Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Oh, Halloween! This year the Harper girls went with a bakery theme...

...and the boys decided to do their own thing. Coleman made an awesome Harry Potter...

...and Ryan advertised the new bakery and Harry Potter on his Facebook page, which was resurrected from last year when it was too rainy to wear outside.

We carved pumpkins last week at Tim and Laura's house... The pumpkins we grew this year were late in  blooming and growing, so when it was time to harvest them they were still green. We learned that green pumpkins are a whole lot cleaner to gut and carve, so that was a bonus! Olivia did a candy corn and musical note, Coleman did a Harry Potter lightening bolt. and Ryan paid homage to Steve Jobs with the Apple icon (note that the Apple pumpkin is lit up using the flashlight app on Ryan's iPhone, which is sitting inside his pumpkin). Today I decorated a mini pumpkin to look like a cupcake for Soph.

We made some tasty "Eyeballs" (Sour Cream Raspberry Cake Bites) to send to work with Ryan...

...and we went and saw the kids in their costume parade at school. Coleman was one of dozens (hundreds?) of Harry Potters, but added his own flair to it. He walked by me so quickly that he didn't even realize I was there (even though he said hello to our friend that was sitting right next to me). Silly kid.

Liv was looking good in her baker's uniform.

Later in the day I got to go into Olivia's class for her party. She was wrapped in toilet paper like a mummy!

I should note (realizing that I should have gotten over high school a long, long time ago...) that one of the other moms was dressed as a perky cheerleader, in her own costume from her high school days. I chuckled to myself thinking about how beautiful and thin and smily she was and that I was right back in the role that I can't seem to break out of, no matter how hard I try--frumpy and sitting off to the side serving food (I was in charge of the drinks). It's funny how insecurities resurface in situations like that, regardless of how many years have passed. The cheerleader mom was so nice and friendly, which made my unease all the more unsettling.

After school we got our treats ready... we handed out cookies and crackers and other "baked goods" (although I think it was lost on all the kids that came to our door... they were just glad to get a big package of anything).

We had a spooky drink (with a frozen brain) to go with our homemade pizza for dinner.

Liv wanted her bag to say "Sprinkles" over the cupcake. Coleman's bag has the seal of Gryffindor on it.

Sophia was so excited to go trick or treating (although she wasn't too excited about keeping her cherry hat on her head!). She lasted for about a block or so before she was ready to come back home (or before Liv was ready to not hold her or chase her anymore?). She and I hung out and passed out candy while Ryan and the older kids cruised the neighborhood seeking the sweets.

Soph and I had a few treats of our own!

**Did you dress up for Halloween?
**Are you ever unwillingly transported back to high school (or some other insecure time in your life)?
**Favorite Halloween treat?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Concerto in G Major

Olivia has an amazing piano teacher who pushes her (almost as hard as Ryan does) to improve and conquer challenging songs. This time, it was "Concerto in G Major" by Robert Vandall for a festival competition. She has been practicing for almost three months, and truthfully has shed more than a few tears over this piece. It was complicated and fast and 13 pages long.  The festival was held yesterday, and Liv rocked it.

Olivia played it so well, without a mistake. It was incredible to see her play! The judges thought it was perfect, too, and awarded her 40 out of 40 points! Her teacher said that it is not all that common to get a perfect score, but she earned it. It was my turn to shed a couple of tears when we realized she had gotten a perfect score. Definitely a proud mama moment!

Liv was happy that Grandma Stover came to hear her...

...and Grandma Jan and Grandpa Gee Gee were there too. They have been such strong supporters of our kids' piano endeavors!
Ryan definitely deserves to bask in this glory.  Liv's skills have long since surpassed mine when it comes to playing the piano, so it is Ryan that gets to be by her side working out the kinks and perfecting her song, section by section.

Coleman and I were happy to be a part of it too, she did great. Watch for yourself:

Fall has Flung

Fall has arrived to our little corner of the world, and we love it. To us, fall means...

Trying out new recipes...

Individual homemade chicken pot pies were a big winner...

...and homemade donuts were kind of "meh." I'm in search of a great recipe for crumbly, sour cream donuts, a-la Krispy Kreme kruellers.

A drive through the Alpine Loop...

Costumes and scary teeth of all kinds...

Carving pumpkins and eating yummy food at Tim and Laura's house with Ryan's brothers and their families:

Spooky soccer scrimmages (Olivia's team likes to dress in their costumes to play some monster ball)...

Freezing at late soccer games (wishing I had remembered to pack this sweet girl a hat and a thermos full of hot chocolate!)...

Getting Halloween cards from Grandpa Cole...

And making and delivering lots and lots of caramel apples...

This year, I thought I was a genius and I (mostly) solved my pesky problem of the caramel sticking to the cellophane bags by putting the apples in a round, plastic 8 oz. deli container before bagging them. My goal for next year is to not get pulled over whilst traveling between friends' houses delivering said packaged apples.  Didn't get one this year? Make sure our paths cross next year during my two week caramel apple making blitz!

**What are your favorite fall traditions?
**Could Sophia look any cuter than she does wrapped up in that scarf?
**Did you make (or eat) caramel apples this year?

Pierced Ears!

We decided several years ago that Olivia could get her ears pierced when she turned 10, but by the time that birthday came, she had seen Oprah getting her ears pierced and was convinced that it was too scary. I kept trying to tell her that it hurt, but just for a minute, and then it was done. She didn't believe me and decided to conduct her own research (interviewing everyone she knows).  Her young friends told her that it didn't hurt at all, so she felt all courageous and wanted to do it. By then soccer season had started and since she couldn't wear earrings during her games, she had to put it off.  Since fall soccer season ended a few weeks ago, she decided it was time.

