Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011!

Jeff knew he'd be working for all the Thanksgiving festivities, so he requested that we do a turkey dinner when he was home on Wed. night. I asked him his requirements and made just what he asked... I knew we'd have tons of leftovers anyway. We had turkey (a roast - don't judge, I've made great whole turkeys before!) corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cresent rolls (with things we were thankful for written and rolled up inside... I don't recommend this) and apple pies. (I saw a recipe for pie IN the apple with a little crust on top... It was fun and tasty, but I like the real thing, too.) It was fun to cook just for our little family, I enjoyed doing the whole dinner myself, but I do love having everyone around. After dinner, we had some really sweet family dancing time together. It was a lovely little family evening.

This year, our family/in-law schedule is getting all sorts of mixed up. This is usually the year we would go to Jeff's family for actual Thanksgiving, but two things happened - first, my uncle's family (only ones not here in UT) was able to come for the holiday, and second, Jeff had to work during his family's dinner. Also, BOTH dinners happened to be at the exact same time. I had fully intended to get to both, but they started and ended at the exact same time, and an hour away from each other. I did not make it happen, I totally lamed out. I spent the whole day with my family in Ogden. We had a great time - the food is always great, there is always tooons extra, and the after/hangout time is always so fun. We actually had a little family drama this year during picture time, which is pretty unusual for us, at least on that scale, but all is well. I really enjoyed hanging out with some of the cousins I don't normally spend a lot of time with. (And, we kids gave our parents the Christmas gift we got them - plane tix so they won't have to drive to our CaliChristmas! That was fun.)

The next day (well, that night) I hit a few sales to get the key items I was planning on - I got all of them! (A teensy bike for Lisie, a chalkboard easel, and a kid's table.... among other secret things.) It did require a lot of waking when I shoulda been sleeping, but you know me - I am always glad to score a good deal. (Got a sweet cyber Monday discount, too.) One of the places I went (IKEA) didn't open til 10am, so I was there for when my inlaws have their shopping time, then I was already halfway to my parents, so didn't wanna drive back up for lunch (plus I was broke) and for their movie, Jeff was working and I had the girls. Lamed out for my in-laws 2 days in a row.
It's always been a Radcliffe tradition that Friday we hang out and put up the Christmas tree. My parents got a GIANT one that we decked out pretty quickly, and then... that's right, had my third Thanksgiving dinner of the week. If I had known, I probably would have juggled around my Thurs schedule... hindsight. Then I did some fun and random shopping with my sis, Jaimie (I didn't spend!) I just can't get enough of hanging out, low key with my family - I would do it everyday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Day at Home

I thought it would be fun to chronicle what a typical day looks like at our house these days.

Fridays, I work in the morning, but every other day of the week begins with Jeff and I waiting until the girls get us out of bed, anywhere between 730 and 930. We require pottying, clothes and breakfast before the TV goes on, and leave it off altogether when we can. Alisa takes her nap right about lunchtime everyday, and has finally gotten to the point where she is often happy to go and sleep.
Amie usually gets some one on one play time, or gets creative on her own while mom makes lunch gets something done. Dad gets ready for work and leaves after lunch time.
When Lisie wakes up, we'll go to a park, or we often head to Discovery Gateway while dad's away - we have a membership and it's one of the girls' favorite places. We might even ride the Trax to get there, another little girl favorite.
After coming home, we have dinner - often a series of snacks with two toddlers, probably watch a movie, then clean up the toys before we start the rest of bedtime. Our bedtime routine sometimes starts with a bath, then jammies. Brushing teeth (we have to get really creative to make this happen!) is followed by story time - each girl gets to pick out one book, or more if they've been especially good. We say prayers (even Lisie!) and then do singing. We have a main lullaby we have sung to them every night since before they were born, but lately Amelie has been picking out other songs to sing before bed, too. Faves are Twinkle Twinkle, Old MacDonald, Row Row Row Your Boat, or other Nursery songs. After or during singing, we do tucks, where we have to tuck-a-feet, and kisses. We have to leave the door open, too. Amie will ask for something every night (drink, food, potty, book, flashlight, tucks,) but she is getting better - only one request last night.
After kid bedtime, anytime from 8:30-9:30 while we're still adjusting to Daylight Savings,) mom cleans some more, gets things ready for tomorrow, reads and texts dad. Dad comes home at midnight, usually winding down with a video game or show.

Variances from this schedule are Sundays, where we spend the evening with family, Tuesday mornings we go to Amelie's dance class, Wednesday nights I go to Mutual, and when dad's off, we spend lots of great lazy time together. I'm trying to enjoy that, as life has been picking up speed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving Thanks

I wanted to do the 30 days of thanks, but for some reason didn't want to do it on facebook. Maybe cause I don't get on every single day, or maybe because I want to actually remember them. Either way, they ended up here. I've just been adding and here's the whole month for your enjoyment... (or, let's be honest - for my records!)

I am grateful for:

Nov. 1 - an amazing, healthy body that can heal itself
2 - planning ahead and feeling like a rockstar when you're prepared
3 - flexibility!
4 - people willing to help
5 - time with such fun extended family
6 - modern technology (i.e. my carbon monoxide alarm, free Poison Control hotline) in ALL its many forms
7 - My lovely Grandmother Doris! She is too sweet and never forgets anything that has to do with her family. Happy Birthday Grandma!
8 - a working car!
9 - productive bursts of energy
10 - free ways to spend free time with my little lovies
11 - HEAT! (and a brother in law that made it happen)
12 - over the counter painkillers, and modern medicine in general
13 - awesome family, always willing to step in!
14 - a most awesome husband, who never ceases to amaze me with all he is willing to do for me
15 - opportunities
16 - Being able to be a part of the amazing Young Women's program!
17 - motivation
18 - adequate sleep
19 - crafty/thrifty ingenuity
20 - opportunities to sing!! and the ability to
21 - family time
22 - a house that's ours
23 - a fun job with so much flexibilty in it's ability to bring in extra monies
24 - re-connecting... and, let's face it, good food!
25 - sweet deals, you know to feed my #19
26 - Music! real, honest-to-goodness, uplifting music
27 - friends and special events to celebrate
28 - Christmastime and holidays in general!
29 - self-reliance - this is one of my biggies
30 - The temple!!

