Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aloha George!

Georgie is the birthday boy!!  Today is his first birthday!  We celebrated yesterday with a backyard luau.  
George seemed pleased with the evening.
He was very pleased with the tasty drink Bethany shared with him. 
 Except when she stopped sharing with him.  That didn't please him at all and he let everyone know he wanted more.
 I am pleased with him all the way around.  How is he already a year old?  Time flies when you're raising 6 kids!
Since roasting the pig on a spit or cooking it buried with hot coals seemed a little complicated for a simple backyard luau-- we opted for Hawaiian Haystacks, instead. 
The little umbrellas are dirt cheap, but they really make the party.
Abe came in a close second in the adult limbo contest.  All the adults were rather astonished to find we are getting older and not nearly so nimble as we once were.
The men's and boys' hula hoop contest was first.  Shake those lack-of-hips, boys!
Everyone wanted a piece of the hula hoop action!
The women's competition was next.  I was not good.  I guess having hips doesn't automatically make you a good hula hooper.  
Do you remember Naomi from England?  She is here visiting and since my sister has moved to Texas (have I mentioned my sister just moved to drought-stricken Texas?) we're getting to spend a lot of time with Naomi.  My girls are in heaven to have their aunt from London!!
Faith and Cannon headed up the kids' competition.  Cute, cute cute!
Bethany and Elinor were working it!  Bethany did come off the victor, but Elinor gave her some stiff competition.
The women's champion went head to head with the kids' champion.  Who do you think won?  
Michelle performed admirably, but Bethany was really good.  Once again, my hips theory is out the window. 
I know of families who make really fancy, special birthday cakes.  We obviously aren't one of those families.  But the girls and I had fun making this cake for Georgie.
He dug right into his cake.  I would like for someone to create personality profiles based on how a one year old reacts to birthday cake.  What can you predict about a person's future grown-up personality characteristics based on how they eat their cake.
He got a cute little book from our friends.
What little baby doesn't need his own laptop?  Cannon got one look at that toy and we realized George really wasn't going to get to play with it anyway.
Happy birthday, Big Guy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Party! Fiesta! Forever!

Abe and I went to a party last night at our good friends' home- the Flynn family.  Their three children were all gone off to camps all week, so they did what mature, responsible adults do when their children are all gone.  Throw a raucous PARTY late into the evening with all their home schooling friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Lest you think we homeschoolers don't know how to have a good time...It was SO MUCH FUN!!!!  One of the most enjoyable evenings we've had for a long time.  It probably helped that it was adults only, so we could just relax and enjoy the company.  The dinner was catered by Cafe Rio (yum, yum, super yum!).
Pinatas are not just for little kids, you know.  
It can be very cathartic for moms with pent up frustration.  None of this, "Now, let the little kids get some candy, too.  Don't you big kids take it all."
Actually, the adults didn't care much for the candy-- it was the whacking that was so nice.   However, I did appreciate Andrea  throwing some Dove Dark chocolate into the mix for me.  I always appreciate Dove dark chocolate.
Grace and I should probably get out more often.  I don't know from experience, but I understand that someone at an office Christmas party might get drunk and behave in ways they might later regret.  Was this me last night?  Did I get a taste of a fun night out without my little people and get a little tipsy and lose it?  Did I have so much fun that I embarrassed myself?  It is quite possible.
How else can I explain this?  Karaoke with Abe singing "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun. 
Except that neither of us sang "better".  We were both absolutely horrible. 
Yep.  I'm pretty sure I just got put on the "Do not invite list".
See how much all these friends are enjoying the entertainment? 
This was several acts after Abe and I, during the actual talent portion of the evening. 

Three things I learned from the fiesta:
1.  I do still like to have a good time.  I'm not quite the old-fogey I was fearing.  It's just that with kids, having fun is a lot of work.
2.  I'm not that much more mature than I was in high school.  Bummer.  I really thought I was doing better. 
3.  We have some really awesome friends and we need to get out with them more often.

