Thursday, February 28, 2013

Celebrating the End of February

Tomorrow is MARCH 1!!!!! Happy day!  We made it through February!!!!
This is George in his doggy costume.  He wears it pretty much everyday.  He whimpers like a little puppy and wants everyone to hold him. 
I bought this costume on clearance shortly after Halloween when Clark was one year old.  Every single child in our family has worn and loved it.  It is size 18 months but has been worn by all well into the fourth year of life.
The doggy costume has brought a lot of joy to our family.
Clark recently won 2nd place in the Student Congress at a speech and debate tournament.  For the record he didn't need to win an award to prove to me that he could argue well.  He is an eldest child after all.   I think that goes with the territory.
Following the tournament Clark and his friends had their monthly D&D club at our house. Clark's friend London (pictured above) lives about a half hour away and because roads were icy he ended up staying the night and going to church with us.  Since our family does not do sleepovers (except for very rare exceptions) this was a real treat for Clark and quite the novelty for the whole family.
I gave London his very own new toothbrush (I know, it was so hospitable of me).  But I warned him he must NOT leave his toothbrush unattended in the bathroom between the evening brush and the morning brush.  I explained that I could not guarantee that no one else would use it.  There are members of this family (who shall remain nameless) who do not respect toothbrush ownership so it would be best if he slept with his new toothbrush under his pillow. 

In London's family the kids have their own rooms and bathrooms, so this may have seemed an unnecessary precaution but he followed my advice and I felt like we were pretty good hosts.  He had a mattress on the floor of the family room and a clean toothbrush.  That's about as good as anybody in this house has it.
Faith went to a rock star birthday party yesterday and she has another birthday party for another friend tomorrow.  And she has a birthday party for herself coming up.  Life is good when you're almost 7 and you have masses of little girlfriends.
Bethany is the resident fashion advisor and she helped Fay-Fay get ready for the party.  She also helped her get ready for her gymnastics pictures today.  She helped Elinor with a make-over for her 10th birthday celebration the other day. 
What would I do without my Bethany? She may not want to do her math these days, but she is so helpful with the little kids.
Aren't they beautiful?  These are the girls in Bethany's Primary class that will be turning 12 very soon and are anxious to join Young Women's at church.  They had New Beginnings this week where they get their first introduction to all the good things that await them in YW.
I went to my neighborhood book club this evening and even though I talked too much and ate too much chocolate/peanut butter fondue, it was so enjoyable.  I love my book club friends and feel such acceptance and friendship there.
And in my last bit of happy news I bought myself new red running shoes yesterday.  I feel faster just thinking about them.  I haven't run much since the marathon at the end of September because 1) I felt like Forest Gump-- I was tired of running and so I stopped and 2) It's been so cold and snowy for months and
3) We've had such dirty air for much of this whole winter.  

I went for a run yesterday morning and it was glorious and I realized I have really missed it. It must have released some serious endorphins into my system because I felt like I was looking through rose-colored glasses all day yesterday.  I am ready to get back to running.  Never say never, but I'm not interested in doing another full marathon right now, if ever.  The training takes a lot of time and the mental energy needed might be more than I can spare right now.  But maybe a Half is in the near future?  We'll see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Elinor is 10!

She has made it to the double digits!!! Elinor recently celebrated her 10th birthday with a family party.  I love a good big party as much, if not more than anyone, but every other year is just a family party.
And it's simple and calm and good happy feelings abound.
Our adventuresome gal wanted a bow and arrow.  Abe went all out and got her a compound bow-- quite the lethal weapon.  To be honest she can barely pull the string back. We may need to reconsider.  Especially since there is a chunk shot out of the fence already.
She also wanted overalls for her birthday.  She has wanted overalls for about three years but this is the first year she remembered she wanted them in time for her birthday.  I think they suit her so well and she looks darling.
The sign was Faith's birthday present to Elinor and Bethany gave her the pink notebook she's holding in her other hand.
After our little home party we went to play at Classic Fun Center.
The kids all had a great time and after being cooped up all Winter it was wonderful to let the kids run wild.  
 And they weren't the only ones who enjoyed running wild.  I know it's not exactly high brow, but I like bouncy slides.   I don't want to do it everyday and I did have a headache when it was all over, but I think it's fun once or twice a year. 
I just like George's facial expression here.  I realize I may not like it when he is 16 and gets his first drivers license, but it's adorable at two and a half.
This picture is for Naomi in London.  You're welcome.
Abe is a really nice daddy.  He paid $5 so Elinor could go into the Money Box for 1 minute to gather up "funny money" and get a prize.  The prize wasn't terribly impressive and in hind sight, we should have just offered Elinor five bucks, but at least now she has experienced the thrill of catching money in the wind.
Happy 10th birthday, Elinor!  A lot of girls your age want nail polish for their birthday.  I am so glad you wanted overalls and a bow and arrow.  You are one of a kind and we love you so much!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Little Ones

