Thursday, January 15, 2015

The New Bunk Bed

For Christmas we had many hopes and dreams that we could have the boys in the new bunkbed. But we didn't have it done in time for Kings day. There was a lot of work to be done with all the sanding and routering and cutting and finishing. So a week later, the beds are up!

Ta Da! Finished product. We had lots of help in assembling which ended with lost bolts & hammers and the boys spending the rest of the set up time in the crib together.

The coolest part of this all are the joints that hold it all together. Lee has been building and aligning what is termed a "pantarouter" which allows for such perfect fancy joints.  See him in action, its only a minute:
This is the joints now they are finished. Pretty cool. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

After Christmas Surprise!

Guess what came in the mail?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

King's Day (and New Year)

So I had planned to write a post on each of the twelve days of Xmas, to build up suspense to King's day, but normal life seemed a little boring. Also, having put up three posts in a row without a single comment confirmed that ;-). So a little bit of an update  before we dive into presents. Kristin's sister was here until the day after New Year, so she got to be with us putting presents under the tree each night. Kristin decided to one-up my toilet cleaning and went out and vacuumed out my car for several hours (it was sorely needed). I responded the next day by waking up and cleaning all of the kitchen appliances (which almost never happens). All in all it was a lot of fun, and by the end Baby Jesus had lots of good deeds in the manger.

New Years day I made my extremely rich and fluffy eggnog, and Kristin made churros with chocolate. It was awesome. 
Most of the evenings Kristin I spent working in the workshop, trying to get bunk beds and blocks ready. 
The blocks came together, but I realized the night before that my math had been bad and several of my pieces were about 2in too short. So we stayed up super late the 5th trying between the two of us to get it fixed, and eventually gave up and went to bed. No bunk beds :-(.

On the morning of the 6th the kids woke up to find that the shoes they'd left out the night before had been replaced with new ones, full of candy and toys. 
We always seem to go overboard on the candy ;-). We then took turns going around the tree and giving one of our presents to someone else. It was fun to see Eliora give Kaela a new pony to open, or Kaela give Eliora some wooden horses she'd had me make on one of our daddy-daughter dates (ok, yes, they both have a pony fetish). 
The blocks were a big hit, and Kristin gave me several new things for the workshop.

 For my part, my biggest surprise was getting Kristin a French Horn. She played one in high school, oh so long ago, and always gets wistful whenever she hears one. She's always sad and regretful when she talks about how she had to give it up basically because no-one could stand her practicing it :-). So I went on craigslist and found a nice, used horn. I had to do some repair-work on the case, and wrap it up with some books to disguise the case's shape so she wouldn't know what it was. When she opened it, she cried. She said she never realized how much she wanted one. She's way excited to start practicing, and I'm excited to do duets with her. :-)

So all in all it was a great day. We relaxed most of the rest of the day (which I had off work) and played with new toys. Oh, and there was one last surprise as well (of course, I knew about it several days before).

We're expecting, due on/about September 10.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Second Day of Christmas

So as a warning, this post is a little less exciting. In part because there are no pictures, but also because it was just a little more of a normal day.

So today I woke up and, like all other Federal Employees, I didn't have to go to work. Nothing of course raises spirits like having multiple Saturdays to get things done. I've had a large project looming over my head for several months now (finishing the Kitchen Cabinets that I started back in July), and I was very excited to get a lot done on them. So it was that I found myself working down in the workshop in the morning. Eventually Darian came down and was accompanying me.

Unfortunately, it was at this time that the day diverted from its course. Kristin came down and wanted a picture of us working together, and when I handed my phone to her it slipped out of its case and shattered on the cement floor. :-( Suddenly I had a new errand that had to be run. I grabbed something quick for lunch and raced off to the Apple Store, 40 min away, to get it fixed. I figured as long as I was driving all the way into Baltimore, I could stop by the hardwood store as well, since I needed a little more Oak to finish the Cabinets.

Well, if I thought shopping on Christmas Eve was crazy, it was NOTHING compared to going out in public on the day AFTER Christmas. I had to drive through all 6 levels of the parking garage for about 20 min before I could successfully snatch a parking spot from everyone else. As such, I missed my service appointment and had to wait for another hour before it could be looked at, then two hours while they worked on it. During those two hours I wandered around the Towson Mall and windowshopped. It was fun, but the intense crowd really provided a somber view of American materialism in the Holiday Season.

