Friday, March 30, 2012

{warning: Bragging going on here}

So I'm going to brag for my boy Miles.

He was such a wonderful big brother yesterday.  So. . . in the morning it can get a little crazy getting everyone ready.  But having simple rules helps things run smoothly.  The rules I have are simple:  be dressed and have your shoes on before you eat.  Well somehow it slipped by me that Emmy was eating her breakfast without shoes on.  Gasp!  So when it came time to start heading out the door I told her she needed shoes asap.  I offered to help her get on some that were right out the back door.  She declined.  So the 4 of us are out the back gate and waiting for Emmy.  And waiting.  Okay, it was probably only 3-4 minutes, but when you need to go, that can be forever!  So I ran in and told her we were leaving now and that she just had to wear whatever she had on.  She had nothing on (what on earth was she doing those 3-4 minutes!?).  So she had to walk barefoot.  But Miles, what did Miles do?  He offered at every alley-way and every street to carry Emmy across.  Emmy readily accepted.  I wish I had had my camera.  So sweet.  Emmy painted a bird picture for Miles as a thank-you.  Sweet.

Then. . .later on in the day, after dinner I think, Miles helped Lucy by making a slide for her.  Lucy loves slides and I had wanted to rig up something with some old slide that we have (we only have the slide part - nothing going up to it - make sense?).  But it just would not have been safe, so the slide just hangs around our backyard on the ground or on the stairs.  But Miles propped it up with boards, leaves, etc., and even created steps for Lucy to climb up and then slide down.  Lucy loved it.  It was so sweet and thoughtful.

Finally. . . we just finished up a month-long (or close to it) read-a-thon.  We donated for each page our children read.  There were also prizes for the top 20 kids, the top classes in each grade, etc.  Miles' class was the top class in the 2nd grade (and Jonas' class would have been the top, I think, if they included Kindergarten.  Which they were totally included in the read-a-thon but apparently the principal just skipped them at the assembly???).  Anyways, the top-20 kids were divided in to the top 10 from 1st and 2nd grades and the top 10 from 3rd-5th.  Miles was in the top 10 in his group, and would have been in the top 5 of the whole school.  He read 3,490 pages.  Jonas was none too shabby either - reading 1,407 pages.  Yay, go readers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My 33rd Birthday. . .

So it was pretty much a normal day, but sprinkled here and there with sweet birthday-ness.

Ben asked a couple of weeks ago what on earth he could do for my birthday.  So I did give him one idea:  schedule it with your work to go in later so I could go on a morning run.  He did and I did.  Loved it.

A bunch of handmade items were given to me throughout the day (plus cadbury mini-egg secretly hidden throughout the house. . .).  Items like cards, backyard flower bouquets, necklaces and the like.  It was all very sweet.

Here are some pictures:
 A handmade pipe-cleaner and bead bouquet from Miles.  So love.

 One of the many bouquets from all my kiddos.

 Sweet card from Jonas.  Each card from my kids came with "coupons."  Miles' coupon was for a bouquet of flowers.  Jonas had 2:  a 1/2 hour bike ride with him and a 1-hour bike ride with him.  And Emmy's was to make my bed.  Awesome.

 Here we are with my strawberry rice krispie cake.  YUM.  (Made by mine truly, Ben.)

And the classic blow-out the candles picture.

That nite Ben and I watched some old Cary Grant movie, "Holiday."  It was great fun!

And there you have it.  My 33rd birthday.

P.S.  Jonas and I did finish a 300-piece puzzle.  That was fun because Jonas was so, so, so excited!

P.P.S.  A cute video of a cutie:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This and That

Ready for a whole bunch of randomness?   Because here we go. . .
 Got Milk?  Green milk?  You bet.

 So I think we had a lot of greeny fun on our St. Patrick's day.  There was green milk at breakfast, green deviled-eggs for lunch - along with a green smoothie, Emmy got her toes and nails painted green - Lucy got her nails done, dinner was accompanied with green grapes, and dessert was green oreo-mint pie.  Fun.  The kids all picked out their own outfits ('tho I think Miles picked out Emmy's. . .) the nite before. . . and slept in them.  Awesome.  Just awesome.

 Friday morning we got some fun hand-me-down dress-up clothes.  Lots of dancing/gymnastic stuff.  The girls, particularly Emmy, were in heaven.  Jonas enjoyed the show.  :)  (He was home that morning because he had a horrible cough.)

