Monday, December 27, 2010

The best park ever!

After leaving sunny California we headed back towards home by way of Las Vegas. We have some great friends who live there that have been asking us to come visit for several years. We arrived Friday night just in time for pizza and games. Upstairs in their house they have a great game area with on old style arcade game and foosball table and wii. The boys were in heaven. They also have 3 girls just around Charley's age so she was thrilled!

Saturday morning after breakfast we headed downtown. We started at the lion exhibit in MGM and then made our way down to the M&M and Coke factory stores. We had fun making our own M&M mixes, and tasting Coke products from around the world. Ronny was so excited they had the drink he was familiar with on his mission in Paraguay. I only wish they would have sold those various drinks so we could bring some home with us. The kids all enjoyed their own flavors of floats, even before lunch!

After that we headed over to the Belagio for the water show. The kids were amazed at the shooting fountains. Then we headed back to the car and drove over to Wendy's for lunch. That particular Wendy's has to be the absolute slowest "fast food" place on the planet! There was nothing fast about it.

When we finished up our friends took us to the most amazing park we have ever seen. Its one of those parks that truly makes you want to be a kid again so you could run and play on all the structures! I took lots of pictures to submit them to our HOA in hopes that one of the future parks could be modeled after this one. It was awesome!

The next morning was Sunday and we attended Sacrament meeting at their ward. They were having a youth program similar to the annual primary program every ward has. It was sooooo good! First of all their youth filled the stand and then some. (I have never seen so many youth in one ward!) The songs that were chosen were great and the spirit was overflowing! I'm so glad we were there for that and would even consider heading down next year just for that program! One of the songs was about Book of Mormon prophets (its called "How Can I Be" and you can find it on U Tube, the best is the one with the three missionaries with the ukeles sitting on the couch.). Our Sam sat right up and said, "I know who they are!" and was attentive the entire rest of the program with a smile on his face. You could just see that he was touched.

More Fish!

Our last full day of our California Adventure we headed out to the coast to take the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Papa even took the day off and headed over with us. What a treat! We stopped at Costco on the way in for lunch. Papa was so surprised you could get lunch there, its one of our fav's!

While waiting for a presentation on sea otters we sat in the theater and guessed at trivia questions about the aquarium. The kids were so funny up front trying to out do each other. When the presentation started we soon found out it was more questions but just about the otters. Each one of the kids came away with a sea otter book mark after answering a question. They were so funny!

There favorite part was touching sting rays, sea anemones, star fish, hermit crabs, and other sea creatures. They also enjoyed looking out the telescopes and finding dolphins and otters out in the bay.

Of course you can't end the day on the coast without dinner at Anderson's Pea Soup. The kids even ordered the pea soup and liked it. I guess I should know better by now. If its a vegetable and its green, it will be a hit with these kids. Next time maybe we'll leave a bit earlier and hit Casa De Fruita as well. I love that place!

We had so much fun with Nana and Papa and the house to ourselves, not that we don't enjoy cousin time, we just needed some good Nana and Papa time. The warm weather was great! We have one more year with all the kids being on the year round schedule so I would wager a bet that we'll be headed to CA next December as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Decorations, Sewing, Letters, and Movies

While the big kids were out shooting, Ben and Mom and Nana headed to find a Christmas tree! Wednesday was spent decorating the tree and all sorts of activities centered around the farm. Nana taught Charley the basics of sewing and she was able to help with the quilt top for her new bedspread. She loved working in Nana's office on her quilt!
"Ben what are you doing?" "Making Mud!" Of course!
"Helping" Nana get the garden ready for winter planting. At least they are working together!
Sam's comment was so funny! "Its winter and its not even cold!" It was in the 60's while we were there, we couldn't have asked for better weather.
Anytime they could con Papa and Mom and Dad into allowing them to play the Ipad this is what we would find for hours. Angry Birds!
Ben opted for his standby, letters! He was fortunate enough to have Nana and Aunt Jennifer willing to sit with him and make words starting with each letter of the alphabet. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to do this with him its fun. He makes up "rules" about what kind of words to spell and then after you suggest one he'll come up with something else. He really likes to string the words together to make funny sentences. And now you know why he was reading at 2.

We ended the day taking the kids to see the new Disney film "Tangled". We all loved it! Each night before bed we had scripture time. Our goal this year was to complete the Book of Mormon. We are almost there. Nana and Papa were kind enough to allow us to continue on our schedule to allow us to stay on course.

"But Dad, I can't see!"

