Friday, November 30, 2012

the secret photographer

Sarah Kay Brimhall, CJ's friend, was the secret photographer at the proposal.  I love that Clayton was so thoughtful in his plan and that I could have a peek and that they look so happy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

little red headed girl Charlie Brown

 Today was Starbase Atlantis graduation.  Every day I am grateful for the chance Ethan has to go to STEM.  It has suited him and his learning style and interest perfectly.  This year the 5th graders have been going to the base to Starbase Atlantis.  Ethan LOVES it.  They have done some really neat things.  He enjoyed using CAD to design his own life support pod, space shuttle and helicopter rescue vehicle. He got to make a robot that by remote control navigated from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. They got to fly flight simulators, not all the kids were successful in the flights.  Ethan was though :)  Lots of crashing into buildings, water and flipping the plane on it's side.  They had to build safety restraints that would keep their eggburt astronaut safe in a landing.  Ethan's cracked.  They studied astronomy and physics and famous scientists.  Today they built and launched rockets.
 The only place on base that had enough room, and free air space was the Vice Admiral's lawn.  The kids were warned "we can not hit the Vice Admiral's wife's car again" so do not launch until we have an all clear.  It was really exciting.  Of the 24 rockets only 5 were irretrievable after their flights.  (Ethan's landed 50ft up in a tree~ oops)
 After the graduation I brought Ethan, John and Albert back to our house to play.  Hannah also had Marrisa over and Lu was at Ryder's.  It was a fun playing afternoon.
 This cute little red head is Olivia, who Ethan does not find annoying for the second year in a row. 
The whole group at the end of the day. 

is that jingle bells I hear?

nope, it's wedding bells!!!

Last night, a little after midnight, we got a screaming, giggling, joyful call!  Mom! I'm engaged!!! I don't know any details of how it went but am anxious to hear today.  I am excited! Jenna is a delight and Clayton is smart and kind and funny.  I hope they will be very happy.  Love!

getting closer

He's getting closer.  This one was only 2 inches shy of being a keeper.  I have a feeling we will be eating fish this weekend.

Poor Lu was home with a fever yesterday.  She slept for like four hours in the afternoon. 

Last night we had our new curriculum training for YW/YM/ SS.  I am excited about the changes.  It will be more work for the teachers, and the learners but I think it will really facilitate growth of understanding and allow the Spirit to teach and strengthen.  As the world succumbs more and more to the forces of evil, and the day of our Saviour's arrival gets closer (hopefully... it's got to be close now right??)  our approach becomes more and more weighty and full of substance.  These kids are awesome, I do not envy them their challenges.

In other news the chapel was freezing! We had to snuggle close for warmth! Poor Han raced off with friends the minute we got there so I didn't think she wanted to sit by me and then she didn't join our warm row and had to sit in the back.  I didn't know.  Hannah, I always want you right next to me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

mid week thoughts

 Monday after I picked the kids up from school I surprised them with a trip to the movies.  We saw "Rise of the Guardians" and I really liked it.  It was a lot of fun for all of us and had a good story and good actors and animation.  The kids ate movie nachos and icees and everyone was happy.  When we came home we had dinner and a FHE lesson.  Our lesson was on the nature of God.  We also talked about doing service.  I know that it is only by serving others that we can find real joy so I want to teach this to the children.  The family is a great place to serve and to learn this lesson, it's also a hard place to do it because children sure know how to bug each other, don't they? :)  It is important to serve outside of the family but I think it's also easier for the kids.  We brainstormed a few ideas and I think we've got at least four that we will fit in during the next couple of weeks.  We are all excited about it.
 Our little elf Xavier has been busy.  He hides somewhere new each night.  Both Ethan and Lu like to look for him.  I hoped Lu would think it's fun, I didn't expect E to so it's been a happy surprise that they both like him.  This year I am really shifting our focus off of gifts and on to some fun traditions, family time, service, and the true spirit of Christmas.  I am still buying gifts, of course, they are just smaller, hopefully thoughtful things that the kids need or I think they will enjoy.  We had 3 awesome vacations this year and we told the children that Disney was their main Christmas gift.  They are fine with that.
Princess Puppy is regressing a bit in the potty department.  It's my fault, as are all pet problems I believe.  I have given her too much freedom too soon.  This is a common problem with pets and kids.  It's actually easier for the mom (owner) to have the pet/kid enjoy a lot of freedom but it is disastrous in both cases.  In Ziva's case she is having more accidents.  I am going back to crating her even if we are home and have read about a technique for outside business teaching that I am going to try.  Of course that means constant vigilance and effort on my part.  If I want a great, trustworthy, trained dog I have to put in the year of leash training, crate training, constant watching.  Similarly with the kids when they have free reign they watch TV all day, eat junk food, leave their rooms a mess and take the path of least resistance.  This is the easiest course for us all...and the worst one.  I want the kids to be hard working, respectful, neat, God-fearing (read: serving, obeying, following, emulating), productive people so it's a metaphorical crate and leash (rules, chores, correction, limits) that is needed and so much work for mom and dad.  There are no short cuts in either endeavor, interestingly the hardest part of the process is overcoming my own laziness.  I'm still a work in progress. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

