Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m grateful for . . . 

My big family.  Everyone was in town this year for Thanksgiving.  All of the cousins have been having so much fun together with outings to the movies, sleepovers, video game marathons, shopping, etc.  We had the girls sleep over the first night so it was the boys turn last night.  The Rushings are really mean parents and don’t let their kids have any video games in their home so their kids tried to make up for lost time and stayed up all night playing NBA 2K12.  I told them to go to bed around 2 in the morning.  I guess I don’t carry much weight around here because I heard them hooting and hollering at 7:30 in the morning.  I went downstairs and took the controllers away and told all of them to go to sleep.  

They got about an hour of sleep before it was time to wake up for the 5K Turkey Trot.  Uncle Scott woke them up and jokingly told them how happy he was that everyone was well rested and got a full night’s sleep because they had a big day planned. . . Turkey Trot, raking leaves for the widows in the neighborhood and Thanksgiving dinner.  Gavin held on to his record of crossing the finish line first, then it was Uncle Scott, followed by the newcomer this year, Hadley.

I'm grateful for my own family especially that cute guy on my right!

Morgan’s grateful for  Grandpa

Grateful for yummy food, family traditions, great conversations and a home big enough to hold all of us together.

Grateful for my husband’s sense of humor.  Gavin likes a good joke.  And many times the joke includes some weird clothing ensemble.  He got this years and years ago from a building my dad leased to a car dealership.  He decided to have it make it’s grand appearance today for Thanksgiving dinner and was nice enough to wear a shirt on top of it for the big family picture.

And I’m grateful for my amazing parents!  I am so very blessed!

Another teenager in the house!

It’s hard to believe that my little “Ry-Ry” is now 13 years old.  The years have gone by so quickly.  It seems just like yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby boy.  He was a posterior birth which meant it took awhile for him to finally get out and once he was born, his face was really swollen for a few hours.  It didn’t help that he was 9 lbs. 2 oz. and 22 inches long!  We joked that we got our football player.  He lost all of that baby fat by the time he was 2 years old but still went on to love football.  Ryan came into this world full of personality and it hasn’t stopped.  I love looking back and seeing how their little personality was right there from the very beginning.  He was a cuddly, loving newborn.  High pitched, whiny, naughty toddler who thrived on negative attention.  Early reader, girl crazy, friends with everyone, baby loving, smart, athletic, and crazy sense of humor child.    And now we are on to the teenage years.

A look back in pictures.  I can’t believe the change between 9 and 10 years old.  I had to keep checking to make sure I didn’t miss a year somewhere.  Proof that one day, they are your little boy and the next day they turn into big kids!

He wanted to do a late over/movie night for his Birthday party but had to wait a week since his Birthday was on a school night.  Ryan doesn’t like cake or ice cream which makes it hard to do anything special on his birthday.  I decided to try and do something different and filled his bedroom floor with balloons.  You can see how excited he was to wake up.

I mistakenly thought that Ryan might want my help and suggestions on what to wear for his birthday.  I set out some real clothes for him.  Clothes that are in his closet and haven’t been touched.  Ever.  He and Jack prefer wearing the clothes in their drawers . . .  shorts, tshirts and hoodies EVERY DAY.  Doesn’t matter if it’s snowing and freezing outside.  He came upstairs to open his presents in his usual attire and the clothes battle began.  It wouldn’t be a good teenage birthday celebration without some teen attitude.  He refused to change his clothes (which is fine.  I choose not to fight the boys on their clothes.  If they want to be outside in the cold with shorts and a hoody, then that’s their choice.  This battle was because he had worn the same shorts the day before, slept in them and was wearing them again.  I do have a problem with that even if I was known to do the same thing at his age!) and opened his presents, grouchy and all, barely paying attention to what he was opening.  Mumbling a few 'thank yous’ only after being prompted.  I think it was a combination of not wanting to wear the clothes on his bed and not seeing a new iPod in the pile of gifts.

Gavin took Ryan and a few friends to McDonald’s for a Birthday breakfast before school.  I sent a text asking him to get a picture of them in McDonalds.  He responded, “in the car going through the drive thru?”.  I had arranged to do the morning carpool so they could eat breakfast and then be dropped off at school.  Obviously I didn’t communicate this to Gavin very well.  The boys were still happy with their quick birthday-breakfast-in-the-car-before-school.  Ryan came home to get his backpack and was a different child.  All smiles and happy.  He ran downstairs and changed his clothes and took time to look at his gifts again and this time when he said thank you, he meant it.

