Sunday, December 22, 2013

December So Far...

We got a Christmas Bonus of beef this year! Daddy and the boys spent the evening of December 12th
wrapping bulk meat into food saver packages.

Store packages waiting to be shrink wrapped for freezer storage.
We haven't had beef for years--we'll be livin' large this year!

On December 13th--Aunt Sara's birthday & St. Lucia Day--
James sang in the 2nd grade Christmas program.

On Saturday December 14th we enjoyed our annual Ward Christmas Breakfast, then headed out for Helena to have a Cousin Party at Aunt Laura's new house. Aunt Lisa was visiting from Phoenix, and Uncle Matt's family came even though he was working (he stopped by in his police cruiser for some dinner-to-go). It was such a fun evening and we are so happy for Laura and Darrin and their great new home!
Aunt Laura & Lisa picked out matching jammies for all the grown-up mamas.
Here's Aunt Lisa in hers giving Heidi a big hug.

Laura and Lisa celebrated their birthday a few days early. Amie brought them an
amazing chocolate cake and Heidi made them cupcakes from scratch!

Niles loved the cupcakes!

cake monster!

We did a fun white elephant gift exchange.
Here's Niles opening gifts with Cody's girlfriend, Kamrie.

James opened a cool mini-air hockey table from Jared.

Heidi & Jake ended up exchanging gifts and gave each other practically the same thing!

Niles and Emily had the most fun with this big box, which was full of toilet paper!

Niles & Emily
(Em is 7 months older than Niles)

All the Mamas in their Christmas jammies:
Amie (Matt's wife, my SIL), Me, Kamrie (my nephew's g-friend), my sisters Lisa, and Laura.

Three Layton Seesters

Niles loved looking at all the photos on Laura's tree.

We brought Uncle Mike Melin along for the fun.

Kamrie,  nephew Cody, Baby Zecklin, and Gramma Lisa

Gramma Lisa talking to Baby Z

We had such a nice time! Thanks again, Lehmans!

Our living room in the morning light (snowy glare) on December 17th.

Heidi sang in the fourth grade Christmas program on December 18th.
That's her in back with her arm up.

Two classes of 4th graders singing their hearts out.

Grandma Melin came to see Heidi's program
and Niles wore his elf hat. They all looked
so Christmas-y!

Later that night, we went to a Christmas party at the Depot.
Here's Niles waiting fro Santa.

Heidi waiting for Santa.

Heidi with Santa

James with Santa

Niles telling Santa how old he is.

Heidi got some cool gifts.
Addie was out on a hayride caroling with the Young Women...
such a festive day for us!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Our week of fun began Monday when Grandpa and Grandma Melin brought our Gray cousins home from
Boise to visit. We had dinner and family night on Monday and the kids were so happy to be reunited!

We had a great TG dinner at the ranch at which I took no pictures. Trust me, it was great. After dinner, Rich & Mike went to grab some Black Friday stuff and the kid and I came home and set up the Christmas Tree and watched "Elf." Friday morning I did some sewing and mailed some packages. Rich and Mike entertained the kid and put up outdoor lights. The girls made a gingerbread house. I love this picture because you can see Mike reading Christmas books with James and Niles playing the piano. Life is GOOD at Casa Melin!

I love my crafty girls!

Daddy set up the Christmas Train for the boys.

Friday evening Mike, Angie, Jex and the kids came over for dinner. Ang & Jex brought huge pizzas from 49er Diner. Danny was pretty excited! The cousins slept over that night and had  a pretty fun time, then they headed home on Saturday. It was such a nice visit.

Today (Sunday) we had a Thanksgiving do-over and made some things we missed on Thursday: Cranberry-walnut spinach salad, stuffing, and sweet potatoes from scratch with marshmallows. We also cooked a turkey breast and gravy--it was DELICIOUS! Addie also made two pumpkin pies and Heidi made Rolo turtles. Such a yummy meal.

My Two Thanksgiving HAMS!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some November Stuff

The first weekend of November was cold, so we brought some wood in from the ranch and snuggled by the fire. It was fun to watch the kids help dad get our real, live wood pile going at our new house!

In the first pic, Niles and Heidi are on the trailer. In this pic, Addie's picking up wood and James and Niles are stacking.

Niles on the trailer

Addie on the trailer

James is quite the lumberjack!

