Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So, A Bear Walks Into A Bar...

We've been busier than expected the last couple of weeks. I'm not going into everything right now - that would take WAY too long - but I figured I'd fill people in on some of the goings on...

When last we left our posting, Aaron and Gabriella were headed up the mountain to Grandma's house, and my boys were bummed. It took us a couple days to get back into some "normalcy" (if there is any such thing at our house). We were calling to check in on Grandma and solidify plans for the weekend when we got this news:

Grandma's house had been broken into.

By a family.

Of bears.

Yep. That's Estes Park. Apparently, there's been a whole rash of bear-related excitement the last little bit (we were Googling to see if her visit made it into the news, and didn't find anything for her house, but plenty of others - including the bear in the bar referenced in my title).

Anyway, we dropped everything to figure out how to help. After all, no one PLANS on having bears over for dessert. So Mark dashed up to get the kiddos and allow Grandma a little space to do what she needed to on her end. (We'll have more on this another time, when it isn't ridiculously late at night.)

Needless to say, the last few days were exciting. Aaron and Gabriella got to head back home with an awesome story to tell about their trip. The kids got a little extra time to play together. It turned out well.

At the same time as all this, we were housing a friend's fiance (who we'd never met). The poor girl didn't get much sleep, as four excited kids are not very quiet...

Because of the way things worked out, my schedule got all shook up. (Yes, I know the grammar is wrong, but I can't resist an Elvis reference.) My brothers were nice enough to take a trip out here and help out, I ended up going on maternity leave a day early, and my doctor's office accommodated my change in appointment just fine. Seriously, things fell into place amazingly. AND, we got multiple calls out of the blue from people who just wanted to check in and see if we needed any help getting ready before the baby comes.

Oh yeah, the baby... Since people have asked - no, I'm not ready. Emotionally not ready. Physically, we're down to just the last minute stuff: setting up the bassinet, installing the car seat, putting the last few things in the hospital bag, and narrowing down the short list of people to call to watch the boys at 3 am if need be. The ultrasound went fine - he's smaller than his brothers were at this point, which concerned me, but not the doctor. That's about it. Amazingly, my blood pressure has stayed super low this time around. We've already talked about tentative dates for induction (which I'm hoping won't happen this time). Now it's the waiting game. I'm just hoping he doesn't decide to come on one of the 4 days that would screw up Isaac's school stuff or on a Friday, when my doctor is at the satellite clinic and couldn't be the one doing the delivery.

Monday, July 22, 2013

As Promised

Hurray for pictures! Not that they're fabulous ones, but that's okay with me. As it turns out, Mark has been a better photographer lately, so, eventually, I'll steal his phone and post his stuff too. Maybe. Wait, that sounded WAY too ambitious...

For his birthday, Mark and I gave Jonathan a marble race set. The boys both LOVE it.

Jonathan especially enjoys measuring to see how tall each creation is.

Chuck grew wings from the marble pieces once Jon got tired of building.

I THINK this was the result of a blue coconut slush from Sonic, but it could've been any random blue food. Jonathan has decided to be a more messy eater lately.

This is how my house has looked more often than not lately. Told you I was getting lazy...

For the 4th of July, we went to the zoo. We rode the train, but I couldn't get both boys to look at me at the same time. *Sigh* Here's Jon:

And Isaac:

The boys were bored, so we decided to do something out-of-the-box. We made a map puzzle from an old cereal box and a printable map. WAY too much effort on my part for how long they played with it that day, but at least they've come back to it a few times. (No, we didn't cut out each individual state. Ain't nobody got time for that!)

Jon's Mater cake. The mouth and I had issues. I spent more than an hour trying to get it to be the right size before I gave up and made it tiny (mostly because Jonathan kept eating the fondant).

We got home from grocery shopping the other day and the heavens opened! The boys NEVER get to play in the rain (probably because it NEVER rains), so they were super excited.

I took advantage of the fact that playing in warm bathtub water is still exciting and had the boys wash some toys. They thought it was awesome.

