Wednesday, January 9, 2019

December is Dreamy!

We know how to kick off December! It's by finding a Christmas tree! Baum's up on Grandview Hill is our local go-to. Good enough to satisfy both Grinch and Who!
 Henry, BTW, does not wear pants. Only shorts. Unless it's below freezing or we're expecting snow and we force him to wear pants. Fortunately, our tree excursion was a bright, not-frigid December day.
 Micah brushed up on his parenting skillz. He takes fatherhood very seriously, if you can't tell. He loves to play "Family" and be the Dad, especially when his Dad is the "Brudder."
 Eliza's book recommendation for December is, "Dear Zoo."
Flaps to lip, animal sounds to make, oh my! She wants it read to her 112 times daily.
 Sheridan took a ballet class at the Covey Center this fall. Their performance was to "Waltz of the Flowers" and she felt every inch the graceful ballerina.
 She adores ballet.
 Tyler had a work party at UVU and three of these kids got their faces painted. It was some of the best face painting I've seen. The balloon artist was also amazing. Amelia missed out on the face painting due to a 2nd Grade A Christmas Carol performance in which she needed to sing. But she scored an awesome penguin and a snake. Winner, Winner!

 Eliza mastered the art of climbing onto the table in December. Our lives have not been the same since. She spends many stolen moments upon the tabletop, wreaking havoc. Merry Christmas to us!
 December is also performance time! Jack joined the Beginning Band this year, playing the flute his Great-Grandfather gave Tyler. Either the flute was magic or Jack has some music skills, because his conductor bumped him up to Intermediate Band for the second semester!
 Sheridan performed with the 6th Grade choir. While she didn't choose choir, she fell in love with it and had a great performance.
 Vigues traditionally make Candy Houses at Christmas. I have been the weakest link in that tradition, but this year I got out and got the goods. The kids had a wonderful time and made some very unique creations.
 Micah and Cole's masterpiece
 Sheridan's country cottage
 Henry's underwater fortress which was under attack by a horde of ravenous gummy bears. You can't make these things up.
 Amelia's classic cabin
 Jack's mid-century modern retreat
 Christmas Eve Eve Sunday 
 Jack and I tried to make a buche de noel. It didn't turn out perfect, but it was really rich and delicious. Despite Eliza trying to claim some contribution to the tasty treat, she actually was less help than you'd think. 
 We had our traditional FriendsEve which is really just turkey dinner with some of our friends who are basically family on Christmas Eve. It is one of the traditions I look forward to the most, even if our turkey the last few years has taken way longer than it should have. We have really been blessed with some amazing friends.
 This year, I actually remembered to take some pictures whilst opening gifts! But I didn't want to overload this post with pictures of stuff. I'd much rather overload it with people, and the fun memories we made.
 But since Cole was determined to get this specific picture with his lizard fabric and lizard robot...well, it was cute and so classically Cole.
 We wrapped up the year with Eliza's Dolly Parton impression...
 with Micah's expedition through snowy fields to the Fort...
 with an impromptu concert from Cole and his carpool buddy...
and with fun game nights! (This is Rhino Hero, a super-fun stacking game we played all through Winter Break and on. Thanks, Rachel!)
One of the late December highlights was a family trip to the Aquarium. Although some of the kids had been with school or with friends, neither Tyler nor I have visited the aquarium. It was beautiful and far bigger than we'd expected. 
 Other than Micah trying to take off several times and multiple children's fear of the jellyfish room, the aquarium was a fabulous adventure for our family (once Cole stopped freaking out about having to see spiders...before he'd even seen them). The otters, poison dart frogs, and sloths were some favorites, but the penguins were the family favorite. They were so cute and playful!
 Henry was so excited to see his favorite animal up close and personal. I was so glad this cute little penguin came in for a closeup. 
 Tyler and Micah were pretty enthralled by the penguins' antics.
 The shark tunnel was REALLY a great way to wrap up our aquarium experience.
The worst part? The exit is THROUGH the gift shop. Those people are evil geniuses.  
This year had some crazy ins and outs, but we were grateful to spend it together. Now excuse me while I go remove Eliza from the drawer...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

