Thursday, November 5, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I love the month of October. I know I complain a lot about being busy with school activities, and the process of making Halloween costumes. I do love it though. I love having my kids take pride in picking their very own pumpkin and how they want to decorate said pumpkin.  I love to find out where their intersts and imagination take them when it comes time to pick out a costume. I love the creative expression I experience as we work together to make those costume ideas a reality. It is fun for me.
This year Jon was out of town when we attened the free event put on by our real estate agent. She always invites her clients to a local family farm/pumpkin patch. The kids each get to pick a pumpkin to take home. They had a great time playing at the farm. 

Aliya was grumpy that I kept asking if she wanted to ride on the train. I just didn't want her to miss out on the oppertunity.  The kids always love playing in the corn box. I felt like we had the place to ourselves.
On the Saturday before Halloween we had our annual Halloween party. Good food, good friends, and boardgames. I wasn't able to finish Kylie's costume before the party so she pulled something out of the dress ups.
My adorable niece Lenora showing off her free standing skills.
We got around to finally carving our pumpkins the night before Halloween. Kaelyn had a friend over that night, she was thankful for the help dealing with the pumpkin guts, she is NOT a fan!

 So the long awaited pictures of my kiddos in costume:

Kaelyn the pink octopus
She wanted to wear this costume again to show her friends this silly trick. She makes an equally silly noise while doing it.

Kylie the Mermaid
Because of budget constraints this year I told the kids the costumes making supplies had to come out of my stash or grandma's. I really didn't want to have to buy anything. Kylie and I spent a fair amount of time arguing  having creative differences about whether or not these fabrics matched. In the end I decided it is her costume not mine. I do love how the cape looks like seaweed.
This is the first time I have made up an entire costume. Usually when I am trying to copy a picture in a magazine (like we were this time) I go through my patterns and use pieces from different patterns to make the same sort of look. This time I was just winging it. I wish the gold fins at the bottom looked more like fins, but oh well. I think my favorite part of this costume is the headpiece, which Kylie made all by herself. It has 3 stars on it.

Alyssa as Princess Leia

Truth, I LOVE this costume! Not as much as she does though. She wore it for 3 days straight, and was very mad when I told her she couldn't wear it to church! Our compromise is that she wore her hair buns to church. I did spend $3 on the silver spray paint. The belt is part of one of mine that broke over a year ago. I justified using it for her costume because let's be honest I will probably never get around to fixing it.

Aliya as C3PO
So we introduced our kids to Star Wars this summer and they LOVED it! It became the topic of meal time chatter, playtime, and the Weird Al Yankovic songs are the current favorite for the song portion of our bedtime routine. Aliya was always going on about how much she loves "the grey guy". Who? Boba Fet? Vader? Who is grey? After a couple weeks of her constantly talking up the mystery "grey guy" I pulled up a list of Star Wars character headshots. I asked her to show me the grey guy. Without a moment's hesitaion she pointed to C3PO. My only response, "He's gold." Her quick response, "It's the grey guy!" Okay.
I was in no way surprised when she told me she wanted to be the grey guy for Halloween. I was feeling blessed because having just gone through all of my mother in laws fabric stash I knew there was some gold lame there. Score! I set to work. I realized that we needed some wires and turned to Eloise's extensive yarn collection. I was about a pant leg short of fabric so I did have to buy some more, but I feel pretty good that when all was said and done I only had to spend $14 to get 5 of us in costume this year. I dressed up as a Target employee with my old badge.
Our ward at church had the trunk or treat/Chili cook off the night of Halloween, from 4-6:30pm. As the primary president I was in charge of organizing the Halloween carnival types games. I don't know that it went well, but it wasn't a flop. I was just happy when that was over. We had a great time trick or treating with friends, the rain even stopped not more than 3 houses into it. All in all Halloween was a lot of fun for us, but these last two pictures sum up how our night ended. Pretty much everyone crashed as soon as we got home, my littles didn't even make it into pjs.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween too!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Guess who just turned two.

Once upon a time there was a sweet baby girl who growled, a lot. When she was 15 months old her uncle thought it would be funny to teach her to say, "I'm Batman." Steven was right it is pretty funny. See for yourself.


Aliya did this all the time for a few months and it made us laugh everytime. It never gets old. It was funny enough and persistant enough that when Jon's mom saw this shirt at the thrift store it jumped in her cart and had to be given to Aliya. Though by that time her frequency of saying this had slowed down quite a bit.

I am super happy to say that after receiving her "I'm Batman" shirt there was a major increase her proudly patting her chest and proclaiming, "I'm Batman!" multiple times a day, each and every time she wore her Batman shirt. Again, never gets old. After a few months more of her enthusiam for Batman her interest again seeemed to be waning. However, Kylie revived it when she gave Aliya a very thoughtful Christmas present.

