Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Here we are-- Halloween 2011!
It hasn't been a very exciting Halloween season.  We didn't have much in the way of parties or extra festivities.  But we made up for it today when Elinor fell and gashed her head open and got 4 staples to close it back up.  The preceding post has all the gruesome details.  It ended up being a Halloween we'll not soon forget.
The kids always start the trick-or-treating by coming to our house.  Now, you will notice that the children are all together.  Bethany and Clark wanted to go around with their friends, but Abe and I thwarted their desires-- at least at first.  Once the younger kids had run out of steam, the big kids did get some time with their friends.  But I figure, if you are too old to go trick-or-treating with your family, YOU ARE TOO OLD TO GO TRICK-OR-TREATING!!!!!  And I got some "kids" at my door who should not have been there.  

Abe answered the door to a group of just such "kids" and gave them each one measly piece of cheap-o candy.  One of them asked if we were on a tight budget this year. 
In fact, we are on a tight budget and YOU ARE TOO OLD TO GO TRICK-OR-TREATING!!!!!
"Bebe" had the most endurance this evening and consequently the largest bag of loot.
"Effie" was in good spirits, despite her unfortunate incident earlier in the day.
"Scarface" enjoyed his last year of trick-or-treating.
 "Roxie" had pretty good stamina and held her own for a good while.
"Little Vinny" was hesitant to take a nap today-- just in case he didn't wake up in time for trick-or-treating.
 The policeman was ready to bust us at the speak-easy.  
The flappers.
The gangsters.
Fun with friends.
Fun with cute little friends, too.

Now I will just hope and pray that Elinor's head doesn't hurt too much tonight and tomorrow.  Poor thing.


No, seriously.  This post is not for the squeamish.

I took Cannon with me this afternoon to run a couple of errands.  Shortly after I returned home Clark and Elinor were goofing around in the kitchen, playing some kind of chase game.  I was upstairs when I heard the screaming and panic.  I ran downstairs and saw the blood.  Elinor had slipped on a piece of paper and fallen, landing with her head on the corner of an opened, bottom kitchen drawer. 

Did you know that head wounds bleed profusely?  Yep, they do.  I have never seen any of my children bleed so much.  

Do you want to see a picture of some of the blood there was?  Only because it is still Halloween and so it is okay to be gruesome, I will show you.
This of course does not include the blood covering Elinor's hand and arm.

My children are by nature quite cautious and not prone to many injuries.  I have six children, and until today, have never taken any of them to the emergency room.  This seemed like a good opportunity to check out my local emergency room.
They were very good to her at the hospital and got her cleaned up a bit and put four staples in her head.  Elinor is now the first and only child in our family to have had a broken bone, stitches, and now staples. 

Right after she was injured she was crying pretty hard and covered in blood.  She cried out, "Will I still get to go trick-or-treating?!"

 As it turns out she could still go, but understandably she didn't feel very well.  So after about half an hour she came home to help me pass out candy.  The other kids have offered to share some of their haul with her.  And now that I've seen and done the emergency room-- it's not really that impressive -- I'd just assume not go there ever again.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkins 2011

Do you see Faith's facial expression?  That is precisely how I feel about de-gutting and carving pumpkins.  It stings my hands.
Fortunately we have Abe to lead the charge in the annual pumpkin carving festivities.  And Clark is his fearless side kick.  You see, a line is being drawn in our family--the carvers vs. the non-carvers.  Bethany and I are decidedly non-carvers.  I believe Faith will most likely be joining our team.

Abe, Clark and Elinor are carvers.  They each do their own pumpkin.  But since Abe wants a pumpkin for each member of the family, he and Clark also carve one for each of the non-carvers.

Shame on us non-carvers.
Elinor was so proud to carve her own pumpkin all by herself this year!
Starting on the lower left--Elinor's, mine and Abe's (carved by Abe), Clark's
Upper left--Tessa's (carved by Abe), Bethany's (carved by Abe), George's (carved by Clark), Faith's (carved by Abe), and Cannon's (carved by Clark).

Tomorrow is Halloween and of course the kids are super excited.  However, we haven't had many pre-Halloween events and parties this year so I kind of feel like it has sneaked up on us very quickly.  After Halloween--BOOM!-- it is November and Thanksgiving and the holidays are here.  WOW!

