Ransom Family

Random Ramblings and Happenings

July 2018

We drove to Utah on the 4th of July so we had a few days to play before Andy’s nephew’s wedding. On the way there we passed the Lagoon amusement park.  I had mentioned to Andy before our trip that it might be fun to take the kids there now that they are bigger, but we decided to go to the zoo instead (both because it’s less expensive and the shade is better.)  As we passed Lagoon, we asked the kids if they wanted to go there instead and all of them said they wouldn’t like the rides there, so Andy and I decided that we’d go by ourselves sometime (actually we are headed back there without kids in October and plan to go alone!)
We stopped by Andy’s sister’s house the day we got there to say hi and visited with her and her family  for a little bit before heading back to the hotel to swim.
The next day we got up and headed to the Hogle Zoo while it was still a little cool.  The kids liked the animals and the ‘monuments’ and Olivia, Vincent, and Abby wanted a picture next to all of them.

We paid a little extra for Vincent and Abby to ride the carousel.  Vincent picked a praying mantis and Abby picked a rooster.
We went to Chick-fil-A for lunch.  SO good! But apparently we didn’t order enough food for our hungry kids, so we had to stop and get something else a little later.
We headed back towards the zoo to go to the This is the Place Monument to the pioneers.  We also did a little drive by to see the Salt Lake Temple, but didn’t stop to visit there.
Our hotel was awesome.  We had the middle room on the top floor and we didn’t have neighbors underneath us, just a housekeeping room and then the lobby.  We had two queens and a pull out hide-a-bed.  The view of the Utah mountains was very nice too!
The next day we visited a friend who lived in Washington in our ward for a summer when Vincent was a baby ten years ago.  It was fun to catch up with her and see her kids.
We stopped for lunch at a sketchy McDonald’s and made a Walmart trip to get snacks for our trip home on Sunday and a few toiletries we needed too.
We drove around a highway that is near where the Saints first saw the Salt Lake Valley and went back to the hotel to rest and swim before heading back out to have dinner with Torrie and her girls and Andy’s parents.
After that we headed to Farr’s Ice Cream to see cousin Jack at work and have some ice cream cones.  They were delicious and so big! Thanks, Jack!
Yummy, yummy ice cream!
The next day was the wedding in Logan.  It was beautiful and such a nice day.  Blake picked a really sweet girl named Megan and they are both awesome.  The luncheon was great and the reception was beautiful in Megan’s backyard.
The only real downer of the wedding day was that Olivia sat in someone’s GUM they left on the concrete surrounding a flowerbed and we had to borrow a skirt from a cousin for the luncheon and reception so we could work on her skirt.  And it was HOT too.
We drove home on Sunday and got home with enough time to get started on laundry so Elizabeth and Olivia could pack up to go to Walla Walla on Monday for Grandma Mary Quilt Camp.  Normally they do it during Spring Break, but there was extra family in town then, so we delayed it until summer instead. It was perfect.  They were joined this time by my brother’s daughter, Lydia and had a really wonderful time doing things with Grandma Mary and all together.  See more details here, here, and here on my mom’s blog.  They each made a quilt top and my mom is working on quilting them and then they will sew on their own binding.
Elizabeth’s and Olivia’s quilts are both basic four-square patterns, but Elizabeth’s are larger blocks and they are set up differently.  I love Lydia’s blocks mixed with the strips and the flower.  Very cute!
Lydia and Olivia did the Jr. Row by Row and won a prize at a local quilt shop for being the first kids to finish.  I really like this rainbow piano block!
While the older girls were at Quilt Camp, Abby had a four-day Art Camp at the community center with a friend.  They made several different paintings using a variety of techniques and styles. They even had a little gallery at the end of the last class.
Also after the last class I took Vincent and Abby for snow cones close by.  They loved that.
MONUMENTAL CHANGE!  I was released after three years serving as our ward’s Primary President.  My first counselor was called as the new President and my second counselor had her fourth baby soon after the release.  I don’t have a new calling yet, but I’ve been helping sub for classes over the last few weeks.  I love the relief of all of the pressure and burden of a president calling being removed.  I loved the three years I served although it was really hard, especially the first year while I was also the PTA President at the elementary school AND working just about evening night 6-11pm AND had Abby home for one last year before kindergarten.  That was a really rough year full of to-do lists and stress.  I’ve enjoyed it a little more over the last few years.  The kids are wonderful and it’s so nice to go back to teaching the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The teachers in our ward are phenomenal and care so much about their classes and the kids and show up the majority of the time and find subs when they aren’t.  I love that especially knowing how many other wards aren’t that way and have such a hard time getting people to serve in primary.
Vincent’s Cub Scout Pack had a pack meeting one night that was dinner and then a hike for mostly the kids and the Cubmaster up a steep, hilly, sandy, HOT hill.  Abby joined the boys and beat them all up to the top.  She said she made it to the top first so she could claim there was no difference between girls and boys and their abilities. Love her spunk and determination. (And the attitude I appreciate most of the time.)
I ordered a personalized pendant from my cousin’s husband who does wire wrapping.  It has all the birthstone colors for each of the six of us in my family on a tree around a bead.  I love it!
My mom watched Mamma Mia with the girls in Walla Walla in preparation for watching it in the theater the following week.  So fun.  I’m always a little worried about taking my kids to PG-13 movies because they always try to squeeze in as much garbage as they can, but this one was pretty well done and fun to watch and didn’t have anything in it that made me wish I hadn’t brought my teenager daughters.

While Elizabeth and Olivia were at Grandma Quilt Camp, we got an email from the public library that Abby won a bike in the bike raffle.  To enter kids write a little book review on a third of a piece of paper and put it in a box with the box with the size and color of bike they need.  Abby filled out two of them and won.  So very cool.  She also got a new helmet and a bike lock.

She worked on learning how to ride it herself for a few weeks and then Vincent WON ONE TOO!!!  He had three turned in when Abby won and then turned three more in.  They had probably 30 bikes donated to the library to give to kids, but that was really cool and the time and effort the reviews took were totally worth it.
After Vincent’s bike was picked up, I took them to the school close by to work on riding them while Andy had a meeting at our house with his Elder’s Quorum Presidency.  Vincent took a few laps around the school while I helped Abby figure out how to start on her own and take off.
She figured it out!  She had some good practice sessions with both Olivia and Andy before I helped, but I’ve never been the one to helps kids learn and it work.  Yea!  She was so excited!
They still don’t get to ride them to school because there’s just too much traffic and I’d rather not worry about the bikes getting stolen or them getting run over by cars or them running over other kids walking, so they can ride at home in our neighborhood.
Big news for my job is that our store is moving about a mile away in August.  It means a lot of work to pack everything up for the movers to move and then set everything back up again at the new location, but the location is SO much better and easier to find and we will have a Sweet Salt Clothing store attached to our store (connected, but with a dividing wall).  We are excited.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  I am scheduling my chiropractor adjustment and massage for the following day.
Vincent had his braces put on the last day of July.  He is SO excited to show them to everyone and to have a smile he can show more and not be so self-conscious about.  He doesn’t have all his permanent teeth yet, but needed braces before they all come in to make room for them.
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June 2018

