Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

For the past 5 Thanksgiving Holidays, we have traveled over to Southeastern Idaho to spend Thanksgiving with extended family.  This year, because we didn't take a summer family vacation, we decided we really needed some alone time with our kids so we chose to do a mini Thanksgiving vacation with just our family instead.  We missed seeing grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles and cousins, but it turned out to be just what our family needed.
We booked a cabin for a few days closeby in Garden Valley.  The girls were big helpers to me the day before.  I taught Rachel how to make apple pie, and here she is making the crust.  This crust recipe is the same one that my mom used and taught me how to make when I was about Rachey's age. 

She was so worried that she'd "mess up" the pretty fluted edges.  I told her to relax and have fun with it, that pie dough was a lot like play dough...only you were SUPPOSED to eat it and it was a lot less salty!  She laughed at that, and stopped worrying about her edges.  

She even did the little apple shape that I have done on my pies ever since Andy and I were married.  I don't think my kids would know what to do with an apple pie that didn't have an apple shape on the crust.  She did a beautiful job and the pie was yummy!

And since no one in my family really likes pumpkin pie all that much, we do pumpkin rolls instead.  Brooklynn was my big helper with these.  Here she is starting the second batch.  We love these so much that we have to do two each year.  Yummy.

Here is her finished product.  A big yummy pumpkin roll filled with cinnamon cream cheese goodness.  It was so fun to have these two help me this year in the kitchen!  I am looking forward to many years ahead with all five of my daughters baking with me in the kitchen.

We arrived at the cabin early Wednesday evening, and first thing the kids wanted to do was hop into the private pool just out the back patio doors.  It was lightly snowing...and it was the coolest thing to be out swimming in a hot pool in the mountains in the middle of a snow storm!

Rachey and Brooklynn having fun on one of the loungers.  There was also a drift of snow closeby the pool, and the kids had a few snowball fights in and around the pool.  Weird. 

All of the kids except for Emma got in that night.  It was so fun to see them out there playing, while Andy and I unpacked and then relaxed.

Lainah was in the pool more than anyone during those four days.  She would swim, come in and eat...and then go swim some more.  She is a little fishy that's for sure!

Lainah and Addy shared a bed, and when I went in to tuck them in, I found them like this.  Lainah was reading with a flashlight, while Addy was watching Spirit on my phone...all snuggled up together.  It was too sweet.  This cabin also had a pool house that had a bunch of games in it and a tv and couches.  Taylor, Rachel, Brooklynn, and Matthew hung out in there quite a bit watching movies and playing games together.  We let all of the bedtime rules go, and let the kids just enjoy being together without schedules, or deadlines, or bedtimes...etc.  It was awesome.

Andy and I enjoyed the pool too.  I really couldn't get over the fact that it was November and snowing, and we were lounging around in a pool. 

And here we all are gathered around for our Thanksgiving feast. 

There was a Mancala game there that was missing about half of the marbles...but no worries...the kids used our M&Ms instead.  It reminded me of a trip to my Uncle Terry and Aunt Debbie's cabin once as a kid,when my cousins and I were playing a game with M&Ms too.  Fun times.

Emma was snuggled by one person, and then passed on to the next.  She enjoyed all of the attention from everyone...and it was especially cute to see her cuddling up to big brother Matthew.

Here's all of us silly girlies (minus Emma) in the pool!

The kids also played a lot of Jenga.  Matthew and Brooklynn found a quiet spot in the pantry.

And I taught them how to play "Go Fish."  Grandpa Thuernagle,who didn't allow face cards in his home, was probably making a fuss up in heaven when he saw what his grandchildren were doing!
Andy doesn't get a lot of time to read, but I noticed during these four days that his nose was in a book a lot of the time!  It was so great to see him be able to sit down and truly relax.
And the great part about having older kids like Taylor and Rachel, is that Andy and I were able to take some quiet walks alone, and spend time in the pool together while they "babysat."  We didn't have cell phone coverage while we were up there which actually made it even better.  I noticed how it was difficult for the first day to be without internet and texting and phone calls...but then it just felt completely liberating and I saw how our entire family relaxed.  Why don't we do this more often?  This year, with Emma there, I also felt a completeness that I haven't felt before.  I felt at peace and so content.  As I looked around the table at all of our children, and then as mine and Andy's eyes met...I just felt so very thankful for all that we had and knew that the greatest blessings we had were gathered right there around the table.  Our family.  
Saturday morning, as we packed up to leave, we piled all of the pool towels in the designated corner of the laundry room.  The hamper was stuffed full, and it was mounded over.  That's a lot of towels for 4 days!  The pool was well-used!

