Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we left the babies at home with TJ and we went and saw the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. I was surprised at how good to was!! It was awesome!! Ty and Levi were so into it- it was so funny to watch their reactions. When R2D2 and C3PO were shown briefly Ty jumped out of his chair and yelled! And at the end when they defeated the Imperial army he couldn't stop clapping. Even the guy sitting closest to us kept laughing and watching him. I think watching Ty watch the movie was one of my favorite parts of this Christmas. :)

I actually screwed up our tickets and we got there an hour early. The theater had a really cool game section that the boys were mesmerized with. For a good 30 minutes they had so much fun "playing" the games without any tokens. Then after a while I gave the boys a choice of popcorn and a drink or buying $10 worth of tokens. They were beyond excited to do the tokens. Levi ended up hitting a jackpot on one of the games and getting 500 tickets! So we ended up with about 800 points and they each chose something at the little store to redeem. They said it was the best Christmas Eve ever. And they were totally content just watching the movie without a drink or snacks! 

We're not very good at selfies!

After we got home from the movies, we headed out to get dinner at a Mexican restaurant. That has been our tradition when I've had to work on Christmas and we celebrated early without any family. Well, apparently heading out at 4 pm is too late and all the places close for the night. And we haven't been able to find a Nico's or Filiberto's in Texas yet- only TexMex mexican restaurants! So we ended up going to In-N-Out and the boys were so excited. They ate every bite we ordered and loved the shakes they got to get since it was Christmas. 

Benson discovered ketchup and couldn't get enough. He LOVED it. He'd suck every bit off of each fry and then ask for more. It was funny.

The best part of Christmas Day was getting to talk to our Jordy on Skype! It was lame because we couldn't figure out how to connect more than one person on it so everyone who wasn't at my parent's house had to facetime someone else's phone. So it was hard to talk back and forth but I loved hearing everything and being able to see her. She's doing amazing and I'm so glad she's serving. What an experience!! I'm so proud of her!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

We had a great little Christmas with just our family here in Texas! This was our first time away from family but with the chaos of these kids it felt the same as being home!  I love Christmas on a Sunday too because it helps us think of Christ easier and connect things in the kids' head. With modern technology, it's as if we're right with everyone too. We were able to skype and say hello to everyone, even Jordan in Australia. 
I almost kind of prefer just staying here with just our little family. It was so much more laid back and relaxing. The boys went to bed at 7:30 pm the night before and woke up at their usual 6:30 am so no one was cranky or tired or grumpy. The older boys just waited patiently at the top of the stairs until we woke up. Then each of the boys took a turn opening each present and everyone was happy and excited and spent the morning playing with everything. We had a breakfast of waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, buttermilk syrup, and green sprinkles. We then went to church for sacrament meeting only at 1 pm, came home and cleaned up the house, had an awesome Christmas dinner and went to bed! It was a really great day!! It was so fun watching these boys' excitement and happiness. It was just the right amount of presents and I love spacing the presents out. They enjoy and appreciate each present so much more that way. They opened one on Benson's b-day, another on the 23rd when I was at wit's end dealing with them all day and they instantly changed their behavior, one on Christmas Eve morning and one Christmas Eve night. It was perfect! I also didn't feel rushed or frazzled since I had Christmas all ready to go before we moved. We also really enjoyed doing the #LighttheWorld initiative this year. I felt like we focused on Christ daily and the boys looked forward to it each day. 

Anyways, Merry Christmas from us!

