Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Medieval Feast

Our homeschool group combined with our "sister group" (so to speak) for an incredible Medieval Feast.  I really didn't know what to expect, but I was so impressed.

It had everything!  I didn't get any pictures of the great food, but it was served in courses.  The younger kids were all helping serve and they had a blast with that.

We also had royalty and a jester . . .

. . . bad guys and monks (I was a princess raised by monks, so dressed as a monk but revealed my true identity later)  . . . 

. . . Dancing! . . . 

. . . chain mail . . . 

. . . dancers from exotic lands . . .

. . . a jousting competition . . .

. . . more dancing . . .

. . . and more dancing . . . 

. . . a giant sword battle . . . 

. . . mingling . . . 

. . . and . . . yah.

All In a Day

Sammy had a check-up recently, and his GI doc wanted us to take him for a bone scan so we could have a baseline for the future (liver issues can cause bone issues).  We had no idea what it would be like, but it was very simple.  They scanned his spine and one of his hips, and all he had to do was lay there while that big arm thing moved along really slowly.  Nice Indian (as in India) lady running it all was fun to talk to while it was going on.  She said to eat more Indian food.  Everything was normal and in good range.

A bit later we headed off to choir, and apparently Adam and his good buddy didn't have enough singing.  Funny, I have another picture similar to this.  The other involved this activity while standing on a picnic table.  I like him on the ground better.

On our way home we dropped Melanie off to a salon for activity days.  They talked about hygeine and did some cool hairdos.  She came home with this coolly weaved and messy bun style.  Twenty-five bobby pins came out of her hair.

While picking up one of Carolyn's friends to get them both (plus another already with us) to their activity days group, we noticed one of my ex-Webelos packing a bajillion camping items to where they would be camping out for the night (it's a sly move - camping in one of the leaders' backyard so all the boys are there and ready to do Scouting for Food the next morning).  When we first saw him half his stuff was on the ground, so I asked Adam if he would go help the poor kid.  He jumped out of the van and headed right over (what a good guy).  I told Adam he should use this picture as a "Don't pack this much stuff!" for the backpacking class he's helping to teach in preparation for an upcoming backpacking trip.  He was very kind and tried to justify it.  "He doesn't need that much stuff for one night!"  "He just lives down the street, mom."  "I know!  Exactly!"  I learned that one of my ex-Webelos (turned 11 that day) got a new pocketknife, and he cut himself with it while they were there.  Aaaah, the joys of scouting.  Does my heart good.

I sure love my Carolyn.  I totally cracks me up how she bundles herself sometimes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring is Here!

It's been so wonderful to have some beautiful weather!  The first two days of sunshine the kids were out almost the whole day, and Carolyn and Sammy have the sunburns to prove it.  It's always a quick reminder that they need to lather up before heading outside.

They've been chalking the driveway and sidewalks with lots of art.  Melanie decorated the front steps - maybe not the best idea with everyone going in and out, but especially when their crawling nephew came to play.  He looks good in pink, right?

They were having a blast tracing each other, then they would turn them into big cartoonish characters.  I thought it was pretty clever and creative.

Madeleine turned 3!  She finally had her birthday, and we dragged it out, both intentionally and not.  Her birthday was Monday but Jamie would be gone, so we had presents and celebrated Sunday.  I didn't remember to decorate, so I did that Monday morning and we sang Happy Birthday to her a lot that day.  Melanie made cupcakes that evening, but with chocolate waffles with ice cream for dinner, then Adam's FHE treat, we didn't need any more treats.  So Tuesday we had the cupcakes.  The girls insisted on candles, and when she had a second cupcake Madeleine needed candles and singing all over again.  Funny girl.

It's getting closer to their next choir performance, and it's going to be another great one.  Carolyn gets to be Annie for two of the four performances.  I've seen a couple small bits of the practices and can' wait for the real thing.  The other Annie's mom made an Annie dress, and she brought it over today for Carolyn to try on.  Adam and Erin will be singing solos, and Melanie is part of a solo/duet thing.

We had a fun stake activity tonight, and with the giant line and waiting time, Erin was the only one that stuck it out for face painting.  Pretty!

Adam Update

At Adam's camp staff meeting in February he was voted president of the camp Venture crew for the summer.  Pretty awesome!  He loved the Venturing activities they had the first year he worked there, but last year with a brand new camp director leading camp, the Venture crew wasn't a big focus.  Sounds like they are really trying to revive it this year.  During the camp staff meeting today he talked about some of the awards they can earn.

Jamie mentioned tonight that Adam will work there this summer and next summer, and he'll be on his mission for the one after that.  CRAZY!

I stole a couple pictures of him at our NYLT staff meeting while he was leading a discussion to decide the staff vision for the course.  The final winning statement was SMARTIES - Scouts May Achieve Respect Together In Every Situation.  They were eating smarties during the meeting, and it was built off the idea that everyone needs to do their part and prepare their best so we can put on an incredible course.

