More snow...

When Blake grew up here in Idaho, from the time that he was in 7th grade to 12th grade, he had 1 snow day. ONE! Today will be our 6th just this year... the weather has been absolutely insane.

Last night, Blake decided to be the fun dad and encouraged everyone outside for a late night snow party in yet another batch of freshly fallen snow.

Even Luna got in on the fun since mom finally broke down and got some winter mittens - way better than the mini knit gloves that did nothing but get wet and cold.

It was total powder so the kids just climbed around on the ice mounds that surround our driveway and eventually got the tubes out to sled on them.

Shoveling the driveway for the millionth time this year.

Powder showers by throwing snow into your own face - ugh, that looks miserable to me.

They came up smiling though.

 Trying to make the most of this endless winter. 


Ballet party...

Cosette wanted a ballet party - I think The Nutcracker re-spiked her interest in dance. 

She invited a few friends over after school for dinner and dancing.

After dinner, we had our go-to dance teacher, Sierra, come and teach the girls some ballet.

Cosette requested this game - I keep thinking my kids will outgrow this but it is always a hit.

Then we did some relay candy cane games.

With Luna, DJ-ing in the background.

Then presents.

Tape line to keep the kids from swarming - I swear by it.

Then a treasure hunt for the goodie bags - which were clearance Sparkle Girls that I scored for $1.25.

We finished with cake and ice cream.

And a silly shot of the crew - it was a fun celebration in honor of Cosie!

I always feel bad for my January birthdays - it is my least favorite month to have a party so I kind of have to fake the enthusiasm. Paisley and Cosie are more helpful in party prepping now so they are always in charge of invites, choosing the games, and putting together the treasure hunt. It helps a lot!


The most serious runner of them all...

A few years back, we were in Washington for Thanksgiving and had spent the morning running the Clark County Turkey Trot. It is a casual race whose proceeds benefit the local food pantry and we run it with the purpose of burning off a few calories before loading up on pumpkin pie. My sister, Kara, is always kind enough to front pack my babies while she runs along with some of my slower kids and this year as they were in the total bottleneck that is the back of the pack (it is an out and back and way congested), a lady attempted to pass on the shoulder yelling repeatedly "Serious runner! Serious runner! Please let me pass!" I love this story and it makes me laugh every time I hear it because what on earth was she thinking... and because... well, Blake has become her.

Blake runs... 

A lot... 

Having a serious runner husband has became a bigger part of my life than I ever thought possible.

He eats, sleeps, and talks running. It has all but consumed him... vacations are decided on race locations, groceries are purchased based on their amount of protein, and weekday bedtime is 9:30 because well come Monday morning I got 21 miles to run before I go to work. We watched the movie Me Before You awhile back, I don't remember much about the show except one of the supporting characters was obsessed with running - Blake and I laughed and laughed at him because although he was supposed to be an over-exaggeration of what a runner is he was point on when it comes to Blake.

Here are a few anecdotes to document just serious he has become:

*In 2016, Blake ran just over 2016 miles. At the start of the year, we decided that together we would set the goal to run 2016 miles between the two of us. But come November he had to break the news to me, "I don't need your mileage. I got this." This averages to just under 40 miles a week, and 5.5 miles a day (Although he never runs on Sunday).

*It is bitter here - has been for weeks. The last time I ran outside was Paisley's 10k. The cold has not slowed down Blake the least. If outside seems too daunting, he has been known to run 18 miles on a treadmill - 18 miles just running in place - AGHHHHH! I am going insane just thinking about it. And when he is feeling like heading out - he does 21 miles in  negative 2 degree weather and comes back looking like this:

Yes - that is an icicle on his chin.

*Our most recent Amazon package included Sports Beans, Stinger Waffles, a ski mask (see above picture) and the book, "Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?" I could not help but roll my eyes as I pulled out each item. Blake spends zero discretionary money on anything... except running... which turns out to not be the cheap sport when you hit his level of commitment.

*He has a new training plan for Boston. It has some fancy name but I just refer to it as the "Run more miles then any other normal human being ever would." plan. I overheard him talking to a running friend in which he said that he hopes to get up to 70 miles a week. He knows better than to say such words strait to my face.

In any other relationship, I am pretty sure that I would be the runner of the group. But with him and his mileage, I feel like a lazy bum. Sometimes I am proud of his accomplishments and the level of passion he has for something. But in all honesty other times, like the lady at the Turkey Trot, I just want to slap the serious runner out of him.

Blake and I running Robie in 2010... before things got serious. 

Is that a cotton tee, Blake? Can you believe that running existed before tech shirts, heart rate monitors, and receiving kudos on Strava... those were the dark ages!!! 



Today Cosette, who we affectionately call Cosie,  is 8!
 This morning she looked extra old as she came up still sporting her messy high bun from church yesterday... but still young enough to think cocoa pebbles are the best choice for your special birthday breakfast.

 Cosette is a wonderful child. We always say if she was our only child she would be perfect. But she is the quiet middle child between two loud children and sometimes she just has to "melt" in order for herself to be heard. Honestly, I don't always blame her for it. This picture sums up her life - "Let me take your birthday picture!" but first dispose of 2 or 3 or 4 siblings first so I can just get a picture of you.

