Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas from Us!

We're having a great time (except for when we're not) with everyone out of work and school. Mostly it's been okay and the boys haven't killed each other, so I consider that a success! Here's what you've missed since I haven't been blogging:

ULTRA-warm first day of winter meant Great Falls

Christmas Eve gingerbread houses and partying with friends

Christmas morning presents (and air heads in mouths)

Christmas brunch with cousins

New Christmas clothes from grandparents

I go back to work on Tuesday, but it's okay because Wednesday is another holiday!

P.S. Rhett's reaction after opening his nutcracker gift from Ollie. Seriously that boy could not love nutcrackers any more.

P.P.S. Today is our anniversary. Nine years! Time to get serious planning that 10th anniversary trip.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Only in Zion

Each Friday Rhett brings home the work he did in school during the week. We briefly look through it and talk about it. But this one caught my eye. He didn't get an the highest grade and when I looked to see why, I saw that he had switched "Adult" with "Elder." When I asked him why he switched them, this is what he said: "Well, when boys are missionaries, they are called elders. After that they turn into adults." Sure makes sense to Mormons!

P.S. And no, this post is not at all related to Christmas. What of it?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Molecules of Misery

Because it's me, it's time for some complaining about my rotten children. I happen to have two boys who, when separated, are fun, silly boys. But when together, WHOO BOY. Watch out. If you see the two of them together, RUN the other way. I do. Well, at least I really, really want to.

If I'm being totally honest, they're not all bad. After they wake up, but before they're allowed out of bed in the morning, they seem to play well together. But as soon as their bedroom door is opened and until it is closed at 7 p.m., our lives are miserable. The sad thing is that alone, each boy is pretty good. Once Rhett is at school, Ollie and I have a good time. And if Ollie is napping, Rhett can be nice and cooperative. But something about their molecules just create an atomic bomb when they're in the same room.

Here is a small, but representative, sample of the things they currently fight over:
Who gets to sit in the new chair at the kids' table
Who gets to look at the back of the cereal box during breakfast
Whose choice of show we watch first
Who gets to play with the toy neither has played with in months
Who gets the in-tact toy that remains after its twin was broken by a boy
Which book we'll read first at book time
What punishment should be doled after one bites/slaps/hits/punches the other

I know this is totally normal stuff for siblings to fight over. I know it. But man, living it? Awful.

P.S. Caitlin, I loved your idea that I named "Snowflakes of Service." Unfortunately I have spent all my energy this month fighting boys (see above). But it's on my calendar for next year, should they miraculously start getting along.

P.P.S. Speaking of calendars, to save money, I thought I'd try a new planner this year. It should be in the mail as you read this, and I'm
soooo excited for it!

Monday, December 16, 2013


This is what made Rhett exclaim, "And now I KNOW magic is real!"

P.S. I can't not record this gem from early November. "If Kitty and I got married I'd be so embarrassed because...[dramatic pause]...a cat, for a wife?!"

Friday, December 13, 2013

What To Do?

Chuck was in charge of decorations for our ward's Christmas party last week. In addition to cutting more than 100 paper snowflakes, he made 16 of these large, red, popsicle stick snowflakes. But now that the party is over, what are we supposed to do with them? A friend suggested hanging them on the ceiling (not from the ceiling, but on), but I'm afraid of the asbestos-filled popcorn ceiling and prefer to leave that untouched. Our walls are pretty filled, so, uh, where?

Image taken from here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Perfect Storm

Why was this storm so perfect? Let me enumerate the reasons for you.

1. It was predicted to start during Tuesday's morning rush hour. Any storm predicted to drop 3-7" during morning rush hour means that Chuck and I were both let out of work. And of course school was cancelled, so this meant a snow day for the entire family.

2. Because it didn't start until sunrise, we were able to keep the kids inside a bit, eating coffee cake and watching shows, until the main event.

3. My mom is awesome and earlier had sent snow pants and snow coats for the kids, so we were ready. I have a firm testimony of appropriate snow gear in order to have a good experience. Sorry, but jeans and/or sweats just don't work. (Sadly, we don't have good snow boots for the kids, but their rain boots filled in okay.)

