Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Pinewood Derby

B walking the American Flag for the opening ceremony

J with his "clunker" car ... thanks to Mom!
We kept calling it the "money-mobile"

T with his good pal, Garrett

J with his best buds

B ready for another race

B was the champion of the Webelos Division
Way to go, B!!!

B had his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby tonight, and he did very well. He was champion of the Webelos division! He was so excited that his car did well. He was a good sportsman, too. As far as the clunker Mom put together last minute for J for the siblings' division, well, I'm sad (but not surprised) to report that it didn't do well ... at all. It looked like a brick and performed like one, too! I had planned on J using one of N or B's old cars, but they were packed away in the attic. J was cheered up by being with his friends, getting donuts, and one of the decorations.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blue Kisses

The other day, T had one of those candy bottle pops. He picked the blue one, of course, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it was a sticky mess, but it kept him quiet for a while --- SO worth it these days. He got a real kick out of seeing his reflection in the mirror and hammed it up for a while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Science for J

J and his friend setting up their match game

J decides to stack his bottles with various liquids

Today was another science lesson for J's class. We talked about liquids, along with their properties and characteristics. The station had 7 different sealed bottles with various types of liquids for the kids to shake, roll, turn, etc. Some had color, some were foamy, and some were viscous. While 10 of the kids were at the station, the other 10 kids played a memory card game with a partner using cards with various pictures of liquids to strengthen their vocabulary (transparent, viscous, bubbly, foamy etc.). After about 15 minutes, we had the kids switch. It's always fun for me to come into their classroom. I didn't feel as prepared as usual today, but it still went well. My energy has been zapped taking care of sick family members. Anyway, J was full of hugs, which I love! Many classmates filled me in on the "latest" while I was setting up during their recess (which was indoors because of the rain). Oh ... the life of a 1st grader!

N stayed home again from school today. I think we're both dreading all of the make-up work coming our way. The boy that we carpool with is sick, too. N has been SO tired, and not very hungry. I pray that when he's over this, that no one else gets it. We've had such a rough start this year! Keep your fingers crossed ...

Monday, January 28, 2008

We Thank Thee ....

We are so saddened by the passing our of dear, dear Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley last night. When I told the boys, they were stunned. N dropped what he had in his hand. I can't say that I was shocked as his passing, but we were certainly surprised. He was 97 years old. This is the only prophet our boys have known. President Hinckley has been such an endearing prophet, a wonderful example of love and endurance. We have loved his wit and humor, and how he handled the press, among many, many other things. We felt his love and will miss him dearly. When we said our prayers last night, B asked me for help in wording his prayer about President Hinckley. He wanted to be thankful, but not necessarily for his passing. We settled on being thankful for his service and his love, and he added that he will miss him. Very sweet and well said.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nevermind ...

N now has a fever. Looks like much of the same here in our household. He HATES missing school. Darn it!!

Are We There Yet?

J was sick all through last weekend. We thought he had strep throat, but the culture came back negative. He was pleasant even though he felt lousy.

Okay, I thought we were FINALLY in the clear. There has been at least 1 family member sick since Christmas Eve! I'm not kidding. I'm going a little crazy. We've had sinus infections, sore throats, colds, pink eye, and just whatever. This morning, G & I were looking forward to having us all go to church together when we realized that B had a fever. We did the switch today: G went with N & J to Sacrament Meeting. Then he had to leave early so that I could get there for Primary with T. G hasn't been to Primary for 3 weeks, and he really misses it (and the kids miss him there, too!) I can tell that B is feeling better because he's starting to bounce around and his sarcasm is spilling out. I hope this is the end of this craziness. Thank goodness for my Bunko night and a scrapbook night (both last week) because I was starting to go cookoo from being in the house so much. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm hopefull we will all be healthy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

More Work

G worked really hard this morning on the OTHER fence that was demolished in that fierce rainstorm. The house next door is vacant, so there hasn't been a big rush to finish it. Plus, we've had on-going rain for the past 2 weeks. The fence posts have been set in cement and some of the cross beams are done. He's made progress. Sometimes taking care of our home feels like shoveling a walkway in a blizzard. Next on our list: Fix our vaulted window. Thank goodness for dual pane windows!! Now we know that fast, high-flying, Lego planks and windows are not friends. Did I mention that this happened the same day that we fixed a broken kitchen counter-top tile??

