Tuesday

New Blog!!

So to solve the storage space issue, I decided to simply start a new blog. So if you'd like to continue to keep up on our comings and goings, head on over to skousenclan.blogspot.com to get the latest and greatest on the Idaho Skousens. Thanks!! :)

Monday

Christmas Vacation

Whew! I don't know about you, but it seemed Christmas was quite the whirlwind for us this year! Beforehand we were crazy busy with Christmas parties and projects in addition to the usual stuff like YW, visiting teaching, etc. All in pleasantly cool weather. Then we left for Christmas break. 

We spent the first four days of our trip with my family just outside of St. George in a beautiful place called Diamond Valley. We enjoyed four-wheeling, hiking, fishing, and catching up on episodes of "Wipeout!" and "Love it or List it". We had some yummy yummy food and the kids loved getting to open presents with their uncles and Oma and Opa.

The next day we headed out for southern Arizona, where Robert is from. That is where we spent the last part of our trip. There were tons of cousins to play with and Daddy spent every minute soaking up the fun to be had on the farm. Motorcycles, paintballing, shooting guns, etc. We got a few projects done for Grandma and Grandpa like finishing the painting on the outside of the house and welding and painting covers for the window wells. And we all enjoyed a second, mini Christmas exchanging presents with siblings, cousins, and grandparents. 

Then the big drive home. It was the longest day of my life. Or at least felt like it. We started at 4 am and did not get home until after 9 pm. That's 17 hours of traveling in a small car with two children. But we made it, thanks to key stops like Cabella's to see the fish. And once we got home, the kids got to have another mini Christmas opening presents from each other and the gifts Santa wasn't able to fit in the sleigh for Utah and Arizona.

Now we are home and recovering from it all. The day after we got back, we had Robert's cousin and her family come stay for about 24 hours to bring a daughter back up to BYU-Idaho. What a whirlwind! Eight people in to stay and back out again!

So this week will hopefully remain low-key. All of us are going through detox from having so much family around to talk to, help out with the kids, and to play with, hold, and give attention. That's always hard for my kids. Hope your holidays were great and your week nice and calm :)

Sunday

Procrastination

So it's been a few weeks and I still haven't done anything about it. There is just so much going on these days, posting pictures has fallen by the wayside.

These last couple weeks we've just been scurrying around doing the things you do at Christmastime: shopping, Christmas parties, more shopping, tithing settlement, and YW. Robert has been spending his extra time off work finishing the garage so it has more outlets and lights and will be insulated and sheetrocked. Yay!!

Sam had a great time at his preschool's Christmas party. Although he nearly missed it thanks to Amy sharing her pink eye. But both were over that very quick and we are hoping no other yuckies come to visit our house.

Tomorrow night Robert and I get to enjoy a nice meal away from the kiddos for his work's Christmas party. 

This week there's no preschool (dang, what I am I going to do?!), so hopefully we can come up with some fun activities to keep the kiddos entertained and mommy from going crazy while we finish up a few last-minute Christmas gifts and get packing for our big trip!

We leave Friday morning for my parents' house just outside of St. George where we will stay until the day after Christmas and then head down to the warm country of Arizona. We will probably be coming back around January 2nd, so a nice, long trip. So excited!! Hope you all have a great week making your last-minute preparations for the holidays!

