Monday, December 28, 2009

Halloween '09

Achtung: The next three posts are crazy-out-of-order, thanks to my amazing blogging abilities.

So, I'm taking us back several weeks, back to the 'old place' (I say with endearment in my heart). Gettin' ready for Halloween, baby!
Mira as a mermaid princess, Ella as Cinderella, and Colin as Harry Potter. Where is Micah, you ask? We-ell...
This is where he be: covering his face with all sorts of random face paints, thinking it just makes his costume that much better!
I told the girls that, for Halloween only, I would put makeup on them. Oh, how excited they were! Mira had to keep looking at herself in the mirror and having her lipstick reapplied. Again. Again.
Darling Ella!
My sweet girls.
Yes, this would be a separate costume for Micah. He changed his mind a few times. At school he dressed up like a vampire. Colin was still Harry Potter. :)
It's pretty awesome now that Colin's old enough to participate more in the festivities. He drew on his own face for the pumpkin and carved it out!
Here are Micah, Ian (neighbor), Ella, and Mira (and my arm).

Mira's Three!

Talk about a little girl who wants for nothing: Enter Mira Catherine. She turned three the day after Thanksgiving this year and had a wonderful time! She got a special date with Grandma and Grandpa Miller all by herself--can we say shopping spree?! And then a fun birthday party at Grandma and Grandpa Barnett's where she was the center of attention.
Here she is, donning her new ballet getup, loving everything about it!


Aw, so sweet with Grandma and Grandpa!
Applying (and reapplying, reapplying, reapplying) lipgloss from her Barnett birthday party! So fancy with all those bracelets and necklaces...
Ella helping to 'do-up' Mira's new doll.
Gotta try out some twirls in the new princess dress! All things girlie, you know!
I just love this shot of her with Colin. Too sweet!

And this would be one of my absolute favorites! The little imp.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

For Christmas Eve, we headed to my parents' where Chris was visiting from Texas. It was a great Christmas Eve celebration. The first thing we did was stand outside WalMart and sing carols to raise money for the Salvation Army. Colin even made a comment that he really like doing it. The kids lasted 45 minutes, great for them in 15 degree weather! My mom took them back to the house for lunch while Chad and I braved it a while longer. But I think we made the most money when we had cute little faces singing with us.

Lunch was great--cold cuts, croissants, and quiche (recipe courtesy of Rachel-yum!). Then the kids decorated sugar cookies baked by Dad and supervised by Mom--thank you!

And then we could put off the gift-opening no longer. This was their first taste of it this year and, boy, did they love it!
Micah opening a gift with Ella and Dad watching.
Colin's turn! We should've saved the books for last. Once Colin and Micah saw their 'Guinness Book of World Records' and 'Ask Me Anything' books, they were so into those, they didn't care too much about opening anything else. They're going to devour those books. Mira opens her purple 'stole'. She and Ella felt so fancy in that and their new princess nightgowns.
Ella getting a good tickle from Chad.
Had to throw in a picture of Dad and Chris. Unfortunately, I held back on my picture-taking because of issues I've been having with my camera. I should've taken more: I didn't even get one of my Mom! But she was most definitely there, serving and loving!
Christmas morning was spent in our new home. Everyone was up by 7 and ready to go! We first did a simple breakfast and watched a short nativity movie before digging in. The kids did pretty well taking turns and watching one another open gifts. Here they are all helping get a box open.
Mira showing off her lovely My Little Pony.
Ella and her oft-requested My Size Barbie.
Mira couldn't have been happier about simple balloons!
The boys got a surprise, which ended up being their favorite thing: a double shot basketball hoop. It's already had hours of play on it by them, by Chad and me, and by visiting family. We hope it serves to occupy busy bodies this winter during school break!

Christmas day Mom and Dad Barnett and Amber came for dinner. Here they all are at our new table and chairs. For so long we've made do with a rickety table that had seen it's day and only 5 chairs, which meant someone got a bar stool or a fold-out. So having this makes life just that much more comfortable and we are really enjoying it! Merry Christmas to us, right? :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Moved in

Here we are! In our new place and all settled in, thanks to the help of both our families. Mom and Dad Barnett were kind enough to let us take over their house for 2 weeks while we were in transition between South Ogden and West Jordan. My parents took the kids overnight the day before we moved in so that we could really get things organized in the house. Both sets of parents and Amber came up Saturday and went to work for us bringing things in the house, taking things out of boxes, and putting things away. Chad and I worked like dogs the entire day. We were exhausted by the end, but it was so nice to have almost everything in place.

Fast-forward one week and our Christmas decorations are up (minus the outside lights this year), as well as framed pictures and art. It really feels like home now. The boys are walking to school (that's a new one for us). We're signed up at a gym that seems like it'll be great for our family.