When I took Kylie out shopping for Christmas she was dead set on getting Aliya a create-your-own book and a batman doll. Joann had the book, but after a stop at Target, Toys R Us, and FYE in the mall I was ready to give up on the Batman Doll idea. The last store we browsed in had some heavy metal music playing and I saw this as an opportunity to teach Kylie about how music can impact the way we feel. I pulled her off to the side in the mall hallway and explained that the music we had just heard wasn't something Heavenly Father would want us to listen to and that it gave me a yucky feeling.  I am pretty sure that what she heard was me doing my best impression of Charlie Brown's teacher "Wha wha wa wa..."

Kylie then perked up and said something along the lines of, "Oh Mom, you just gave me a good idea. We can say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father to help us find Aliya a Batman doll." I admit I was skeptical as to how such a prayer would be answered, but I kept that all to myself. I told her that was a great idea and that she could do that. So there in the busy mall hallway she offered a simple and sincere prayer that we could find a Batman doll for Aliya. We stood up and headed back to the car, because honestly I was out of ideas. While walking past Spencer's Gifts (a store I usually avoid due to the fact it gets sketchier the deeper you go in.) I spotted a Superman towel and figured it was worth a shot. We went in and asked the first employee I found if they had a Batman doll. He apologized that all  they had was an old school blue and grey one. I was thrilled, thank you for answered prayers! Truth be told I never thought Spencer's Gifts would be the answer to my child's prayer, but it was and Aliya LOVES her Batman doll.

Again the salience of Batman lead to more and more gravelly, "I'm Batman!"s from my sweet little girl. Never gets old! Now that I am thinking about it if you have any videos of her saying I'm Batman can you send them my way? Ann, I'm thinking of you.

Now her love of all things Batman seems pretty much solidified. It should come as no surprise that when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday she answered with Batman. So with the combined powers of youtube and Pintrest I learned how to make this white cake with strawberry jam filling and a lemon butter cream frosting. As well as taking my first stab at marshmallow fondant.
About a week beforehand I asked the girls what they wanted to get Aliya for her birthday, they all got on the Batman train without any guidance from me. Kaelyn knew that she wanted to get her Batman pjs, Kylie wanted to make her a Batman coloring book (in case you didn't know that is SOOOO Kylie, to insisit on making a gift rather than buying one.), and Alyssa...well Alyssa said she wanted to get her a Sofia the First blanket.

Kaelyn looked at her with a raised eyebrow and suggested, "Don't you think you should get her a Batman blanket?"
"Oh that is a great idea!"Alyssa was quick to agree. As is evidenced by the picture below, it was a GREAT idea!
 I don't know that any two year old has ever been so happy on their birthday! Aliya was thrilled and graced us with a repeated chorus of "I'm Batman." and "It's Batman." throughout the evenings celebrations.

In the end it was a very Happy Batman Birthday.

Aliya at two is a delight. I can't imagine life without her, and am so glad that she is a part of our little family.


Monday, October 13, 2014

It is about time...

After a month of feeling left out on the school thing Alyssa was very excited to start preschool at the end of September. She insisted that she needed a backpack filled with supplies just like her sisters. It really is too bad that my cell phone camera is not a good substitute for a real camera.

No, she was seriously so EXCITED!

Aliya could not be left out.
Alyssa's preschool is another mom run preschool, kind of like the ones we have participated in with Kaelyn and Kylie. I figure that paying for one year of preschool is more than enough and getting together with a group of other moms and rotating responsibility is a nice way for our kids to get a school like experience without paying a preschool price.

 This one is being run a little bit differently than ones I have participated with in the past, in that it is always at the same person's house and all of the moms are expected to stay and help out every time. One does circle time, one reads to the kids each day, and the other 3 of us rotate teaching on a week to week basis. Like all things this method has its pros and cons, but I love the women I am working with so I tend to overlook the cons.

Alyssa is enjoying preschool and playing with friends. Thanks to me staying during preschool hours Aliya gets to come to preschool too. She is THRILLED to be included with the "big kids".


Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day of School

At the end of August our whirlwind summer came to a close as the new school year started. I have to admit that I was a little surprised to find myself excited to be forced back into having more structured days and weeks.

Kylie is starting 1st grade. She has the same wonderful teacher that Kaelyn had when we moved here two years ago. (Wow has it been 2 years?! I will have to write about that too.) I am confident that she will do well in that class and with more diligent effort at home I am sure that she will make great progress in reading this year. Kylie loves to write and is always coming up with new projects and ideas. Her creativity is evident in almost everything she does. Case in point, check out that fancy lettering.

I wish I could say that her hair always looks this nice.

I think she is nervous about having a new teacher, but it will be okay.

