Friday, April 26, 2013

Methods of Shameless Brainwashing

Abe's younger brother Phil graduated with his bachelor's degree from BYU today.  Abe took all the kids down to Provo to spend the day at BYU brainwashing our children to want to attend BYU as well.  For the record, I have no qualms with this method of parenting and I fully support Abe's efforts.  I had some piano lessons scheduled for this afternoon and didn't think I would be able to join them, but it worked out so that George and I did meet up with the family at the convocation ceremony. 

Here were some of Abe's brainwashing methods.
1.  Take them to the BYU bookstore and shower them with gifts all things BYU.  Shirts, earrings, watch, football.
2.  Take them to the Tree of Life sculpture and revel in the goodness of the gospel.
3.  Go sit in an actual classroom and visualize yourself as an actual BYU student.
4.  Go visit your great-great grandfather's building (where your parents used to meet up for lunch) and remember that your BYU roots run deep on both sides of the family.
5.  Wear the family uniform and publicly declare your loyalties.

These are very effective methods, no?  They worked well for both my parents and Abe's parents.  Here's hoping for another generation.

This post is somewhat in jest.  Truly, I would be thrilled if my kids went to BYU, but there are other good schools-maybe not great schools ;-) and they'll find their own way and choose their own path...blah, blah, blah.  But I see no harm in keeping the expectations high, right?
Let's see... perhaps we're looking at a future graduate, class of 2023?
This was a sweet moment of the day.  Bethany fell in LOVE with her cousin Edra at the after graduation party at Philip and Katie's house.  And with good reason!  Edra was an absolutely perfect little angel!

The Joys of Childhood (and Parenthood)

A little while back we took the family to the zoo.  We bought a membership last summer but hadn't gone more than a couple of times before the winter set in.  George was asking about going to the zoo and I realized that as much as we took the older kids when they were little, we really hadn't taken the little ones much (if ever).  So we went to the zoo.  It was a little chilly, but I suppose the cold kept the other zoo patrons away.  
 George was enchanted by the whole experience.  He reminded me of Clark as a little guy.  For Clark, going to the zoo was like returning to his mothership.

George was terribly saddened when they closed the zoo carousel for lunch and he missed his chance to ride on the giraffe, but we needed to get home and I told him we'd ride it next time.

But he just couldn't get over his disappointment.  This is what George said to me several times a day, every day of the past week:  "Sad...ride...closed...giraffe".  Then I would translate it into the whole thought: "You're sad because the ride was closed and you wanted to ride the giraffe?"
Actually his trip to the zoo turned him into quite the little chatterbox this week.  All week long he told me about all the animals he'd seen-- monkeys, rhinoceros, elephants, polar bears, tigers, eagles, seals.  The conversations always involved him saying the animal, me repeating what he said, and him confirming that that was indeed what he said.  It was thrilling for him to be so understood!
Today George's universe was made right again.  The kids were off (I'll explain where in another post) and I took George by himself to the zoo to ride the giraffe on the carousel at the zoo.  It was so sweet to spend that time with just George.  In a family our size it is a treat for both parent and child to have one on one time.
If I had a really nice camera (as opposed to the camera on my phone) and was a really good photographer (as opposed to point-and-shooter that I am) I would want my subjects to be children flying kites.  They are working so hard, and are so focused, and so triumphant when they are successful.  Their cheeks are so rosy and their eyes are so bright from running around.  Elinor and Faith were borrowing cousins' kites at family dinner this past Sunday.
Faith was a super helper to Abe last weekend building a new shelf for our school supplies.  Apparently all that practice building Legos translated into real life application.  She was looking at the IKEA picture-instructions and telling Abe what to do next.
Oh, I wish this was a clearer picture.  Oh, well.
Elinor is loving her softball team this year.  And they are winning a lot.  Not that it matters, but it is fun!  Elinor loves to sing songs in the dugout with the other girls.  I don't think they do too much of that in boys' baseball, but I think it's darling with the girls.  A wee bit obnoxious, but darling at the same time. 
Cannon and George love going to the games because there is a play set right near the fields and their daddy buys them Cheetos from the snack shack.  A play set and Cheetos.  What more can you ask for?
There is Faith in the pink helmet making a beeline for first base.  Sadly, she got out at first, but she has consistently hit at every game.

It's good that softball doesn't last all year because admittedly, it does wreak havoc on our evening schedule with dinner.  But man, it is so fun.

Now for a little confession.  We forget about Cannon at church.  He's only actually been left one time.  But every week we get out to the car and realize, "Oh, Cannon's not here... let's go find him".  This happened again this Sunday and I went in to retrieve him.  I found him wandering the halls with his saint of a primary teacher looking for us.  She told me that he had said to her, "Can you just give me a ride home?"
Sheesh.  Maybe we're not doing so well after all.