So anyway, my quick 2-3 hour errand became a 6 hour trip, which killed my whole day. Always sad when you can't get done what you want to with a day. But my phone is whole once more, and I got the wood I need to do the job. I was also sad, thought, that I was away from my family most of the day.

In the evening, for our devotional, we watched the video of Peter walking on water. We talked about how if you trust in the Lord, you can do great things that you never thought possible. But if you forget him and start flying solo, you can very easily start to be overwelmed by your circumstances and start to feel like you are sinking.

We then got to put one more gift under the tree, and record one more act of service. Kristin wrote that she read a few extra books to Gavin before his nap. Having been gone all day, the only thing I could find to do was that I fixed a table leg for Kristin. Eliora I don't think thought about it today, and so we had to help her think of an instance where she'd thought of someone else. Eventually she said she had thrown away a diaper which Aunt Kimberly had changed. Kaela, in contrast, had beat us all. She woke up early and cleaned her room and made beds while Mommy and Daddy slept in. It was a very sweet and thoughtful gesture.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little nicer. :-)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The First Day of Christmas

Kristin went to sleep very early last night because she was so tired, so she was up and well rested bright and early at 5:30 this morning. I had already been up for a bit, rapping a few presents and getting a few other things taken care of. By the time she was awake I had Christmas music playing, and we got to spend about 2 1/2 hours together in the kitchen before anyone else awoke. We made sweet rolls and sausage and eggs for breakfast, and we also made cookies and got gingerbread and cheesecake started (I know, it's amazing the volume of things you can get done when kids are not present). It was the best way to start Christmas.
After a delicious Christmas breakfast with sweet rolls, Kristin went back to the kitchen to make more cookies and prepare some plates of goodies. This year, we weren't able to find a nursing home to visit like we did last year, and we've been a little sore throated lately and wouldn't sing well anyway, so instead we decided to make treats and take them to the people who have to work today in the fire station, police station, and ER.
So after a lot of prep, we got everyone in the car and spent about an hour or two driving around and spreading holiday cheer. And of course, the firemen who were on duty let the kids climb up into the fire trucks. It was way fun to know that we were probably the brightest part of someone's day.
We made it back in time for a late lunch and nap, and then spent most of the afternoon prepping for a totally awesome Christmas dinner. My contribution varied between helping Kristin and Kimberly in the kitchen, and playing with the kids so they wouldn't make things crazy (you can see I wasn't completely successful;-).
We then pulled out the fancy china and had one of the best and showiest meals we've had since we moved in. The kids were impressed by the fancy plates - I don't think they've ever gotten to use them before.

After dinner I took the kids down and we made wise men's crowns while the damage to the kitchen was controlled.

There was a small break for Darian to wrap a present (somehow he'd slipped through the cracks), and then we got to have Christmas night. We started out by watching a way cool video that the church put out of the true meaning of Christmas, and we talked about how important Christ should be to us. Then we got to act out the nativity, including everything from Darian as Samuel the Lamanite, to Eliora as the angel, frightening shepherds.
Of course, our performance didn't go workout its share of difficulties - at several points one of our more tempestuous actors rebelled, refusing to play the part of Joseph, along with multiple other roles. He collapsed in dramatic exclamation of indignation when we requested he play the part of a shepherd. So I guess he was our pre-madonna for the night. Eventually we got him to be a wise man.

Once Baby Jesus was born, the nephites saved, all visits concluded, and the wise men's gifts distributed, then it was our turn for gifts. Everyone got to run and get a gift that they had wrapped and place it under the tree.
We finally finished the evening by each writing something nice that we'd done for somebody else on a piece of straw and placing it in the manger, as our gift to the Baby Jesus. Kaela wrote that she'd helped Darian by setting up the toy trains for him to play with, and Eliora wrote that she'd made Kaela's bed for her. I put that I'd snuck away when Kristin wasn't watching and cleaned all the toilets in the house. What can I say, I like setting the bar high ;-).
After that we had an awesome cheesecake for dessert before finally it was bedtime. Then Kristin and Kimberly and I stayed up really late honoring one last Christmas tradition - we watched It's a Wonderful Life.
All in all the day was full and beautiful, as I think Christmas should be.