Kaelyn is going to be in 3rd grade this year. She is participating the in the highly capable cluster (a fancier word for the gifted program), and I hope that proves to be a good experience for her. She is thrilled that some of her best friends from previous years are in her class again. She excels at reading and most everything academic so I am hoping that this year she will be able to be challenged, continue to grow, and maybe even have to work hard.
She is currently working on perfecting her inner jokester.
 If I am being completely honest I'll have to admit that I am super weirded out by Kaelyn being in the 3rd grade. Not because my baby is getting older, or that she is growing up too fast. Those are just known facts at this point. No, it is the fact that I remember the 3rd grade. That is round about when I can really remember my childhood. I remember Mrs. Huntington's class. I remember meeting my childhood best friend Elizabeth. I remember primary teachers. I remember day to day life (well a lot better than from earlier years). I remember my thought processes, my fears, my feelings, my work, and my play hours. I remember my family life. I remember my house and my bedroom. I remember a lot of things about being in the 3rd grade. 

I now realize that Kaelyn will  most likely remember it too? This has made me take a big step back and wonder all sorts of things. Am I being the mom I want to be remembered as? Is she making good friends that will help her through the adventure that we call childhood and adolescence? Is she being the kind of friend she ought to be? So many questions. I hope that we are doing well, because I remember the 3rd grade being a turning point of sorts, the beginning of building the remainder of my childhood/adolescent years. As I said before I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little weirded out by the thought of it all. 

Here's to a great school year. One where I am a little bit better about getting homework completed on time, and we are a little more organized. I am not asking for perfection, but improvement would be nice.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

It is great to be 8!

On February 28, 2014 Kaelyn and Kylie went off to school excited for a fabulous Friday. The school was having a pajama day combined with a free popcorn day. They were also excited about Grandma and Grandpa L. (my parents) and their aunt Heather. What they didn't know is that we were expecting another visitor!

Kaelyn had been disappointed because one of her friends from school had invited her for a sleepover. I told her she could not go, but I promised that she would be having a sleepover the same weekend and asked that she try not to be too disappointed. She responded rather matter of factually, "Mom, I love Grandma, Grandpa, and Heather, but I am disappointed." I am pretty sure she got over that, and went on to enjoy many nights of sleepovers with her cousin Ashlynn!

 It took no time at all for everyone to settle in and start enjoying our time together. Aliya, took time warming up to everyone. Well except for Ashlynn, who broke the ice with a game of peek a boo at Costco. They became fast friends.
Heather and Aliya reading a story together.

 Both Kaelyn and Kylie were quick to steal a turn with Grandpa's hat.

My kiddos were in tablet heaven. One per kid? Wahoo!

There was a fantastically fun (and timed) pillow fight one night before bed.
 We had such a good time just hanging out and playing together. On Monday I kept the kids out of school so that we could venture off to the Pacific Science Center. It wasn't crowded at all and the kids had such a great time!

Kaelyn and Ashlynn loved the fun house mirrors.

Kylie and Grandpa discover how a zipper works.

Alyssa loved making the ball fly. 

The butterfly house was a big hit.

Especially for Aliya. She was entranced by them.

Ashlynn loved the touching tide pool and spent a lot of time there.
Grandpa even discovered our new shadow friend, Frank.
While it is always nice to just be together we had a very special reason for this visit. A long anticipated event. 
Kaelyn's Baptism

The baptism service was nice. It was only Kaelyn and one other child in the stake being baptized that day so it felt very special and personal. Since each baptism was done separately I felt surrounded by loved ones and friends as I looked at a room full of people there to support Kaelyn on her special day.  Friends from church, friends from school, family from near and far. It was so nice.

Ann did a beautiful job with Kaelyn's hair.

Kaelyn kept sneaking in kisses. It was adorable.

There is a part of me that can't believe my little girl is old enough to have made this very important step. However, I am so proud of her. She has grown and learned so much over the last year. She has matured in ways that I just did not expect. Each day she is developing into quite the young lady. I am very blessed to call her my daughter.

Well this was a very special event and I felt we should celebrate with a party afterwards. So even though life has been all sorts of crazy I wanted to go all out, and in the words of Jon after the fact, "It was shockingly smooth." I am very thankful for my friend and family who helped me by cooking some of the food for our Cafe Rio knock off dinner. 

I had been wanting to try the tissue paper pom poms and this was a perfect excuse.

More evidence of being surrounded by friends and family.
In the end I believe there were 53 people in our house for dinner! I know that there were others who wished they could be there and were with us in thought. I love each of you, my family and friends. 

Milestones in life, such as Kaelyn's baptism, make me reflect on the many stepping stones our path through life. In that reflection I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the  people we have met and experiences we have had along the way. From Arizona to Ohio, Wisconsin to Washington, and all the stops in Utah in between, thank you for being a part of my life. I hope that we can all be together again at some point, I look forward to sharing in your life's milestones (even if it is just through the means of the internet). I know that I am pretty bad at keeping in touch, but I do think of so many of you often, because my life is blessed for having known you.