Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

We survived Halloween this year.  Phew.  It was kind of rough for a little bit.  There's still some recovery to do from this weekend.  Nichole did get to go to school today and Jr. Jr. and I went to the school parade to watch Nichole and Jr.
I had a late night and early morning last night and today, though, finishing up Jr.'s costume and trying to get Jr. Jr. to sleep.  He just would not.  Jr. did the Batman thing when we went to our friend's Halloween party, but wanted to be a wizard for school and Trunk or Treat.  Luckily, we did simple costumes this year. 
I didn't sew new outfits for the kids, we did thrift store shopping for Nichole's skirt and shirt and she wore my witch hat, and I used construction paper and felt for Jr.'s costume.  I used brown construction paper for the hat and cut out white stars and moon shapes to glue on.  Then I took the elastic from an old birthday cone hat and put it on his wizard's hat.  Then I used his Jedi robe from last year and safety pinned white felt stars and moon shapes to it.

Jeremy and I thought it would be fun to do theme costumes for Jr. Jr., Jeremy, and me.  Jeremy was going to be an old-timey villain, I was going to be the damsel in distress, and Jr. Jr. was going to be "my hero."  Also simple with things we had on hand (except for the rope, which we bought).  I was going to make railroad tracks out of cardboard and duct tape to tie me to, but as you know, things got kind of crazy and I ran out of time.  It still worked because we had the rope and Jeremy looked good as the villain.
Jr. Jr. fell asleep as it got closer to Trunk or Treat, and I was not going to wake him up to put his outfit on (especially since we ran out of time). 

I just grabbed one of our superhero capes and put that on him when we got to Trunk or Treat.  He's 2.  He doesn't care.  And he still got to be the hero.  He was just excited about the whole "Trick or Treat" thing.  It was amazing to him how many people were putting things in his bag.

I decided early on in the day that I wasn't going to stress out about Halloween, and I didn't.  There were times I felt rushed, but I knew it would turn out a good day, and it did.

By the way, it's also National Knock-Knock Jokes Day, so just like I did last year, I wrote knock-knock jokes on ziplock bags that held some of Nichole's lunch items.  She was pretty happy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November Holidays Coming Up

November, month of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Break from school.  There are other holidays to celebrate, as well.  Here is how we've celebrated November in the past and links to those posts.

November 1-2 is Dia de los Muertos
October 30, 2011- Dia de los Muertos

November 7 is Hug a Bear Day
November 7, 2011- Hug A Bear Day

November 8 is Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day
and it is Bram Stoker's Birthday
November 8, 2011- Combining Holidays

November 12 is Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day
and November 17 is Homemade Bread Day
November 17, 2011- Homemade Pizza and Homemade Bread

November 18 is William Tell Day
November 21, 2011- William Tell Day 2011

November 22 is Thanksgiving (and that weekend is Thanksgiving Break from school)
November 25, 2009- Memorable Advice
November 25, 2010- I'm Grateful For...
November 26, 2010- I'm Also Grateful For...
November 23, 2011- Slumber Party!!!!!
November 25, 2011- I'm Thankful For...
November 26, 2011- Choosing Priorities

November 23 is Doctor Who Day
This is another one we haven't celebrated in the past.  Here's a balloon weeping angel that Jeremy made, though.
Don't Blink!

For more reasons to celebrate in September, check out our Calendar of Celebration on The Balloon Guy's Blog.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy National Oatmeal Day 2012

October 29th is National Oatmeal Day.  We're obviously not up to doing big celebrations right now.  We'll see how we're feeling by Halloween.
We did simple celebrating for National Oatmeal Day, though.
Some of us had oatmeal for breakfast and for Family Home Evening treat, Jeremy got us Oatmeal Creme Pies.  Yumm.

Happy National Oatmeal Day.  Hope your celebrating is fun, whether it's simple or elaborate.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gratitude a Month Early

So, yeah.  I blogged a lot then I missed a day and then missed a lot.  Jeremy's been spending a lot of time on the computer working on his time lapse video of Balloon Bag End.  Blogging hasn't been as high a priority on my list of goals, but I've been keeping busy with other things.
I thought for this blog post I would catch up on some of the things that have happened lately and why I have so much to be grateful for, even though Thanksgiving is still almost a month away.

