Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Looking for Lights

 I planned ahead.  Using the Frugal site, I made a list of houses with good light displays that I wanted to go see.  Then I messaged the list to Daniel and plotted them out on the map so we could see them in order.  However, what I didn't plan on, was getting out of the house late, bitterly cold temperatures, and a screaming baby who hates his car seat.  We made it to two locations and went home.  But the kids especially enjoyed the house that gave them treats and had a path for visitors to walk along looking at all the miniature displays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Shopping

We were finishing the Christmas shopping when the older girls asked if they could have some time to shop, too.  So we dropped them off at the Dollar Tree while Daniel and I went to the nearby Target.  I like the shopping center at 120th and Washington because there are so many good stores and places to eat all together there.  We picked the girls up after about 4 hours.  They were at Barnes and Noble, the bookstore, and were really really ready to go home.  But when we suggested eating at Chipotle, they were suddenly happy to stay out a bit longer.

It was my first time eating there.  I have to say, I was a bit disappointed.  The food was good, if over priced.  But the service was lacking.  They were rushing us through and trying to listen to too many requests at once, preparing multiple meals at the same time.  The guy serving Daniel kept not listening to him.  Daniel, being tired and frustrated, would have just let it go and been quietly mad that he couldn't eat most of what was on his plate.  He is currently doing a modified Atkin's diet, which means he eats mostly meat and veggies, no rice.  I tried twice to get the server to correct Daniel's order, but when he argued with me and refused to fix it, I said I wanted someone else to serve us.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I was using my "do it now" Mom voice, which was rude even if he was quite a bit younger than me. In my defense, I was exhausted and he was being very disrespectful to me, but I know I set a bad example for my girls who were watching the whole thing.

I was glad the girls and Daniel and I got to spend some time together talking and sharing a meal.  We need to make time to do that more often.  Hopefully, under less stressful circumstances.

4 Month Old Cutie

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Choir and Play

 This year Danya, Gloria and Brianna were in the Christmas choir.  They sang "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "Cradle That Rocked the World".  Brianna was also the angel, Gabriel, while Shane and Kevin were shepherds.  They were all very good and we were super proud of them!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Almost Christmas!

 We rapidly prepared for Christmas this year, and found out in the process that a lot of our decorations were missing or worn out and broken.  We finally bought new stockings and decorated the tree with the only string of lights we had left.  Next year maybe we can restock on lights.  I kind of missed hanging lights from the balcony and on top of the cabinets.  Ryker was fascinated by all of it.  The kids had fun trying on some of the silly head gear at Walmart.  Jordan pointed out that it was unfair for "elf ears" to only come in white skin tone.  But she still looked adorable.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Living Through a Home Renovation

 So, we decided to do a home renovation using money from refinancing our home.  Our home's value has increased by half since we moved in.  We borrowed a tiny bit of that to do some upgrades and improvements that have been sorely needed since the house was built 11 years ago.  But the process got dragged out and delayed by the loan folks, which meant that, instead of getting it all done at the end of October, we crammed it into the first two weeks of December.

We wanted to completely redo the flooring on the main floor and second floor in our house.  So we had to move everything from four bedrooms, the living room, dining room, kitchen, loft, laundry room and three bathrooms. First we cleared the main floor, bringing everything down to the basement, so they could install laminate flooring and tile. Then we cleared the master and the upstairs, so they could do the new carpet.  And we had to protect the new laminate while piling all our furniture on top of it.
 We were doing okay until everyone was sleeping in the basement except Daniel, baby Ryker, and I, who slept on the floor in the master.  At one point we were down to one bathroom for twelve people and making meals with a toaster and microwave in the basement.  After lifting heavy furniture all day we were in a lot of physical pain, too.  Daniel and the kids decided to do a chain back rub.  I'm amazed at how we all pulled together and everyone really kept pretty positive attitudes.  Our floors came out great and I love them!

Out with the Old, In with the New

Before: Old Yucky Carpet

  We are finally replacing our disgusting old carpet that was installed with the house back in 2004.  Our kids had rubbed permanent ink pads into it, added bodily fluids of many kinds to it, tracked years of dirt onto it, and even spilled an entire bottle of laundry soap on it.  The new carpet looked lighter at the showroom, but the brown color is growing on me.  I'm glad that it's not only soft and luxuriant, but also durable and good at hiding stains.  We're making the kids leave their shoes at the door and wear slippers around the house. But I kind of like just rubbing my bare toes on it because it's so silky soft.
After: New Stain Resistant Carpet

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Company Christmas Party

 I am so very thankful that Daniel's company, Level 3 Communications, hosts an annual Christmas party.  Katie really wanted to meet Santa this year, but I just can't wait hours in line with 10 kids at a mall to meet him.  We tell our kids that Santa is a fun tradition that families enjoy pretending about, but we don't personally do all that.  I want my kids to know that we wouldn't lie to them so that they don't someday question whether God is true. But Katie asked us to pretend with her a bit this year, so we did.  She wrote him a letter and we helped her address it for the North Pole.  She told him that she knows he is real, because she met him at her daddy's work.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

AWANA Ornament Night

 We remembered that it was "Make Your Own Ornament Contest" night at AWANA about an hour before we needed to be there.  Pinterest to the rescue! I searched online for some quick ornament ideas.  We ended up melting Karyie's extra hair beads inside of metal cookie cutters in the oven.  It was such a success that all our other kids wanted to make one, too.  Sadly, we arrived a few minutes too late for the boys to enter their ornaments in the contest, but their teachers gave them lots of compliments.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Her Braided Christmas Fauxhawk

 Karyie loved her new frauxhawk.  She and I spent about 5 hours working on this together.  Her patience is getting better.  She also wanted red yarn woven in along with her new rainbow colored beads.  I tried to choose Christmas colored ones.  I like this style because it's not as difficult as some we've done, so it's faster.  It's also somewhat versatile, since I can change it into a double French braid, too.  She watches endless episodes of My Little Pony while I do her hair.  I think I can name almost all the ponies now.  Her favorite is still Rainbow Dash.  Katie loves Twilight Sparkle.  I think those two ponies characters perfectly match Karyie and Katie.  The one is a high speed daredevil and the other is a bookworm.

Pajama Baby!

 During the home renovations I had to pack up and move all our furniture and clothing.  Somehow, I managed to misplace the baby's clothes! So, I used our local neighborhood Facebook sale page, called Frugal Fun Families, or "Frugal" for short.  Through that I found enough gently used second hand clothing, including these cute pjs, to get him by until we found his clothes around Christmas.  He looked kind of funny since most of it was a little bit big, but he didn't seem to mind.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Finally Preparing Christmas

 The home renovations were so delayed this year that we didn't get started on decorating or shopping for Christmas until TWO WEEKS before Christmas.  I was kind of in panic mode.  But we got the cabinets wrapped, according to the tradition my mom started when I was a kid, decorated the tree, and even made a new recipe: peppermint bark.  Melted white and milk chocolates with crushed candy canes on top.  It was yummy!