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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Long Update

We FINALLY closed on our new house!!!
Seriously, this was a fun adventure. Joe was finally sick of the apartment, and wanted to get into the house fast. SO, of course, he made sure the deal closed a LOT quicker than expected... well, there was one slight hiccup... but it was still fast.

We threw all of our stuff into our new house, (thanks to Dan and Steve for working SOOOO hard Thursday night - seriously, I OWE YOU BIG TIME). Then, we headed down to the ranch for the Robinson Christmas party. The kids of course enjoyed themselves immensely. There was a 2 mile jingle bell fun run. (Thanks to Jessie, all the kids got a blue ribbon for participating). We went on a hay ride. We had a wonderful dinner. It really was fun to see everyone. I drove the tractor (it makes me feel like a real woman!) - we had to move the boar trap to a more strategic location. Santa even made the trip all the way to High Kailbur Ranch!

I couldn't resist this picture. This is Charity waiting patiently for Santa to arrive. Notice she is still proudly wearing her ribbon for finishing the fun run SEVERAL hours ago.
Nate was thrilled to see him! ;)
Charity at least likes Santa now.
Aaron was just excited to get the little toy!
VERY classy family picture here!!! ;)

We didn't stay long because Christmas was 3 days away (we hadn't even STARTED shopping), and our new CHAOTIC house was beckoning.

Monday night we went to my mom's house for the Christmas festivities there. It was fun to see Sue (and fam) and Ronda (and fam). We went caroling to the neighbor's house. We had our own little program. Sue continued the tradition of the candy pass to "THE Night before Christmas". That night, we raided Cherry's house for all the stuff they were storing for us. There was a slight miscalculation when it came to the table and the trailer, so we left that behind. (oh no, we didnt even get into an argument about that...) ha

Tuesday, we got a babysitter and did ALL of our shopping in about an hour and a half. We have never really been in the habit of getting much for our kids. We don't spend much on our kids either. I think I am the world's meanest mother, but at least they got SOMETHING...
Joe and I were busy stressing about the fact that for Christmas we were getting a home.
AND, that home, because it was a foreclosure came with lots and lots of fun things to fix/buy as well!
1. The lighting was ripped out of the cieling.
2. The built-in microwave was stolen
3. The plumbing was messed up (no hot water in any of the showers)...
4. The garage door was broken...
5. We needed a new bed (somehow Emily gave our bed away when we moved from our old house - because it was OLD and she wanted a new one thinking they fell from the sky)
6. We had to buy a new fridge
7. A few days before we closed, someone stole the dishwasher and busted the back fence... tore up the plumbing in the sink... that was fun to discover WHEN THE INSTALLER WAS ALREADY AT THE HOUSE! rrrrrrrrgghhhrrrr (that is my mean/angry sound)

SO that was our Christmas.
Joe has been busy setting things up, installing cieling fans, setting up all the equipment that makes him feel at home (media/network/various computers).
I have been busy organizing and putting things away.

Christmas Eve, we made it back out to Keller to get the MASSIVE homemade table from Cherry's house. (Thanks Dan for lending us your truck). FYI: if you ever decide to build yourself a table, listen to your husband when he says it is retarded to dowel and screw the table legs to the table top. he probably knows what he is talking about.

I managed to set out the Christmas tree. We put the train around it (that is the most important thing to Aaron). Christmas Eve, I threw net lights on it. I also had everyone write down things they were grateful for on peices of paper tied to string for our ornaments. It was a pretty pathetic looking tree, but hey, we JUST moved in!
This is how awesome our Christmas was. Don't let that big box by the closet door fool you - that was a big Craftsman tool box for Joe - I have since returned it...
They were so thrilled!!! Mom and Dad were thrilled because they actually let us sleep in till 8:30!
Notice his head has been shaven. Someone confused him for a girl, and I gave in. I guess his hair had gotten a bit too long. :(

Christmas night, Cherry and Scott came and slept over. We played games and ate a ton of food. Then some people got in a fight...

Joe and Aaron took off the next morning for the Ranch again. Things were getting pretty exciting. Grandpa had already had his Christmas miracle! He caught/killed 2 boar!!

Nate, Charity and I stayed at home and cleaned and organized. I also cleaned out the apartment so we could sign off on that as well.
I was SO ready to settle in, make new friends and start a life here. I felt like we had been in limbo for SO long I was going crazy.
I had the Walls over to play rock band on Saturday night. It was really fun to see them, and remember that I actually have a friend somewhere (that isn't my family and thus required to be my friend).

