Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween Resurrection

It has been a while.  Life got crazy.  We sold our house, lived out of boxes for four months, and bought a new house, moved in 5 weeks ago.  I am finally feeling settled enough to start again.  I will go back and catch up, but for now:   

 Our Halloween festivities began with annual FHE pumpkin carving.  Kris and Eva worked together to create a masterpiece.
 Eva is thrilled with her kitty cat jack o' lantern.
 Abi carved a cute owl.  Leah and I worked together on an kitty cat also.  Tal designed his own scary face, and of course Eva is smitten with her kitty.
Thursday we partied with our new ward at the Trunk or Treat and Chili-Cook off.  Kris and I headed up the party committee.  It was really fun to get to know members of our ward.  Coordinating all of the food for 300+ people was a challenge but we received many compliments on what a great party it turned out to be.  
 Kris and I even got into the spirit of fun as Rosie the Riveter and Joe Dirt, respectively.

 Halloween night I fueled up my little ghouls with a festive dinner of Mummy Dogs, Sea worm stew, Monster Eyeballs, and Witches Brew.  Nothing like some sugar before you go gather more sugar laden treats!
Abi dressed as a peacock.  Tal created his own costume as Hawkeye from the Marvel Comic books.  Eva and Leah both dressed as Elsa from Frozen.  Leah and Eva have both had their costumes for months and regailed perfect strangers with tales of how they were going to be Elsa for Halloween.  Too old for Trick or Treat, Abi went to a friend party while the three littler ones trick or treated our neighborhood.  The little girls tired out by 7 and came home to watch "Spooky Pups" while Tal and Dad went to gather more loot.  
Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Little Remembrances

May 2013
Leah - Eva is my best friend.

Leah, after buying a ribbon wand with her ticket winnings at Leo's place on her birthday:  I always wanted to be a ribbon dancer.  And now I am.  I'm living the dream.

Tal, after breaking his retainer explained:  I think it was when I was eating jerky.
Mom: Oh no, I guess you can't have any more jerky.
Tal: No, I remember it was when I was eating vegetables.

June 12, 2013
Tal and Eva were playing on the couch with Eva climbing over from the back.  Tal pulled on Eva's arm to help her over the couch.  Eva became crying uncontrollably and ran to find me.  After I couldn't get her to move her arm, and snuggling and ibuprofen didn't help, I took her into Community Care.  The Dr. determined that her elbow was dislocated and reset it.  Immediately she stopped crying and reached out for the sucker that he held out.  When we returned home, Tal felt terrible.  He was hiding in his room.  I called for him to come out.  Eva ran up to him and yelled "Ta-Da" with her arms held high.

June 2013
Leah was saying our family prayer and blessing everyone:
     Bless Abi not to fight with Tal.
     Bless Tal not to fight with Abi.
     Bless Eva not to fight with me.
     Bless me not to argue and fart...
Our whole family dissolved into giggles and I doubt that prayer was ever completed.

November 2013
Eva's favorite phrase is "No Like It."  Her favorite animal is her Tebby Bear.  To mom's dismay Eva stopped taking naps while the kids were off for Fall break and never went back.  After lunch though she loves to take walks or scooter rides around the block to watch the birds.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Potty Time!

I will be honest, I was avoiding potty training Eva.  One by one her little Nursery-mates became potty trained and still I put it off.  Maybe I was holding onto my baby a little bit, but mostly I was dreading the months longs agony and hassle of potty training that my other two girls had put me through.  But then Eva started staying dry at night and I figured I had better not miss my last best opportunity.

