Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Polar Express Tradition.

We have been waiting all year to do our Polar Express tradition. Last year it was our favorite thing we did. True story. We felt more prepared to make it awesome this year. Krystal gifted us the Polar Express soundtrack last year, and we added the Frozen soundtrack this year. Mix those things with our favorite Whitney Houston Christmas soundtrack, we were ready.

We were headed out thinking Paul wasn't going with, but he pulled in at the exact moment to tag along with us. The kids all picked out jammies, brought their new blankets, and had pure excitement.
We made a quick stop at Beans & Brews, McDonald's, and we were on to our favorite street to look at lights. 
Sabrina didn't love it. May have had to do with her spilling her entire soda in her lap.

Devin kept asking when we were going to get on the real train. Obviously we didn't explain things clearly enough to him.

Savannah didn't want it to ever end, and was totally disappointed when we headed home too early.

So our first attempt at the Polar Express this year was a total bust. Eh, you win some, you lose some. We will be going out again, and next time I am sure it will be better...because it can't get any worse.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the first of many.

We usually try to visit Santa a few times during the month of December. Our first trip to see the big man in red was with friends, and he rode in on a firetruck. We were all jumping and screaming when we saw him getting closer. It was pretty exciting, I love the magic of Christmas.
We waited in a long line, which gave the kids plenty of time to come up with something they wanted.
Savannah only asked for Stompeez, but has now added a few more things to her list. See why we have to take a few trips to see him? They feel like they need to tell Santa every time it changes.

Devin asked for Flipeez, a bike {??}, and a bunny maker {a moon dough kit}. Surprisingly he was not shy around Santa, and was very specific in his requests. 

Sabrina...well...we decided for her. We think she would like a new baby doll, or maybe something awesome to push around {stroller, grocery cart, etc}, and possibly a purse.

Even though we had to cut the night short, because of bedtime...Riverton City really knows how to put on a party. Lots of activities, food, and we even saw a pony. 

Thanks Vanessa & girls for inviting us to tag along with you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

grandparents.

Paul's parents were here visiting during Thanksgiving week, and we were lucky enough to play a couple of times. The kids really love spending time with them, and are happy to do nothin' fancy...just have them come sit in their room and play/listen to them.
We went to dinner and Chuck E Cheese one night, and the kids were disappointed when it was time to go home. I don't think I saw Devin most of the night, because he was off with Grandpa. Savannah quickly took ownership of Grandma, and Sabrina was in awe of those freaky characters on stage.
Grandma came to hang out one day. Everyone piled in our bed to watch a movie. We walked to the gas station for treats {shocking}. I don't think the kids ever stopped talking. It is really fun to watch them with their grandparents. 
The icing on the cake for me? Grandpa and Grandma helped me hang some Christmas lights on the house. I have always wanted them, and Paul doesn't do heights. It was so fun for me.
We loved seeing them, and wish they lived closer. The kids are already planning what we are going to do next time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

thanksgiving.

All good traditions must come to an end, or be put on hold. Okay soooo, maybe I am just saying that, because I am not very good at keeping traditions alive.

Some years we go out to eat on Thanksgiving, this year I cooked. Some years we go to the movies on Thanksgiving, this year we rented. Some years we have invited people over, this year it was our family of 5. Some years we go stir crazy, this year was pretty much perfect. Minus the fact I had taken a stumble down the stairs, and was in a fair amount of pain. I was glad that Walgreen's was open so that Paul could go for some Icy Hot. 

I spent the majority of my day in the warm kitchen, and the kids would visit for tastes of everything I was cooking. Reminded me of my childhood, when I would go and visit my Dad in the kitchen. I do a traditional Bulkley Thanksgiving dinner, and if I cook...it will always be this way. I wouldn't go without stuffing with sausage in it, or a fruit salad that is totally made from canned fruit. I love that my kids are getting a slice of something I loved so much growing up.

The past few weeks I have had a lot of time to think about how many things I have to be thankful for. Writing all those posts in November was so helpful, picking up my big camera to capture my kids' cuteness was healing, and remembering to soak it all in is a constant goal of mine.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday: Do's and Don'ts

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own.

If you already know me well, you know I have a thing about shopping online. That thing is, I don't. I have been slowly branching out this year, and I have actually done some of my Christmas shopping online. I have to admit, I kind of like all the fun packages in the mail. 

I am looking forward to Cyber Monday now that I am brave enough to shop online, and I needed {and loved} this list of tips and tricks to help me get the best deals.


