Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Break

We just got back from Atlanta, my first time in Georgia.  The trip was supposed to take us 3 1/2 hrs.  We left here right around 4:20 and didn't pull into the hotel until 11:00 at night!  I guess there was a huge accident on the freeway and we got stuck in the craziest traffic and we didn't know the back roads well enough to get us around it.  We did get off on a back road that we thought would help us miss the traffic but it ended up being just as slow--a dead stop.  We turned around and tried to find somewhere to eat but the town was so small and all the restaurants were closed so we got back on the freeway.  The kids were starving and we all had to go to the bathroom when we finally started moving again.  It was 8:30 by then and we weren't even an hour from our house!  I'll admit, we were so close multiple times to throwing in the towel and going back home.  None of us slept well and Mike woke up in a foul mood and it all just seemed frustrating for a session at the temple.  But, we made it! We went to the temple, the company was great (we went with some friends), and we got home in 3 1/2 hrs.  I'm glad we stuck it out!
This week was fall break.  We only get two days of fall break here instead of the week we were used to in Colorado.  It was sunny for most of one of the days and poured rain the next day...and the next day...and the next.  It has rained a heck of a lot here the last two weeks.  And actually, it was beautiful weather for our trip to Atlanta and started raining once we got to Knoxville.  Anyway, my point in talking about the rain is that there wasn't really a lot to do for Fall break.  Mike had the GPS and I don't have a smartphone that tells me how to get places so I didn't really know where to take the kids.  I didn't want them playing the computer all day long for two days straight so I decided to throw an impromptu Halloween party.  My thought was just to have a few games that didn't require much work on my part and invite the neighbor boys.  When I told their mom my plan she jumped on board and decided to make goodie bags and mummy hotdogs and cupcakes.  It ended up being a fun party for the kids.  My part was the easy part--the games were pretty chill.  We played Halloween Charades, the Donut game (what is the real name?), and try to catch the "pumpkin" (really an orange balloon and a funnel).  I also contributed some witch broom pretzel treats and some banana ghosts but other than that, I didn't do much.

Earlier in the week on another raining day Eli and Jacob (one of the neighbor boys) decided to ride their bikes in the rain.  We are one house from the corner and around that corner is a very steep, long hill.  It's pretty hilly here in Knoxville, by the way.  The boys thought it would be awesome to take their bikes to the top of the hill and then ride down super fast.  At the bottom of the hill was a big puddle of water and Zach, the older neighbor boy, told Eli to turn to avoid the puddle so Eli turned last minute and crashed pretty good.  His elbow got all scraped up and he fell into the bike.  The handle bar jabbed into his armpit and he got a nice circle "tattoo."  It was pretty sad.  It probably wasn't the best idea and I should have told them "no" but right before the accident (they went down a few times) I heard them yelling "Whoohoo!  THIS IS AWESOME!"  So at least they got some good fun out of it before they fell.  (Jacob also fell but his wasn't as bad)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wild and beautiful

Tennessee is so wild.  I keep saying that but really, it's amazing to me.  I have never really lived in the south--I imagine it is more wild the more south you go.  It's just so interesting to me to see all the wild flowers, grasses, trees, weeds, etc that grow here, not to mention all the bugs of course.  I took most of these pictures at a greenway near my house--across from a golf course--so it is less wild and more kept and mowed.  There are fields here that are just covered in vines.  The vines take over like crazy weeds and you see trees that are just completely covered in vines.  The vines move on to the telephone poles and cover those as well.  (I did make the colors pop a little more in these pictures than the original so things aren't all exactly this green and red.  But I didn't do much to change the color vibrancy)

 The other day is rained a lot--it rains a lot here, by the way--but in the evening the clouds started to move on out and left the sky with awesome views.  I remember being a little girl in Indiana and seeing the huge, majestic thunder clouds and thinking they were so awesome.  These were like that and I'm glad I got a couple of pictures of them.

 Finally, most mornings are "smoky" here.  It's pretty fun and beautiful.  It's not the bright, crisp skies you find in Colorado but beautiful in it's own way.  Here the smoke is almost gone but I was able to catch just a little bit over the houses.  It's fun to live in a new place and get to experience such different things.
Finally, I'm learning how to clone.  You can see my attempt below:  In the top you see the pole, in the bottom you don't.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Playing with Piper

 Just playing dress-up with the babes.  My first selfie is awesome:  no make-up, big pores, no visible eyelashes or eyebrows, bed head, deep wrinkles around the eyes.  But from the words of Will:  I love you because, who could-nit?  I am working on accepting myself.

Aren't we all?

Sometimes I am happy with the progress I am making at becoming a good mom, wife, friend, and woman.  Other times I have to be kinder to myself.

But, I think I'm most beautiful when I love on these kids of mine.  
And this particular baby gets into a lot of messes.  She says over and over, "You sit in," while patting the seat next to her.  She loves to have us near her.  And if we aren't near her, well, then we can find her into all kinds of things.  A few months ago she bit into a stool softener.  We caught her just as she bit into it.  She promptly threw up.  Today I found her with about six Tums in her mouth, two in her hands, and a pile on her bedroom floor.  I never had to baby proof with the boys.  They usually stayed out of drawers and cupboards.  I worried more about them putting metal things in the microwave and climbing too high or going out the front door when I wasn't looking.  Nothing is safe from this girl though.  She is interested in every drawer, every cupboard, every closet.