Christmas Eve

So this is an attempt at repentance in writing more frequently. ;-) I thought it might be fun to let you all know what we're doing for the holidays.

Unfortunately I had to work a half-day at the clinic in the morning, so I missed out on the tamalada. For those of you who don't know our Christmas traditions so well, that's Spanish for a Tamale making party, and it's pretty common in Mexico. We've done it for the last four years or so. So while I was off giving holiday eye exams, Kristin had about five sisters over from the ward and was rapping tamales with them and with her sister Kimberly, who flew out the day before to visit for the holidays. :-)

Once I got home, we spent some time rapping presents. The night before we all went out to the dollar store and each kid got to go and buy presents for everyone with money they've been saving from chores for the past few weeks.
It was way fun to help them choose things, and then to help them count out nickels and dimes for the cashiers. And then after the tamale making, we got to take each kid aside and help them wrap their presents. Obviously no pictures were taken - don't want to give away what gifts were given ;-).

In the afternoon we went to the Methodist church that runs Eliora's preschool for their family Christmas service (we both agreed that having our Christmas service on the 21st in Sacrament meeting didn't really feel at all sufficient and that our church should totally have a fireside or devotional or something on Christmas Eve). It was a beautiful church with stained glass windows and an impressive pipe organ.
Some aspects of the service were obviously different than what we were used to, but it was still pretty. At the end the pastor called all the kids up and told them the story of Bishop Nicholas and where the tradition of Santa clause came from. 
When he asked the kids if they knew what a bishop was, Kaela and Eliora were the only ones who raised their hands, and Kaela said it was the person who is in charge of the church. Both Kristin and I let out a small sigh of relief at that moment. :-)
When we got home and after having a delicious tamale dinner, we wanted to watch a Christmas movie with the kids to wind down for Bed, but we realized that we REALLY needed to get some things from the grocery store for meals tomorrow. So it happened that while everyone else got to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I ended up having to go out to Walmart an hour before they closed. 
It was a very interesting experience. It wasn't like crazy busy like Black Friday with people rushing to get last minute gifts like I'd expected. Maybe I just didn't see that because I was mostly just in the grocery section, but I did see a lot of people like me, trying frantically to get their grocery list done before the store closed. Most of us had the same expression of desperation as we walked through aisles that looked like they'd been cleaned out by people in preparation for some natural disaster, while every five minutes they announced over the intercom that the store was closing very soon and that we should make our way to the checkstands if we want to check out before they are shut down. 
I managed to get one of the last bags of potatoes, and witnessed three other people coming and looking for them right while I was there. Eggs were fun also - I had to get a 5 dozen box because that's all that was left.
The funniest part of the experience was actually running into someone else in the ward and asking them, "what on earth are you doing here?! Are you insane too?!" After chit chatting for a bit, I was very happy to hear that the highlight of his evening had been a really awesome tamale dinner his wife had made… :-)

So all in all it's been an ok Christmas Eve. More to come later.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Three years of Darian!

So yesterday we asked Darian how many years old he would be, and after much coaching he has learned to respond "three years old". If we're lucky, he will even look down at his hand for a few seconds trying to get his thumb to hold down his pinky, so that he can show three fingers. Of course, there was another time that he came up to mommy and told her that tomorrow he would be four years old, and illustrated it with all fingers on both hands… I guess there's still some work to do on the concepts. 

So the morning started getting ready for church, with Darian glowing from the first "happy birthday!" After church and while Darian was finishing his lunch, Kristin was able do successfully finish frosting the cupcakes discreetly and without Darian knowing what she was doing. It's a good thing we have a messy counter!

We then sang and blew out candles three or four times. I seriously don't think I've ever seen Darian glowing so much- it was way cool to see him feeling so special. I included both videos because I couldn't choose which one I liked the most.

After that we gave gifts - Eliora got him a little toy dragon and Kaela got him a glow-in-the-dark plastic snake.

And mommy and daddy got him a toy train set, which he was very excited about:

All in all, it was a very memorable day because I don't think I can remember ever seeing our little guy so happy and excited. He really brightens our lives so much and it was neat to know that we had made him feel special, and precious to witness first hand.