Friday, November 4, 2011


This year was another year where we managed to pack in so much Halloween celebration that I was ready for it to be over when the actual day rolled around. (I decided to ditch half the parties next year... I was way too tired for that to be worth it again.) You've heard already about the Witch weekend we did, and here are all of the rest of the festivities:

Thursday 27th: Witchapalooza!
There is a witchy dinner show that they put on at Gardner Village, I went with all the ladies of Jeff's family (Grandmas Barbie and Lola, aunts Sheri and Tonya, cousins Marcie, Kaycee, Lindsee, Taycee, and Steph and Chris.) It was hilarious! I really enjoyed the Taming of the Brew. (And I think I was the only one who enjoyed my entire dinner of roast beef, potatoes, broccoli, carrots and some pumpkiny dessert. Lots of picky eaters in Jeff's family! (Luckily not Jeff... as much.)

Saturday 29th:
This was the looooong day that really did me in. Alisa was her best post-haircut Rapunzel, and I braided Amelie's hair the night before so she would be the perfect Mother Gothel. We started out the morning at Gallivan Plaza, where they do a Trick or Treat, plus activities. We got some candy, decorated cookies, pet a bunny (who bit my shoe,) llama, sheep and some kinda mini donkey, and even got a free pony ride! Alisa was not having it and wouldn't get on, but Amelie had a blast, not to mention she looked adorable with her cloak all spread out behind her.

From there, dad had to go to work, then I took the girls to Discovery Gateway (I really wanted to check it out this year while we have a membership.) They have a great party, where they girls got more prizes than candy, played games, did the hay maze and saw a puppet show - There's a Monster in my Bathtub. They loved it! But I could totally tell it was naptime after that, so we loaded into the car.
The girls slept while we drove to meet my parents and sister at a park in Eagle Mountain where they were doing Trick or Treat and a haunted house, etc. We went around for more candy, bought balloon animals and went through a very rudimentary haunted house. (Amelie had insisted, but wouldn't move once she was in! I had to carry both girls out.) We went to my mom's after that for dinner, where I just vegged (I had had quite enough of pushing the stroller for that day... and we even skipped one of the places I wanted to go!)

Sunday 30th: Poynor Family Party!
Every year, Jeff's mom's family has a big Halloween party, and this year we were lucky enough to have it close to us. Amelie had been really sick through some of the festivities, and when we pulled up to the party, she just asked to lay down and sleep, so I let her. She eventually got up but I don't think she made it into any of the pictures! We had looooots of treats, played some minute-to-win-it games (I TOtally won mine!,) pumpkin bowled and had lots of fun. Here's Jeff's and my stellar costume:
Heh? Heh?
Everyone costumed (except Amie, of course, napping.)
Jeff may or may not have lost... badly...
Uh... my face...

Getting ready to whack the pinata!

Monday 30th: Trick or Treating in Eagle Mountain
We decided to go to my mom's again this year, as it's quite the kid-friendly neighborhood, plus it's about the only time during Halloween they get to see their Radcliffe cousins. The four of us went down (in same costumes, except Alisa - I forgot to wash her dress after the night before, and it was out of comission! She was an angel and it was ADORABLE.) My brother in law, Jason, brought their wagon which he hooked up to their 4wheeler for a sweet kid-train. This always comes in handy when you have tiny kids trick or treating. My mom, Ricky, Jaimie, Jason, Jeff and I all took the 3 little kids around (we were quite the entourage.) It wasn't too cold, no rain, and a decent candy haul. I wasn't sad to cut it off, since, as you can see, they already had stashes by then. Amelie and Alisa (and Kail) are all at the cutest ages, where they are adorable at ToT-ing, just getting it and people still dote all over them. It was fun.

Hope yours was as happy as ours! Now, bring on the turkey!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drumroll please.......

Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you have long been waiting for!




DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, maybe you haven't been anticipating this moment for something like 5 years, but we sure have! We like to think of ourselves as pretty savvy with our dollars, and definitely not nonchalant debt-accruers, nevertheless we had accumulated a fair amount of debt. Really, it's kinda miraculous that we've paid off as much as we did in the time that we have.

I had one small school loan from my study abroad, we bought a car, doc bill after doc bill (especially for Alisa's birth after an insurance debaucle,) my ring, Jeff's Best Buy account, and various little things. When you put all of it together, it was probably near $20,000! It made me sick when we first sat down and calculated that number. I heard the average American carries $20,000 in debt and I thought that was crazy! But, think $5000 for a car, $5000 for 2 births, $3000 for school... it adds up quick! We even emptied our savings account twice, feeling this cammandment to be out of debt most important. Over the course of our marriage (only 4 years now) we have managed to pay everything off, even though I was in grad school, Jeff went through the academy, he's STILL going to school full time, I haven't worked much, AND buying a timeshare, we still managed to get it paid before our original intended payoff date. It feels amazing! We will never ever go there again!

I know this miraculous circumstance came to us as a result of discipline, prayer and absolutely paying our tithing. I'm so grateful the Lord has helped us, and most grateful that my husband has supported this endeavor, even enough to cut down his eating out by about 90% when we got married! We sure like eating out, but not as much as having all of our balances read $0. (Except our house of course... that's next on our agenda!)