The jerky you sent arrived today. It looks nasty. It smells nastier. Mom's gonna puke. Ooohh, exotic animals - bison and elk. We love it! Mom is seriously gonna puke! It's gonna be awesome! Thanks, Grandpa!
We've been having growing pains at our house. The kind of hurts that come with growing up and realizing it takes work to be a friend. Jake's had a tough time lately with a group of his best friends. We've talked about friendship, apologizing, being open to others' suggestions/ideas, and maybe not following mom's sarcastic ways with everyone (not everyone appreciates this special gift).
Yesterday, Jake came home and asked if he could make brownies for a friend. I tried not to pry as I helped. Once they were cooled and cut, he set out three plates. "Why three plates?", I asked.
"I want to take brownies to X, Y, and Z and tell them I'm sorry for whatever I did to make them mad at me and tell them that I still want to be friends."
I'm so proud of Jake for thinking of a positive way to handle this. When we discussed apologizing, he was adamant that he'd done nothing wrong (stubborness is another gift he received from me). It took a lot for him to apologize and the idea to make treats was just icing on top. He's growing up. ~sniffle sniffle~
We were in the parking lot after a fun-filled, treat-filled trip to the grand opening of a grocery store when two ladies approached Josh, Sam, and I. "Are these your boys?" "Umm, yeah, why?" "We're from blah blah talent agency and they are just ADORABLE!" "Do you mean this one with the runny nose and chocolate cake all over his face and shirt?" "Yes! He's sooo cute!"
Now, all of us that know Sam know he's cute, but really! He has 'boogies and chocky' all over! Puh-leeze, lady!
Maybe she could see his sweet spirit from across the parking lot...Whatever, I'm not surrendering his non-existent college fund to pay for modeling lessons!
This week is Z Week for preschool so we went to the Petting Zoo. This is the only field trip I do with my three year old class, so I was disappointed that only three came Tuesday! But, I got some really cute pictures of Sam, who was mesmerized by the animals!
These are three of my preschoolers : Halle, Luke, and Cy. We missed Porter, Kelsey, and Noah, but it was fun to have a small group that could huddle together and talk about all of the animals.
I couldn't get Sam to look at me because he was in such awe of the cow. Every time we go to Smith's, he yells and points at the cows above the milk/dairy case. We have to 'moo' at the cows for several minutes before we can move on to the next item on our shopping list. Well, these cows actually moo'ed back! Did I mention he was in awe?
They had baby ducks and chicks out already. Again, Sam couldn't take his eyes off of them. I have a lot of pictures of the back of his head!
Finally, on the pony rides, I was able to get in front of him and get a picture. He wanted to ride the pony so bad, but one he was on it, it took a couple of laps for him warm up to it. I love that his little legs barely fit over the saddle - and this was a miniature pony!
We went to the Tulip Festival Monday night for FHE. It was a win-win evening as I enjoyed the flowers and the boys enjoyed rolling down the hills! They were even upset when it was time to go!
We had never been when it was as crowded as it was Monday. You can see all the people in the background. I'm so glad we have the Family Pass so we can go again later when the rush is over!
There were so many brides there taking pictures that we had to wait in line to get pictures at some of the popular spots. With limited picture-taking time, the boys had to sit-smile-move. They really didn't miss the usual ten minutes of 'arranging' that normally precedes a picture!
The fountain was totally worth the wait time! Every little boy in the park had to splash, including mine.
I feel like I could write forever about most things, except for when it comes to the Gospel. I have the same feelings when it comes to bearing my testimony. In my head and my heart, I know, I'm grateful, and I love. By the time those things reach my mouth, they're usually smeared with sobs and make the sense of a two year old. Twice this week I have asked for help with situations that have been bothering me for a while. And, twice this week, things have begun to get better with those situations. One of them being especially incredible since I was just hoping for civility and received conversation and laughs. So, just know that I know prayer works. He hears. He answers. And He fills you with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost so much that you have to blog about the greatness of Prayer!
I found a new blog to follow. It's called Burgandy Buttons. She's doing a giveaway right now to win 6 charm packets of MODA fabric. I've been drooling over this fabric for a while, but they don't enjoy that at the quilting store! it's kinda scrapbook-y which is right up my alley. The problem is it's a little pricey for me right now. So, hopefully, by blogging about her blog, I will win the giveaway!
