Some people like to shop on Black Friday. We like to do something a lot more fun. First off, we sleep in! But the best part about the day after Thanksgiving is decorating the house in preparation for Christmas.
Christmas is so much more fun with children. Zander was SO excited he could barely contain himself. Stockton and Garrett were big helpers in decorating the tree. And Conner was anxious to help Niel set up the lights.
It's going to be great Christmas.... I can feel it all ready!
Thanksgiving was a little different for us this year. My parents traveled to California to visit the Jaramillo Family. Niel's parents are in Russia serving a mission. That just left us home... all alone.
We found a new holiday tradition though.... one we all love. We participated in our first family Turkey Bowl!!! A few neighbors put together the fun event. Let me tell you, it was TOO much fun!
Conner is fast. Even the "old men" had a hard time keeping up with him!
Stockton is quit a quarter back. He is a good left handed throw!
I was just glad the boys were on our team. It was great to play with them!! The game ended as a tie game! Everyone played hard and we were all tired. It was a great way to start out the day!
When it comes to cooking meat, Niel is a natural. Neither one of us had ever made turkey before, but Niel took on the challenge. The turkey turned out fantastically juicy and delicious. I am signing him up for turkey making every Thanksgiving!! Good job Niel!
We invited friend over for the holiday. Robert McCabee and family joined us this year. They brought with them yummy apple pie, homemade bread, salad and cheese pie (the same cheese pie I make)!
Their children are nearly the same age as our little rascals.
Together, we all cleaned our plates and went back for seconds and thirds. It was a very nice Thanksgiving dinner!
After a yummy dinner we celebrated with a holiday tradition I used to do.... we went to a movie. We say A Christmas Carol. It was a perfect way to send the Thanksgiving evening and got us all excited for the next holiday.... Christmas!
When I was a kid, and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said things like:
I want to be a teacher or Film Producer or even a Gynecologist (yes... that last profession you read is correct)!
But who ever knew that being a Mom would be the best grown-up thing I would ever be?
Being a parent is hard work. You know.... all those fun plays I HAVE to go to. Or football games I would need to attend!! My goodness, FUN is overrated...haha!
Five kids brings oodles of smiles and hugs. I am never bored or dull or still. I have someone to laugh at my corny jokes or think that I have a magic touch to make all the bad things go away.
There is always someone to make cookies with or veg out with or cuddle up with. I get to watch these little people develop into a real live person. Each of them with different personalities, ambitions and dreams. I love waking up each morning knowing there is someone else who has to wake up too and go to bed knowing about their good and bad days. I have a friend all the time and I even have moments that question my abilities to be a parent. Those moments make me want to try even harder to be better.
Having children means I get to be a kid myself. Santa, The Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny all come alive. Things mean something to me. Traditions, Memories, Picture Books, and Stories are made every day. Love is given unconditionally. Who gets that with any other profession?
But mostly, I love being a Mom because I learn something new everyday. Being a Mom is unexplainable.
I am thankful for my children and for a Father in Heaven who has trusted me to be a mother to some incredible little spirits.
I was reflecting on the events from this past week and realized I am thankful for bad days. I know that might sound a little strange to be grateful for the more difficult times in life, but for me, when difficulty arises, for some reason it is a reminder of all the goods things too.
This past week was extremely difficult. This terrible economy has brought about much unemployment. I have seen it with my family and friends. And, as things would have it, I experienced at my own place of work. No, I did not lose my job, but some of my very good friends did. Most of the people who were let go I have grown great friendships with. In some instances I have even spent more time with these wonderful people more than my own family. It was difficult to help them pack up and wonder what life changing events would come into their lives. With this tearful experience (yes, I cried my eyes out), I was sad, but I also could find my good things too. First, happy I had a job, although difficult at the same time. I also cherished the friendships I have developed with each person. It made me extremely grateful for their involvement in my life. I hope we can always stay in touch.
