Friday, October 31, 2008

This is Halloween, this is Halloween, la la la

Happy Halloween everyone! I love this holiday-- it's one of my favorites. We've been doing all sorts of fun things lately, so this is going to be a long post!

Last weekend, we went to the American West Heritage Center ( to experience their Charlotte's Web-themed corn maze. It was a beautiful day and the boys loved running through the rows of corn. It felt very autumn-y! Afterward, we hung around the AWHC and enjoyed their different displays and farm animals. The boys refused to ride the ponies, but they did love jumping in the hay.

I absolutely love this picture that Chris captured of Tom jumping into the hay pile. Check out that blue sky!

Gord was really excited about finding corn in the corn maze. I have about 10 pictures that look just like this one!

After the AWHC, we went to Macey's to pick out pumpkins for carving. Every year, Chris is adamant that our pumpkins have good stems, but other than that, the kids can pick any type of pumpkin they'd like. Chris chose a huge round one for Neil, Thomas chose a medium-sized round one, and Gordon's is shaped kind of like a skull. Hilarious.

Even though the boys were thrilled about the prospect of pumpkin-carving, when it came to actually helping, they lasted about 2 seconds. Chris, in true character, did all of the dirty work.

For the past several years, Chris has carved this same huge pumpkin grin on each of his Jack-o-lanterns. We love it!

Thomas drew an "M", for Mario, and Gordon drew something that looked like a big blob, so Chris was a little bit liberal with following Gord's strokes. However, Gordon ended up loving his monster/demon pumpkin even more than the blob.

Late Saturday afternoon, our good friends, Ryan and Nicki Stanton and their boys, Jacob and Brody, came to visit us. Nicki has a rocking Halloween party every year, but we weren't able to make it to Pocatello on Friday because of the piano recital, so she was kind enough to bring the party to us! We always have such a fun time with the Stantons and it's especially fun to see our boys having such a blast together. We had a tasty pizza dinner, then played a balloon tossing game and frosted Halloween cookies, courtesy of Nicki's party leftovers. We ♥ sprinkles!

Finally, on Tuesday, Chris and I took the two little boys to the North Logan Pumpkin Walk. Tom's class participated in making a display and Tom and his class got to go on a field trip to the walk on Monday.

I love the Pumpkin Walk-- it's so clever. My favorite display (aside from Tom's, of course) this year was the pumpkin hospital. I especially liked the little newborns.

Tom's class did a "Under the Sea"-themed display. Thomas made a "vampire octopus" pumpkin, but we weren't sure which one was his. The whole thing was very cute, though.

We also had fun putting our faces in these cut-outs. We all know who the princess is around here!

You've gotta love my Yoda.

There will be many more Halloween pictures from our adventures today. While Thomas parties at school, Chris and I are taking the little ones to the mall for some quick and easy indoor trick-or-treating. Then, we're having our traditional tasty chili dinner (yum, I am excited!), then old fashioned trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Thank goodness Chris has the night off!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking Day!

If you've ever wanted to get into Digital Scrapbooking, this weekend is the time to do it! There are some incredible sales going on at PGD-- including the chance to save up to 90% on Friday morning!!

If buying the whole store doesn't work, come on over on Saturday and save up to 75% off-- either way, you can't lose!

Monday, October 27, 2008

YC Halloween Carnival

On Friday night, the boys got to test out their costumes at the Youth Conservatory's Halloween carnival at Utah State. They were so excited-- especially about the make-up and black spray-in hair dye. Gordon was quite serious about the whole thing. He wouldn't smile for the camera, instead giving me his best menacing Luigi face.

Watch out, you Bowsers and Donkey Kongs! The Mario Brothers are here!

The carnival itself was pretty fun, though very crowded. The boys' costumes were most appreciated by the college students and other parents, people who remember and appreciate classic Nintendo. I'm not biased or anything, but I think my kids had the best costumes there!

