Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Newest Addition

In order to get his Family Life merit badge All-a-Boy was required to do a project that would benefit his family.  This little front yard project was something Allen has had in mind for quite a while so we got All-a-Boy working hard over Thanksgiving break to complete it.  He cut sod, dug deep enough to fill the space with gravel and sand and then laid the tiles (all with some help from his dad).

And now we have a little walkway to our side yard, along with a spot for the trash can to call home.

I love seeing what my kids can accomplish when they're willing to work hard. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Fire Ring

Allen has been doing a lot of work in the back yard lately and it's coming together really nicely.  One thing we decided to put back there is a fire ring.  It was a one-day project and probably something the kids have been the most excited about.

One afternoon we noticed it was super quiet, like the kind of quiet that means Little X is likely up to some monkey business.  I went to see if he was getting into his big brothers' legos (a favorite thing to do when they are at school) and Allen called me back upstairs to look out the back window.

Little X had found himself a sandbox to play with his cars in.  He made roads, pulled the grate over the pit and lay over it, squished his toes in the sand - he was having a grand time out there in this new sandbox.  We watched him for a good 15 minutes before he realized we were there in the window.

The lava rocks went in over the sand this morning and we'll have a marshmallow roast sometime before the snow falls. I think Little X is going to be pretty disappointed when he realizes what this is really meant for.

The good news is that there is still plenty of dirt in the back yard for little boys and their trucks to play in.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


When one of the kids gives us all that they have it means more than anything.  Besides that, Curly not only loves us, she likes us too.  

I'm feeling pretty rich today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

We're hosting Thanksgiving for my side of the family here at our house this year.  That meant that today was a day for baking like crazy!  I love my usual roll recipe but wanted to try for something new this year.  So I tried THIS RECIPE and they turned out awesome!

I am also a little embarrassed to admit that pie crusts scare me.  They are so hit-and-miss!  But I went for it and tried two different recipes this year.  I'll have to let you know which one turned out better.  I made my fruit pies using THIS RECIPE my friend Michelle shared on her blog.  Everything she makes looks amazing and she has a lot of kitchen experience so I figured her favorite crust recipes were worth a go.

And then I made two pumpkin pies using the pie crust recipe in my trusty old Betty Crocker Cookbook.

The best thing I invented today were these:

I'm not sure why I never thought of doing this before.  I used to try to wrap little strips of foil all around the pie and they wouldn't stay on half the time.  These are just like little pie hats!  I folded some aluminum foil in half, cut a circle out of the center and couldn't believe I never thought of doing them this way before.  Why didn't anyone tell me there was an easy way to do this?

Thumbelina thought the leftover dough was for playing with.

 I also made frozen cranberry salad, something Allen's mom always makes for Thanksgiving and we all love.

I got the recipe from here, our family cookbook:

Tomorrow I'll make a big pot of mashed potatoes with lots of butter and a sweet potato casserole that tastes more like dessert than a side dish.  

And the next day I'll rest.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Head To Head

Have you ever wondered what would happen if two boys happened to run headfirst into each other at school during inside recess?  Probably something like this:

The secretaries told me that the swelling had gone down considerably in the time that he waited for me to arrive at the school to pick him up thanks to an ice pack.  When I asked him if the other boy was okay he told me frustratingly, "He didn't even cry!  But I sure did!"

When we walked into his classroom to pick up his backpack and coat so I could take him home he gave a hearty fake cough to call attention to himself, put on his saddest face and then pulled away the ice pack slowly for dramatic effect to reveal his goose egg.  It totally worked - he was rewarded with resounding "ooooooh!"s and "owwwww!"s from his classmates.

By the end of the day it was just a nasty looking bruise and Hubba was happy for the time spent at home watching movies and showing off his injury to his siblings.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chivalry Is Not Dead

When I drop my Little O off at school each day he always love to race to the kindergarten door then turn and wave or flash me an 'I love you' sign before disappearing inside.  I have noticed something else, though. When another boy arrives at the same time as he does it is always a race to see who can get inside the door first.  But when a girl is there?  He runs to get to the door first but then always holds it open for her.

Last Friday as Little O jumped out of the car and started to run to the door he looked and saw two girls being walked to school by someone's dad.  He waved to me and then ran to the door.  He then held it open and waited for probably a full minute until those two girls had gotten inside.  He gave me my wave and started to go inside when he noticed another girl coming so he opened the door and held it again and waited until she was in the classroom before he followed behind.  Neither Allen or I remember teaching him this.

