Friday, November 29, 2013

It's My Birthday

Today was my birthday.  Ryan wrapped my present in a bazillion bags that took a while to unwrap.
 I wanted to get a Christmas tree, so we put on all of our coats and cold weather gear and went to go get one.
 Blair and Simon came with us.  I thought it would be nice if Simon took a picture with the girls.  Simon thought otherwise.
 Once the tree was at the house, Emma and Elizabeth took me out to lunch for my "present."  It was really sweet.
I decided to do something different with the tree this year- white lights instead of the multi-colored ones.  Courtesy of Black Friday, we got the new LED lights for a very reduced price.  :)  The girls and I decorated the tree while Ryan did homework.  I guess that's the price he paid for not having an assignment on Thanksgiving, but it meant he did homework for a long time.
 Our pretty tree:
Ryan did get me a pretty cake from Safeway.
After dinner (and cleaning up after it), I felt done watching the kids.  So I went upstairs and sat in our jacuzzi while Ryan put the kids to bed.  I sat in hot, bubbly water for a good 90 minutes.  I felt better afterwards.

This was the birthday card I got from my in-laws.  It was kind of funny, but what were they trying to tell me...?


We hosted Thanksgiving this year.  We had a pretty good houseful, and we cooked two turkeys to be prepared.  With the help of our guests, we had a nice spread.  This is half.
 I got a quick picture while I was up for seconds.  Others were in the kitchen getting seconds too.
 After dinner, we surprised Blair with a not-very-formal baby shower.
 The kids were doing Kim's hair while Blair was opening gifts.  And Simon wanted to take off with his soon-to-be baby sister's new clothes.
 Kim didn't want photographic evidence of Elizabeth's creation.
 After most of our guests left to go home, we sat down to watch Nanny McPhee at the end of a busy day.  Blair and Simon stayed with us for a couple of days while Michael was working long hours.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Break Begins

With Thanksgiving being so late in the month this year, the Christmas movies on tv began before Thanksgiving.  The kids only had school Monday and Tuesday this week, so Tuesday night we let the girls stay up late to watch Rudolph.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful Leaves

For Family Home Evening tonight, we listed things we were thankful for on leaves.  I bought these cute little clothes pins, and we used them to make a banner.

She's a problem solver

It's been pretty cold outside.  We've had days that don't reach above freezing already, which is kind of unusual for November.  Elizabeth has been complaining about the cold during recess time, so today she was proactive about finding a solution to her problem.  I noticed this morning that Elizabeth appeared to be wearing more than one pair of pants at a time, but it wasn't until she got home from school that I realized just how many layers she was wearing.
Brown leggings- layer one, blue leggings- layer two, black leggings- layer three, and black jeans- layer four.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Preschool Thanksgiving Performance

Annie and Maddie had their first performance tonight.  They've been practicing at secret meetings at preschool, and the kids have been so excited to show us what they've been working on.

They were so cute to watch.  Here's their 6 Little Turkey song.
 Lots of songs and poems.

The kids had a little "skit" that they performed.  Each one had a line they said when the narrator (Tiffany) said their character.  Annie was the Turkey ("Gobble Gobble Gobble"), and Maddie was the Pilgrim Girl ("Mercy me!")  Seriously, Maddie's "Mercy Me" was hysterical and it's our new catch phrase around here.  Annie had a bit of attitude, and sometimes she said her line like "This is the silliest line ever."

Then we stayed for treats.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Tuesday afternoon, a little after 1 pm, I got a call from my grandma.  Grandpa stopped eating and Hospice gave him about 2-3 days.  A couple of phone calls, texts ("Uh... we are going out of town and won't be going to such and such"), and two hours later, the family was in the minivan headed west to see Grandpa.

A little after 6 pm, we surprised Grandma by showing up.  She was there alone with Grandpa, as no other family had come into town yet.
 We got the chance to say our goodbyes.  I think Grandpa knew we were there.  It was hard to see him sick and wasted, but I'm glad I had the chance.

We took Grandma home, and spent a little more time with her before piling back in the car to drive back home.
This morning Grandpa passed away.  While the kids were at school and I was exercising, he passed into the next life.  My heart aches that we've lost a wonderful man from our mortal life, but I'm glad that he's no longer confined to his bed and so sick.
Helmuth Nissen turned 91 years old this year.  He was born in Denmark, survived Polio and walked again after he was told he never would, was part of the Danish Underground Resistance during WWII, became a jeweler, traveled much (his "vagabond days"), converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, immigrated the US, and eventually married my Grandma 40 years ago.

He was talented, artistic, patient, caring, thoughtful, trusting, and a stubborn Dane.  He loved to tell stories from his past.  He never lost his Danish accent, although he became an American citizen so many years ago.  He made my wedding ring.

Although he was not related to me by blood, this is the man I know as my Grandpa.  Because of his influence, I married someone wonderful, rather like him.

