Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Other November Happenings

Here are some other reasons November was fun:

Green Peppers:  We apparently can grow them.

As one of our Thanksgiving activities, the kids made TP-Handprint Turkeys.  They turned out so cute and I've now stored them with our Thanksgiving decorations.

Jared ALWAYS loves to help.  We redecorated our powder room and Jared decided he wanted to help.  Quickly, he ran upstairs.  We asked why he was leaving, if he wanted to help.  His response: "I need to get my tools."

Daddy & Son both passed out half-way through our movie yesterday.

The kiddos, all ready for Thanksgiving festivities.

We had Thanksgiving at a friend's house, this year.  In preparing for the meal, we heard they had never experience the wonder of deep-fried turkey.  So, they invited us over and we hijacked the turkey.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it... especially Gweg.

Annabelle and Alex especially enjoyed making faces on the door.

and sitting together.

This is actually the last picture our camera took.  Soon after, Annabelle tossed it onto the ground, while it was still on which busted the lenses.  So right now, this may be the last good-quality picture until Christmas comes. 

I guess a new camera was just added to our Christmas lists.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Turkey: 2011

Our turkey tradition continues, however, there were two things fairly significant this year:
  1. Tom the Turkey finally has a home. No more falling on his turkey face while trying to figure out how to get him to stay still.
  2. Everyone in the family was able to participate & give answers. It made for some pretty funny answers.
I guess #2 is a little more significant. Annabelle was adorable the first day. When it came time to ask what she was grateful for, her eyes kind of glazed over as to say, 'why are you using that big word we use in prayers?' So, we changed our tactic a little and asked, 'Bellie, what makes you happy?' Without missing a beat, she said, 'Jared.' Something more me to remember when they get into little scuffles... they love each other.

Without further ado, here's this list:

GWEG: cupcakes, bedtime, projects, my kiddos, my Job*, advil, Amber, 7-up, new toys, books, *wink, wink* (he is male, after all), choices, gasoline (spoken like a true engineer), kisses, Oba & Jiji, special treats, telephones, mud****, good examples, scriptures, my mission, the temple, Jesus Christ
AMBO: baseball, skin, strollers, Hot Chocolate, Daddy's Job, ibuprofen, silly kiddos, Greg, my parents, prayer, Hobby Lobby, family & friends, music, scriptures, discounts, education, movies, subway sandwiches & thoughtful friends****, pianos, skype, internet, happy memories, Jesus Christ
JARED: food (remind me NOT to use food as a reward---yipes), pictures, Daddy, neighbors (specifically Alex & Caleb), Daddy's job, people, cars, clocks, medicine, hospitals**, restaurants (yipes, another food one), parties, balloons, Mema & Deda, books, lions, cheese, lights, hair, juice, lemonade, Thanksgiving, Jesus
ANNABELLE: Jared, pants, Oba & Jiji, Daddy, Daddy's job, hands, plates, kitchen, brushing teeth, birthdays, Princess Belle, Minnie & Mickey**, see-saws, noses, drinks, my mouth, new dollies, Bergens****, poops (I shake my head at this one), play time, Mommy, slides, Jesus

*We all put Daddy's job on the day we went to {Six Flags}.
**{Croup hospital visit} :(
***Day of {Birthday party}
****Day of the {Warrior Dash}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

What is the {Warrior Dash}, you ask?  Only one of the craziest races you'll EVER do!  I don't even know where to begin with this bad boy... other than IT. WAS. AWESOME.  Besides me almost passing out... but that's skipping ahead...

We got into this through two other couples.  My friend, Michelle, mentioned how she was thinking about doing the race and she talked to Kim and then they started talking to me.  They also mentioned they were trying to get their husbands in on it, as well, so it ended up being 3 couples and 2 more lady friends.  Seriously, the craziest but best group date EVER.
The group minus one (we made our shirts)


Our morning started off nuts.  We figured the Warrior Atmosphere isn't the best for small tykes, so we lined up one of the best women I know (and her fantastic family) to spend the day with Jared & Annabelle.  They were so excited to spend a day with them and didn't notice when we left.  However, getting everyone ready to leave at the right hour in the morning proved to be challenging.  Greg & I got everything for the kids, but failed to get everything for us... more on that later.  We carpooled with one of the other couples and spent the next couple hours pumping each other up for the race.


