December 30, 2010

Goodbye Gingerbread Pirates!

 It takes so long to build these things and then it can be gone in 10 minutes.

December 25, 2010

Christian's Drum Set

Christian got a drum set today.  Last week Abby said "how come Christian get's 2 big presents?"  We pointed out that the drum set means he has to practice, she was ok with it!

We put the drum set in the music room and he got drumsticks in his stocking and a book of sheet music.  We thought that he would go looking for it at some point.  He didn't, so Kenneth went in and started playing the drums loudly.  The girls all came in looking for the source of the noise before Christian did.  He blamed it on Hazel but we know it was due to the Ipod shuffle he was enjoying.

Truman Unicycling

Truman got a Unicycle for Christmas.  He has practiced all day and I think he will have it mastered by New Years.

"It's 5:33, We are late!!"

We tell the kids that we want to see them AFTER 5:30am on Christmas morning.  This morning as they were charging up the stairs I heard one of them exclaim "We are Late!".  I looked at the clock 5:33.

Santa leaves the stockings on their beds and when they get up everybody brings their "loot" to our bed room to open it.  I love the excitement and the anticipation.  Santa brought silly string this year (some years he honors my wishes to not have anything to do with the messy stuff, some years the kids pester Santa with much mail and he gives in) so everyone went out at 6AM for a silly string fight in the driveway.  I thought that Santa's funny joke of giving the kids and I Snow White and the 7 dwarf PEZ dispensers.  I got Snow White. Christian = Doc, Truman = Dopey, Sydney = Sneezy, Abby = Grumpy, Rebekah = Bashful, Nate = Happy, Hazel = Sleepy.  The only match that wasn't accurate was sneezy.  So the kids were really excited and came to see what Kenneth got.  Santa had given him Woody.  Now Woody and Snow White can get together!

Christmas Eve

We went caroling and then we had a "Concert", everyone played the christmas music that they have been learning.  Piano, Oboe, Organ, Tuba, Saxophone, Flute, French horn and Voice.  Everyone got to participate and practice their audience manners.  It was fun.  We had our usual dinner and then opened 1 present and everybody headed to bed!

Here are our annual "Before and After" pictures on Christmas eve.  I sometimes wonder if it is really worth it to make PJ's for Christmas.  My kids are usually ( last year Hazel told me she hated her new pajamas.  She did love them after she put them on.) really grateful.  This year they all told me that these are the best ever :)  It does a mother good to see her sleepless nights appreciated.

December 24, 2010

Last time

Another last time.  Kenneth taught Hazel to ride a bike this week.  Here is her first solo rode.  Well it is actually the second, I guess.  I came to watch and she proudly told me that Dadd was helping her ride and that she just rode away from him.

She has been riding a trailer bike hooked to mine for quite sometime and so has had a harder time transitioning to having to steer herself instead of doing stunts behind me.  The first time Kenneth took her out to practice, I heard her wailing down the street "don't make me do this!!!!"

She is proud that she did it but when asked if she would like to go out and ride a bike she says "Oh, not right now I am really busy."

December 22, 2010

Marimba Update

The bars are ready to be stained and then final tuned again.  And we still need a stand! I have seen a sketch, and the wood is sitting nearby. Christian has been helping alot lately, I think he is hoping to play the thing before he moves out.   Now that our Christmas projects are finished maybe there will be time to work on it next week.

December 21, 2010

Creative cooking

Gingerbread house gone off the deep end.
We have a book called the gingerbread pirates, so when it came time for the gingerbread festivities...

If you look hard you might be able to find Davy Jones on Deck and his unbeating heart on the deck next to him.

We also had Abby's Birthday to celebrate.  Christian and I made this great cake:

We learned an important lesson.  If you dust the cake with powdered sugar and then blow the candles out.  You get powdered sugar all over.

December 18, 2010

Rubber Band Art

Abby wanted some new hairdo.  We made a christmas tree on her head!

December 15, 2010

Hazel had our Camera

We have a great chronology of photos of Hazel's feet.  Everytime she has the camera I find photos of her feet.  I love those tiny toes.

We have one tree that drops it's leaves.  Last week all the leaves fell.  Nate, Hazel and Alyssa (their friend who lives on our street) buried themselves in leaves.  I have about 10 photos like this.  I think this is Nate.  They spent the whole afternoon burying each other.

Here is Alyssa with the kids.

December 4, 2010

Guide Dog Puppies

Our Guide Dog Club rode a school bus to look at Christmas lights and one of the houses has this sleigh and cut outs.  We had a fun time taking pictures and listening to Christmas music.  

 Snug is the puppy on the left in the front.

Crazy Abby (and Nate her faithful sidekick)

Abby and Nate decided to go swimming today.  It was a very short swim, an in and out in 30 seconds trip! There was much surprised gasping.

November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving Day was really busy around here and Poor Hazel fell asleep at the table waiting for pie.  All day she looked forward to eating pie and then as we were whipping the cream she fell asleep.  We did wake her up after we took the picture.  She loves pumpkin pie and holds the record for eating 7 pieces in a single day!

Here is the pie making.  I am wondering why we bother to cook turkey when pie is so popular!
Christian and Truman made berry, Sydney made pumpkin praline, Rebekah made apple, Hazel and Kenneth made "cooking for engineers" best ever pumpkin pie!
One of the finished turkeys.
Two turkeys in the oven.  One was Jenny-O brand and one was Honeysuckle.  I think that the Honeysuckle was a little bit better.  (I mostly make turkey so that the stuffing will be juicy)

The Marimba made progress today too!

Christian is helping line up the bars.

Hazel had another bike riding lesson!

Nate's face met the berry pie!

