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!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

October, aka The Time of Much Frantic Sewing in Between Other Stuff

Well, hey hi-dee hey! Looks who's back for an annual blog update!

This month, I started focusing on getting more physical activity and dragged my two littles on lots of walks around the area. Thank goodness, they are pretty good sports and seemed take this shift in a stride. Well, in a stride from their seats in the massive, heavy stroller.

Amelia enjoyed playing soccer again after a 2 year hiatus. 

Cole found his happy place while playing soccer. He loved it so much that, during every break of his first game, he was practicing soccer skills on the sideline. When the game ended, he cried because he just wanted to keep playing! He is our first kiddo to actually score a goal during a soccer game, and he went on to score several more. This feisty, driven, energetic kid was in heaven playing soccer!

Cole also lost his first tooth this month! He was pretty bored with that.
Just kidding, he was ecstatic.

My big brother let us have his tickets for the BYU vs. USU game. Honestly, the Cougars stunk, but it was great to get out to a game with my favorite BYU fan. The atmosphere of a BYU football game is one of our favorite fall traditions.

Jack got to spend one evening with a good friend who moved to California and came back to visit, and with a good friend who didn't move. There was so much enthusiastic teenage joy.

Micah discovered my makeup bag AGAIN. He was going for a faux beard, I think. I also pointed out that his eyelashes are already enviable, and that putting mascara on them was bound to land him in hot water with people who have short eyelashes. And with Mommy, because she's tired of him using her mascara to scrub the sink.

Daddy got to take Amelia on a field trip to the Krishna Temple. He is a rockstar for chaperoning a second grade field trip.

"A llama!?! He's supposed to be dead!" 
Name that movie!
Amelia is stunning, as usual, even with a llama. Actually, it's a very cute llama. 

Tyler and I got to go to Prom.
Just kidding! We went to the Fancy, Shmancy Scholarship Ball at UVU. It was like Prom, except with really, really amazing food and famous locals in attendance. There was actually not much dancing at all, so I was kinda let down...except that I actually couldn't walk by the end of the night because I haven't worn heels in ages and I did this night and I'm getting way too old for that nonsense. Next time, flats for sure. 

Meet Gong Gong, the Black Dragon. In Chinese mythology, he knocked the earth off its axis and caused all the rivers in China to flow East. We have a book about dragons that shows him fighting a guy on the tiger, whom I guess is some other Chinese god. 
He is Micah's favorite.

Since Micah was turning 3, and had been insisting on a Gong Gong cake, I made him a Gong Gong cake.
Except, when I was making the cake, he kept telling me to make a Daniel Tiger cake.
I guess he made peace with it eventually, ha!
He seriously loved it. It took us 4 sittings to eat that thing, and each time we had to sing Micah Happy Birthday again. 

The other kids were pretty stoked with the cake as well.They're also pretty fond of Micah.

Then he opened some presents. Grammy didn't even know Micah loves dragons, but she wrapped his gift in How to Train Your Dragon paper. Winner!

Micah loved his Hess RV from Grammy and Pop, even if he called it a School Bus. 

He also loved the stuffed Chinese dragon and the Chinese dragon figure from Grandpa and Grandma Carla. He insists on having the figure on the end of his bed, where it can keep watch over him.
This is a pretty Micah-heavy post, isn't it?3 is just such a darned cute age where they're discovering the world and putting things together. Here, I'd put Micah's costume together. He knew he was a rabbit, so he insisted on hopping around (saying, "Hop! Hop!" the whole time). He didn't really get that he was going to dress up as the White Rabbit a la Alice in Wonderland, but whatever. He was really, really enjoying himself!

Henry received some awards at a Pack Meeting, hooray! He's earned his Bear and moves onto Webelos next month.

Henry and Amelia also participated in the school play, "Race for Treasure Island."
Henry played "Sneaky Sam" and was so proud of the physical comedy the teachers let him add to the play.

Amelia played a Sailor and reveled in some over-the-top dramatics. It's a shame my kids are so reserved (said no one ever about my kids). They sure do get the dramatic genes from the Vigue and Bird sides!

