Sunday, November 29, 2015

Of Turkeys & Pheasants..

Before I launch into "elf mode" let me pause and talk for a minute about Thanksgiving.  My whole family met together at our Wayne Wonderland house and basked in the madness of eight little cousins, cold weather outside, and all the good feels inside.
The little people painted and made an entire "Fort Hotel" that took up the whole basement.  We didn't see them for hours except with strict instructions to provide sustenance and the occasional owie to kiss or argument to smooth over.
There was a rabbit hunt in the snow.
A pheasant hunt in the wind.
And successful hunters all the way around bundled up like handsome little men.
There were visits from Uncles and Aunts sharing another helping of pie.  Baking together in an overly-warm kitchen with sweating windows that emphasized the contrast between hot inside and cold out.  And there was all manner of late night giggles shared amongst adults and kiddos alike... you guys, bedtime?  SUCH a joke!
If you didn't know this already, my mama is the world's best cook so we three daughters just kind of stay nearby and "assist" as we take copious mental notes on how she achieves all the greatness in the kitchen that she has become known for.  I swear, with all the little men I have to feed, Imma gonna get it so all "my boys" rave about how their mama makes the best - fill in the blank.
It was awesome.  And the rest of our weekend has been dedicated to decorating the house for Christmas and soaking up our little family which will be just a wee bit bigger in just over a month.
Feeling grateful for family and life... the rest is just icing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Of Miracles...

I am the lucky woman who gets to teach Ace Face in Sunbeams.  I say that a bit snarkily even though I can't think of another church calling I would enjoy more than being in Primary with my little folks.  But this past week, all those hours prepping lessons and activities for my little friends came full circle for me in the best possible way...
Ace was out playing on the Kindi playground as we waited for Kael and his buddies to finish up school to drive them all home.  I had the window down to listen to him play and a small class of students was already out on the tiny playground enjoying a warm-ish day.

Ace climbed to the top of the webbed dome toy and sat face-to-face with a little girl who clearly had only one functioning eye beneath her thick glasses.  I heard him say, "What is wrong with your eye?"  And my heart stopped beating.  "OH NO!" I thought, and I almost rushed myself out of the car to play interference.  Instead I heard her say, "Oh, it's broken.  It's been broken my whole life."  To which my little Acey in a concerned voice said, "Have you had your doctor look at it?"  The little girl nodded and said, "Lots of doctors have looked at it but they can't fix it."

Ace paused for a moment and then bravely trudged on and said, "You know, you should call Jesus.  He could put some special mud on it and then when you washed it off, your eye would be all better."

I almost died.
I love more than anything that he had such pure and unwavering faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ and the miracles that he knows He can perform for any one of his children.  I love that he listened to one of the stories he heard at church and could recount it in a moment that made perfect sense, and to someone he really felt needed to hear it.  And I love that he was willing to share what he thought would be a miraculous and life-changing aid for a little girl that he had no judgement toward - just pure love for.

Out of the mouths of babes, I tell you.
Sign me up for all the years of teaching Sunbeams.  It would be my privilege and honor to hang with the church's most pure of heart.

Thanks for the "glimpse" Ace.  Your mama loves you so, and is most grateful to her Maker for letting her love on you & your brothers for a short while.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Museums for Kids...

Did I ever tell you that since having kids my love language is children's museums?
Sure, they're full of germs and for some reason every one we've ever been to has a "water section" which leaves us damp for the duration of the visit.  But they are magic... pure magic!
The first exhibit at any given kids museum always ends up being the one we spend the most time at.  It's just so cool they can't imagine anything ever topping it... and, this particular one involved balls, so you know... an hour and a half later we finally realized there was far more to the museum than this awesome ball/tube/air display.
And then when they do realize there is more to this bag o' tricks?  What a conundrum!  How will they ever divvy up the remaining time amongst all the unexplored exhibits!??  That's the way it always goes. And still, if I give us a healthy four hour window of time I'm usually OK to drag them out mostly satiated and usually hungry at the end of our half-day affair.
Random Side Note:  I totally see their little ultrasound profiles while they play sometimes.  See Exhibit A above.  That's not just the hormones talking, right?!  Nooooo, totally normal I think.  :)
On this particular trip they rocked my world at the "Life Flight/Children's Hospital" section.  They were ALL business.  I mean look at their faces?
Just SO busy saving one life at a time and using their readily available helicopter to transport accident prone kids to the hospital whilst utilizing their CB radios like crack addicts -- talking over one another's transmissions an endless number of times.
But the urgency!  The dedication to health and well-being!  Truly impressive.
So cheers magic in the form of children's museums.  I mean really, when we left, Dax said verbatim to me:  "That is my favorite place on EARTH.  COMPLETELY!"
So we enjoy it.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy it.  'Tis my mantra in motherhood and all things children's museums.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bring on Home Alone 2...

