Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Santa Claus Came!!

Alas!  I finally get to blog about our exciting Christmas!  We've been so busy with life lately that I hope I'll be able to remember all the exciting stuff that happened at Christmas time.  One thing I do vividly remember is that we ended up using the video camera for most of our Christmas memories so my pictures are kind of lacking.  Just know that we had a very Merry Christmas and Santa Claus was very good to the two little kiddos who live in this house.

We started off December by having a personal visit with the big man in red himself.  Addison was pretty comfortable with him this year but Jonas was a little apprehensive.  Luckily, Daddy met up with us during his lunch hour and was able to join in the fun. 

Addison had already remembered (most days I'm amazed by this girl's memory) from last year how she was nervous to meet Santa Claus but then he shared his rocking horse (Rudolph) with her and he was very friendly and gave her a coloring book and a candy.  Her memory was quite accurate and also helped squelch any last minute nerves on this visit.  She did great with him and Jonas had Daddy and Addison to help him brave the big man in red.  It was such a fun little outing and Santa Claus is reallllyyy nice and friendly with the kids so that always helps too.  

Addison, Santa, Jonas & Daddy.  So glad Daddy could join the fun and help Jonas be brave.

Our lone picture of Christmas and all the loot that Santa left.  We were very good apparently.  Good and lucky!
We went through all of our Christmas traditions before it was time to call it a night.  We read the story about Jesus' birth and also the 'Night Before Christmas' book.  Addison even had some reindeer feed that she made at preschool so we let her sprinkle that on the front lawn before bedtime.  We left cookies and milk for Santa and a few carrots for the reindeer.  The carrots were a bit on the wilted side but luckily the reindeer didn't seem to mind.  

Christmas morning was very fun and exciting.  It's always a blast to watch it through your children's eyes and tap into the memories you had of that age.  Everyone got exactly what they wanted and we were very grateful for Santa and his elves for all their hard work.  I hear it was a late night on Christmas Eve to get all of that put together.  Assembling toys is not an easy task and at this age...it seems like EVERYTHING needs to be assembled!  For a more detailed posting as to the play-by-play of our Christmas feel free to request and watch our video.  We got it ALL!  ;o)

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sick Boy For Christmas :(

I didn't ask Santa for much for Christmas this year.  Honestly, I can't remember what I actually did ask him for.  However, I'm pretty positive I did NOT ask him for a sick little boy.  :(

Poor Jonas has been a trooper while dealing with the typical run-of-the-mill winter yuckies.  (One of the reasons I'm not a fan of Winter).  At first it was just the sniffles and a cough.  I debated on even taking him in since most people say  "Ehhh, their bodies are built to handle this stuff.  Kids are overmedicated anyway.  Builds their own immune system when their bodies are allowed to fight it off.  Etc."  Plus, it didn't help that nothing is offered over-the-counter anymore for one year olds.  Boo.  So, I let his body have a stab at trying to kick the ickies.  It didn't do it very good or very quickly in my opinion.  He was achy and sickly for most of the "Bell Family Christmas" and I was feeling sorry for the guy.  Plus, sad at how much sleep he and I were both losing by battling this congestion.  By the time we got back from our pre-Christmas weekend with my side of the family he was pretty sick and miserable.  

I decided to spend our Christmas Eve day in insta-care with a sickly little boy, his older sister, and about a million other people.  Lovely eh?  Luckily, I made it a point to get our booties in there super early to beat the rush.  Which explains why I don't think any of us had our teeth or hair brushed.  We were doing good to just get our clothes on.  The wait itself wasn't too bad.  Within the hour they had called us to the back.  It was that wait that was a little bit longer than I was anticipating.  I thought, well, they'll probably just give us a scrip for an antibiotic and send us on our way.  Nope, that would have been too easy.  And apparently the little guy was a bit more sick than I had anticipated.  They checked his breathing and it was about 96%.  I didn't think that was too shabby but apparently they can't discharge you until it's between 98-100%.  Then they gave him a breathing treatment to break up the nastiness in his throat.  Then they told us we needed to get his chest x-rayed to rule out Pneumonia.  Whuh?  I just thought it was a cough!?  We went down and got him x-rayed.  Addison was actually pretty good through all of it, with just a few moments here and there.  She and I both had to stay out in the hallway while two guys took him to get x-rayed (since I'm pregnant).  Jonas did pretty good without me and we were quickly on our way back to the clinic room.  Luckily it was all in the same building so we only had to traipse the hallways over and over again.  While we waited for the x-ray results, we kicked back in the clinic room and watched Yo Gabba Gabba on my phone.  The doctor came in and said she thought it was just Bronchitis but there was a small spot on his x-ray that made her think it could possibly be Pneumonia which would obviously require hospital admission pronto.  I guess I'm the only clueless one that didn't know pneumonia=hospital stay.  The doctor wanted one more check at ruling out Pneumonia before sending us on our way so she sent us down to get his blood drawn/pricked at the lab.  He was obviously NOT a fan of this but it was definitely necessary to make sure his white blood cell count wasn't elevated and fighting infection (aka pneumonia).  After that was all over, we were free to go home and the doctor promised she'd call once she got the results.  In the meantime, we had a couple of scrips to get filled for the little guy that would hopefully provide some relief soon.  

Baths were the only thing that seemed to make the sick little boy happy.  It probably helped that he got the whole tub to himself.  That doesn't happen often around here.

Suffering through a breathing treatment in the clinic.  Poor thing looks so sad but he handled it like such a big boy.  I'd think this process has to seem a bit scary and odd.  Luckily, the doctor let us keep the mask as a souvenir.  It has provided lots of entertainment.