There are still things to be done. A preschool to find for Ella, ballet for the girls, piano for the boys, and a couple of babysitters for our occassional nights out. And Comcast is turning out to be the biggest hassle ever with the right hand not knowing what the left is doing on their end. The kids haven't met anyone else their age in the neighborhood. We hear there are lots of kids around, but no one's outside! That's one huge downside to moving in during wintertime. Luckily the boys are happy at school and are making friends there.

The boys are now on year-round school, which is foreign to me. It should be...interesting. They will get off for Christmas break the middle of this week for 1 1/2 weeks, then right into their 3 week off-track break. Craziness!! Any ideas on how to keep Mom sane during that time? I'm just glad we have double the space here. We'll need it!!

And one little tidbit of news. Okay, more than a tidbit. Around Junetime there will be a new addition to the Barnett household. We just told the kids and they're just thrilled. I told them we're going to wait to find out if it's a boy/girl until he/she is born. They can't wait! I've never waited to find out the sex of the baby before, and this time I want a true surprise. So...carseats, high chairs, diapers, and all-nighters: here we come...again! Wish us luck! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Big Move

I have been terrible with the maintenance of my blog with the sale of the home and the search for our new one. With our home having been up on the market for 6 months, I really didn't think we'd sell before the holidays, which was disappointing. Then, BAM! They want us our by the end of the month! Good-bye, sweet little home!

The quest to find the perfect home for us was tough. We toured about 30 homes when we first put ours up (thinking it would go quickly). Then there was a dry spell for a while. When we got the offer, we hit the pavement running! But it was tough. We saw quite a few that were just beautiful homes, but they had a yard the size of a postage stamp, or were really close to a busy road. Not happening!

Ideally, we were wanting to find something oh-so-convenient to Chad's work and Lifetime Fitness. We did look at a few homes in close proximity, but they just didn't make the cut. We finally had it whittled down to 2 homes in West Jordan, within 1/4 mile of each other. They each truly had one-ups on the other. It was a difficult decision. We ended up going with a home with a great, private backyard. Rambler, twice as big as what we're in now. Nice, big living areas. A beautiful den with great built-ins. A craft area with built-ins (now I've got to take up a hobby!). It's going to be great. The elementary, middle, and high schools are within walking distance.

The next few weeks will be consumed with packing, cleaning, transitioning (thankfully the Barnetts, my in-laws are taking us in for a couple of weeks, bless their hearts!). But here is a sneak-peek at the house:

Backyard. We'll be taking out the trees in the middle of the yard and moving them elsewhere. The boys need to be able to kick a ball unobstructed.
Hooray for no more blue Formica and outdated cabinets!

Lovely, usable den!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Camera

I think I can finally say we have got to get a new camera. I've wanted one for some time, but have put it off for other priorities. I can't even get my pictures to upload to my computer now. I would like some recommendations as to which camera you think is the best.

So to recap Halloween, the boys and Ella dressed up Friday to go to school. Ella was Snow White (we borrowed a really pretty costume), Micah was a vampire, and Colin was Harry Potter. They all had a great time at school playing games, eating junk, and parading around. The next day, being Halloween, Mira started off as a mermaid princess, then changed just before Trick-or-Treating into her Cinderella dress. They got a ton of candy and we couldn't have had more than 25 trick-or-treaters come by, so we've got a ton leftover. We're going to have to donate it to our bishop to hand out to kids after church or something.

Big news (for Chad and me, at least): this is the first Halloween in recorded history neither of us ate a single piece of candy. I still can't believe we did it. How tempting was it to see a peanut butter cup or peanut M&Ms in the kids' bags and pass it by! For now we've got about 10 pounds of candy on top of the refrigerator. Someone come get it before we get in trouble!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bragging Rights

I'm putting my humility on the shelf for this post. Yesterday I went to CrossFit for a usual killer workout. Before we started in, though, we all went in for cleans to see what our max weight would be. If you're unfamiliar with a clean, here it is:

http://www.crossfitcle.com/2008/02/learning-to-clean.html

We were doing reps of 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, increasing our weight with each set. I started at 95 pounds. By the time I finished, I'd cleaned 145 pounds!! Woo-hoo! See for yourself (as stated by Lindsay, our CrossFit instructor who rocks!):

WE HAVE TWO NEW RECORDS ON THE GLORY BOARD, DOM CLEANED 245LBS & NICLOE CLEANED 145LBS. EVERYBODY THAT DID NOT GET THE PLEASURE TO COME TO THE 10:00 WOD, YOU MISSED OUT. IT WAS GREAT TO SEE EVERYONE CHEERING AND ENCOURAGING AS THE LADIES AND MEN WERE BATTLING FOR THE TOP CLEAN. THAT IS WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT GREAT, YOU WOULD NEVER SEE THAT IN A REGULAR GYM THE ENERGY WAS AWESOME, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

(P.S. Amber, Dom is the guy who works with you, did you know that?)