 Santa brought Levi's his ultimate Christmas wish- a guinea pig! He named her Merry Christmas Hendriksen and will call her Merry. :)

TJ and I aren't real big on gifts to each other. Maybe someday we will be when finances are a little more open and school is done and jobs are more flexible. So when I saw a dress and a shirt on Jane.com I ordered them and gave them to him so he could wrap them up. Well, the Saturday before Christmas we had an empty house since we sold our couches, table and chairs and several other items before we moved here. We didn't need much in the apartment but ever since moving here our living room was completely bare. I really wanted at least a couch to sit on Christmas morning. I had been looking all over Craig's list and other deals but had found nothing. I've really been missing KSL classifieds since TX doesn't have anything comparable. I saw that a furniture store had a deal going on for zero interest until Jan 2020 so thought we should stop by and see. At first we were only going to get a kitchen table and one couch. But after some deals they had going on, it really wasn't too much more to get the whole living room set. Plus, they could deliver it all on Monday before Christmas! It was amazing!! We've never owned such nice things before and it was almost a little unsettling. Like too extravagant or just not us. It includes the sofa, love seat, end table, lamp, coffee table and console for the TV. We've always paid $200 here and there for a dumb couch we absolutely hate and thought it might be time to stop wasting money and just invest. Plus, we don't go out for dates much and almost always rent a VidAngel movie and stay home on couches that are so uncomfortable. So we thought maybe it's time to have couches we actually like to sit on??

 For the entire living room set and kitchen table and chairs (with a long bench) it's $82 a month until Jan. 2020. Amazing huh? And hopefully in a year or two we can just pay it off completely. Anyways, I'm in love with it and can't believe it's our stuff. It looks like leather but it's microfiber and the most durable, kid-friendly, durable set they sell- just what we need! With the set we got a free 55" flat screen TV and put our small 32" my parents gave us for a wedding gift upstairs for the kids in the playroom (I'm hoping this will keep the kids off our nice furniture down here more). But the TV put us a little over the top- it's too big and TJ's going to return it for something smaller. :) We like fancy but that's just a little too fancy for us. So Merry Christmas to me!! I mean, us!

My present from Jordan- sooo sweet of her and I love it!! Probably the best present I received all Christmas was the letter from her. I'll cherish it for the rest of my life. So touching and I just love that girl. 

Bens loved his little riding car thingy!! It was so cute to see how much he loved it!

Merry was a little excited from everything and kept going crazy so that's why the oven mitt. :) She was super calm and perfect at the petshop- come on Merry! Be a good little pet for him!! He absolutely loves her though. It's the cutest thing. He just likes to take a stool and sit on it, watching her in her cage. She's about 4 months old. 

Lev got a bunch of cute little accessories for her from Santa.

Probably the best part about this Christmas is that Ty and Lev were totally independent doing their lego sets this year. I'm actually really impressed with their skills! I love seeing them quietly concentrating and putting things together and not needing any help!!! ;)

Shad was really fun this year. After every single present he'd yell, "I ALWAYS WANTED THAT PRESENT." He was so excited about everything and totally understood it all. He patiently waited for his turn and tried so hard to restrain himself from the other boys' presents (except Benson's :). 

Total Christmas joy right there!

The puzzle I worked so hard on- I mean WE worked so hard on! ;)

Reindeer ties! It won't be too much longer before Ty and Lev won't let me or the sizes won't go big enough so gotta do it now!

Had to be grateful I got the couch picture because the one of them standing all together didn't work ;)

The wind makes my widow's peak look even worse ;/ But 4 crazy boys helps distract from my messed up hair. 

Our best attempt at a family picture on windy 75 degree Christmas Day 2016 in San Marcos, Texas!

Ty- 6.5 years
Levi- 5.5 years
Shad- almost 3 years
Benson- 1 year

TJ- 32 years
Tara- 31 years

The Week or Two Before Christmas

We had a busy last two weeks before Christmas with moving from our apartment into a house- BEST Christmas present ever- and with school parties and end of school events. 

We got the keys to our Fairway house in Plum Creek on Thurs. Dec. 15th and started moving that same day- we were soooo ready. It was hard not having TJ until Saturday to help move stuff but we did what we could. The first night we were there the boys were just running around yelling, "WE CAN RUN!! WE CAN BE LOUD!! WE CAN JUMP!" I'm so glad to have had the perspective of apartment living- it definitely humbled me- but I'm so glad it's over and we DID IT! We survived and did just fine. But definitely not something I'd ever want to repeat. Little kids deserve to be able to move. I'll never complain or be as picky about a house again. Even though this little house is a weird pink/peach color, the rooms are kinda small and there's a postage-sized backyard with super close neighbors, it's the most beautiful place in the world to me because there isn't 3 flights of stairs to climb while dragging up groceries and kids and the walls are not connected to anyone else!! Everyday I'm just so happy to be alone- meaning, no apartment neighbors ;)

The first thing we did when we got the keys was put up our Christmas tree!! It's halfway through the month and we just barely got it up. There wasn't any room in the apartment so we had a paper tree that hung on the wall that held Christmas cards. The boys and I agree that our "real" tree is much better!