Climbing over cars
We figured right with the kiddos, the place was a little to crazy to keep kiddos occupied for a certain amount of time.  The race took place in the heart of Texas Hill-country on a fantastic piece of land full of hills and open valleys to turn into mud pits. 

Actual Race & Obstacles
Basically, the race is a 5K with 12 or so obstacles in the way.  Obstacles included lots of mud pits, walls/cars/tires to climb over, army crawling under logs and barbed wire, fireman's pole, 20 ft tall cargo net, and one last large mud pit you HAD to swim through because of the encouragment of barbed wire above your head.  I KILLED the obstacles, but not the running--- never have been a runner. 

Greg & Josh at the top
Luckily, one of our friends brought a waterproof camera with them, so we were able to take pictures and video along the race.  The three couples did the race together, which is why it turned out to be an awesome group date.  Kim put together a highlight reel, the longer versions are on my youtube page, if you really want to view them, I can send a link.  My favorite is Greg proclaiming at the end, "I hate mud."  Silly Gweg, the race was mostly about MUD!

Amber, Kim, & Josh over the Cargo Wall
I need lunch?
So, in our rush out the door, Greg & I completely forgot to pack a lunch for us.  I wanted to get a turkey leg there for after the race, but I wasn't thinking about snacking before.  I only thought about it when I noticed our friends had packed pre-race snacks for them, but then brushed it aside, thinking I'd be okay.  Big mistake.

After a couple of obstacles and through our first mud pit, I started getting light-headed.  To the point where I had to put my head between my legs because I was about to pass-out.  We all knew I needed food, but where to find it in the middle of the race?  Luckily, Josh was able to find a volunteer who just happened to have his newly-acquired lunch, a Subway sandwich.  Josh convinced him of my dire condition and I happily refueled my body while walking to the next obstacles.  I'm so grateful for wonderful friends.  I felt so embarrassed about the whole situation.  I should have known better; I consider myself an 'athletic' person and I was the one to almost pass out.  However, my great friends encouraged me, didn't make fun of me, and swore up-and-down it could have been any of us.  After my lunch break, we were all good to go, and finished the race.


Oh, the mud
It took us 1 hr 18 minutes to finish at our leisurely pace WITH my 'almost-passing-out' incident.  One of women who came with us finished in under 30 minutes, so cool!  Our whole group finished every obstacle, even the most challenging ones.  We all want to do it again next year.  Personally, I want to see the kind of time I can get without the 'break' in the middle.

Because of the last pit, we were all COVERED in mud.  It was the strangest sensation.  So we had to mosy over to the water-tanker they provided for us to hose off.  Can you tell by my expression that the water is COLD?

Our whole group of WARRIORS!

{THIS} is next year's race.  We all really want to do it again... however, it is on Annabelle's birthday... what a way to celebrate our daughter turning three, right?

Here's the rest of the pictures:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oba & Jiji Fun

We had a lot of fun while Oba & Jiji visited for Annabelle's birthday.  They were able to stay for a whole week.  We didn't 'do' much because we were finally getting much needed rain; we figured the folks brought it with them from Washington.  The first night ended up being the Jared's croup, followed by Belle's birthday, which was low-key because of the croup.

Jared started mending pretty fast, so the day after Bellie's birthday (Friday), we went to the zoo.  Classic zoo visit; we go so frequently, the kids can give us tours.  A bonus about this time was not having to lug a stroller around (since we had 4 adults for 2 kids) it was great.  We went to the Butterfly house, Jared is always wary of little animals, so he was very cautious.  Annabelle was more interested, but the butterflies were smart enough to stay away from her.

(Saturday) was party day!  Since our lovely blue car is only so big, whenever we have visitors, we need to pull the third-row seat up.  The kids fought over who would go in the back, so they took turns.  Annabelle really loved sitting back there with Jiji.

