Elisabeth and Charles had a piano recital last week. This was Charles first piano recital! They both did very well.
Their teacher, Cheryl Reeder(pictured below), has 25 students and so she held two separate recitals to keep them around an hour in length. Cheryl graduated with a bachelors in music with an emphasis on teaching private lessons and you can tell. She's an awesome teacher and we're very grateful that our kids get to learn from her.
Charles played "Home on the Range" and Elisabeth played "Fur Elise". Scott picked up a rose for Elisabeth and a chocolate orange for Charles as an after-recital-gift. By the way, the recital was at Cheryl's home, and yes, she has two grand piano's in her front room! Pretty cool!
Annabelle noticed that when a peer lost a tooth at school they would go to the nurses office and would come back with a cool little treasure chest that held their lost tooth. So when Annabelle's second tooth became loose over a week ago, she decided that she would only wiggle it at school and never at home in hopes of losing it at school and getting one of those cute treasure chests. A week later, Thursday night, she bumped it at home and it was just hanging by a thread. She said, "I'm not opening my mouth until tomorrow." But the next morning, Friday, about 5 minutes before we took off for school, it came out! She was not happy, but she kept her cool (ie didn't do her high-pitched whining-crying thing or stomp her foot) and Elisabeth told her to just bring it to her teacher first thing and see if she would let her go to the nurse and get a treasure chest anyway. Annabelle did so and was given this cute little treasure chest to hold her tooth :).
And a random picture of Jane and Nora helping me make whole wheat bread...we make 6 loaves at a time about every 7-10 days. These girls are good little helpers who love to help measure, dump and turn my Bosch on and off. Nora is just double checking the recipe to make sure we got everything right :).
One more random picture: Annabelle, Jane and Nora in the tub! They love bath time (which doesn't happen often enough for them...2-3 times a week usually, unless they get really dirty)!
I wouldn't call myself a runner. I'm not really fast enough to be considered a runner. I jog, and probably only once a week, the other days I do exercise videos, circuit training or the elliptical machine. That being said, I think it would be really cool to be fast. Maybe someday I will be if I can get myself to work at it. These ladies are my friends/neighbors/fellow-church-goers and we decided to do a race together so we signed up for the Pumpkin Pie 10k.
I jogged my first 6 miler two weeks ago and did it once more before the race and I called that good enough for my training because that's all I could do with my busy schedule.
The race was harder than my runs, probably because I pushed myself a little more and because my nose started running a lot after mile one and because I didn't wear sunglasses and it was really sunny during that one hour jog; by the last couple of miles I had a headache, I'm not sure if it was the sun or the sinus stuff, but probably a combination. Either way I finished, I didn't walk at all (which was one of my goals) and I finished at 63 minutes though my watch read 61 so whatever that means :). Maybe it means I need a new watch :). I would like to get one of those fancy ones that tells you how fast you're going and beeps at you when you need to pick up the pace.
They gave all the runners a slice of pumpkin pie at the end but I don't like pumpkin pie, I actually don't really like any pie besides pecan, so I gave mine to one of the husbands that came along :).
Overall the race went well, about how I expected it to go, minus the sinus headache stuff :). Thanks ladies!
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, for Family Home Evening last week we read an article in the Friend Magazine on being grateful and then we made a Gratitude Tree (also an idea from the Friend). I made the tree by cutting up one paper grocery bag, and then we cut out some leaf shapes from colored construction paper. Each day since that family home evening last week, we each write down one thing we are grateful for and tape it on the tree.
We have SO much to be grateful for, it is not a hard thing to fill up this tree. Things like Jesus, electricity, homes, clothes, food, family, living prophet, friends, earth, my Blendtec and Costco :). I took this picture after a recent run to Costco, mostly because I want to remember how much I used to have to buy each week for our family, I know it won't always be this way and it's fun to look back and remember. The picture doesn't make it look like all that much, probably because it's stacked up in a pile. Maybe I should have waited until I brought it all in the house and it was sitting on my counter and table. I really do love that store. For a big family like ours, it's a life saver because it means I don't have to grab a million of this or that in order for us to have what we need. Instead I go once a week picking up various bulk items and we're pretty much good until the next week.
