Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School 2011

It's taken a while to get to this but finally, a back to school recap.

A while back, we bought a Groupon that got us a family membership to the Butterfly Pavillion. We'd never even been there before buying the membership, but it was such a good deal that it actually cost less than just paying for our whole family to go once. So we got the membership and went for our first visit. To be honest, I wasn't hugely impressed. The butterfly area itself is great, but some of the rest is only so-so. But the kids really liked it, so I figured we might go back once more before the membership expired. Then I got an email from the Butterfly Pavillion a few weeks ago saying that we were invited to a super-special, VIP, members-only Back to School Bash. We had nothing else going on that night (the Friday before school started), so I sent our RSVP and said we'd be there. I'm so glad we had the membership and went to the party! It was a blast!

We played games and jumped in the bouncy house.
We blew bubbles.





They even made enormous bubbles around Preston...

... and Haley
We saw the butterflies... (notice the one on the back of Aaron's neck)
...though luckily Rylen didn't see that one next to him in time to grab it! He loved watching them all fly around, though.


We looked at some sea creatures and even touched a few.

We did some more playing around.
We don't even have pictures of my and Aaron's favorite part, which would be dinner (hot dogs and hamburgers) followed by free Blue Bell ice cream. That is some GOOD ice cream and we ate a lot of it. :) It was a great party to start off the school year, and that party alone makes me glad we bought the membership.

Haley started school on August 23 and has really been enjoying her class so far. She is in a 1st/2nd grade combo class again this year and is enjoying being one of the "big kids" in her classroom. She has already taken one of the 1st graders under her wing and watches out for her at recess and lunch and walks with her to PAWS after school. ("She gets scared." Haley told me.) I'm proud of my sweet girl for taking care of her nervous classmate!

Haley's first day of school.

Preston started kindergarten on the 29th. He was very glad to learn that he would be in the same class with the triplet girls he knew in preschool. He likes them all very much... but he REALLY likes one of the triplets the best. (Puppy love - so cute!) Of course, the triplet who REALLY likes Preston - is a different girl. It's a good thing this is kindergarten instead of high school or it could be a lot of drama! As it is, they all get along fine and are very happy to be in class together. Preston doesn't like to talk a lot about school - I have to drag everything out of him. So far I have learned that he likes recess, he doesn't like sitting, and he feels that there is too much coloring. Hopefully kindergarten will grow on him and he'll decide he likes more than just recess!
Preston's first day of school.

Brekken wanted to be in the picture, too!
And just because there wasn't quite enough Rylen cuteness...

Quick Funny from a Kid You Don't Know

Okay, this funny is not from my own child, it's my friend Donna's son. But it was so funny I couldn't resist sharing it!

Campbell was singing the song "Let It Be" (Beatles) and in his version, the lyrics include: "Speaking words with whiskers, let it be..."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Funny from Preston

It's been busy around here. I have several posts I want to write, but just haven't had the chance yet. I'll get to them as soon as I can, but until then, I just had to share this quick funny.

Preston moved to a new daycare when school started. It just worked easier with the kindergarten schedule, and he really has been wanting to go to PAWS with Haley for the last year. So on the last day at his old daycare - where he has been going since he was 6 months old - Michelle asked him if he was going to miss them. His response:

"Well, I'm going to miss the dogs."

Ouch! (For the record, though, he was very excited to go in and say hi to everyone when we went there last night to pick up the other boys. So he did miss more than just the dogs.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contemplation

A sister in our ward is about to have a baby any day now. I've been watching her updates on facebook as she hopes each string of contractions will turn into real labor. And it really makes me think about the last time I was in that situation. I swear that it doesn't seem long ago at all. How can it have been nine months already since Rylen was born? Probably because he's my last, but I want him to stay my baby for a little longer. While I love watching him learn to explore and enjoy the world around him, I already miss the days when he just wanted to snuggle with me all the time.

When I mentioned my feelings to Aaron, he said he's been doing a lot of thinking lately, too. Specifically, he's been thinking about some dear friends who lost their baby at 8 months. Ever since Rylen hit that age and then moved beyond, Aaron's been thinking a lot about what we would have missed if we were in our friends' situation. And of course, now I can't help but think about it, too. It makes our hearts ache again for our friends and makes us feel even more grateful to have our sweet boy. (And our other children, too, of course!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Surplus

Surplus [sur-pluhs]: an amount, quantity, etc., greater than needed.

