Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Other News

Let's just pretend that I've stayed current with the blog and you know what's going on in our lives right now.  Does that not work?  Okay.  Time to update.

We've actually had some pretty big things - actually, one big thing - happen around here, which is one of the reasons I haven't blogged about the little things.  I keep thinking, "I want to write about this," but then I don't want to write about it until I can post about the big news, and then I go to bed at night instead of blogging, and I get so far behind.

Anyway.  Time to get caught up.

Halloween was crazy.  Brian and I went to the hospital, because it felt like I had the beginnings of appendicitis.  It turned out it was only the stomach flu, but I promise it didn't feel like any stomach flu I've ever had.  We were there for a couple hours and came home just in time for Brian to go trick-or-treating with the kids.  Brian's parents came over to watch the kids while we were gone, so they were the lucky ones who got to get everyone dressed in their costumes.  The tights I laid out for Rebecca were too small, and Marcus broke the zipper on his air force costume, so Grandma had to sew him in.  I also didn't get any pictures.  Brian's mom sent me the ones she took, but now I can't find them on my computer. 

Nevermind.  Found them!  Nope, these are the after trick-or-treating pictures.  It works. 

Marcus had a colossal Minecraft birthday party.  He invited six kids from his class along with their families, four or five families from the ward, our whole family, and the Burtons.  We had it at the church, because that is a lot of people!  Normally we don't do huge parties, but he kind of didn't get any birthday at all last year.  I remember it was around February-ish and we were at Costco, and we decided to buy a cake, and then I was like, "Let's put candles on it and it could finally be Marcus' birthday cake!"  He didn't go for that.  I don't remember why he didn't have a birthday last year, though.

So we invited a huge amount of people, and the only ones that showed up were family and the Burtons.  Honestly, Marcus was a little sad his other friends didn't come, but I think it turned out great, and it was so much more comfortable for me to be relaxing and enjoying instead of feeling like I have to mingle and entertain.

Minecraft food!

More Minecraft food!

Brian and I worked hard on this cake.  It was our first attempt at fondant, so it was quite a learning experience, especially since we realized at the last minute that we didn't have brown food coloring, so we had to make our own brown color.  At one point it literally looked like bloody poop.  We used a marshmallow based fondant recipe, though, so it tasted NOTHING like poop.

We had the Great Kobini come do a magic show.  This was his first birthday party magic show, and he did a great job!  (We didn't know him before, but it turned out that his dad and Brian went to school together.)

Gary likes Oreos.  A lot.

Blowing out the candles.

Alyssa started going to McLoughlin Middle School.  She is having a blast!

She kept losing her temper with us, so finally one day I asked, "What's going on?  Why are you so angry?"

She responded with, "I never see my cousins.  I never see my friends.  I never see anyone!"

Brian, Alyssa, and I had a talk the next night where we explored our options, and chose to give middle school a try.  I registered her the next day.  She has all of her classes with her cousin, Callie, and her other two cousins are in the same team, but on a different schedule than them.  She's giving band a try, playing the flute, and she's making good progress.  She gets frustrated sometimes, but really, she's catching on better than she thinks.  We've been practicing together for the last two days, and her tone has improved a ton!

First day at McLoughlin!

Ethan's still homeschooling and attending MCP.  For the most part he's working well on his own, and it's amazing how much more time it feels we have to only have one child to teach instead of two.  He just started learning how to code, and he's loving that.  Yesterday we were walking into Costco, and he was telling me that circles have sides.  I was trying to tell him that every math test I've seen says that squares have four sides, triangles have three sides, and circles have zero sides, because they don't have any corners.  The man walking beside us kept smiling, and then he said, "I hate to tell you this, but he's right."  Ethan then explained that he drew a circle using code, and he had to turn a corner lots and lots of time to draw a lot of sides.

Soccer ended, so we have our Saturdays back.  Ethan had improved a ton this year.  He's a lot more confidant in his abilities, which means he's going for the ball more.  Marcus loves soccer so much.  He's lucky that his team has decided to play indoor soccer through the winter.  I don't know when that will start up again, though.

