Friday, April 30, 2010

Another tantrum

I had a great idea for a long rainy afternoon—a readathon. My kids love these at school, and so when I picked them up, I suggested we head to the library for books and then stop at the store so they could pick out a treat, after which I envisioned us all cozied up with our books during the storm. They loved the idea, but it didn't pan out.

While we were checking out Ellie and Ainsley started fighting over one of the books, and then Ellie completely lost it when we had to put a few on Joey's card because I was over my limit. Just for the record, the library is pretty much the worst place for a meltdown. I'm pretty sure every single person there was watching, or at least listening to us. Of course I had told them before we went in that we'd get treats IF they were well-behaved, so I couldn't reward her for her outburst, which then escalated the problem. She didn't stop for what seemed like forever, but was probably more like an hour. She wouldn't stay in her room, but had to stand right next to me for her histrionic screaming, so I pulled out the camera again, hoping she'd remember watching her last tantrum and our discussion about it. But no such luck, she just hid and freaked out even more.

We never had any "terrible twos" or threes with her. I thought we were in the clear. Now I'm hoping that "shocking six" doesn't continue into her seventh year too. I think my mom's curse (that I'd have a child just like me) may be coming true. That doesn't bode well for the teenage years. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ellie's night

Tonight was Ellie's performance. She was a Munchkin Guard in The Wizard of Oz ballet. Here she is just before heading backstage to change.
And here are her loyal fans.
The boys were especially excited to be there.
The program said no video or flash photography. The announcement before the curtain went up said absolutely no video or photography. I chose to observe the written request, and only took photos without my flash.
Ellie was awesome. And she had a great time.
Here's the final curtain call. She's behind the Emerald City guard, but you can see what great costumes they had. The set was well done too.
Ainsley was so excited to give her flowers after the performance. Ellie was excited to get them too. Win-win all the way around.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free canvas

So I saw an offer for a free 8"x10" photo canvas today (link here). I've been wanting to try printing something on canvas anyway, so I scanned through the photos I've taken this year. So far I'm up to 2,055 photos and 26 movies. And there weren't any that I just LOVE. I've definitely been meeting my goal to capture our daily life, but I'm finding that our daily life just isn't that picturesque. Here are a few that I'm considering:

I took this one in Mexico. I'm not sure where I'd hang it, but I like it.

Another shot from Mexico. Pretty generic.

Or maybe a Lotoja shot for Rob's office? Not that he's got much wall space left.

Cara took this one, of Ellie's feet—I could use it as a baby shower gift.

Or, if I had four free canvases, it might be fun to do something seasonal and change them out—here's a possible winter collage, from 2007:

Or Christmas, from 2009:

Or summer, from 2009:
Also, can't decide if I want B&W or color. I need help deciding. I know all three of you reading this are very opinionated. Please tell me what you'd pick from these or any other shots on the blog. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recital season

Here's Ainsley with her cute ballet teacher, Liz Doxey. How many four year-olds are lucky enough to have a super-talented, former Ballet West dancer who is also fabulous with kids for their teacher?
May is one of our busiest months, and it's pushing back into April this year. Ainsley's ballet recital isn't until May, but they had photos today. Ellie has a dress rehearsal tomorrow, and a performance Thursday night. Robbie and Joey's piano recital is Monday night, and Joey's play is in May too. Add to that swim team every week day after school, plus scouts, tumbling, field trips, chess club, wedding showers and receptions, birthday parties...well, you get the idea.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How cute is this apron?

Even cuter with the clever card "Thank you for serving us."

Today I was released from the young women's presidency. Bittersweet. It'll be nice not to worry about childcare when Rob, Robbie and I were all involved in Wednesday night activities. Even better not to have to hire sitters during the week of scout camp and girl's camp. But I will miss the girls and leaders.

Today I was actually glad that we had sacrament meeting first, so everyone heard the announcement, then during our young women's meeting the new presidency had a chance to introduce themselves and we had a chance to say goodbye. I wasn't expecting a present, but I love it!

