Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ward Christmas Who-Bilation

Saturday was our Ward Christmas Party. I thought it turned out very nicely and we got quite a bit of positive feedback from everyone. The theme was "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and so we had some Who's and a Grinch (all thanks to the Alms family, who spent many hours making costumes and dressing up) as well as decorations that all fit the Whoville theme. It was quite fun and it looked great. I didn't get any fantastic pictures before the party started and once it started it was a little too dark to get good pictures. City center tree (it was like 15 feet or so with the star on top!)Whoville city scape in the background, and gifts on the table. I think Anna wrapped around 100 boxes for this activity!
Here is our little Who family:
Talmage (whose hair doesn't work on a good day)
Sadie (couldn't get a good picture of her darling hair since she didn't feel very good)
And Avri who looked fantastic, if I do say so myself.
Kendall and I even sported new hairdo's. Don't mind me, still in glasses without make-up. (Maybe by New Year's!)
The dinner was wonderful, (ham, roasted garlic new potatoes, bacon green beans, salad and rolls) and the young men and women were servers. They made everything run so smoothly. The program turned out very well. I was in charge of the program this year and decided to make a slideshow around the story of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." We had someone read the story beforehand and we put pictures to the captions from pictures of ward members throughout the year. We changed the story a bit so that it was Christ-centered, and added a little music and voila! The Primary kids sang a song in the middle and the entire congregation sang Joy to the World at the end. It tooks countless hours to put together and I got quite a bit of help, but I think it was all worth it in the end.

The kids were terrified of the Grinch, which I didn't expect, but could understand. His costume was fantastic! Look out Jim Carey!
Santa also made a great appearance, however I didn't get any pictures since I was in the kitchen and running around. But the two oldest enjoyed sitting on his lap. Sadie however who have NONE of it. She is still my most weary of strangers. But I'm not sad about that. Keeps her safer. :)

We have such a great activities committee and the activities are always so much fun. I really enjoy the calling, as stressful as it can be. Now we are trying to get the house put back together and get ready for Christmas. I just LOVE this time of year. So many good memories. Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Talmer!

Talmage Grant Powell
December 8th, 2006
7 lbs 3 oz 18 1/2 inches

My little boy is 3 years old today! Talmage is a very fun little boy and we are so happy to have him as a part of our family. He was my smallest baby and my easiest delivery. He was born at 7 lbs 3 oz, he came out hungry and he never stopped eating, for the next 3 years.

Talmage had reflux which was a big pain, but it never caused him any weight loss, as you can see. He was a good baby. He has always been the chicken in the family. Even as a little baby he would startle if you touched him, even if he knew you were there. But he has a good arm on him. By 6 months he could throw a ball a couple of feet away with good aim.

Talmage is also our little engineer. He always has to figure out how things work. One day, around his 2nd birthday, I took him to get his pictures taken and they told him to sit on the red dot on the floor. He had to figure out where the light came from before he could sit on it. Once that was done, pictures went just fine. When he was born Avri called him "Talmer" and it has stuck with him. Now he calls himself "Talmer Grant" using his middle name as well. He has a great smile and gives some wonderful hugs as well as good "Zerberts" or raspberries. He is OBSESSED with the color orange. I've never seen a child so obsessed with something. He loves it. He also is into anything "boy" -- tools, trucks, sports, Bob the Builder, digging, guns and shooting... he's a true boy, through and through.

Talmage's first birthday! He still wasn't walking, but that kid could army crawl faster than anything I've ever seen!

Talmage's second birthday, living in Illinois. This kid really doesn't change much, just gets a little taller and thins down a little more. But he keeps his same look.

Birthday party tonight: He got some great balls, a bunch of clothes, a slinky, a big heavy shovel and a "wheel-bear-low" as he calls it. It is even ORANGE! He couldn't get enough of it.

The face of a kid who has been enjoying birthday cake, Bob the Builder, of course. "Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!"

Happy Birthday Talmage. We love you and we are so happy that you are a part of our family!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All Things Thrifty

A friend of mine gave me the link to this site and I LOVE it! I love being crafty and making my own things in cheap ways that look good. My biggest problem is coming up with ideas. Well this site solves that problem! It has so many great ideas of thrifty ways to decorate your home. I just love it. Check it out here!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Eye Update and Misc Other

