Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The First Week of December

I can't believe it's already December! Time has really flown lately. We are down to our last garden fresh tomato in the fridge, so I knew it was coming, but still! Christmas is only a few weeks away!

We've gotten snow a few times lately, and every time the boys just LOVE it! It hasn't been enough for sledding yet, but if there's enough snow to cover the grass, it's enough for us to make a fort and snow man!

December is always a busy month. We've had something going on every day so far, and things aren't slowing down any time soon. Monday for FHE we read a book about doing good deeds as a gift for Christ for Christmas, and then we decorated a gingerbread house!

The boys had a blast with the candy! I went downstairs to feed Brooklyn and when I came back all the gum drops and licorice was mysteriously gone.

And the camera was full of silly pictures Dave had taken. They also listened to the book, because several times this week I have found my bed made, or they have intentionally helped their brother "for Jesus".

Since we've been talking a lot about Jesus in preparation for Christmas the boys have started playing resurrection lately too. One of them hides behind the couch or Luv Sac, waits a while and jumps out shoutting "I'm resurrected!" Dustin has also been concerned with my mortality lately too. Every once in a while he exclaim "Oh no mom! You're getting wrinkles. You're going to die soon, and I will miss you!" I keep telling him I won't die for a long long time, but he is still pretty worried about it.

Earlier this week I took the boys to the Lego Store for their free Mini Build class. They love taking home a free set and it's nice to get them out of the house every once in a while. I also let them pick out a gift for their brother for Christmas. They both picked the same Mixel set. So I know they will both love their gift.

My exercising group is going well. I've now lost all my pregnancy weight and am focusing on trading the rest of the fat for muscle. I really just need to tone my stomach more. The group has been a great incentive to exercise every day but I'm looking forward to two weeks from now when the group is over and I can go back to working out every other day. Dave and I have been working on eating more healthy lately too, and I know that has helped the process as well.

Although life has been busy, it's been good! I can't wait for Christmas and all the fun parties and activities we have planned over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving in Moab!

We were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving in Moab this year! Dave's Grandpa Plastow and Aunt Suzy's family live out there, so they invited everyone to come for the festivities. Dave was able to get work off Wednesday, so we headed out Wednesday morning. We got into town around 11 and decided to immediately hit up Arches.

It was a good temperature, most of the time we were hiking Wednesday we just used long sleeve shirts, but we did end up getting out our hoodies for Sand Dune Arch (which is in the shade and always super windy).

I haven't been to Arches too much, and I was impressed by the great scenery along the trails. I don't remember the whole park being so beautiful!

The boys had a blast hiking! Even when I was uploading these pictures they kept telling me what a fun the hiking had been in Moab. I think it was a big success.

Brooklyn did great too! We switched her to the baby backpack that went on Dave's back rather than the one on my chest. She's a lot younger than when we moved the boys over so it was a little adjustment, but she figured it out eventually. She's just so chubby, I couldn't see lugging her around on my front.

 Wednesday night we went swimming at the pool, ate at Wendy's and called it a night. It was a great day and the boys crashed pretty easily after all the physical exertion of the day.

Thursday morning we woke up, ate breakfast and headed out to arches again! We were able to get in 4 more hikes before having to head back to the hotel for lunch and nap time. Dave's brother Jon & Anisa and their daughter Caroline joined us too.

It was great to get some more hiking in, especially with a cousin to explore with! It was significantly colder Thursday, but we fortunately brought our heavy coats.

After naps we headed over to Suzy's church to eat a late lunch/early dinner (yup, there were that many people there!). It was fun to talk to all of Dave's extended family that we don't get a chance to see very often. The boys had a blast playing with their cousins and second cousins too. And the dessert table... it was fabulous! We sampeled tons of different pies and a berry and whipped cream mixture that was to die for!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel for some much needed swimming with Grandma Linda & Papa Bill. Then off to bed for another quick night of sleep.