We enjoyed a church Hoe Down as a family. I was really proud of my two oldest for participating in the square dancing and having fun. 

We managed to sneak in some pumpkin carving a few days before Halloween. Sheridan really drove the Quest to get Dad to take them for Pumpkins this year.

The day before Halloween, we took all 4 younger kiddos for the Orthopedics checkups and had great news all around! Both boys are in the clear and won't need to be seen again for 2 years!!! Hooray! Amelia's hips look good enough that she won't need to be seen for about a year, and Eliza gets a 6 month break! 
You have no idea the relief that news brings!

Halloween finally came, and after days of frantic sewing, everyone was ready to get in costume and score some candy! The 5 younger kids went along with Henry's huge wish to do Alice in Wonderland as a family costume. He absolutely loves Lewis Carroll's writing, and it was nice to do something that he really wanted to do--the stronger personalities usually win out, but this year was all his.
Amelia was so excited to run around shouting, "Off with your head!" She was also really excited to boss Tyler (aka, the Ace of Spades) around. 

Cole owned the Mad Hatter! He was the cutest guy with those curls and big, cheesy smile.

Henry took forever to decide what to dress up as. Even when he decided to be the caterpillar, it couldn't just be the caterpillar. Oh, no, it needed to include a mushroom. Henry usually chooses something unique and fairly challenging for me to make, but I really do love it! I love how creative he is. 
Here's the final view of the White Rabbit in action. Still hop, hopping!
Don't worry, Henry was just in character!

Of course, we had to have our Alice! She really enjoyed watching everything on Halloween, and loved how excited everyone was.
In all our Halloween glory!

Jack and Sheridan, those darned kids with their own ideas! They insisted on being characters from their favorite video game, Undertale. 

Jack went as Asriel, a goat guy who has horns and is magical. It's not a dress, it's a robe!

Sheridan went as Undyne, a fierce water-knight. Fortunately, I did a little research and found out the her character wears an outfit as seen above. Sher originally wanted a suit of armor.

They all had an excellent time in October. Hope all y'all had a Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 1, 2018

September, Remember?

September is a lot more interesting now that we have Eliza to celebrate!
We kicked off September with a birthday breakfast of Mickey Mouse waffles!

I made her a pretty smash cake and a pretty cake to share.

She was interested in the smash cake and wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

She figured it out pretty quickly. 
And messily.
Smart girl!

She enjoyed opening up gifts with Daddy's help. She really got into this book from Grammy and Pop.

And she kept giggling over this gift from Grandpa and Grandma Carla.

Her sweet friend, Kelli, also surprised her with a Peek-a-Boo monkey while we were at church!

And her buddy, Porter, kept chasing her around the Relief Society room. I think he was trying to give her kisses, but I'm sure he'll deny that later. Hee hee.

This month, we took to the kids on a hike to The Grotto. Do you want to guess who was excited about the hike and who was so perturbed that we forced her...uh, them, to hike?

It was a really easy hike, though, and by the time we got there, people forgot they were annoyed by forcing them to have family fun, that they actually enjoyed themselves! Win!
I love this goofy boy!

Jack carried Eliza for the entire hike!

I think Sheridan finally forgave us for dragging her along. Look how beautiful she is!

Cole clearly enjoyed soccer this month. I think he's showing off some sweet moves here.

We got to meet our friends' Corey and Jenni's new car addition. She's a beaut.

We also scored some tickets to a BYU game. We lost, which was stinky, but we got to hang out with Tyler's sister, Rebecca, so that was a win. Also, I forgot how to be a grownup and have normal faces in pictures. Oops.

I got a shot of Eliza's favorite game, steal the Take and Toss container from the other babies. She takes it, and she tosses it. It's good fun. She also like to take and toss socks (other babies' socks as well as her own), binkies, car keys, pens, and chapstick. Her dream is to someday take and toss someone's phone. 
Micah learned a new spell this month. Here, he's showing his bff, Richard, how to do the "Potato!" spell. Backstory: his siblings were running around the day before, casting curses at one another. Someone kept using the "Protego" spell--and that's certainly closer to a regular word than "Wingardium Leviosa." He must have thought the kids were running around pretending to turn one another into potatoes, so he thought he's show his friend. 

