Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life and Festivities

We've really tried not to over-schedule ourselves, but now we're entering the age where children's activities often overtake the family's activities. But it really is a fun time of life.

This week has been crazy and fun, and now that it's Saturday night I'm happy to sit and breathe, now that the bulk of crazy is over. So here's part of our October.

Since I nearly had a breakdown when Wes and Kate started school, I decided to be involved in their classes as much as possible. Their teachers have been great and very responsive to my many emails and questions.

I was able to go with Kate's class to a pumpkin patch. I knew her class was diverse, but actually being there and seeing it was pretty amazing. Jasmine, Jaire, Le'Donte, Samuel, Malachi, are just an example of some of the school friends she talks about. She's one of four Caucasian children in a class of 24.

Wes' class on the other hand is pretty much 50/50, and I'm not exactly sure why or how they decide who's in whose class. His teacher is a seasoned educator and I know she's been requested by several of the parents, and so maybe that has something to do with it.

So far I've been pleased with both of their experiences. The lesson plans are the same, but maybe executed a little differently from each other. But it seems to be going well.

I emailed both their teachers last week and asked if I could bring in a Halloween treat, so Sophie and I were running around at the end of this week, getting everything done for that, also for Halloween costumes, Fall Harvest Festival items for the school, church responsibilities, along with regular home responsibilities.

We went to the school carnival last night and also to our neighbor's church's trunk or treat. This afternoon we went to a set of girl and boy twins birthday party, which was a Halloween costume party too. So we've definitely had our fill of the season. On Monday we'll go to a nearby town with some church friends where the old part of downtown really goes all out for Halloween and it's a popular spot for trick or treating.

As for costumes ...

Here's Wes as John Henry. He's wanted to be him for two years now, and we finally did it. So simple, don't know why I didn't do it earlier. But it's one of those costumes where people have to ask you what/who you are. And even then, most people have to ask you who John Henry is/was. One man at the party today asked if Wes was the Brawny paper towel man ... haha!

Kate is not a planner, and didn't seem to have any ideas for a costume, except the standard princess. I told her she should 'branch out' a little. For about 5 minutes she was going to be Angelina Ballerina, and then decided against it. So after hearing more suggestions, she settled on being a cat. Score for me! Another easy costume.

My mind wasn't even on a costume for Joshua, until I found this site, and whipped up a pumpkin hat in literally 6.3 minutes flat:). I think I'll be revisiting this pattern for dress up hats for Christmas gifts for Wes.

Sophie's had her costume for a year. We hit the after Halloween sales last year and she and I both got witch hats. She was happy to finally get to wear it. We paired it with a Halloween shirt that used to be one of my neice's. Then Friday afternoon we made the skirt after it donned on me that you wouldn't be able to see her cute striped tights if she was wearing jeans, which was our original plan. I know, I'm a real planner;). But this 'how to' no-sew pattern was the winner and really only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Re-reading this makes me think that I'm giving my readers the idea that I can just 'whip' things together in no time. Ohhh, don't be fooled, I'm not as seamless as that, it's just a good thing there's the internet and people who do the thinking part for me.

I think she looks adorable.

I'm so excited to be at this time of year. I love Autumn, the holidays that come with it, sweaters, hot chocolate, football ... you know the list:). We love Thanksgiving at our house, and it's Wes and Kate's birthday. Then of course Christmas, and we have family scheduled for a visit then too! It's amazing how when you live away from family, visits like these are so anticipated. And they motivate you to get projects done. Hopefully we'll soon have pictures to show you the progress along the way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Classic Cereal Face

This is Joshua's reaction to his first taste of cereal, documented at 7:45 a.m.-ish, Sunday morning, October 16, 2011.

Love the complete and utter look of "what in the world are you doing to me, Mom":).

He was very concerned through the entire experience.

(And I'm loving Sophie's one-eyed, large-nosed pumpkin in the background:)).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where did 5 months go?

I just can't believe that our baby is 5 months old! I know parents say this all the time, but wowzers ... time just zips by at amazing speed with little people under the roof.

Joshua is the sweetest, most content little baby we've had. He's a great mix of what Wes and Kate looked like as babies, although I'm thinking he'll fall more in line with Kate in the end.

He's long and big and just way too cute to be real sometimes. The finger sucking wasn't just a temporary thing, it's pretty prominent in his life now, and I don't mind one bit. I love to hold him side ways in the crook of my left arm. In go his fingers, and he and I are just happy little larks.

We haven't started him on cereal yet, probably a project for tomorrow, mainly because he's cloth diapered, and I haven't been ready to enter that stage of cleaning the diapers with goo that's people-food, and not just mother's milk. No explanation here on what that all means. If you're dying to know either google it or call me;).

He's super strong and just yesterday started the rocking back and forth on knees and hands action.

His lower gums are swollen and he's been a bit more drooly lately, so teeth are on the way. Our children are early teethers, although he's about a month later than the others were.