You will be very missed.  But I am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel and the Plan of Salvation, and look forward to seeing you again someday.

I'm thankful for my supportive husband.  He dropped everything to come with me on Tuesday, even though it meant half sleep-walking at work yesterday, and staying up until 10:30 last night catching up on his master's homework.  He even came home during his lunch time today to give me a hug.  I love you, Ryan.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I bought a couch

My babysitting gig is over.  It was really nice to get a pay check for the first time in years, but I am glad it's done.

We've been stalking a nearby auction house once a week for a couch.  A new couch was going to be my reward, as the free couch and love seat we've been making due with have been slowly getting sadder and sadder.  Falling apart.  Looking pathetic.  Stuffing coming out.  Embarrassing.

So after 4 weeks of trying, we scored us a sectional couch from Macy's at the auction.  Our winning bid was $650.
 I love it.  It's "graphite" colored (a dark gray-blue).  We are keeping the old green couch and love seat until after Thanksgiving.  We are expecting a lot of people, and enough seating is a plus.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pig Barn

Ryan has been using his "free time" the last two weekends to build Emma and Elizabeth a pig barn for their up coming 4-H projects.  Ryan's dad saw a picture of it and dubbed it the, "Pig Mahal."  It is pretty big, but Ryan dislikes chasing pigs all bent over.  Or hitting his head on an out-building.
This thing is almost done.  I'll be glad when it is.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

She Makes Cookies

My little girl is getting so big.  Tonight Emma decided she wanted Snickerdoodles, so she made Snickerdoodles.  By herself.  With no adult help.  (Annie helped in eating bits of cookie dough.)
Although I was skeptical (her ability to follow written directions is a bit iffy), her cookies turned out great.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Elizabeth's front teeth have been loose and hanging strangely for a while now.  Finally, she convinced Ryan to pull out one tooth this afternoon, and the second this evening.
Now Elizabeth can sing, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," just at the right season.

A Dinner Time Funny

Tonight I made some cranberry sauce to go with our dinner.  The cranberry sauce was another one of those recipes I found on Pinterest.  It was really good, but three of the four kids didn't even want to try the sauce.  They love the jellied stuff from a can, but this was new and unfamiliar territory and, therefore, suspect.

I made whoopie pies with Annie and Maddie this afternoon, and we waited patiently to eat them for dessert.  Unfortunately, the kids are required to taste everything on their plate, and some were protesting a lot (ahem-Emma).  It took a while, but everyone tasted the cranberry-orange sauce (recipe pinned here) and we were able to move on.

As we were all sitting around the table, watching Emma finish her cookie, Ryan offered her another cookie if she would eat a big spoonful of the cranberry sauce.  Gagging noises was Emma's response.

Annie hadn't been over-fond of the sauce either (maybe from listening to Emma's tirade), but jumped up and came over to Ryan to "have another taste."  Annie made a bit of a face as the sauce was sliding down, and then grabbed a cookie before running back to her seat.

Ryan looked at me in astonishment, and I laughed.  I suppose if the deal was good for Emma (even though Ryan was pretty sure Emma wouldn't go for it), it was good for Annie too.

Maddie then came over to have her taste of cranberry sauce and a 3rd cookie as well.

Sparkly Boots

Annie and Maddie got some new boots from Old Navy.  They love them so much, the boots went with us to church today.  Our outfits were so amazing, I had to take a picture.  Annie and Maddie are also wearing shirts they got from mom and dad on their birthday.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Annie and Maddie Turn 5

Saturday we had family over to celebrate Annie and Maddie's birthday with us.  

 After all the excitement of Thursday (Halloween), Friday (Party), and Saturday (cousins, grandparents, aunt and uncle came over), on Sunday, we just had a family day.

Annie and Maddie requested ravioli for dinner, and chocolate cake.  I used Nutella as the filling this year.  It was tasty!

Happy Birthday, girls.  I can't believe you are so big!

Big Birthday Weekend Begins

We had a very exciting, very busy weekend to celebrate Annie and Maddie turning 5-years-old.  Friday night we had the "friend party."  As this was the day after Halloween, I kept it really simple.  We had an easy fall wreath craft to start us off.  (Picture of the finished products, since I was busy helping during the craft.)
 Then we let the kids play while we finished making dinner.
 We ate the new Kirkland frozen pizzas for dinner.  Between 12 kids and 2 adults, we ate a lot of pizza.
 Sean, Noah, Ian, Jane, Annie, Kennedy, Maddie, Elizabeth, Tanner, Amber and Jaxon sitting around the table.
Then we let Annie and Maddie open their presents.  
 Then let the kids play with the new toys.  I was a little amused to see Tanner and Noah enjoying the Polly Pockets.
Cake and ice cream time.
(I think Jane got in on blowing out the candles...)
Ryan had to go to the high school for a bit, so I turned on a movie, and let the kids watch or play as desired.