On Tuesday we had piano lessons and then we went out for an early trip to Chuck-E-Cheese to meet up with Sharla who was in town for Thanksgiving. We also had Carol, Penney and Kristen. I haven't seen Sharla in a year and 1/2 and it was nice to catch up some and see how big her kids have gotten and also meet Sharla's newest addition, baby August.
Clark has moved from being a baby to a boy running around and wanting to do big boy stuff like play guitar hero (I was laughing at how he could barely hold the guitar)
The girls hooking up...they flew through tokens like there was no tomorrow :)
We visited, doled out tokens, all ended up buying pizza even thought it was only mid-morning and had a great time catching up while managing kid requests.
Right after this I raced Taylor over to do the mountain biking trip he's been begging me to go on with friends (Sycamore Canyon) and got home to hang out with neices. Liesl, Jenae and Jolene came over for the day and we had fun visiting with them.
They came with me to pick up Taylor from his bike ride and all had something to say about him being covered in mud splatters and needing a shower ;) After the shower they played capture the flag at the park, video games...and then just hung out watching TV.
The next day I cleaned, cleaned the house...and had the kids clean...and still had a list of more things to clean, and to shop for...but I got a call from Steve asking me about Sycamore Canyon that he saw on my blog post. He was wanting to take the kids out to get them out of the house.
Sooo I decided to give us all a break from cleaning and we met them at the Canyon and I showed them our trial we like to take. I brought the dog and Steve brought all the teens including a neighbor, which made it fun for all of them to be there.
After hanging out at the stream eating snacks the big kids all climbed the rocks and hung out...I was at the bottom so I'm not really sure what they were doing... :) then we hiked back to the cars. Its a little over 2 miles and I was so proud of Ashley hiking the whole way without complaining or seeming tired!
On the way home we scrounged just enough quarters that the kids could have Sunday's at McDonalds (I snuck a few bites from them) and then it was back to the house for more cleaning.
Thanksgiving day dawned and Jeff and I were up and getting things ready. We were set to have everyone come over at 2:00 and then be ready to eat at 3:00.
Everything was going smooth and Jeff and I were working well, on track to get everything done on time when I heard sizzling in the oven. I opened it to see turkey juices running down to the bottom.
We quickly pulled the turkey out and saw that the twist tie for the bag must have been touching the side of the oven and it burned off, letting the juices run down. Well we fixed it and put it back in.
We were at about an hour before everyone was supposed to be coming when I opened the cupboard to put a dish away and a cup came crashing down breaking one of my new bowls. As I am cleaning up the broken glass the doorbell rings as Jeff is realizing there is smoke coming from the oven.
Who could that be??
It was cousin Ben and his family an hour early. "It didn't take us as long as I thought it would to get here. You should've seen me we were doing 90 on the freeway..."...he came to talk to us in the kitchen...honestly I was too busy to entertain.
We open the oven and it's on fire!!
All the sudden things are not going so smoothly.
It occurred to me that last Sunday all the talks were on adversity....hmmmm I was getting my chance to experience it.
We tried closing the oven door but it kept getting worse.
"Get the fire extinguisher!"
Luckily I knew exactly where it was. Luckily Ben was there in the kitchen gabbing and we had him pull the turkey out so Jeff could spray the fire down. Jeff had to spray a bit before Ben reached in the oven so he didn't get singed but luckily the turkey was in a bag.
With enough spraying Jeff was able to get the fire out.
Now the house was filled with smoke! We had one hour before 50 people were going to be at our house, our oven wasn't usable because it was filled with fire extinguisher stuff and the turkey had an hour left to cook! Not to mention 4 family members were expected to use the oven to cook their Thanksgiving offering!
Black, fume filled, putrid smoke filled the upstairs and down and set the fire alarm and the house alarm off repeatedly. We have a monitored smoke alarm and they came through on the intercom and asked if we needed a fire truck. Luckily no, so she said "How long do you want me to disregard the alarm going off?" I told her an hour.
I thought that meant that the alarm would stop going off...no it meant that she wouldn't call the fire department during the next hour as the alarm went off.
As I'm trying to open all the windows, get the smoke out and figure out what to do with the turkey that still had an hour to cook the house alarm and the smoke alarm loudly shrilled through the house. (You should've seen how fast those boys got off those video games and went outside to hang out)
Jeff told me to call the Merrill family up the street and see if we could bake the turkey in their oven for the last hour. I really didn't want to call....it was Thanksgiving Day...I'm sure she was cooking her own dinner. Well I called. Luckily they were home, they had cooked their dinner the day before and they said to come down and use the oven as much as we needed to.
All those years of visiting teaching and home teaching this family that didn't want anything to do with the church and now they were there to help me in my time of need. They were gracious and wonderful and I wondered again if it wasn't the Lord giving us this opportunity to be blessed and be thankful.