That's a good description of the grocery situation at my house right now. Which is certainly better than the opposite! But wasn't exactly what I had planned.

I like to use King Sooper's HomeShop service because I can create a shopping list online and then King Soopers will gather everything up and deliver it to me. Believe me, that $10 delivery fee is totally worth it to avoid dragging four kids through the store with me - especially on a big shopping trip.

So I created a (rather extensive, because we were out of everything) shopping list and set up a delivery for Saturday. Then I ended up with time to do an actual shopping trip on Thursday. I used my online shopping list as a reference and went to the store to buy all the things on my HomeShop order. After which, I cancelled the order and the scheduled delivery.

At least, I though I had. Right up until Haley looked out the window on Saturday morning and said: "King Soopers is here."

They certainly were. There with my entire order - that I had already bought. So now I had doubles of everything. 10 pounds of flour... make that 20. 5 pounds of rice... now it's 10 pounds. A gallon of milk... drink fast, because we've got two gallons to get through. 10 frozen meals for work... I've got 20 now, so I'm set for the month. 20 tubes of Go-Gurt... eat up kids! Because I ordered more than I ended up buying in person and we now have more like 60 or 70 tubes.

It was quite a challenge to find room for all this in my over-crowded pantry, fridge, and freezer. And an unexpected hit to my grocery budget. But on the plus side, I'm stocked up on everything now. I can make a lot of bread with 20 pounds of flour. And my kids go through the Go-Gurt like nobody's business, so I'm sure it will get eaten. And since I had to pull everything out of the pantry, fridge and freezer and reorganize to fit everything in, everything looks nice and tidy and organized for the moment.

If only I had ordered more Pepsi... that's something I would definitely like to have in surplus!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick Funny from Preston

Preston was in a bad mood and I was trying to cheer him up. I tickled his cheeks and coaxed: "Come on, let me see those cute dimples!"

"No, Mom." he told me. "It's a no dimples day."