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Art with B's Class

I spent most of the morning in B's 4th Grade classroom doing an Art lesson. We talked about Artists who paint dream-like/fantasy pictures. Our portfolio was missing 3 of the pictures! That's pretty bad considering that our school shelled out A LOT of money to buy a complete set for the entire school!!! That really cut into my lesson. Anyway, it was fun to discuss different interpretations of the artists' paintings. Then, for our class project, we had to make our own "dreamlike" animal by combining at least 3 different body parts. For example, B drew a giraffe head, human torso (wearing a suit!), chicken feet, and a zebra tail. They sketched it first, used sharpies to outline, then filled it all in with oil pastels. The 2 biggest challenges of Art Docent usually are, for me, getting the kids to draw BIG, and to get them to finish. Quite often, they draw their "animal" and it's barely 1 inch big. I had to have 2 or 3 kids start over. Amazingly, all of the kids finished the project today ... barely. I didn't have a chance to get my camera out. I was busy the entire time. Like usual, I sneaked B a few starbursts. I noticed that he still didn't look like he felt 100%, so I asked him if we wanted to come home. He wasn't sure, but he knew that he DID want to finish up art. I admire him for wanting to stay and keep up with his school work. The other day, I had a very bad headache, so I had to lie down for a little while .. about the time he got home from school. When I got up, he was sitting on the floor, using the piano bench as a table and doing his homework. Later than night, he volunteered to set the table when I mentioned that I needed help and that it was technically T's turn to do it. Then, last night, J received a birthday invitation in the mail, and B said "Congratulations", instead of getting upset about not going to a party himself. I'm very proud of him. He's a sweet boy, full of laughs, and a great help. I love how he's not embarrassed to give me hugs when I come into his classroom. I really appreciate that! Thanks, B!

Monday, January 21, 2008

DQ for FHE

We surprised the boys with a trip to DQ to top off our FHE tonight. It felt really good to go on a ride together and get our treats. When J dug in for his 2nd bite, he said, "This tastes like heaven!" I agree. We both had a Reeses Blizzard. T got a couple ice cream brain freezes, but it didn't stop him from finishing his. Great idea, Dad!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


B started Webelos this month and is very excited about it. He finished up his BEAR already, so he moved up to Webelos and is gearing to go! He's almost done with his first pin, the Scholar. We need to get going on his Pinewood Derby car because the Derby is coming right up. Hopefully, his car will do better this year. Last year, the weights kept falling off. That was very frustrating. He really enjoys scouts and all he learns. Plus, he gets to be with his friends. It's pretty convenient now because he meets at the same time as N @ the church.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Wow, this is FUN!

T with his buddy, "Rett"

T cut into a game of Ice Hockey. Thanks, Ed!

This morning, T had a preschool field trip to an indoor play area with several types of bounce houses. First, he kinda just watched, but then he jumped right in, especially after I took him down one of the slides a few times. We sat on this little canvas where we could tuck our feet in and slid down the slide. This definitely burned off a lot of energy. Almost too much, because he wanted to go to sleep instead of going to his speech class this afternoon. That makes two of us!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


T right before he was attacked with Pink Eye

It's been a little crazy in our household this past couple of weeks or so. We've been dealing with Pink Eye. I HATE Pink Eye, mostly because it's so elusive and contagious! First B had it (during the school break), then N (who missed 2 1/2 days of school), then G got it. G missed church on Sunday, so I took the 4 boys by myself. I thought we had it kicked to the curb until I took one quick look at T yesterday morning. Not only did T have to miss his regular day of preschool, I had to cancel and reschedule Art Docent for B's 4th grade class. B was so bummed out! There was no way that G could stay home with T due to his work commitments. Now, the other frustrating thing: try putting drops into T's eyes. Not fun for anyone involved. He seems to understand that it's medicine, but he'd rather wait out the infection vs. getting antibiotics. Oh, the mind of a 3 year old. I've been doing so much laundry because I keep changing pillow cases, changing out towels and blankets. My can of Lysol is handy, and I've constantly been wiping down much of the house. I've been so paranoid of getting it myself, so it's been hard when T wants to climb all over me and cuddle. His eye looks SO much better today. He may be able to go on his field trip tomorrow. Keep you fingers crossed!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crazy Pictures for FHE

Our FHE Crazy Art

We did a really fun (and easy) activity for Family Night tonight. G said that his family did this quite often for their FHEs. We took a piece of paper for all those who participated and folded it in thirds (width-wise). We numbered each section 1, 2, and 3. Everyone began on section numbered 1 and drew a head of some type. The only requirement was that they had to draw the neck lines onto the section numbered 2, so the next person would know where to start AND there was NO PEEKING through out the activity. Once everyone was done with their heads, they turned the paper over, and handed it to the person on their right. Now, everyone drew a body of some type in the section numbered 2. Again, drawing two small lines to guide the next person on part 3. Part 3 is where we drew legs and feet. SO, everyone got to draw one part of a person, animal or whatever in a different section of a paper. At the end, we took turns revealing the drawing! It was hilarious! We'll be doing this again. We had some good laughs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mending Fences