October 24, 2010

Syd Soccer Star

Sydney is also playing soccer this year.  I am enjoying watching her become a more confident athlete. Sydney is the Red 5.  On a trivial note, Syd is red and Abby is green and they both played christmas colored games yesterday, and they both tied.

Dishwasher Abuse

Five years ago Monday,  I took Abigail (Age 5), Rebekah (age 3) Nate (age 2) and Hazel (age 7 weeks) to Sears to replace our dishwasher.  Thanksgiving was coming, guests were coming, and I was exhausted.  I told the salesman that I wanted to buy a dishwasher that I could take the dishes off the table and stick them in and they would be clean.  We looked for almost an hour at all my options and finally found one that I could afford.  The baby was hungry and so I had to bounce on my toes to keep her happy in the sling.  Nate and Rebekah were tired of opening all the refrigerators and Abby was trying to climb in the driers.  The salesman entered all my info in the computer and then said "umm it's out of stock and I can't get it to you before thanksgiving..."  I nearly cried.  I calmly said "I guess I am not going to buy a dishwasher today after all".  I turned to go and he in desperation said "How about I sell you the next model up for the same price!" SOLD!  I even bought the 5 year warrantee for $150.  It was the safest bet I ever made.  We have run that dishwasher on average 2x's a day for 5 years.  I think that every part has been replaced at least once including the electronic control panel this summer and the motor assembly last week.  The repair man is making one last visit this week to replace my rinse aid dispenser again.  (I hate to say it Sears Repair Plan "You lost money this time!")

As proof of our use here is a photo of the "chopper".  The left is the new chopper and the one on the right is the used one.  The chopper is a garbage disposal type part.  I had to laugh when we pulled the old one out because there is almost nothing left of the chopper arms.

Mallet Specialist Christian

I love marching band.  I love it for all the fun I had in it, for all the things I learned in it,  all the friends I had in it, and that my kids all want to be in it.  I have a friend who thinks I am missing out on the football because I really only go the the High School Games to watch the Band.  The best part of watching the Band is Christian.  I am amazed at his skill, passion, and concentration.  It is fun to watch him with his peers because in uniform he is part of the group and forgets that I am his mother.  I sit during the halftime show and am amazed at how much closer to being a man he is than the little boy I sometimes think he is.  

 Here he is in the stands at ASU Band Day holding a picture of our dentist! (long story)

October 18, 2010

Ward Campout

 We went camping this week. It was time for the annual ward campout, and I wasn’t on a business trip this year, and it was October break so all of the kids had no school for the whole week, and even Christian had no marching band or other commitments.  The campground was Northeast of Payson, and our reservation started officially at 2:00 Wednesday; so, Megan picked me up from work in the early  afternoon and we headed out. 
The first day of the campout was my favorite.  Only one other family was there (the scoutmaster’s family), plus two errant teenagers that we had brought along. We brought up the Bishop’s daughter, and they brought up one of our favorite young men in the ward, and it was very pleasant. We set up camp, and the kids played, and we had dinner, and talked around the campfire, and then most of us went to bed while the 4 teenagers stayed up and played games (I still have a hard time thinking of Truman as a teenager). Next day we went on a hike and threw boulders at each other.  Well, kind of - we threw them into the water of a stream in the direction of each other with the intent of causing voluminous amounts of water to erupt onto the people on the other side of the stream.  And, voluminous was a goal that perhaps we never quite reached. Nevertheless, once Megan finally put her foot down and commanded me to go play, I had fun.  I think there must be something about nursing fires, throwing rocks, and splashing water that hold inestimable fascination for the souls of men. These three activities seem to fill the well at the core of our beings, inspire us and compel us, and have the potential to provide hours of good clean (?) entertainment.
Then other people started arriving.  Just a trickle at first, and then a whole barrage.  Lennard and his family had camped at one end of the campsite, we had camped at the other; everyone else filled in the blank spaces in the middle. Too many hard to answer questions, “You’re making fajitas?  And churning ice cream? We’re lucky to have hot dogs!” “What are those?  Maple nut scones?” “Ooh, is that a mushroom omelette?”  “Is that 10 foot marshmallow roaster long enough for you?  Are you able to get far enough from the fire?”  
Friday’s activities were a little more involved - Abby and Truman got to go fishing, and only complained that it was boring. It didn’t help that they didn’t catch anything. I tried to tell them that was the way fishing was supposed to be, that boring is precisely what makes fishing good. I had wanted to go with them but I hadn’t finished cleaning the dutch ovens. I like that job - it helps satisfy my need for order and my obsession for details; even though at the same time it often causes me to withdraw from my my environs and forget that people are important and that they have feelings. So, I missed out on training my kids in the finer points of enjoying fishing, but I did go on the crystal hunting expedition. The crystal hunting was not unsuccessful - I think everyone found some small crystals in the stream bed and best of all wasted lots of time in their pursuit. I, too, succumbed to the enticement of the hunt, and I have my own small collection of beautiful small crystals. I have no idea what I’m ever going to do with them but they are mine, and pity the man (or woman) who tries to take them away from me.
After lunch we came back to the valley. Christian needed to be at the school at  7:30 a.m. Saturday morning to take the PSAT, three children had soccer games, Rebekah had her last ballet class (with “parent sharing”), and I potentially had a refereeing assignment. In the fine print, though, I was glad to have an excuse to come home. We had been camping long enough, there were getting to be lots of people up there, and it was really nice to have a Saturday to play and clean and watch a movie.

(The Campout according to Kenneth)

Throwing rocks
 Trying to throw a really big rock.

 Manly rock throwing
 Cutie-pie on a stump
 Christian and Truman's Mock Archaeology dig that satisfied their last requirements for the Archaeology Merit Badge.