Sunday, December 31, 2017

B turns 5!!!

For B's birthday this year, he wanted a space alien themed party.  He even asked to have twinkie rockets instead of birthday cake.  These were harder to make than I had anticipated.  Problem number one is that buying strawberries out of season runs around $5 a pound!  I nearly had a heart attack.  Problem number two was that I put off making these rockets until right before the party, and the darn strawberries were to heavy and wet and kept slipping off the tops.  We eventually secured enough of them with toothpicks for the party guests.  B was happy, and that is the important thing.  Todd arrived home from New York just in time to help me with this crazy five year old party.  He was probably wishing he had come a little bit more slowly.  
 We got some alien picture books from the library in anticipation of the alien party.  When Pricey and Little Logan came, we read stories, and then the boys climbed the walls for a little while. 
 Then we made alien landscapes (personal pizzas).  We played "pin the eyes on the alien," made by B, and "I had a little alien" (an adaptation of "I had a little doggie," which is a version of "duck, duck, goose"). 
 Later, Neil came, with his brother, Big Logan.  B blew out the three candles we had in the house (Mom fail), and everyone had pizza, cake, and ice cream.  Jared and Eloise had enjoyed making name cards for everything on the table in alien language by writing random strings of letters and symbols on 3x5 cards and setting them up by the food. 
 B is so full of light.  It makes me so happy to make him happy.  B's favorite things are race cars, playing the piano, exercising, drawing pictures of vehicles, toys, being read to, friends, and one on one time with Mom and Dad.  He is growing very quickly, and will probably be bigger than Eloise soon.  His feet are already two sizes bigger than hers.  B is sweet and kind.  He loves to share and help other people.  A few days after his birthday we were packing up some boy clothes to give to a refugee family in our area with eight sons.  When B found out that one of the boys was his age, he brought out one of the action figures he had been given for his birthday and asked if he could give it to the boy.  B loves jokes and silliness, but he radiates sweetness and light. 

The day after B's birthday party, November 18, Eloise took a Cognitive Abilities Test to see if she qualified for advanced classes in our local school district.  She was a little nervous, never having taken any kind of test before, but she ended up thinking that it was great fun. 
 That afternoon, the Presbyterian church in our neighborhood held their annual train day.  All different kinds of train sets were set up, and everyone got a free cookie on the way in.   Todd and Eloise stayed home.  I took the little train lovers and budding engineers. 
 They could have played for hours.  B is happy that this event fell next to his birthday again this year.  It's like they are throwing the party for him. 
Happy Birthday, B! 

November

November started with a trip to the zoo, where we hadn't been in a long time.  Sammy had been asking to go, and the zoo had a homeschool day when we could get in for less than half price, so I signed up, and the Christensens even came along.  
 The forecast was alarmingly quiet on the topic of SNOW!  Our zoo trip turned into a special adventure day, with big, wet flakes of snow clinging to everything.
 We eventually retreated indoors until the snow slowed, but we got plenty cold and plenty wet before we went in.
 It didn't snow all the time.  It just snowed for most of the time.  Rebecca and I have a lot of kids between us, and our numbers are going to increase in April when Rebecca has baby boy #5. 
Snow in November is very unexpected.  Look at all of the trees with brightly colored leaves covered in snow!
We had a history lesson about German fairy tales.  Of course we had to decorate gingerbread house cookies a la Hansel and Gretel, and we had plenty of Halloween candy lying around to do it with. 

For some reason this was a very popular history lesson.  Why doesn't history have more witches who live in gingerbread houses? 
Sammy's love affair with our elderly neighbor's geriatric dog continues.  We started walking her once a week or so. Perrita is seventeen years old, so she doesn't mind not getting walked every day, but she perks up a lot when she gets out on the leash.  Even at her liveliest, Sammy can keep up with her. 
Jared went to a two day engineering day camp in Bellevue.  We wanted to be close by, but out of the pouring rain, so we went to a mall.  After the kids got their school pages done, I sacrificed two quarters for a couple of rides on this tiny carousel. 
Todd installed a couple of ladders on our walls to help our boys with their unharnessed energy on days with terrible weather.  We haven't had any injuries on the ladders yet.  Fingers crossed. 
Todd had another business trip, this time to New York instead of California.  He was gone for most of the week before Thanksgiving.  When Todd travels for business, we go out to eat.  Chick-fil-A seems to have become our place ever since it was opened in Kirkland this year. 
I learned to braid hair at a combined Young Women/Activity Days activity.  I was so slow and terrible before that it seemed cruel to put Eloise through the torture for me to learn on her, but a couple of young women let me practice on them, and I got the skills to do tiny braids to keep Eloise's hair out of her eyes.  I'm kind of proud. 
We got school pictures taken on picture day at Jared's school.  For some reason, Eloise found this ordeal terrifying.  The photographer took about 15 shots, and we finally decided that this deer-in-the-headlights expression is kind of sweet. 
Jared seems to be thriving in school.  He looks forward to it every day, and gets excited about all of the new sports he is learning in P.E. 
B turned five in November!  I can't believe he is getting so old. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

