Monday, February 29, 2016

February Fun

 I'm the Bear Den leader.  We only have two boys, and Monkey only has one more month until he's in Webelos!  The other boy, J is a doll.  I love working with him, and will be sad when he turns 11.  We learned about cooking and made an Apple Crisp!  It was really fun, and delicious!

 Boo and Monkey do this hilarious pretend play that reminds me a bit of the Concert of Nenis growing up.  They arrange two desks, complete with quills for writing, ledgers (scriptures), lots of paper with lists and receipts, comfy stools to sit upon, and some serious imagination.  It's called Money Lenders and Bureaucrats.  I think they got the title from a board game called Dominion.  When I asked them one day what the game consisted of, they said, "  Well, we write rules and lend money to people who are trying to do different things.  Sometimes we give it to them, sometimes we don't.  If they don't pay, then we sent the Bureaucrats after them to collect."  They get a bit embarrassed when I catch them playing it, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that they are still doing pretend play - as Scrooge-like as it is.

Bad handwriting is a must!
"Dear Chancellor, the festival is on, we just need your sign of approval."  
 In February, we had a little getaway to Park City, thanks to Josh's work.  They hosted an alumni event up there called Aggie Snowcase, and we got to stay in a hotel, try out show shoeing, watch an Aggie game on a big screen, hang out with Big Blue, and play around in the Swaner Center doing rock climbing, crafts, etc.  Our hotel had our own hot tub!

 Nana, Papa, Abby and Oaklee joined us for the afternoon and tried out some show shoes.  We had to call our weekend quits early when all three kids came down with the stomach flu!  Miserable.  Diddles never wants to sleep in a hotel again.  She's convinced it made her sick.  :(

 Valentine's was such a joy for this little girl!  She loved making these little Animal Huggers for her friends.  I loved how she carefully chose an animal and flavor of Starburst for each of her friends.  I'm so glad she got a kind, sweet, calm class this year!

 On Valentine's they had a Tea Party.  They all dressed up in their fanciest clothes.  Isn't that so sweet?

 Lots of snow this winter.  One Sunday Josh went outside with Diddles and built her the "Perfect Snowman".

 We finally used our Groupon pass for ice skating at the Galivan Center.  Diddles wanted to skate SO badly.  She stayed out there for hours going around and around, trying to get the hang of it.  She was frustrated that she wasn't "fast like dos other kids."  Persistence.

 I've been reading Little House in the Big Woods out loud to her in the evenings.  I'm amazed how long it holds her attention!  She was fascinated with Laura's corncob doll, and made one of her own all by herself.  I don't even want to know where she found that cob.  Probably the chicken yard!

 She loves her chickens!  They love her too, I think.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Jumbles

We just kind of "get through" January, don't we?  It's so long, cold, dark and disappointing.

After all those years in Young Women's, planning and preparing meaningful New Beginnings programs for upcoming Beehives, it was finally my turn to just sit back and be a Mom to a wonderful incoming Beehive.  

This cute Laurel Class President came over and interviewed Jane for her spotlight.  The whole program was pretty simple, from the invitation to the program.  I missed my Terre View ladies and the girls, especially when she said, "Jane's favorite book is the Harry Potter Series." Our TV girls would have all nodded and quietly cheered.  They are a tough act to top.

We did lots of service to keep Grandma and Grandpa company through the long, cold month.  It's hard for Dad to not be outside and busy in his yard.  One afternoon we all helped polish the silver.  Diddles thought this was the best activity ever, and wanted to rush straight home and polish ours (we only have stainless steel)!  I'm so glad we live so close that we can do service like this.

With morning church, Monkey and I started filling our long evenings with making tasty desserts from our favorite show, Great British Baking Show.  This, coupled with Sunday game nights kept us going!  

Marie, Roy and Ash came for a visit with an exciting gender reveal that they're having a GIRL!  Due in May.  How exciting. 

Losing teeth left and right!
"Mom, I pushed my tooth wiff my tongue, and it just popped out!  Are you SO beprised?"