Monday, we gave into Jiji's pleadings/bribes/suggestions and drove up to the best barbeque ever... Salt Lick.  Mmmm.... just thinking about Salt Lick is making my mouth water...  Jared & Belle ate the most we've ever seen them eat there; we stopped at a Target on the way home to grab a couple necessities with Belle's birthday money--- a new Mickey DVD for the ride home.  What did we do for entertainment? :)

Tuesday was the day they left.  We had a whole morning to have fun, so we went hat hunting for Jiji.  He really needed a new Cardinals hat--- apparently Seattle doesn't sell anything Cards--- lame!  So, in South Texas, we found one!  After our hat hunt, we met Greg for lunch (mmm... Panera) and then took on another hunt.... a DUCK HUNT.

We heard about an awesome duck park near Greg's work, so we went looking for & found it.  We knew we found it when we came across the DUCK CROSSING sign.  Seriously, a duck park.  It was slightly muddy from all the rain and there were TONS OF DUCKS.  We staked out a table and started feeding our little crowd of ducks. 

Another family was there and had most of the ducks surrounding them, however, when their food ran out, the ducks came our way.  It was nice and quiet, until the small ducks migrated over--- man, do they chirp.  They weren't shy either... unless a certain new two-year-old started chasing them.  Jared, again, wasn't too sure of the small animals and stayed in a corner half protected by Jiji until one of the duck bit him---it was an accident, Jared waited too long with one piece of bread.  I actually got it on video (excuse the ground-shot):

After that incident, Jared felt much safer on top of the table, tossing the crumbs out.  Annabelle enjoyed walking around, chased a big duck or two, until the large crowd of small ducks showed up.  Then, she hopped on the table with Jared.  The kids will not stop talking about the 'Duck Park.'  We have scrap bread saved in the garage fridge for when we take Daddy there.

After the duck-tastic fun, we were off to the airport to send Oba & Jiji home.  It was hard to say by because the next time we'll probably see them will be when Park gets nine months.  Hopefully, that will change and we can go to Meg's graduation in April... I guess we'll wait and see and hope.  However, now is the time to get ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas time and our next visitors... Mema & Deda!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meeska Mooska Birthday PARTY

Oh man--- birthday party day!  What a day!

Because of Jared's croup incident, we didn't get to finish everything for the party in the days leading up to it.  Instead the four of us, spent the night before & the morning of getting everything ready.  Mom & I staying up too late finishing Mouse Ears.

From what I can tell, the party was a success!  We still had some brave friends show up, disregarding the croup scare (honestly, most of the kids were already exposed at nursery).  I managed to take one picture, but Kim took more & my Mom took a bunch of videos for my siblings, so at least there's that.  Here are some highlights, with necessary pics & videos:

The Room & Food Spread

The folks and I decorated the night before Belle's actual birthday, so we wouldn't have to do it before the party.  When the kids came in the house, they were greeted with their own set of Mickey Ears.  Some wore the ears, others didn't, but they turned out fantastic (props to Oba because she made most of them).
Annabelle-Minnie & Jared-Mickey

The food was simple.  I overcomplicated Jared's party food last year, so I simplified & asked for reinforcements this year.  My awesome-est (it's a word) friend, Kim, made the main food for the adults, really yummy wraps.  For the kids, we had a make-your-own sandwich bar; either PB or cold cuts (the bread was cut into the shape of Mickey Ears).  We also had things like Goofy's Goldfish, Chip & Dale's Fruit (yellow oranges--- yikes), and Daisy's Secret Spy String Cheese!  BIG HIT!  The kids weren't getting food they'd never had before & it was simple!  Win win!

For the birthday desert, we made Mickey Cupcakes (it was team effort with Greg & I--- mostly Greg).  They turned out great; everyone loved them & they weren't overly sweet.

The Games & Presents
We had three games.

First was color-your-own bow tie or hair bow at Minnie's bow-tique.  This wasn't a big hit, however, Jared made one & pinned it to his shirt the rest of the party.  Success enough for me.

Next- I made a bean-bag toss game.  I needed something to block the kids from going upstairs into the playroom & other places, so I created a game barrier (Jared's was Mater-fishing).  This was a HUGE hit.  I guess kids like to throw things! ;)

The characters & point values are removable, so we can use it for future parties.  We just need to figure out how to keep the game from falling after being hit by a bean bag.