Thanksgiving Week

Ok, so I just ran in to a problem my friend just did where Blogger is telling me I have no more space. So while I try to figure out what to do about the issue, I will just have to write about our adventures and add the pictures later.
Thanksgiving week was crazy busy, but of course loads of fun. My sister and her family came from Washington to visit us and her husband's family that live here. They didn't stay with us because we already had Robert's family coming to stay, but we enjoyed the time we were able to spend with them and especially getting to meet the newest member of the family, Eliza, who was just six weeks old! Amy especially loved the baby and asked to hold her several times. In an effort to spend just a little more time together, they came over on Wednesday to help me with what has become my annual pie-making marathon. This year it was scaled back a titch to just 12 pies instead of adding on to last years' 19. It was great fun working together to get them all made!!
That afternoon, Robert's parents and little sister came into town from Arizona and were able to stay until Sunday. The day of the big feast arrived and despite my anxiety of trying to fit so many people into my small living room, everything worked out well. We borrowed an extra 8 foot table from a friend to add to ours and we were able to fit all 18 (later 19) people relatively well. The food was fabulous with two turkeys and loads of side dishes that everyone helped contribute to.  We spent the rest of the day chatting, cleaning up, eating pies and more food, and racing around the neighborhood on the go-carts (belong to Robert's friend, not us).
Friday was fairly laid back. In the morning the adults and Sam went to an indoor trampoline place called iJump while Amy and I stayed home and made mini ice cream cakes (in cupcake form) for the celebration later that night. Then in the afternoon, the adults joined up with adults from the Potter clan to go shooting. That night we celebrated three Skousen birthdays that are all within the Thanksgiving week: Kurtis (little brother), Mark (Dad), and Shanna (little sister).
Saturday was a great day because that is the day Kurtis went through the temple to take out his own endowments. We were able to leave the kiddos with Shanna (such a relief to not have to find a babysitter, let me tell you!) and went to the Rexburg Temple for the event and then all met up at Aunt Elaine's home in Idaho Falls for a wonderful dinner.
And no week would be complete without a little excitement. Thankfully ours only consisted of the power going out during sacrament meeting. It was so great to just finish sacrament and then go home! And with all the craziness I really hadn't done that great of a job preparing my YW lesson, so I was able to work on it more this week and give it today! That afternoon we said goodbye to the Skousens until Christmas.
But of course the craziness couldn't end there. On Monday and Tuesday I spent running around getting things put together for our Evening of Excellence for Young Women's on Tuesday night. After that I could breathe a little bit. But it has seriously taken me the entire week to recouperate from it all! 
But yesterday Robert and I were able to leave the kids with Jake and Stacey to get the Christmas shopping done. And we are seriously done except for a small trip I'm making with just me and Sam to let him pick out a present for Amy. It was great to get it done so easily this year! I contribute most of that to #1: really limiting ourselves to a number of gifts instead of a dollar amount and #2: to researching and thinking ahead of time of what the kids would really enjoy to have as a guide for when we were out among all the millions of toys available. 
So here is to this upcoming week of working on some simple projects and planning out the goodies we will be making for friends and family in the area. Hope your holidays are going smoothly!!

Monday

Camera MIA

 So I've been wanting to post about our quick day trip to Utah for a while, but our camera has been MIA and what good is a post without pictures, right? :) And these were definitely worth waiting for! We decided to take a trip to Utah for mainly two reasons: check out some couches and find an upright freezer. We left around 9:30 and had a pretty good drive down. Looked at the freezer we had found and liked it, but we needed to see what the deal was with the couches on whether it would be worth it to come back for it with the truck.
 After the freezer, we took the kiddos to Cabela's to see the giant fish they have there. This is seriously the largest fish tank outside of a zoo/aquarium you are ever going to find! And the best part? It's free!! Amy had a great time checking out the fish. Sam, on the other hand, was old enough this time to be scared that the fish were going to eat him.
 But with Daddy around, it was ok :)
 Not the best picture ever, but that face is priceless! She kept saying something between "ohh" and "ahh" the whole time! :)
 A really neat old-fashioned gas pump
 And looking at the stuffed animals, which aren't as cool as the gigantic fish, but still worth lookin'. And in case you were wondering, the couches didn't work out, which means we aren't going back for the freezer, either. Bummer. But, we did find a campchef for $63 at the Bargain Cave at Cabela's and we got to visit Auntie Candace and Kinley for a little while before heading back home. It was a long day, but successful and fun to spend time together as a family.
Then this last weekend, my great sister-in-law came down from Rexburg to tend the kiddos so I could go to a baby shower and then to a super Saturday for my old ward where I had signed up to do some quiet books for the kids and I learned how to fold these fun little things. It takes some time, but I think they are pretty awesome looking!! This week we are keeping busy with preschool, Young Womens, visiting teaching, and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Robert's family coming to visit. I'm excited to host the big dinner at my home this year, although I am ever so grateful I don't have to do it all myself (14 people for the big meal - ack!!)!! Stacey (SIL in Rexburg) and I have been plotting meals, activities, and table decorations - it's going to be a (crazy) blast!!

