Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week Two - Snowed In, STEM Night, and a New Year's Resolution

Freezing rain preceded the snowfall last Friday, resulting in extremely icy and slick roads. Our stake cancelled all church meetings for Sunday, January 8th. We enjoyed a quiet, uneventful day at home, with the exception of some happy news that Charlie and I received that night - a positive pregnancy test!  Finally, after months of trying.  I have so many mixed emotions.  I am thrilled, but also have a lot of anxiety about the likelihood of this pregnancy failing.

School was cancelled on Monday. The stir crazy was starting to set in. Charlie left on a business trip. His Subaru with 4-wheel drive managed to get out of our neighborhood, but I wasn't about to chance it in my van. There are steep hills in all directions and we were seeing (on Facebook, and Charlie first hand) and hearing reports of cars sliding all over the place. So I stayed put. 

The boys and I made Pokemon characters out of perler beads, and tried out a new XBox game from Christmas that we hadn't had a chance to play yet. As you can see, Cracker just wanted to soak up any bit of sun he could find. 

We also did some bird watching. I absolutely LOVE having a bird feeder. Janelle sent it as a birthday gift when we first moved to Georgia. I am still amazed by the number and variety of birds we see. I also found this art print that I love, titled "Backyard Birds of Georgia" with drawings of the different birds and their names. I framed it and hung it near the back window so that we can quickly identify the birds we see. The boys and I have so much fun doing this together. As it turned out, the snow made for a perfect bird watching day. Since the ground was covered, we received a plethora of hungry birds on our feeder that day. I can never get really good photos of them from the window, but in this photo you can see at least one Eastern Blue Bird (one of my personal favorites) sitting on the feeder. 

That night we played games and ate up some remaining Christmas candy. We sent a photo to Charlie to say hi. We played two rounds of Go Fish (Luke's pick) and two rounds of Jenga (Isaac's pick). 

School was cancelled on Tuesday. We started losing our minds. It wasn't so much that we missed school, but not leaving the house for four days was getting pretty old. Luckily by the afternoon most of the snow had melted and the Sheriff's department was reporting clear roads. So we ventured out into the world!  Luke needed to have hearing and vision screenings done for some school assessments.  We still have not found a pediatrician here in GA, and I knew the health department would be a quick in-and-out, so we just went there. 

On the drive over I gave Luke a quick explanation of what to expect, but he was not very excited about the whole thing - insisting that he could hear & see everything just fine! 

The nurse was super friendly and nice and Luke warmed up to her right away (he usually gets very shy around strangers).  She asked about our dog and then told us she has two dachshunds of her own. Ah ha!  A fellow dachshund lover. I knew I liked her. 

Just as he said, Luke's hearing & vision are perfectly fine. He weighed in at ?lbs and is ?inches tall. He's still our small guy but is catching up just a tiny bit. He said his favorite part of the test was when they took a picture of his eyes with what looked like a big hand held price scanner gun. I had never seen that before. I guess they do that now instead of having them read a letter chart. 

On Wednesday life resumed as normal. Hallelujah! I went to the gym for my Body Works class and did a bit of grocery shopping.

After I picked up Luke from school on Thursday we drove through the car wash to get the salt from the roads off of the van.  He loves driving through and asked if he could take his seatbelt off. He said the big long tentacles swirling around the top of the car were those of a giant jelly fish trying to eat us!

He loved helping to vacuum the car out too.

That night was STEM night at Isaac's school. (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) The first three are all things Isaac loves and he really wanted to go. Charlie had dinner with an out of town friend so Luke got to come to STEM night too. First up was building marshmallow catapults out of Popsicle sticks. Next we moved on to coding. The activities were geared towards older children but I was surprised how well Luke did with the Angry Birds coding game. He was very intent. Isaac loved driving a robot around the room by using an iPad with a coding program.

We then moved on to a center where we tried to build air powered cars using paper, drinking straws, masking tape, and lifesavers as wheels. Our car wasn't very successful, the boys ultimately ended up eating the lifesaver wheels, and we left. 

We found Isaac's owl again in the front hall, and he wanted to be in the picture this time. 

We had to cut STEM night short and hurry to the church. Isaac's Cub Scout den was building stools with Sister Futral (they are pretty cool - I should get a picture), and he didn't want to miss it.  I also needed to get to YW. 