The day was drilling and difficult. When I got home from work I was greeted by sweet little Stockton. He saw me walk in the door, and without even knowing I had had a bad day, he ran up to me, opened his arms, gave me a ginormous hug and said "It's my favorite person!" I love my little Stocky. He has the biggest heart of anyone I know and is so thoughtful and sincere. He really brightened my day.
As I came in further, Conner and Garrett came to greet me next. Conner said, "Mom, you look like you have been crying. Is everything all right?" I told them about the day and why I was sad. Right away Conner started helping with dinner. He helped with Zander by reading with him and then he helped with Garrett by giving him a practice spelling test.... he even signed off their papers. And little G started cleaning up the kitchen (he is such a good little cleaner), and then he sat with Zander and watched a TV show.... now this is unusual for Garrett because he normally likes to tease Zander. I felt so blessed to have such good boys who care for each other and care for me. They truly are my little heaven on earth.
The weeks seems to just get worse. I took on more work because of less people in the office. To make matters worse, my computer crashed.... putting me even further behind. I realized I was super stressed when I nearly had a break down after I thought I lost my car keys. It was getting pretty bad. That was when Niel stepped in. He took me out to see this great chick flick I was dying to see.....
... oh, and by the way, I LOVED it! Way better than the first one.
Then, we swept me away for a fun weekend. We went to the South Pacific!!! Incredible!!! All my worries melted away.
I know, I know... my week wasn't nearly as bad as some people's. But for me, it was more difficult than usual. I am grateful for days that remind me of all my many, little blessing I take for granted.
When I think about what I am most thankful for, the first thought that comes to mind are the many people I know. My family is a big bunch of the people I absolutely cannot imagine my life without. The best part about my family is that we are getting bigger is size. One of my greatest blessings are my nieces. Guess what? I get the blessings of having a new little niece.
Most of the family is going to California to visit Ang, Pat, Ari, Alayna, and Kayla for Thanksgiving Day (I am so sad I am not going). But, to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday, we got together for some delicious food and fun times.
Go Rick! Cut that Turkey!!
Some of the greatest memories in my life were having Thanksgiving Dinner and Grandma Syme's house every year. My cousins were a big part of my childhood years. It was so great to get together with most of them and celebrate being Thankful. Sure didn't feel the same without some who live so far away.
We have many new little ones that have been added to the family this year. Little RuthAnn is Kam and Steve's new baby.
Isn't Mykel beautiful? This is Andy and Tysa's new little one. She was my best friend for the night!!
It is incredible the love and blessing I have from my family! I sure am thankful for each one of them.... and for the rest of my family who I need to see!
Had I known they would be so excited about something so simple, we would have done his ages ago. The kids love picking out their own dinner, preparing it, and then sitting down to have a mini picnic in front of the television? Gosh... it really is the simple things.
We all watched "Up" together. Such a cute show. A new favorite of mine!!!
When you park next to a truck that has an ATV hauler attached like this.....
.... make sure when you get out of your car, you remember it is there, and don't smack right into this....
Yep... that's right. I had a complete blonde moment when I parked next to a co-workers truck. I got out of my car, in a big hurry to get into work (who is ever in a big hurry to get into work anyway), and as I turned around to head into work... SMACK! I hit the right temple on my forehead right into this big, noticeable, metal thing. OUCH!
I kicked the tires and said a few choice words, trust me, those choice words made me feel better. I was rubbing my head as I entered into work, just feeling a small goose bump. But as the day progressed it just got worse. I started to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. My friend told me my eyes were dilating all funny. I just laughed it off.... after all, who wants to admit to something so stupid. "Hello! Open your eyes!" That is all I kept telling myself.
My mild concussion kept me home from work the next day. It took 2 days after the incident to feel like my old self again.
You can guess I am not parking anywhere close to the black truck and I am doing much better of keeping my eyes open!
Now that football is over, we all have so much extra time on our hands.
