Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Carving 2009

One of the best things about living in our neighborhood, is all of the fun neighborhood parties.  One family hosts a neighborhood Easter egg hunt and breakfast, we have our Summer Solstice Party, sometimes there is a 4th or 24th of July parade and dinner, a fall dinner around Labor Day, a Halloween party and generally a Christmas open House.  (It's a good thing we like our neighbors, I guess.)  Anyway, last night was the annual Halloween Party at the Murdock's house.  They set up their garage and yard  for pumpkin carving.  They fill their garage with leaves and some of the coolest Halloween decorations around, set up tables and chairs, provide carving tools, and big bins to dump all of the pumpkin guts in.  There's a fog machine, a dry ice bubble machine, etc.. etc...  Another neighbor brings their soft serve ice-cream machine so everyone can have cones, and this year they also showed up with a hot chocolate machine.  Of course, there is also a delicious dinner of baked potatoes, with homemade chili and a variety of other toppings plus whatever the rest of us bring to share.  My kids generally put a little "big and strong food" on their plates and then promptly begin filling up on ice cream and other desserts. 

 After the pumpkins are carved, they are put on display with numbers and everyone votes on their favorites in different categories.  Needless to say, it is a fun party and we all look forward to it (except maybe Shawn gets tired of helping to carve the kids pumpkins.)  Here are the results from this year. 

 Amelia's pumpkin with googly eyes and teeth as per her request:

Samantha's pumpkin complete with marshmallow teeth:

And Jonas' award winning pumpkin.  He allowed Samantha to pick it out knowing she would choose something kind of ugly.

Here is the trophy awarded for the wildest carve.  (I flipped this photo the right way several times in iphoto but for some reason it will not transfer to my blog that way, so you'll just have to turn your head to see it correctly.  Sorry.)
All in all the evening was a success especially since the pumpkin carving mess and dinner remnants of the entire neighborhood were not left at our house for us to clean up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Preschool Field Trip

Today we went on a little field trip with Megan's preschool class. We went to Engh's Gardens to enjoy the Halooween and fall decorations.  Fortunately, the weather was beautiful.  Here are Megan and her cousin Charlie waiting for the tour to begin.  (She thinks it's pretty fun to go to preschool with 2 of her cousins - Charlie and Ainsley.)They started out by sitting and listening to a Halloween story told by a pirate.  Then they were allowed to see the rest on their own.  They were given a little paper with pictures of different Halloween items on it, that they could look for as they walked around.  A lot of the decorations were pirate-themed, but not all of them.  Here's Megan as a ghost.
There was a haystack maze that the kids could walk through.  Megan couldn't get out fast enough because she did not like the smell of damp hay and was making the funniest faces about it.  
Here are Ainsley and Megan checking out some of the pumpkins. 
Lots of cousins: Charlie the werewolf, Megan the ghost, Ainsley the witch, and Clara as Frankenstein.
This tractor was a big hit.  All the kids enjoyed sitting on it and pretending to drive.
I tried and tried to get Peter to look at the camera, but he was so fascinated by the pieces of straw, that I couldn't get him to acknowledge me.
He looks a little like a farmer here, chewing on a piece of straw.  Don't really like to think about that being in his mouth, but oh well, the damage is done.
Here he is sitting in front of the big measuring stick.  If we ever go back, I can see how much he's grown - as long as he's sitting down I guess.
And Megan by the measuring stick.
At the end the kids could choose a pumpkin to take home - the most exciting part of all.
This was a fun little trip but it is definitely geared toward the younger crowd.  The maze isn't even 4 feet tall so any one over about the age of 6 would be able to see exactly where they needed to go.  Still, for $2.50 there was plenty for the kids to see and do.  There was also a big pirate ship they could climb on which most of the kids seemed to enjoy but Megan wanted nothing to do with.  Although, really she would have been happy with just the pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Job Posting

Looking for a kind, loving , caring person willing to take a ridiculously obstinate and difficult 5 year old dental patient to the dentist.  Must be willing to endure crying, screaming, wiggling, kicking and mouth covering by said patient.  Unfortunately, job does not pay well, but the cost if no one applies will be her mother's sanity.

Really.  Should it be this difficult?  Megan (my 3 year old) climbs right up in the chair, opens her mouth wide, allows them to take x-rays, check and clean her teeth. But Amelia.... well, in 4 years of taking her to the dentist at least twice a year, never once have they managed to get x-rays or clean her teeth.  It is generally considered a victory if she opens her darn mouth long enough for the dentist to look inside.  She also hates, HATES toothpaste of all flavors and varieties and gags and spits when we try to brush her teeth.  So of course, this leads to the need for extra dental work.  Oh joy.  The past 2 times she has required conscious sedation.  This has involved massive wrestling matches and resulted in some amount of the medicine in the syringe ending up once on the window and once on the ceiling.
Can't wait to take her back in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Hike

It is so nice when we have a free Saturday with beautiful weather to enjoy.  (These are pretty rare around here between biking season and ski season.)  We were looking for something to do to enjoy the great outdoors.  Everyone except Shawn decided that it would be a little too cold to go boating (although I did offer to go and pull him around if he really wanted to).  So after Shawn and the kids stopped in at a couple of ski swaps, we decided to go hiking.  We headed up Millcreek and hiked the Pipeline Trail.

