Sunday, October 31, 2010

And Finally....

It's over. That was the longest Halloween week ever. Don't worry, I tried not to let my bad attitude spread to my kids. They still managed to enjoy the holiday. It was a little cold, wet and rainy for trick-or-treating, but they were undeterred. The little kids came in a little early, but the oldest 2 kept going as long as usual. Our trick-or-treat numbers were down a little but we still had a pretty steady stream all evening long.

Here's the crew before heading out. Peter had no idea what was going on but once the other kids headed out the door he followed just like he always does. Once he figured out the "hold out your bag and look cute and you get candy thing," he was in heaven. He came home with more candy than I had expected, that's for sure. And fortunately, he's not really big enough to ask me for it.

Jonas as a lego. (He never did get that extra coat of paint. Oh well.)

And, a lego with feet.

Samantha being abducted by an alien.

Amelia as the tooth fairy.

Duffy as Little Bo Peep.

We tried the duck costume on Peter and he made it very clear that he did not want it on.

However, I have him so well trained that when I stood him at the "picture wall" and pulled out the camera, he stopped his fit just long enough for me to take the picture, and then started right back up again.

In the end, he went as an elephant, (and seemed perfectly happy about it, too - once he saw himself in the mirror.)
A little post trick-or-treating fun. Peter loved playing in the lego and hiding his candy in the cups inside.
A little confession: even though it was Sunday, I spent some of my afternoon taking down the Halloween decorations because I couldn't stand it another day. Now I just need to get all of the costume pieces sealed into the boxes and put those away, too. Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Wish I Liked Halloween....

...but I really don't. It's too bad, since I'm usually pretty big on holidays and making them special and memorable, but I definitely think that going to Disneyland last year for Halloween was one of the best decisions we've made. There are still a couple of days to go and I am ready to be done with Halloween - pack it all up and put it away. We've already had a primary party, a neighborhood party, school parades and classroom parties and we still have trick or treating to do. I don't like to dress up. I don't particularly like carving pumpkins. (Not that I had any part of it this year. It was ALL Shawn at the neighborhood party.) There is so much drama over Halloween costumes every year, mind changing or indecisiveness. I have various pieces of various costumes from the costume box spread in EVERY room of the house. No matter how many times I pick them up, they are magically spread around again. And I can't really put the costume box away until Halloween is over and all of the costume pieces are back. (We have a little storage problem and the work involved in getting the box in and out is far more than I am willing to do more than once.) Every year, someone is still undecided the night before needing a costume and it always involves Shawn and I staying up late to make it happen. Then there's the guilt of only being able to attend the parade at one school since they take place at the same time. Jonas totally gets gipped. There were also plenty of complaints from Amelia because I was going to Samantha's class party but not hers. She ended up being sick anyway and not being able to go so I guess I signed up for the right one after all. ( I'll go to Amelia's class for Valentine's Day.) And don't even get me started on those darn "fun size" candy bars. I can walk past the regular size candy bars in the store every time without even an inkling of regret. They don't speak to me at all, but for some reason, I get a bag full of mini candy bars and I find myself popping them into my mouth all day long. I don't know why. Apparently, "fun size" tastes better and it also means you can eat lots of them. And that's just me. I don't even want to think about the amount of sugar that my kids have been ingesting over the past week and what's still to come! OK I'll (mostly) finish up my rant here and post a couple of pictures.

Jonas as a lego and Samantha as "Alien abduction." Apparently she is no longer happy with this costume and wants to switch for trick-or-treating. (Oh, for the love!) Jonas is hoping for another coat of paint since we ran out. Still waiting to see if that will happen.
Megan as Little Bo Peep. (Yep, that was yet another parade and program to attend - smack in the middle of nap time.)
The craft we did at Samantha's class party. They turned out pretty well - for most of the kids, anyway.
They got to make a tasty witch's brew.
And have mummy races.
A couple of photos from the neighborhood party. I was mostly absent since I was watching puppies be born so I missed all of the carving photos. Our neighbors go all out on decorating their garage and setting up tables and carving implements and then award trophies to the best pumpkins. Not to mention that dinner is provided as well, we just bring a side dish or dessert to share. Not a bad way to spend an evening - as long as I am eating and socializing instead of carving - and the decorations are amazing!
And the finished products - several days later. I think I like Jonas' cannibal pumpkin. I guess he gets points for creativity.
No photos yet of Amelia since she was home with a fever (poor thing) and Peter, who apparently doesn't like dressing up much either. ( He has also expressed a great dislike for masks and wigs. The other kids have been having a great time exploiting this fear.) I suppose those pictures will be forth coming. I guess it's official, I am a Halloween Scrooge. (Maybe I can blame it on genetics.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Puppies!

