Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twelve years ago we were...

(****WARNING:  This post may bore you.  It is for me and my posterity.  It is long and goes into details of Jake's 12th birthday that you probably don't care about-but I do.  Don't say I didn't warn you.****)

. . .at the hospital waiting for our miracle to join our family.  Actually he would have just been born! Twelve years ago!  I can't believe my little baby is 12.  I had big plans to have baby pictures and everything for this post, but long story short, I didn't have a digital camera when Jake was born.  Not as easy to do as it is now.  Need I say more?

We had big plans to have a trampoline ready in the backyard so, when Jake let Sadie out this morning, he would see it and be thrilled and run out and jump for joy-literally. . .Papa Harmon brought the base over after Jake was in bed last night and we got started on the plane. . .But after an hour of trying to get the new mat to fit the old frame, we realized that trampoline mats are not universal.  You learn something new everyday!  Aaron did some research on line and found out we can still get a replacement mat, it is just $40 more than we thought and it won't be here for Jake's birthday party on Friday. :(  Jake was thrilled any way.  He is getting a trampoline and he didn't know it was part of the party plans anyway, so no problem.

Sadie was ready to give Jake a birthday hug this morning. She really does lean in for hugs.  It is adorable.  My poor 12 year old got up this morning not feeling so good.  He has had what we thought was allergies the past two days, but it looks more like a head cold.  His ears feel plugged, he has post nasal drip, and he hasn't slept well.  The good news is he is 12 now so he took some night time cold medicine tonight, that I am hoping will at least let him sleep.  My poor little bug.

We had to open his gifts before Aaron went to work, because even though Jake is 12 he still can't wait all day long to open presents.  Who can? :)  Aaron leaves for work at 6:30 in the morning.  That is early.  That is love people because I am not a morning person.  Getting up at 6:00 in the morning to open gifts is all about love.
Of course at the top of Jake's list:  Lego's.  And he got Legos.  Legos Chima to exact.  He was moving a little too fast to get a good shot and the poor kid was sick so I didn't make him re-enact it.  Yep.  I do that sometimes. Don't you?

We built and played and watched Lego Batman (another gift we got him), and met Nee, Papa G., and Nana for lunch at Taco Dog.  I forgot to take picture of all these things-besides the building.  While Jake was building his new set he went through almost a whole box of tissues. :(

Aaron came home early from work so we could have dinner with the grandparents.  We had Jake's favorite: creamy crock pot chicken and homemade rolls.  He didn't even have to eat vegetables: we had mandarin oranges instead-another Jake favorite.  But before that Jake opened a couple of gifts from Nee and Papa.  A new tie and a pocket watch (another thing Jake has been wanting-he is so adorable). 
Don't you love the curtain.  It is blocking the last frontier that needs to be organized.  The "studio".  That is the name Jake and I gave it.  It is the painting, exercise, hang out, whatever room.  Tacky I know but it will be down in 24 hours.  It will be like a reveal taking it down. :)
Here is my little family.  It is a horrible picture of me.  Sometime soon I am going to make my guys take a nice family picture....
Oh wow.  I forgot about that curtain. . .My house really is cute I swear.  We are on a budget and curtain and rods are not in it right now.  The sun beats in this room and makes the AC have to run more so the curtain goes up from time to time.    More importantly-this is Jake after Aaron, Papa Harmon, Papa G, and Bishop Mather (aka "Ugly Bill".  He is not just our Bishop he is family), conferred (is that the word I am looking for?) the Priesthood to Jake. 

