Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Castle

Part of the 6th grade curriculum is studying medieval times.  Lots of fun stuff to go along with it - serving your parents for instance to earn your way up to a higher "rank" or standing in the community.  (You know, peasant, lady-in-waiting, knight and so on.)  There will be a feast complete with full medieval dress for all participants, and of course, there is the castle.  All the students have to construct a castle out of whatever they desire (except legos.)  Jonas' school didn't require the castle, but I've watched all of our neighbors building castles over the years, so I knew it was coming.  

Samantha and her friend, Emma built theirs together.  Yes, those are marshmallows.  Castle walls built entirely of marshmallows.  (I am still finding marshmallows all over my house and out in the yard, by the way - and probably will far into spring.)
They did a great job, and other than a little help attaching the walls to the board they did it by themselves.  (It's always fun to go and see these sorts of projects and be able to tell immediately, which kids did their own and which kids had their parents do it.)  The girls had a few focus issues and made a fantastic mess (including the previously mentioned marshmallows all over the house), and I was extremely glad when it was finally finished and moved out of my house.  But it was fun to watch them figure it out together and brainstorm how to make it all work.  I'm already thinking ahead to how to make this whole thing a little easier by the time Amelia has to do it.
No marshmallow castle would be complete without a chocolate moat, of course.
Now it's time to get working on a costume.  I may be glad when this unit is over.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fire Station!

This month's preschool field trip was to the fire station.  I'm not sure who was more excited to go, Shawn or Peter?

The faces Peter makes in all of these pictures crack me up.  It is impossible to get any decent pictures of any of my kids because they all have to ham it up every time they see a camera.  

Pretty cool to get to go inside the engine.  I got to go out on a call once when my friend and I were delivering pie to her dad at the fire station for his birthday.  It was awesome.  (Although a little disappointing when we got there and it was just an old lady with a headache.  But still, riding in the engine with the lights and sirens going was worth it.)
I've always thought fire engines were pretty cool.
They definitely got a complete tour.

Peter checking out the mask.

The preschool crew with the firefighters.
Peter and Dad hanging out on the engine.
Gotta love a good field trip!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Look-a Likes

Earlier last year, I was so excited to see that American Girl dolls finally had hearing aids available.  (I have looked for and asked about them previously.  I figured with wheelchairs, braces, crutches, etc., that eventually they would have hearing aids.)  As Amelia has gotten older, she has become less and less happy about the fact that she has to wear hearing aids, as I guess I should have expected.  Being different is sometimes harder the older you get.  Anyway, I thought if her American Girl doll could have hearing aids too, it would soften the blow a little bit. 

I planned to get her some for Christmas.  That was before I discovered that getting hearing aids would require a "procedure" and therefore, a trip to the American Girl store.  Well, that wasn't going to happen since we had just been there in April last year.  But then, when Grandpa Quincy and Fran came to visit just before Christmas, I decided to ask them if they wouldn't mind tucking Amelia's doll into their luggage and taking her in to the store for hearing aids.  They very kindly agreed to.  We also sent Samantha's doll to get her ears pierced in anticipation of Samantha's 12th birthday.

The girls waited very patiently.  (Well, mostly patiently on Amelia's part. She asked about them and checked the mail almost daily.)  And today, the dolls finally arrived home.

Amelia was very happy to see her companion.

And even happier now that they both have hearing aids.

And Samantha?  Well, she's still trying to work up the nerve to get her own ears pierced, but is having fun changing the earrings in her doll's ears.  One day, maybe they'll match...
(Samantha is not happy with this particular photo, but it was the only one I had documenting the earrings - and lack thereof.)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Peter at 3

I am struggling so much with this little guy growing up. His birthday is about a month and a half away and it fills me with dread every time I think about it.  He has been the sweetest, happiest 3 year old I could ask for.  He is the best little buddy, and tells me at least 10 times a day that he loves me the best and the most and that I'm the best Mom in the world, and so on and so forth.  (It's not true, of course, but it's a great boost to the ego anyway.)