Amelia got to make a "moon cake" for science, lucky girl!

Tyler shaved off his beautiful beard. I miss his beard, but I'd also missed his whole face. I guess I win either way, because I have him!
Amelia loved to play goalie in soccer this year. It was fun to see her skills improving.

Sheridan got to make pizza for math class. I think kids these days get to have way more fun learning real life applications of math and science. 

Henry earned some more awards at Scouts this month. 
His response? "I actually passed off more stuff than this."
Oh, silly Henry!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August Awesomeness

August started with Tyler and Jack off at Scout Camp. Sheridan decided she needed to make some chocolate-covered rice crispy hedgehogs to celebrate their return home.
Micah came down with what we thought was hand, foot, and mouth.
But then we were positive they were hives. He was covered head to toe with huge, itchy, red bumps.
He did not love being itchy, but he did love the view of "'Struction Behicles!" from the doctor's office! It turns out that he had erythemia multiforme, which is a fancy way of saying huge, itchy, red bumps that aren't hives, but also aren't contagious. 
Hooray for copays!

Eliza ate a lot of food in August. 
She makes a mess, but she's adorable!

Henry and Cole built this huge vehicle out of trios. They were, understandably, quite proud of their engineering feats.
The best part of August, though, was cousins visiting from New Jersey! 
We only got to hang out for 3 hours, but boy, did my kids love those three hours! These cousins are close to my kids' ages, so they have a blast together! Since they'd recently seen one another while we were out in NJ in July, they got straight to playing!
Melanie and Tyler clearly got the serious genes in the family.
It was only a short visit, but boy did my kids love seeing these cousins! Months later, Micah is still asking to play with "Webi" or "Go a New Jersey."

And then...
dun dun dun!
School started August 14th. It was too early!!!
Actually, the elementary started August 14th. Amelia was clearly delighted. How did Henry get SO OLD!?!
Amelia was actually very, very nervous about being in a class without her BFF. Fortunately, they ran into each other on the way to school, and all was well.
Henry was a tiny bit nervous, too, but he was mostly excited to start the school year.
The next day, Sheridan and Jack started school. HOW DO I HAVE 2 MIDDLE SCHOOLERS!?! 
Sorry, I'm still trying to process all the feelings! Jack is a giant, taller than me! Sheridan is almost 5 feet tall. They are growing up way more quickly than I have authorized.
Anyhow, with the biggest kids out of the way, Micah got straight to teaching Eliza how to pull everything out of drawers. She passed that skill with flying colors, and relishes cutting down the time it takes to empty a drawer on a daily basis. 
Who am I kidding? She practices that skill multiple times a day.
Finally, over a week after the bigger kids started school, Cole jumped into Kindergarten! He was so excited, I thought he might explode from all the feelings. Lots of mornings, he does explode from the feelings.
Fortunately, he has a few big siblings to teach him the ropes.

Now, lest you think life is boring with 5 of my 7 in school, Micah still puts on shows for Mom. This is his Taylor Swift act.
Micah also teaches Eliza all about Batman while the others are gone.

Tyler's Grandpa had an art display up in the Murray City Hall in August. So many of his favorite pieces were up on display for the month.

We also celebrated sixteen years of marital bliss in August. We stuck close to home to celebrate. Yay, Provo!
Another fun visit was with Tyler's freshman year roommate and his family. We got to have the over for dinner, but the kids were having so much fun together that they joined us for Amelia's first soccer game of the season! (And then we met up with them again at Thanksgiving Point a few days later.) It was so great to get to know their family!

Amelia's first soccer game was against the other neighborhood soccer team! 

Cole's first soccer game and he was brimming over with excitement! Seriously could not contain himself.

Micah loved going to Cole's games, because he got to play on the big slides. Seriously, that kid is fearless.
August was busy and crazy and mostly wonderful!