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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The one with the Quick Getaway

A few months back I was invited to go to Utah with some friends at the end of Spring Break.
When I was younger we didn't really have the opportunity to get together with friends much outside of school, and since I have had three kids planning a getaway where I am alone away from them has been pretty much impossible. But this Utah trip sounded AMAZING!
Not so amazing: it ended up being the weekend of Easter.
No one even realized as we were planning it since Easter isn't typically so dang early.
So the Utah trip got cancelled.
Then the trip got moved to a cabin in Garden Valley up in the mountains about an hour and a half away for a go up Friay, stay Saturday, and come back Sunday kind of getaway.
Super fun again, right??
Only problem. Eric's dang graveyard schedule makes it practically impossible to find a sitter. Most parents don't love the idea of their 15 year old daughter staying overnight by herself with three kids and then spending the entire day at the house while a twenty something year old guy is asleep upstairs.
I know, weird right? ;)
The original plan was for Eric's parents to come down and spend the weekend, but with all their church callings that became difficult. You'd think I could easily ask my family, but the whole "girl's weekend" thing is a bit touchy on my side of the family. Then we asked Eric's youngest brother if he would come down from Rexburg, but the timing wasn't right. Then there was the problem of Parker's Saturday morning soccer games, and me needing to find a fill in for Primary pianist on Sunday in a ward were strangely NO ONE can play the piano. Sadly it started looking like there was no way this was going to get pulled off.
But my dear sweet hubby was great!
He surprised me by saying I "deserved" some time away, and he took Saturday night off work.
The problem of who would fill in on the piano in church on Sunday was resolved when we realized it was stake conference and so there would be no primary anyway (a good thing since all five of the ladies who went are ALL in primary callings!).
While three of the ladies went up Friday night and enjoyed some awesome craft time (seriously, I saw some of the amazing results the next day), I stayed and took Parker to his Saturday morning soccer game, and then left afterwards with another lady that afternoon when she got off work. We stayed up super late (4 am!!!) eating good food, talking, reminiscing, and laughing then came back late Sunday afternoon.
I feel okay saying now that I was slightly nervous beforehand. All the ladies that went are spectacular ladies, don't get me wrong. I was more concerned about myself. Not having done a weekend getaway with friends before ever made me concerned I wouldn't know how to act, or that people might think I was weird . . .  because let's face it, I am a little weird. I don't know, I'm just silly I guess because NONE of it was a problem.
In fact, it was so much fun.
So relaxing.
So destressing.
So wonderful.
And I truly feel that I ended up growing closer to each of my lovely lady friends on that trip. Old friendships were strengthened, new friendships were started, and the whole thing was a massive success.
Although I doubt my kids or my husband would be up for it on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, I think Eric learned (on his first overnighter with the kids all by himself in the history of EVEr) that he could handle it. And I think I came back much more calm, relaxed, and a better mom because I actually got the chance to MISS my family for a bit.
Total honesty? I can't wait to have a girls weekend getaway again!
Just a couple of my favorite pictures from the weekend. I think these pictures will be so precious in a few years when all our lives have changed so much!