P.S. If you love me, don't enter the drawing! I'll share my winnings!
I had another reminder this morning about how quick life can change. I so often take for granted that life is really great : my kids are healthy, our home is warm, the people we love are OK. All of this can change in an instant - it happened to a friend of mine this week. As I listened to her explain her feelings over losing a baby at 32 weeks the day before Easter, I thought of Elder Hallstrom's talk from General Conference. He reminded us to "never let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually". Aren't we so blessed to know that we can go to our Savior and lay our burdens on Him? That He has already felt the pain we're experiencing now? I'm thinking back over the ups and downs of my last few years right now, and some of them bring tears to my eyes, even still. But, there is no giving up. There's just enjoying the greatness of everyday so that we will have the strength to move forward in times of trial.
Jared and I teach Josh's 5 year old Primary class. Today's lesson was on the Holy Ghost. I was trying to lead the kids to the right answers with the way I asked the questions.
Me: Once you've been baptized, you go back into the restroom and your dad will help you get dressed if you're a boy and your mom will help you get dressed and dry your hair if you're a girl. Then, you'll go back into the Primary Room and all your family and friends will be waiting for you. They will be so happy for you because you chose to be baptized.You'll get to sit in a chair in the front of the room and then what?
We went to Topaz Mountain today and made several other stops, too, to collect rocks. The boys had a blast, but , honestly...it was a long way to drive for ROCKS! I mean, my neighbor has rocks in his yard! We coulda just used those! OK, call me Kelly Whiners, I'm just a little tired tonight.
We really did have a good time. The best part was a surprise - there's no cell phone reception and no radio stations out there. And, the dirt roads are too bumpy for the DVD player. It was just us. Talking. To each other. All day. It was a really nice break from the craziness and distractions you find at home!
The boys had a blast climbing all over at Topaz Mountain. Jared and Jake took the rock hunting seriously with giant nails and pick axes. Cam and Josh dug around a little, but had more fun chasing giant beetles. Sam was amazed at the amount of dirt and was content to sit and get dirty. After digging in the mountain for a while, we gave up on finding any topaz. The websites we looked at said it was very abundant, but we guessed a lot of other people must've looked at those same sites over the years! I think this site was for more serious hunters.
This is at the Geode Fields. It was actually a pit of soft dirt that you could dig in and find geodes. Jared dug and the boys smashed! Jake and Cam both had hammers and loved smashing the rocks to see if they were really geodes.
We went to a spot that had obsidian or Apache Tears laying all over the ground. We literally stepped out of the car and started picking up stones. We all had bulging pockets by the time we left this area.
To keep with our Scout Week, we went rollerskating Wednesday night. Actually, I think we did everything Classic Skating has to offer except rollerskating! I'm still working on a way to make it count for something for Scouts - it has to work! On Wednesdays, you can play Laser Tag, jump on the bouncies, skate/scooter, and go in the Blast Zone and the Jungle for $7.50 a person. The deal is even sweeter when you go to CityDeals.com and buy a $20 gift certificate for $10! Since it was so cheap, we even bought Sam a pass to do everything. He had a blast and so did his brothers! Sam really likes to scooter around the speed rink (when someone else is pushing). Jared and I both took a turn before deciding that our backs were too old to walk hunched over like that! That's why Sam has three big brothers!
Josh was awesome at taking Sammers in the Jungle and on the Bouncies (blow-up toys). He is learning to be such a protective big brother.
Jake and Cam tried really hard to balance on the middle piece of this Bouncie together. After about ten pictures, they almost had it until a little girl came by and knocked them off!
Since everyone else in the neighborhood went to Disneyland for Spring Break, we decided to have a little fun of our own. We're working on Scout pins, badges , and belt loops. Eat your heart out, Disney Fans! The boys spent all morning working on things from their books. Jake is a little reluctant lately to 'enjoy' Scouts. Too bad. It's a family requirement. Cheer up, Charlie! And, Get 'er Done! We built bridges with Sam's blocks for his engineering pin. Then, we worked on his science pin which involves a lot of air, water, and atmospheric pressure experiments as well as some optical illusions. Scouts was actually fun, no kidding! I saved the two toughest parts for last : the bowling belt loop and the video games belt loop. (Seriously, there's a video game belt loop now!) We learned the safety and etiquette rules of bowling and then we had to apply them. So, we grabbed some friends and headed to the bowling alley.
