Monday, November 30, 2015

November Wrap Up

How is this month over already?  We have had a great November. Lily spent most of the past two weeks worrying about her loose tooth.  She crashed into Tommy one morning and knocked her front tooth loose.  She wouldn't let us pull it.  We could tell it would fall out any day so we snapped one last picture of Lily with all her baby teeth on top.
 Annie and Tommy had a play date with friends at the gymnastics center open gym.  Annie liked getting to show me some of the things she's working on in her classes.  Tommy just ran around like a crazy little boy.  Joey even had a buddy for this play date.  It was a fun outing for all of us.
 Lily has been loving school.  Her teacher offered an incentive prize for kids to read aloud to their parents for twenty minutes a day for the entire month of October.  Lily did it.  And she earned a personal pizza from Pizza Hut.  She was so proud of her pizza.  I picked it up for her on our way to clogging class.  She said it was the best after school snack ever.
 Annie's preschool teacher was busy this week.  The kids made cornucopias, hand print turkeys, and big feather covered capital F's.  Annie loves bringing home projects to show us.
 On the 19th we got our first good snowfall.  Tommy had to go play in it right away.
  Lily loves it when Fridays come because it means the end of her school week and Mommy lets her wear this "Fri-Yay" shirt. 
 This month in Sharing Time in Primary we have been talking about service.  I had all the children make a hand print and write something they would do to be a helping hand on it. Then we put all the hands on a poster to help remind the kids of their goal to give service. The poster turned out cute. I didn't get a very good picture. We've been having the children report back each week.  It has been really fun.
On Sunday the 22nd Jared and Becky came for a visit with their two youngest kids. Lily and Annie loved having Claire and Sofie spend the night.  We love that peer pressure from her cousins finally convinced Lily to yank out her very loose tooth.  Look at that huge gap!  The tooth next to it is loose too.  Lily might be wishing for her two front teeth this Christmas.
 We made Lily go to school Monday morning - which she was not happy about - but we picked her up at lunch time so she could spend the afternoon with her cousins. While Lily was at school I took Becky and the girls to The Prepared Pantry for some shopping.  Becky loves to cook so this store was really fun for her.  We bought lots of pancake mixes and bread mixes.  Yummy! Lily liked getting picked up in the middle of the day.  After lunch we took everyone to the Rexburg temple and BYU-Idaho campus.  It was a beautiful day.
 After a fun afternoon in Rexburg we went to dinner at Stoplight Pizza.  The location we loved in Ririe is now closed but there is a new location in Idaho Falls.  It still has the small town, hole-in-the-wall feel of the first restaurant.  We had to order the giant 32 inch pizza so that Jared and his family could see how big it is.  The owner told us he can make a nine foot long pizza too.  We have to take the whole Hall family this summer during our reunion!  Tommy was excited about the pizza.  His piece was so big, he didn't know where to start eating it.  He inspected it form end to end, tried to hold it with both hands, and went in for a bite in the middle.  The whole process was so cute that we all laughed.  Our laughing must have embarrassed him because he never took the bite and was afraid to try again.  Uncle Jared tried to help lift up the small end.  Tommy barely got any pizza in his mouth.  He ended up eating stale pretzels that were in the bottom of the diaper bag on the way home.
It was hard to stay good bye to Jared and Becky after such a short visit.  Hopefully he will find a job in the Salt Lake area very soon so we can see each other more often.  Puna and Papa's arrival was delayed by one day so we had a regular Tuesday at home.  Tommy's sleeping has gotten off track again.  He was so tired Tuesday morning that he cried in the bathroom the whole time I took my shower.  Then he wore himself out from all the crying and fell asleep just outside my bathroom.  Having the boys in the same room together is not working as well as we had hoped.  Lily was excited to show off her tooth gap at school.  She made a pine cone turkey for our Thanksgiving table.
We woke up Thanksgiving morning to an inch or two of snow.  Papa was the only adult willing to get out in the below freezing temperature to play with the kids.  Tommy refused to wear his snow pants.  He came back inside with frozen legs. Papa harnessed himself to our sleds and pulled the kids on the street and through our yard.  Our favorite moment was when Tommy fell off the back of the sled and had to chase Papa down the street.  Poor Tommy trying to run in all his snow gear was quite a sight. 

 Before going out in the snow, the kids had some snuggle time together.  Joey can wear the same Thanksgiving jammies at age 3 1/2 months that Tommy wore at almost 8 months.
  I was worried about Tommy's clothes not fitting Joey during the right seasons.  I guess we won't have that problem.  Our little linebacker is our biggest baby yet! And with his round the clock schedule of eating every two to three hours, he's just going to keep getting bigger.
 Here he is modeling the super cute Thanksgiving bib Auntie Sue Thulin sent him.  No pumpkin pie for Joey this year though.
  And here is our awesome Papa playing with the kiddos in the snow.  Papa makes a great sled dog.
 After quite a while in the snow the kids were very cold.  They snuggled up next to our space heater to thaw out. Notice - Tommy has no pants!
One we finished morning snuggles and thawed out from playing in the snow, we were ready to begin assembling our Oreo turkeys for the kids' dessert and some neighbor gifts.  We had a few problems.  I was out of powdered sugar, so the frosting was too soft to hold tight.  Also I had bought some decorator frosting for the beaks, feet, and eyes.  But it was writing frosting so the consistency was super runny.  Let's just say we didn't have much success with our turkeys this year. 
 After a valiant effort, we had to throw in the towel and admit defeat.  The frosting was too runny.  The beaks kept sliding off, the eyes were running and smearing all over the heads.  Puna was laughing so hard she started to cry. She couldn't get over how disgusting the red frosting looked.  Rather than a cute waddle next to the beak, we ended up with monster turkeys who looked like their necks had just been slashed and their blood was running everywhere. Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving!" like a cookie candy confection that illustrates what your turkey looked like in its final moments. Yuck!
 The reality was nothing close to the expectation.  I'm sure we'll never forget our Oreo monster turkey Thanksgiving.  We decided these would not be appropriate to give to the neighbors.  At least they tasted better than they looked.
 Finally it was time to eat.  The Oreo turkeys were just the beginning of our Thanksgiving fiasco. The rolls rose too high and didn't bake evenly, the green beans burned in the skillet because the water evaporated so fast, the gravy was too salty so we tried adding mashed potatoes to it - after a lot of doctoring, Puna was able to save the gravy.  Most everything else came out just fine.  But this was definitely not one of our better Thanksgivings.  Maybe Mommy shouldn't be allowed to cook on the years we have a newborn.  Sleep deprivation does not help you stay on your toes while multitask cooking.

But when all is said and done, what really matters is time together with our family.  And we are most thankful for our family. 
 Tommy wash thankful that we let him eat chicken nuggets (kind of close to turkey) and homemade bread for dinner.
  Annie is always happy when she can have olives for dinner.
 The girls loved getting to have sparkling apple cider in our crystal glasses. I remember how excited I always was as a child to get to drink from fancy glasses too.
 I wanted a family picture to capture the fun of the day.  Tommy was not in the mood to pose for a photo.  He wouldn't stop frowning and pouting.  We even tried making silly faces to cheer him up.
 When that didn't work, Mommy tried tickling.  Worked like a charm.  Then we turned the tables and took a picture of all of us frowning while Tommy smiled.
 He thought that was super funny.  After a lot of coaxing we sort of got a good one.  We are one crazy bunch.  I am exhausted and stretched mentally and emotionally to the max. Most days my temper gets the better of me at least once and I feel like I am doing everything wrong as a mother. But I truly am thankful for each of these kids and a wonderful husband to share the load. God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be. I am thankful for the opportunity to repent and try again.
Daddy volunteered for dish duty after dinner.  Papa and Annie worked on homemade ice cream.  Tommy was ready for dessert.
We were all ready for some sleep after dinner.

Black Friday is not a big deal in our family.  We prefer to spend time together rather than run around town chasing deals. We had a relaxing morning.  Then the girls went to the grocery store in search of supplies for gingerbread houses while the boys went out shooting and gun shopping.  Daddy and Papa also worked on getting our entertainment center installed in the basement.

 Jeremy needs to fill the nail holes, drill holes for the electrical cords, create the top, change the hardware on the drawers, and install a trim around the top, and paint it. But the end is in sight.  We are so excited to have this finished soon!

We spent Friday afternoon and evening munching on pizza and candy while we assembled our houses.  It was a great night together!

 Puna was on baby duty while the rest of us got up to our eyeballs in frosting and candy.  Papa and Tommy had a good time making their house.  Tommy kept moving their little Santa.  We're pretty sure Tommy ate more candy than he actually put on his house.
Brady and Madison were funny to watch.  They both like to be in charge and they are both really stubborn.  But they finally got their house done.
 Lily teamed up with Daddy.  Daddy did a great job letting Lily make the decisions and put things on the house by herself. She was so proud of her little house.  The smoking chimney was a nice touch.
 Annie wanted a village of little houses rather than one big house.  She did two houses with Mommy and two houses with Puna.  Every time a visitor comes to our house, Annie shows off her village.  She had lots of great ideas for her houses. I just love that picture of Lily and Daddy!
 When all was said and done, we had one leftover house to decorate.  Mommy jumped on the chance to do one by herself.  Most of the candy had been picked over so there wasn't a lot left, but I still had fun getting to do something creative on my own.
Our table and floor were covered in sugar, frosting, crumbs, and other evidence of our fun.  We had a lot of clean up to do afterward, but it was worth it.  It was a great way to begin the Christmas season and spend time together as a family.  Thank you for a memorable Thanksgiving Puna and Papa.

On Saturday morning we were sad to say our goodbyes, but we'll see each other again in a few weeks for Christmastime.   
Sunday night we had Brady and Madison over for Sunday dinner.  While I was away at choir practice Brady and Madison played with the kids.  They somehow managed to fit all of them (two adults and four kids) into our little play tent.  As you can see from their smiles, it was lots of fun.  We're so lucky to have them here. There is so much to be thankful for!  Now it's time to haul out the holly.  We need a little Christmas!