Our young men invited the young women to a fishing day activity.  Elizabeth was busy, but Olivia went and had a good time. No one caught anything, but they all enjoyed it.
Abby was invited to a friend’s kitty party.  They gave the kids ear headbands and tails.
I helped with Abby’s first grade field trip to the park.  She was playing in the dirt with friends when I got there and liked the games.  We said goodbye to our principal who is moving to another school in the fall.
Vincent’s field day was the same day, so I stopped by there just in time to see the three-legged race he did with a buddy.
Olivia is in orchestra and they went to Silverwood theme park with the band and choir kids to perform and then play.  The dad chaperoning their group sent pictures.
I hosted a book group and hurried to finish painting the last living room wall my favorite gray color because the trim is done on the window now.
Andy had a work trip to Orlando for a week.  The final day they finished early and offered discounted tickets to Disneyworld, so Andy got to go.  He went on Space Mountain a few times.  It was rainy a little bit so some of the rides weren’t running.
On Space Mountain.
I had a birthday and asked a friend to join me for my first ever pedicure!  It was awesome.
My mom made me a cool USA banner to hang at my house (she brought it to me at work.)
Andy and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary.  I made a little collage with pictures from our lives together.
Vincent had Cub Scout Day Camp.  Andy went to help one of the days.
Elizabeth went to Cub Scout Day Camp too, but as a helper with Grandpa Paul in Walla Walla.
She did some quilting with Grandma Mary while she was there.
That same week was our McClellan Reunion (luckily it was local).  Olivia made a jean quilt for our family auction after I told her I wasn’t sure I’d have time.  One night she cut out all the squares and the next day when I was at work, I called to check on the kids and she was already almost done sewing the top.  I brought home some fabric for the back and yarn to tie it and she finished it that night.  I only put one tie of yarn in it and she did all the rest herself. She said it should be worth more because a 12 year old made it.
We started out the reunion with a temple trip.  The kids who were in town and old enough went to the Temple to do baptisms and confirmations.  (Elizabeth was still in Walla Walla). 
The adults went to a temple session and did sealings.
That night we had an ice cream social at Aunt Carol’s house.
The following day was up at the Mountain with George and Shirley.
Lots of hanging out with cousins and trying things out.
Elizabeth and Olivia with cousin Sami.
Vincent with Grandpa George and two of Andy’s cousin’s boys shooting cans with BBguns.
Elizabeth driving the side-by-side with Andy and Vincent.
Abby blowing bubbles with a cousin’s daughter.
Olivia helping a cousin’s son.
Grandma Ellen with four of her five daughters and both sons.
These kids kept busy making a lizard trap.
The Saturday of the reunion we celebrated Grandma Ellen’s 90th birthday!  Her birthday is in April, but we waited to throw a party until the reunion.
Each of Grandma Ellen’s kids took a picture with their kids and grandkids and Grandma Ellen.
Girls Camp was the following week.  Elizabeth went up a day early for the 4th year overnight hike with a group of girls, including two others from our ward.  Camp is always awesome.
Our neighbors went on a trip and the lady asked Abby if she could hire her to water her plants and told her she’d give her a bonus if she weeded.  Abby was diligent and kept chipping away at the weeds.  She was generously compensated.
We had a month that was totally crammed with fun things to do and people to see.  It seems like June is always the busiest time of the year with end of the school year stuff and day camp and girls camp and usually a reunion.
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May 2018

May was a pretty busy month.  I don’t know exactly where time went, but all of the sudden it’s June already! Really, how did the school year go so quickly?!
Some of the kids in Vincent’s Cub Scout Pack went to visit the local police station.  They had a tour and then some police officers showed them their police cars.
Abby’s class had an animal wax museum.  They each chose an animal.  She picked a BLACK WIDOW!  I’m guessing that not many first grade girls who wear dresses nearly every day choose a black widow, but that’s Abby for ya!
She wrote a report, made a poster, and made a black widow mask.  Anytime someone pushed the button on the poster, she’d tell them all about black widows.  All the kids were around the cafeteria and we had a little animal tour.  Super fun.
Elizabeth started driver’s ed this month.  She’s learning and slowly getting more confident in her ability to drive.
I helped PTA with the middle school’s teacher/staff appreciation week this month.  I delivered a little gift for the staff four days and the other day PTA delivered lunch for them.  I liked the cute little things I found and the punny notes.
 On Mother’s Day we invited my parents to come to church with us and had dinner at our house afterwards.  It was nice to go to church with them.  (We took a picture with the kids and moms, but the dads were there too.)
The thing I have been looking forward to for MONTHS happened this month!
Fountain Books (where I work) sponsored a DAVID ARCHULETA concert!  A work perk was tickets and a VIP after-party pass to MEET him!  It was awesome!  I’ve been listening to his songs for months and can still hardly switch back to the real radio now without just going back to his fun CD’s.  I watched all of American Idol and even went to a party with friends for the final show his year.  The concert was inspiring and it was fun to sing and dance and be there with people I love.
I actually got two tickets free and bought a third for Olivia (I invited Andy’s sister Torrie as my guest) and then my mom bought tickets for her and my sister and they sat by us.  It was perfect.
Meeting David after the show.  Florals were not prearranged, but he commented on how springy they were.  I could not stop smiling.
Olivia and I before the show.  So excited!
David at the concert.  He sang and talked about his songs for a solid two hours.  Fabulous!
About a week before the show, we opened up the photobooth backdrop in the store so I tested it out before work one day.
Our little section of fun.  My brother’s wife won tickets on facebook and brought my nephew’s girlfriend with her.  There were so many people there I know.  It was at a local high school auditorium and it sold out.
We had a ward primary temple trip this month.  We invited the families to come and learn a little more about the temple and then they walked around the temple together.
Vincent has been finishing up the school year with the required state testing.  His teacher wrote him a nice encouraging note to help him slow down and take his time.  He wrote her back a little (not very nice) note that he did take his time and not to underestimate him.
Then he had a final piano party where his teacher had them write notes to parents.  Nice.
Busy month with work and kids and trips for Andy and three days a week of driver’s ed.  Ready or not, here comes summer!
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April 2018

April 1st already seems like so long ago, but also like yesterday.  The months are flying by!
We had Spring Break the first week in April.  Andy was in California for the week working, so I took a few days off work to hang out with the kids (not the whole week since there aren’t many employees where I work).

Easter was April 1st this year which was also General Conference (which was fantastic!)  I loved every single session of conference and I’m excited about the updates to programs and quorums and the Temple announcements.  The announcement about Elders Quorum and High Priest Group made for a month of limbo not quite knowing what would happen with Andy’s Elders Quorum calling and then having to wait an extra two weeks after we did find out because of our Stake Conference (also fantastic!)  BUT, it was finally announced last week that Andy is our ward’s new Elders Quorum President (again) and yes, I’m still Primary President…for now.  He kept one counselor and got one of the High Priests who was a leader in that group to balance them out.  They will do a great job.

Spring Break Day 1:
Started off the week with a 10am quick visit to the dentist (yea!) so he could see if Abby’s retainer could be placed back in.  It came out on Easter and you’d think it was because of jelly beans or something like that, but no, it came out when she was brushing her teeth.  The dentist was able to bend it back and reglue it in to keep her teeth where they go (fingers crossed!)

We followed that up with a quick stop into Fountain Books to get the next books in a series Olivia started that I bought Vincent for Christmas: Michael Vey.  She is flying through them and needed the next book before I finished work that Thursday.

At noon Andy’s Aunt Tricia and his two cousins who are Elizabeth’s and Olivia’s ages came to see us.  We had lunch and played games. And Abby beat all of the older kids at Uno.
We had an hour break before Uncle Brant and Aunt Tina and their six kids and Grandma Mary came to see us.
We went bowling (Grandma and Elizabeth went shopping) and then went to a park to play.  We decided it was dinnertime and I didn’t want to send them an hour away to Grandma’s to eat, so I called Elizabeth, who was home by then, to make some tacos for dinner and they were ready when we got back from the park. 