Papa Harmon typed up Jake's Priesthood line of authority.  Very cool gift for our Deacon.  We are so proud of Jake.  He is so awesome.  Our son is a Priesthood holder.  Twelve years old. . . When did I get so old?
Surrounded by people who love and support him.  What an amazing day. . .
Jaxson thought it was pretty cool that Jake got the Priesthood.  But he thought Sadie's water and food bowls were much more interesting.  We better not blink because in no time this little dude will be 12!
Sadie had no problem with Jaxson making dog food soup.  She was too busy licking out all the bowls for us.
Being the bad mother that I am I forgot to get Jake's cookie cake yesterday.  Don't judge me.  No problem!  I will just make cupcakes.  Except at 4:30 (an hour before family starts showing up. . .), I realize the box mix I thought was a cake mix, was really a brownie mix.  I don't make cakes from scratch-I don't like baking enough to do that.  Again, don't judge me.  So,  I call Nee and she makes a trip to the store for Jake's ice cream of choice: Heath, and we have brownie sundae's.  It is starting to sink that Jake really is 12 because this never would have happened with earlier birthdays.  Younger years:  planned and ready weeks in advanced. . . Oldish kiddos:  not so much.  Jake again was okay with it.  He will have cookie cake at his friends party on Friday. . . Assuming he feels better and can still have it.

 PRAY.  Pray, pray he gets better soon and that his slack mom won't forget to pick up the cookie cake. :)  Twelve years old. . . Wow.  The twelve best years of my life went by in a flash. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Brain Declutter: Recipes, Tree Limbs, Birthdays, Maxi Skirts, etc.

My brain is full of things that need to come out, so I will just dive in and do some decluttering. . .

*We tried 2 new recipes from Pinterest last week and they were both keepers. The first one I made was Chile Colorado Burritos.  It was yummy, but we all agreed would be better if we added some rice and maybe black beans.  The flavor was great though and is already written in my recipe folder/book.

The second recipe was DIVINE.  We all LOVED it.  I didn't measure all the ingredients exactly (a little extra cheese and garlic have never hurt a recipe) and it was still A-MAZ-ING!  I immediately wrote it in my recipe book so we wouldn't forget about it. . .I should probably tell you what is that was so delicious...It is called Chicken Garlic Alfredo Lasagna Roll-ups. . .And I just tried to link it and it says the blog it was on can't be found!!!  I am soooo glad I have it written down or I would probably cry.  The garlic Alfredo sauce was amazing.  Aaron had it for lunch at work the next day and said it was even better the second time-lasagna usually is.  If you are interested in the recipe I will give it to you but I don't feel like typing it right now. . .so here are some pictures instead!  I have no idea why, but I love to take pictures of food!  Does this picture drive anyone crazy?  Does the OCD in you wish I made some kind of pattern with the rolls?  I have OCD but this kind of thing doesn't bug me.
 After it has been smothered with cheese and baked. . .
 And on the plate. . .It is heavenly. . .

 *Aaron decided he would hobble around on his ankle with Matt this weekend and cut down what appears to be the forest that was our backyard. . .

*I am thrilled with the fact that people will see the huge piles of branches on the curb, in front of our house (our town has a truck that randomly comes and picks it up and takes it away.), when they come for Jake's birthday party on Friday.  That was sarcasm, if you didn't catch that. . .This is the lovely pile, in front of our cute little house:
*I am glad it is done and I am crossing my fingers the truck comes and picks it up this week. . .but I am not holding my breath.

*Jake had his last day in Primary Sharing Time.  It is bittersweet. My baby will be 12 years old tomorrow.  He will be getting the Priesthood tomorrow night in our home.  He is thrilled-we all are! Last Wednesday night when he left the Bishop's office after his interview he was beaming.  When Aaron got home, Jake strutted up to him and said, "future Priesthood holder here" with a big grin on his face.  Did I say bittersweet? Yep.

*I need to stop typing and go out and do some b-day prepping!!!!

*SSShhhhhh!  Jake is getting a trampoline for his birthday.  Nana and Papa had one in their yard that ripped so they took it down.  They offered us the base and we just have to get the replacement mat (a gift from us, and both sets of grandparents).  While I was online looking at replacement mats, I saw this amazing dealing on the net enclosures:

 *That was also sarcasm.  A penny. . .Really?

