I've convinced myself that a mere monthly blogpost will have to do here, at least until I train my kids to do their own laundry! Please pretend that these stories were cleverly reported throughout the month, instead of quickly cataloged here on the 30th.
We recently bought a "trail-a-bike" from our friends, and we are loving it! After a few days on it, Zachary was able to ride a two-wheeler for the first time! Now Michael is graduated from the Burley and onto the trail-a-bike. Here's the grown-up guy now:
One Saturday Zachary pleaded for us to all ride up to the church (5 miles away). We ended up driving halfway there and biking the rest, which was still a taxing climb for our young bikers in the freezing wind. Running and biking are especially rewarding here at the edge of town:
Bonus: yesterday we discovered a sidewalk route to a huge nearby park. I love seeing the boys set goals and then meet them--biking has become a (nearly) everyday activity here!
Eric's Orlando Trip
Eric had an opportunity to present at a major ophthalmology conference this month. His brother and dad (also ophthalmologists) presented as well. Love this picture of Eric and his bro:
The home front
Although we missed Eric physically being here, I felt like he was more "here" because I got to talk to him on the phone for more than usual every day. Plus, when I know that he's gone I get into super-planner mode--we kept very busy!
Of course we had to go to the apple farm a couple times, because apple-picking season is only too short, and so is boyhood!
I once read a book that advised letting your children know a certain place in nature "intimately." I've tried to familiarize my boys with a few special natural places that they can know deeply. This apple farm is one of these places.
The school put on a costume party and BINGO night, and we frolicked around in our costumes for the evening. Jacob designed his own costume this year--he was Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole. I loved the idea--and I loved that he wanted details like the "Fram" mug (labeled with the name of the ship that took Amundsen and his team to Antarctica). Only a few people have known who Amundsen is, but that's okay. Jacob knows!
(We even saw a flying monkey once.)
Eric's birthday surpriseI have never been more excited for a birthday present than I was for Eric's this year. While he was out of town, the kids and I took the storage-shed of a garage (this is when everything was moved to the center)
Also, I have to give a shout out to my dad, who I called more than a few times for help on things that weren't working. Another experience I'm grateful for: I said a fervent prayer once in regards to a stud finder that would not find any studs. (Maybe the insulation was thick? I haven't figured out why it wasn't working--it worked on other walls.) Within seconds, it occurred to me that I could find the studs on the other side of the wall, measure the distance with a level, and then mark points. They were 16" apart on the inside wall, and so I marked out 16" on the outside wall with a level, and then checked for studs with a finishing nail. This experience was very faith-promoting for me--I would not have thought of that process on my own. I feel like our Heavenly Father answers prayers in loving, simple ways.
Well, Eric loved the surprise, and we were all happy to have him home again.
A day with Grandpa and Kim
My younger sister moved across the country this week, and so she and my dad stopped by on their way East. The kids were off of school and Eric got off of work, and so it was a mini-vacation for everyone!
We climbed the tower in Blue Mounds, made tin foil dinners,
We were sad to see them go.
Our ward threw an amazing Fall Festival, complete with dinner, a pie contest, a costume contest, a parade, trunk-or-treat, the works!
Here we are: Max as a cow (I couldn't find his hat--oops!), Eric as a baseball player, Michael as a wizard, Zachary as a knight, Amy as "Miss Mush" the lunch lady, Adam as a tiger, and Jacob as Mr. Amundsen.
Strange coincidence: When I told Kim that I was dressing up as a lunch lady, she ran to her car and retrieved an authentic 4 oz. school lunch scoop (she used to work at a preschool). It was the perfect accessory, and I ended up getting "Best Female" costume--ah yeah!
I guess that's a wrap--I hear a baby awake now, and that's my cue to shut the computer down!