Thank you, Flynns.  Party on!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Security and Peace

Yesterday we did something that greatly increased my sense of security. I can now sleep more peacefully at night.  I can reach into dark corners with confidence.  There is a barrier protecting my home and my people from a great evil that lurks all over the world.
I called my neighbor who runs a non-contract, super reasonably priced pest control business.  He is also the neighbor who employs my children by having them staple rubber bands to fliers and Clark delivers them.  He is also the neighbor who really helped us out by doing a bit of work on our van a little while back.

Have I mentioned, we all really appreciate this wonderful neighbor?

If you live around these parts and you've got bugs, you should call him.  Lane Wright-- Wright Pest Control. 

And as if that wasn't enough excitement for one day...
I gave myself a sweaty workout by mowing the lawn in the middle of the day with a baby on my back.  I am woman, hear me roar!

I realize I didn't look very lovely and ladylike, but it was a good workout.  You know lovely and ladylike isn't really my forte anyway.  I do try, but...  BUT can you see my muscles!?!  Those are from toting babies around for the last 12 years.
I am mother, he me ROAR!
He is Batman.  He is really fun.  Never a dull moment.  Ever.
Sometimes I'd like some dull moments, but they are not to be.
And truth be told, I don't really want him to change at all.  I quite like him the way he is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Toy Story 4

Bethany wanted to play a game with me this evening.  I wasn't really in a game playing mood.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I did want to play a certain game I L-O-V-E to play...

It's the ever popular---"Let's throw stuff away" game!  Sometimes this game is played in anger.  You know, as in, "So help me if you don't clean up your toys I will throw them away!"

But that wasn't how the game was played tonight.  There was a spirit of cooperation tonight, and believe it or not this is a favorite for everyone (except Abe--he struggles with this game).  This is how it goes.  I get a trash bag and we go through a room, or closet, or bin of toys (depending on how much energy I have) and we decide what we can get rid of.

Rule #1 is that you do not have to throw away anything you truly love.  If you truly love something, it is safe, no questions.  You must consider if you ever play with, wear, or use something.  You can almost never play the "I want to save it for my children" card.

Rule #2-- When in doubt, throw it out!  Or as we like to quote from Thoroughly Modern Millie, "Chuck it John, just chuck it".  If you do not love it or use it-- get rid of it!

Tonight we got rid of several bags of toys that we don't need/use/love anymore.  I feel so unburdened when we play this game, although I did feel a twinge of guilt thinking of Buzz and Woody as we sent away the toys.  The kids are all very good about parting with "stuff".  Here's the part where I am not such a good mommy.  The kids beg for a garage sale.  "Please let us do a garage sale!  We can make some money!"

I'm sorry.  I'm getting rid of stuff to make my life easier.  A garage sale does not make my life easier.  A trip to the DI to drop off a few garbage bags of junk makes my life easier.  Peddling my wares to my neighbors considerably complicates my life.  Plus, I don't think I could handle the rejection when my neighbors see my stuff for what it really is--JUNK.  Sorry, kids-- no garage sale for me.

Bethany tells me that whenever she plays make-believe games she never lives in a mansion.  She always plays like she is poor and lives in a little cottage where everything is tidy and cozy and everything has its place.  I'm so glad that is your fantasy, sweetheart.  That is a dream I might actually be able to make come true for you!  

In any house, but especially this house, with so many people-- the space must be respected.  It is limited.  I believe there is enough space for our needs and many of our wants.  So long as we do not crowd our surroundings and consequently our minds with that which both moths and rust and dust and dirt and peanut butter fingers and apple juice sippy cups doth corrupt.

Wholesome Recreation

Last night was our "Family Fun Night" with a couple other homeschooling families in our neighborhood.  Another family was in charge of the evening, but we used our backyard for the water festivities.  
Here's a little list of why this was such a grand evening.

