Saturday, October 31, 2009

Angry Robot Band!

Wow it is hard to manage a band! Especially a band of Angry Robots. The kids did a cover of the Flight of the Concords song, "The Humans Are Dead". (we listen to an edited version at home) We set up a stage, got instruments ready, costumed the kids and they did the rest. They will be appearing in concert soon at a venue near you. Tickets are $100 and can be mailed directly to our home address. If you are interested in any autographed memorable please contact the web manager!

Best Costumes Ever

Do you know what happens when you put Dad in charge of the costumes for Halloween?

* You spend WAY less money!
* You spend WAY less time!
* You don't loose sleep because you are having a hard time following a pattern!
* You don't freak out if they start to fall apart (because they were way less money and took way less time)!
* The kids get to be more involved.
* After years of making great costumes your kids finally won a costume contest!

So Dad you had better watch out because, that's a whole lot of pros and not any cons. You might be on the hook for all the years to come!

Seriously the kids had the coolest costumes this year, don't you think?

Bones, Ribs, Gordon Salad...

How do you feast "Halloween" style?
Blood soup (tomato bisque)
Bones (thank you Heather R. for your brilliance)
Ribs Gorgon Salad (with Gorgonzola, another Heather R. recipe)
Hand pressed apple cider
Pumpkin Squares (my friend Kathryn L.'s yummy recipe)
Ghoulish vanilla shakes
And there you have it. A perfect Fright Night Feast. This year we shared our special dinner with our Sister Missionaries. Hopefully we didn't "spook" them too much!

Cupcakes For School

Our Halloween Huant

It's no secret, I really love Halloween. Halloween parties are paramount in the party world. They reign supreme. And here's why:

- DRESSING up is almost always a must (and what party isn't better with a costume magic)
- there are endless themes to run wild with
- decorations are limitless (Christmas gives some stiff competition here)
- candy
- outside commercialism (I'm talking pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses and woods etc...)
- the weather (I love the crispness in the air and changing leaves)
- food (anything goes and creativity reigns)

A Monster Mash

This was the invitation the kids made this year to invite their friends to our first Halloween Party at our new house. We had a really fun planning session over the weekend and got to have Emily's friend Kaitlyn help us plan.

The kids looked through my collection of Halloween magazines and my idea folder (I am a collector of creative ideas...the only thing I don't purge in my home). They chose these cool pumpkin invitations. We collected cool Halloween do-dads for them to roll into the crepe paper. When their friends opened up the pumpkin they were surprised by spiders, skull rings, pumpkin erasers, stickers and other fun stuff. They made them all by themselves (except the stems and ribbons). The hardest part is always making the invite list. The kids had such a rich kid environment in Dupont. They have sooo many friends. I try to limit them to a certain number of families each. I think next year we will have to go smaller. Surprisingly as the kids and their friends get older they get more unruly.

Then the kids looked for cool Halloween food dishes to assign to each family. I think this is always their favorite part. It is fun to imagine all the cool stuff that will soon grace our table when party day arrives.

Another really hard part is always choosing the activities for the party. There are so many things the kids want to do every year. I let them each pick an activity this year. I think everyone had a great time with the games they chose.

All but one family made it to the party. What an awesome turn out we had. It was a really awesome night. And I had lots of, "your the best Mom ever" afterwards.
This is the group of party goers for 2009. The Phillips family came late and so they are not pictured.
Just some of the really yummy goodies everyone brought.
Donuts on a string was Chase's choice!
Emily chose to play charades.
Katie wanted to play Halloween Bingo.

I wanted to have a pinata. The kids and I made this a really awesome bat pinata. It was way stronger than I though tit would be too. It made it through almost everyone getting two turns. One with a blind fold the next turn without.
Kaitlyn got to chose a game too. She wanted to have a bat hunt. Unfortunately it rained all day. So I had to come up with something else. We blew up clear balloons and put glowing light sticks in them. The kids had a balloon stomp and then a light dance to Halloween music all in the dark!

I think the most memorable part though was when we lost our electricity. And I had 35 kids running around bumping into each other and screaming! Wow! Didn't plan on that one...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Venting...