Thursday

Halloween 2012

 Well, ours was a good Halloween this year. Filled with plenty of dressing up, pumpkin carving, and of course, treats! Here is a pic of our pumpkins we carved Sunday night with Uncle Kurtis and the gang. The order from left to right is Amy, Sam, Robert, mine. I had seen on Pinterest an idea to paint the outside of the pumpkins black. I think it turned out cool. I think next year we might try what our neighbors did and simply paint the pumpkins instead of carving them. We'll see. We also tried using glow sticks to light them this year. If you get the big stick ones they work pretty well, but the ones for bracelets aren't quite enough. So next year we will fiddle around with it more.
 Here's Sam in his Spiderman costume. Thanks so much to my parents for giving us my little brothers' costume all we had to get him was the face paint since no masks were allowed at preschool. He was so excited for his preschool Halloween party and had a great time!
 Here are both kiddos waiting to go trunk-or-treating. We also got to go to the Halloween storytime at the library. They had a "pumpkin patch" they went through and then got spider suckers at the end :)
And a sweet smile from Miss Amy at the trunk-or-treat. She was Snow White this year with a tutu I had seen online and thought was adorable! I had bought black hair spraypaint, but just didn't feel like it was worth the mess/risk/effort this year. I also decided at the last second to make myself a costume since I was supposed to help serve the apple cider with my Beehives (but nope, no pics of it). I opted for a ghost costume so that way no matter where I am in life (pregnant, not, etc) it will work. And it can be as simple or as involved as I want it to. I tried the hair spraypaint on myself for the first time ever (pinkish/purple) - it was kinda fun to go crazy with it! Hope you all had a fun Halloween, too!

Monday

October 2012 (most of it)

I know. It has been a REALLY long time since I last posted. Apparently our life is quite eventful and once you get a little behind, it seems daunting to catch up and so you put it off for just a bit longer until before you know it, three weeks have gone by without a word. But I think most of you are friends with me on FB and so have seen news of our life, as well as pictures. I don't have a single picture to post on here from our camera, either. Well, let's see....

The second week of October didn't have a lot. More preschool, lunch with friends to celebrate my birthday late. Trying salsa for the first time with my canning buddy thanks to a friend in my ward giving me all the tomatoes and onions left in her garden. Then had lunch with another friend at the end of the week. Also during this week much anticipation was to be had because our ward had been split. It was a sad day. We were ripped from our old ward and paired up with others that had been split off from another ward to make a completely new ward. Which means many, many new callings. It was a tense week waiting for that unknown number to show up on the caller ID. Both Robert and I got the call. His was to be a Sunday school teacher for the 16 and 17 year olds. Mine was to be the Beehive advisor. To be honest, I was relieved. I really enjoyed being with the YW and let's face it - there are MANY other less-than-ideal callings out there. So we are adjusting to the new way of things, but one major good thing about this new ward stuff is our good friends the Potters are now in our ward - yay!!!

The second week of October was a tough one. Robert had his tonsils out Wednesday and thank goodness for my sister-in-law. We had arranged for a YW in our ward who is doing college classes from home to come babysit the kids. But when we got to the hospital and as the proceedings took place, we realized it was going to be MUCH longer than we had told the babysitter and she had a class to be to. So Stacey saved the day and drove down to be with the kids as long as we needed her and also made us dinner. The next few days were rough. I was in YW mtgs, rushing to get kids, taking Robert back to the hospital when he started bleeding and we couldn't get it to stop, and then my older sister was sealed in the temple on Saturday. Since Robert wasn't doing well, we forewent our planned day trip to look at sectionals and Suburbans and I drove down and back that afternoon. It has been one heck of a week, let me tell ya!

And to round it off nice and evenly, I woke up to get me and the two kids ready to go to 9:00 church by myself and was greeted with Amy's bed full of throw-up and her diaper full of diarrhea. Left her at home with Robert, took Sam with me to church. He. Was. Awful. Of course. I told myself we would just stay long enough to take the sacrament and then go home. And then he calmed down. Of course. Did I forget to mention I had to teach YW on Sunday, too? Let's just say I am ready for a new week and am bound and determined to be more prepared and to get to bed early EVERY night because you just never know when your four-year-old will suddenly decide that naps are no more. Dang it!

