Sunday, August 28, 2016

It really has a lot to do with food

We had a lot of busy days at Grandma and Grandpa's house but we also had some days that were just play days with cousins.  The kids love playing with Jessie and Jason's kids.  Every time they get together they make movies.  They made a couple of different movies this time.  One was a made up Studio C type comedy and the other was an adventure movie with Eli as the evil dude.  They dressed him up as a spy or something.  

I think that one of Carol's love languages is food.  She is a great hostess and prepares her house perfectly for guests, even down to ironing the sheets in the guest rooms.  All her preparation and care is her way of saying through actions that she loves us.  I always appreciate it (even if I don't really need any of that.) because I know that she wants us to be happy and feel comfortable at her house.  Another thing she does to show her love is making fantastic food.  Her food is so good.  It makes it hard to resist such yummy treats!  She loves to surprise the kids with treats and prepare delicious meals.  We rarely eat dessert but at Carol's house we had dessert every night.  I don't think Steve and Carol eat dessert every night normally, just when we visit.  One night the kids all roasted S'mores around the fire.  

Another food thing during our trip was donuts.  On the way to Steve and Carol's house Mike decided that we needed a "thing."  He said we needed something that was our family trip thing and since we all liked donuts we should make that our thing.  I do love donuts.  We looked up popular donut shops near Bel Air and found Paradise Donuts.  We went for breakfast one morning and each chose a different donut.  

One treat the kids all look forward to is their trip to 7/11 with Grandpa.  Grandpa is a big soda drinker and he makes a couple of trips to 7/11 a day for a soda.  When we visit he takes one kid with him each day on his 7/11 trip.  He lets them choose whatever flavor and size of a Slurpee and even buys them a candy straw.  They love it.  They all look forward to the Slurpee, obviously, but they also really enjoy their one on one time with him.  Isaac told us one night, "Grandpa is cool to talk to.  He knows so much and explains things so well."  Eli also told us about his conversation with Grandpa and how he dreams of buying a motorcycle.  I really hope that these 7/11 trips will be a great memory of talking to Grandpa.

Besides eating good food we went to the movies, played at a bounce house (where I got to meet one of Mike's high school friends), played at the cousin's house, and swam in the hot tub.  It was a very full, busy week and we enjoyed every bit of it!

Cow Poop and Kilgore Falls

After some really hot outings we decided we needed to do something that would cool us down.  Kilgore Falls was about 30 minutes away and a mostly shaded hike.  The hike was short and since we had a lot a kids and two pregnant ladies, I think short was probably best.  Right when we showed up these ladies passing us told us that the water was "highly contaminated."  Carol ran back to find a park ranger that passed by and ask him what was up.  He said, "Well, there was a big storm last night and I'm sure there were some things washed down from the cow farms above here."  

We decided to go in anyway.  

Because that's how we roll.

What's a little cow poop anyway, right?!

Honestly though, our thought was that if it was really that contaminated there would be a sign up and besides, it was running water from the falls.  If it were standing water we probably would have rethought our visit but we assumed that the poop had been washed down the river by then.  

The kids had a great time and being in the shade and water made the temperatures feel heavenly.  We didn't want to leave and head back to the heat.

As soon as we got home all 11 of us showered to wash any "contaminates" that could have gotten on us.  It was fun, and worth it!  Totally worth it to swim in cow poop and get out of the heat.  Ha ha.

Rehobeth Beach

I took my camera with me to Maryland but ended up not using it the entire time we were there.  I did use my phone camera though so none of my pictures are great quality but bad quality is better than none.

One of the things we knew we wanted to do was go to the beach.  My kids love the beach.  The beach my in-laws go to is Rehobeth Beach in Delaware.  It's about two hours away.  We packed and left early and then after finding parking we ate a quick snack at the car.  The beach was packed!  We have gone to a less popular beach before that is about ten minutes away but this time we wanted to be closer to the boardwalk so we chose a spot that was pretty crowded just feet away from the boardwalk.  The sand was so hot it burned our feet!  Also, it was just so hot.  I think that is probably a good word to describe the entire trip--hot!  We quickly ran to the water and that is pretty much where the majority of us stayed.  It was so nice in the water.  The kids did not want to get out.  They spent hours jumping waves.  At the end the waves really picked up and we all got a good strong pummeling at one point or another.  After about five hours we were all starving so we packed everyone up and headed for some pizza on the boardwalk.  After the pizza we let the kids spend some time at Funland which is just a small amusement area with little rides and games.  

