Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fun Times Among the Hard Times.

It's been a rough week in the Plastow home.  But we managed to fit in some fun too.

We walked down the street to visit our neighbor Maurine. She's a sweet little widow that lives on the corner of our block. We visited with her  and she had picked up magnifying glasses when she was at the store earlier in the day for the boys! Oh man they had a blast looking up close at everything from the material on the couches to the grains of snow (it looks like little crystals!). It was fun to see them discover things close up.

Saturday we went to the Kids Building class at Home Depot. It's a free class they do for kids once a month. Since we spend much of January and February in the hard ware store, we had MANY opportunities to sign up for classes. The boys built and painted rain gauges. They look like little bird houses, but have a cup to measure the precipitation.

 The boys loved that they got to do their own hammering and painting. It was fun! We'll have to sign up to do it again later in the year. Brooklyn spent the duration of the class sleeping in her car seat, which was perfect for us.

It's been very nice temperature wise around here so Saturday we also put the trampoline back up. All the kids had a blast jumping on it. Even Brooklyn (who loves to bounce in her jump-a-roo) enjoyed being held while Dave or I jumped around with her (she would giggle uncontrollably). But Sunday night it started snowing again and sadly we haven't been back on the trampoline since.

Saturday Dave, his Dad and brother Jon all went out to dinner at Zupas and to a hockey game! They had a great time, and the kids and I had a movie night and I watched a chick flick and did some crocheting until Dave got home at 10:30. It was a great night out for Dave and a relaxing evening for the kids and I.

Sunday we had home teachers and a generally relaxing day at church and at home. We decided to make some chocolate covered peanut butter rice krispy treats (they were for FHE on Monday but we just had to try them Sunday too). Dustin also tried to bear his testimony on Sunday. He has been wanting to so bad and practiced all last month and practiced 3 times on Sunday but when he got up front he froze. So he said maybe he will try again another day.

Monday Logan asked if he could be in charge of the FHE Lesson. He decided to teach about kindness. He told us being kind is being nice to others and we practiced with dinosaur toys different difficult situations that might require kindness. Dustin wanted to be in charge of the treat, prayers and everything else. So we helped him with all of the above. Over all it was a successful FHE.

Tuesday the highlight of the day was painting. We got out the watercolors and made several masterpieces. They are "still drying on the kitchen table so don't move them MOM!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Basement Bathroom is DONE! And other projects

We bought a quarter of a cow a few weeks ago. You  might ask what does this picture of kids and fish have to to with buying a portion of a cow? Well, we met my friend RiKelle at Scheels to pick up our frozen cuts of meat. Since we were there anyway, we went inside, visited the fish, played in the play place and generally had a fun time catching up! They moved to Logan about a year ago and we sure have missed our friends! It was nice to catch up and we have been loving having a freezer full of beef.

Some time in the past few weeks Dustin also climbed up on the bathroom sink, ate 5 Pseudoephedrines (30 ml) and about gave me a heart attack. He was fine (poison control told me not to even worry about taking him to get pumped), but it was scary. That punk can climb anywhere! For now the only safe place is on top of the fridge... He can get everywhere else in the house.

We really enjoyed the 50-60 degree weather while it lasted. We went to the school playground, the park and played in the sandbox. It's good we got it in, because this week it's been snowing again. I'm so ready for spring. I'm so done shoveling.

We had a lot of fun this weekend! We were ALMOST done with the basement bathroom, so we made time to have a bonfire in the back yard and roast marshmallows. It was freezing out, so we came inside and made s'mores in the toaster oven too (our chocolate and mallows froze outside. We still ate them (of course), but we wanted good ones too.

Saturday morning we asked the boys what they wanted to do that was fun. They decided a trip to the Dollar Store to spend their allowance and a dollar they got for Valentines Day. Dustin almost always picks out one of these squishy guys with a strobe light inside and it always pops before we get home. But this one lasted 24 hours! That's a pretty big deal. Logan picked some dinosaur toys which are still hanging around.

For FHE on Monday we had a lesson on testimonies, then we all practiced sharing our testimonies. We're hoping to be able to share our testimonies by our selves at church on Sunday. After we had Dirt Dessert for our treat! The boys never had it before and were quite impressed that it looked like dirt but tasted delicious!

The boys have been fascinated with the completion of the bathroom downstairs! They helped me hook up the toilet and were fascinated with the inner mechanisms. They also both had to test out the toilet several times to make sure it worked. They will announce to everyone that asks about the toilet that it "works for both poop and pee. I have tested it." In case you were worried.

