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Happy Halloween!

This Halloween started off with parades for both boys at school.  Corbin's was first at 8:30.  I thought it was so cute watching these Kindergarteners carry their chairs out to the playground to set them up for the parade.  


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The mom of one of Corbin's friends helped in the classroom that day and she sent me pictures of their celebrations!  


Each class got to go around the circle to show off their costumes.  Luckily, the Kindergarteners went first so we could leave a bit early to take Cason to school and see his parade.  It felt so surreal to me, doing this again at preschool with my second kid.  I have just been so used to Corbin being the one at this school and now it is Cason's turn.  And it won't be much longer before it is Kinsley's turn.  


I love my cute little kids and I feel so happy that I get to watch them grow and learn and become these sweet and amazing individuals.  

After school I made the kids take some pictures with their pumpkins and their Halloween clothes.  It had been a  long day of little naps and lots of celebrations so they were tired.  I couldn't get them to smile.


After dinner, we got ready for our trick-or-treating!  Kinsley even let us color her nose black with my eyeliner.

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We headed out to the front to take some pictures!


Then we started the trick-or-treating.  We live in an area with LOTS of young kids so there were lots of families out by 6 going around.  We even got to see some of Corbin's classmates.  


Kinsley caught on pretty quickly and would not let go of her trick-or-treat bag.  She also wanted to be a big girl and walk herself even though we had the stroller.  


Poor Cason would get so excited at each house and start running and just kept tripping.  About half an hour after, he was done and was ready to just eat candy.  He rode in the stroller at that point.  Corbin didn't last much longer so we headed home.

This year the bowl we left out had candy gone!!  A first for us!  We had a few more trick-or-treaters that night but our very last ones were at 7:45pm.  I guess it just shows how many young kids are around!

Then we got home and checked out the loot.


Carving Pumpkins

We were actually able to carve pumpkins as a family this year for FHE.  We do every year but Connor's work schedule has been out of control and we weren't sure how it was going to go.  Luckily, he was able to get home just a tad bit earlier for us to make it work.  


Even if there were some mishaps, work calls, and some tears we made it through and everyone loved the result.  Of course, Kinsley loved checking out the insides and I even got the boys to try ever so slightly touching it by showing them the "guts and goop".  They thought that was pretty funny.  


Student of the Month

A week ago, Corbin came home with a letter from his teacher stating that he was selected as a "Cool Cougar" or student of the month for October.  We were invited to a little celebration assembly for all the students being recognized. 

When I told Corbin about the letter he asked me what it meant.  I told him it means that he has made good choices at school.  He said, "Sometimes I make mistakes at home.  But not at school."

We love our sweet Kindergartener and feel so proud of the sweet and wonderful boy he is!  

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Here is his school picture from this year.  I can't believe with technology the way it is that they couldn't just quickly retake the picture with a decent smile.  Oh well.  Connor and I decided to keep it because aren't school pictures supposed to be silly anyway?  That's why we get family pictures done by a good photographer.  


And here's his class picture.  This one turned out pretty great of him.  (His classmates are blocked out for the sake of privacy.)


6th Annual Pumpkin Patch Visit

Ever since Corbin was 8 months old we have been going to the same pimpkin patch each year.  Connor takes time off work and we spend the morning doing the fun things around the pumpkin patch.  This year, Corbin has school every morning.  We contemplated taking him out of school but then decided that since he gets out early on Friday's we would just go in the afternoon.  This ended up being better because there were less people since all the schools had gone for the day.  Also, it is usually really warm and it was just the perfect amount of cool and warm.  I think this ended up being much better for us!

We drove up as usual and the kids were so excited.  It was fun that we had 3 kids walking themselves around and the only things we had to carry was the camera.  I was surprised at how well Kinsley listened to our directions and stayed close by when we called her.  For a 16 month old I was impressed.  


We first rode the train.  Always a favorite.  


Then the kids played in the bounce houses and playground.  

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In past years, Corbin has said he wanted to ride the pony but then would chicken out at the last minute.  I was afraid that might happen again this year, but he did do it.  Cason told us from the very beginning that he didn't want to ride the ponies so we didn't even get him a ticket.  And of course, we didn't want to chance it with Kinsley either.  But Corbin seemed to enjoy the ride!


After that we went and had a snack or two or three.  We let everyone pick out something.  Corbin got a jack-o-lantern cookie.  Cason chose a big lollipop.  Connor chose strawberry ice-cream and I chose pimpkin ice-cream.  We all shared with Kinsley (and each other)!  


We walked around a bit looking at some of the decorations and then tried feeding the goats.  Cason stayed out with me and Connor took Corbin and Kinsley.  They didn't like it too much so we gave our food to another kid.


Then we took them on hay ride.  Usually when we go it is packed so it was nice to have it more open.  I forgot how long the hay ride is and that the kids are restless by the end but it is fun anyway.  They particularly loved the pumpkin patch across the street with their TONS of pumpkins!