Abe Note:  Yes, I, in fact, carved the bald, elderly couple puckering for a is supposed to be Bets and I in 70+, whether I intended for it to look like us in 70+ years, that is an entirely different question.

Settled In

When I was growing up my dad was in the Army and we moved roughly every 3 years.  Don't feel sorry for me, I liked moving around.  The run down of places I lived:  Stuttgart Germany (born), Williamsburg Virginia (2 years old), Olympia Washington (4 years old), Indianapolis Indiana (5 years old), Berlin Germany 6-9 yrs old), Colonial Heights Virginia (10-13), Monterey California (14-15), Fairfax Virginia (16-18), Rome Italy (college years).

Pretty cool places to live, I should say!  When you move around a lot and change schools and communities so often you develop a set of skills to help you cope with all those new things you need to figure out pretty quickly.  You learn not to by shy (that gets you nowhere).  You learn to adapt to different situations quickly.  You learn that you can count on your siblings because they know just what you're going through.  You learn the church is true wherever you go and good people are everywhere.   Many times I lived in communities with lots of other Army kids so everyone was quite friendly and accepting.  Sometimes we lived in civilian communities so we got to see how "the other half lived". 

I have now lived in my little blue house for about 4 1/2 years.  This is the longest I have ever lived anywhere.  And even though I have lived in several houses since having children, they have all been within 5 to 10 miles of each other.  So I really feel like I am quite settled in this little part of the world.  I have a home.  I have a place I am from.  That may not seem like much, but I've never really had an answer for where I'm from.  My family has always been my home and I have not felt at a great disadvantage because I didn't have a home town.  But lately, I have really been enjoying the stability of being settled into a community.

Here are some things I am LOVING about being settled.  They may be small, but they are comfortable and lovely to me.
  • Knowing when and where to sign up for little league sports
  • Knowing how to best use the public library system
  • Knowing the ins and outs of Bethany's dance studio
  • Having a 2nd child do Tae Kwon Do at the same studio so we know what to expect
  • Knowing where everything is in several local grocery stores
  • Knowing just how much Halloween candy to buy because you have almost an exact count of how many trick-or-treaters we'll get
  • Finding a great gymnastics school for Faith off a recommendation from a friend I hadn't talked to in years 
  • Knowing the traffic patterns
  • Having a car place that knows the history of our cars and hopefully isn't completely ripping us off  
  •  Book clubs and school clubs for everyone in the family
  • Having a friend to walk with every morning
  • Watching my children's friends grow up along side of them
  • Feeling like those kids are partly my children too
  • Watching real progress over time for my piano students
  • The reason for being released from church callings is just because it is time for a change rather than you are moving across the country (Side note:  There is no imminent release for me from my Primary calling--just thinking)
  • Knowing when the store advertisements will come in the mail
  • The weather patterns are predictable because they are cyclical
  •  Knowing when to and when not to put out our carved pumpkins (all neighborhoods have a few delinquents, right?)
  • Holiday traditions with friends and family
  • Loving your neighbors and ward members more because you know them better 

Even though my children do not attend the local public schools, I feel like we have a great network of people and organizations we are involved with.  I am feeling very grateful tonight for the good things in our lives.  If you are reading this, you are most likely a part of those good things.  Thank you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I've Been Sent to My Room

I have been sent to my room this evening. 

When Abe came home from work and realized I was not feeling well (sore throat and cough) he let me finish my dinner and then told me I was not going to read to the kids tonight and that we were not going to carve pumpkins tonight.  I was to go to bed.

This is the A #1 most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.   All you mothers out there--- you hear me, right?  Surely, you would agree that having your hubby demand that you go upstairs to your room for some R&R while he cleans up dinner and puts children to bed is beyond a dream come true.  Forget a weekend getaway.  Flowers?  Chocolates? Who cares?  Time to rest and know that the house will not implode while I lie upon my bed?  GLORIOUS! I could not love that man more than I do this very moment.

And it has been almost a week since I've blogged, so this will be a post of my varied thoughts and activities over the past week.  First off, you may (or may not) have noticed that my blogging has been a bit sparser over the past month.  That is because I have been anxiously engaged in another very worthy cause.  I am done nursing and I am getting myself in shape!  I have been exercising mucho much and have lost about 12 pounds.  Yippee, skippy!  I am feeling great and it is well worth the state of constant muscle soreness I am living in.  I am doing a variety of exercises, including yoga (shout out to Christine), Zumba (shout out to Andrea), walking (shout out to Michelle), jogging, and DVDs by my lonesome in my living room.  Actually, I have quite an audience when I workout at home and they provide commentary about what trainers they do or don't like and what music they do or don't like.  They are rather distracting, but I suppose I am somewhat flattered that they find me so interesting.  That likely will not last.  Now that I am no longer nursing my appetite has been reigned in as well and I no longer feel the need to eat my house at each sitting. 

