Thursday, July 17, 2014

Erin's Birthday

Erin turned 10 on June 18th. Her dream was to get breakfast in bed on her birthday. She was so happy to get it. And how is it possible that she looks this good when she first wakes up? She is so photogenic. She had some pretty specific things she wanted to do for her birthday, and she'd been planning them for about a year. One thing she really wanted to do was make a glass flower at the Thanksgiving Point art center. It was awesome to see how they do it. The glass was 2000 degrees! We also got to walk around to see all the workers making stained glass for different temples around the world. It was so cool!
 This is what her glass flower looked like once it had cooled. It's so pretty.
She had planned a pool party on her birthday, but the weather was looking cold so we postponed it till Friday. It was kind of good because after the glass flower, we had a get together in the park for what would have been my grandmother's 100th birthday. Erin was born on her 90th birthday. It would have been way too busy on that day. She also wanted to get her ears pierced that night. She has wanted her ears pierced for so long. I never set an age that she had to be, but just asked her when she thought a good age would be. She always said on her 10th birthday. She was so happy about it. She picked the pink butterfly earrings. Erin loves butterflies. I'm glad she's old enough to be able to take care of them by herself.
The next day Alex got braces on. He has quite the metal mouth now. Not only does he have braces on the top and bottom, but he has an expander on the top and another space holder on the bottom. He hated getting them on, but he is a brave child to do it, especially since he is only 7. I think it makes him look so much older.
 My kids are all growing up so fast!
Back to Erin's birthday. On Friday she had her party. Only one girl couldn't come but she had a great time with everyone else. They are all from activity days. I was actually surprised that she wanted to have a party with so many girls. Usually she only likes one or two friends at a time. I think she is branching out a lot with friendships lately, which is good to see. Her best friend, Emma, has been gone almost all summer, so Erin has been playing with other girls a lot. And since she is older, she is able to go farther to their houses by herself.
She loved all the presents she got. They know her so well. She got lots of art supplies, necklace making kits and candy. Happy girl!
 
Eating cake. Since it was during the day, I was doing the pool party on my own. Luckily, Connor had a birthday party at the same time so I only had 4 of my own kids to watch, plus the other 8 girls at the party. Luckily they are old enough to swim. It sure is nice to have a pool in our neighborhood.
Erin decorated her own cake again. She is so artistic and thought up this whole design herself. I think she really wanted like 5 tiers, but this is what she got. It turned out cute.

Erin is really growing up. This summer we've been able to leave Erin home for short periods, like during Hallie's nap, and she can watch the kids. It is so liberating to have a child that old! She is very responsible and is great with the little kids. When Erin is happy, she is such a joy to be around. She is so creative. She still loves art, writing books, reading and acting. She loves wearing make-up and dressing up. She is definitely a girly-girl. Once she can change her earrings I'm sure she will love wearing new ones. She has gotten good at doing hair, her own and others, and is pretty creative with what she ends up with. We love Erin!

Connor's Birthday and Father's Day

I'm a little slow with the blogging lately, but Connor turned 4 (over a month ago). When he woke up, we surprised him with his present:  a see-saw that I built for him. He knew I was building something for his birthday in the garage (thanks to a certain child who told him), but he didn't know what it was. He was a bit scared of going too high at first, but I think he is more used to it now. The other kids and the neighbors love it. And I can cross off another project on my long list of "things to build someday".
 