--Families got to be together.
--Friends got to be together.
--Cheap. The entire evening, including water balloons and treats, couldn't have cost more than $10.
--Fun for all ages.
--Good, wholesome recreation
--Friendly competitive spirit
--Serious fun
The slip and slide competition was so funny.  There was a practice round and then two judged rounds.  Anyone over 30 was a judge.  We judges were pretty generous-- awarding points for speed, distance, style, attitude, creativity, originality, cuteness, sacrifice, acrobatics, and anything else that pleased us.
Cannon scored very highly, not so much because of his run down the slip-n-slide, but more for his delighted reaction when the judges cheered for him. 
Oooh!  Sliding in the splits position impressed the judges.
Fay-Fay didn't make it so far down the slide, but she scored well in the categories of cuteness and sacrifice since she hit the ground pretty hard.
Oh, I forgot the categories of yummy, squishy, and delicious.  PERFECT 10!!!!
As everyone was arriving the kids went out to check out the "pond".  The two turtles are alive and well!  Do you notice all the lush vegetation surrounding the pond?  Isn't it beautiful?

Yes.  I do know that it is all weeds.   Yes.  I do know that the weeds are actually growing higher than the fence.  Yes, I am aware that it is becoming an eye sore.  No, I don't intend to do anything about it.  Yet, anyway.
The kids did get the turtle out and one of them snapped at my man-child and took a chunk of his finger with him.  Ouch.  Have you ever seen the movie, The Happiest Millionaire?  It is my all-time favorite movie.  The father character keeps alligators and one of them bites his finger.  Here's a line from a song in the movie, "I've been bit on my finger.  It could have been my leg.  It could have been my head, I might have died!"  That's for you, Clark.
We filled up the kiddie pool for kids to play in, but that's not what it got used for.  After a viciously fun water balloon fight, buckets and pool water effectively soaked everybody.
But I'm convinced that she who is the most wet, must be the most loved.  

Or she is just the slowest.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer, Summer, Summertime...

We are settling into summer.  I can tell I'm finally relaxing because I've stopped a constant stream of thoughts planning our school year next year.  I was driving myself crazy.   We are finding time--lots of time--for fun. 
Elinor created a miniature scale replica of Grandma and Grandpa Fox's house.  I do believe it is structurally sound.
We went with friends to a matinee movie.  We saw Mr. Poppin's Penguins, which was not as good as the book (what movie is?).  It was hardly high-brow, but quite harmless and the kids enjoyed it.  With so much trashy media out there, I'll settle for harmless.
We had our 24th of July fireworks extravaganza!!!!
Abe puts on as good a fireworks show as $20 at Walmart can possibly buy.
The children beg for flame for their sparklers.  Abe told them he was the source of all goodness and  light.  Hmmm.....something seems not quite right there.
Clark won the "Piccolo Pete Screaming Contest".  His younger sisters gave him a run, but he is still the undisputed champion.  It's a gift he has had since his infancy.  So proud.
In the excitement of the pyrotechnics last night, these girls asked their mamas for what they knew they would not get.  A sleepover.  Neither their family nor our family do sleepovers, but I suppose they figured it was worth asking.  We mamas had to nix their plan.  
But these are smart ladies-- they regrouped and presented plan B.  They would meet early in the morning at our house, make a delicious pancake breakfast for us.
Bethany woke up early and set a beautiful table, complete with "queen crowns" and robes for the mamas, and menus.  
But alas, it was not to be.  Her friend got sick in the middle of the night and the royal breakfast was postponed to a later date.  Bitter disappointment.  Bethany did make breakfast, but it wasn't quite the same.  
Abe and the kiddos slept out in the backyard last night.  
I slept in my nice warm bed.  Does that make me a party pooper?  So be it.  Hey, someone needed to be inside in case Georgie woke up.  Also I stayed up way too late working on my 1000 piece puzzle.  I have spent several hours over the last couple of days working on this puzzle.  

What am I thinking?  Do I really have that kind of time to devote to a puzzle?  No.  I don't. 

My house is a mess, it's every man for himself for food, laundry is behind, and I really need to get some sleep.  But I feel remarkably relaxed when I'm doing the puzzle, and I can't seem to stop.  Hours pass and it feels like minutes.  Is that what it's like to be addicted to drugs?  Strangely relaxing and unable to stop.  I like it.
 The men folk did another big preparation hike today. 
They went up Rose Canyon.  The views were more impressive than the neighborhood "hikes" they've been doing.
And no nature hike would be complete without catching some wildlife.  Today it was this snake and a lizard.  He let the snake go, but the lizard came home with them.
Summer ice cream party. It doesn't get much better than that.