What a proper little gentleman.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Magical Smart Car

One morning when it was just starting to get chilly Hubba noticed a red car on our street whose windows were frosted over.  Since he was ready for school early on that day he decided to do a little service.  He walked over to the car and started to clear the frost off of the red car's windows but as soon as he touched the car it honked at him.  Not the incessant kind of honking that means you've triggered a car alarm but a quick, friendly honk.

Hubba looked around, wondering if anyone else was seeing this.  He waved at the car.  HONK.  He touched the window.  HONK HONK.  He couldn't believe it.  This car was smart!  It was like magic!

I didn't know about the car until a few weeks later when someone at church told me about it.  So I asked Hubba.  He told me that the car was his friend.  It liked him, so it would honk when he did something funny or even when he just ran past.  "It's like a magical smart car," he told me.

Since then I've researched Magical Smart Cars and discovered various dances and cheers and chants that these cars really like.  I taught them to Hubba and when he performs them for the car he is rewarded with a string of happy honking.

All of the other kids in the family have befriended the car as well but everyone says it seems to like Hubba the best.  This is one of those friendships that was just meant to be.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Missing Our Friends

Because I drive a 15 passenger van and there is a pretty good crowd of kids from our neighborhood who go to a school outside of our boundaries, I volunteered to transport them to and from school every day.  Two of the kids who ride with us are Miss H and Mr C.

Not only do they ride to school with us, they are sweet kids who are polite and gracious and kind.  Miss H is Princess' best friend and Mr C is one of Hubba's favorite friends to play with.

We found out about a month ago that Miss H and Mr C were moving.  Not just on the other side of town, but to a city about an hour away.  Last Saturday was the official moving day.

Princess has had an especially hard time since they moved.  Miss H is the perfect kind of friend for her. They have always gotten along really well.  Their personalities just seemed to mesh.  I'm not sure how to explain it really, but we are wishing they still lived a block away.  

We need to plan a trip to their new home.  We sure miss our friends!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun at Trafalga

Last year for Christmas we got everyone in the family a pass which allows us to visit a waterpark in the summer and a variety of other venues all year round, including Trafalga. You pay a one-time fee and everything is 'free' for a year with the pass. To be honest, it has not been a lot of fun to take Little X.  Mostly because he doesn't want to stay in the stroller and he's difficult to keep track of.  However, when we went last month it was totally different!  He didn't even have to stay in the stroller because he walked right next to me and loved riding on the rides with the bigger kids and climbing all over in the kiddie play land. 

The older kids (meaning: everyone older than X) all love playing laser tag and kept going back because there was almost no wait (which is rare).  So X and I had to find something to occupy our time.  After about 20 minutes in the play place he was ready to leave so I decided to let him try mini bowling.  He was instantly hooked!  

I think my favorite part was the little victory dance when he would knock pins over.  He didn't understand that he needed to roll the ball and not throw it.  He also didn't want to wait for the game to re-set the pins between each turn so he just threw a ball whenever he wanted to.  He was in heaven.

We will definitely be back to Trafalga for some more bowling.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mummy Boy

Hubba is a cub scout and he loves every minute of it.  Last month's pack meeting ended with a mummy-wrap game that he wanted to play over and over again.  I guess there was just something cool about being wrapped in toilet paper and then breaking yourself out of it.  I was visiting with another mom across the gym and someone had to come tell me that Hubba had been trying to get my attention so I could take a picture of him - but he couldn't move or the toilet paper would break.    

I love this crazy kid.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cross Country 2013

Thumbelina's cross country team made it to state!  They got 2nd in region, which was pretty amazing.  She beat her time from last year's state meet so she was happy with that.  The photo above shows the Varsity Girls team and all of their coaches.

Here's my girl running her hardest and passing up a few other runners about halfway through the course.  

Other than a trip to compete at Footlocker at Mt. SAC in December this was her last race because it's her senior year.  That was kind of a bittersweet thing because she enjoys running but not racing.  

I am so proud of what she accomplished on the cross country team this year!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Our family went to see All-a-Boy in Seussical at the high school on Monday night.  What a treat!   He's the ape-boy up front in this picture:

I'm pretty sure that the Wickersham brothers had more fun on stage than anyone.  And probably off stage, too.

There was so much color and energy and excitement in this show!  It made me want to get up and dance.  (Don't worry, I refrained.)