Yes, I said "puppies!" Fortunately, they are not ours, but we get to enjoy them. Our neighbors from across the street called to say that their dog was having puppies and we should come over. I thought they meant after they were born, but they meant, come over and watch. So we all trooped over there for the "fun." I didn't think to grab my camera, so you'll have to bear with the poor quality phone photos.

Peter was absolutely fascinated by the dog and the puppies. The mother is extremely gentle and wasn't even phased by Peter petting her during her labor. He wanted to hold and pet the puppies (which he did) and he kept giving them little kisses. It was so cute.
I have never actually witnessed a puppy birth up close and personal like this. It was pretty fascinating. I'm sure my kids will be asking all sorts of questions stemming from this ...um... "educational experience." I was just amazed at our neighbors willingness to share the whole thing with us and for handing over puppies to be cuddled within moments after birth. (And that the mother was so calmly allowing us to handle her puppies, as well.)
At last count there were 2 yellow labs and 5 chocolate labs (plus 1 yellow lab that didn't make it) with the possibility of one more to go. Jonas was more disgusted by the dog vomiting than he was by the actual birth process, which I guess is somewhat understandable.
We are not at all in the market for a dog, so this is the perfect way to experience puppies. However, if any of you are looking to get a puppy, they will be ready just in time for Christmas. (With a bit of a price tag attached since they are pure bred and papered and all that.) If the puppies end up with the temperament of their mother, they should be fabulous pets.
Not much sweeter than a pile of newborn pups!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkins

I have had constant reminders about the lack of pumpkins at our house and since the annual neighborhood pumpkin carving party is approaching quickly, today was kind of our last chance to check pumpkins off the list. Fortunately, it stopped raining long enough this afternoon to make that possible.
I forget how much is involved in finding just the right pumpkin for carving.
Peter, Peter Pumpkin-Eater. (Well at least he likes the seeds and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.) He liked the little pumpkins/gourds that he could hold in his hands. The nice thing is, they're a lot cheaper, but I don't think I will try to carve that one. Hopefully he won't mind.

Little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet. (Alright, it's actually Duffy sitting on some pumpkins but I promise she would also be frightened away if a spider came along.)

Amelia Bedelia

Samantha and her new friend.

Jonas, who appears to be much happier here than he actually was. Apparently, even picking out your pumpkin counts as "running errands" and we all know how he feels about that.

The whole gang happily supplied with pumpkins. Now that we have the pumpkins, it's probably time to start thinking about costumes. Here's hoping we pull that one off in time!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday

Another beautiful fall day. I dropped Shawn and a couple of friends off at the top of the Crest Trail so they could ride down. The fall colors were amazing!

Shawn and Rob B. in their Team Firestorm jerseys, worn in honor of our friend Ben Jacobsen, who just lost his battle with cancer.


John:
Some of the beauty:
Meanwhile, we were carting Samantha back and forth to Abravenel Hall for rehearsals for a harp concert. (Of course, this did put us right next to Hagermann's Bakery so we had to stop in for some tasty treats.)

In the evening, the whole family attended the concert. The theme was chrysallis, hence the caterpillar which became a cocoon and eventually a butterfly before leaving the stage. It was pretty cool.
And you can never complain about the sound of harps playing. (Well, OK, occasionally you can when your harp gets so out of tune that music is no longer recognizable, but still better than some other sounds I know of.)

A little snippet:
video
At the very end, they played Pirates of the Caribbean and all 120(?) harpists came out dressed as pirates. (Unfortunately, the camera had left the concert with Shawn and Peter so I didn't get any photos or video, but it was impressive.) I missed Samantha in her pirate gear, but Peter happily dressed up when we got home.

"Arrrgh, Mateys!" He doesn't make a very fierce pirate, does he?
Just another busy and exhausting day in the life of the Stringhams!

Alpine Slide

This weekend since it was so beautiful (and this time of year you never know when you may be experiencing the last beautiful day so you have to take advantage), we decided to go and ride the alpine slide at Park City. It was a great idea. It really was. The only problem was that a million other people also thought it was a great idea. We mistakenly thought that it would be relatively quiet and therefore, quick. That was not the case. At all. You can tell from this picture that Jonas was not exactly thrilled with the idea of waiting in the line.There was a lot of waiting in line. (Like an hour and a half just to get on the lift.) Had we known, we may have come up with an alternate plan, but once you've paid for your tickets, what can you do but make the best of it? And still, it was a beautiful fall day.

Here is group 1 heading up the lift. (Jonas, Samantha, Amelia, me) Unfortunately, Peter was too young to ride so we had to take shifts so we could do the baby hand off. That added about 45 minutes to our total wait time. Ugh.
It started getting a little chilly as the sun was dropping, but these guys were troopers.

