The view from my bed every morning at the cabin. 
 Adam taught the kids how to finger knit and for about a week that's all they wanted to do.  We have hand-knitted snakes everywhere now. :)

 I feel like pretty much from the middle of November until now has been a blur.  It went by so fast.  We had a great holiday season and had a lot of fun doing good things, but as usual, it flies by.  The kids decided instead of making presents for each other they would earn money and buy presents for a family in need.  They wanted to do a shaved ice stand, so that's what we did, along with hot chocolate and lots of baked goods.  It was a TON of work on my part, but worth it to show the kids how fun it can be to serve. 
 Ava making the faces for the snowman marshmallows.

 All ready to go at their stations. 
We sold out within about an hour and made $180, thanks to our awesome neighbors and friends.  Adam and I matched their earnings and we were able to buy Christmas for a family who really needed it this year.  So fun!!
 Grant started scouts (he was so excited) and received his Bobcat award.  Noah was in charge of taking pictures, thus the blurry picture. :/
 Did some caroling with some friends.  

 Crammed a bunch of friends in the house for a dinner and to assemble gift baskets to deliver to those in need of some holiday cheer. 
 Had the bake sale on Saturday, bishops youth fireside at our house Sunday, friend dinner on Monday and sprained my ankle on Tuesday.  I was just finishing cleaning the house from a week+ of preparations and went outside to water my plants.  I thought I was on the bottom step, so when I stepped back to what I thought was the ground I fell a few steps and heard a loud pop.  I fell to the ground, the hose still on and soaking me and to top it off I had really bad laryngitis and had absolutely NO voice to yell for my neighbor.  It's a hilarious visual now, but at the time it was not funny.  I crawled into the house and started to sob from the pain, and then called Adam.  He came home and took me for X-rays.  Luckily it wasn't broken, just a really bad sprain.  It's been almost a month and there's still a few spots on my ankle that hurt and a few range of motions I can't do.  I couldn't walk at all for about 4 days.  Oh man, it was rough.  Can't believe how long it's taken to heal, but glad i am slowly regaining mobility.  And THANK HEAVENS for Amazon!!!  
 Did a pear tasting a couple weeks ago with the kids. 

 Had fun helping with Grant's holiday party at school. 
 Have seen a few movies since getting out of school.  
 Went to our friends house for Christmas Eve (the kids huddled around watching NORAD - the santa tracker)
 Decorating cookies for Santa - and a few for themselves. 

 Came home and opened Christmas Eve pajamas.  April always makes the kids pajama pants every year.  She's so nice. 
 The excitement Christmas morning is overwhelming. :)  The kids fell asleep quickly, so Santa came early, I think.  All three kids came into our rooms and climbed into bed anxious to go downstairs.  After a few minutes of them being fidgety Adam looked at the clock and realized it was only 2 AM!!  We sent them back to bed.  They came back in a little after 6 am and they rubbed Adam's feet to work off minutes to go down earlier.  We made it downstairs around 6:30.  Christmas is even better as a parent getting to watch your kids be excited about everything. 
 Ava and Grant got ezrollers from Santa.  They're really fun. 
 Noah testing out his flint and steel.  
 Grant with his loot. 
 Noah with his loot.  He got a trick scooter from Santa. 
 Ava with her loot. 
Adam was anxious to get to the cabin to try out his Christmas present, so we left around noon.  We've all been enjoying his present. :)
 Our friends came up with us and spent a few days at the cabin.  We had a lot of fun. 
 The kids went from the hot tub to the tire swing pretty much all day.  Heaven for a kid.  The tire swing has been a huge hit.  It goes really high now and each kid has only had about 1 minor incident on it.  If they let go too soon they have quite a fall -  they learn that lesson once. :) 
Found another pretty waterfall.  All three kids are there, but Grant's face got whited out for some reason.  We loved having Adam home for the entire week after Christmas. We've had a great holiday season.   It's been busy, but the good kind of busy.  



 Noah and Noah.  A new family moved into our ward and they have an 11 yo son named Noah too!  His mom had a baby, so Noah got to spend the night with my Noah.  We don't do sleep-overs, so my Noah thought it was pretty great.  They stayed up late chatting it up like little school girls. :)
 The next day I watched Noah's other brother and some friends kids and they thought it was warm enough to swim.  It wasn't!!  They swam for about 15 minutes and didn't seem to notice the water was only 65 degrees. 
Noah's November Tinker Crate - a planetarium.
 Adam wanted a project one Saturday and decided it was time to remove the pool fence.  We've been going back and forth about it for awhile......well, I have.  Adam's been wanting it gone for a year now, but I keep thinking about other peoples kids that might drown in it.  Then he reminds me that the fence is always open, and the few times I've had to jump in and save kids is when their parents are right there and the fence is wide open.  It's true, it's much more likely a kid will drown when a parent is within arms reach.  So a few weeks ago the kids unscrewed all the panels.  They turned it into a zoo for awhile. 
We sold the panels and posts on Craigslist and this is what it looks like now.  Makes the yard look much bigger.  We need to remove that tree stump that's been there for too long now, and we need to re-plaster the pool soon so we'll redo the pool deck while we're at it. 
 FHE flue shots.  Every year the pharmacist compliments me on how well my kids do with the shots and how they behave in the store. Ha, and I always think they are so naughty in the store.  Guess I expect too much of them. 
 Fun having a garden again. My winter garden is looking nice these days. 
 Carved pumpkins a couple weeks late, but we gott'r done. 
Ava as MIA when I was taking these pictures.  She found the Halloween blood, so that's why her pumpkin looks like a massacre. 
 My cute scouters.  Grant started scouts this month.  He's been anticipating this for a long time.  Noah is a big 11 yo scouter now too.  Their uniforms show their personalities to a T.  Grant: all tucked in, belt, neckerchief, the works.  Noah: barely buttoned up, mis-matched socks. :/  I pick my battles!