Our kitchen sink was backing up and not draining correctly and leaking a bit, so I asked Brant to check it out. I guess that’s payment for the dinner?  Fair warning that when Andy’s out of town, I may have honey-do projects… The fix worked good enough, but it still wasn’t draining quite right, so I just skipped using the dishwasher for most of the week.
We finished up the evening with a haircut for Vincent.  Olivia took care of that and did a good job and then she wanted to go to the store to buy supplies for a friend’s birthday party that she wanted to host for her here.  She came up with some fun crafts and invited friends and made the cake and everything.

Spring Break Day 2:
Andy’s sister came to Andy’s parent’s place in the mountains for their spring break, so we met them there to hang out for the day.  We had lunch and dinner there and the kids played and played.  It’s always good to see them!

Passenger took this picture…Our Hyundai Verscruz is a fantastic car. We got it nearly 11 years ago and haven’t had to fix anything more than regular wear and tear and maintenance things. Too bad they quit making this model or that’s all we’d ever buy. Driven to Nevada, Disneyland, Ohio, Yellowstone, Colorado, Wyoming, camping, and grocery trips.

Spring Break Day 3:
We didn’t have any plans this day, but one of Vincent’s school friends gave him a call and asked if we could meet him at a local park where he was playing.  It was rainy, but fun.  I read a book on my kindle while they ran around and played.  Came home for lunch and had an easy afternoon and then reading before bed.

Spring Break Day 4:
-Back to work for me. And I’ve been working there for just over six months and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Yea! (seriously, best job ever!)
-Rained all day.
-Babysitting for Elizabeth and Olivia. One of them even had a paying babysitting job….
-Playing for Vincent and Abby.
-Pizza for dinner after a phone call request from Abby telling me she didn’t know what to make for dinner (she’s on kitchen this week) and a request for pizza. Sounded great to me too, so I picked up Dominoes on the way home-ordered it from my phone after I clocked out and it was ready when I got to Richland.

Spring Break Day 5:
-Kids hung out at home while I worked. Vincent built a pretty scary looking train track, but there were guardrails on that steep corner, so all is well.
-My lilacs are starting to bloom! They are my favorite.
-Abby made french toast for dinner.
-Went to an amazing meeting to learn how to teach more like the Savior with about a thousand other people and Devin Durrant who is the First Counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency.  The meeting was for eight area stakes and included all Sunday School teachers and a member of each auxiliary presidency.
-Andy flew home from his work trip to San Francisco and met me at the meeting and we had dinner afterwards.

We had a Family Home Evening Risk activity.  We played until Andy and I wiped out all of the kids (technically Elizabeth forfeit after we beat out Abby, Vincent, and Olivia so she could go to bed and be rested for school the next day).  Andy played a few more times with them the following days to help them with the way some of them react to losing…but it was fun to play together!


I came home Saturday night after closing at work and then two back-to-back wedding receptions with Andy to find Olivia had put Abby’s hair in curlers.  Took a picture on our way in to church the next day.  Elizabeth went early with Andy so he could practice with the choir for the number they were singing at church.

I had a day off and met Vincent’s Destination Imagination team at the Safety Expo in Pasco.  They spent the whole school day there going to all of the fun booths with their coach and other DI teams and other school groups from our area.  They had an instant challenge and I was able to watch it this time since I worked during the competition.

Later that night was the CLOT TROT!  This was the 11th annual event to raise awareness about blood disorders that Andy’s former boss’s son started for an Eagle project.  We (me and the three older kids) have been to ALL of them! Andy was traveling for work for some of them and Abby wasn’t born yet for a few of them.  We met some friends there and walked the mile with them.

I put Abby to work doing her chore after school when she wanted to play outside.  A little encouragement never hurts!  Work before play.

After getting some leftover food out for a few kids for dinner, Andy checked the mail and found Elizabeth and Olivia’s report cards.  They both did a great job, but Olivia had straight A’s and that was all the extra reason we needed to take her out to dinner to celebrate.  (I took Elizabeth out for DQ when we got home to celebrate her A’s and B’s.)  Vincent and Abby both had a good report at parent-teacher conferences too.

Our elementary school PTA does a Morning with Mom and Donuts with Dad each year.  So much fun to go with these kids!

After the donuts, they still wanted the breakfast, so we went over to the cafeteria for them to eat there too.  (Our school is one of the schools in our area with a lot of low-income kids, so they started having free breakfast and lunch to anyone who wants it and we take advantage of that.) When Abby finishes, I guess she likes to help clean up, so she asks the lady in charge if she can help and dons gloves to clean up trays and help other kids with trash.  Nice.

My dad asked Elizabeth and Olivia if they could babysit some kids from Walla Walla while their siblings and parents went to the Temple on a Friday evening.  I decided to go with them so they wouldn’t be alone in the stake center (and was glad I was there with all of the people coming in and out to decorate for the next day and do other things there).  They babysat 15 kids and a lot of Walla Walla families were able to go to the temple.

They had the kids all circle up and they played a name game and some other games before heading to the gym for more games and fun.  They did really great, especially for not even knowing these kids ahead of time.

Olivia was part of the district showcase.  I texted grandparents about two hours before it started to tell them about it (I forgot to give advance warning) and my parents decided to drive over to support Olivia.  She did a wonderful job and even had two solos in their piece.  Video HERE.
We had the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.  Vincent cut his car in March with Grandpa George and Grandma Shirley.  Olivia helped him paint/color it.  Andy and Vincent put on the wheels and weights and he was ready.  Still didn’t win, but he had fun!
April 30th is the 65th Wedding Anniversary of grandparents.  I love and miss them so much!  They were and still are great examples of thriftiness, humor, love, kindness, patience, faith, and so much more!
Aprils done and Mays begun!  Countdown to SUMMER!
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March 2018

 Olivia had her braces put on early in March.  She is one of the most excited people to get braces ever.  She said they didn’t hurt until the second day, but even by then they seemed to be closing some gaps she had already!
Andy and I dropped the kids off at Andy’s parent’s place to stay for a night on Andy’s birthday so we could go to Portland.  They had a wonderful time with their grandparents.  They even cut out Vincent’s pinewood derby car.
Friday night we went to the Portland Temple where we were married nearly 17 years ago.  It’s so big and beautiful inside and it was great to go there.  (Also, our temple was closed for updates for three weeks and I have a goal to go to the temple every month this year.)
We went to Mod Pizza for dinner and sat at a large family table since there wasn’t any other seating.  There were families on either side of us.  We chatted with a lady and her two kids part of the time.  They were nice and fun.
Saturday we drove through town and parked and then rode the lightrail and bus back to downtown.  We walked around a park a little and across a bridge and tried to take a selfie and then a man came through and offered to take our picture for us (he said he’s a professional, and he did a good job, so that’s cool!)
Then we visited Powell’s bookstore, which is one of the largest bookstores.  It’s a whole city block and several buildings all connected to each other and about four stories high.  New and used books and novelty items.  Andy’s mom used to take him to storytime when they lived there when he was little.  Andy picked out a vintage print for his parents and one for him along with a set of Star Wars books.  I picked out a book I’ve been wanting to read (not that I need any more to read) and a magnet for the fridge and a tshirt.
We had some lunch and headed back to pick up the kids.  We stopped at Multnomah Falls on the way to see how it was recovering from the massive fire last summer.  Luckily, much of the main areas weren’t burned, but all around it was burned and trails are still closed.

