I really like these monthly posts! From my blogging perspective, it’s kind of fun to go through all the photos I took and see all the things that we did in the month. It sure goes quick!
November always starts out big with Bria’s birthday. She turned 12 this year! TWELVE! I still can’t believe that I’m old enough to have an almost teenager. I still feel 12 myself sometimes. Okay, most times. I know that she doesn’t see it, but I worry all the time that I’m not doing enough to help her navigate through these next rocky years. I can already see things changing in her life. I’m definitely not the only influence, so hopefully I can be a strong enough influence. Especially when she drives me crazy with her increasing need for independence. I really do miss the simpler days! A friend of mine with young kids told me not too long ago that she can’t wait until her littles are older so that it will be easier. I often felt the same way and I wish I could go back and scream at my young mom self that those days were actually easier! Maybe more physically demanding, but really easier.
Bria’s birthday probably deserves a post of it’s own, but I’m afraid I would never blog about it if I don’t just do it now, so hopefully you’ll stick with me through this incredibly long post. Haha!
The week before Bria’s birthday, I wanted to do something that would really make her feel special. So, I decided to do some redecorating for her bedroom. It really needed a deep clean so we started there. I sure love my girl, but oh my is she sentimental. I had no idea! She has kept little papers all the way back from kindergarten (she’s in 6th grade now). Some of it I’m glad she kept, but almost all of it was definitely trash worthy. Oh, and (shhh!) I let her open a Pinterest account. I guess it’s really a second account for me that she uses. Technically, she’s supposed to be 13. Anyway, she’s really jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and has apparently been saving toilet paper rolls for crafts. Probably like 50 of them. Haha! I love it!!!
Between the two of us, it took days to get her room sorted, organized and rearranged just right. I could have probably done it faster myself, but I really wanted her to help me with it so we pretty much worked in the late afternoons and evenings. What she didn’t know is that I was scheming a surprise makeover for her bedroom on her birthday. Her birthday was on a Friday and I spent almost every second the kids were at school during the week shopping for accessories, refinishing stuff we already had, and getting everything ready for Friday. My plan was to drop her off at school on Friday and work all day re-decorating her room for a big birthday present reveal when she got home.
Except that Max got the stomach flu. He actually got it the week before (on Halloween) but he was really having a hard time kicking it. And even despite that, I still could have pulled everything off beautifully. Until I got the stomach flu. On Thursday night, the day before her birthday, I started throwing up. And it didn’t stop. By Friday morning I was so weak. I tried for 3 hours to get her room decorated before I finally threw in the towel and went to bed. I couldn’t even walk up and down the stairs without needed to lay down. I was really devastated. And kind of panicky because we had planned a party for a bunch of her friends that night. Dave was out of town shooting a wedding video so I was flying solo on the party and I couldn’t even get out of bed! It was the worst case of stomach flu that I have had in years and even after that day it took me almost 2 weeks to feel 100% better again.
Thankfully, by Friday evening, I was able to get up and get the party going. We planned a movie/pajama party so once I got everyone situated, I was able to go back to bed. Dave got back from his trip just before the end and he took care of getting everyone cake and ice cream and making sure the party ended perfectly. I was so thankful for all the other people that stepped in and made her day amazing. One of her friends decorated her locker at school, one of her church activity day leaders stopped by to give her a gift, and Dave sent her balloons at school. She really felt loved! She had a babysitting job on Saturday and we were able to surprise her with her room makeover the next day. I am going to do a post entirely about that because there were so many fun details that came together. I still need to take photos and, if you can believe it, I need her to clean her room up before I can do that. Oh, the never ending cycle of cleaning of kids bedrooms! #momlife
(This is just a sneak peek of her bedroom makeover. I love how everything came together! I really can’t wait to show you!!)
Do any of you have a cub scout? How are you liking the new program? I am so grateful that I was cub master for so long because it’s really helped me understand how the program works better. I’m not the cub master anymore, but I totally see the value in what boys can learn. So, Max and I have been working hard on earning his Bear. Since the new Cub Scout program started in June and his birthday is in March, we lost a few months to get it done. Plus it’s so new that everyone is just trying to get it all figured out. I really do like the new program but it is a lot more work! Max is still not even half done yet and we’re running short on time. Thankfully, we did some of the outdoor requirements by chance last summer while we family vacationed. A one-mile hike doesn’t sound like that much fun to me when the ground is so covered in snow!
