22 June 2014

To the ZOO

Alison went to Riverside Zoo Monday morning...so we decided to tag along. It was a perfect zoo day, sunny, warm, and not windy. We met around lunch time. The kids "ate" lunch then ran through the splash pad to cool off. We love the new play areas at the zoo. Someone was brainy enough to install water near the sand park and supply buckets for making castles. The sand pit drew quite a bit of attention!! We visited the animals between splash pad visits. This time the tigers were up and prowling their enclosure. They are huge animals. A new animal petting area is open now. The kids got to feed a donkey, mule, and llama. Inside the barn the kids could pet and feed goats. Everett is my animal-friendly child. He has no fear when it comes to feeding and petting animals. He was in heaven! When a goat tried to climb on him he pushed it away then gave it a hug. Phillip was not keen on the idea of an animal eating out of his hand. He finally got up courage to flatten his fingers so the goats could snatch treats. The goats were pretty friendly! I enjoyed watching Phillip figure out a stationary tractor. He pulled every lever and pushed all the buttons he could manage. I love when kids get in their investigative modes. Thanks to Alison for going and letting us tag along.  The Sonic in Scottsbluff is horrible. This time the store was out of kid, small, and medium cups, vanilla syrup, root beer syrup, and hot dogs.

For FHE we took the family to see the new How to Train Your Dragon II movie. Phillip loved it, until it got scary then wanted to leave, then wanted to stay, etc. Ironically, he is sort of a scaredy cat. Evelyn and Everett lasted about half way through the movie. I was grateful for the lollipop that kept Evelyn busy for a good 20 minutes. I thought the new movie was pretty darn cool. We like that Hiccup character and his dragon. 

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent a good portion of time editing three photo sessions I had the previous week. My goal was to have them edited and posted before we left for Utah. Goal met. I farmed out the kids to have playdates with friends so they were not stuck at home watching TV. Evelyn is feeling much better. I took her to the DR on Wednesday just to make sure she did not have an ear infection. She did! After a couple days she is starting to feel much better. She learned how to say mmmmm, and mum, and mama. Justin and I got a new bedding set. He actually found the set on Overstock! He knows what I like! I was quite disappointed in the sheet set. The elastic snapped while I put the sheets on for the first time. Grrr. Wednesday three of my Webelos boys graduated to 11-year old scouts at our Arrow of Light ceremony. Bro Hill made a bridge for the boys to cross over. I am so proud of all they accomplished.

Thursday the kids attended the science experiments for the reading program. This time the boys completed the program. They all wore cute buttons on their shirts and got a $5 gift certificate for the local bookstore. This time the experiments were based on vinegar and baking soda experiments. 

Friday morning I need to get stuff packed and ready for Utah. I decided the best way to keep the kids entertained was to let them have a lemonade stand. Amelia invited over three friends for the event. I am not sure how much money they made. I do know one guy tried to buy a 50 cent lemonade and paid with a $5 bill, he got a dollar in change back plus a lemonade. I think that might be considered shady economics. I got the clothes and everything else packed and the van situated before midnight. Hooray! We left for Utah precisely at 7 am the next morning. All the kids were very excited. I prepared my little iPod for Amelia with Annie, Frozen, and Secret Garden music. She was over the moon excited to listen to music on her own. She rode with Justin most of the trip. All in all the trip was uneventful. YES!!! I did have a scare when the check engine light came on with the traction control light. We checked it out at NAPA, their little device must have turned the error off or reset the error. It went away (so far). 

Now we are just enjoying the chaos of visiting family. My kids love all the fun toys and older cousins at James and Miekka's. Everett was so tired last night he climbed into bed on his own and went to sleep. Zzzzzzzzz.   

**John and Courtenay welcomed a beautiful little daughter, Penelope Jane on Friday the 20th. We are so excited they are moving back in the next month. I get to take some photos of little Penelope.
**Dad got a new job in Saudi Arabia writing curriculum for a university there. He leaves around the 6th of August for 12-24 months.

15 June 2014

Come to the Dark Side...We Have Bacon

Rain. I love rain. When we lived in North Carolina it rained most afternoons around 5-6 pm, all the heat and humidity would cause the rain to fall. One of my most treasured memories from that time was strapping my little brother Jared into his stroller and going puddle jumping. I would run his stroller though huge puddle-lakes making waves of warm water. He would laugh his head off, my face split into a grin of joy. When it rains and my kids ask to jump in the water I try not to think of the extra laundry and muddy stains. I remember my joy and let them go play. Most of the time I join them! Sunday I huddled under our huge umbrella with Evelyn in the backpack and my camera in the other hand. It was magical. Totally magical. Amelia discovered a torrent of rain coming off the roof since the downspouts are off while the house gets painted. She stood under the water and experienced pure joy. Those are the best memories I can give my kids.

I finally assembled a fire pit we purchased a while back. Justin built a splendid fire. He got to use his blast match and some fat wood. The kids were so anxious to burn marshmallows. We had a FHE lesson on the temple. The stake Primary asked the children to raise money for the new Ft Collins temple. We helped the kids make monetary goals. Amelia wants to earn $20 or more, Phillip wants to earn $100 dollars, and Everett wants to earn $10. Amelia babysits for me while Evelyn is napping and I need to run a 10-15 minute errand. She feels so grown up! Phillip dusted the living room for me to earn a couple dollars. Everett is my go-to guy for picking up small messes. He loves to go fast while he cleans up. Amelia roasted up the perfect marshmallow, nice and golden.  