4. Because the kids were so prepared, we were able to spend 1.5 hours sledding and snowman-making in the morning. It was so much fun to watch Rhett go down. And the predicted 3-7" turned into 2-3", but that was great because my small children could still maneuver in it. More than 6" and I don't think they would have lasted nearly as long. Also, it was great for making snowmen and balls. Not that light, beautiful, perfect Utah snow at all. Blech. Who wants that?!

5. Because Rhett had no school the day before (thanks ice storm), we had Christmas cookies, which, with hot chocolate, were perfect after sledding.

6. This is not perfect: little Ollie got his second ear infection in about three weeks, so we scheduled a doctor appointment and put him down for an early nap. When that early nap didn't take well, we rushed outside for our second dose of sledding. That's right: good parents take their sick kids sledding.

7. After the doctor appointment, we were able to get some errands done, and then we made it to some drive-through Christmas lights. Of course the kids loved them.

8. The 2-3" of snow didn't cancel my date with friends once the kids were in bed.

P.S. This post is late because of the crazy-non-stop-edness of Tuesday and the loss of phone, internet, and cable Sunday and Monday.

P.P.S. Yes, this is how Ollie decorates cookies. Just dumps entire package of sprinkles onto the cookies.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Things in My House that Make Me Smile

This table. I love the runner (when I blur my eyes and don't see the crazy corners, that is). I love the napkin holders.

I love the ornaments that Chuck was inspired to put on our strange-but-I-love-it branch.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Only 368 Days to Train (and design a costume)

Did you know that the house used in "A Christmas Story" is now museum dedicated to the movie? The inside-the-house parts were shot on a sound stage of course, but the house itself was recently purchased and redone to make it look exactly like how it was used in the film. Super cool, right? So the other night when I'm looking to see where the house is (because, c'mon, admit it, you want to go), guess what I found? A 5K/10K "A Christmas Story" race. I'm totally going. If it wasn't already sold out for this year, I'd go up Friday.

I mean, seriously. Did you see how awesome it will be? You get to drink rich, chocolatey Ovaltine. You get a stellar leg lamp t-shirt. And you get a medal. Plus you get to be at the Christmas Story house. This is incentive enough.

Who is with me? Linda, want to make a family road trip out of it and meet us? Anyone else? Because no lie, I'm totally doing it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Because Chuck's parents moved this spring, and because we'd have to be millionaires to afford plane tickets at Thanksgiving to be at my parents' house, we had no other choice but a friends-only Thanksgiving. All the regular characters were there (turkey, cranberries, orange rolls, sweet potatoes, pie, you know), but this time with friends instead of family. As expected, we had a wonderful day. I started with an early (6:30 a.m.), cold (25 degrees), long (9.5 miles) run with my friend Sharon*. When I finished, Chuck got his physical activity in the form of flag football. Then we both put the kids in front of the tv so we could work on the food. We brought cranberries, sweet potatoes, two pies, and orange rolls. (Yes, maybe it's weird to post a picture of the food, but I was so proud of it all.)

We had four kids who all happily sat at the kids' table. I have no idea what my boys ate, but I also don't care. As long as they let me enjoy the company and food, I was happy.

Friday we spent all day at home with the exception of our trip to get the tree. I wish I could say we supported a local, organic farm. Or that we chopped down our own after snowshoeing for miles. But we chose to not afford the first option, and the second option is just too far away. So option 3 ($21 tree at Home Depot) would have to do. We spent all morning decorating the house and all afternoon sitting in front of the fire. It was awesome.

Saturday morning a friend hosted an Ugly Sweater 2.2 mile race. Five people ran and guess who won? ME. I. I won a race. I'm still pretty proud of myself. And not only was I the first to finish, I also got the award for "Granny"-est sweater. Chuck clearly earned his medal. (These items were purchased specifically for this race. They did not come from our regular wardrobes.)

Sunday was another day at church (but better than last week because we weren't speaking) followed by some quiet time and the regular week's prep. Our advent activity was to decorate the tree, but since that was completed on Friday, we thought we'd add some cranberry-popcorn strands. (Can you believe that I actually asked my child to look at the camera and smile? I'm such a mean mom.) And yes, the nutcracker wanted to "watch" the activity.

*Can I just say that I am so grateful for my running girls? We started our Thursday night track workouts last January to help train for the half, and we haven't stopped running together since. They are my free therapy. They are my good friends. They are my "me time." I love love love running with them.