I've had a lot of people asking me how my eye situation is going, so I thought I'd do a little update. Monday was the day that I went into the ER and then to the doctor. Tuesday I woke up and was kind of concerned because I couldn't see out of that eye. Everything was completely clouded over and it still hurt just as bad and nothing seemed better. I went to the doctor again and he said it did look worse, so he wasn't happy with the antibiotic, so he put me on a second antibiotic. So that is now 2 of them that I have to put into my eye every hour of every day and a third drop that is for the pain and swelling 4 times a day. Because I couldn't see out of one eye my depth perception was totally off, so no driving. I could barely pour a glass of milk without feeling what I was doing. I then went to the doctor again on Wednesday and again on Thursday. He is now happy with the progress that my eye is making. I think I pretty much have my eyesight back now and the white bump on my eye is gone and replaced with a little hole, or blemish on my eye from where it ate away my cornea. Most of the time it doesn't hurt and there isn't any permanent damage done (thank goodness!). The doctor said I will probably be on the antibiotics for about 2 months, which means I won't be wearing contacts for a while and I don't even know yet if makeup is allowed. But I'm really counting my blessings that I won't be blind and that they were able to get things under control quickly. I go into the doctor again tomorrow and hopefully the appointments will slow down a little too. It's been pretty time consuming driving all over the place. So that is my update! Thanks for all of your concern and prayers on my behalf. As always I am so lucky to have wonderful family and friends that care so much!

On a side note, I was noticing that I have lots of random pictures that don't quite warrant a whole post, but I'll put them in here for you all to enjoy, especially all of the family who is so far away.

Avri had a preschool open house and program where she got to show us around the museum and some of the projects she's been doing in art (the quilt and the kiln and other things), as well as her classroom. The program was super cute but the videos are to big for me to be able to load since I've never had luck in that department. But here are the pics.
After the program.

This is my little sleeping angel!! She was having a hard time going to sleep today so I went in to find out what her problem was and she asked me to sing her a song. She was asleep by the third verse of "I am a Child of God." Could she be any more precious?
Avri cooked us some scrambled eggs for breakfast. We are fast approaching the days where I don't have to do ALL of the work around here! Hooray! What a big girl.
Avri's preschool unit right now is Native Americans. They did a rain dance with these headdresses and shakers and actually made it rain in the classroom! Too cute.
So I guess I should have called this the Avri post. I'll try to catch Talmage in his rare cute moment. Nothing comes to mind right now. :) haha. He's in that stinker stage right now. But we still love him.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ER Visit

It's been a long time since I've been into the ER, and I've only gone with Kendall before, but this morning at 5 am we made a trip to the ER. Friday night my eye started hurting and watering. Saturday it was much worse. It seemed just like the time back in June that I got a virus in my eye, so I started taking the eye drops that the doctor prescribed for me back then: bad idea. They actually made it worse until I ended up in the ER this morning. Turns out I have a corneal ulcer in my left eye. Basically I scratched my cornea somehow and it got infected and turned into an ulcer. The pain was unbearable enough that even after a blessing I felt that I needed to go in, and good thing I did. If left untreated, the ulcer will eat right through the cornea and cause you to go blind within a very short amount of time. I also had to go see an ophthalmologist this morning and I have to go in again tomorrow. And I have to put antibiotic eye drops in every hour. Plus other drops four times a day. They burn so bad and are miserable, but it's better than blindness. Luckily we got back from the ER quickly enough that Kendall was only a little late for work (only his 3rd day and already going in late :) ) and luckily my mom has a flexible enough boss that she drove me all over Illinois all morning lugging around 3 little kids. Now, nap time. Ahhh. I'm exhausted from no sleep and all the eye drops!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Perfect Layoff

We have come to the end of eight months of the "perfect layoff." Kendall has found a new job and will either be starting on Thursday or next Monday, depending on how long it takes them to get his laptop and badges and all of that.

First, information about Kendall's job: The company's name is Axis and is only about a mile or so from our house. It is a contract company very similar to the place he worked before, so he will be doing contract work for another company called Tenneco, which does work for Caterpillar (surprise, surprise!). He got a good salary just slightly more than his last salary and quite a bit more than unemployment. :) He is very excited to be back in the working world and have enough money that we can start going on weekly dates again. (I'm looking forward to that, too!)

I will, however, really miss having him around the house. I will miss being able to share the work load around the house and have to work things around a work schedule again. It has been so nice to go visiting teaching without all of my kids and be able to pick up Avri from preschool without waking up my napping children. But we will take the good with the bad.