Jeff and I spent the next hour pulling the oven apart and cleaning it to hopefully get it usable. There was powder everywhere!! My carefully cleaned kitchen was very unclean...it clung to the walls, fridge and everything. Family is arriving and Jeff and I are still cleaning. I noticed later that every table in the house looked like we hadn't dusted in a month because of the smoke. Great!
Anyway after cleaning and putting the oven back together I nervously turned it on fully expecting it not to work anymore and having to use the neighbors oven.
I waited and it was getting hot.....it worked! It was still a bit fumey but it worked! Another thing to be Thankful for!
People got their food in the oven pretty much on time and I picked up the turkey down the street and it was saved and turned just fine!!
So I started our celebration off ticking off the things to be thankful for...our house was still standing, our oven was working so we could cook the rest of the food, and our turkey wasn't ruined!
Our house was filled to the brim with people.
It was too cold for anyone to really want to hang out outside but nobody seemed to mind too much.
Steve orchestrated the games like beanboozled and Maffia which are now family favorites! I was busy in the kitchen but I heard lots of people having fun. Honestly I think some of the family members don't really care too much about the food...it's about the games :)
Heres the quiet(er) room.
Our couches were filled to capacity and more.
Another thing to be thankful for...everyone seemed to be done and going home by about 8:00!
Liesl was spending the night with us that night because we were going to take her to Universal Studios the next day. Since it wasn't that late she suggested watching a movie.
The kids have been wanting a “scary” movie forever. We’ve seen some mildly scary ones but nothing that they considered scary enough. So we considered Insidious at redbox. The previews looked scary but Liesl said she saw it and it wasn't scary, in fact she thought it was funny. OK so we tried it. Jacob and Ashley were scared like crazy. At one part Jacob screamed like a girl and then hid in the bathroom with his DS, Ashley kept saying “lets turn it off” I offered to take her to bed but she didn’t want to go to bed alone while we were watching it. Honestly it wasn't thaaaat bad they just hadn't seen a scary movie before. I was hoping it would cure them. Luckily Ashley slept with Liesl that night and then in Jacob’s room the next night and now she seems OK. There was a stupid song on the movie “Tiptoe through the tulips” and of course the boys keep singing it and playing it on their i-pod out loud to bug Ashley and scare her, which is funny because Jacob was just as scared.
I told them that if they keep scaring her they have to let her sleep with them that night. Finally by Sunday she was laughing about it too.
Friday...boycotting black Friday we headed to Universal Studios to recover from the week. Liesl hadn't been in a long time so she was excited to go.
On the backlot tour Taylor kept telling Liesl to lean closer to the side to see and sure enough Jaws popped up right next to her and she let out a loud scream...I guess he wanted to make up for her not being scared the night before :)
Ashley was tall enough to go on the Simpson's ride. So nice to be able to go on more things as a family!
Spongebob trying to give Jacob a kiss...looks freaky if you ask me.
Aaaahhhhh he's eating the kids.
Oh on the backlot tour I noticed some additions to the plane crash scene....
They had these dead bodies strewn around...maybe left overs from Halloween?
Ashley had to wait while the rest of us went on the Mummy and Jurassic Park...so Jeff bought her a tri-colored push pop to help pass the time...can you tell which colors she liked the best?
We saw and did everything but one show...so it'll give Liesl something to do next time.
Our favorite place to eat on the way out of Universal Studios. Wolfgang Pucks! Their best deal is the kids meal, for $6 you get a whole pizza, drink and a homemade cookie ice cream sandwich. Unfortunately the kids are getting to the point where they all can't have kids meals.
A fun day and we even got home by 9:00! It was nice to hang out with Liesl this week and all the cousins!
Saturday I started pulling out the Christmas decorations. I was tired of putting up my huge tree by myself branch by branch, putting on the lights, it was heavy and bulky and my arms would be all scratched by the end. Jeff saw a nice pre-lit tree at Wallmart and we decided to retire the old one.
Well it was easy to put up....but it was a lot narrower and smaller looking than our old one. (Ashley was very sad that we got rid of the old one but I have it to a single mom of 3 kids so I was OK with it).
Every time I walk by I look at it and think "Its so small"
Jacob liked it, he said that when we start putting presents under it, it will look like there are more presents because the tree is small.
In the middle of decorating we had Angela and Robert over for a visit. They were on their way back home from Robert's families Thanksgiving trip. We got to have them for lunch and hang out that afternoon with them.
It was fun to watch Ian especially as he laughed and laughed when Maddie licked him.
So now I'm trying to get into planning for Christmas. Why does it seem so stressful every year?? I think because we're squeezing in so much extra stuff that we normally don't do while still trying to do real life (like the big project Ashley has due in 2 weeks) So while trying to recover from last week I'm gearing up for the next few weeks.
It seems like every year around this time I think "next year I'll plan ahead" and I never do.