We started on a Friday and I jumped in with  the 3-Day Potty Training method, modified a bit for my sanity.  Basically you let your child run around bare bottomed for 3 days while pumping them full of juice, water and salty snacks.  You are supposed to have little potties in each room, but I skipped that and just went with our one potty seat that fits on the toilet in the main bath.  Eva didn't like being bare bottomed so we went with just panties on day one.  You are also supposed to stay home for 3 days but I am a busy mom so we went with pull-ups when we had to go out.  The first day we had several accidents but also 3 successes and at the end of the day, I was exhausted.  Eva and I developed a little high five and butt shake routine to celebrate success along with stickers on her sticker chart.  Day Two we had even more successes and took a little trip to the park, she stayed dry in her pull-up.  Day Three was church and a family party so she wore a pull-up a lot but only had 3 accidents.  By Monday we were cruising along.  She would tell me when she needed to go and nearly always made it to the potty in time.  She insisted on wearing pants over her panties and did great. The rest of our week progressed amazingly well.  I almost want to pinch myself that she was so easy.  After a few misses Eva even has #2 under control.  High Five, butt shake, Wahoo for us!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Talmage

It's hard to believe that my irrepresable chubby cheeked "Little Guy" turned 11.  For dinner he requested crepes with fruit and whipped cream.  Yum!  He had to wait all day to open his present though.  Look at that grin.
Tal loves scouting and is entering Boy Scouts so a new uniform and the gear is a great present, even if he won't smile.  Tal and mom worked really hard for Talmage to earn his Arrow of Light.  We have to wait a bit for the official ceremony but he is excited to wear it on his Boy Scout uniform.
February 12, 2014
This was Tal's year to have a friend party.  He is a big computer gamer so he chose a Minecraft theme.  He invited several friends to go swimming at the Aquatic Center and then came back home for cake and ice cream.  

Friends: Quinton, Talmage, Brad, Caleb, Porter and Mac.  What a crazy bunch of boys.

We made fizzy drinks, minecraft creepers, and gave away bags of gold coins that they didn't even have to mine for.  What a fun party!

Ten Things about Talmage
1.  Tal's favorite food is crepes, filled with fruit and whipped cream.
2.  He loves to play Minecraft and Wizard 101.
3.  Physically he loves to play basketball, and football outside at school.  He is a fast runner and 
aggresive player.
4.  His favorite movies are The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  
5.  He loves scouts and just earned his Arrow of Light.  He is looking forward to campouts and earning merit badges in Boy Scouts.
6.  He is becoming a great pianist and loves playing percussion in band.
7.   His best friends are Brad Johnson and Porter Hurley.
8.  His favorite color is blue but he also still really like red.
9. He likes to pick out songs on the piano and loves pop and rock.  
10.Caffeine free Pepsi is his favorite drink.
February 15, 2014

Yurt X-Country Adventure

Back in October with the cold weather approaching, I was feeling down about the prospects of our adventures coming to a close until next summer.  I had kicked around the idea of a winter camping adventure but was a little trepidatious.  Good thing I checked on a yurt rental then because I snagged the last weekend night before April.  Fast forward a few months and we were anxiously looking forward to our Human Rights Day adventure camping in the Yurt in Harriman State Park.

Winter camping proposed a few challenges but we were up for it.  First of all, we all had to cross country ski into our yurt.  Kris and I had skiis but Abi and Tal had to borrow and learn to ski.  Leah and Eva were a little small so they were pulled behind in a pulk, a kid sled.  Then we had to pack our gear in, again in backpacks and sleds.  This necessitating packing a lot lighter than I normally do.  Everyone dressed in layers and slept in their base.  Finally winter camping means a midnight trek to the potty can be really cold.  Solution: a honey bucket.  The kids were totally grossed out at first, but everyone used it.  

We skied into the Cygnet Yurt inside Harriman State Park.  It was equipped with bunkbeds for 6, a woodstove for heating, propane stove for cooking, propane lantern, and a picnic table.  After we set up we cooked and ate our usual camping dinner, hot dogs, salad and beans.  We played card games and talked until bed time.  We tried to settle everyone down for bed by watching a movie on our iphones.  Eva however was wound up in our new surroundings and was not going to sleep.  Kris stoked our stove up until we were toasty and finally everyone went to sleep.  Not to long after though, Eva was awake and in our bed for the rest of the night.
The next morning Kris had to crawl out about 5 am to get our fire stoked up again and then we could snuggle in for a few more hours of rest.  We cooked our scrambled eggs on the propane stove and rounded out our breakfast with muffins and hot chocolate.  After getting dressed and packing up our gear we skied it back to the truck before embarking on the skiing portion of our adventure.   We skied up to the warming hut and then around the near edge of the lake.
Abi and Tal caught on quickly and skied right along.  Leah and Eva liked to stop and switch between the sleds pulled by Kris and I.  The sky was blue, the sun shining and the weather warm for winter.  Soon we had stripped off hats and coats.  We climbed back into the truck tired and sweaty but we all agreed that this was an adventure worth repeating.