Normally I'm not a big fan of doing trophies for the kids, but Marcus cherishes and loves his trophy so much.
And just to finish things up, here's a couple pictures from Marcus' actual birthday day.

I don't remember who Becca was talking to, or if anyone was actually on the phone...

Thinking of his wish

Wishing.  He smothered that cheesecake in caramel sauce all by himself.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What A Weekend!

We started off with a great Halloween party at the church.  I finished Alyssa's costume on Friday morning after staying up way late working on it on Thursday.  We had friends over Friday morning as well, and Rebecca (the mom, not my baby) helped me make a stuffed felt cake to complete the look for Marie Antoinette.

There was quite a bit of rushing around on Friday to get everyone ready for the party and Brian and me ready for our trip to Seattle, but we had a lot of fun amidst the chaos.  While we were rushing around trying to get everyone packed to stay with Grandma and trying to get the house clean, Brian and I realized that we were supposed to be having fun getting ready for Halloween, not running around all stressed and crazy and bossing the kids around.  So we switched gears, made sure everyone was packed, and told everyone to get ready for the party.

Alyssa was Marie Antoinette, like I mentioned, Ethan was Toothless, Marcus was an air Force guy, and Rebecca (the three year old this time) was Little Ariel.  We all got dressed, then we stopped by Brian's office so he could soak some contacts in flouresein (spelling is not correct, forgive me), and finally we headed to the church to decorate a classroom door for the trick-or-treating and have fun at the party.

Little Ariel with her princess friends.

Marcus is showing off his cool Air Force gun.

I missed getting a picture of Alyssa, because she had to leave soon after the party started to go to a Nutcracker rehearsal.

The next morning Brian and I left for Seattle for our open water dives for scuba class.  It was awesome!  We had on two layers of 7 mm wetsuits to keep us warm, and we saw a bunch of purple star fish, some feisty crabs, lots of fish, and the fastest shrimp we've ever seen. 

We did two dives on Saturday and two on Sunday.  There was a lot of certification tests mixed in with the dives, but we were able to have a lot of time just exploring under water as well.  Oh, and we saw Oscar the Octopus, who was apparently released to the wild about a week ago, and the people we talked to afterward were quite happy that he had found a home in one of the old boats placed for the diving area.

I learned that Brian is a great diving buddy.  When we first got in the water, and I was struggling to put my fins on, my mask got all foggy and I started to freak out that I wouldn't be able to see under water.  I kept trying to clean it out, then put it on without exhaling, but every time it was foggy.  I was very concerned, and even thought, "Let's not do this.  I can try another time."  But Brian came over to help, and just having him there calmed me down.  He took off my hood and put it back on again so that all my hair was out of the way, then he called our teacher over, who told me to spit in the mask and then just barely rinse it out.  Apparently, the spray defogger that Brian and I used was different from what Dave was putting on everyone else's masks, so when he told us to rinse the defogger, I really shouldn't have, because the spray wasn't meant to be rinsed off.  Anyway, spitting worked like a charm, and once I was able to get my mask on successfully, I was emotionally ready to go.

Still, it took about twenty or thirty minutes under the water for me to really become comfortable and look around enough to enjoy myself.  It was so neat to watch all the little fish and collect shells from the floor.  I collected some shells and crab claws for the kids at sixty feet down.

During the testing, I handed Brian my secondary regulator upside down; forgot to release air from my BC as we ascended for the first time, which made me float right to the surface once we hit twenty feet; and it took me two tries to take off and put my mask back on under water.  Those gloves are hard to get used to!  I learned a lot, though.  Once you make those mistakes, you make sure you don't make them again.