Later that day, the doctor finally called and said that it wasn't pneumonia (phew!) it was just a case of bronchitis and the antibiotics would do the trick...along with the breathing treatments we had picked up at the pharmacy already.  I was glad we wouldn't have to spend Christmas in the hospital.  I was also glad that we could get most of this nipped in the bud before Christmas so he could enjoy a little bit of the big day....even if he was medicated during it.  However, one thing they did catch on the blood prick/lab was the boy had some low iron levels.  Which was likely due to his appetite not being normal since he's been sick.  He can usually put away some serious food folks.  She recommended after the holidays to have his doctor request another lab/blood draw to make sure he wasn't anemic.  Once again, that involved ANOTHER blood draw that was even more painful than the first.  This was the "stick-the-needle in your tiny little arm and leave it there while they got the blood" type of draw.  Thankfully, sister got to play with her cousins which allowed me to put all my energy into holding the guy down and then consoling him afterwards.  He did NOT like it a bit.  I think the nurse was more worried about me than him and kept assuring me it'd be ok.  I wasn't enjoying myself but I figured Jonas had more room to complain than I did.  All I had to do was hold down a very strong little guy and hope/pray that they got his tiny vein on the first try.  Thankfully they did and thankfully we were able to get the little guy a nice doggy balloon to take away his pain after it was all said and done.  Results?  He was only borderline low iron levels but we have to go back again in March to confirm it's back to normal. :(

Nursing the wounds/blood draw at Mercy with a doggy balloon.  I think it helped me more than it did him.  ;-)
I'm just so glad to finally see the little guy get better after all his sickies.  He's been dealing with it better than I would have but it always breaks my heart to see him when he's achy and miserable and coughing up a storm.  I just wish they could put some medicine out there for guys his age that could give him some relief from all of this.  :(  Boo for recalls!

And another random story...after our morning in insta-care on Christmas eve, we went to eat a quick lunch at Wendy's.  Jonas had crashed in his carseat and Addison and I were able to kick back and dine together.  We both looked a little sad since we weren't bathed or brushed from our crazy busy morning.  However, she must have charmed her way into an old lady's heart because this random woman came up and asked me if she could give Addison a toy.  Um, sure?  Thinking it was just going to be a little happy meal toy.  Instead, it was a full blown doll.  It was so kind of her to do and Addison just loved that doll and we made sure to let her know how appreciative we were of her.  Even if she did think we were some homeless family that was finally getting their first warm meal of the season.  We were pretty pathetic looking but apparently we worked it to our advantage.  It makes me very grateful we live in such a nice area and surrounded by such nice people.  It was a little gesture that really meant a lot to a 3 year old girly.  I'm convinced she loves that dolly more than anything Santa brought her for Christmas the day after. ;o)

A little girly and her dolly.  She is in love.  And I'm in love with this town and it's nice people.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bell Family Christmas

The week before Christmas, we were able to get together with the Bell side and have a mini-Christmas celebration with all of our Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandma Bell of course.  It was such a fun weekend and we consider ourselves so lucky that we are still relatively close to each other and can still do these kind of fun things.  

We headed down to Willard on Saturday morning with two excited little kids.  We always love us some cousin time.  Especially when it involves getting/giving presents in the cousin gift exchange.  Poor Jonas was a little under the weather but he was such a trooper and still managed to have lots of fun as well.  

We arrived safely to Grandma Bell's house and played with cousins for a short while before it was time to eat lunch.  And this wasn't just ANY lunch.  This was Grandma Bell's "Yearly celebration of birthday's" lunch.  She usually treats us all to breakfast but since we were all arriving at different times of the day, lunch worked out better for everyone.  And I definitely think we need to make this our new-tradition.  It was a blast and everyone was satisfied and left happy and tired....which is a good thing with 11 cousins under the age of 6.  We met up at Incredible Pizza and even got to enjoy a few extra "Bell Family" members.  My Aunt/Uncle Kenny & Sharon, and cousin Kevin, and my Aunt Lorraine and cousin Sara and her cute little family.  The pizza was delicious and even more fun began after the food was eaten.  Little did I know that they had a HUGE arcade/play room in the back of the restaurant to help us burn off our energy.  It was getting close to nap time for a lot of the kids but with all those lights and noises, they managed to get a second wind and push through it.  We enjoyed playing in the kiddie arcades and watching the go-karts race around the track.  We even got to score some loot at the prize store with all of our ticket winnings.  You'd think the kids were at Disneyland as much as they were enjoying all the fun.  Again, one of many reasons why I think we should do this again next year!  Thanks Grandma Bell!!

After our delicious lunch, we all headed different directions for a few hours.  Some to the hotel to let kids nap, some to run errands and get some last minute Christmas gifts to exchange, and some back to Grandma's to crash for naps of their own.  Eventually, we all reunited back at Grandma's house for some more fun.

That evening we got to have the cousin gift exchange.  Do you know how difficult it is to ask all these little kids to HOLD a present and wait until it's their turn to open it?  Granted, we let them attack their Grandma present all at once (since they were all similar) but when it came time for their cousin present, we went from youngest to oldest and they all did so well patiently waiting their turn.  Aside from a few finger/hole pokes from the little guys but who can blame them?  Everyone was thrilled with their loot and ran off to play while the adults got to enjoy our annual game of Dirty Santa.  It's always a fun time except we never manage to get very "dirty" while playing it (i.e. stealing each other's gifts).  Well, except for John.  He is the one that willingly goes in for the kill every time.  He doesn't even care what he gets, he just wants to steal what another person says they want instead.  Sorry about that Cassie! ;o)  It always makes for some fun times and everyone enjoys it enough to do it again next year so apparently there are no hard feelings!

Sunday, we were able to visit Grandma Bell's sacrament meeting and rush back to her house and eat a quick lunch before everyone had to be on the road back home.  It was a great way to celebrate the holidays and a great time to catch up with everyone again.  Already looking forward to next year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

5 Year Anniversary

John and I hit a big milestone this December 15th.  We arrived at our 5 year anniversary!  In the words/text of my sweet and loving sister on our special day "Congratulations!  And I thought it wouldn't last this long.  Guess I lost that bet!"  (Guess you'd have to understand my lovely family).  It gave me a chuckle.  I was definitely excited for our anniversary but mostly excited for our celebration of said anniversary.  


I feel the need to give a special and grateful shout out to Grandma Bell in helping us in this endeavor.  The idea came to me a few months before our big day and I decided to shelve my dreams of flying somewhere exotic to celebrate, and settled for a weekend in St. Louis (where we got married) which ended up being nicer on our tighter budget.  We will save the exotic destinations for our 10 year I suppose.  But really, anywhere without kids (that lasts longer than one evening) is ALWAYS exotic and exciting and relaxing.  