Janurary 19-20, 2014

All Dressed Up

Eva suffers from the glut of hand-me-down dresses from Leah and Eva so her new outfit for Christmas was a pants set.  But with these blue eyes, she is a cutie in anything.
Leah is a princess in her sparkly Christmas dress.  Unfortunately she sparkles everything in her path.
Abi loves her straightened hair and new skirt that aunt Sarah made for her.
Tal looks so sharp and grown-up in his new suit.  What a handsome little guy.
Our Meek family cleans up pretty good in our Christmas clothes as we head off to church.
December 29, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

Everyone was healthy this year for Christmas.  But we tried to take some of the lessons we learned from last year and scale back our festivities to what was most important.  Mom and Dad devised a plan for presents: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.  We shopped and wrapped early to avoid the last minute rush.    We cut out the Bake Shop and instead opting for making one big batch of sugar cookies and taking them to a few people in the ward.  Our advent calendar was simple and focused on the life of Christ.  And most importantly, we tried to spend meaningful time with our families. We organized family pictures as gifts for our parents.  Kris and I nixed the sibling gifts with our adult siblings and instead organized kid free dinners where we could enjoy time together. 

Christmas Eve we had an early dinner at GG Hayes, played the greedy game and cleaned up.  At Nana Meek's house each child was spoiled with rounds of presents from Nana, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
 Abi loves this skirt from Sarah that she had helped pick out the fabric for.
Leah adores her pony and new ballerina pillowcase.

Tal, our Dr Who fanboy, LOVES this TARDIS pillowcase crafted with love by aunt Sarah.
Christmas morning dawned a little too bright and early for mom and Dad but Tal couldn't wait to wake Leah and Eva to show them their present.  By far the splashiest present in the living room  this dune buggy for Leah and Eva was their want present they didn't even know they wanted.

Eva recieved a Daniel Tiger playboard for her read present.  She also got a toy vacuum cleaner because she doesn't need anything, and a new outfit.
Leah loves her new sparkle dress to wear to church.  She also received tap shoes for her dance class and a new book.
Abi, our clothes horse, got a new outfit to wear.  Her want present was her own .22, a Savage Rascal that unfortunately she had to wait well into spring to shoot.  She loved the nice straightener and curling wand that she needed to style more chic hairstyles.  She also received the Hunger Games series of books.
Talmage will be ripping up the basketball court in these new shoes that he needed.  He was almost spastic over receiving a new Kindle Fire HD, that he had wanted.  To wear, Tal received a sharp new suit to wear to church and the Lord of the Rings series to read.

I think the kids favorite part was watching their siblings open the presents they bought for each other.  This hug between two often quarreling siblings was a shot not to miss.
Mom and Dad also accept hugs and thank you's for such a great Christmas.
But that car was the hit of Christmas.  Kris had shoveled the driveway and walk so that we would be ready for driving.  Leah quickly grasped the basics of forward and back, staying straight not so much.  Whee!!! What fun.
December 25, 2013