Cosette is excited to be 8 so that she can be baptized and start activity days (kind of like girl scouts). Currently, she is doing piano and Spanish classes. She also loved her art classes in fall but the location was less than ideal. I am currently looking for another alternative which might just have to be me teaching classes in the shop.

She is excelling at school and is starting into the GT (gifted/talented) program. Her reading skills are incredible and tonight she is excited because she will finish reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. She is my only kid that I never have to say, "Go find something to do." to - she is great at self-directing (when Paisley allows her to) and getting lost in her own projects. Paisley and her share a room - Paisley convinces her to sleep in the same bed, come with her when she needs to get dressed, and wear matching outfits - they are best of buddies 90% of the time and I appreciate that Cosie is so easy going to deal with Paisley's I-can-never-be-alone-ness.

We are excited to celebrate our Cosie-cute today! Happy Birthday Big Girl!


Frozen coops, poops, and driveways...

I have this little line from a movie that plays in my head whenever I am out doing farm stuff.

Move to an acre they say...
It will be fun they say...
But did they ever have to ______________?
No - I don't think so.

I am a fair weather farmer. And even in fair weather - it can be a little "This is the reason people moved to the suburbs... why am I doing this?" 

Like today when I went to check on our poor freezing chickens and find their water has tipped - no big deal - I can refill it - oh, wait it tipped into the door and has now frozen it shut. Oh okay - I will get the shovel and pry it open. Oh okay - the shovel is on the opposite side of the yard and buried in snow. Oh okay - this is way more stuck than I thought - It won't budge!!! Cute boots waterproof integrity in jeopardy. Fingers begin to freeze. Chickens pecking my fingers because I mean food... all requiring me to yell out to no one in particular, "I HATE FARMING IN THE WINTER!"

Nothing is idyllic about raising animals in freezing temps. It is messy and cold and even they look at you with a "You got to be kidding me about this weather." look in their eye. 

The only redeeming quality is that everything has frozen solid so at least their poop don't stink. 

In other news, the kids returned to school. When asked by a teacher how she was helpful over winter break, Cosette drew this masterpiece.

I promise they actually liked doing it and would ask repeatedly if they could go play "ice choppers." There was something weirdly satisfying about prying up the sheets of ice trying to get the biggest piece. And it saved our garage from some flooding... which is always a win.


Silly kid phrases...

My kids say cute things - I wish I could remember them all but sadly if they aren't written down right on the spot then they disappear as fast as cookies pulled strait out of the oven.  Here are a few that have been collecting on my phone for the past few months.

*"True loves" - This one dates back to last Spring. Fielding has for as long as he can talk referred to the flower tulips first as "true lupes" until he could pronounce the v then as "true loves." As in, "Look Mom the true loves are blooming!" It is beyond adorable.

*"Glubes" - No one in this house wears gloves. They are "glubes" and it makes me chuckle every time I hear it. I think Paisley and Cosie have now learned the correct pronunciation but even now and then I hear them slip.

*"Clearwater Custer" - Paisley is learning the Idaho county song at school. Clearwater and Custer are both Idaho counties and fall back to back in the song. Once the kids were discussing what they wanted on their license plate and Fielding was adamant that his would say "Clearwater Custer." Maybe C H20 C. I hope his dream comes true but until then we have two cats named Clearwater and Custer.

*"Comfty" - Paisley started this one and even though her dad has corrected her 100 times she still says, "I can't wait to get comfty." All the kids have followed suit ad maybe even their mom.

* "Monster Mash" - In the fall, the kids designed a game called Monster Mash. It involved running through the backyard at nightfall talking about spooky stuff. We spent a free day at the botanical gardens and they ran around looking for Monster Mash clues. There imaginations were in full force and this little anecdote doesn't do it justice but it is something I want to remember.


More of the same...

So church was cancelled yesterday and once more no school - we are no longer battling snowfall, but now the entire surface of the city has turned into a skating rink.

Last time I whined about it on here -

Let's try a new approach this morning.

Today I am grateful:

*Grateful that my kids aren't in daycare because I once helped manage a daycare and I know just how expensive it is to go off contract to add extra days for school agers... it would not be a pretty bill.

*Grateful for neighbors who let Blake park his car in their driveway because his Honda Fit can't make it up the speed bump of a hill at the front of our lane.

*Grateful for a van that I feel comfortable driving around in poor conditions so we can still go to places.

*Grateful for a gym membership that affords me 2 hours to kind of do my own thing.

*Grateful for friends that are feeling the exact same as me so that I feel validated in my "Will my life ever be normal again?" meltdowns.

*Grateful we have Cousin James in town to play for the week.

*Grateful that we caught and treated our ice dam before we had to remove whole walls like the poor couple sitting next to us at Cheesecake Factory.

*Grateful for the unexpected payment, by a friend, of our bill at Cheesecake Factory (Karma came back).

*Grateful for the power still being on. I can't imagine if I had to do this by candlelight and no heat.

*Grateful for the library still being open.

*Grateful for extra time to make lots and lots of homemade bread. My house might be a disaster but at least it smells like heaven.

*Grateful for LDS church buildings that are unlocked so that the kids and I can go ransack the nursery and run wild in the gym.

*Grateful for the dinner invites the past 2 nights so I had less meal prep to attend to.

*Grateful that the kids finally got to build an igloo with Blake yesterday.

*Grateful for blankets and hot chocolate and space heaters and fuzzy sweatshirts.