Jr. Jr. turned 2 recently.  We had a simple celebration with cake and present opening since I had Super Saturday that afternoon and Jeremy was working that night.  But the 2-year old was perfectly content with that.
Last year we did a bit more with his party, with a balloon pit, presents, and cupcakes.

A friend invited us to a Halloween party.  We got there late since it was down in Springville and after Nichole got home from school, but we still had fun and I was able to make it back in time for a meeting that evening.

 At the party, I brought a game for kids to play.  String Racers.  You attach a toy (we've also used balloon animals in the past) to a piece of drinking straw, put a string through the straw, and race however many you have from a higher point to a lower point (we used a chair as the lower point and the kids held the other end of the string in their hands).
Nichole was amazing.  She helped me through most of the party.  She taught the kids who came over how to play the game, demonstrated for them, and raced with them if there was only one child at a time.  She is such a good teacher and helper.

We got our first real snow fall.  Nichole's boots from last year were too small this year, so she had to go to school in regular shoes and I gave her a piggyback ride part of the way to school.  It melted quickly enough, though, so she did alright, and there wasn't much new snow the next day and we had time to get her some new boots after school.

We also had some kid friends visit us that day, and Jr. Jr. and the boy his age had so much fun together.  When Jr. came home from school, he threw snowballs at the window for them, which they absolutely loved.

Jr. had his first field trip and got to ride on a school bus for the first time.  They took two buses so I got to ride on the bus, too.  I'm glad I went.  We went to a local farm to run around, see animals, go on a hay ride, play in corn, go through a corn maze, and pick pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.  We had a big group of kids since we combined two of our groups, but one of the moms had the kids following her in a train and that was a great way to keep the kids together as we went to the different areas.

I also had some really important reasons to be grateful recently when Nichole got sick.  I don't want to go into too many details since I'll start crying if I think too much about it.  So I'll focus on the things to be grateful for.  There are so many, but here are a few:
First of all, a loving Heavenly Father who knows us each individually and answers our prayers.
Worthy priesthood holders, including my husband, who were able to give Nichole a blessing.
Jeremy taking the car seats out of the car before going to a show that day.
Our Relief Society President who was willing to listen to me cry over the phone and assuring me that since I wouldn't be able to bring dinner over to the sister I visit teach, it would be taken care of.
The Relief Society President's son who sacrificed his time away from helping at his sister's baby shower to drive us to Instacare and then the boys and me down to the ER.
The Relief Society President's son remembering to bring his cell phone with him so I could leave messages for Jeremy to hear when he finished his show.
Nichole enjoying her first, and hopefully last, ride in an ambulance.
The new stuffed animal Nichole got in the ambulance to help her be brave, a bunny.
The medical people who took good care of Nichole throughout the day, in Instacare, the ambulance, and the ER.
My husband's show getting out at a time that allowed him to get to the ER before they even let me in to see Nichole.
The fish tank in the waiting room of the ER which entertained Jr. and later Jr. Jr. when he woke up from his nap he took in the car ride to the ER.
The kind woman who brought me water and crackers as I spent hours with Nichole in the ER.
Disney XD, which kept Nichole and me entertained while at the ER.
The Magic School Bus, which previously taught my daughter about strep throat, and my daughter who retained that information so she could share it with me and show how smart she is.
Modern medicine.
The grocery store pharmacy that was still open when I needed to pick up prescriptions for Nichole.  Sales on Gatorade and popsicles at the same grocery store.
Our Primary Presidency who is flexible when I told the Primary President I probably wouldn't be able to conduct in Primary today.
Ward members who checked on us.
Prayers from many sources.
Kind people to whom Jeremy was going to deliver balloons, but volunteered to come pick them up instead so he could pick us up from the ER, who payed him extra for the balloons, and who brought Nichole a bubble blower to keep her entertained at home while recovering.
My sweet boys who were such troopers through the whole experience and were so good at following instructions while being carted all over the place.
Volumes 1 and 2 of Animaniacs which have been keeping my kids entertained while at home.
Popsicles, which feel good on Nichole's throat.
Nichole's strep throat is getting better and she isn't having trouble with her breathing now.
Nichole is such a blessing in my life.  She is the best oldest child our family could have.  She is such a great big sister.  She is a cheerful, friendly, helpful, smart, brave, girl.  I love her so much.
And I'm grateful to know where to direct my prayers of gratitude.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The KAT's Meow