The mirror is a built in medicine cabinet too!
Yesterday I touched up the paint again and Dave screwed the medicine cabinet in place! Saturday we finished calking, installed towel and hand racks, attached the shower curtain rod and cut out the hole for the medicine cabinet. And I whipped out a cute soap dispenser. So now we just need to install trim around the door and we're done!!! WOO HOO!!! Well, and Dave left a hole in the wall above the towel rack that he's going to make a built in shelf for decorations. He is still deciding how to finish that.  And I guess the calk is curing until tonight at 9, but all we have to do is wait for that time to pass so we can use the tub. I'm so glad! I'll probably clean out the tub one more time too (it keeps getting dirty), and we have to clean up all the tools and put the exercise/spare room back together, but that's just minor compared to what we have done.

It feels like everything that could have gone done with this project did (redo electric, plumbing, replace toilet flange... the list goes on and on). But the end results look fabulous! We love the more open space. It used to be the shape of a triangle so opening the door almost grazed the toilet and completely blocked the tiny sink. So I guess I should decorate... maybe in a few months... I'm exhausted now!

Sink before (see the triangle shape?)
Tub before
Other than that the at home phone survey lady called me again so I've been making political calls a few hours a week again. They're not half as bad as the ones I did right before the November elections (those were so intense). But every once in a while someone will go off for or against Trump (which these surveys aren't even about). It's an easy way to make some cash on the side, so I tolerate the crazies. The best was a deep manly voice asked after my intro "are you going to ask if I'm a Lesbian?" me: no. "well ok, as long as you don't ask that or if I'm a black woman I'll answer your questions"... I had to contain my laughter until the end of the 40 questions! What the heck kind of surveys has he taken in the past?!?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Work Work and Partying

February has been busy but more fun. For the first two weeks of the month we did a Love Challenge for Family Home Evening. Each day we had a way to show love like show patience. Logan would wake up and ask "how are we going to show our love today Mom?" and we would discuss. Some of the ideas were more advanced than our boys, but we adapted them.

We've been done for a few days now and every once in a while I will hear the boys discussing what they learned. For example today at church Dustin's granola bar broke in half (this is devastating, one simply can't eat a broken granola bar). Logan turns to Dustin "you need to look beyond looks Dustin. The bar tastes just as good as it did before, it's just in two pieces." Dustin was not convinced.

Logan loved celebrating Valentines Day at school! He was excited to write his classmate's names on all their valentines, attach the tattoos, and try out a few to make sure they worked. He had fun making his box and partying the day of. For Dave and I Valentines is always low key, but this year more so than ever. We didn't make a fancy dinner, dessert or anything (constructions is still consuming all my free time) but we did get frosties and fries after the boys went to bed.

The weather has been in the 50's to 60's over the past few weeks. It's been wonderful, but especially for us doing construction. It warmed up the week we did tile. It was a little blessing in the nightmare of never ending construction that has been our lives recently. As of this weekend the tile is in and grouted! On Monday the grout will be cured and we're hoping to get the fixtures in so we have a second bathroom again. Or I'm at least hoping for the toilet to be in. We still need to touch up some paint, finish putting the trim around the door (and put it back on it's hinges), install the vanity and sink, the bathtub fixtures, the toilet, toilet paper roll holder & towel rack, medicine cabinet, and Dave is making some kind of built in shelf that needs to be finished. But the hard part is done.

We also celebrated Dave's birthday this week. The boys and I have been preparing all week for the big day. They helped me pick out gifts. Dustin got a bag of Peanut Butter cups "and maybe Dad will share with me". Logan picked out Spicy Cheetos for Dave "I don't like these, but I know Dad will." They helped wrap all the gifts then hid them under the bed in the basement so Dave wouldn't be tempted to open them early. When the boys woke up they rushed to the basement, got the gifts and before I was done feeding Brooklyn they had helped him open them all!

I tried to prep for Dave's birthday in advance, I bought the requested Ice Cream in advance, we ate half of it the day I brought it home, Dave decided on a different flavor ice cream and consumed half of that before the actual day of too. But we had enough left over for peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches on his actual birthday. We also tag teamed dinner. I made red potato salad and Dave made some fancy burgers. Both were fabulous. I haven't had a good burger in a while.

When I asked what he wanted for his birthday Dave responded a date night. His parents were kind enough to watch the three while we went to see Dr Strange in 3D at the Dollar Theater. We didn't plan to see it in 3D, but the showing we wanted to go to was sold out (along with every other show at the same time we were even mildly interested in). So we wondered around the mall for an hour until the 3D showing. Now I'm not a fan of 3D, but this one was pretty cool with the special effects popping out at you. If you have to pay extra for 3D, this was a good one to do it for.

