Friday, July 31, 2015

The Best Gift Ever

On his real birthday he opened his gift from us-- quite possibly the most successful, appreciated birthday gift ever to be given in our family.  A gumball machine.  A nice one made of glass and metal-- not cheap plastic.  It is substantial and takes real money.
The downside is that it dispenses gumballs (or other candy), which then can be spit out on the floor, swallowed, stuck in hair or carpet, etc.
So why, you may ask, would I choose to give such a gift to a 5 year old?
I will only say, it is the most perfect gift imaginable for George.  As part of his never-ending collecting of trinkets and such, he is an avid collector of money.  All kinds of money.  In my recent decluttering project we found some Italian money and ancient Roman facsimile coins.  He has been very troubled by the fact that he had nowhere to spend his Roman money.  It's something he has rather perseverated on.
The absolute BEST moment of his entire birthday was when he realized the gumball machine would take coins of all sizes.  "HEY!  IT TAKES ROMAN MONEY!!!!"
Joy beyond measure!
The entire family was enthralled.  You'd think this was the latest and greatest technology finally come to our home, rather than a gumball machine.  As soon as it was unveiled, every single child (except Peter) ran to their rooms to retrieve their coins to try out the miraculous invention.  What a thrill!  And every single time it worked.  They put in a coin and out came a gumball, whose flavor lasted for less than 15 seconds.  George made bank!
And now George has something to do with all his money.  When he comes and asks what he can buy with the few coins he holds in his hands I can reply, "Go buy yourself a gumball!"
I mean, really, this gift alone would have been more than enough. 
But with a mouth full of gum, he shows off his other gift-- portable, pot-up soccer goals.  Not that I think these will get me out of sitting through little league soccer games this fall, but maybe with a bit more practice it won't be so painful. 
We had one other box of goodies to open.  It didn't have anything to do with George's birthday, and it had come in the mail several days earlier, but we hadn't had a chance to gather as a family and divy it up.  My brother's family (Matt and Misty) sent us a box of summer fun for the whole family.  We all took turns choosing and it fairly entertained my peeps for at least 24 hours.  Three cheers for Matt and Misty!
It contained beauty masks for the ladies.
There is a mask for Clark as well, but I'm thinking he probably won't try it.
Where is his sense of adventure?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, George!

Well, I just really, really like this little person.  George is five years old and absolutely wonderful.  Here are five fun things about George:

1.  He is detail oriented-- not much gets past him.  He asks lots of questions because he likes to thoroughly understand things.  He remembers all of his possessions and loves them.

2.  He is a hoarder collector of all things valuable (or not so valuable).  The necklace he is wearing in this picture came in a bag of hand-me-downs from a relative.  He took to it and didn't want to take it off.  He told everyone that it would "help you if you were ever in mortal danger".
That's a pretty valuable necklace. 

3.  George has always been a remarkably responsible and obedient little person .  He doesn't wander off, very rarely tantrums, likes to do his "school work", goes to bed willingly, and unloads the silverware when asked.  That's pretty good.

4.  George is a seriously picky eater.  This is one area he is not so cooperative, although I suppose his pickiness is more my fault than his.  He regularly smells new foods before deciding if he will partake.  He loves cottage cheese, so that's something.  I won't list everything he doesn't like-- too lengthy.

5.  He loves to run errands with me.  If I am dropping someone off somewhere, going to a store, or talking a walk in the neighborhood, he always wants to come along.  He is a pleasant companion who does not complain if our errands take a while.  In fact, that's another great thing about George-- he doesn't complain about much of anything.  He is a really tough cookie.
Yesterday was his bug birthday party.  We chose a bug theme because he spent many, many hours in the spring and early summer searching for bugs and snails in the backyard.
Don't laugh.  It really was the best I could do.
You can tell it's a snail, right?  Not really my forte.
Buzz, Buzz, Sting (Duck, Duck, Goose) with their bug antennae was a good way to warm up.  Every older kid knows how to play Duck, Duck, Goose, but remember that every older kid was once a younger kid who had to learn how to play.  Knowledge of how to play the game isn't inborn-- even though it's hard to remember ever not knowing how to play.  It's pretty hysterical to watch little kids learn to play.
We did a bug toss into the spider's web.  George's bug is in flight in this picture and our spider's web is a mosquito net.  A friend gave us these giant plastic bugs that were really great, except that one of them was a really awful, realistic looking black spider.  I said no one could use that one, because it was too disturbing to me.
I really need to just throw that spider away, because I fear one of my people will use it to play a life-threatening joke on me.  It wouldn't threaten my life, but if they use that spider to frighten me, their life would be in danger.
The gang and their bugs, except for one little gal who was feeling shy and stuck close to her grandma.
Pin the spots on the lady bug.  I'm not terribly proud of my cupcake snail, but I am proud of my lady bug poster.