We headed home around 8, tired, hot, sticky, and happy.


We had planned to go on a family vacation to the Northeastern part of the country.  We talked about Canada, Michigan, and Connecticut.  Our thought was that because of a new baby and Mike's school schedule, a Spring Break probably won't be possible this year.  We try to always go somewhere together as a family at least once a year.  Later, Mike came home and asked if we could go visit his parents instead.  Mike's dad is retiring soon and they are trying to make future plans but are still not sure what they are going to do or where they are going to be and since we are moving in a year and don't know yet where we will be, we thought visiting would be a good idea.  We generally live by the unspoken rule that if we live in the East we visit Mike's parents and if we live in the West we visit my parents.  Well, this is an Eastern assignment for us but we might not be near either set of parents next time so we wanted to take the chance now to visit before we can't.  

We bought tickets to visit the new Philadelphia temple with his parents and sister's family (my brother-in-law's sister also joined us with her kids).  It was simply amazing.  I've been in only one other temple for the open house and been in many temples to do sessions but for some reason this temple just seemed different to me.  The first room they took us to was the baptismal font and I got teary eyed right away.  Maybe it was just that it was the first time I've ever been inside the temple with my little family that got me, I'm not sure, but it was a really sweet moment.  Everything about this temple was so specific to the area.  The doors, the floors, the molding, paintings, decor, etc. had a colonial feel.  It was beautiful.  I loved the carved quills above the reception area.  The Philadelphia temple is right in the middle of the city so there isn't really the typical temple ground area like I'm used to.  They have a small area you can walk and then another very small rooftop garden area next to the temple.  Because of that I didn't really get any good pictures.   

After the temple we were starving so we changed into our street clothes (in the temple parking lot!) and drove to the famous Geno's Philly Cheese steak restaurant.  We had considered Patt's (a rival cheese steak restaurant across the street) but it was way too crowded.  We got to Geno's just in time before lines formed behind us and we were able to snag some of the last tables.  It was my first experience with a Philly Cheese steak and it did not disappoint.  It was so good.  The best part was that all of the kids were happy with their sandwiches as well so I'd say it was a success!  

 After Geno's we said goodbye to Jessie and Jason and Katie (Jason's sister) and decided to do some sight seeing.  After walking back to the car in the humidity and heat though we decided that perhaps we didn't want to do too much sight seeing after all.  It was so hot!  We wanted to check out the Mint museum though and since it was in an air conditioned building it seemed like a good option.  It was actually really interesting and I think the boys and Piper really enjoyed themselves.  Pictures are not allowed once inside so I just got a quick picture outside the building.

I have been to Philly a couple other times where I got to check out some more sights of the city and I have enjoyed it every time I've gone.  I think we will have to go back when it is a little bit cooler and let the kids see some more of the cool historical sights Philly has to offer.  

Monday, August 08, 2016

First week of school 2016-2017

We just finished out first week of school.  We started a week early this year so that I could take some time off when the baby comes.  We are also going out of town for a week so we needed to get a head start on our work.  The first week went pretty well.  I was nervous about this year because of the new baby coming but I think I've just decided that we will just do our best and call it good.  This year we have some changes in how we are doing things and I've added a writing curriculum.  I've also added a few other things that the boys want to do more of and I have been nervous that maybe it was just too much and that perhaps with the baby coming I should scale back this year.  I think I've come to the conclusion that we will just start and do as much as we can until we can't anymore.  I've made our English and Math more manageable this year (I think) and told the boys that in a couple of months we can go down to doing Spanish every other day instead of every day.  I am hoping the changes we've made will help things run more smoothly this year as well as free up some time for us to include more of the fun like art, baking, field trips, fun themed days, etc.  Honestly, it will be interesting to see how things go.  The good thing about homeschool is that I can just make adjustments as needed.
Eli is in 3rd grade

Will is in 6th

Isaac is in 5th 

Piper is doing preschool with me

Isaac is 10!

Isaac just had his 10th birthday.  I have two kids in the double digits now!  This is not a party year so we decided to just do something as a family.  Mike took off work and we drove to Kentucky Splash.  They kids spent most of their time at the wave pool.  My pregnant brain is telling me that I already wrote about all of this.  I honestly can't remember.  Anyway, we spent a great day together.  Mike was able to go down all the slides with the kids so I was able to hang out with Piper.  She loved the wave pool.  I can't believe how brave she is in water now.  Such a change from last summer where she would barely go in the water.  I didn't take a single picture of the whole day because we were having too much fun.

