Happy Halloween

{You KNEW I would dress her up as a princess, right?!}
ever feel like all you've got to offer at the moment is Mac & Cheese and yesterday's hair-do? yeah... that's where I've been the last few weeks. It's been a long, tiring month for some reason. This week was especially long cuz I was up in the night cleaning up throw up from kids and beds. {'Tis the season for candy and germs EVERYWHERE! that's why Ella's not looking her best - she's on cold #2 this month} Hoping to catch up before the holiday rush really gets going. Including posting the boys in their costumes... they're little cuties too... Cameron is on TDY in Maryland. I know Halloween isn't until tomorow but I'm a little burned out on it after doing all the parties, cookie making, pumpkin carving, and costuming solo this week... got a few little plans for tomorrow, anyway. Man, I really appreciate having a husband around. Hopefully, life will get a little more normal after I pick him up from the airport tonight.


my THIRD boy

I was just getting caught up on my Picture.of.the.Day project and a few pics caught my eye. I love {ALL} my boys. Today, see what I love about this one:

ClAssIc IsAac: black eye {Austin threw the garage door open into Zac's face} and bruises all over his forehead
messy face {the kid can NOT keep his face clean!}
what you don't see {no pants, diaper - yes he's STILL wearing diapers - we're workin' on it, two different socks - one black, leftover from church, one of Austin's too big white ones}
He just learned to ride his "big" bike with training wheels {can you tell the bike's been through all 3 boys?!} I try to spend a half hour a day with JUST him. Today's activity - learning to use the brakes.

He is so enthusiastic. Also, he's got a great imagination. My best "pretender" so far. I love watching him play - especially listening to him talk to his toys and hearing what they "say" back to him.

The other day at nap time: he INSISTED on going to bed inside a web. We made one with a blanet and pillows. he INSISTED on wearing the mask. he fell asleep, I snapped a picture, and then took the mask off his mouth and nose. He is strong-willed and very insistent. I get nervous for his teenage years (seriously, I think about it daily!) I'm constantly trying to think of ways to make him think what I need him to do is HIS idea.

We went to ride Fire Trucks the other night at the fire station's Fire Prepardeness Fair. The boys loved it. Isaac had a great time. He snuggled with his dad on top of the fire engine during our ride. I carried him for a while in line when he got SCARED when "Scruff the Crime Dog" ( a guy in suit) came to give him a high five. {He's hopelessly scared of dogs.}
There is just something so sweet and endearing about the little things they do. I LOVE my boys. Really. Boys. They're great.


TEN years. Really.

We planned to celebrate our first TEN YEARS together later in the month. So I kind of didn't think about it much. And in the business and ...well, exhaustion the two of us are calling life lately our TEN year anniversary went almost unnoticed. A bit sad, huh? Don't worry we'll make up for it!
Well, on Monday when I noticed the date {October 4}, I threw the kids in the car and went right to the grocery store to pick up an anniversary card and a pie. {We served pie and apple cider at our wedding reception, so it has become our anniversary tradition.} Cameron brought home flowers for me. And that was that. 10 years come and gone...
So, although that was just a teeny, tiny celebration for a great big {10 years long} life together, it represented how lucky we are to have eachother. So happy that we are dedicated and willing to work hard to make our marriage happy and wonderful. So excited to spend another 10 years together. Grateful for the way we have made a family. Dreaming about the future, enjoying the present, and remembering the past.

October 4, 2000 SaltLakeCity Temple

We went to Jakson Hole for our honeymoon. On the way home we stopped in Yellowstone. I never would have imagined, then, that in ten years time my life would look like this:

Wow, how things change! And I couldn't be happier. (okay, so we won't mention that living in a bigger city would make me a teensy bit happier ;) )
Thank you Cameron for completing me. Thank you for giving me our kids. Thank you for being the hardest worker I know. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the past 10 years. ...love ya...