And here is the gang, full of enough good memories and good times to carry us through until our next little getaway!

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Will Miss This

Meet Addyson Adelle Thuernagle, mess-maker extraordinaire!  She has quick fingers, a vivid imagination, unmatched climbing skills and out-of-this-world deductive reasoning powers.  Unlike some of our other children, however, she is NOT silent in her activites, so I cannot call her the "Silent Tornado."  No, no, no...part of her mess-making fun is the sounds.  I can hear her happily humming away as she gets into things that were put "out of her reach."
One of my favorite things that she does right now, is that when I call her name I can hear her breathe out really long and then say in her cute little 2 year old voice, "Yaaaaah....Mom?"
Or sometimes she'll spill something and say, "Oh, Addy."
And still at other times she says, "Oh no....I made a mess."
She definitely keeps me on my toes, and she does tend to get into scrapes and make messes at the most inopportune times...however.  See those little footprints in the freshly spilled baby powder?  Those little footprints are getting too big too fast...and it won't be long before I don't see them imprinted in spilled items any longer.  I won't hear the cute pitter patter of her chubby little toddler legs carrying her as fast as they can away from the scene of the crime.

There will come a day when she no longer shows me with a giggle and a smile how her "toeseys" are all covered in white and how her little feet leave tracks on my bedroom floor. 
I love my adventurous little Addy, and even though I say, "Oh, Addy" pretty often right now...I wouldn't change anything about her or this stage that she's in for the world, because as I look at these pictures and see the joy that is on her face...and then laugh at her funny, inquisitive nature...I know that in the not too distant future...that I will miss this.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween 2014 (in December!  ha ha!)  I am so behind on blogging.  Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays ever since Andy and I were married.  We both enjoy getting into costumes, and won a few costume contests during our first few married years.  Such fun memories.  Some years, I've tried to have the whole family do a theme...and this year had thought about doing Snow White, her Prince Charming...and the Seven Dwarfs...since I DO have seven kiddos now...but that will have to wait until next year.  This year we were a hodge podge of costumes, but it was a lot of fun.
Rachel was the Maid Marion from Robin Hood (she has fallen in love with the BBC Robin Hood series on Netflix.), Lainah was Anna from Frozen...and I was Wonder Woman, complete with huge hair. 

Addyson had a beautiful Elsa costume, and I do believe we got her to wear it for a little while, but she preferred her Princess Sophia nightgown.  I had some sugar cookies ready for the kids to decorate and some "monster sandwiches" ready for them to eat when they got home from school.

So, we have Anna, Rachel pre-costume, Brooklynn as Aurora, Matthew as Annikan Skywalker, Taylor as himself (which he keeps claiming that he REALLY is Batman) Emma as Bat Baby, Andy as Clark Kent/Superman...and Addy as...Princess Sophia.
Photography by Wonder Woman

Lainah loved her Anna ballgown, and kept singing the whole song from the movie.  My favorite part was when she'd throw herself against a wall and sing.  "Picture of sophisticated grace.....ugh!"  If you've seen the movie, you'll get it.  If you haven't...watch the movie, and you'll get it!

Wonder Woman joined the gang!
Photography by Clark Kent.  AKA:  Superman

Every year, we do a fun Halloween Feasty...This year, we labeled each of the dishes something beasty and gross.  The kids really enjoyed that.  I think we had brain goulash, mummy fingers, witches eyes...stuff like that.  Batman helped me come up with all of the labels, and Maid Marion wrote them down for us.

Here in this picture, Addy has changed into Elsa, and Batman (aka Taylor) is now dressed up as Spiderman.  I love how beautiful Brooklynn looks in her Aurora dress...she was the perfect Aurora.

I told them to be silly.  When I look at this picture, I notice how thick Taylor's legs are getting...and how cute and chubby Bat Baby's legs are.  I love these cute kiddos!!!

Here are my beautiful girls...minus Bat Baby Emma.  Lainah is showing off a little leg.

Okay, so who knew that Clark Kent really had a thing for Wonder Woman!  We all thought it was Louis Lane.  Hey...wait a minute!  What if Louis really is Wonder Woman in disguise!

Yes, we're goofs.   But only one night a year.  The rest of the 364, we are completely serious and down to earth.

I love that when we act this silly and goofy our kids just crack up.  Here I was showing them all that their dad was really....SUPERMAN!!!!!  Who knew!?! 

