Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Tea and Recital 2014

The boys have discovered they love hot chocolate this winter. Last week for family night we stocked up on hot chocolate and sipped the evening away with the glow of the Christmas tree in the background. It was pretty dreamy -- as you can tell by Carson's expression.
I've committed myself to making a Christmas ornament every year with the boys. This year I found a cute ornament idea, and only upon making it did I realize it wasn't very kid friendly. So other than the boys posing for a quick shot of their profile, they didn't get to help much with the ornaments of 2014. Whoops!
Santa, we have a problem. Not only has Eli already been doubting your existence, but maybe he also accidentally stumbled upon every single one of his presents last week right after his bout of Santa doubt.

All of our toys were stowed away behind the locked door of our guest room where I was sure they were safe. The boys rarely play in the basement, and even if they did, they never open the guest room door. And even if they tried, it was locked!

Well. The night before, I was scrambling to finish up a curtain order. Where do I keep my curtain supplies? Behind the locked door of the guest bedroom. The only thing I can come up with is I must have not clicked the door all the way closed on my last break-in to grab supplies because the handle was still locked when the boys found their way into the toy stash.

I was in the kitchen when I heard Carson's big Christmas toy start to make noise. As I was pausing to detect whether or not my worst fears of the boys spoiling their Christmas were true, Eli yelled up to me, "Mom, is it okay that Carson is playing with these tractors?"

I've never run down the stairs so fast.

I threw the toys out of Carson's hands and shooed the boys out of the room. Then I went upstairs to gather my thoughts as the denial set in. Maybe they only saw those tractors. I told myself, even though all their toys were completely out in the open all over that room. Maybe they won't realize those toys are for Christmas. I began hoping. There was only one way to figure out how much they knew, so I went to interrogate Eli.

"Eli." I began, "Did you see anything else in that room or did you just see the tractors and come to get me?"
Eli looked at me with a smirk like he knew all the secrets of the guest room, but he knew he shouldn't know about anything in there, "Nothing." He said, "Well. Maybe I was just looking at those scooters for a minute."

Blast. His big Christmas presents were suddenly not a surprise anymore. And I single handedly ruined Christmas. I tried to recover with one quick jab, "Those presents aren't for you. We're giving those away to other kids!" I attempted.

Eli saw right through me.

Remind me to rent out a storage shed next year to stash all our presents in because this little boy is only going to get smarter!
We spent the weekend in Cedar City to celebrate Christmas early with the Excell side. We've made a new thing of stopping by Costco in Spanish Fork on the way down because they have cheap food and an awesome park right next door. Eli loves to climb on this rock and then he puts his hands up in the air when he reaches the top, so proud of himself.
The boys were so good on the way down! They both took naps, so they were all ready to stay up late with Grandma and Grandpa to watch The Polar Express that evening.
The next morning we made sugar cookies in preparation of our recital that evening. And I was reminded that boys sometimes don't have the patience for decorating cookies. Or the patience for posing for pictures.
Can you guess which cookie Carson dumped a whole can of sprinkles on decorated?
We had to make a trip to our favorite Cedar lunch spot -- Brad's Food Hut -- for lunch. It was just as delicious as I remembered it. I especially enjoyed my food because the boys were in daddy obsession mode where they were both rejecting me and clinging to Jeff. Jeff felt a little silly when both boys insisted on sitting squished on one bench with him while I was sprawled out alone on the other side.
The boys loved Mary's stash of Christmas books. Especially when Mary was the story teller. Mary also had a computer game Eli loved to play. When we got home, I pulled the same game up for Eli. He looked at me in shock as he said, "Mom! How do you know about this game? Are you awesome like Grandma?!"
The Cox Family came that afternoon with a pile of sticker crafts. These kids did stickers perfectly quietly and contently for well over an hour. They were so cute together!
With the older kids busy, these two rekindled their friendship in the basement playing "ghost" by turning off all the lights and running around like crazies screaming their heads off with glee.
Soon enough it was time for the cousin book exchange. I love this tradition! Carson got a Transformer book that we spent the rest of the day repeatedly reading and Eli got a Disney storybook.
After a delicious Chinese dinner, we settled down in the living room for the annual Christmas Tea and Recital.
The boys couldn't help themselves from getting their wiggles out during every musical number.  
I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to post this picture to the internet, but look how cute Grandma and Grandpa Elf are!! How could I keep this to myself?
With another successful Christmas Tea and Recital down, we finished up the evening slurping down Grinch Floats.
Grandma and Grandpa Elf brought the boys matching pajamas. My favorite!
It was so nice to have the boys get a fun new toy from Jeff's parents while we were down there because I still had my neighbor gifts to work on when we got back. The boys were busy with their toys all morning while I assembled my slew of cookies to give away. Can I just remind myself never to do this again. Thankfully my pregnancy somewhat justified the calorie intake this little project encouraged.
Eli spent the whole day today with his nose buried in his book from the cousin exchange. 
The toy of the year is the Wubble. Looks like a bubble, plays like a ball. This thing has been flying off every wall of our house.
But we have all had a lot of fun with it!

