Thursday, December 12, 2013

Journey To Bethlehem

It's been hard for me to get in the spirit of the season this year. Maybe because I have so much crap going on, and because there is no snow, but I just have not been in the holiday mood. I keep seeing pictures of snow in Utah and I get insanely jealous. I'm praying that we get a week or so of it here for Christmas but we'll see. At least we don't get the yucky air here.

Because I've been searching for some Christmas spirit, I was glad when we went to see baby Jesus. There is an activity that the Seventh Day Adventist Church puts on where they literally set it up so that you journey to Bethlehem.

It was uncharacteristically cold that night, so in preparation we bundled up good and warm. I told Ammon that if he turned and smiled at the camera, he would get candy. This is the gem that I got :)

After we bundled up we drove to Auburn city and waited our group's turn to go.

The first stop we made was to see King Herod. He asked us to spy for him and find out who this Messiah was that people were talking about.

Ammon kept asking why people were dressed the way they were. It was pretty hilarious. There were lots of little boy "why's" that night.

Our next stop took us to see three wisemen that had three gifts for the King.

They told us that we should talk to a couple named Zacharias and Elizabeth because they had a child in their old age and Zacharias was struck dumb by an angel that appeared to him. The wisemen said that the couple had news of the new King.
So journey to see them we did.
They told us of their newborn son, John, and of the rumors of a family in Bethlehem. We now had to travel into the city of Bethlehem.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the city. It was awesome. They had real animals like camels, horses, chickens, and more. They had booths set up with money-changers, food stands, jewelry, and every kind of stand that you can imagine would be there in Christ's time in the city of Bethlehem. They even had a huge gate with guards watching overhead in towers and guards we had to convince to let us in. It was SO life like and real. It really made you feel like you were journeying through Bethlehem. There were wedding celebrations and homeless people and it was amazing. It was too dark and I didn't want to disturb the feeling with a flash, so I didn't take any pictures....except for the back of a camel.

Everything was going well until we were accosted by some Roman soilders that were angry because we hadn't paid taxes. We were yelled at and forced to line up against a wall before some prominent judge who yelled at us some more.

They did a great job of making it real and sure raked us over the coals. It actually really scared Lydia and Ammon. For the rest of the week Ammon talked about "those mean king guys" and he started whimpering during the action and said, "I want to go back to the house."

Luckily, we escaped to the outskirts of town where we ran into some shepherds and had angels suddenly appear singing about the birth of a Savior. I couldn't get a picture because of the darkness again, but it was awesome. It felt so real when they appeared and it was hard not to get emotional hearing their message and knowing what it meant.

After the angels appeared we raced to the large star in the sky and underneath it was baby Jesus.

The baby was a real newborn and I did get emotional here. It has hard not to. The whole event was set up so that I felt that I had traveled through Bethlehem, that I had experienced all the things that I read about in the scriptures and go over every Christmas season, and then ended with seeing the baby Jesus. It felt so real and put the eternities into perspective. We sang Come Let Us Adore Him and it was very special. It took everything I had not to sob uncontrollably.

After the culmination of the journey we were finally able to go inside and warm up with cider and cookies. I was so impressed. So many people working together to create this journey and atmosphere that preaches of Christ and His birth. Though some of their facts were different than the ones I know, the Spirit was the same and I rejoice in my Savior's birth and look forward to Dec. 25th to celebrate that marvelous day!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Flyby

Wow, the last post I wrote I wrapped up October and now it's already December! Obviously I've been slacking this last month in my posts. However, I've had some pretty crazy stuff going on since I've been busy and out of commission, and I'm now returning back to the tasks I've been neglecting.

So here's what happened during November:

Ammon decided to gangster up his look, try to hang his beautiful picture on the fridge by himself when he thought no one was looking, took a sick day, and created a mustache with his string-cheese, "Look Mom, a mustache!" I love that this boy talks now because I get inside his mind a little more and can see the hilarious ham of a boy that really picks up so much more than I thought.

We had breakfast for dinner one night, including fruit smoothies. Can you tell?

Remember that house that we were going to buy? Well the reason I posted that here and didn't announce on Facebook was in case it fell through. And it did. From the inspection we learned that not only did it need new siding, but ALSO a new roof. We thought the roof looked great so we were really let down when we found out it had to be replaced as well and we just couldn't afford to do both. The bank wouldn't come down on the price and so we walked. We weren't about to saddle ourselves up with something we couldn't us crazy. the depression of losing the house (it was a great house) I decided that since I can't have a castle, I'd make my own out blocks. The kids built theirs and it turned out to be a fun, therapeutic morning activity.

