Sunday, November 25, 2012


We stayed in l'il ol' Monroe for Thanksgiving this year.  Initially we thought we would spend a quite Carter holiday together in our home, but a couple days before the event our mail lady invited us to her house!! (We have a way more personal relationship with her than that, but I thought it was more fun to say 'mail lady' to emphasize the grandeur of small town life.  I guess I could have shared the story of driving up to the bank drive thru and upon the teller seeing us saying, "Hi Eric, what can we get ya today?" And Eric filling in a dollar amount and us getting money and 5 lollipops.  But I don't want any type of bank security red flags to be sent out to the world, so I will just hold that one close to my heart.)  Anyway, our truly dear friends the Curtis' thought of us when they were thinking about people that may not have family near by and welcomed us to the grandest feast I've ever seen!
Fancy, fancy!!
The hor d'oeuvres were nearly the best part!  bacon-wrapped waterchestnuts...AMAZING.  Sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms?  Yes please!
CharlyAnn and Boston made a love connection
We had ham and turkey and potatoes and stuffing and corn and green bean casserole and the best rolls ever and 4 types of (to die for) salads.
After our tummies were full enough to sustain us for 3 years Kyra read story after story to the children.  We adults played games!!  It was SO fun.  
And then it was time for PIE.  We had a choice of Peppermint Pie, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Cherry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Coconut pie, or Turtle Pie.  Holy pie, Batman.
It was SUCH a great holiday.  We had the most relaxing little break and it felt long and cozy and now Christmas is here and up (post to come I suppose :)  We are so thankful for all of our many, MANY blessings!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Carters! Hiatts! Perezs! Oh My!

It is so great to live so close to family!!  Everyone should so it!  The Hiatts and the Perezs delighted us with a visit this weekend and we had such a great time!!  We did many important things including the 2nd annual Hot Pot Trot!!  (Early, true, but this allowed for great weather and more people!)
Notice how Andy is not going to let anyone get a head start!  But, he had a bum knee  and could not run so he was the awesome backpack wearer for Char!  Viana and Brooke were Jackrabbits!  They ran most of the way up and most of the way back.  I was amazed!
It was a beautiful day!  And way down the trail in this picture is the little white speck of a catching up Eric.  He had a great race considering his late start!

Hooray finish line at the top!
Billy's first visit to Monroe was a success!  And he didn't even judge my yard! (outloud anyway :)

It was a cool enough day that the steam was AWESOME!

As the rest of us headed home Billy, Krista and Eric decided to go up up up and rock scramble a bit!
After we got home we shot the BB gun!!  Billy was the master!!!!

We also went to see Wreck it Ralph and went bowling.  The bowling alley is connected to a dirt bike store=double bonus for Billy!  
We were so glad to have this kick-off to our Thanksgiving week!!  We are grateful for such great sisters and such great husbands for the sisters!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Haps

Student of the Month

We are so proud of Viana!  She was student of the month for having a good attitude.  We are so glad that what we are teaching her at home is carrying over to school (at least :) I forgot to take her picture before she went to bed, so I ran in and took one while she was in bed.  She sure is beautiful.
Primary Program
Thank you Jamie for making such cute outfits.  You get a hundred compliments on them everytime the kids wear them!  But, the primary program was so great this year!!  Both of the girls did so well.  They were so reverent and sang so well and did so good on their lines!  And Momma even got to play the organ with them for the (AMAZING) closing song!
Momma Homework!
Have I ever told you that sometimes I miss homework?  Luckily, most kid homework is for parents too.  This one was a fun project specifically designed for parents to help: disguise the Thanksgiving Turkey so that he won't get eaten this year!  Brooke's idea was to make him a Knight.  I think he turned out pretty cute!
 Only Boy...
Ram is too die for in this picture.  He kept bringing me more and more dress-up clothes to put on him, and I would say,"What will Daddy say?" and he would say, "Uh-oh." Hehehe
Early Christmas!!
Bliss in my living room!  One of my piano students had this extra piano that they wanted to get rid off (who has extra pianos laying around, eh?) Anyway, I was the lucky recipient!!  One month of lessons for one piano!  No one has to get me anything for Christmas because my dreams have come true.
Creative gifts for Missionaries that sending a package to would cost a fortune
So, as you know, we love Orion-who is serving his mission is Spain.  We write him about every other week and try and celebrate holidays with him through special deliveries.  But packages cost a fortune, so we have thought up every fun idea one can think of to send in a regular envelope that only costs $1.05 to send.  For Christmas lat year we sent him a dinosaur cut-out that we decorated and wrapped in tissue paper so he could even unwrap it.  What boy doesn't want a pet dinosaur he can keep in his scriptures?  So, for his birthday next week we made him a banner, since those are so popular now-a-days.  Each of us took a couple of letters and dazzled it up.
 Except we made it miniature!!!
Yep, this sucker totally fit in the envelope with room to spare.  Now he gets a personalized gift that doubles as decor!
And that about wraps-up November this far.  Any other happenings can be summed up by the cameo appearances in the pics above: baby carseat, Eastons face...I tend kids!  It's great!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bike Rider!

Weeks ago I told Eric all I wanted to do was teach my children to ride their bikes.  I wanted to get it in before the weather turned bad.  It took a while to find the time, but we finally did it!  (Viana on this go...Brooke's bike has been hijacked by the scouts and not yet returned-she'll learn in the spring.)

