Sunday, October 31, 2010

On the Last Day of Halloween

Yes, it's Sunday, and here are my kids trick-or-treating. We went to my parents for dinner, and knew they'd want to see the kids costumes since we never made it down there on Saturday.

We stopped by great-grandma's on the way home. We tried the Backman's too, but no one was home.
I didn't dress up, but I'll go ahead and play fortune-teller right now. I predict a trip next halloween. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Never Ending Halloween

I'm going to be glad to start blogging about something else after tomorrow. The festivities continued today, with Trunk & Treat at our ward. Robbie didn't even bother taping Smarties to his pants, he copied Rob and went as a Utes Fan.
Here's Joey with his haul. On the plus side, no one was really interested in trick-or-treating in the rain.
So we got to enjoy some homemade chili and the game while the girls manned the door. Slow night though—the doorbell rang a total of four times, with only 10 kids. Perfect. Even Rob couldn't complain about that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Continued, Preschool Program

It's tough to get a casual shot of Ainsley, because once she sees the camera she strikes a pose or makes a face.

I'm feeling guilt because I didn't invite Ralph and Judy (or my parents, although I knew they were working) to Ainsley's program. Judy's best friend was there watching her grandson and couldn't believe Judy wasn't there too. So I felt bad, but Judy was very understanding when I called her. I blame Rob's negative attitude, which is clearly contagious, because I felt like I was saving them the trouble of it. Ainsley was very cute though, and so excited about her "performance." So, again for the grandparents:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Continued, The School Parade

This is another "especially for grandma" post.
Ellie borrowed Samantha's Alice in Wonderland costume, and looked so cute. As soon as she came home from school she informed me that next year she wants to be a gypsy, like her teacher. She's got plans for the year after that too—Cleopatra.
Ainsley was excited to wear her costume to the parade. We saw several bigger ladybugs, but none as cute as this bug.
Joey is sort of obsessed with ninjas right now, and this was easy to put together, yea! The current debate at our house is whether a ninja or a samurai would come out on top in a fight.
Rob is so vocally against halloween, and Robbie still worships his dad, so it's no surprise that he claimed he didn't want to dress up. We saw this idea on Family Fun, and it was clever and low-maintenance, not to mention cheap. A bag of Smarties and a roll of packing tape. Yep, he's a smarty-pants.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Belated Birthday Post

If I were really back into the swing of things, I'd have snapped a photo of the kids eating their cereal by flashlight this morning. They thought the power outage was an adventure. Since I missed that, I think I'll play catch up.

I've got three birthday posts to make up, so I'm starting with the earliest. Ellie turned seven on August 29th.
Her birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so we had time for her requested pancake breakfast and opening presents before church.

Homemade pizza was her dinner choice.
And mint brownies in lieu of cake.
Seven things about Ellie:
1. She is a fantastic artist. Remember these?
2. She is a peacemaker and has a tender heart.
3. She is a girly-girl and more fashion-conscious than any 7 year-old should be.
4. She is Ainsley's best friend, and a wonderful sister.
5. She is a straight A student.
6. She is inclusive and makes friends easily. (She wanted to invite 26 girls to her friend party!)
7. She is so loved. She makes us happy every single day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween week begins

I've been trying to keep Ainsley out of her costume all week long, worried that she'd ruin it before the big day. So she was happy to have a legitimate reason to wear it today, at her ballet class.

Speaking of costumes, Rob hates to dress up (along with every other aspect of halloween), so we were brainstorming ideas for him. The kids liked Scrooge, Oscar the Grouch and Grumpy. Feel free to top that in the comments. Brownies to anyone who suggests an idea that he actually wears. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

My favorite PTA job... the Beehive Book Awards Committee. Each year the Children's Literature Association of Utah nominates books in five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Informational, Picture Book and Young Adults, then kids get to vote for the winners throughout the year. At our elementary school, volunteers from the committee read a book (or two) in each category and then rotate through classes to tell the kids about the books and get them excited to read. Two weeks ago I went to all the 4th grade classes (Joey), last week I did the 2nd grade (Ellie) and this week I got to go to the 6th grade (Robbie). It's a relatively minor time investment (3 hours in class, plus time to read the books, maybe another 2-3 hours) that pays big dividends. I like any excuse to read, and I like going into the different classrooms—it's amazing how much you can tell about a teacher in 15 short minutes. The sixth grade was really fun, I recognized most of the kids and they are good kids.