We had a bit of an educational surprise recently.  Adam and I had been looking at and talking about options for next year to keep moving him forward.  The week before then I had heard some homeschooling moms talk about a new program through BYU-Idaho offering concurrent enrollment, so I looked into that and a few other options and told him he needed to decide SOON so we could act as needed for whatever option he chose.  He decided on the BYU-Idaho option, but part of the application process involves taking the ACT test, and the next opportunity for that is April 13 - yikes!  I hadn't been planning on that until next year, so now we're working on preparations for that.  Thank goodness we've been practicing the English portion as part of the writing class I teach.

That's not to mentioned all the regular class work and his self-directed study, but on top of everything, he's teaching a backpacking class with a friend for youth in our homeschool group to help them feel more prepared for their backpacking trip next month.  And he's writing a book.  I get to hear bits and pieces once a month on our free writing week of the writing class, and I am always impressed.  Page-wise, I think he's in the 70 or 80 pages range - incredible!

The thing farthest out of his comfort zone right now is that he's got a solo for choir.  It's a big stretch for him - it would be a big stretch for me! - but he'll be great.

It's exciting to see my oldest growing up into such a great young man.  I thought my youth leadership experiences were great, but compared to what he's had, mine were nothing.  I still see those as the foundation for who I am today, so with Adam's as his foundation, I'm excited to see the places that will take him.

P.S.  One more funny I've forgotten to add about Adam recently.  He's been driving a lot and taking driver's ed online.  For a long time I couldn't talk him into going on the freeway, but I finally told him he was driving us to a meeting this certain Saturday morning (when traffic wouldn't be very bad), and he was taking the freeway.  He turned on his iPod as we pulled out of the driveway, and the song "Man of Constant Sorrows" started playing.  We had a good chuckle over that one.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chik-fil-a, Trains, Snow, Purple Cake, Mom's Hair, and Painting (whew!)

It's been too busy around here!  Trying to do a little catch up.

Last weekend we went to Chik-fil-a to use Carolyn's free kids meal birthday certificate.  The guy taking our order (Logan) noticed Carolyn and Erin's Camp Loll shirts and mentioned that this is his 4th year staffing there.  Poor Logan had no idea what he was getting himself into, but it was a whole lot of Bartlett vs. Loll banter.  I asked our red-headed Loll staffer friend to tell Logan when he sees him at a meeting sometime that those mean Bartlett people are really nice, but we've had too many Loll vs. Bartlett debates between Adam and Mr. Red Hair that it just comes naturally now.

The little girls were having a blast on the toys there.  Madeleine was this energizer bunny - up the stair things, down the slide, back to the stairs, down the slide.  We couldn't catch her attention though we were sitting so if she had even glanced as she came off the slide she would have seen us.  We finally did once.  There was a flash of a smile showing recognition that "Oh! My family is here too!" as she ran, and she was right back to her focus.  That's her on the left in the pink sweater.

Sammy got to help his grandparents at another train show, and they had this fun train the littles could ride outside.  Sam had been advertising like crazy, and a few friends, even our dentist, went to say hi and see all the fun.

Adam was being a snot one day (really not just ONE day, but . . . ).  I asked him to read an article with me in preparation for Vanguard and he refused.  Refused!  I just wanted his opinion!  By way of persuasion, I told him he could do it or go out and lay in the snow.  "Can I take my book?"  Okay fine.  Guess what he chose.  Punk.  At least it was entertaining for those of us in the house.

Madeleine is turning 3 soon!  We have a monthly birthday party at grandma's for everyone that is having a birthday during the month.  Melanie so kindly made her a chocolate cake and I made purple frosting (she kept saying she wanted to purple cake), and as she got ready to dump it out of the baking pan on to a flat pan to frost it, somehow the cake slipped off the stove.  I grabbed to two biggest pieces and we still frosted them.  Madeleine wasn't upset - it still tasted good.

Erin did my hair at the party.  I think my girls look way cuter in ponies than I do, but still a fun picture.

This Madeleine story tops all.  She was "braiding" my hair as she put it, but just playing with the front section.  At one point she bit it and I told her that's nasty, but she kept playing away.  Suddenly she said, "All it needs is a little . . ." and as her voice trailed off she spit in her hand!  Quick like a ninja I grabbed her hand and wiped it on her shirt.

This week in Vanguard we had an "artist in training" come and let us do some oil painting.  It was very interesting how much the boys got into it vs. the girls in the class.  Sammy painted a really cool train picture, and Adam worked on this huntery/fighter/something guy.  I think we need to paint around here more.  I was very impressed with both!

At pack meeting this month they gave us the picture taken at Blue and Gold last month.  Everyone else had these nice family poses.  It was just the boys and I that night (I told them they could come since they help me with Webelos sometimes), so we, well, Sam and I had to ham it up.  Adam does look very cool, though.