Overall, this has been a wonderful vacation. I sleep in. My house is no longer chaotic (it is mostly organized except a few things in random closets...)

Let me list off some of the things I LOVE about my home now:
1. MY PIANO IS FINALLY HOME! yes, after 5 months of living without music in my house, I am thrilled to say I have it back. Thank you Ruth for storing it for me. Thank you also for giving it back ;).
*** ok, now, someone help me! The lighting was ripped out of this ceiling, and Joe and I can't decide what to put here. It is a 13' ceiling. It will just be the piano room. maybe we will put a few chairs in there, and DEFINATELY a bigger rug. BUT the big question is WHAT KIND OF LIGHTS? a chandelier would be pretty, but we really liked how in our old house we had track lighting focusing on the piano and the art work around the piano. HOWEVER, 13 feet is high, and track lighting might look stupid? what about a downward facing light chandelier? AGHHH what to do what to do!!! suggestions???(and yes, i will eventually paint the room when i figure out what color would work with that color trim)***
2. A bigger hot water heater. Our apartment had a 5 gallon water heater- 1 person could shower every hour. The dishwasher/washing machine had to be off well before anyone showered. Hot water ran out SO fast.
3. A bigger sink. My sink now can hide 2 days worth of dishes before creeping above the counter line.
4. A play room - my kids have somewhere to play and run around and they aren't RIGHT ON TOP OF ME!
5. Space!!! I have space! perhaps it is too much space, but still, I HAVE SPACE! I have a craft station for Charity. I have a cabinet for my cleaning supplies. I even have room in my kitchen to store the rice cooker/griddle/crockpot in a CABINET! WOW. How spoiled am I???

Really, I am grateful for so many things. That is why, when I opened up the fence hinge (to repair our broken fence) and old pair of gloves Joe so kindly wrapped for me to open on Christmas morning, I giggled. I didn't want/need a single thing more. PLUS, I knew that we just bought a laptop computer for me a month ago that counted as Christmas too ;)

I am also glad that our kids don't have super high expectations for Christmas as well. I am so lucky to have the most wonderful children. Aaron got only 1 thing from his Christmas wish list. Charity as well... (and a couple fillers). They were just thrilled to get something. They are so easy to please and so loving and understanding.

Ok, here is the updated score:
Robinsons: 5
Boar: 0

Aaron was so excited he got to watch them shoot one. He said it immediately fell flat to the ground- dead. For all of you animal lovers who cringe at this report, I could just show you the damage those stupid boars are doing to the property, and show you the reports that the boar population here is OUT OF CONTROL, and you would maybe not be so upset.

PS. Candles don't store well in a NON air-conditioned unit over the summer.

Charity and I took pictures of ourselves. I also dyed my hair dark (to go with my pasty skin).
OK, FINALLY, this forever long post is over

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It has been a busy month!

Let us rewind:
We FINALLY found a home!!! It is in a nice neighborhood, it has all the rooms we require, and my kids can walk to school. I am so excited. We will close before Christmas! I am so ready to get my piano back and FINALLY feel settled - to make friends and to make a home for my kids. Our time here has really been tough on the kids - Aaron especially. I am looking forward to living in a neighborhood again, having my kids able to ride their bikes, and make friends, and have a backyard! Ok, enough about that - suffice it to say I am looking forward to having a home again. Living in this 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids has been a learning experience. It hasn't been COMPLETELY miserable - just the limbo part has been tough. BUT GOOD BYE LIMBO! I KNOW WHERE WE WILL BE NEXT MONTH!! FYI, it is a forclosure, so we are getting a good deal... but we have a bit of work ahead - like replacing the built in microwave they ripped out, fixing carpet they pooped on, and replacing light fixtures they ripped out of the ceiling in places... but beyond that, the house is in good shape. ;)

Here are 2 pictures of why I am so excited about this house - 1. it is beautiful, and 2. it has a really nice kitchen.

ANYWAYS... Living in limbo has offered us an excuse to escape to the ranch every weekend. We sure enjoy that place. The boar has eluded us STILL... reason #1: The Robinsons are crazy. I think any creature would be scared off knowing they were around. #2: There is always an excuse - some of the excuses are that the 4wheelers tip and there are accidents... but other excuses include "I was barefoot" and "I didnt have a gun when I saw the boar" and "It took too long to jump off the 4 wheeler, make sure no other crazy nighttime 4wheeler driver was anywhere near before I took the shot - by then, the boar had run 400 yards..." ya.... Here is my excuse: ROBINSON MALES ARE A BUNCH OF CRAZIES... to catch the boar, they would just have to sit out there and be quiet - but they would rather chase them down on their loud machines... so far?


