In looking around to find out if the crystal making solution (from the crystal making kit we got from the dollar store) Noah just tasted was going to hurt him  I found  a "recipe" for making Borax snowflakes. We were all intrigued and were excited to try it.

We made the simple Borax solution and struggled to find containers that would be big enough to suspend the snowflakes in the solution without hitting the sides yet small enough that we wouldn't have to make 3 or 4 batches of solution to make 1 snowflake.  We ended up using interesting containers.

We got them all set up and could hardly wait till the next day to see how our snowflakes turned out.

They did not disappoint

But as I looked at them I wondered why we couldn't do a candy cane or a Christmas tree shape

We had to use different methods for hanging them in the solution but I thought they turned out really well. I've heard that they don't really retain their sparkle from year to year so we'll have to make more next year. Who knows what we'll come up with then!!

The first order of business when we woke up on Saturday was taking care of the sprinkler pipe. Derek feared it was beyond his blossoming handyman skills so we called in the professionals

Which happened to be a teenager fresh out of HIGH SCHOOL!(Seriously! Pretty sure he was 19!) Good heavens. But since he'd already done most of labor intensive part ( that of digging out the problem) it cost us significantly less than it would have had we called him without trying.  So Derek still gets major props. He thinks he could fix it from watching him do it so next time...we won't need to call.

As soon as all was complete and covered we started on the living room. Trying to figure out the best configuration of the couches to accommodate the tree. Derek wanted it in front of the window, and it was no small task. We must have tried three or four different ways and ended up vacuuming portions of carpet that haven't been vacuumed in a long while. As soon as we were satisfied we  hit the road for the tree lot for our Christmas tree. This has to be the very earliest that we've ever gotten a Christmas tree.  It was strange to walk around the tree lot and be almost warm.  As soon as we got it in the house lights were strung and ornaments were placed. Before I had taken any pictures it was done.

This is it...this is all I have of the decorating blitz. Not even a picture of our first tree trip on the van.(which was MUCH easier by the way) Pathetic.

A tradition we started this year was the Thanksgiving/Christmas chain.  This year, as in past years, the Family Home Evening before Thanksgiving we wrote down all of the things we were thankful for on strips of paper and made a chain. But this year when I was cutting the strips I discovered that I had cut 24 of them. It didn't take much to make the connection that there would be 24 days until Christmas as well. So after we each took turns choosing things that we were thankful for we made our chain and put it on our tree

We plan to take off a link each day and remember the things that we are thankful for all through December when it's most easy to forget what we are thankful for and only focus on what we do not yet have. I thought it was a stroke of genius...or more likely inspiration.  The boys still remember who said what on our thankful chain and are excited for it to be "their" thankful day.

I really think this will be a fun tradition that we'll keep doing for years.

I'd been telling Derek that I wasn't able to get the sprinkler water off again. Every time I tried, it filled up with water like it had last year. He wondered if we might  have a leak in the line. So bright and early the morning of the day we were going to take off to Idaho for Thanksgiving Derek put up the rest of the lights

and dug up the front yard sucking out dirt and water as he went.

Gigantic gaping hole and at the bottom of it sure enough...a crack in the line. Under the valve. Awesome.

We couldn't deal with it then so we covered the hole with a window well cover and put some Halloween caution tape up to call people's attention to it.

It looked so great. We just wanted everyone to see it. ;)

We headed for Idaho knowing that we would have to come back earlier than originally planned to have this sprinkler pipe situation resolved before the snow flies.

When we got there we made the most of our time since it wouldn't be long. Hyrum read to Grandma ( Can't believe he's reading this length of book! Three months ago we didn't even know he could read AT ALL)

and Grandma read to Noah ( He's a bit jealous of all of the attention Hyrum is getting for reading)

And playing with the toys that they always forget are so cool at Grandma's house

Happy and relaxing Thanksgiving heaven

Every year when we come for Thanksgiving we are greeted by this

This adorable little planter that I brought as a hostess gift the first Thanksgiving I spent here. Eleven years ago!  It used to have real plants but these hold up much better. Makes me happy every time I see it.

Then it was time to eat! Eli was ready to put his fresh new tooth to the test.

But he had to settle for sweet potatoes ( a first thanksgiving dinner tradition ) then we mixed it up with a little turkey and sweet potatoes (it's only fitting) and topped it off with applesauce!

That was quite a feast for Elijah who was used to two containers. He was fat and happy for sure!

The rest of the day was filled with more playing, napping and browsing through ads. Then we watched 'Cars' the movie that night with popcorn while Elijah bonded with Grandma.

The next day was Black Friday which my boys were appropriately dressed for

Totally an accident but fitting for the day I think. When one wears it the others HAVE to wear theirs too.

But instead of heading to the stores we headed to the Idaho museum for the King Tut exhibit. Hyrum had seen an article about King Tut's artifacts in the newspaper a month or so ago and was fascinated

He was really excited to go see it for real

They had a sarcophagus with a fake mummy in it (that was taller than the original King Tut-specifically made for the american population because they figured we wouldn't understand why he was so small- really?!) But these was the only sarcophagi they were willing to be anywhere near.