Minted {dot} com

Now that we are a couple of days past Thanksgiving, I am safe to talk about Christmas, right? Even though my Christmas tree was up long before Thanksgiving, and the Christmas music has been playing for just as long...I know some of my friends have a strict rule of "no Christmas anything, until after Thanksgiving!".

First thing on my agenda, Christmas cards!
Last year we sent out Valentine cards, and Thanksgiving cards with the idea we wouldn't send out Christmas ones. But there is just something about a fabulous Christmas card, and when December rolled around...I couldn't help myself, and ended up sending out some anyways. What can I say, I am a sucker for snail mail!
how true this is in our house!
This year I am excited to try a new place for our cards, Minted. Anyone tried this site before? They have over 600 designs {just in their holiday line}, so obviously I am having a hard time deciding what to send out. 
Do you have certain requirements when sending out your cards? My sister says you have to do a family picture {not just kids}, some people add the letter, and some people like to personalize each one with something handwritten.

PS I may have ended up browsing a little too much on Minted, and found some adorable buntings...you have been warned.

Monday, November 25, 2013

thankful thoughts about our son.

Every night that I sit down to write my thankful posts it really has been easy to see the joy, happy, and good things about my life. Then Friday hit, oh and Saturday, and then Sunday...and I really struggled. I desperately tried to see positive, but my negativity was too powerful.

On Saturday night after putting the kids to bed, and I was not so patient with Devin, I cried. I have lots to learn {especially from our boy}, and so much about myself I wish I could change overnight. 

Devin is a free spirit, a lover, and such a happy kid. I can snap at him, get frustrated by him, punish him, and within minutes {sometimes even seconds} he has already forgotten and moved on. What a fabulous characteristic to have, to forgive and forget easily. I hope that it is one thing he won't ever grow out of. I am thankful for his example, because I need to be reminded of this a lot.

I went to church wanting and really just needing to be uplifted. Luckily I got what my spirit was truly in need of. The lesson was based off of the talk by President Uchtdorf called "The Hope of God's Light". It is a good one, I promise. I cried through most of it. The teacher delivered it so perfectly discussing when you are in the midst of darkness, thinking that God is trying to break your spirit with trials...find the light, God's light. It was also mentioned that we are surrounded by angels, and not just the angels we can't see. I was reminded of the day I felt so alone, so unloved, and felt like my spirit was broken. There really are angels in my life, ones that help me every single day to be a happier Evonne.
photo cred - Kim Orlandini Photography
After yesterday I realized it may not be easy to find those things in the midst of darkness to be thankful for, but they are there.

It doesn't seem like enough to say I am thankful for those angels in my life, but I am. I wouldn't be the same without Paul, my children, and those people who take the time out of their busy lives to check on me, save me when I am drowning, and make me genuinely happy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

this day, I dread.

Last night I stayed out late, the kids didn't sleep, I had early dentist appointments for the kids, and Paul had to go to Idaho this morning. I was really dreading today, and then guess what happened? It was more awesome than I could handle. Sometimes I find when I have a good attitude, roll with the punches, and stay patient...my kids can sense it, and really do act different.
I am thankful my kids think I am ridiculously cool for making them a hot dog in the microwave, and letting them have a picnic. Easy to please, sometimes. Should I even mention that Savannah eats the same lunch every single day, and loves it?!
I am thankful my babies took epic naps today. 3+ hours of complete silence does a Mommy good.
I am thankful we have credit card points, because all the perks are helping make Christmas a little easier.

I am thankful every time Paul comes home safely from Idaho.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday is my favorite.

Wednesday is the one day I really look forward to, almost more than a Friday. Weird? Maybe a little.
photo cred ~ Jerilee
I have to pack a sack lunch every day for Savannah, they don't offer a "hot lunch" plan at her school. On Wednesday you can pay for your student to eat Little Caesar's pizza, and we do! So, Wednesday is my one day a week I get my break from lunch making. Super thankful.
Devin hasn't figured out that Summer is over, and refuses to wear a jacket.
Wednesday is also our grocery shopping day, which doesn't seem like something to be thankful for. I love it though, because we are down to slim pickin' when it comes to what we eat at the end of the week.
Survivor is on. We have been watching since season 1, and I still look forward to it every week.
I am thankful my friends plan fun things to keep me sane.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

thank you very much.

