Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Day in the Life of Peter

I know not to get all excited about these warm days this early in the year.  I know they're not here to stay, but we have really been enjoying it.
After preschool, Peter and a couple of friends set up this little tent city.  (Do you see all that sunshine and no coats?!  I am going to cry when it snows again.) Peter had me haul the house tent and the tree house tent down the street to set up at Mylie's house.  I just loved that all the kids could go outside and play together.
And because he's just so well rounded, after his tent city fun, he went to water polo practice with Shawn and the big kids. He had to go because I wasn't back from picking up the other kids from piano lessons when they had to leave, so they took Peter with them.  But I absolutely loved walking in and seeing this.  He was just sitting on the floor with the high school kids listening to the "chalk talk" and hanging out with his water polo ball and cap.
I sure love this kid and am so glad that he is easy going enough that hanging out at water polo practice is just part of his day.  Do you think he'll grow up just assuming that playing water polo is part of life or is this considered brain washing?
Either way, here's to my future water polo player.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snow Shoeing

Taking an entire YSA ward snowshoeing requires a lot of snow shoes. 
I was really looking forward to his event because I love both snow shoeing and Millcreek Canyon, but since I had a terrible cold and hadn't left the couch in 3 days, I had to miss out.  Shawn did take the little girls with him, though, and they had a great time.

Crazy kids - all 3 of them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Field Trips and Other Fun

I apparently have a lot of random photos this month.

Shawn getting photographic evidence that even driving carpool is more fun when Dad does it.  (Seriously, this is one of those unfair things in life - just because I'm the usual person to do something, shouldn't mean that its any less fun with me, but that's the way it works out.)

I went on the 2nd grade field trip to the zoo with Megan's class.  Fortunately, even though it's February, it wasn't too bad as far as temperatures go. 

I thought it was kind of funny to watch the baby elephant trying to nurse.  She's big enough that she had to kneel down to reach.

All of Megan's group posing as eggs and eagles.
It's nice to have a little more flexibility as far as these things go.  My kids love having me there.  They talk about it for weeks.  It's a small thing that makes them really happy.  (Although after riding on the bus with the entire 2nd grade, I wasn't so sure that it was worth it.  A couple of the other moms and I went out for lunch afterward as part of our recovery plan.)

Samantha wanted to practice some of her make up skills on Amelia.  The fact that she is sitting there smiling so happily while there is a pencil sticking out of her head kind of negates the effect.  But Peter did not like it at all.  He didn't think it was funny and he wanted it gone. Now.  He still doesn't like seeing the picture of it.  I'm glad that at least one of my children seems normal.  A pencil sticking out of someone's head should be disturbing.
And no cell phone dump would be complete with out a picture of Samantha the selfie queen.
That's my girl.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Cupid, made his annual visit, and left cookies and hearts all over the bedrooms.  For some reason, I didn't manage to take a single picture of those festivities, or of the class parties at the kids schools.  Just another example of how crazy things are right now.  (After all, water polo season has started.)
Our actual Valentine's Day was a little hectic, so we had to put off our family dinner for a couple of days, but we still celebrated eventually.
We had a nice candle lit dinner and everyone received a new book.  (Because what better way to celebrate Valentine's than to encourage the love of reading?)
Fortunately, this is one of the best received gifts for everyone at our house.  I love that my kids love to read!
Samantha cooked up some lovely pink heart pancakes for our fancy meal.
And we had a some genuine love potion to drink with it.
And because Shawn is good that way, he also gave each of the girls roses to make sure that they would be his Valentines forever.  (Don't know how we will handle it when someone else wants that spot.)
And to top it off, our cute neighbors, the Robinsons, heart attacked our door.  We loved it.  All in all a good Valentine's Day for everyone.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Awesome Stuff Including A little Known Risk Of Having Braces

Don't know where this came from, but lately, Peter loves to pick up our huge family scriptures and flip through page by page.  He doesn't really read it, but it's a daily thing for him.  (We do have some of those rub on pictures interspersed throughout, but I'm still surprised it holds his interest like it does.  I mean, he has always loved reading books, but I'm thinking this one is just a little over his head.)

I went to Parent Teacher conferences at the junior high which is always fun, but on our way out, Samantha thought I should see her locker.  She and I have very different ideas about locker arrangements.  This would never have worked for me.  It makes me a little crazy just looking at it.  (Perhaps this would help to explain some of those missing assignments?)
Anyway, she decided to do a little clean out while I was there to help her.  That may have been a mistake, because once we started uncovering the layers, we also uncovered a horrible, disgusting, gag-inducing stench.  Turns out that there were a couple of really old, really moldy sandwiches and other odd lunch remnants buried under that other stuff.  It was so nasty.  I'm embarrassed by her locker hygiene, honestly, I spent 95% of my parenting lectures on cleaning up after ourselves and taking care of our things.  Clearly, those lessons have not yet sunk in, but hopefully, she will be better about it now.  We decided to run to the store and get a deodorizer to leave in her locker for the 4 day week end.  Believe me, it was needed.
As always, I found some random selfies taken on my phone.  (It doesn't help that the i phone allows access to the camera even with out the pass code.)
Smiling Samantha.
Ice cream lips.
And finally, if you have braces, it is highly advised that you not chew on the drawstring to your pants while you are curled up reading a book.  It is possible that you could become entrapped in your pants forever.
Unless you have a really nice Mom who will help you detangle yourself, which fortunately, Samantha does.  But no worries, I teased her mercilessly about it first.
Seriously, no one ever warns you about these kinds of things when you become a parent.  Just putting this out there for those of you who may find yourselves in a similar situation in the future...