This month, he’s been working on his Robotics adventure. One of the requirements for that is going to a business that uses robots. We happened to have some really great friends that own a company called Wall Candy Decor and they have a machine that cuts all of their frames! They were very generous and let Max come over and watch it in action to pass off his requirement. Not only did they let him watch, but cut him out a custom sign!
Max was really over the moon excited about it! It was a fun experience! One requirement down, a gazillion more to go. Or at least it feels that way!
A week after Bria turned 12, our ward’s Young Women camp director decided to take the girls winter camping! It was such a cool experience for them! I love our camp director!! She is all about teaching these girls that they can be just as tough as the boys. The Boy Scouts go all the time in the winter but it’s almost unheard of for the girls to go. Bria was super excited and I was super worried! We haven’t taken her camping since she was 3! What kind of a mom sends her daughter who has no idea how to camp out into 8 degree weather for the first time on her own?!? I knew she would be safe with her leaders, but I definitely worried. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night thinking that she got too hot and kicked her sleeping bag off and froze to death (literally). I hate the crazy anxiety dreams that come with being a mom sometimes! Of course, she had a fabulous time and was completely safe! It was a character building experience for her and I’m so glad she got to have it!
Obviously I wasn’t there, so these pictures came from another mom. I’m so glad someone took some pictures!
Our Thanksgiving week was super fun and full! Dave had the whole week off and the kids had nearly the whole week. I loved having everyone home for a few days!
We started the break with some of the dearest of friends at Bear Lake. We love Bear Lake in the winter and the company on this trip was unmatched. So much fun! I haven’t had such a refreshing few days in months. I really needed it!
We headed back home Wednesday night in a horrible winter storm. I was on pins and needles the entire icy drive. After we got home, I was grateful we waited to leave until evening because the freeway traffic was at a standstill in the early afternoon. And there were tons of wrecks. Winter driving is the worst!
Thanksgiving morning we woke up to inches and inches of snow! When I woke up, I found Max outside hard at work shoveling the driveway! He wanted to do it all by hand and really protested when his dad came out with the snow blower. Oh, to be a kid again and think that shoveling snow is an adventure!
We spend Thanksgiving day at Dave’s parent’s house and I was horrible at taking pictures!
We ate really yummy food, the kids played games, and the grown-ups chatted and flipped through Black Friday ads. Do you go Black Friday shopping? I really like to. Mostly because I can get a bunch of Christmas shopping done right off. And usually there are at least a few good deals.
A lot of the older girls wanted to hit up Walmart on their Thanksgiving evening sale. Bria wanted to go and at first I really didn’t want her to. I wanted to have the freedom to Christmas shop and having her with me would make that impossible (that girl cannot keep a secret to save her life!). I ended up agreeing to let her go and I was pretty humbled at the store when I found out she brought some of her own hard-earned money to buy presents for her brothers. That was really why she wanted to go. It really turned out fun to go shopping together. I can tell that we’re going to have lots of fun the older she gets! Especially where she’s our only girl.
I didn’t end up buying a lot of actual Christmas presents black Friday shopping this year, but I did get an early Christmas present from Dave. After Bria and I got home Thanksgiving night, Dave and I went back out shopping and picked up a new Kitchenaid stand mixer for a steal! My old one wasn’t working super great so Dave insisted I get a new one. This one is a size larger and it has a lift bowl instead of a tilt head. I’ve already broken it in and I absolutely love it! I suspect there will be extra holiday baking this year!
I took zero pictures the day after Thanksgiving but I spent all the live long day cooking our own big dinner. We invited some friends over to share and it was delicious. I love making our own Thanksgiving dinner every year. I’ve done it almost every year that we’ve been married and I almost always do it the day after Thanksgiving. I know it sounds crazy to some people, but I really love to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner! It’s a fun challenge and I love tweaking our menu just a little bit every year. And I love the leftovers. But most importantly, I decided that if I was going to eventually host Thanksgiving when my children are grown, then I better learn how to cook it while they’re little. We always smoke an apple-brined turkey and it really is the best turkey ever. I’ve tried turkey cooked lots of different ways, but this is one way that is pretty much fool proof for a moist and tender turkey with lots of flavor. We bought a couple of extra turkeys this year so maybe if I remember, I’ll post our recipe and instructions on how to do it.
So, that was pretty much our November! December is sure to be pretty amazing and busy! I have quite a few posts in my drafts folder, so hopefully I’ll have more fun stuff to share with you soon! I hope your holiday season is going as wonderfully for your family as it is for ours!