We have the PERFECT learning-to-ride-your-bike location.  Our house is just beyond the left edge of the pic.  This is an empty cul-de-sac a couple streets up: long, straight, and NO traffic to worry about.  There was a controlled burn on the other side of the mountains--that's why the clouds look so cool.
Supportive brother.  He and Brooke would give big cheers for Viana when she would get goin' on her own.
It did not take her long until she was off and away!!
This is my real life :)

Cutest victory smile EVER!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Once in a lifetime: Nov. 3

It was a beautiful fall day at the Manti Temple.
 Our friends The Roberts took their little family to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.  But it was more than just a sealing.  It was a unification of Heaven and Earth.  Every family sealing is wonderful, but this one carried extra emotion and sweetness.  For one thing, Andrew, the oldest boy, is from Shelly's previous relationship.  His father won't let Dave adopt him, but he gave permission for him to be sealed to Dave and Shelly.  Better than adoption if you ask me.
Secondly, Madison and Abigail were able to be there in spirit as they too were sealed to their parents.  Madison was 9 days old when she passed away in 2006.  Abigail was 4 1/2 months when she died.  
 For some reason, (of which I am still tying to figure out) Shelly said she knew she needed to ask me to stand-in as proxy for little Madison.  I had the absolute best seat in the house.  I knelt at the altar across from little Angelina and little Kiera and they both just starred up into my face with indescribably precious, angelic, peaceful, heavenly smiles during the sealing.  It was a gorgeous sight, which I barely saw through my tears.

 Shelly went to girls camp this summer, and she placed her had on the temple and committed to live worthy to return with her family.  She did. And here they are placing their hands on that same spot making the same commitment to always be worthy to enter the temple.  It was beautiful.

The gospel is true and the ordinances performed in the temple are binding.  I know it. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

All things Halloween!

Typically I would post separately about each of these events...but since I'm trying to catch-up, here is one massive summary of one epic holiday!!!
We continued our wonderful tradition of family Halloween sleepover.  I think this was our 5th sleep-over.  We (or should I saw the girls--Eric and I fell quickly asleep) watched Garfield's Halloween Special.  It is great!  And we ate so much candy that we had just won at our annual Jones' Halloween Party.  Splendid in every way.
This was our first year busting out the knife to crack open a pumpkin.  In the past we have stuck with paint or figurine decor, but with the children getting older they've begun taking holidays into their own hands.  They were slightly disappointed that I could not craft every ounce of detail they had drawn onto the pumpkin, but were overall satisfied with our first time experience.

This was our first costumed appearance into public!  It was so great!!  So, here are the costumes.
Viana was Supergirl.  She practiced her SuperHero kick for weeks.  It was a pretty amazing kick.  This was the costume we dug into our wallet and handed over the big bucks for.  I was bitter...but she was so happy and so excited that I got over it.
Brooke was a spider!!  DI for $5.  Cutest spider EVER.
BATMAN!!!  Hand-me-down costume plus the best $3 mask in the history of masks!!  And he loved that mask.  He never took it off.
 I was the very most excited about this costume a) because CharlyAnn is a Who anyway b) how cute is the name Charly Lou Who and c) I MADE THIS COSTUME!!!!  And let me tell you what...I didn't just buy a pattern and follow directions, I MADE IT UP!!  I was so proud of my brain to work backwards and sew this whole thing with no regrets or "I should have..."'s.  I always say that the Martha Stewart gene skipped over me but got passed down to my sisters, but after this project I think I may have gotten some!  And I even had to refill my bobbin, and successfully replace my needle on the machine when it broke.  (Which I guess means I did break it...but you would have too.)

And oh my goodness, she did not disappoint!!!!!!  And people knew who she was!  It was great.
We had speed carnival because our ward party was the same night.

Viana is submitting her guess for how many skittles are in that little dracula there.  She guessed 1,000...and SHE WON!!! It's so fun to win contests!
Here's my epic photo summary of our ward party.  Eric was doing the spook alley (my very most favorite thing that he does all year!)(read that as saturated with sarcasm as you possibly can).  But the trunk-or-treat was great!
Although I think this is a funny tradition I sure do like it!!  Since Brooke has AM kindergarten just her class had a parade in the morning.  I couldn't go because of the kids I was tending, so Eric went since he had prep right then.  That was a special surprise to Brooke!
 I loaded up the other kids for Viana's parade in the afternoon.  We saw Kole, who I tend M/W at the park.  Ram was pretty excited about that!

We spied Viana across the street...
And then there she was right in front of us!
The kids had a really fun time looking at all of the costumes!! (Batman bum!)
As with the Jack-o-lantern the kids planned a special Halloween dinner.  We had BLOOD (fruit punch), BRAINS (spaghetti), EYEBALLS (meatballs), and BONES (breadsticks).

We decided we all must be vampires, because we devoured that human remains dinner like we had been raised on it!!
I must say, the actual moment of trick or treating was the most blissful, wonderful, happy, fulfilling, magical, pleasing, fun, night of my life.  Half way through I told Eric that this is why I had kids, to have this experience.  It was so fun for all 4 kids.  Everyone was into it and good-spirited (obviously from having such full happy tummys!).  They were excited and understood everything.  CharlyAnn was to die for adorable the way she would hold out her bucket and say "Teet".  The way Viana would sprint from house to house.  All of it was just perfect.

I love this picture!!!  Supergirl!!!  This perfectly captures how she would run from house to house.
Oh, and we went to a newer development in Monroe so we knew it would be house, house, house,  (older parts have larger lots, older houses that don't have people, etc.) so it was more Halloween-ey feeling with lots of kids, everyone answering doors, just so blissful.
When we started I told myself, "We'll go until Ram falls asleep." :)
But not CharlyAnn!!  She seriously had the time of her life until the very end!!