Friday, March 30, 2012

Mira Gets an Invite

Sometimes, being five years old, you can feel a little left out of some things you think are pretty neat. Well, Ailie's mother invited Mira to come along with them to Jungle Jim's one day. I wasn't there, but I know they played hard and had a great time. Just look at those cherubic faces:
When she came home and we were having dinner, she said, "I feel like I'm still on the ride!" It was pretty special to be the one to tell her older siblings about the awesome rides she got to go on.

All these pictures Miwa took are fun, I can't leave any out.


The biggest news these days comes courtesy of our 21 month-old. He is talking it up now. One of his favorite words is, "See!" If I'm chopping food for dinner, using the mixer, making a smoothie; if someone's throwing a ball, playing piano, or up on the top bunk, he wants in on the action. He is just so fun right now. He loves singing "Popcorn Popping," "Book of Mormon Stories," "The Wheels on the Bus," "The Wise Man" (and we never get to the "Foolish Man" part), "Over the River and through the Woods," and "Rock-a-Bye Baby." He'll help do a few actions, but mostly just wants to be entertained.
Micah's been bringing his baseball mitt to school so that he and his buddy, Logan, can play catch. The other evening, when Chad got off work, they went out to play some ball. But then Matthew can't be left out, can he? Micah was sweet with him and let him play a little, too.

Micah says he wants to play baseball.

Our sweet-cheeked Mira loves jumping on the tramp.

Look at that throw!

We did homemade pizzas for dinner the other night and Matthew enjoyed playing with the dough.The creativity comes out. And try sharing a rolling pin between 4 kids. Not the best way to go.

Looks good, boys!

It takes all his might to do some things.

Ella was having some cereal one morning, and Matthew had to be just like her. She let him come share her seat. What a sweetie.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Junior Achievement BizTown

Last week I drove to the Discovery Gateway and made my way to the 4th floor--an area dedicated to Junio Acheivement's BizTown. The fifth graders from Colin's school had been preparing for this day: learning to make out checks, deposit slips, how much money they'd need to start their "business", etc. Colin had interviewed and been hired as the CEO of Simmons Media Group. He'd been telling me long before this field trip about how some difficulties in leading a group where some kids tend to goof off and leave the work to others. He was rather frustrated with some of the experiences he had. But, as he wasn't allowed to fire anyone, he told me that he and another girl ended up doing most of the work.

The big day arrived and when the kids walked into the hall of JA BizTown, it was like Christmas morning! They were so excited, looking around at this little town, and just anxious to be a part of it. The morning started off with a town hall meeting. Each CEO got to make a speech. Here is Colin (that's the mayor in the adorable are they?!):
Parents were assigned to work with students other than their own child. Here is my group at Best Buy:

They were cute and it was pretty hairy in there. Each person was assigned a task: CEO, CFO, stocker, etc.

All volunteers had a rundown before the kids got there of what our roles were. It was meant to be hands-off, but guiding them through everything. It was quite a load! At one point, the sweet girl in our group came back from a break where she was supposed to make a deposit, eat, and go shopping. Poor thing came back trying to hold back tears because she only got as far as the bank since her deposit slip was made out wrong. I felt horrible! But we got her situated and back on track with a smile.

Here is Colin's group in Simmons:

Even though I wasn't with Colin much of the time, it was fun to be able to hear him over the loudpeaker every so often, taking song dedications and playing music.

It was pretty warm in there, and he was feeling the pressure:

Colin, Peyton, and their volunteer:

At the end of the day, Colin was awarded something like "Citizen of the Year."

After this, I was completely exhausted! I'm just glad it's another 2 years until Micah's in 5th grade and I do this again. That said, this Junior Acheivement program is pretty incredible. All my kids come home from school periodically with things they've worked on through this program. JA's mission is: To inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

As taken from Wikipedia:

Founded in 1919 by Horace A. Moses, Theodore Vail and Senator Winthrop M. Crane, Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than four million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide.

Colin and his friend, Alex Algrunn:

On to Ella. This girl is learning so much. Here she is reading from her French book. She loves the stories of Melanie and Gafi. Her pronunciation is great, and it's a lot of fun to listen to her.

Colin, Micah, and Ella had their parent/teacher conferences which went well. Their scores all wonderful, they're reading really well, and getting along with their peers. Couldn't be happier for them!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Washers, Gross-Out Things, Snow Play

I discovered this past week our washer seemed to be leaking. It came as no shock. Our machine has put in a good life's work for all the loads of laundry its done. I put it up on KSL for free and was immediately bombarded with call after call. When the winner came to pick it up, I discovered something else: the hot water spigot was leaking. On top of that, the floor drain wasn't allowing any water to drain. Then, lo and behold, as I go into the basement to shut off the main water valve, I see water dripping into the toy room. As I run around like a crazy person, calling Neerings, moving things out of the toy room, and calling Chad to update him, I thank my lucky stars the basement isn't finished in that spot. After that little emergency was taken care of, I did some quick serious online research on washing machines. I ended up running to Sears (Mira and Matthew in tow) and picked up this beauty:
I've never had a front loader before. I've kind of wanted one for a while, but not like I'm going to give up a working washing machine just to get a new one, right? Matthew's been fascinated with all the buttons and dials he can reach. Thankfully, it has a "lock" button so that all his button-pressing doesn't affect anything!

In other news, Micah picked up a rather disgusting book at the library this week. It's on how to make realistic gross-looking things: scabs, vomit, snot, etc. (Oh, boys!) I don't gross out easily, but this book does it for me. Unfortunately, he needed some help with making this beauty:

It's supposed to end up with you looking like a scarface, but really it looked to me like he had warts growing all over.

It was all I could do to help him stir it up and smear it on his face.

Today being Saturday, we slacked on chores. (That's been a bit of a trend for us lately.) The kids earned a trip to the "real" movie theater. (As compared to what we'd otherwise splurge on: the dollar movie theater.) We've been reading the Book of Mormon as a family, and we get rewards along the way. We finished Alma recently, and that being a biggie, we agreed that we could all go to the movie theater. This morning Mom graciously came to stay with Matthew so we could all go and enjoy "The Secret World of Arietty" together. The kids really enjoyed it. It got great reviews, and I would recommend it. That said, it's anime--not that it's less desirable than, say, Pixar, but you have to go in expecting that if you're not used to it.

We'd all planned on going swimming afterward, but the girls decided they'd rather go sledding. We never even went last year. I agreed to take the girls while Chad took the three boys swimming. I wish I could've taken pictures of them swimming because I know they had fun, but this is where I was and what I got: Cute Ella-Bella with a big smile on her face.

Silly girls!

I just love this one of Mira. It doesn't show up in the picture quite like it did in person, but her cheeks were as pink as her snow bib. She was having a blast going down the hill on her belly!

And Ella, with her windswept hair. Do we have beautiful girls, or what?

Whee! I tried to get one of the girls cuddling up together, but they were all giggles and silliness.

Mira and me:


Mira, with Ella in the background: