting meal spent in the company of interesting backwoods country folk with seriously dysfunctional families. It was hard to keep straight who was related to who how. Are you confused yet? But we all ate our food fast in order to get to the cake. I let Andrea do the honors of the demolition:

All declared it good, or as Stacy said, "It's pretty good." Said in a non-committal southern accent.

After all that food we thought it best to get out of the house for a bit. So what better thing to do on Thanksgiving evening than go bowling! And bowling is just what we did. Anton creamed us all with a score of 102. Just goes to show what pathetic bowlers we are. Than again, maybe it was his fabulous bowling form:

Ella and Alex both had a great time. Alex produced a new word for us all "Ball."

Alex didn't really care as much about it all as Ella did.

However, I think the award for best bowling form should really go to Andrea.
I took this photo in retribution for the one she took of me, which because I am editor has remained absent from the blog. If she's lucky I might let her post it on her's, maybe.

And that brings us to the end of our Thanksgiving festivities. But never you fear, the fun of this vacation isn't over quite yet. There is still more to come on a non-Thanksgiving note. Have a great day!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Thus Far

We have stretched out our Thanksgiving celebrations over a full week this year. We started on Saturday when we drove to Louisiana to spend the week with Andrea and her family. That night we went to their church Thanksgiving party where they do turkey bowling. That's where you take a frozen turkey and throw it across the room and try and knock down the soda bottle pins. Such fun! Andrea was our fearless score keeper:

Ella had so much fun doing it. Though she wasn't very good at hitting the pins, she sure threw with style:

Everyone had their turns, including me!

Anton sat out the bowling:

Thanks to the fact that when we were loading up the car that morning he threw out his back. He could barely walk for a few days. Poor guy. Lydia, Andrea's newest, watched all the fun from her carseat:

What a doll!

On Monday we took the kids to an alligator park. Ella got to hold a baby alligator:

I'm surprised she did. Alex wasn't so sure about it and was only brave enough to touch it's tail:

I loved this sign they had hanging up in the alligator house:

They also had a really cool playground there where we all got in on the fun, Andrea I think most of all.

She was riding all the toys with the kids. I even took a turn myself:

Andrea was also a swinging fool.

What a goof. She sure knows how to have fun!

Look at her fly!

Speaking of having fun, I think Alex wins the award for having the least amount of fun. While trying to get on a swing Alex neglected to make note of the large mud puddle below it.

He fell in and got completely soaked and muddy. Poor kid. He spent the rest of the time running around without pants, but he managed to get some swing time anyways:

So dirty!

When we got home from the park we began our baking spree. Since we are having to do a big extended family Thanksgiving on Thursday we decided to have our own version on Tuesday, so we had to do all the prep work on Monday. I whipped up an apple pie:

A pumpkin pie:

Some raspberry filling for the cake I'm making for Thursday:

And some leaves for the cake top:

I felt like I spent the rest of the day on my feet in the kitchen. My feet were killing me!

To finish off the day we let the kids play in the big bathtub:

Can you believe that I got 3 kids all looking at the camera and smiling all at the same time?

Anyways, the festivities continued on Tuesday and into Wednesday, but those photos and stories will come in the next installment. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!