My lovely mother was actually excited about playing with the kiddos for 2 1/2 days while we were gone.  She'd ask me often how much longer before she could spoil them rotten.  It worked out well that her house was right on our way to St. Louis and made for a good stopping point before pushing off on our travels.  

We drove down that Thursday evening to Willard (my Mom's house) and stayed the night and played with Grandma.  I thought it'd be a good way to get the kids acclimated before we just left them high and dry the next morning.  They didn't seem to need much acclimation.  I don't think either of them even shed a tear when we left.  Ah, nice....we are loved.  (Note sarcasm).  Of course, I wasn't shedding any tears of my own either folks.  Sayonara!!  ;-)  The drive up to St. Louis went amazingly fast.  John and I were actually able to carry on a conversation without interruption.  It was bliss.  Part of our tentative plans included stopping at a few Triple D restaurants while we were in a big city.  Diner's, Drive-in's, and Dive's is one of our favorite shows on the Food Network.  One we actually both enjoying watching together.  And we dream of the day we can retire and drive an RV around the US and visit all the fun and delicious restaurants.  Have I mentioned how grateful I am that we have the same lifelong dreams?  It's true.  But, until we retire, we've resorted to just looking up a few restaurants here and there before we travel to the big cities.  We weren't expected to get into St. Louis until about 2:00 so we decided it'd be best to save our appetites and skip the lunch hour and just keep on driving.  Yep, we are crazy folks.  So, thanks to our lovely GPS (Rhonda) we arrived at our first restaurant destination "The Shaved Duck".  The name didn't sound very appetizing but we knew that restaurants showcased on Triple D HAD to be good and had to be homemade and reasonably priced so we pushed through it.  And also pushed through a pretty interesting and random drive in a St. Louis suburb.  Let's just say we NEVER would have found it on our own.  And lets also just say that we would have DEFINITELY missed out on a De.Lish.Us. meal.  It was heavenly.  Mostly the part where I didn't have to immediately start cutting it up into bite size pieces and putting it in childrens mouths.  It's the little things you enjoy on trips like these....or maybe that's just me?
We finally found it!  Right before it closed for lunch...phew!
The food was delicious!  Ever have one of those meals where you can't decide what to take a bite of next because it's all so good?  Yeah, this was that.

John and his meal.  We both had the pulled pork sandwich.  I had the french fries (REAL!), he had some jalapeno creamed corn (which he ate the fastest), and we shared the divine Mac N Cheese.  Heck, we shared all of everything.  We couldn't decide what was the best tasting.  Such GOOD food and such GOOD service.  And this meal was easily cheaper than anything at a Chili's or Applebee's!

After that heavenly meal, we were STUFFED.  We rolled ourselves into our hotel for the weekend....which was the same hotel we stayed at when we got married.  Yeah, that was my creative idea.  Which could have probably been to blame for our later circumstances....keep reading for those details.  

I also had the ingenious idea to let the hotel know it was our 5 year anniversary.  To which they quickly responded, oh we will take care of you......which platter of treats would you like?  I didn't really let them get through all the options after I heard him say "Chocolate Covered Strawberries".  Check!  Oh and they even let us substitute the wine for some sparkling grape juice.  So kind.  ;-)

After we took a LONG nap, we dined on our treats, and then headed out to the local theater to see the movie Lincoln.  The theater happened to be in one of the nicest malls I've seen in a long time.  I don't think I'd be shopping at ANY of those stores anytime soon.  Chanel, Gucci, and a whole bunch of other names I've only heard about.  The theater was wayyyy tiny but nice.  The popcorn was fresh and delicious, and the crowd was pleasant.  And what a crowd it was.  We were surrounded by grey-hairs.  They were friendly grey-hairs but they were grey.  By judging from our surroundings, I'm guessing the nearest neighborhood was only affordable to those who had successful careers and financially lucrative and now retired.   There were a lot of luxury vehicles every where we looked.  Too stuffy for us in a normal setting but it worked well for our trip.  ;-)

I spent most of the movie, worrying about a particular/possible dilemma.  Since becoming pregnant this time around, I've dealt with plenty of yucky things in this first trimester.  One of those being....um....stopped up?  Needless to say, I was a bit panicked that my system would want to catch up with itself while I was sitting in a cramped theater in the smack dab middle of the row and tightly packed on both sides with the elderly folks.  The ones that are too kind (and too feeble) to just stand up and let me wedge/walk past them....the ones that insist on actually stepping out of the aisle and waiting for me to leave.  Thankfully, my system didn't choose this moment to catch up.  Which instead caused another problem of having me sick and achy for the duration of the movie.  It was a good movie but I was sooo glad to have it over and head to the hotel to sit by my uncomfortable self.

The next morning (Saturday) we slept in and then headed off to do a session at the temple...yep, the same one we were married in.  I figured what better way to celebrate our anniversary right?  Thankfully, it was a peaceful and non-emergency time for my stomach as well.  We were able to enjoy ourselves and the fact that we were in no rush to run anywhere.  

Next stop, the mall.  What were we thinking?  Everybody and their dog were there.  It was mass chaos.  Especially when it came to fighting over a parking space that we fully deserved but that the car behind us REFUSED to budge to let us back up the 2 inches it took to get into it.  Seriously, it was ridiculous.  Even after John politely got out and asked him in person, he gave us a half an inch and we took the rest.  ;-)  But we got it!

We ate some lunch in the mall and enjoyed it.  Perused around Barnes & Noble and found the kids their surprises.  Then we were already drained from the massive crowd so John went back to the car while I ran around to get a few extra things.  We were so happy to finally leave that parking lot madness.  

That evening, we were able to enjoy another Triple D restaurant - Anthonino's Taverna.  I had assumed it was a "fancy" restaurant and even tried to make early reservations.  Um, they didn't take them and it turns out it was just a pub, crowd yourselves in the chaos, type of place.  And it was also an hour wait.  I was more determined than John to sit it out and come back and eat there.  We weren't starving quite yet but there was absolutely nowhere to wait without freezing outside.  We decided to drive around and look at Christmas lights while we waited instead.