Oh, and I can't forget to say that we accidentally mixed up Brian's and my gear while we were packing in the dark on Friday night.  I put on his wetsuit, and I thought it was loose because I had tried it on over my clothes at the dive shop.  Still, I was surprised it was so roomy.  Then Brian came over, and we were in a hurry, because we were the last to arrive and everyone was already getting ready, and Brian started to unknowingly put on my wetsuit.  He tried and tried, got it up on his legs, asked, "Am I really that fat?"  Tried some more, got one arm halfway in and hollered, "Okay, my pride is completely done for already.  Can you help pull this up?"

After pulling and tugging for a couple minutes, we figured out the problem, and it took a few more minutes to peel my wetsuit off of him.  Like I said, we learned our lesson and made sure to keep our wetsuits separate when we hung them up at the hotel that night.

I love scuba diving!  I loved being under the water, exploring some place new, and I can't wait until we can go again.  (We're going to Hawaii in January for some CE classes, which is why we got scuba certified in the first place.)  It was fun to learn how to use our compasses underwater.  Honestly, I was quite impressed with myself for doing something that I never thought I would do and was originally way out of my comfort zone.

my hot diving buddy

my cool purple fins - Purple is the last color to lose it's vibrancy under water.

Aren't I glorious?!?
with all our gear

We had both sets of grandparents helping out over the weekend.  Brian's mom braved the cold soccer games with the boys.  Ethan threw up soon after getting to my parents house, and Becca threw up soon after my dad moved all the kids back to our (very messy) house.  We're so thankful that our parents were willing to help out so Brian and I could do this amazing, fun thing together, and I'm glad our kids were taken care of so well. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

He Might Keep Getting Older, But He Will Never Grow Up

 Brian's mom wanted a picture of the original Jacks clan.  Brian was just as cooperative as he always is.
hat off
tongue out

wonky face

hat back on


Brace Face Goes to the Farm

Alyssa got braces on Thursday.  She went in for a consultation last year, and they advised her to wait a year for her mouth to grow a bit more and for all of her adult teeth to come in.  So we went back in on Wednesday, and I was expecting them to ask us to come back for braces in a week or two, but they said, "How about tomorrow?" 

Alyssa was more excited than I have ever seen anyone be excited for getting braces.  She's not quite as excited about them now that her mouth is sore and she's getting used to talking and eating and smiling with big bumpy metal things on her teeth, but she is enjoying the attention for having something new.  Plus, she's really cute.

This is her being cute.  Ignore the soot on her face.  She and Amy were being Priestesses of the Fire.
And this is her imitating Jason Gray at the end of Studio C's "Kid's School Photo Banned" video.
Kid's School Photo Banned

Brian calls her Brace Face, or BF for short, and he's having a good time teasing her that BFF means Brace Face Forever.

We were able to go out to the Empey Farm yesterday for a barbecue and trip to their pumpkin patch.  The Empey's grow the apples for their family's cider, so we were surrounded by fields and fields of apple trees.  Claire took the kids on a tractor ride through the orchards, Alyssa and Amy kept the fire going, we enjoyed Brian's dad's yummy yummy brisket, we went to the pumpkin patch, and we finished the day eating the apples we had picked, dipped in homemade caramel sauce.  It was such a beautiful fall day, and it was so much fun to be outside enjoying it together as a family.  I give Claire's parents the Award of Awesomeness for making us feel so welcome and making our day so fun.

Marcus is our cautious child.  He didn't want to ride the tractor, but he ended up loving it.

The rule was: If you can carry it, you can keep it.

He keeps striking this serious ninja prayer pose every time I try to take pictures of him.  I have no idea where it came from or what he is trying to be.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two-Handed Artist

When we took Marcus to the doctor to investigate his ADHD, we were told that he is ambidextrous.  It took him a while to settle on which hand to use to write with (his right) but sometimes he busts out both hands to draw with, and it is really cool to watch.  They move at the same time, but do different things.  Crazy!

I Knew I took More Pictures Than That

 Camp Zarahemla, Part 2

She asked for everything in her omelet and found an Oreo inside.

She was giggling the whole time!