Friday, February 29, 2008

J's performance

J had a musical performance today during the 1st grade assembly. He kept telling me about it during the week, so I gathered that it was very important to him. I made sure to attend. I still had groceries in the car!! He seemed a little embarrassed to see me there! ooookkkaay! His class sang one song on the stage. It was really cute. Before the performance, T sat with J and was in heaven. Then, after the performance, T tried to go to class with J. I snapped a picture of T hanging onto J before I pulled him away to go back home. I tried to take a picture of the performance, but it turned out too dark. No matter. This picture turned out WAY cute.

Awards and Achievements

B had a busy and rewarding week. First, he earned his "scholar" pin for Webelos on Thursday night. He also earned his "Chess" beltloop. Thursday night was the annual "Blue & Gold" dinner for the Cub Scouts. It was a Chinese New Year theme with yummy Chinese food. Then, B earned one of the coveted Character Awards today. The character trait was Respect. He was so happy. T rode his bike while I ran to the school to witness B receiving his award. Dad even came from work to see. Good job, B!! We're very proud of you. (I added those doodles to block some info. Yes, I'm a little paranoid)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I've been tagged ...

I was tagged by my good friend, Amy, with a list of questions. So, here goes!!

What was I doing 10 years ago? I was pregnant with B, doing a humongous early morning newspaper route, and babysitting one little boy 4 days a week. We were living in one of our favorite apartments … more of a duplex, and we had many friends, who were also young couples with small children, living close by. We had a small backyard, and it was perfect for us at the time. There was one plank missing in our back fence where N and his friend would play with each other right there. G was busy at work on his Master’s Thesis and was gone at school a lot. This was a really good time in our lives. We made lifelong friends here.

5 things on my to-do list today? I did a science lesson in J’s class today, so I had to run to the store quickly to pick up some M&M’s and pretzels for the snack graph. I have to keep the boys off all of the video games today. They lost their video privileges as of last night – behavior. The house needs a good “pickin’ up” in every room. A bomb went off. Did it hit your house too?? Also, I need to get on the elliptical today. No excuses. I’m embarrassed to say that my bed isn’t made. I left in a hurry this morning. The worst thing is coming home to it all. Do you agree??

What snacks do I enjoy? I love snacking at little too much. I'm working on this. I really like the honey wheat pretzel sticks. I also really like a good naval orange. Another favorite is M&M’s. I have a hard time stopping with one small handful. It’s bad!

What would I do if I were suddenly a billionaire? We’d probably upgrade to a slightly bigger house, pay off any debt, and pay off the mortgages of our close family members. Our boys’ college funds would be set, and I would love to find some humanitarian things to do WITH our boys.

3 bad habits? Not exercising enough, but I’m getting better at this. I can procrastinate things sometimes. A good example is getting dinner started! Also, I stay up too late, and then I’m dragging by the next afternoon.

5 places I've lived? Walnut Creek, CA ; Concord, CA ; Pleasant Hill, CA ; Provo, UT ; current residence

5 jobs I've had? Newspaper routes (yes, I’ve had several of them, (my biggest one was @ 415 papers), Clerk at a Health Food Store, Retail Sales, Data conversion of Library Systems (Card catalogs to searchable database – MARC anyone??), Data Entry for Chevron, and of course, MOM.

5 things people don’t know about me? Hmmm … I love to take an afternoon nap when I can (see “3 bad habits” above!). I hate lipstick. I never wear it. Lip-gloss is okay. My sisters pinned me down at one of our last family photos to apply lipstick on me! I really like to soak in the tub after the kids are in bed. It’s quiet, it’s warm/hot, and it’s so relaxing. I love to collect quotes. I have a huge file folder full of various quotes I’ve found over the years, not to mention a couple of books filled with inspiring quotes. I like how they are concise and pack a punch, whether it’s a laugh or it’s thought provoking. I think I've read more books in the past four or five years than I have in my entire life. I'm just enjoying it a lot more. I had some reading comprehension issues when I was a lot younger, so books and me weren't friends. Now, I'm constantly reading. Even before I finish my current book, I make sure I have something immediately to read next. It helps when your spouse is an avid reader, too. G is always reading. It will be hard for me when I start my next on-line class, to not be able to read my novels as much.

