Monday, August 31, 2009

A Momentous Day

Could someone please just stop the clock?! Just for a little while? The events of today have left me just wishing time could stand still.  There are so many good things about where we are and it's all just slipping through my fingers too fast.  Michelle posted a similar sentiment a little while ago, and I totally understand where she's coming from.  All in one day, we've had 3 major reminders of how fast everyone is growing up.

#1:  Today is Jonas' 11th birthday. Eleven!  How Shawn and I got old enough to have an 11 year old is beyond me.  Of course, it's not all bad.  He rides his bike to the bus stop and locks it up and rides the bus to school and does it all in reverse to come home.  No driving to drop off or pick up.  No help needed from us at all.  (At least as long as he doesn't miss the bus.)  He's already earned his first 2 merit badges, he can tend the younger kids for short periods of time.  He gets himself up and ready and to bed all on his own.  He is a pretty amazing kid.  I guess his getting older does provide me with a bit of freedom and that is awesome!
So, Happy Birthday Jonas!!! (But still, if he could just stop growing up - just for a little while.)  We only have 8 more years with him before he's ready to leave on a mission.  Wow!
For his birthday cake, he requested the International Space Station.  I'm really glad Shawn is willing to take on this task.  So here are some photos of the result:
Complete with solar panels and little lego space men.  Jonas thought it was cool.  And I guess that's all that matters.

#2:  Today was Amelia's first day of kindergarten.  She was so excited and ready to go.  Kindergarten is hard for me.  She is still so little and the school is so big and it's every day.  I just can't believe that we are here already.  She has new purple sparkly earmolds for her hearing aids and she is set!
Here she is with her new back pack which is practically big enough for her to climb into, but she's been carrying it around for a week to be like the big kids.
And fortunately, her good friend Hallee is in her class, too.  So they got to go to kindergarten together.

#3:  And finally, Peter turned 5 months old today.  He's not my tiny little cuddly newborn any more.  Babies just grow so darn fast.  He is still so sweet, though.  I love his little laugh, and I love how he squeals with delight when I walk in to get him first thing in the morning.  And how his whole face lights up when he smiles at us.  I love his big blue eyes, and his little fuzzy head and that he likes to be held and cuddled and talked to.

And so there you go - proof that we are continually getting older despite all attempts to avoid doing so.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

The New 'Do

If there is one thing that we have a lot of around here, it's hair.  Haircuts are few and far between and often require bribes (Boy or girl).  Today I was taking Samantha in for a much needed trim and Amelia insisted that she wanted her hair cut to her shoulders.  Now, I realize this isn't necessarily short in the world of hair, but it's pretty short for around here.  I kept asking,  "Are you sure?  You really want it that short?"  She said she did, and I figured, why not, it will only make things that much easier and faster every morning.  So here's the result.Nothing too fancy, but I think it turned out really cute.  Now she says, "actually I think I want it to my neck".  Once I get used to this, maybe I will consider it.  I had hoped to be able to leave with just the 2 haircuts, but Duffy was pretty upset when I said it was time to go so she got a trim, too.  But since she and Samantha both want hair "down to their bums", there wasn't a very drastic change - just evening out the ends.

Bounce House Bonanza

Next to Christmas, having a bounce house show up in our yard, is one of the more exciting things to happen every year.  The kids count down the days just like a holiday or birthday.  In a good year, this happens twice - once for Summer Solstice and once for Shawn's work party.  Since Summer Solstice didn't happen this year, this was the big event.  Since it is delivered in the morning and we have it for 24 hours, the kids have plenty of bouncing opportunities.  They all invited their friends over for what became a huge pre-party bounce bonanza.  I had so many kids here I lost track of them.  There were a lot of bright red faces and we handed out nearly all of the popsicles we had.  All in all, a big success in the eyes of the kids.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School Blues