The one with all the 'Nastics

Preslie ADORES gymnastics.
And I adore her and the fact that she has found something that she loves so much.
Preslie has been going to gymnastics for almost two months now.
She started at Advnaced Gymnastics in Nampa and although I don't think they are the gym that will take her to the competitive level that we would love to see her at, it is a great gym and she LOVES Coach Paige and all the other girls she gets to practice with. She has also started going a second time a week to Mountain West Gymnastics Academy in Boise so between the two gyms she goes twice a week for about an hour each. We also ordered a practice bar and beam that we have set up in our office. We figure if we are going to do this we might as well really do it!
I know. We are a bit crazy.
But Preslie loves it. She will go into the office and practice for hours. So far she hasn't much loved beam, it's something we are working on. Instead she seems to love twirling on the bars. Head stands, hand stands, and cartwheels are something we work on pretty much every day. It will take some time for her to get them mastered because it is hard to do any sort of tumbling when your hands fully extended don't go much past your head. She is the youngest girl in both of her gym classes but she keeps up very well and is even the "springiest" girl out of both of her classes. This is what Coach Rick (from mtn west) calls being super flexible.
We just finished the first session at Mountian West and a lot of her teammates aren't going to continue through the summer but will come back in the Fall instead. I am excited to see how far Preslie advances in the next few months. Seeing her run around tumbling and flippin in all of her flashy leotards has got to be one of the most adorable things on earth!
These pictures are both from Mountain West which has a better facility. The parents all have to stay up on the second floor overlook to watch so sadly the pictures are pretty far away. In the first one Coach Rick is showing everyone how flexible little Preslie is in her Pike and in the second one Preslie is in the blue and pink leotard showing us how she almost has her middle splits entirely on the ground!

The one with the Future David Beckham

David Beckham.
Good looking guy.
Even better soccer player.
And let me just tell you this, I think we have the next David Beckham on our hands.
Although Parker's first few weeks (three!) at soccer were a little rough while he was getting the hang of the game and figuring out what the whole point of the game was, he has turned into quite the little soccer player.
It has been COLD! REALLY COLD the past few weeks. I haven't been able to take Paxton and Preslie to watch Parker's practices that he has twice a week, so I have been consistently surprised at the progress he has made from game to game.
Their first game was a BLOW OUT. They one 23-2
Second game they lost 10-7 but Parker made the first goal of the entire game and it was straight out of the gate!
Third they won 13-9 and Parker made one goal.
Fourth they won 14-5 and Parker made TWO GOALS.
Fifth game they won 12-5 and Parker made a whopping FIVE GOALS! He was his team's leading scorer that week.
And his sixth game which was this last weekend, they lost 4-5 but Parker once again made the first goal of the game and it was quite the goal. He had to dribble around several of the defenders to get it in.
The amount of goals has dropped scored by either team in a game has dropped considerably now that all the boys are learning how to defend the goal and kick the ball away from the other team. I have noticed that Parker's team is much better at passing the ball and working as a team rather than individuals. They don't win every game, but they typically at least hold their own quite well and I can definitely say that the games they have lost they have been matched up against teams with boys who have played much longer and are typically quite a bit taller.
I have been so proud of this little Parker man!
I can't believe he is old enough to be playing soccer, or old enough to be going to kindergarten in just a few short months, but here he is! All grown up!
Parker only has one more game left in the Spring soccer season and then it is on to t-ball in May, but I am pretty confident he will want to play fall soccer when the time comes around. I am in love with cheering this little stud on at every game!

The One with the Office Renovation

Anyone who comes to my house knows that I am constantly working on some project or another. For example, in the last month we re-did our entire master bathroom, built a pergola, built quite a few furniture and decorative pieces for our house, started a backyard plant makeover, redid the floors in the laundry room, and last week I decided to tackle redoing our office.

Don't ask me why!!! There really wasn't anything wrong with our office to begin with! Most people have seen our lovely built-ins that Eric made with the limited help of my Uncle Brent. My Uncle is a FANTASTIC carpenter, one of the best, but he has told me several times that he didn't have to help Eric much with this project while Eric worked on it at Brent's shop. In addition to the cabinets, I had done a little accent stripe (or three) along the entire room, and most everyone that comes in loves it! Why did I change it all up? Don't ask me! I'm not entirely sure yet myself, honestly. I just kept wanting something different.

Real problem: I was super sick for about a week. Figures my entire family could make it the whole length of winter without getting any terrible bugs and then the second spring hits the nasty cold settles in for a month. I was pretty much down on my back for about a week. Not much getting up, not much making dinner, not much cleaning. It was good for my homework. But even in my fairly aggressive program I started to run out of homework to do. And let's face it, no one wants to get THAT far ahead in their classes. So I was on pinterest . . . . A LOT. Then I read way too many home improvement blogs and came up with way too many ideas on changes to make and things I wanted to do in my house. Dangerous? YES. Especially since I was too sick to actually accomplish any of these ideas. Sad because a week at home off of work could have resulted in quite a few projects getting finished.

