Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PS

The germs of the universe heard me and corrected their efforts...Zeke came home with strep today.

November 2010

We started our Christmas decorating, right down to a Santa outfit for my armadillo.
Happy MIKE LeBARON DAY 2010! Mike's boss requested that we not do a picture at work this year, but Earl had made this, so I shared it through email and the Christmas letter. I LOVE IT.Mike was actually genuinely surprised this year--Yeah! The downside? He was surprised because I somehow managed to pick the one day no one was in the office. Was he still able to pawn off the 60+ cream puffs? Sure.
Gram and Pops came for the Thanksgiving holiday. We were miserably sick most of the week with a stomach bug, but Gram took every spare (well) moment to teach us new skills. Here #1 is learning to make hats on the sewing machine.

I just have to note that when I said in the Christmas letter that I'm better able to embrace sick time with the boys, it's when I can keep them home from school and enjoy a few extra minutes with them--NOT when I already get to have them home and should be out busy enjoying them to the max!! This stomach bug chose the wrong week! I feel cheated!!
#4 shows off his reading skills.
We were all a little slow this year recuperating from the virus, so lots of reading and puzzle and screen time...
#2 and our nephew in the train at Gatti Town. Pops always takes us there. It's such a tradition that the boys fought over whether its official name is "Gatti Town" or "Daddy Town."
I actually got #5 on a large animal. He's afraid of them--won't ride the camel, feed the giraffe, etc. This was the most gentle pony ever, though, and with me holding on tightly, he managed and even enjoyed it a little. :)
Mike is teaching the boys about computers and networks.
#5 enjoyed several more trips to the zoo and park.
Mike is teaching the boys about scientific notation. This is literally what they do for fun. A couple of years ago they figured out how many ways you could order a Wendy's hamburger using binary calculations.
This sight warms a mom's heart. Every single time.
We are in search of the very best egg nog available! So far we've had two blind taste tests (how could you have a taste test without explaining about the scientific method and the influences of advertising, packaging, others' opinions, etc.??). We'll have another one or two and then do a final test with the winners. We'll let you know which comes out on top.
Mike teaching the boys how to change a tire. Again, just because he loves to teach. He went and had them rotated as soon as they tightened the last bolt.
This still gives me the heebie-geebies. Will I ever get over that? Once Mike called on his way home to ask me to just move the snake to its feeding tank. I tried. Really I did. I got gardening gloves on, opened up the tank, and...just stared. And stared and stared. He found me still staring when he got home. He lifted it out bare-handed and laughed all the way downstairs.
#2 made a hat--to donate to Parkland and to count toward his Craftsman Activity Badge in scouting!
I became a merit badge counselor. For 8 merit badges. Here is the second workshop I put on for the Art Merit Badge. What a terrific group of kids! We had so much fun. Turns out I love to teach, too. :) #3 is smiling in the middle.
#1 made a snake lego bag.

#1, Mike, and Pops working on a tough sudoku puzzle with some cool software. Guy thing?

Below you'll find a video of the first ever bike rider in our family. We're all so proud of #4!!! Sometimes when you're the fourth in the family, it doesn't seem like there are a lot of firsts left. Congrats, 4! And, yes, he does giggle while he rides--every time, the entire time--even now after weeks of practice and many actual "controlled stops." Also, check out #4 reading with inflection. When we asked about his reading, he noted that exclamation points require emphasis. :) Lastly, I found #s 4 and 5 swinging in the backyard. They were taking turns hanging the trampoline ladder from the bar and swinging on the ladder. Instead of promptly removing the ladder for safety's sake like any sane mother of, say, GIRLS, might do, I just grabbed a video and headed back inside.

Quotables: The North Pole has given me a heads up, so I know that #5 is getting garbage trucks for Christmas. Now, I thought this was a perfect plan. He talks about them nonstop, points out every single one we ever see, runs to the window to watch when he hears them, and generally seems to love them. However, when Gran and Pops were here, he told Gram, "I sometimes have bad dreams. The bad, scary garbage trucks come." So if the big man in red really "sees you when you're sleeping," he's got a twisted sense of humor.

When we were driving to errands today, Lee said he wanted to go to the park. #5 responded, "You always want to play. And we always have to work."
video video video

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October in Reverse (read from bottom to top)

