Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pre-Halloween Trunk-or -Treat

Today there was a Halloween carnival put on by the Young Men and Women in our ward, followed by a trunk-or-treat. The kids had a great time playing the games and being with their friends. It was fun to see the children and some adults dressed up. Here are the kids beforehand:
Colin's a grim reaper, Matthew's Tigger, Micah's a scary clown, Mira's a witch, and Ella's a...pretty zombie (or something like that). Below we tried getting a group photo, but the sun was very bright. Chad wasn't dressed up today, but he will be on Halloween. I guarantee it.

Terrifying, aren't they?

After stuffing his face with cupcakes, Twizzlers, and other junk, Matthew had a contented evening, even after having missed his afternoon nap. He's started putting up a fight over naptime the past several days, which worries me. Luckily for us, today he was more distracted by the festivities.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Piano Recital

Tonight we went to the boys' piano recital. Micah played "Carefree Boogie" and Colin played "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from the Norweigan play "Peer Gynt." I snagged them beforehand to get a snapshot of the two loving brothers. But what I get is this:
They both cooperated as best they could with people walking by. Especially for a 10 year-old, this is very embarrassing to have your mother take your picture and you, expected to smile. I think Colin did well, considering he was in the position here:

Their performances were great. I'm proud of their hard work. They are both improving all the time. Colin has 5 years under his belt now and it shows. Micah's made strides with his practicing. He does it on his own these days, and is learning to be a self-starter.

Ella's Award

Ella's teacher informed me that she was chosen as a "builder" at Fox Hollow for her friendliness. Being a builder means you build people up instead of tear them down. It's a way to encourage the kids to be kind and helpful and make a strong, unified school. Here she is receiving her builder's hat.
One child from each class is chosen each month. Here she is again (in the red) with some of the other chosen students. Good job, Ella!

The Barnett Pumpkin Patch

The best thing we did with our garden this year was to plant pumpkins. Two plants produced nearly twenty pumpkins. We let the kids take turns picking out 2 each for carving.






Matthew's needed a kiss, apparently.



After some tears (more than a few), Mira was finally convinced the best ones weren't taken. In fact, we had to draw numbers in order to do the picking so it was as fair as could be. But that doesn't keep it from seeming unfair, does it?


Next year, it will be one pumpkin per person for carving. It took both Chad, Colin, and me scooping guts for quite a while. Then I got to do all the carving. The boys wanted theirs to be Angry Birds (I still don't know what they are), and the girls did more traditional Jack-O'-Lanterns.

Micah's Class Party



Like Ella, we invited Micah's class over for a party a couple of weeks ago. The turnout wasn't great, but that could be due to the fact that we scheduled it over UEA weekend when lots of families go out of town. But Micah still had fun with a few of his little friends. Even though they were few in numbers, it took them no time at all to devour the goodies. I wish I would've got a picture of the kids, though.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Matthew at Sixteen Months

Matthew spotted Colin and Micah sitting on the couch one morning, enjoying some Berry Colossol Crunch cereal. He had to have in on that goodness. Look at those chipmunk cheeks in the picture below:





Here is what Matthew is like these days:




*Very picky! What he will eat: yogurt, cereal (especially Berry Colossol Crunch!) with milk, grapes, pretzels, milk (especially if it's flavored), apples, string cheese, pizza, and CANDY! Chad says since he's low on the weight chart, let him have anything with calories. I don't know if I like the idea of letting him develop a taste for all that sweet stuff, but Chad's the expert.


*How does he know what all the junk food is? If it's candy in a package, he wants it and wants it now.


*He is starting to say some things. Da da. Mommy. Cuh-cuh (cracker). He does a lot of nonsense talking, which is really fun to hear. I'll be changing his diaper, and he'll just start jabbering about this and that. I just look at him with wide eyes and say, "Really?" He likes that I play along. The kids think it's so funny to hear.


*Chad loves it when he comes home from work and Matthew runs toward him for a hug.


*He loves to help put laundry in the hamper, along with shoes.


*He'll get into the toothpaste drawer and pull out a tub and start sucking on it. One more reason to keep the bathroom doors closed at all times!


*He will snuggle any stuffed animal. So sweet.