Do any of you remember Get in Shape, Girl from the 80's?  Just so you know I owned my very own set of weighted bangle bracelets.  I am calling my endeavor "Operation, Get in Shape, Girl".  I shall give updates on my progress.

Okay, new topic.
Elinor and her friend made cornbread muffins all by themselves last Saturday.  I didn't help at all.  In fact, I purposefully stayed very far away from them so they would not come and ask me anything.  I knew they could figure it out and I find it challenging to keep my mouth shut while they make a rather large mess in the kitchen.  My favorite part was listening to 3rd graders who haven't done much with fractions yet try to figure out and find the right size measuring cups.
"We need the one, two."
"No, that's a two, three"
"Oh, here it is... no wait, that is a three, four".

The first batch was woefully undercooked.  Nevertheless, they were thrilled with their work and insisted everyone taste test it.  I suppose it was "good" in the same way cake batter is "good"-- in that it has a lot of sugar in it and it was sweet.  Fortunately the 2nd and 3rd trays were edible and I could honestly compliment them on their efforts.
We had to document Georgie's first attempts to fold his arms for prayer.  Abe announced to the kids it was time for prayer for a meal and Georgie immediately did a little arm fold.  We were all so thrilled with his accomplishment and he was thrilled that we were cheering and clapping for him.  Ah, the joys of family life!
We took our annual sojourn to Gardner Village this week to go see the witches.  It was nice and I'm glad we went, but this particular outing was completed out of sheer respect for tradition.  It was cold and late in the evening when we went.   We knew if we didn't go that night, it wasn't going to happen this year.  So we went.  Is there value in doing something nobody really feels like doing just for tradition's sake?  I guess we think so.
They don't have the "Will Cast Spells for Chocolate" witch anymore.

It's for the best since I have given up chocolate for a while.  I know... crazy, huh?

The reason Abe told me I was not to read to the kids tonight is that we are racing to finish reading Robinson Crusoe.  We will have our older kid's book club on Tuesday and with Monday being Halloween we don't have much time.  And we have a lot of book left to go.  It is rather long, but it's fantastic and we're enjoying it.  I think I may have to swing by the library tomorrow to get it on CD.  With this sore throat my voice may not hold out for me to read it all aloud.  A couple of nights ago Bethany was saying our family prayer and we all got a good chuckle when she ended by praying, "And please bless that mom will stay up and read Robinson Crusoe to us".
Little do they know that I love nothing more than having them beg, plead and pray for me to read aloud classic literature to them!!!!  Ha, ha!  My master plan is working!!!!!

Clark had his last football practice tonight and his last game is at noon tomorrow.  We are all sad that football season is at an end.  It has been wonderful for him to have such a positive way to channel all that 12 year old boy aggression.  We need another outlet.  Fast.
Here is a sneak preview of the Halloween festivities that are to follow.  We were invited by Allison to bring the kids downtown to her work to trick or treat around her office at Zions Bank.  As you can see, I dressed up with them-- like I'm going to let them have all the fun!  But I refrained from trick-or-treating.  You know, "Operation: Get in Shape Girl" and all.  Clark has a toy machine gun to go with his mob-boss get up, but we thought he ought not take that into a bank.  People just have no sense of humor these days.
On Monday Abe will be with us and I'll put up a good family Halloween picture.

Well, this has been lovely chatting with you, even if it was somewhat one sided :)  I think I'll take Abe's advice now and go to bed.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Feel Lucky?

Bad Luck:  The brakes in our minivan (aka: our lifeline to the outside world) started making a horrible grinding noise.

Good Luck:  Ah-ha!  The brakes are still under warranty from when we had work done on them late last fall.

Bad Luck:  Oh, darn-- that particular part of the brakes is not under warranty and that is what caused the other problem.  $471 dollars later.

Good Luck:  Going on a date with Clark this afternoon to get ice cream and an extended stop at the library.  We had lovely and meaningful discussions about his bright future.