Sometimes I can't wait until I am out of the baby and toddler years. Don't get me wrong, I love our little Sara. And I really do cherish every minute I have left of her sweet babyhood - but not the last few minutes.

I went up to Sara's room to wake her up from her nap. It had been a very unusual three hours. She wasn't making a sound but I figured, hey it was 4:00. If she didn't get up she wasn't going back to bed at 8:00! So up the stairs I went.

As I opened the door the most horrible stench welcomed me only to be met by an even more horrendous scene. Sara had stripped off her clothes and had painted her body (hair and "gag" face too), her baby dolls, books, blankets, bed and wall in awful smelling "number 2". It was almost more than I could bare.

I didn't even know where to start. There wasn't a clean spot on her. How was I going to get her from her bed to the tub.

I gritted my teeth, held my breath and held her out as far from me as possible and we made it to the tub.

So instead of a nice late afternoon. I did a load of laundry. Had to give my naughty daughter a bath (I hate giving my kids baths), had to clean "number 2" off of well...everywhere, and now I have the smell burned into my nose and her screams (from the shower I submitted her to) ringing in my ears.

On a good note...thank goodness (I mean really) for removable shower heads!!!!!

The Best Juice Is Homemade

Why We Stayed...

Oddly enough it was things like pumpkin patches that wooed me to stay in Washington. Poor California just couldn't compete with the show Washington puts on and all the fun it provides!
Fall never held so much excitement. It used to be an ambivalent season stuck between summer and winter. Nothing special...

But Washington Autumns have a certain magic. A crisp freshness in the air. Leaves changing colors and carpeting the streets in rich hues of golds, reds and orange. Hands down though, our family's favorite thing about Fall is a visit to the Pumpkin Patch. And not just any pumpkin patch, Marris Farms. Now we are only 10 minutes away too!

This year we met up with the Phillips family and the Combs family to enjoy the farm. Good thing we were with lots of friends, because when we all got lost in the corn maze together (for real) it sure was good to have company. We made it half way through no problem. Then we got so miserably lost I started to feel that desperate, irrational, start to do crazy things frame of mind that you read about in books start to set in. To make matters worse, Sara feel asleep on my shoulders. So I had to carry her until we found a way out. Poor Chase tried to be a valiant gentleman and relieve me. But he only lasted a few minutes before he was just about dragging her on the floor and I had to take her back. My arms hurt for days. (like when you were a kid and lifted you Dad's / Uncle's weights thinking you were super buff and then the next morning couldn't move your arms without crying...). We finally found a way out - and then took a solemn oath never to enter another maze... It's things like that which make it all memorable though.
The kids had a great time sliding down the new "mine shaft" slides. I was so proud of my big kids for being good older siblings. They were awesome about taking Sara down as many times as she wanted! And there were so many happy smiling faces and giggles of delight. Definitely the slides were a huge hit.

We also really enjoyed "the pillow". The kids didn't try it last year, instead choosing to go on their first monster truck ride. I was actually pretty surprised at how much bounce the kids were able to get. Chase and Emily had a great time posing in the air. Kate not so much. She stayed as close to the edge as possible and spent most of her time on all fours crying. She has come a long way...but still has more fears to conquer.
Marris Farms has something fun and new every year it seems. But nothing ever comes close to the kids love for the corn room. It is a big room full of dried corn kernels. They love diving in, covering themselves and of course trying to find all of the hidden rubber ducks. Poor Chase, I told him when he turns twelve he isn't allowed any more trips to "the courtyard" (where all the fun little kid activities including the corn room are). He got all google eyed is disbelief. Maybe if we go on weekdays they will fudge with his age...
It was such a wonderful day. As I drove home with my kids peaceful tired out in the back and a car full of pumpkins I could hardly carry and potted mums the size of a chair, I thought to myself how thankful I am to still be living in Washington and enjoying yet another beautiful Autumn.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Impossible Challenge

Chase's new Primary Teacher (his name is a mystery...we have tried asking around but nobody knows?) issued a challenge to his class two weeks ago. For every Article of Faith that the kids memorized he would reward them with a candy bar.

I am sure he was thinking that the kids would come back with a handful memorized tops. But Chase seeing an opportunity to boost the contents of his "candy storage" (I need to post about that) asked, "what if we memorize all 13?" His teacher said, "no problem, 13 candy bars!" They only had a week though.