Enough of the boar... bore...

Thanksgiving was exciting. All 6 Allen kids were in town. We saw Twilight (it was quite an experience sitting next to Dawn - we had our own personal Mystery Science Theatre)...
We went on a ride on the Polar Express - that was sure fun. The kids sent off rockets. We went to the park. We played games. We ate. We saw Ronda, and Koya. We ate. I showed my sisters my new house! We ate. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was full of good food and fun times. The kids put on a cute little program (my mom of course had to help them put on the production). It really was just fun to be with my family. It was great to meet Owen's girlfriend. We took family pictures. The boys played in the Turkey Bowl. I for some reason got no pictures... but maybe I will add some in when I find some. We really had a lot of fun playing games together. The kids had a great time together too.
I stopped by the turkey bowl to take pics. I saw Dan make a tackle (grab a flag). Joe QB. Lochlin catch an interception... I think they had fun... you cant beat football on Thanksgiving (oh ya, the REAL Cowboys won too).

Throughout the week, we were pretty concerned about Joe's mom in the hospital.

Friday, after the Polar Express experience (which was really a delight - the kids LOVED it!), I said goodbye to the Allen clan and headed to the ranch. The reason I ditched my family? The Davies! We hadn't seen them for more than a year. My kids had been praying for their cousin Jillian (she has leukemia), but I was afraid they didn't really remember her. Anyways, we had a lot of fun. It is always fun to see family... Except, Joe decided to demolish the RAZOR... so we will just add that to our Christmas list: 1. A house. 2. A fridge 3. A bed 4. A microwave 5. lights for the house 6. A totalled RAZOR... sorry kids, you might not be getting much this year...
actually, to be honest, I am just glad they were ok. Steve had managed to get his arm pinned by that machine a couple weeks ago, and from what I hear, the Joe's wreck was pretty scary - it apparently looked like a nascar wreck with somersaults etc. Luckily, Joe and Tyler (my nephew) had seatbelts on, and the net up, so their limbs stayed in the vehicle, and while their helmets were dingged up, at least their faces stayed in tact.

Sunday, we left the ranch early and headed to Houston to see Joe's mom. She was surprisingly chipper for just having been released from the hospital. She looks great and it was fun to see her. She gave us a scare, but we are relived that she is ok.

On Thursday, Charity got to meet Carly Patterson and Nastia Lupkin at the gym where she takes gymnastics!!! Those two girls actually trained at that gym, so it is VERY cool. They were doing a toy drive autographing thing (quite serendipitous that it was during the same time as Charity's class). SO, rather than sitting and watching Charity, I sat in line. It was so crowded - LOTS of people were there for the event. The timing worked out perfectly - she came out of her class and it was her turn! Aaron was all excited to be on tv (the local news was there)... Nate was just happy to play with the trains. Yes, I love that gym because they have a train table and a tv that plays movies to entertain the tots while mom watches the gymnasts...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My kids are now done with sports!!! (at least for the fall)

Aaron's team lost 1st round in the playoffs (fitting for the COWBOYS huh?) :(

Charity also had her last game that weekend. She was so unbelievably thrilled to get a trophy! She had to have been the cutest little girl on the team - and I promise, I am not partial ;).

Charity was so thrilled to FINALLY get a trophy! She sleeps with it near her bed.
Now that we are free from sports, Joe has vowed to spend the rest of the fall weekends at the ranch. I don't mind. I absolutely LOVE that place. The weather was perfect. We all did the usual activities (frisbee golf, 4-wheeling, bike riding, game playing, SITTING AND WATCHING, getting dirty, eating, exploring, gabbing - use your imagination to assign the five of us to our own particular preferred amusements) but this time we had some extra fun:

1. Emily learned to drive a tractor (kindof like driving a standard, but with only a clutch and a brake - no gas pedal - and of course the hydrolic lifting thing...) - The ranch hand (Arturo) usually does the work, but this time, Dad Robinson let us in on some action... The task? Moving/reorganizing hay bales (kindof like moving cedars I am told). I moved several bales... although I must admit the chore was quite monotonous, so Steve took over (or kicked me off) and I was sortof glad to move on to something else (A.D.D. maybe?)... I did walk back and offer to relieve him, but he was content to finish alone.

And this is the nice line of hay...
2. The night was filled with excitement because there was a wild boar. Aaron was obsessed with hunting it down. He drew maps, and had a big plan for the hunt. It is tearing up the property. Unfortunately, the boar eluded the Robinsons this weekend, but I have a feeling it will meet its end next weekend when we are more prepared. (when i say WE i mean the boys - i would not go out driving around on 4 wheelers in the freezing cold night pointing guns at who knows what...)