In the middle of November my mom left for Hawaii for a few days. She wasn't even gone six hours before this happened. All it took was an alleged toddler boy locking a door and pulling it closed, and a tired grandpa too impatient to work on the lock longer than a half hour before bringing out the sledge-hammer to get the door open. I was thinking, "this is why mom's can't go anywhere. All sanity and reason leaves with them."

That alleged toddler boy has seen a lot of the bathroom lately because this past month he was potty-trained!!

I was so nervous to train him and put it off longer than I should since I knew he had been ready for awhile. I thought he might be way more difficult than Lydia who was a potty-training miracle and had no accidents after two days.

Although I knew he would be more difficult, he still was a champ. The first day he went five times on the toilet! He had four accidents as well but I consider actually going on the potty for the first day a complete success.

Ammon with his reward candy for pooping on the toilet.
No it's not poop, it's whopers, a crunch, and a mini milky way
stacked together to make his "boat".
The rest of the week went great. He had a couple more accidents just figuring out that he can't wait so long to go, but besides that he was potty trained after a couple days as well. In fact he was obsessive about it...he would seriously ask every ten minutes to go to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and tinkle out a few drops, demand a candy, cheer, and then start the cycle all over again. I had to reduce the candy and convince him that you only go when your body tells you it's ready. Eventually he figured it out, which is good because I was exhausted by seven thousand bathroom trips.

So my first two kids were pretty much as good as it gets potty training. I hate the potty training week, but my mom says I don't deserve how well my kids do. Ammon still wears diapers at night, but for the last little while he's been waking up dry and will come ask us to take him early in the morning. Good signs!

Next big event was Brigham's birthday. He choose a fancy dinner of salmon, which my dad smoked (it was delicious), and the most tasty, fattening Alfredo of all time. I also roasted broccoli and cauliflower and it was a fantastic meal. I followed it up with a brownie, mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream cake. We know how to do food around here.

Brigham's big present this year was a new long board. His old one's wheel had stopped turning so I got him a sweet new ride. Unfortunately, the next day, Thanksgiving, he decided to be reckless and crash and burn and is now covered with gaping wounds on his hip, hand, and elbow. And I'm not exaggerating when I say gaping. I spent my Thanksgiving cleaning his wounds out and they still start bleeding again every time he gets them wet. He also ruined my favorite jacket of his, which I am still bitter about.

So he then was banned from long-boarding until we finally have insurance, and is asking for elbow pads and gloves for Christmas.

But anyways, Happy Birthday to my handsome husband!! He's getting old, but keeps me young. He's worked so hard and deserves to be able to be a bit reckless sometimes...despite all my complaining. Love him!

We also had a lot of fun with the box that his long-board came in.

Besides accident clean-up on Thanksgiving, I finally got to move again and got to play football AND basketball that morning. My body has been hating on me lately and I had to take a break from exercising which was DRIVING ME CRAZY. I was dying to move! And I finally felt like I could do more than walk that morning. So I took full advantage and caught a pass and ran for a touchdown for my glory moment in the turkey-bowl, and then scored some shots on the court.

I also cooked some food and did a Thanksgiving craft with the kids.

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought the turkeys were adorable and that the kids would love making them so I bought the stuff to give it a try. Ours didn't quite work out like the originals...or look near as good, but we improvised and made some mini turkeys instead. It was a fun Thanksgiving day craft and the kids sure loved the candy.

The day after Thanksgiving I was exhausted from my midnight Black Friday shopping. I didn't buy any high ticket items (I'm pretty lame for a Black-Friday shopper) but I did get Just Dance 2014 for cheap, Brigham a new jacket to replace his ripped one...grumpy face...for cheap, requested gray slacks for my brother for SUPER cheap, and two pairs of leggings for SEVEN dollars. Wohoo! That's right two pairs of colored leggings for seven dollars. I was excited. Oh and a Cookie Monster movie for Ammon for two dollars. See, that's how exciting my Black-Friday purchases were. No TV's, tablets, gaming systems, computers, or anything fancy for me. Leggings are where it's at.

Despite my exhaustion I helped in the annual day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas tree decorating.

