Yes, here in Texas we sort of have seasons. This is the most fall colors I think I have ever seen (being from phx and all). With the kids out of school for the week I went with my friend Melissa and her kids to the local Botanical Gardens. It was so beautiful! The kids especially loved the leaves and climbing the rocks (that they weren't supposed to be on). I could go every day just to enjoy the colors. Besides one trip, the kids did really well. They even went down for naps easy! It's too bad Jeff has so much studying to do for finals... we missed you Daddy :).
Playing on the broken column.
Grant throwing leaves. When we were leaving he was sad because he wanted to go back to the leaf pile.
Mhari didn't like the leaves. Maybe it was just that I put her down, not so much being in the leaves.
Running! They had a great time playing together in the grass field.
I love this photo of Sandra. Such a great action shot. She reminds me of an airplane :).
I made a slide show for you to enjoy more photos, I'm sure you were just wanting more! I seriously took over 100, but had to narrow it down a little! This was a chance for me to take some candid photos and maybe end up with some good enough for a yearly update for each kid too. What do you think... any favorites?
So I forgot to post this a month or so ago... better late than never :)
My kids rarely play with the cozy coupe cars the way they are supposed to be played with. They have been used to help climb the fence, get on the circle swing, jump off of, climb the tree with, or various other uses. Here are just a few I captured one day with the kids :).
Laying down inside of it. Sandra has the Rambo thing going on with the head band.
Sleeping on top of, upside down car. That looks comfy :)
Picking up. Yep, they are weights now. Grant sure is strong.
Kids really are funny. I wonder who comes up with toys. My kids weren't in the testing group anyway :)
I've had a busy life with my kids the last few months while Jeff has been busy with school. I have been thinking recently of how everything has been going and I am left with a huge amount of gratitude. I'm going to try to share some of my thoughts.
So I couldn't help including some of my favorite pictures that were taken long before my blog began. This is also leading me into some of my blessings :). I just love my kids and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Isn't Sandra in the wildflowers beautiful!
When Jeff was in school for his bachelor's degree I had a lot of time alone with kids then too. I just love the way my two boys love each other! I can't say it was an easy time in my life. Being alone (without a car for 1 1/2 years as well) with two small kids was very hard. I don't know if it was just my attitude or if it was the seclusion.
I must say that things are going better now than they were then. I am finding more joy in being a mother and loving seeing my children learn and grow. I know they are going to grow out of this time too fast and I don't want to miss these memories!
Seeing Jeff with our two boys was always a treat. They loved him so much. I must say that with all this amazing husband of mine has to do, I'm so grateful that he still gets to spend some time with his boys. He takes them to school every morning. What a blessing to me that I don't have to do that, and also for Jeff to have some alone time with the boys. He loves to teach them and wants the very best for our family. I love that about him. I know that school will be long and hard, but the end result of having a better job to support the family and be able to teach principles of work to the kids will be well worth this sacrifice now. I've been so blessed to have more time with my girls recently. I was grateful to have the chance to help bring in a little money with babysitting. Our little friend has moved on to a new home closer to their new home so I'm down to just my two girls. I love seeing Sandra love books and help with Mhari. She thinks she is so big and just loves to be around me. It's amazing to see her thinking and trying to understand new things. She is a great big sister and great helper at home! (yes she still looks like a boy, but it's getting better)
Then there is my little Mhari. I love this picture because she has a car in each hand while in her nice church clothes. She is loving learning and exploring. She has recently been working on mastering the stairs so that has been fun. I think she's teething though, but other than that she is definitely showing some independence. Having a baby again has been a wonderful blessing to our family. She is a sweetie!
Since I'm down to two kids again I've gotten to go on walks with the girls. I walk for almost an hour and have been trying to deliver little goodies to some friends nearby. It makes it even better to be out doing good! I really love that time alone with the girls getting some fresh air and exercise.
I must add some other blessings I've noticed. I have had more patience with the kids. I'm sure this is a blessing :). Not every night and I know there is room for improvement, but I'm so grateful that I'm trying to enjoy the kids and not just been annoyed at them. While thinking of all of these things this week it did come to an end last night with every child crying at some point. It is still better than it could be though :).
I'm also so blessed to have friends here to help me out. One of them put herself in charge of badgering my husband so I can find an hour or so to escape during the month. She succeeded and we got out last night. Her hubby is also in school so she's helping with my sanity I think :). There are so many great women here that I can't list them all, but I hope you know who you are!
I've also gotten to start attending our ward Institute class weekly with a volunteer babysitter and everything. That has been a nice boost to my week and gives me more opportunity to study the gospel. It's amazing what is in the Old Testament!
I'm happy to have my calling. I don't know that I would ever ask to teach adults, but I've learned a lot and I'm still learning. It's a great reason for me to be studying and reading my scriptures each week. That motivation brings the spirit when I otherwise would not bother reading. I could not ask for a better blessing in my life than to have the spirit in my home. I just need to be better for it to stay longer. This is getting long, but there are so many things every day that I've just been so blessed with. I'm glad that Talmage is 6 and likes to be a big helper, even when the little kids don't help. We clean the house on Friday or Saturday as a family so that Sunday it's still pretty clean. That has made a huge difference on how my Sunday goes. Having family that loves us and keeps in contact is great too. The kids love all the relatives and can't wait to see most of them at Christmas.
