Sunday, April 28, 2013

conference camping

Since we moved to Ohio, there had been very few Saturday mornings that Chad didn't have to be away.  Even if he didn't have to put in a full day, he usually had to at least round in the morning at the hospital.  It just so happened that the week before general conference (this is something we do in our church every six months) Chads attending went on vacation.  This meant a pretty light week for Chad as well, and the entire weekend off!  With the weather warming up, Chad, as usual, made the most of it.  He started preparing the beds for all of the seedlings he had been growing in the baby's room window, and working on the yard.  The kiddos had fun playing with (torturing) all of the worms and bugs that they found during this process. 
As the day started to wind down Chad thought it would be fun to break out the tent and enjoy the fact that he didn't have to be up before the sun to go to work. The kids were beyond excited! So excited that it took quite a while to get the tent up because the the babies, but mostly Pratt, kept running off with the pieces.
We also broke out Chad's anniversary present for the first time.  We very much live in suburbia, but a portable fire pit works perfectly in our back yard!  With our coat hangers converted into roasting sticks, we had hot dogs and marshmallows (I will be keeping chocolate bars and Graham crackers on hand for the rest of the summer so that we can do it right when the opportunity presents its self).
In an effort to reduce the amount of laundry I would be folding during the Saturday sessions, we bathed the kiddos.  No smoky pillows or blankets for me!  While I handled this task, Chad got the beds ready.  We don't own sleeping bags, so we hauled every blanket outside that we have.  This first weekend in April was still very cold at night.  Chad was convinced that if he wrapped everyone up, and ran an extension cord from the house to run a space heater, everyone would be cozy enough.
Here is my little camping crew.  Getting a good nights sleep is not one of my greater talents (especially when I am pregnant), so stayed indoors and let Chad enjoy giggling excited babies.  I was a little lonely walking back into the house on a Friday night at 8:30.  But, I did love looking out the windows and seeing that tent, and knowing that my babies are the luckiest kids alive to have such an amazing man as their dad! 
The end of the story is that just a few hours later, the backdoor opened and in walked a very sleepy camping crew!  I had fallen asleep on the couch and was a little startled, but when I felt the air from the open door, I knew what had happened.  After all of our little people were sleeping in their beds Chad told me of the sad little voices telling him how cold they were.  That is the beauty of backyard camping!  They kids had all the excitement of sleeping out, but still had clean beds, flushing toilets, and a warm breakfast that I popped in the oven that I made the night before while I wasn't camping!

Friday, April 26, 2013


I'm really not sure where Aimee's little accent comes from, but she has one.  I still laugh at the way my grandparents sort of had their own "old Eastern Idaho" accent.  Any -or sound was/is converted to an -ar sound: carn, fark, etc.  Somehow, Aimee manages to do the same thing with certain words.  Easter at our house is known as Ooster.

I feel like I dropped the ball a little preparing the babies for this sacred holiday.  It wasn't until the night that we sat down to paint our oostr eggs that we even talked about the Saviors resurrection. As one might expect, it did get a bit lost in the excitement of getting to wear old cloths that can get ruined, hard boiled eggs and lots of acrylic paint colors.  This certainly wasn't the only time that we had ever discussed this event, but I was glad that we had another day to make it more important. 

As is the tradition in our family, for the time being, Chad dyed the eggs, and the kids did everything in their power to make sure no one knew what color it was.
It was a very fun and very messy evening as a family!  It was fun to see what color the tub water was after each kid had been scrubbed clean!
On Saturday we started off the day early.  It was our wards turn to clean the church, so we had to be there by 8:00.  Normally we show up in our sweats.  We clean, and then go home and get ready for the day.  All five of us had to have eaten, dressed, hair done, and a fruit salad made in order to clean the church on time.  It all worked out.  We even had enough time to run to the store and get some last minute ooster items that Chad decided were necessary.  Lunch was awesome, the babies loved the eggs, and we made it home in time for nap time and our own Saturday chores.
Sunday morning was so much fun!  We had planned to hunt eggs outside, but it had rained during the night, so we had a great time making jelly-bean bunny trails through the house.  This proved to be the highlight of the day for Pratt.  He pretty much sat and watched Aimee and Porter find all the eggs while he chowed down on jelly-beans.  We had to gather them all up and out them away so he would get into the action.  Luckily we were able to talk the older two into saving a few for him.  They were so excited to find their eggs, especially when they felt they had found an especially difficult eggs.  They were also thrilled to find three balls.  We don't do Easter baskets, and we don't plan to, but Chad wanted to have some balls the kids could play with on our basketball court.
With the excitement calming down, Chad was quick to sit the kids down and be sure that they understood why we celebrate, and that our focus for the day was on our Savior.  There isn't a better man or father out there!
We spent the rest of the morning making rolls together for Easter dinner with friends and new members of our church, and just being together.  We felt the spirit of the day, and surrounded by my sweetheart and babies, I could only feel gratitude for all that is possible because of the resurrection of my Lord.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