She's a curious one, this Piper.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Halloween...and some other stuff

 It's October!  I think it is going to be a very different fall and winter for us this year than last.  Today the high is 87 but by the end of the week our high is only 60.  The leaves are starting to change and falling from the trees already.  We wake up to foggy mornings that clear up by the end of the day for the most part.  The mosquitoes continue to be incredibly obnoxious.  Are you tired of hearing about them yet?

I am tired of getting bitten by them.

 The boys could not wait for me to pull out the Halloween decorations.  I worked on them for a bit and thought the boys would be happy but they want creepy!  Big!  Spooky!  My bat print and snake wreath are not sufficient.

I told them I was willing to spend a small amount of money on some decorations.  Will says he needs some time to browse Amazon before they decide.  I told them that they could do creepy but not gross and not deathly and gruesome.  They are leaning towards some glow-in-the dark eyes you can plug in and hide in your bushes.  Also, perhaps some big cat eye things you put in your windows.  They really want some headstones and dangling skeletons.  I don't believe either of those will happen.  The spiders here are doing a great job at helping us decorate outside.  It's pretty cool that something so icky can create such masterful webs.  
In other news, our family is seriously considering Homeschooling.  There are just so many issues that I dislike about the school here.  I have talked to numerous people who have all said that all the public schools here are similar and the private schools are crazy expensive.  I still need to so some more research about the private schools and their prices and availability but it looks like we are starting to lean towards homeschooling.  Mike is pretty convinced by it.  I am not.  He will be at work or school most of the day and I will be the one doing it and trying to manage it.  It's a huge change.  Anyway, I don't really want to talk about all the thoughts and details right now because it might not happen and I have too many thoughts I am not sure about right now to actually write here.

Also, we are starting a business.

Homeschooling.  Business.  No big deal, right?  Certainly no big deal to start both at the same time.

I've got this.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some things about the boy's

I think we are adjusting pretty well here.  The boys have already gone to a few birthday parties, enjoy their new scout dens, and are making great friends in the neighborhood.  We had an incident yesterday with some neighbor boys that left my blood pressure high for awhile after.  Will chose a game that was much too rough and when Eli wouldn't get off, Will called for help, resulting in the neighbor boy pulling Eli's hair and thus provoking the wrath of Eli.  There was screaming, red faces, and more hair pulling.  We came onto the scene to find Isaac holding Eli back, the neighbor boy inching his way to his bike, and Eli about to throw a punch.  All this happened minutes before we were going to go to a fancy restaurant for our anniversary date.  I'm not sure I've ever seen Eli more mad.  The boy told his mom that Eli was way more tough than he thought he would be.  We told Eli that the neighbor boy probably learned pretty quickly not to physically hurt Eli again.  And also a bunch of other things like, "That is inappropriate behavior"  "You can't just attack someone because they pull your hair" "Next time you ought to say, 'You freakin' jerk, go home!"  Blah, Blah, Blah. I was pretty upset about the whole situation.  It hurt my stomach to think about Eli getting that angry.  It made me mad that Will continues to make up ridiculous games and then wig out when Eli gets too rough (Eli is a very strong little boy and probably could take down both boys by himself).  It made me angry that the neighbor boy thought it would be ok to pull hair.  Also, we missed our reservations and had to wait an additional hour and a half before we could be seated.  So I was angry about that too.

Something about the fight makes me feel like we are officially a part of the neighborhood or something like that.  Also, a neighbor boy is currently playing our computer while the other boys are outside playing with some other kids.  I guess he feels comfortable in our home...

I do like this neighborhood.  It's kind of strange to see people riding golf carts down the road like that is a normal thing to do.  Today was the neighborhood garage sale and one neighbor, who owns a farm nearby, had a huge flatbed of pumpkins and gourds.  He generously gave all the neighborhood kids free little pumpkins.  We've been told that Halloween is a big deal in the neighborhood and that we will have trick-or-treaters all night long.  The boys can't wait!

Anyway, this post is actually about the boy's room.  I decided not to paint their room for awhile even though it is flat paint and will need to be painted eventually.  We don't own any nice furniture except for an ottoman that I bought on clearance and the new piano we just bought.  The boy's room is no different.  Their dressers were antiques we got for free from a lady in our ward in Ohio.  We bought their bunk beds off craigslist.  My brother, who is now 18, had a toddler bed that we inherited nine years ago.  I'm not sure how long my brother slept in the bed before that.  Isaac broke the bed last Easter and the boys have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor since then.  We finally bought a new bed but I decided to make use of the headboard and foot board of the toddler bed.  It went from this:

To this:

Will likes to fold paper airplanes and origami.  I decided to put his talent to use and had him fold a bunch to hang in their room.

I also decided to take the ladder from the bunk bed (they don't use it) to make a shelf to display some things on their wall.

In the corner I hung up their hooks for their towels, moved a bookshelf into their room (the movers damaged it...), and hung a cork board for the pictures they draw.

I also hung up the missionary post cards our friends from Oklahoma gave us.

Their room is nothing fancy but I think they are happy with it.  They are boys and pretty easy to please in the decorating department.  As long as they have their favorite blankets and a place to put their special items, they don't really care what it looks like.  Isaac did say, "Now when I bring my friends in my room they will say we have the coolest room ever."