November Shenanigans

Ah, November. The weather finally decided that it was, really, Autumn. So, we had about a week of that before winter hit. With November came the well-loved Science Fair, times 3. 
Yes, three of my largest hooligans had to--uh, were blessed to participate in the school Science Fair. Jack tested humans to see which video game music enabled his peers to perform best on math quizzes (hint, not the death metal type). Sheridan tested her hypothesis that boys and girls preferred different colors (they do!), and Henry hypothesized that Orbeez would grow the largest in sugar water (he was nearly correct--distilled water produced the largest Orbeez by far, but tap and sugar water were second. Oil did nothing). Yay for science!
And, guys, can we just be honest about the Science Fair for a moment?
With the older kids, it wasn't horrific. They've done it before. Sheridan has learned to design rather simple tests and she took care of everything long before it was due. Jack...well, he did require some prodding. First to choose a less-complicated experiment ("But Mom! I like intricate, complicated experiments! Why wouldn't I make it really involved?'), then to actually complete his experiment, ("Ugh! Why does it have to take so much time? Why is this so hard? Why is it so complicated?"), and finally to complete his board ("But I still have a whole day to get this done! Why can't I do something fun now?"). Right, some prodding, some coaching, but he did all the actual testing, typing, and board-work independently.
With Henry...he had to learn how to do everything. I had to help him every step. Not that I mind, I actually enjoy working with them to figure out how they can best perform the experiment, on brainstorming different ways to chart their data, on even proofing their write up. It's really hard when he hasn't typed up the stuff for his board until the last evening (despite encouragement the days prior to get on it!), all the older kids are gone, Eliza is screaming, dinner needs to be made, Micah wants to help type, Amelia is whining about piano practice, and Henry has just remembered that his teacher sent over an email about how to properly do the abstract and my phone is working more slowly than a turtle racing a snail...and then I walk in on the scene below.
I know it doesn't look horrible, but zoom in closer on the floor.
Those are hundreds of Cheerios, flung by a three-year old from his baby sister's exersaucer to lure our overactive ant population to feast.
It may have broken me for a minute. There may have been yelling and Cheerio-throwing from this mama, whilst jumping up and down on the Cheerio-bedazzled floor. Not my proudest moment, but this is the power of the Science Fair. Fortunately, I believe in apologizing to my kids, sweeping up Cheerio dust, and getting on with life. I also believe that Daniel Tiger would have been a better distraction than Signing Time, at least for the Micah man. And no one was harmed in this Science Fair, so it's a win.
And, apparently, Micah doesn't ever stop with the shenaniganing. This time, he decide have his own Science Fair and test his hypothesis, "If I dump cat litter from this humongo forty pound jug, Mom will not notice." He was, in fact, incorrect. And this time, he got to sweep up his experiment.
November was pretty awesome, other than the pesky Science Fair and Preschooler Entropy-in-Action
my oldest kid turned 14!
On the left is a 2 year old Jack, meeting his brand new baby sister. On the right is current Jack with a present from that same sister. I cannot believe he is so old and so big (5'11" and still growing--and certainly not in the second percentile like he was on the left, so take that, doctor's growth chart!). He is also so kind and funny, and slightly earnest and serious, and very creative and spacey, and really, such a wonderful big brother and son.
I feel pretty blessed to have him as my firstborn.
In other news, Eliza has decided that reading is rad, and she's jumped straight to the book on Dinosaur Jokes. Thank goodness she can't really talk yet, so we don't have to pretend like those jokes are funny.
Micah worked this month on starting to catch up on his immunizations. He was so sick for his first year, and every time he'd get immunizations, he'd end up back on oxygen. So, we're finally working to get him caught up so he can start school in three years. Fortunately, the pediatrician's office overlooks some pretty sweet construction, so Mikey was totally mesmerized by the "'Struction Behicles." At least, until the time for shots arrived. I now have no idea how we'll get him back into the office to get the rest of his shots. Trauma!
In his spare time, Micah learned how to pilot airplanes. 
And Jack got to hang out with Eliza in the baby play area at Thanksgiving Point. He really is an excellent babysitter. That's really fortunate for us, since babysitters are really expensive and our all-time favorite babysitter is on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ecuador. 
We finally updated our family pictures.