I tag my 3 sister-in-laws: JanEtta, Nadine & Sylvia. I'd love to read your lists!! So, copy the questions, add your own answers, and then post it on your blog.

1st Grade Science -- Water Levels & Snack Graph

I spent the morning in J's classroom conducting another Science lesson. We wrapped up our "Liquids & Solids" section. We talked about the water level in a container, and how it always stays parallel to the ground ... even if the bottle of water is rotating. This was kind of a difficult spatial concept for many of the kids. We filled may different sized containers with the SAME amount of water, however, many of the kids could not grasp that fact since the smaller containers had a higher water level. I kept asking them which one had the most water, and they always pointed to the smallest vial. However, when I told them that they ALL had the same water, but the containers were different sizes, they nodded and said "oh!!". But, when I repeated the first question (even SAYING it was a trick question) they, again, pointed to the smallest vial. Only a few GOT it. They also put together a related puzzle of a water bottle rolling. We finished up with a fun "snack graph" of goodies. They got to eat them once they graphed the amounts of the various items. I didn't get any pictures of J because it was SO busy. As usual, I sneaked him some Starburst, and then filled his pocket with some M&M's. I even got to see J in the lunch room before I headed home. He wasn't too interested in eating his lunch today. He wanted to get out to the play ground with his friends. I took home half of his hot lunch today because it was going to be wasted. I wasn't too happy about that! We'll have to chat later about that ...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Celebrating C's Birthday

Princess "C"

She was determined to blow out the trick candles. She leaned in so far that she smashed part of the cake!!

M & N, cousins AND friends

T & B taking a cartoon break together

J LOVES hot dogs, especially BBQ'd ones

Yesterday, despite the looming storm, I took the boys down to my sister's house to visit and to celebrate my niece's 5th birthday. We stopped at a Wal Mart on the way to pick out a gift for C. What was funny to me about this experience was that my boys all stopped at the Lego aisle of the store. I had to scoot them down to the very PINK row of toys. We were almost blinded by all of the pink and princess stuff!

We arrived in good time and the boys ran into the house. They LOVE coming to their cousins' house. There was a bounce house set up in the backyard, and lots of pink decorations. Many of C's friends came and we really enjoyed the party. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, chips, pinata, ... the whole 9 yards. The little girls dug into C's dress-up bin and put on princess dresses, too. We stayed for a few hours after the party to continue to visit, but I wanted to be sure to get going before the brunt of the storm hit (and before it got too dark). We had such a great time, and didn't really want to leave.

We watched another movie at home together to wrap up the wonderful day. We were pretty tired. T didn't get out of bed once ... that's how tired we all were.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gone bananas

N LOVES bananas. I cannot keep enough of them in the house! When he was sick a few weeks ago and had NO appetite, I had a couple of pounds of bananas that went "south" ... so I quickly made a couple loaves of banana bread (which the boys love, too). Many times they'd rather have a big slice of banana bread in their lunches than a sandwich. Anyway, N put this sticker on his forehead and left it there for most of the day. It does bring a smile to ones face when they see the bright blue sticker on a forehead! It gave us all the giggles throughout the day.
Update: B and his friend seem to be fine. Water under the bridge. Lisa, you were right about how boys usually get over things quickly, and I'm grateful for that. I was hoping that'd be the case. Girls can typically hold a grudge for sure. Boys and girls are very different creatures!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brothers and Friends