Instead the second I started feeling better I got up, went into our office, and immediately told Eric "I' going to paint the cabinets white." I'm sure you can imagine his response considering our cabinets are the blackest black you can find and even more of a response considering after we built the cabinets Eric wanted to paint them white and I said no I want them black. BIG MISTAKE! Fur future reference remember that whtie cabinets can easily be painted over . . . . black is less easy. Not impossible, but less easy. More primer. More coats. More time. And I am one of the most impatient people on the planet so this process was a tough one for me.

Here are the cabinets before. The lighting is awesome in this room the majority of the day because of the HUGE window, but these pictures turned out a little dark. I'm sure it doesn't help that the cabinets are black, and our sleeper sofa is black . . . they probably suck out all the light in the room into a black hole.

And here is a pretty good picture of the chair rail I did. I actually super love it. And in reality it would have matched with the accent pieces I had picked up for the cabinets, but it started to become extremely hard to decorate around. Big art pieces would go straight across the lines and I thought that looked weird, but the wall is too big, especially with the slanted ceilings, to have only those three clocks up on the wall. Although you can bet that the clocks will be incorporated in some way or another in the new wall that will be going up there. I'm not quite sure how yet, but they will.

And after quite a few days of sanding, and priming, and priming, and priming, and sanding a little mroe than three layers of paint, I finally got the cabinets white.

Don't mind Preslie's gymnastics gear set up all of the place (that will be another post). Just look at the cabinets. I feel like the white makes it so much less dark in the room. And although the blue chair rail stripe was pretty cool (if I do say so myself) I think it will be easier to add a big art piece on that wall without it. My idea for the huge wall: I want to make a huge calendar that we can change out every month with our stuff. I'm still debating the best way to do it. White board paint? Or just a general template that I can add sticky notes to? I thought about chalk, but I don't know that I want to deal with all the dust from it. Maybe I will be super lucky and find a big piece of glass that I can template a big calendar on and use EXPO markers to add everything. We will see how lucky I get.

I can already see that these cabines are getting super full, so I've already told Eric an I want to build big standing tower cabinets on either side of the large window opposite of the cabinets. This room was (kind of still is I gues) our guest bedroom and has a HUGE leather queen size sleeper sofa against the window for guests. Unfortunately most of the guests we get (ie Eric's brothers and cousins) don't sleep in it anyways, they always opt for the couches that are apparently more comfortable, so the couch isn't getting much use. Now that Preslie's gymnastics stuff is set up the room feels a little small, not to mention the matching chair that goes with the sleeper couch that is currently in our family room will have to move once we get the final addition of our new sectional (yet another post). So we are selling our nice black leather couch set. I think it will free up some space in our office/exercise room and make it more functional for us. Here's to even more changes and projects!

The one with the Easter Bunny

Easter this year was so early!!! Anyone else agree? The end of March, just barely done with Preslie's birthday and not even enough time for the grass to green up at all or for flowers to bloom and BAM it's Easter! I love Easter, and I love the Spring, so it's all good for me.

Something we didn't think of when buying our current house: the back yard faces exactly west, and there are no houses to obstruct the sunshine from shining in our back yard and all the windows on the back of our house. Makes for a super bright house. But it also makes for a house that gets super hot, super fast, and a backyard that especially in the summer months can be almost unbearable for our kiddos to play in. Eric and I had been talking for quite some time about putting up a gazebo or pergola (what really is the difference anyway) in the backyard for almost as long as we have been in the house. Our backyard has really kind of been this ongoing effort. It was a bare patch of grass when we moved in and we have done so much to it, and then changed all that around and done even more. i think we finally have most of the blueprint of it settled - or at least I hope so since we have put in concrete curbing that aside from costing a pretty penny will be incredibly hard to move around if we decide to switch it up again. Idea: let's NOT move anything in the backyard around ever agin. DEAL!

