July 29, 2014

Bunnies, Baskets, and Big Changes

Easter was an especially hectic time for us this past Spring as it happened to fall on the weekend we closed on our house.  After the stress of 2013, things seemed to fall into place, if anything, a bit quicker than we had anticipated.  

The plan:
List the house ourselves while we take our time finding the perfect place for our ever growing family.  
What really happened:
Stuck a sign in the yard.  Got an offer 2 days later.  Boxed, packed, cleaned, and moved 27 short days later.

John traveled a bit during this time, which made things that much crazier, yet somehow we survived.  Despite the clear need for a bigger place, we were so sad to leave our friends and neighbors and especially our amazing ward.  We definitely made some life long friends in our Country Park 5th Ward and are so grateful for the experiences we had there.  

After an exhausting week of packing most of our belongings into storage, the day before Easter we officially became basement-dwellers.  Thankfully John's parents have a beautiful home with an awesome basement apartment we have been able to stay in while the home hunt continues. 

So between truck loads, boxing and un-boxing, and cleaning like mad, we squeezed in some Easter festivities...
Every year we drive past the neighboring So Jo park and witness literally hundreds of kids seemingly having the time of their lives hunting an endless supply of candy-filled eggs.  Every year our kids whine and cry that they are missing out on the apparent life changing adventure.  So we caved.  

As we awaited the start of the hunt, Macie was filled with trepidation as evidenced by the above and below photos.
Want to know what she's looking at?
Like I said, HUNDREDS of screaming children on a mad dash for candy.  I don't blame her, I'd be intimidated too. 
Somehow they survived and made off with a piece of candy or two. 
 (Not even kidding, pretty disappointing event on all accounts).
Despite the fact that it was over before it really began, we did see a few familiar smiles on display...
Fortunately for her, Tessa missed the entire flop, instead catching up on some much needed Z's.  
Then it was back to the house for more last minute packing and cleaning, before we were off to color eggs.  John's face in the following photo pretty much sums up what moving over a holiday weekend feels like.
Despite our near-collapse like state, the kids had a blast as usual...
Coley seemed to be in a particularly good mood and enjoyed coloring himself just as much, if not more than the eggs themselves.  He even earned some dinero from Papa Lynn for consuming the nastiest thing I've seen, before or since.  
Believe it or not, the endless task of moving wasn't complete and after the kids were tucked in bed, it was back to the house to continue the work.
The next morning, by some miracle, the Easter bunny fulfilled the kids wishes...
We wanted to visit our old ward one last time and headed to church before stopping off at our house for one last family photo before officially saying goodbye to our home on Winford Drive.
What a day.  What a weekend.  After all the craziness, it was great to relax, think about the Savior, and enjoy time together as a family...
However, I'm not certain Tessa enjoyed herself all that much...
After some coaxing...
We finally were able to get a semi-smile out of our beautiful little grouch...
Our new yard, A.K.A. Papa Lynn's pride and joy, made for a great egg hunt.
 Macie's sweet and spunky personality is always a blast to photograph...
 The boys on the other hand love to make things difficult interesting.  After plenty of outtakes, I asked Wyatt to just look handsome...
So under pressure handsome, or even normal, isn't quite a possibility.  
Maybe I'm biased, but candid moments seem to be another story...
I love these two handsome boys and their beautifully sweet sisters.  
Though the many emotions and stresses that come with moving were overwhelming, we survived and had a nice holiday weekend despite it all.  
Now we are feeling settled in our new place and are taking the time we need to make sure we get this upcoming decision right.  We've already had some excitement and disappointment come our way in the long process of finding our next home.  At times it is overwhelmingly stressful to try and figure out where we will end up, but I'm confident God has a plan for our family. 
We are excited for the next adventure in life and can't wait to see what will come our way.  

July 14, 2014

St. Who?

I hate reading (or writing for that matter) a blog post that begins with the phrase, "I am so behind on the blog..."
So I won't say that...
 Instead, I'll say this: 
We've had a lot of fun in recent months celebrating the Fourth of July, Father's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day.  However, this post is not about any of those special days.  Instead, I'm going to discuss a "holiday" we celebrated clear back in March.  

At this point, St. Patty's Day 2014 probably isn't even blog worthy, especially since my camera broke the very day (hence the following phone photos), however it was an oddly humorous day that I would like to remember, so here it goes. 
P.S. This is probably one of my odder blog posts.  

March 16th, 2014
The kids make their annual leprechaun trap, filled with Mom's jewelry.  Mom recovers her jewelry and leaves a very witty (if I do say so myself) message from the leprechaun behind, in leprechaun language, of course.  Dad thinks Mom is a freak.  
Big brother sneakily informs parents of little brothers dream to wake up on St. Patrick's Day with gold stuck to his face.  After a mad rush to the store, parent's fulfill said child's dreams...
***Lesson Learned***
If you tape chocolate to a child's face while sleeping, they will roll around ensuring a chocolaty mess like nothing you've ever seen.
Like how-did-this-much-chocolate-come-from-two-little-coins type of mess.  Like hair, pillows, sheets, and pajamas, all chocolaty dipped kind of mess.
Moving on.

March 17th, 2014
The children awake to discover:
a) Cole is covered in chocolate.
b) Macie can no longer see.
c) The trap did not work.  Mom's jewelry was stolen by the little green men (are Leprechauns green?).  
d) Leprechauns have messed up the entire house and left a trail of gold coins in their wake.
After a nutritious breakfast of Lucky Charms and green milk, big brother informs Mom that  if she ever wears any of the jewelry again, all the children will know leprechauns (Santa, the tooth-fairy, the Easter bunny, etc.) are all a complete farce.  Mom is sad .  The kids are off to school.  Dad goes to work.  Mom cleans up the mess and makes dinner, green soup.

Later, the family eats the green soup, which is surprisingly amazing and loved by all, especially the baby. 
Little brother realizes its much more fun to put dinner on your head than actually eat it.
Big brother decides a St. Patrick's Day play is in order...
(I'll will spare you the 10 minute video and leave you with the very odd conclusion.  I really don't know why I am sharing this weirdness, other than it is us and it is real.)
 
The kids go to bed excited about the possibility of green excrement, thanks to Dad. 
Mom realizes this is a really weird and stupid holiday and wonders who in the world St. Patrick is anyway.  She googles it.  He's really not that cool.  
Okay, kinda cool, but only if you live in Ireland, or have ever lived there, or maybe even visited at some point.  Or plan to visit.  But if not, yeah he's not that cool.  
The end.

Update: I just looked a last years post and discovered I questioned who St. Patrick was then too.  Ha ha, apparently I have a very short memory when it comes to useless information.

Green Soup Recipe
a.k.a. Broccoli Cheese Soup - Cook's Illustrated

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
    2 pounds broccoli , florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    1 medium onion , roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
    2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
    1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
    Pinch cayenne pepper 
    Table salt 
    3–4 cups water 
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
    2 ounces baby spinach (2 loosely packed cups)
    3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (3/4 cup)
    1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated fine (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
    Ground black pepper 

    Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

    Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer soup to medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.

July 4, 2014

Phone-y Photos of Late

DOLL face.
Play DOUGH
PICNIC time.
SPARRING.
TATS.
NOT Zupas.
WANNA-BE dad.
BEAUTY regime.
Edible SCIENCE.
GET IT girl.
A DECADE.
Edible TOES.
PAPA love.
April FOOLS.
SPRING fashion show.
Just LOVE.
WORK in progress.
My BOY.
COUSINS.
WANNABE.