And of course, I was lucky enough to get to open John's anniversary present to me.  How sweet was he?  I was lame and didn't even get him anything.  He is always thoughtful in his gift giving and even reassured me that he didn't give me something to get something in return.  So, I graciously thanked him for my thoughtful charm bracelet gift (not the cheap kind!) that had so much sentimental meaning, and we continued to drive until dinner time.  Which actually went by way faster than either of us thought it would. 

Showing my gratitude for having such a sweet and thoughtful husband.
And back at Anthonino's Taverna before we knew it!
 Dinner was delicious and worth the wait although we both still loved The Shaved Duck more.  This place was more of a pizzeria style and well-known for their toasted ravioli.  They were handmade in-house and were definitely good!  I was very stuffed by the time my Chicken Fettucini came out (hand-made and also quite tasty) and John dined on more ravioli.  John had the idea to share the Christmas spirit and suggested we secretly buy someone's dinner in the restaurant.  I quickly agreed and he picked this Father & Son sitting right behind us.  However, we were lame and quickly changed our mind once we saw the waitress bring the wine to their table.  That stuff's expensive!  I'm all for being gracious as long as they are ordering off the dollar menu!  ;o)

We did eventually get to treat someone to their meal (at McDonald's lol) later that trip and it was hilarious.  We tried to do it anonymously but I ruined that when I turned around and looked at the car (drive-thru) through what I thought were our tinted windows.  Um, they weren't.  The guy waved his thank you and I felt so bad for being so "gracious....YOUR WELCOME???"  Oh well, guess we have yet to perfect that.

The trip went fantastically well, until Saturday evening.  I think the hotel and I are allergic to each other.  Seriously....Back Story: When we stayed on our wedding night, I showered and soaped myself up with soap I was apparently allergic to.  Either that or I was under some tremendous stress because I broke out in full body hives the next day which continued throughout our whole honeymoon.  Airplane to Utah, Sundance cabin, etc.  It was bad and painful and poor John was afraid to even touch me as to not inflame the hives and the painful itching everywhere.  It went away the DAY we left to go back home.  Lovely.

Fast forward to this hotel and our 5 year anniversary....and to the fact that my body was quite backed up for the past week plus.  Apparently, that can really do a number on you....as I was learning.  My stomach was incredibly achey and sick and I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom trying to encourage myself to do something....anything....turns out it only wanted to puke.  :(  Luckily, John was a saint and spent the rest of the evening fighting traffic, and finding Walmart and stocking up on every known medication that was safe for a pregnant woman to take to finally relieve herself.  I was willing to do just about anything to feel better.  

He finally made it back and I was able to take some Dulcolax.  I thought I'd start feeling better soon but I went from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I still spent all night in the bathroom but this time because I couldn't leave.  I tell you, it takes a special husband to see me in this state and STILL stay married to me.  It wasn't a pleasant sight.  I finally was able to get a couple of hours of sleep and spent most of the morning laying/moaning in bed and trying to talk myself up to enduring the 3 hour car ride home....where there was no bathroom just steps away.  :(  With some prayer and some coaxing, I finally left the hotel and survived the long drive back.  I spent 99% of the time focusing on my breathing, and the road, and mentally plotting out each nearby restroom just in case something were to happen.  Luckily it didn't and we arrived at Grandma Bell's house safe and sound.

The kids were VERY excited to see us and tell us about all the fun they had with Grandma.  They loved their books we bought them and they had so many fun stories to share with us.  I'm so glad they love their Grandma so much and that Grandma loves them enough (and us) to take them and raise them as her own for three long days.  

Even considering the tummy issues, I'm still so glad we had time to spend with each other and am SO grateful I'm married to my best friend.  As cheesy as it sounds it's true.  If I weren't married to John, I'd definitely just hang out with him.  He's a fun guy to be around.  Luckily I get both.  :D  I am blessed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breaking Out In Song

Just a quick post dedicated to a very small but VERY exciting time in our lives that definitely needs to be documented.  John and I acquired a rental/income property in Springdale when I was expecting Addison.  It has served us well (and also been a bit of a headache...mostly due to tenants) but was definitely a learning experience a long the way.  Fast forward to almost 4 years later and we are FINALLY getting ready to close on and sell the property.  We definitely got a taste of the life of a landlord....especially of being one in Springdale....and have acquired lots of knowledge and life lessons along the way.  Were there things we should have done differently?  Sure....but overall it was a great life lesson we will appreciate daily.  And we also appreciate daily the relief of finally having it sold.  Our original closing was supposed to be the week after Thanksgiving and for reasons on the buyer's side, we had to postpone until the 2nd week of December.  But, the exciting news is that it DID finally close and we are NO longer owners of a duplex in Springdale.  Often we find ourselves breaking out in song....

"We sold the duuuuuppplllexxxx, we sold the duuupppllleexxx, etc etc."  

We are definitely looking forward to NOT having to drive to Springdale for minor repairs or to collect rent (mostly John is thankful for this) and NOT having to search for new tenants that will be nice to our property and NOT trash it and leave high and dry.   Ahhhh, so thankful to be moving on from this phase of our life and this lesson.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Breakfast With Santa

Addison's preschool has an annual 'Breakfast with Santa' at Christmas time.  I've heard lots about it and was excited to finally attend now that we have reason to support a school that our little girly is a student of.  I talked it up quite a bit, hoping that when it came time to actually "meet" Santa that Addison and Jonas would mosey right on up to him.  Guess I should have prepped a little harder than I did....because neither of them were having any bit of it.

Oh they were definitely interested in the pancakes and milk and juice and sausage that we dined on when we got there.  So much so, that John and I never really had a chance to actually eat ours.  I am convinced Jonas ate three huge pancakes and two sausage patties while Addison managed to dump her milk within seconds of sitting down....and then proceeded to eat her weight in pancakes and sausage.  Yes, I promise we feed our children!  On top of downing every last morsel of breakfast, they were also on a personal mission to cover every square inch of that gym floor.  At least Jonas was.  Apparently that syrup went straight to those little legs because that boy would NOT hold still.  It was a very exhausting morning to say the least.