There were a bunch of games for the kids and lots of candy for prizes. Thomas also played his recital piece and, as usual, did a great job. He forgot about the "bow at the end" part, so after he played his song, he just sat on the bench. His song was a kind of strange, off-key one (for Halloween, of course), so the audience didn't know for sure if he was finished or had forgotten the next part of the song. After about 30 seconds of complete silence (it seemed like longer), I went up to Thomas and patted his shoulder and quietly asked if something was wrong. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No, I'm just finished." I reminded him to bow and we both went back to our seats. I was a little bit embarrassed, but Thomas didn't think anything of it-- funny, huh?

All in all, it was a fun night and a great start to our Halloween festivities!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trick-or-Treat Prep

Who doesn't love a great Halloween? We're getting very excited around here, especially about the boys' fantastic costumes. I finished buying the odds and ends earlier this week (Hooray for DI!) and tonight will be the big debut at Tom's piano recital/carnival. I think I mentioned what they're dressing up as earlier, but if not, here are some clues...

I'll have my camera out tonight, so I'll be sure to post some great pictures of my little Nintendo stars tomorrow!

It's been a busy week. In addition to the costume finalization, we've also been to the library, the park, piano lessons, chess club, and the doctor for Neil's 2 week visit. Little Neil is working diligently to not be little any more-- in a little more than two weeks, Neil has gone from less than 6 pounds to 7 lbs 7 oz! He also grew an inch and is otherwise perfectly healthy. Of course you want to see some more pictures of the little man.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tom and the artist

For quite a while now, if asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Thomas' reply is: "an Artist." Imagine his delight when today, a guest artist (I'm guessing a USU art major, but I could be wrong) visited his school for an assembly and selected Thomas as a volunteer for a drawing. When I picked him up from school, he told me all about being picked and how he told the artist about his own artistic aspirations. Apparently he was the only volunteer, so it was an extra special day. We found a great little spot for our custom art downstairs-- Thomas couldn't be more proud!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Little Sugar

Can you stand the sweetness of this little boy? Ugh, I just love him!

I think it certainly helps that I feel this way about our little guy, because the past two weeks, my entire world has revolved around him. It isn't that I haven't been able to get anything else done, it's just that everything else I do has to bend to his needs. Luckily, Neil isn't too demanding-- he mostly just whimpers when he is hungry and is content to sit and look around for a while when he is awake. He wakes up a couple of times at night, but goes right back to sleep when he is finished eating, so I have managed to get some decent rest myself. So far, Neil has been a dream.

So, after nearly two weeks, I think we're getting into a fairly normalized routine again. Chris went back to work this week, and although I had imagined that my world would implode without him here at night, we actually did okay. I even did laundry! I know, Super Woman, right? Well, almost. Ha.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fast Forward

It's hard to believe that our little Neil is already 1 week old! Chris was able to take the week off from work and I had imagined that our time would be spent relaxing and adjusting to our new addition in easy, lazy strides. Not that I haven't done a lot of laying around this week, but it seems like someone has pressed the fast forward button on our lives and my week of lazy bliss has gone by much too quickly. I guess that's life!

Here's a little update on the five of us:

Chris has loved being home and hanging out with us all week. He has been an amazing help to me-- waking up early to make breakfast for Tom & Gord (plus a couple of breakfasts in bed for me!), shuttling the boys to and from school, making dinner, and just generally catering to whatever I need. Chris even braved being with all three boys by himself while I ran a couple of errands on Friday afternoon. He's a pro!

Elise-- I'm physically recovering very well. I've been a bit emotional, but so far, it hasn't been too crazy. I actually put make-up on twice(!) this week, although doing something other than a braid or the messy bun with my hair is out of the question. I think this is the only time in my life where I can honestly claim that I've lost a whopping 15 pounds in one week!

Thomas looooooooooves his new brother. He is so proud and affectionate-- it's very cute. We had Tom's SEP this week (parent-teacher conference) and we were extremely pleased to see how well he is doing in school. In fact, his teacher and I had a hard time coming up with a goal for this quarter because Tom is already on par with 2nd grade expectations. He's a great kid.