Then we chose our pumpkins.  Kinsley was so funny.  She kept looking around for a pumpkin with little or no stem so that she could sit on it.  And she just sat there looking around and being cute.  


I love my family and we actually got a family picture with all of us looking!!



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                                                                   Corbin's fundraiser webpage

Corbin's elememtary school does one fundraiser a year, a walkathon.  The kids try to earn money for each lap they walk (or a just a flate donation) and it is an afternoon long activity.  They have different "boutique" booths, food booths, game booths, a silent auction, along with all the walking going on.  Since this was our first year, we weren't really sure what to expect but it was fun and tiring and overall a good experience to do something for the school and our community.  

We were told that Kindergarteners on average walk about 15 laps so that was the goal we set for Corbin.  I should have asked him before because when he was asked on the day of he said his goal was 10.  And he made it to 10.  So he did make what HIS goal was even if it wasn't the original goal we set.  

I signed up to volunteer the first couple hours keeping an eye on the blacktop and garbages.  That gave me enough freedom to watch our other kids and watch Corbin walk some of his laps.  

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The boys got to take a break and eat some cotton candy.

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He was lucky to have his grandma and aunt come support him and walk a couple laps with him.  The last lap was brutal.  He was tired, it was hot and it was near the end of the day.  We gave him lots of encouragement that he could do it and I was really proud that he made it!


We are so proud of our Corbin!

16 Months


I have this love/hate relationship with my kids growing up.  On one hand I feel sad when I start seeing them get farther and farther away from babyhood.  On the other hand, seeing their personalites form and the new things they learn is exciting and wonderful.  

It seems with each child we add, they learn much quicker and act older sooner.  Maybe some of it has to do with Kinsley being a girl, but she seems like a teenager in a tiny 1-year-old body.

-Her body is tiny but her personality is HUGE!  There is no picking on this little girl.  She will fight back against her brothers (actually, brother since there is really only one brother that picks on her).  We have had to hold back our laughter when Kinsley fights back because it really is not okay to hit or pinch or twist her brothers skin.  But seeing this tiny little girl make her 3-year-old brother cry, it is so hard not to laugh.  


-Her favorite books are pretty much any word/picture books, a BYU baby board book (this is her favorite book), The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, a Giants baby board book.  
-Her favorite toy is any ball.  Oh and any toy her brothers are playing with at the moment, of course.
-She is balbbering a ton and seems to know exactly what she is saying.  Just today at breakfast, she pointed at one of her brothers and turned to me and started blabbering away and then gave a little chuckle like she just told the funniest joke.  She also does say words.  Her most common is "please" which souns more like "ease" because she says it any time she wants something which is practically ALL DAY LONG.  When we are in the car her most common word is "Mom".  Cason will say "Mom" and want to tell me something and then Kinsley will interupt saying "Mom. Mooom. Mooom. Moooooom!" until I finally respond and she blabs something to me.  Connor finds it extremely funny and I sort of find it annoying and maybe a little bit funny.  I should get a video of this.  
-She likes to help with the dishwasher and washer and dryer.  And when I say help, I mean make it extrememly difficult for the person to make any progress with that particular appliance.  
-We keep a lock on the cabinet that has crackers and snacks and things because it is within reach of the kids.  If she sees it unlocked she will go pick out a snack and bring it to me and say "ease".  I give in EVERY TIME.
-She tries to ride scooters and bikes and even remembers to put a helmet on.  Obviously, she can't actually do it yet, but she sure tries.


-She is in mostly 18 month clothes and fits in a lot of 12 month clothes.  She is in size 4 diapers.  I feel like by the time she is ready for size 5 diaper she will be potty trained.  (Because she is so small, not because she will do it early.)
-She is loved and adored by all of us.  I don't think there is a girl that could feel more loved.  She has a special relationship with each of us and it seems as she has us all wrapped around her little finger.  I especially love when Corbin is mad or upset about something, Kinsley will run over and give Corbin the biggest hugs.  He smiles and asks for another hug and she obliges.  Then Corbin is happy again.  Who could not be happy with those sweet little arms around you?

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I thank my Heavenly Father every day for this sweet, precious girl.  We feel blessed to have her in our family and get to know this sweet spirit!!

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Jack Johnson

8 years ago when Connor and I were dating, we were listening to the newest Jack Johnson album a lot.  We agreed our song should be "Better Together" from that album.  Connor sang me that song when he proposed and we danced to it as our first dance at our wedding.  We also have both made that song each others ringtone on our phones.  Obviously, it is a very meaningful song to us and in turn has made Jack Johnson a meaningful muscian to us.  We have been wanting to see him in concert since way back when but it has never happened.  Finally, I signed up for his email list and "liked" him on Facebook and starting "following" him on Instagram.  

