Oct 31, 2019

Miss Her Already

I thought this day might never come... at least I'm not sure I wanted it to, although I know having Crafty serve a mission for our church is the very best and right thing for her even though it is hard for me...hard for us.

She was up early and made breakfast for everyone this morning; kind of a last act of service. Then we took tons of pictures.

At 11:00 we loaded up the big van (for some reason, everyone wanted to come with us), and we drove to Provo. We arrived about noon which is what we were hoping for and then we drove over to the "Missionary Field" at the Provo Temple.

There were half a dozen families there doing exactly what we were doing... preparing to say goodbye to our missionaries. We had all the kids younger than Crafty with us as well as Drama Queen. We took some pictures and everyone got a chance to get a hug before we all climbed back into the big van for the short drive to the MTC.

We missed the turn and it took us a few minutes to wind back through the neighborhoods before we could find the entrance to the MTC, but we still arrived right on time.

A sister missionary was assigned to our vehicle and she helped Crafty get her things out while I grabbed one last quick hug.

And then she was gone.

I miss her sweet smile already.

Oct 29, 2019

Crafty's Mission Farewell

The time is flying by and it won't be long before we take Crafty to Provo to the Missionary Training Center where she will be learning Tagalog and how to be a missionary before she flies off to the Philippines sometime in December.

We had her mission farewell speech in church on Sunday. She was stressed because she had to speak for about 20 minutes and she had never done a talk that long before. But she wrote it herself and it was amazing! It also clocked in at just under 20 minutes, so absolutely perfect.

After we finished up at the church, we came back to the house for a big party with family and friends. Crafty had SO many friends here!! I didn't even know some of them.

Now these two I know...
My sweetie had made sweet pork with all the fixings for burritos. Drama Queen spent an hour frying up nearly 20 pounds of hamburger for tacos and of course we had tons of treats, some made by us and some donated by family and friends.

Love that cute boy!! Isn't our Little Squire getting big?
We had so much fun visiting with everyone. Even Grandma managed to make it up to see us and that is a hard trip for her. I even remembered to take pictures this time!

I still have a bunch of things to do before Crafty leaves. There never seems to be enough time. There is a huge part of my heart and my brain that have been so totally focused on October 30th that I am having a hard time looking past that to see what comes next.

In some ways it feels like having a root canal or a tooth extracted... you know it is good for you, but still it is like something that is a part of you is being ripped away.

Oct 27, 2019

South Jordan City Pumpkin Carving Contest

I'm not sure if I was clear on this point, but we spent most of this week at a hotel while my sweetie refinished our hardwood floors. They look awesome!!

But this post is about pumpkins and carving them for a contest. You all know that I am a joiner and I like my kids to support the city if they can especially since Sport is an executive for the Youth City Council. So this is the first time the city has had a pumpkin carving contest that the display lasted for a couple of days along with donuts and hot chocolate and movies in the park (I personally boycotted those because it was way too cold!).

So our family checked out 6 pumpkins from the city with the idea that we could carve them and enter them in their "Pumpkin Walk" contest and then when they were finished with them, we could take them home. Since we were hardly home ourselves, we didn't really expect to win anything. Our pumpkins were nice middle-of-road jack-o-lanterns, but nothing special.

My sweetie had the kids mostly carve them outside because the kitchen was still off-limits, so it was a struggle, but a fun struggle. Bossy's family, on the other hand, worked really hard on the Group Design and their Baby Shark do do do do... entry won first place!!

We are so proud of them!

Oct 25, 2019

Guest Blog: 2 Under... 14 Months by Princess

I found out I was pregnant with Polliwog when Tadpole was only 6 months old. My two
little boys had due dates exactly 14 months apart and I was pretty stressed about it!
How in the world was I going to do this? So, I did the only thing I knew to prepare. I googled it.
Funny, if you type in, “How to survive with two under fourteen months” nothing comes up. So,
I am making this post so when the next newly pregnant mom turns to google, she will find a few
answers. :)

So, first, let me tell you about the struggles. 

Hopefully this is not the case for you, but I found out I was pregnant a week before we moved into our new house. Unpacking with a six-month-old and morning sickness is not fun. Buy saltines. Take lots of breaks and start with the important stuff. 

