Thursday, August 21, 2014

just us, august

 Girls' Night to one of our favorite soda/sugar cookie places. Kent is incredibly supportive of me going out, in fact it's usually his idea. "How about you get some girls together and go out tonight!"
I think it's mostly because he wants to play some of his video games, and he never plays them when the kids and I are around. So if I leave after the kids are in bed, he's got the night to himself.
But, he also recognizes that when I have friends, I'm a happier, more capable mother and wife. I come home from these nights refreshed, smiling, and ready to have a better day the next day.
We met up with my family and got to tour the Ogden Utah LDS Temple.  It's the open house right now, where before the temple is dedicated, anyone and everyone is invited to come see the temple, tour the inside, and feel the special spirit that is there.

The last time I tried to take the kids to one of these, Nicholas was three and Ellie was one and, it was kind of a disaster.  Nick refused to wear the booties over his shoes and he cried almost the whole way through.

This time, it went much better. The kids were reverent, respectful, and they loved it.  Nicholas loved all the sparkling chandeliers, and Ellie loved all the flowers and the stained glass windows that made rainbows on the walls.  

What a difference a year makes in little kids!

 The new garage door we had to got to buy! Our old door broke in half. Literally, split right down the middle. So we got to purchase a bright new shiny one. Woo hoo.

 I officially know how to save a fish from swim bladder disease. Got a goldfish swimming upside down but still alive?  Separate the fish and feed them cooked peas. It works, and now the fish are happy and healthy again. Or at least as happy as goldfish can be...

Waiting for their shaved ice.  I think they like those. We always use about 300 napkins when we go. Ellie isn't the most graceful shaved ice-eater. Good thing you eat them outside...

The kids were fighting like crazy the other day. I told them if they fought one more time I was going to take away all their toys.
They fought.
So away the toys went (just for the day.)
And amazingly, the fighting ended. And by the end of the day, they were putting ziplock baggies on their feet and pretending they were "booties" and that they were touring the temple or the parade of homes. 
Major creativity!

Ponies in Kent's shoe. Nothing unusual here.

This girl. She's wacky. And oh-so-curious. This climbing onto my counter and giving her feet a bath is almost a daily occurrence now. 

In the past week alone she's climbed into the watermelon box at the grocery store so she could lick the watermelons, colored all over Kent's nightstand, taken off her pants and underwear while outside more times than I can count, spread "sticky putty" (silly putty...why did I ever buy this??) all over the carpet, fallen into the toilet, picked the flowers off of my wreath, and gotten a bead stuck up her nose.

I think the sentence I've said most often this month is "Ellie, what are you doing?!"

(And in case you didn't know, here's a fantastic Mom Trick. For foreign objects in the nose, lay the child down, pinch the opposite nostril shut, and blow into their mouth, moderately hard. Like a CPR-type mouth-to-mouth breath. The object will come flying right out. ER trip avoided, as long as you do it immediately, before they have a chance to sniff the object up even higher...)

Oh the things I've learned in the short five years I've been doing this job.

There's a fantastic park a few miles from our house. It has the most awesome wooden structure, with castles, hidden tunnels, an indian teepee, rocketship, pirateship, beehives, dinosaur head, sand, slides, swings, and shade.  I've taken the kids there several times lately, 
because Ellie has stopped napping. 
And suddenly, our afternoons are really long.  So we jump in the car, play at the park until we're too hot/mom's too tired, and then pick up shaved ices on our way home.  The kids love it,
and it helps me with my goal of learning to really enjoy playing with them.  
Play used to be natural, and fun. But now, I spend my time playing with them distracted by the work I feel like I should be doing instead.  And some of their "games" make my brains melt.  But I figure, with lots and lots of practice, I'll get good at playing again.
I need to.
These kids won't want me to play with them for much longer, and I can't miss this chance.

Because I know I'll be sad when they're too grown up to wear helmets and carry puppies and dollies to the scout shop with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

sprinkles and silly faces

aka A Boy's Fifth Birthday

In the days and weeks leading up to his birthday, anytime we mentioned the day, Nicholas would let out this maniacal giggle. 
He was incredibly excited.
He gave me a list of what he wanted to do on his birthday:
  • Go to Grandma's House
  • See Sarah
  • Go to Bear Lake (we did that the day before his birthday)
  • Eat everything with sprinkles, and not eat anything healthy
  • Do a pinata
  • Not wear party hats
I believe we fulfilled everything on his list.  Especially the sprinkles part.