Also on Saturday I spent about 2 hours cleaning out the tub in the basement bathroom (per birthday boy request). We decided not to replace the tub, so it got pretty dirty in the process of tearing out and installing. But it looks great now. There is one chip and some scratches in it, but I'm imagining nobody but Dave and I will notice that. I can imagine how it will all look put together and am so glad we are almost done. The hard parts are done anyway.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

In Which We Snort. A Lot.

January was a rough month for us! For the first two weeks I was sick with two different colds. For the last two weeks the kids alternated who was sick. So it all kind of went by in a blur. Somewhere in there we took the boys to the Lego Mini Build the set was an igloo with 2 penguins. It was really cute, we have one of them sitting by the kitchen sink and it makes me smile every time I wash dishes.

My parents came into town for my brother Mike's son Gideon's baby blessing. It was great to see everyone! We went sledding, had a dinner and went to the blessing. It was a very family filled weekend. The boys were devastated that Grandma & Papa weren't staying at our house! "It's no fair! They stayed at Max's house last time they came into town!" I can't believe they remember that, but they love their Grandparents. I promised them next time we would make sure our basement construction was done and Grandma & Papa could stay at our house the WHOLE time.

So other than sick, construction has taken over most of our spare time. Who knew it would take THIS long to remodel a bathroom? It's almost done. We plan to tile this weekend, install toilet and sink next week, and install a door sometime. Maybe next weekend. Then everything will finally be done! It will be a relief to have two bathrooms again. It's been a strain to only have one. I know people do it, but they must be hardcore. We have poop wars at least once a week (I REALLY NEED TO GO MOM AND MY BROTHER IS ALREADY IN THERE!!!) But the bathroom is looking great! We painted last weekend and we set the new vanity in the space to see if it matched and it's going to look fabulous. Dave installed the lights last night, and I'm going to do some touch ups on paint today.

I've also been working on sewing bags for the Young Men to carry their scriptures and Preach My Gospel in. There are 15 bags and Dave volunteered me to make 8. I designed them, cut out all 15, sewed the example bag, and am almost done mass producing the other 7 (hoping to finish today during nap time). It's been a ton of work, but hopefully it will help the boys remember to bring their stuff to Church and activities. It ended up costing them around $5 a bag. So not too shabby for a messenger style bag. I'll post a pic when it's done. Oh and I'm going to teach them to freezer paper paint so they can put some kind of design on the front flap. We'll see how that goes.

Brooklyn has been growing and learning like crazy! When she was sick she was so congested that she snorted a lot, and now she's learned to do it intentionally. When she is bored or wants attention she starts snorting repeatedly. It always gets a reaction, so she's learned to manipulate us for laughter. She is such a happy baby. She talks to us all the time. We say she takes after Grandma Sheila because she only has one volume, loud. She and I got kicked out of Relief Society several times for her being too happy and loud. The boys just love her and she loves them too.

In November I started and in December I completed the Beach Body Core De Force workout program with a group of 15 other women and men. It's a 30 day Mixed Martial Arts DVD series. They give you a schedule of which workouts to do each day, and eating guidelines to maximize your weight loss. It was a rough time of year to commit to working out every day, but it was good to have a reason to HAVE to exercise every day. I won the money prize for most consistent worker outer and lost all my baby weight (I'm actually back down to my High School weight now!).  Oh and they send you a tshirt when you complete the program, so I got that too. Now I just have to tone up my stomach more and get back to eating healthy. I really fell off that bandwagon while we were all sick.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Christmas & the rest of December

December went by in a blur! All the sudden it's January. Logan and Dave went back to school and work today. So many things that we wanted to get done didn't get completed, but that's life. So here's a recap of all the fun we had in December.

First off Brooklyn is getting so big! She's almost 5 months old and wants to crawl, but just can't get the mecanics down. She lays on her belly and swings her arms back and forth (looks like she's pretending to swim). She's really discovered her voice too! She screeches with joy. It's pretty loud, but cute. On Sunday we got kicked out of Relief Society because she was being too loud. She is happy almost all the time (except if she misses nap or a meal). I can't get a smiling picture of her to save my life, but she's always grinning at us and the boys. She just loves her brothers almost as much as they love her.

We started out December with a visit to Santa. Our mortgage company does an event each Christmas, and this year they had Santa come. We visited with him and got some doughnuts and hot chocolate. It was nice, but the boys were terrified of Santa. Dustin more so than Logan. We were more impressed by the food than the big man, but I'm glad they got the opportunity to see Santa.