sweaters, spray bottles, skittles

Our good friend Daniel McCombs turned 11 a couple of weeks ago.  His super fun mom Laura rented out the base movie theater and invited pretty much everyone they know to celebrate.  It was tons of fun.  Ethan and I went.  Sadly Lu was grounded so she, Hannah and Dad went fishing.  (still no fish caught).  We saw Percy Jackson and the kids ate treats.  It was fun to be there with so many friends.  Happy Birthday Daniel!
Immediately after we went to the church where we met the Streeters and Bro. Rose.  It was our turn to clean the church.  Zach, who was coming over to play after helped too.  It took less than 2 hours and we had the whole place sparkly.  I am so very grateful for our church building, our church family and most of all the restored gospel of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
When we finished R rushed home with the boys to watch the Ohio State Michigan game.  The Buckeyes won.  Arden came home with us.  The girls made snowflakes, made cookies and played with Z.
The boys watched the game, played soccer, went to John's and watched the game and played soccer.

Hannah left with Alyssa.  They went ice skating and shopping in Waldorf.

In the evening we went to the Ray's.  They had a going away party for the Duffins who are moving to Hawaii to work at the PCC.  It was a ugly sweater party.  Tons of people came and it was a lot of fun.  R and I just got sweaters out of our closets.  R won the tied for ugliest "bill cosby" sweater.  I didn't place :)
In the middle of the night we had puke.  How much puke can one family have?  These kids have the weakest stomachs.  This one didn't make it out of the bedroom and it was disgusting.  Wrapping freshly laundered towels on our faces (a trick I learned from me papa) was the only way we could even enter the room.  We need to invest in hazmat suits.
Lastly yesterday Xavier, our very own little elf on the shelf, made an appearance at our house.  His job is to watch the kids then each night magically transport to the North Pole and report to the big guy.  This morning we found him hanging onto the chandelier in the foyer.  He must need to work on his navigation skills a little so he doesn't land in such dangerous spots.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tree Lighting on the Square

Black Friday:
R went fishing. Eventually the kids, Z and I joined him. It was nice out.  We met his fishing buddy and his family.  The little kids already knew them but H and I didn't. 

When fishing was done H and I went shopping! whoo hoo! Got some nice jeans for missy and a few more Christmas presents.
Tonight we went, for the first time, to the annual tree lighting, Santa visiting, holiday kick off extravaganza at the square.  It was crazy crowded.  We saw lots of friends, had some hot chocolate, smooshed through the crowds and welcomed the season.

We are grateful!

We had a really nice thanksgiving :)  I am very grateful that even though we live far away from family we have great friends to celebrate with. 

I spent the morning cooking.  I made southern style sweet potatoes, beet salad, corn pudding and German chocolate cake. 
Hannah spent the morning at the turkey bowl and then went to Chelsea's to help get ready for the day.
R spent the morning fishing.
E and Lu and the dogs spent the morning playing.

In the afternoon we went to the Martines and had a most delicious meal. 

In the evening there was dessert and a bonfire and lots of great conversation.

In the night we collapsed into bed full and grateful.

Some of my blessings (in no particular order)

my daughters
my son
Greg and Clayton
Mom and Dad
that mom and dad are serving another mission
Abba and Nana
my sisters
and brothers
family <3
my flex
a beautiful home
nice shoes
plenty to eat
my kindle
the fur-babies
my awesome councilors
Jared Davis who is a wonderful stake ym pres and helps me so much
our great Bishop
Pres. Sakai
Pres. Monson
fall leaves
enough $
the holidays
a free country
the Book of Mormon
The Ensign
Mormon Channel
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
the opportunity to serve
my husband
brownies (the girl scout kind)

this list is not all inclusive, but just a sample of what's in my heart

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving eve

 Today was a happy day. We slept in.  Bliss. 
R took E and Lu fishing.  They still haven't caught any fish but I am sure the big one is out there :)
Han and I did some cleaning and then headed to Chipotle,
 always tasty.  After we were done eating we did a bit of Christmas shopping.  Got some gifts bought, the first of the year.  We put up one of our trees.  This year we are having an owl themed tree.  It's not too full yet but I think it will fill up over the years.  Our regular tree is real so it won't show up for a few more weeks.
In the afternoon Julia came over to play.  She and Lu built a fort in the bedroom.  Ethan went to John's.  Hannah spent hours on the phone.

Tonight R and I went on a date to see Breaking Dawn 2 and it was the best Twilight yet!!!!!!!!!!!  So awesome! I also watched the season finale of Covert Affairs.  Auggie and Annie finally got together!  Now I can't watch the next season because I am sure they will do something to spoil it.