Friday morning Dave woke up early and went on a run with his Aunt Tina and a few of his cousins. He said the trail was gorgeous! I'm not a runner, so I know he loved having someone to share his passion for the trail with. The boys and I packed up the hotel and went swimming one last time with Papa Bill.

When Dave got back we headed over to his Aunt Suzy's house for a BBQ before hitting the road again. It was good to get to visit last time before leaving and very nice to not have to stop on the road for lunch.

When we got back into town my parents dropped by. They brought Zupas for dinner and we visited and opened early Christmas gifts before they had to get back onto the road. They were in town for Thanksgiving but had to get a construction project started before the weekend was out.

Saturday and Sunday we played it pretty easy. It was nice to have a few days to unpack, do laundry and recover before work started again.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Grandpa's Funeral & Catching Up

It's been a busy November (and I was doing so well at keeping up to date)! In the end of October my Grandpa Yoder passed away. His cancer spread quickly and he wasn't in pain long, so that's something to be grateful for. Dave was able to get the day of the funeral off so we woke up really early and drove down and back in one day. It was a long day, but I'm really glad we got to go and pay our last respects. The talks were great and the whole event was well done.

Grandma Yoder sent me home with bags of clothes that were Grandpa's for the refugees in my Stake. I went through them and couldn't help but miss Grandpa in the process. She sent his church clothes, sweaters, socks, coats, and all kinds of things I know the refugees will be so grateful to have! Taking a trunk full of clothes to the home of the woman that collects everything was a good experience. Driving over I knew Grandpa Yoder would be glad to have his clothing go to people in need. It gave me a sense of peace to be able to do one last service project for him.

The night before the funeral was Halloween. Had it not been, we would have left town the night before and rented a hotel in Hurricane, but I digress... The boys had a great Halloween! We all dressed up as the Avengers for our Church party, and the boys continued to dress up as Iron Man and Thor for the rest of our Halloween events.

We carved our pumpkins on Sunday. The boys drew their own spooky faces this year and Dave made a silly one up for Brooklyn. Logan's is in the front, Dustin's in the back right and Dave/Brooklyn's is back Left. They had so much fun designing and helping carve. I cooked the seeds and Dave and Dustin devoured them!

For Halloween Logan's school had a parade and a class party! It was a fun day for the kids.

Dustin just HAD to dress up for the parade too. Everyone that complimented him on his costume got this muscle pose. Doesn't he look so strong? 

Logan said this was probably his best day of school yet! Hopefully there will be more fun ones to come. 

Part of the reason why we've been so busy is we've been trying to tame our yard. The weather finally cooled down, we've gotten our first frost and snow, and as a result have raked up 10 bags of leaves so far. We generally get 14 to 16 bags of leaves, so we're just waiting for the last leaves on the trees to drop. It's a pain, but I love the shade all year long so we're willing to pay the price for it.

Another reason we've been busy? I've been purging and reorganizing the house again. I did this right before we had Brooklyn, but it was some how time again! This time the focus was mostly our toys and art supplies. All art stuff is now organized in crates on top of the fridge with coloring books and paper stacked neatly beside the fridge. I donated 2.5 bags of toys to charity, and have re-organized how everything else is stored. We've also implemented the one type of toy out at a time rule. All these changed has really helped the house stay cleaner. I was spending all my free time picking up, but now I really just have to focus on the Kitchen since the Living Room and boys room is pretty tidy. We'll see how long it lasts.

Saturday was Dustin's 3rd Birthday! Leading up to it I asked him what he wanted for gifts and meals. His answers? Jello and a whole can of olives to himself. Since I couldn't get him to give me more than that, one of his gifts was Legos Jello Molds and 6 big boxes of Jello (we've gone through 4 so far). We had blue Jello and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

He had a blast making and eating it! Dave and Logan have enjoyed them too. We made a 2 box batch of Blue on Saturday for Dustin's Birthday, a batch of Grape on Sunday, and a box of Orange on Monday. I'm Jello-ed out so maybe we'll take a few days off before we finish the last two boxes. 