Boo went to Beaver Mountain for 5th Grade ski day!  I only tried skiing once, and it was up at Beaver.  It was one of the physically hardest things I've ever done.  Trying to get up from a fall, gather your gear and get going again was so challenging!  Needless to say, it was my first and last time.  Talk about feeling uncoordinated.  She had a fun time!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Dealings

It's the Christmas season!  The kids had a great time decorating and re-decorating the tree.  We got our first taste of some real snow, and the harsh reality that they have to go to school in it.  We kept things pretty simple this season, trying not to over-extend or have too many commitments.

We went tree shopping to help Mom and Dad find a tree, and Boo and Monkey
helped them set up their Nativity collection..

Mags and Dad snuggling by the tree.

Diddles' teacher served her mission in Holland, and she had the kids make paper shoes to leave out in the hallway, and learn a Sinterklaaus song.  They were so excited to get chocolate letters in their shoes!  Her teacher is amazing!

We went to this amazing stake Christmas party and Stewart and Annette's ward building.  It was A Country Christmas, complete with hay rides, a band, cinnamon rolls, huevos rancheros, hot cocoa bar, photo booth, and so much more.  We had so much fun!

Fun Christmas find:  Marie and Emily never had matching stockings with the rest of us.  I decided to search on Ebay and see if I could possibly find one with the old pattern, and found them!  Mom worked on it during the long days in the hospital, and it was fun to see all the stockings hanging in a row.

We had a cookie exchange and our traditional Nativity Pageant.  It was fun to be there for that! We usually had to miss it.

Quite possibly the funnest time was Christmas Day, after all the presents had been opened, and the toys had been played with, and the boredom set in.  We all converged on Mom and Dad's house for games and puzzles.

 Ryan made a seafood feast with delicious pasta dishes.  Dad was in heaven!

 It was great having Uncle James with us.  He's a great time, and the kids had fun reconnecting with him.  I'm thankful for the Christmas season.  We really tried to focus on Christ and service and giving gifts of service to others, instead of focusing so much on buying and Santa.  I'm glad that kids who are older are really getting into the Spirit of that kind of season.  It's wonderful!

Monday, November 30, 2015

November News

November was a blur.  Dad had major surgery on his back in early November.  They basically reconstructed it - straightened his spine front to back and side to side.  It was involved, lasting two days.  Recovery was difficult and long, and it was taxing on mom as well.  He was in the hospital for several weeks, and took months at home to get somewhat "back to normal".  The siblings were wonderful - coming up to spend time visiting and helping ease the boredom and sometimes even taking charge and ordering Dad to take his medicine.  I'm so grateful for them.  Watching siblings who I always consider "kids" (myself included) move into roles of adults is such an amazing sight.  We love our parents so much, and it was an honor to serve them in their time of need.  After all they've done for us, you know? We've been so blessed.

Josh got a second calling, and one he's secretly always wanted - Cub Master.  He's done an amazing job, and is implementing all the great things he's learned through his years of Scouting and at Woodbadge.  It's fun to see the contagious enthusiasm he's started!  It's really great for all the boys and leaders. 

Uniform Inspection

Stomp Rockets at the Space Derby

Yummy snack of apple slices and the most delicious fruit dip!
Isn't that so clever?
Eliza has really been working hard at school.  It doesn't some easy for her, but I'm so proud of her persistence and her tenacity to keep trying. She's a big fan of rewards, and one of her favorites has been a Pizza Hut pizza coupons as a reward for reading her take-home readers.  
Cheese pizza, please!
 Eliza had been attending a resource class (Little Class) before school since September for a half hour before school.  It was rough.  She didn't click with the teacher, and wasn't responding to directions.  The teacher would then reward the entire rest of the group with cookies and would skip her.  Then she'd go to her regular class in a total funk.  I got very little communication from her, except a little post-it note, sent home with Eliza saying that she was pretending not to know her numbers.  Eliza was mad and embarrassed, knowing the note was a "bad note".  Yikes.  It just wasn't working.  I called a meeting with her teacher, the resource teacher and her speech teacher.  We came up with a plan (without pointing fingers or being confrontational) that would put her on a monitor and see how she did without resource services.  I'm so grateful she was able to do okay without them, even perhaps do a little better, feeling a boost of confidence that she didn't need to go to Little Class anymore.
Beautiful handwriting:  Her Thankful Turkey feathers included
"School, grilled cheese, Amy, Christmas, Pretend, Chickens".  