And sort of off topic, but also something we're grateful for is our Baking Buddies group. There are 6 girls from our church group around Elisabeth's age who get together once a month at one of the mom's homes and we teach them how to bake something. This month was my turn and we made granola bars. It was fun to show them wheat and how to grind it :).
The stage of life we're in right now is very full and busy. And that's as it should be, for now. There are times and seasons in life. For me, this season is the time of raising children, of giving my all to my little family. In every stage and season, I hope that I may always keep my focus on what's truly important and that's living in a way that I can one day return to my father in heaven and be with my family forever.
A good way to determine what your focus is or where your priorities are is to take a look at how you spend your time, free or scheduled, and you'll know. We are all given the same amount of time. We all have 24 hours in a day. Seven days in a week. For me, during this season, I do a lot of things with these cute little kiddos and with my sweet hubby. Spending time with my hubby will be a priority all the days of my life and into eternity! Love that man!
Here are some random pictures of recent moments we've captured around the house.
This next one is not a moment, but a glimpse into our lives: the kids each have their own book of Mormon that they keep in their scripture bags in their rooms for when they study at night and for church on Sunday. We also have copies for each of us that we keep on the bookshelf in our living room for when we do family scripture study at night. I have a book of Mormon that was given to me in high school from my young women leader with my picture on it and a note that says, "this is to remain by the bedside of Elisa". The kids have been fighting taking turns with that set of "mommy" scriptures, is what they call them, every night for months and so I decided it was time to put their pictures on their own scriptures with their names printed on them as well in the hopes of getting rid of the quarreling. It worked. They don't fight over the mommy scriptures anymore. Instead I'll hear Charles (just doing his brotherly duty :)) say something like, "I call the Annabelle scriptures!" which upsets her and so what we've got are different quarrels :). Well, you can't have everything I suppose :).
Here are the kids showing us their muscles. Jane is hilarious!
A picture of our family drawn by Annabelle.
This is Jane's dancing/gymnastics attire. A creation all of her own.
Nora is a climber. Our only other major climber was Charles. She can get into almost anything now. She just grabs a stool or pushes a chair over to wherever she wants to go. And she's SO small, I don't even know how she's strong enough to push a chair! People think it looks so funny/cute to see her walking around since she's so little and they're always surprised to find out she's 18 months. She's a cute little stinker! And did I mention she loves to stick things down her shirt/onsie? Here she is hiding some pistachios.
Ta-da! Can't see them anymore!
At first I thought this was cute, her pulling herself on the oven, peering up trying to see what I had just made. But then she did it while I was cooking on the stove and it suddenly became dangerous.
Nora likes to climb up on the table to see if anyone has left food behind. And she's in luck! She found half a banana!
No such luck this time around.
Another favorite climbing spot is on top of the blanket chest in our family room which sits right below a counter spot in the kitchen. She can usually find cool electronic devices there like ipods, iphones and laptops....we thought it was a safe spot to keep things, way up on the higher counter, and we got into the habit of always setting our things there, and we're still trying to un-train ourselves from doing that now that she has full and easy access.
With two older siblings who play piano for a total of at least an hour each day, it's only natural that the younger siblings want to join in the fun. We often find Nora up on the piano, playing the keys with one finger, one note at a time and turning pages on sheet music that was not put away.
While standing on the table, Nora spotted a cup of water on the counter that she wanted. She pushed a chair over to the garbage can, climbed on top of the chair, on top of the garbage can and then onto the counter.
Looks like we better not set our garbage bags outside our back door, for any amount of time. I'm thinking squirrels got to it since I saw them around eating stuff out of them the next morning, but could a squirrel drag a bag across the patio? Maybe with it's teeth if it really wanted something? I'm not sure.
Our neighbor Becky throws this huge family-friendly Halloween party each year and invited our family. It was the Saturday before Halloween. She is so organized! The party was huge, around 40 kids and their parents, at her house! We had lots of amazing appetizers(and quite a few healthy-ish choices) and a taco bar. Different families brought different things to contribute; I brought Mexican brown rice and I brought a Halloween cake. The cake is all buttercream. I free-handed the cakes, though I looked at a picture of bats and spiders and practiced making them on paper first because I've learned that if it's ugly on paper, it's most likely going to be ugly on the cake :). I used a ruler on the top of the spider cake to make three straight lines and then connected them to look like spiderwebs.
I let the kids decorate the top of the cake that I cut off; and that's our neighbor Kylie helping out.