Eli likes to pretend the ball is Doctor Morocco (the bad guy from Rescue Bots) and beats him up. Works for me because he used to make me pretend I was Doctor Morocco and beat me up, so that ball has saved me a few punches from Eli in Bot Mode.
The kids are at such fun ages this year for Christmas. I can't wait for Christmas Day!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Did He Just Say?...

Jeff and I were talking about going to get some oranges from a street vendor.
Me: "I really want some of those oranges from the orange man."
Jeff: "Okay. We'll get some."
Me: "If we don't go now I think we'll miss him."
Jeff, "Okay. I'll go right now."
Me: "Alright! Go hunt him down for me!"

The next day this happened:
Eli, "Dad, did you find the orange man?"
Jeff, "No. He wasn't there when I went to find him."
Eli, "Were you going to kill him and take all his oranges?"
Jeff, "WHAT?!? Why do you think I would kill him? We don't kill people!"
Eli, "But you were on a hunt for the orange man."


My favorite quotes from a rant Eli was having because I wouldn't let him play a computer game until after he ate his lunch:

"You're breaking my life and you're breaking everyone else's life."

"I only like you a little bit right now, Mom."


We were going to eat dinner at a restaurant next to JoAnn's Fabric.
Me, "Who wants to go to JoAnn's?!?"
Eli, "That's a girl store that only moms like."


While in Cedar City, talking to Eli after he woke up for the day:
Mary (Jeff's mom), "Eli! Did you sleep good last night?"
Eli, "I had to sleep with my night light on so I wasn't scared."
Mary, "You don't need to be scared at Grandma's house. What were you scared of?"
Eli, "I was scared everything in my room was going to come to life."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

When you hear your kids scream, "Take a picture of us, Mommy!" from the other room, that's not an opportunity you can pass up. With my camera in hand, I walked in to find these two snuggle bugs cozied up together watching a show. 
Am I the only one out there who thinks Christmas trees shouldn't be set up until after Thanksgiving? If you ask Jeff I am!
Eli was a pro at twisting the tree around for Jeff which made stringing the lights a breeze.
Christmas has arrived!
Maybe I want a girl because I'm longing for one of my children to like me and I have led myself to believe a girl may like me as much as our boys like Jeff. When he is home, he doesn't get one inch to breathe. These little rascals are all over him from the moment Jeff opens the garage to the moment they insist only he sings them their songs at bedtime.
The kids love me by default when Jeff isn't around. I love it when Eli plays next to me on days I'm stuck behind the sewing machine. This day he found a bag full of buttons and raced them around the table for a good hour pretending they were race cars.
Joe and Kenz came over one evening and cooked us some pizza! Eli said the dinner prayer and recited his latest favorite phrase, "Thankful for Jesus, The Holy Ghost and John the Baptist." I'm convinced he's the only person who regularly expresses gratitude for John the Baptist and I love him for that.
See. The boys. And then imagine me all by myself. Lonely. Talking to myself. Being ignored because these three are in a manly bubble of bonding.
Last Sunday we bribed the kids to watch the Christmas Devotional with us by offering them hot chocolate while we watched. The setup was risky, but I'm proud to say the kids slurped their hot chocolate down so fast they didn't even get the chance to spill a drop on the carpet!
Since the weather has been heavenly, we figured it was a good week to venture to Temple Square to see the lights.
The boys were complete wild hooligans. They spent the evening climbing over everything, jumping off every ledge they could find, and running in opposite directions. I'll just tell myself that their excited behavior was a result of the energy they had from feeling the Spirit during our lovely outing.
Also any time the camera was out, they posed like this? Ready to defeat bad guys at a moment's notice.
Jeff and I swapped turns sneaking away for pictures while the other one chased the kids around.