Annabelle's friends were very kind & brought her all kinds of fun things.  She really liked the mini-princesses (everyone was shocked she knew who they were) & her new sparkly pink princess shoes.  Seriously, for both her birthdays she's LOVED her new shoes.

After presents, we had lunch & cupcakes.  Annabelle thought it would be fun to feed the cupcake frosting to her new baby doll from Gramma.

Then it was PINATA time.  I found an awesome Minnie Mouse pull-string pinata.  Instead of hitting (and having the potential to harm others) the pinata, it had multiple strings on the bottom and ONE string opened the loot.  Here's the video (the camera's battery died just before the last string was pulled):

This felt so much easier than Jared's 2nd birthday party.  Maybe it's the difference between boys & girls, but I think I (and we) felt more comfortable this time & just let more things roll off.  The kids (and big kids had a great time) so much so that our kids had fantastic naps.  

Feeding her Baby frosting
blowing out the candles
which string is the right string?
Opening presents (& gold-digging)
Bean-Bag Toss
 After their naps, they were able to go to dinner with 3 or their grandparents (Gramma came down for the party too).  After dinner, we all passed out at home and I secretly started thinking about Jared's party in May... he's already requested Star Wars.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Croup-y Birthday

The Decorations!
Happy Birthday, Bellie! I can't believe you're TWO! Sorry we spent the day lounging around, it's because Daddy & I had to take care of your poor sick brother. Hopefully, we'll make it up to you with a crazy fun Minnie Mouse party on Saturday--- maybe we can even go to the Zoo tomorrow...

This all started last weekend; one of the kids in nursery got Croup. His parents (fantastic people, one of them is a doctor) didn't know he had it until Sunday night AFTER church. So, they went to church like normal; later that night, they were in the hospital. So, a massive email was sent to all of the nursery parents--- starting my croup vigil. I knew how bad Jared gets it, so I just cautiously watched him, waiting for the signs to show up (keeping Annabelle in the corner of my eye because she had never gone through it before). Up until last night, both kids were okay.

My folks came in town last night for the birthday celebrations. We all enjoyed the night, got the kids in bed, chatted, wrapped presents. At this point, Greg went to bed so he could go to work in the morning. Dad, Mom & I stayed up & decorated the living room like crazy. It looked FANTASTIC! We were up until 1ish. We thought of maybe taking the kids to the zoo, parks, or something today, to do something special on Bellie's actual birthday. In the middle of the night, our plans changed.

Three Monkeys watching a show
Jared woke up violently around 3 with a croup cough & stridor breathing. Just like the time when Bellie was a baby, he'd cough, cry, try to breathe & repeat. What made it 'easier' this time is the communication barrier was gone. Jared was able to tell us where he hurt (when he could get words in) and we were able to somewhat calm him down by explaining to him how calming down would help. The poor kid couldn't get any air in. We started our croup routine.

Eventually we calmed him down enough to get some medicine. He & Greg fell asleep on the couch, while I stayed in the recliner right next to them. Around 5, he woke up again because of another fit. This one was bad; so bad his lips started turning blue. It was then when we got the boys ready to go to the hospital.

Helping Oba mix
Bellie & the folks woke up to a quiet house. They heard him wake up the first time, but didn't realize Greg took him to the hospital. Annabelle asked for Jared & I told her that he & Daddy would be home as soon as they could be since Jared got sick. She was really concerned. As were we all. Just like last time, the hospital gave Jared shots & treatments & as soon as his oxygen levels went up, he was able to go home.  They came home in time for Jared to help Oba & I in making Annabelle's cake (he was really looking forward to it).

After their naps, Annabelle opened some presents & we decided Jared was stable enough (and sounded way better) that we could go to one special place for Annabelle's birthday--- Chuy's! Jared ate his weight in chips (which was fine with me, I just wanted him to eat) & Bellie brought one of her presents a 'Punzel' (Rapunzel) doll to play with.  If Jared's good enough tomorrow, we might venture out to the Zoo.  I hope so.