This was too sweet to not take a picture during scriptures.  That little girl loves her daddy.

Jokes, Reading, Erin's Fault, and TP

Every so often Sammy finds me just to share a joke, and many times it's one he's made up.  I always ask, "Did you make that one up?"  I've told him he needs to send them in to Boys Life, but we haven't yet.  I tell myself to remember, but you know how that goes.  His latest, I jotted so I could post it.

What happens when the earth laughs?  Earthquakes!
What does Bilbo call his bathroom?  Back-end.  (You probably have to be a LOTR fan to get that.)  (Sorry for the boy humor.)

Melanie reads all the time, as much as she can.  She reminds me of myself because I would always sneak in reading time too, but thankfully she reads much better books than I did at her age.  It seems like every time I ask her she's reading something new.  Or old.  She loves to reread.  I don't even want to think about how many times she's read the Harry Potter and Fablehaven series.  I was reading "The Light Princess" by George Macdonald to the girls recently and Melanie couldn't handle a few chapters a night.  After about day 2 of reading, she finished it herself.  Then still listened to me read the rest.

Sammy has had this thing for a while, that everything Erin does seems to grate on him immensely.  She can't do anything without him checking to make sure it's okay.  The other day I asked who had done something (can't even remember what it was), and Sam piped right up that it was probably Erin.  It was probably one of those "uh oh, mom's gone loco" moments, but I informed him that everything is NOT Erin's fault, and started listing off a variety of silly examples.  "Why did that meteor get so close to the earth?  Erin.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  Erin."  And on and on.  Of course he was giggling about it, and it's been comic relief every time he starts blaming again.

Total crazy sidenote, but every time we buy toilet paper I have the thought (and sometimes vocalize it to whoever is with me) that we sure have a lot of bums at our house.  If anyone ever sees me walking through the toilet paper section smiling, that's why.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

We Love Our Madeleine!

We visited Sammy at another train show today, and when we got home Madeleine was playing with some cardstock divider cards.  Suddenly she went dashing outside, with me calling behind her that she needs someone big with her if she's going to play outside.  I looked out the window and could tell immediately that she was headed to the mailbox.  She ran right to it, opened it, put one of the cards in, closed it, and started walking back to the house.  Adam, Melanie, and I were chuckling at her cuteness from inside, when suddenly we heard Erin call out to her from her bedroom window, "Don't forget to put the flag up!"

Apparently she wants to be big.  She asked Adam to teach her how to drive the other day.  He told her in about 13 years.

It's been her birthday almost every day since mine.  A few times she's woken up, bounced into my room, and greeted me with a, "Guess what mom!  It's my birthday today!"  Usually it's sometime during the day that she'll be on my lap, lean in close and whisper that it's her birthday, then grin at me.  Thank goodness the real thing is coming up.

She's had a funny language thing going on lately (besides le-low, which she still says).  Most possessive pronouns now have a -zes at the end.  "Mom, this is yourzes."  Or herzes.  I don't think I've heard hiszes.  Sometimes minezes.

A few weeks ago we were in Brigham City and drove past the temple.  Madeleine pointed out Moroni, and one of the kids asked her what he's holding.  "Trumpet!  No, a tuba!"  Moroni is tougher than I thought!

Sammy loves to make Chinese food, and he cooked up a little single serving box of orange chicken.  He knows Madeleine always wants some, so when he was done cooking, he called her in and got her a little plate of it.  After eating for a bit, she suddenly took off and hadn't returned by the time Sam was done.  Figuring she didn't want the rest, he asked Erin if she wanted the rest.  She headed on in and sat down at the plate.  Right then Madeleine bopped back in and got upset that Erin was going to eat her food.  Trying to calm things down I said, "Oh!  Did you still want some of that?"  Apparently Madeleine was suddenly possessed, because she stared off into space and in an almost robotic voice replied, "I like . . . ballerinas."  She had changed into one dancing dress and was holding another, so maybe she had been thinking about that before she came back in and noticed the food problem.

I almost hate to share this story because the ending, while super cute was, well, read on.  She was dressed up and wanted me to dress up too.  She ran in to her room and found me a dress-up dress her size, and brought it in to me.  I tried to explain that it wouldn't fit, but she insisted, so I put it on and rested in on my shoulders.  She was super pleased with that and put a crown on me and everything.  Melanie walked in the door and LAUGHED at me!  I admit the effect was pretty silly looking, but all for my little girl, right?  At one point Melanie asked her want my name is.  Madeleine replied in her sweet little voice, "Queen Mama Diarrenah!"  Melanie about died laughing.  I was too busy trying to work that out to be a happy title, ending ballerina-ish maybe?  But yah.  Thanks, Madeleine, for keeping us smiling.