G spent most of the morning fixing our fences. He finished the fence facing the street, and started prepping the holes for the posts for the other fence, between us and our neighbor. I'm so glad to have the fence facing the street done, in particular, because everything just felt so exposed -- kinda like being a fish in a fishbowl. Our backyard was a total mess -- something I WISH I could fully blame on the storm. I put on gloves, my old shoes, and grabbed a big, black garbage bag and cleaned up the backyard. Pieces of our trampoline fabric were all over the place, not to mention broken toys, some other garbage, and popped balls. All gone! I found several odd socks outside, too. This adds fuel to the maddening task of matching socks, for sure!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why oh Why?

Now it's my turn to ask "why?" Why is it that when I need to vacuum the stairs, the boys suddenly get up off of the couch and do acrobatics on the banister and/or the stairs that I'm trying to clean? When I question them on this phenomena, they say that they are trying to keep out of the way of the vacuum! This blows my mind! They WERE out of the way of the vacuum when they were on the couch to begin with! Or, why is it that they come out of hiding the split second I get or make a phone call? They could be completely consumed by the Game Cube or TV, but as soon as I'm talking to someone on the phone, they are right there next to me "needing" something. It's like they have some radar sense. I can hide-out in my bathroom, but then the notes start getting slipped under the door! I can't say that this happens ALL of the time, but it's definitely not a rarity. And, why is it that the boys complain of hunger during the hour leading up to dinner, only to pick at their food during dinner ... even if it's something they like? Am I missing something here? Then, as soon as dinner is cleared, they want a snack. I'm guessing I'm not alone here. Just some questions stirring around in my head. Yes, the wheels are usually turning ....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another Science Lesson

I went into J's classroom today to present another science lesson. I really enjoy being the Science Docent for his class. Today, one girl asked me how I know all of this science stuff. I wish I could have told her that I'm just so smart, but I had to tell her that I went to school and that science was one of my favorite subjects. We continued talking about solids, but this time focused on very small objects -- which can sometimes behave like a liquid (rice, cornmeal, beans). Half of the class was back with me, taking turns with a partner, basically playing with the small solids, using funnels, containers, etc.. We rotated them through each bin. The other half of the class glued various beans on a paper to make designs. Then, we all switched. It was loud, but it was fun. The kids LOVED being able to get their hands into the beans, rice, & cornmeal. They were learning through play. I love how J gives me lots of hugs while I'm there in his class. I sneaked him a starburst candy. He liked that. J's classmates are so kind to me when I come, and I feel very welcome there.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm a Sunbeam

I took this picture after church -- T was glazed and ready to take a nap

T with his friend, "Rett"

Today marked a milestone for T. He is a Sunbeam in Primary. He kept asking to go to nursery through most of Sacrament Meeting. He was a little confused about coming right into the primary room. What made matters more frustrating for me is that not only am I in there, so is Dad, one of his brothers, AND one of his preschool teachers, whom he just absolutely adores!! He kept working the crowd, trying to go between me, his preschool teacher & Dad. Uggh! I will be saying lots of prayers for his Sunbeam teacher .. so that she has buckets and buckets of patience. She's already so calming and patient, and I'm so happy she's his teacher. I know he'll adjust and do better as time goes on. It's hard to believe that we don't have a child in nursery! It was cute seeing him with his friends, sitting on the small chairs in the front row. At one time, T was lying on the floor, resting his head in his hands, with his elbows in the air. I was a little embarrassed, but he was still, and he was quiet. Okay, I'll take that.

Friday, January 4, 2008

What a storm!!

The canvas roof to our play structure was shredded. Also, you can see the fence to the left about ready to fall (which it did -- taking out the apple tree)

The side fence couldn't take any more wind.