Amelia went to a jazz dance class MTW this week. Mrs. Margaret will offer a jr tap class this fall, it was nice that she could try it out before committing to a year of classes. Amelia started drawing a candy land with chalk. She asked for my help…we ended up making a huge chalk drawing of candy land. Later she added Minions and rainbows. Amelia asked to join me on my early morning walks. She woke up early on Monday and Tuesday to join me. Amelia gets very excited and chatters incessantly. I love it! She was excited for some one-on-one time.

Tuesday we had a picnic at Petrie Dish Park. Sounds cool doesn’t it?! The library summer reading program this year is Fizz, Boom, Read. It is a national program so we get some pretty cool things. Tuesday was a fun science based picnic. While the kids ate the librarians ran several experiments and games. We went back on Thursday to participate in 5 science experiment booths. Amelia actually completed the entire program in less than a week. The kids need 4 science experiments, one picnic, and read 10 books. The boys will finish this week. We can still go to the weekly science meetings. It should be a lot of fun. The booths this week were: cleaning a penny, chocolate plate tectonics, water magnetism, straw airplanes, and graham cracker math cards.

Evelyn can play peek-a-boo. Little stinker won’t play while I have my camera nearby. Justin finally tricked her once, gotcha little booger. She also picked her nose and tasted a booger. I was laughing my head off over her funny expressions. She can also say da-da, ma-ma, and blow impressive spit bubbles. She started moving around while in a sitting position. She puts her knees to the side and scoots a little bit. Compared to the other little ones her age she does not move around much. Several other babies younger than her are crawling around. Not this little girl, she is content only when I am 2 feet away or in the front carrier. She cries when left alone, mostly because Phillip moves in and tries to love on her. He’s taken to carrying her around like a kitten. She hates it. She loves Phillip from a distance.

Thursday we had Michelle and James Rognon take our family photos AGAIN. Yep. Again. Out of 400+ photos there were not any family ones I could use to make a decent family photo. I felt frustrated because Michelle is a busy mom and new to the area. I remember how difficult it can be to find folks to trust with your kids. We got to the field early, so I took the kid’s individuals and group photos. When they showed up all that was left were family groups and some of me. I brought candy to divvy out and reward as we went along. We got some amazing ones. Phew. We chased the photo shoot with a treat to Sonic for dinner.

Saturday I had a long photo session with a family hosting a reunion at their farm north of Sunol. The location was gorgeous! The time of day was terrible, right at high noon. I arrived on time at 10:30. The last folks did not pull in until 12:15 pm. That was highly irritating since the drive out also took a chunk of time. What should have taken only an hour stretched to 3 hours. I ended up taking the group photo inside a garage with fluorescent lighting. Terrible. Oh well. After I got home we packed up the kids and went to Gold Rush Days at the park. Brother Jones had his blacksmith station set up. He fashioned metal leaves for those willing to wait and watch. The kids begged for a run through a bouncy house obstacle course run. An hour later we were poorer but hey, the kids got a snow cone. I spent Friday-Sunday with a nasty sore throat, head ache, and such. I hope we are all better before we leave for Utah this weekend.

We wish a Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, Bruce, and Justin today. Amelia made Justin a cute little card that listed our favorite things about him. She sang him a special song on the way to church. He got a nap after church. For dinner he grilled up some steak to go along with baked potatoes, salad, and mushroom sauce. I found a fun shirt a month ago that said, “Come to the Dark Side…we have BACON,” it shows Darth Vader clutching a handful of bacon. I laughed at the silly shirt and bought one for Justin. Yay! Bacon.

**This week Phillip ordered a turd slushie at Sonic. The worker was confused until I clarified that he really wanted a nerd slushie.
**Amelia felt very grown up when I got her a medium cherry limeade instead of a kid size. I had a free coupon. She spent most of the week taking Susan’s dog Dora on walks around the block. She looks to grown up strolling around the block with a lease and a dog.
**Everett is feeling better after I went back to the Dr. She prescribed him a steroid inhaler that seems to help keep the barfing down. We are all sleeping a little better.
**Amelia found a horse figurine at Salvation Army this week. On the drive home she explained to Phillip that the horse was obviously a boy because it did not have any gutters. Only girls have gutters. I asked if I had gutters, she said I did but on humans gutters are called boobs. She is so matter of fact it cracks me up.
**Sidney now has the coolest Monster Truck ever. EVER. It is red with flames and tires as big as Everett. Phillip wants to meet the owner and take a drive around town. He is pretty sure that Superman might own the truck.  

08 June 2014

Riding Solo

Amelia is a cautious child. Not a risk taker like her brother Phillip. She was very hesitant to try biking without training wheels last summer. Thursday we watched a video of her cousin Lia biking around for the first time with no training wheels. She took a deep breath and then said she was ready to give it a try. Justin helped her bike around the block once...then she was off on her own. All it took was a little confidence and strong pedaling. I love the photos of her sticking out her tongue with concentration. Phillip is very excited to learn now. He wants a bike with a rack for Cager (his monkey) to ride on. We are soooooo proud of Amelia for taking the risk and being brave.