Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Ok, so I am neither for, or against Halloween. On the one hand, it is fun for kids and there is a lot of delicious candy that comes into our house! On the other hand, it is a big waste of money and resources that could better be spent on any number of other things.

That being said, we had a fun day yesterday with our costumed kids. We ran a few errands during the afternoon and let the kids dress up while we were out. I didn't take any pictures, but they had fun going to the grocery store as a ninja turtle and a, well, we don't really know what Jori was.

After running errands, the kids played for a while, then it was time to start getting dressed up. Here they are in costume.

Ninja Turtle and Princess
Princess Jori

Tyson striking a Ninja pose

Ninja kicks
Then, around 4:30 we headed over to the Huismans to take our annual Halloween pictures of the kids. We've done this ever since Tyson and Jenna were little. We usually trick or treat with them as well, but this year we went our separate ways : ( We did have fun though for the 20 minutes we were together!

Woody (JJ), Cowboy Reid, Jessie (Jenna), Princess Jori and Tyson the Ninja

Best friends

Buddies forever

Little Reid-e-lee-boo

Auntie Becka getting in on the leaf fight

It is funny how you can cram so much fun into such a little time. I think that the moment was made more bright and brilliant because we know that we probably won't be doing this with our friends next year as we head off to South Africa and our hearts are also full of the knowledge that Becka is leaving for training in Texas on Monday and then heading to Afghanistan much faster than any of us would like. We threw leaves at each other, took turns doing scary laughs, which Rachel caught on tape. We even got Darin and Jon to take part in that. I was laughing so hard I almost peed my pants. I LOVE moments like this, and I know that having these memories will sustain our family when we are far from friends and familiar things.

I was in kind of a contemplative mood when we packed up the van to head for our next stop. It is so easy to let the looming sadness of saying goodbye overshadow that present fun that we are having, but I need to keep shaking it off and thanking God for each moment He is giving us here!

This year, we were invited into someone elses Halloween tradition, along with the rest of our small group. We had a wonderful time in Zeeland with the Rigterinks, Louzons, Brenners and Elders. Here's a group shot of all the kids:
One of my favorite parts of the night was when the DADs all took the kids trick or treating and the moms stayed in to relax.

The highlight for the dads was when they stopped at a house with a scarecrow on the porch and the scarecrow waited til all kids were on the porch and then jumped and said boo. This was the last house on their trick or treating route, so we were soon inundated by kids saying "Joey just got scared by a scare crow" and sure enough, poor little Joey was so shaken up, that even retelling his sorrowful tale made him cry again! The dads enjoyed seeing all the kids get a little scare.

After lots of good food, candy and cake, we finally headed home a little before 9. A fun day was had by all.

Mr. Chicken

A few days ago, I made my first ever WHOLE chicken. It was a little scary for someone who is used to cooking with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I figure I should get used to working with bone-in chicken before we move to South Africa!

I will admit, I got a little attached to my chicken. I think he just kind of drew me in with his little wings and legs and fat little belly. Call me crazy. I know some of you already do!

Here's my chicken friend after I took out the packet of gizzards, or whatever that nastiness is called.
Just hanging around
Then I just had to stand my little buddy up
Then, after I washed him inside and out (I was a little too aggressive and ended up breaking his skin apart! I used toothpicks to put him back together), I covered him with butter that had salt, pepper and basil in it. And I cut up an apple and stuffed my chicken with it.
All ready to go in the oven
 The recipe I was loosely following was from The Pioneer Woman. It said to cook the chicken at 450 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes or so. So this is what I did.

Oh chicken, you look and smell so good
 When Darin came home from work, I was sitting in front of the oven, staring at my chicken through the door. It was just getting so brown and delicious looking and I was feeling SO accomplished.

Then Darin took the chicken out to see if it was done. He pulled out a chunk of meat from the right side of the bird. It was good. Then he looked more closely and saw that the chicken was still a bit raw looking underneath the part he had just sampled.

Mr. Chicken went back into the oven. We all ate some very delicious, very cheesy and buttery potatoes while we waited for the chicken. After 20 minutes, we took him out again and Darin tried the other side.
My poor chicken
All was well, so he took off some meat for the kids to eat, then we served ourselves. I would say Mr. Chicken was tasty. However, he was also quite dry. I usually love to nibble on chicken skin, but after seeing little feather remnants when I was washing Mr. Chicken, I just couldn't do it.

I am sure I will cook a chicken again someday, but I'll have to find a different cooking method for sure.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jori and JJ

When Tyson and Jenna were little, I thought there would never be a better twosome than the two of them. Now I am not so sure. Jori and JJ have become quite the pair over the past year. When Tyson and Jenna were in kindergarten, Rachel and I started switching kids a couple days a week. On Tuesday she'd take Jori and on Thursday I'd take JJ. It gave us both a kid free day (until baby Reid came along!), which was such a blessing! This year we have continued the kid swapping. This week I had JJ on Tuesday and JJ and Reid for a while on Wednesday. This morning at 9 I brought Jori to Rachel's. Now it is 3:30 and I have had a whole day to myself. I've done 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, sorted through some toys and books, spent some good time in prayer, worked on the blog and prepared my first ever whole chicken, which will be detailed in an upcoming post.