Andy’s birthday/tax refund/work bonus gift he bought himself came in the mail.  He ordered a new Star Wars Lego Millennium Falcon that he’s been checking on and trying to buy for months. That box is deceiving from this angle.  It’s actually nearly cube shaped!  It took him a lot of nights to put together.

Andy had several work trips in March and during a few of them I worked on updating our bedroom a bit.  We moved into our house 12 years ago and hadn’t painted this room, so it was time.  I picked out several green paint chips and Andy picked this one.  I love it.  After I painted and the blackout curtains I ordered from Amazon came (that were $20 total for four panels!), I was at BigLots looking for some inexpensive frames to put up Andy’s new print he bought in Portland and along with the frames found this amazing 10 piece bedset that matched the curtains and walls perfectly and was only $60 for two blankets/comforters, four pillow cases, and four decorative pillows.  My friend Ally came over one day and helped me arrange the pictures on the walls in a new way.  The square pictures and the drawing of the Portland Temple hang above our headboard.  The rose picture came from flowers grown in our yard and the other is my wedding bouquet and the drawing is one a high school best friend made for me in her art class after asking me what my favorite temple was, so it’s super special to me.

Up close of the new frames and pictures I put up on Andy’s side of the curtain.  My side has pictures of temples I already had up. The top picture is of Andy’s grandpa Lorin Ransom who worked for the US Corps of Engineers working at the Bonneville Dam and helping to build parks all along the Columbia River in the Gorge.  The second is the picture Andy picked at Powell’s of workers in 1957 on the St. Paul bridge in Portland.  The third picture is of Andy’s dad, George when he was a teenager.
Our Young Women’s group decided to have “Missionary March” and had lessons and activities all month that went along with it culminating in a Sunday evening with people in our ward who hosted the companionships in their homes for dinner and for the girls to teach them the first missionary lesson.  They went to different houses, but I needed a picture of them before they left. Olivia went to the house of a friend of mine who sent me some pictures of their French Chateau set up at their house (her husband made the set years ago and they use it over and over).
I have been working at Fountain Books for six months and I don’t think that there’s a more perfect job for me anywhere!  I have an amazing schedule-sent out a month at a time and I can request days off when I’m busy with other things, work with two other ladies who I really enjoy-and who seem to like me and the owners are fantastic, we are not open on Sundays and only 10-6 on the other days of the week-so it really fits into our family life, get amazing perks like books to read pre-release and tickets to concerts, plus I’m surrounded by beautiful artwork and music and nice people who come in to shop who I can help find gifts for people or suggest books they might like. And I also get to organize books and displays sometimes which helps my creative side too. I’m just loving it!
Olivia had another orchestra concert.  Andy was in town for this one.  We were lucky and she sat on an edge for it.  Their orchestra sound so great! They are improving quickly and Olivia likes the teacher this year a lot.
 Our ward had a Chili-Chowder Cook-Off on St. Patrick’s Day so they had a photo booth and games that were Irish themed.  Nathan joined a picture with some of our kids (he’s in our ward).  The picture of Vincent is him rolling a purple cabbage along the floor with his head in a relay.
Vincent and Abby love to help me cook dinners anytime they get a chance and they almost always get out their Star Wars aprons I bought them and the chef hats that Aunt Sara made them.  They are both learning a lot about how to cook in the kitchen.

The quilts Elizabeth and Olivia made over Spring Break last year with Grandma Mary were entered in the Tri-City Quilt Show.  They went with my mom to the show one of the days and admired all of the quilts displayed, especially their own.

There was a fundraiser in one area that let them pick out scraps to fit into a lunch bag for $1 that they liked.
Olivia has been crafting and quilting and sewing ever since.  Elizabeth designed her quilt for this summer’s quilt camp on my mom’s laptop while she was here for a night using her program.
Our Primary was in charge of the Ward Primary Easter Egg Hunt this year, so Andy and I went and picked out the candy and invited people over to fill the eggs at our house the day before the hunt and asked people to come a little early to hide the eggs the Saturday before Easter between General Conference sessions.  It turned out great (and now my event for the year is done, unlike last year’s Christmas party assignment.)

We really enjoyed conference and I just felt like it gets so much better every year.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m growing and maturing every year or because the kids are (but probably both contribute to the result).  We really liked sustaining our new prophet, Russell M. Nelson as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and are excited about the other changes announced during conference as well.

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February 2018

Vincent had a fun 10th birthday.  He had two friends come over and they just played video games, had some cupcakes, opened gifts, and went back to playing video games.  It was the most low-key party ever, but he LOVED it!
His class did a Wax Museum book report project and the Biography book he chose to read was Martin Luther King, Jr.  He wrote out notecards and made a poster about it and dressed up a little.

Vincent got a fancy book for his birthday from grandparents and the next day asked me if he could take it to school.  I made sure he put his name in it and told him he could, assuming he would just read it in class after finishing work.  Instead he came home that day and said he left it outside under the pavilion (on a rainy day) because he got distracted and was doing something else when it was time to come in.  He said he checked there after school and it wasn’t there.  About a week later with him not getting results and assuming that it was gone because it’s a cool book, I went in and dug through the lost and found bin myself.  It was just under the first layer of coats (spring is hard because it’s cold in the mornings here and warm after school, but way better than snow…)  Anyway, I decided he owed me for digging through the lost and found and not taking care of his things, so I made him a chore list with points assigned so he can earn it back.  It might look mean, but I just want him to pay more attention to what he’s doing.

Elizabeth turned 15!  I made a bigger collage of her life since she’s older.  I love having her in our family.  She’s responsible and stubborn (sometimes that’s a very good thing!)  She isn’t afraid to share her opinion or be herself, even if it’s not like all of the other girls at school.  And she’s so cute!
Andy was out of town on her birthday and I worked until closing, but I preordered some pizza and picked it up on the way home and even stopped in to get an ice cream cake so we could sing to her.
We found a Star Wars Family Feud game for Elizabeth’s gift.
Abby painted a lion for her too.

I took Elizabeth and Vincent for a little MyFroYo treat to celebrate their birthdays.

Elizabeth’s party this year she arranged via email and text with some friends at school and from trek.  She just requested some snacks from us and a few kids came over and played games and ate food.  She didn’t even tell them it was her birthday intentionally because she didn’t want gifts.

The Young Women had their New Beginnings annual kick off with the theme of Dr. Suess “Oh the Places You Will Go.”  It was awesome and so applicable.  Many of the girls had an official part that night and everyone participated in the game that was played.

Vincent and Abby helped me cook waffles for dinner one night. They are big helpers!

Olivia had an orchestra concert (actually more of a rehearsal for the solo and ensemble they did a few days later).  Both sets of grandparents and our friend Nathan came.  The time I heard was apparently the time for Olivia to be there instead of the start time, but it all worked out.  Grateful to have supportive family!

I like that this one shows Olivia’s violin better.  So musical!

We drove to Walla Walla one evening to celebrate my dad’s 64th birthday.  It was fun to visit.  He’s such a nice guy and never likes attention, so my mom planned a surprise.

Because Andy was gone most of the month, we asked our friend Nathan to fill in for him at the Donuts with Dad at school with Vincent and Abby.  He didn’t get any pictures of them eating the donuts, but took a picture of them eating school breakfast afterwards and went with them to their rooms to check it all out.