Every year we invite Dave's parents over for cookie decorating! This year Grandma Linda & Papa Bill brought a plethora of sprinkles! We went crazy frosting and decorating. The boys ate their weight in sugar, and we even gave a few plates of cookies away to friends.

This year was rough in the homemade gift department. What can you expect after having baby #3? So I made a set of hot pads for each of the ladies that serves with me in the Relief Society Presidency. I had great intentions of making more for other friends/family, but it just didn't happen! They either got mini loaves of bread (cinnamon banana, orange cranberry, and pumpkin spice), flavored butter spreads (garlic or cinnamon honey), sugar cookies, or gluten free ginger bread bars. I love baking too, and it went a lot faster than sewing would have.

So this little lady still isn't done! I started sewing her for Brooklyn before Christmas, then Dave found out he had 3 days he needed to use before the end of the year or loose. SO my last 3 days that I planned to finish her were sucked into the black hole of construction. I've started embroidering the bodice of her dress and she needs a few buttons, snaps or velcro to close up the back. 

We also got to see the lights on Christmas Street (Sugar House)! One Sunday we drove out to see all the beautiful decorations. We see them every year and it's fun to see what has been added. There is also a house in West Valley that has insane amount of lights that flash to a certain radio station's music. The boys loved that house the best of all! We parked in front of the house to listen to the music and we let the boys out of their seats so they could get a better view and DANCE! Yup, car dance party until Brooklyn got grumpy and we drove home for bed time. I think we'll have to add that house to the line up next year too.

The Tuesday before Christmas Dave was taking the Young Men down to see the lights at Temple Square so we decided to tag along. It was beautiful as always although the boys were VERY disappointed that we couldn't go into the temple. We didn't even stop at the visitor's centers since we were with the Young Men and on a limited timeframe. Dustin couldn't decide if he liked the Christus best or the Angel on top of the temple more. He still wants to be an angel on top of the temple when he grows up, so it has quite the appeal. When we got home we had some hot chocolate before a late bedtime.

What can I say, we loved Brooklyn's Christmas dress. She was pretty fascinated with the tulle skirt too.

Since I had all the Christmas gifts wrapped in advance, Christmas eve went pretty smooth. We took pictures of Brooklyn under the tree while waiting for the boys to fall asleep. She was captivated by the lights. I can't tell you how many times this December I found her just staring at them! The boys left Santa Christmas rice krispies and chocolate milk (I bet you didn't know Santa prefers chocolate milk to the regular kind).

Dustin was a little demon to the tree this year! He kept pulling the ornaments off and throwing them around the room. One day he got out his baseball and threw it at the ornaments to knock them down. The next day he decided to throw nativity pieces at the ornaments. He was obsessed with getting the star off the top of the tree too. Eventually he knocked the whole tree over and stole the star. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he needed the star because he was a pirate and it was his treasure. It didn't matter how much he got in trouble, or how much I threatened to take the tree down. "It's just too tempting Mom. I know I shouldn't mess with it, but I just do." Needless to say I'm glad the tree is down now.

Christmas morning started at 7! The boys ran out to the living room to see if Santa came. They exclaimed with delight at all the gifts under the tree. Then Logan says "Stop. We need to say a prayer and thank God that it is Jesus's birthday." So before even one gift was opened, we prayed. He makes me so proud with the things he comes up with! I think we have a new family tradition. They played and played all day long. Around noon we shoveled the snow we got the night before. 

 The boys got the ingredients to do a few candy experiments over Christmas break. Their favorite was making lolly pops! They thought it was fun and the candy tasted good. We'll have to do it again.

We decided to remodel our basement bathroom over the week and a half he had off. The space was laid out poorly, so we had to move a wall. It was a lot more work than we expected... so it's not done yet, but it will be really nice when it is completed. It consumed almost all our time off! Dave and I are exhausted, bruised and ready to be done with construction forever (too bad I want to put canned lights in the living room and eventually redo the upstairs bathroom and kitchen floor...). We did get a sledding trip in and some movies, but that's about it!

Oh and I guess we did celebrate New Years with tasty food! I made Gluten Free Cream Puff Shells, filled them with Ham Salad and we had some Shrimp Cocktail with a cheese platter from Costco. I'd never had ham salad before and it was FABULOUS! Dave made a second batch so we could enjoy it longer. It's a great way to use up extra ham.

So we're back to normal. The house is cleanish. The decorations are down. The laundry is washed. The dishwasher is running. The snow is again shoveled (4 times in the past week). The bread is made (also 4 times in the past week). I can't wait until the construction is done so everything can be completely normal again!