swimming lessons

We are part of an HOA.  Pretty much the only benefit of this annual HOA fee is the outdoor swimming pool that is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Even though we didn't move in until the end of June, we spent a lot of time there.  Since I have to spend every moment keeping Pratt-man from getting me arrested for child neglect, and since Porter refuses to leave the safety of the stairs and handrail, I thought it would be a good idea for Aimee to have some water skills. (Aimee is pretending to be a water puppy in this picture).
It was only twice a week for three weeks, but Aimee loved it.  Honestly, I am really not sure why.  I wasn't exactly impressed with the class.  There were six little kids in her class.  For thirty minutes the teacher went down the row of kids hanging on to the side of the pool and helped them to the other side and back.  While the other kids sort of just hung on the side, bobbing up and down, Aimee provided entertainment for herself and everyone at the pool.  She would challenge herself to a dunking contest, play finger puppets on the edge, through her legs up on the side in a pretend game that I have yet to figure out, try to figure out how to use her hands as squirt guns (like the funny old mad that was always floating around in the pool during her lesson), or instigate splashing games that the teacher would put an abrupt end to.  Like I said, she loved it.
At the last lesson the teacher did allow the kids to go down the water slide.  I had a hard time getting her out of the pool.  In June Aimee is taking another round of swimming lessons at a different place.  Porter will be joining her.  Hopefully her enthusiasm for the water will rub off on him a little...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

men v. food

We try to have the missionaries in our ward over for dinner at least once a month.  Usually, I go away from the evening just grateful for the spirit and example to our family they bring.  Last time they came, however, I wanted to duct tape Elder Briggs mouth closed.  He spent the entire meal relating his experience at Johnny's Pizzeria to Chad, who was drinking in every word.  This is a team challenge in which two people have 30 minutes to eat an 8 Lb. pizza known as the "Bronx Bomber" and/or the "Brawler."  This challenge was even features on the series Man Vs. Food.
At church the next week Chad found the guy he had decided was his best option to take on the challenge, our friend Doug Williams.  He was just as excited as Chad.  With the date and time set, Chad looked up food challenge prep, and had a big week of eating!
March 16th was the big day!  It is also my parents anniversary, so Chad dedicated his performance to them.  Both Williams families arrived at the little house, turned pizza joint, at the same time.  Doug and Julie and their five kids, and Chad and me with our three.  We filled one of the rooms that was set up with seating.  Then we spent the next 45 minutes trying to keep all of the kids contained while the pizza employee in charge tried to talk Chad and Doug out of it.  Then 30 minutes later they finally made the Brawler, and the pizza we had ordered for our families.
With the kids eating and cameras ready, and Chad and Doug ready to carry out their game plan, the timer was set and the challenge began.  Notice that they are smiling.

 Chad brought our pizza cutter from home to help separate the slices so that it could cool quickly.
 Then they opened up the top layer to continue to let the heat out.  Chad had read that this all meat and crust pizza would fry challengers mouths and render them unable to finish.
 They started very strong.  That big ol' pizza was disappearing fast!
 10 minutes into the challenge, we had all called the challenge as in the bag.  Even the skeptical pizza guy said it was one of the best starts he had ever seen.
 Julie and I had to keep the kids under control in the other room.  Chad and Doug had to do the challenge in the lobby in front of the pizza guy.  But this is the the progress they had made at that point in the challenge.
 Then things took a turn.  I would say it was for the worst.  The wall had been hit. With 16 minutes left, I knew it was over, but I kept trying to cheer on my man.  I think at that point he really didn't want any encouragement.
 With two minute left, Doug stopped eating.  Chad was taking mostly Porter-type nibbles
 They are no longer smiling and laughing.
 When the timer went off, this is what remained.  Chad had the pizza guy weigh his portion so he would know how close he had gotten.  He had 11 oz. left.  Doug followed suit and found that he had 18 oz. left. 
Walking out the door Chad told Doug they should come back one year from that day and give it another goal.  Doug wasn't quite as frustrated by the loss.  Chad didn't want to let it beat him.  Doug was okay with it.  I have my doubt this particular challenge will happen again, but Doug seamed open to finding a new, less greasy, one...
We ended the night with half a game of Phase 10 and ice cream.  I was thoroughly entertained by it all!