Abby finished a fourth dentist appointment and was good for all of them, so she earned her requested trip to Texas Roadhouse with Andy and I.
Our elementary PTA planned a Family Sweetheart Dance.  Decorations, food, and plenty of dancing!  So fun!
Vincent and Abby love school skate nights.  A friend of mine took this picture of them with her daughter last month.  I love it!


Olivia gave her first talk in Sacrament in February.  She prepared well and had it ready early.  She did a great job. The topic was how to treat your body like a temple.
Vincent is now a Webelos and earned his Bear badge.  He had great leaders who helped him earn nearly all of his requirements at regular weekly meetings.  So awesome!
We ended the month watching a few local plays and Andy heading on another trip for work.  Still working at Fountain Books and loving it!  Kids are doing great.
Since this is so late, I’ll see you in a few weeks with a March update. =)
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January 2018

I really kind of like that since I just blog monthly now I don’t have to try and pretend I’m clever with a catchy title of the blog…

I didn’t post my goals for 2018 yet, so I thought I’d start with those:

NaDell GOALS 2018

Self -Read Old Testament and New Testament (Reading with a Lutheran group with a friend. Link with schedule here.)

Couple -Attend Temple Once a Month (January-done)

Family -FHE Weekly and Regular Scripture Study

Home -Paint Kitchen, Master Bedroom, and Girl Room (and finish painting living room)

Church Calling -Four Primary Presidency Meetings (currently have about 2 a year and do
the rest of things via email or in short spurts.)

Oh, and I decided that I’m going to try and read more REAL books rather than so many digital books this year too since my to-read stack of books is ridiculously large (like over 80 books… and half of those just came home with me as a perk for working at a bookstore and it being the beginning of a new year.)  Seriously making a dent in the pile or possibly reading all of them this year.  Doing pretty well so far with 20 books read this year already (but not all from my stash. Some were library books and a few were digital books).

January 1st we had our annual Crowther party at our ward building.  I decided to put up the primary bulletin boards then too.  I printed a free downloadable file for the things and had them printed and bought some yellow fabric and edging for it and stapled everything up (with Andy’s help).  And once that was done, we ate lunch with everyone played games.

Abby likes her new bunny she got for Christmas and cuddles it.  She gave Andy the Thumper bunny so they could both cuddle bunnies.

Started out the month being DOWN for a week with some kind of nasty, achy, coughing, headache flu. I didn’t go and get diagnosed or anything, but taking cold/flu medicine and drinking a lot of water and apple cider and sleeping seemed to do the trick.  All of the kids got sick the following week.  Luckily, it wasn’t the puking kind of sick, so all is well.

Abby reading her favorite book on a day off of school due to sickness.

After coming out of the illness, everything tasted strange because of the medicine I took to knock it out of me.  The only thing that sounded good one night was oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
My mom and dad have birthdays close together and I wanted a visual for the new Primary Temple and Priesthood Preparation Meeting, so I combined the two and made a family tree for my parents.  They are the hearts in the middle with leaves for posterity and rocks for ancestors.  I came up with the idea and then let Elizabeth and Olivia and even Andy help me to put it all together.
My mom came to visit on her birthday and I took her out to lunch for bagel sandwiches.
Abby keeps asking how she can earn some money, so I told her if she weeds all of the lilac flowerbed, I’ll give her $20.  The grass that grows in there is SO hard to get rid of.
Prepare yourself for even more about Abby.  She turned SEVEN this month!  I put together a collection of favorite pictures of her that show a little of her personality too.
Finally, now that she’s seven she had the option to get her ears pierced.  (I offered ear piercing to Elizabeth at six and at seven and she didn’t want to because it would hurt, so at seven, I told her that if Olivia decided to get her ears pierced then, she could, so seven is our ear piercing birthday.)  We went to the mall and had them done and then went to Mod Pizza for dinner.  They gave her a strawberry milkshake for her birthday and sang to her.  She said that was the best part of the day.
She invited some friends over for an Art Party the following Saturday.  They played Twister while we waited for everyone to arrive and then we put tape across some canvases and they painted them however they wanted to (wearing aprons).  She blew out her candles (three or four tries) and then opened presents and the time was up.  It was pretty fun!  And then I went to work for 6 1/2 hours.
After work I met Andy over at the Americans Hockey game where Olivia’s middle school choir was singing the National Anthem.  They did a great job!  Abby made friends with the guy ahead of us and they made up a special high five handshake they did after each goal and he helped her hollar for the mascot Winger to come over to meet her too.  She danced in the aisles when the music came on between plays and really liked it.  Vincent kind of hated it.  Nathan came too!  And the Americans WON in overtime after being down 1-4 going into the 3rd period.  This is my first hockey game other than a friend’s hockey game I went to in high school.

Abby had several trips to the dentist after her last check up.  She had cavities on one side and the other side had decay so bad, the dentist recommended pulling two molars out (we go every six months and there wasn’t any sign of this then and she brushes too, but I guess not good enough.  And the challenge of having genetically bad teeth isn’t helping her either.  She was brave though and did her best to be good so she could earn the Texas Roadhouse trip Andy promised her if she was good.

The kids had a day off and so did I, so I scheduled haircuts for the girls with a friend and then went and had my own haircut and highlights done by my cousin.
Elizabeth’s hair is getting SO long!
She begged for bangs and I tried to talk her out of them, but she insisted she wanted them.  They look cute like this I guess (but mostly they just hang in front of one eye.)
After my appointment with my cousin, I stopped in to see my childhood best friend, Desi.  I’m glad I went when I did because she planned on leaving just a few days later to join the circus.  She will be helping to feed and groom and clean up for the horses who do tricks in the circus for New York New York Circus.   And then when it’s done, she’s going to go travel the world some more.
Vincent had a Washington State history report and made his map out of salt clay and then painted it.  Andy went to the afternoon showcase while I worked.
AND Vincent had a birthday too!  He’s now TEN years old!
We had a fun month, even though we were sick for a chunk of it.  Onto the rest of the year!


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December 2017

Ah, the end of a year!  It’s been an amazing year with some changes and a lot of fun.

To kick off the month, Olivia helped me decorate (and by that I mean, I got some bins out and then sat on the couch and directed a little bit while I caught up on facebook).   She had some help from Vincent and Abby and they got my nutcracker collection up (Olivia said I have 66 nutcrackers now), put up the nativities in the cabinet, and even put the tree up and the lights around our new window.

Our across the street neighbor commented on facebook about how nice our new window looks with the lights and the tree centered in it.  I had to go out and take a picture.  I love it too!
You can hardly set up holiday decorations without a Santa hat.  She wrapped most of the presents this year too and wore the hat for that as well.

