Saturday, September 30

a baby bash!

last night we hosted a double baby shower in the backyard for cassy tenney and rebecca cope, who are both expecting little ones soon. in fact, cassy is due any day now, so we had fingers crossed that her little boy would hold out long enough so she could attend. 

chris pressure washed the back porch and then hung lights over the yard last weekend. we have lights wrapped around the porch year round because it makes me happy, so he didn't have to add too many to really make things sparkle and glow for the party! he did so much to help me prepare for the bash and it made me happy to know that I'm married to someone who helps me accomplish things (even little things like a baby shower) that are important to me. anyways, here are some pictures!

it was an open house with a dessert bar. 
we had dark chocolate cake w/ dark chocolate frosting, salted caramel rice crispy treats, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, berries and cream cups, frosted sugar cookies, oreo truffles, chocolate chip cookies, and an apple brown sugar bundt cake with caramel cream cheese frosting. that apple cake was a big hit, but it almost didn't make it on the table! in fact, it almost didn't make it out of the pan. everything else was baked and frozen over the last 2 weeks so that i didn't have to worry about the food so much the day of. but i had never made the apple bundt cake before and i didn't know how it would do frozen, so i made it the morning of. 

i did not want it to stick in the pan, but i also didn't want it to be covered in flour on the outside because thats just ugly to look at. so i sprayed the pan a little more than normal and hoped it would work. it didn't. so the lesson is, don't try to hide something ugly because it will only end up worse :)

after texting the professionals (my mom and sisters), i decided not to scrap it, but to try covering it with thick frosting and a caramel drizzle.... of course, i ran out of frosting in the back, but at that point i was over it and didn't care anymore, so on the table it went and everyone that tried it said they loved it. here is the finished cake, from a distance its not too bad ;)

the party from 7:30-8:30, and i was surprised when i looked at my watch and it was 10 with people still there chatting. i think everyone had a great time and I'm glad i could help rebecca and cassy have a fun girls night before their babies arrive.

my favorite part of the evening was the clean up at 10:30. maybe it was because the stress was over, but i think it was the combination of coldplay serenading us in the background while the kids ran as fast as their legs could carry them under a sky full of twinkling lights, laughing so hard with their heads thrown back. i hope they remember their late night forever because it was magical for me.

Thursday, September 21

a few happenings. ok, 7 to be exact.

a few days ago i was taking the garbage out and walked right into a spider web. it was gargantuan and it was so tough. like, it was a slingshot. i didn't even break it when i walked into, instead it just bounced me off of it. well, this morning i saw it before i walked into it and this time it's builder was curled up right there in the middle, just waking from a peaceful nights rest. it is truly beautiful... but still creepy at the same time... i loved it.

i believe this is called a Spotted Orbweaver.

after a few pictures it scampered (maybe bolted would be a better description?) up to the top of its web and into a bush, trying to hide. i took a couple more pictures and then yes, i killed it with insect spray.

hurricane irma.
last weekend was a long weekend. i know this sounds kinda silly, but i think waiting for a hurricane to hit others you love while you aren't there is even worse than going through the hurricane yourself. maybe not true, but I've done both and thats just how it seemed this time around. probably not the aftermath though.
its so much work.
and it smells.
and its hot. 
so, so hot.

rikki and andrew had bo and larissa's family come stay with them during the storm and alli and jacob's little family stayed with mom and dad at their work storage unit. everyone made it through the storm safe and sound.

everyone lost power and water for at least some time afterwards. slowly they received power one by one, with mom and dad finally getting it yesterday (a week and a half after irma). thank goodness for generators. our air conditioner stopped working last night, but by 10:30 this morning it was already fixed. it sure made me grateful that we haven't had to be without air conditioning for an extended period of time.

mom and dad had 8 inches of flooding in the house. 
we feel so blessed that that's all it was. 
this hurricane could have been devastating. the storm surge was predicted at being well over the top of the  house, let alone the wind damage before the surge would have occurred. the hurricane hit the naples/fort myers area full force and the eye of the storm passed right over them, meaning they got the brunt of the storm. by a miracle, the second half of the storm died down, therefore the storm surge wasn't half as bad as predicted.

we are grateful.

the picture above and the next few are of the day after the storm hit, after the waters had receded.


the next one is of rikki's street

and the next two are bo and larissa's backyard

alli and jacob didn't have any damage except for the roof of their shed was gone. 
prayers are answered!

hurricane clean up is beastly.

dad had already gutted the house of drywall a foot up, carpets, and cabinetry the day after thanks to bo, jacob, andrew, and rikki's help.

last sunday the stake didn't meet for church meetings but met in clean up crews. our ward helped some of bo and lari's neighbors and then went to san carlos park. they were on chainsaw duty.

lari, jacob, and bo are the first three on the left in this next picture

i love mormon helping hands!!!

we are so thankful that everyone did as well as they did. it's not easy living in florida without power or water! and we will be so happy once mom and dad's house is livable again! dad is hoping to have the renovations completed by thanksgiving.

the kids visited the dentist last week and no one had cavities... we are going on 4 years with no cavities wahoo!
owen liked watching ellie, charlie, and jack lined up getting their teeth cleaned and kept saying 
"me go, owen? pwease?" next time little buddy!

