Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Snow? Bring It.

I'm all set for the snow and cold this time because my valentine gave me a nice, warm puffy coat! (I really don't want to have to wear it in March, though.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Now THAT'S a Cupcake!

Samantha's new Activity Day leaders dropped this off for her last night. It is HUGE and she was excited to eat it, but it was bedtime so I said no. I also nixed her idea to have it for breakfast, so I'm sure she will be begging to dig into it when she gets home from school today.Just for a little perspective - here it is next to a regular sized cupcake wrapper.
I wonder if she plans to share?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Ride of the Year (for Shawn)

The first ride/bike commute is in the books - a full 10 days earlier than last year. Squeezing it in before the snow falls again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Cupid made his rounds again this year. We weren't sure if he would come because apparently, he doesn't visit everybody's house. (Who knew?)I could see in taking this photo that when I asked the girls to clean up their room, they went with the shove everything under the beds method. Honestly, have I taught them nothing?
We had a candle light dinner and we each got to open a present.
Everyone smiling in anticipation:
I wish I had caught Peter's face when he unwrapped his book - he was so excited. Books are always a well received gift here and thanks to Michelle - a Valentine's day tradition.
There was so much candy in the house after the kids' school parties that it was like Halloween all over again. (Ah, sugar - just what we need more of!) Our family home evening lesson finished up our discussion about the Proclamation to the World and we talked about the things we like to do best together. All in all, I think we ended the day with everyone feeling happy and loved. Happy Valentine's Day!

Heart Hair

Yesterday before church, Duffy asked me if she could have "heart hair." This is what we came up with.
Samantha and Duff:
Of course, there was a repeat today for Valentine's Day, but Amelia had 2 heart ponytails with all of her hair instead of just one little one. Now I just hope no one asks for shamrock hair - I'm not sure I could pull that one off!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Last Supper

My family got together for dinner to celebrate my Dad's and Michelle's birthdays for one last time at the house. It is officially the last time we will all eat a meal together in this home. It's really true this time - thanks to the sold sign below.
I am feeling very tender and sad about this. My parents will be moving out in about 2 weeks and the house that we have all grown up in will no longer be our home. Hard to take in the fact also, that the new owners will immediately be taking off the roof and adding on and changing it. I had no idea how attached I was. I keep tearing up just looking at these pictures.

At least they plan to take the table with them.
And with the typical irreverence expressed by my brothers (and Shawn,) a couple of photos for posterity that will also probably keep them out of public office and probably from ever being bishops. (Phew!)
One last picture (OK, 2 last pictures) of all the local family members on the front steps.

The feasting and celebrating:
Michelle carefully cutting the cake into 18 pieces to serve all in attendance.
Cheers! (Actually that was more of a raise your hand if you want cake. - It was unanimous.)
Shawn and I took a lot of photos last year and I know Michelle was walking around with her camera as well. I guess that's what I'll have to hang onto. Wish me (and all the rest of us) luck as we wrap things up in the next couple of weeks. I'll probably have to keep a tissue handy.

A Night at the Ballet or Happy Birthday to Us

For our birthdays this year (as with last year) Cathy and Doug took us to the ballet. It was just me and Samantha last year, but this year Amelia got to come, too. Samantha doesn't look very excited in this picture, but I promise she was. Just look at the next picture and you'll see.

The ballet was Sleeping Beauty and true to it's name, it was beautiful. The dancers, the costumes, the scenery - all of it. In the end we all felt like it was just a little too long, but still worth seeing if you like the ballet.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spring Fever

It's that time of year again - where the sun shines and it looks a little bit warmer out there. So the kids head outside donning sunglasses and shedding their coats (at least some of them.)They break out balls and skateboards, and it almost feels like spring.
But I just checked, and it's still only about 35 degrees right now. I guess we've got spring fever bad.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pure Entertainment

A conversation I had with Duffy while she was playing with play dough.

Duffy: "Mom, do you know what I'm making?"

Me: (After already correctly identifying the pizza and cookies previously made.) "No, I don't. What are you making?"

Duffy: (with obvious pride) "A macken."

Me: "Oh. Hmm, I don't really know what a macken is."

Duffy: (with obvious frustration at my ineptitude,) "You know, Mom, like Mac'n Cheese!'

Oh, right, a mac'n. I should have known.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Big 1 - 0

I can't believe it, but I have another child in the double digits. I can't possibly be old enough for that, can I? Samantha is 10! Here she is bright and early in the morning, all decked out in a birthday crown, ready to open presents.Of course, everyone wants to be a part of the present opening.

Some are happy to be gift givers, as well.