As I shared my testimony, I told the girls about when I received this call. Rob was still in the EMBA program, and the bishop called asking him about his schedule. After a few minutes Rob said, "Bishop, if you have a calling for one of us, just make the call, we'll work out the scheduling. We've never had a calling that hasn't been a blessing to us. " And that is the truth. Clayton Christensen puts it much better than I can:

"Why do I choose to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an organized religion, rather than attempt as an individual to live a good life? It is because the church helps me understand and practice the essence of Christianity. The mechanism by which the organization achieves this is to have no professional clergy. We don’t hire ministers or priests to teach and care for us. This forces us to teach and care for each other – and in my view, this is the core of Christian living as Christ taught it. I actually have come to feel badly for my friends who belong to faiths in which professional clergy are employed – because they don’t know how much joy they miss when they “outsource” the teaching and care of the members of their church to specially trained professionals."

This is an excerpt from an article he wrote called Why I Belong and Why I Believe. Just click on the link to read the whole thing. And here's a link to one of my all-time favorite talks, also by Clayton Christensen, Decisions for Which I've Been Grateful. If you read these and like them as much as I do, go here and scroll down for even more inspiring messages.

So, I'm even grateful that I'm already jumping into my next calling, a den leader for the Bears. It might be the only way Joey gets his rank advancement. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Good morning

There were a couple of young women who had to be home last night, so after we watched the movie I drove them home (and got to sleep in my own bed—bonus!) After getting to bed around 1:45, I woke up at 6:45 and headed back to help with breakfast. Although I knew I wouldn't have to worry about traffic on I-15 I decided to go through Heber again and I'm so glad I did. I had to stop at Deer Creek for this photo.
Speaking of breakfast, if anyone wants a fabulous waffle recipe, go here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

But mom, you said we couldn't have sleepovers...

When I told the kids I'd be gone Friday night at a young women's retreat they immediately picked up on the injustice and hypocrisy. So we've amended our sleepover rule to include not only cousins, but church activities.
We left around 5:00 p.m. for Provo canyon via Heber. It's a beautiful drive, and we arrived at Virginia's cute 1938 stone cottage by dinner time. We had Brick Oven pizza, root beer, fresh fruit and a yummy salad, then headed outside to build a fire for s'mores.
I really want a fire pit in our yard. This is always a place where bonding happens. The s'mores are pretty good too.
Once we all smelled nice and smoky, we headed inside for the big reveal—the girl's had each drawn a secret sister the week before, and in addition to an anonymous service during the week, they found out three things about their sister and everyone had to guess who it was. They also found out their favorite treat and gave it to them. Becca e-mailed the husbands of the other leaders and surprised us with our favorite treats. Here are the three facts about me that Rob gave her:

1. When she was learning to drive, she high centered the car on an island in the high school parking lot. She and her dad could not get the car off the island, so her dad walked over and asked the football team who were practicing nearby to come lift the car off the island—all to Michelle's great embarrassment.

2. She speaks four languages: English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Sometimes she speaks all four at the same time, not remembering which words belong to each language.

3. She is unbeatable in Backgammon. Seriously. She will roll doubles like eight times everytime she plays. It's unreal. On the other hand, if you happen to beat her at chess, she will throw all the pieces on the ground in a huff.

As my favorite treat he recommended brownies, chocolate, caramel, marathon bars (if only they were still available!), mints or hot chocolate. I scored a box of After Eight Mints. Yum.
We settled in for a wall projector movie. We had about twenty great choices. You've Got Mail narrowly beat The Princess Bride in the voting. It was so funny to think about dial-up internet and see the huge computers. That was only twelve years ago!
It was fun. We have a great group of girls, and I love the leaders I get to work with too. I'm definitely okay sending my girls to this kind of sleepover. And glad that it won't be for another six years. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April showers bring...

Field trips to see the flowers. After Wednesday's rainstorm our picnic at Temple Square was changed to a visit to Cactus and Tropicals. The kids loved it, and we didn't have to try to find parking downtown.
It was a nice coincidence that it was Earth Day.
I'm getting excited to start planting outside.
I have given up on indoor plants for years now. My previous attempts all ended in plant neglect. I'm wondering if these would thrive without effort on my part? I love the bright colors. Buying a cactus might be asking for trouble with kids around though...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green week

This week our elementary school has a variety of earth day activities going on. Each class is decorating the door to their classroom with an environmental theme. As the room mom for Joey's class, I ended up with that job. So I just grabbed my camera and a handful of green props and took photos of the kids holding these objects that represent ways to help conserve and preserve our resources. They had to figure out how their object tied in, and got to paste their photos up. The whole thing took about 25 minutes (unless you include the trip to Costco to pick up the photos) and only cost $3.64 (unless you include the cost of my awesome camera). No die-cutting required. :) I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, but here are the photos, emphasis on my completely unbiased favorite:
Edited: here's a photo of the bulletin board:

If you have 15 minutes...

