Looking through this month's miscellaneous pictures I am overwhelmed with admiration for my children and love for the life they offer me. I am a lucky girl.

Our obsession with the ARC has continued.

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I love listening to these boys' conversations. They can relate and connect with people better than most grown ups.

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They love nothing more than playing games with Daddy.

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It is getting much colder but we haven't given up on playing outside yet.

Alex: Let's check the forecast for tomorrow.
Emily: It's going to be cold.
Alex: Is that the forecast?
Emily: Yes.
Alex: What's the fivecast?

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Declan wants to sit at the table like a big person. He is too cool for high chairs.

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I love taking pictures of Declan with the front camera on my phone so he can see himself on the screen. He gets the cutest look on his face when he spots himself.

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Because the bagel night at Sallie's house ended with Edison getting a dirt clod to his head that needed to be glued and I didn't really get to participate, Lindy Mabeus invited us over to her house to try our hands at it.

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Lindy, Carissa; Harvey

Declan is obsessed with balls.

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I don't usually ask Sam to take pictures of me alone but this skirt is new and I love it.

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Edison and Jaxon getting mighty close during Turbo Kick.

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Alex's friend from school came over to play one morning. Asher's mom is pretty cool and we spent a lot of time together this month.

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We couldn't forget to celebrate 11/11.

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We still have pizza every Friday night, if possible.

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At least someone in this house enjoys wearing pounds and pounds of winter clothes.

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My friend Maureen works for Right Track and she came over to our house to evaluate Declan. He is on the right track!

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Jenny is my visiting teaching companion and she threw and awesome party for her son Linkon at the ARC.

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Sometimes these boys get really into things. This time: music.

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Edison and his accessories.

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We sold our couches right before Thanksgiving. Alex had asked us, "Can we please hurry and go camping in our living room one more time in Williston?" It was perfect that we suddenly had lots of space to set up a tent.

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The day after Thanksgiving was Light Up Harmon Park. It was frigid. I ended up sitting in the car with Declan for half of it because he was so sad.

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Olivia has several rigs set up behind her house. I am sure they are loud and annoying but there is something very cool about them, too. I don't know why I like the sight of oil rigs so much.

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In my ever-growing list of silly things my kids say...

Edison: Alex is my friend and Declan is one [year old].

Alex: My hair is crazy. Could you maybe calm it a little?

Edison calls sneezes "Bless You." For example, he will sneeze several times in a row and then say, "Did you have a lot of bless yous?"



I have sworn off traveling at holidays so I wanted to do Thanksgiving with some friends in Williston. We talked about doing it in the church building but then the bishopric wanted me to turn it into a big thing where everyone was invited and we provided food for them. I wasn't really interested in spending the entire day cooking for who knows how many people so Olivia said we could party at her house.

The night before, I quadrupled a roll recipe because rolls are everyone's favorite. I was laugh/crying as I created the most horrendous-looking, vomit-tasting rolls ever. I could not even finish eating one. I also made green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and my Papa's punch.

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Sam went out bright and early and played a few hours of football.

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The Hiatts, Coltons, and Fixes all met at the Hiatt's at 3pm after driving through a really bad snow storm. We were sliding all over the place on the way there. It was nice to arrive at a warm house and yummy smells.

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Emily, Stephanie, Olivia, and Anneliese

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Stephanie planned a little craft for the kids to put together.

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I was not on my picture-taking game so there are only a few pictures of the night but we had way too much food and yummy pies and it was so fun to spend Thanksgiving with good friends.


House Hunting

The house hunting trip seemed to come very suddenly. Sam accepted the offer on November 10th and we flew to Houston on November 16th. We realized that it needed to happen quickly because it was going to be Thanksgiving and then Christmas and nothing can happen with scheduling the packing or moving until a destination address is known. So we booked our flights and away we went.

My friend Olivia was the first person I told we were moving. I cannot remember exactly how the conversation went but I think it was something like this...
Emily: Can you watch my kids for a week?
Olivia: Sure. Why?
Emily: Because we are moving to Houston and we need to go there to find a place to live.
Both: Sobbing.