*Spins in circles--it's a hoot


*Climbs on chairs, the table


*Likes to swing and slide, climb around play structures


*Flushes toilets repeatedly, gets into anything in drawers and cabinets


*When we say, "Do you want to take a bath?" he makes a beeline for the bathtub


*He actually made himself pass out a week or two ago from crying so hard and not breathing. It only lasted a split second.


*When the doorbell or phone rings, he makes a surprised look and he runs to answer


*He loves "talking" on the phone. Especially if it's Dad or a grandma, he's all ears!


*Likes to be tickled or made to go upsidedown


*He'll sit himself in a small blue box we have


*He'll stop whatever he's doing when he hears a helicopter or airplane and looks for it


*Our family pictures hang in the entry way and he wants to be held up to point to each person (especially the kids) and have me say their names

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Body Parts

I'd say Matthew spends a good portion of his day right here. And not because he loves eating. No, that's another story. But I do try to keep him pacified while making meals, cleaning kitchen, helping with homework, you get the idea. We do some talky-talky, too, though. And we've been learning about body parts. Fun!
Oh, he's got the tongue down. He likes to show you that.

He knows belly, hair, head, eyes, but our absolute favorite is...

"Where's your nose, Matthew?"

Cornbelly's Second Year

After our great experience last year with Cornbelly's, we knew it was something we wanted to do each year. The kids were so excited about it. They had plans as to which activities they must do. Ella, Mira, and I made our rounds to a few wooden structures which they played on.
They have things for kids of all ages. I followed Matthew as he made his way through a teeny tiny cornmaze. It was perfect for him and he thought he was hot stuff. He found this corn on the cob and had a taste, but didn't think much of that!

Look what I found, Mom!


We went on the "Grain Train" and saw their kooky scarecrows. Goofy, but we loved it.

Here is our family shot of the day. Behind us is a creature which you can go inside and experience all things spooky. The boys did this last year and vowed never to do it again. Well, they couldn't resist, and Chad went in with Mira, Colin, and Micah. One minute later, Colin comes tearing out of there, the next minute comes Micah, and then Mira clutching Chad's hand with a terrified look on her face. They didn't need to see anything to get spooked.

Cowgirl Ella. Why rope a bull when you can ride one?

Sweet ol' Mira.

Apparently, Colin is the tetherball champ of his grade. He tells me about boys who call him undefeated and keep going up against him, but can't win. I think he's rather proud of being known for that.

Micah's ready for that ball, Colin!

The girls dressed up in beautiful ball gowns. Mira went through just about every single dress in the dress up house. She had to find one that didn't let any of her street clothes show. Fiiiiinally we found this. The girls felt very elegant.

There was a stage with princess music playing and there was much dancing. Inside the dress up house was a Snow White dress just my size!! (Groan.) Mira wanted to be matchy-matchy, and how could I refuse? I waltzed around wearing that and Mira thought I looked just gorgeous. Fortunately for everyone, there are no pictures to show for it.

Dancing...



Friday, October 14, 2011

Big Helper

I love having Mira with me all day. She is so wonderful to have around. Not only is she a great conversationalist, but she's a happy helper. Today Matthew was having a snack of Cheerios, which he commenced to toss by the handfulls onto the floor. Mira saw that I was busy in the kitchen, so she said, "Oh, Mom's busy so I'll help by sweeping." She brought the broom over to Matthew's seat and said in a teasing voice, "Oh, did you do this, you stinkyface?" Then she swept as she sang, "Hey Soul Sister" to the best of her remembrance.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Slime

Micah borrowed a book from the library on how to make homemade slime. Naturally, he was very enthusiastic about trying it out. I'd promised we would make it after dinner was cleaned up. They even ate all their veggies in order to do this.
Micah and Colin shared one batch and talked about how great it would be to sell this to neighbor kids.


Ella and Mira thoroughly enjoyed themselves and also thought they should sell theirs. There was some dispute between the girls and boys about whether the girls should be allowed to sell.



It was fun watching them be so animated over this. The recipe was really simple. And the mess wasn't bad. I'm overly focused on what mess there is going to be for me to clean up, I guess.

This happened to be the day that Chad was leaving for Montana for a few days. As I was preparing dinner and he was getting ready to leave, I was trying to get kids to sit down to dinner. I'm like a one-armed paper hanger, as Mom and Gram would say. It was crazy and I was feeling rather frustrated. Chad looked over to me and said, "Are you going to be okay with me leaving?" Like he or I had a choice at this point! "Yeah, it'll be fine." And then it was me, solo.