Gordon also adores Neil and asks to hold him about 20 times a day. He is very sweet and mostly gentle with him-- I think it's hard for a 3-year-old to conceptualize "patting gently", but he tries. Gord has been pretty clingy this week, which we kind of expected. It's hard to be knocked from your place as the baby of the family, and he is doing his best to cope. Luckily, Chris has been extra attentive and we're hoping that helps the adjustment continue smoothly. Gordon helped Chris pick out some flowers for me-- he was really excited about the butterfly. What a sweetie!

Neil doesn't do anything different from any other newborn-- basically, he just eats, sleeps, and cries when we change his clothes or diaper. But oh, he is so cute when he does all of these things! It's hard to imagine that he will be so different even a month from now, so I'm trying hard to enjoy the tininess of his newborn life. We love his teeny, fatless body and his husky little cry (a lot like our other boys), his blonde-tipped rock star hair and his funny furrowed brow during his brief (but so cute!) awake times. It's only been a week, but we can't imagine life without him!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rewind-- Happy Birthday Chris!!

Isn't Chris great to be my guest blogger? He is such an eloquent writer-- sometimes I think he should be the one keeping the family blog alive rather than me!

A week ago, on October 4th, we celebrated Chris's 32nd birthday. I don't know why it is, but Chris's birthday ages us as a couple more than my birthday or our anniversary. I think this might be because I remember the little (and I do mean little-- I think he weighed 135 at our wedding!) 21 year old I fell in love with and hearing "32" just makes that 11 years of togetherness seem like a really long time. When we met, we were both still just kids in so many ways and another birthday makes adulthood that much closer. Of course, Chris is really good at holding it off! Hee!

I adore my husband. Aside from being the sweetest, kindest husband, and the cutest, most fun dad in the world, Chris is just a genuinely good person. It never ceases to amaze me how true and loyal and hardworking he is. I often feel like I'm not quite worthy to be with him. And, to top all of that off, we laugh every day-- a girl couldn't ask for more!

So, back to last week: my family was in town (yay!) and we spent most of the day curled up on the couches and floors downstairs watching LDS General Conference. Between the 2nd session and Priesthood, we (Chris) made a delicious birthday dinner of our favorite pulled pork sandwiches. One of Chris's birthday gifts was a brand new basic red Utah Utes tee shirt. His old one-- I think it is about 10 years old-- has faded so much that the red isn't really red anymore. I think he gets sick of my taking his picture-- but he obliged anyway. Isn't he a cute Ute?

After the boys returned from the Priesthood session, Chris blew out the candle on his birthday brownies.

He is not a big cake fan and actually prefers pie to anything else. I've tried to make and buy pies in the past, but the fine art of pies is not my forte, and I never seemed to get it exactly right. I think Chris's mom, probably my grandma, and Chris himself are among the few people who can make a blueberry pie that meets Chris's standard! This year, Thomas suggested, "Let's make Dad a birthday cake shaped like his favorite thing-- a pie!"

Anyway, since the pie wasn't really feasible, Chris decided that homemade brownies would be a good option.

After he finished his dessert, I insisted that we head over to the hospital. Just an hour and a half late, Chris received a pretty good little birthday present!

Happy Birthday, Hunst!

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Neil pictures

Here a few more pictures of Neil. He needs one final lookover from his doctor and if that goes well, he and Elise can come home this evening. Thanks to Marilyn for letting me steal this first one. She has some more cute pics on her blog.

And congratulations to my baby sister, Emily, for her guess of when the little man would be born. She was off by a mere six hours!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Meet Neil

Writen by Chris at 3:30 a.m.:

In keeping with our family tradition of bringing boys into the world very early on sabbath mornings, Neil Christian was born at 1:25 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008. He's 6 pounds, 6 ounces and is 19.5 inches long. He's got a lot of dark hair - much darker than his older brothers - and resembles his Grandpa Gary very much.

