Pictures from November

 I need to do 2 separate November posts (Grant's birthday and Tyson's wedding), but this posts should encompass the rest of our November.

 Grant was playing ball and threw it into the pool.  Adam told him he would give him a dollar if he went in the pool to get it.  It was the funniest thing - he marched into the house, put on his suit and then came outside ready to swim.  We thought he would hesitate and stay on the stairs, but he walked out the sliding door, walked over to the pool and immediately jumped in, swam to the ball and swam back to the stairs.  It was crazy, not even a moments hesitation.  Noah and Ava thought it looked fun, so they joined him.  They all swam for about 5 minutes before declaring it was too cold.  I couldn't believe they actually did it.
 My kids are surprisingly good at the dentist.  They actually love going.  I hated going to the dentist when I was little.
 Granty turned 5 in November.  The primary presidency brought over his birthday crown before we left for Moab.  The sword was a sweet Target find - 10 cents!  Got a few post Halloween toys (mainly swords) for 10-50 cents.
 My brother, Tyson, got married in Moab, Utah.  We flew to Salt Lake City and then drove down.  We stayed in Moab a couple days and then stayed in SLC for a few days. I'll do another post on Tyson's wedding - way too many pictures to add to this post.

 We really wanted to fly into Salt Lake so we could visit grandma and grandpa Ellis.  Grandpa has been having some heart problems and just had open heart surgery, so we wanted to check on him and see some of the other relatives.  I can't tell you how much I look up to grandma and grandpa Ellis.  They are the sweetest, most humble, amazing people I know.  I have NEVER been to grandma's house and not had a full cookie jar to raid.  Of course, we finished off what was in her cookie bucket, and immediately she just goes into the kitchen and whips up some more. 
Aida and her cute boys live in grandma's basement (Steve lives there too, but he wasn't home so we didn't get to see him), so my kids had a blast playing with them.  Aida's taking after grandma and is just so sweet and nice.  Scott stopped by to check on grandpa so we got to see uncle Scott for a few minutes too.  We knew we wouldn't be able to see all the relatives (one of the things I miss about living in Salt Lake was our weekly visits with family) in our short stay, but happy we got to see quite a few.

 We stayed at cousin Amanda's house.  Dex introduced my kids to the Wii.  They thought it was great.  Mike and Amanda have almost an identical family situation as us (1 older boy and then twins, boy and girl, a few years younger).  They are great parents.  It was fun to watch them with their kids. They are just getting to that very trying stage (2 year old twins is rough) of child rearing.  Adam and I commented on how quickly we forgot about how our life was when our kids were at that age.  Amazing how much changes, in all aspects of life, as your kids pass through each stage.  Anyway, it was fun staying with them.  We got to see cousin Jodilynn (also their nanny), and stayed up way too late chatting with Caitlin.  Thanks Caitlin for the fun and intellectual conversation.  It made us feel young again.  :)  We went and saw the Deaners new house, and got to see our boy Braden (and Hannah and Olivia).  My kids want to move into their playhouse downstairs.
 On our last day we were going to stop by aunt Chris', but Grant was starting to not feel good.  We called aunt Nancy to tell her we couldn't come out to ride the train and she promised she didn't care if we were sick. HUH?!?!  We had been telling the kids all about the train for months before, and they really wanted to try it.  Nancy and Medardo are awesome. I want to be like Nancy someday.  See a recurring theme?  The Ellis family is an incredible family.   Next time we'll have to plan on staying longer so we can visit with everyone. 
This trip was pretty bad as far as bodily fluid accidents.  I don't know what was going on, but Ava peed her pants 2 times at 2 different peoples houses!!  Seriously!  Sorry Deaners (luckily she was on the hard wood floors so it was easy to clean up - brand new house mind you).  We stopped by our friends house for a few minutes and she had an accident on their carpet.  So embarrassing.  Grant puked from coughing so much (every winter he gets a cough that lasts for months, and he throws up when he coughs) on our drive to Moab. He got a bloody nose at Amanda's house.  He wasn't feeling well the day we were flying home and threw up while we were in line to get sandwiches with Rachelle.  I know Rachelle REALLY didn't want to be around us after that, but she was sweet and let us go back to her apartment to eat lunch before going to the airport.   I think Grant had an accident during the trip once too, but I can't remember.  I lost track.  I don't know what was wrong with those 2 - they have a very bad habit of waiting until the last second and by then they don't have time to ask where the bathroom is.  Needless to say, we had a lot of nasty dirty clothes to wash when we got home.
 Noah got another belt promotion.  He's now a purple belt.
 Thought Ava looked so cute in her cowgirl outfit.   We love cute hand-me-downs.

 A couple weeks ago it was raining pretty hard for a few days here, so we thought maybe there would be snow up I-80.  We took a drive and didn't find any snow.  We were almost to Lake Tahoe, so decided to check out the lake. Believe it or not, I had never been to Lake Tahoe since moving here.  We're only 1 1/2 hours from Lake Tahoe, but for some reason hadn't ventured that direction.
 Rock towers on the beach.

 Mandarin picking.  I know I brag every winter about the mandarins, but seriously people the mandarins here are amazing. I can never eat a Cutie again.

 Somehow Ava ended up barefoot for most of this outing.
 Weighing our mandarins.  Cool old scale I would love to have.
 Huge mandarins
 We went on a little hike around the mandarin orchard.

Ava comes up with the strangest outfits.
 Uncle Eli came for Thanksgiving and brought his hammock.  The palm trees were the strongest trees to anchor it to.  I was hoping someone would fall into the pool, but that didn't happen.