On Tuesday of our December adventures Papa took half a day off to take the big kids to the shooting range. After loading up the car with kids, rifles, and ammo they headed off.

(I wish I had some still pictures of this but I wasn't there and Ronny only had his flip so we only have video.)
Ronny and Papa gave the kids the "talk" about gun safety before getting started and had Sam take his new glasses off. Ronny proceeded to help the boys line up their sights and begin. He lined the rifle's up on their right shoulders and had them tip their heads over to look down the sights. Both Joseph and Sam kept moving the butt of the gun onto their chins so they could look through the sight with their left eyes. He quickly became worried that if they continues to do this they would break their jaws when they switched to bigger rifles. After a few corrections he finally realized their "good eye" was their left one and finally switched the rifles over to their left shoulder to make things easier.

Papa had each child make their own targets and each made three. After the second targets were made Joseph hit a bullseye. Sam wanted to hit one as well and so he thought that if he just made the bullseye larger he would have a better chance of hitting it. So, the next time targets were made Sam's bullseye was the largest thing on the target and after shooting he proudly showed off that he hit it 5 times! (Smart kid!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Adventures

Bright and early last Saturday we packed the kids in the car and headed south. Our plan was to drive until the kids were done being in the car. Surprisingly we made it all the way to our destination in CA, a total of 13 hours in the car. They were even pleasant travelers. We made it just in time for dinner at Nana and Papa's ward Christmas party.

Monday: We had planned to ride the Bart into San Francisco and visit the Exploratorium. Unfortunately that was closed on Mondays. We discovered that the California Academy of Sciences was open so we headed in. On the way we got turned around a bit and discovered we were at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. The adults laughed and the kids were confused. They asked why that was so funny and we told them they would learn about it when they were older.

This place was great! They had an aquarium, living rain forest, planetarium, and lots of animals to see and things to read and watch. They even had a reindeer that Sam was able to pet. Charley was picked to do an impromptu game show type thing and answered all her questions correctly. She one some great prizes that she kindly shared with her brothers. While we were there a film crew was taping a commercial for the asthma drug Advair, we thought that was somewhat ironic knowing how hard we worked to get Joseph healthy enough to come on the trip. We had a great day.

Breathing Blues

When the kids started school this year they began on a new track. This changed all their off track times and we soon discovered that they would have the entire month of December at home. This poses problems with a mother who usually uses that month to get ready for the Christmas holidays. With so much time at home we knew we would need to find lots of activities and things to keep them busy. Ronny also had lots of vacation time left for the year so we decided to head to warmer weather and visit his parents in sunny California and to see some good friends in Las Vegas.

Two days before our scheduled departure Joseph came down with another nasty cold which we were concerned would delay us. I called the doctor to see if we couldn't get things under control to still allow the trip. Every time we go in Joseph has his pulse ox taken to see how his lungs are functioning. I forgot to tell the nurse about putting the monitor on his left hand as he is now missing his right index tip. I looked over and the stats were reading in the 70's. I then told her to change it and she looked at me as if I was nuts as the other hand wouldn't give a different number. I then told her about the missing tip and she was surprised when she went to examine it.

The monitor was moved to the other hand and the numbers came up. He was hovering around 89 which is low. I then told Joseph to hold really still to see if we couldn't get the numbers in the 90's. It finally came up but maxed out at 94. Joseph asked me what a good number was, I said 100. He asked if it was possible to go higher, I laughed. After seeing the 94 I knew we were headed for more steroids and breathing treatments. Three weeks before he had another bad cold that kept him out of school for a week and came with a full round of steroids that barely got him through it. (So far he is not starting this winter off well!) The doctor gave him the green light to travel in two days so we came home put Joseph to bed and started the packing process. (The green light came only after I told her we were visiting Ron's parents and that his dad happened to be a physician himself, gotta love having a doctor in the family!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sam's New Accessory

Two weeks ago I received a notice home telling me Sam had failed yet another eye exam at school. He failed these frequently in preschool and every year we would go to the optometrist and he would tell us that yes his eyes were off but not enough to warrant glasses at that time. One year he had us eye patch him while he was watching t.v. or playing on the computer, that didn't last long. So yet again we headed to the optometrist. This time the verdict was glasses. We picked up the glasses this afternoon. After the technician put them on him she announced she would have to adjust them for his long eyelashes. He is pretty excited to have them, however I think the novelty of having them will wear off soon. I already find him taking them off and putting them down in random places. His Nana has told me several stories of his father doing the same thing as a child, I have no doubt we are in for the same trouble.