I remember paying ten dollars or so to get my ears pierced, so I was shocked at the hefty price tag (but shouldn't have been, since they talked me into doing the 14K gold earrings instead of stainless steel... to which Ryan said, "What? There was a cheaper option!?"). Liv was so nervous and squeezed my hand so hard I thought it would fall off, but she let the worker do it.  Truth be told, I was a little worried that she would only let her pierce one of her ears.  After it was all over she told me that when her friends said it didn't hurt, they probably meant that it hurt, but just for a minute. Hmmmm, did I ever have or share that thought with her?  I guess the time of the mom knowing everything is over!

She looks pretty cute with a little bling in those ears!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Six Years

Six years have passed since Mr. Chance left us. Some days it seems like just yesterday that we heard his laugh and looked at his beautiful blue eyes, with eyelashes that were longer than any I have seen.

We remember him every day, and miss him, and love him. Today I got to spend a couple of hours with my sister, Megan. We laughed and cried as we remembered Chance's brightness and joy and all of his crazy antics.

We looked through pictures and I found one that reminded me so much of Sophia's latest smiling habits.

Chance brought so much joy to so many people, and now that he is gone it is hard not to feel an achy hole in our hearts, especially for Megan. I loved reading through the beautiful obituary that my sister Lauren wrote because it captured who Chance was and what we all feel about him. We miss you Chance!

2002 ~ 2005 Chance Tyler Fulton blessed our family with his birth on Nov. 15, 2002. He departed this life on Oct. 19, 2005 after suffering in-tractable seizures since Sept. 26th. Although his life on earth was short, his influence is forever reaching. His death leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of his loving mother, Megan Wirthlin Cole, and his father, Tyler Kay Fulton. Our "almost" 3 year old was looking forward to celebrating his birthday. He loved superheroes, especially Spiderman, and wished he could be one. Chance proved himself these last 3 weeks with his superhuman strength and bravery ...he is truly a hero in our eyes. Chance loved to listen to music and to dance. He was his mommy's sweetheart, but his bright smile, beautiful blue eyes, and engaging personality made him everybody's baby. He enjoyed going to nursery at church and he loved to play with his cousins, who were his best friends. Chance found joy in all things, including throwing any ball around and watching his uncles compete in their sports. He liked to help his Grandpa Mike mow the lawn and hear his grandma sing. His grandma and grandpa just took him on his first camping trip, and he also got to visit his Grandpa Cole in San Diego, where he relished playing on the beach. He loved to ride on the bus and on the back of his mom's wheelchair. Chance was a strong-willed, stubborn little boy who made us laugh with his antics and smile at his joyful spirit. Now we mourn the absence of his little feet running, jumping and dancing. He never did anything half-way or half-speed. Chance is lucky to have a large family who loves and adores him. Chance also leaves behind many other loved ones and friends. The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Primary Children's Medical Center, especially the fantastic doctors and nurses who cared for Chance. Chance, until we see you again, you will live in our hearts and memories, and our happy thoughts. May you rest in the arms of Jesus. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coleman's Baptism

This handsome boy chose to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Coleman has been preparing for his baptism and confirmation for a long time, and is grateful to finally be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ.

We were so happy that so many family members and friends were able to share his special day with him.

He was so excited to plan out the dessert table for the luncheon--Sugar cookies in the shape of the number 8, pumpkin bread, Oreo Truffles, Cookie Dough Truffles, chocolate chip cookies, and cream puffs.

I feel so blessed to be Coleman's mom. He is thoughtful and kind and full of love for people around him. He is happy and intelligent and hilarious. I love that he chose to follow Jesus Christ and I love that Ryan was able to baptize him. My heart overflows with love for this kid!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tips on Organization

There are so many great organization blogs/websites out there, so this might be redundant information for some of you, but last week I went to a great Relief Society class about organization. These are some of the thoughts I came home with... they are brief, so if you want more of an explanation on something, just ask in the comments.
  • Being organized isn't about how an environment LOOKS but how it FUNCTIONS.
  • Calendar! Get it out of your brain and onto paper (or planner, iPhone, etc.)
  • HOMES (find one for everything) - SIMPLIFY - ROUTINES - FINISH
  • Ask yourself: What is the best use of my time RIGHT NOW?
  • Routines - Commitments - Chores - Projects
  • Bedtime Routine: "Neat Your House" Put everything in its home (FINISH), Prepare tonight to make tomorrow easier.
  • FINISH--part of going to church is putting bags, books, clothes, shoes, etc. away, part of dinner is doing the dishes.
  • Clutter/Paper 1. Incoming--Stop it at the door, deal with it only once, sort and conquer. 2.Rotating--file system (HOMES for everything) Binders/file folders--move from piles to files. 3. Outgoing--Recycling, donations (DI), returns (Great to store these in the car)
  • KITCHEN--Clear off countertops (is it a friend or freeloader? tool or trinket?). Clean out cupboards--open doors and drawers, take it all out and only put half back. Condense--"point of first use" ABC management (put things you use daily in your A space, the least frequently in your C space, etc.)
  • CLOSETS--Determine how much of everything is enough and get rid of everything else (ie 22 ties--one for each work day of the month). Use the rule--if one comes in, one must go out.
  • STEWARDSHIP--Depart with STUFF to bless the life of someone else... Less is more because more is a chore.
  • RETIREMENT--best things to do... own your own home, have food storage, no debt.
  • Children do what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT
  • Be EARLY--run ahead of the game.
  • GARAGE--build a wall to put your stuff behind (genius--if only my garage was big enough!)
  • Simplify your children's lives so they don't have to deal with so much stuff.
**What is your favorite organizational tip?