Monday, August 15, 2011

10 Things I Should Learn From My Kids

Today's prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop: 10 things that your kids could teach you.
  1. Live in the moment. Kids don't spend their time stressing out over what will happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year. They enjoy where they are right now. Time to play outside! Time to have video game time with Dad! Time to eat! It's all right now and it's all exciting. Granted, I'm a grown-up (allegedly) and so I do have to think about tomorrow and next week and next year. But I need to spend more time just enjoying where we are right now.
  2. Tell me what you're thinking. Kids come right out and tell you when something's bothering them. They don't let it fester and stew until it's worse than it needed to be. They also tell you when something's good. My daughter is great about telling me when dinner is really good or she's really happy that I let her do something she asked for. Preston will tell me when he thinks my hair looks nice or he likes my clothes. (He'll say things like this to a lot of girls. He's quite the little ladies man already. One of my favorite memories is of 3-year-old Preston sidling up to one of the older girls - probably 6 or 7 - at church and telling her "I like your pretty dress. Can I sit by you?)
  3. Have fun! Kids are so much better at having fun. It goes along with number 1, I guess, but seems important enough to have its own number. Take time to have fun and enjoy your life!
  4. Take a nap when you need one. My kids are usually going 100 m.p.h. at all times. Brekken especially will never walk if he can run instead. (Can you picture that as a grown-up? What if all the people at your office ran everywhere at top speed? Not because they had to, just because life is so exciting! To the copier! To the conference room! To the elevators! Woo-hoo!!) But once they finally run out of energy, they will collapse wherever they happen to be and take a nap to recharge. At work last week I found myself so exhausted that I was nodding off at my computer. I finally just got up and went to our quiet room (a little room with a couch and a locking door) and laid down. I took a 15-minute nap. It wasn't long. It didn't take me away from my work for more than a few minutes. But that short time to just have a little rest made a huge difference. I was much more alert and productive for having had that short break.
  5. Ask for help. I am very bad at asking for help when I need it. Even when I am overwhelmed and incapable of managing for myself, I hate to admit it and ask someone to help me. I need to take a lesson from my kids in this, because they often ask for my help. And even though sometimes I wish they would do it themselves, when they thank me or give me a sweet hug, I am glad to be there. (Note: This does not apply to 3-year-olds, who refuse to accept help at all costs. Brekken insists that he wants to do everything himself! Oh, how I wish he would let me help with things like getting a glass of water or putting his shoes on the right feet.)
  6. Stop and enjoy the world around you. Just this morning I was trying to rush out the door to drop the kids at daycare and get myself to work. "Get a move on! Get in the car!" I snapped. To my frustration, they were all crouched in the driveway instead. "What are you doing? Get in the car right now!" "But, Mom, look at this beautiful grasshopper! I think it's the best one I've ever seen! It's so big and it has brown and yellow stripes." I hurried them into the car, because I really needed to be on my way. But I wish that I had paused for just a minute to look at the beautiful grasshopper with them. Next time, I will try to remember to do that.
  7. Love one another. My kids beat on each other. They fight and shout and call each other names. And it drives me batty! But they are also quick to give each other a big hug. To sympathize over a banged knee or a bumped head. They give great kisses. They say I love you. I wish they would lay off on the fighting, but I definitely need to take a lesson about showing love more often.
  8. Be comfortable in your own skin. Thank goodness, my kids do not have any body issues yet. I'm sure they will develop some as they head into their teen years, but for now, they're good. Preston is a tiny, skinny little boy. When he takes off his shirt, all you see is his white, white skin (other than the rashy patches from his mild exzema) and his prominent little ribs (we're trying to feed him up, really!). But he doesn't worry about that. This is a little boy who loves to go around without his shirt. When asked why, he tells us it's so everyone can see his muscles. And then he will flex his skinny little arms for us. He's totally comfortable in his own skin and happy with himself.
  9. Be nice. Last week, Haley called her friend Emily to invite her over to play. She said to bring a swimsuit and we'd all go over to the sprayground to play. It turned out, though, that Kiera was already over at Emily's house playing. When they asked if Kiera could come, too, I had to say we couldn't do it, because I just didn't have enough seats in the van to get everyone there. Haley explained that and invited both Emily and Kiera to come over to the house and they could play in the water in the back yard. Instead, Emily said that wasn't any fun and they wouldn't come over. And more than that, Haley couldn't come over to her house to play, either. Poor Haley was in floods of tears. I was almost in tears with her. And so angry at that little girl for being mean to my precious daughter. "Why does she have to be mean?" Haley asked. "Why can't she just be nice?" I could only answer that I wished everyone would be nice and never be mean to her. But sometimes people forget to be nice. Haley swore that she would always try to be nice so no one else would feel bad like she did. And I try to do the same.
  10. And finally... a friend of mine challenged me to ask my kids "What has Mommy taught you?" So I did. From Preston, I got a very ordinary answer - "Don't hit each other." But from Brekken, I got item number 10 on the list, which I think is an excellent life lesson. Don't put your fingers in other people's mouths. And don't put their fingers in your mouth either.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Camera Catch-Up

Just a few pictures I found from recent days...

Rylen LOVES to eat solid food. He grins happily whenever we put him in the high chair, because it means food is coming!



Fun at the sprayground




 Aaron and the kids love to play Super Mario Wii together.


The lovely frozen waterfall that we discovered in our freezer when the icemaker broke.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Picnic Fun

Yesterday was the Nurse-Family Partnership company picnic. I've worked at plenty of places in the past where social events are awkward and irritating - just one more thing keeping you late at the office instead of home with your family. But at NFP, we know how to have a fun party!

For one thing, families were invited, so Aaron and the kids and I headed off to the park. It was a beautiful park full of big trees to create plenty of shade on a hot day. We got there just in time for some great BBQ. Then a couple of people pulled out the water guns.

It was really Tom (our CEO) and Kammie (our COO) who started the water fight. And when Preston saw the water guns, he wanted in on it. He ran right over and asked if he could have one. Kammie quickly gave him a great big water gun and said to him: "You see that man in the blue hat? (Tom, the CEO) Get him!"