You can see more about the project on my other blog Roadside Rejects.
It was a Saturday so Alex had his last baseball game. He had lots of fun doing baseball. He likes playing all sports and just has a good attitude about learning and playing them. And the good thing about watching them is that they are all way better than they were two years ago. It's fun to see.
 After the game, we all went to the store so that Connor could pick out his own birthday present (besides the see-saw). He was a bit hard to shop for this year because he kept telling me different, but very specific things that I had no idea if I could find, like spider man socks and another spider man glove and other random things. He is very decisive and knows what he wants (it's just that nobody else does). That's why I had him pick it out. He ended up getting a spider man glove that shoots silly string and then water when the silly string runs out. He had so much fun with the silly string and was laughing so hard. He got a ton on our ceiling before we made him take it outside to shoot other people. That lasted about 5 minutes, but it was fun. Oh, and even though he picked it out that very day, we wrapped it and he was so excited when he opened it. Funny kid.
After the game and shopping, we went to the new Discovery Museum at Thanksgiving Point. We love living a minute away from Thanksgiving Point! It's a fun museum with lots to do.
That night we had cake. He wanted a ninja turtle cake and this was my best attempt. The mouth would have been better if I hadn't run out of black, but I think he got the idea. At least it wasn't my worst cake ever (which is still Jared's flyswatter cake).
Connor is a really funny child and always says funny stuff. Too bad I can't remember most of it. He is the child that tans most easily and with his light hair it makes him look even more tan. He likes to tell you and show you how strong he is. But for how strong he is, he is definitely not the most brave. He doesn't like to try new things, especially if he thinks they will be too scary. He stood at the side of the fence watching all the kids jump on the neighbor's trampoline for a year before he finally got on this summer. When we went to the water park, he didn't want to do any of the slides, even the baby ones. We forced him to go on Jared's lap on one slide and he screamed the whole way. I took him to the children's museum on a one on one outing and he wouldn't go on any of the rope bridges or slides. I'm sure he'll grow out of it, but it's funny to see what a strong personality he has but how cautious he is at the same time, especially when the younger girls are almost fearless when trying new things.
Connor loves ninjas, spider man, superheros, and doing karate moves. He dresses up in his spider man costume daily and also asks me to put a ninja headband on a lot. Here's an example of his ninja headband. The kids have been loving the dress-ups lately since they dug them out of storage in the basement. Ah, more messes to clean up.
Connor talks really loudly, which I find very interesting since I am so quiet. His normal voice is just loud, even if I am standing right next to him. The day after his birthday was father's day and it was the first time he went up to sing with the primary kids (he wouldn't do it for mother's day so I was surprised that he did it at all). When he came down he yelled, "I was awesome up there!" Everyone was laughing so hard. I love this boy so much! Our family would not be the same, or as loud without him.

And speaking of father's day, we celebrated it the next day. I always get stressed out the first two weeks of June so father's day is never a big event. I made Jared breakfast in bed. He was coming down right as I was about to bring it up to him so we made him go back to bed to eat it, while the kids sat there watching him. That night he asked for taco pie, his favorite meal and we ate it on the new picnic table that I built, but haven't stained yet. The only thing he got for father's day was a new watch battery. I don't think his watch has worked for over a year. It's like getting a new watch, right?
 Funny faces
 Guess which kid didn't want his picture taken?
 Jared is a great dad and our kids are lucky to have him! (and just look how strong the see-saw is :)




Monday, July 7, 2014

Family Reunion and Two Birthdays

The first week of June, just after school got out, we had the Daniels family reunion. Originally we were going to rent a big house in Zions, but just a few weeks before we all decided to change it so that it wouldn't be that expensive. We ended up staying in Perry and doing an activity every day. Our family got to stay in Jared's parents' camper in their back yard. Everyone liked it except Hallie who did not want to go to sleep in there. She would cry and wake the other kids up. We finally put her in an extra room inside and we all slept great.
The first day was also Jared's birthday. So, lucky for me, I didn't have to do much for it. (We went shopping the next weekend for some clothes for him.) We spent that day at This is the Place park. There was a lot to see and do. Of course my favorite part was seeing the cabinet maker's shop with all the old tools and how they used to make things.
There were some fun games to play, crafts and of course pony rides (which Connor was too afraid to do at the last minute)
The next day we went to the pool up there. They had a couple of fun slides and sand volleyball.