Pregnancy is exhausting for the whole family!

Breastfeeding mamas: Can you still nurse while pregnant? This is different for each woman. I was able to nurse for the first half of my pregnancy but as both boys got bigger, my body couldn’t keep up and my milk dried out. Talk with your doctor. Remember, the older one can eat from other sources, but the younger one can’t; so make sure you make the littlest guy a priority. 

You will feel like you have been pregnant for two years straight. That last month will be torture! Just be glad it’s not twins. (Unless it is twins, then congrats! And you deserve a medal!)

My oldest didn’t take his first steps until he was 13 months. Not a huge deal, unless you are 9 months pregnant! Tadpole was by no means a solid walker when Polliwog made his appearance. But, I had been carrying them around for quite a while. Now, I had the option of setting both of them down! I think that’s the biggest thing to remember. Once they are both here, you aren’t pregnant any more. (Well, at least not for a while. ;) ) It’s not going to be a piece of cake, but you are stronger than you realize!

When you go to the grocery store, you cart will be so full of babies you won’t have room for food! At first, I did grocery pick up and had the employee bring it right to my car. Now, I have become the ultimate grocery Tetris player. The baggers don’t even try to put my groceries back in!

You will have the exact same conversation with every stranger you meet: “Looks like you have your hands full!” “How far apart are they?” “My closest two are ___ months/years apart.”

Now, Polliwog is six months old and let me tell you about some of the good stuff!

Tadpole hadn’t truly reached the jealous stage when Polliwog made his appearance. He didn’t seem too fazed with losing the attention and he wasn’t super wild either. (He is a pretty calm child, but as he becomes more of a toddler I’m grateful I don’t have a newborn in the house.)

Polliwog has an older brother to watch and learn from and he is progressing fast! (A little too fast for my mommy heart.)

They are the best of friends.

For the most part, they like all the same things (food, shows, toys). I just make sure I have two of everything!

Aren’t a fan of the baby stage? Having them so close together gets this out of the way fast. Married an old guy? Get those babies here before he needs a cane to walk! (Just kidding he’s not THAT old.)

We took these two on an airplane to New York and to Disneyland!
The best part? You’ve got two beautiful kids. You’ve got four cheeks to kiss and four arms to squeeze. There are different challenges that come with each of them, regardless of their age. Enjoy each moment! Good luck! You got this!

Oct 23, 2019

Fall Break - Hogle Zoo

You probably know we are on Fall Break this week and that is why you haven't heard much from me. I have been much too busy living the life to talk about it, but I wanted to share with my blogger friends because we have been having so much fun!

This pic is required every time we go to the zoo.

We didn't even have to go into the monkey house...

On Monday afternoon, after a bunch of doctors and dentist appointments, we took the kids to the zoo. My amazing pass is nearly ready to expire, but I didn't want to let it slip away without one more last big trip. Teach and Twiz and their little family met us at the zoo as did Drama Queen and her friend. It was pretty cold, so we were all bundled up.

First we rode the train, and then we stopped by to see each of the animals. Many of them were inside their homes because of the weather, but that didn't stop us from seeing them behind the glass. Scout took lots of pictures and then made them into a cute slideshow for Reflections. I probably stole some of them for this blog post. (Thanks, Scout!)

You know my favorite stop is the Carousel, but after 3 rides, we were so cold that I even went into the reptile house just so I could get warm!!

No, this is not the end...
It was over all too soon since Baby Doll had to get home for her dance class, but we have lots more adventures planned. I'll keep you posted!

Oct 21, 2019

Michaels Crafts Cricut 101 Class

As you all know, Princess has started her own crafting blog and she has been doing a great job posting nearly every day. People are starting to notice her amazing Cricut skills. On Friday she helped our little girl scout troop with a cute little autumn acorn craft.

Then on Saturday night, I took a carful of the kids down to Orem so we could attend Princess's Cricut class at Michaels Crafts. She taught 3 of them this week and I didn't want to miss out since she wasn't sure when she might be teaching again.