We also checked out the rest of the museum which in one part talked about nuclear fusion since they have a nuclear power plant in Idaho. I was surprised how interested in it Hyrum was in the video they showed. He even kept referring to it through out the day. On our way out of the museum we stopped to take a picture with Santa Claus' mailbox that Derek remembers sending letters through. Fun!

Then it was time to pack up and get ready to go.  Every time we come to grandma's house the boys want to play with these.

Big glass diamond sun catchers that project rainbows all over the room. Grandma has offered for the boys to take them home but I want them to be a grandma's house memory. And a grandma's house memory they shall be. :)

My parents came out for Halloween this year! They had been coming out every year the past few years but hadn't last year.  It was super fun to have them around again for the festivities.  One of the major reasons why they came this year is that Adobe is moving to a new building next week and we're pretty sure this is the last hurrah for the "Halloween Horror Hoorah (horrah?)" and my dad wanted to be a part of it.  Last year the guys that Derek was decorating with were asking hopefully if he'd be coming but alas he wasn't. He was missed. Yeah, my dad pretty much rocks!

They came bearing gifts.  Awesome glow in the dark skeleton shirts (which Hyrum first threw a fit about because he thought it was going to be a toy-but now it's his FAVORITE shirt) for all of the boys.

It was a whirlwind of haircuts and highlights( my mom always makes sure I make it to the salon when she's here), Halloween construction ( an important reason that my Dad comes out for ). Before we knew it was time for the Halloween party at Adobe.  We invited some of Hyrum and Noah's friends Alan and Tyler Mejia to come with us.  What we didn't think about was that we now have a kindergartner, an afternoon class kindergartner. So we weren't able to leave until it was half over. The boys jumped into their costumes

Third of my boys to wear this on their first Halloween. I love it! That hat kills me everytime.

and we got them all tagged up to go for probably the last time ever

My dad wrote their names on brown paper bags for their loot

 We got there and parked in the designated parking lots a distance from the building. (!) and hopped on a hayride to get there.

It was a fun addition to the event.

We had a Trunk or Treat at church on the 26th and Derek and I still didn't know what we were going to be dressed as for Halloween. I thought we just might not dress up for Halloween this year. There once was a time that if you didn't dress up for the H3 ( Halloween Horror Horrah) party that you were a complete party pooper. Now there are about half that don't so I din't think as much about it.  But the day of the Trunk or Treat we came up with ideas. Derek's section at H3 was "The Hunger Games" and looking at things we had in our closets we decided to be Cesar Flikerman and Effie Trinket.  From things in our closets people. Scary!  All we needed was a little bedazzling, spray sparkle, colored hair spray, and a wig.  I think it turned out really good actually.

No one could figure out who we were, especially the kids ( I'm glad they didn't know). We were also able to get a picture with the tiny Star Wars friends too.

But back to H3, when we approached the party we could tell that all the stops were pulled for this last hurrah.

They wanted everyone to go through the buildings the same way so they were lining everyone up at one.  As we waited in line we heard talk of hour plus waits and possibly not even being able to get in the building much less see any of it.  This really has gotten too big to be much fun. I guess it's a good thing it's coming to an end. They finally opened it up so that people could go in either building and we opted to go to Derek's building since we wanted to see what he worked on.

This is what my Dad and Derek worked on. The cornucopia.

Yes that's real grass in that conference room.

No that's not my real dad. :) They had theater students from BYU come and be some of the characters.

There was a Peter Pan section that had a 3/4 size pirate ship!!

They also had Indians complete with a full size tee pee

A flying Peter

And a Captain Hook

Who was a little too realistic for the boys I think.

We got back on the hayrides and headed back to the cars as the sun was setting. The boys found a big pile of leaves that they had to jump in.

I think they may have had more fun in that then they did at H3.

The next day (Halloween day) was the Halloween Parade at school with the kindergarten program afterwards

Watching the parade pass with his kindergarten teacher

In the program

A little taste
Can you find Noah?

Fun with friends

After that we all ran home to do some pumpkin carving...It was Halloween night after all

Noah even tried his hand at pumpkin gutting. Hyrum wouldn't go near it... until it was done.

And then we ate some pumpkin

Pizza that is. It was incredibly warm for Halloween this year so we didn't have our traditional taco soup before heading out, the boys probably wouldn't have eaten it anyway.

During dinner we decided to teach Elijah what it meant to have teeth.

His first little tooth popped through the day before so while he ate his cereal my mom tapped on his little tooth with a metal spoon.

It was all we could do to get the boys to eat their pizza before bolting out the door for trick or treating.

I did get manage to make them all sit together for a picture though.

We went with the boys friends from next door. Hyrum and the friend would sprint from door to door, but Noah who had shorter legs was always lagging behind.

It finally got to the point where Dad would "rocket" him from door to door.

And in longer stints he would ride on dad's shoulders

And give Dad the feed bag. :)

Eli and I went along with Derek and the boys and had only planned to be out a short time but we ended up staying with them the whole night.

The boys had been frightened by some of the Halloween decorations ( and a neighbor boy ) and by morning we had every last member of our family in our queen sized bed. We were all on our sides in order to fit. In coming years we may need a bigger bed.