Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Peter, Not Pete, Turns Three and Eats Bacon

He woke up on his birthday at his usual hour.  Peter frequently is the first in the family to greet the day.  He cracks our door and cheerfully climbs up onto our bed, where Abe asks him if he had any dreams.  He snuggles with us for a few minutes, until Greta wakes up and joins us.  And for 10 or 15 minutes we are a family of four, except we have Peter and Greta instead of Clark and Bethany.
These days, Peter and Greta are often my companions on my morning walks.  It was a good way to start his 3rd birthday.
My plans for the day changed drastically (in a good way, but I'll go into that in a later post), so any birthday plans we had for Peter's birthday got put on hold.  Lucky for him, Elinor quickly baked up a very interesting, creative, chocolate, sprinkle, bacon-topped, custom mug-cake for him.
Bless her heart, it looked horrific.
 He ordered, "Now sing Happy Birthday me!"
We obliged.
He blew out the candle!
Elinor cut the cake open for him, but then he proceeded to only eat the bacon bits off the top of the cake.  Peter L-O-V-E-S bacon.  A couple weeks back we put Peter down for a nap and then began preparations for Bacon Wednesday-- sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner, but always on Wednesday.  He didn't fall asleep very quickly and soon opened his door, crept down the stairs and said, "(S)Mell Bacon!"  Only he pronounces "bacon" as Bahckin.
He regularly demands the rest of the family share their bacon rations with him.  We call him the "Bacon Czar".  No one can eat bacon without his say so.  Anyone caught trying to pilfer his bacon is given extra chores and must beg forgiveness of the Bacon Czar.
He was not impressed with the non-bacon parts of the cake.  "Me no like dis yucky part!"
We wrapped his birthday gift in a Winder zipper bag because that's what we hid it in when we brought the gift into the house from the car.  Looks like we didn't get much further than that.
I don't know what he was expecting for his birthday, but he seemed unimpressed with the Fire fighter costume from Costco. 
He can be a little slow to warm up to new things.
You think?
We eventually convinced him to try it on.  He kind of liked it.
He puts his walkie-talkie up to his ear and says, "Hey, Boss."  We pretend to be his boss and tell him where a fire is.  Sometimes he says okay and runs toward that part of the house.  Other times he says, "No!" 
So, you know, as Boss, we never quite know what kind of response we'll get.  Not very dependable as a fire fighter.

But very, very cute.  And very entertaining.  And very determined.  And very spirited.  And very vocal in his opinions.  And we love him so much we don't know what to do with ourselves!  I don't know what kind of child I expected when I was expecting him but he continues to surprise and stretch us.  He is definitely more of everything! 
Should you ever say he is cute or adorable, he will likely correct you and say, "NO! Me Peter!"
And if you as him if you can call him "Pete", he will likely say, "NO! Me Peter!"
 Happy 3rd birthday, Peter Jesse Fox!  
By the way, I love the nickname Pete, so I'm not giving up on that battle yet.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chicken Hypnosis and Other Bits of Life

I looked out my window and saw Elinor, Faith and Cannon attempting to hypnotize a chicken.  I do not know if they were successful.  I suspect they were not, but I was amused to see them try.
Elinor got a kick out of going to a Harry Potter O.W.L. camp at the county library one day this summer.  Faith also got to go on another day.  They both had fun.  We are currently reading the 5th Harry Potter book aloud together.  I'm mostly reading it to the younger kids and Bethany, since Elinor has already read it about 8 times.
Our cat.  Nowadays we just call it "Cat".
It's doing better, but it is still pretty mean to us.  And yet, we like her.  I suppose the only member of this family who gets away with more than she does is Peter.  The children are horrified by my lax discipline with Peter.
I choose peace.  I don't think they respect my choice.
She's gotten a little bigger since this picture was taken.
These little cuties do have swim suits on.  They are not actually bathing in coolers.  That would be weird.  They were playing with sprinklers and water outside and the coolers that had held water balloons from George's party were still out.  So naturally, they got in them and Abe took a picture.  Makes perfect sense.
George got to go with his cousin Eli to a Salt Lake Bees game a couple weeks back.  He loved it.
With the exception of Faith, we have pretty tall kids, so it's wild to see George dwarfed by his cousin who is a year younger than him!
Another Sunday photo shoot with Daddy and Greta.
When the kids return home from different camps all summer long, the first person they want to snuggle is Greta.  And Greta is so happy to see them!
She's teaching herself the guitar.  Elinor loves to hang out in her clean room-- drawing, reading, playing the guitar.  Can you say, "Introvert?"
A few weeks back we attended a private concert with Kenneth Cope-- a (former) nephew of my stepmom's.  My sister-in-law Misty was in town for the evening as well.  It was so beautiful and it felt good to our souls.  