3. I traveled the hilly and beautiful path from the house to the front gate (2 miles round trip) more times than ever: 1 time jogging by myself, 1 time biking (WOAH HILLS ARE HARD!), and 1 time walking with the sis-in-laws. Joe was in charge of Nate the whole time (it is so fun now that Nate is getting more independant), and I thoroughly enjoyed being outside in the beautiful weather and beautiful scenery.
Stephanie was so cute. This is how dirty a kid gets at the ranch. CLASSIC. She really wanted me to take her picture. I was glad to oblige.
Nate is FINALLY getting to be more fun and independant. Although I still feel required to check on him more often than the bigger kids, he is getting to be big enough to chill with the big boys. Nate loves it.

Syd and her funny face...
I honestly didn't see Aaron all weekend. He was too busy driving in figure 8s on this... (and making a plan to hunt the boar)
Classic shots - notice Nate - he thinks he is big enough to ride Charity's bike!!
I am sure they were talking about something very important.

Jeff.... lookin tough
We had to leave late Saturday night to make it back for the primary program EARLY Sunday morning. SO GLAD that starting next week, church is moved to 1pm. ;) ps, my kids were of course ADORABLE and ARTICULATE, and made their mom VERY PROUD.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cherry, Mom and I took the kids to the Flower Mound pumpkin patch. It is complete with hay mazes, hay rides, bounce houses, and plenty of other jungle gyms and objects for kids to climb on and enjoy. It was fun to go with cousins. My kids keep begging me to go back.

I also wanted to post this picture of Lydia playing dress ups with the little girls. This particular evening gown was found in the memory closet at my mom's house - Cherry wore it to prom in NJ. Lyd, you are so much fun and glamorous - I wish you lived closer to me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

trains, rockband2 & ranch

what have the robinson's been up to lately?
1. nate has been busy playing with trains. he has developed a deep admiration for THOMAS, and aunt richelle was kind enough to lend us some of her train set. he carries an engine with him everywhere, and absolutely LOVES to play with the tracks. he even sleeps with a few engines and track or two!! even when he is exhausted, he lays his head down on the floor and keeps playing with his trains. i just love him so much! what a nut!
2. we have purchased rock band 2. we are big fans of the whole rock band game, and i must say so far we are quite pleased with our purchase. on top of the songs downloaded from the original rockband, the new rockband has TONS of new and fun songs to play together as a family! it also has some more features, and the new drum pedal is reinforced with a metallic plate! (our old one was patched together with a piece of scrap wood). PLUS, it is all wireless - a definite bonus.
3. we went to the ranch last weekend. i seriously love that place. joe's brothers (jeff, steve & dan) and their families as well as cherry and scott & their kids came along for the party. the weather was beautiful. the kids had a blast riding on the canoe, roaming, riding bikes and also riding the mules and 4wheelers. i had a blast sitting and enjoying the view. we caught the byu game, and even a few talks from conference (mom will be proud). we played rockband 2. the boys played frisbee golf. we gorged ourselves with food. it was a very relaxing weekend. i feel so lucky to have a place in the middle (between dallas and houston) so we can meet up with cousins.

nate's hair after the inaugural mule ride.

yay for the ranger - equipped with seatbelts for joe's crazy driving...

Aaron ready to go!

the cows....

why is it so fun riding in the same field as the cows? maybe it has something to do with getting manure on the tires, smelling the stink, or making the cows run away...

the staging area

kids canoeing on the lake

dirty kids... time to go!!!

the view in the morning

the view at night

we'll be back!!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

the things kids write

I was the luckiest little girl in the world. My parents were amazing. One of my favorite things about my awesome parents was their creative parenting style - especially when it came to punishments. The most common infraction in our house (5 of their 6 children were girls) was cat fighting. Sometimes they would make my sister and I balance together on a tiny popcorn tin for 15 minutes (this usually ended in laughter). Other times they would separate us and make us write poems containing 5 nice things (or reasons we love our sister) before we could come out. I have a very specific memory of being stuck in our Finley drive bathroom writing a poem for Dawn. This particular exercise planted a seed in me - a need to express myself on paper when I am emotional. When I was a teenager, I was very emotionally charged - dramatic is almost an understatement. I would write my mother notes when I was mad or felt I was suffering from some injustice. One time I wrote out this entire verse from one of my favorite hymns: "Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly..."

