Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Anna turns 6...a rough start and a strong finish

We got up early early to make Anna's birthday feel super special. We back a batch of cinnamon struesel mini muffins and decorate her bedroom door with streamers. 

We failed to factor in one tiny thing....Anna isn't a morning person. And she sometimes doesn't think surprises are that exciting.

So when we called to her, "OH, ANNA! Wake Uhup!!" She screamed and buried her head in her pillow.

Then she broke into tears and screamed at us.

She refused to come out and she was not at all interested in any stupid little muffins.

So we went done and had a few ourselves. Because....I was hungry. And so were the other kids and we've learned that the best way to weather an Anna storm is to let it blow over.

And sure enough...soon she had sheepishly apologized and she was ready for her run.

We forgave. How could we not? Look at that happy six-year old face!!

And then she reconsidered her stand on the muffin issue.

She was off to her first birthday at school experience. She had donuts for her whole class and she was feeling super fine.

We made her favorite dinner of pork chops (apples and pecans on the side), cous cous, fresh fruit salad and baby carrots. 

A cake of her design. She was going for the "more is better" look. It turned out pretty cute!

She worked her magic over the flames while we sand "Happy Birthday".

She got a reindeer hat

A copy of "The BFG"

And her own scooter!

Happy Birthday, Anna Banana! You are fierce and feisty and we love you just the way you are!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fall to winter and restringing the tree.

Bye, little copper owls and old mangy Indian corn that I've had for 15 years and bought at the dollar store in Arkansas...It's been fun. Autumn was amazing and glorious, as usual, but it's time for the Christmas decorations and you gots to go. 

I'm having a hard time getting all pepped up for decorating the tree this year. Maybe it's the gargantuan task of dressing in 2000 miniature white lights. AGAIN. Leaving my hands a dry, scratched, stinging mess.

I'm just not feeling it.

But I'm still doing it.

But next year I'm thinking I'm just going to wrap it round and round like a giant roll of plastic wrap.

The kids brought up the Christmas ornament boxes and we started getting out the ornaments. It was a mad dash. There wasn't much time for reminiscing over whose was whose or remembering that time when we all made mod podge birds and it was WAY harder that we thought....or those cinnamon ornaments that were super stinky...

 It was a "hand it over" and "slap in on the nearest branch" situation.

But there was NO FIGHTING.


It was awe-inspiring.

Tear inducing.

There was a peace in all the land.

And we celebrated with a 100 dollar trip to Golden Coral.

Did you know that Golden Coral has cotton candy?

They totally do. And not surprisingly, it was the healthiest thing for Everly in the entire place.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Bowling

The Guenthers invited us to go bowling on Black Friday. A dollar fifty a game! I never would have thought to look for a sale there....

Things went pretty well.

Ethan helped Everly get her ball started in the right direction. I'm convinced the lanes must be ever-so-slightly downhill. Otherwise, there is no way that ball could have continued rolling.

He was pretty happy with his Granny technique.

Anna and Laney were mostly concerned with which color of ball to choose each time they stepped up.

Mark insisted on timing his turn with mine so that we would be synchronized. 

Super distracting and reasonably entertaining. I'm a terrible bowler, so I didn't have much to lose.

Mathew bet me he would beat me on the second game (ha!) and did all he could to earn himself and candy bar and avoid giving me a five minute back scratch.

It was a valiant effort.

I will take my scratches now, please.

Megan scored high on form and low on points.

Which put her in a funk. But she was in good company. Kate was sitting in her family's dedicated sulking chair as well.

Not a bad way to spend a morning. At least this time we didn't have to dip into our savings to wear those super fancy shoes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving dinner starts at 1:30....but it always starts WAY before that with the rolls. We must have lots and lots of homemade rolls and since I only know one way to make amazing rolls (breadmaker) and each batch takes 2 hours, I had to get going pretty early to make the 5 batches I was figuring we'd need. Our family can eat an entire batch with no problem....and that's on a regular-non-feasting day. 

4 families = 5 batches = 10 hours = up at 3 am + cooking one batch at the Flynns - one roll Todd stole before I could get out the door.....

(I may have sampled one or two as well. This is not a confession.)

The girls were fascinated with the bursting cranberries...

The turkey turned out really good! I think it helped that Mike McCauley taught me the fancy trick of jamming lots of butter and salt under the skin. It turns a roasted chicken into a roasted chicken. 

And it works on turkeys too!

The Huffords, the Hursts, the Flynns, and the Fennixes dishing up.

Somehow all the adults ended up at the kids table.  It was cozy, but my carpet was glad.

After dinner activities included dishes, football, video games....

And so much dessert. 

Vaile Mansion

On my birthday, Julia promised me that we'd take a day and go visit some old mansions in the area....without kids. We thought we'd go see one in the morning, have a nice lunch and then visit another in the afternoon. Maybe a beautiful crisp Saturday in the spring?

And then on her birthday, I promised her that we really would go ..... like for reals. 

And then it was time to go back to school and then there was Halloween....

Finally we realized that we better get cracking. So I found a babysitter and we went through the Taco bell drive thru and raced up to see the Vaile Mansion. 

Our guide was perfect. He knew all the gory details. Let's just say that I wouldn't care to spend the night there. There is a major creep factor to a place where the wife committed suicide in her bedroom and then served as an INSANE ASYLUM for decades. 


We loved it! And I promised Julia no one would ever see this photo.


Thursday, November 17, 2016


Don't leave me! 

I love you, so so much. 

Your yummy pumpkin smells and chunky soups. 

Your chilly weather that makes me feel perfectly justified in wearing all my cable knit sweaters in every shade of grey. 

And my boots! When else do I get to enjoy my boots? Summer is too hot and winter is too wet. 

Fall is for boots. 

And for walking my kids to school just because it smells nice out there. 

Those amazing changing trees and the way the drop their leaves and they flutter down around you. 

It makes me smile every time. 

See you in 9 months.