Next morning it's me again getting kids up, preparing breakfast, doing scripture study, getting kids out the door to school. I do not take Chad for granted. He is selfless when it comes to helping out in the family. He's always looking for how he can pitch in, whether it's homework, spending time with kids, cleaning up dishes, etc. He's always there. Last night both the boys said, "I miss Dad already." And this morning there was some talk about his absence. We'll be glad to have him back!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ella's Class Party

Ella is part of an language immersion program at her elementary school. It is a public school, and there are schools in Utah which are paticipating in this program. The school we moved out of in South Ogden was starting up a Mandarin Chinese program which Micah would have been a part of if we hadn't moved. In this school's French immersion program, there are two classes. Ella is in Madame Sou's morning class, then moves to Mrs. Heinecke's English class for the afternoon. There is another class which does this in reverse. There are a total of about 50 students. We figure they'll be together for years to come, and we wanted to get a jump on getting to know each other, so we hosted a homeroom party (invited the 26 students in Mme Sou's morning class).
We had a great turnout: 17 lively 6 year-olds. We served up lots of junk food and they were loving it. (Above, you can see Ella on the left in purple. Mira in on the right in purple.) We had potato sack races and played "Sardines" (like hide and seek, but with a twist). Then we served up the soda and naughty treats and started up a movie, "The Bad News Bears." Well, we could have done without the movie, because kids were running around like wild banshees and no one really watched it.

The boys stuck together doing basketball, shooting guns, being noisy.



The happy hostess! Making stovetop popcorn. Honestly, should've not bothered because the kids were so full of sugar they didn't care.

Ella (right) with her little friends Abby and Victoria. The girls played outside and with Littlest Pet Shop.


I'm interested to see how these children develop, especially in French over their elementary years. I hear that, at first, they lag behind in other subjects, but catch up after a couple of years. I've gone in to volunteer a couple of times in the French class, and it's been pretty neat to see the teacher only speaking French and how much the kids participate. Ella heard that, come January, the students will not be allowed to speak English in that class. She is nervous about that, but I think it will work out. I think about places like Luxembourg, where the kids, by the time they're in high school, know at least 4 languages: Luxembourgish, French, German, and English. It can't hurt to learn.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Catch-up

Another adorable one of Mira. Many days she is found in her dance recital outfits, halloween costumes, fancy dresses, or princess dresses. She loves to be fancy. And she's thrilled her hair is getting longer. The other day Grandma Miller even braided it for her. She looked so pretty.
For movie night last week we watched Harry Potter 7, part 1. The kids were so excited to see it. Even the girls. Micah's all snuggled up with toys he bought from a local garage sale. Speaking of garage sale, all four kids went over and bought lots of...stuff. And here I am thinking, "Oh, you're kidding. I've still got our own toyboxes to sift through and now we've got all this?" But they thought it was aweseome. And I have to remind myself how it is being young. I used to love that stuff too.

Colin ready for the movie! Next week we're watching "The Bad News Bears." Yay!

Mr. Matthew with his new haircut. Kind of a funky expression, but he thinks he's hot stuff when he climbs up in a chair. He'll just hang out there for a couple of minutes as if to say, "Yes, I did this. Don't I look grown up like the rest of you?"

"Helping out" in the bathroom. More like turning on water, getting into toilet paper, playing with cleansers, flushing toilets, sticking socks in toilets, you get the picture.

Ella is getting so independent these days! Here she is fixing her own hair into a pony. And she does quite well. She proudly wore her ponytail to school. She informed me she would be wearing this hairstyle all year long since she can do it herself. I posed the possiblity of Mom helping occassionally with other styles. She acquiesced. Whew.

Some of the new skills my six year-old can now do: ride a two-wheeler, take a shower by herself and wash her own hair, tie her shoes without any help or direction, read, do her homework without complaint. Isn't she amazing? I'm proud of you, Ella. Love you.
Today I was going through the dress up closet in preparation for Halloween, and Mira had a lot of fun looking through everything with me. Here she is with one of my old dance costumes. It's definitely old school, but she thinks it is all that.