Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Scrambled Thoughts XXVI (Catch Up Post)

1) Preschool Halloween Parties Are Supposed to be Fun... Right?

I suppose it's a bit of a challenge to make any party fun when you're also trying to control 30 four-year-olds. But in my opinion, the preschool Halloween party was a bit of a dud. Sure they were all adorable in their costumes, but there weren't very many smiles and it all felt a little militant to me.

But the idea of their party was wonderful. They gave each child a candy bag and then took them around to all the local businesses (who were forewarned) to Trick-Or-Treat. The local businesses loved it. The bank, the dentist, the city hall, the senior citizens center... it really was lovely, and the children were very well behaved and controlled.

It just wasn't a whole lot of fun. *shrug*

2) Sink Baths are the Best Baths

But I guess that's only really true if you're a baby. I don't think I'd enjoy a sink bath for myself.

Almost every picture I take of this little lady these days has her tongue curled out just like this... it's my favorite thing ever!

3) The Fall Weather Calls To Me

Every morning I drive down the main street and notice all the people having breakfast out on the patio of one of the local diners. It looked so lovely that one day after preschool I surprised Timothy by saying, "Hey - we're going to go eat out at one of the restaurants in town!" He was absolutely delighted and we had a wonderful time. It was just as beautiful as I thought it was going to be.

4) To Be Sick is No Fun. To Be Sick and Happy is a Little Bit Better.

She's not feeling well. I can tell by the goopy nose, the red eyes, and the sluggish energy. Also the crying has upped itself in intensity and frequency. But the smiles still come and sometimes I wonder if she entirely forgets that she feels so miserable. I could take a lesson in that.

Halloween Night (Catch Up Post)

Well, we did it again! Halloween, that is. Ten bags of Costco candy and five adorable costumes made for a perfect night.

The getting ready for the night was a little bit of an event because we had five extra children in our home that we were caring for. Seven extra children if you count Chandler and Crue (who we don't really count as 'extra' at this point because they just feel like part of our own). The Calvert family needed to fly to Wisconsin spontaneously for a funeral, so I offered to take their five children and so there were twelve children in my house getting ready all at the same time. #chaos

Thankfully another friend realized my predicament and offered her two older-teenage daughters to come help. We knocked it out!

This little Luigi was one of the happiest Luigi's I've ever seen!

He posed and schmoozed the camera all evening!

A happy Miles Luigi is one of my favorite things.

Carson was less interested in dressing up this year, though he was pretty full of life and fun when it all came down to it.

I'm pretty sure Harry isn't supposed to be this handsome.

And Timothy - oh to be four years old on Halloween night!

He took his ninja skills very seriously and was not interested in taking a picture in which he was not displaying them.

Which was absolutely fine by me because: adorable.

I don't even remember what this little meltdown was triggered by... but a grumpy ninja turtle is still just as adorable.

Teek and Ezra have a little bit of a love/hate relationship. But they are growing up to be great friends. Ezra loves everyone and has enough energy to run a marathon in that four year old body. Yesterday I caught him swinging from my chandelier in the dining room as we were getting everyone ready for school. 

Mrs. McKenzie looked a little too grown up, if you ask me. She wasn't interested in having a photo shoot at all because her friends were ready to go and, you know, friends. So we snagged a quick photo of that gorgeous face,

and one more of the four of them together (I wish Eliza had been able to join the party, but she was asleep in her crib... which was actually a good thing so I could get everyone else ready),

and then I sat on the porch with my ten bags of Costco candy and greeted all the little creatures that came along. It was a perfect night, and right towards the end of the ninth bag, this little beauty woke up.

I put on the adorable little hat that Nana made for her and took her outside to help me greet the rest of the children.

Over and over and over people said, "Oh my goodness! I thought that was a baby doll!" "She is the cutest thing I've seen all night." "That is precious."

Brian took a turn as the stragglers came around and enjoyed his game while he waited.

And I spent the time getting more pictures of our perfect little baby doll.

We're a lucky family to live in such a fun neighborhood on Halloween night.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Accomplishments (Catch Up Post)

"Mom! I drew a person!" It's exciting, you see, because the person has all the appropriate body parts in relatively good proportions. The only thing this person is missing is a neck, and who needs a neck anyway? Or feet, come to think of it? Or hands?

