Saturday, May 04, 2013

Spring Break and Poison Ivy

The boys had Spring Break a couple weeks ago,  I had basically nothing planned for the week, which is fine by me because I still carry on with life as normal and just leave the oldest four boys home by themselves to play on screens. The reason this is more OK with me now than it used to be is because we have recently done away with screens during the week! For so long, I was literally afraid to turn the screens off. I thought I would go crazy and the boys would go crazy and it would be so unfair to them. But, one lovely day in February after Stake Conference I was ready to make the commitment. I must say, It has been WONDERFUL! The boys fought the idea quite a bit the first week, but after that they were OK. It is so nice not to be a slave to the screens now. The boys love computer games, so I always felt like I was making sure each boy got his full hour on the computer and it was ridiculous.  Now, back to spring break, I let them play screens while I would go to the gym and run errands in the morning, and it really made their spring break exciting for them.

One other thing, during the week I was feeling bad that I hadn't made the best of their break and then it dawned on me that in our school district we have week long breaks constantly throughout the year. We have five breaks that are at least a week long each, so I didn't really feel like I needed to make this one extra special. It was just another break.

But, anyway.. here are the things we did end up doing. On Monday the neighbor stayed with us for the day while his parents were at work and we went to the library and then to the park and had lunch at Taco Bell. On two of the days we went to the indoor pool and swam for a couple of hours. That was a hit!
On Friday I took them to IHOP for breakfast for happy face pancakes. It was a lovely week.

Then on Saturday I took the cub scouts, Jacob and Nathan, to a day camp with some other boys from the ward. It was a nice day. Unfortunately I have boys that are really good at finding things to complain about, but we stayed regardless and had a great time.

{Learning how people used to write with ink and quill}

{armor in medieval times}

{she is teaching the boys about games played in England and what words they use differently than us}


{Lunch time}

{Archery!}

On Sunday Nathan was complaining  about something itching on his face. I just told him to scratch it. :-)
By Monday he had a bit of a rash going straight down his forehead. I still sent him to school with some anti itch cream on, but by Tuesday this is what he looked like. (Sorry about the cheap cell phone pictures, but let me just tell you, it looked HORRIBLE!)


 This was obviously something more than I was familiar with. He had it on his neck, and back and it was swelling and had pussy blisters all over it, so we headed to the Dr. He wasn't very helpful in letting us know what Nathan got into, but we did end up with some cream to get rid of it. As I talked to people, so many told me that it was obviously poison ivy. N must be very allergic to it because it was so bad! I think it spread so bad by him itching it, and then spreading it. I let him take a couple of days off of school just to avoid the stares and comments. It didn't hurt him and it wasn't contagious, it was just in such an obvious place!

This is what he looked like 3 days later. And now he is back to his handsome self.


We will definitely be more careful in the woods around here, and I think I my just need to lock Nathan up before the boy kills himself!

Monday, April 08, 2013

A week at the Hughes home.....

On Monday, the boys were running around the backyard and Nathan came to the back porch screaming and bleeding. He had stepped on a broken test tube (must have fallen out of the shed) and had a pretty deep cut right on the bottom of his foot. My amazing, talented, wonderful neighbor was coming over to get her son and saw our dilemma. She took care of it all while I stood by and told her how grateful I am for her. It is not that I get squeamish about these kinds of things, it is just that we rarely have first aid issues, so I am never sure what to do. Nathan just got a couple of butterfly band aids and the cut is healing up nicely.

Also, Steve and Steven in an attempt to get healthier wanted to try a vegetarian diet this week. I was excited for this idea, since I have been wanting to do some meatless dinners a couple of times a week. On Monday we had black bean burritos which were delicious and well received. We stuck with the meatless all week and did not starve! Imagine that. I think we will keep at it.



Tuesday was soccer! I put Jacob and Brandon in this season and they are both having a great time. Neither of them have much skill, but what's new. None of my boys seem to have much athletic ability but, they have a good time running around the field. The exciting thing about this season is that Steve is coaching Jacob's team. He is doing such a great job and I think it is good for Jacob to have his Dad there. Unfortunately they really don't have much skill on their team. A typical game is 0 to 7 with them losing.

{Practicing soccer in the front yard}


Wednesday was scouts. The boys and I headed out and I was responsible for the bears that night. We made sugardoodle cookies that turned out wonderful! We passed off requirement 9a, Yea!

Thursday was raining most of the day so they cancelled soccer.

Friday was an out to eat kind of night. Steve and I wanted to go to Thai but we hadn't booked a babysitter or picked up the house. So... we left the older boys home and took Brandon and Alex with us. Then we went out to have dinner and it went quite well. We will definitely be doing that again. :-)

 And as an added bonus, here are some pictures I have been wanting to share:

 

I have actually had this on my wall for about a year now. These are plates that we collected as we traveled Europe. Many are from Germany, but we also have plates from Prague, Spain, London, Italy, and Holland. They sat in a closet at our house for three years because I couldn't figure out how to display them. Well, with the help of Pinterest, I found a way, and I LOVE it.