It is nice to have a baby that goes along pretty willingly with whatever we are doing - and always with a smile.

Here's the gang headed up the trail.  Yes, Shawn has Peter on the front and Duffy on his back.  I did offer to carry one of them, but he insisted.  I think he liked all the comments he got from other hikers about his toughness, but he claims its because he doesn't want to spend hundreds of dollars for more physical therapy on my shoulder.  Either way, I was able to enjoy the hike relatively unburdened.  (I did end up with a handful of sweatshirts, wrappers and leaves for Amelia's leaf collection by the time we were heading down, though.)

Here are the kids at the top with a view of the whole city.  We (And by we, I mean some of the kids, not me or Shawn), suffered a bit of a meltdown at this point with lots of crying, wailing, whining and people looking at us like we were crazy.  But since it was over cheetos and licorice rather than about the hiking, we still consider the hike a success.  (It was only about 4 years ago that we swore we would never hike with the kids again.  I'm glad we sucked it up and tried again because we have really enjoyed it.)

Jonas and Samantha waiting for the slower hikers in the group to catch up.

Shawn and the kids.  Duffy was (thankfully) sound asleep in the backpack at this point.

I was amazed at how well the kids did and that Amelia hiked the whole thing.  (It ended up being a little farther than we originally thought.)  The fall colors and the weather were both beautiful.  The kids and I took plenty of pictures of the fall foliage. Jonas is trying to take a photo to enter in the reflections contest.  (Have I mentioned that I hate it when teachers require the kids to enter?!! Ah well, that's another blog for another time.)  Anyway, enjoy the photos and imagine that you were there with us. (You can vote for your favorite to help Jonas out.)
Happy Fall and here's hoping for a few more (OK, a bunch more) warm, dry, fall days to enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Am I Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Apparently not. It is 10:55 (pm) and I just got my 5th grader off to bed after we finally completed his homework.  I can only imagine how much worse this is going to get as the kids get older. The whole day has been a bit of a disaster as far as laundry, housecleaning and mothering go.   I. am. so. tired.  Have to go take care of a crying baby now.  I don't see sleep in my near future.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

St. George

We enjoyed the break from school for UEA by going to St. George for the weekend.  The weather was warm and beautiful.  We decided to take the kids to see Annie at Tuacahn.  There was a bit of grumbling from the boys and husbands (Shawn couldn't believe we got tickets to Annie instead of Footloose), but my girls love the movie and I think everyone ended up enjoying it.  (If nothing else, Jonas liked watching the bats fly around, and I did see him smiling and laughing at some parts.)You can just see my future thespians here, can't you?
The kids were excited to meet some of the actors after the show (although Amelia and Megan wanted nothing to do with Miss Hannigan.  Who can blame them?  They live with me after all.)
Another favorite part of St.  George is Grandma's big jetted tub.  We decided to see how many kids could fit in there.  It turns out that 5 girls can fit somewhat uncomfortably.
And you can throw in a small baby for good measure.
As always, it was hard to leave and come back to the cold and real life.

6 Months Old

I can't believe that my baby is already 6 months old.  I already miss my sweet, cuddly newborn, but I can't complain.  This is one happy kid!  He is always so pleasant and smiley - he is definitely good for me.  It's hard to be grumpy when this little face is smiling and cooing at you.I think all of my other kids were sitting up on their own at this point, but Peter has so many people taking care of him, that he is seldom left alone or put down long enough to practice his skills.  I guess we better start working on that.

Measurements:  14.15 lbs (4 %)
                              26.65 inches (60%)
The doctor thinks he needs to eat more - which clearly is true since his percentages keep dropping, so along with turning 6 months, comes the dreaded phase of baby food.  Honestly, I just hate this phase, it is always so messy and requires prep work, which nursing does not.
Unfortunately, we have let Peter taste ice cream a few times (which he absolutely loves, by the way.  He always grabs and growls for more - don't tell my pediatrician.) Apparently, rice cereal just doesn't compare.  He doesn't think its all that great - as seen here with the gag.
I guess I'll just have to sweeten it up with some fruit or sneak it in between bites of ice-cream.  I'm just hoping it will help him sleep at night a little better.
Happy half birthday, Peter!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Miraculous Transformation

This is how Jonas' hair has looked for some time now.  It was at the point, after a summer of swimming, that he couldn't really even comb it.  It is so thick that it is a struggle anyway to get a comb through it.  I finally insisted that he needed to get it at least trimmed before school and or birthday pictures - just so it would be out of his eyes.He complained and moaned as always, but Shawn took him in while I went off to Women's conference.  When I came home, I asked Shawn how the hair cut went, and he said, "They trimmed a little off."  Imagine my surprise when Jonas walked in and this is what I saw.
I forget how much a haircut can change his look.  I love it short but I also love it long (as long as he actually combs it.)  I'm guessing that he'll just let it keep growing until I insist on a trim again.  And I'm OK with that, as long as I get to see his whole face every once in a while.  
At the haircut place, when they were signing in, I guess the receptionist asked who needed a haircut and Shawn said "Jonas".  She then looked up and said, "You mean chia-head over there?"  That seemed like an appropriate description and who knows, it may have even convinced Jonas it really was time for a cut.