For the third day, we rented out a bowling alley that also had mini golf. It was pretty fun to be able to bowl on more than one lane as much as we wanted. Alex got really into the bowling, as well as Jared and his brothers.
The last day was Marissa's sixth birthday. That was the day that we got a big bounce house with a water slide and set up some other slip and slides in the Daniels' backyard. I don't think she could have asked for a better birthday party (I would probably never rent a bounce house like that). Everyone else was awake in the morning except her, so I thought it would be fun to go into the trailer to sing Happy Birthday and give her her presents. She got a new razor scooter (because her other one has been mysteriously missing for over a year), a slip and slide and some rubber bands to make rubber band bracelets--they are all the rage at our house right now. It was a good long day and I hope she enjoyed it.
 
And since I never wrote about it before, Marissa also had her kindergarten graduation at the end of May. There are so many kids at the school. Even when we go early and get a pretty good seat, I still can't see my children because they are always on the front row. Joys of being short. I find it very stressful to have to take a video or pictures all the time too. I feel like I enjoy things more if I don't have to capture everything. Anyway, I got this shot of her afterwards. She did great in kindergarten and made a lot of friends. She is reading a lot better and faster now. She hardly needs help reading scriptures anymore.
Other random things about Marissa at age six:  favorite food is pizza, favorite thing to do is play with friends, favorite TV show is A Second Chance (I've never heard of it, but I don't usually watch their shows), her friends are Aurora, Autumn, Emma, Sienna, Addy and Emery, Azure, Brinley, Lindsay, Camden, Hayley, Andrew, Kayla and Daphne, favorite place to go is Disneyland, favorite subjects in school are art and computers.

Marissa is a fun girl who loves being social. She has no fear of being in front of people or talking to them. She is very loving and needs a lot of love too. She will always give me hugs and tell me how much she loves me and always asks to play with my hair (which I love). She recently learned how to do a braid. She doesn't seem to get into playing with any toy or doll and would be happy to get rid of all toys in her room. She loves playing games on the computer or my phone (which she hardly ever gets to do). She doesn't like going to bed or sleeping in her room. This is partly because Hallie has to go to bed at a different time than her or she'll just cry, and Marissa doesn't like being alone. She will usually end up in the living room, our floor or the boys' room. Marissa and Erin are two very different personalities and are the ones that fight more than anyone else. It always makes me sad for Marissa and I can only hope that they will be friends when they are older. We do love this sweet, loving girl. She is really growing up!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Easter


 
Easter festivities were good. It was pretty low key this year. This kids claim they had like 5 Easter egg hunts (which may be true), although I didn't have to do much for any of them. This is good if you are me and don't like to plan stuff like that. At least one of them was put on by them in the back yard. One of them was with the Daniels side of the family over a month ago when we said goodbye to Jared's brother Alan and his family. They moved to South Carolina. This is especially sad for Erin because Kimberly is her closest cousin on that side. There were probably a couple at school that I am not really aware of. The last one was the day before Easter at my Aunt and Uncle's ranch. It is a yearly tradition that my kids have come to look forward to. There are tons of kids and tons of eggs to find. And then there's the pinata. Good times.

My sister Emily was here the day before Easter so we decided to dye eggs. I think Connor and Marissa were playing with friends somewhere and Hallie was sleeping, so it was just Erin, Alex, Emily and me. The kit I bought had bags that you put dye in, and then you just roll the egg around until it's colored. Definitely not the usual egg dying tradition that takes place, but it was easy and only took like 5 minutes in all.

They each got a basket and church clothes. Everyone also got sandals in their baskets. I figured since their feet keep growing, it would be a good time to give them something they already needed.

Here are some shots of Easter Sunday.
That night we had a fun dinner at Emily's house. Yay for no cooking for me!

Alex had to make an Easter hat for school and decorate a hard boiled egg for an egg roll. I love that he used his St. Patrick's Day hat as part of his Easter one. He also recently learned how to make eggs and toasted cheese sandwiches. Yesterday he just made everyone eggs while Jared and I were asleep. I love independence.
 

Marissa lost her first tooth, the traditional way at least, at the ranch the day before Easter. Her first real tooth she lost was when she was two and it got knocked out. She lost her other bottom tooth a few days later. She will get her flipper out the next time we go to the dentist so she will have three spaces pretty soon. Exciting times for her!
Luckily, the weekend after coming off of their Easter candy sugar high, there were four birthday parties the next weekend that replenished their candy stock. I know at least two of them had pinatas. Ugh, candy. It kind of never ends, does it?