And of course, Mommy and Daddy had to join in on Santa's lap so the two little ones would hold still and dry up their tears long enough for a picture.  

Look at that lovely centerpiece by a lovely girly who refused to smile.  We scored the lucky table at Santa's breakfast!
Lucky Mommy volunteered to take the kiddos to the city parade after breakfast.  Considering how our morning was going so far, I should have just taken that as a reminder, and promptly headed home.  But nope, I was over zealous and ready to relive my childhood memories of the magic of parades...with two kids in tow.  Daddy apparently didn't have any fond memories of parades so he was given a pardon to excuse himself to do some Christmas shopping.  Lucky him.  Unlucky me.  

I pushed the kiddos in the stroller over to the grocery store to use the bathrooms before it started getting too chaotic.  Here I thought I was doing good and planning ahead.  That was the ONLY smooth part of our morning.  The rest consisted of us being about 45 minutes early to a parade.  Addison asking a million questions because she didn't quite understand why we were sitting on the road for so long and not seeing anything worthy of our time.  By the time the parade actually began, we were still sitting on the road, at least I was.  Addison was cranky in the back of the stroller and Jonas was strapped down in the front of the stroller and we were flanked by crowds on every side of us and quickly losing our "front row seat" to the festivities.  I'm not particularly fond of crowds and quickly grew agitated at the pre-tween boys who were creeping on top of us while shouting cat calls at the young pre-tween cheerleader girls.  Especially the part where the lone Grandmother, with her camera was inching closer and closer to me and two crying toddlers who could no longer even see the floats.  Niiiiccceee, nothing like squashing out a young child's excitement of actually SEEING anything float by in the parade.  Especially when both guilty parties could have collectively clocked this as their 87th time seeing a Christmas parade.  

The kiddos...pre-meltdown.
When tears began welling up in my eyes, I quickly decided it was time to bring our parade experience to a close and head out with two crying children and an almost crying mother.  Addison was puzzled as to why we were leaving and wasn't even buying my "Parade is over!" explanation as it continued to carry on, right beside where we were walking.  I threw two over tired children in the car, buckled myself in, and let the tears roll.  Easily one of the LONGEST days of my life....and it was only 1:00 pm.  Within minutes, I regained my composure and noticed the two sleeping children in the back, and decided I'd be dining on Burger King for lunch and enjoy the silence I was hoping for for so long.  Lets just say....it was beautiful.  Sad and desperate.....but beautiful nonetheless.  Here's to reviewing our game plan for next year and trying to achieve a more optimal experience.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Lurkey

Today was Thanksgiving.  It's a fun holiday...especially when you don't have anywhere to travel....except down the road 4 miles (thank you Aunt Sarah).  Aunt Sarah has famously taken on Thanksgiving holiday for the past several years now.  She took last year off and I didn't blame her a bit.  It's hard work you know....even if you do assign out 95% of the food to your guests/family.  Hosting is not for the faint of heart.  Someday when I have a big house (far in the future at this rate) I will totally host Thanksgiving just to give Sarah a much needed break.  Of course, I doubt I'd come close to her hosting abilities that's for sure.

The two Woody's from Toy Story.  Now you have proof where Jonas' big head comes from.    Like Father like son!

We were supposed to bring the green bean casserole and green salad.  Totally easy assignments in my book.  However, we were also supposed to send Daddy over earlier so he could provide his contribution:  Fried Turkey.  He and Tom have been talking/dreaming about frying a turkey for years now.  Tom even had the gear.  They decided this year they were going to make it happen.  Coincidentally, I've been dreaming about EATING a fried turkey for years now as well.  So happy we were all able to live our dream.  And yes, it was everything I dreamt it to be.  So delicious folks!  I don't think I'll eat turkey any other way from now on.

Prepping the oil for the bird.

Delivery to the table.  Yes, we cleared all the children out of the vicinity for this process.  Both because we didn't want to scald anyone with a hot bird and also didn't want that deliciousness to end up on the ground instead of our mouths.

The boys and their bird.   Yum!

The day was nice and relaxing and the feast was delish!  Especially the part where all the cousins got to dine in the other room together while we adults enjoyed adult conversation.  Afterwards consisted of full stomachs, naps and lounging, and we wrapped up the evening with desserts and our annual traditional game of Catch Phrase.  It's always a fun game to play when Mama Jean is in the house.  We never keep score really....just enjoy laughing until our insides hurt from all the interesting attempts at word descriptions.

So thankful for soooo many things.  Namely, my family...both immediate and extended.  Thankful for our health and our home and our income.  Thankful for all the little blessings in between.  But, mostly that I get to spend my days with two cute little kiddos named Addison and Jonas.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cousin Fun

Our KC cousins came down for a visit for Thanksgiving this year.  We were rather excited since we don't get to see these guys too often.  

Upon their arrival we all met up at the movie theaters (Jonas stayed back with Daddy - we ALL know he can't hold still for a movie).  Addison and I met up with them and got to see "Wreck it Ralph"  (It's now the name I've coined Jonas - totally fits).  Surprisingly the only one not sold out was the 3-D version.  Which meant Grandma Fields bailed and went back home.  I didn't know how Addison would do with the glasses but luckily taking them off or on didn't really affect the screen like I thought it would.  Overall, it was a great movie and a great time catching up with cousins.  At least as much catching up as you can do in a packed movie-theater in the dark....on different rows from each other.  ;-)

Part of our cousin fun included Addison's very first sleepover at Aunt Sarah's.  I didn't know if she'd quite "get-it" at least the part where Mommy would not be there with her.  She didn't seem to mind and was rather excited to go home and pack her "pack-pack" with all her gear.  Jammies, stuffed animals, change of clothes, and panties.  We dropped her off and she wasn't phased at all.  She even got to sleep in Karah's big girl bed with Karah, Megan, and Laney.  However, just as true as sleepovers go, she didn't actually get much sleep.  She had a blast but I'm not so sure her cousins did when they got to suffer the effects of the grumpy Addison the next day.  I actually wondered if I'd be getting a call in the middle of the night to rescue her but surprisingly that call didn't come until morning time when Uncle Tom called and said "Addison's awake and ready for her Mommy to come get her"  Isn't she cute?  Her first sleepover was a smashing success!  Next post:  Turkey Day!!