school has been in session for over 5 weeks and we all decided by week 2 that we wish we could just skip the morning routine. waking up early, making lunches, rushing out the door, the crazy school parking lot filled with frazzled drivers.... even owen wishes he could sleep in a little longer each morning

football is in full swing! we've been having practice 4 days a week and games start soon. and i say we because we all go to every practice for 1.5 hours and it feels like a family event every time.
jack is playing for the Forsgren Knights this season for the 5-6th graders. he is LOVING it because he's finally playing the position he's always wanted to play: linebacker. he's quite small still, but before tryouts chris said, "if you want to be a linebacker, YOU HAVE TO PLAY MAD". so jack puts his mean face on before each practice and has been pretty good and can even tackle our toughest, biggest kid, Reader (reader is his last name)... most of the time.

also, jack thinks its pretty cool that he gets to be a knight, just like chris was in high school. they even share the same colors. would've been cool if they could've shared the same number, but maybe next year.

i looked at this next picture and thought "who is that teenager? wait, thats my baby!!!"

the team is wearing pink socks this year in honor and remembrance of a teammate's mom from the younger group that died of breast cancer this past summer.

they had a jamboree on tuesday night and it was a scorcher! 
92 degrees but felt like 98. thank goodness the humidity was only at 47%.

its been an extremely warm september.


the kids LOVE going to practice and games because there are always other little brothers and sisters there to play with. they jump on the junior high's high jump mats and tackle dummies, run the track, and dig in the dirt. we all come home ready for bath time and bed!

charlie asked to take pictures during practice the other night just like this, standing on the back of my chair:

and of course owen had to take one too

the mia maids had a japanese cultural night for all the young women last night. it was super fun! we've got a pair of sisters that love all things japanese, so this was their idea. 

ellie came with me to set up. we made and hung these lanterns in the center.

the tables were low to the ground for everyone to kneel at.

we did a trivia game about the culture, complete with a pokemon t-shirt for the prize (from the little boys section at walmart).

then katie taught the girls how to make onigiri (japanese rice balls, that aren't actually balls at all but rounded triangles).

they filled them with a tuna fish, mayonnaise, and soy sauce mixture and then wrapped some seaweed on the bottom. definitely not something i would ever put in my mouth, but the girls kept going back for more!

then they practiced their chopstick skills and ate teriyaki chicken, broccoli, and sticky rice while listening to some japanese music, both traditional and some current pop music. we topped it all off with crispy rice cakes (that we americanized with a smear of nutella on top!), poki sticks, rice candies, and brownies.

 it was a really great night and i am thankful that i get to work with the girls at church. i was the beehive advisor for about a year, then they put me in nursery for a year, and now I'm back in young womens with the mia maids. that means that I'm back with the girls that were once my beehives. i really love them. and because our ward just split, we don't have very many active laurels, so they have joined the mia maids for activities on wednesdays and lessons on sundays. we've had several really great lessons, thanks to the girls participation, and the spirit has taught us all. it s a good feeling.

ellie and jack have started taking piano lessons on thursdays. there is a new sister in our ward (the workman family just moved from florida!) and she teaches violin, piano, and voice lessons from her home. they have only been going this month so far, but they are really liking it! the other day i heard jack practicing and then he asked ellie to come sing the song while he practiced... thats not the sort of request that has ever happened in our home before. it was a big deal. i hope that this not only helps them love music and playing piano, but also helps them develop a better relationship.

Wednesday, September 6

labor day weekend 2017

we had a great labor day weekend!

friday evening we went to our friends, the westcott's, to ride there 4 wheelers!

shortly after the above photo, chuck crashed. so grateful he was wearing a helmet and only walked away with a bruised ego. he didn't realize he needed to let off the gas while turning and flipped up on two wheels. lesson learned.

 ellie came home from school with a headache. on saturday ellie had a fever. on saturday night she told us that a couple kids in class were out with step throat. her throat didn't really hurt, but chris checked anyways. sure enough, white patches and swollen tonsils. so off to the walk in clinic we went!

sure enough, she had strep.
after a long wait at the only pharmacy open late on a saturday night, we got her started on some meds. by sunday she felt loads better! so we decided to make monday a fun day and go on a hike!

we drove up to beautiful devil's den to hike and explore.

it was supposed to be a 1.5 mile trail. we took a wrong turn towards the end because we got sidetracked watching some puppies swimming and frolicking in the river, so we added maybe a half mile on there at the end. there was an elevation increase of about 100 ft, but the kids did awesome! especially little o! he walked the whole thing and even insisted on wearing his backpack with snacks the entire time.

charlie lead the way for most the hike and kept saying "i just love it so much out here!" and when we finished, he was the only kid that asked if we could hit up another trail. i think it had something to do with his tank top ;)

the pictures don't quite do the hike justice. 
there were many cliff edges and caves and crevasses that let out cold air from the caves beneath. 
it was quite stunning.

we were also in the shade most of the time, so it wasn't excruciatingly hot.

we came home and grilled burgers. it was a great day!

and just because he's so cute, here are two pictures i took of owen on our morning walk yesterday:

he's growing up.
he'll be 3 in a couple months. 
he walks the whole 2 miles now, which includes some steep hills. we talk the whole time and he is always discovering little things that my old person eyes don't notice. i take the stroller along, just in case his little legs get tired from running and walking, but usually only puppy needs a turn sitting in it :)