Things I want to remember about Peter at 3:

*Favorite color - blue, followed by green
*Favorite music to listen to - Piano Guys
*Favorite song - "I love to See the Temple", with "A Child's Prayer" coming in at a close second.
*The way he uses "t" in place of the "c" or "k" sound, as in, "Mom, can I please have a tookie and some milt?"
*He loves trains, and building tracks for them.
*The way he walks in  first thing in the morning, with sleepy eyes, and messy hair, with his blanket all balled up in his hands, and gives me a big grin, or a thumbs up or both.
*The way he will say, "Mom, look what I'm showing you."  And give me a thumbs up.
*The way he can't wait for his older siblings to get home so he can play with them. 
*(Honestly, he just walked up to me now and said, "Mom, you are my best mudder (mother)."
*How he loves the characters form Toy Story.
*His love of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
*The way he can work my iphone and the computer better than I can.
*How he asks at least weekly when we can go either to the zoo or to Bear Lake again.
*How he still loves to snuggle and will curl up in my lap and just melt into me - and stay there for longer than 2 1/2 seconds.
*How he walks up to me during the day just to give me a kiss or a hug.
*The fact that he loves to play outside and will stay out riding bikes or imagining or whatever for hours.
*His big, blue eyes.
*His love of stories and reading books.
*When he is sad, he is really, really sad.  It breaks my heart to see the intensity of his sadness.  (Fortunately, it's pretty rare.)
*As nice and pleasant as he is most of the time, he has quite a temper.  It almost makes me laugh when that fury gets unleashed because it's so out of the ordinary.
*The fact that anytime I mention anything about him getting big or having a birthday or anything about growing up, he insists that he stopped growing and he is going to stay 3 forever - just because he knows I am so sad to have him getting older.

Man, I am going to miss this three year old.  I just hope he's as much fun as a 4 year old as he has been for the first 3 years of his life.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is a big hit around here.  None of the kids seem too concerned about being single and alone just yet.  After all, we still have each other - and plenty of sugar to get us through the day.  What else could anyone need?
The kids found fun Valentines at the table when they came upstairs for breakfast.

And, of course, Cupid stopped by and left the usual mess, including more treats and a cookie.

This is how Amelia and Megan feel about Cupid.  (We'll have to see if that changes as they get older...)

 That silly Cupid even turned the milk pink.
I was glad to see when I got home from the gym that the kids had a nice early start on their sugar infusion.

You can't celebrate Valentine's Day without heart hair.

There were the usual classroom parties with even more sugar and Valentine's from friends.  (Wrappers and pieces from those Valentine's seem to currently be spread all through the house.)

And we finished the night with new books to read and a nice candlelight family dinner.

(Now I can only hope that my kids will look back on their childhoods and remember these sorts of things instead of me yelling at them to do their homework and their practicing.  Unfortunately those daily nagging episodes are far more frequent than the holiday celebrations.  I guess that's why I need to make them count.)

Happy Birthday to my Dad!  I hope that this extra year will help you reach your goal of shooting your age on the golf course!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Samantha Turns 12!

Here is a girl who gets excited about her birthdays.  She kind of thinks that February 6th should be a national holiday, celebrated by everyone.  I love the enthusiasm.  She has been wanting to turn twelve for a long time.  In fact, she has been saying that she is twelve-ish for months now.  Well, it's finally true.

For her birthday breakfast, she requested scones  (and fruity pebbles.  I only got them because it was her birthday, believe me.)

Because it's all about celebrating, she got to blow out a candle for breakfast.  I guess it's like a bonus wish for the day.

Yep, this about sums it up.

She was thrilled with her El Bandito mustache shirt. 
 In her words, it is "totes adorbs!"  (Translation: totally adorable.)

And pretty happy with her Taylor Swift CD.  (It was hard to believe she was missing one.  It seems like we are hearing all Taylor Swift all the time around here.)  Unfortunately, after a couple of presents, it was back to real life, and getting ready for school.

She did, however, enjoy a special birthday lunch with Mom and Dad.  Her friends were a little disappointed that we pulled her out of school at lunch time because they weren't able to keep their tradition of singing happy birthday loudly to her in the lunchroom which totally embarrasses her.  (There is just something fun about embarrassing Samantha, I have to admit.  It's just so easy to do.)
She chose to go to Noodles & Co.  (Yeah, my kids have really expensive taste.)
My crazy lunch companions.

