"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Bit Batty

This year for Halloween the girls wanted to be bats. Ellorie read some books about bats from school and has been a little obsessed. I made them some "bat wings" out of black t-shirts and glittery felt. The screeeeeching is a little noisy, but they sure have a lot of fun.

I also made the girls headbands with ears and some little felt "stuffies" out of the extra felt.

Even Rylan likes to be a bat:

Hanging "upside down":

Taking Flight:

Mason is going as a ninja this year. He gets very into character. It fits well with the bats.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Painting Pumpkins/Bey Blades

It's really messy.

It isn't pretty. Or cute. Or even tasteful.
But the kids totally love it.
And it's sort of become a tradition.

So we painted pumpkins for family night.

It's more about the process than the final result.

And now I'm not sure what to do with them.
The pumpkins, or the messy children.
But we had fun.
And that's what counts.

Mason's pumpkins are really "Bey Blades".
And if you don't know what that is, count yourself blessed.
But if you DO know what that is, you must have a grade-school aged boy.
It's all they talk about.
It's sort of like a fancy, overpriced, Japanese, plastic, painted to look like metal, TOP. With a rip cord. Yes, a top. Who knew?

We don't even own the toys, or watch TV.
But Averie knows the theme song by heart because it is sung so often around here.
Some days I forbid the word "Bey Blade" from being spoken in the house for my own personal sanity and for the safety of those around me.
I also frequently tell Mason to take a "brain break" from thinking about Bey Blades so he might finish his homework or perhaps carry on a conversation with someone on another subject.

For some reason he tends to obsess over things.
I have NO idea where he gets it from (ahem.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Gleaners

No, not these ones:

These ones:

It's apple season in Washington!

Now that we live in Washington, where fruit grows, we have the opportunity to take part in the abundance of produce that is farmed nearby. Brandon's parents are well connected to all the farmers and let us "in" on the little local secrets. One of which, is the gleaning. Many farmers let friends, family, and people who ask them glean the fruit that was unable to be harvested. Most of the apples are in perfect condition. Maybe some were too big/small/ripe/green/misshapen to be sold commercially, so they were left on the trees.

Now I know that there are some apple haters out there, but let me just tell you, there are very few taste experiences that compare with biting into a crisp, juicy, sweet and tangy apple that was just picked seconds before from a tree in a orchard. If you have never had the experience, I highly recommend it.

You would have thought it was Christmas morning for the level of excitement that my children maintained for the duration of the picking. They were running up and down the rows, climbing branches, looking for "masterpiece" apples, finding treasures, squealing with delight, and of course, tasting the apples.

And now we get to decide what to do with all the apples we picked. I'm not canning this year, but we are eating as many as possible, putting them in smoothies, baking pie, and making apple butter. I just love autumn...

Found on my Camera...

I'm assuming that Brandon was the videographer...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Me @ 33

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”

At age 33 I am happy.

I love my husband, I love my kids, I love being a mother and a homemaker. I love my life.

We recently made a big move that was somewhat challenging for me. I really miss being closer to family and friends. But I am happy in my new surroundings. I feel overwhelmingly blessed.

At 33 I am just now beginning to feel like I'm more of an adult and less of a child. I feel confident in my abilities to accomplish tasks, to be a leader, to fulfill church callings, to be an artist, and to be a mother. I rarely get asked, "So, what grade are you in?" (A common occurrence in my late 20's.) Now I just get asked, "Are those children ALL yours?"

I find that in some situations people are intimidated by me, and I'm not sure why. (I'm like 5 feet tall.) I'm learning that I can at times be overbearing and controlling. I always thought I was more soft spoken and easy-going. It's funny how we perceive ourselves. I also find that some adults don't know what to make of me. I'm often ignored or dismissed by figures of authority or the people "in charge". It used to bother me quite a bit, but it doesn't bother me in the least now.

I think it's natural to contemplate one's existence when birthdays come along. I had a small crisis when I approached my 30th birthday and realized that I hadn't painted anything significant for such a long time. So I completed about 50 paintings within a few months. Averie was about Rylan's age then. It was crazy, but I was almost obsessed with getting those paintings finished. I wish I had more of that motivation now.

At age 33 I am realizing how short life really is, and how quickly it goes by. My baby boy Mason is almost 10! Is it possible? My 21 month-old baby just learned to skip. Few things give me greater pleasure than watching him do so. I realize how quickly these moments pass by. I'm trying to live more in the moment and to enjoy these quickly fleeting moments with my sweet children. And let's be honest, some days are more trying than others.