 So Miles really wanted to "plant something" the other day.  Okay, fine, go.  After a little bit he wanted to show me his hands.  I thought he'd dirtied-up some gloves.  Nope, those were his hands.  So great, so Miles.

 My cute little bike-rider.  Emmy actually learned to ride a bike with no training wheels late last fall - but it was like the day before winter hit and so we didn't get much in before bike-riding season was done for.  We had some amazing spring-days last week (even yesterday was like 70 or something.  and today you ask?  like 38.  no joke.) and so we hit the sidewalks and rode hard.  :)  Jonas ended up teaching Emmy how to get started (that always comes last) and she's been on her own since.  And lovin' every minute of it.  She looks down quite a bit and has rammed in to our fence a few times - but she's tough that girl.  Yeah, she totally cries.  But still she's tough.  And the outfit was adorned all on her own.  It's pretty fantastic.

Here's Miles in front of his "collection display" at our library.  You sign up for this like 6-8 months before you finally get a turn.  I wasn't able to go with them to do it, but Ben said Miles was pretty excited and pleased about the whole thing.  I think the National Geographic Kids cards looks pretty swell in there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Miles' baptism

Miles was able to get baptized the day following his birthday - pretty lucky.  It was a lovely day - with brilliant sunshine and spring weather.  And Miles was pretty much Miles.  Like I've said before, Miles stays pretty much true to himself.  So, no, he was not sitting quietly, with arms folded, pondering the sweet talks being given at his baptism.  He was a little squirmy - or maybe a lot.  Ben's parents, Grandpa Max and Diana, were there and gave a great talk on baptism.  Grandpa Max asked Miles a few times, "Miles, are you paying attention?"  And the truth is, he didn't look like he was, but he most likely could have repeated back what was being said - he's so like that.  (Side-note:  Often times at FHE Miles is the same way.  I'll then say, "Miles, what are we talking about!?"  He'll pretty much repeat what we've said.  That boy.)  The actual baptism part and confirmation of the Holy Ghost were nice and peaceful.  Of course there was a good spirit there.  :)  It was a neat experience watching Ben baptizing our Miles.  So wonderful.

Here are some pictures:
 Before:  handsome in white.

 After:  still handsome.

 The baptized boy and his parents.

 The baptized boy and his Grandpa Max and Diana (Miles calls both of his grandmas by their first name).
We had a really nice weekend with them here.  It's always great to have family come.

And this is a towel Miles got from a friend in Jim and Diana's ward.  How thoughtful of her.  Miles LOVES it!  Seriously.  It stays by his pillow at nights.  Last night he told me, "I love my pillow."  See, he does.  So cute.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Miles' 8th Birthday!

 Happy Birthday Miles and a good morning to ya!  (Poor kid was sooooo excited the night before his birthday that he stayed up until 10 b/c he just couldn't fall asleep.  He did get 231 pages read that night!  :)
He totally looks like an 8-year old.  Sigh.

 He got to open 2 (!) presents in the morning.  For a couple reasons:  1.  He was going to have to wait clear until after dinner to open his gifts and 2.  He really wanted to do a "magic show" at school that day.  Ben and I had sat through a few of these magic shows the previous weekend.  They were all made-up magic.  Thus I thought it would be good to give him one of his gifts, the magic coin trick, before school and thus he could do that.  Which he did.  He worked out perfectly.

Miles' party was right after school.  In fact, 3 kids got to walk home with us and that was super fun.  Miles invited 5 classmates - a great number in my opinion!  4 came and it was pretty much the perfect number.  We decided to do a "science theme" party - mind you, this was our first "real" party - i.e., with classmates and the works.
 The invites.  I found a similar one online and copied it.

The "lab" set-up.  I didn't think to call it the lab at the party, that just came to me now.  :)  The card listed all the experiments/activities we were going to do:  snack n' facts, inflating balloons, soap souffle, static game, lava bottles, GAK, dry ice bubbles, screaming balloons, then pizza and cake.  Whooowheee.

 Ha, the first experiment was a hit!

 Here is the static game.  I had cut up crepe paper and we dumped them on the floor.  Then the kids had to rub their hair with a balloon and pick up as many pieces as they could.  Fun times.

We made lava bottles.  We dumped in alkaseltzer for the really cool bubbling effects.  Then made it even cooler by placing them on top of a flashlight.  It was awesome how much the kids just loved everything.  Such a great group kiddos!

 We made GAK - somewhat akin to silly putty.  They were all (well, not quite all. . .) getting their hands in it.  Cool.

 The dry ice bubbles were pretty fantastic.  The kids, of course, loved it.