The things I didn’t want her to know, I put in a box with an initial on it so she could use the wrapping paper she picked out for that person.  Everyone has their own wrapping paper so there are no tags and no one knows whose presents are whose until Christmas Eve when they open pajamas.  My mom used to do it this way and I like it.  She also did a big scavenger hunt for each person on Christmas morning to find their first present, but I haven’t been than ambitious yet.
Or maybe my ambitious is just DONE by the time it’s Christmas… Our Primary was assigned to be in charge of our Ward Christmas Party this year (we found out in January so I’ve been thinking about it ALL year and trying to figure out how to make it work).
I wanted to have it in our smaller church building rather than the stake center building it’s been in the last several years mostly because of the kids running around the whole building.  In our small building, it’s just an oval hallway around the chapel and gym with classrooms on the outside, so it’s not too hard to corral the kids (and there weren’t any kids playing hide and seek in the basement like last year!)  I decided I didn’t want to babysit anyones kids, so I did it at our small building (I ‘babysit’ enough being in Primary for two hours every Sunday and other activities as Primary President…)
I had some calculations to do to manage to fit enough seating for the number of people who attended last year and a few extra tables just in case more showed up than expected.  Our building has 22 round tables, so we arranged those on the morning of the party.  We set the tables and had a 12×12 scrapbook paper in the middle that we asked people to bring a nativity to set in the middle.   We fit all 22 tables in with 8 chairs around each table.
One table ready. We set the tables because dinner was served ‘family style’.  We prepared ham, lamb weston garlic mashed potatoes (story below), green beans, rolls, and green salad and dished it up into enough dishes for each table to serve themselves.  If they finished their serving dish, they just sent one person to come and refill it in the kitchen.  It worked out great and everyone loved having the food brought to them and especially not having a food line.
The papers on the walls are coloring pages of the nativity story that the primary kids colored the week prior to the party (and bonus it was even what was in the sharing time outline that week!)  Primary was in charge and I wanted them to be involved.  A few helpers put them up by taping them to red yarn and tacking the ends to the wall.  Simple, but perfect.
Another change I made was that Santa (and Mrs. Claus) came to visit BEFORE the party.  I put it on all of the invitations and it was well announced.  They came between 5-6 and then the party started.  And the Young Women’s group decorated a room for them to be in and even had one of their leaders take photos.
Vincent wasn’t so sure about Santa and Mrs. Claus knowing his name and asking him about piano…
Abby LOVED visiting with them.
All 22 tables were used.  AND we started right on time because most everyone was there already to see Santa.  There were a few extra spots at tables, but not many.  I had the extra rectangle tables set aside for just in case that we used for the kids to color more pictures while they waited if they came early for Santa, but we didn’t have to use them.
This was taken just before we started.
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a good story about mashed potatoes.  I was trying to figure out a way to not have to buy ingredients and disposable containers for cheesy potatoes with sour cream for people in the ward to make (which would also require buying the ingredients and taking them to people and then getting them to the church on time).  I wondered if a local potato company might be able to sell me some of their potatoes (not found in stores, but sold to restaurants).  When I talked to a lady about it, she offered that they could donate them to us because we are a non-profit church and that I just needed a non-profit number for that.  I emailed our ward clerks and bishop and was told that we should buy the potatoes.  I was bummed, but followed their counsel and called her back a few days later and told her that we were grateful for her offer, but I needed to pay for them.  She responded that if I had to pay for them, their once a year employee only sale was happening THAT NIGHT.  She could set aside 3- 24# boxes for me of garlic mashed potatoes and charge just $2 a box. You read that right.  So I DID buy the potatoes, but they were a screaming deal of just $6 total to feed nearly 200 people.  It was amazing!  We heated them in three big roasting pans all day (and I hung out at the church to work on other tasks).  It was awesome.  A lady in our ward often slices and cooks the ham for funerals and said she’d just take care of all of that.
We had a Journey to Bethlehem after the dinner that we asked people to act a part in around the building (my second counselor was in charge of the little gifts that went along with this).  We divided the tables into groups and sent them around.  Then we came back into the gym for singing and musical performances (first counselor in charge of the music) and some Christmas cookies that people signed up to bring.
People told me it was great (which is probably because they have been in charge of things before, but still felt nice!) and I even heard a few ‘best Christmas party ever!’ from people who have been in our ward for much longer than my 16 1/2 years.  I think it was a hit!
However, the following Sunday when our new Bishop asked our ward council what people wanted to be in charge of for 2018, I said NOT the Christmas party.  I signed up for the Primary Easter Egg hunt. Phew.
The day after the Ward Christmas Party, my parents came to town and we went to West Richland’s Stake Nativity Showcase.  My kids didn’t want to go, so I just went with my parents.  It was nice.
The following Monday after the party, I stayed in bed the whole day with a nasty cold.  It’s still clearing up even almost a month later….
Therefore, I missed Olivia’s holiday orchestra concert.  Andy’s parents went and sent me a picture.
We arranged a Friday evening to meet up with my parents and a brother and his wife and sons at the Temple to do baptisms for the dead.  My dad had a stack of names ready to do the work for and another brother had a few names he sent with us too. Olivia had her first experience at the Temple.
 I worked a lot this month.  I worked 19 out of 25 days we were open (and two of those I purposely requested off to do the Christmas Party above). Since there are just four employees, we were doubled or tripled up often during the holidays to make things run smoothly.  Even at the busiest time at Fountain Books, it was still SO much nicer than other retail during the holidays and the hours we were open are great! We had more family time because even if I closed the store, I could still make it home to read scriptures and pray together and put kids to bed.
Fountain Books hosted a holiday concert at a local high school’s auditorium with Jason Lyle Black “The Backwards Piano Man”.  I signed Vincent and Olivia up for a free workshop with him during the day and then had VIP tickets to attend for Vincent and I (I had already purchased some balcony tickets that I intended to use for Olivia, Vincent, and I.) My manager’s friend wasn’t able to come, so she offered that ticket to Olivia, and we had Andy and Abby sit up in the balcony.  The VIP passes included a reception area with Jason Lyle Black and snacks before the concert. It was fun to meet him.
Sunday evening he did a fireside in our Stake Center that was full of extra inspirational spotlight talks from him and more spiritual songs (rather than the fun holiday songs that were played at his concert.)
In between church and the fireside Vincent taught himself how to play the piano backwards.  He can play this way or backwards on the bench.  He and Olivia figured out a duet and played together.  I posted it on Instagram and Facebook.
We were given supplies to decorate Gingerbread/Graham Cracker Houses by a sweet family in our ward.  It was a fun activity and they all had plenty of decorations and had fun making their treat. (I heard that this family delivered supplies to ALL of the families in our ward with Primary children which makes my Primary President heart happy.)
The Monday before Christmas my sister in law and niece drove an hour to my house and then I drove the hour to my mom’s so we could make some chocolates. My mom makes some fantastic chocolate truffles that we rolled and dipped in cocoa, candy cane dust, and chocolate.  We made some chocolate covered nuts and candy oranges dipped in chocolate and a lot of Ritz Cracker peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate with sprinkles on top.  SO good! My aunt came over too.  We all had a great time.
I spent much of the rest of the week making and delivering my favorite treat to take to friends and neighbors for the holidays, Cinnamon Wreath Bread, actually dough.  I put them in pie tins with a lid and freeze the dough so people can make warm, fresh bread whenever they decide.  I’ve been making this same holiday treat since Elizabeth was 1 or 2.  My mom used to make it as a giant candy cane with maraschino cherries and raisins and all sorts of goodness.  Mine are pretty simple, but everyone tells me that they are good, so I’ll just keep doing it.  It doesn’t take long to make and since I don’t have to wait for it to bake, it’s even easier.  My mom used to make it for our Christmas morning breakfast and it would often be baking as we woke up.  I tell that story/tradition along with directions to make it and many of my friends make their treat on Christmas morning now too and it’s their tradition (and they don’t have to cook a lot or have stale, cold bread to eat only good for a little time when I drop it off.)
On Monday night we went to a puzzle room PerplEXIT in Richland with our game night friends, Robie and Nathan for Nathan’s birthday.  We went last year and it was fun, so we thought we’d try a new room this time.  We still didn’t have quite enough time to solve the puzzle and escape, but enjoyed the hour of challenge.


