Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grandparent Breakfast

Isaac had a Grandparent's breakfast at his school the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I wasn't sure when Dad and Cindy were headed to California for the holidays, but I threw it out there just to see if they could come. Not only could they come, but Grandma and Grandpa Weech had flown down for a few days and they were all driving back to California that day, so everyone could make it - with just a slight detour through Tucson. They were even willing to be on the road by 5:15 so that they could watch Isaac in his first "Jumping Jackrabbits" (school jump roping team) performance. It was only a small demonstration, but he was really excited that they were there. He was hamming it up for Grandpa Weech afterwards.

I was videoing Isaac's actual jump roping for Eric, so this is all I have of him.
After the performance, the little kids and I went back home so Isaac could enjoy his breakfast with his grandparents.

They came by the house afterwards to visit for a little while, so I got the full report. They had the tables covered in butcher paper with crayons all over them, so Isaac and Grandpa Weech battled it out over tic-tac-toe between muffin bites. They said the funniest thing was after Isaac had given a long anti-girl spill, including having to have a secret soccer place at recess to avoid them, a little girl came by to say "hi" and gave Isaac a huge hug. She's one of the two that he has told me have big crushes on him. Yuck. Oh the woes of a second grader! And, by the way, she has since found the secret soccer place. :)
I had a wonderful visit with everyone, and then sent them on their way. I'm really glad they were able to come. Thank you soooo much!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little bit of November

My computer crashed in the middle of October, so I haven't been great about posting things. (Isn't it great to have an excuse for once instead of just not doing it?) Eric's laptop has gotten me through when I needed it, but I'm just a desktop kind of gal. My awesome, wonderful husband was able to fix my computer (I thought it was gone forever) - so now I'm back in business. Here's a little bit of our November so far....

Halloween was over, we had our first cold front - it was time to get festive! We made apple turkeys for FHE and the kids had a lot of fun. I was out of toothpicks, and found out that broken off skewers do leave slivers and are a bit of a health hazard - just FYI. My plans were to be doing Thanksgiving crafts all month long....hmmm.....don't our turkeys look great?!?

With Isaac in school, no Matthew (bf from TX) and most of the kids his age in Kindergarden, Carter has finally had to turn to Ashlyn as a playmate and friend. They actually get along remarkably well and I enjoy watching them play. Ashlyn loves following Carter around and feeling like she is in the action. They both insisted the other day that Carter read her a story and put her down for her nap. I was okay with it - until she forgot the nap part! But don't blame Carter, he did his duty, tucked her in and everything.

We have a wild, vast desert (so it seems to me) right outside our house, so I decided to take the kids exploring the other day. It's cold enough that the snakes shouldn't be out, right? My intentions were to head out towards the river, but the kids had different ideas. Who would have thought that the cemented wash behind our house could offer hours of entertainment? Less dirty (slightly), less cactus, more civilization in case I'm attacked by some fierce desert animal - I was game.

The best part was climbing up on the cement walls. Ashlyn wanted help at first, but after I refused (it didn't look safe for a 2 yr old - or a 7 yr old for that matter. I give them a little leash because they're kids, but I don't help them to their doom!) she figured out a way to join her brothers.

You intentionally can't see much in this next picture, but you sure could see anything you wanted in real life. Carter had some business to take care of so he "went off" to have some privacy. I'm standing at the road. Farther away doesn't always mean more discreet.

Nothing is more entertaining than dirt - and boxes - but for this afternoon, dirt.

We stayed out long enough that the kids were pretty exhausted when we got home. I went in to see what was taking Ashlyn so long in the restroom and this is what I found. Poor thing didn't even have the energy to pull her pants up. (They're just baby cheeks - you've all seen them before!)

Reid Park Zoo had a free day last Saturday. Who can pass that up? We went with our friends, the Jones's and had a great time.

I think Ashlyn's favorite was the tiger. Although she really like the peacocks and one of them really liked her. I was afraid for her safety at one point, but didn't think to take a picture of it.

Carter is getting better about picture taking, but it is still somewhat of a painful experience for him (as you can see by his face.) However, I wouldn't let him on the elephant unless he let me take one. You gotta do what you gotta do.

We didn't see any bats while we were there. Carter took care of that one!