There are a lot of movies coming out that I want to see, which is unusual.  I don't think I will be able to fit them all in there are so many.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I subbed today.  Music.  Yesterday was 2nd grade.  I like the variety. 
Rob worked today ...I think.  He was in bed when we all left this morning, he didn't feel well.  Then in the afternoon when we got home he was off fishing.  I think he worked in between.  I will tell you what, this is the first day in 15 years that he slept in and then went fishing though.  Can you really call it "fishing" if you don't catch anything?  Maybe it's casting.  Anyway I am sure he'll catch something one of these days. 

Last night the Marsh's had their annual dessert night.  They say, and this is very wise, that on Thanksgiving day everyone gets so full at dinner that dessert doesn't get it's true chance to shine so they do dessert first a few nights before.  They had probably 50 people and 25 pies.  It was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed visiting with everyone.

Tonight Lu had brownies.  She loves it.  We have lots of activities next month, all of which she is looking forward to.

While I took her there R took the other two to do something which ended up being buying Ziva two more outfits.  We are dog dressers.  Who saw that coming?

We so enjoyed our vacation.  Now I am looking forward to being home and celebrating the holidays!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Friday night we came home tired!  R took Justin, Ethan and Grace swimming.  Jess, Hannah and I watched a movie in the room.  Finally we got everyone settled and I had just fallen asleep when R was getting out of the shower and sounded the alert:  Throw Up! 
It was Lu and it was all over.
So we got her cleaned up and new bedding and hoped for the best.
I actually didn't feel well either and hoped I wouldn't be joining her.
Thankfully in the morning everyone was fine and although we got a bit of a slow start we made it to Animal Kingdom!
It's pretty fun there.  I think my favorite ride is the safari. You are right in there with real animals, which was pretty awesome!
Lu's favorite ride of all 3 days was Everest! She loved it. 
Here's a funny picture of all of us.  This cracks me up:)  We had a really good time with all the family in the happiest place.  It was a good vaca!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Universal Studios

 Today Universal Studios was on our agenda.  Really the only thing I wanted to see was Hogwarts but I really wanted to see it.  Hannah has read all of the books probably 4 or 5 times.  We love the story and like the movies and couldn't wait to go.   Well, I will tell you it did not disappoint.  Very magical.  They did an awesome job, it felt like we were really there! 
As soon as we got to the park we made a bee line to the back, where Hogwarts is.  We passed through Seuss land, which was so cute and festive and Poseidon's land.  I didn't know what else was there but they were both very impressive.  Anyway the first thing we did was get some butterbeer.  It was tasty! and we had lots through out the day.  We rode the rides, went to the shops and ate at the 3 Broomsticks where the food was as tasty as the decor was wizardy and fun, just like the movie!
This choir was amazing! they sang acapella and it was unbelievable what they could do with their voices!
The castle and the town were both spot on.  Ethan and Hannah had both been planning for months to buy wands.  We spent a long time in Olivanders picking just the right ones.
In all we spent about 4 hours in Harry Potter World.  We loved it. 

After we headed back to Seuss which was very cute.  I also enjoyed Jurassic Park and the Spiderman ride.

Jess joined us in the afternoon and after Seuss they took off to ride roller coasters.  They did the Hulk 4x in a row!

Ethan's good friend Justin moved to Orlando this summer.  He and his dad met us for the afternoon and the boys were thrilled to see each other, as were the dads.  R and Scott coached soccer together for a couple of years and were good friends so it was fun that they could catch up with us.

Loved this happy snow owl and snow man :) It was a fun day.  After two days of park fun I am pooped.  Vacationing is hard work!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

one more

can't pick just one

 Magic Kingdom Day!!!
To quote Grace "I am having so much fun I actually forgot about Ziva for a minute!"  That is a lot of fun!

We started our day with a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, complete with Mickey Mouse waffles.  So delicious and fun.

Then we rode the ferry over to the park.  It was magical, of course.  Really it always is.  We had a really good day!

The crowds were light and we were able to ride a lot of rides.  There is just too much there to do it all in one day but we got on lots and felt like we made good use of our time.
 Grace always enjoys Uncle Brian's company a lot.  She was a brave one today.  She rode splash mountain, thunder mountain, space mountain (twice), pirates and every thing else anyone wanted to go on.
Jess was able to join us in the afternoon.  She's going to college not too far from here.  
 Adventure Land fun.
 Buzz Lightyear!!

 Uncle Tom is the only grown up who does not mind the tea cups.  I'm glad he was willing to go on them because I sure wasn't.

 There is a new princess land.  It's not open but they were having a "dress rehearsal" so we got to see a bit of it.  We went on Ariel's ride and met Gaston.  It's going to be great.  Darn it, that means we will have to go back when it's done ;)

 The end of the day, Lu was a bit out of sorts but happily she perked up at dinner and is ready for another fun day tomorrow.

After the park we met up with our good friends Al and Ellen Kohn, who are responsible for introducing us in the first place.  We had a fun dinner at House of Blues and enjoyed visiting.

It was a great day.