Jr.:  Even though our house doesn't look like a Halloween house, it does because it has dead plants.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Evaluate Your Life Day

At this most recent General Conference, President Monson said the following during the Saturday morning session:
"...take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received."
Evaluate Your Life Day, October 19, I thought was the perfect opportunity to do this.  I won't go into too many details as it is a very personal thing.  I will let you know that as I sat down with my husband to do this and to talk about some of our goals for the future, I shed plenty of tears.  There are plenty of things I want to be better at, and there are some goals, both temporal and spiritual, that we want to work for, but we also have been blessed in so many ways.  I can't ignore God's hand in my life.  As President Monson reminded us, "The Lord is in the details of our lives."  It is so true.

I am grateful for my blessings, even some that I don't realize are blessings until later.  I am so grateful for my family, for the experiences we get to go through together, and for the reasons and ways we find to celebrate.  My life is a gift and I can do so much good with it.  I am a daughter of God who loves me and I am of great worth.  I am not perfect, but I am improving.  I feel blessed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Did Miss It

Well, I missed it.  Yesterday was my first day not posting something on this blog since the end of August (that's right.  Every day in September.  And half of October.  Woohoo).  But I had good reason.

This was me yesterday.

All day long.

Except for a few breaks, in the morning getting the kids ready for school, and Jr. Jr. had a pediatrician appointment.  I did get to sit down with the family for dinner.  I also needed adult conversation every once in a while.

It's just another sneak peek for you.

Last night after the older kids went to bed, we found Jr. Jr. like this.

Yep, children do learn by watching adults.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Almost Missed It

Yesterday, October 15, was the birthday of author, P.G. Wodehouse.  Jeremy and I had talked about celebrating, but we got so busy with things yesterday.  We didn't even check out any of his books at the library while we were there.  Can you believe it?  So I thought we wouldn't actually celebrate.  Oh, well.

However, after I put the older kids to bed last night, I found Jeremy in the kitchen making brownies.

A while ago Jeremy and I made a non-alcoholic drinking game for the TV show, Jeeves and Wooster (based on books written by P.G. Wodehouse).  We made lists in three categories.
For things that happen in most episodes, such as when Jeeves says, "Very good sir," you take a bite of a snack or a sip/drink of a beverage.  For other things that are somewhat common, but don't happen as often as in the first list, such as when one of Bertie's friends falls in love at first sight, you take two bites or drinks.  The last category is for those things that rarely happen, such as when Aunt Agatha makes an appearance without calling Bertie a name, and you get to take a handful or gulp of your snack or beverage.
Our snack of choice for this game is brownies and our beverage of choice is colored flavored sugar water (a.k.a. Kool-Aid or the like).  That explained Jeremy's brownie making in the kitchen.
So after the older kids were in bed we sat down with our brownies and Kool-Aid and watched the first episode of Jeeves and Wooster.  By the end we were a little sick to our stomachs, but just a little.
It had been a while since we played that game and it was fun.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last Day of Fall Break

Fall Break has been fun for us.  We decided to do something special for the older kids on their last day before school starts up again. 
After having some of their friends over this morning, we took Jr. Jr. over to another friend's house and we took the older two to the library to pick out a movie.  Then we went to McDonald's and the kids got to pick up a free Happy Meal each from one of their Summer reading programs.

We came home and the kids got to enjoy their Happy Meals while watching a movie.  They were thrilled.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

National Chocolate Covered Insect Day 2012

October 14 is National Chocolate Covered Insect Day.  I had no intention of eating an insect covered in chocolate, although I know there are people who do.  So to celebrate, Nichole and Jr. made up a song about insects.  It was so funny to listen to them.  Each verse started something like this with a little variation, though Jr.'s part stayed the same each time.

Nichole:  Oh, there's something tickling me.  Who's that tickling me?
Then she'd point to Jr. so he knew it was his turn to come in.
Jr.:  It's a bug.  It's a bug.  It's an insect!

Then Nichole would sing about a particular insect: an ant, a fly, a praying mantis, a bee.  But not a spider.  She knows that spiders are arachnids, not insects.