Perfect for getting me in the mood for Christmas carols and shopping. It's weird already being at my parent's house for Christmas and not traveling anywhere, but I'm excited to have my Grandma and siblings come up and I'm excited to send gifts to everyone I'm missing in Utah.

And that leaves us caught up to the beginning of December and ready for the Christmas season. We'll see what this holiday season brings. Happy late Thanksgiving and early Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

October Extras

Besides Halloween and trips to pumpkin patches, here's some captured moments of our lives from October:

Aunt Kayleen celebrated her eighth birthday.

Ammon decorated my hand so beautifully during conference.

Although Brigham graduated in August, we FINALLY got his diploma and celebrated his Master's Degree being all official and everything.

We enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL fall colors around here. Trees were all four colors at once: bright red, green, yellow, and orange.

We even took walks and collected leaves.

And we enjoyed the being outdoors after exercise class, with our friends.

Ammon decided to try on some impromptu costumes when he saw everyone else going through the costume box. "Wear hat, momma. Wear hat."

And that's sums up what we've missed. October has been a pretty good month!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hectic, Happy Halloween

This Halloween was bit crazy this year. Usually, Brigham and I throw a Halloween party for friends and family and we have a good little turn out with games and treats and a costume contest that I'm told most enjoy. This year, since we moved, I didn't think that we would be throwing a party. Unfortunately, my dad, who is a member in the bishopric of the ward, heard me complaining about this and bragging about our Halloween parties and decided to do something about it.

And that is how we got put in charge of the ENTIRE ward Halloween party. Not cool.

However, I soon caught the party-planning fire and set to work on a fun (in my opinion) Clue Mystery party where I had five people play Clue Characters and one of them smashed the Ward Pumpkin that had been on display (couldn't do murder mystery at a church function, danget). Then the Ward had to figure out how it was smashed (weapon like music stand, chair, etc.) and in what room (primary, young men's, etc.). To figure out they completed challenges (bean bag toss, trivia game, etc.) to get clues revealed to them to narrow down to the answer.

It was stressful, hectic, crazy, complicated (I swear next time I'm just planning a chili cook-off and trunk-or-treat without the mystery game....actually, may there never be a next time), but I've heard good reports back that it was unique and fun. Let's just say I'm glad it's over, and that I prefer 10-20 people parties instead of 150-200 people.

At at the Ward party we had someone take pictures of families in costume and here are ours:

Last year at Halloween, Lydia instead that next year she wanted be Rapunzel. Well she remembered all year long. And much to Brigham's dismay, I insist on family themed costumes while we our kids still let us. So that's how we came to be Rapunzel, Pascal, Flynn Rider, and Mother Gothell.

Aunt Kayleen went as a witch.

Two nights later we dressed up once more for Halloween night.

We decided to go to the senior center so the elderly, who aren't able to get out and have normal trick or treaters, could enjoy some kids in costumes. They were ready and waiting and had glow sticks and face paint for us too!

Ammon couldn't have face paint. For some reason he either breaks out in hives or some other horrible rash.
We finished a lot faster than we thought at the senior center, so we made our way around a small part of the neighborhood. Ammon was not shy and if they said take a handful, he dug both hands in and really went for it. He really did not like when they put the candy in his bag for him; he wanted to pick and feel the candy in his hand, himself. He also kept trying to talk to every person and ask them about their house, animals, why, or just copy what they said. He sure is fun now that he's talking. I also had to ban him from suckers because that's all he would pick. This mom needs some good candy to filch from...meaning chocolate, reeses, and such. Luckily, Lydia is fond of reeses these days and did her momma proud picking her fare share of them to make up for Ammon's lack of taste.

By time we completed the circle through the neighborhood, the kids were done and ready to be home. We watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while we went through our loot.

I was surprised how much we got from such a small route. I think they scored! They sure are happy about it :)

It was a different Halloween this year, and a good one. I missed our party, our usual trick-or-treating partners and route, but I enjoyed the new fun we had. Lydia is already insisting on being a butterfly next year and that Ammon has to be a moth because that is boy butterfly. I don't know that this costume idea will hold, but we'll see.

The other exciting news, that was making everything 100% more hectic, is we put an offer in on a house and out of six offers that were placed, we received the counteroffer and then we counteroffered the counteroffer and that was just accepted today! I was rushing around on the day of the ward Halloween party trying to get everything ready and set up while simultaneously rushing around and filling out highest bid paperwork and freaking out. Now we get to go through all the mutual acceptance paperwork, inspections, and more. We'll see if it all works out, but here we go!