Our trip to Kentucky Splash happened on Wed instead of on his birthday because we were supposed to get rain the rest of the week and we didn't want to miss our opportunity.  On his actual birthday we went to our friend's house in the country and had pizza and a bon fire.  The plan was to light all the fireworks we bought for the 4th of July so we hung out to wait for it to get dark.  We had S'mores and the boys all went in the canoe in the pond (swamp?!) and we checked out all the animals on the farm.  The kids also played some night games and just as it got dark enough to light our fireworks it started to rain.  Not just rain, but pour.  The kids were so sad.  We tried to wait it out but at 10 PM we finally decided that it was too late and since Mike has to wake up at 5:30 on Sundays for 6:30 meetings we decided to go home.  On the way home Isaac got car sick and even though he didn't puke he was pretty bummed about the way his birthday turned out.  

Besides the disappointments, I think it was a good day overall.  Will bought him a game for his kindle and Mike and I bought him Plant vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.  He has been wanting that game for a long time.  He asked for money from grandma because he wanted to buy a deep fryer.  He did his research and then bought one on Amazon.  When it came he was so excited and got right to work trying out recipes.  He made fried Oreos, chicken tenders, and fried ice cream.  I told him that we had to take a break from frying food so we didn't all blow up into giant human beings.  

I really love the person Isaac is.  He is such a good kid.  He genuinely wants to do the right thing.  It eats him up inside when he does something wrong and he can't hold it in before he is confessing.  I love that he is so open with me and willing to talk through his thoughts and feelings.  He reads his scriptures every day.  He is not the kind of kid who likes to be the center of attention.  He really feels uncomfortable to be put on the spot or to have to be in front of people.  He is bright and picks up new concepts quickly.  He has finally discovered the joy of reading and I often find him with a book in his hands.  He is well liked by all the kids in his class at church and has some really good friends now.  Isaac is someone you can count on to get things done.  I love taking him with me to the grocery store because he is so helpful with the shopping and when we get home he just immediately starts taking the bags in the house.  He is helpful and kind.  Pretty much, he's awesome.  I feel so grateful to have him as my son and can't wait to keep watching him grow.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

It's a girl!

I am just about 19 weeks.  I had my gender ultrasound at 17 weeks.  The kids were so excited they were counting down the hours until my appointment, which wasn't until 4 that afternoon.  When I drove towards our house all four kids came running out of the house yelling, "What is it?!"  I hadn't even parked yet!  I sent them on a walk with Mike while I set up a quick scavenger hunt.  I typed up a few nursery rhymes that would lead them to clues  (ie: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, and the clue was on one of the walls of the house and Jack and Jill went up the hill to catch a pail of water, and the clue was at the water spigot).  The last clue led them to a little box and inside I had put some tiny shoes and the ultrasound picture.  They opened the box to find that we are having a girl!  They were so excited!  All of them expect Isaac (he doesn't show his excitement as outwardly as the rest) jumped up and down.  It was pretty cute.  They were all hoping for a girl.  Mike is pleased but not convinced that it really is a girl.  haha.  

Piper had been "practicing" for being a big sister.  She gets her dolls and practices putting them to bed and singing them songs.  It's pretty cute.  

If you were to ask me last week how I was feeling, I would have told you that I felt pretty crappy.  I still felt so gaggy and nauseous.  My head has been pounding and I switch between a caffeinated drink and Tylenol each day to try and knock them out.  On top of that I've had the most severe heartburn I've ever had!  Literally everything I put in my mouth gave me heartburn.  I couldn't even drink water without having heartburn.  It was miserable.  This week hasn't been as bad.  My head has hurt but not terribly.  I have had minimal heartburn, and the nausea has also been better.  I'm not sure what the difference is but I'm grateful to have had some relief.  I did research and read that low iron can make headaches worse and I do have low iron so I've been increasing my iron and had limited all drinks from meal time to help with the heartburn and try to eat smaller portions at meals as well.  The nausea is still there but it's not nearly like it was so that's good.  I'm hopeful that that means it's going away.  Sundays are always bad for me and I'm not sure what makes them so much worse but almost every single Sunday I find myself in the middle of Sacrament gagging and having to rush out of the chapel so I don't puke. I think the headaches make the nausea worse too so hopefully those will go away soon.  

Anyway, you know, just typical pregnancy woes.