At age 33 I'm hoping to have a permanent home in the near future. I love our rental, but I'm already totally over it. I'm hoping and praying that someone will buy our Idaho house this year. I desperately want an art studio someday that does not double as my bedroom. That, and I'm mourning my lack of garden and yard.

At age 33 I am still trying to figure it all out. How does one balance exercise, proper nutrition, scripture study, a strong marriage, individual time with each child, personal prayer, church service, continuing education, personal improvement, AND still keep a clean house?

A mystery.

Maybe I'll figure it out in my next 33 years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Country Mercantile Field Trip

Today was Averie's first field trip with her preschool class. It was a beautiful, cold-ish, blustery, day. It felt just like Rigby, and made me a little homesick for the stunningly beautiful Idaho autumn. The sun came out from behind the clouds after we were there for a bit. The kids had a blast, despite the wind:

Rylan was totally enamored with this old tractor that was in front of the Mercantile. He didn't want to share with anyone. He would have sat on that tractor seat all day long and never complained. As long as he got to steer.

I need to get one of those babies in my yard someday. I remember my great-grandpa Bowden had an old red tractor really similar to this one that he would take us for rides on when I was just about Averie's age. When we were a bit older and Great Grandpa was more feeble, my Dad would take us for rides on it. I think there are pictures of it somewhere? I need to ask my mom the next time I'm home.

Anyway, we all went on a wagon ride out to a gigantic pumpkin patch and the kids each picked out their own pumpkin. They were both overjoyed.

There was also a straw maze, playground, and petting zoo barn. Rylan loved the animals, especially the cows and the rabbit. Though his squeals of joy were a little disturbing for the animals.

Averie liked to pet these calves that were really sleepy and totally unconcerned with the hoards of screaming children.

There was also a train with a face that Rylan was excited about, but it only runs on weekends.

They both really enjoyed the straw maze. I didn't think Rylan would be keen on that, but he surprised me.

Averie's very favorite part was picking out her very own pumpkin, which she lovingly painted just moments after arriving at home.

Field trips rock!

Gala D'Vine

The hospital Brandon works for had a huge Black and White fundraiser this weekend called the "Gala D'Vine". A very generous sponsor purchased two (outrageously expensive) tables for his department, and since Brandon is the new controller for the hospital, that meant we were obligated to attend. Not that I'm complaining.

I'm not really a black ball gown kind of gal. I prefer pajamas and flip flops. Maybe a cute flouncy skirt on Sundays. I'm terribly uncomfortable in formal wear. But it's always fun to dress up, right? I looked up hair and make up tutorials on YouTube and put together an outfit that would work. My mom is a very talented hair and makeup artist, but I can barely apply mascara. I guess that's the way it works.

Brandon spent 3 days prior to the evening: camping/motorcycling/hunting/fishing with his dad/brothers/uncles for their annual "Man Trip" also know as the "Bike Trip". They arrived home whole and only minimally sore. And just an hour to spare before the event. Brandon got ready in about 20 minutes. I spent most of the day messing with my hair and makeup.

So I spent forever on Saturday getting ready and gazing in the mirror. And this is what I was pretty sure I looked like when it was time to go:

But then I got the pictures back and realized it was a bit more like this:

Funny how it works that way...

Brandon's mom was so gracious to not ONLY watch the kids, but also take a few pictures of us. Mr. Allen does not like pictures taken at all. But I think he looks rather dashing:

Brandon opted for the black suit/vest rather than a tux. It's about the same price to rent a tux as it is to buy a suit, so why not?

I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a picture of the BACK of my hair, because that was the cool part. Oh well. Here's me (sans glasses. I don't do contacts and I decided to go blind for a while. I gave in about ten minutes after walking through the door. Ah vanity!)

And here we are together:

I was constrained to leave my camera in the car. Brandon is wonderful at reminding me to enjoy life and not feel like I always need to be looking through the lens of my camera to "save" moments for later. Besides, I really would have felt dorky lugging that thing around all night. Truth.

It was a beautiful room, stunningly decorated. There were delicious appetizers, a lovely dinner, a live band, great conversation, a tribute to good people that have done wonderful services for the community, silent and live auctions, etc, etc. I just enjoyed spending the evening with my wonderful husband without the constant interruption of children. Not that I don't love my children. We just don't get out much.

It was a really lovely evening. Thanks to my husband for "making me" dress up and enjoy myself.