Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've had a quiet day here, with the Mr. sleeping (since he worked all last night and goes back to work another overnight shift in a couple of hours), me keeping an eye on the turkey, and a nice, cozy fire in our new wood stove.  The children begged for a "jammie day" (meaning they don't have to get dressed all day long!) and so far, we have enjoyed some Thanksgiving crafts, stories, and games of Boggle Jr, UNO Moo, Barrel of Monkeys, and Settlers of Zarahemla (well, OK, only half of a game of Settlers - they tired of it after about an hour).  Though the turkey's been in for over 8 hours now, the timer is still not popped, and I'm hoping it pops in the next hour or the Mr. will miss it all together!  Other than that, though, it's been a peaceful, quiet, and relaxing day!  I haven't accomplished a single thing other than keeping the children dressed and preparing our simple meal (Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, rolls, cranberry sauce, fresh beet salad, steamed green beans, and a pumpkin pie...much simpler than either of our extended families, but all I was willing to do on my own. :) )

The kids helped me make some little napkin 'turkeys' for our place settings:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Pictures

I am lucky enough to know one of the most amazing photographers EVER!  She did an incredible job on our family pictures this year!  I wanted to capture our family in the beautiful New England fall colors - and she did just that!  I can't decide on a here are a few of my top choices!  (Oh, and just so you know - Wiggles had an ear infection that day {we didn't know it at the time} so she was not very smiley or cooperative...usually she is full of smiles!)  I posted the color ones so you can see the fall colors, but the black and white ones are incredible too!

Isn't this the most precious little girl you've ever laid eyes on?

Jessica, thanks for all of your great work!!!  And Maine (and Utah) friends, if you want me to hook you up with her awesome photography skills, let me know!  She does amazing work! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Walking to school

We have the most BEAUTIFUL path to the kids' school each morning!  Sometimes we walk, sometimes we bike - but either way, we make our way through our quiet neighborhood, through a small forest/grove of trees, and then up to school together.  Right now we are really enjoying all of the incredible fall foliage.  I am loving the crisp, fall air that is cool, but not too cold!  But this is my favorite part of our walk:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Wiggles!

Dear Wiggles,

Happy Birthday, my little firecracker!  Has it really been 3 years?  You seem to grow fastest of all of my children.  And yet, I can't even remember my life before you!  You've always been there - in my arms, or on my hip.  Practically inseparable, you and I!

You are one of life's greatest pleasures.  You are the happiest happiness I've ever known.  The loudest laugh, the biggest smile, the tightest hug, the shrillest shriek of delight.  You live life to it's fullest - there is no 'middle of the road' with you.  You are either on top of the world....or you are most certainly not.  Fortunately, though, you are mostly on top! :)

You are very social.  You've had somewhat of a difficult time with Grins and Angel both going to school, because you crave the play time and constant interactions you have when they are home.  Lately, you are getting very good at playing independently while I work around the house (cleaning, cooking, etc.).  I wondered what helped you progress to an independent player, until one day, you clued me into your secret.  I said, "Wiggles, it's time to get in the car! We need to go shopping!"  You were in your room playing with your dollhouse and said, "OK!  I'm coming!  I just need to get my friends!"  You then emerged from the room with your arms full of stuffed animals, dollhouse dolls, and your little caterpillar toy.  You said, "Can you please help me carry my friends to the car?"  I responded, "No, sweetheart, we can't bring all those toys with us.  Toys need to stay home."  To which you insisted, "These aren't toys! They are my friends! They have to come with me or they'll get lonely and I'll get lonely!"  I finally realized that, since you no longer have your best friend Grins around, you had developed friendships with your toys.  I must admit, it made me a little sad, realizing you were having to resort to inanimate objects...but I was also very pleased with your imagination and inventiveness! (is that a word?)  So, I agreed to let you take one 'friend' with you.  The decision of whom to take was easy for you.  You instantly said, "OK I'll take Elmo."  I didn't see any Elmos in your arms (the red, furry monster), but you explained that your plastic toy caterpillar's name was Elmo.  You brought him along, and since then, he's been your best friend.  You take him everywhere (except church), and even sleep with him!  It's comical really, since he's not snuggly at all, but you love him, and that's what matters.  When you love, you love with all of your heart.  As I said, you don't do anything part way!

Lately you've been having a hard time listening or obeying.  And you've been talking NONSTOP.  I mean, literally, chatting for hours on end, quiet only when you are eating or sleeping.   I was becoming incredibly frustrated with your seeming rebellion and was at my wit's end.  Until one day, when we were reading scriptures during our morning devotional.  Usually, for your turn reading a verse, I read a sentence and you repeat it after me.  On this particular morning, however, you were having a difficult time repeating me.  You kept asking "What?" or repeating nonsensical words - which is very unlike you, since you can usually pronounce even long and difficult words with ease.  I finally realized that you were not hearing me.  I began talking much louder and, lo and behold, you began listening and obeying immediately!!!  It was amazing the difference that it made, and I felt horrible for having been frustrated at your seeming disobedience, when really, you simply couldn't hear!  It has truly made me appreciate what a sweet girl you are!  I'm hoping the hearing loss is simply due to your congestion (you've had an upper respiratory infection for quite a while!)  But if the hearing deficit persists we will pursue other causes.  In the meantime, though, speaking clearly has made all the difference.

You are so loving.  You are constantly asking, "Are you happy?" or "Are you nice?"  You are our little happiness guru and it is wonderful.  You truly are our family's, and my own, little ray of hope and sunshine.  How did we ever get along without you, my love?  You are Heaven on earth.