Yesterday, B had a tough day at school, and it had nothing to do with academics. It had to do with friends. One of his best friends is in a grade below him, so he doesn't get to see him at school. Another friend transferred to another school. One friend he usually plays with has been kind of acting different towards B, and it has been bothering B for some time now. Well, yesterday, when B came home, his eyes were brimming with tears. He and this friend had a fight (not physical) and B felt that he needed to stand up for himself. I was proud of him, but my heart broke, too. As he was telling me this, J came over and put his arm around B. B said that he was so thankful to have his brothers. What a blessing this is for our boys ... to have each other.
I got to thinking how important friendships are. I'm so thankful for my friends. Last night, I went to a RS night at a friend's house where we watched the movie "Hands from Heaven". It showcased 4 friends and how they helped each other through tough times and were, in essence, hands from heaven for each other. I saw clips of this movie when I went to "Time Out for Women" last year. The gal who made the movie (which was about her and her 3 friends) was there talking about her experiences. She made several points during her "talk". I wrote most of them down:
*Laughter is unifying (Amen to that!!)
*Women NEED women
*It is very important to have good friends
*God heals broken hearts through each other
Then she issued a challenge: Think of 1 person that you can reach out to, and open your heart. There is ALWAYS someone who needs a friend. It's not always easy to "put yourself out there," or to take that first step. But it may mean everything to the recipient.
This brings me back to my B, whose heart was broken yesterday. I am thankful he has his brothers, who adore him, and the friends he has in his life. I think that B and this friend will get past this and eventually will be friends again. I can be hopeful, right?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flowers for Mom

When I arrived at the van after church yesterday, J was so excited to hand me these cute, yellow flowers he picked somewhere on the church grounds. I thought it was so thoughtful of him and it made my afternoon. He is such a sweetheart. Talk about "small and simple things" to make a big difference (wink, wink, Raimi). Like his little "hat" he made in Primary?!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our Friday & Saturday Adventures

Me, Mom, and my sister, L

The kids spent quite a while playing outside, both on Friday and Saturday

N with Grandma right before he left for his Boy Scout Over-nighter
He would have rathered stay home with the family. He didn't want to miss out on anything. We said we'd not watch a new movie and we'd save him some swarmas.

The kids on the "ice cream" intermission

Mom with L

Hama with T

B didn't want them to leave!

On Friday afternoon, my sister and her youngest daughter came up to my house to hang out and visit with Hama before she headed back to Utah. We had swarmas for dinner. They were SO good. We got jammies on and pulled out blankets & pillows to watch a movie together. We watched "Shrek". We had an intermission so we could have ice cream. My niece just wanted the whipped cream, and she left the ice cream in the bowl! Too funny. We had a nice waffle, bacon & egg breakfast, and then the kids ran outside again. My Mom kept telling me that she was going to take this beautiful weather with her back to blizzard/snow-bound Utah. No Way!! We had a great time visiting together ... so much so that I totally forgot that J needed to be at a friend's birthday party!! Dad zipped J over there late, and J still got to enjoy most of the party. We will miss having Grandma here. She cooked us several wonerful meals and we really enjoyed her company. I want that Pistacio Chicken recipe, please. Come back anytime!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Preschool Field Trip

On Friday, T & I went on a field trip with his preschool class. We drove over with our good friends (parking is scarce, and the visiting is fun!). We went to a local theater to see an adaptation of the "Three Little Pigs". It was very cute, and the kids got really involved! Just the right amount of time, too. It was a very nice, small, clean theater.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines and Rice Bags

J found an immediate use for his "Rice Bag"

T picked some fabric with fish on it for his rice bag. He LOVES using one of my bags for his feet for naps.

J is scooping the rice into his rice bag. Grandma Marie put the boys to work for their bags. J even got to push a few buttons on the sewing machine to help. In case you haven't seen these, you can heat these up in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then use them as a heating source. I usually put them on my feet! I loved the one I've had so much that it was worn out. So Grandma took T on a fabric shopping adventure this morning. It's been reported to me that he was a "great" helper. Grandma (or "Hama" as T calls her) fixed my two existing bags, and made one for each of the boys. Hama also helped me with mending a few stray things. Thanks, Hama!!