Our Last Baby Turned One!

We have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in the summer-- beginning right around Memorial Day, we have birthdays on May 28, July 5, July 8, July 13, July 30, and August 11.
Basically, if you have a birthday on one of these days, we say, "We love you so much!  Happy birthday!  We'll schedule in a time to celebrate!  Hang tight... it might be a few days till we can get everybody together."
We just have people going so many different places and camps and workshops and such.  Sometimes our celebrations are fancy and sometimes they are simpler.
Greta turned one and she loved the attention of all of us singing to her after a Bacon Wednesday lunch.
I like to tell Greta she's the best thing that ever happened to our family!  We absolutely adore her.  She is so happy!  She dug right into her cake and made a delightful mess.  Not to compare kids, but Peter looked at me like I was poisoning him when I tried to get him to taste frosting.  This was slightly more rewarding!
I guess it just took Pete a couple years to catch on to how fun it could be to just dig into a cake!  He saw what Greta was doing and he joined in!
I figured if you're going to have a big mess to clean up with one child, the mess for two kids wouldn't be much worse.  Besides, Peter did miss his opportunity the first time around.
I can't imagine not having her in our family.  She softens us.  She brightens our days.  
Good stuff!

Journey Through the Book of Mormon Youth Conference

The month of July was action packed and it came at us faster than we could record the happenings.   It's the middle of August and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and remember a few of the incredible events our family-- or parts of our family-- got to enjoy.
Abe, Clark, Bethany and Elinor went to a Journey Through the Book of Mormon youth conference July 6 thru the 8th.
They camped and did activities and watched actors perform reenactments of Book of Mormon stories,  I wasn't really sure what to expect and feared it might be a little hokey--- but they really enjoyed it and found it to be very moving and inspiring.  Abe played the part of Mormon, the editor of the Book of Mormon, so to speak.  He was basically a narrator who opened and closed all of the vignettes.   Here are Mormon and Moroni (Abe and the President Neilson)
 A picture of Abinadi and wicked King Noah and his priests.
We have some really great youth in our ward and our kids enjoy them so much.  I am very thankful for dedicated leaders who sacrifice their time to create these great experiences for our children.
Here is Mormon and King Benjamin and the Sons of Mosiah.
King Benjamin address his people while they listened from their tents.
All the youth reported the moment when the actor portraying Christ appears was a very powerful, moving experience.  
The stake had gone to so much work to decorate the cultural hall to look like Old Jerusalem that the Stake Primary put on an activity for the Primary children after the youth took off for their camp.  The culminating part of this Book of Mormon blitz, if you will, was the Stake Conference meeting today.  Finally the adults got in on the action!  Our very own Bethany was the youth speaker in Stake Conference today.  She spoke on obedience in the Book of Mormon and she did very well.  She worked so hard on her talk and is feeling a great sense of relief this evening. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

George's 7th Birthday Party (And a Little Bit of Peter's Birthday Too)