And 16 years ago, Andy proposed to me on Halloween night after a really fun and creative date.  He proposed to me in front of the Idaho Falls Temple, which is where we were then married a few months later.  So each year...we not only celebrate our Anniversary...but on Halloween after all the trick or treating with the kids, we put them to bed and then have an engagement anniversary celebration.  This year...we drove up to our new home being built and had candle-lit donuts and cider on our back deck.  I tamed my hair down a little bit first.  We may have danced and kissed.
So it's a little late...but Happy Halloween 2014!

One Little Bit at a Time

It is amazing seeing a house come together, and we have had a lot of fun going up to check on our house in all of its different stages.  I'm truly amazed at how ideas in my head can be put down onto paper, and then put into an architects drawing...and from those drawings be built in real life. 
Here are a few pictures from the early framing stages taken in October.  The girls are looking out of one of the upstairs bedroom windows.  Lainah has already spoken for this room because of the "rainbow window" as she calls it.  She fell in love with the arched window and raised ceiling of this room...we now call it "the princess room," and it will be the future room of Lainah and Brooklynn.

I loved all of the angles and the sunlight coming through.  This is looking up to the second level from the entryway.  This will all be an open bonus room to below.  We really wanted our home to be open so that no matter where you were on the upper two levels, you'd feel connected and together. 

Here is a view from inside our master bedroom towards the entryway and stairs leading to the second level. 

This will be the fireplace wall in our family room which is right off of the kitchen.  This will be our "gathering place" of the house.  Love it.

And here are the windows off the family room looking out onto our deck and the amazing views of the Owyhees to the west.  We will be spending many summer nights out this direction.  I wanted lots of natural light in my home...so we have a lot of large windows.  I don't do well in dimlit places...light, light, light.

Here is Brooklynn looking down from the upstairs bonus room.  I am eagerly looking forward to many mornings where I call up to my kids and then see their faces peeking down at me. 

Here is the clan looking down into the entryway.  We were laughing about how when someone rings the doorbell, these jokers will be able to spy out and tell me who it is before I open the door.

Again, the girls looking out of the "princess room" window.  Just below it is the formal living room/piano room...yay!  I'm so excited to have a room dedicated to quiet family time and music.

Here is a fun diagonal angle in the girls' princess room.  A full-size mirror may go in this corner...with dress-up hooks on either side for their pretend play.

And Andy's main concern with our new home was ceiling height.  Because he's so tall, he has had to crouch down to go through doorways and stairways nearly his whole life.  Well.  I don't think he'll have any issues here.  In fact, on this day while we were visiting the house, Matthew and Taylor were playing pass football from the family room up to the bonus room.  I told them to enjoy it now...because once the house was finished they'd be banished to the garage if they dared try it.

Here Andy is inspecting the deck.  I'm planning on building a swing for relaxing evenings together.  I just love the view, and how quiet it is.

So there's a long way to go...but it's come a long way from being just an idea in Andy's and my imagination!  We've been married for 16 years...and this house has been built a little bit at a time over the years in our minds.  We are so excited to finally see it taking shape, and can hardly wait to come home to our "gathering place."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Camp Run A Mok

Rachel has loved her choir class at South Middle.  She loves music and drama and so she couldn't have been happier when her choir teacher announced that this year instead of just doing a regular choir concert where the entire class stands on the risers and sing a few songs....they were going to perform a musical called "Camp Run A Mok." 
He held a few days of auditions for the main speaking and singing parts, and Rachel decided to try out.  There is only one choir class, so it is comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and about 80 students.  Since she is a 7th grader, she didn't know if she would be chosen for one of the main parts, thinking they would be given to the 8th graders...but she was so excited when she was given one of the lead roles as one of the camp counselors with a solo.
What a fun, fun night.  I can honestly say that it was the first choir or band concert we've been to that I felt like I could bring the entire family, including the toddler and baby, and know that they would behave for the entire time! 

So the counselors are in red while the campers are in khaki.

Here's Rachey singing while walking up and down the rows of her campers, keeping them all in line!

At one point, she dashed behind a big screened off area, and came out dressed as a "mosquito."  Too funny!

Obviously having a great time performing!

What is a musical without a kick line?

And here's the whole group near the end.

Rachey and two friends after the show. 

And here she is with three of her biggest fans!!!
Rachel did awesome on her solo.  She practiced so hard so that she would be in tune without going flat...and she did awesome.  What a great experience, and we are so thankful for a great teacher who was willing to put in so much extra time and effort to put on a production like this rather than just a regular concert.