We finished the party with pizza and cake.  The cake was a sort-of flop.  I kind of petered out the night before on what I was going to do.  It was just a little much.  So I decided to try this on Miles:  "Why don't we have all the kids make their own "cake experiment?"  We'll crumble up some cakes, put out toppings, and let the kids create their own."  He totally bought it and so that all worked out!  Phew.

It was such a sweet birthday party and I adored the kids (my own and Miles' friends) so much.  It was pretty much a pure delight.

Yea, happy birthday indeed!

P.S. His grandparents arrived right about dinner/cake/chaos time.  Later that evening, after the friends had left and we had cleaned up, Miles opened his gifts.  He loved/loves them all.  Seriously.  A good day truly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pictures to come. . .

So my PayPal account was hacked in to and someone tried to order 2 laptops with my account - thus MY money.  Luckily PayPal rocks, stopped the transaction before I had even contacted them, etc.  I thought it might have been a result of some scam I was just about conned in to - but it looks like some sneaky people just figured out my password somehow.  Crazy.  So now my computer is at the hospital, a virus was found, and appropropriate antibiotics are now in force.  Hopefully I'll get my computer tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  I'm using some super ancient computer that is slow, has about zero upgrades, and is slow (yes, I said that twice on purpose).  Sigh.  And I'm stuck with the absolute worst nasal congestion I have EVER had.  No exaggeration.  What to do, what to do?  Seriously, what can I do?  I have never had any pills that has ever helped out with congestion.  I love Afrin nasal spray as it is amazing - clears my passages in under 5 minutes - and it stays cleared for 12 hours.  The downside is you should only use it for 3 days.  I used it only once a day - before bed - and you can use it 2xs/day - so can I use it for 6 days?  I don't know, but I'm not going to.  So I'm already bummed about the sleep I'll get tonite.  I even tried some slightly disgusting drink of tomato juice, garlic, hot sauce, and lemon juice.  It did nothing.  Sigh.

Anyways, so sorry to rant about my petty problem.  I just want to say that I'm excited to post some fun pictures of a great weekend - Miles' birthday party and his baptism.  Both were wonderful.

So here's hoping to me getting my computer tomorrow and for my congestion to completely leave me.  Fingers are SO crossed.  Tightly.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Dear Miles,

Miles, you turn 8 today.  8 is a big deal.  It means I am no longer held accountable for your actions (okay, so that's not totally true, but close. . . ).  It means, though, that you are maturing and growing up and learning so much.  That is what is expected of an 8 year-old, I think.  And I think you are doing well - yes, you still have quite a bit more maturing, growing, and learning to do, but you are progressing very much.

In many ways, of course, you remain the same you.  A boy filled with questions.  A boy with wonderful creativity.  A boy confident to be who he is.  A boy that enjoys to pester (sigh) his siblings - except Lucy.  A boy filled with an unconquerable thirst for knowledge.  A boy also filled with incredibly annoying noises.  A boy loved by his family.

Your questions show the deep thinking processes that occurs in your big little brain.  If I was a better mom I would have written down many of the thoughts and questions you ask - on a daily basis.  Sorry.  If I can't answer your questions it is because 1.  I have not a clue or 2.  I can't even follow the intricate questions you ask.  Most questions are ones that I have never even thought of.  You never just read something or watch something - you constantly study the somethings.  Your brain must be very tired - yet always active and enthralled.

You remain incredibly creative and still love to create "stuff" - but rather than crafts the "stuff" you like to create now is more the edible type.  You want to bake and cook and stir and mix and make all the time.  You usually use recipes (a lot from your beloved Weird, Wild, and Wacky Stuff book) and the stuff you create is usually of the sugary type.  You also use and love my beloved cooking book from my childhood:  The Care Bear's Party Cookbook.  You have made some tasty things and some not-so-tasty things.

You are really sure of who you are and hardly deviate from that - you are confident in your style, so to say.  You are not swayed by peer pressure (for the most part) and do what you want to do because you want to do it.  Sometimes that is a totally frustrating trait - I'll ask you to do (or not do) something and you don't listen to me.  Not necessarily because you want to make me mad or to defy me, but simply because you know what you want to do and that's what you are going to.  You wear long, multi-colored striped socks to school and when I come and pick you up they are on the outside of your pants - your pants tucked in to them.  You don't care.  Your friends say "gross" when you bring cottage cheese in your lunch.  You don't care, you still bring it.  For hat-day you chose to wear an old handmade elf hat I made years ago.  Silly, definitely.  Miles, completely.  In some ways you have no style because you do whatever you want.  In other ways, that is your style.  There are so many quirky and goofy things that you do and Ben and I will just look at each other and say, "That is just soooo Miles."