Alex is so funny. He has always loved his blankets. He doesn't have a specific one that he is attached to, but he likes to have one with him when he is at home. A while back when we would put him to bed he would tell us he needs another blanket. He has a large stash of blankets in his room from many years of collecting them. So, when he asked for more, we gave him more. Most nights he goes to sleep with at least five in his crib with him. He loves is. 

  

So, Alicia did a post about her kids drinking pickle juice straight out of the jar. I was looking at her blog when my boy came home from school and they saw the pictures. They thought that looked like a good idea, so they asked if they could do it. I didn't care if they did, I just warned them about the salt content. After trying it, they decided they would rather just stick with eating the pickle. 


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone! We had a wonderful Easter holiday, and I know I need to start sharing our lives more with you.
On Saturday we colored our eggs. A wonderful experience like always.



(Alex was watching Youtube videos after trying to drink the egg dye one too many times. )


We also decided to start a new Easter Eve tradition. We talked about the week in Christ's life leading up to His Resurrection, but left out what happened on Sunday so we could revisit it on Sunday. It didn't go wonderfully because I had not prepared like I should have, but I think it is a tradition we will stick with.

Throughout the evening I learned two great lessons:

1. All those fantastic ideas on Pinterest of how to dye eggs in a new and fancy way, are not as easy as they look when you are trying to break up fights and keep colored dye from spilling all over the floor. Maybe with more prep I could have pulled it off, but for another couple of years we will stick with good old colored dye in a cup.

2. A messy house makes for a fun place to hide Easter eggs.

This morning we had a smooth Easter morning with lots of candy and a successful Easter Egg hunt.


We then had the Allred family Easter breakfast of mashing hard boiled eggs with butter and salt and sticking them in the microwave. Super easy and pretty darn good.



At church, Steve sang in Sacrament Meeting with a quartet of priesthood men. It sounded wonderful and many people let him know that he needs to share his voice more often.

I got to teach my awesome primary class of 10 year olds about the the Easter story and then shared with them some chow mein noodle nests. Yum, Yum.

Tonight we had a nice ham dinner and then watched a church video of the Resurrection.

I do love Easter. I especially love all the testimonies of Christ that are shared on facebook for everyone to see. It gives me hope to see so many that love and believe in Jesus Christ.

For your Easter enjoyment, here is a portion of our egg hunt. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-KqvLoi1Ls


Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting family

Last week was the boys Fall Break from school. We decided to head up north to Virginia and Delaware for the week, and I am so glad we did. We had a marvelous time.

We headed out Tuesday around noon and made our 9 hour drive to Williamsburg. After sleeping that night, the boys and I headed up to New Castle, DE where Steve's sister Kristin lives. Steve wanted to spend some one on one time with his Dad so this gave the rest of us a perfect opportunity to visit cousins.

We drove the additional 4 hours through D.C., and Maryland, and into Delaware. I really enjoyed the drive. You get through the craziness of the city and then you are in beautiful country. And we really loved the cooler weather when we got to Delaware.

The first day we were there, we went to Pennsylvania to the Herr's chip factory. It was a perfect outing for 8 kids. We even got to taste chips hot right off the belt. It was so much fun.

 [A baby just enjoying some chips]

The next day we had planned to go to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch, but the rain made it impossible so we found ourselves at chuck e cheese instead. Another great place to go with lots of kids. Especially on a Friday at noon. Everyone else was in school!

After we were done playing on Friday, we headed back to Williamsburg to rejoin Steve. On our way up north we drove through a tunnel that took us under the water. On our way back we took a different road and went on a huge bridge to get across the water. Both were really cool to see.

On Saturday we spent some time with Nana and Papa and then we got to go to their trunk or treat. We weren't aware of this trunk or treat when we were packing, so we didn't bring any costumes with us. These are the ones we came up with after a trip to the dollar store.

[cousin Daniel as Incredible Hulk with Nathan bothering him as usual.]
 [Steven with his $1 mask on]
 [Nathan found a sheet to be a ghost]
 [Brandon as a camouflage guy with some dollar store face paint]
[Here is our little skeleton after dessert]
[Jacob was a pirate for the evening and he has had a sucker in his mouth ever since that night.]
Also at the trunk or treat,  Steve won 2nd place in their chili contest. Yahoo! Go Steve.

The next day we went to sacrament meeting and heard some wonderful talks and then we were on our way home. It was a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Remember Alexander?


So, Laura (my sister) made a comment on a picture of Alex saying he is not the baby she remembers from the last time she saw him. At that point it dawned on me that I haven't been sharing Alex's abilities. He is definitely not a baby anymore. He has got a great vocabulary and I have decided he is going to have Steven's intelligence and Jacob's short height genes. Enjoy his video (and ignore the cluttered desk).

                             video

Our anniversay trip



So..... you are wondering what is happening with the Hughes family huh? Sorry about that.

I am going to pick back up with a wonderful weekend get away that Steve and I took. Our 12 year anniversary was on September 1st of this year. I really wanted to go away for the weekend just the two of us and it wasn't until later in the month that we were able to do that, but WE DID!