Fall Feast {the recipes}

The first official day of Fall {Autumn} this year was Sept.23. It snuck up on me. Our desert weather has been in the 90's - very unfall-like. But, we celebrated anyway, because, as you all know we LOVE fall.
So on the 23rd - we celebrated the fall equinox with Caramel Apples. They were AWESOME. We tried to recreate the APpLe PiE flavored ones from Rocky Mountain Chocolate. Pretty close, I think. So if you want to give your guys a treat try these. They are the perfect thing to make with the kids.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples:
5 green apples
1 bag Kraft Caramels
5 popsicle sticks (I used cut down skewers because that's what I had)
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
2 TB margarine
2 TB powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Follow the directions for caramel apples on the back of the Kraft Caramels bag. Let caramel set. Melt white chocolate chips with margarine. Dip caramel apple in chocolate. Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on apples. Allow apples to cool on wax paper for one hour.
{I had a bit of caramel left over because I didn't dip my apples all the way to the stem. I thinned the leftover melted caramel with half and half and it made the PERFECT apple dip - the kids loved it. Seriously. We ate 6 apples that day.}
On that Sunday we celebrated with our 3rd annual Fall Feast - a great idea from a great mom I know. Our family loves Fall Feast. We eat something very fall-like, last year a turkey, this year a roast. And we always have pumpkin pie and apple cider. We use our "fancy" glasses and our not-so-fancy fall table cloth.
My favorite Pot Roast Recipe:
3-4 pound roast - I use chuck roast in this recipe because the meat is extra tender - use a leaner roast if you want to do French Dip sandwiches with the leftover (something we do a lot).
1 choped onion
chopped potatoes and baby carrots - however many your family will eat
1 TB choped garlic
2 bay leaves
1 can beef broth
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
1 tsp coarse ground salt
Place roast in crock pot {you can sear the sides in a pan of olive oil first, if you want - it does make a bit better but I usually don't take the time to do that}. Put vegetables around the roast. Add bay leaves and sprinkle the garlic over vegetables. Pour the beef broth over the vegetables. Sprinkle roast with half the salt and pepper and an extra crushed garlic clove, if desired. Sprinkle vegetables with the remaining salt/pepper. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
And as long as I'm sharing recipes, here's one I gave to the ladies I visit teach. I love this bread:
Apple Cranberry Pumpkin Bread {muffins}:
3 C flour
1 TB + 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 C sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 C apple sauce
1/2 C oil
1/2 C apple juice
1 C sweetened dried cranberries (I used the new pomegranit flavor cranberries)
preheat oven to 350. Grease two bread pans or line muffin cups
combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, bkg soda, and salt. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, apple sauce, oil, and apple juice in large bowl. beat just until blended. Add flour mixture and mix until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon into prepared pans. bake for 60 minutes (check at 50) {19 minutes for muffins} or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

8 months

Seriously? 8 months have come and gone since Ella was born? It's going so fast. And it is so fun watching her little personality emerge.
Ella is still very content to sit on the floor and play with toys. She has mastered the skill of going from sitting to laying on her tummy to reach what she wants. It will be good once she can get back up to sitting, 'cause that frustrates her a lot. Her new favorite toys are stacking blocks and things with tags or some kind of string to pull.
She LOVES books and during story time with the boys she has to have her own book or she will do whatever she can to steal the one we're reading.

She recently acquired two little teeth. Aw, so cute.
She loves looking at herself in the mirror. Girl thing or baby thing? Only time will tell.

She is turning into a giggler. She will giggle if you look at her just the right way. Or if you laugh she laughs right back. The more people laughing the bigger her laugh is. She giggles at Austin the most. She giggles when she's tired and I give her blankie to her.
She is a squealer too. She squeals with delight (like in this picture), but she squeals when things aren't happy in her world too. Mostly, when she needs her diaper changed or she's hungry.
And, the girl can babble. All my kids have been good babblers, and they still are, actually. You should hear us at dinner time - 4 babblers all together at the same time - some speaking actual words, others not, but all of them speaking nonsense and all of them wanting to be heard. Phew! Never realized how noisy a big family would be!!

Her most recent new trick is waving. She's been waving, "bye-bye" for about a week now. Oh so cute.