How many kids can you fit in a tortoise shell?

Again, probably shouldn't have been on that wall, but look at those faces. Who could resist?

The whole gang. They did wonderful. I actually came out of there with very little stress. I love the zoo!

Natalie, Ashlyn, Chase, Carter, Amy, Isaac, Caleb, Parker

October was the busiest month Eric had had at work by far. I didn't think there were enough hours in the day to top it, but November has it beat. Being compounded onto October, November has been a bit rough, but we are surviving. Who ever thought being pregnant during intern year and in a new place was a good idea? It's little things like this that help make it bearable (for me at least!) -

I don't know how Eric has enough brain capacity left at the end of his long day to be thoughtful, but he always pulls through. I feel bad that between work and family, he never has any time for himself, but I do appreciate how much he loves us.

WOE is my garden!

Moving to my very own house, with my very own yard, meant my very own garden. A dream come true! The first thing I did when we signed on our house was decide where I was going to put it. The chosen spot was along the west wall where there was abundant sunshine in the morning and then protection from it during the heat of the day. It would be a job, but I knew I could do it and have time to put in a fall garden. Let the planning and work begin!

The rocks were a lot deeper than I realized. The boys and I spent hours...

....and hours...

....and hours moving rocks for what seemed like an eternity. Until one day, we finally had it cleared!

Then I sat on it for awhile until I could swallow the cost of dirt and pavers so that I could make it how I wanted it. Finally, the day came...

Whala!!! My first garden! (Unless you count the one I planted in the fourth grade in Mr. Schnebly's class).

Our troubles first started with our seeds. Apparently while I was waiting for money to grow on my lemon tree, the earth tilted. Who takes that into consideration? My perfect spot with abundant sunshine is now in the shade - 24 hours a day. It just wasn't enough sunlight for my poor little seeds. Not one came up. No radishes or lettuce for us this year.

However, we did not despair. We still had baby brocoli and cabbage plants. We loved watering them with visions of steamed veggies dancing in our heads. Until.....RABBITS! Yes, those cute little animals with fluffy tails have become my mortal enemies. They were sly. They started with a leaf here and a leaf there, and then whole plants began to disappear. Every day the boys would go out and count to see the damage. We tried to plug every access we could think of, and they would tease us - a night with nothing gone, but then they found a way and would strike again. Soon all of the brocoli was gone, but at least the cabbage was surviving. They left it alone for a really long time. And then this morning I went out and this is what I saw....

WOE is my garden!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween ended up being pretty easy this year. Carter wanted to be a ninja - costume we already had, Ashlyn was delighted to be a princess - worth every penny, so I only had to make Isaac's astronaut costume - helmet provided by a friend. MUCH better than trying to make four ninja turtle costumes last year!

Here are my munchkins right before the ward trick-or-treat. It was freezing outside, so no one really got to see their costumes, but they had a great time. Isaac was the exception. He refused to wear a coat. (Okay - so our freezing is high 40s, low 50s). Astronauts are not wimps!

Giving their finest poses...

Carter with his friends at his preschool party. Isaac also got to where his costume to school on Friday. We went to his costume parade at the end of the day, but I forgot my camera.

We spent Halloween in Gilbert. We started the day at Bailey's championship football game. It was a lot of fun to watch and get into the action. They played a team that had never been scored on this season. They didn't pull out the win, but they did score. Go Predators!

Cari decked us all out in Predator wear.

After the game, we had a family get-together to celebrate all of the October birthdays and carve pumpkins. 3 of the 7 of us October birthdays were able to make it, plus Madisen, whose birthday is in November, but just a few days away. We enjoyed good food and great company. Thanks Cody and Em for putting it together!

This picture is mainly for Eric's mom, since I couldn't find a recent one last time I tried to send her pictures. Look! He was able to make it to something! :)

Isaac carved his pumpkin by himself, with very little help. I was impressed with how well he did.
Eric and Carter busted out our other one. Ashlyn wouldn't have a thing to do with any of it.

Tah Dah!

All of the pumpkins on parade.

That evening we went trick-or-treating with Cari's kids and a couple of Kimberly's. Nothing is funner than spending time with cousins!