(These pictures are of the snow after the 1st storm, we had 2 more!)

Last year's winter was cold but the snow was not so plentiful. This month however seems to making up for last year's weakness. In the last two weeks we have had over 2 feet of snow drop on our home and more is coming this weekend. Our driveway sits on the back of our house off an alley way. Our home sits at the middle of a T with intersecting alleyways. So, this means when the plows come, we are the recipients of their spoils which turns into a wall of snow in our back yard. Ronny and the boys think this is awesome and have plans for snow forts and snowball fights when they get off track this next week. The boys are concerned it will melt by then. I assured them that 4 feet of snow will not melt before it is time to play!

Yesterday I was out shoveling the front walk and porch. The snow has reached the level of the porch (4 steps up) and it is beginning to be hard to find a place to put the shoveled snow. After finishing in the front I turned to walk through the yard to get to the driveway. I soon realized that this would not work as the snow in some places was up to my hip. So I walked around the corner and down the alley to get to our driveway. I looked at it and decided I would need a break and a glass of water before I started on it. (I was already tired!) I went inside to sit down for a few minutes and then heard what I thought was a plow going down the alley. I opened the garage door and discovered our sweet neighbor going up and down our driveway with his snow blower. I grabbed my boots and ran outside to give him a giant hug! What a life saver he was yesterday for me!

This morning I woke up with my back aching and couldn't remember doing anything that would make it hurt so bad. Then I remembered the hour I spent outside shoveling that snow. We are just starting the winter. I am already looking forward to spring!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Birthday Spoils

Dear Nana,

Thank you for sending me money to buy new church clothes. Mom and I and my friend Rachel went out last night for dinner and went shopping. We found the black dress last night and then we went to Down East Outfitters this morning. That's where we found the aqua skirt and tops. Mom bought me another cute sweater dress too. She says it will be one of my Christmas presents. We decided that we will just go there first from now on. Its the best! Mom then took me to the shoe store to find shoes for my new outfits. We had lots of fun! My grandma also gave me some bracelets and necklaces so I can accessorize my new looks too. Now I have more than one outfit to where to church. I'm excited.

Love you,


Thursday, November 04, 2010

She's Growing Way Too Fast!!!!

(She is very into posing for pictures lately!)

Happy 11th Birthday Charley!!!!

The boys have been home sick all week long. Ronny and I have been up the last two nights with Joseph trying to keep his breathing under control so we didn't have to make an ER trip if possible. Charley came in this morning before I was completely coherent and asked if she could have hot lunch at school today. We rarely let our kids have hot lunch just because its expensive and I feel we give them healthier stuff from home, so I said no. Immediately her eyes teared up and I asked what was wrong. She said that usually kids on their birthdays at her new school have their parents bring in a special lunch and eat with them. She said she knew that I couldn't come because the boys were sick but would really like something different than the stuff she usually takes. I felt terrible!!!!! Of course I said, as I just am now realizing its the morning of the 4th and its her birthday. She was so sweet to realize that the boys needed me at home and asked so nicely for something so simple as hot lunch at school. I even failed to get treats for her class and called to Ronny to hurry so they could stop at the store on the way to school. (With the boys sick I haven't been to the store yet this week!) The two of us have plans to go out tomorrow once Ronny gets home from work.

She is growing way too fast for Ronny and I. I can't believe she is so grown up already! When did that happen???? I'm seriously tearing up right now thinking about it. She is the best big sister the boys could ever ask for. She is so patient with them and really looks for opportunities to help them and us whenever she can. She's a contentious worker and just an easy going girl. No drama from her! We have had a few friends and family ask us what we did with her to make her so wonderful. We really just shake our heads and say sometimes you get lucky and get a Charley. (The same people never liked that answer until we point out that we are the same parents of "the boys" and then they always laugh and nod their heads!) We love her so much and are so lucky to have her in our family and leading the way for her younger brothers!