A couple months ago, I got an email saying there would be tickets for auction to his concert in Oakland.  It was a charity concert so all proceeds would be given away!  Even better!! I thought there was a possibility we could win some so everyday I would check what the current bids were.  And every day the price was getting more and more out of our range.  In the end, we didn't even bid because we weren't going to spend a thousand dollars on 2 tickets even if it was for charity.  I was disappointed but figured there would be chances in the next several years to see him live.  

Connor and I ended up finding tickets to another charity concert with multiple artists with one of Connor's favorite, Diana Krall.  We got those so that we would still have something to be excited about.  

Then 2 days before the Jack Johnson concert in Oakland, I was checking my Facebook.  I saw his name and a post but I didn't really read it.  Then I started realizing I saw the words "tickets" "available" "Oakland".  I went back and read it and it said there were "tickets available for the concert in Oakland in 2 days and you can buy them starting 7pm.  Good luck!"  I checked the time.  7:04pm.  I practically threw my phone at Connor and told him to try and buy the tickets.  He did right there on my phone and we got them!!!  We were so excited.  My sister and her boyfriend were kind enough to agree to watch the kids that night so we could go.  

We got there 15 minutes before it was supposed to start and got some pictures outside.


The inside was actually pretty cool looking.

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The opening act was someone we never heard of: The Bahamas.  They weren't too bad.


They played for half an hour and Jack Johnson came out about 40 minutes later.  Jack played for over 2 hours straight.  He played a lot from his newest album and a lot from that first album Connor and I listened to when we were dating.


I was waiting and hoping that he would play "Better Together".  I was trying to make myself not feel disappointed if he didn't play it.  Well, he got done with the concert and left the stage before he came back to play the last little bit and he still hadn't played it.  I had high hopes that he would.  But he played song after song and I was getting really worried that it wasn't going to happen.  And then…he played it.

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It was the very last song of the night!  It was nice to be there with my husband hearing our song live by Jack Johnson!  It is a night I'll never forget. 

And yesterday we got an email saying that Jack Johnson had been added to our concert later this month!  Awesome!!!

Our House: Carpet and Lights

One of the things that we LOVED about this house was it need no work.  While that is technically true there are a few things here and there that we wanted to change to make it more comfortable for us.  The first thing we changed was the carpet.  There was this sort of pinkish carpet on the stairs and in all the bedrooms.  Connor and I both liked how our old place had nice carpet.  I think we are so funny about nice carpet is because our first place when we moved here had HORRIBLE carpet.  It was so bad that I don't think it should even be legal inside a house. 


Since we put in the carpet before we moved anything upstairs, I didn't take any pictures of the before, but here is one from the listing.


It really doesn't look that bad in the picture and it wasn't.  It was clean and we could have lived with it but we LOVE our carpet now. (You get a cute girl in the picture too and a glimpse of her room!)

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It was surprisingly hard to pick out a color.  The room colors are beige (paiting was not a project we wanted to tackle since we didn't mind the color) but the master bathroom is gray.  We knew the type of carpet we wanted and that we wanted a nice pad below but the color was the hard part.  It is speckled gray, black, tan I would say.  

Also one of the requirements from Connor was that all the squeaks be dealt with.  Apparently, the carpet installer spent a lot of time trying to get rid of them to no avail.  Now they are just something we have to live with.  


The second thing we did the first week we moved in was to put lights in the 3 bedrooms.  We just did not want standing lamps in the kids bedrooms.  That doesn't work for us.  So we got these installed, one in each bedroom.

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We are glad we did this!

There will be more to come, so stay tuned!

General Conference

There are two weekends a year where we don't go to church as normal but we have a Genral Conference where our leaders speak to us.  It's pretty much one of my most favorite times of the year.  The messages are amazing and uplifting, the time of year is wonderful and it can be very relaxing even if there are 10 hours of it.  

This year did not disappoint.  Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, even said,

This has been one of the most inspiring sessions of any general conference I've attended.  Everything has been of the greatest and most spiritual nature.


A couple years ago, I saw an idea to help get kids to listen during conference.  I thought my kids were too young at that time, but this year we tried it out.


It's pretty self-explainatory but basically if the word gets said, they get to pick one of treats from the corresponding jar.  Our only rule was it can't be said during the prayer (since we want to try and promote reverance at those times). All other times is free game.  There are a few adjustments I might make next time.  I would make less jars and have a couple more less common words.  

Overall, the jars worked great.  There were times when one of the kids was listening really well and getting lots of treats and then the other would listen well another time.  Kinsley basically got treats whenever she wanted.  Of course, they didn't listen to the whole conference but I took what I could get and was happy with what they did listen to.  

I particularly loved President Uchtdorf's talk "Come, Join with Us" especially after my Beliefs blogpost a week or so ago.  I was going to quote my favorite passage but all of it is my favorite, so go read it.  I have a testimony of what President Uchtdorf said.  It's obvious from my previous posts that this has been something on my mind a lot and I feel that love and peace that comes from holding to my faith and not my doubts!  

After you read this talk, try some others!  You may just find what you are looking for!

© The Duke Fam 2014