Here are the books I presented:

This already won a Newberry, so I expected it to be great and was not disappointed. It's the story of a young girl in China who lives in a poor village and spends all day working in the rice fields with her parents. Her mom is malcontent because they are so poor, but her dad tells her stories about dragons and tigers and the man on the moon. Minli believes his folktales and decides to leave home to search for the man on the moon, so he can change their fortune and her mom will be happy. Her quest is full of adventure and learning, and her parents learn a lot while she's gone too. The writing style is simple and engaging. I loved it.

This poetry book reminded me a little of Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things, in premise if not style. She writes about articles of clothing. Socks, pants, even underwear. I read the poems Bob's Bicycle Helmet and Clyde's Costume. Some of the classes asked to hear Emily's Undies and I complied. They are fun cute poems.

This informational book is a true story about the Maasi tribe in Africa. The author is a member of the tribe who received a scholarship at Stanford and studied there to become a doctor. He returned to visit his tribe and a child asked him if he had brought any stories. He told them the tragic story of 9/11, and they responded with sorrow and a desire to do something. They give a gift of 14 cows, because to the Maasi "the cow is life." The artwork in this book is amazing, the writing is beautiful and the story is moving. I love the last line: "Because there is no country so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort."

I saved the picture book for last each time I presented the books, and it was by far the favorite, even in the sixth grade. It's a fun book to read aloud although it's short and comical, it has a great message about perspective. I picked this book because I had seen some of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's other projects on youtube and loved them. Here's the first one I saw, check it out. Very creative.

Hopefully I didn't embarrass Robbie too much when I asked his class to pose for the daily photo. I told them all to say "Poor Robbie has a photo-crazy mom" instead of cheese.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stake Regional Conference

Today we got to meet at the conference center. It was a good meeting. The best part? It was over by noon and we got to take naps! Can't wait until we move to the morning schedule in January! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The definition of anticlimatic

Sorry. You'd think that after building up my recommitment to the daily photo and blog, I could pick something interesting, or beautiful or clever to post, but no, I'm talking about the weather.

This last week I've had a nasty cold and felt miserable. Of course the weather was gorgeous. Brilliant blue skies, beautiful fall leaves, crisp clean air and plenty of sunshine. Today, just as I'm starting to feel better, it's been gray and rainy. Rob, who is known as Scrooge for his dislike of photo shoots, most major holidays, chaos and whining, actually likes rain. He appreciates the clean smell, the way it turns everything green, the quiet indoor activities. It turns out that I'm the scrooge when it comes to weather. I've been thinking of this a lot lately in term of metaphor for my life. Opposition which helps up appreciate the sunny days, the silver lining of the clouds. And I do feel grateful for those things.

The black hole months have had some pretty average challenges, nothing too tragic or difficult, not a devastating hurricane or earthquake, just rain. But the response of my family and friends to these small trials has been huge for me. I'm so thankful for so many kindnesses: we had dinners brought in, phone calls, lunch delivery, notes, loaves of bread, cookies, prayers, kids picked up and taken care of, I even got a song recorded for me. I couldn’t ask for better friends. Rob came home early, fixed dinner, cleaned, ran errands and ordered me to rest on the couch. The kids have all been extra helpful. I was embarrassed to be on the receiving end of so much service—I kept telling people that we’d be fine, and we would have been fine, but it wasn’t just our temporal needs that were met. It was a blessing to feel so loved and cared for. Thank you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Black Hole

Yes, Natalie, we have a black hole in our history. "The defining feature of a black hole is the appearance of an event horizon—a boundary in spacetime through which matter and light can only pass inward towards the mass of the black hole. Nothing, not even light, can escape from inside the event horizon. The event horizon is referred to as such because if an event occurs within the boundary, information from that event cannot reach an outside observer, making it impossible to determine if such an event occurred." (Wikipedia, of course).

I'm not sure what pushed this two month period of our lives past the boundary. It could have been the start of the school year, birthday season, stomach flu x5, Lotoja, the marathon, or multiple herniated discs. Once I got behind it was too overwhelming to catch up. Maybe that'll still happen. If not, the kids can pull out a microscope and check out what they missed:

Coming tomorrow, especially for Rob, Natalie, Ralph and Judy: a new daily photo and recommitment to my neglected blog. Thanks for caring. :)