Benson was surprisingly really good about the tree and presents this year!! He hardly touched it and I don't think we had one single present or ornament that was damaged or opened by a baby! I was so surprised!

Ty had Grinch Day for all the 1st graders at school. The kids could dress up as Who-ville characters. He really, really didn't want to be the grinch and it's hard to dress boys up as Who-villes but once I suggested Max the Grinch Dog it was all he could talk about. Good ol' Pinterest came through and showed the idea of masking tape and tinfoil for the antler. I was surprised at how easy it was. He looked good and had a lot of fun dressing up.

The last day of school we had Levi's party to run in the morning and Ty's party to run in the afternoon. We were a little class partied out after that! But the babies did good and they all looked cute in their matching jammies together. 

A typical Shad face.

Target boys

The first Friday night in our new house we found a coupon in the mail for a free pizza so we decided to have a pizza party. We didn't have any utensils or plates and used one small bowl for a cup to drink water but the boys thought it was awesome. Someday I'll laugh thinking I could feed everyone and have a plate left for TJ with a medium pizza and breadsticks. ;)

Saturday the 17th was a big moving day for us. It was rainy and the weekend suddenly turned really cold but we got most of the big things moved since we borrowed a truck. We wanted to sleep in our house that Saturday night and be done with the apartment. After we got the kids in bed I went to take a shower and realized there wasn't any hot water. That began a crazy next 3 days with no heat at all in our house. There was a miscommunication and we weren't told the heat company was a separate utility to call. We had to wait out the weekend and make the best of it! And of course, it was the one weekend Texas temps dropped. It got down to 27 degrees outside!! So that meant our house got down to a whoppin 52 degrees inside! It was cold. That first night around 2 am TJ finally got up and drove to Walmart to buy space heaters. Once he got home they DIDN'T WORK!! So he drove back to Walmart and the lady told him they don't do returns in the middle of the night- exactly the reason why we try to avoid that place at all costs. Finally he got them to return them and got ones that worked. The rest of the weekend we had one in our room and one in the boys' room and they were like little caves of warmth. It felt soooo good since the rest of the house was seriously, freezing. Another thing I don't want to take for granted again- HEAT and WARMTH! I seriously don't know how the pioneers did it. How they must've worried and despaired about keeping their kids warm?!! Anyways, that was our little heating adventure. The funny thing was the only ones that seemed put out about it and all bothered was TJ and I- the kids seemed fine! :) But since then our dishwasher has broken and the washer and dryer that we are renting from an appliance company has leaked- ha. Even though it would've been easier to have just stayed in the apartment for the last 6 months that we are here in Kyle- especially with all the issues with heat and moving and appliances- it is SO worth it to be in a house and in a house for CHRISTMAS!

Amy and Dallin are in Wisconsin for Christmas and she sent me this picture. I think she looks so pretty and I just love these two women. They sum up my mission in so many ways. I guess the Fosters moved back to AF! That makes me so happy and someday, I need take my boys back. 

The beginning of December I buckled down and got serious about what I was eating. I knew it wouldn't last for Christmas but it felt really good to eat so healthy beforehand and made all our Christmas food taste that much better. I lost 7 lbs from post-Thanksgiving to about middle of Dec. It felt amazing and I'm so excited to start it up again after New Years. This is one of my favorite meals- I love just using whole foods that I have and combining things to amke meals. That's one thing I've learned from whole30 and Nufiwa challenges. I gotta get this last 10-15 lbs of baby weight and I've been dragging my feet about it for too long. So, here's to 2017!!