Did you know I'm done Christmas shopping?  I.KNOW.  I can barely believe it myself.  And I'm not even exaggerating... I have it all done but the perishable food items for the neighbors.  SO... you know what that means, right?  I am starting the "fun stuff" now.  Think Christmas movies, hot chocolate, frosted sugar cookies.  Listen, it's my first time being large and preggo over the holidays and yeah, I'm just going to ride that wave.  :)

Last year we introduced a Christmas classic to the boys... Home Alone.  They loved it.  We loved watching them love it.  Their "virgin to a New Jersey accent" ears reported back to us about the crazy antics of Harry & "Mauve" aka Marv.  They spent days creating "booby traps" to stop "roberts" from breaking into our house and we would hear random outbursts of, "BUZZ, Your Girlfriend, WOOF!"  It was a kick. 
So, once I spotted the winning trio of buffalo check PJs... I knew just what to do.  I recorded Home Alone 2, like my life depended upon it, and we pressed play and sat back and listened to them cackle.  Oh man.  I swear, I might have been born to be the mama to the cutest little rat pack of gents I ever laid eyes on and introduce them to the finer things in life like little boy Christmas movies where the hero beats the bad guys.
Total bonus... I myself was the proud owner of a "Talk Boy" which I got circa Christmas 1992 or so, and my wise mama held on to that baby and has passed it down.  Right now it is resting up in our storage room in a box labeled, "Amber's Important Things".  I think I'll wrap it and put it under the tree and if they can figure out how to insert a cassette tape (and I can locate one) I will totally let them play with it as they alter their voices from Chipmunk to Deep Throat until their hearts are content.  :)  You can guarantee it will outshine all the rest of the toy haul, but it will be so worth it.
And so, I say unto you... get yer shoppin' done.  This chillaxing during the holidays is A-OK if I do say so myself.  "Beat that you little Trout Sniffer"... 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On Gratitude...

I'm a huge proponent of gracious manners.  I am addicted to Thank You notes and I'm a cray-cray person about my kids saying thank you whenever they're given anything.  So.... when I saw on a friend's social media the link to this "Give With Thanks" project I was on board immediately.
And let me just tell you they have made my mama heart so happy scheming about who they can help or take treats to or leave a note for.  It's been so fun watching them "earn their leaves".
Our Primary President talked to the kiddos a few weeks ago about a little friend in our Stake that has been diagnosed with leukemia.  His name is Zach and she asked all the kids to pray for Zach that Heavenly Father will heal him and make him feel better.  Well, my sweet boys have been gently reminding one another during prayer time to, "Remember Zach," and Dax dutifully and earnestly prays, "That Zach will get better from the 'lukini' and be strong and healthy again."
My heart melts every time I hear them.
That's not to say that they still aren't my crazy little tribe.  The mailman delivered a toy catalogue from Walmart and like vultures they climbed atop the kitchen table and raced to circle every single item they want Santa to bring them... so we've got a ways to go.  But we're learning.
And our little gratitude tree is filling up with the most beautiful and vibrant fall leaves.  And for that, I have a grateful heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The First Snow...

It's kind of become our thing... the celebration of the First Snow.
We've caught it mid day for two years running now.  This year, we snagged a taco and packed some juice boxes and headed up the canyon to really relish the first snow of the season.  And thanks to looming Christmas Card pictures, I even had some coordinating duds all hanging and ready to wear.  That's the universe's way of saying, "Shirk all responsibility & Go for the win, Mama."
It was just as perfect as I hoped and just as quiet and peaceful (until the Gardner Guys arrived) too!  :)  We had Tibble Fork ALL to ourselves!  That just doesn't happen rain or shine, folks.  I quickly became enchanted... I mean, those trees!  That fog!  The Mountains!  Music!  My tiny boyfriends!  SNOW!  I was geeking out all over the place and my kids picked up on my energy and just... joined right in!
With Gusto!
Our collective enjoy-o-meter was raging past 90 miles an hour and we were happily eating fresh white snow and catching flakes on our extended tongues, group style.  And those moments... the ones where everyone can feel the anticipation of good holiday things ahead and still fully bask in the present of exciting firsts all around us?  Oh Holy Sweet Spot, am I right?!
I feel like if there is dancing and giggling everywhere - things automatically reach party status.  So there you have it... we partied together in the picturesque first snow of the season in November.  And I'll be honest I was THIS close to coming home and putting up a Christmas tree.  GASP!  But instead we sipped on hot (lukewarm for the boys) chocolate and watched Frozen because we're cliche like that.
The face of a boy who just threw a snowball at his mama two seconds after I asked him to stop throwing snowballs at his mama... See Below:
Winter... we are SO ready for you.  Thanks for starting us off on the right foot.  You get a bad rap
... but we wouldn't miss you and all your buffalo check for the world! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Holy DLS...

You guys - after Halloween we got double whammied... two kiddos with croup and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME compounded for disaster.  Let me count the ways in which I hate, detest, LOATHE the time change!  Especially the fall version where it gets dark at 5pm and at 6:37pm I am asking the hubs like a lunatic, IS IT FREAKING MIDNIGHT?!  And let's not forget the fact that my kids wake up an hour earlier because they are nothing if not little lovers of schedule.  GAH. 
Anyway, how did we pass the time between hacking coughs and darkness at 5 pm?  A WHOLE lotta homework, coloring, Diet Coke (in my case), play dough and prayer.  Ha ha.  But really.  
I will say their little concentration faces rank right up there in my book.  And I'm channeling my inner, "I could SO be a Kindergarten teacher" persona, who manifests herself as a five-years-and-counting Sunbeam teacher.  I'm blessed that way.
So yes, things are a little nutty and a lot messy.  But silver lining - we're learning stuff?
Fine - total truth:  This has been the week from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks thus far, and the dudes are out of their minds tired mingled with not 100% well; so my grand master plan for the weekend includes hunting down the person who came up with this time change idea and making them beg for Mer-SAY!  Or at least dropping of my crew of terror on their doorstep for the weekend.  Holler!
Next week?  Next week is gonna be great, hun.