Last week I taught Eli how to write his last name. I was so proud when I opened his backpack one day and saw he had attempted to put his full name on one of his school papers. So close!
We had our ward party yesterday.
My kids butt in front of all the other kids and maaaaaaaaaybe I didn't make them go to the back of the line because I didn't really want to have to wait either. So we went with it and I only feel mildly guilty about it.
As we were driving home from the party, Eli began this reasoning, "That wasn't the real Santa."
We asked why he thought that wasn't the real Santa. "Well, he didn't have any reindeer. Or toys. He was just a pretend Santa."

Eli's doubts were only solidified when we were running errands later that day and unexpectedly ran into another Santa at JoAnn's.
The questioning continued, "Ummm. Mom. That Santa did not look like the other Santa."
Me, "So which one do you think is the real Santa? The one that was at the church or the one at JoAnn's?"
Eli shook his head while replying, "No. They both aren't the real Santa."
Me, "Who are they?"
Eli, "I think Santa has a machine he uses to make Santa helpers who go around to all the stores. But Santa stays in the North Pole."

We may be in trouble with our logical little boy!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Well Rounded

The holidays were good to me. I kept complaining that my bump wasn't taking on the shape of a nice, round pregnancy bump but was rather just splooching out all over my mid-section leaving me forever in "is she pregnant or just getting bigger" territory. 

I can proudly say I gained 5 pounds in a week over Thanksgiving and that has helped steer me more towards obviously pregnant, so I guess I'll count the rapid weight gain as a blessing.
Eli has totally surprised me with this baby already. He is so interested in everything baby related. I can already tell he completely adores his soon-to-be brother. With baby brother's kicks getting stronger, Eli has been able to feel a few kicks which he thinks is absolutely hilarious. It melts my heart to see Eli take such an interest in all things baby.

Eli also helped me sort through baby clothes a few weeks ago. The great thing about having another boy is it's easy on the budget. I had an urge of nesting hit and decided to pull out all our baby clothes, only to find they were all horrifically stained bright yellow. ALL OF THEM!

It was disgusting! My boys were both big spitters, but I had washed all the clothes really good before I stored the clothes away, so I was not expecting to be greeted by stains on all my favorite baby outfits.

Upon researching the issue, I found out that it's fairly common for baby clothes to go into storage clean and come out bright yellow from old stains reappearing. I crossed my fingers as I followed the advice of online forum-ers that giving the tiny outfits a 6-hour Oxyclean bath would do the trick:
I'm happy to say it worked! The clothes look good as new! So if anyone else has the same thing happen and is left discouraged with a bag full of baby clothes ready to be thrown away like I was, fear not! Go buy some Oxyclean and save yourself a ton of money!
Heartburn. Ugh. My biggest...well...my only complaint really is heartburn. And the unlikely culprit? CHOCOLATE! Never did I think I'd find chocolate unappealing, but if I eat a lick of chocolate after 3:00 in the afternoon, my throat is burning all night!

I'm also feeling very round lately. Sitting up and bending over has become labor intensive.

I feel him all the time now which I completely love. He's super active at night so I love to take a few minutes every evening to just pay attention to him and enjoy his little kicks and punches. Until he gets me in the bladder and then it's not quite as enjoyable.

I have yet to have a stranger comment on my pregnancy. I think this is the furthest I've made it into a pregnancy without an awkward supermarket inquiry from a curious cashier.

I haven't had many cravings. Sad. I love pregnancy cravings. I haven't really had aversions either. Other than hamburger meat but I don't really love hamburger meat not pregnant, so hard to tell if that's really an aversion.