Since it was Saturday, we let Dustin open his gifts first thing in the morning. He and Logan had so much fun playing with each new toy all day long! Even Brooklyn got in on the action from time to time. She can grab things and loved stealing the new Duplo guys Dustin received.

This week has been busy so far prepping for Thanksgiving. I made 4 dozen crescent rolls (two dozen are already consumed by the boys and Dave).

And while I was rolling... Dustin got a hold of my flour. It took longer to clean up this mess than it did to make the rolls. Sigh! So I'm on my 5th load of laundry for the week...

Between that, packing, doctor's appointments, working out and errands this week has been pretty busy. Oh, I've started working out again. I joined a Beach Body group to complete their Core de Force workout program. It's a Mixed Martial Arts DVD series and so far it's been as fun as exercising can be. They require 6 workouts a week but they're only about 30 to 45 min a piece. They give you the schedule to follow for "success".  Hopefully between that and eating more healthy I'll be able to get back in shape before Christmas.

I'm supposed to wake up early to work out, but it just hasn't happened yet (Logan's been waking up with night mares and Brooklyn is still waking up once a night for feedings). So Dustin has been my workout buddy. He joins me an the kicks, pushups and "starfish" pose. When he's not working out he's giving me super cheesy advice "Come on Mom, you can do it! We can do hard things.", "Don't give up! I'll give you extra fruits and vegetables for energy when you're done!" And if he doesn't think I'm working hard enough? He climbs on my back or piles stuffed animals on me for extra weights "This will help you get stronger.". It's pretty cute and funny. I don't know where he gets this from.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Family Pics & Zions

The weekend of Brooklyn's baby blessing my sister Sheila took a large group picture of our whole family and group shots of each immediate family. She sent out the pics this week, and I decided we needed pictures of our kids together and individual shots of our three to update frames around the house. Since Brooklyn is growing like a weed, I figured we had to get these pictures before she got too big for her outfit in the original picture. I love how they all turned out.

I tried taking pictures of Brooklyn on 4 different occasions and ended up with about 90 not smiling pictures. But this one turned out pretty cute, so we're going with it!

Dustin's in that awkward fake smile phase (where his cheese smile is nothing like his real one), but this one turned out pretty good.

And Logan didn't want to wear this shirt anymore. He wanted the black striped shirt in the picture below. But Mom insisted on the original shirt to match the first shoot.

These boys are best friends most of the time! They're either playing great or fighting.

I love this one too! These boys just love their sister so much! What great kids we have!

Group shot. Everyone is actually looking at the camera.

This weekend we headed down for a long weekend in Hurricane visiting my Grandparents, my Mom, and Aunt Kathryn. It was good to see them again. Grandpa is doing worse than when I saw him two weeks ago, he just seemed so tired. I'm glad we got to stop in again, although our visits had to be short so not to wear him out.

We also hit up Zions while we were in town. We decided to hike the three Emerald Pools. We usually do the first two, but this time we decided it would be good to do all of them (what were we thinking?!?). The boys climbed up every big rock on the side of the trail and insisted on a picture. So we have tons of those shots!

They're little explorers for sure! They did great on the hike up, but were pretty worn out on the way back. Also, Zion was the most crowded I've ever seen it! We had to wait in line for the bus for about an hour. It was insanely busy so we only hiked Saturday instead of returning for another hike Sunday morning.

The boys were very impressed with the little trickle of waterfall and the rainbow it produced.

Every time we saw the waterfall, the boys insisted on a picture.  They love cameras.

At the last pool Logan had a hay day drawing in the sand with sticks and being tempted to swim in the pool. He kept telling us that this was the most beautiful hike he had ever been on! It was pretty cute.

By the last pool Dustin was worn out. He was ready for nap time and refused to pose for pictures. So we did the best we could at a family shot.

After the hike we headed to Hurricane to hit up the splash pad. The boys wore themselves out some more and Dave and I visited with my Mom and ordered pizza. They have this brick oven on the side of the road in town you can get a pizza from. It's fabulous! We ate way too much pizza.