Back to Easter. Simplot closed their entire plant over Easter weekend. They said it was to do scheduled maintenance, but I think it was an easy way to ensure that all their employees took of time to spend with their families over the Holiday, which I LOVED. Eric ended up with quite a few days off and on the Wednesday before Easter decided to tackle the pergola while I was at work. I left both of the boys since Preslie had gymnastics after work and honestly I expected to come home later that afternoon to a half finished pergola because I figured there was no way Eric could do it all himself.

How wrong was I?!?!?!? MAJORLY WRONG that's how wrong!

Instead I came home to the entire pergola up! We had to hurry and stain it before Easter weekend, but I'm sure that was the easy part.

I was happy Eric was able to get it all doen before Easter came and everyone was in our backyard. I wish the grass had been a little greener, and the plants had been blooming even just a touch, but what can you really expect I guess when it's MARCH!

Anyway, this year we hosted the Easter egg hunt at our house. Right now it just includes our three kids, and my sister's three kids but I love how all of them are within the same age range so they get along so nice.

I also wish that I had been better about snagging some truly awesome Easter egg hunt pictures, but with six kids all under the age of 6 I think we were pretty lucky to get any pictures. Once they get out there, the game is on and they don't appreciate any interruptions.

Paxton has a particular soft spot for my Grandpa Carpender. Paxton loves to sit and cuddle, and so does Grandpa Great so they have become great buddies!

All six kiddos lined up and ready to go out and hunt for their eggs!

Paxton wasn't so sure about what was going on, but he went out in the line with them all.

We also had the pleasure of Eric's youngest brother, Mat, who is about one year off his mission comign down from Rexburg and staying with us over Easter. Actually, to be honest we even had a surprise guest, Eric's cousin, Chris, stop in on his way through as well. I kind of love being right in the middle of Rexburg/Utah and Portland, I think it's the only way we end up getting to see the majority of Eric's family because we haven't been able to make it up to Portland as often as we would like. Uncle Mat (or uncle smack as our kids call him) popped a family picture of us all right as we were headed out to church on Easter Sunday. I can't believe how crazy old this little family of ours is getting, I sure do love them all!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The One With March Madness