Almost there...

We hope this is the last meet we have to have at Granite High School.  It's just a little small, and dark, and dreary.
It's getting hard to be patient.  Our new pool is done. D.O.N.E. done.  But we have to wait on some signatures or something.
Every diving block has it's own horn.
Isn't this a thing of beauty?
And look! Floating cages for water polo!!! (I realize the world at large doesn't care one iota about our fancy new floating cages, but believe me when I say that the Stringhams along with our entire water polo team, find this to be very exciting stuff!)
Can't wait for the kids to start using them!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Daddy Daughter Valentine's Dance

Thus far in our lives we have managed to avoid this, but this year when the fliers came home, Amelia became pretty obsessed with going and finally, on the day of the dance convinced Shawn to take her and Megan.  Olympus High School hosts this dance every year, and my little girls loved it.
Those are some pretty cute dates.  And I'm not even jealous that he's out with someone else.
In addition to dancing, there was a craft and decorating cookies, I think.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the girls expect a repeat performance in years to come.  I think Shawn though it was alright, too.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Random Happenings

So, I have this cupboard downstairs outside the kids' rooms that holds all the extra sheets and blankets and such.
I opened it to put some things away and discovered that it had been rearranged a little.  Like the pillows from someone's bed, and some extra blankets were all on the bottom shelf.
And someone had added in some notebooks and something else for a little light reading on the second shelf.

Peter climbed in here during the day for some sort of game the kids had invented, but I quickly learned that Amelia had actually been sleeping in there for the night! It makes me claustrophobic just thinking about it!  (This is even worse than Harry Potter's closet.  At least he could stretch out.)  To each her own, I guess.  Crazy kids.

Next on the agenda is the pool.  (Do we seem overly consumed by this pool?  We are.)  But look!  Tile is almost done.  I can already smell the chlorine...
And one last item.  Since we decided we can't make it to Europe to visit Rob and Michelle, we would do the next best thing and send ourselves.  Well, at least Flat Peter is ready to go.
We hope he has a fantastic time traveling without us!  (Flat Amelia and Flat Duffy will accompany him, but they aren't quite ready to mail yet.)
A pretty good likeness, don't you think?  
My not-flat Peter.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Teenager in the House

Fortunately, not much will change for us, because she has thought of herself as a teenager for at least 2 years, but man, it makes me feel old! 
Samantha had put in her request for scones for her birthday breakfast months ago, so of course, we dutifully got up and made them for her.

My trusty, hooded, kitchen sidekick was very helpful so we could still make progress towards getting everyone ready for school.
I don't know very many people that love birthdays as much as Samantha does.  It's pretty much a national holiday in her eyes - or at least is should be.
We sure love this girl.  She keeps us on our toes all. the. time.  She overflows with creativity and lives her life with "sparkle."  (In all honesty, sometimes she exhausts me, but I love her for it.)
She's not quite the cute little bundle that she was when we brought her home from the hospital 13 years ago.  Still cute, but not little.
She takes her present unwrapping very seriously.
And guess who showed up to celebrate with us?
Fred the Elf!  The kids were pretty excited to see him off-season - all decked out in his cupcake costume.
Here's hoping that THIS alarm clock can wake this girl up in the morning.  (All others so far have failed - even when taped to her face.)  Clocky beeps like R2D2 and rolls away so you have to chase him down to turn him off.  Sadly, I'm guessing that her sisters will be the ones to have to do this while Samantha sleeps peacefully on...
But we can hope.
Yep, she loves presents.

I love how the audience gathers around for the present opening.

And of course, after all the present opening, there is the all-important cake.  Samantha is usually planning this for months and has even made her own so it would be just right, but this year she couldn't settle on a final plan, so it was up to me.  I went with Harry Potter because that is always a safe theme for her.

I tried out a checkerboard cake this time.  It worked out pretty well.
I don't know if you should laugh like that with a knife so close, but what do I know?

All my girls.

Yeah, these are out of order, but I don't have the patience to fix it, so just imagine that we have not already eaten the cake here.

Jonas is there ready to help just in case she can't mange to blow out the candles herself.

Happy Birthday to my sweet Samantha.  You are finally actually 13 and no longer just thirteen-ish.