Playing in the neighbors leaves
Best friends
For those of you who may not know, Jenna and JJ are brother and sister. Their mom, Rachel, is my best and oldest (meaning I've known her for the longest time) friend. Our moms were pregnant with us both in DeMotte, Indiana. I was born on July 20 and Rachel was born on August 19. My dad was the pastor at her church until I was 4 years old. Even after we moved, we managed to stay connected through some deep friendships between my mom and her mom and grandma. Rachel came to Oregon to see me with her grandma, we picked her up in Indiana one year and she came along to visit my dads family in Canada, we went to all 4 conventions together in Indiana, Colorado, Rhode Island and California. We lived in the same dorm our first year of college and currently we live less than a mile away from each other. To say that it will be hard to say good-bye to Rachel when we (eventually) move, is an understatement! I can't even think about it without feeling a little bit sick : (

So, first Rachel and I are best friends, then Jenna is born on May 25, 2004 and Tyson comes along on June 16 of the same year. Jori and JJ have a little bit bigger age gap, but are still just as close as ever! I am so very thankful for ALL the years God has let Rachel and I live by each other and also for the time that our kids have had to become friends. I pray that their friendships will remain as strong as ours did, even when we lived far apart.

Jori's second field trip-to the Fire Station!

On Wednesday, Jori had her second field trip of the year. Darin managed to get some time off from work to accompany her on this little outing. I am so glad he could go and experience all the preschool fun! When I picked Jori up from school, she was very chatty and told me all about seeing the fire fighters, the fire truck, the "gear" and much, much more. Here are some pictures from her special day.

Learning about the fire engine

Time to get down

Listening to the fire chief talk about all his gear

The fire chief asking Jori if he looked scary

So excited to be wearing some gear

Jori's class
Darin said the kids watched a little video, climbed in the fire truck, saw what a fire fighter would look like all decked out in his gear (Jori was not scared, but some kids in her class were), got to look through an infrared camera, tried on some gear, and got some homework. Apparently when the fire fighter said the kids would have homework, Jori's mouth and eyes opened really wide. She LOVES homework, so this was exciting news for her!

At dinner last night, Jori showed us how to stop, drop and roll. It was her solution for every fire related problem we asked her about. Smoke in the house, stop drop and roll. You are on fire, stop drop and roll. Your door is too hot to touch, stop drop and roll. She also said kids are supposed to jump out of windows and find a park or another person's house to run to if their house is on fire. Good to know she was paying attention : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More of Gram's visit

Tyson in front of EGM's art camp Art prize entry

We did a lot when my mom was here. On the first Thursday, we headed downtown to check out Art Prize. Last year, my mom was with us the one and only time we went downtown for the first ever Art Prize. This time, we had already been downtown to check out some of the art, so we knew what we wanted to show my mom and had also (mostly) figured out what else we still wanted to see. We went back to Art Prize on Saturday to see a few things we had missed the previous two times.

The big pig ( I think it's actually called the steam pig)

A pride of lions, made out of nails
My mom and the kids took a lot of walks down the path, and also made several trips to Love INC and the library. We really were blessed with wonderful weather the whole time my mom was here. I think it only rained one day! It was different having Tyson in school full time. We didn't want to do too many things during the day because he would have missed out on all the fun. Jori, my mom and I did go shopping a few times, went out to lunch, hung out with Auntie Rachel and Bud and Bernice and spent a lot of time coloring, reading and drinking coffee.

Gram painting Jori's nails
One of the best things for Tyson was having Gram bring him to the bus and pick him back up again. I went along on Monday just so I could take some pictures.
Jori riding through the leaves

Telling Gram about his day

On Monday we headed straight from the bus stop to the bowling alley. We had already gone there once for ice cream, but now Gram got to see the two kids in all their bowling glory.


 And then it was Tuesday-time to say good bye to Gram : ( First there was time for a quick game of war before Tyson had to head to the bus.
Jori didn't get to play this round. Can you tell by her face?

We love you Gram!

Jori and I took Gram to the airport around noon. It was very sad saying goodbye. I think it made me start thinking about all the other, more long term goodbyes we'll soon be saying. Jori was getting kind of teary too, so that made it extra hard for me! After we dropped my mom off we ran a few errands. Each time we went into another store Jori would say "Where's Gram?" and I'd remind her that we brought Gram to the airport. So sad.

We love you Grandma Willie. Thank you for coming and spending so much time with us and loving us so well!!

Post Family Farm 2010

We love going to the Post Family Farm. There are so many fun things for the kids to do and they make the best pumpkin donuts!! This year we bought a dozen to eat right away and another 1/2 dozen to freeze for later. Yum! Click here to read about last years visit to the farm.

Tyson and Jori both had fun riding the pumpkin train. First they rode it alone, and later they CHOSE to ride together, which was just the sweetest thing to see.

This is love

So glad they have each other

Swinging sissy
After the pumpkin train, it was time to try out the rope swing. Jumping into itchy straw is not my idea of a good time, but they were having a blast.
Tyson's turn
Then it was time to take a couple pictures with gram.
Gram and her special guy

Lovely ladies
Then we fed the animals and played on the zip line. The zip line was their absolute favorite, and I am pretty sure I didn't take any pictures of them riding on it!

We have been having such fabulous weather this October and were very thankful for a sunny day to spend at the Post Family Farm!