March Madness.
No, I'm not a huge college basketball fan (although I used to be quite good at basketball myself) so this post is not dedicated to the happenings of the NCAA college playoffs. If you thought it was you may be disappointed.
But really the happenings in the Marshall household should be plenty to entertain you.
The last few weeks? Man what have we NOT been up to!
It's funny because I read back through old posts or just think to myself, I used to think life was so busy, but it is sooooo much busier now.
Like really, it is insanity.
I feel like there is so much to catch up on from the last time I posted, but I'm not sure where to start. If this post seems kind of sporadic and all over the place, that is why.
I think we are finally starting to get the hang of this graveyard shift thing. I don't know how nice it is to say that, but the kids and I are at least adapting and have a routine down (kind of), Eric, well I don't know how well he could ever adapt to being a vampire who never sees daylight. The plant was closed for two days over Easter so it was very nice to have him home and around and up during normal hours that weekend. Eric is still the YM secretary, I'm sure he will even be able to go to more Wednesday night activities once this crazy hectic schedule is over - supposedly he will be done with this rotation on April 22, so only about two more weeks. I think I can, I think I can! I can't complain much, on the two nights a week Eric doesn't work he tries to stay up to keep up a sleeping routine, this typically results in me waking up to some awesome things. Like he laid new flooring in our bathroom, and put up board and batten. And he laid new flooring in our laundry room. And he drew up plans for a pergola in our backyard, priced it out and ordered all the stuff for it. This man of mine is pretty amazing I must say.
I am LOVING this sports mom thing. I know, I know, everyone keeps saying "Oh you'll hate it when  . . . . " And you know what? I disagree! I don't think I could ever hate going to watch these little ones of mine grow and progress in whatever sport they decide to. I may get tired of the crazy schedules and wish there were more hours in the day, but I am continuously surprised at how much more we can fit into a typical day and still survive. I can say that my dinner cooking has suffered - the majority of weeknights I have been at work or sporting events all day so it makes it difficult to make truly wonderful gourmet meals like I typically prefer. I won't lie and say we haven't eaten out a little more often then we did before - but we eat pretty healthy and still make wise decisions so it's all good, right? I was just realesed from my calling as ward librarian (seriously the best calling ever) and called to primary pianist. Honestly I haven't touched a piano in over two years, so it is a bit overwhelming, but I can do it! At first I was minimally bummed because I LOVE Sunday School and RS comes in a close second, so I was sad to miss them. But my first Sunday playing in Primary I was blown away at what I learned. My friend Jenn (the primary president) taught the lesson and I just loved it. Too often as we grow up our lessons become so huge and complex that we forget the basics, I loved hearing the basics spoken in plain language. I loved seeing Parker and the grin he got on his face when he said "That's MY mom playing the piano" and I will love having Preslie in there to watch as well.
Parker is the most amazing, studliest little big brother we could ever ask for. I just love him. Eric and I can sure be hard on him because he is the oldest and we know he understands us more than the others, but he is a great big brother. He scored the very first goal in his second soccer game. They lost 11-9, but it was still very close, and I couldn't have been prouder of how well he is catching on to soccer and all that he supposed to do. Today he had his third game (they didnt' have one last week because of Spring Break) and they lost again. SAD. Final score was 11-8. The kids in this game had obviously been playing for much longer so I was proud of our boys for holding there own. Although they didn't win, I can say that Parker played better this game than he has in any other game. I am getting excited for this little man and the places he will go. He is about ready to start T-ball here in a few weeks as well, it overlaps soccer by a week which will make things hectic for a bit for sure. I'm trying to get him to start riding his bike with just two wheels - I know he can do it, he is just a little unsure.
Preslie is in TWO gymnastics programs right now. We decided that as much as we loved the coach at Advanced Gymnastics where she started, we wanted her to get the experience of a more competitive team now while she was younger. We were lucky enough to get the last spot at Mountain West Gymnastics in Boise. They have three level 10 gymnasts who are ranked in the top 75 in the NATION. Unfortunately we didn't realize the bond that Preslie had already made with Coach Paige at Advanced, she was pretty unwilling to leave. Right now where most of what they are doing is strengthening and coordination based we aren't concerned about her overworking so we go Tuesday to Advanced and leave work early on Wednesday to go to Mountain West. She LOVES it. She now has two leos which she wants to wear all the time. She practices head stands and flips on our couches, and hanging from whatever bar she can find.
Oh this cute little snuggly boy of mine, what will we ever do with him? Pax is the most loving little boy I think I have ever seen. He will follow me around the house for HOURS waiting for me to pick him up just to give him a snuggle. The other day I was sitting on the floor folding laundry and he came, pushed everything aside, and sat on my lap. I am obsessed with his little hands, they are adorable to me. He is still having problems eating. It seems like every time we make a huge stride he starts getting teeth and we go two steps back. He just got all four of his eye teeth in at once - talk about TERRIBLE! He was a crying, drooling, mess for two solid weeks. Never would eat. Right now he will eat things that he finds around the house, but doesn't care so much to eat when he is actually supposed to. He LOVES outside. I am sure he would spend all day outside if I let him. If he sees a door open and he doesn't get to go outside before it closes he throws a huge fit - these fits are hysterical to me, he crouches down on the floor and cries in his hands. It's very dramatic. I sometimes open the door and close it just to see the tantrum he shows, shhhh don't tell anyone.
My Grandma Carpender came to work the Friday before Easter and helped all the grandkids dye easter eggs. They had such a blast. She's so good to do it, if she hadn't have done it my kids wouldn't have.
Easter was pretty low key around these parts, which was just what we needed. Saturday my sister and her kids, my parents, and my Grandma and Grandpa Carpender came over to our house for an easter egg hunt. The kids had fun, it was later in the afternoon so it was perfectly nice outside and Eric had just finished a little project in the back yard that made it spectacular. Easter Sunday we got up, the kids opened their Easter baskets complete with new Sunday clothes and we all went to church. Eris' brother Mat was in town for Easter so he snapped this quick pic for us on my iPhone - pardon the clarity, I wish I had thought about it enough to use the nice camera.

