This was a quiet month, we spent most of the time at home just doing our normal thing. We did enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at Carolyn and Zach's home and meeting their brand new baby, as well as going Christmas Tree hunting with my family. Mostly though we were doing stuff like this:
Our neighbors got a new washer/dryer and were kind enough to let us have the box. We got hours and hours and hours of entertainment out of this thing.
Sharli continues to be quite the fashionista...
Grandma sent the kids new PJ's which is always exciting!
We kept with the tradition we started last year and made a Gratitude Tree. It's always fun to see what the kids come up with.
On cold days when the kids don't want to play outside, we pull out some of our old favorite activities. It's always amazing to see how something as simple as oatmeal can keep these two busy for a really long time!
Erik has mostly outgrown naps, but he still has to have Quiet Time in the playroom each afternoon. He can choose to stay awake and play or there are pillows and cushions he can lay down on to sleep. Apparently this day he didn't make it over to the cushions...
As I mentioned last time, we started out the month of October by going on a mammoth road trip. We spent something like two weeks visiting family in Utah and Idaho, and it was wonderful! Well, except for the 48 or so cumulative hours spent driving in the car. Those weren't quite as wonderful, though they weren't quite as bad as they could have been, see why here.
We spent several days staying with Ethan's Mower grandparents in Bountiful, UT. It was so fun to get to visit with them, and while we were in the neighborhood we took the kids to the LDS Church History Museum and Temple Square. It was fun to turn the kids loose in the children's room in the museum and watch them explore, although it was General Conference weekend so the place was packed! We'll have to go back sometime when things are quieter.
Our next stop was Rexburg, ID, where we stayed in Ethan's Aunt's home where his Grandma Clements lives. His mom was also there for a visit, so that made it extra fun! We made sure to take the time to go visit the other Aunts and Uncles, and the old family farm (which now is used, in part, for an awesome Fall Festival that the kids really enjoyed).
There are so many memories in this place for Ethan, and some for me as well. It was fun to wander through the area and think of Grandpa Clements and the time spent with him.
It was really fun to get to stay with Grandma Clements and let the kids spend some time with her. She's a special lady!
After leaving Rexburg we spent a night in Grantsville, UT with my Aunt and her family, then headed southward again, stopping for the night in Las Vegas. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and Ethan had never been, so we decided to spend a bit of time wandering The Strip and seeing the sights. We spent several hours and only saw a tiny fraction of what there was to see.
It was fun, but even in October Vegas is HOT, and being seven months pregnant walking in the heat was a bit rough. I was glad when we went back to the car! I don't think I was the only one who was glad either.
We piled back in the car and headed out of town for Lake Meade and the Hoover Dam. This was actually the real reason we had come to Vegas, Ethan wanted to tour the dam. We couldn't take the kids on the full tour, but we were able to do the Power House tour. It was fun, though pretty overpriced.
Our next stop was in Winslow, AZ at Marquette and Cameron's house (where we'd actually spent the first night of our trip as well). We got to hang out with them for a while, which is always a fun treat. They took us to La Posada, an old Harvey House and train station, where we toured the old building, played in the hay bale maze, and watched trains go by. It was such a neat place.
The rest of the month was fairly uneventful. We did a bit of hiking around to enjoy the gorgeous country around us. We really do live in a special place.
Erik got his very own fishing rod and was SO excited to give it a try. He and Ethan headed down to the fish pond by our house and came back before too long with a nice trout. Erik insisted on bringing it home and eating it, though after tasting it he decided he prefers catch and release fishing.
While the boys were fishing, Sharli and I made some bread. I'm actually not sure if she or Erik had more fun that day.
Halloween is always a fun time of year. Erik changed his mind about what to dress up as almost daily in the weeks leading up to Halloween, so I didn't actually start making his costume until the day before his school party. That was a big mistake, I think I got about 2 hours of sleep that night, but I managed to get the darn thing done just barely in time.