The little kids waited all day for Ryan to get home from school so they could finally eat his cake.  We sang Happy Birthday to him while Morgan blew out his candles a few times and then everyone had a piece of cake.  Everyone but Ryan who doesn’t like cake.

We went out to dinner at the restaurant of his choice-- Training Table.  Morgan gave him 13 kisses.  One kiss for  every year.  She was sitting next to him and said to herself, “Happy Birthday, Ryan.  I like Ryan!”

He had his birthday party the next week right before Thanksgiving break.  He had his friends come over for a movie night, Super 8, and lots of candy, soda and popcorn.  Birthday parties are so much easier as the kids get older.

In honor of his 13th birthday . . . 13 things you may not know about Ryan:

1.  He wants a hamster for Christmas (yes, another hamster!).

2.  School comes easy for him.  He’s set a goal of getting straight A's every quarter in 7th grade.  We told the kids in junior high that they could go on a trip anywhere in the United States with us if they maintained a 4.0 all year.  Not thinking about ALL of the states as being a choice.  Jack and Ryan instantly thought about Hawaii or Alaska as their destination choice.  He’s shooting for Hawaii.

3.  He loves sports, especially football (talented receiver) and basketball.

4.  He is a huge BYU fan.  Thanks to his best friend, Tate.

5.  He is tender hearted.  He loves babies, Down syndrome and adoption.

6.  He doesn’t like sweets.  Didn’t have a piece of cake on his own birthday.  Gave his Halloween candy away to his siblings.

7.  He loves hot chocolate, especially hot chocolate from 7-11.

8.  He takes after his dad’s enthusiasm for Christmas.  He loves the Advent activities and spent hours hanging Christmas lights all over his bedroom.  Just like Gavin did when we were dating.  Only Ryan used tape and Gavin used a stapler.  The boys both go to sleep listening to Christmas music on the radio every night.

9.  He loves to eat at Training Table.  Cheese fries and Turkey Bacon sandwich.

10.  He doesn’t let asthma slow him down.

11.  He’s working on his six pack.

12.  He has a great sense of humor.

13.  Still trusts his parents to do his hair every morning.

Happy 13th Birthday, Ryan!  We are so lucky to have you in our family!  We love you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Remember when Halloween meant a school parade and trick or treating and it all happened on the same day?  Oh, the good ol’ days.  Halloween now drags on lasts about a week and by the time the actual day arrives I am ready for it be over already.  I can only dress up six kids so many times and try to keep their costumes clean for so long before I am ready to store those babies (the costumes, that is) away.

No one could decide on what they wanted to be for Halloween this year.  We wanted to try to do a family theme again but nothing really sounded that great.  Until I saw a link on Facebook for a tutorial on Angry Birds costumes.  I jokingly asked my friend, Jenni, if she wanted to do an Angry Bird Flock with our family and make the costumes together.  Not only was she game, but she helped me pick out all of the stuff needed to make them and did all of the sewing while I did the cutting.  All I know is that we would have never made it by Halloween 2011 in these costumes without all of her help.  What took her a few days would’ve taken me a few months.  

Flock of Angry Birds

Jack thought we looked like we wearing big pillows on our stomachs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and wanted to do his own thing.  He decided he wanted to be the Joker from Batman and was willing to pay the difference of the store bought costume from the home made costume which meant he really wanted to be the Joker if he’s willing to pay $25 for it.

The school parade was 4 days before Halloween which made the real Halloween feel like just another day when they didn’t wear their costumes or have class parties on the real day.  The school PARADE was more like a 5K sprint.  The kids run by their parents as they try to snap a picture, usually of the back of their child’s head, before they’re gone.  Hadley was one of the few who actually stopped and posed for a minute.  That’s my girl!

Morgan loves her morning aide, Brittany.  She talks about her all of the time and now likes to add that Brittany was “Jessie” for Halloween.  We’re so lucky we got her!  She was a first grade teacher who decided to go part time after having a baby.  She’s been amazing to help Morgan with her IEP goals and doing the classroom curriculum.

My friend signed me up to be in charge of Griffin’s kindergarten classroom party.  Luckily I found out a few weeks before the day.  I love volunteering in my kids’ classrooms and seeing how they interact with their peers and their teachers.  It was so fun to be a part of his party!

We had several different stations:  Halloween story book time, Popcorn hands, Spider donut decorating and Pumpkin bowling.  Lesson learned--it takes more than one pumpkin to do bowling.