Heading to Aunt Sarah's with her "pack-pack."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adventures of Sadie

I did it.  I bit the bullet and I did it.  We actually signed up to bring home Addison's class pet for a weekend.  I got the courage to sign up once and actually went back and crossed my name off the list.  Then felt guilty when Addison kept asking when we were bringing Sadie to our house.  So, Sadie ended up coming to our house after all.

Let me first explain..... I'm NOT keen on the idea of raising any/all pets anytime soon.  I'm the mean parent that says "No" when Daddy starts getting them excited about getting a puppy.  I figure, I can barely raise my own children at this stage of the game....and I birthed them!  How would I ever raise a pet at the same time?  More messes, one more mouth to feed, one more life to sustain.....it ain't happening.  At least not anytime soon.  I'm all for entertaining the idea when our children are actually old enough to take some of the responsibilities themselves.

However, after bringing Sadie (the guinea pig) home Friday and seeing just how much Addison and Jonas doted on her and loved her and watched her, I ACTUALLY entertained the idea of a family pet. Keep in mind this was only within the first hour of renting this one.  After the weekend was done I had definitely changed my mind back.  

It was fun having her (for the first day) and Jonas actually adored her more than Addison.  On multiple occasions I would find him just staring at her, giggling, or even trying to dump her cage over and free her.  It was cute, I took pictures, etc etc.  

Day two and three consisted of me feeding her only to have her dump it out in her cage, and also moving her cage around the house just to get it out of Jonas' reach.  The kids forgot about her for the most part.  And did I mention we had to take her back in to school on Monday (our non-preschool day)?  Of course, I was more than willing to make the extra trip just to send her back and be done with it all.  

Oh and while Addison was holding her and feeding her carrots and lettuce, she bit her.  Luckily it didn't break the skin and once Addison calmed down I explained how Sadie probably just thought her finger was a carrot...silly Sadie.  Then I promptly threw her back in the cage for the duration of her stay.  Thankfully Addison did not acquire a fear of hairy rodents because of it and she quickly forgave her.  

All-in-all, it was a fun ONE time experience for the kiddos.  But, I'd much rather just give Sadie a wave as we drop Addison off at school in the mornings.  It's easier this way.  

Our first hour of bonding.  It was love.

Amazed at her ability to devour lettuce and carrots.

Fascinated little guy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Person Of The Week

Addison has been a very patient pupil as she has watched most of her classmates be "Person Of The Week" throughout the first part of this school year.  Last week was finally her time to shine.  She was rather excited about it.  Once I broke the news to her she managed to remind us about ten times per day.  It was funny because she'd say it super fast as in "Daddy, I'm dapersonofdaweek!!"  Rinse & Repeat.

Being person of the week is no small task.  First, we got to pick out what snacks we were going to bring for BOTH days.  She picked bananas and raisins and animal crackers and pretzels and apple juice.  After each day, she told me about which ones they ate that particular day and reminded me that they were the snacks WE brought.  

Another duty for such a calling is to be the line leader.  She wore that badge with pride. Usually she tells me about things that happened at preschool as they trickle out of her memory during the remaining part of the day.  This one was slipped into a conversation about something random....possibly her trying to be a big girl.  I made sure to stop our conversation and go on and on about her responsibilities as a line leader.  Such an exciting thing at that age.  I'm glad she was proud to be one.  

Another duty is making a collage all about yourself to share with your classmates.  We spent last week's FHE working on Addison and spotlighting her as a family.  Mommy and Addison decorated her board (a bright pink poster board - she picked herself) and Daddy played defense with keeping Jonas from ripping it all to pieces.  It turned out rather pretty even if it did partially blind anyone that stared at it too long.  

She insisted we go with the bright pink poster board.  I initially tried to change her mind and then thought....eh the heck with it.  She loves her some pink.  Just a bit of description on her "Person of the Week" poster....

First, pink - she LOVES the color pink.  Milk - she will down it quicker than you can pour it.  We've had to actually cut her off of it before bed so we can avoid wet sheets at night.  Popcorn - she will eat this any time of the day/night.  Daddy is her supplier both in providing the corn for her (and him) and also giving her the DNA that acquires her taste/love of the corn.  It's a Hufford thing I'm learning.  And so far 2 out of 2 kids have been diagnosed with it.  Next, a picture of a cute little Addison.  Next, a picture of none other than Barbie.  I tried to not over-worry at her statement of "I want to be Barbie when I grow up" and her insistent request on putting Barbie's picture on there.  Those aren't the words any mother is dying to hear.  I'm trying to convince myself it's all innocent at this age.  Lets hope she changes her aspirations by the time she's hitting puberty.  Next, a picture of her "helping take care of brother".  She is a very good helper for Mom and loooovvvveeesss her little brother.  I love that she does.  Next, a family picture (a bit outdated but I do dread taking those things).  Next, strawberries...while she loves any/all fruit she inhales strawberries.  Next, her swinging at the park.  One of her favorite things to do.  She will happily spend 95% of her time at the park swinging.  Next, a picture of her and Jonas reading books at the library.  She loves going there and loves reading books as well.  And lastly, a picture of her riding Aunt Sarah's horse.  She learned to love that experience and still loves to talk about it to this day.

In a nutshell, that is Addison.  I'm so glad she got to be the focus at preschool for the week.  She is such an obedient, helpful, and somewhat shy girl that I doubt she has much time in the spotlight on any normal occasions.  Glad the teachers gave her a chance to enjoy it this week.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Part Goat, Part Lizard

After much observation, I've determined Jonas is a hybrid of two animals.  A mountain goat, and a little lizard.  

Ever since he started crawling (at a whopping 10 months old) he has decided that EVERY surface he comes into contact is climb-able.  It's funny to see just how he approaches objects.  Even if it's totally higher than him, he still hikes that little leg up acting like if he just gets it a centimeter closer he'd make it.  I love his determination.  

