Sunday, January 25, 2015

Preschool: The Letter K

I will tell you right off the bat I really wanted to do Kinetic energy experiments with the girls.  I thought it would be fun to play human bumper cars.  But then I thought better of it. In the end we went with . . .


Jumping around like Kangaroos (with little “Kangaroo” babies attached  - only one of the girls cooperated with that little element), and then posing adorably with said “Kangaroo” babies (one actually was a Kangaroo, the other two were a fish and a giraffe).


They made paper kite collages with papers and yarns.


I think if I were to do it again I would have some small papers cut and ready for the girls to glue onto their kites.  I’m think 1/2”-1” squares and circles and triangles, or even some fun shape punches like butterflies.


For snack we had fruit Kabobs.  These were really fun and the girls loved them.  I put out bowls of cut apple, sliced banana and grapes, and the girls just went to town spearing fruit with their little toothpicks.  They were really yummy.


For our last project they drew pictures and sealed the envelopes with a Kiss (we also slipped a Hershey’s Kiss inside).  I put lipstick on each girls and they got to seal their own envelope.  They were soooo excited to have their turn with the grown-up girl stuff.  Who knew we could have so much fun learning about the letter K without pushing each other around!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Forty? Really?


Winter is big for birthdays in our house.  It seems like two birthdays are done and over with every year before I even get my New Year’s Resolutions written up.  In a way it’s not so good (like Djeryd’s present fiasco this year), but in a way it’s nice.  Sean went from thirty-nine to forty this week and we didn’t even have time to get all weirded out about it.  It just came and went.  Snap.  Just like that.  But I couldn’t let this landmark year slip by without a squishy huggy post to my wonderful husband.


Every night in my journal I write down three things I am thankful for that day.  I try not to repeat myself too much, but sometimes I can’t help it.  I think I write down something I love or appreciate about Sean at least twice a week.  They’re way too personal to share with the world, but in this forum I can tell you he is a wonderful father.  He is an example to me of dedication, service, selflessness and love.


He cherishes my girls and shows them through his words and his actions the kind of man they should marry.  They know what love looks like because they see it in his kindness service to them.  They see it in magic tricks and bedtime stories and band-aids on boo-boos.  They see it in how he supports me as his wife and his companion and his best friend.


I tell my girls to marry someone like their daddy, and I tell my boys to be someone like their daddy.  He shows them how to love God and to serve God and to be a man of God.  That is the greatest gift I think he can give to them.  They see him work all day for his family and them come home and work with his family, doing dishes, sweeping floors, tidying rooms, reading scriptures, saying prayers, changing diapers, singing songs, telling stories, tucking in.


I am no fool.  I know what I have.  And I am grateful for it every single day of my life.

Sean, my love, thank you for being born at just the right time and for finding me so we can be together forever.  I love you forever and ever!

Gingerbread Houses


In October I brought home a little craft book for children published by Martha Stewart.  Alyx latched onto it, as she does with so many books.  (At present it is a My Little Pony book entitled Rainbow Rocks.  She eats with it, plays with it by her side, and even sleeps with it on her pillow.)  Inside it she found a series of graham cracker houses decorated in different themes.  She would constantly return to the page and dream about her faux gingerbread creation.  She would ask every few days if today was the lucky day.  I knew if we made one in October or November we would have to make another one in December, so I put her off.  Because gingerbread houses, even easy peasy ones kind of exhaust me.  There is always a mess to clean up.  And guess who gets to do the cleaning up?  For some reason it’s never them.


As you can see by these lovely little snapshots we managed to scrounge up some graham crackers and candy and even frosting my niece left in my fridge at Thanksgiving.  I needed to start making dinner and the kids needed something to keep them from fighting or making other messes around the house so Lu’s little house was finally, at long last, constructed.


Each house stood together for a total of about five minutes because the frosting my niece made was cream cheese frosting, not exactly the sort of thing one would use for sweet cement to hold a cookie house together.  But it served the purpose; the kids were happy and they had something sweet to eat and it felt like Christmas.


From a strictly mental memory of the project I remember it feeling messy and crazy and a lot of frustration about those darn floppy walls.  But, looking at these pictures, it seems much happier and sweeter.  I hope as time goes on my mental memory will fade a little more and it will be filled instead with all these happy pictures.  That is until my grown daughter calls me up in tears and says “Mom, sometimes it’s so hard being a mom!” And I will be able to say, “I know, honey.  I remember.”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Djeryd Turns Fifteen!

Oh, my goodness!  Is it really possible I have a child who is fifteen?  Oh me, oh my!  I think this birthday was a good one for my boy.  On Saturday Sean took Djeryd and several friends out to laser tag and then back home for pizza and a LOT of soda pop.


(My kids were in heaven with all that pop.)  The boys kept mixing all the flavors together and exclaiming repeatedly that their drinks tasted “just like Skittles!”  Hmmmm, I think maybe not so much.


Those boys were seriously the nicest kids ever.  And they were so quiet!  It was kind of weird actually.  It was nice for Djeryd, though, because he’s kind of a quiet boy and at all of his past birthday parties he has become very stressed within a very short period of it starting.  It all just gets too boisterous for him.  But this year seemed perfect.