Samantha sporting some new clothes.
And blowing out some birthday candles while 2 sets of grandparents stopped in to bring gifts.
I'm not quite sure how this worked out, but everyone got something new from Grandma Cathy and Doug on Samantha's birthday. (I don't think anyone was complaining.)Of course you may have noticed that Samantha blew out her candles on some cupcakes. Earlier in the day the Cake Boss had been hard at work on the requested cake of "a pair of pants standing up." But due to some unkindness on the birthday girl's part followed by some scheduling conflicts, the pants never got frosted. That's right, I have an unused pair of walking rice krispie pants in my freezer and an unfrosted, but delicious brownie cake to go with it - all going to waste.
But still, the celebration was fun for all, and Samantha, as usual, was well gifted.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life with Kids

1) You've gotta love static hair.2) I guess if you're tired enough, you don't really need a soft place to sleep.I mean, why lie down on the nice, soft couch when there's a perfectly good table to sleep on?

3) We are keeping the tooth fairy in business. This is the 3rd tooth that Jonas has lost - at school - in about the past week and a half. He's getting quite a collection of these little treasure boxes that they give him to bring his teeth home in.
Plus both Samantha and Amelia have lost teeth in this same time period. At this rate, we're going to have to mash up all of Jonas' food so he can drink it with a straw since he won't have any teeth to chew with.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Little Improvements

I like to keep things organized and neat. You wouldn't necessarily know that if you dropped by my house, thanks to the 5 little people that live with me, but I am always trying. Sometimes it is only the smallest things that I can control, so here was today's attempt at organizing. I am about to impress you with my craftiness, I am sure. (OK, not really, but I had fun with this anyway.)

This is the old way of identifying the very similar looking ski bags of each child - different colored ribbons tied onto the handles. Effective, but not awesome.And this is the new way of identifying the very similar looking ski bags of each child. Large, reversible, color coded and clearly labeled luggage tags.Effective and awesome.

Unfortunately, after they were finished, Duffy informed me that she did not want the skier riding the lift on her tag, she wanted the jumping skier like Samantha's. Oh well. You can't make everyone happy all the time. Peter didn't seem to care what his looked like. He just liked holding up each different tag and having me read the names on them. (Some people are easier to please than others.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Another science fair project is in the books. Thank goodness. And heaven help us for all of the future science fair projects that we will have to do.

Yep, you can always count on your Mom to be a subject in your scientific research.
As a child I loved the Science Fair, as a parent I don't. I think it's a huge pain etc., etc. But there I go being negative again, so let me just say, Woohoo for good teachers who push my kids to do things that I'm too lazy to make them do on my own!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Big Recital

This is what we were getting ready to celebrate. Samantha's Book 1 Harp recital. (Held on Sunday, January 30, 2011.) Not a big deal to the rest of the world, I realize, but a huge deal around here. For those of you not familiar with the Suzuki method, at the end of each book, the students have their own big recital where they play through all of the songs in the book, from memory. So Samantha was the star of the show. It has taken years (literally) to get here and lots and lots of hard work (and tears) and maybe even some yelling by some of those involved (ahem). It took us a bit longer than the average, but she made it all the same. Throughout this process I have determined that although the Suzuki method can teach all children to play music, not all children are made to thrive with this system. (And this particular child may be one of them. But she is still learning discipline and hard work so it is not a lost cause.) Anyway we are excited to watch her continue to develop as a harpist and are especially excited for her to start learning some new songs.

A little pre-show warm up. (Shawn was trying to get the angle of his video camera just right.)
And several photos by my own personal photographers, Shawn and Michelle. (Thanks again for taking pictures since I was negligent.)

I just love having these photos. I don't know why I haven't really thought to take pictures of Samantha at the harp since it is a big part of almost every day. (Probably because it isn't always pretty. The practice struggle, I mean. Both the music and the player are beautiful in my slightly biased opinion.)

We were encouraged to be a little creative with the recital to better fit Samantha's personality - while still keeping it a little bit formal, so Samantha decided to draw the songs out of a hat instead of playing them in order. And if you know Samantha, you know any old, ordinary hat wouldn't do. So, this was the hat we decided on:
And when I think of Samantha, I think of bright colors and crazy patterns. (Both because of her personality and her clothing choices.) So I made 21 different flowers (plus a couple extra) each with a song title on the back. When it was drawn out of the hat, it was placed on a stem in the vase. At the end, we had a lovely bouquet of harp songs - and flowers, to enjoy. I guess the nice part is, they won't die and they won't make anyone sneeze.
Amelia was in charge of the hat, and of course, once it was empty, what could she do but wear it?
Afterward, we had refreshments and enjoyed the company of friends and family. Peter was in his element. In his mind, all of the visitors were here to see him. He made the rounds running up to different grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins with outstretched arms ready to be lifted into their laps.

I thought this was so cute. One of Samantha's friends made her this little harp out of candy canes and string. Samantha is the one who took the photo of it before taking it apart to eat it.
(And her harp teacher gave her the CD of jazzy harp music to listen to.)
It was a fun celebration, but I am glad it is over with and we have a little time before we have to worry about perfecting another book's worth of songs. ;)