I think this is the first year that I've ever taken my kids real trick-or-treating. But, Ashlyn is the cutest and the smallest, so I only have action shots of her. They had a blast, I was done after about two houses...

...Ashlyn was, too. Eric took her back to Cari's why we tortured ourselves for another hour.

This was just too gross, with the slobber down the chin and everything, not to share.
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LOVED my birthday!

Normally I'm fine with my birthday coming and going with not a lot of mention being made about it, but this was such a good one that I can't let it go without a big "thank you" to those who made it so special.

My birthday was on a Sunday, and Eric had call on Saturday, so Cari, Garrett and their family came to stay the night so that someone would be there to make me breakfast in the morning. Saturday night, Cari and I were real party animals as we each laid on a couch, trying to stay awake and visit, just to enjoy the time. We were in bed by ten. Before the couches, I did whoop her in some card playing.

Sunday morning, Cari made me a delicious breakfast, then played a special birthday edition "How well do you know your Mom/Aunt" game with the kids - all in honor of me. :) Eric made it home just as they were getting ready to leave so that they could make it back home before church.

Eric has been working a lot of long hours and was really worried about me having a lame birthday, with him sleeping the day away - especially being post call. So he took only a half hour nap, at my insistance, then helped me get everyone ready for church. That in and of itself was a nice treat because he's usually gone on Sunday mornings. After church he made dinner, baked me a cake (quite possibly the first one since we've been married), and entertained the kids, all on very little sleep. I could tell he was exhausted, but he refused any help from me and ordered me away whenever I tried. He apologized all day and for the rest of the week for not doing more for me for my birthday. He didn't have time to have the kids make cards, etc, etc... What he doesn't understand is that his all day sacrifice meant more to me than anything else he could have done or given me. I knew the hours he'd been working. I knew how tired he was. I knew how much he'd have loved to crash on the couch, or in bed, for that matter. But instead, he forgot about himself, and did all that he could so that my day wasn't a bust. And he succeeded. Not only was it not a bust, but it was absolutely great.

Thanks to so many of you for your birthday wishes and to Cari and Fam for sacrificing to come and see me. I really appreciated it!

Side Note: Carter was asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I started responding with the usual "hugs and kisses, pictures, etc." when I decided that what I really wanted was for him to clean his room.

"No mom, what else do you want."

"I really want you to clean your room. That's what I want more than anything."

"Mom, not an option." Conversation closed.

Fall Break or bust...and Bust...and BUST again!

Fall Break. What a wonderful concept! I'd been looking forward to it since the day I discovered we had one. A whole week to do whatever we wanted when the weather was actually cool enough to enjoy doing it! I quickly began fantasizing about camping trips, hiking, etc., until Eric's schedule crushed that (but not without giving me fleeting hope first). So I had to change my plans, but that was okay as long as we did something and enjoyed doing it. My first stop was to be Flagstaff (I knew Stacie would have no trouble entertaining us) and then on to Thatcher for my 10 year high school reunion.

The first Saturday of Fall Break is when Carter got sick while our friends were visiting. My poor little boy was miserable. His main symptons were fever and headache, but it was enough to wipe him out. I was hopeful that it would pass quickly since we were scheduled to depart to Flag first thing Monday morning. Sunday I was calling Eric at the hospital - wondering what the few dots were that started appearing on Carter and by Monday afternoon Carter was covered from head to toe in a horrible rash (still with fever and headache). It was in his ears, in his mouth - everywhere. I took him to the Dr., and he said it was just a viral infection. Still - not one we wanted to spread. So much for Flagstaff.

Meanwhile, Eric thought it would be fun if he got the flu. Body aches, chills, cough, congestion, fever, the works. My poor little boy #2 was miserable. He still had go to work by 4:30 every morning, but they were somewhat compassionate and would send him home around noon every day. Why they wanted him there at all, I don't know.

Carter's fever finally broke on Tuesday, and although he was having a hard time eating because of the sores in his mouth from the rash, I called him illness free. I was determined to do something fun, so me and the kids left Eric in bed and set up the tent in the backyard for a little camping trip. This might be my new favorite way to camp! Everything I needed, conveniently a few steps away...including a potty! When Ashlyn was miserable and not sleeping well, instead of not sleeping myself all night long, I took her and plunked her into bed. When Isaac woke up in the middle of the night, needing to go potty, I said "good luck" and stayed cozy in my blankets. When I got a little cold in the early morning, I made sure the kids were snug, then went inside. You get the idea!