Thank you for letting me be your Mommy.  I consider it the greatest honor and privilege I could imagine.  I cherish and love you more than you'll ever know.  I love you, Wiggles!


Wiggles, 3 hours old
Wiggles, 1 week old

Wiggles, 1 year old

Wiggles, 2 years old

Wiggles, 3 years old.  She put 3 pairs of pajamas on and then said, "Look at me! I'm fat!"
I just realized while posting this that I don't have one single picture of Wiggles on her 3rd birthday. :( :( :(  It was either due to a camera malfunction or my brain malfunction (I took my national recertification exam 2 days after her birthday, so I was slightly preoccupied!)....but fortunately, it was a very happy day and she was a very happy three year old.  I'll make up for the lack of photos at Christmas time! :)

Biker Chic

This girl has been going to town on her "big girl" bike!  Well, ok, not all the way to TOWN, but she has ridden all the way to the kids' school and back (a little more than a mile) all by herself a few times!

The Point Lookout

Last month, the Mr. had an ACP (American College of Physicians) Conference up in Northport, Maine, at the Point Lookout Resort.  Not wanting to give up his rare and precious weekend with the family, he opted not to go....until he noticed that they actually had family activities planned on the itinerary!  The ACP (Maine chapter, at least), has figured out that the best way to ensure high attendance is to include families....and it worked for us!  So, we booked a cottage (courtesy of the ACP), and we were off....

(NOTE: Please forgive the yucky cell phone photos.  Although I packed the camera - and new batteries- it still refused to work.  Thank goodness for my cell phone or we would have been completely out of luck!)

A view of our cottage (and the beautiful New England fall colors!)

A couple of views of the resort:

The first night, we went bowling.  I think it's been at least a year since the last time we went - and the kids were in heaven!

 I love how her little hand is still stiff even after rolling the she watches with eager anticipation!

Trying to figure out who won...

The final scores! (In case you're wondering, the 3rd one (2nd "M") is Mommy!!!  Just in case you were wondering....)

Then a little foosball...

The next day started out rainy, so we hit the 'rec' center for some pool and table tennis.

Wiggles was not really "into" the games - so she decided to fill up a cup of water for everyone in the family.  And then 10 more.  And then 8 more.  I can't find the picture to prove it, but she had a line of 23 cups, all of which she had filled to the brim.  Good thing we had worked up a sweat during our energetic games of table tennis!

Of course, once the kids (and the Mr.) realized there was an entire ROOM devoted to a Wii game (!), they didn't want to do anything else.....

When the rain and clouds finally lifted, it was a BEAUTIFUL day, and we decided to hike up the mountain to the summit.  A long hike, but definitely worth it!  The pictures don't do it justice, of course! (What do you expect from a cell phone?)

It was a short and simple getaway - but having the Mr. there was vacation enough for all of us!  It just doesn't get any better! :)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's cooking at our house this week (since a couple people have asked - most recipes can be found on my recipe blog).

Monday: Butternut Squash pasta, crusty bread, tossed green salad, honeydew melon
Tuesday: Chicken curry with rice, steamed green beans, steamed cabbage
Wednesday: Buttercup squash soup, wheat rolls, craisin-goat cheese salad, mixed fresh fruit
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: homemade pizza, strawberry spinach salad, watermelon

Grins the helper!

Grins brought home a note from church today, which said:
  • I helped a friend at school feel better.
  • I helped my Mom by making my bed and picking up my toys.
  • I helped at church by listening.
  • I helped my Dad by making my Mom happy.
The last one made me laugh!  I guess he's picked up on the age old saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Apple Picking

Apparently, you haven't truly experienced a New England autumn until you've gone apple picking!  So, the kids and I decided to give it a try one weekend (while the Mr. was at work)!  It was definitely a hit, and probably the start of an annual tradition (while we are in Maine, at least!)  Hopefully the Mr. will be able to join us next time! 

Grins thought the 'apple picker' was the perfect little home for puppy!

Wiggles was ready to go! She insisted on pulling the apple cart that weighed at least twice as much as she did!

Please forgive the millions of pictures of the orchard - it was just so beautiful, I kept snapping photos!
And, we're off to find some apples!

Angel is smelling to make sure they are good!

 Why bother with smelling when you can taste it?  There was a sign that said "If you taste, don't waste!"  So Grins went to town making sure nothing was wasted! :)

 Angel loved picking apples so much - I think she got 20 in the first minute that we were there!  I had to tell her to stop- I didn't think we would be able to eat as many apples as she was picking!  Next year, I'm going to plan ahead and be prepared to make applesauce - then I'll let the kids pick to their little hearts' content! :)
 Hanging out in the orchard!
 And, of course, if Grins is around, "hanging out" will invariably turn to wrestling!

 And, if Angel is around, wrestling will turn into hugs and kisses!

This is such a sad picture of Wiggles - apparently she is needing to go to the bathroom - but I love how it captures each of my children so perfectly!  Grins off in the background, playing with puppy, Angel smiling for the camera, and Wiggles making sure her needs are known.  I love how each of my children have their own unique personalities!  They are so much fun!!!
 And apparently, now Grins needs to use the bathroom....I think it's hilarious I didn't notice these things while I was taking pictures...

Once we finally got the kids out of the orchard, we went and purchased the apples (and some fresh donuts - YUM!), put our faces in the cutouts, and each picked out a pumpkin!  All in all, a great trip to the Orchard!