Friday night was our regular game night (after both Andy and I went on treat deliveries with a few kids each).  Nathan bought a birthday cake and I happened to have enough candles for his age.  Abby put them all in the cake and then I lit them.  Happy birthday to our friend!
Saturday night (Christmas Eve Eve) we gathered at my brother’s house for an easy soup dinner (everyone brought some) and opened presents to each other and presents from Grandparents.  We all visited and had a fun time together.
Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year, so church was only Sacrament meeting.  It was full of music and short narration and a few testimonies.  Beautiful meeting.  Andy and I sang with the choir two songs, “What Child is This” and “Immanuel, Immanuel” and the choir also sang “Guard Him, Joseph” with the Young Men and Young Women (Olivia joined us for that).  The primary sang, “Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus”.  Loved all of the music.
We woke up Christmas Eve to SNOW!  It was beautiful.  Not super fun to drive to Andy’s parent’s mountain home in, but it was pretty.  We just took our time and got there just fine.  Andy’s a great driver and our Veracruz does very well in the snow.
We took our friend Nathan with us since he went home to Idaho for Thanksgiving and was in town for Christmas.  We had a delicious dinner up there and gave and opened some presents.  We came home and everyone opened a present of pajamas and set out a treat for Santa before bed.
Christmas morning there was even more SNOW!  The kids were excited to open presents (but they still had to wait until 8am when we arranged the night before that they could get up.)
Elizabeth’s Santa present was some Japanese Anime Manga books she wanted.  Olivia got a camcorder.  Vincent got a Nintendo 2DS.  Abby wanted a camera from Santa.  Andy got a new Star Wars Lego set and I got some of my favorite Victoria Secret Very Sexy perfume. I posted a picture of my favorite present which is a new picture of Christ to hang in my living room.
After our Christmas morning at home, we packed up and headed to Walla Walla to visit my parents for Christmas (with Nathan again because he’s our friend and no one wants to be alone on Christmas).  We had snow gear so kids could sled a little in my parent’s front yard.  We had a ham and potato dinner and we were able to see my sister Janessa and her family and my aunt and uncle.  It was a bit icy on the way home, so we took it easy.
 The day after Christmas and the rest of the week was back to work for me, but Andy took the whole week off of work, so he hung out with the kids.
On Thursday we planned to go to the movies.  Andy, Elizabeth, and Vincent wanted to see the newest Star Wars. I decided that if they were going to see something, I wanted to go too, so Abby, Olivia, and I went too.  A few days before that, my brother asked if Olivia could babysit his youngest so they could take their older boys to see Star Wars.  I said it would be more fun if she just joined us watching a movie and had him pick which one he thought his daughter would like better: “Coco” or “Ferdinand”.  They chose “Ferdinand”.  It was pretty fun.  It was a freezing rain day and evening, so skating back to the car and then back to the theater to find Olivia’s missing wallet was super fun…. but we did find her wallet and everything she had in it was still there.  Then we went to MyFroYo for frozen yogurt and picked up some drive thru Burger King on the way home.  My brother picked Katie up at our house after their movie was done.
We spent New Year’s Eve at church and then with our kids and game night friends playing games and eating treats.  So fun and easy and a great way to spend a night.
Here’s our Christmas card for your viewing pleasure with a short synopsis of our 2017.
2018 is looking good!
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November 2017

Almost forgot to update the blog for November with Thanksgiving and more hours at work due to the holidays (luckily, Fountain Books is a WAY better place to work more hours at since we still close early enough to be with family and it’s not a big store to tidy.)
Lucky for all of my blog readers, I woke up today after going to bed early, with a big cold so since I already had the day off, I’m going to do this and then rest and read pretty much the rest of the day.

So many things happened in November: TOFW/TOFG, School Activities, Thanksgiving, New Clothing at Fountain Books, Primary Program, School Concerts, a new window, and more (like planning the whole Ward Christmas Party).

Elizabeth and Olivia went to Time Out For Girls in Portland when I went to Time Out For Women (same place/same time).  My mom, cousin, sister in law, Andy’s aunt and cousin and her daughters, and many others we knew were there.  We took three girls with us who are friends with Elizabeth and Olivia.  We all really enjoyed the talks, music, and refreshing Time Out we received there.

Me and my girls, Elizabeth and Olivia. We were all helpers at the event, so we had to dress a little nicer. I helped at the TOFW doors with bags and greeting.  Elizabeth helped at TOFG with registration.  Olivia was a door greeter as well.

The girls all rode with me in our car.  They had a fun time getting to know each other better and being with other girls who believe the same way, but were starting to get a little tired of each other by the end of the second day.

My cousin Danette drove my mom to Portland following me and my carload of girls.  Andy’s sister Sara met us there.  It was so great to go with such a fun group!

We had to have a picture! My cousin and mom and me.

Olivia’s a pretty adorable door greeter if you ask me.
So glad Sara could make it! It was awesome to visit more with her and spend time together.


Most of the girls ready to start again after a break.


My favorite presenter at the TOFW in Spokane was these fantastic ladies.  Zhandra and Tamu.  They are so funny and spot on spiritually and down to earth.  Still my favorite in Portland.

Picture with my mom and girls.

We had to meet up with Andy’s aunt and cousin and cousin’s girls for a snapshot too.

Andy was out of town for much of November.  Actually, when I was on my way to TOFW, he was on his way home from a trip and his flight was cancelled and he was stuck in Seattle (it snowed a tiny bit there).  Vincent and Abby were at friend’s houses after school until Andy was going to be home, but when his flight was cancelled, he ended up renting a car and driving home instead.  His sister Torrie picked up Vincent and Abby and took them home with her for the evening until Andy was able to get back to town.
The Saturday of TOFW was also Ribbon Festival for area pianists.  Vincent was able to go this year.  He performed a duet with Andy.
For each category you participate in, you get a special ribbon at Ribbon Festival.  They have a church set up that has nearly 30 pianos in it that the kids can go from room to room and pass off their songs.
Lucky to have some help in the kitchen!  Abby likes to wear the apron and hat Aunt Sara made her and make french toast or tacos or anything!
I took Olivia, Vincent, and Abby to a science night at the middle school.  There were cool things set up all over the school to check out and touch (some of them) and learn.  They all loved it.  It was done very nicely!
Olivia had an orchestra concert at Hanford High School.  They invited her middle school orchestra to join them.  They sounded great!  Watch and listen here or here.
After the concert.
Olivia is good about making sure Abby’s hair is fixed and that she matches and is ready on time.

She had my friend’s daughter over for an afternoon and they decided to make denim purses from old jeans.

We hung these painting up soon after I painted the living room gray, but I didn’t get a good picture of them.  I love them!  Elizabeth did an amazing job painting them.  She’s wants to paint more of them for other people too as a job. Several people have told her that they’ll send her some pictures to get started, but they haven’t yet.
Vincent and Abby are getting to be really great roller skaters.  It’s fun to watch them with their friends at the school skate night, plus they are really tired when the two hours are over.

We had a very nice, relaxed Thanksgiving.  We went up to Andy’s parent’s place in the mountains and hung out, cooked, played games, and rested the whole day.  I absolutely LOVED not having to eat in a rush and go to work (I had to work the next few days, but not on Thanksgiving.)

As we were heading out the door to go to the mountain, Olivia and Vincent practiced one of their piano duets they like to play together.

Elizabeth helped Abby get ready before we left.

We showed up in the middle of the day.  Their regular power was out and the generator was on, so the oven wasn’t able to run on that.  Luckily, the turkey was cooked on the special grill outside.  There was plenty of help in the kitchen to get the meal ready.