We got some great bargains at Target last week... I bought the girls skirts and
they came up with almost matching outfits on Friday 11.15.

The boys wanted their pictures taken, too, so here they are at
7am on Friday 11.15...Niles in his jammies

...and James ready for school (WITH NO FRONT TEETH!)

On Saturday 11.16, I took the girls to get haircuts and took Addie to get make up for her 12th birthday. We came home and did facials and practiced doing everyday makeup in hopes she won't over-do it, as middle schoolers are wont to do ;)
I think she did a pretty good job!

Our cute little Beehive girl! Sunday was her last day in Primary, which was kind of sentimental for me. It really does seem like maybe a year or two ago I was coaxing her to sit with Sister Orton and her Sunbeam class, and now she's all grown up- sigh! I had a fun day with her ad Heidi, and I'm looking forward to more birthday and holiday fun this week!

I am feeling better steadily, but sick days sneak up on me and ruin my best-laid plans. I really want to get my house put together and decorate for the holidays, but it's still a good day when I have the energy to shower and do my regular mom jobs. Trying to be patient with myself, and be grateful and put the baby first...*sigh* I did find the perfect lighted garland for our mantle (I HAVE A REAL WOOD BURNING FIREPLACE THIS YEAR! WOO-HOO!)--it has real pinecones and tiny, battery-operated LED lights that last forever. I put it up and really got myself psyched for the holidays. I also started boiling down my tangerine peels (I eat like 5 a day) with cloves to make my house smell HOLIDAY-RIFIC, and I find all of these things energizing and cheering to my spirits. My family is being so helpful and I am so grateful for them. We've really got a good thing going here and my heart is really truly full of gratitude for all of it this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The End of October

I knew on our trip to billings that I was pushing my body too hard. Morning sickness had started the week before, but I had kept it in check by sleeping TONS and eating tiny amounts of whole, fresh food and tons of water. This was hard to do on the road. Sure enough, I woke up sick on Sunday and I couldn't keep anything down all day. By evening I was dehydrated, my lips were cracking, I was desperate. I felt prompted to ask Rich for a blessing, but I also felt I should call our home teacher. Good call! Brother Kling saved the day--his wife is going through the same thing and he brought over sea bands and Zofran (an AWESOME anti-emetic/ nausea cure). The combination of a blessing, sea bands, Zofran, and a chat with my brother sent me off to dreamland. I carefully rehydrated over the next few days, but the nausea is still in full swing. I haven't been this sick in a long time, so I am thinking I might be carrying a girl.
Anyhoooo...on Monday the 21st, I drove to Three Forks to meet up with my sister Laura and Kamrie. Kamrie had left a bunch of stuff at my house after their sleep over on the 9th, so we met up to exchange it. I made Jenn Claar come with me in case I got sick again, but everything went well and I crashed when I got home.
Laura snapped this little picture of Niles being jealous of Zecklin at Wheat Montana where we met up for lunch on Monday.

After a week of laying in bed, Niles and I were excited to feel better and attend a Moms & Monsters lunch on Friday, October 25th at The Johnsons. Here's little Colton welcoming us!

My little monster having lunch

Niles & Brody

It was such a sunny, beautiful day, the party moved to the back deck.

Johnsons have the BEST view!
Naomi, Colton, Niles, and Jason look over Livingston

Saturday October 26th we went to Rosedale gardens to get some prairie grasses for our yard
while Daddy rolled out sod. They had all kinds of fun fall stuff going on.

The kids played squash vs. pumpkin tic-tac-toe and bought some carmel apples.

I wasn't up to much celebrating this Halloween, but Addie saved the day by cleaning and carving pumpkins with the kids on October 29th. Grandma and Grandpa Melin grew these pumpkins at the ranch--they were perfect!

Niles loves the goo!
Mommy has been living on the toasted seeds--such yummy protein!
I need to find a picture of our jack-o-lanterns...?

Back on Saturday, October 26th, James and I attended the baptism of one of his best friends, William. I love these two boys together and I think they will help each other be good over the next 10 years!

On Wednesday October 30th, we went to our ward Trunk or Treat.
Rich told Niles to make his scariest monster face...

James was a hunter

Three Cute Fourth Graders!
Heidi was Fionna from Adventure Time,
with her friends Allison the witch and Sidney Princess Leia 

Cute girls!

Addie and her BFF Izzi were ballerinas.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                          ...