Here's J's loot from school today. He got a lot of pencils! He also came home with 2 cupcakes that he decorated in class. They were pretty smashed up by the time he got home, but he didn't complain. He just enjoyed them anyway ... while licking his fingers.

B came home with a lot of Valentine's goodies. He left it on the couch and T claimed some of the candy. Oh, well! We moved his loot to where T couldn't reach it. He had a great Valentine's Day party in his class today, too. N was a little disappointed today because he only got 1 candy @ school today. Middle school is very different in so many ways. No parties for the middle-schoolers. He did, however, have time to make a really nice Valentine for Hama. That was very thoughtful of him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You Are My Sunshine

When I picked T up from preschool today, this is what he had on. It was hilarious to see these kids standing in the doorway of their classroom with their sunglasses and "hat" on. Now, the ironic thing about this picture is that T has been an absolute GRUMP today. He didn't even want his picture taken. I'm surprised not see a little black raincloud following him around!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Hike on the Bridge

We just had to go on an adventure outside today -- it was such a gorgeous day!! After our walk on Foresthill Bridge and hike around the bridge, we went to a Mexican restaurant. It felt SO good to be together as a family. We haven't been out ALL together for over 6 weeks because someone has been sick. I think we've beat all of the nasty bugs/illnesses finally. I'd better knock on some wood. We want to come back and walk this bridge again.

Our Window's Fixed!

We finally got our window fixed! The glass had been ordered for quite some time, however, it's just been raining too much. Our good friend came to help us install it. He had the tools and the expertise. We're so grateful, especially B, becaused our friend saved him a bundle. And, yes, I made sure that G had a full bottle of Windex and a towel to tackle the other windows while he was up there!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another Visit from the Tooth Fairy

You can see J's little tooth sitting on a nickel at the bottom of the glass. It grew money quite well!

Happy with the results

J was so excited to dump out his money and count the coins last night. He was also so excited to get out the Tooth Fairy Pillow -- the one used by G when he was a boy -- and he carefully placed it on his shelf by his head. He was hoping for a $10 bill or higher. I told him that he was probably out of luck on that one, and reminded him that he already made a few dollars when he "grew" his tooth in the glass of water.

What DO you do all day?

I drive N and our neighbor/friend to middle school each morning. I was trying to make a little small-talk. I mentioned how the week is almost over and figured they'd be happy with this revealation. N's friend, V, said he wants the weekend to be NOW. He didn't want to go to school because he wants to stay home from school like me "cuz you get to sleep all day and watch TV". Um, what did you say?!!? I quickly told him that this wasn't the case. Then he asked me, "Well, what DO you do all day?" He was quite surprised to know that I have many things to take care of and manage. I really don't think I convinced him otherwise because he looked at me like I was crazy, and/or lying. I guess that's what HE does when he's home from school. Perception isn't reality, right?! I guess the house magically cleans itself, the groceries fly into the refrigerator, and the laundry just folds itself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Walk Thru California History Lesson

Prospector B

Yesterday, B's class participated in the "Walk Through California" at school. It's basically a living history lesson for the 4th graders at the school. I knew this event was coming up and had asked B a few times if he had to prepare anything for it. I just got a shrug here and there. Well, the night before the event during dinner, B says matter-of-factly, "Oh, I need a costume for tomorrow." I just dropped my fork and was speechless. We started to quickly brainstorm about things we could pull together last minute. G remembered that he had his grandfather's denim Osh-Kosh suspenders he could use. We also dug out a thermal top and tied a bandana around his neck. We only thought of having him hold on to a pie tin (gold pan) after he'd already gone to school. He was grateful that a costume was pulled together for him, especially after we kindly reminded him that he needs to let us know about these things A LOT sooner. He had a good experience with the living history lesson. He did say, however, that probably about half of the students did not have a costume. That actually surprised me a little.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another Lost Tooth

J lost another tooth last night. He was relieved that it FINALLY came out. The tooth fairy is almost broke! He was so excited to get a tall glass of water to put his tooth in so it will grow money. Like I said, the tooth fairy is almost broke. I'm glad he didn't swallow it while he was eating dinner. It was a close one.