The class cost us only $20 and it included her expertise and equipment plus a cute plastic storage box for us to decorate that included the vinyl. Each one of us were able to choose a design on the computer or a phone and then she helped us make it come to life in vinyl and then eventually transfer it to the box.

Guess what I spent my time doing?

Scout put volleyballs on her box, of course, and Curly put a football helmet on his. Teach made hers with a cute dinosaur and set it up to keep all of Twizzler's paperwork. Our sweet little guy is going to have to have a bit more time having some of his issues repaired over the next few months. Drama Queen put an amazing and intricate design and a quote on hers, and Baby Doll wants a kitty, so she turned hers into a box dedicated to kittens.

After we finished with the boxes, we still had a little extra time, so Princess helped us with some t-shirts. Baby Doll's turned out so cute! Curly's was football-themed, and Teach made a super cute shirt for Twizlet and Scout helped her make a shirt for Twizzler.

I'm afraid we kept Princess a little longer than our allotted 2 hours, but the folks at Michaels were so sweet and supportive that I will definitely be going out of my way to shop there and you probably should too.

If you get a second, check out Princess's Instagram @craftinkiy for even more fun crafts.

Oct 19, 2019

Purple Flurp

In case you hadn't noticed, we are reaching the end of canning season and that means that with the first big freeze, my dear friend, Pauline, will be sending me that text I wait for every year, "Come and get 'em!" Of course I mean her beautiful concord grapes!

Over the last few days, I have juiced 4 gallons of grape juice and last night I finally gave up on the possibility of making jelly anytime soon and I quickly processed them in half-gallon jars for storage until I am ready.

The Dog Walker was close by during this operation, working on his Midterm for his Race in Society class. As I was pouring off the last couple of jars, out of the blue, he said, while still hunched over his reading materials, "Remember Purple Flurp?" Funny he should mention that because a few days ago, when I was juicing the first batch, Drama Queen asked me the same question.

Now if you are a fan of the old-time Jimmy Neutron movie, you would understand that reference, but at our house, as a young boy with Autism, Dog Walker wanted to be just like Jimmy Neutron, so we created our own version of Purple Flurp to satisfy his cravings.

Back to our original conversation...

"Do you want to make Purple Flurp?" I asked as I tossed the flat metal canning lids into a pan of steaming water. He looked up at me and grinned, pencil paused for a moment, "Do you?" I couldn't help but want to please this amazing son of mine, with all of his hard work even in the most difficult circumstances. "Run up to my room and see if you can find a can of Sprite while I finish up these jars and then we will make some."

He was back in a moment with a can of Sprite Zero and I had him reach up to the highest shelf and reach down the fancy blue glasses. After filling them with ice, I put about 3 tablespoons of pure concord grape juice in each one. Then the Dog Walker filled them the rest of the way with the soda.

Ahhhh... Purple Flurp!

Oct 16, 2019

National Honor Society

With all the craziness, it seems like we have been missing a few important things, so tonight I went back and looked through the pics on my phone just to make sure. A few weeks ago, Sport got all dressed up and the two of us headed to the high school so he could be inducted into the National Honor Society.

If you remember, Sport was an officer in 9th grade when he was in the NJHS or the middle school version of NHS. He loves hanging out with the smart and motivated people, particularly the girls, and service has always been part of our lives, so NHS was a great spot for him.

I am so proud of him for his hard work and good choices!

Oct 15, 2019

Guest Blog - Update on Twizzler by Teach

Life has been so busy and crazy here as we count down the days until Crafty leaves for her mission to the Philippines on October 30. But I didn't want to lose track of the fact that our sweet baby grandson has been in the NICU and now that he is finally home, he is still on oxygen and he still has some battles to fight.

Teach wrote this part for you.

Twizzler was born after 18 hours of labor on October 5, 2019 @ 1:47 PM. He weighs 8 lbs 7 oz and 20 inches long. We are enraptured by his long fingers and mysterious hair color. (Sometimes it looks brown, sometimes red, sometimes blond!) Twizlet is still getting used to her baby brother, but was tenderly gentle when she met him. He is awake more often than not, and smells like heaven. We are so blessed to be his parents. 

Teach has some beautiful pictures, but I want to share the ones I took today. I swear he is smiling in the second one!