All this extra time has opened our door to lots of cooking this week. Check out all the yummy stuff we cooked up!
For dinner one night we cook up this chicken chili. Perfect for kids because it isn't overly spicy and it is pretty healthy. Then we cooked up this delicious chicken with cheese stuff. Conner had a brilliant idea to mix in some noodles. It was tasty and a new favorite at our house.
We all LOVE dessert at our house. We found a new favorite blog "Cooking that Doesn't Suck." We made the delicious Banana Cake with the delightful cream cheese on top. YUM! This picture doesn't do it justice.
A fall tradition of ours is to have Carmel Night! We do it every year. The recipe is pretty simple. 2 cups of Brown Sugar mixed on the oven, in a pan, with 1 cup of Karo Syrup. Add in 1 can of Sweet and Condensed Milk. Stir, stir, and stir some more on high heat until it comes to a boil. Add one cube of butter. Stir and stir once again. Test to see if the carmel comes to a soft ball stage. That's it... there you have it.
Add the carmel to popcorn or apples. You can cook it just a tad bit longer and make little carmel squares. DELICIOUS!
Poor Conner. He is still on his no sugar adventure. He makes the best of it though. Apple on a stick (no carmel) and a bowl of popped popcorn. He says it was almost the same.... but only almost.
I cannot believe the football season has come to an end.
We sure did end on a great note though!
Garrett and Conner finished the season as Champions of their divisions!!!
Garrett's team has grown this year! I remember the very first game I wanted to pull Garrett out because he kept getting sacked. I was sure he was going to get hurt. But after hours of practicing and drills, it was wonderful to see his team come together and play their guts out!
I love this picture. Notice the poor little Caveman on the ground. Brock (#3) has just made an incredible block for Garrett. The two make quit the pair!!
The final game was a blowout. The score 16 - 0 with Garrett running in both touchdowns!!
Coach Anderson has been incredible for Garrett. He has just the right touch. Often times Garrett gets discouraged and can lose his cool. But Coach Anderson has a way of encouraging Garrett and helping him keep his head in the game.
This was a tender moment for me. Coach Anderson came up and gave Garrett a big hug. Then he said, "Garrett, I love you! You played SO hard this year. I couldn't be more proud of you."
I have watched Garrett play hard. He has put his everything in each game. Some games have been so difficult, yet he made it happen every time. As a parent, it is so great to see a coach love my son as much as I do.
Team James Lone Peak 1st and 2nd Grade Champions
Conner's team had phenomenal season this year. They ended the season undefeated!!!
Conner made a goal for himself this year, he was bound and determined to play running back. Conner ran and trained this summer. He wanted to be fast and strong. Last year was his first year out and he play on the line. He did a great job there, but when Conner sets his mind to something, he makes it happen. He is an example to me that if you put your mind to something, and you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.
Conner played running back this year..... and he was incredible!
There is no juking for Conner.... he just runs anyone over who gets in his way. He is one strong young man.
The game got a little scary. Lehi Christensen is a great team!! There was a short time where they had the lead. Our team stepped it up and won by one touch down. The final score was 19-14!
Conner is fortunate as well to have such incredible coaches. Mike Livingston has inspired Conner to be better. Everything Conner has learned about football he has learned from these fine men. I love that Conner has such great role models and people who care enough to encourage and build confidence in him.
Lone Peak Livingston 6th Grade - Undefeated Champions
Let's see if you can recognize any of these spooky faces!
Lone Peak Knight
Scary, Mean Guy
King Crab and his Mermaid
We went to a Halloween Party on Friday night. Fun times!!
I think I finally hit the age where Halloween just isn't as much fun...laugh! I stayed home and passed out candy this year on Halloween night. I didn't even dress up for the kiddo's. Zander was pretty disappointed. Conner, Stocks, and Gar all found different groups to trick-or-treat with. Zander and I raided the street and headed home pretty early.
Niel put together a toilet. Such a memorable night!!