Your pestering.  Your almost-constant pestering drives me CrAzY.  Yes, you were born with it.  Or at least it manifested in you when you were very young.  (I posted a video a few months ago showcasing your pesterings towards Jonas.)  I don't get it.  You can pester, pester, pester, drive me crazy, then do something nice and thoughtful.  (Notice, however, that the pestering usually outweighs the "nice thing" 3:1.)  It's almost like when you're bad, you're very, very bad and when you're good, you're very, very good.  But I wouldn't classify most of your antics as bad.  More like. . . super-duper. . . annoying.  Like technicalities.  You will correct Emmy on a technical error - which a 4 1/2 year just won't understand AT ALL - and drive her to the point of tears.  Okay, yes, fine, maybe you are right. . . but still give Emmy (and everyone else) a break, please.  Pleeeeeeeeeeease.  But, when you are good you can be very, very good.  Giving a sucker (one of your valentine suckers) to Emmy, playing with Jonas in a fun way, and - like today - making Lucy hoot and holler and giggle to her little heart's content (and my heart, too :).  So I guess we'll keep you around despite this unlovely trait of yours.

Not only do your thirst for knowledge - you soak up every last inch of it as well.  You literally remember things read in books - from a year or more ago.  I certainly don't.  You love reading and have become not only an excellent little reader, but a very fast one as well!  For example, one of the assessments at school tests your reading speed.  The goal for a 2nd grader at that point when you took it was 60 words per minute (WPM; and frequency words for 2nd graders).  Your score was 171.  Love it.  You love getting the reference books at the library - anything on dinosaurs to mummy and whatever else in between.  You thirst for knowledge is really so broad-based; it's wonderful.

Now on to another annoying trait. . . the noises that come out of your mouth.  Yelps, snorts, blurps, whatever.  Oh my it drives everyone in the house a little bonkers.  I think it's a phase.  I hope it's a phase.  I pray it's a very, very short phase.  I'm not sure how much we can all take - but it seems like you're wanting to find out!  Just yesterday you finished up your "good deed" card and got all 13 punhces - thus a prize for you.  You choose, guess what, a noise-maker thing!  A harmonica, more specifically.  It's cute.  And frankly, I would rather hear the noises of a harmonica over snorts and what-not.  You also asked us to buy a recorder.  Which, since that is so nostalgic to both Ben and myself - we probably will someday.  Maybe we can train you to make musical noises - noises with purpose and maybe even a tune!  If not, your basement will be your new room.  I kid you not.

In spite of and because of all these things, I love and treasure you.  Happy birthday Miles!


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Today's Sunday Quotes

Setting:  We are driving to church.  Miles is causing problems that is thus causing contention and frustration for everyone (except him probably).  Emmy then said,
"Do you know what the Holy Ghost just told me?  That Miles should go to time out!"

Setting:  We are getting out of the car walking in to church.  I told Jonas to go back to the car to get his scriptures.  His reply:
"I don't want my scriptures. . . they bother me at church."

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Tender Mercies

So I think we are all blessed with tender mercies like all the time.  We just don't always realize it.  Like Lucy could have seriously choked a number of times in the past 2 or 3 days:

1.  She had sneakily climbed up the kitchen stool and had gotten a candy heart (hard candy) and placed it in her mouth.  Luckily I realized it soon enough and grabbed it out of her mouth.  Of course she screamed.

2.  Another time I came in the office and saw Lucy.  Her mouth looked full.  I grabbed out a wad of a rubber-band.  She did not scream.

3.  She was in our back room rummaging through Ben's backpack and had gotten a little baggie out.  The baggie was full of loose pills - ibuprofen, excedrin, etc.  I grabbed the bag and then reminded Ben (kindly) that we need to be more careful. . .

4.  Today she was eating some yogurt for lunch.  I remembered an email I needed to send out quickly.  As I was in the office I heard Lucy asking for me.  I thought she wanted down so she could go galavanting with her already galavanting siblings.  I got there and she opened her mouth for me.  I then pulled out a few pieces of a broken up plastic spoon.  Sheesh!

I am indeed very grateful for even the smallest of tender mercies.  Because I really like Lucy.  Like really.

Definitely coming in like a Lion. . .

 trying to catch some snow on her tongue

 riding his "horse" in the snow

looking out on it all