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

The Howell family surprised us by leaving a gingerbread kit on our kitchen cupboard one day.  We seized upon the opportunity to create our one of a kind masterpiece.  Abi and Tal got quite creative with frosting and fondant while Leah and Eva taste tested the various trimmings.
Another FHE we ventured out to South Fork Veterinary clinic that was sponsoring a live nativity.  We came prepared with our own hot cocoa to ward off the frigid cold.  The kids loved the petting zoo style nativity although we doubt there was such a cute pig at the original.
Somehow I got suckered.  About a week before Christmas we headed for the mall to pick up a few last cousin and sibling gifts.  Leah spied Santa set up outside Barnes and Noble.  The line wan't too long so I was suckered into waiting to let her meet him.  I wasn't however suckered into paying $20 for a 5x7 picture of her with him.  Meanest mom in the world award.  After much crying and fit throwing she did calm down enough for dad to snap a little pic while standing outside the white fence perimeter of capitalism.
  The charter school where Leah and Talmage attend put on a Christmas Concert that is a wonder to behold.   It is a wonder how their music teacher gets each grade to prepare so well and then sit so quietly which each other grade performs.  Leah and the Kindergartners sang "Jingle Bells" and "We are happy little elves" with great enthusiasm and bell ringing.
Talmage sang with the 5th grade but has also started band this year.  He and his best friend Brad, pictured, play percussion.  Here he rocks it out!

All dressed up with no place to go.  Kris and I fancied up for the annual 7th district Bar Party but due to a scheduling conflict the Bar Party was bumped.  All was not lost however and we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Red Robin with the Lary and Louise Larson where we got a few funny looks but great attention from the manager :)
December 2013

Bits of Fun

Our first real snow of the season dumped about four inches between Friday night and Saturday morning.  The kids woke up and were nearly spastic with excitement to get their snow clothes on and go play, even before breakfast.  Dad helped with the snowman construction while mom cooked breakfast and prepared mugs of steaming hot chocolate to warm them up when they came in.
November 16, 2013
We hosted the extended Meek clan for Thanksgiving this year.  Abi prepared this adorable vegetable tray that was nearly to cute to eat.  
Prior to our big day we decorated tasty turkeys to set at each place.  These really were to cute to eat but between Eva, Leah,Justin and Daphne most guests lost at least their gumdrops.  Of course I missed a pic of the family together, but we had a marvelous time.
November 28, 2013
Leah started dancing with Dance Tech Academy this fall.  She struggles against getting up and going to dance on Tuesday mornings, but once there seems to love it.  Before Christmas Leah danced in the Holiday Benefit Concert and was the belle of the show.
December 7, 2013
Crazy girls! I am sure there are more comfortable chairs in the house.  But whatever tickles your fancy while you watch TV.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Little Helper

"It's me scrubbing," describes Eva.  This little cutie likes to help me do dishes after lunch.  Mostly she plays in the bubbles but she knows the steps.  She insists on wearing my gloves too.  It is quite the trick to get five little fingers lined up in the correct holes.  How lucky I am to stay home with this little cutie.
November 3, 2013

A Ghoulishly Good Time

I was so thrilled with how our Family reunion shirts turned out with the bleach pen that I tried a few more for Halloween.  Unfortunately I had grabbed poly-cotton blend shirts and Michael's and the bleach didn't take.  I resorted to black puffy paint and the girls loved them.  Both Leah and Eva modeled theirs with "crazy eyes."
In my efforts to be a "fun" mom, I went all out with our Halloween dinner this year.  We had Mummy Dogs, Witches Fingers, Ghoul Eyeballs, Creature Stew and Witches Brew.  Yum!!!
The kids weren't phased by our gruesome dinner at all.  They dove right in.  Mostly because I said that they had to eat before we went Trick Or Treating.
Abi and Eva dressed up as Thing One and Thing Two of The Cat In The Hat fame.  Eva wasn't one bit interested in wearing the blue fluffy hairpiece I made for her.  But she loved the little bit of lipstick on her nose.  Leah was a black kitty, with a black tutu of course.  She loved her tail and ears and wore them around the house from the day we bought them through Halloween until she probably wore them out.  Tal flip flopped around on costume ideas but finally settled on a Black Ninja.  Watch Out!
When I say "Strike a Pose" they really get into it.  Eva is giving us a little booty shake to show off her tutu but the still shot doesn't quite give you the whole effect.
Even Kris and I got into the spirit this year as "The Doctor" and "Rose Tyler" of  Dr Who fame.  
October 31, 2013