 First thing in the morning, checking out the presents. This kid gave us the most awesome faces all day long. He was 
We let him open one present right away--a remote control truck--and at that point, 8:30 am, he was already exclaiming that this was "The BEST birthday ever!"

 His breakfast request: oatmeal with sprinkles.
 Nicholas picked out this pinata and wanted to break it open all on his own.
It took him several minutes of good, hard swinging, but he finally broke off the front wheel.

 Pinatas are super fun when it's just you and your little sister to gather up all that candy!
 Nicholas first asked for a batman cake....but since he doesn't even really know who batman is, and since black frosting is super difficult to pull off, I helped him make another choice.  And boy was he excited about his chocolate cake... with sprinkles! (of course!)  

For lunch we picked up pizza and took it to a park.

Nicholas spent the day laughing like a madman, eating several pieces of cake, driving his new remote control truck everywhere, and pretending to be Captain America (thanks Grammer and Papa for the helmet and shield!).  
He now insists that we do not call him  Nicholas; he wants to go by Captain America "Because he's super strong and does everything that's right!"
I adore this sprinkle-loving, wild-giggling, right-choice making, sweet happy boy.
Happy Five, Captain America!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

my little fish

 This little boy loves to swim.
At the beginning of the summer he didn't even know how to put his face in the water. 

We'd have to arrive extra early to our lessons to give him a good half hour to even warm up to the idea of getting in the pool.
 And once we got him in, he'd often cry/scream for me for the first three or four minutes.
But then I had a moment of mommy genius (helped along by my own mother, because Grandma's really are incredible).  
I had a hunch he was doing the crying/screaming stuff just out of habit, just because once he stopped crying, he was fine. No fear of the water or of swimming. 
And every day, as we left, he was giggling, happy, yelling "Thank you!" to the teachers, and telling me how much he loves swimming and wants to swim forever.

So I'd say, "That's great, that means you don't have to cry tomorrow!"
And he'd look at me sideways...."Um, no, I think I probably will cry tomorrow too...."

We tried bribes, but they were never enough.
Until the day I bought him a treat ahead of time,  and told him that if he cried when he got to swim lessons,
I  was going to eat his treat. Without sharing.

He looked at me, horrified, and was quiet the whole drive over.
When we got to the pool, he walked right in, not a single complaint, as if it were no big deal.
And that was that.

 Ellie was never very happy during swim lesson time, either. She'd whine and cry and say she wanted to go home.  Almost-three-year-olds are almost as fun as three-year-olds.

From his lessons all summer, Nicholas has now learned how to swim, really truly swim. With his face in the water, his arms over his head, kicking his feet. It's amazing!  His form is sure lacking, but for just nine half-hour lessons, I'm pretty impressed!

His favorite thing? Tossing the pool toys halfway across the pool and swimming to retrieve them. He could do this for hours

You can bet we'll be doing lots and lots of practicing this winter.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

roommate reunion

The weekend after we got back from camping, some of my dearest friends in the world, who also happen to be my former roommates, came to stay with us.

These are the kind of girls that you love forever.  We lived together for a year, but here we are, eight years later.
 We were missing Megan in this picture--should have taken a group shot before she left!

Kayla, in the orange and blue to the left of me, and her darling family stayed at our house the whole weekend. She has three adorable boys.  The kids got along so well!  
Especially Nicholas and Luke. 
Nicholas cried when they left.  
They're just going to have to come back to visit sometime!
 We took everyone up into the canyon for a picnic dinner and s'mores, of course.

Ellie has decided that pictures are the time to be goofy.

Honestly, to her, there isn't  a time in the day that isn't a time to be goofy. This girl!

The boys enjoying popsicles on the back step.  
Thanks everyone for making it happen-it was so wonderful to see you!  We're definitely going to do this again!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

camping, the rest

"None shall pass!" she says....must have gotten that from one of her uncles...
She found an "Ellie-tree," just her size!

She sat in this stroller and ate cereal for about two hours, patiently waiting for us all to be ready to walk!

Gotta love this kid's poses lately...