Cannon was so happy to get his first real school books in the mail this past week.  He anxiously sat down and got right to work.  He liked the coloring and tracing but he was probably happiest that he had mom all to himself for a little while to do his school.  I was rather impressed with his coloring and he was holding his pencil the right way, which bodes well for his future handwriting.
Cannon will turn 5 this May.  WOW!  He is really changing from a little kid to a bigger kid right before my eyes.  I must admit that I am a little sad to see him getting bigger just because he has been such a joy that I'm not in any kind of hurry to have him grown up.  Not that I don't think he'll remain a joy, but he won't be quite so little and snuggly.
And now for my absolute favorite picture of the year.  George picked out his outfit and its so styling.  It's kind of Strawberry Shortcake meets Fred from Scooby-Doo.  The orange ascot is actually a scarf tied into a superhero cape.  It was snowing outside and I was busy with my visiting teacher so he took it upon himself to dress himself for the great outdoors.  What you can't see is that he's got no underwear on under his favorite bird shirt.  He took care to dress for extreme weather but he missed a rather important area!
Work it, George!
Here's a funny little thing about George these days.  He is very reliably potty trained and somehow he has come to call going poo-poo going "T-Rex".  When he has a T-Rex we all cheer for him and he growls.  He also is really into acting like a dog.  Lots of panting and pawing at us.  He is great fun!
Faith is continuing with her beginning robotics class.  She built this flying bird with her Lego WeDo kit.  Faith has a wonderfully fun group of girlfriends in the ward and neighborhood.  A couple of the moms have set up monthly girls' nights for them this year and last night was the first one.  What fun Faith had! In the middle of the snowstorm today I went to sign Elinor and Faith up for softball for the spring.  It was a nice reminder that Winter is going to pass and Spring will come.  Unfortunately Elinor and Faith won't be able to play on the same team this year, like last year so we'll have 2 different teams of practice and games to work into our family schedule.  How exciting!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

All the World's a Stage

All the world's a stage,
And Clark and Bethany merely players.
Clark and Bethany are a part of a fantastic Shakespeare class taught by a great friend of mine.  They study a Shakespeare play and learn about acting and they put on a show.  This year it was As You Like It.  They rent out a small local theater and performed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and a Saturday matinee as well.
Clark played the part of Oliver, Orlando's evil, turned good, older brother and he did great- just as we knew he would.
Bethany played Duke Frederick (in the black hat), a small but very evil part.  She was VICIOUS!!  She was quite the revelation up there on that stage.  She had such a case of nerves on Thursday and I told her not to worry.  She just had to make it through this weekend and if she didn't like being on stage she would never have to be in another play again.  Then, lo and behold, little Bethany walked out on stage with a commanding presence, with fire in her eyes and a loud, forceful voice.  She articulated her words so clearly, and quite surprised several other parents who know her quite well.  What a surprise!
When she wasn't being the evil duke she was a charming forester.
I feel so grateful for the opportunities my kids have had to be involved in some wonderful groups of friends doing great things.  Perhaps my real talent lies in being able to recognize truly superb people  and leeching myself and my children on to them so we can come along and enjoy the benefits of their talents!  Does that make me a parasite?  I hope not, but I am so thankful for the experiences for my children.  I could not provide this kind of activity on my own.
Some of these guys were in the play and some were there to support Clark.  Truthfully, some thought it was hysterical that Clark "had" to hold hands with a girl in the play. 
They'll see the light sooner or later.
Like so many of his Fox cousins, Clark has contracted the acting bug and is on the lookout for his next play.  He's thinking he'd better give up football so he has more time for theater.  That works for me. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Regency Romance Ball 2013

Are you ready?

Prepare yourself.

Here it is.....