His actual birthday was not quite so perfect.  We ran into a bit of a hiccup with his presents.  Because Djeryd’s birthday is so close to Christmas, we buy most of his birthday presents while Christmas shopping.  We stash them with the Christmas gifts and just don’t wrap them until Christmas is over and done with.  (Actually, we don’t wrap any birthday presents in this house – we use blankets and pillowcases and pretend we are “living green”.)  So, Djeryd’s birthday presents were squirreled away in the bottom of our closet with the last of the shipping boxes and shopping bags on Christmas.  Sean, in his wonderful ambition to tidy up the closet post-holiday may have perhaps accidentally tossed out a couple of Djeryd’s gifts with the recycling.  So all my poor boy had to open on his birthday were some dress socks for church and a tie.  So exciting.  Sean, feeling so very bad about the blunder, handed over the three bottles of sparkling cider we were all supposed to enjoy with dinner.  Djeryd gladly accepted and slurped them down himself.  Djeryd just kept laughing and laughing when we told him what happened and was so forgiving and gracious about it all.


And then he blew out his candles and we ate cake.


And the kids claimed their corners of the cake.


And Elle smiled.


And I counted my blessings that I get to be this boy’s mama.  Djeryd is so good.  He is kind and loving and tries so very hard to do what he believes is right – no matter what.  He gives me someone to talk to about history and literature and culture.  He is quick to help out, always happy to serve and loves to feel like he is making a real difference in the world around him.  Djeryd, I love you.  Thank you for being you and for being such a good example to all those little people in our family who are watching your every step so closely.  Just keep being the wonderful person that you are.  Love you!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This and That


Sometimes, when I really want to show my family I’m crazy about them, I make them yummy things.  Things like fresh strawberry jam.  I am too lazy or life is too crazy during strawberry season, so I only make a batch or two of jam and then freeze the rest of the raw sliced strawberries in pre-measured amounts.  That way, when we run out of freezer jam, I just let a bag thaw on the counter overnight and then make some fresh jam the next day.  I like it because licking the bowl after a fresh batch of jam just feels like summer, and one really starts hankering for that after a few months of fall and winter.


And of course, what could possible be better with fresh jam than fresh bread?  So yummy!  I can’t eat the bread for a variety of reasons, but I love the smiles it puts on my loves’ faces.


I was ecstatic to find three lovely leeks out in my garden one night when I ran out of onions (the grocery store and menu planning and I are not getting along right now).  Yea for planting a garden!  Yea for harvesting it!  Yea for forgetting to harvest it and finding good things out there when you forgot all about them!


Sean and Erik figured out a new way to clean that weird shelf thingy over the front door.  It’s still all dusty and gross up there, but at least the Nerf darts and stray socks and random stuffed animals that “mysteriously” appeared up there are all gone.


I’m really not sure I’ve seen anything more lovely than my girls all squished together and full of love for each other.  (We must celebrate these moments because at times they are rare.)


Over Thanksgiving break Anna and Alyx took the bull by the horns and finished painting their beds!!!  This was a HUGE deal because we started this project about a year ago and Alyx has been sleeping on the floor forever!  They got sick and tired of waiting (and waiting . . . and waiting . . .) for Daddy to do it for them.  These girls came, they saw, they conquered.  Great job, ladybugs!


Pure yumminess.  Sigh.


Tickle fights.  I love them.  I love Elle looking on, realizing she might be missing something fun.  And thank you, Erik, for making sure Elle has lots of fun, even thought it’s not big kid fun just yet.

Halloween 2014 - A Catch-up Post

I know Halloween is sooo three months ago, but I bothered to take the pictures and now I finally have a snippet of time to write it up. We’ll jump right in to carving the pumpkins!3-DSC_0039

Sean was out of town for business and a family funeral, so the week before Halloween was super long, super crazy and I was all on my own.  At that point Elle was going through a “phase” of sleeping no longer than two hours at a time and not going to bed until about 1:00 in the morning (needless to say I was not very good about saying prayers with Djeryd before he left for seminary at 6:10 every morning – he prayed with me every morning, I was just sound asleep through most of them).  We had a ton of stuff going on, not to mention last minute costumes and coordinating all the loony-toon stuff that happens around Halloween.  That said, we “carved” out some time for pumpkins (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) on the Monday before Halloween.


Items of note include Alyx and Anna making this little kitty pumpkin together; Anna being so proud that she could fit her entire arm inside her personal pumpkin (the girl carved two teeny little holes in her pumpkin after she took all the trouble of gutting the thing – that’s all – there was not even enough of an air flow to keep a candle burning); Alyx covered hers in glue and then glitter and we just had to wash it off after Halloween to cut it up, bake it up and use it for pies (I’d never done that before!); and Djeryd did his finest work ever.


Friday night the kids donned their festive apparel and hit the streets.  Well, at least the girls did.  We have a rule that trick-or-treating stops at 12 years of age.  This was Erik’s last year to trick-or-treat and he opted to stay home with Djeryd to pass out candy.  The boys wore camo, ate Snickers, and watched Young Indiana Jones and had the house all to themselves.  It was a serious boys’ night.


Sean’s home from the airport at about 6:00pm and we headed out with Alyx and Elle for some fun and Anna spent the evening with her friends (which was really kind of weird for me).  This was really the first year Alyx has been excited about Halloween and going trick-or-treating.  When we got home that night and she was saying her prayers, she told Heavenly father how much fun she had and that she “would like to do it again sometime soon.”  Thank goodness Halloween comes along every single year – only 10 more months to go, Alyx.

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