Hope you have a great week - I'll have to let you know about mine :)

Saturday

Birthday Week

Arilee + Marissa go first
 So, I have absolutely no pictures from this week, so I will share the pictures I have from YW almost two weeks ago. We knew that there was a big change coming up, so we decided to dispense with the activity to teach the girls how to use lds.org and just have a fun night with treats and Minute-to-Win-it games. The game I came up with is you put a baseball in the end of a pair of tights, put it on your head, and have to use the ball in the end to knock over a line of water bottles. It was quite fun!

 We all had a blast that night just enjoying each other's company one last time. Turns out they took two wards and redid the boundaries so now it is three wards. We are part of the new ward, so I have lost a great number of friends and YW. But on the plus side, we kept some of my favorites (shh, don't tell!) and now our best friends, the Potters, are in our ward! But with a new ward comes new callings, so we are hesitant to answer our phones now :)
Alli + Kennedy
 In other news, it was my birthday this week! Yay! The actual day was pretty typical, Sam went to preschool and the kids and I just sort of hung out. I worked on Amy's tutu and headband for Halloween and was able to get it finished, which was fun to do something crafty, finish, and have it turn out cute! That evening Aunt Stacey came down from Rexburg to watch the kiddos so I could go to YW and then Girl's Night Out (GNO) right afterward. GNO is something some ladies in my ward started and they go out on the first Tuesday of each month late in the evening to a restaurant (different each month) to just sit and chat. It was so fun that this fell on my birthday and we went to Red Robin per my request so I could get my free dinner and sundae. It was a late night, but a good way to end my day.
Bridgette + Arliee
 Then the next day my best friend brought over my birthday cake. It was a layered ice cream cake with Oreos, hot fudge sauce, and raspberries - so yum!
Jodene shows us how to move an Oreo down your face into your  mouth
 Then the rest of this week was just kinda blah. Sam woke up in the middle of the night throwing up and diarrhea on Wednesday night. Then Thursday night Amy had the same thing. So Thursday I had to keep Sam home from preschool, which meant I had to cancel my trip to the temple I was going to do while Sam was in preschool. But he didn't throw up again, so we were still able to go over to the Potter's to can pears as planned. We spent 7 hours canning pears. Then I threw the kids in the car so we could rush to IF to get my sewing machine back from being serviced (a birthday present and SOOO nice!). And Uncle Kurtis' mission call had come in the mail that day, so he and Jake and Stacey came down to open it and have some ice cream cake with us.
Kaelynn + Verinique
 Friday was just a kind of hang-out day since both kids had been sick and Mommy felt like a walking zombie from being up half the night three nights in a row. Today I will do my best to listen to conference (while I work on a sewing project of course!) while the kids play/destroy the house. Tomorrow we have big plans for the Rexburgers (Jake, Stacey, Kurtis) to come  down to watch conference with us and enjoy lots of good food. What are conference and family for anyway? :) Hope you all have a great weekend enjoying conference in whatever way is best for you! :)
Jodene (1st Counselor) + Holly (President)


Katelynn + Ashlee

Arilee + Kennedy

Monday

Silly Dances

video
The other night after the kids were in their jammies, they kept being so silly and doing little dances, I decided to take a video and share so those who don't live close can see how big Amy is getting. She was so excited she knew where her tummy was!

Sick Week

 This last week has been a tough one for our family. Above is a picture of my new large mirror for the front room I talked about finding in Washington. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but so you get an idea.
 The day after I got back, I went to check on prices for canning items and my friend asked if I could get her some corn. I ended up getting corn for us as well so we could get it a little cheaper and did 5 dozen ears of corn and three batches of cookies in between. It was a long, messy process, but got it all done and now my freezers are filled to capacity. Hopefully Robert will find some time to go down and get our new freezer soon!
I tried a new method for my corn this year, though. I baked it in the husks in the oven. It was so much simpler because you cut off the large end and then slip the corn out of the husk and then you are ready to cut the kernels off! I would recommend it to anyone who freezes corn! So after that, I got hit hard with some sort of illness that I am still fighting 5 days later. It changes each day, so I think I am about to get better, and then I have something else. But I have to get better fast because on the docket for this week is one last fun YW activity of Mintue To Win It games before the wards split, canning peaches and hopefully pears, turning plum juice into plum jelly, and the Primary Program on Sunday.