Oh! I've started getting Braxton Hicks for sure. They aren't as frequent yet as I feel like they were with my first two pregnancies, but I get pretty big ones now and then that kind of catch me off guard.
That's all I can think of for now! This pregnancy has been a breeze and it's flying by! I'm getting more and more anxious to meet the newest little guy and to see how Jeff and I will handle being outnumbered!

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving came and went in a flash. It's been awesome to have the second half of my pregnancy over the holidays because time is flying by! More on that later. Here we have four little turkeys after our gratitude FHE.
We wandered down to Cedar for Thanksgiving this year. I was in charge of making the rolls and Jeff was on pie duty. He whipped up an apple and a cherry pie the evening we arrived.
Branded with the family logo.
On Thanksgiving morning Mary and Kaelynn snazzed up the table while I took notes on how to festively decorate.
With only minor grumblings from my boys, I managed to get them all out back for a Thanksgiving picture before dinner.
Eli had so much fun playing with Tyler and Caleb for a few days! They were all best buds. It was so fun to hear snippets of whatever Angry Bird/Ninja Fighting/Transformer game they were playing as they whizzed through the house together.
I am hoping to forever be invited to other people's houses on Thanksgiving because I am horrendously intimidated of cooking a turkey. David and Mary are pros!
I guess the carving is where it gets sketchy in the Excell home? Ha. This is my absolute favorite picture of the week...
Especially because this picture happened right after, and Jeff hadn't even seen the face his dad had just made at me. The Excells are angry cookers. Ooooooooooorrr they just don't enjoy me constantly in their face with a camera.
The two little boys bonded once they realized they couldn't quite keep up with the older boys. Their mutual love of trains kept them contently holed up in the basement together all morning.
Soon enough we were finding our seats for the delicious meal.
Side story -- Within 10 minutes of arriving to Jeff's parents' house, Eli and Carson ran outside to play on their playground. I heard screaming quickly after they started playing and meandered up to see what Carson was so upset about. It wasn't until I had picked him up that I saw his whole eye and eyebrow area covered in blood!

I ran back down to the house and had to have Jeff and his mom nurse Carson back to health because the blood was too much for me. After cleaning him up a little bit, we were relieved to see it was just a little scratch on his eyebrow that required nothing more than a band-aid. But man! That thing bled!

Then it was time to hear the story of what caused his injury. Turns out Eli had climbed up on the playground and threw a big dump truck down directly at Carson. We've determined it was probably an accident, but we'll let Santa make the final judgement.

I couldn't stop to take a picture of my plated food until I had eaten a sufficient sample of everything. So here's my picked at plate.
After dinner the boys found the Legos while the adults strategized about Black Friday.
Kaelynn organized a coloring competition. Eli has become quite vocal and opinionated about colors lately. It took him forever to learn his colors but now that he knows them, I'm wishing he was still color oblivious. He is fight-to-the-death loyal to blue. Everything he brings home from preschool is colored blue, so it was no surprise to see he only needed one crayon to complete his project.
Carson is a little more open-minded in his artistry.
The day after Thanksgiving we did the traditional Turkey Shoot. The littlest boys stayed in the van and watched The Polar Express while the adults got cut-throat on the range.
With the winner being....Sir Jeffery Excell!
Then we spent Saturday down in St. George soaking up the beautiful weather with what appeared to be the entire rest of the city on a little hike around the gorgeous red rocks.
The boys are good hikers when they have 1.) rocks and 2.) water ahead on the trail to motivate them to keep walking to throw their rocks into. Well. We had one of those things, but without the water to throw the rocks into as an incentive, we had two distracted little boys most of the time.

I gave up on calling our outing a "hike" and accepted it as an exploring excursion.
It was such a fun place to explore! There were tons of places to climb and wind through and the scenery was breathtaking!

This ended up being one of my favorite things we have done in Southern Utah.
Once we found our way back to the trail, I noticed Eli wasn't quite keeping up with us so I looked back to check on him just in time to see him dropping to the ground.
I rushed over to him, thinking he had fallen, but as I approached I realized he had intentionally dropped to the ground in an effort to make a sand angel. I'm not sure what prompted this idea, but he executed it with such certainty that I just stood back and laughed without asking any further questions.
That evening we stuck around long enough to see the temple lights. It almost rivaled Temple Square's!
We had a blast as usual!