Announcing Lord Abraham and Lady Elizabeth of River-Town!
Oh, marvelous, wonderful Regency Romance Ball!  It was just so fun!  Here are the pictures.
This was our main group for the dinner and dancing.  Dinner was turkey and mashed potatoes and it was delicious.  But the dessert was a bread pudding and it was not so good.  But no matter.  It did not detract from the magic of the evening.
Last year Abe rented his costume and it helped win him the "Mr. Darcy" contest.  So he rented the exact same costume this year and he nearly won again.  There were about 170 people at the ball and he was one of the top 6 finalists.  He is so dashing!
They also have a "Miss Emma Woodhouse" contest for the young ladies.  In years past my white nightgown has never taken me far in the competition.  But this year my gold gown earned me a place amongst the five finalists!  ME!  Can you believe it???
This is all thanks to Barbara Sherman who took pity on me and my nightgown and offered to help me make a dress.  I told her that if by "help" she meant she would make me a dress, then YES, I'd love it!  She came through big time and I loved, loved, loved my dress!
Look at all the beautiful dresses!!!  Oh, heavenly!
The dancing was so much fun.  I really would like for this style of dancing to make a serious comeback.  It is so enjoyable because everyone can do it and they are set dances so you don't feel like an idiot hopping and bopping about not knowing quite what to do.  The ladies are ladylike and the gentlemen are... well, gentlemen.
Andrea has become quite the vintage dancing expert and has taught Clark and many other youth all these dances that we were learning.  I'm working on arranging to have her come to teach our neighborhood book club/ward/friends-- anyone who wants to have a most enjoyable evening learning several of these dances.  Vintage dancing is wholesome recreation at it's finest!  But don't worry, you won't have to dress up to come dance.
It's a blurry picture, but I like it anyway.  My favorite dance is a reel called Sir Roger de Coverley.   It gets going so fast and everyone has a permanent smile on their face and we're laughing and there were even a few people falling to the ground! (but not hurt).  Good times.
More dancing pictures because they make me happy.
I'm just going to say it.
We are stunning.
And now I'm going to say something else.
I am a very, very lucky lady.  I am so happy Abe can go and enjoy a night like this almost as much as me.  He is a grand dancing partner and an even better life partner.
Perhaps a ball just once a year is not enough.
But I musn't be greedy.  I must just enjoy the time we have with good friends and great fun.

And I should mention that my hair was so much easier to do this year than last!  And as a bonus, when I did the wild Sir Roger de Coverely reel this year, I didn't litter the floor with hairpins flying out of my hair.

Abe Note:  Here is one more AWESOME picture of our group with a fictional background.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Goings On

Tomorrow night is my big night-- the return of the Regency Romance Ball.  Hopefully I'll have beautiful pictures of myself in my new gown (thank you, thank you, thank you, Barbara!) to put up on the blog very soon.  But before then I must catch up on the goings on of late.  I haven't blogged much because 1) I got tired of hearing myself complain about the weather and 2) I've been spending my "free time" reading rather than blogging.  Mind you, I haven't spent that time cleaning, but reading.  There's a big difference and I infinitely prefer the latter.  In fact, I was going to spend the evening cleaning my room, but I wasn't enjoying it, so I'm blogging instead.  I'm sure you'll agree I've made the best choice. 
Faith and Cannon are working on a ukelele band.  They built themselves a bandstand with wooden board blocks and brought some bananas downstairs to add to the tropical feel of the music.  Faith's ukelele is pretty nice--as far as starter ukeleles go--and easily holds its tuning.  Cannon's, however, is a "decorative toy" ukelele and cannot be tuned and sounds atrocious.  But it is worth it to enjoy listening to them playing together.
Faith made Cannon a fox costume and then Cannon rushed upstairs to put on his favorite fox sweater-- which sadly has a hole in it but he loves it so.

A close up of the fox mask.  He's a happy little fox.
Elinor got a haircut last Saturday.  She got seven inches cut off and it looks very cute, but while I was quite proud of myself for getting a before picture, I've failed thus far to get a good after picture.  I'll have to put that on my list of things to do that I know full well I may never get around to.
 Last Friday Abe and I went to the temple and left Bethany home tending not only our little ones, but some friends' children who were in town to go to the temple as well.  She had her hands full, but handled it like the pro-babysitter she is.  She was off babysitting tonight as well.   She is gaining some very valuable childcare skills and becoming Miss Money Bags all at the same time.
 There is always a knock at the door on February 2nd and I'm always surprised to receive beautiful flowers.  My brother Matt sends flowers to my sister and I on the anniversary of our mom's passing.  They are always yellow and cheerful just like her.  She has been gone for 12 years and she is still missed every day. 
  Abe was working last Saturday evening so the kids and I decided to have a "friend night".  The oldest four each invited a friend (or two or three) over for games and treats.  My only rule was that it had to be an "
"e-free" night-- no electronics or computers or movies.  Just old school games and playing.  I know, I'm the lamest mom ever.  Cry me a river.
Clark and his gang played TransEuropa and Citadels.
Elinor and the other nine year olds played Apples to Apples.  Cannon and George mostly hung out with these guys.
These ladies sequestered themselves upstairs all evening so I'm not too sure what they did but I know they had fun and they didn't want to be disturbed.
Faith and Emma were the gymnastics girls.  They both take tumbling from the same school and are about equal in their skills so they have a great time and have a ton of stamina.  They just need more mats and more room.   
And they put on quite a show.  They were working on their synchronization.
Abe and I went to a District Scout recognition dinner this evening where he was presented a Second Miler award for being a great scout leader to the 11 year old scouts in our ward.   He has spent many years as a scout leader and I was happy for him to get this award.