Jake won with a score of 91 in the second game. Cam has an awesome throw/toss/ swing? Whatever it's called! Josh actually leaves the floor with both feet when he runs to the lane with his ten pound ball!Sam came for moral support for his Scouting brothers, but ended up flirting with the girls instead!
On the way home, they pooled their money to buy a new Wii game. They're are currently forcing themselves to play said game for at least half an hour to complete the requirements for the Video Game belt loop. Life is tough. Cross your fingers that they make it!
Last Wednesday (March 31), Cam received his Wolf Badge for finishing all of his achievements. He really loves Scouts! He has really diligent den leaders that have made sure the boys will all receive their badges before their ninth birthday. In July, he will advance to the Bear Scouts but until them we will be working on the electives and belt loops in his Wolf book. Way to go, Cam! You're awesome!
Our Mom, Dad, Cam picture to mark the occasion turned in to a family picture.
This is Cam pinning my Mother's Pin onto my necklace.
While we were cleaning up the egg dye, Sam quietly snuck (is that a word?) into Manda's room for a little Personal Grooming Time. You know, the kind where you rub expensive lotion all in your hair? Sam's hair is super moist now, but upon getting caught, he definitely played the role of a Diva! Here are his tips on dealing with the paparazzi:
Cover your face. Hide your identity. If they don't see you, it didn't happen
Wave your arms in denial and show the camera just how distressed you really are.
Give a little "Who, Me?" look and plead innocence over every accusation.
We decided to try something new this year : We called the Easter Bunny and asked him to come on Friday night so we could do baskets on Saturday and save Sunday for Jesus. The boys were thrilled that they would be getting their baskets a day early, so they agreed to the plan. For some reason, I didn't think to take pictures, but there was plenty of candy and goodies to get us all excited just in time for General Conference to start.
After dad got home from Priesthood session, we dyed our eggs. I didn't really plan that part too well. Eggs should've been done on Saturday, but the cousin egg hunt was on Sunday. It's a new plan so we'll work on tweaking it for next year.The boys dying their eggs. Jake left one of his in the purple the whole time and it was gorgeous. Sam flew through his share of eggs and wanted more. He really had fun dyeing and cracking eggs!This is me preparing the dyes. (really it's just a way to show off my Easter gift to myself. After trying every other way to curl my hair, I finally got myself a triple barrel curling iron. I feel sooo fancy!)
We had Easter Dinner at Rod and Earlet's house with Kent & Jason, Craig, and Grandma & Grandpa. The kids were excited about the candy until they realized there was money in some of the eggs!Cam looking for eggs at Rod's and Earlet's house.
Sam ate his eggs as he found them. Josh didn' really have time to stop for pictures so we got what we got! Seriously folks, this is serious stuff. Jake didn't have time to stop and pose, either. Here's an action shot of him with most of his cousins that were there. Jason, Cam, Janessa, Josh, Laurel.
Boys will homemake* if it's dangerous or edible!Jake working on his jar for his teacher; Crazy Aunt Manda giving moral support
Use chemicals to etch your teacher's name into glass. If there's any chance that the chemicals can make you go blind if they come into contact with your eyes, the boys will be even more excited!
Make flower shaped sugar cookies. Use pinches of dough as rewards for good dough rolling and they will roll all night. Plus, there's some satisfaction for them from punching out the shapes, flowers or not!
Sticking the above flower cookies into the girly cans is fun too because when the skewer goes through the floral foam, it sounds like you're stabbing someone's guts! Yesss!
Any treats that need the blender are a sure crowd pleaser! Boys love to mutilate stuff by 'just pushing a button'.
Sewing animals can be fun when it comes to the stuffing part. Think about it : mushing, stuffing, body parts - what's not to love?!?
*"homemake" is my own word, I think, so don't try to steal it!
Our friend, Megan, has the snuggliest little baby named Walker. He was due this month, but in actuality he is 2 months old now. We went to a shower last night in his honor. His aunts, uncles, and especially his Grandpa call him Walker, Texas Ranger. So we built him a diaper cake with his name as the theme. We were pretty excited with how it turned out.