We are experiencing a fierce storm, one with winds going @ 60mph+. Our poor lemon tree is struggling, and two of our fences are down for the count. It was quite a sight this morning! There are 3 panels down from the side fence, and 3 panels down on the other side, facing the street. Since our house is on a corner, we're taking the brunt of the wind because there's not another house there shielding some of the wind. Our pear tree is a goner. G put on some shoes and checked out the damage to our fences. Our boys are so sad about the trampoline breaking. It took a beating in the wind. It sure got a lot of use in the last year. Anyway, it reminded me of some friends of ours who, during a severe storm in their area, had their neighbor's trampoline land on their car! Glad THAT didn't happen! I promptly cancelled T's dentist appointment. It would have required us to drive in this vicious storm about 25 minutes each way. No way. I didn't have pay a cancellation fee because they figured that the weather is a factor no one can control. I would have paid it anyway because I was in no way risking our safety. So, I guess this is another day @ home. I'll dig out the hot cocoa again. G said that he knows what the next few days hold for him: trips to Lowe's and fixing the fences. Oh, and probably taking the trampoline to the dump. Darn!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Odds and Ends

B taking out the trike for a test spin -- can you say "blackmail"?

T with one our our marble towers

On New Year's Day, the boys went outside to try their new bikes. B still has to grow into his a little bit, but he's determined to ride it. They rode around our block a few times. I had to distract T while they took off so he wouldn't follow. He told me that he wants Christmas tomorrow so that he can get a new bike, too! He's riding B's old bike, which J rode as well, and it fits him perfectly. No need for a new bike there ... yet. Later, Dad took the 3 older boys out to the wetlands on their bikes. I took T around a few blocks for our own CLOSER adventure. As soon as I walked in the door, the phone rang. I needed to go pick up J. He had a wipe out. Apparently, his pedal was loose, and when he stepped down on it as he was riding, it came off, tumbling J to the ground. His hands were pretty scraped up.

With the weather so cold and threatening rain, we've kind of been homebodies. Once it started to rain today, the boys asked for hot chocolate. We were warm and cozy inside, sipping hot chocolate, as we watched the rain outside.

I think we may just wear out our Wii. The boys LOVE it, and I like how it gets them moving, for the most part. They do like their new Lego Star Wars game, which doesn't require them to move around like tennis or boxing does. But, that's okay. We're on vacation. It's keeping them busy and they are getting a long pretty well (yes, I know ... miracles DO happen!)

I think I've built and rebuilt a dozen marble towers with T. There is something mesmerizing about watching marbles slide down many ramps and spin through things. We've had many discussions about colors and shapes, so I guess it's been educational, too. (I'm patting myself on the back right now! Ha) . He likes to put all 12 marbles down the chute, so when I ask for a marble, he'll reluctantly give me 1, maybe 2 if I'm lucky.

What is it about the New Year that makes me want to clean out cupboards and organize closets? I guess it's trying to find a place for things like Christmas gifts. Our house definitely needs a good purge. I guess I'll tackle 1 thing at a time. Sometimes, when my boys are all asking me to do something at the same time, I'll joke back and say, "Guys, I can only do 5,000 things at once, not 5,001! C'mon!" Yes, this usually gets a funny look on their face. So worth it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

It's kind of hard to tell perspective in this photo, but this is our Wii projected onto our living room wall, and it is about 10 to 12 feet wide. Talk about the Wii "experience"!

B & Dad enjoying a Wii moment

Just gettin' started

Yum! Do you want a cookie to go with those sprinkles??

B was so happy to FINALLY make and EAT sugar cookies

Do I really get to do this?? Past bedtime, too??!

I cannot believe that another year has come and gone. Unbelievable. Although we have some "grouchy Guses" this morning, last night was really fun. We rang in the new year at home, just the 6 of us. Still have a few 'cooties' floating around ... Anyway, after dinner Dad hooked up the Wii to run through our projector so that it was HUGE on our living room wall. We played several rounds of bowling, baseball, & tennis. J is sure a force to be reckoned with when it comes to bowling -- and he makes it look so easy! B helped Mom roll out some sugar cookie dough while the others were finishing a round of baseball. B has been hounding me for WEEKS, probably MONTHS to make sugar cookies. I know these are his favorite, but they sure can be a lot of work. I cheated by using the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix -- Easy!! Then, everyone came in and frosted their own cookies. It was kind of strange to be doing this at 10PM?? Then, we settled in for a movie. We watched the "Bad News Bears" (with our Clear-Play, of course) and remarked how much movies have changed in the past 30 years. What was cutting-edge comedy etc. back in the day didn't really connect with us (especially our boys) now. It was mildily entertaining though. Then we had about 10 minutes until Midnight. We gathered around the TV to watch the NY Times Square ball drop. We could not believe how many commercials there were right up until THE moment! Annoying. Right after the count down, we put the boys to bed. I was surprised that T was still awake. He did sleep in past 7 this morning, but woke up right before 8. Darn!