(And yes, the picture above was taken while I was sitting on the couch hanging out watching the other ladies and girls work…)

Great kitchen helpers!

It was just us and Sara’s family with Andy’s parents for Thanksgiving this year.  We had a wonderful time!

I helped when it was crunch time and I helped to clean up the kitchen after the meal.  It was really nice to not have to run to work.  I hardly knew what to do when I had time to just rest on a couch.  Abby came over to keep me company.

Andy’s sister Sara brought a Thanksgiving Bingo game.  The kids played it with M&M’s for the markers.  When they got a blackout, they could eat their treat.

Wanted a family picture on Thanksgiving.  Love these guys!

I took Sara and David’s family picture while we were there too.  They are so cute.  I’ll let her post those ones though.  We were happy to have them come to our house to stay Friday night.

Andy’s cousin’s wife let me know they were coming to town for Thanksgiving so we arranged a special game night on the Friday after.  She ended up not feeling well, but sent Andy’s cousin and their four girls over to play.  Adults played Apples to Apples in the family room and we sent the older kids in the living room to play Apples to Apples Junior.

That Saturday after Thanksgiving, Andy’s dad came down to help him put in our new giant living room window.  The window guys delivered it on Monday so we had to strap it to the fence post to the side of the house and hope it didn’t break before we could put it in.  (They were supposed to call and arrange delivery, but didn’t.)

On Saturday as I left for work, Andy and his dad were taking out the old window piece by piece.

It looked great when I got home.  We still have some work to do to finish it, but it’s nice.

The last week of November Fountain Books got the permission from Deseret Books to sell clothes again!  We got a huge shipment of Sweet Salt Clothing.  They asked me to kind of take the lead on setting it all up.  We didn’t get skirt hangers for another few days, but this is the corner area where the clothes are.  Really cute blouses and dresses and skirts!

It took most of the week to get it all set after we got the skirt hangers and in between customers if I was the only one there, but it looks even better now and things are selling. I wasn’t sure I’d like having to fold and hang clothes again or empty the fitting rooms, but our customers are pretty respectful and don’t leave things on the ground or in a heap on the tables like at regular retail stores, so it’s been great!

December is busy with more days and hours to work at Fountain Books, but Andy is home more this month too.  Still loving my new job!



October 2017

Carryover from September:
Andy was called to be our Elder’s Quorum President at church the end of September. Here he is with his two counselors.  They are figuring out how everything works (and no, they aren’t releasing me yet from Primary President.)
I helped a few awesome ladies with the Jog-a-thon at Jason Lee this year.  I didn’t do tons, but I did enough that they weren’t quite so stressed out about it. ;)
It’s always fun to be there to cheer them on during the run.
Abby started gymnastics the beginning of October with a lady in our ward who is an experienced gymnast and gymnastics coach.  She went to sign her daughter up for gymnastics when school started and couldn’t find any with availability, so she started her own in her basement.  She ordered all the pads and other equipment once she had enough interest.  Abby goes over there for an hour a week with several other kids and I believe there are four or five classes during the week.  This has turned into a fun side job for her. Little Gems Gymnastics
I probably don’t need to tell you that this kind of thing is right up Abby’s alley.  She’s loving it.  It’s just long enough after school for Abby to walk home with Vincent and change clothes and eat an apple before going there.  Abby says that apples make her strong.
Abby’s grade had their annual First Grade Hoedown.  They learned a few songs and dances and then chose a family member to join them for one of the dances.  Then there are haystack cookies (melted butterscotch chips mixed with chow mien noodles-tastes better than it sounds) and apple juice.  She colored one of the scarecrows to decorate the school too.
All of my kids have now had a First Grade Hoedown at Jason Lee.  The music hasn’t changed and neither have the crafts or snacks, but it’s always fun (and done in about 45 minutes).  Pictures of all the kids at their hoedowns.
I have been following a friend’s photography blog since she started it and happened to win a family session for pictures.  We finally took them in September, which is okay with me because then they can be holiday pictures.
She did a great job.  This one seemed to be a Facebook Favorite.  I think I’m going to print it for the living room wall.
Love this picture of the kids.
And another family shot.  I kind of like this one because I’m taller than Elizabeth in it.
A little collage I made of my favorite photos Jessica Howard Photography took.
I helped with school individual pictures this year.  After all of the kids had their own picture taken, the whole school gathered outside for a picture of everyone taken from the photographer on the roof of the school. (This one is just from my junky camera).
Olivia finished up 7th Grade A team Volleyball early in the month.  She worked hard and learned a lot.
Olivia had her first choir concert in the middle of the month. They actually have two seventh grade classes that combined for this choir.  There was also a sixth grade choir, eighth grade choir, and special treble choir composed of eighth graders who have to try out for it.
The Open House was later this year, but great.  It lined up with the Book Fair night and the school’s trick or treating.  Students were invited to dress up.  We hadn’t figured out their real costumes yet, so they raided the costume box.  I love the self portraits they draw of themselves.
Abby and Vincent have been excellent leaf rakers.  But now the leaves are pretty much all down and were rained on, so no more playing in them.  Now we’ll just have to clean them up and toss them into our yard garbage can.
There was a Stake Youth Dance for Halloween.  Our neighbor joined the girls for it.  They all had a wonderful time.
Olivia made her own gumball machine costume.
Elizabeth made her own costume.  She is Impa from a Zelda video game.
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Abby raking away after school.  She may have earned some coins for taking care of the leaves this day without being asked and without complaint.
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The Saturday before Halloween one of the local shopping areas in town had a community fall festival and then trick or treating around the stores. Andy had Stake Conference Priesthood Meetings, but Nathan came to hang out with us. (Elizabeth stayed home.  She doesn’t like crowds or waiting much.)
There were a lot of places where princesses were ready for a picture along the path.  Abby wanted pictures with all of them.
They had some free pumpkins at the festival, but they were gone before we were done, so we headed to our local Winco to pick our pumpkins for the year.  Best prices and so easy!
Vincent is Boba Fett and Abby is an Ice Queen (not Elsa-she says). We found their costumes at my favorite thrift store for $5 each.
We carved pumpkins the night before Halloween.
Elizabeth made a helmet to go with Vincent’s costume out of cardboard and tape the night before Halloween and I painted it.  Andy touched up a few spots that weren’t quite right.  It looks pretty good with his costume.
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Andy had to go out of town for work on Halloween, so I took the three younger kids to the Uptown Shopping Center right after school (picked up Vincent and Abby with costumes ready in the car).  Nathan met up with us there too and then loaded them up with candy since he doesn’t get trick or treaters at his apartment.  While Elizabeth was home, she finished up the soup I made in the crockpot and started the bread dough.  We ate just a little bit after we got home and then we went over to Kennewick to visit Andy’s Grandma Ellen and Paul.  We met Grandpa George and Grandma Shirley at Grandma Ellen’s house and had a nice visit.  Then we went and visited Andy’s old boss Sam at his house and then came back home to let Elizabeth pass out candy to our trick or treaters and we went around our own neighborhood with a girl from our ward.  We got home just before 9pm and the kids didn’t get much candy to eat until the days after Halloween.  It was a lot of fun!
Before Andy left on his trip, he replaced the light in the bathroom and blew out the sprinklers.  This light is brighter than it looks.  I like that it’s so easy to clean.
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Very busy October with all of those activities, plus church and work and regular school stuff.  (Still loving my new job at Fountain Books!) It was a really fun and enjoyable month! Onto November’s Primary Program and planning the Ward Christmas Party and THANKSGIVING!
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