So here is the run down of SOME of the events from September and October. I know that I miss a lot of the day to day funny things and busy things now that I only blog once in a blue moon.
September 2 - No school for labor day so we had a baking day (the girls request). The picture looks sweet and innocent. And if memory proves me right, it was for some of it, but there was fighting and frustration there too. Just got to be honest with my future self.
Creative girls = messy house. Lucy and Elsa were playing hospital and treating Leta and Annie like Queens.
September 5 - Picture Day
September 6 - Family Fun Friday at Golfland. The girls got free passes for goofy golfing for finishing the summer reading program. Everyone had a great time. I was ready for whiny kids and husband, but everyone did surprisingly well. I love family nights like these.
September 8 - My youngest cousin Sam had his mission homecoming talk. I can't believe he is that old! Doing regular things with cousins kind of goes by the wayside as we grow and have children of our own, so it's nice to have special occasions every once-in-awhile.
September 13 and 14 - Ward Campout. I've always been a fan of ward campouts since I was a young girl. Growing up, we never got to leave and be the first ones there because my dad was a teacher and couldn't just take off a half day. He would race home as close to 3:00 though - but the Clements always beat us. However, Ryan's schedule is a tad more flexible, so we took the girls out of school early and were the first ones there. All my childhood dreams came true:)
I had fun watching the girls play with friends, we found and played with a few tarantulas, the girls made fairy houses despite the non-believers (only believers got the Skittles the fairies left), and a massive monsoon storm somehow missed us because of I'm sure a few faithful prayers. I wish I could have sat around and visited with the adults more (I ended up having to sleep in the kids' tent because of the thunder and didn't get to stay up chatting), but we did have a good time.
September 19 - Dress like a pirate and get free Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. In honor of Pirate's Day, Krispy Kreme was giving out a free dozen donuts to each person dressed like a pirate. I made the girls a deal: they clean their rooms, I would take them. Leta and Annie almost didn't make it (they have an aversion to cleaning) but we it worked out because it took me far too long to make eye patches and pirate gear that they had extra time to get their cleaning done. We picked up Mallory on the way, found a legal loophole to cut out spending an hour (by this time is was almost bedtime anyways) in an insanely long line, purchases 1/2 a dozen doughnuts (that was the loophole) and then got our SIX dozen free donuts! Of course we did some knocking and running on the way home at cousins' homes because who needs six dozen doughnuts?
Arg! My favorite was Lucy and Elsa deciding they needed a bird on their shoulder.
September 27 and 28 - Ryan's hike of the Grand Canyon and my epic cousin slumber party.
Ryan had the opportunity to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim with some of my cousins. He loved it all and out of the large group that hiked that day, he finished second. He hiked/ran 24 miles in 7 1/2 hours. This fast paced hike/run was harder on his body than his marathon. He is kind of ultra (runs everyday, follows a strict training schedule, and only eats healthy foods) with his running now, and I'm proud of him achieving his goals.
Since Ryan was going to be gone for the evening and Ryan doesn't always enjoy our house brimming with kids, I invited my nieces and nephews over for a slumber party. My girls love when I'm crazy like that (and so do my sisters). Not all made it to the party, but we did have 15 kids sleep here. I teased Ryan that we both trained hard for our different feats of endurance.
Lego car races
Outdoor talent show and wagon rides
Cousins had tons o fun and no one got lost or substantially hurt (I think the kids all had a good talking to by their moms before coming over letting them know that slumber parties will continue only if they are on their best behavior) and most of it was cleaned up before Ryan got home. Win Win.
We also started piano lessons! Starting piano lessons was one of those moments where I realized all that my parents had done for me. Do we have the extra money right now for piano lessons? Not really, but we sacrifice and work hard and make it work because I feel such a need to have them develop this talent. Plus, our lessons are really nice because their teacher comes to our house! It is the best thing ever. I'm not spending my time in the car or disrupting Leta and Annie to go back and forth and back and forth. It has been an adjustment for me to sit with the girls often and practice with them and help them to learn their notes, but we are making progress (them with their notes and me with my patience). The girls are also learning how much work actually goes into practicing and how frustrating it can be. They are learning a lot of good life skills.
Other September randoms:
Peaches, raspberries from the Utah Fruit Lady, swimming, homemade pizza nights....my girls ate so much fruit. I'm surprised they didn't get diarrhea from it. Good stomachs for fruit I guess.
October 5th- 13th: October Break
For October Break we had a full week off of school. The weekend started off with a half day Friday. I joined up with Karyn and we took the kids to the new Bahama Bucks close by our homes and then to the Dollar Tree. My girls got to pick out two conference treats and then one fun thing. It was a hit of course. Then Saturday and Sunday were spent soaking in conference. The girls enjoyed their treats and setting the blue room up for the festivities. I love feeling renewed from the words of the leaders of our church. My goal: be a better disciple. The week after conference is usually hard for me though because I have great goals and think I'm going to be so perfect, and I usually fail. Oh well, slow and steady wins the race. Perfection doesn't come in a day.