Olivia is an amazing friend. I knew it before, but her willingness to wipe my child's bum confirmed it. We dropped off Alex and Edison to the Hiatt's on Sunday afternoon with a suitcase of clothes, hastily typed instructions, and some hugs.

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Then we went and sat at the airport for a few hours because our flight was delayed. This was Declan's first flight but we were racking our brains because we could not remember. Our poor third child.

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Because our flight out of Williston was delayed, we had to sprint through the Denver airport to make our connection. Declan was sad on the second plane and we tried to get him to go to sleep but he wanted to cry in the bathroom instead. Once we ate dinner (at 9pm), he got a second wind. Then we could not get him to go to sleep at all. He was a party animal.

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Declan finally fell asleep once we were on the shuttle to the rental car place. He was sitting up, looking around, then he put down his head on Sam's arm and didn't lift it again. It was midnight. We got to our hotel room at 1am and Declan slept in his clothes.

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Monday morning, Declan was excited to check out the hotel room. He was a little timid approaching the windows at first.

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Because we had initially planned on buying a house and then considered renting, we were set up with two realtors. The realtor who was helping us find a rental was booked until Wednesday. And when we got to Houston, we let the other realtor know we had decided not to buy and didn't want her to show us houses at all. So then we were stuck with a lot of free time before Wednesday.

On Monday, we drove around to see the outside of all of the houses we were considering and talked to any neighbors we could find outside. Then we wandered furniture stores.

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On Tuesday, we walked around Ikea for a long, long time and ended up spending $2 on little toys for Alex and Edison. That night, we went to The Melting Pot for dinner. We had never been before but we considered going once when we were newlyweds in Denver. It was too expensive so we did not end up going. It was nice to have SLB pay for it.

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We went to a Honda dealership to test drive an Odyssey. It was love at first sight.

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We also went to check out some gyms near the different houses we were looking at.

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On Wednesday, we met up with our realtor really early and spent a few hours driving around looking at the inside of the houses. Based on our drive earlier in the week, we had pretty much decided on one house. It had everything going for it: good neighborhood, schools, gyms, stores, etc. I was walking through the house making a video so I could plan how to arrange furniture when Sam called me out to see the backyard. Yikes. The microwave was outside. It had some weird chicken thing going on. We were all very baffled looking at the backyard. All of the weirdness ended up being a deal breaker and we did not choose that one.

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That was a really long day. We were relieved to get back to our hotel room for bath time.

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On Thursday morning, we met up with the homeowner's realtor for the house we liked the most and gave her our application. We realized we had two days left and nothing to do so we went and got pedicures. This was Sam's first time and it took some convincing.

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We ate lunch in Chinatown. Declan was acting really tired so we ate fast and then drove to Sugar Land to see Interstellar.

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After the movie, we drove to Rosenberg to see our old house on Emilee Court. The house was vacant. It was having some driveway problems and there were eviction papers folded into the handle of the door, but it was our old home and it was so fun to see it. It inspired me to email our old landlord to tell him how great he was and how much we loved living there. He casually mentioned that the house was back on the market. If only it were 20 miles closer to Sam's work.

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Sam located the holes he drilled into the house for the hose hanger. We got Sonic on the drive home and fed a milkshake to Declan. He was pleased.

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Sam had to do some work on Friday morning.

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We went into SLB to see a few people Sam would be working with, but it was a Friday so the office seemed pretty empty.

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We went to some gyms closer to the house we planned to move into.

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We were so sick of eating out (the horror!) so we went to Jamba Juice for dinner.

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We had to wake up early on Saturday to get to the airport.

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We had a nonstop flight back to Williston and Declan did not think that Mommy should take a nap on the airplane.

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I feel really bad that we were on a legitimate vacation while Olivia was parenting my kids for a week. We had already booked the tickets when we decided to rent instead of buy and this trip only needed to be two days long. Olivia is a saint. She acted like my kids were part of her family and they had the best time.

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I had to create a receipt for Olivia's services and it seems so insufficient. She loved my kids and that counts for more than we could pay her.

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Alex and Edison formed a tight bond with Kyan, Tucker, and Jaxon. It was hard to say goodbye.

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