I suppose that as a mother, I'm supposed to be excited about school starting, aren't I?  Well, I'm not.  Not even a little bit.  It still feels like summer.  I hate the rushed mornings and the nagging that they involve.  I hate the homework and the routine.  I hate sending my kids off all day to be with people I don't really know.  Plus I hate that this means colder weather is coming, and it will be getting dark earlier and there will be who knows how many viruses roaming the schools and coming home.  Ugh.  Is it any wonder that my kids aren't very excited either?  I guess I'm not setting a very good example.Jonas is pretty sad because his friend that he has walked to the bus stop with for the past 2 years is changing schools and so he has to walk on his own.  I feel bad about that, too.  I do remember really enjoying 5th grade, though and keep telling Jonas that he may really enjoy it too.  I like his teacher and have heard really good things about her so hopefully that will help.
Of course, it would have been nice if they had let us know that the bus schedule had changed so Jonas didn't think he had missed it on the very first day.
Samantha claimed to not be excited about school, but for her, I think it's just a show.  She insisted that she needed a new first day of school outfit, and she was excited to use her new bag that she made in sewing this summer.
Since Jonas wasn't at William Penn for 3rd grade, we're kind of entering new territory again.  But I guess we are anyway with the dual language immersion program.  Since she is in the first group, it's new for the teachers every year too.
 This is Maren who walks to school with us and is in second grade.  As soon as we got to school and Samantha spotted her friends, she was off without even saying good bye.  Like I said, I think she was OK with school starting.
Even though Amelia and Duffy don't start school yet, they wanted their pictures taken too.
I guess I need to start looking for the positives here, but it's not like I'm getting peace and quiet.  I still have 3 little kids at home with me.  Maybe at least Peter will finally get to establish a little bit of a nap routine.  That would be nice.  And maybe I can pick up the house and have it last for 5 minutes instead of the usual 29.3 seconds.  Well, that's a start.  I'll keep thinking and see what else I can come up with.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday's Adventures

For our final adventure of the week, we went to the Aquarium.  Since it was Saturday, Shawn was actually able to join us.  The kids were pretty excited about that.Duffy checking out the brittle stars.
Oops. Didn't get this photo turned around I guess.  Jonas and Samantha touching the various sea life and examining shark eggs.

Even Peter enjoyed watching the fish and sharks in the big tanks.  He was fascinated and followed them  back and forth with his eyes.
After we wrapped up things at the aquarium, we squeezed in some school shopping quickly and then went to see Shawn's band play at a charity function.
Amelia loves to be on the stage and has absolutely no inhibitions about dancing in front of everyone.  (Unfortunately, she also sat down and started picking the skin off her feet on stage as well.  I tried to tell her that would be better to do off stage.)

Now that we've finished up the week of fun and have to head back to school, there will probably be fewer postings here.  I guess there's one more adventure tomorrow since the older kids are going with us to the temple dedication tomorrow.  Hopefully, that will help us all to get more in the mood for school to start.  I'm not counting on it though.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Adventure

By unanimous vote, the kids decided to go to the planetarium.  Other than a second trip down to gateway (aargh), it was a good choice because it appealed to all ages - and it would have been free if it weren't for the darn gift shop.  Oh well, all in the name of creating good summer memories.All of the kids could have spent hours watching this ball contraption.  I have to admit, though, even I find it fascinating.
Here's my future weather people.  Samantha promised me a year of warm, sunny days.  Amelia said any storms would just happen at night.  I can live with that.
Amelia and Samantha are watching themselves on TV.
And here are the Stringham Family space explorers.  First, the moon.

And then, of course, Mars.
I really just can't stand the thought that school starts on Monday.  I'm just not ready yet.  I guess that's why we're trying to pack in so many activities now.  And it won't be long before my older kids don't want to go on any of these family adventures anymore.  What a sad thought.  Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Surfer Girl

As you can see, Melissa has done a fabulous job keeping the kids busy this summer. It has been a great couple of months. She is often "behind the lens" But to keep it all fair.... She has awesome skills. Seriously, who cares if the house is clean if you can surf? Take a look at my "Surfer Girl". There is nothing more sexy than a woman that surfs and has 5 kids. Enough said.

Watch Amelia staring at her mom.... priceless.


For Thursday's adventure in the week of fun, we went to the fountain at Gateway.  It was a nice hot day and the kids had a great time.  At the end of the afternoon, they were all yelling, "That was awesome!! Let's come back tomorrow and bring goggles!"  Here are a bunch of pictures that I took of all the kids.

We followed up our water adventure with Jambas and then ran off to the kids SEP's.  But just in case we hadn't had enough fun for the day, we also went boating for the evening.  Beautiful, calm water and everyone had a chance to get out on the water. (Sorry no photos.)  The one drawback to this week is that I have not had time to do anything at home.  I was tempted to post photos of the disaster that is my house and yard, but then decided I didn't need to embarrass myself that way.  It is really bad.  There are dishes piled up, groceries, towels and laundry, various clothes and toys and movies spread all around.  It's easier for me to pack everyone up and leave then to sit here in the middle of the mess!  We're still undecided on the next adventure, but we better figure it out fast because we still have to do all of our back to school shopping!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Today's fun events started with a trip to 7-11 for slurpees for everyone, then off to the park to play for a while.  They all got pretty involved in some make believe game on the play set that kept them happy and busy for quite a while- despite the heat.Poor Peter has to miss out on all the fun.  He just hung out in the shade with me and Michelle.
After a little while back home, we decided to finish up the day once again by going swimming.  
We'll have to see what tomorrow holds.  I think a visit to the fountain at Gateway. (Once again, anyone is welcome to join us.)