So Chase came home from Church and told us about his goal for the week. I totally thought that it would be impossible. He only knew two to start with and there are some really hard ones - right... But trying to be unnaturally optimistic I gave him an encouraging you can do it - but it will be really hard, sure it's possible - but it will be a lot of work, I know you can - but you'll have to dedicate a lot of time to it...kind of speech.

All week Chase carried around his Article of Faith card (as seen above). It went to school, on errands and I found it on his bed every night when I went to tuck him in. We tried learning some of the primary hymns to help (not a big fan of those songs - they are seriously atonal). I helped him learn some of them line by line. But it was all Chase. He worked on them constantly all week.

And on Sunday, he was ready. All thirteen swimming around in his head. He was so excited to recite them for his teacher. Apparently his classmates and teacher were pretty surprised.

And so was I. But I shouldn't have been. This is Chase, my son. When he is motivated and determined there is no stopping him. He is a boy with a mission. And when Chase wants something - nothing is impossible!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Budding Artists

Flower Batch - Kate, Kindergarten
Humming Bird Bonanza - Emily, 4rth grade

The girls decided this year to participate in the PTA's Reflections contest. The theme is, "Beauty Is...". I think they drew absolutely beautiful artwork so they win for sure in my book. I have no doubt that Emily's "Hummingbird Bonanza" was inspired by our visit to my Aunt Kathy's house where we fed humming birds and were surrounded by 30 or so. Kate has been drawing flowers for the last few days. AS Emily worked on her project she grew increasingly interested in doing it too. So tonight she worked on this. Painting was a little frustrating for her. Chase said something sweet to her. He thought she would win for sure since all the other Kindergartners were still drawing potato people. (his words) They worked really hard. I am very proud of them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sara's Alphabet

A- aggressive (she sure does give out rough love)
B- baby lover (nothing is sweeter than watching her be a mommy)
C- chublet (perfectly squeezable)
D- dancer (she can definitely get her grove on)
E- eyes (she has the most beautiful piercing eyes)
F- feisty (she had better get what she wants)
G- gorgeous (she is stunning like her sisters)
H- happy (she is only sad when she is hurt or doesn't get her way)
I- intelligent (you can already tell she's going to be clever)
J- junky (she's seen every episode of Max and Rudy a hundred times)
K- kissable (every sweet little inch of her)
L- lovable (she has us all wrapped around her little finger)
M- monkey (nothing gets in her way...she is an allterain vehicle)
N- nurturer (she takes such good care of her babies)
O- obsessed with Nacho (poor cat...)
P- parrot (she is talking up a storm these days)
Q- quotable (we love repeating Sara's cute little words)
R- ravenous (eater of candy and cereal)
S- stubborn (more than any other child)
T- trouble (it's a good thing she's cute because she is a terror)
U- unreasonable (is it too much to ask her to stop growing so fast?)
V- vocalist (she carries a tune like nobody's business)
W- wild (like a hurricane)
X- eXtremely open (she will go to anybody)
Y- yeller (she loves a good scream now and then)
Z- zesty (she is the spice of our life)

Emily's Personal Alphabet

A- ADD (mom says)
B- beautiful (my Mom says that too)
C- cook (cookies especially)
D- doodle (I love to draw flowers and bunnies)
E- emotional (I feel deeply, very deeply about things)
F- fantastic sister (if I say so myself)
G- Greek mythology (I love the Percy Jackson books)
H- happy (my family, drawing, reading and my teacher)
I- imagination (I am full of ideas)
J- joyful (I try to be happy all the time)
K- kind (I like to give love notes to my family)
L- lots of friends (I make friends easily)
M- mad (when Chase is being really annoying)
N- nice (I try to be nice to everyone)
O- outgoing (I am not shy)
P- playful ( I am fun to be around)
Q- quitter (it's hard to do things when they get hard)
R- read (especially suspense books)
S- sharer (even since I was little)
T- trustworthy (my Mom and Dad think I am honest)
U- unhurried (I take a long time to do things)
V- vivacious (Mom says I am)
W- witty (I have a good since of humor)
X- eXuberant (I have lots of energy and excitement)
Y- yappy (Chase thinks I'm a blabber-mouth)
Z- Zany (I'm never serious)

Chase's Personal Alphabet

A- artistic (good at origami, painting, and sketching)
B- bad (at losing)
C- collector (marbles, rocks, shells, Lego's, stuffed animals, bionicles)
D- dependable (people can trust me to do my job)
E- energetic (always full of energy)
F- fast learner (especially how to do things)
G- Great Grandpa lover (I love my great grandpa)
H- helper (I can carry in lots of bags of groceries at once)
I- inspired (by my Dad, I want to be like him)
J- just (I am always worried about things being fair)
K- killer hair (I hate when my Mom says It's time to cut my hair!)
L- Lego builder (I love everything about Lego's!!!)
M- math (I really like algebra)
N- nurturing (I take really good care of Sara)
O- obedient (most of the time)
P- proactive (can jump into things without being asked)
Q- quick ( I am a fast runner)
R- reader (I like fantasy and mythology and books with battles)
S- strong (I carried a huge log to our camp this summer)
T- talented (creating things, art and mathematics)
U- unwasteful (I am good at saving money and other things)
V- vigorous (strong body and mind)
W- worker (I'm fast and I don't stop till it's done)
X- eXpert guitar player (if you count Rock Band)
Y- yummy (candy especially, I have a huge storage of candy!)
Z- zany (my Mom says I am silly all the time)

Katie's Personal Alphabet

A- artist (I love to draw pictures)
B- book lover (I love them because they have cool pictures)
C- cheese lover (my favorite is cheddar cheese)
D- Daddy's helper (I like working together with Dad)
E- emotional (she struggles with those deep feelings)
F- friend (I want to have sleepovers)
G- going to the movies (especially if there is popcorn)
H- helper (especially cooking and cracking eggs)
I- indecisive (Mom says I have a really hard time maker a choice)
J- joke lover (my jokes make Emily and Chase happy)
K- kitty lover (because they are cuddly, soft and purr really loud)
L- love bug (she bonds deeply with people)
M- Mommy's girl (I like to be with my Mom)
N- nice (I say thank you and help everybody)
O- obsessed w/teeth (I like to check my teeth and find a loose one)
P- picker (especially the paint on Mom's hands when she paints)
Q- quiet (Mom says I am quieter than my brother and sisters)
R- rough house (unless I get hurt)
S- sensitive (my feelings get hurt easy)
T- toucher (I like to cuddle and snuggle)
U- upset (sometimes I get mad when people don't listen)
V- vocal (Mom says I talk a lot)
W- whisperer (when I am nervous or shy I whisper to my Mom)
X- eXcellent sister (especially to Sara)
Y- young (the second youngest in my family)
Z- zipper (I like to zip things)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dave's Personal Alphabet

A-athletic (not that I'm really good at anything, but I like sports)
B-boring (just the way a dentist should be, right?)
C-construction (seems to be all I do with my spare time these days)
D-daring (I love a little adrenaline now and then)
E- easy (Dave is easy to please and pretty easy-going)
F-fearful (of werewolves mostly)
G-gullible (always the last to realize)
H-happy (I'm a pretty lucky guy to have such a great family)
I-injury prone (lots of stitches and broken bones in my past)
J-joker (love a good practical joke)
K- knowledgeable (Dave knows a lot about many things)
L-lucky (see "happy" above)
M-mild mannered (just like Clark Kent)
N-nerdy (I still read fantasy and sci-fi books)
O-optimist (it usually works out)
P-political (I hate politics, but I can't stop watching the news)
Q-quiet (don't usually have a lot to say)
R-realistic (I'm usually the buzzkill for Jen's grand plans)
S-stubborn (where Jen and I clash; neither of us is ever wrong)
T-tall (at least in the Philippines I was a giant)
U-unemotional (Jen wishes I would show more)
V-vacant (apt to daydream and ignore my surroundings)
W-work (I really enjoy my job)
X- eXcellent handyman (Jen thinks Dave can conquer any job)
Y- yearn for peace (a peace keeper; uncomfortable with conflict)
Z- zealous (about his family)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jen's Personal Alphabet