Our picnic with food geared towards little ones and George's picky tastes-- cheese and crackers, grapes, apple slices, Cheetos, and juice boxes.  Nothing too messy, and food they could dish up all by themselves.
This was one of my favorite parts of the party.  Traditionally, Abe tells some sort of story at the little kids' birthday parties.  Yesterday he told a bug story about his oldest sister, Samatha, when she was a missionary in Paraguay.  She came home to find a huge spider (the size of the paper plate) scurrying across the wall and she killed it with her shoe.  Abe is a MAGNIFICENT story-teller and the children were in raptures!  I could listen to Abe tell stories all day.
It was a special day because we celebrated cousin Emi's birthday as well!  The party was on her actual birthday.
George and Emi' blowing out their candle together!
A great picture of the actual moment of destruction!  Way to go Cannon!
And they're off on the bug hunt!  Clark had scattered lots of plastic bugs all over the backyard and the kids descended and quickly found them all.
When Clark was this same age he had a bug party as well, so it was fun to remember back when he was little.
The party with their stash of candy from the pinata and their bugs. 
I like this picture because George was pretty enthralled with the toy gun.  So much so, that it was difficult for him to draw his attention away to thank his friend.  I suggest the day may come when that cute friend might warrant his attention more than a toy gun:)
 George was the giant bug.
They had their bug spray (silly string) ready.
Silly string is short-lived, but what joy while it lasts!
This little bug was a good sport.
Then they turned on Abe and chased him around the yard with their bug spray!  I adore this picture.
Happy birthday, George!  We love you!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Omelets in the Park

Our Pioneer Day celebration was omelets in the park with my Cannon/Behunin family.  My dad wasn't much of a cook while I was growing up.  In fact, most of my memories of Dad making dinner were rather frightening and not very tasty.  It seemed his goal was to use up as much food that was expired, or about to expire as possible-- admirably frugal, but not appetizing.
However, his one masterpiece was omelets and I credit my dad with my love of ham and cheese omelets.  It is a joy to me that Abe too, has mastered beautiful-omelet-skills as well.  So as my dad and I talked about a possible family get-together for Pioneer Day, I said, "Hey! Let's do omelets in the park!"
Dad and Bev are full-time missionaries at the church office building.   I think they are so cute in their straw hats.
Peter was so happy being outside with lots of big people to play with him.
He especially liked playing on this chair, even if it did tumble over him a few times. 
 Abe and the boys were playing some sort of football game.  We met at 9:00 and we had the entire, huge, new city park to ourselves for quite a while.
It was nice and cool in the shade.   
 After omelets and plenty of playtime, Grandpa shared some family history about our pioneer ancestor, George Q. Cannon.  I think all the little kids were exceptionally patient and hopefully the older ones learned something.  I quite enjoyed it. 

A couple of other things I am enjoying right now:

-- I have organized a Jane Austen book club with my girls and several other moms and daughters this school year.  We're well into Sense and Sensibility and we are loving it!  The girls beg me to keep reading and it makes me so happy to be sharing it with them.  I admire and enjoy the language of the book so much and hope reading it aloud will influence my and my children's patterns of speech.  And if we all start speaking in British accents-- that would be okay too.

-- Peter drank a bottle today!  Yes, that was a first since he was about a month old.  I've tried tp give him bottles, but he has refused.  He turns one next month and I'd like to move towards weaning him, so this is definitely a step in the right direction. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Timpanogos Cave Adventure

I don't forsee Abe and I ever being the really sporty, outdoorsy types.  I suppose we enjoy the comforts of home too much--perhaps I should just speak for myself.  In any case, we do try to get out every now and then and have an outdoor adventure.  This week we hiked up to the Timpanogos Cave. 
I think it's pretty impressive that we all managed to make it up to the cave, but I think it's even more impressive that we got up at 5:30 AM, left the house at 6:10 AM.  Whoo-hoo for us!
Cannon and Faith are my favorite hiking buddies.  They are quick and they never complain.
Speaking of never complaining... George is a fantastically tough little guy and completely keeps pace with anyone in the family.
Peter has no problem keeping up as well... being carried in the backpack!  He quite enjoys it.  Abe carried him all the way up the mountain in the backpack.  Peter fell asleep in the caves and then Abe carried him down in his arms.  He is a good, good daddy.
I did offer to help carry Peter, but Abe carried him the whole way.  His arms and shoulders have, understandably, been a little sore since.
 Elinor and I are hiking buddies and we are not fast.  I'd like to say we just like to stop and smell the roses, but in actuality, I am out of shape and Elinor does not love hiking.  That's okay, we made it, just a little slower than everyone else.
Abe likes to tell made up stories about lots of things.  He told the little boys that this rock was once a play thing to a T-Rex.  George asked his favorite question, "In real life??"
Abe told us to make tired, miserable faces.  Every other person got the memo.
For as athletic as she is, she is not a big risk taker.  I'm impressed with this picture.
It's almost like we were on a date together... almost.
Not really.
The caves are pretty cool.  I mean, the temperature is quite cool, but they are impressive to see as well.  I don't think they are the most awesome caves I've ever been in-- I recall some really impressive ones in the Black Hills in South Dakota-- but they are still very worth it.
Elinor enjoyed the cave, but mostly she was happy knowing that the hike back was all downhill.  We discussed how nice gravity is as long as you do what it wants.  The moment you try to go against it, it starts causing you all sorts of trouble.
For a little while Peter enjoyed looking at the formations.
He had moments in the cave of relative calm when he wasn't fussing.
But they were short lived.
Then he kind of turned into Gollum in the caves.  Not so pretty.
But this was very pretty.  Well done, Abe!  I like to imagine those other people in the photo are sending Abe happy vibes with their kind, understanding facial expressions.  Somehow I don't think they appreciated Peter in the cave. 
Sometimes I go around looking for things to feel guilty about.  For example, I feel guilty that George holds onto the cart or stroller at all times as we walk through stores.  Why does he do that?  I don't make him.  You're almost five years old-- you don't have to hold on to the cart!
In this picture, I feel a little bad that all of my people pose so cooperatively for family pictures.  I appreciate it, but have I somehow stunted their self-expression that they feel compelled to be perfect little statues in pictures?  How are we suppose to laugh at family photos years from now if you all behave so well for them?  
First world problems, right?  I should just enjoy it, but it does seem a little eery to me.