*I have been on a mission, as you know to organize my house.  I can't wait to be done so I can decorate it!!!  It took a little detour today (I do that all the time. . .like for example: me blogging right now. . .that is another detour), and took a few minutes to start the mantel decor makeover.  I loved this mantel so I did my own version with things I already have.  I have a picture and quote to print to finish it, for now.  It is amazing how much better I feel when things are pretty. . . {sigh}
I will post the after at some point. . .
*Simple pleasure: My dutch oven that Aaron and Jake got me for Mother's Day.  I know I have talked about it and posted pictures of it before...but I just love it.  I use it ALL the time.  Even when I am making box mac & cheese. . .Yes, I took a picture of it.  It makes me happy.  I photograph things that make me happy. :)
*I discovered why I love maxi skirts the other day.  It just came to me while I was wearing my gray {love} maxi and it was swishing around my legs as I walked and I held it up as I went up steps. . .I felt a bit Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Shirley, Jane Eyre, or Elizabeth Bennett as I was wearing it.  I felt a bit more lady like.  As I saw women walking around in hoochie shorts and tank tops, I felt my maxi shirt at my ankles and imagined I lived in a time when you didn't see a lady spit on the road or curse like a sailor.  For a moment I imagined myself in a time when morals, values, and feminine virtues were important, respected and most of all expected.  I need to get more maxi skirts before they go out of style.  They are always going to be in my closet.
*Our front porch has this yucky green turf stuff on it. . .I am getting ready to take it off and I can't wait. . .
*Isn't amazing how you notice all the things you need and want to do to your house when you know people are coming to it?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to, back to school

Our new homeschooling co-op  started on Monday, so we are officially back to school again.  With 3 days under our belt, put on hold to organize and switch rooms around (still in the process, by the way...), we were ready to really start.  Co-op went great, even though I found out early in the morning that I am not the General Science assistant.  I am the co-teacher and the poor other teacher was I, not a science person, had to lead the first 2 labs.  This whole homeschooling thing is great because it turns out I do like science. :)

But wait!  I need to catch up with last week before I can really get into this week.  So, here is a quick recap:

We saw on Pinterest that you can use you ear buds, nose, and mouth as a speaker.  Jake of course had to test this idea.  It worked...kind of.  It got a little louder when he opened his mouth.  Whether it worked or not, I have this awesome photo to show his future wife in 10 years or so. :)
 We had one last summer fun day with some of our homeschooling friends at a local water park.  It was 1/2 price day for homeschoolers.  Gotta love a deal!

 Aaron sprained his ankle Wednesday night, so he got to stay home from work on our anniversary (on Friday-our 16th, on the 16th!),  because it was so swollen and bruised he need to take a couple of days with it up. He sprains it every couple of years.  This time wasn't as bad as the last time (when he actually went to the doctor and they were sure it had to be broken it was so bad...but it wasn't!), but it was still pretty bad. On our anniversary we hung out (Jake was at Nee and Papa's.  He had spent the night before there.), and got take out Mexican from our favorite.  On Saturday, Aaron and Jake decided they would have a Lord of the Rings movie marathon and pig out.  I let them bond and headed to a baby shower and when I came home I moved furniture to try to get the homeschool room, more like a homeschool room.  Aaron stood up long enough to make some cheddar, bacon fries.  He said he wished his ankle wasn't sprained so he could help me move stuff around but I am not sure he really meant it.  Just kidding.  :)  Jake even had the Middle Earth map poster (taken off the wall to switch rooms), yep they like it that much, to see where they were in the movies.  I really love my dorks.

 They put curtains up on the old hangers (the living room is the room I will be working on after the school room swap and the dining room), so it would be darker in the room.  Don't look to closely at my mantel.  That stuff is just there.  It is not decorated.  Those items just have no other home and the mantel worked for now.
 Okay back to, "back to, back to school".  Jake ready to go, adorable spiked hair and all.
 Lego Robotic Engineering...