Here is the google maps shot of the house:

Not a very good picture, but some idea of what we're looking at. It has a huge yard, four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, etc. The only downside is that it's forty minutes away from my parents house :(  But we'll see what happens and hopefully we'll be able to call this home soon. Am I ready to be responsible for a house? Guess we'll find out!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Preschool Field Trip 2: Thomasson Farms

We had another cold field trip come about this week. We went out to a nearby dairy farm that they turn into some harvest fun for the winter season. They use all the proceeds to keep the farm running during the spring/summer, and everything they grow and use they feed the cows with later. I was impressed with the resourcefulness.

They had the kids go around to different stations and first on the list was the corn pit. Lydia made a corn angel and they had some fun tubes that you could slide down and land in the corn pit. They grind all this corn up later and feed it to the cows.

The kids loved this one and didn't want to leave.

Next came the hay obstacle course with more tubes for sliding and lots of hay bales to climb on, jump off, and frolic about.

The preschool group of kids with Mrs. Feather

Next we got to look at some farm animals.

There were cows, donkeys, pigs, bunnies, kittens, and goats.

Then we took a hay ride to go pick out a pumpkin!

My kids pretty much picked out the first pumpkin they saw.

With some guidance we took a second look around and they picked out their favorite ones.

My favorite part was the pumpkin patch. It was fun looking at the different shapes and sizes with the kids. Ammon was very particular about which one he wanted.

Did you know that cows like to eat pumpkins? After the pumpkin patch season is over, they let the cows into the pumpkin patch to eat all the left over ones and they love it! Apparently it's a special treat.

After the hayride the kids also got another mini tractor ride. Ammon was in heaven, he had a grin on his face the whole time and was sad when it was over.

Finally, the kids had some free time to play on the playground.

We had lunch in the barn and then we went home. It was a fun trip! I was impressed with how everything was run and how useful everything was. And the prices were very reasonable! All of the activities and the pumpkin for only six dollars per kid and parents are free! They also gave the kids a complimentary chocolate milk (it was lactose free...anyone else think that's weird for a dairy farm?...) on our way out.

I think we'll visit this one again next year as a family, we had such a good time. Fall fun for the Tappanas! We're looking forward to Halloween next week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Girls Night Out at the Corn Maze

I was excited for this last General Conference because, for once, I was going to have some ladies around from my family for girls night out during the Priesthood session. Ever since I left home, I've spend most priesthood sessions alone, moping around because I had no girls to go do something fun with. There were the couple rare occasions when it worked out and I was able to go with a sister-in-law somewhere, but mostly I sat at home and called my mom and we both grumbled about how our lives were the worst because we had no one to do anything with.

Luckily, this year I happen to live with said mother and we planned an exciting girls night out with my aunt and kids to the corn maze.

We had a good time trying to find each number in the corn maze so we could punch our maps, proving that we made it to each pit-stop.

At first we let each kid take a turn picking what way we went, but after marching down the same path for the millionth time the adults with the maps took charge. We still were having a hard time until I took things into my own hands and grabbed a map and finally figured out how to read it right so we could actually get where we wanted to go. That's right, I've got some mad navigational skills.

After the corn maze we took a hay ride. We had to wait fifteen minutes for the ride to come back around so we could get on for our turn, so I killed time taking some a couple pictures...

My  mom thought I was trying to show her something, haha!
Our hay ride took us around a field of grass or something and my mom and I agreed that they need something more Halloween-ish to look at. So instead, I entertained myself by taking more pictures:

I was threatened that I'd better not take anymore pictures of my mom after this...or else.

We had fun looking at some farm animals after the ride while my aunt perused the pumpkins and fresh produce.

Nauvoo, London, Tahiti, Ghana
We went to dinner afterwards and had a great time that night and it really set the tone for fall.

I loved spending time with my family during Conference Weekend, even though I missed the family in Utah that usually comes around during General Conference time. Conference really touched my heart. I had some questions I was really praying about and some of the talks were written just for me. I'm glad that Heavenly Father listens to my prayers and knows me and loves me enough to answer me. I'm grateful for prophets who are inspired to receive guidance to answers my prayers.

Now I'm on to becoming a better person and trying to help others. Also, check out my sweet Temple origami I tried out while listening to Conference.