Click on this link:
It's hilarious. A high school band department is told that their funding is going to be cut off unless they can pass an oral and performance examination. They have three hours to learn 2001: A Space Odyssey. When they arrive to perform, the "high school" performing before them is really a youth symphony, who plays it flawlessly. I am still laughing. Thanks to Rob for always finding the funniest stuff online.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Dan

Rob tells me that eating at El Farol's is a family tradition that goes back almost 30 years. We're happy to keep that tradition going. We especially love the fact that all of our kids sit at the kid's table now.
Tonight we were celebrating the big 4-0 for Dan, plus Lisa and Judy's April birthdays. This shot captures him in his element, as "Uncle Dan." It seems like every family party he's got at least four nieces or nephews hanging on him at any given time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I love portraits

My favorite pictures are almost always close-up portrait shots. And it's been awhile since I've taken any good ones, so after church I dragged my kids outside and told them they wouldn't get dinner unless I got a good photo.
I should have taken these before church—the girls' hair would have been less messy, but there was no time, and this is what they look like most of the time anyway.
I cut the boys' hair last night. Rob took them to Great Clips on Thursday night, but the wait was too long.
So they're stuck with amateur cuts until it grows back out, which won't take long.
Getting a good shot of the four of them is practically impossible.
I took over a hundred photos. I love digital! Ainsley always has a few great personality shots.
I need an assistant who can do the staging while I take pictures—the kids always manage to move after I've told them how to pose, throwing in distracting hands, and wrinkling up their shirts.
Here are a few of the out-takes.
We always have more silly shots than anything else.
Robbie complained about being separated from his book, and Ainsley wanted "Froggy" in all of the photos.
But, if I had to pick just one POTD (pun intended), here it is. Can't you just see this in a wedding video?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An outstanding reader

Robbie had to write an autobiography for school. Of course he wanted to include something about reading, and his idea was to write "I am a good great amazing OUTSTANDING reader. Hmm, I guess I don't need to worry about his self confidence. I suggested that that might seem like bragging, and maybe instead of telling his readers, he could show them. So we added up his reading sheets for the year and here's what he wrote instead: I like school and I love to read. Since September, I’ve read 77 books and a total of 23,112 pages. My favorite book is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. He's already read six more books since then. So I'm bragging a bit, but I'd say he's an outstanding reader. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

In the mail today...

Yay! I love to plan vacations almost as much as I love the actual vacation. This year Rob, Robbie and I are going to D.C. We're hoping to take each of our kids on a trip with just Mom & Dad for their twelfth birthday. Robbie's been studying colonial America this year in school, so Washington and Williamsburg will be perfect. If you've been there, please share your favorites...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The check is in the mail.

Possibly unsealed. I'm pretty sure I forgot to lick the envelope. Hopefully it'll get there anyway.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book of Mormon Group

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."
~ Ezra Taft Benson

It's so hard. There are so many distractions and time-suckers. I can always think of at least five other things that I should be doing. But when I walk away from the dishes, laundry, e-mail, etc. and read my scriptures, I always come out ahead. I'm not sure why I have had to relearn this so many times. We were actually discussing the oft-repeated Book of Mormon theme of remembering just today in our weekly reading group. I'm hoping to do a better job of that. I'm grateful to be able to spend time with women who lead inspired lives and inspire me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In the mail today...

And, dinner tonight:
It's the Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and Meatballs. It's a little time consuming to make all the meatballs, but so worth it. I doubled it and froze three more dinners. You can use these for yummy meatball sandwiches too. Especially good with the cheese buns from Bakers de Normandie. The recipe is here. Only I used Hot Italian sausage and Mild Italian sausage (Colosimo's) instead of sausage and ground beef.