Monday, November 21, 2016

November Chatter

We've had lots of things going on in our November so far, so this post is a random collection of photos and tidbits about our month. My favorite kind :-).

We've been in our house about seven weeks now, and I'm finally feeling like I'm able to do something other than unpack boxes, organize, and set up house every day. Really, I would say it took about four weeks to feel like we weren't living in boxes anymore, but we're still getting things hung on the walls and organized just how we want them. On our second level, we have a bonus room, bathroom, and crafting area that is far from completed, but that will probably come after the new year when we finally decide on some furniture for that area :-). 

Moving into a new {much bigger} house meant frequent trips to Hobby Lobby to get things I wanted for decorating and organizing. Of course, I always have my little crew in tow which can make Hobby Lobby a little challenging, but the kids are generally good sports about it. One day while I was loading our Hob Lob goodies in the van, I grabbed the camera and took a few pics of my sweeties.


Brecklyn . . . doesn't she look like she's scheming? (distinct possibility, for sure)


The move has been a smooth transition for all of us, thankfully. Brianna has been such a BIG help throughout this process. She's been great to play with and distract the twins for me when I've been trying to get something done. She also helps with household chores, and {for the most part} has a great attitude about it. We can always tell when she's tired from school and needs an early bedtime because it really shows in her attitude, but we're working on that :-).

The Daylight Savings Time change was the first weekend of the month, and I had to laugh at all the people I heard say something to the effect of "enjoy the extra hour of sleep". My kids are routine oriented AND early risers, so this is what my bed looked like before 6:00am on the morning after DST ended. No extra sleep here!

As we all know, we elected a new President of the United States earlier this month. We've had some interesting conversations with our big kids regarding this election and the process in general. Brianna's class held a mock election at school, so she and I had a long discussion one evening about the candidates and the big issues under debate in this election. On election day, Chris took the day off of work, so we went as a family and voted. Brenson was super intrigued by the whole process, and I thought he would never stop asking questions about it. 

The election was actually not the reason that Chris took off work that day . . . our house was. Not too long after moving in, a buckle developed in our floor. At first, it was barely noticeable, but it got progressively worse and worse until it was a major problem. We called our builder's superintendent who called the floor guy to come look at it. He initially told us that it would be an easy fix . . . as in the fix would require the removal of two or three pieces of the flooring and one piece of trim. The floor guy and one of his employees came over on the morning of November 8th (election day) and began working. The work was loud and scared the twins, so we loaded everyone up and left the house for about three hours. When we came back, the floor guy caught me in the driveway and told me that I should probably prepare myself before I walked in the house. I thought, "What does that mean?" and walked on in. I was in SHOCK when I saw my house!

Not only had the floor been ripped out from the buckle (which was on the living room side of that doorway) all the way to the front door, 

but the entire dining room floor was also ripped out! So much for three pieces of flooring and one piece of trim!

In addition to the floor, all of the trim throughout this area was also ripped off the walls. It's hard to see in these photos, but the walls were scuffed, scraped, and gouged in many places. My heart just sank into my stomach when I saw it all.

Everything was a massive MESS. There were nails, power tools, pieces of trim, flooring, and DUST everywhere. Oh, the dust! I had put dinner in the crock pot that morning, and there was so much dust on the lid that I couldn't even see the food! It was bad enough that everything was all torn up, but we were also trying to live there with four small children. It was dirty, unsafe, and a major inconvenience. We tried to be rational and keep things in perspective, but when your brand new house that you've lived in for six weeks is torn to pieces, it's disheartening. We were pretty upset!

The floor guys had to come back the next day to put it all back together, and in the meantime we pretty much couldn't be in the house. Our kitchen was inaccessible, so I took the kids out for breakfast that morning. I think they were pretty happy with the arrangement :-).

Thankfully, by Thursday afternoon, everything was fixed, put back together, repainted, and the floor guy even sent someone over to clean for me. It all looks as good as new, but that's not something we ever want to go through again!

We've had such beautiful weather this month, and I've made an effort to enjoy with my kiddos. We spent so much of October inside the house trying to get settled that I feel like we've all missed playing outside!

This day, I got food from McDonald's for lunch (a rare treat), and we had a picnic in the park. 