 November was such an absolutely crazy month, so we were last minute everything and holding it together by a shoestring.  The kids were out of school on Grant's birthday (Veterans day), so the day before Grant chose Twinkies to take for his class.  So much for keeping it healthy. Ha.  Good think the teachers are fairly lenient when it comes to that rule. :)
 Noah at cello lessons.  For the memory books.  His teacher has breast cancer and has been going thru chemo the last year.  You would never know.  She doesn't like to talk about it and she does her lessons just like before.   
 My readers!!  ALWAYS READING!!
 Noah wakes up early every morning, goes downstairs and makes himself breakfast and then comes into my bed and reads next to me until I wake up.  I love that he still snuggles me every morning at 11 years old.  Honestly one of the reasons I take my time getting up in the mornings is the see who will come snuggle me for a few minutes before we rush off the school.  That, and I'm not really a morning person. :)
 My baby turned 8!!  Guys, that's crazy.  This year has been a little tough for me, because I'm realizing how fast time is flying (I've known it all along, but this year especially) and how quickly my babies will be all grown-up.   It hurts my heart to think about it sometimes. 
 Candle in the breakfast tradition.  We were rushing off to a park with some friends, so it was Cheerios (they hold a candle well). :)
 Our sweet primary president stopped us on our way to the park to give Grant a birthday cookie.  We have a fairly small primary, so every birthday the primary presidents have come by and wished the kids a happy birthday. 
 Grant's cake this year was a favorite things cake.  He loves root beer and to go to Costco with me...

 He LOVES locks, keys and chains!!

 He loves pocket knives...
 He loves Nerf guns....
 and Legos......
 He loves to sing and play the piano...
 and he loves sugar!!  I had about 5 other things (apricot jam, water skiing, baseball, bikes, cabin....) I was going to make, but it was already too many things to make.  

 The cake was a rich chocolate cake layered with salted caramel and topped with chocolate ganache. 
 The balls, root beer bottle, sugar sticks, stars and '8' are all made out of sugar and the rest of the decorations are fondant.  The ganache was acting up when I added all the sugar pieces and started to separate.  I know ganache is finicky when it comes to fat/sugar ratios, but I didn't think it would react with sugar pieces on top.  The cake started to fall once I added the sugar pieces.  Luckily I got some pictures, and Grant saw it before the worst of it happened.  
 I sold my range this month too.  I loved the stove portion (all 4 burners were the same - why is this not a standard thing on every stove?!?  Seems stupid to me to have 1 small, 1 medium, 1 simmer, etc on a stove.  Every unit should be able to cook high and simmer, IMO), but my oven was terrible.  Every time I baked something the edges would be burned and the middle raw.  After 4 years (yes, it was this way from the start) of dealing with it and having a repairman try to figure it out, Adam said he was buying me another range!!!  We got a really good deal thru his work, and I sold the other one on Craigslist, so it wasn't too much out of pocket.  When the old one was out, we realized we didn't have 220V (my new range is a duel-fuel, gas stove and electric ovens) anymore, so we called our electrician and he came out and added that line (he ended up capping my microwave outlet on accident in the meantime).  So much for a great deal. :)  This all happened a couple days before Thanksgiving.  My first time using it was for Thanksgiving, and so far I'm really happy with it. 
I was excited to have 3 ovens (my microwave is an oven too) for Thanksgiving, but ended up only using 1!  I made my pie the night before, used my wonder oven (bean bags) for my mashed potatoes, baked the rolls before the turkey went in, and did green beans on the stove.  Ha!  I'm sure I'll get use out of them all soon enough. 
 Ava's cute camouflage turkey she made for school. 
 Lots of late nights and lots and lots and lots of tiling in the bathroom upstairs. 
 Grant and Noah got terrible rashes from poison oak last week.  Poor Grant woke up one morning with a really swollen face and one eye almost swollen shut.  We used grandma's witch lotion lots of Benadryl and it cleared up in about a week. Usually it takes a few weeks to clear, so I'm glad it was fairly fast.  
 The kids were pretty great helpers this Thanksgiving.  
 Making plate decorations

 Photo courtesy of Ava
Adam picked up grandma Connie and grandpa Rob from Stockton, and then we enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast together.  The food was delicious (my turkey was pretty amazing, if I do say so myself) and it was nice having some family here to enjoy it with. 
 Friday after Thanksgiving, grandpa Rob helped up hang the Christmas lights.  I picked up my parents from Sacramento and then we went to the Mandarin farm to pick Mandarins. 
So good!
 Saturday was Grant's big day.  He got baptized and confirmed by his dad. 

 Since it was a holiday weekend, we didn't do a luncheon at our house afterward (many of our friends were out of town), so we took the grandparents and our sweet neighbors to Jack's for lunch (Grant's choice).  
 After lunch we went to a tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. 
 Some friends joined us, which always makes it more fun, and we loved having the grandparents with us too.  
 Bring on the Christmas season.....we're ready!