The girls love organizing their treats.
Lucy and Elsa are sitting on the fireplace. They were probably fighting over placement of furniture or divvying out the treats. The fireplace is where we go for little time-outs. All the girls can be stinkers, but they are getting some things out of conference. Candy helps.
Then Monday - Thursday were spent with me organizing and backing-up our computer - something on my to-do list for far (years) too long. And we watched cousins, had crab night at the request of the girls, played outside everyday, and forgot dance lessons. That was a big whoops on my part.
The girls were pretty sad that we didn't get to go to Utah like most of the Melzer family, but sadly Ryan needed to stay and work and I'm not brave enough yet to drive all the way to Utah with just me and the girls. I could handle the kids...just not the driving part. For some reason I'm not a fan of driving. (I'm too much of a worrier when I drive long distances.) And frankly, if we are going to spend money to take a vacation, I like Ryan to be with us.
So we missed out on a lot of fun in Utah, but we did make our own fun here in Arizona. Friday morning we headed up north. We made a pit stop on the way up to have a picnic near the old highway that used to run through Sunflower, AZ. Then we traveled the rest of the way to Pinetop, AZ. We walked around a lake there, played at a park, collected acorns, watched Disney Channel on our hotel's cable, ate Mexican food, sat in the hotel jacuzzi, had donuts and milk, and took really long showers (somehow, when I'm not footing the water bill, it seems more okay to let the girls take the really long showers they love). Then after checking out the next morning we headed up to the Sunrise Ski Resort. This is our 5th year of this tradition.
Sunflower! I loved going to Sunflower as a kid. Just the smell brings back so many memories.
Ryan and his girls.
Right before the trip Leta got to go on a special Walmart shopping trip with me. She got a clearance Barbie that sings. We have somehow since lost the thing....(update...Barbie found in Grandma and Grandpa Papa's suburban)
Leta always has to have a hold on me.
After Sunrise we headed out to Big Lake and had a picnic. It was a beautiful day to enjoy our beautiful earth. This is where we stopped for a picnic. The area had been shut-down because of the government shut-down. Didn't stop the Melzers. Seriously, I get why the government was shut down, but they didn't need to pick places that basically take no cost to run and shut those places down. We ate, we enjoyed a squirrel who also came to eat with us, and we left no trace of ever being there (besides a squirrel who had stashed some apple cores for the winter).
Lucy and Elsa watching our friend the squirrel stash food.
Our attempt at family pictures
So sometimes I make Ryan take the camera to get a few shots of me doing things with the girls - this is usually the caliber of what I can expect when he takes pictures.
October 19th: Ryan signed up for a 15K and there was a one mile fun run for the kids. Ryan placed 2nd in his age group (probably would have been first, but some guys ran the wrong and shorter course). He paced 7 minutes 41 seconds a mile! Awesome. Lucy, who is competitive, did awesome and finished quickly. Leta made it 10 yards, crying the whole way because I wasn't running with her (I thought it was a family race, but it ended up being just a kids run). She still got a medal and rejoiced, "I came in zero place but I still got a medal!" Elsa was doing great until she came up to a crying Annie. Elsa was kind and took Annie by the hand and finished the race with her. I love my little runners. They still treasure their medals and sometimes I go in to check on the girls at night and see that they are wearing their medal while asleep. I usually take it off though because I'm paranoid about choking.
We had to leave for the race quite early. Even the camera had a hard time focusing.
The girls did this with Hobbes too. They like to put the kitty in the beanie turned cat carrier and walk around with him.
October 21st: Katie had her beautiful baby girl Emma that I already blogged about. Here are a few more pictures I was able to capture. Love having a good camera!
October 25th - 27th: Friday I had to finished sewing Halloween costumes. This year the girls chose to be the Barbie Three Musketeers (from a Barbie movie) and Leta chose once again to be a wild cat. She kept changing between jaguar, cheetah, leopard....Of course I still do homemade even though I swear off it every October...I somehow forget by the next year. (Thankful for a nice neighbor who let Leta and Annie come play). Then we had Primary Program practice right after school.
As the second Counselor in the Primary, the primary program is my main deal. This year I was really praying that I could write one that would be a good missionary teaching moment and I love when I'm writing something and can feel the spirit guiding me to write simply and with ease. Primary Program is months of e-mails, texts, meetings, having kids come over with memorized parts, practices, thousands of copies and prayers.