The reasons that I call the past eight months the "perfect layoff" are many. We have had so many countless blessings these past few months. Kendall was laid off right at the time when the weather started to get nice, and now that it is getting cold and we are getting close to the holidays he will have a job again. During this time we completely reworked the front yard, tilling the entire thing up, removing 6 truckloads of roots and planting new grass. We put in new flower beds, flowers, and a drainage system that will keep the water flowing away from the house instead of right into the basement. Kendall finished about half of the retaining wall in the back yard as well, as much as we could finish on our limited funds. We planted 2 large gardens and learned vasts amounts about not only gardening and growing our own food, but also about food preservation. We were able to can hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, pickles, pumpkin, applesauce, banana squash, green beans, peppers and salsa. We learned how to hot water bath and pressure can, blanching and freezing and dehydrating foods as well. We organized the entire house, Kendall tried his hand at electrical work and was surprised to find out he's quite good at it. Kendall has done home improvement projects in many places fixing things that we've wanted to fix since we moved in. We have "read", or more precisely, listened to many books on CD while we worked on our many projects. We have spent countless hours helping out neighbors in need, and Kendall has spent at least as many hours working on Eagle Scout projects for the boys in his troop. We have made Christmas presents for the kids that they are going to love. We have spent extra time on church callings. The kids have had more time with their Dad in the past eight months than they have been able to spend with him probably in their entire lives. Talmage learned how to throw a ball in the air and hit it with a baseball bat. Avri has learned how to read. All 3 kids took swimming lessons and overcame their fears of the water. The Lord has continued to bless us financially so that we have been able to make ends meet on very limited funds.

Our testimonies have grown so much during this time. The Lord truly does have His hand in our lives. He watches over us. He knows what we need and when we need it. I truly believe that He knew we needed this time together. He knew our neighbor would be needing extra help at this difficult time in her life. He knew that we would not have had the time to learn all of the things that we did this summer without a very different lifestyle. We have had a great opportunity to re-evaluate the importance of food storage and following the prophet's council. President Thomas S. Monson said, “Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.” Kendall and I have contemplated this many times and are grateful for the choices that we have made to follow this counsel. Now more than ever we can see how important this really is. Thank you all for all of your thoughts, your prayers, and your help. We have felt your love and concern for us and we appreciate it so much.

It's Autumn Time, It's Autumn Time

We had a very busy October. I love this season. I love the beginning of all of the holidays and I love the fall weather. It is cool and beautiful and colorful and I love sweaters and soup. It suits me well. Here are some of our recent happenings, but not in order since I don't feel like rearranging the pictures. :)

Avri had a very cute preschool program. Since she is the oldest, every new thing that she does is so fun for us. We went to the preschool and the kids were all dressed up and performed songs and finger plays for us and showed us some of the new things that they have been learning. I took mostly videos, and this was the only picture I got, I guess. Don't know what she's looking at. :)
We carved pumpkins which was quite the undertaking this year. We let the kids pick their own patterns and help clean the pumpkins out and Kendall carved them. They picked some fairly difficult ones, especially Talmage's spider web. Here they are all holding their patterns with their aprons on.
Here are the finished products.
We had a Ward Halloween Party that was quite the undertaking. We were short a couple of Activities Committee members since they had a brand new baby, so it left a bit more work for me, but it was a fun activity. The decorations come together nicely.
These were a couple of the winners of the pumpkin carving contest.
And the games were all a big hit. Everyone LOVES this activity.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Halloween Activity without trick-or-treating. I think Grandpa let Sadie pick a couple of extra candies out of his bowl. :) She just LOVED it this year. I would try to hold her bag for her, but she would NOT let go of it for anything! She was too funny.
Here the kids are all dressed up for the party. Talmage made a great pirate, Sadie wore the poodle skirt that I made her and Avri was Alice in Wonderland.
I just think this picture is cute. Sadie enjoys popcorn as much as her Daddy.
And of course, there are lots and lots of leaves around. We've already devoted a number of days to picking up leaves and playing in them.
Aren't these kids the cutest? All ready for trick-or-treating. We picked a slightly warmer costume for Sadie for the outdoor festivities.We kept asking the kids if they were ready to go home yet, but they wanted to keep going.
So much fun. I love fall.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spoon River Drive

Last weekend my mom and I loaded up the kids and drove down the Spoon River Drive. For those of you not from Peoria, it is kind of a craft show/flea market type thing that goes on in multiple cities for 2 weekends in the fall. People rent tents and sell crafts, antiques, food, junk, etc. It was fun to see some of the stuff, and interesting that some of it was so junky. We saw a sign for pony rides and so we just had to stop. They were the kind where you actually get to ride around, they aren't attached to some pole. Talmage loved it.

Avri was a pro.
But I think Mercedes loved it the most! Doesn't she look tiny sitting on that great big pony?!?! I walked along with her in case she decided to barrel, but she totally loved it and knew exactly what to do.
In fact if you asked her if she was done you got a look something like this.
I can't help it. I totally get a kick out of this little person! She is so much person in such a small body. I'm still absolutely amazed by these little people that Heavenly Father entrusts to us and how much they know and can do.
Sweet, tender little memories that I will cherish forever!