I am thankful for the afternoon nap. It was the perfect gloomy weather to curl up in a ball on my bed, and sleep the hours away.
I am thankful Paul is willing to do late night gas station runs. I love even more when he calls and says "I don't know how to make a dirty Coke, but I can make you a clean Pepsi!" That guy makes me smile, lots.
Today I had to take Sabrina to get shots, and while I was sitting in the room waiting I could hear the Dr talking to her nurse..."Oh, Sabrina is here today! She is my favorite baby, I am so excited to see how much she has grown!" I am thankful for people like this in my kids' life, makes me smile!

Monday, November 18, 2013

thankfuls for today.

 I am thankful Paul took Devin to work with him today. I forgot how easy it is to only have 1 kid around the house to watch.

I am thankful for a drive thru at McDonald's. After a horrendous night of sleep, I totally needed a fountain Coke...without having to put on a bra.
I am thankful that Sabrina has learned to say "Daaadddyyyy!" It is way cuter than hearing Mommy over and over again times 3. 
I thankful that Savannah got in to the after school art program. I get extra time on Monday afternoon, she loves it, and I don't have to worry about all the carpool madness. Totally winning.
I am thankful I didn't have to go to work today. Getting dressed wasn't in my plans.

I am thankful for giveaways. It never gets old when you win. Thank you Traveling Mom for my Shutterfly goodness. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

thankfuls {weekend edition}

Everyone either loves that their Facebook feed fills up with thankful posts all month, or they get annoyed. I am sitting on the fence about it. I don't feel the need to tell people on Facebook how thankful I am for Paul or my kids, I try to show them daily. I do love reading when people say how thankful they are for sweat pants, heaters, cozy beds, etc. I like seeing the little things people are thankful for that you don't always think about. 

I decided that I wanted to keep track of the little thankfuls I have all day, and come up with a post at the end of every day until Thanksgiving. I am also going to be "unplugging" from the Internet more during the day to try to "live in the moment" as Cathy and I put it. 
***
I am thankful for a vacuum. Sabrina decided to dump an entire bowl of popcorn on the carpet, and dance in it. Gah, can you imagine how hard the clean up would have been without a vacuum?

I am thankful for OnDemand. Devin barks out his order for shows, and I can fulfill his requests easily.
I am thankful for drugs. Drugs for pain, drugs for depression, drugs for sickies...it has helped us out a lot lately.

I am thankful for my camera. I really do love that I can capture all these little moments with my kids. I am definitely not a photographer, but until I convince Paul to hire someone to follow us around and do it for me...I will have to do my best.
I am thankful every day for early bedtimes. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

we celebrated.

Since Paul's birthday is on the 27th, and Savannah's is on the 29th...it kind of feels like we celebrate for a really long time. Add Halloween in the mix and all of those parties, it makes for a busy week or so. When I asked Savannah if she wanted a friend party she said no, and that she just wanted to hang out with her family. Easy enough.
Uncle Jackie sent me this over text, and it made my night! :)
A month or so ago, Paul and Savannah kicked off their birthdays with a trip to Lagoon for Frightmares with Uncle Shane and Uncle Jackie. I wanted to go, but it didn't sound nearly as fun with a 1 year old that has an early bed time. They all had fun, and I was glad that Savannah has understanding Uncles...because it turns out she doesn't like the really big rides.
photo cred - Vanessa...except Savannah took the one of us, and couldn't seem to get a non-blurry photo
Savannah has a few little friends that she really likes to hang out with. I decided to let her invite each one individually to do fun things with her. Even though she didn't want a party, I thought this would be something she would like...and she did. We went to the movies, roller skating, and played really hard!
We invited family to go out to lunch and Boondocks to celebrate Paul's birthday. I love watching Paul with his brothers. They can really make him laugh, and I like seeing him so happy. Of course we celebrated Savannah's too, but that Saturday was mostly for Paul.
Savannah wanted to go to the Jump 'N Bounce with Devin on her actual birthday. We went right after school, and the place was empty. I realized how much I love playing right along side of them, and acting like a kid. I even remembered how to do front flips, and almost peed my pants jumping. It is the best watching your kids grow up, and be old enough to do crazy fun things together. 
I love that these birthdays kick off our holiday season. It is something I really look forward to, almost more than my own birthday.

Friday, November 1, 2013

halloween stories.

One about Savannah...
Savannah was invited to a few Halloween parties {and even though it was a lot of work}, I tried to look at it as the opportunity to get the most out of that expensive costume.

One night I decided to try to sway her in to staying home with Paul and I, and we would do something fabulously fun! It wasn't my finer moments, I realize she needs to grow up and go have fun with friends. Sob. So, after lots of discussion she decided to still go to the party, and may have told me only popular kids were invited to this party {it begins already}. She was even okay with Paul and I taking the little ones to do something super fun without her.