Someone get this kid some chapstick please! (why she won't stop licking her lips is beyond me.)
Amelia and I coming down the track. (After another shivery 35 minute wait at the top of the lift.) There were some serious efficiency problems with the whole alpine slide system. Amelia laughed and laughed the whole way down. That helped to make it more fun for me.
Jonas on his final approach.
Peter, still amazingly happy late in the game. He had spent plenty of time running around to keep him that way. Believe me had he been strapped in the whole time, it could've been ugly.
Shawn and Duffy headed up the lift.
Two happy girls.
I wish this were a picture of mutual love, but in fact it was a mid wrestle photo op for me.
Finally, the last 2 make it down, cold but happy so we could head home. Just enough time to get kids settled in bed and then head off to listen to Shawn's band play. Not a bad way to spend a Friday.
Not at all how we had imagined or planned the event to go, but we still get points for checking it off the list, right? The final vote came in with the 6 and under crowd (who ran around and kept busy the entire wait time) deciding it was worth it. The rest of the crowd decided, um, no. Two plus hours of waiting for a couple of minutes of riding was definitely not worth it. But hey, we took them out to dinner afterwards so it wasn't a total loss.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So Nutritious...

I was dropping off a particular child (whose name starts with "A"), late to school this morning following a doctor's appointment. I guess she was hungry, what with it being clear 10:15 in the morning, so she pulled out her lunch box. This is when I discovered that the ONLY thing she had packed in her lunch was candy corn! I guess there was some confusion when I said, "yes, you can take some candy corn in your lunch" She must have heard, "yes, you can take some candy corn for your lunch." I was tempted to just let her go and be hungry, but decided against it and stopped to get bagels on our way to school. (After all, I had already played rescuer to the child who wasn't going to make it to the bus on time. Can't rescue just one and leave the others to their own fate.) She's lucky my Mom "rescue cape" was still on because I won't rescue every day. (You know learning from consequences and all that.) Honestly, just when you think you can trust them with a task....


In other news, this same child this morning was practicing and was learning a new note on the staff. (This particular method doesn't teach the name of the note yet, they just learn to identify it on the staff.) She said, "I think I'll call this one Annabelle." I told her that I thought we should just call it "G". The other kids thought it was pretty hilarious that she wanted to name the notes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

18 Months

I know I've been a little heavy on the Peter posts lately. I'm sure it has something to do with the 2 of us being together 24/7 while everyone else has other places to go. (My mom will be thrilled to see more pictures of him, though.) I just can't believe that 18 months have gone by so quickly. All of my kids seem to be changing and growing so quickly right now. I don't know if it's just the change in seasons so I'm finding that a lot of last year's clothes don't fit anymore, or if it's that I've now got a kid who wants to stay up late and sleep in or if maybe time really is just flying by. No matter the reason, none of my kids seem willing to just stay put as far as growing up is concerned.

Peter managed to gain an entire .6 pounds since his last check-up. I don't think he's going to be a football player. (No big surprise there.) That puts him at 21.6 pounds (5%) and 31.75 inches tall (34%) so you can see how he's just topping out the charts. I'm OK with him staying small a little bit longer.

This kid just makes me happy all the time. His huge smile and the way he shouts "Mom! Mom! Mom!" when I walk in the door makes me feel like I'm loved and needed - kind of like walking into the bar on Cheers. (This is not the feeling that I am getting from all of my children at this particular time, by the way.) Peter loves, loves books. And not just picture books - he loves it if it's all words, too. He is almost always carrying a book around with him and will just drop to the floor to open it up and turn all the pages for a while. He takes books to bed with him and often uses them as a pillow when he finally goes to sleep after "reading" them. Maybe he does this because he gets read to far less than any of the other kids. Yep, I have guilt about it. We do read Good Night Moon together pretty much every night - and several times each day.
He also loves food - all food. Fruits and vegetables and rice and beans and so on. Not just the sweet stuff. Such a nice change from the first few children who do not have such inclinations. He just giggles with anticipation when you get his breakfast in the morning. Cracks us up.

I do wish he could talk. It's pretty challenging to try to interpret all of his grunts. He speaks just a few words and signs a few others. It will be nice when those lines of communication open up a bit. He thinks it is hilarious to run and hide when it's time to change his diaper or put on pajamas. (A fun game only when we have time to play it.) He loves trains and cars and building towers with blocks and then knocking them down. He loves to play with and imitate his older siblings. He follows them around when they are home. And like I've said before, he's generally pretty happy as long as he can play outside, although the street is still an issue. When it gets cold, I may be in trouble.



You will notice here that he is, indeed, in the middle of the street. Sidewalks would be nice to have. (Not that that would guarantee he would stay out of the street but it would be a nice option.) I guess I'm glad we don't live on a busy street.