The circus scene was pretty amazing.  All-a-Boy is the hoola-hooper on the left.  I couldn't believe how long he could keep that thing going for!  The circus was like a show within the show.  Something new was happening about every 5 seconds and I was worried I'd miss something if I looked away.

Here's a pretty good shot of my boy when Horton's singing a lullaby to the egg.

And then he's monkeying around as a Wickersham again.

The elephant bird.  So darling!
All-a-Boy is a little scary here but it's the only picture I got of the whole fam after the play had ended.  Allen and Little X were there for the first 15 minutes or so but when I called Allen at intermission to ask where they went he told me they were at home and Little X was happily watching Bubble Guppies instead of running rampant through the rows of seats at the back of the auditorium. 

The kids were all dying to shake hands with the Things and get a picture with the Cat in the Hat afterwards. They wanted to see Horton, too - but we couldn't find him.  It was sort of like Disneyland for them, getting to meet the characters and talk to them.

Allen and I will go back to see Seussical again this weekend and I'm excited to just get to sit back and take it all in without having Little O ask me which one is All-a-Boy? and Hubba ask me I'm just you have any food? every few minutes.  

I love seeing my kids on stage!

Monday, November 18, 2013

New York

Ain't it pretty?  It's my city.

I got to go to New York again in October.  I can't believe it either.  Our awesome friends Robert and Trish suggested we make the trip all together and somehow it happened.  We tried to do things that we didn't do last time, like take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry out past Lady Liberty.  At night.  I would totally recommend this to everyone. The view was breathtaking and the ride over was relaxing.

This view was pretty awesome, too...

Whoopsie!  I meant for everyone to see THIS view from the top of the Rockefeller Center:

We saw this when we were wandering around the city at night.  I kind of wished I saw it in the daytime when I could have peeked inside and maybe even met Alex and his accordions.  

We were looking for the Manhattan LDS Temple and I couldn't find it even though I knew we were in the vicinity.  I asked Trish if she could see it and she pointed up at this:
I'm not sure why but I thought this was even better than seeing the actual temple.  There was just something cool about seeing Moroni hanging out behind this building.  We got to attend church in the same building as the temple (along with every other member of the LDS church who was visiting New York City that weekend.  I bet they get a lot of visitors!).

I don't even remember what this was called.  The tour guide said it was like the Big Ben of New York City.

This was a beautiful cathedral that we were able to step inside of for a few minutes.  The stained glass windows were some of the most exquisite I've ever seen but all of my pictures of them turned out blurry so this is all you get, one of the intricate archways in the front.

I don't think it is any secret that my favorite part of the trip was seeing Newsies again!  Trish and I also saw Wicked (my 4th time, it was still fantastic and still made me cry).  Both were amazing.  I could go to Broadway shows every night of my life and be totally fine with that.

We got tickets to the World Trade Center Memorial and I couldn't take any pictures to do this place justice. People were talking and laughing and that felt weird to me somehow.  I wanted it to be silent - so I like that my pictures don't make noise.

We rode through Central Park in a carriage at night.  This was probably one of the best things we did.

Not necessarily because the views were amazing (remember, it was night?) but because we got to chat with our carriage driver, Errol and hear his story.  He's from Turkey, here in the US studying computer science and one of the kindest people we met on our trip.
Me, Errol and Barney

On our last trip here we only went to a teensy corner of Central Park so this time I really wanted to spend some time there.  This never happened except for our carriage ride (at night, remember?) therefore I need to return to New York yet again simply to explore Central Park in the day time (and see more Broadway shows).

There are a lot of people who like to dress up and have people pay them to take a picture with them.  Most of them scared me.  I have never seen so many Elmos, Cookie Monsters, Hello Kittys and Minnie Mouses in my life.  But this guy was pretty cool.

Because I am me I had to giggle every time we saw this sign on the bus tour:

Or this one in Greenwich Village:
Do they think the dogs can read?  And if they could, would they honor this request?  I think not.

One of the best things we did differently this time around was to stay in an apartment we found at homeaway dot com.  We found a two bedroom place near the theater district with a full kitchen and free wifi and paid less than we did for a hotel room with no wiggle room on our last trip.  I would totally recommend this - we got to experience more of the city and easily found restaurants and grocery stores within walking distance.

I didn't worry so much about taking pictures so what you see above is pretty much the best of what I captured on camera.

I don't know how to explain it but there is something about New York that just draws me in.  I doubt it will be anytime soon but I'm excited to make another trip there some time in the future.