The bishop had asked the YM President and I to plan our joint activity for the month to introduce the new 2017 mutual theme, which is James 1:5-6 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God."  My presidency came up with the idea of doing a game show incorporating elements from Jeopardy, Family Feud, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  I put together 60 trivia questions in different categories such as Book of Mormon, Church History, Name That Hymn, etc. The youth were grouped in teams and when it was their turn for a question they had the option of using a "lifeline" for help by asking the Bishopric, the Elders, or the Sisters. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask!"  We had a really good turn out and the youth seemed to enjoy it. Micki and I went to the building that morning after our walk and set up the game board and tables. Then I asked Adam to be the host and get everything started since I knew I would be late that evening. These are bad pictures, but oh well. 

Luke loves coming to the church with me on Thursday nights. Isaac has scouts but Luke gets to hang out with the YW (including his favorite baby sitters) and whatever other kids happen to be there. On this night he kept busy by stomach surfing on longboards across the back of the cultural hall along with Tanner and Drennan (sons of my presidency members). 

On Friday I went to Costco. I saw these gorgeous succulents near the check out and ended up buying them for our mantel/bookshelves. It was a total impulse buy. Oh Costco, you get me everytime! 

Luke brought home this paper from school and it cracked me up. 

Charlie ran a 10k Turkey Trot in Hilton Head when we were there for Thanksgiving. They also had a kids fun run and a 5k, so we decided that next time we would all participate. Luke is determined to run the 5k and has been talking about how he is going to run a lot to practice for it. It just makes me laugh to see this as his New Year's Resolution, since it is a goal more typical of someone 30 years his senior. 

On Saturday morning I attended a BYC breakfast and planning meeting at the bishop's home. He had the youth do a trust fall as a team building exercise. Emily and I lucked out being at the end of the line since we only ever caught the hair of the tallest participant. 

That evening we drove to Atlanta to see one of Charlie's old coworkers whom he worked with at Bradshaw in California. Renee was in town for a trade show so we picked her up and took her to dinner at The Flying Biscuit and then for ice cream at Jeni's. 

Jeni's is swoon worthy and easily the best ice cream I've ever tasted. I tried three new to me flavors this time and loved them all. Roxbury road, salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks, and sweet potato eclair. It is probably best that we don't live closer. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week One - Snow!

I am terribly behind on our family blog, but I have not yet given up on the idea of getting it up to date. For starters, I thought weekly posts would be a good idea for 2017.

I am writing this post from an app on my phone because I've been having some issues with my computer. So we'll see how this goes, and here's to a new year of blogging!

We spent New Years Day driving home from our trip to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. We got a later start than planned and also hit traffic, so the drive was a little less bearable than on the way there. Still, having the rear DVD system and two iPads for the boys makes even the worst road trips pretty easy. 

We had to stop for lunch and I honestly just couldn't stomach the idea of fast food, so Charlie and I decided on a Japanase steak house in Smyrna, TN. Luke ate only edemame, Isaac had a bowl of steamed rice and a CA roll, and Charlie and I shared a few other sushi rolls. Isaac snapped this selfie of the two of us. 

Charlie and the boys all had Monday off. We spent the morning taking down and packing up all of the Christmas decorations.  Then I had to go to the school for Isaac's annual IEP meeting in the afternoon. He has come SO far since his first IEP when he entered the school system six years ago. I remember the anxiety and preparation that used to go into those meetings. This one was such a breeze in comparison. 

Tuesday it was back to school and back to work. It was a nice long break and we had some wonderful family time, a nice Christmas, and a fun trip. By the end of it all I think every one of us was ready to get back to our routine. I got the house cleaned up and hosted a YW Presidency meeting that lasted all morning. I think we were all enjoying the adult/girl time and just got carried away chatting! 

On Wednesday after the gym I drove to Sprouts, which is a 30 minute drive. I miss Sprouts in the worst way. It is my absolute favorite place to shop for food and I have been so disappointed since moving here because there is not one close by. I only end up going about once a month or less, but this was a particularly good trip. I hadn't been in a long time and I felt like there were so many good deals & so much yummy fresh food. I was seriously so giddy!  I know I'm a nerd. I snapped this photo to send to Charlie of all the things I bought. 

