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!



 I feel like October and November have just been a blur.  It went by so fast - probably because we've been pretty busy with projects and other stuff.  The kids love to decorate and I let them do most of it this year.  Sometimes I still can't believe I've been able to relinquish so much control when it comes to certain things (i.e. holiday decorating, Christmas lights etc.).  
 Our upstairs bathroom has had a giant hole in the wall, no mirror and a rusty leaking sink for years now, so I decided we needed to redo the upstairs bathroom before the grandparents arrived in November, so we started gutting it first of October.  We got it down to studs in a few days and then we waited 3 weeks for a plumber to show up.  Ugh!!  I work better with a deadline, but when your timeline gets adjusted by 3 weeks it puts everything into high gear.   All we needed was a single drain and water line to be converted to 2.  We should have just done it ourselves.  
Here's what it looks like now.  We got a working sink, toilet and shower done the night before my parents arrived.  It's about 70% done.  Hopefully we get the last 30% done now that we don't have to hurry and it's functioning. :)
 One of Noah's birthday presents was a subscription to Tinker crate.  Each month they send a new project for him to build.  This month was a catapult ball game.  It's perfect for him - something new to build and play with for a few days and then he gets sick of it.  Then in a couple weeks another one comes.  He loves it!
 Some friends and I got a room in Sacramento and went to Time Out For Women.  It was a fun weekend hearing inspiring messages and hanging out with friends.  
 Noah was in charge of the FHE treat and he's been begging me to let him work with sugar, so we made these sugar bowls together.  
 We filled them with ice cream and he made those chocolate mint skull heads. He was pretty proud. 
 The kids had their Monster dash Jog-a-thon.  Ava was the only one who wanted to dress up.  She made her costume that morning - a witch bunny. :)  This girl wanted to be 2 things, and each day it was different.  One day it was a witch bunny, then a cat witch, then a Frankenstein princess.  
 I helped count laps at the Jog-a-thon so I could watch my kids run. 
 Went on a hike with my hiking buddies to Sly park. 

 HAD to stop at Apple hill for cider and cider donuts since it was on the way home. :)
 Our ward fall festival.  Grant was a mummy. 
 Ava was a witch/jack-o-lantern.  I finally made the executive decision right before we left, because she was still throwing out ideas.  That girl!!
 Noah was a hippie.  His hippie glasses showed up the next day (he NEVER has matching socks). 
Crazy hair day. Bad picture, but we were running late.

The kids always get Halloween and the day before or after off of school, so we went to the cabin to get some projects done.  We got a lot done (check the cabin blog for those updates).  Anyway, we were coming home Halloween afternoon so the kids could trick-or-treat, and when we got to the freeway, both lanes of traffic were stopped and cars were backed up forever.  We found out there was a hay truck fire and the freeway had been closed since 10:00 that morning, and they didn't know when it would reopen.  We decided to go back to the cabin and wait it out.  It didn't reopen until around 8 or 9 that night so we just stayed another night.  Adam missed work and the kids missed school the next day, but at least we didn't have to wait it out on the side of the road.  The kids were disappointed they didn't get to go trick-or-treating, but we told them they could share the candy we had at home that we were going to pass out to trick-or-treaters.  As soon as we got home the next day 3 of our neighbors brought over bags of candy and goodies that they had waiting for them.  We have great neighbors!!