Peter with his Megan.
Megan has been his speech therapist for the last year and a half.  She has been so patient and kind and fun with him.  He has made tremendous progress in his speech.  Now he says wonderful things like, "Me no like you anymore!", "All your fault, Mom!", "Me hate you!", "Stop talking (to) me!", "Drive faster, Mom!"
Yes, we're just thrilled to have him talking so much.
Actually, despite his rather loud and contrary positions, we are are so happy to have him communicate in other than screams and cries.
The in-home speech therapy program he's been a part of ends when they are three and he's progressed enough that he doesn't qualify for additional preschool services.  This is great news, but we will be  sad to not have Megan come around a couple times a month.  Peter was always so happy to see her.  She was also a very helpful sounding board for me when I was feeling frustrated with Peter's speech and food problems.
During his last session the goal was to help Peter pronounce his "best friend's" name:  Eric.
Just last week his mom and I decided it was time to let these two have a trial play date and just see how it went.  Not unreasonable for almost three year olds.  But these two may be cut from the same bolt of feisty, strong-willed cloth.  For all we knew they might just scream, cry and hit each other for an hour-- or as long as it took us to get them back to their respective homes.  George regularly plays with Eric's older brother, Dallas, so we hoped we could do double play dates
Miraculously, they played perfectly!  So a couple days later we tried again!  Again they were best buddies with no conflict!  HA!  Wonder of wonders!
George had a water games birthday party this week and Peter got to invite Eric as well, since his birthday is tomorrow.  
The weather wasn't that great for a summer water party, but the wind and rain held off just long enough to play the games.  We've been having a rather cool spell for August in Utah.
The kids were quite good at catching the balloons in their towels that we tossed to them.
They got one!
The water balloon toss was a success, in that there were no tears.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for all the activities we attempted.
Elinor and Zach were a lot of fun to have at the party.  I'm telling you, if you want to entertain younger kids, just bring in a couple of great teenagers... and instant party!
We had a squirt gun fight.  
How did moms plan birthday parties before the dollar store concept was born?  The kids really got into the squirt gun fight.
Brigham wasn't a fan, so he came and sat in the "safe zone" with us.  Except that I was firing at Abe from the safe zone, so I guess it wasn't so safe.
There was the storming of the castle.
Good friend Zach came over to play games with Clark, but Clark wasn't home from work yet... so he got roped into the water fights.  Faith is brutal!
You don't want to get on her bad side!
This picture cracks me up, because if you look carefully there are a couple sets of hands on the top of the fence.  While we were trying to get the kids lined up for a picture, our backyard neighbors were planning the ultimate photobomb!
Ha, ha, ha!  Too funny!
Then it was time for the water balloon fight!  Each side had two coolers full of water balloons.  (That was a labor of love, I must say)
This team had both the birthday boys, but I will say they were at a distinct disadvantage.  Three team members ended up being very sensitive to the whole "water balloon war" thing.  Who knew?  I thought all kids liked water balloon wars.  But as it turns out, not all kids like getting hit in the head/face/eye.  These are the inherent risks associated with water balloon fights, but maybe older kids would have appreciated my labor of love a little more.  Live and learn.
And it was violent at times.
Cannon didn't show much mercy to the younger kids. He could really dish it out.  But in his defense, he could take it pretty well too and he was a favorite target of the 8 and under crowd.  Here he is recovering from a strike to sensitive parts.  He was a good sport.
Clark eventually arrived home from work and couldn't help but join in the fun.
Here's kind of a fun pieced together panoramic picture that Google pictures put together.  
This is my favorite picture of the evening.  Here is Zach pelting cute little Ava (who was one tough cookie) with a water balloon.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Zach, Clark is coming from behind with a cooler part way filled with water to dump on Zach's head!  It was pretty funny and Zach was a very good sport!
We had to hurry inside because the weather was getting yucky, and we didn't have a chance to clean up last night, so the kids and I were on water balloon duty this morning.  We had a very colorful lawn.
Perfection!  She was a little fussy today-- which is very unusual for Greta, but her top front teeth are coming in and that would bother anyone.  She has started babbling and singing a lot lately.  She was always in the "safe zone" at the party.
Blurry, but action packed!
We had pizza and little mini cupcakes and then we sang happy birthday to both George and Peter.  Peter had a hard time blowing out his candle, but Faith helped him out.
George got some pretty awesome birthday presents, but one of his favorites was this skateboard.  He's been practicing all day today.  William is George's birthday twin, except that William is one year older.  Yes, you read than right--- William is older than George.  In all fairness, George is standing on a skateboard, but still.  
I had a couple other water games for outside planned, but the truth is, I totally forgot about them.   During the party I kept thinking, "I know I had other stuff to do besides water balloons and squirt guns...", but for the life of me, I couldn't remember what I planned. Why didn't I write this stuff down?  
It takes me a good three weeks to mentally recover from vacations and I'm just not there yet.  Oh well, like I said, the weather kind of turned, so we improvised inside and Abe told a couple stories to the kids.  One was about the time his childhood dog, "Hawker" getting shot with quills from a porcupine, which his uncle then eventually shot down from a tree (the porcupine-- not the dog).  The kids were enthralled.  Abe is a master storyteller.
I had to draw the line when he started to tell them how his dog eventually died by getting run over.  I figured I was already going to get phone calls about these poor children getting pelted by water balloons to the eye.  We really ought not tells stories about beloved pet dogs dying.
Then we wrapped things up with a little Animal Charades and it was all over.  George was a convincing platypus.  Cannon guessed what he was.  I was clueless, but it must have been very clear to Cannon.
Happy 7th birthday to George and 3rd birthday to Peter!