Will I ever get used to having all boy? Not if they keep carrying dead animals home in their bare hands. I begged #3 to at least come and get gloves next time. :)
We love Disney's Cars, and we especially love Mater!
A trip to the farm with some buddies and #5 (on the right).
Mom turns 34. YIKES. This Yoda backpack was a serious bright spot to aging!!!
Davy Crockett. #3 did a seriously terrific job on his book report. He even learned that Davy Crockett wanted to always be called by his legal name--David.
#4 had a field trip to Fire Safety Town.
Mom went to UT to meet Momba (her mom) and hang out with Sandra. Somehow the cameras really didn't make it out--but rest assured there was lots of chat, treats, and crafting!
Pic from the zoo. Loved watching these shadows dance around.
I love parenting with Mike! We asked #1 for a proposal of how we should pay him for babysitting. He and I talked it through a little, then he finished it up to present during family council. That presentation, of course, led to some questions and discussion. If you can't see, on the board is a comparison of HOURLY, COMMISSION, and SALARY payment options. In case you're curious, the negotiations (we went through the entire process as part of the educating) settled on a salary of $24 per month.
Birthday costume party! What fun!
Good friends!!
Decorating cookies at the party#5 and L all dressed up for a cookies and costumes party. Allie and I laughed because L's breastplate is so long it makes his legs look incredibly short--we called him lego storm trooper.Another play date with Samuel! Learning about the letter C, we played several different games of catch, including trying to catch candy corns in our mouths.A wasp got into our house. #5 told me about it, but I could never find it. #3 told us about it again at bedtime because it had landed on him. We made sure we couldn't see it in their room and closed the door so it couldn't enter and started back downstairs. We were stopped by incredibly loud and urgent screaming. We headed back to learn that it had gotten INSIDE his nightshirt and was stinging him (I think repeatedly in the same spot). I was amazed that he had the presence of mind not to smash it, and we quickly got it off of him. Mike "took care" of the wasp while I took care of #3. He fell asleep completely hidden by this blanket except for where the sting was because it was covered in this water / baking soda paste.This is an eco-friendly habitat advertisement at the zoo. While C and #5 explored the snakes, frogs, and birds, L was entranced with this bed. :)We cannot believe the gorgeous weather we've been having! We've enjoyed it at the zoo every chance we could get!Picture opportunity for #5 at Walmart. We loved the movie "How to Train Your Dragon"--better than the book, which is almost NEVER the case!We made our yearly visit to the Pumpkin Patch! The hay ride is always a huge hit, especially with C and L along! (Allie and Krista are fun, too, when they're not texting--got pics and BOTH were texting during the hay ride. :D )#5 has a weekly play date with his friend, Samuel. This time we learned about the letter B and wrote our own book like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" with all animals that start with the letter B. It was a huge success because #5 "read" it again and again and again...to anyone who'd listen!Singing songs with a cold #5 helps keep Mom warm, too. This particular night, #5 provided extra fluid while sleeping, which left both of us FREEZING, so we spent most of the night in the car...the heater is a beautiful thing...once you figure out how to turn off your husband's automatic lights and the car alarm #5 sets off when he kicks in his sleep.Dad's incredible dutch oven set up means we eat WELL out in the "wilderness"!S'mores each and every time, of course!We've gone camping 3 out of the 4 past weekends! A dirty and ecstatic face like this makes all the effort and planning it takes for two non campers-by-nature types to get ourselves out there and just do it.They did all kinds of really fabulous things in UT--raced go karts, had all our favorite treats from our college era, tried some new ones (grilled cheese stick sandwich!), toured museums and church buildings, played games late at night (OK, excluding Mike who slept (: ), visited several old friends, etc. They really had a blast!This is Mike, #1, and D in front of a statue of Karl G Maeser on the BYU campus. He's famous for saying that no matter what prison you put him in, there is a chance he could escape. But have him draw a chalk circle around himself and give his word not to leave. Could he escape? Never! He'd die first. The boys are drawing a chalk circle around the statue.Mike and #1 took a weekend to go to Utah in October. In our church, young men receive the Priesthood--the authority to act for God--when they turn 12. One session of General Conference is dedicated to teaching young men how to act in order for the Priesthood to be effective in their lives. Mike and I wanted #1 to be able to attend his first Priesthood session of General Conference in person.
Quotables: When we got out a hat and sweatshirt for the first time this fall, Eli couldn't quite remember or understand. "So these are for when it's cold?? I'm almost like a SNOWMAN!"

September

May as well try to catch up...Meet Charlie, our darling, red-headed, sweeter-than-sugar nephew. We did. His mom brought him for a visit to start September off right. Thanks, Annie. We love you!!
Yuck. Everyone knows we have 2 honorary members of our family--Gumby, our hedgehog and Shadow, our snake. But what you don't know is that I have to find these pictures on my camera EVERY WEEK. I go hide in my room so I don't have to watch, but always get these lovely recaps. I get that it's nature. I get that nature can be fascinating. But really? Every week? Of course every week--I have 5 boys! And the sixth, their dad, is right there with them. So I have to include this in the journal of our family life. :) #2 and his Dad went to 5th grade camp. They had the most ridiculously-fun-adventurous-exhilerating-bonding time ever. #2 and his friend read the entire bustrip (anyone surprised?), but after that it was all grand adventure--petting wild animals, riding horses, exploring in canoes, learning about birds of prey, and more. Mike even managed to have lights out at 10. How does he do that??
Here is the zip line they did--and LOVED. #2 is always game!
#2 also got his Webelos badge at pack mtg. He did all the work for it in less than 6 months, and it is usually a 2 year program. This is one enthusiastic scouter!
#3 got his Wolf badge done just 4 months after he started scouts. He literally asked every day what he could do for scouts over the summer, so we got tons done. I love that my great friend, Krista, #3's scout leader (and mom of his best bud) was in the pic!
Quotable: One day I was cooking dinner when #4 came and asked to sing me a song. He sang something like: "Everyday when I go to school I feel crushed. I feel crushed because none of my friends will play with me. All my friends from kindergarten have new friends and don't want to play with me." Wow. He finished, smiled, and asked, "Did you like my song?" Not-so-funny, I know, but very like my sweet #4. The update is that we've talked a lot, and the playground is becoming more fun all the time.