Bad Luck:  Later on at home.  Where is Abe's cell phone?  Where is Abe's wallet?  Oh, CRAP-- he left them on the top of the minivan when he got home from picking it up from spending $471 for new brakes.

Worse Luck:  Oh, so that is what that noise was that Clark and I heard when we were driving the minivan to get ice cream...  Abe's stuff shifting around on the roof of the van.

Good Luck:  The cell phone survived the drive and was clinging for dear life to the top of the minivan.

Bad Luck:  The wallet was nowhere to be found.

Really Good Luck:  As Abe drove slowly and searchingly along Redwood Road, he FOUND his wallet!  It had been run over and looks a little worse for the wear, but WHO CARES?????  Disaster averted. 

For whatever it is worth, I don't actually believe in luck.  These "bad luck things" are nothing compared to the blessings and goodness we enjoy.  Just kind of a funny day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dead Poets Society

For our family home school book club this month we had a haunted poetry night.  Rather than reading  a book and then discussing, everyone came ready with a haunted/scary/spooky poem to recite.
Last night we pulled all the poetry books off the shelf and read through several poems to find just the right ones.  Elinor read "Windy Nights" by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Bethany read "Horrors" by Lewis Caroll.   Faith did "Theme in Yellow" by Carl Sandberg.
Deadger Dallan Doe recited "Annabelle Lee".      Creepy.
I was Bess, the Landlord's daughter and I recited my favorite haunted poem, "The Highwayman".  I braided a red ribbon into my long dark hair.
We all recited by candlelight and flashlight.  There was a variety of poems and even a haunted short story.  My personal favorite was by Dave Young who did a hybrid of Twas the Night before Halloween and the Devil Went Down to Georgia.  It involved him playing the drums (he's a percussionist but he was under a spell and couldn't play very well).  Then in the poem I said "Double or nothing to the devil" and came and saved the day by playing my trombone.  Ha ha!  I loved it!
We had a Spider Man Team and they were shooting their webs at us.
Side note to my sister-in-law Melissa, who lives in Kansas - Bethany found her India outfit at DI for $6.00.  I thought Megan would appreciate that:)
I understand that sitting around on a Friday night reading poems might not be everyone's cup of tea, but we had a grand time.  I am grateful to have friends who also think that is real entertainment!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun Fall Happenings

There are a few really big events my children look forward to each year.  Christmas, Halloween, the 4th of July Parade... and going to the Crazy Corn Maze with our good friends, the Johansens.  We have gone for at least 4 (maybe 5) years in a row and we always take a picture of the gang before going in.  The oldest of the group will be gone on a mission this time next year.  The girls have been planning their outfits for weeks.
And their hairstyles.  These girls are now old enough to go and get lost by themselves in the corn maze.
This group still sticks with the moms and dads.
My job was to keep tabs on Cannon.  
Abe's job was to tote Georgie around.  And may I just say that I love this picture.  It was great fun and a corn maze is one of the few times in my life that I don't feel like I need to be in charge of anything.  I am comfortable leading out, but it is so nice to just follow the crowd, or whoever has a map and thinks they know where they are going.  I'm not a big proponent of following the crowd, but I have no wish to use my brain at all in the corn maze.  Baa, baa.

Today was our October book club for the younger kids' book club.  We read Pollyanna and have had our fill of gladness for a while.  We played games outside and were glad for beautiful fall weather.  
Pollyanna gets temporarily paralyzed near the end of the book, so we had an invalid relay.  Here they are practicing for the big race.  I'm thinking an invalid relay probably wasn't very PC.
But it was pretty funny to watch.

In the book they kept talking about something called calf's-foot jelly.  I thought that might be an interesting book club snack.  After a little research on the internet I learned that it would involve boiling an actual calf's foot.  Um... no thank you.
So we made calf's-foot jello instead.  It was a hit!


George is almost 15 months.  He can stand by himself, but he's not interested in walking yet.  He sure does like to be carried, though-- he's a pretty typical Fox baby!
Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 kids in a tub.
I tell you, it wasn't that long ago that it was Clark, Bethany and Elinor in the tubby.
My sister is here in Utah!!!! They are back from Texas for a little visit and I am in heaven!
And the cousins are so happy to be together in their fancy dress-ups.
Although they appear quite intense in this picture, there was markedly less violence than before.
And judging from the messy faces, the chocolate chips must have been good!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Feeling Good to Be Feeling Bad

Well, I was right.