When we got home, Annabelle blew out her candles on a simple, homemade birthday cake (it did have Minnie & Mickey on it):

Since Jared's croup happened, I'm not sure what to do about the party on Saturday. Almost everything is prepped; I think I'm going to call all the Moms tomorrow & tell them what happened with Jared & give them another choice--- but we'll still do a party. Even if it's just family, Annabelle will be happy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Six Flags Picnic

Greg's company-wide picnic this year was at Six Flags. The company is so large, they are able to rent the WHOLE park out so it's just the people coming to company picnic at the park. All we had to do is pay a minnium fee per person, which included: entrance that day, lunch & a complementary ticket for the holiday celebrations next month.

All four of us had a great time, however, we definitely noticed a difference between Six Flags & our trips to Disneyland & Disneyworld this year. It just makes us want to go back to Disney even more.

The highlights:
  • Meeting the Characters:On the way in, we saw Bugs & Daffy Duck. We decided to stop & take a picture with them. Jared was excited to meet them, but a little cautious. Annabelle would NOT let go of me. EVER. I tried to get her to high five Daffy, but she visually plucked his feather right then. Later, Taz was out. I tried to convince Greg the kids would want to meet Taz too; he called me out and said I was the one who really wanted a picture with Taz... yeah... so...
  • Kiddie Land: Our first stop was the Kiddie area of the park. Jared saw the Teacups & made a beeline. These teacups were really sad; they were 1/5th the size of Disney, so it was only one parent per kid. I took Belle because I remembered Greg's version of teacups. Sure enough, half way through the ride, I glance over at Jared & Greg and their teacup is going at the speed of sound; my thought at that moment was, "I sure hope they hold together." After the teacups, we saw the Airplanes; the Six Flags version of Dumbo. This was a BIG hit. Both kids LOVED going up & down and I got a video.
  • Jared's first roller coaster: In the kiddie park, they had a kiddie roller coaster. Just a circle track with a couple of small hills; it reminded me of Puff the Magic Dragon at Lagoon. Annabelle was too small to go on it (barely) so I took Jared for special fun time. We sat in the first car & had a BLAST. Jared had his arms on the safety harness & my hands the whole time--- it was cute. Afterwards he said, "let's do that again." We told him, if he wanted to we could ride it again later.
  • Taz Tornado: This was like a mini-swings ride & Annabelle was big enough for this ride. The boys sat together & Bellie & I sat together. Half-way through the ride, Annabelle kept telling me she was 'all-done'; it was interesting trying to explain to a two-year-old how we can't get off the ride in the middle of it. After we got off, she said 'I don't like that one, Mama.' SO cute.
  • We love Rider-Swap. Since Greg & I both wanted to ride the big rides, we were able to go through the "Flash Pass" line. Once the ride operators saw the kids, we were able to quickly take turns riding the rides. We rode all the big rides that way. The large wooden roller coaster was the worst--- I felt like I was going to be internally decapitated. Superman & Goliath were the best.
  • BBQ lunch: Being a Texas company, the lunch was catered barbeque and it was fantastic. It wasn't Rudy's or Salt Lick, but it was sure yummy. During lunch, one character was out to meet & greet everyone. Our character was Porky the Pig. Annabelle seemed to warm up to him better than the other two.
  • The Train: After lunch, we decided to take a train ride around the park. The kids both loved to be on the train.
  • Biggest Fishy Game EVER: Near Jared's favorite ride {see next bullet} was the world's largest fishy game. Since the kids were really good that day, we decided to let them play one game. They both wanted to play the fishy game (it didn't help that it was a jumbo version of their game at home). Another bonus was the big sign which said: every game gets a prize. Jared picked a Scooby Doo for his prize, Annabelle a Blue Elephant.
  • Scooby Doo's Newest & Biggest Fan: By far the favorite ride was Scooby's Ghost Adventure (a lot like Buzz Lightyear). Just before going to Six Flags, Jared started watching the old Scooby Doo episodes, so he was really excited to see a ride with Scoob & the gang. Greg & I had fun because we tried to see who would get the most ghosts & the kids just loved Scooby & the ride. We rode it THREE times.
Since coming home, Jared constantly talks about the Scooby ride & walks his Scooby around. Hopefully, we'll get to go back next month. It's a good thing Oba & Jiji come to town in a few days, or I don't know how I'd entertain him. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Time 2011

We had two main events for Halloween, the ward Trunk-or-Treat and Halloween night itself. Trunk-or-Treat was first, so it became the costume unveiling for our group.