 Science lab rocks!
 Testing density with:  Corn syrup, water, oil, rock, grape, ice, and cork.  Do it.  It is awesome.
 Testing atomic movement...or something like that.  Boiling water in one jar, cold water in another, and add a drop of water coloring to each.  Very cool.
 After a pizza party to celebrate the first day, there was a whole bunch of crazy running around going on.  Jake is the blurry gray guy in the middle about to get tagged.
 After an awesome time at co-op we headed to the library to get the 4th Leven Thumps book (Jake loves this series..I have read part of book 1.  It's good...), and Jake took a few minutes to chill in the train with the newest Lego magazine.  I bet I have a picture of him doing this back when we lived here when he was 3.  This was his little guy paradise...and my big kid still enjoys it. :)
 Tuesday was the first official day in the 3rd bedroom, turned school room.  It is a work in progress as you can see from the picture...
 It is looking better today as you can see.  Aaron has been going over math everyday this week with Jake.  He has been putting problems up on the chalk board (in the former school room, soon to be painting/exercise/hang out room),  for him to work on everyday.  Then at night they go over them and get all geeky over math. 
 I love my math geeks and that fact that we are blessed enough to not only homeschool, but to have a whole room dedicated to it.  Life is good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A day on Lake Jocassee

  I love lakes.  I grew up going to Camp every summer in Vermont.  Lakes in the South are not the same as lakes in the North.  Lakes in the South are muddy.  Good old red clay muddy.  I don't like that kind of lake...there are snakes down here as you know.  I like to see in the water to know if there is a snake and you can't in the South so, do I don't swim in them.  Lake Jocassee is in South Carolina and I will swim in it.
   We rented a pontoon boat with the Martins and spent the day on it.  Lake Jocassee is emerald green and so clear.  It is 300 feet deep and there is an abandoned (obviously) town under it.  If the light is shining just right you can see and old church spire. It has several waterfalls bringing nice and chilly mountain water into it.  And the best part is Aaron did some research and there aren't actually water moccasins in that part of the state.  YIPPPPEEE! Don't get me wrong there are snakes there, we saw 2.  I am, of course, the one that spotted both of them.  We saw one when we were pulled into a cove to see a waterfall.  The one you will see later in this post with Della and Jake in front of it acting like they are incredible strong. :)  It was sunning itself on a log right next to the boat.  . .I was not happy.  The other one was swimming along the side of the lake.  I was in the deep water by the boat.  Jake, Della, and Addie Kate were playing on a tiny beach and it swam by
 them after I had screamed for them to come back to the boat.  They got half way back and Aaron said it had gone up on land and that they could go back to the little beach. . .That is when it swam past them.  Can you believe I kept swimming?  I did because the water is crystal clear and the only snakes that would be there only swam close to land and on top of the water.  The lake is way to big for them to swim across.  I was pretty proud of myself for getting over it, I have to say.

There are a lot of places you can jump off of and of course we did that.  In fact we didn't just jump; Aaron, Jake, Riannon, and I all dove off  of it.  There are pictures of Jake and I jumping off, but the rest of the pictures are on Ranee's camera and I haven't gotten them from her. 
 We had so much fun!  As we were leaving town to go the lake it was raining.  Big time raining.  But we only got sprinkled on for maybe 5 minutes the whole time we were on the lake.  It was perfect weather because it wasn't so sunny that we were dying of the heat.  You know those days when it is so hot the only way you can really stand to be outside, is if you are in the water?  Well, if you don't live in the South you may not know what I mean.  HOT heat + humidity= misery.  We have been really lucky this summer because we haven't had as many as those days as usual.  In fact we have
 only had a few of them....What happened to global warming?  Now that I have said that, we don't be able to leave the house for a week! 

There are only a handful of houses on Lake Jocassee and I think those people must be amongst the luckiest there is.  I could live there no problem. :)

At the end of the day when were headed back to dock we found a nice beach and the water was light green.  Next time we will make plenty of
 time for it.  It was beautiful!  It was even more clear there because the water was such a light color.  If you stood still for a few seconds, these little fish would come up and check you out.  I was standing in water almost up to my chest and I could still see my toes.  It is so beautiful!  If you ever get a chance to visit South Carolina you need to put Lake Jocassee on the top of your list.  This is a new summer family tradition.