I found the idea for Sharli's costume online somewhere and fell in love with it. She loved it too and wanted to wear it around for weeks afterwards.
Some things don't change much around here. Sharli still loves creating her own unique outfits. She discovered though that her baby dolls can wear clothes too, so she has started bringing them to me to be dressed up. I'm not sure who is wearing more clothes here, Sharli or her baby.
Ethan has been acquiring the tools and materials necessary to start learning to blacksmith. This month he got his coal forge up and running, which is way exciting! He's had way to much fun with this new hobby.
For Ethan's birthday, I made arrangements to have a kid-free weekend away from home. We stayed at the Casitas de Gila bed and breakfast and had a lot of fun! We hiked around, cooked a BBQ dinner, played board games, and visited the little art gallery. It was a really beautiful place and we really loved our stay there!
September ended up being a fairly wet month, and our kids loved all the mud and puddles everywhere. It made for more laundry, but they sure had fun!
All the rain did amazing things for the garden, check out this huge zucchini!
We ended the month by getting ready to go on a really big road trip. The kids were SO much help with the packing and prep work!
The month of August was a fairly uneventful one for our family. We didn't go anywhere special, but we did make some memories together as a family. Sharli got really into creating her own outfits, coming up with some really interesting ones.
Not to be outdone by his little sister, Erik made up a few creations of his own.
We made sure to break up the monotony of every day things like taking naps...
...and taking baths...
...by taking time to have some fun, like this day when we had a BBQ in the back yard.
Erik started a new life adventure this month, when he started Preschool at the Glenwood Elementary School. Here he is on the first day of school with his teacher, Mrs. Nelson.
We spent a fair amount of time out in the garden, and really enjoyed reaping the yummy rewards!
The biggest excitement this month was getting to find out that baby #3 is a GIRL!
We had lots of fun this month. The weather was gorgeous so we spent lots of time (especially in the evenings) outside enjoying it. The first blackberries started to ripen, and boy is Sharli a BIG fan of blackberries!
We kicked off the start of the month with Ethan, his Dad, brothers, and sister all going on an overnight backpacking trip in the Gila Wilderness. Since that's right in our backyard (kinda), our house was the jumping off point for the whole adventure. The best part (for me anyways) was that my sisters-in-law came (with their cute kiddos of course) and we all partied for a few days while we waited to see if our menfolk were going to return alive. The guys got back on the fourth, just in time to go down to Lordsburg for a picnic with some of the Payne clan and to watch the fireworks. It was tons of fun, but somehow I neglected to pick up my camera during that entire week. Oops.
Sharli discovered a new favorite reading material. She gets her favorite blanket, gets all comfy in one of the big arm chairs, and thoroughly enjoys looking at all the pictures in the Mother Earth News magazine someone gave us. She is somewhat obsessed with chickens these days, and this issue had an entire article about them.
On his birthday, Erik unlocked the secret to freedom; he figured out how to "pump" on the swing so he no longer needs someone to push him. That's an exciting discovery for EVERYONE!
I love this picture. They are having so much fun, and just love each other so much!
Erik thinks he's quite the daredevil. We are way beyond "look mom, no hands!" and now have to come up with new ways to challenge fate.
Also this month, Erik got to build his first pinewood derby car, and race it at our Primary Birthday Party.
He loves his car, and even felt like it deserved its own party hat.
While he did not win any races, he did win "Most Fuel Efficient", because any car that's driving that slow must be getting good gas mileage. :)
Every Wednesday in June and July is exciting, because that's the day we get to go to the local library's summer reading program. This year I was helping out with activities for the little kids (5 and under), so we got to play with lots of play dough and have all kinds of crazy fun. Oh, and we also read a few books, because that's what you do at the library.
One of the more crazy things we did was divide 75 pounds of flour between two kiddie pools and turn the kids loose. Oh boy did they have fun!