Gotta love this picture. My friend gave him some cute pj's, and I put him in them one night even though he wasn't quite big enough for the age range yet. By morning when Matt went up to get him in his crib he found him like this.

Joshua's first hair cut was last month. He was born with such beautiful hair, which promptly fell out, all except a lovely Mohawk, which I talked about in a previous post. Well the Mohawk kept growing and his other hair wasn't filling in, so it looked all stringy and straggly, and so off it came. Now he has a cute little do that's finally starting to fill back in.

He is the most kissed and hugged person in our family. Wes, Kate and Sophie just adore him. He's got a huge mouth, like Kate, and so his smiles are just perfect.

(Sophie's saying, "hurry Mom, he's getting away!")

We love you Baby J!


All summer long Kate was after us to go camping. So finally last weekend we did it. Matt took off early from work on Friday and we packed up, picked Wes and Kate from school and headed to Shenandoah National Park.

Until last year I had never heard of Shenandoah other than in John Denver's Song Take Me Home with the line ... "Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River," but didn't realize it was a National Park.

We arrived in the early evening and stayed at a nearby camp ground in Front Royal, VA, because there was no vacancy at the park's camping sites.

Everyone was in heaven, even Joshua ... prop him up for a few pictures and he's ready to go in his little USU Aggie coat:).

I was concerned about the cool temperatures at night, especially with a little one, but it was pleasant ... not warm by any stretch, but comfortable enough that the mountain of blankets and sleeping bags we brought didn't need to be fully utilized.

In the morning Matt made one of his signature dutch oven dishes, sweet rolls, with some hot chocolate, hard boiled eggs, and we were good to go for a day in beautiful country.

It was absolutely gorgeous ... 100 miles of rolling mountains, leaves just starting to turn, stunning look-outs, and not too crowded roads and hikes.

We stopped about mid-way through the park and decided to take a short 1.8 mile hike to a waterfall. It was the shortest hike in the bunch, we thought that best, so our children could handle it on their own.... minus this little cutie who road first class on his mama's back:). (I told Matt I'd take the baby so he'd could do mule pack duty in case one of the bigger kids needed a hand;)).

Just a side note here. Wesley is not a walker. Any time he can ride his bike, ride in a car, or in some other mode of transportation, he's much happier. So we were a bit concerned about the hike, until I remembered a Utah mountain hiking trip from last year.

So here's how we phrased it, and how the conversation went, more or less:

Us: "We're going to go see a waterfall."
Wesley: "Do we have to walk?"
Us: "We're going mountain climbing."
Wesley: "Mountain climbing? Really?"
Us: "Yep."

That did it ... he led us the entire way and kept telling us to stop taking so many breaks:). Amazing what a little rephrasing will do to one's perception. But to be fair to us old, out of shape people, it really was vigorous exercise. Matt said, "if we did a hike like this every day we'd drop some serious poundage." (my paraphrasing, I don't think I've ever heard Matt say 'poundage'.)

(here's a nice shot of some random man's back, but he'd just fallen and smashed his knee pretty hard on the rock by Kate's head and so we figured he needed a rest without us disturbing him;)).

By the time we got back to the van it was early-mid afternoon so we hopped in and drove to Luray
. I was glad this was not like the Timpanogos Caves, with a 45+ degree hike for over a mile or two. This one you paid your money, walked around a wall, down 50 or so stairs, and there you were, at the front of the tour.

It was pretty cool. I keep saying this, but I hope our children remember at least some of these things they're seeing.

Back at camp we cooked, cleaned up a bit and hit the sack. This was a much less desired night for me, at least. I had a pounding headache that didn't leave until about 4 a.m. and I think I'm too old to be sleeping on the hard earth;).

Sunday morning we rose early, took hot showers (gotta love that), dressed in our Sunday best, amid stares from fellow campers who probably thought we were wacky, and headed out to the local Front Royal ward.

We knew something was wrong when we to the parking lot and there was one car there at 8:57 a.m., for a 9 a.m. church start. Luckily the car contained missionaries. Matt talked with them and found out it was Stake Conference in nearby Winchester, VA. and it started at 10 a.m.

So back to the campground we went. As we pulled into our site and I hopped out, our neighbor campers looked at us funny, and so I verbalized what they were thinking and quipped, "That was quick!"

We raced around like crazies, breaking down camp as fast as we could. We figured there was no sense in going north to church 35 minutes, turn around after church, break camp, just to turn around and head NE home.

We were a tad late, but were able to get settled in for a nice meeting with Pres. Tingey, the former Washington D.C. Temple President, as the guest speaker (I thought he was the current, but a quick search on the church temple pres. site says he was just released in Aug.)

After church we drove about another hour and some and stopped for a picnic lunch on the D.C. Temple grounds. So beautiful - couldn't have asked for a better weathered weekend.

Anyway, that was our trip; So fun, and worth the 8 loads of laundry afterwards.