 Grammy and Papa Marshall got Preslie a Minnie Mouse vaccum for her birthday, but she no longer is allowed to use it. The vacuum has now been adopted by Paxton who vacuums every day all day, and drags it up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, on the wood floor, on the carpet, outside . . . he doesn't care where it's at, he just loves to vacuum. I wish they would invent a little kids vacuum that actually worked, if they did that, I would be SET!

We have been up to many projects in the Marshall house. Too many in fact. Floors in the master bathroom led to a wall treatment which led to painted cabinets which led to new coutertops which led to new backsplash and all of this led to a giant paint spill in our master bedroom. I got the paint spill mostly cleaned up, but it just cemented the idea that we NEED new carpets in this house. This builder-grade carpet must go, it's been almost 5 years now, so I guess that's the next thing we save up for. In addition to the master bathroom we also laid new floor in the living room, tackled a big project in the back yard (mentioned farther down) and I had about a million little decor projects I wanted to do. I made a coffee filter wreath, which I didn't take a picture of yet, but I probably should. I painted and antiqued a side table that was awkwardly placed in our office to now work in our living room. And i made this hydrangea planter box for our kitchen table. I never thought I would get into the decorating that involved using pieces that were made to LOOK used, but man I'm kinda diggin it lately. 

The first day at Mountain West Gymnastics Preslie got to go up on the high beam! I was beyond excited to see where this little girl will end up in a few more years!

Were you super excited to find out what our big backyard makeover was? Thought you might be.
Here it is! Eric put up a pergola . . .completely by himself.
He talked to me about it on Wednesday morning before I left for work, and when I cam home that evening this was up. It wasn't stained yet for sure, but it was up. I was amazed he did it without another tall person. We stained it on the Thursday before Easter, and now we can already tell a difference in how much sunlight comes into our house. The plan is to get vines to grow up all over it and make it even more shady. It wll be spectacular when it is all done. Now that we know we have to stay here for at least another year with Eric's job literally being 3/4 of a mile away from us, we have decided to finally make this house what we want. 
You know that master bathroom remodel I talked about. We had done the countertops one evening, I went to work the next day and came home to this. In his defense, the backsplash really did look terrible with the new countertops and we have talked about replacing them FOREVER so it was no big deal. But my quick bathroom remodel ended up taking my bathroom away for about two weeks. I never thought our gues bathroom was small until I had to get myself and our three kids ready in it for two weeks.

And this is the finished product, new cabinets, new coutertops, new backsplash. We have all the stuff to frame out the mirror as well, but so far haven't had a chance to jump into that one yet. Maybe I will go into further detail on a different post, but for now this is just a quick update.
After Parker's second soccer game my mom and I took the kids and headed up to a cabin in McCall that my sister's family was staying at. We did a little bit of grocery shopping and Preslie fell in love with this shopping cart. I wish I could find soem in our town for her to use. 

Paxton finds anything and everything. One day at work Preslie had chocolate pudding. I kept finding it on the floor and would tell her to pick it up so Paxton wouldnt' fnd it . . . . sure enough, he found it.