We stopped in at my Grandparents again and my Uncle Mark, Aunt Melissa and their 3 kids were also there. We visited briefly, but didn't want to overwhelm Grandpa so we headed back to our hotel and finished the night with a movie.

We also hit up the pool at our hotel 3 out of 3 days we were there. The boys loved it! They are looking forward to swimming at our hotel pool again when we go to Moab to visit Dave's extended family. Dave and I were completely worn out by this trip, but the boys said it was the best vacation ever. So I guess we did something right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Brooklyn's Blessing & Visiting Grandpa Yoder

 This weekend was Brooklyn's baby blessing! She was so cute in her dress. I of course had to do a few photo shoots to make sure we got a good shot. She's so sleepy I think we did 4 photo shoots in all.

I made the dress for her a month before she was born, and followed a 0 - 3 months pattern. But a week ago I tried the dress on her and she had gained too much weight to fit into it! It fit over her head, but her belly was way too big. So I had to cut a 5 inch slit down the back, line it and add a button closure. It worked out, but one more week and even that wouldn't have been enough.

By the time I was done I had about 200 photos to go through and pick from. So these are the best of the bunch.

The blessing went well. We had a lot of the family come and get to hear the blessing. It talked a lot about her being faithful and a positive influence on her friends. It's funny, with the boys I don't think their blessings talked about friends, but girls are so influenced by their friends.

Saturday, since my parents were in town anyway, they threw a family dinner on our gazebo. It was nice to get to see everyone and visit. The kids had tons of fun playing with the balloons the Grandparents bought (for Rea's birthday), and messing around with each other. They spent most of the time on the trampoline.

I can't believe how big they all have gotten! They all look like big kids now. It's pretty fun to see them all interact.

Since it was Rea's birthday she decided she wanted to get a pinata. So the kids all took turns hitting it. It was pretty tough to break open, but they finally did it and enjoyed the candy inside!

 Even Brooklyn enjoyed her balloon. I put it in her hand and when she moved it would move, which made her excited and she would kick, causing more reaction! She also had fun talking to it.

She's recently started talking and smiling in response to people. She won't always do it, but sometimes she will talk back to us.

Sunday after the blessing my Mom, Dustin, Brooklyn and I headed down to Hurricane to visit my Grandparents Yoder. My Grandpa recently found out he has cancer and doesn't have long to live. So my Mom offered to drive me down for a visit, since she was going anyway. I didn't think I could get in a good visit with 3 kids, so I left Logan with Dave. He had school Monday, so after school he went to a friend's house.

The visit was good. It's hard to see my Grandpa who is usually so driven, to be feeling poorly, but I'm glad I got to sit with him. I asked him a question he used to always ask me when I would visit him during my college years: What one scripture proves the church is true? Back when he would ask me I would give my answer and he would always reply no, and tell me what scripture he picked that time. The answer always changed, so even if I remembered the verse he said last time it was always different.

This time he had two verses for me. First he said "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) But he followed it up quickly by telling me to always stay true to the gospel of Christ. That "What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean" (Isaac Newton). He told me to always love my children. Even if they fall away from what I have taught them, love them. Pray for them and they will eventually come back to what they know is right.

Since my Mom was asked to give his eulogy, she asked what he wanted shared. He divided the topic up into 1. His service in the Church 2. The Coastguard and 3. His work career. It was interesting to hear about all his callings in the church as well as how he met my Grandma. He has accomplished so much in his life, and it was great to hear all that too.

Grandpa also presented me with his Hoofibou. It's something he picked up in Alaska. When Dave and I were first married Grandpa told Dave that it was his pet dog that he had mounted after it died when he was a young boy. For years Dave believed Grandpa's dog was hanging in Grandpa's Ronald Reagan bathroom. So now it hangs prominently in my sewing room to remind me of Grandpa.

It was a long trip going down and back in 24 hours, but I'm so glad I got to visit with him and Grandma. We have a family trip planned to head down in a few weeks, and I hope to be able to see him again then.