The great thing about CrossFit is that it's for anyone in decent physical shape. You challenge yourself every time. The other girl who almost got to 145# is an amazing machine, Stacie. The incredible thing about her is that she only weighs 125#!! So if all things were relative... But I don't care! I'm going to bask in the glory of my win!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Pickin'

Saturday we took the kids to J&J Garden Center for their annual hayride and pumpkin picking. We've done it the past few years and the kids love it. This time the sun was brightly shining and it was actually quite warm! The children were all excited to select their very own pumpkins.

Here is a snapshot I got of Chad waiting in line, watching the kids.
Ella, who told me not to take this and I'd better not post it!
Too sweet.
Mira, trying to look up at the camera while the sun in blazing into her eyes. (The dirty arm is black fluff from her sweater she had on earlier.)
And Colin, who was having a great ol' time just a second before I took this. He's trying to give me his most 'unimpressed' look.
And the choosing begins!
This orange and blue shirt is Micah's favorite shirt. I might have to 'accidentally' lose it sometime soon... And the cowboy boots and hat are common in his ensembles lately. In fact, today I let him walk out the door to school wearing shorts and a T-shirt with long soccer socks and cowboy boots. I don't fight it anymore. He's expressing his style, right? It makes me giggle when I remember it.
The hay ride! Everyone's having a great time!
And here are the perfect pumpkins!
Heading out! Tonight, for FHE, we'll be carving these babies. Which means Chad and I will be getting mighty messy. Micah insists we keep pumpkin seeds to bake and also to plant. Will they even grow? And Ella has designated her pumpkin to be used to make 'dinner in a pumpkin'. Yummy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chad's Birthday Plus

We just celebrated Chad's 33rd birthday. On his wish list were: new running shoes, new shorts (yes, I know it's October), fishing gear, and Jazz tickets. I don't know what it is...getting older, married, being too consciencious about money or what, but he ended up getting himself the shoes and fishing equipment. That way he gets what he really wants, right? And both our parents gave him cash so he can go to some Jazz games. (He's excited for the season!) Whoop-de-doo: I gave him the shorts and a couple of ties. How romantic and exciting, right?
Mom and Dad Barnett took Chad and me out to dinner while Amber watched the kids. Thank you guys! Then back to our house for cake and ice cream. We did Chad's birthday cake at my parent's house, too, on General Conference Sunday, but I didn't have the camera with me. My cousins, Michaeline and Melissa and her daughter, Amelia were there, too. Good times.
After getting all sugared-up on cake and ice cream, the boys start showing off wrestling and whatnot and all three of them ended up getting hurt: Colin and Chad bonked heads (ouch!) and Micah got hurt running away from Grandpa, I think.
Ella, Micah, and Mira Catherine really enjoyed the time they got to spend with their cousin, Amelia. She got to stay with us while her mom went to General Conference. They all loved the cat (a little too much maybe) and wouldn't let it go!
Tell me this isn't the most beautiful little dark-haired, dark-eyed girl! And what a character! All the kids were in make-believe world the whole time she was here. Today I overheard Ella tell Mira she missed Amelia because she'd gone back to China, which is up in the clouds. Hm. California, actually. Close enough.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Diabetes Walk

We had a great Saturday. The worst thing that happened was that I walked out the door without the camera. Darn. I had been a busy morning getting the house in order for a showing and everyone out the door on time. At least the camera was the only thing I forgot.

Chad signed us up for the Diabetes Walk in Salt Lake. It was held at This Is the Place Heritage Park. We'd never actually gone into the park and we discovered how fantastic it was. The walk itself ended up being a self-guided tour throughout the village. The kids enjoyed it all. We walked through several homes that had been moved from other areas of Utah and were placed in the park. One home was a tiny one-room home with one double bed. This housed a man, his two wives, and their 10 children. Actually, the first wife had no children, so she elected to have a small lean-to built outside of the home for her to sleep in so the second wife could be indoors with her children. The 3 girls slept on the floor and the 7 boys were in the tight loft. During warmer weather, the kids would all sleep outside.

I walked through there wondering how they all managed to cook their meals and eat in that one house. It made me realize the luxuries we enjoy today. There was never an end to work. No vacations. If you weren't cooking, you were spinning your own wool, cleaning and dying it. You were washing clothes. Doing work in the garden. Sewing clothes. Repairing all sorts of things. It was amazing.