One of the Friday centers was Face Painting like the Native Americans,
and she took it upon herself to do a version at home...with Sharpies!
We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home.  We were going to have it at Mom and Dad's, but Dad wasn't feeling well.  I am so glad that we were able to be so close that we could relocate the entire thing to our home in a matter of hours!
The kids helped get all the tables set and were delighted to have
the cousins come spend the day!  I'm grateful they are all good friends. 

Andy and cute Easton

I love these people!

Ryan made the turkey, Catherine did the rolls, Jill made a bunch of sides.  It was so wonderful to see everyone pitch in and help make it a great day.  The boys piled up plates and took them over to sit with Dad and gave Mom a break to eat with us. I love how selfless and flexible they all are.  I'm thankful for family.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Overview

October is always a busy month, with back to school, Halloween and other fall-ish fun!  I LOVE fall in Utah.  It's crisp and cool, and the sun is always so brilliant.

Women's Conference was wonderful, and we were able to attend it with Grandma, which was so special!  I never would have dreamed we would ever be so close to be able to attend this meeting together, let alone with Boo! What a blessing!

We enjoyed some strolls in the crunchy leaves with Maggie, who is still the star of the show in this family!  We had gone up to campus to meet up Josh one afternoon.  

I got my annual hair cut and color from Mom.  It's such a treat to get my hair done.  It's so expensive, I only really do it twice a year!  
Logan has a really fun Pumpkin Walk, where community groups, families and individuals make creative scenes using pumpkins and gourds.  They choose their own theme, and design a sort of set with materials, using the pumpkins as the characters.  It's always fun to see what creative people come up with!  I think the kids thought it was a little childish, but Diddles sure enjoyed hopping the fence to get RIGHT next to these chickens - her favorite!  

Angry Gourds

March of the Pumpkins

Obligatory Group Photo!
Diddles' front tooth had been hanging on by a wiggly thread for weeks, but she refused to let any of us pull it out.  This afternoon we were at Grandma's, enjoying apples from their tree, and one big bite did the trick!  Her shocked/surprised face was priceless.  "Mom, you will be SO beprized!  My tooth came out!"  

Halloween has always been our time to get creative and do some special things.  We grew our own pumpkins in our garden this year, and the "ORGANIC" scarring on the surface made for some cool pumpkin carvings!  I wanted the kids to pick ANYTHING they wanted to be for Halloween this year.  It has been a challenge adjusting to a new school and friends, so wanted them to be able to have a costume they were excited about. Boo picked Hermione again, Monkey picked a Genie, and Diddles chose a "Myoonicorn" (Unicorn).

Boo threw together this costume from the costume box for our Primary Halloween Party, but she wasn't thrilled about it, and the night before the school Halloween party, she had a costume crisis!  I threw those last-minute things on my mom all the time growing up, and she was always so patient and calm in trying to understand and see the vision of what I had in mind.  She often stayed up late sewing something or making the perfect accessory.  I thought of her the whole time as I prayed a mother prayer that we could find what we were looking for at D.I.  Gratefully, we found a grey cardigan, a black pencil skirt, and a short-sleeved t-shirt with "pretty close" colors to Gryffindor's to make a tie!

I'm so pleased with how it turned out, and I think she was, too.  A stuffed cat, a wand, and some recovered books perfected the look!

Monkey wanted to use the vest I made for the Nativity Wise Man as his tunic, so we really only had to create some accessories for this costume.  I am so glad and amazed they have GOLD Duck Tape!  I used the entire roll, but was able to create cuffs, shoes, and a magic lamp using it.
Just twisted some newspaper to make the pointed toe, then covered the whole shoe in duck tape!  

Sweat pants and a long-sleeved shirt underneath

We even covered a knit hat with duck tape to make the turban!
The gold sash, belt and earring were in the costume box.  

As you wish.
Diddles wanted to be a unicorn.  We easily found a white sweatshirt and some pink faux fur, but I struggled to figure out how in the world to make a unicorn horn.

My friend Lindsey to the rescue.  She is a crochet-genius, and graciously volunteered to make a unicorn hat for Diddles.  I can't believe how cute it was!  We swapped out the purple yarn for pink, added a feather boa tail, and some fairy wings we found at DI (because, why not?), and topped it off with some sparkly face paint to complete the look.

Halloween is Magical.