The sickness was going to get worse before it got better.  For those of us that were sick it was a lie around and watch shows on Netflix ALL day long.  Cannon got sick in the middle of the night and then later on this afternoon.  Here is a child who does not lack confidence in his abilities.  After he threw up this afternoon he said to me, "Mom, I am so good at throwing up!"
Yes you are, honey.

And even though I felt super crummy all day, there was something nice about not having to do anything or go anywhere.  My kiddies wanted to snuggle with me all day and they let me take a little nap.  They were so nice to me-- probably because I didn't ask them to do anything.  They might like me to get sick a little more often.
And my sweet Elinor made me some chicken noodle soup and a get well card.
 And my sweet husband declared his love to me by mowing me a message in the back yard.   Then he got up on the roof to take a picture of it.
But his love was so large,  he couldn't get it all in one picture.
It was about this point in the day that I realized getting sick today wasn't such a bad deal.

Abe Note:  BCF stands for "Betsy Cannon Fox"......though her official initials are ECF "Elizabeth Cannon Fox".

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14, 2011

Abe is gone on an overnight camp-out with his 11-year old scouts.  I just spoke with him and he and all the boys are doing great.  After a very long, hard week, the kids and I took today pretty easy.  It was not declared an official no-school day, but very little school work got accomplished anyway.  It was a very emotional week, topped off with the funeral this morning of the young man in our neighborhood.  I played the organ, which I had never done before for a funeral.  I don't get nervous at all to play for Sacrament Meeting, but I was plenty nervous this morning.  And I'm sure no body was looking at me or cared, but funerals are very embarrassing for me.  I cry.  A LOT.  It doesn't matter if I know the person well or not.  I openly weep.  I'm afraid I am a bit distracting and I was embarrassed. 

Besides the emotions of the week, we had sickness as well.  I wasn't positive that we have had sickness until today.  I thought perhaps I was feeling so run-down because of all the emotions, but then several more kids started complaining of the same things and worse.  Unfortunately, I don't think the yuckies have run their course quite yet, so it could be a long weekend as well.

There have been some fun things as of late as well.
Do you know what causes a facial expression like this on a 3-year old?
Our wonderful Auntie Allison got us free tickets to go to the circus.  She was planning to take the kids, but then she got sick, so Abe got to go instead.  He bravely took 7 children to the circus all by himself-- WHAT A MAN!
There were extra tickets as well, so a couple of friends came along.  This was the Picadilly Circus, which was a one ring circus as opposed to a much larger three ring circus (Barnum and Bailey).  
And they did have a boxing kangaroo!  What more can you ask for?  
I was very happy they got to go to the circus, and I'm especially happy that it was at such a little cost to us! 
Look where we are again!!!!
This isn't a good picture, but that is Elinor running at the Tae Kwon Do center that Clark earned his black belt from.  She has been begging for months and months to do Tae Kwon Do and she finally got to start this week.  I don't think I have ever seen her happier in her whole life.  She was absolutely beaming.  
I must admit that I was all smiles during her first class as well.  Partly because she was so delighted to be there, but also because I have such fond memories of Clark doing TKD.  He gained so much and had a very positive experience learning from Master Kim.  
We are so happy to be back, and happy that we have a carpool with a friend which will simplify our schedule.

And speaking of simplifying schedules-- soccer is over!  Hallelujah!  I know I said I could do anything for a month, but that was too much.  I don't really enjoy soccer that much.  Perhaps if my children were soccer stars I would feel differently, but alas.  I am happy to report that Faith did not really like soccer, so we will just stick with gymnastics.  Elinor has chosen to do Tae Kwon Do, so I don't have to do soccer next year for her either.  And Cannon is 3, so it was ridiculous to begin with to put him in soccer and he didn't really get it (duh!) so we don't have to go there for a while either.  

But here's what we DO want to do next year.
 Football has been a marvelous experience for Clark this year.  And while he is definitely NOT the fastest kid on the team, his coaches have told Abe and I on numerous occasions how much they love having Clark on the team because he works so hard and has such a good attitude.  This makes me one happy mama!  As the season goes on he is getting more and more playing time.  I think we're all going to be sad when football season ends.  
I am in the pink hat holding the banner that the team will run through after half-time. 

This is serious business, you know.