In the beginning he decided climbing on me was the way to go.  If I was laying down on the ground within reach, he'd just mountain goat climb his way up and on top of me.  Never stopping.  Since then he's climbed a variety of objects.  Here are just a few I was able to catch with a camera...

Without fail, he beelines it to the dishwasher any time I leave it open.   I also got a picture of him mid-fall right after this.  

Climbing up the diaper box.  He's whimpering for some help here as the box slides away slowly from the table.

Trying his hand at the piano...with a little boost of course.

Trying to be like sister and help in the kitchen.  See what I mean about that little leg making a go at it?

The side shot.  Again he's panicking while it slides away from the counter.  And yes, I stay with the camera instead of saving him. ;o)  He survived, I promise.

With all of his climbing endeavors he has also managed to make some pretty hard falls and keep on going.  I guess it's a boy thing.  Might as well train them young right?  It is funny when I hear a scared frightened cry coming from across the house, only to run and find him trapped on some sort of stool, trying to climb his way up.  For being such a climber, he hasn't quite yet mastered how to get down.

I wasn't able to catch his little Lizard moments on camera quite yet but I remain determined.  He's always swaying and bobbing that squeezy little tongue out of those juicy little lips.  It's so tempting to take a swipe and try to grab it but he is a quick one.  I haven't been able to yet.  He sticks it out just barely and points it just perfectly and smirks at me.  I swear he's taunting me with it.  I can hardly contain my need to squish him when he does it.  

Regardless of what animal hybrid he is we love him and accept him in all of his animal gloriousness.  He's fun to watch as he meanders around the house.  I love the boy in him. I'm so glad I get to see the similarities and differences of he and his sister.  Boy, I have some cute kids.

Happy Halloween!

Being the party animal that I am, I took it upon myself to orchestrate quite a intricate celebration to ring in the holiday.  Actually, I just invited some close friends over to eat Skyline Chili with us and we all went trick-or-treating afterward.  Buuuttttt....it was quite festive and totally worth the five minutes it took me to throw it all together.  Thanks Lowden's & McKasson's for ringing in the Pumpkin Appreciation Day with us!!

Addison spent the day of the party asking me non-stop when/if it was time to celebrate yet.  Yes, as in every 30 minutes.  She loves her some action and parties and festivities and friends.  Totally my child.  After about the billionth time she asked I was finally able to say "Yes!  It's party time!"

We waited for our friends to arrive before we took our traditional (two years and counting folks) walk down to our neighborhood Sonic for free hotdogs and sodas.  I love the small town feel in the air around here and especially on Halloween.  There were TONS of people there by the time we made it but luckily those minimum wage Sonic workers totally know how to streamline and be efficient.  They need to hire them to work the voting polls/booths (post to come).  Anyway, we stocked up on our free dinner for the kids and walked back to the house to dine with everyone else.  It was crazy and chaotic and exciting to have kids everywhere, hot dogs flying through the air, everyone chatting and eating, and babies all crawling around the chaos.  We love our friends and love that we all get along just perfectly.  

After we shoved some food down our face we drew straws to see who would sit behind with the big bowl of candy while the rest of us flanked the neighborhood.  Then we came to our senses and just left the bowl of candy on the doorstep so we could all enjoy watching (chasing) the kids from house to house.  I'm sure we made some greedy teenager VERY happy.  Needless to say, it was crazy chaos.  There were TONS of people/kids/dogs/cars everywhere we went.  We finally managed to separate ourselves from the kid who was hacking up a lung while the parent was chain smoking, and went down a quiet street.  Ahhhh...finally by ourselves so we could actually enjoy the holiday instead of join the rat race to the next door.  

We walked quite a bit that night.  Addison was loving every minute of it.  Especially the part where she got to knock on doors with her friends Bentley and Cooper.  Daddy did a great job of helping her get from door-to-door while I stayed behind with Jonas and his friend Camry and her Mommy.  At one door, there was a fog machine and a graveyard in his front yard, and he was dressed as a grim reaper standing behind the fog.  After about five minutes of Daddy trying to convince Addison to knock on the door, the poor man finally came out of the fog and told Addison "Don't worry!  I won't scare you I promise!"  She finally took Daddy with her and got her candy.  Then at another door she told Daddy:  "Daddy, I kinda nervous to go to dis door.  Can you go with me?"  Otherwise, she knocked on most every door by herself. 

We spent the month leading up to Halloween talking about it.  We talked about how we ring the doorbell, say "Trick-or-Treat" super loud (she is usually very quiet around people) and then we say "Thank You!" super loud so they can hear it.  We practiced and practiced...mostly at her request.  But when it was showtime she had no fear and she was always good about talking loud and especially about saying "Thanks You!!"  I even noticed one of the doors, the person handing out the candy was quite appreciative and stopped what he was doing just to say "You're welcome!"  Apparently, he hadn't heard too many thank-you's that evening.  I'm so glad she knows how to be polite and grateful and appreciative.  

The kiddos were super tired by the end of the evening and finally decided they had had enough candy.  It was a fun night and we were all ready for bed.  After we taxed Addison on her candy of course.  We have to check it for safety reasons ya know!

Happy Halloween!!

It took some coercing but Addison finally learned to appreciate the gooey-ness of the pumpkin guts.
Jonas didn't quite know what to think.  And he's even our messy guy!  It probably doesn't help that his whole arm is engulfed in the pumpkin.
A photo op with our finished masterpieces.

The one on the right is Daddy's and because of this, has been illuminated with a very large 100 hour food storage candle.  We were lucky to not burn the house down that night folks.

Daddy with our little trick-or-treaters.  A scary but cuddly and cute Bear and a beautiful Rapunzel.

The gang before we set off for candy.  Do you know how hard it is to get this many kids to hold still BEFORE they are allowed candy on every doorstep?  It was not a small feat that's for sure.