When she reached a caterpillar, she asked if caterpillars are insects, because they have so many legs.  I told her I think they are insects because they only have six real legs.  Everything else is something different they use for moving around.  But if she wanted, we could call Uncle Travis and find out for sure.  Uncle Travis knows a lot about animals.  So we did and sure enough, Uncle Travis let us know that caterpillars that turn into butterflies are insects, only six actual legs... and he was nice enough to listen to the kids telling him knock knock jokes about insects over the phone.  Thanks, Travis.

Now their song wasn't about insects covered in chocolate, so I took care of that a little later.  I stuck pieces of pretzel in a marshmallow to make six legs and used another piece of pretzel to stick on a little mini marshmallow head, then drizzled chocolate syrup on the top.

The kids enjoyed that and I didn't have to deal with real chocolate covered insects.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


You know those relatives- that extended family- who, even after years of not seeing each other, you can easily feel comfortable with?  I have some of those.

I have a cousin who was dating his wife at the same time I was dating Jeremy.  Both she and Jeremy were accepted into the family from the first time they visited my grandma's house for a family get-together.  They were family.  Besides dating at the same time, we also all got married the same year.
I've always felt close to my cousin's wife.  She really does feel like family, so when we had the opportunity to spend a couple days at their house in Wyoming this Summer, it's no wonder she and I spent the whole time talking.  We didn't run out of things to say.
My kids were thrilled because they have kids the same age, cool electronic toys, and a trampoline.

Today, we had the opportunity to go to Wyoming to support those cousins again when their oldest son was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was a special experience and we were so glad to be there with them.  Because my cousin lives within driving distance of all his siblings and parents, I got to see my aunt and uncle and all their kids and grandkids, as well.  That was fun.
It was also my cousin's birthday, so we got to celebrate two wonderful things in the same day.  Lunch with a big group, cake, play time for the kids, and socializing for the adults.
It was a beautiful day for the trip.  We headed out as the sun was coming up over the hills so there was a beautiful light on the fall colors as we drove through Provo Canyon.  Yes, there are still fall colors, even though it snowed on the tops of some of the hills recently.  We actually had Fall this year and it's lasted more than a week.

It was a beautiful drive, and was just as beautiful driving back.  We got some rain as we traveled, a very pleasant rain that made everything feel fresh.  The sun shining through the clouds at times was brilliant. 

As I told Jeremy, I may not be an artist who can capture these things on canvas or paper (or with a camera), and I'm not a writer who can capture these things with eloquent words (the term "eloquent" is about my limit to eloquence), but I believe Heavenly Father has given me a gift to be able to appreciate these beautiful sights in nature.  And to acknowledge that they are His creations.
I also believe He has given me a gift to love family.  And I do.

It was a good family day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

International Moment of Frustration Scream Day 2012

October 12 is International Moment of Frustration Scream Day.  We've been counting down the days.

In other news:

Since Jeremy had to take the car seats out of the car to fit a balloon sculpture in yesterday, we decided to put Jr. Jr.'s car seat back in forward facing.  When Nichole was a baby, the rule was backward facing until the child is 20 pounds and a year old.  When Jr. Jr. was a baby, the rule was backward facing until the child was 2 years old, or if their little legs wouldn't fit anymore.  We've just been doing it backward facing for so long, I haven't even really thought about it.  But since he's close enough to 2 years old, we decided to go ahead and put him forward facing.  It was cute to see all three kids sitting forward facing when we went shopping today.

Definitely our children.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's My Slumber Party

Fall Break.  We decided to celebrate with... a slumber party!  We haven't had a slumber party for a while for various reasons.  Either we have to get up early the next morning or the kids haven't behaved in a way that we want to reward them with it.  But the kids were so well behaved yesterday that we decided to let them stay up to watch a movie in the living room (with popcorn) and sleep there with their sleeping bags.

We continued today since October 11 is It's My Party Day.  The kids and I started with pizza (good slumber party food) and Jello, and they got to watch another movie.

Later we played Connect Four.

When Jeremy came home, I put on Lesley Gore's song, "It's My Party," and the kids and I danced around.

He brought treats from a wedding reception to share, then we settled down to watch yet another movie with the kids' sleeping bags.
Yeah, Fall Break is fun.