I secretly think my mom enjoyed the letters I gave her. She always said that although I was trouble, I was still very fun and enjoyable - I think it was because I left her gems like this:
I left this on her bed one day. My mom caught me and some friends being stupid 13 year-olds. This is so mean. I have such a sharp tongue. I am glad my mom knew I still loved her. I am glad she kept this so I could see and remember what a drama queen I was at 13. I am glad she was able to laugh at this - not in a cruel way, but in a sweet motherly way that understood that I was just a stupid teenager doing stupid teenager things.

Writing has since become my therapy; after writing my emotions in a song, poem or letter, I gain new perspective, and emerge with a new ability to cope or understand. I don't write hate letters anymore. Joe would claim that I write hate songs now, but I also write love songs, and I don't keep the really mean ones. ;) I am glad my parents were able to find the humor in my teenage, over-emotional, snake-tongued self.

My mother was a saint. I am not.

I know I am in for a wild ride with my children. Here is a sampling of some of their most recent writings:

The other day, rather than finishing his math homework, Aaron decided to protest. He didn't yell or stamp his feet - he simply turned over the worksheet and wrote me this note:
Oh my...

She is dramatic like her mother. Sometimes, time-outs don't help her calm down. This did:
I wonder if my kids will be like me...
I am so excited to see the things they will write! ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sisters' Weekend

Last weekend, we did a girl's retreat in UT... It was SO MUCH FUN! Cherry, Mom and I flew out from TX, Dawn flew in from AZ, Lyd and Steph live in UT already, so they were already there. Best thing about it? NO KIDS AT ALL!!!! Friday night, we went to my Grandpa Sanders' cabin in Midway. My mom's sisters and their daughters were all there too... It was a great evening. We all sat around talking and listening to my aunt LeeLee's stories... We even danced a bit (yes, my mom was in charge of that part... we learned the thriller dance!!) We woke up to the best waffles ever. I need that recipie - waffles that were lighter than air - I could have eaten a MILLION of them... but i didnt ;). Dawn and I went running. It was simply beautiful. The mountains are so amazing with all their colors. The weather was perfect - not too hot and not too cold. It was just so pretty. I could have run forever. This was the only pic I got there.... everyone getting ready to leave.

We all went our seperate ways Saturday. Lydia, Julie, Steph and I (the real cool ones) went to the BYU game. It was a lot of fun. So many great memories... Lydia made us all wear blue. It was fun to be back in that stadium again. I wish I would have spent more time walking around campus. I can't believe how long it's been and how old I have gotten... Sad to know I am no longer 19. But anyways... GO COUGARS!!!
We went by Steph and Nate's apartment - oh to be a newlywed again! They are cute and cheesy and I cant help but love them. Then, everyone met up again at Lydia's house for fondue. Cherry and Dawn went shopping with Jen that day. I figure I saved at least $200 by going to the game. They came home with lots of great things from the outlets... Yes, it would be nice to have a cute coach purse, or some cool clothes, but I had a good time at the game, so Joe and I are both happy ;). Lydia's house was fun. Dave and Misty and their kids came by, along w/Jen and Julie. But, at night, we all just vegged out and fell asleep watching a chick flick.
Sunday morning was low-key. We were all enjoying Lydia's struggle to wean her STUBBORN Mckenzie. ;) Then, everyone had to go to church, and Cher, Dawn and I headed up to the airport to return home.

I really feel so lucky to have such a great family! My mom is amazing. Friday night, hanging out with her sisters made me realize how lucky I am to have my mom. Her mom died when she was just 16, (and my mom had 4 younger sisters too). Because of that, my mom had all her babies without a mother there to help her. Her sisters spoke of feeling their mother's presence several times in their lives since her death. I don't know what I would do without my mom. She is the mom who comes and cleans out my cupboards and organizes closets - just because. She plays with her grandkids. She teaches my kids songs and dances (and us too). She is the one who always inspires me to be better, and to do more. She is the voice in my head that tells me I would feel a LOT better if my house was clean (so get up and stop moping around)... In fact, because of her inspiration, one day when I was throwing up and sick sick sick, she told me to get up and clean - that day, I got a call 20mins before a showing - the very showing that sold my house. (I think she helped me clean that day, so thanks again mom). She is so helpful and kind and a great example. She is the world's best mom and the most fun and amazing grandma. I am so grateful that she is here for me. I wish I could have met my Grandma Cherry.

ANYWAYS, YAY for sisters' weekend! I had a great time. It was short, but sweet. Can't wait to see you guys again soon!! LOVE YA!!!