This is really old, but I never posted it... During General Conference, I print out TONS of stuff for the boys to color/play/take "notes" on. This was a puzzle of one of our apostles. Isaac decided he needed a Technicolor Dream Coat.

It may be meager, but our first harvest from the garden was exciting: Yellow Taxi tomatoes, peppers, black cherry tomatoes, and a Siamese-twin yellow squash. 

Finished bookcases in the boys' room. They LOVE them - the novelty is still there, so they're willing to pick up the books and put them away most of the time. It's nice.

"Snake bubbles" with cousins. I couldn't get all 4 kiddos to hold still long enough for a photo, so this is what we got:

Cousins are headed up to Estes today, and both of my boys are bummed. We've had a lot of fun for the past few days! Now, to catch up on sleep before school/new baby...

Friday, July 19, 2013


So... I really did intend to post some pictures before now... Here's what happened: I'm a little crazy anyway, but I'm especially crazy when 8 months pregnant. I plan A LOT. I organize A LOT. And when things pop up, I get stressed. Well, nothing "popped up" - I just went crazy anyway. *Sigh* Poor Mark.
I totally missed blogging Jon's birthday... We did what we planned - dressed up like cows and got free Chikfila with the Clawsons (no pictures of that one), then headed back here for a Mater-shaped cake (yes, I'll post pictures of the cake). Isaac gave Jon a little fire engine that has been well loved now. We decorated with balloons and a banner, which made Jonathan feel super special for the day - when he got up that morning, the first thing he did was run down to see the decorations! Every time we sang to him (which happened often, since Isaac is good like that), Jonathan got a big goofy smile and would say thank-you over and over. He was pretty excited to turn into a "big boy."
We have visitors again! Mark's Dad and half brother came up Wednesday for a conference, and we were lucky enough to get to house them so that we had a bit of time with them. The boys were ecstatic to see Grandpa Tom (the last time they did was at Kent's wedding last summer), and Uncle Adam was a cool bonus (he actually TALKED this time). The kiddos enjoyed rough housing with Grandpa, kicking the soccer ball around with Adam, and playing "superheros" with whoever was willing to shout "Oh no!" at just the right moment. Mark couldn't take any time off work, but he still got an evening to play a game with them, so he was pretty happy too. I just enjoyed that they complimented my cooking. (BTW, Adam is GIGANTIC - he's a football player, so we cooked A LOT, and I was happy to end up with no leftovers.)
Also on Wednesday, Aaron and Gabriella flew in from Texas to spend time out here for a bit. To get them used to the altitude, and spend a little more time with their cousins, they're staying down here for a few days before heading up the mountain to Grandma Sue's house. Isaac and Jonathan couldn't be more thrilled! They've played Skylanders, watched "Avengers" cartoons, played trains and superheros, gone to the splash park, gone to the zoo, done fizzy sidewalk chalk, blown "snake bubbles", eaten more ice cream than I should have let them, and tonight they're on to a camp out in the backyard (Aaron and Gabriella even helped me set up the tent!). I think the camp out is the best part so far, but I have to admit I was surprised that s'mores were not as popular as Mark and I expected. (For the record, we chose NOT to help Mark with the fire this time. He got it going MUCH faster. Between his fire starting skills and Marty's careful tending, we had an awesome fire going to roast marshmallows!)
For those keeping track, yes, I have another doctor appointment next week - the last ultrasound! With all our guests, I thought time would fly by a little more, but I feel like it's dragging between appointments now. I guess that's just how the last month of pregnancy goes... That's okay - this ultrasound is my favorite, since I'm a nerd and like finding out things like how big the baby is, etc. For some reason, that just makes it more real to me than finding out the gender and feeling kicks and stuff. Not that much longer until we meet this little guy! (This poor baby will probably be more bald than Charlie Brown - I haven't had hardly any heartburn... We'll have to see how true that story holds!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Getting Even Lazier...