A couple months ago, we we hanging out with our friends, the Baxters, and we started talking about Halloween costumes. Jared told me he wanted to dress up as a dinosaur. I only have a year or two left of doing coodinating family costumes (without a fight) so we started to brainstorm; what could the rest of us dress up as if Jared is a dinosaur? THE FLINTSTONES! THEN--- we realized our friends could dress up as THE RUBBLES since they have a boy the same age as Annabelle. We were so stoked.

Remember the time when I said I'd only make their first year Halloween costumes? Well, I went from THAT to all of the sudden SEVEN costumes in SIX weeks! Luckily, I had Becca to be my partner-in-crime. We ended up getting all of them done over a weekend (probably 14 hours or so of working). They turned out great. The trickiest costumes ended up being mine & Jared's top (first time I ever created a pattern from scratch-- no template).

...was also a Chili cook-off. Greg wanted to try a new recipe, Pineapple Pork Chili; winner to us, but since Texas is known for Chili, we didn't even get close to winning. I know we live in Texas, but I couldn't believe how SPICY some of those chilies were. Seriously, they had Greg's eyes watering.

After dinner, we headed out for the trunk-or-treat part. On {Pinterest}, I saw how someone decorated their car like the whale from Pinocchio; so, we took that idea and spun it to create a CAR-O-SAURUS. We had eyes, spots, teeth & tongue. Fred (a.k.a. Greg) stayed behind while I took the kids around the loop. They had so much fun & Jared LOVED running around with his Dino tail. When we told him, we'd go around for candy again on Halloween--- his eyes got HUGE. We just needed a day of recuperation (in the form of Greg & I giving sacrament meeting talks)...

This year was the first real year either kid has been trick-or-treating. Jared's first Halloween was in an apartment complex which didn't allow door-to-door, the next year Jared had strep, and the year after that it was Sunday. Needlesstosay, we were all excited.

I got my standard creepy Halloween recipes out for dinner. The kids really didn't know what to do with the Bloody cheese dip this year, until they realized it was just red cheese. Right after dinner, the Baxters & Hedges came over to all go around the neighborhood together.

Jared & Caleb were particularly awesome this year, even though poor Caleb was sick:(. They were so excited to go to each door and yell 'trick-or-treat.' Plus, they kind-of matched in their own way--- both some kind of 'dog'--- Jared was Dino & Caleb dressed up as Clifford. Annabelle managed to say it a few times, Alex was just SO excited to be there with his friends, and Elise was the cutest little ladybug for her first Halloween.  Here's a video of most of them Trick-or-Treating--I just had to get Bellie saying Trick-or-Treat:

It was fun to get compliments from our neighbors regarding our costumes; we heard a lot of 'how awesome' or 'the flintstones & rubbles---sweet' or 'look and Pebbles & BamBam. We only lasted 2 and half blocks, found some fellow Cardinals fans in celebration mode, pretty much enjoyed ourselves the whole time.

One house was super creepy & right next to the bowl was two conveniently positioned trash cans. I KNEW there were guys in them, and I kept praying they wouldn't jump out, I even yelled... "little kids-- don't you dare" and then they jumped out. My MamaBear instincts kicked in and I wanted to smack those kids SOOO hard, but I didn't and we just told them to be careful. Scare who you can, but not the little ones. Luckily, we prepped them as we walked up there, so Dino kept his cool long enough to get his candy & GET OUT.

When we started on the way home, Dino kept telling Fred he wanted to go to more houses--- pleading was more like it. So, Pebbles & I went home to spread more candy love. We had our new tombstones and Halloweentown signs out with blacklights & a dry-ice fog going out from our house. It was fantastic; I can't wait to add to it next year.

Dino & Fred didn't last long; they were gone maybe 10 minutes before Dino got dog-tired. After they both got home, they each picked one candy to have that night. They both picked Blue Raspberry Dum-Dums... hilarious pictures were had.

Happy Halloween from our prehistoric family to yours!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin