Elijah often makes this silly face where he scrunches up his nose and kind of smiles. It just makes me laugh and I decided we needed to capture it on camera. I'm not sure we completely got the look, but we did get some fun ones. Isn't he such a cute little guy?!
Rob was gone on a TDY to Hawaii most of last week and I didn't want to get a babysitter a second time that week. So I took the kids along with me on my many errands Thursday evening. Of course both of them had refused to take afternoon naps meaning we were already not starting out well. I had two visiting teaching appointments to go to and they went ok even considering my companion forgot about the first one and I had to go that one alone. After my appointments, we drove to base for a spouses meeting. The DO's wife said kids were welcome so away we went. I was glad to be there and help support our very new group and to meet some new people. Things were still ok until it was time to go home. Ellie was so tired that she threw a couple tantrums at the end of the meeting. One because I wouldn't buy her something out of the vending machine (there was tons of food available) and again because I threw away the remaining part of her pretzel when she really wasn't done with it (bad mom). To make a long story even longer, by the time we made it to the car it was getting late and I was so ready to be home and have the kids in bed. Ellie was begging for a movie and in the stress of the moment (and it being very dark), I thought the DVD player was empty and put a DVD in only to find there WAS already one in there and now neither one would come out. Ahhh!!! The new news that the DVD player was broken did not fare well with my oh so tired girl. She started wailing and I felt like the biggest dork in the world. I still can't believe I did that. The one redeeming thing of the night was that Eli thought Ellie's dramatic wailing was so funny that he was laughing and trying to mimic some of the sounds. I just had to smile despite myself. After the kids were in bed, I tried to extract the offending movies with no luck. Ug! Why did it have to be me?! I was kicking myself all night and dreading the teasing I was going to get from my hubby. End of the story - the mechanic at the dealer was able to get the movies out and the player works fine...and I will never make that mistake again!
After our time in California, we headed to Utah for a visit with Rob's family. It was quite a bit cooler there and we even got a little snow much to Ellie's joy. She and Rob went out and built a mini snowman family that was so cute. Why bother with the big snowmen when a little one will please a 3 year old just as well? Eli also got to join in on the snow fun when Grandma Linda hit him with his first snowball. He didn't know what happened! And we even made it up to Sundance to look at the beautiful mountains. It sure is beautiful there, but my skin does not like the dry climate one bit!
One of the main reasons we stopped in Utah was so that Elijah could meet his Grandma Draper who will be 103 on New Year's day. Eli's middle name is Grandma's maiden name and she really wanted to meet the newest little namesake. Our first visit to see her, Eli slept almost the entire time. We carried him in from the car, passed him around, laid him on the bed, and he just kept sleeping. That was one tired boy. Luckily the second time we visited Eli was wide awake. Ellie had a fun time at Grandma's also. Who wouldn't enjoy eating cookies and playing with Grandma's powered recliner? It is always a joy to see Grandma Draper. She is very witty and genuine and we are so glad we could see her.
Some of our other time was spent visiting my favorite restaurant The Bombay House and eating burritos from Cafe Rio.
I was also able to get together with two of my old roommates, Sarah and Jennifer. We met up at Jennifer's house and had a great time even if it was short. I of course was late and the kids got tired too soon. But we ate some great food and had a lot of fun talking. They both are thinking of coming out to NC this summer and I hope it works out.
Other times I took a moment to watch the sunset from Rob's parents' front room. What a great view!
We also went to the Bean Science Museum where Ellie had a blast looking at all of the animals. As we were walking around I would tell her about the different animals of course never knowing if she was listening. When we got to the Black bears, I told her that years ago I was hiking up in the mountains around Provo Canyon near sunset and we saw a black bear walking towards us. We quickly changed directions and kept checking to make sure we were not being followed. It made me smile when Ellie started telling her dad about the story and asked me about the story again when we were up in the mountains. I guess she was listening! And I can't forget to mention that we saw the famed Liger and had to have our photo taken in front of "Shasta". One of our last nights there we got together with Rob's cousin Chele and her family. They have a daughter Ellie's age and they had fun playing together. All too soon it was time to head back home. We had a wonderful week visiting with Tom and Linda. Thanks for making it a great visit!
A couple days after my mom's birthday was Halloween and we were able to get all of the cousins together to go trick-or-treating. Ellie dressed up as a princess and Eli was a puppy dog (Ellie wore the same costume when she was a year old). I had to smile since my mom made most of the costumes the kids were wearing. She is amazing! Ellie played the part of a princess quite well by making sure she was carried to each house in her carriage (wagon). Silly girl. It was sprinkling a little so we didn't walk too far, which was fine with me since my little Ellie did not need a lot of candy (although everyone was giving out handfuls of candy so she still ended up with more than she wanted to carry). At one of the houses a sweet old lady came out to give the kids candy. When Austin went up, he exclaimed "She looks like a witch!" She was not dressed up and we prayed that she didn't hear. Ahhh, kids.
After the Halloween fun, we all met at the chapel on Saturday for Samantha's baptism. She looked radiant in her white clothes and I was so glad we were able to be there to share it with her. The bishop spoke he told us about the interview he had with Sammy and how he had asked her why she wanted to be baptized. He said he inquired if it was because her mom wanted her to? No. Her grandma? No. Her grandpa? No. She then said she wanted to be baptized because she felt that was what God wanted her to do. If she can remember to think more about what Heavenly Father wants of her than what other people think, I believe she is off to a good start. I am so proud of Sammy and what a beautiful young woman she is growing into.
On Sunday we got together to celebrate my dad's birthday and the house was chaotic of course. Those cousins sure do love playing together and they let everyone know it. Ellie has been asking when we get to go back to Apie's house. I asked her if it would be fun to have Apie come out to our house. She said no, we need to go to her house. I think she misses everyone out there. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get to see everyone again. It really was wonderful spending so much time with my family and eating such yummy food (thanks Aaron and Mom!).
The main reason for our trip to California was to help my mom celebrate her 50th birthday. Weeks before my sister and I talked about different party ideas, but decided we should ask my mom what sounded good to her. She decided that she didn't want a party, but wanted everyone to go skydiving instead. Yep skydiving. I had to giggle because Kara and I took mom skydiving for her 40th birthday. It was something she had always wanted to do so we made it happen and decided to jump with her. Back then I was a carefree college student and didn't think too much about jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet. However this time things were a little different. Now I am a wife and mother of two sweet kids. I rolled the thought over and over again in my mind trying to decide if this was a risk I should take. Well in the end I decided driving my car had more risk and so I went for it! And Rob decided to join us also. So in the end we had my mom, me, Rob, Kara, David, Mike and my G'ma Pie all jumping together. My uncle Aaron was kind enough to watch the kids while we jumped. Thank you!
The funniest part of the whole experience was my grandma's response to the jump. We have just all hurtled ourselves out of a bare bones airplane at 13,000 feet and free fell for 10,000 feet. Then parachuted the last bit. Her response? "I don't know what all the hype is about. It's a lot more of a rush to race cars." Hmm...I think there may be some stories I need to hear about her younger days.
After our big jump, we met up with the rest of the family at the Elephant Bar for dinner. Yum! And after that we had a three layer Black Forest cake (which I made) for dessert. I think my mom had a wonderful day and truth be told I think my mom would have been happy doing any activity with her family and I'm glad we were able to be there to help her celebrate 50 wonderful years. Love you Mom!
Ever since I got out the decorations, Ellie had been so excited about Halloween this year. We decided what costume she would wear and she loved carrying around her little trick-or-treating bag. She also was very excited about pumpkins. So we bought one and every night she would ask if we could carve it. Well the thought of carving a pumpkin right before we left town didn't seem like a good idea. Plus how involved can a 3 year old be with the actual carving process? So we decided to paint our pumpkin and I do believe my little artist did a beautiful job. I painted some white eyes on it, but Ellie did the rest all on her own and was quite proud of her creation.
On October 23rd we took off to California for a visit. Rob had to complete some training in Illinois before we left so that meant I got to travel alone with the kids yet again. Yeah. Actually they were great. We've got this traveling thing down! Although I'd still rather not do it alone☺. Rob arrived in CA before us so we were greeted late that night by him and my dad. Friday we took the day to recoup from our traveling, but on Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Farm with Kara and Sammy. It had been chilly when we left North Carolina so we weren't prepared for the 80+ degree weather in Sacramento! It was beautiful, but after running around the farm Ellie was hot. While at there Ellie and Sam jumped in the bounce house, went on a tractor ride, pet the animals, and went down some tall slides. After snapping a shot of my two little pumpkins, it was back to my mom's house for more Fear family fun.
We got back from our trek westward Monday night, but somehow I haven't found time to get on the computer. It has been cloudy and rainy here, enough so that Rob actually couldn't land here last night. Hopefully he'll be able to make it home tonight. Although if things keep up the way they've been, I won't count on it. At the end of playgroup today the thunder cracked and the clouds unloaded a massive rain storm. With the door open to let our friends scurry out to their cars, Ellie escaped into the rain. Her clothes of course got wet and she asked that I take them off so she could put dry ones on, or so I thought! Before I knew it she rain back out into the downpour in only her undies and happy as could be. How do you deny a girl that much joy?
A couple days before I left for California, I decided to make sugar cookies for the ladies I visit teach. For some reason the only thing nice I can ever think of to do for someone is to bake for them, so away I went on my baking extravaganza. After a while of rolling, cutting, baking, icing, and eating way too much, I decided this might be the last time I make sugar cookies. As it is right now I only make this confection once a year, but they just take so long and the high sugar content really hit me hard this time. Am I getting old?! The only trouble is my family likes our moist sugar cookies with just a hint of almond better than any other out there. So you'll have to check in with me to see if I stick to my sugar cookie ban or if I succumb once again to the sugary goodness. Only time will tell!
On a sugar note, you have to check out my little niece's song and dance. I guess Tom & Su found her singing this song in her room after Halloween. Too cute!