My dear friend, Becca, is a rock star for putting up with us and managing to make this horde look good.
Eliza graduated to feeding herself AND to full-time walking. Everything she does is just adorable and we're all totally smitten with her.

I just threw in the picture of Jack because it cracks me up. He can have such grumpy moments, but he's a pretty darned great kid.
Oh! And the really fun thing that we didn't really get pictures of is that Tyler's parents came in town! We love spending time with them and were so happy they stayed with us for several days at the beginning of their trip. They make our kids feel so special and loved, which is really all a parent can ask for in a kid/grandparent relationship.
Tyler took his dad along to a BYU football game, and Pop was a great sport because he is REALLY a University of Utah fan. Since they weren't playing the U, it all worked out ok and made for some great, albeit chilly, memories. Grammy and I stayed home where it was not frigid and ate coconut-caramel brownies and watched Studio C. 
Grammy played outside with Cole and Micah and pushed them around. On the swings, of course.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with a scrumptious dinner with Tyler's sister's family AND Grammy and Pop AND Great-Grandpa Larry and Great-Grandma Diane AND Jim's brothers, Steve and Dave.  
We ate way too much delicious food and just loved spending the holiday with some dearly-loved people.
Oh, and we let our kids eat, too, even if they're all banished to the other table. 😉

Between Thanksgiving and Henry's birthday, Eliza remembered to take the Puppy for a walk. She's on top of things, that girl.

And then, wonder of wonders, Henry got the celebrate that he was born 10 years ago!
His cousin, Max, introduced Henry to All Things Skylanders this summer while we were in NJ. He even gave Henry and Cole some duplicate Skylander figures that he had. So when I saw the Skylanders Imaginators game on clearance at Target a few months ago, I didn't think twice (we have an Xbox! It's only $14 and it's for the Xbox!). I was so excited to give it to him, Cole was so excited because he'd been with me at Target and he'd actually kept it a surprise.
And the night before, I realized it was for the Xbox 360 and we upgraded to the Xbox One because our 360 only worked sporadically. I was devastated and could only imagine how devastated Henry would be the next day. Whomp whomp.
Tyler was able to track down an Imaginator's disc for the Xbox One, (yay)!
But the Xboxes use different Portals of Power (boo!).
But the 360 actually worked that day (yay!).
I tracked down a Portal of Power for the Xbox One (yay!).
So it all worked out ok, but, MAN, there were some tense moments. 
We got to have Grammy and Pop and the Martins over for dinner to celebrate Henry's birthday, and it was so awesome to have everyone come down. As the more-introverted middle kid, he doesn't have a lot of moments to get to be the center of attention. He felt so special.

And, November wasn't even over yet!
Walking opened up a whole new level of exploration for Eliza. She loves being outside and staggering after her brothers in the back yard.
Micah built train track after train track. He adores train tracks. Of course, Tyler or I will help him build a track, then he'll destroy it, then beg for us to help him build a new track.

My stinky 14 year old went from a Star Rank to Life Rank in Scouts. And I kissed him in public and he didn't care. Yes, I know we're really spoiled with this teenager.

Henry advanced to Webelos in Cub Scouts. I also kissed him.

We wrapped up November with a friend party for Henry. Ok, ok, technically, it was December, but I'm a rebel and I'm gonna cover it here. (Hint: it was a Skylanders party) The awesome thing about older kids is that they do most of the planning work for their parties. I just have to make the food.
Jack actually stepped up and organized a treasure hunt for these kids. They had fun with that, with playing "Chompie Stompie" by stomping on balloons with Chompy faces and pieces on candy inside. They played, "Keep the Sheep!" which was just keeping a balloon sheep up in the air. Skylanders have a weird thing with balloons. Mostly, though, they ran around yelling and throwing snowballs outside. It is a shame Henry's birthday isn't in warmer weather, because he has very loud, very energetic friends.
Spyro made an appearance on Henry's Portal of Power cake. 
It was tons of fun celebrating with all these guys!