 When Eli got in the hammock he got pretty darn close to the water.
 Thanksgiving dinner was phenom.  I made EVERYTHING from scratch (minus the Jell-O), even the marshmallows for this sweet potato souffle.  I tried a couple new recipes this year that are keepers, so I'll try to get those up on my recipe blog soon.
It was really warm on Thanksgiving so we had our feast outside this year.  The kids ate theirs in the playhouse at the top of the slide.  We invited everyone we knew to come over for dinner, but we only ended up with 1 extra person (besides Eli).  We had a few families say they might come over if they didn't leave town, and another family that was going to come if the mom didn't have a baby (she ended up having her that night), but they all ended up going out of town.  Needless to say, we had A LOT of left overs.  Kept us fed for the rest of the weekend.


October in Review (and a little September)

 I found a few more pictures on my phone from September.  We went to Bishops Pumpkin Farm while the grandparents and cousins (and aunt) were here for Noah's baptism.
 Hayride.  April was nice and even let her girls take their pumpkins home in their suitcases.

 April promised Madi and Noah a milkshake if they could pick up one of the giant pumpkins.  They were hopeful, but realized they weigh hundreds of pounds and couldn't even budge them.
 Story time with grandpa Bruce.
 On a walk to the creek.  Grandpa Rob is so patient and always has a kid hanging on him or on his shoulders.
My mom was a trooper and went along with all our adventures in a boot (she had surgery on her foot a few weeks prior). 
 I decided one day that I wanted to add wood paneling to the mudroom.  I love how it turned out.  All that's left to do is seal the wood bench and secure it.
 Noah got some sweet cards and presents from his aunts and uncles.

Getting mugged on by his dad before his baptism. 
 October was a busy month for us. I was a parent helper for Ava's field trip to Bishops Pumpkin Farm (we had multiple pumpkin farm trips this year).

 I hosted a 'Hypertufa' Girls Night Out party. 
Made yummy boston cream pie muffins and pumpkin bars.
Couldn't resist these Halloween chips.
I was too busy making the cement mixture to take pictures, but this is the big one I made that night. (used fencing wire to get the lines)
Here it is planted.
Speaking of succulents, here are the pots we made/planted at the beginning of the summer.  Some of them are flowering and changing colors right now.  They look so cool.
 Lots of tomatoes and cucumbers last month.  We went out of town last week, so I didn't pull out the plants and came home to TONS more tomatoes.   Can't believe it's the middle of November and we're still getting tomatoes.  Crazy long tomato season this year.
Crappy phone picture. 
Noah started scouts and loves it. 
 First pack meeting.  He earned his bobcat and swimming belt loop and pin.
 Got our flu shots. The kids were so brave again and didn't cry at all.
 Grant got to dress up for school and have a costume parade.

Ava eating a hanging doughnut at our ward fall festival.
I decided to dress up as a witch and have fun with some make-up.  The kids thought I was pretty cool (too bad they don't feel that way most of the time).

Noah was a favorite everywhere we went - Bob Ross. He was a little nervous that nobody would recognize him, so he made a tiny name tag and paper clipped it to his shirt. :)  Of course most of the adults knew immediately who he was.  When we were trick-or-treating on Halloween almost every house we went to someone laughed and commented on how cool his costume was.  He thought he was pretty cool afterward.  He told me, "everyone loves my costume, I didn't think people would know who I was".
We took the boat out for one last ski trip the later part of October. Due to the California drought, most of the lakes are pretty dry and closed, so we drove up to Bullards Bar (about a 1 1/2 hour away).  It was beautiful.  We had the lake to ourselves.
Bullards bar is in the middle of no where/marijuana country, so our only lunch option was a nasty tiny gas station. Yuck! 
We let the kids play on the sand hills (that's how low the water is - usually up to the trees), and Adam told Noah he couldn't bring home any junk/treasures (he somehow can find large amounts of junk wherever we go).  I saw that smooth log and thought it would be a cool side table or something, so I disobeyed and brought it home. :)  It's currently a plant stand.  The wind and water did all the sanding for me to make it smooth. Win-Win.

We took Noah's friend with us.
We've been making lots of fruit leather this summer and fall (apricot, pineapple, persimmon and strawberry).
My mom gave me her canape bread pans, so we've had fun making our lunches out of shaped sandwich bread.
It's citrus season here, so we've been juicing like crazy.  It's hard to go back to concentrate when you can get the fresh stuff.  I need a few more citrus trees!! Valencias are 40 cents/pound right now (cheaper than buying the concentrate)!
Went with Grant on his pumpkin patch field trip.  They went to a different pumpkin patch than Ava.  This little boy was his "pumpkin patch buddy".  They were supposed to stay together, and Grant was right on top of it.  If his buddy got out of his sight, Grant was so concerned.  I remember being this way when I was younger.  Poor boy, can't relax when he has a responsibility to do.

I am the 'garden mom' for Ava's kindergarten class.  I helped all the kids plant their garden last month.
It's fun to see these pictures, because now it's all filled in and some of the plants are ready to harvest.  I'm going into the classroom after Thanksgiving to help them harvest and taste some of it.
General Conference madness.  Eli and Adam sleeping listening intently to conference while the kids dump out everything they can create masterpieces.
We don't usually have school on Halloween (they conveniently plan a teacher prep that day), so we used the off time to carve our pumpkins.  The kids drew what they wanted on paper, transferred it to the pumpkin and I helped them with the cutting (they had to gut it themselves).
Noah's was a solar system jack-o-lantern.
 Grant wanted scary.

Noah's candy loot.  Quite a few houses giving full size candy bars this year. Most of this is now in the freezer, trying to hide from our lack of will power.
One with Ava finally.  She wasn't being very cooperative for pictures.
And our favorite treat for Halloween (finalized that morning) was selling our Salt Lake house!!!  YEAH!!!!