Since life was not, in fact, put totally on hold for Samantha's birthday, after school was the usual busy, crazy time that we love.  I did let her skip dance and she and her friend Emma, spent the afternoon crafting and painting and eating doughnuts.  It was also Junior High orientation which was not how Samantha wanted to spend her birthday, but she survived.

Her cake choice was the easiest one ever.  All she wanted was a dippin' dots "cake."  I was a little amazed by this choice since her cakes are usually months in the planning with very specific decorating instructions.  I think since she's gotten so into cake decorating herself, she just didn't want anyone messing with her stuff and she never likes to eat her own decorations.  Whatever the reason, it was pretty awesome to have it be so simple.  It's not necessarily pretty, but hey, it tasted good and it satisfied the birthday girl's wishes, so it served it's purpose.  And better yet, no leftovers for me to  be tempted to eat later.

Love Shawn's face in this one.

Samantha has been asking for a pink chef's coat for a while now, so she was pretty excited to put this on.  (I only wish she had her very own kitchen - off premises - to do all of her decorating.  It would involve much less clean up on my part.)

This is Jonas demonstrating how he is going to hug Samantha every time he sees her in the halls at school next year.  (We did just come from orientation after all.)  As you can see, Samantha is really excited about this prospect.

She can hardly wait.

Samantha's cute activity day leader dropped off this giant cupcake covered with an entire tub of frosting.  (Samantha's love of frosting is well known around here, at church and at school, apparently.) 

Unfortunately, one of Samantha's presents showed up a day late, but hopefully it didn't ruin the effect too much.  She was pretty excited to tear into this box.
A plastic trombone!  
(And yes, it works as well as her actual brass trombone. - Fun for all of us.)
I guess this means she can still practice at home even when she leaves her trombone at school - which happens most of the time, by the way.
I think as far as birthdays go, it wasn't too bad. I can't believe she is really twelve.  She is excited to be in young women's and for whatever else comes along with being twelve.  (Except for getting her ears pierced.  We told our girls they had to wait until they were 12, now that it's here, she's afraid to do it.  Amelia, on the other hand is begging to go in her place.   We'll see if ear piercing actually takes place in her 12th year or not.)

Samantha is so fun and witty.  She has a big personality and definitely keeps us on our toes.  She keeps things stirred up and lively around here, that's for sure.  She keeps us on the forefront of tween terminology, and whatever "the thing" is right now.  I am excited (and nervous) for what this next year holds for us. It is fun to watch her developing her talents with music and all of her creative outlets.  I hope to see her continue to make good choices and good friends.  Here's to a happy year for Samantha!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cooking Up A Storm

One of the best presents that Shawn got for Christmas was this cookbook that his Mom gave him.  At least I think so.  Ever since Christmas, he's been trying out a bunch of recipes.  I have definitely been a beneficiary!
He's been grocery shopping for the ingredients, writing out weekly meal plans, and obviously, coming home and cooking dinner.  (Occasionally I will get started on something that he has planned if he's running a little late, but mostly it's been all Shawn.)  Awesome for me, huh?
So far, everything that we've tried has been really good, too.

Sundays have really been big cooking days, because he whips up a batch or two of muesli to have for breakfast during the week, and also a pan of "rice cakes"  or energy bars to also for the week.  (I hate to use the term rice cakes because they are nothing like the dry, crunchy rice cakes at the grocery store, but that is what they are called in the book.)
Yep, that one recipe book has meant that all sorts of good things are coming out of my kitchen, and most of them have nothing to do with me.

 Today, I guess Jonas got inspired by all of the Sunday cooking as well, so he whipped up a batch of muddy buddies to go along with the healthy stuff.  (Too bad for me.  Those muddy buddies are addictive!)
Before any of you get too jealous or anything, don't worry, this is all about to come to a screeching halt.  See, the swim season wraps up this week, and that means it's time for water polo season to start.  We are all excited about that at our house, but Shawn won't even be around for dinner for the next 3 months.  It's been nice while it's lasted, but all good things must come to an end, right?  And who knows, maybe he'll pick it back up a little after water polo is over?