And Preston took that as his personal mission - every time Tom turned around, there was Preston, squirting him again! The first couple of times, he didn't know how to react. After all, water battle etiquette says you should shoot back - but it's this tiny little boy... Finally, Tom squirted Preston back, Preston laughed and thought it was funny, and it was all good. I did eventually have to tell Preston to stop stalking Tom and squirt someone else. So he chose to go after Kammie instead! Haley and Brekken got in on the fun as well, and everyone (including me and Aaron - unarmed bystanders) got plenty wet. At one point, Brekken took off and started squirting everyone in sight... including several people who were not with our group, they just happened to be at the park. Oops!

There were also a couple of piƱatas, a playground, a dog to play with, lots of grassy open space to run around... it was just a really good time. The kids didn't fight like they usually do - my co-workers are now under the impression that I have very well-behaved children. :)

The picnic was topped off by  a visit from the Cupcake Truck! The company paid for the Cupcake Truck to come over and hand out cupcakes to everyone. Yum!



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stealth Dating

Yesterday's post about stealth crawling reminded me of another stealthy activity - stealth dating. When Aaron first moved to Colorado, he employed stealth dating techniques for a while.

To catch you up - Aaron and I actually met in college. We worked together for a couple of years, but never dated. After grad school, I moved to Provo, then California, and then Colorado. Aaron moved to Iowa to go to grad school and after finishing grad school moved to Colorado. He sent out one of those mass emails that you do when you're updating your contact info.

So I was living in Littleton when I got the email saying that Aaron was moving to Greeley. We hadn't been in touch in a few years, but I sent him a quick note to let him know I was in (kind of) the same area and we should meet for lunch and catch up at some point. A few weeks later he was in my neighborhood, gave me a call, and came over to my apartment to say hi and catch up.

After that, we ended up just spending quite a bit of time together. Not really doing anything date-like, just hanging out. It was time for the summer Olympics, and Aaron didn't have a TV. So he would come down to my place to watch. Greeley to Littleton is about a 60 mile drive... so I'm sure he could have found a TV closer to his own apartment if he'd really wanted to. :)

I remember my friends kept asking me about Aaron. "You're sure spending a lot of time together. Are you dating?" And I would respond... "I don't know." Aaron later informed me that we were in fact dating - he was stealth-dating. Hanging out and being friends without the pressure of official dates until we were so used to being together that it was only natural to be a couple.

Sounds strange - but obviously it worked... we got married about six months after Aaron moved to Colorado. And still going strong 10 years later. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stealth Crawling

So Rylen has started crawling, but he's very stealthy about it. I've only seen him actually crawling a couple of times.

I'll see him there on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth a little, so I'll watch. I know that any moment now he's going to go crawling off. And I watch. And watch. And he doesn't move.

I take my eyes off him for a moment to talk to another child or look down at my phone or something else minor - and suddenly when I look back, Rylen is halfway across the room.

Stealth crawling. He only moves when no one is watching.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dream Party

Today's prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop: If you had the opportunity to throw a dream party for your closest family and friends, describe what that would look like.

I didn't even have to think about this one. As soon as I read the prompt I knew exactly what I would do with unlimited (I assume) funds to throw a dream party for our family and friends - Disneyworld!

My idea of the ultimate dream party would be a week at Disneyworld. I'm not going to be selfish and say they'd have to close down the parks for only our group... but I would request some sort of special pass that put us at the front of every line. :) And tickets to all the character meals for the kids.

That would be some party...


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Lazy Song

I was listening to the radio this morning and Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" came on. If you don't know the song, some of the lyrics are: "Today I don't feel like doing anything. I just want to stay in my bed. Today I don't feel like doing anything. Nothing at all."

It struck me that the song captured my feelings exactly. I really don't feel like doing anything. I so wish that I could stay in my bed and do nothing at all. Not long term or anything, just for a day. I think if I could have one day to just do nothing but sleep and be lazy, maybe I could finally catch up on my rest and not be so exhausted all the time.

However, today is not the day. I'm on my way to the office, where I have the feeling they will expect me to accomplish something with my time. I just may skip lunch in favor of a nap in the quiet room, though. ;)