Erin performed their play, Neverland, last week. It was very entertaining. I was amazed by how expressive Erin was on stage. I've always known how dramatic she is, but I wondered how she would be in front of a lot of people. She was great. I think she may have a future in drama. Next year Erin, Alex and Marissa want to do the play. (It's only 3 times as expensive, no biggie) I'm sure they will love it.

Hallie has become a big climber lately. She climbs on our play set and all the way up Marissa's bed (Connor doesn't even do that). She also has been loving our neighbor's trampoline, as long as big kids aren't jumping too high.
Connor seriously says the funniest things.  Here are some:

-"Please bless that we won't fall in hot lava."

-"Please bless that we can get a trampoline and a play set, but we already have a play set, and I want a trampoline like Emma, because she is getting one for her birthday, and she is Erin's friend, and Aurora is mine and Marissa's friend. Jesus Christ, amen."

-Today he wanted to play the stop light game, meaning he calls out all the green lights and I call out the red lights. At a red light he yelled, "Mommy, SAY IT!" I told him not to be so mean about it and he said, "I'm not being mean about it, I'm just being the boss."

-Earlier, he was singing, "I am so strong, but Alex can totally still beat me and Hunter up."

-"There's only three of us left at the table, and that's how old I am. I want to get bigger so I don't have to be your servant anymore." What does a servant do? "Put dishes on the table and stuff" How old do you have to be to not be a servant. "16"

-One day I wouldn't let him have bread before bed and he yelled, "Ahhh! You are a naughty mommy!"

-Last week he came home crying and I thought he was hurt. I asked what happened and he said through his crying, "We were running home and Marissa was running faster than a Cheetah and she beat me."

-"Can you open this? Open these graham crackers. OPEN THEM!... pause... Can you open these PLEASE?... Whooo, I almost whined."

-I bought him some pull-ups to wear at night and he started calling them fruit roll ups. I was only confused for a bit the first night he yelled, "I have my fwuit woll up on!" Love that kid.

In other news, we bought a new truck... and by "new" I mean that it is still 10 years old, but 5 years newer than our other two cars. I've vowed for years that my next car would be a truck to haul all the wood and furniture home for projects. The more we looked, the more I realized that I wanted a full crew cab that would seat 6. It still wouldn't fit our whole family, but at least if one parent is alone with the kids they would all fit. Jared felt pretty strongly that he wanted 4 wheel drive. I was starting to feel a little stressed about trying to find the right truck at the right price and not really knowing where to go. We just felt a little overwhelmed and confused by everything. I told Jared that we should start praying about it, I think it was on Sunday. The next day, we were at our neighbor's house for FHE and we told him about what we wanted. He works at a car dealership and sometimes gets trade-ins. We had mentioned it to him before but he didn't have anything for us. A couple of days later he called and said that he had our truck for us. We went down to look at it on Friday and bought it that day. It's a white Chevy Silverado crew cab and it is literally exactly what we wanted. I feel like it was an answer to prayer. I get kind of stressed out when it comes to big purchases like cars, which explains why we haven't bought one for 7 1/2 years.

We sold our Mazda 626 two weeks later. We bought that car when it was 5 years old, right before we had Erin... 10 years ago! It's been a good, reliable little car for years. It was just getting old and starting to have issues. Jared replaced the fuel pump in January, or should I say December-January? The car was in pieces for like 5 weeks. That was a really hard one to fix because just getting the fuel tank out was a big pain. Jared is pretty amazing to even take on something like that, but I had no doubt he would be able to fix it. There was another repair that we had done a month later. I was so happy to sell it. We didn't get a whole lot for it, but it was a relief to not have to worry about it anymore. The kids love the riding in the truck, because of the novelty and all. I am looking forward to buying some plywood for my next project and throwing it in the back, you know, because I'm weird like that.