I have a wonderfully marvelous women in my ward who said she would be totally comfortable taking care of all of my boys for the weekend. She adores Alexander, so that helps a lot. She also has twin ten year old boys of her own. So she was alone responsible for seven boys for the weekend. She is amazing and they had a smooth and wonderful weekend by the way.

So, with the boys in good hands, Steve and I left for Atalanta at noon on Friday. We made it to a nice hotel and checked in and changed clothes to head over to the Atlanta temple. We had a wonderful time doing temple ordinances and loved being there together. 

Afterwards we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I have only been once before and it was a delicious dinner. It was a nice evening to not have to rush back home or make sure the boys were going to bed for the babysitter.

The next day we slept-in, had a great breakfast, checked out and headed to the neatest little place in GA. There is a town here called Helen. They have turned it into a German town, complete with great German food, nice German shops, and German words used everywhere. I absolutely LOVED it. When we got there we went on a fun little trip tubing down the Chattahoochee River. I wasn't sure quite what to expect but it turned out to be so hilarious. The river was quite low but they were still happy to give us a tube and send us down this rock filled river. We kept getting stuck on the rocks and losing control and the greatest thing about that is there are people watching the river our whole way down. It was great.

{This is a picture I found on-line since we didn't have our camera of course. I remember passing this restaurant on our way down the river and people just watch the people tubing while they have dinner. So funny. And boy do I wish we had had our camera because those would have been some great pics!}
                               
When we were done there, we headed to look at the shops around Helen. They did such a good job of making it look and feel like Germany. We didn't buy much but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Then we were off to dinner and had a delicious German meal that took us back to our life in Germany.



When we were done with Helen, it was time to find ourselves a campsite. I had looked at campsites a million times in the weeks leading up to our trip and the place I decided I wanted to go didn't accept reservations for camping. Well, I didn't feel like we needed a reservation because who was going to be camping on Sept. 21st? Well apparently lots of people because we were barely able to get a campsite and we found it right as the sun went down. Where the miracle comes in here is that we were just two adults camping. It took us all of 5 minutes to put up our little tent and we were done! It was fantastic. We then headed off to the store to buy stuff for breakfast.

{Finishing up last nights cheesecake while we waited for the fire to heat up.}


It was such a nice night for camping. It was still quite hot in Brooklet, and we had gone up in elevation a bit and we were able to snuggle up in our sleeping bags in the cooler weather. I LOVED it. The next morning we made a fire and had eggs in a frame before we took down camp and headed out for a hike. The hike was a quick mile up and mile back. It was a nice hike but the "top" was anti climactic. Not much to see. But it was a good work-out and great weather.


After that it was time to head our five hours back home to relieve Stacey. We made it by 4pm to all smiles. They all said it was a great weekend and she even asked when we plan on going again!! The perfect thing to say. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jacob turns 8 !


The day after we got back from the cruise was our little Jacobie's 8th birthday! Last year Jacob asked for breakfast in bed, and he remembered that request for this year. So, we delivered and it was a great start to his day.

After church we had a nice dinner and then some yummy chocolate cake. Jacob opened his present from us which was a spiderman web shooter. He was very excited about it and he and Nathan decided to get dressed up in their spy clothes. Jacob is the bad spy and Nathan is the good spy? Unfortunately Nathan's spy clothes are Jacob's size. lol






The following Sunday was Jacob's big baptism day! He had his interview on his birthday and the bishop mentioned that Jacob was very smart and very funny. And that is sooo true. His baptism was right after church on Sunday and Grandma and Grandpa Allred were able to be here to be a part of it. It was a very nice baptism with Grandpa giving the talk on baptism, the Hughes boys sang "I am a Child of God" and then I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. And of course the most important part was that Steve was able to baptize and confirm Jacob. That is such an important time with Steve and the boys.

video

A bad picture of the group from right after the baptism. 
 

 Jacob also got to open his baptism presents. He got scriptures from Steve and I, and nice fuzzy blanket from Grandma and Grandpa. 

We are so very grateful that Jacob is a part of our family.

He is quite a character. More so than any of his brothers. He loves to be funny and put on a show, but in such a different way than Nathan. Nathan's show is just loud, but Jacob's is either dancing or funny facial expressions, or talking like a gangsta. :-) I don't know it is just different and very Jacob.

Jacob is also VERY short for some reason. He and Nathan are 15 months apart and a head difference in height. Jacob and Brandon are 3 years apart and are just inches apart. It is really strange to me, and it really bothers Jacob. He hates that he is the shortest in his grade, and he couldn't even go on the water slide on the cruise because he didn't reach the line. I am hoping that this is his growth spurt year.

Jacob has such a hard time making up his mind. You will think that a decision has been made by him but almost without fail he will second and third guess if what he choose was what he should do.

He is still my BIGGEST helper with Alex. He loves to take Alex on walks with him or jump on the trampoline with him, or play peek-a-boo at Walmart with him to keep Alex from whining.

He is excited to go into 3rd grade, and is sure he is going to get the same teacher as Nathan since he has for the past two years.

For some reason Jacob loves to sleep on the floor. I send him to bed and he starts out on the bed, but when I go to check on him he is almost always on the floor. Weird.

He is a wonderful addition to our family and we are so happy that he was able to be baptized this year.