Gross! Licking the black frosting out of my decorating bag!
Here are a few pictures I took during the party. Here is Annabelle, our beautiful bride.
I love this bun I did on Annabelle. I put her hair in a ponytail, divided the hair into four pieces (upper, lower, right side and left side) and then rolled each piece into the ponytail and secured the hair with bobbypins.
Annabelle and Kylie putting their hands in this squishy stuff (Orbeez, I think they're called)
Nora just hanging out in the back yard. They did a candy toss too and everyone brought a bag of candy to throw out into the yard.
Here is Elisabeth as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...Desi (neighbor and good friend)did a beautiful job on the dress! She ended up not using the night gown we tried to make the dress from because the material wasn't quite right and the print wasn't exactly a Dorothy-look-alike so she used this checkered material below and started from scratch, the little gem! Seriously a fantastic job and something I would be completely incapable of doing. Thanks Des!
Halloween day the kids had parties in their classes and I was able to attend all three. For Annabelle's kindergarten party I brought Jane and Nora along with me. When I went to help in Charles and Elisabeth's party I left them with our friend Ann. Thanks Ann! Here is Jane the fairy!
That night I took Charles, Annabelle and Jane trick-or-treating. Elisabeth wanted to stay home and hand out candy. The kids lasted a good hour before I texted Scott and asked him to come get Jane and Annabelle, both of which wanted me to hold them. Then Charles and I kept going for another half hour.
When we got home the kids went through all their candy, picked out a few favorites (while eating a few), put those in a bag and then Scott took the rest to work. He had a ton to share...let's hope he really does share! :)
Friday night, the day after Halloween, we had our church Halloween Carnival. We changed up the costumes a little for that night because Elisabeth wanted us to enter in the family themed costume contest. So we all dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz. I thought the axe I made for Charles was pretty creative and it turned out well. I made it out of a paper towel roll, part of a milk carton box from Costco, tin foil and tape. Here are our characters: Dorothy- Elisabeth Tin Man- Charles Lion- Nora Scarecrow- Me (elisa) Glinda the good witch- Annabelle Witch of the West- Jane (we did not mention the word "wicked" to Jane because she probably wouldn't have agreed to be her if we had) Oz- Scott
Elisabeth invited a friend from school, Tammy. Tammy and Elisabeth have a lot in common: they're both sweet, little Christian girls (tammy is catholic and her family is from Vietnam), and they both are in the same level of piano. Before the carnival started Elisabeth and Tammy were jamming out on the piano together! :)
We wanted to cover our funnel in tin foil for Charles' hat which would have been awesome, but it's still packed up somewhere in a box and after searching through several boxes I ran out of time and just quickly wrapped some tinfoil around his head and secured it with a little tape :). It looked....interesting :).
We surprisingly won the contest! I didn't think we would because besides Elisabeth, Charles and Nora, the rest of our costumes were kind of a stretch with a bunch of random stuff we threw together, and there were some amazing costumes there and lots of people(around 300, though not everyone entered the costume contest). Perhaps we won out of sheer numbers; I mean having 7 characters from one story is pretty cool, even if half of our costumes are unrecognizable unless we're all together.
Scott made a yummy lasagna for the carnival dinner and I made cupcakes for the cake walk. The winner of the lasagna contest makes hers with cream cheese, so I of course had to try out a cream cheese lasagna this weekend since I didn't get to try hers. I just mixed 1 c ricotta with 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1/4 c sour cream and 2 eggs, then I used red sauce and mozzarella cheese for the other layers. It was really good and everyone in the family ate a good amount which, knowing our family and the differences in tastes, is not common.
Scott and I ran one of the carnival games: a pumpkin bean bag toss. Some of the other games were bobbing for apples, donut on a string, fishing pond, cake walk, ring toss, toilet paper bowling and more.
Here is Nora, our cute little lioness!
Annabelle lost her tooth some time during the night and didn't even notice until we were about to leave the carnival! She had no idea where it went or when it fell out that night so we didn't even try to look for it but the tooth fairy still made a visit that night (or perhaps it was early the next morning when the tooth fairy woke up and remembered....who knows!?). And Annabelle of course had to have face paint on her face even though Glinda the good witch does not, because Jane wore face paint the day before when she was dressed up as a fairy. But it's all good!