Another day, we played outside for several hours after getting Brianna from school. Bubbles are such a simple thing, but they bring SO much laughter and happiness. 

This is kind of a random side note, but earlier that same day, the kids and I had gone to Wal-mart to buy groceries and other essentials. It's hard to do a big shopping trip right now because the twins aren't really old enough to be trusted walking through the store, but they're too big to sit up front together like they used to do. For most of the trip, I had Brooke in the front of the cart, and Brecklyn in the back. However, it started to get too crowded in the back, so I took Brecklyn out, gave her specific instructions on how and where to hang on to the cart, and let her walk the rest of the time through the store. She did great! She took it very seriously, and did NOT let go.

Brooke was not happy that Brecklyn was walking while she had to ride. 

But, it all worked out because Brecklyn got tired of walking so Brooke got her turn. I was a lot more nervous about how Brooke would do . . . she's much more apt to test her boundaries with stuff like this, and she's not as good to stay right with me. Just like her older sister did at this age, she will sometimes try to make a run for it! However, she also took it very seriously and did exactly as I had instructed her to do. I feel like this is such a milestone, and it's very bittersweet!

During the third week in November, Brianna's class hosted Rise and Shine at school. This means that the students in her class introduced each part of the morning assembly for the school. Some kids are very shy about speaking into the microphone, but Brianna is a champ. She does great and doesn't seem nervous at all. Of course, we went to watch her several mornings. 

Speaking of school, Brianna has spelling tests this year. At the beginning of the year the words were super simple, so she was acing the tests without much practice at home. This month, however, the words have been a bit more complicated, requiring some practice at home. In effort to practice in different and creative ways, I was having her write her words in shaving cream one day. Of course, when one kid practices words in shaving cream, we all must practice words in shaving cream! Haha.

Each year around this time, our town has a festival called Dickens on the Boulevard. We've never been before, so when my sister invited us to go with her family, we decided this was the year to see what it was all about! 

It was a very cold Friday night, and I'm not sure the twins were thrilled about being so bundled!
Brooke, Brecklyn

Our town has a nice downtown area that's known for its boutiques and antique shops. For this event, downtown was closed to traffic and all the stores were open late. There were people dressed in Dickens era costume, live singers, ponies, free hot cocoa, and small fires lit for warmth. The atmosphere was very cozy-smalltown, and we loved it.

Santa was also there! Our big kids (minus Bren who was apprehensive) enjoyed meeting him!

One shop had ornaments available for painting. It was a nice way to warm up and let the kids do a little project. 



One part of the festival was kind of Old West themed. I'm not sure how that fit with the Dickens theme exactly, but there were some neat things about it. Our children were not too happy to be sent to jail, though, ha!

There were several blacksmiths working on projects (Bren was absolutely fascinated by this), and we were able to watch them sculpt and create. 

There was also a lady doing pottery (the big girls loved watching this), a man cutting wooden puzzles with a saw, a lady doing calligraphy, and several people cooking food over an open fire (they were selling the food, but we didn't buy any). At one point, there was even a mock gun fight. After we were in the van and heading home, Bren asked us if the guy in the gunfight really died. Haha . . . I'm not sure what type of event he thought we had taken him to :-). 

The next day (November 19th), Amy and Matt had a wedding reception for their friends and family (they had quite a few who weren't invited to the wedding because they wanted it to an intimate affair). It was a casual gathering at Amy and Matt's house, and we had a great time. The kids played outside while the adults visited, and the whole atmosphere was just very relaxed. Kendall was there with baby Annie, so Brianna was excited to meet and hold her. 

The minute I started holding her, Brecklyn had to come right over and see what this situation was all about. 

Brecklyn and Brooke were very sweet with her, but they wanted to touch all over her, pull her bow, take off her bib, etc. They just had to check everything out!

Brooke and Amy

Brecklyn and Amy

Kendall, Angie, Amy, and Chelley . . . officially four old married women!

This time of year can get so busy if we let it (and December is worse), so we are purposeful about slowing down, spending evenings at home, and keeping focused on quality versus quantity. Now that the weather has finally turned a bit colder, we have enjoyed having a fire in our fireplace and spending some time just snuggled up together on the couch.

Of course, even when we're trying to have a peaceful moment, things can turn crazy in a hurry! 

Crazy or not, these are moments I will cherish forever. 

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