She really wants her ears pierced for her birthday. I had mine done at this age. Her Dad has told her no! He wants her to wait until she is 16. A few months ago she came to me begging to get it done. I told her it wasn't me preventing her, it was her Dad. She couldn't believe it. The look on her face was priceless, like her father had betrayed her. She was so sure it was me that wouldn't let her get them done. It was just a few weeks after that she and I went to the hair salon and I let her get the red highlights. I think now she appreciates that when it comes to girl stuff Mom is usually not the hurdle she has to pass, its Dad! (He wants to keep her young as long as he can, I don't blame him but sometimes I do help her out!)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Our Right To Vote

So as you all know yesterday was election day. This was the biggest mid-term election I can remember in many years. Ronny and I tried to re-register with our new address and found we were too late to do so. We did find out though that because we were already registered at our old address we could vote a provisional ballot by bringing in two accepted pieces of mail showing our new address. We would have to vote on paper ballots but we really didn't care if it was the computer or the paper as long as we could vote. We live in a developing area so I figured there would be quite a few of us needing to do this.

We arrived at our voting location and stood in line. When we reached the front we showed our i.d. and two approved items to verify our new address. We signed in and were instructed to go to the table that had paper ballots. When arriving there we stood in another line and watched the ladies there encourage those standing in the previous line to come to their table if they didn't want to wait so long and vote by paper as opposed to the computer. Then they realized they were running out of ballots. When we made it to the front they only had 1 left for our precinct. I was a bit frustrated as these paper ballots were intended for those voting on a provisional status with address changes. Considering how many new homes get completed daily here you would think they would have been encouraging others to wait in the line for the computer so that everyone else needing the provisional ballots would have one.

I nicely told her that she needed to figure something out as she was now denying my right to vote. She excused herself to make some calls to find out what to do. When she came back she made the announcement that only provisional voters could vote the paper ballots. NO KIDDDING!!!! Wasn't that covered in the training to run a voting station????? I appreciate them wanting to make the voting process a little less tedious and not make people stand in long lines, but not at the expense of someone not being able to vote because they ran out of ballots. In the end they received permission for us to vote on another precinct's ballot and write our number at the bottom. I don't have too much faith in having it counted as any discrepancy seems to throw so many ballots out. We were given a number to call and verify our vote was counted but we would have to wait two weeks to call. What's the point then???

We are now re-registered at our new address so that hopefully we won't have this problem again. I take some responsibility here as we didn't do that soon enough, however running out of ballots should not be an issue in this day and age!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mom Gets Pinned

Joseph has been working really hard at the different activities at cub scouts. He missed the last pack meeting due to a stomach virus so this month he had lots of awards. The bishop's wife came in and had a ribbon around her neck with all the pins her boys had earned over the years. I thought that was a great idea and will have to go and get one myself. I grew up with all sister's so I am learning all about cub scouts. I never understood why they pinned their mother's until Joseph has started. He has great leaders who really take their calling seriously and have these boys on a schedule to earn as much as they can before moving onto Bears and Weblos. We are so fortunate to have them. Joseph looks forward to scouts each week! Now I need to get everything ironed on before the next activity.

Halloween 2010

Introducing: Joseph the Jedi, Ben as Chicken Little, Charley as a 50's teenager, and Sam the race car driver.
Getting the 4 of them to stand still and smile was crazy! ( I couldn't get Charley to show off her skirt that Grandma made but it was super cute!)
Ben was also a horse.
(One of the many perks of being the youngest is that there are many costumes to choose from!)
Ben's preschool class party. Unfortunately a few were sick and missed out. One of the hard things about having kids in 3 different schools is that they all have their class parties at the same time so Mom has to pick who's she will attend on which holiday.
All lit up!
Top to Bottom: Charley's, Ben's, and Mom's
Why is it once the jack o lanterns are lit up at night they take on a completely different appearance?
Top to Bottom: Joseph's, Dad's, and Sam's

We had 4 more in the back of the car that didn't get carved. We were too tired and out of time.

(We let Charley take the pictures today so Sam and Dad missed out of showing their's off before heading to the porch.)
Mom separating out the pumpkin seeds. We ended up roasting 6 cups of seeds.

We were happy to have Grandpa over for dinner before heading out Trick or Treating. We followed our tradition and tried out a new soup recipe. Since missing this event last year due to the Swine Flu the kids were hopping to get started. The weather was terrible with rain, wind, and cold temperatures. Something we have grown used to. (Joseph grudgingly wore a sweatshirt after mom explained the Jedi robe was not warm enough!) Grandpa offered to hand out candy while both Ron and I headed out with the kids. Within an hour the kids pumpkins were full and our hands were frozen so we headed in. Our sweet neighbor had special treat bags made up for just our kids that they were thrilled with and we ended the night at their house. We have our quota in candy and may sell some of it to their dentist just to get it out of the house! We had some friends surprise us by stopping by and playing until bed time. The guys of course headed downstairs to watch the Oregon v. USC game. It was such a fun night!