What's been going on around here:

I want to get caught up with the hundreds of picture I have to post, but I can't seem to find the time or energy. There haven't been any dangerous canning explosions this year, but there has been some crying. Technically, I haven't cried because of the harvest; there are just a lot of things going on around here. My emotions seem to surface late at night once all of the kids are in bed. I guess the silence allows me  to process my thoughts and decompress. Sometimes that doesn't happen, and then I wake up crying in the middle of the night. Seriously, it's ridiculous. I really need to start running again.

Life in the Ballard house has been a little like Dr. Laura meets Martha Stewart meet Real World. Or maybe Big Brother. . . I'm not sure, since I've never actually watched either of those shows. Paul moved in with us back in June, so when Derrick came home from Alaska, we had eight people living in our house. I haven't lived with so many boys since that summer I sold Living Scriptures in Rexburg. (And was listed on the lease as Jed Willet's wife.)

Paul moved out on Sunday, so we are down to seven people now. Adam starting moving his things back into his room approximately two minutes after Paul left. It was like Christmas, unpacking his long lost toys from the top closet shelf. And suddenly, I was able to find all of his misplaced articles of clothing. We miss having Paul around, but it is nice to have a place for everything.

Okay. . . now for some pictures. Get ready for a whole lot of randomness.

Before we went to California, Rachel and Lucy both got their hair braided in cornrows. (More on that trip later.) Shundra is the fastest and most professional hair braider in town:

She also has three beautiful teenage girls who played with Adam and Kaleigh the whole time she was braiding.

Here's Rachel's hair:

Lucy's hair: 

Steve thought it was funny that I got the two white girls' hair braided, but not the black girl. Kaleigh isn't a big fan of braids, and I figured she would just pull them out during the long car ride. I did Kaleigh's hair really nice the next day. And then I got an awesome text message from Derrick telling me that Kaleigh's hair looked better than the last time he paid someone to do it. Kaleigh's hair has caused some problems in our relationship, so it's probably one of my very favorite text messages from him. Derrick later asked me, "No offense or anything, but have you been taking hair lessons? You are really good." 

This is what Rachel's hair looked like after we took out the braids. She loved it and is now saving her money for a perm. 

When we returned from California, we immediately delved into lots and lots of discussions about where Derrick (and Paul) should live, whether Derrick should buy a house or rent, what kind of car he should get, where he should look for work, and on and on.

It's been exhausting.

Like so-tired-every-night-I-wish-I-could-fall-asleep-in-the-tub-and-have-someone-carry-me-to-bed-like-Adam exhausting:

Good thing we had lots of Purple Stuff to increase our alertness and attention span and reduce anxiety:

(Steve brought home a case of those drinks, and since Lucy is crazy over anything purple, it was pretty exciting.)

Derrick grew accustomed to working 12-14 hour days in Alaska and needed some projects to keep busy. He went right to work moving dirt and gravel in our yard, breaking down boxes in the garage, and refilling our water storage. Opening up our five-year old water storage confirmed that municipal water in our area DOES need to be treated with bleach. Unless, of course, you like gross stuff in your water.

P.S. Eight drops of bleach per gallon is still very palatable. If you don't believe me, you are welcome to come sample my water storage. 

We took a trip up to Logan and tried to take a peek at my new twin nieces. But they are still in the NICU, and it wasn't a good day, so instead we went to my favorite uncle's house to get some apples: 

And play in his fun yard: 

Apples and tire swings are awesome, but we can't wait to see those little babies!!!

When we were in Logan, Derrick said he was taking us out to dinner and let the kids choose where to eat. They picked Chuck-A-Rama. Since Steve wasn't there to dispute and I didn't really care, that's where we went. He also told Lucy that he would pay her a dollar for every plate of food that she ate. She made six bucks. 

I am sad that I don't have any pictures of this, but Paul won third place in Sonora Grill's Burrito Eating Contest. Apparently, Derrick didn't eat much of his burrito because he was too busy laughing at Paul.

My kids have kept the tooth fairy very busy. Rachel lost two teeth in one day. And then about a week later, she and Adam both lost teeth on the same day. Turns out, Adam really "lost" his:

We have made lots of trips to the dentist for cleanings before our insurance policy ends. I think our count is  nine total appointments, four cavities, and one filling not due to a cavity, but because someone has a problem brushing too aggressively.

I have been filling our applications for health insurance and filing appeals. (It turns out we don't have the best health history, but we are all healthy now!) We love SelectHealth and don't want to switch to HIPUtah

I have also been busy filling out complaints through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the Division of Real Estate for a discrimination issue we ran into with Derrick trying to rent a house down the street from us. It was a pretty unbelievable experience, being blatantly lied to and treated that way. Derrick still really wants to rent the house, so we are still waiting to see how things sort out. In the meantime, I would not recommend dealing with Connie from Real Property Management in Layton. 

Steve and Derrick tore down the garden. We harvested nine pumpkins and this load of squash: 

I have been cooking lots of roasted vegetables in the toaster oven. Roasted beets are my new favorite: 

I have been making grape juice. . . sixty quarts, and counting:

I never get tired of the way the bottles look all lined up with pretty shades of pink and purple juice. Aren't they beautiful?

I hosted a class party for my Valiant 8 Primary class the other night. We played Grandpa's Game and the put-a-name-on-your-forehead-and-ask-questions-until-you-guess-who-it-is game. 

We ate pizza for dinner, and then things got a little crazy in the basement with ten loud kids playing air hockey and dancing to Michael Jackson on the Wii. I would have taken some picture of that, but I was the one doing most of the dancing. They are a good group of kids: 

And in case you were wondering, all you really need to have to throw a party is a package of adhesive mustaches:

P.S. I copied this title for my blog post from my friend in Switzerland. We are planning to go visit her family in 2015. And now that I've formally announced that, it will actually happen!!!


Kayli said...

I think random posts just might be my favorite. Except for when my favorite is a different kind of post. :)

And, how EXCITING that you are now OFFICIALLY coming in 2015!! I can't wait to meet in person. Although, maybe that will have to happen this coming summer, when I'm in Utah. That would be cool (except what if we didn't end up liking each other and then you didn't actually want to hang out with us when you came, and that could make things a bit awkward... what fun. ha ha).

Mindy said...

You are so busy, but still manage to be the coolest mom/wife/sister/aunt/granddaughter I know...it's really not fair. Adam's handwriting is really good. I hope that the drama calms down soon :)

emily ballard said...

Haha, you are funny, Kayli. Looking forward to meeting you over the summer!

And thanks, Mindy. But that is NOT Adam's handwriting. It's way too nice to be his, but not nice enough to be Rachel's, so Lucy must have written the note for him. Adam really struggles with handwriting, but I'm certain he'll be the most improved kindergartener!

Gloria said...

And you wonder why you are exhausted! I know you like to be busy? It is a vicious cycle!