Remember the honor choir she auditioned for? The one that I feared she wouldn't make, and so discouraged her from trying? And then she ignored all of my negativity and tried out anyway? And made it into the choir, and taught me the important lesson that I never want to be that discouraging voice in her life again? Well, I got a chance to practice that lesson of Be Encouraging when she came home from said honor choir and said that she wanted to try out for the solo in one of the songs.

YES! You bet you can, girl! (See what I did there?) We worked hard on it - and as I listened to her practice the few lines she would need to sing, my heart swelled with pride and I realized that she was good and that she really did have a chance at grabbing that solo!

And she did.

Out of a hundred girls she was selected in a group of five to sing her little heart out on that stage. We were so proud of her! Proud enough to stop at Friendly's Donuts on the way home.

The night of the performance we gathered several of her friends together and took them to see her shine. It was beautiful.

I was blown away by the sound that choir made - it was incredible and I couldn't believe they were all 8th graders. And when McKenzie came forward for her piece I couldn't help the tears from blocking my vision. Thankfully my camera wasn't affected by that, though.

After the performance I hugged and kissed and loved on her, so proud of who she is and the way she faces new opportunities in life.

Priscilla, Kenzie, Carson, Kaylee, and Emma

We're lucky to have her example in our lives for sure.

Speaking of lucky, we have a Miles, too. And one of his gifts seems to be in running. He's a fast little bugger, and his competitiveness serves him well in it. His school held races to determine the four fastest runners in each class, and then each class formed a relay team made up of those four fastest and competed against the other classes in what they called the Pumpkin Race to see who had the fastest class overall. If you look for Miles in the next collage of pictures, you'll see his competitiveness leak out of the photos.

1 - Preparing for the handoff. 2 - Ready to grab the handoff. 3 - Waiting for his anchor who turned around the last corner ahead of everyone else. 4 - Feeling like they're going to win this!

And they did. They won the race and all four of them got pumpkin trophies to prove it.

Miles and his best friend, Branch. Great race you two!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Valley of Fire (Catch Up Post)

When I was a kid, the only memories I associated with 'St. George' were that of giant red climbing rocks, and Grandma and Grandpa. How I loved them both. And now that I'm an adult I've found that I still have a fondness for giant red climbing rocks (and also for Grandma and Grandpa, though, that's another story). We threw all the kids and the camping gear into the car and drove to the Valley of Fire with some friends for a weekend excursion, and watching my children scamper around on those rocks filled me with all the nostalgia.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea to camp in the Valley of Fire that same weekend, so we ended up being turned away at the gates and were left to our own devices to find a vacant (and suitable) camping site.

We drove through dirt roads littered with boulders and at one point ended up getting ourselves in a bit of a situation and we feared our minivans would not make it back out alive. So we sent the kids to play for a bit while we worked on freeing the cars. They were delighted to escape the stressful situation, and I was delighted to see them scamper off in search of adventure. Which they found in the form of a cliff and the pillowy cloud of dust they created by kicking dirt down its face.

At first it seemed rather dangerous and I ran to stop them. But when I got there I realized that there was actually very little danger and the still voice inside of me whispered 'let them play.' So I pulled out my camera and let them play.

I wasn't sure how the other adults felt about me disappearing from the Get The Cars Out event that was happening nearby, but by the time I had snapped a few pictures they had saved the day and were calling all the children to come get back into the cars.

We didn't find a great camping spot that night. But we found a fine one. It felt a little like camping in the barren desert (surprise), but the friends far made up for the lack of vegetation growing around.

And the next day we drove into the Valley of Fire and spent the afternoon exploring.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Crawling Critter (Catch Up Post)

She's on the move!

It takes a lot of coordination crawl, you know.

Two arms, two legs, all working together in a (semi)perfect balance. I always love watching babies learn something new because it reminds me that we were all there once. Learning to crawl and balance and even focus our eyes. And look how far we've all come.

Eliza has been working hard to master this skill, and she's finally starting to get it.

She's happy to pause her practice to give us all a smile when we cheer her on. Of course she is... she's Eliza.

And when given the proper motivation (a colorful, stuffed pumpkin) she'll do anything.

Welcome to the world of mobility, little one.