I'm going to end with the statement that "Life is Good". I need to remember that. We have opposition to understand and learn and grow. I wouldn't ever appreciate the truly great things I have if I didn't go through some hard times too. It's not easy to remember, but the feeling is real, even when it's been a long hard day. Life is only moving forward and I don't want to look back and regret not enjoying these days, even though they are hard!
Mhari received her first ponytail! It's not big, but it's a start. I just can't help enjoying the cute little tiny ponytails on the top of baby girls hair. Maybe it's because it will still be some time before Sandra has enough hair for a ponytail again and I have to enjoy what girl hair I get to do. This is a little better angle at the ponytail :).
Mhari's next big step recently has been walking. She started with her first steps in the beginning of October. She is now walking quite well and is confident to walk for some distance. She can stand up in the middle of the room now too.
So happy! I love when my babies start to move because they are just happier. I think the ability to move is freeing for them. I just have to keep up with her now ;). It's strange how fast this first year is flying by! She'll be 1 in just over a month.
If your kids were alone with their candy for 30 minutes what would they do?
My kids LOVE their Halloween candy. Saturday morning they woke up and started sorting it and comparing with each other. I didn't think too much of it. Then they wanted to go play upstairs with it. I was otherwise occupied with the little one and didn't really care at that point. I did tell them not to eat it.... no, I didn't expect them to listen. So when I came upstairs to check on the kids and the candy this is what I found.
You might not be able to tell, but there are 3 piles of candy around the car rug and then on the rug are more candy...
Yes, they were playing with their candy like cars. It was very cute and I couldn't resist the photo op! Talmage the next day during quiet time took his candy upstairs and outlined the different candies in his notebook, labeled and colored them so that when he eats them all he still remembers what they looked like. I have a couple of theories. They are either too deprived of toys and therefore their candy will make great toys... we all know kids love to play with their food, OR they get so much candy all the time that turning it into toys is no big deal, because they have so much candy, OR they just love their candy whether to eat or play, it's all good! A good imagination is priceless. I'm sure you can guess which category my kids fit into. I am surprised there was no empty wrappers around, but there's still time for that. I just have to be sure they keep the candy up or Punkin might get into it :)
Here are our sweet children in their Halloween costumes. They enjoy picking what they would be. Sometimes their ideas are easy and sometimes not. This year we had a tiger, a leopard, and two princesses. I was able to reuse one costume from when Talmage was younger so that helped out too. I enjoy making the kids costumes because then I don't spend $20 on something they wear 1 time. Especially when I already have lots of materials so the cost tends to favor making instead of buying.
We found this tiger head at the zoo when we were there for Talmage's birthday. Then just an orange shirt and black paint. Not too hard and not too bad cost wise either. I must say that this was better than his first choice for a Halloween costume... he originally wanted to be a white kitten. Seeing how last year he was a pink pig I think we needed to help move toward more boy costumes than sweet girly ones :).
Here is Grant in the leopard costume. However, he is really a jaguar-cheetah, in case you want to know. He really loves being animals :). He was really good at wiggling his bottom to get the tail to move too!
Our Sandra Princess. This is the first year she has asked to be a princess, but I'm sure it won't be the last. She loved being a beautiful princess and especially loved the jewelery she got to wear. She is truly a girly girl :).
Our baby princess Mhari. She did such a great job wearing the pretty dress and leaving the hat on her head. She didn't last the whole time, but she was seriously cute :).
Here are the 3 oldest together. They were very excited about Halloween and trick-or-treating. We were going to attend our ward party, but Jeff had been really busy with school work this week we decided to have a quieter evening with just our family and go around the neighborhood. The kids did really well and walked for quite a ways. By the end Grant and Sandra didn't want to trick-or-treat anymore (even though there were more houses on our way back).
At one house I had Sandra open her bag before she went to get candy so that way she wouldn't be trying to do that at the door. When they asked her to get candy out of the bowl she reached in her bag, picked out candy and put it in their bowl. It was too funny! She had been trick-or-treating for a while so it was really funny because I thought she had caught on by then. I guess I had confused her, but the lady and I had a good laugh. It was a nice night and we really enjoyed just being together and making some family memories!
When Grandma and Grandpa visited they were so kind and bought some beautiful pumpkins for us to carve for Halloween. It was a pretty busy week and instead of carving pumpkins when I was planning (like Tuesday or Wednesday) we ended up doing it on Friday on Halloween. It was a good activity to lead up to the evening events so that went well.
Here is Talmage separating out the seeds so I could roast pumpkin seeds. I guess they had done this at school too so Talmage was really excited to cook our own seeds. They tasted pretty good for my first time making them on my own too.
Grant scooping... yucky pumpkin guts.
Grant talking inside the pumpkin. He liked the echo noises. He's funny. You can also see the face he drew for his pumpkin. He wanted to make a scary face.
Sandra scooping. She did pretty well with my help.
Lets just say that my arms were sure tired after "helping" carve 3 large pumpkins. It's too bad Jeff was studying and missed out on all the fun :).
Here they are being nice and scary for our trick-or-treaters. Talmage's is the one on the left, Grant's in the middle, and Sandra's on the right. They always look so nice glowing with the candles inside. I think the kids did a pretty good job making some fun jack-o-lantern faces.
*** No punkins were harmed during the carving of the puMPkins :)