After I dropped her off, and saw how ridiculously cool the party was, I was glad she decided to go. It will just be the first of many times she will choose friends over her lame parents.

One about Devin...
I had bought some crafting stuff the other day, and Devin is always my sidekick. He loves expressing himself, and making presents for people. While he was making one of his creations, he kept telling me it was for Grandpa, and then Grandma, and then Uncle Jackie. He wrapped it up, and put it in a special spot. Well, last night on our way out to trick or treat Devin decided to bring the present along in his bag. When I asked him who he was going to give it to, he told me "some guy". 

I was secretly hoping he would forget he had it in his bag, and that the candy would cover it up quickly. No such luck. We went to quite a few houses, and finally on the way down the drive way he pulled the present out and ran back to give it to my friend Staci. It was really sweet, and I was thrilled we actually knew the "some guy" so it wasn't totally embarrassing to explain. He does have such a tender little personality. 

One about Sabrina...
Sabrina loved Halloween! I never knew a baby could be so in to it, but she was. Anything we passed that was spooky, she was growling. When we put her in the stroller to go trick or treating, she knew she was missing out on candy. But the thing she liked the most? Passing out the candy. It was so fun to watch her look out our side window to see if she had trick or treaters. She was excited to open the door, and even got the toys in their bags. It made the perfect end to our Halloween.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

9 on the 29th.

9 years ago today Paul and I welcomed our first baby to this world, Savannah. As I tucked her in last night, I told her the story of the day she was born. As often as my memory fails me, it never does forget the details of the day each of our children were born. Thankfully.
Savannah is loyal like her Dad, and cries easily like her Mom. She has always been outgoing, talkative, and makes friends easily. At a very young age she showed us her independence, and it still is one of her greatest qualities.
Bottom right photo cred Jen Eliason Photography
Savannah has a boisterous laugh, and likes to be funny. She gets embarrassed easily, and that usually leads to tears. She loves to sing and dance, and knows the lyrics to most songs played on the radio. 
L to R photo cred Jen Eliason Photography // ME // Kim Orlandini Photography
I am thankful that Savannah enjoys learning and school. There is no begging for homework to be done, or calls from the school. She is smart, likes getting good grades, and loves to be active in everything the school offers. This year she enrolled in the after school art program, she has a part in the school play, show choir, and is hoping to make the orchestra too! 
We got lucky with Savannah. She makes parenting easy, and I am thankful she is apart of our family. Still blown away that it has already been 9 years...half way to 18. Doood. 

Happy Birthday Vannah. We love you!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

a pile of complaints

In an effort to be more real, open, and honest...this is the post I wrote yesterday. My thoughts aren't always pretty, but they belong to me nonetheless.
 ***
Oh hi. I have this blog that I use to like to update every day, and now...ugh. I sit down to update, and all I come up with is a collection of complaints in my head. 
I tell myself I am going to miss this stage I am in, but if I am being honest right now...I feel pretty ready to be past the diapers, teething, tantrums, and potty training. At the end of most days I feel totally spent, worn down, and absolutely exhausted. I may or may not think that going to work would be a nice break to this chaos. I thought that I would have this SAHM stuff all figured out by now, but every day is a learning experience for me. 
It is hard for me to admit that something I wanted to do so badly, I am not naturally good at. I have to try really hard to have patience with my little people. I sometimes find myself wanting to be really selfish, and wanting "my time" back. I have to give myself gentle reminders that I can do better, but have also had to learn to embrace who I am...a delicate balancing act indeed.
I try not to compare myself to what others can do, but dooood how do you ladies keep a clean house? I can spend all day working on it, and yet at the end of the day I could still make a list of things that need to be done. I was tempted to throw everything away this weekend, because that would make my life so much easier. Don't even get me started on the making 3 meals day, running around to all the events, looking like you stepped out of a salon, and finding time to exercise. Just typing it all makes me want to have a nap.
I am thankful I got lucky in the husband department. My kids would really be screwed without him. That guy has large amounts of patience with me, and helps me out tremendously. I know I wouldn't make it without his constant support. When I have given everything I can, he swoops in to make up the rest. 
At the end of the day, I crawl in bed knowing tomorrow I get another crack at this Motherhood gig {thank goodness}. I think of how awesome my kids are in their own unique way, hoping I can inspire them to be something better than myself, and wishing for great things to come our way.