While I was at Priesthood Session with Jake and Greg, Elise and Kim went for a walk and began counting regular and very close contractions at 7:30 p.m. After returning home for some brownies and ice cream, I took Elise to the hospital at 8:30 p.m. and in 5 short hours, Neil had arrived.

Elise was so amazing. She elected not to have an epidural and pulled off her third childbirth like a true champ. Anyone reading this who doesn't know how amazing she truly is must be made aware of that fact. I'm so proud of her.

As with Thomas and Gordon, when Neil came out - it happened very fast and our doctor had no time to fully dress for the procedure, instead catching Neil bare-handed - I had the strongest impression that this was not my child ... that I am not so much his father as I am his steward for a short while here in mortality. That our heavenly father has seen fit to bless and trust Elise and I with three of his precious sons is both a sobering thought and a thrilling honor.

I want to thank Dr. Horsley, Angela and Angela for such an amazing job. They were all so sweet and caring of Elise and Neil. They were by far the best crew we've had yet.

Elise will post a lot more when she gets home - with tons of pics and a video or two. I sleep now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My talented little squirts

Tonight my dad and sister came to visit for the weekend and tomorrow we'll be joined by my mom and brother. Chris and my dad went to Salt Lake for the Utah game (GOOOOOO UTES!) while Allison and I took the boys to USU for Tom's first piano recital. Oh my goodness, it was so, so cute! Before the recital, Tom told me that he was feeling very nervous, but once arrived and sat down and saw his name fourth on the list, he was excited. He had his song memorized and played a duet with his teacher, Cortni, just perfectly. I took a video, of course, so feel free to compliment my little pianist playing "Sailor Jack":

Ah, I love the little bow!

Thomas absolutely loves his lessons and his teacher. I don't even have to argue with him to get him to practice and sometimes, he'll just start practicing on his own. The main challenge he has now is learning to look at the notes-- he has a tendency to listen to the song once, then just play it by ear over and over. It's a bad habit that we're hoping to break in order to help his abilities develop. Most of his songs at this point are played with just one hand, so he has been making up a left hand accompaniment to jazz them up a little bit. It's quite cute, and we think very clever. I remember reading an interview with Billy Joel who said that he got in trouble as a little kid because he would improvise on his classic piano lessons. So, maybe we have a little Billy Joel on our hands? :)

Of course, after the recital, we had to go to Aggie Ice Cream to celebrate. Mmmm!

Earlier today, Chris took a video of Gordon enjoying his spaghetti lunch (an example of "how a cow eats hay"), which I thought I'd share because it's just kind of funny. And hey, eating is a talent, too, right?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bring on the Fall!

I can't really describe the joy I feel at knowing that today is the first day of October. I love this month, even when I'm not expecting to deliver a baby. I love the way the air gets chilly (eventually, anyway), and that I can break my sweaters and our holiday decorations out of storage. I love making warm comfort foods and watching football. It's a good time of year.

Today Gordon's pre-school class had a visit from a fireman. He brought his truck along, which I'm sure Gordon was thrilled with, and all of the kids got a little tour. Chris picked Gordon up from school and said that he was a little bit nervous about the siren, but by the time I came home, he couldn't wait to tell me all about his fun school day. He's such a cute, funny little guy!

Thomas had the opportunity to attend the Utah vs. Weber State game at Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday. This will probably be his only live game of the year, so Chris made sure to get him some fun treats and stay through the cool halftime show. Tom said that his favorite part of the game was "when they showed the Mack Truck" on the jumbo tron, "when Mack made a touchdown." Yeah!

On our way to Salt Lake, I asked Chris to stop in Sardine Canyon to get some pictures of us with all of the fall beauty.

As if the above picture wasn't enough to make me swear off cameras for at least a few months, I am further torturing myself by giving you one last shot of my bulging belly. I know I'm smiling, but if you look closely, you can see that I'm begging to be put out of my misery!