One home we went into had belonged to the Draper family, an ancestor of Chad's.

Up the road were tee pees and mud huts of the Shoshone and Navajo tribes, respectively. Apparently, the park has tried to get other indian tribes to have displays, but there are conflicts between tribes over land and whatnot. So those 2 tribes were the only ones represented. Interesting.

The kids took a sweet little train ride around a lake up against a spectacular view of the Salt Lake Valley. I really wished I'd brought my camera!

After the Village, we headed over to the zoo. Ella was dead-set on seeing a tortoise, for some reason. We kept hearing about it for 45 minutes until we came upon him. Then she was satisfied. Well, until she saw the carousel. Then she pestered us until we did that. Micah wanted to see the penguins. We reminded everyone of the time we brought Colin to see those penguins as a toddler and he threw his blue fishing hat into the water and it had to be fished out. We got to see the new baby elephant. So sweet, there with his mother. There was also a baby giraffe, just as adorable. And a baby croc of some sort. Sweet!

We were totally pooped by the time we left the zoo, dragging ourselves to the car, parked too far away. Stopped to eat at Wendy's. I got taken by a couple of scammers. Addicts, I'm sure. I hate to even recount the situation because I've tried to forget how gullible I was. I overheard (or was meant to overhear ) a man who was in dire straights with his wife's wallet lost, their little girl in Primary Children's, and not enough money for a motel. So I helped them out. Afterward, Chad told me he was surprised I did that because he thought they were scamming. Going over the details again, I realized some of them didn't match up and contradicted each other. I felt sick. Not that I'd lost the money, but that I was taken like that. If I'm going to help someone, I don't want to have to worry about whether they're genuine or not. It just made me sick.

But the evening ended nicely. Chad dropped me off to meet up with some ladies at the Conference Center for the Relief Society General Conference broadcast. We enjoyed ourselves and went out to eat and visit afterward. A lovely end to the day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ella's Non-First Day

Ella actually started preschool a week ago, but she refused to let me take a picture of her that day. I begged, but was denied. She also requested that I please drop her off straight from the car and not walk her up to school. That's my determined girl, right there!
You can see easily in this photo how drastic Mira's haircut is. But it's a cute one of the girls together.
Ella kept giving me these tight-lipped smiles that didn't look at all natural. I finally got some teeth, albeit a little forced.
She just loves wearing dresses from the moment she wakes up until bedtime--and perhaps more than one dress a day. I've had to put a kibosh on certain dresses that are holey and well-loved. But she looks darling in this getup. My favorite part of the outfit are the socks!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our Little Do-It-Yourselfer

I guess I wasn't getting through raising children scott-free. I thought myself one of those lucky few whose children hadn't butchered their own hair. Mira showed me otherwise. Friday I was out mowing and doing yardwork (getting ready for a showing the next day). I hadn't seen or heard from her in a little while. Every time one of the kids would come running outside I'd ask if they'd seen her. Nope. I kept getting that nagging feeling that I really should go check on her. But I wanted to finish what I'd started and thought the worst that could be happening was Mira was getting into the pantry and there were crunched crackers all over.

Well, I run into the house as soon as I'm finished outside and the first thing that tips me off is the horrific sight of a long clump of blond hair on the couch. Then I see a few more clumps on the couch. I call out, "Mira!!!! Come here!" hoping to stop whatever damage might be in progress. I notice more chunks of hair on the living room floor, down the hall. Mira comes out to meet me and I see what I'd been dreading. I couldn't even be mad. All I said was, "Mira, what did you do to your hair?" I was sooo sad! She just started crying and I held her. When she finally settled down she asked, "You happy Mom?" I replied, "No, I'm not happy. I'm really sad because you cut your hair off." We both went down the hall, following the trail of hair and ended up in my bathroom, where the hair scissors were (along with yet more hair!).

I immediately called the hair salon we go to and made an emergency appointment. The hairdresser, bless her heart, did the best she could with what she had to work with. So Mira got a nice short a-lined bob which happens to have bangs cut to the scalp in the front.

I know, I know, I should've got pictures of the scene I discovered as I found it. I thought about it, but was honestly too traumatized to do it. Mira is definitely aware that she did something to her hair that draws attention. Whenever people start to talk about it in front of her, she looks at me and scoots really close to be comforted. Poor thing. Well, there's more to love of her than just her hair.
Here's a shot where you might be able to see the bangs (or what's left of them).
And the short front plus the right side of her head she whacked.
Now this side of her head looks quite scraggly and thin since there's only a top layer of hair covering her head (I've pulled up that layer so you can see the sections that she cut).

But, still pleased as punch with herself as you can see!