Morgan had a costume party the next day with her cheerleading group, The Elite Angels.  She really did have fun just wasn’t in the mood to smile by the end of class.

She loved all of the games!

The next day was our ward’s Trunk or Treat.  We had yummy soup, costume and carved pumpkins contest, a carnival and then trunk or treating in the parking lot.

Griffin put the mouth on the ghost on his first try. 

Trunk or Treating

Every Halloween we go to our friends’ neighborhood pre-Trick or Treating dinner.  My favorite part is watching as my friends arrive in the craziest costumes.  This year the hosts' house is under construction so the party was in the circle and they dressed up as construction workers.  Tiffany rocked the 'stache!

Jack went trick or treating with his friends and then ended the night at our house for a little party and movie watching--Poltergeist.  Even with the outdated special effects, I heard screams several times coming up from the basement.

Hadley with her best ANGRY bird face.

These little yellow birds were my favorite.  They could barely walk in their costumes and waddled as they walked.  So cute!

Last year they were Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro.  This year they were "the King" Pig and “the Bomb” bird.

It was a beautiful night for trick or treating.  The rain and snow waited until the day after Halloween and we appreciated its hospitality.  It made trick or treating even more enjoyable.  The little kids went to a record number of homes before coming home to help pass out the candy.  Morgan loved giving the trick-or-treaters not just one candy but handfuls as she said, “Here you go, honey.  Happy Halloween!”  Sounding just like all of those cute grandmas who had given her candy earlier in the evening.

I’m enjoying the quiet that comes between Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Using the time to get caught up on projects and prepare myself for the busyness that comes with the Christmas season.  I’ve finished a  few furniture refinishing projects, furniture from my grandma's that has been sitting in our garage for way too long.  Gavin’s hoping to be able to fit his car in the garage again one day soon.  Finished up the school directory and now hoping to have some time to start working on homemade Christmas gifts. Can’t believe it’s just around the corner!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Roundup

I think Fall would top my favorite time of the year list if I didn’t know what was right around the corner.  Cold and snow.  I love October, Halloween, costumes, candy, pumpkin patches, perfect temperatures, fall food, hot chocolate, fall pictures and little league football games.  We stayed extra busy enjoying everything FALL and now I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

It’s not always easy to find something that all of the kids can enjoy but Hee Haw Farms never disappoints.  We always seem to get there just in time to catch the last wagon ride of the day.  The kids love to ride on it and catch the candy as it is thrown into the wagon.

Seriously.  How tall this fall? is right!  This boy is growing like crazy.  We almost see eye to eye now which says a lot since I’m 5’9.  I grabbed a pair of his shoes the other day to put on as I had to run out the door and was shocked that they were too big.  But the biggest surprise was when I called home the other day while I was working and thought I was talking to Gavin, wondering why he was being so short with all of his answers.

“What are you doing?”
“Oh. . . Cleaning what?”
“Everything!” (the irritated voice gave it away).
“Can I talk to Dad?”

I guess that’s what happens when you have a teenager in the home.

We attempted to do the corn maze and I know the older kids were disappointed that we didn’t finish it.   Morgan didn’t want to stay on the path and enjoyed walking right through the corn fields and hiding from us.  She also liked picking up random cobs of corn and eating them.

Some nice lady saw me taking a picture of the family and told me to go get in the picture so we could have a family picture of all of us.  She asked me after how it looked and of course I told her it was perfect.  Thinking about hanging it on our wall or using it for our Christmas cards this year.

Morgan enjoyed doing her own thing.  Hiding in the middle of the cornstalks.  Walking down the wrong path.  Eating random old corn off the stalks.  Running away from us.  We decided it was time to get out of the maze and go do some of the other activities.  Easier said than done.  I thought we’d never find our way back to the activities.  I was almost one of those crazies you hear about on the news who calls 911 for corn maze help.

This was our first time to pick our pumpkins from an actual pumpkin patch instead of the big cardboard box at the grocery store.  Unfortunately we carved our pumpkins kind of early this year and they were showing it when it was finally time to light the candle on Halloween night.

We enjoyed a warm fall night at the Salt Lake Real soccer game.  Our first time in the stadium.  I was nervous with Morgan.  She has a hard time with noise and didn’t enjoy going to the hockey game or basketball games.  I was nervous when I turned the corner to see where we would be sitting.  Our seats were right next to the Real band (or whatever it is.).  But she started dancing as soon as they started banging their drums and making all of their noise.  I think the outdoor stadium made a huge difference for her hearing sensory issues.  We had a fun family night out even if Real didn’t win.