October

On October 5 we went to Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Washington to do a tidepool scavenger hunt and play with Price and Danny Christensen.  It was a beautiful day, and the clams kept spitting water up like fountains when the sand vibrated around them.  I wish I had been able to get a picture of that! They caught us by surprise a few times.  
One of B's favorite things is visiting the police station.  He (and all of the kids) love to see the police cars, and the officers are always very nice about letting them look around.  We always have to be on our best behavior at the police station, because, if we don't, look out!
The weather started to get pretty cool, and rain came back.  Our woods are beautiful all year.
Eloise and B wrapped up their soccer season in full blown autumn.  We had a couple of very cold and rainy soccer days.  At the beginning of the soccer season we have so much fun that I can't think why we don't have the kids play every season.  By the end, we are all so cold and damp from two hours of soccer every Saturday that I can't imagine signing them up for the next round.  They had fun every week, though. 
Our ward had an activity where we had a pinewood derby.  This is our clunker, pre-wheels.  Todd started to cut it, and Jared panicked and kept telling him not to take so much wood off, so it was pretty bulky.  
The races were really fun.  This made a great ward activity. 
The kids' highlight of October is always Halloween.  When we got the face paint and Sammy's costume we did a little pre-Halloween costume warmup.  Eloise was a zombie.
Sammy was a dinosaur.  We learned from this dress rehearsal not to put quite so much paint on his face, since it started ending up in his toddler mouth pretty quickly. 
Eloise painted this picture for the elementary school reflections contest.  This year's theme was "Within Reach."  Eloise colored her paper with oil pastels, then painted over it with acrylic paint, which she scratched off with a toothpick to show the final design.  Jared also entered.  He submitted a story, which was a worked over version of the notes he made when he decided that he is old enough to know where his parents keep their secret spy hideout, and started looking for clues and collecting evidence of our secret life.  That was probably my best day of parenting to date.  I let Jared see me "sneakily" texting Todd to tell him to DENY EVERYTHING.  I think Jared may still be looking for the secret entrance to our lair.  He saw the wisdom in passing off his evidence as fiction, though, so he was willing to write it up for the contest.  Both kids won their age divisions in their school and went on to the next level of the competition. 
We went back to the Pacific Science Center.  The butterfly house had been closed for a little while, but it reopened, and Jared and I started attempting to get perfect pictures of butterflies.  My phone camera does not make this easy. 

Todd and I are Halloween grinches.  The kids were ready to do Halloween activities way before we were.  We finally carved our big pumpkins on October 28. 
The kids designed faces, and I compiled portions of each of their designs into these faces. 
Halloween started with ghostie pancakes.  I was going for fun and cute, since spooky is not my jam, but when we flipped the pancakes, the blueberries split, so they looked like they were bleeding out of their eyeballs and mouths.  Oh, Halloween.
We had to get groceries, and Halloween is the last regular business day for the fruit market for the season, so we went there.  They were decked out for the holiday. 
Finally it was time to go trick or treating.  Eloise the zombie (isn't her hair great?), B the bee, Jared the vampire,
and Sammy the dinosaur piled into the car for some early trick or treating at the ward trunk or treat. 
B and Sammy designed a princess costume for me.  They even made me a crown. 
Sammy was done trick or treating way before the other kids were, so we went home to hand out candy, eat candy, and put on pajamas.  Todd and I celebrated Halloween only lasting one night this year.  Happy fall, everyone!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

September 2017

In September, Sammy formed a special bond with the dog of our elderly neighbor, Mary Lou.  Mary Lou is delighted to have us stop by once a week or so for Sammy to pet Perrita.  Since Mary Lou can't get out very much, we take Perrita for walks sometimes, too.  
 Jared started going to public school for half an hour a day four days a week.  This was his first day of school.  He goes for PE and music, and he likes it a lot. 
 Eloise and B started doing PeeWee soccer.  On their first day of soccer they were outside getting ready.  B threw his arms around Eloise in a hug, and her tooth popped out! 
 She had been resisting pulling that tooth for a long time.  B didn't even touch her mouth.  He hugged her from behind. 
 B's team was the Cheetahs. 
 Eloise played for the Vipers.  B was in the 3-4 year old division, and Eloise was in 5-6.  They were both ecstatic about playing soccer. 
 Sammy adopted this squash as a pet.  It's name is Goldie.  It goes everywhere with us, and it sleeps in Sammy's room.  Sometimes he puts doll clothes on it.  Every time I serve squash for dinner he has to make sure Goldie is accounted for before he will eat.  They really have something special. 
 We went to the Pacific Science Center. 
 Jared dared me to ride the high wire bike.  I understand that the bike balances because of science, but that doesn't make it less unnerving. 
 Jared likes to be destructive/creative. 
 Yep.  They are definitely my kids. 
 More soccer happened.  When it isn't B's turn to play, he likes to make sand angels in the baseball diamond. 
 B and Daddy had a date to the air harbor to watch the seaplanes take off. 
 Todd had a business trip to California, so we went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  Sammy thought that the fork in his bag was his prize.  He was so happy with the fork that I never actually showed him the real prize. 

 Sammy started riding his balance bike.  Mostly he walked it, but he has really taken off on it since then. 
 We discovered Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond.  I can't believe we never found this one when we were doing our 60 parks of summer last year.  This place is great. 
 We did some educational games and then we even went for a little hike. 
 We made the mistake of trying to follow a trail that appeared on the map, but never actually materialized in person, and we all came out a little scratched, and with soggy shoes.  We found this tree that looked like an elephant, and that was cool. 
 We had a late season beach day. 
 We rounded out the month with our church's semi-annual general conference broadcast on September 30 and October 1.  This is one of our favorite times of the year.  We get to hear what a living prophet has to say to us.  We always celebrate with cinnamon rolls and crafts while we watch. 
We also had more soccer.  Life slows down a little bit when school starts again.