Family Scripture Reading

I just love this picture of T reading his scriptures with us. We've been doing pretty good at our family scripture reading these past few weeks. We decided to read right after dinner, while we are all together. This works most nights, and we've had to make a few adjustments on some nights. We also decided to start in Mosiah. Anyway, T has caught on to our scripture reading and he wants his OWN book. He likes to have a turn to read ... so we give him a 'turn'. Notice in this picture that he's reading from the Bible and it's upside-down. He mumbles out several words and is quite happy to be a part of our family scripture reading. Hey, it's never to early to get them started.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend in Review

J being silly and stir-crazy!

N trying to eat oatmeal this weekend

We enjoyed our weekly family movie night on Friday night. We watched Lord of the Rings : Return of the King. This is one of my favorite trilogies. We watch our movies projected onto our living room wall while we all lie on the floor or couches with blankets and pillows. T usually likes to lie next to me, which he did. I noticed that I was getting really hot and then it ocurred to me that it was T that was hot. I could NOT believe that another family member was getting sick! We couldn't get an accurate temperature reading because he won't hold the thermometer under his tongue or his armpit. But, we knew he was HOT. By 3:30am, he kicked Dad out of bed to be with me. He was miserable. Now, the flip side of T being sick: he's quieter, calmer, and even more pleasant. Don't get me wrong, I don't want him to be sick, but I do have to say that it's been a lot more quiet around here!

G was up early on Saturday and FINISHED the other fence. It started to drizzle rain while he was finishing up, but he was determined to be done! Then, we watched the funeral services for our beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. It was hard to hold back the tears. What a beautiful service. We will miss him so much. I was emotional for most of the afternoon. N wanted to record the service so he could watch it again. B was really wanting a playdate, but I had to gently remind him that we cannot have people over to our sick-fest here. Even though it was only about 40 degrees outside, we cranked on our whole-house fan and aired out our home. It felt SO good to have fresh air. Later, we decided to do another family movie night and we watched Back to the Future 2 (can you guess what we'll watch next week??)

We did the Church "Ping-Pong" again. G went to another ward's sacrament meeting Sunday morning. Then I took B & J to church, but I left after Sacrament Meeting so that G could finally attend primary to play the piano. I really enjoyed Fast & Testimony Meeting. Most of the testimonies were shared by our youth. I really, really appreciated our High Counselman's testimony. He talked about our prophet and how things are set in place for a smooth transition. And this is what I really liked: he told us about how a mother has complete love for her baby and that it's hard to imagine loving another baby as much. But, when that next baby comes, love abounds and her love grows. He likened this to the transistion to our new prophet. We'll love him, too. Well said.

T was very cuddly, which was nice except for the fact that he was a little furnice. He stayed up with G & me after his brothers went to bed for more cuddles. Again, by 4am, he was in bed with us needing some Tylenol. I do think he broke his fever late morning. We'll see. I'm still hopeful.

So, I'm still homebound. Still trying to keep up with the housework. A friend of mine likens it to the painting of the Golden Gate Bridge -- it's NEVER done. It is constantly being painted.

Friday, February 1, 2008

More Legos

B diggin' through some Legos for the right pieces

The 'payoff" -- The Castle

B spent some time today rebuilding his Lego castle. I helped him look for the directions on-line (love that!!). He had to dig and dig through his bins of Legos to find the right piece here and there, but he was a happy camper when he was done. He sure puts these things together FAST! He just has to keep them out of T's reach. That's a whole 'nother challenge.

N is still sick today. We thought he was on the up-swing of things, but he has another temperature. We're all pretty frustrated about it. N hasn't been THIS sick for so long. Poor guy. He's been a real trooper about it.