We made caramel apples with the Activity Day girls at church.  Morgan loved the caramel and left the apple behind.

Morgan’s finished apple

October is also Red Ribbon Week at the school.  Crazy hair day is a favorite.  I let Morgan go all crazy by not combing her hair that morning and, not surprising, her communication note said she had the best day ever.  There’s nothing she hates more than having her hair combed.  Hadley did lots of braids in her hair.  And Griffin wanted to look like a spiky dinosaur.  He came home from school and asked to have his normal hair back.  A boy (who had no craziness to his hair) in his class made fun of his hair.

Pumpkin carving with the cousins.  We showed up in our costumes for a few minutes then took them off to carve.  Felt doesn’t wash and I wasn’t about to make new costumes.  Gavin’s brother, Trevor, hosted the party at his house this year.  We’ve kind of lost the tradition of pumpkin carving together every year since his parents moved away.  No one dares host with all of the pumpkin seeds that seem to fly all around the yard.  Trevor claims to still get pumpkins every year even though he’s never planted a pumpkin seed.

Ryan starts the serious process of putting the design on the pumpkin.  Angry Bird this year.  Keeping with the theme of his costume.

Jack’s pumpkin barely made it out of the pumpkin patch.  Half of his pumpkin was a big soggy mess before he even started carving his bat and gravestone.  (Hey Jeff!)

Hadley’s Skeleton and Cat design ended up breaking off mid carving.

Morgan anxiously waited her turn with the knife.  She was crazy this year!

Mia didn’t have a lot of demands.
"I just want a Princess Pumpkin, Dad!"

and Dad delivered. . . just check out that adorable Princess Pumpkin!

This pumpkin still makes me smile.  Griffin took his time drawing this face on his pumpkin and then asked Gavin to carve it.  Dimples and all.  Cute little pumpkin face!

Mia loves babies!  She had so much fun playing with Oliver.

Donut eating contest.  Object of the game -- eat donut off of the string with no arms or hands.  Uncle Scott added a new variable with swinging the pole up and down and back and forth.  I think Ryan ended up winning the game.

(L to R) Mia’s Princess Pumpkin, Griffin’s cute pumpkin face,  Morgan’s vomiting pumpkin, Ryan’s Angry Bird pumpkin, Jack’s crazy face.  (Hadley was still busy craving when this picture was taken.)

Griffin loves his cousins.  He has so much fun playing with Zach, Nixon and Kamen.  He and Zach took a minute to check out all of the pumpkins together.

Fall wouldn’t be complete without witchy nail makeovers.  We took the Activity Day girls to Gardner Village for manicures.  The girls had so much fun and had the best witchy nails for Halloween.

Morgan gave this girl a run for her money.  She would paint one nail and Morgan would quickly wipe it with her finger or on the paper towel.  Still not sure how she managed to get all of her nails painted and dry but they looked so cute and Morgan was in heaven.  She loved having her nails done.  Now she needs to learn how to overcome the incredible urge to touch and wipe off the new paint before it dries.  She was so excited and just like anything that she feels is a big accomplishment, she wanted to show Daddy.  So we texted a picture of her cute orange nails to Dad.

Griffin had his first performance in elementary school and sang lots of Halloween and Fall songs for us.

I’m not a football fan unless it’s my own flesh and blood on the field.  Ryan had a great season with some amazing catches.  His team did really well and were undefeated for awhile.  The best part was that we had good weather the entire season.  Not that I’m a fair weather fan but I kind of am.

Jenni and I make a good team.  She gives me the play by play updates and I make sure all of my fb friends are updated.

Ryan didn’t want to miss any games.  Not even Asthma would stop him.  He was on steroids and major nebulizing treatments for a viral induced asthma exacerbation and he still went out and gave his all.  We are probably the only parents on the sidelines with a pulse oximeter asking the coach to pull their son out of the game so they can make sure he is still getting enough oxygen.

Grandpa and Grandma decided to spend most of the Fall in Mexico this year  but made sure to come to Ryan’s game on the one Saturday that they were in town.  On my Mom’s 69th Birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!

Fall family pictures are a must but I have such a love hate relationship with them.  Love the pictures.  Hate getting them.  This year it took two attempts.  Our first time, Morgan was not going to cooperate no matter what we tried.  And most of the pictures were blurry.  So we went back a few days later for Take Two.  Morgan was cooperative and we got some keepers.