4 grapefruits, 12 avocados, baby carrots, 8 apples, 6 onions, cilantro, jalepeno, 4 sweet potatoes, butternut squash, 2 lbs cuties, celery, 4 russet potatoes, 5 tomatoes, red grapes, 7 limes, 2 lbs strawberries, 2 boxes blackberries, 3 boxes blueberry granola bars, 2 boxes chicken broth, pistachios, Justin's almond butter, 
garlic, fudge, 5 bottles of green juice, our favorite tortilla chips from CA!!! (that we have not found until now), 3 blocks of cheese, cheese curds, 1.5 lbs wild Atlantic salmon, 1 lb Italian sausage, 1.5 lbs carne asada, sour cream, 4 fage yogurts, and 12 siggis yogurts

As I was putting everything up at the check out I was thinking I probably spent $200. Nope. Only $133. I love Sprouts! Love it. 

On Thursday I was signed up to volunteer for Isaac's teacher. I wish there were more opportunities to actually be in the classroom, but even being "copy helper" gives me a chance to work with his teacher a bit and keep up to speed on what's happening in the classroom. I did run into Isaac in the hallway while he was coming back from his social skills lunch group.  He wanted me to see his artwork that was chosen to go in the main hall outside the front office.  What a cute owl! 

After I picked up Luke from preschool we had to stop by Publix so I could pick up some treats for that night's YW activity. We decided on donuts from the bakery. Well there is no way Luke was going to miss out on donuts so he convinced me to buy him a chocolate frosted one to eat at home. After seeing the mess on his face he wanted to send a selfie to Charlie at work. 

On Friday afternoon Isaac brought home his second report card of the year with another round of straight A's!  We are SO proud of him. He is a super smart kid, but really struggles with his study skills. Keeping on task and getting his work done is sometimes a challenge, but his teacher this year has really worked with him and his IEP team has all helped too. Keep up the good work Isaac!  

I forgot to take a picture of Isaac with the report card so we snapped one this morning. Luke wanted in on it too. And Cracker. 

Friday night it snowed!  It doesn't snow too often here, so with a couple of inches in the forecast there was lots of talk and anticipation leading up to the storm. It started out as freezing rain and eventually turned to snow. We woke up to about 2 1/2 beautiful inches the next morning. 

The boys were so excited to go out and play!  Unfortunately we don't have the right clothes for playing in the snow but we made do with what we have. We played in the neighbor's yard for a few minutes before heading to the golf course for sledding! 

Luke only got a handful of runs in before he started melting down. He only had a pair of knit gloves on and his earlier attempts at making snowballs had soaked them through. After about 15 minutes of sledding he was crying because of his freezing hands, so I took him to the car to warm up.  I got one good run down from the top of this hill, which wasn't super steep but if you got on the right angles you could go pretty far. 

Back at the car Luke declared he would never leave the house again until the snow was gone! Poor kid. 

I ended up taking him home while Charlie & Isaac stayed behind with the neighbors. This was the road going back to our house. It wasn't a ton of snow, but because of the freezing rain that preceded it the roads were really icy. I was thankful for Charlie's Subaru and the 4-wheel drive. 

After lunch we managed to convince Luke to go for round two.  The neighbor lent him some warmer clothes and we reminded him not to pick up snow. Round two went much, much better. Both boys had a blast!  There were several friends from the neighborhood there and we tried out a different hill with a little bump in it that was really fun. Isaac surprised me with his gumption. He would get a running start, land on his knees, and take off for some remarkably fast runs.  Charlie had fun going down with both boys while I mostly took pictures or helped with launches at the top. 

We had fun!  But we all froze. The wind chill brought the temperatures down to around 10 degrees, which is way colder than I like. Cracker doesn't like it either. I took him out front for a potty break and he wouldn't walk even one step. (He prefers the covered deck out back that has dry ground.) 

That night we went out for dinner to celebrate Isaac's report card. We let him pick the restaurant so we ended up at Chili's. His first choice is always Del Taco, but we managed to talk him out of it this time.  We were surprised at how much ice was still on the roads. They were quite bad in some spots and retrospectively we decided we probably should have stayed home. But we did make it home safely and then we stayed put! 

All church meetings were cancelled today due to the icy roads, and school is already cancelled for tomorrow.