A-assertive ( I am bold about getting my way)
B-ballerina (more in my soul now, but I am still a dancer at heart)
C-creative (I love a making things)
D-dependable (I think people can count on me to get a job done)
E-educator (trained and trying to teach my children)
F-fiscally dim (not so good with money folks)
G-gardner (I love plants)
H-hard worker (I like to think I work hard to do things well)
I-impatient (a horrible vise but I have it bad)
J-judicious (I like to think I am fair)
K- keeper (I am our family historian)
L-LDS (born and raised)
M-multitasker (really I excell at being very busy)
N-nature lover (love being out in the great outdoors)
O-out going (I'm never afraid of putting myself out there)
P-pudgy (there's no way around it...I'm getting a bit squishy)
-quick (I like to do things well and quickly and respect this in others)
R-resourceful (I like to think of myself as a female MacGyver)
S-stubborn (I hate backing down from things I believe in strongly)
T-thoughtful (I like to think that I try to do kind things for others)
U-unaided (I am very independent and prefer to work alone)
V-visual (I am a very visual learner, I have to see it)
W-wife (of 13 years)
X- eXcellent mother (that's what my kids say anyway)
Y-yearn (I like to constantly try to be be better than I am)
Z-zesty (that's the way I like my food...well seasoned)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sara Speaks My Language

We were in the car tonight and the kids were trying to talk me into getting some candy when we got to the store.

Chase started talking about carmel. The girls were talking about something else. And I just kept saying maybe (which Katie has already astutely discovered usually means no).

Then Chase said to everyone, "we need to start talking about chocolate!" The little stinker.

Sara had made yuck sounds to everything all ready proposed. When Chase asked her if she liked chocolate she replied with a happy, "YUM!"

She's my gal!

Katie's Joke

Why can't Fench Fries Cut in line?
post your answers in the comments...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Insight Into Us

So Dave is headed down to L.A. to be with his Sister's family as they have their second baby sealed to them. He is happy to be getting to see his whole family. But with the move and all on our minds we haven't been really thinking clearly about things.

This morning I wake up at 7:55. "Dave when does the bus come" I ask. We drop Dave off at the bus station in Lakewood when he is taking a flight. It is so much easier than going all the way to the airport. "9:00," Dave sleepily replies. He was out playing laser tag late into the night. "It's almost 8:00," I say in my I'm about to nag you voice. A minute later we are both up trying to rush getting everybody ready. I am headed straight to the pumpkin patch with the kids after dropping Dave off and Dave hasn't even packed yet.

We make it to the car a little behind schedule. Being a "little behind" schedule has been an everyday occurrence ever since we had our first baby. Well that's not true. Ever since I married Dave we have been a "little bit" behind schedule. It is not Dave's strength. But in all fairness since we had our first baby neither of us has been really great at pulling things together on time. So, we are in the car on our way and Dave grimaces. He needs exact change for the bus fair. "Check your wallet," I say hopefully. Nothing but a twenty in that billfold. I check my purse. I have 50 cents. We need $3.50. Next thing I am asking, "does anybody have any money in the car?" The kids have been bringing their wallets and purses along lately just in case we go to Target. Sure enough Chase has almost exactly the money we need. He had four dollars and we needed three! I look at Dave with the hugest expression of relief I am sure. There was no time to stop for change and I TOTALLY didn't want to take him all the way to Sea-Tac. I think we can not possible count the number of times Chase has bailed us out with a short term loan in a pinch.

So we are just getting off the freeway at 8:57. The bus stop is around the corner and we are stuck at a red left hand turn light. As we watch in horror, the bus turns the corner into the terminal. We know from experience that they won't wait and won't stop anywhere except the stop, not even a few feet away from it. Like I said we haven't been running on schedule for 13 years now.

We are sitting there trapped at the light and next thing I know...brace yourself...ready...I'm telling Dave to run the light. I know, totally nuts! I said it a few more times with extra emphasis and then Dave did. We purposefully ran right through that red light all in the name of making it to the bus. Which we did, without a ticket, so all is well.

On the way back towards home and the pumpkin patch Chase comments, "aren't we always about to miss the bus?"

Hummmm...good point.

(I know you all wanted to see pictures of the house...maybe tomorrow)