That's why there's no pictures this post - my house is a disaster and my kids have been wearing their pajamas all week. BUT, I did take some pictures last week, when I was a little less lazy, so maybe I'll get up the gumption to post them later.

I figured I'd better post SOMETHING today, so here's what we've been up to:
Housing Megan and Shad and Sundance - They got roped into driving out for a family event/baby blessing, and got to sleep in our guest room for a few nights. We had the privilege of playing two new games with them (my favorite was "Gloom" - a rather dark themed card game).
Exploding sidewalk chalk bags - I think I got some pictures of this one... Not sure... If not, I'm pretty sure the boys would be happy to do it again. We just mixed up some chalk paint with cornstarch, vinegar, and food coloring, dumped it into Ziploc bags, and then added baking soda at the last second. It took a while to get proportions just right, but we got some good explosions after that!
Finishing bookcases - Mark and I had a New Year's resolution to not do any new projects unless they directly impacted our health... I forgot. He's letting me blame this one on me being pregnant and him not reminding me... Anyway, we started these front facing bookcases a looooong time ago, thinking they'd be quick and easy. They were not quick and easy. BUT they are finished! (Minus mounting them to the wall)
Back to School Shopping - The clerk at the store thought I was crazy when I brought in the school supply list and started buying stuff this early. I had to inform him that I'd rather pay full price for school supplies than have my kindergartner show up without his stuff because I was in the hospital when we should have been shopping.
Sewing projects - Since Isaac needed a way to house said school supplies in his back pack, I decided to make him a pencil pouch with some of the fabric leftover from his robot tie. Umm... It's been a while since I sewed a zipper into anything... It took longer than it should have, but we're both pleased with the results. We also sewed "bean bag chairs" for both boys to stuff with their quilts/sleeping bags (at least during the summer) and extra stuffed animals.
An oil change - Sounds mundane, right? Well, this was the last time we had a prepaid oil change at the dealership after buying our van. Today marks the 3 year anniversary of that purchase! (For the record, we'll never buy prepaid oil changes again. We learned our lesson.)
Planning Jon's birthday celebration - Since the van just hit its 3 year mark, Jon's birthday is right behind! He's not having a party, because, honestly, he doesn't really have any friends... (We don't know many kiddos his age, and the ones we do know are all girls.) His birthday happens to fall on Chikfila's Cow Appreciation Day, so we figured we'd dress up and have a free dinner out to celebrate Jon. Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a cow costume, right? (Just to be sure no one thinks we're totally skimping here after Isaac got a big party, Jon does get his Mater cake, and we're all going out to his first movie this weekend. Don't worry, he hasn't entered the middle-child-black-hole yet.)
Eating date balls - I've debated about blogging this experiment until we know the results, but I figured that since we spent 4 hours making the things last weekend, I might as well. Anyway, we read that a recent study showed that eating 6 dates a day in the last few weeks of pregnancy may help prevent the need for an induction of labor. There is NO WAY I could handle eating 6 dates a day straight, but I really wanted to try ANYTHING that would help me avoid being induced again. Our solution was to make "date balls" - basically a no bake cookie made with ground nuts, dates, some cocoa, coconut, and vanilla. We just roll them into balls and freeze them. Mark and I were very careful to get them just the right size to be equivalent to 1 date each. Therefore, as long as I eat 6 cookies a day, I'm getting all my dates in. So, I just have 2 with each meal. (That's why we spent 4 hours on this - we had to make a few hundred, since I need 6 a day, and Jonathan wants one whenever I eat one.) I was worried that people would think I was crazy (because, admittedly, it does sound crazy), but I mentioned it to my neighbor from India, and she informed me that in her hometown, midwives always recommended dates and almonds to women to help promote healthy labor. She actually has a recipe from a midwife for something almost exactly like our date balls! So, we'll see how this goes... Not getting my hopes up, but I figure it's worth a shot!

And, really, that's about it for what we've been up to... Exciting, isn't it?