Home Room Mom

I think I'm a certified nerd.  For many reasons of course....but mostly because I've always dreamed of the day I could be a home room mother for my kids when they went to school.  Do they even still call them that?  Holiday parties galore.  Bringing a glimpse of the "outside world/smell" to the confines of a musty classroom in the middle of the day.  I always thought they were awesome.  And it's even more awesome-er that I am one now.  My mom always participated in my classroom activities as I was growing up.  It took me many many many MANY days for my wish to come true but it finally did a couple of Tuesdays ago.  Whuh?  And I'm just now posting about it?  Weird I know.

Addison has been going to pre-school every Tue/Thur for a couple of months now.  We love it and she loves it.  But that's a whole other post.  Last week I signed up to be a helper during her Halloween party at school for an hour.  And can I just say I'm soooo glad she goes to a school (Methodist affiliated I think) that isn't afraid to call it what it is?  A HALLOWEEN party.  Not a fall harvest, a fall festival, or pumpkin appreciation.  HALLOWEEN....AND they even let them wear their costumes to school.  Yay for not having to be politically correct all the gosh darn stinkin' time.  

I specially selected a babysitter for Jonas so I could focus on my duties as a first-time home room mother.  Yes, he could have just played next to me while I busied myself with party preparations but I wanted Addison to know that this was HER time.  Plus, he is more work to chase down and keep from climbing on things than not.  

By the time I showed up to help, the kiddos were off playing at recess.  I think every single mother was there.  Yay for lots of parental support.  We bagged candies for the kiddos and helped the teachers prep for the fun.  It was so cute watching the kids come in and Addison scanning the face of every mother until she found me and grinned from ear to ear.  

The party itself was nice and low key and we basically just followed our child around as they played at the different game stations.  I did make it a point to stay back a bit as Addison worked her way around the room.  This forces her to actually interact with other people and teachers and kids....and cling less to me as her safety net.  She did great and of course we both had a blast.  I love how her preschool is helping her overcome her timidness.

Playing with the Halloween felt board.  This was before she was flanked with kids on each side wanting to play too.  She started to back away until I encouraged her to join in with them.  

Snack time!  Talk about sugar overload.  And yes, that is my child stuffing the whole cupcake into her mouth.  She's an avid icing fan.

Showing me her crafty candy loot after the party.  Such fun and creative things the other Moms made to give to the class.
What isn't shown in the pictures are the 'Bean Bag Toss' game wherein Addison walked right up to the holes and chucked the bags through.  I'm sure she was thinking....um, what's so hard about this game?  And of course the "Pin The Nose On The Pumpkin" game wherein she walked up to the board and peeked under her blindfold and stuck the nose on the exact place it was supposed to be.  The 'Pumpkin Ring Toss' game where she stood right over the pumpkin and dropped the ring down.  And the 'Halloween Bingo Game' where she was finally forced to follow the rules since Mrs. Leslie was officiating that one.  Such a smart little girly I have! ;o).

It was so much fun to take part in her preschool day just her and I and see her interact with her classmates and teachers.  I finally found my dream job.  Being a Home Room Mother.  Now I need to go find somewhere to enroll Jonas so I can double up on these party celebrations!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Haunted Harvest

We did celebrate Halloween with the rest of the population.  It has just taken me over a week to post about it.  It's worth the wait though...trust me.  And we have so many pictures that I'm breaking it up into a few posts.  You're welcome. ;-)

The weekend before Halloween we were lucky enough to have Grandma Bell come and visit us.  I had requested her presence weeks in advance since John was going to be gone on our ward trunk-or-treat night (taking youth to an activity) and there was nooooo wayyyy I was lugging two kids under 3, dressed in full costume, with a simmering pot of chili, and a bowl full of candy to a church function all by my lonesome.  My mother loves me apparently....so she came.  And Addison could NOT have been more excited about her arrival.  She loves her some Grandma Bell time.  

Our Saturday morning started off with a trip to the local Pumpkin Patch.  We were all rather excited.....until we were reminded just how much that lovely pumpkin patch costs.  Um whuh?  8.00 admission just to get past the gate?  We even insisted we didn't want to do the actual corn maze part of it...nope same price regardless.  They totally have a monopoly on this festivity this time of year.  Yep, we paid it and gosh darn it we DID do the corn maze after all....whether we wanted to or not!  We had to get our money's worth ya know!  And we did, it was a grand time had by all.  I guess I can muster up the money once a year just for the memories.  

I was reduced to riding the cow train yet again this year.  I don't think I'll be getting to take a year off anytime soon.  While Addison was old enough for her "own cow", Jonas was not.  I'm hoping he enjoyed it enough to make sacrificing my knee caps with every bump worth it.  A mother's love.

The nice "cow train driver man" let Addison have a seat in the driver's seat after our ride.    I guess he took pity on us since we were his only passengers on our route.

I'm the one that convinced John to take this picture of Jonas.  Yes, we did leave him teetering on the edge of death...just for a photo op.  But isn't it cute?!  No worries, I was only five inches away at the time.  It's a fitting picture since he's our little climber (aka mountain goat).
Our little family posing for a photo op.  

Grandma and her favorite grandkids. ;-)

Jonas is the goat whisperer.  Actually he is the "insert any animal you can think of here" whisperer.  He likes them all.  I'm assuming it's a mixture of his lack of fear and a complete naiveté to anything possibly going wrong.  He especially liked to pull this goat's ears.  The goat wasn't a fan.

Addison is a semi-sheep whisperer.  It takes her a bit to acclimate to the livestock but once she does, she's golden.

Loading up in the trailer to ride down and pick out some pumpkins.  What isn't shown is the less than stellar selection of pumpkins.  We decided to just load back up in the trailer and go along for the ride.  At this point in the season, Wal-mart would have a better selection (and better prices).  

This is fun Grandma Bell entertaining the kiddos at the chili cook-off/Ward trunk-or-treat.

A quick pose of the two cuties all suited up and on our way out to trick-or-treat some trunks.

 It was a great weekend and so much fun to share it with Grandma Bell.  I love to see the kids hang out with her and request that she do every.single.thing for them.  It works rather well for me as I sit and watch her raise my children all weekend.  It's a win-win.  

The trunk-or-treat was a blast and was just the beginning to even more fun-filled Halloween festivities.  Stay tuned for more!