However, backyard camping wasn't enough for me, so Wednesday evening, everyone still fever free, we headed to Thatcher for an extra day of fun with Grandma and Grandpa. Thursday morning we woke up with dreams of apple picking at Angle's Orchard and roasting marshmallows over a fire up on Mt. Graham. By the time Grandma got back from the store with our supplies around lunch, Isaac was curled up on the couch, sound asleep - with a fever, while Ashlyn was moaning on the chair - with a fever. Scratch the mountains.

Stacie made it to town Thursday night, bringing with her, Kailan, my lifesaver, to watch my kids so that I could enjoy my reunion festivities. It was also Stacie's 20 year reunion and my Dad's 40 year reunion. Friday the kids were still sick, Carter was still having a hard time eating, and I guiltily left (guilt half from leaving the kids when they were sick and half from being happy to leave the kids while they were sick!) to the assembly and parade, then dinner with friends and the football game, starting to not feel well myself. I'm so glad I didn't miss the reunion. I had such a fun time catching up with old friends. Being out of state for the last several years, it had been a long time since I had seen most of them. After the game we had a get together to just visit, with the promise of more activities the next day. By Friday night, Isaac and Ashlyn were both fever free, so I was excited to take the kids to the family picnic Saturday afternoon so that everyone could meet my family. Not so. Ashlyn started a fever again and lo and behold, so did Carter. Oh, and Eric called to let me know that he had progressed to strep throat. I skipped it all together, tried to sleep off some of my own yuckiness, went to a good friend's baby shower and then enjoyed our catered dinner that night. By the time I got home Sunday, I felt like I had hit a brick wall. I climbed into bed (Eric was at work) and told Isaac he was in charge. He did pretty good and I was able to get some sleep. This saga is getting a little long, even for journal keeping. Ashlyn got considerable worse, we both eventually got better, and then I've spent the last week trying to recuperate mentally after two solid weeks of sickness. Phew! Glad we're done with that!

Fall Break was a little less than fantastic for Isaac (and for me, to be honest), and he was disappointed over all the missed activities, but don't worry - we'll try again in the Spring!

Isaac reading to Carter when he wasn't feeling good. What a good brother!

Poor baby girl! This was into our second week when she was on the "getting worse" side of things.

Fun with Friends

We had visitors! Our friends from Galveston days, Jason and Erica Yule and their son, Bryce were coming to Phoenix from Albuquerque for the Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals football game and detoured to Tucson for a day to hang out. We had a lot of fun seeing them and I think we were all exhausted by the end of the day! Eric and Jason left early to go shooting while Erica and I got the kids ready for the Lowe's workshop (can't miss it even if we do have visitors!). It was by far the easiest project we've done so far and would have only taken us a few minutes had we not built every single one of ours upside down. So after pulling apart four projects and putting them back together, we headed to the International Wildlife Museum to meet Eric and Jason.

The kids loved the museum and we scared them out of ever wanting to go to Africa by watching "The Deadly Dozen of Africa" at the end. Jason completely spoiled Ashlyn the whole time. She's the only child, besides his own, that he gives the time of day to. I think it started out as a challenge to make her like him, but I think he has kept it up to torture me! She REALLY enjoyed her time while they were here!

I had my camera with me the whole time we were together, but these were the only pictures I took. Sorry Erica and Bryce!

At the end of the movie at the museum, Carter started feeling crummy and was full blown sick by the time we made it to the car. We knew he wasn't faking when he turned down McDonald's playland to please go home. You'll get a full update on all of our kids' illnesses in the next post..

I took him home while the others went to McDonald's and then Erica and I crashed with Carter for the afternoon while Jason, Eric, Isaac, and Bryce went golfing. Eric hasn't had a chance to go for months, so it was really nice for him. Isaac was beaming when they got home because he beat Eric on a hole. He's ready to take Dad on any time now!

We finished the evening off with pizza, visiting, a little internet TV and a early bedtime. We were party animals!

Thanks so much for going out of your way to see us. We had a great time and can't wait to see you again!