After the Friday practice that I was in charge of that really was crazy (we will probably never do a Friday practice again - kids can't hold still after a long day of school), we had to race home and frantically get dressed and ready for dance recital. Getting four little girls fed, dressed, hair done, make-up on and to a dance recital on time is not always my favorite thing to do, nor my shining moments, especially on limited time. The girls weren't as glammed up as I would have liked, but we made it. And were semi happy.
The girls were very proud of their accomplishment and being brave and dancing on the stage. Elsa said she wanted to do it again and again. Leta and Annie didn't get scared about going on stage and had beautiful smiles. And we all reminisced at how far Lucy has come in not being scared to do public things. Is there anything cuter than dancing girls?!
Thankful for grandmas and grandpas who came to support. My girls LOVED getting flowers.
The new Bahama Bucks down the street is just too enticing for moments of celebration.
The next morning was Aaron's baptism and birthday party. We are so proud of Aaron. (I used to do daycare for Aaron and his sister three days a week and it was a privileged to make his baptism invites and then to attend the special day). Then we made the girls come home and rest while I sewed like a mad woman, then it was off to the annual Papa/Rowley Halloween party with mostly finished costumes. Always a great time, always a load of sugar.
Boys seem like they would be a lot easier on Halloween. Just buy them a super hero costume and bam, happy kid.
Leta and Annie love their cousin Colton!
Cotton Candy Queen
Because then of course after a fun sugar filled night, the next morning was the Primary Program at 8:30 AM. Ryan always has meetings before church, so he wasn't here to help get everyone ready and to church extra early. Good thing I'm awesome some of the time. My friend Jen joined us right before we left and she helped me finish getting tights and shoes on little girls.
I think the Primary Program turned out pretty great and the kids felt the spirit and did awesome and felt good about being brave. Miracles do still happen:) And of course, I cried like a baby up on the stand while helping all the kids. Good thing I was semi hidden behind the pulpit, but I still get very embarrassed that I can't stop my crying sometimes.
Earlier I had bought Lucy and Elsa new dresses and I let them decide if they wanted them for Christmas or Primary Program. Of course Primary Program it was. Earlier the better. Here are our after program pictures. I think I got some video of them saying their parts. And if you see gum - that is our Sunday reward.
Here is the program I made for the Primary program. The kids loved finding the pictures they colored of themselves. I do have a testimony that we are all children of God and I love sharing that with the kids. Kids are what basically motivate everything I do, day in and day out. Exhausting emotionally and physically, but worth it. My plan is to save the world by helping more children know they are a child of God:)
Earlier in the week I was telling Ryan the million things that were happening and what all I needed him to do. Then I said at 2:00 PM on Sunday, I won't have any other pressing deadlines and I will be taking a nap. And I did. It felt so good.
Thankfully a reduce in stressors also makes it easier to be a nice mom. Someday I hope to be a mom that can be super stressed and not get grumpy. It made for a much more calm Halloween.
The last week of October was filled with:
Crazy Hair Day. I was proud of my creations for the morning and I was actually calm and had fun with having to do crazy creations instead of in hurry up beast mode.
One sparkly pretty pink pouf (hair to fit their personality)
On the 28th we went to Vertuccio Farms with the Melzers. We had a great time. Ryan didn't get to join us (sometimes it is just best if I take the kids to do certain crowded activities alone).
We had so much fun at the pillow bounce, giant slide, corn maze, checking out the animals, barrel train ride, jump houses, bouncy horses, tricycle races....I found myself checking out everything to see how I could recreate it in our backyard.
On Halloween we had a fun Preschool Party that the kids helped plan. I scored on $1 pumpkins for decorating with vinyl stickers. The back of my suburban was filled to the brim with pumpkins. The girls also had their school parade. Halloween actually went pretty great and I was a lot more calm during the frantic getting girls dressed and ready phase. The only thing I forgot was to paint whiskers on Leta's face. They were still so stinkin' cute. (Can you see why I sometimes forget my vow to never do homemade costumes again?)
Party: Pick out and decorate pumpkins, make cupcakes, play Bingo, Freeze dance game....
Often times for our preschool parties I invite siblings to come. (Should have taken a picture before everyone took off half their costume.)
Halloween was fun with our ward party (which I actually got decorated cupcakes done on time for this year!) and then over to the Melzers to show our last set of grandparents our costumes. Lilly took the girls trick-or-treating and I joined them for a bit. We even got to enjoy a neighborhood haunted house.
My costume for the evening was a stitched up face and bugs in my hair.
Sadly some teenagers in our neighborhood have made it a tradition of taking the girls' pumpkins and smashing them on Halloween night when we are gone. Ryan's goal is to catch them next year.
Loot that both Lucy and Elsa organized so efficiently. They then had to come home and only got to keep what fit in their candy jar and the rest was donated to Ryan's work. (The guys at KS ate it in a day)
Fun months, fun memories.