One more little memory from church I want recorded.  George doesn't like bread.  He will eat cinnamon/sugar toast, but no sandwiches.  When the sacrament is being passed and the bread is a row or two in front of us he quite audibly declares, "No thanks! No thanks!" and puts his hand up to block the bread tray.  I suppose this won't be cute forever, but such are the benefits of being the youngest.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happenings - April 2013

Cannon went to a knight themed birthday party on Saturday and came home with this fantastic shield, armor and knife.  When Clark picked him up from the party, Clark told him he like that his knife looked like it was bloody.  Cannon insisted that it wasn't bloody, rather he had just painted it red. 
I suppose it doesn't say much for me as a mother but I kind of liked the idea of a bloody looking knife.
Oh, happy day!  Softball season is here again.  There will be many more pictures to come because there are many more games to come.  Elinor and Faith are on two different teams this year so we have twice the number of games.  They've been practicing for about a month and have both their opening games.  So far Faith's season is off to a more winning season than Elinor's but hopefully Elinor's team will have some better luck.
Faith's coach is serious business.  She has had practice 3 days a week for the last month and he's in it to win it!  Which is great by me because for whatever reasons, some of which I'm sure have been our children's faults, we have been a part of some seriously losing teams.  The teams and coaches have all be very nice, but let's just admit it: It's way more fun to win.
I enjoy softball season so much.  Here's why.

1.  The sunshine.  After the long, dark, bleak, depressing winter, the spring sunshine does wonders for my spirit.  Even on chilly days like the one pictured above, the fresh air does my body good.

2.  When I go to the games I just sit and watch.  I don't do dishes or laundry.  I don't check math assignments or research homeschool curriculum.  I don't tell anyone to practice a piano song.  I don't cook dinner.  I just sit and watch a relatively slow paced game and cheer like crazy when a 10 year-old girl hits the ball and runs to base.  It's glorious.  My brain and body slow down and I sit still.

3.  I absolutely LOVE the smell of the ball park.  The hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill smell so good.  I am not really tempted to eat them.  I just love the smell.  Why can I not buy a candle named "Ball Park in Spring".  I'm telling you, someone could make a killing!
Sunday afternoon we took a family outing to the cemetery to visit my mom's and Tessa's graves.  It was lovely to be together as a family and we felt so grateful for the peace the gospel brings.

On the recommendation of a friend, I got several John Bytheway talks on CD from the library for us to listen to while we drive all over tarnation in our car.  They've been so fantastic! The older kids are getting quite a kick out of them and they beat the heck out of radio commercials.

 General Conference was a couple of weeks ago and we were so happy to get to see Abe's brother-in-law, Mike and his daughter Addy for a few hours.  They were down for conference from Spokane.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Life is Good

Introducing Faithie-Lou-Hoo.
Faithie-Lou-Hoo with her stylist, Bethie Boo.
Clark has been anxiously engaged in building backyard ballistics.  This was his first weapon--a potato gun--made from a plastic Winder milk bottle, pvc pipe and gas grill ignitor.  It was quite loud and powerful.  But it wasn't enough.  His next attempt was smaller with a gummy vitamin bottle.  The next was with an empty syrup container.
You can see that he is a resourceful boy.  It was all good, harmless fun.  But then there was an accident with the syrup bottle gun. 
According to Clark, he "burned his face off!"  His skin and eyes are fine.  But he sure enough did singe his hairline, eyebrows, and eyelashes.  And most tragically of all, he singed his fledgling mustache.  "Dang," he said, "I was getting so excited to shave for the first time and now it's gone!"

I guess it wasn't too traumatic because he is working with a wonderful neighbor who is helping him get supplies and build a much larger, more powerful version called "Spudzooka".  This will involve power tools and the man-child is in heaven.

A little singed facial hair is a small price to pay for actual fire power in the hands of a 13 year-old boy.
Thursday morning Abe and I took Bethany to the temple for the first time.  It was a wonderfully sweet experience with her.  She was so excited to go and has been begging to go since she turned twelve (2 weeks ago).
Afterward, Bethany and I went to the violin shop to trade in her 3/4 size violin for a full size one.  It sounds beautiful and I love to listen to her play.
 Elinor is working on finishing up her robotics class.  She is spending conference weekend working on the Robogator.
All hail Legos!  One of the best, if not the best toys ever made.  They are pricey, but so worth it.  They last forever and they can be used in so many ways.
This was Faith's creation this morning.  Last night, during family reading, George built his first really  tall tower out of the Duplo Legos.  He was so proud and we all cheered for him.  He was so thrilled!