Monday, October 28, 2013


Since I'm still surrounded by boxes, I broke with tradition and did not make costumes this year.  We dug through our boxes of costumes, and the kids all found something they were happy with.  We ended up using costumes from 4 different years.  There were a bunch of different activities at the Trunk-or-Treat, including pictures with a professional photographer.  The kids had a lot of fun.

Maddie and Emma wore bug costumes from 2008.

Emma 2013
Lana 2008
Maddie 2013
Everett 2008
Gwyn wore her Jessie costume from 2010.

Everett, Maddie, Lana, and Gwyn in 2010

Lana wore her "Astrid the viking" costume from 2011.


And Everett wore his Willy Wonka costume from 2012.

In 2011 we were all either vikings or dragons from the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" and in 2012 most of the kids did a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" theme. Lana and Gwyn were Oompa Loompas, Everett was Willy Wonka, and Emma was a blueberry. Maddie chose to be a fairy queen. Next year I'll most likely be making costumes again. I have a lot of fun with it, but it was nice to have an easy year this time!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Emma Sunshine

The weather has been pretty nice lately, so Emma and I have made a few outings to the park while the kids have been in school.  At the park, there is a ladder that is easy for her to climb and one that is a little bit big and intimidating for her.  We decided together that it is for big kids.  Her next comment was, “But my kids are at school.”

I was really amused by this, so when my mom joined Emma and I for lunch a few days later, I asked Emma “Who are your kids?”


“Who else?”


As you can imagine, Grandma got a big kick out of this.

Emma loves being outside, and I can’t blame her.  It is so nice to feel the sunshine after what feels like a long winter.  The other day I took her out to the back yard to play in the sand box.  I have trouble being outside without doing something.  I started cleaning up little bits of trash and rocks that the kids had played with and left in the yard.  Then I decided that I would work in the garden a bit.  I encouraged Emma to keep digging in the sand box while I dug in the garden.  She was happy doing this for a few minutes, then wanted to be with me in the garden.


(Emma loves wearing her sunglasses, and consistently puts them on upside down.)

I had been happy to get out the next size of cute summer clothes for Emma from the attic, but now I’m wondering why stores don’t sell more children’s clothing that is the color of dirt.


moby dickEvery morning—well, almost every morning—our family reads scriptures together.  Last year we read the Book of Mormon, and this year we are reading the New Testament.  Emma loves to participate in most family activities, and this is no exception.  She climbs up on the bed and insists on holding her “shrippers”.  Last year, the book she chose to call her “shrippers” was a fat critical edition of “Moby Dick” that I had started reading.  (I say started because I didn’t make it through.)  Moby Dick has been replaced by various gospel study manuals that are the right size for her and have some pictures in them.  I hope she continues to enjoy family scripture study.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013



Maddie and Gwyn each lost a tooth this past week.  They are mirror images, dentally speaking.  Lana was so disappointed that her wiggly tooth wasn’t ready to come out yet.  Even Emma was convinced that she had a wiggly tooth.

They both got a dollar from the tooth fairy, which they spent on “extras” at lunch at school (rainbow ice cream).



I wrote this post yesterday and had to change it today because Lana lost that tooth!


Now they are a toothless trio.


This is where the lost teeth go.   The kids love our tooth monster.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sniff, sniff…


As of today, my baby isn’t sleeping in a crib anymore.  I had been holding off on making the change because I was afraid that she wouldn’t nap anymore.  I finally went ahead because she had started using her crib as a jungle gym—lots of jumping and climbing.  Gwyn and Everett were home sick today, so they helped me take apart and put together the beds.


Emma was happy to try her new bed.  She napped well in it, and then repeatedly went up to her room to lay down and then say she was done sleeping.


We’ll see how night time goes!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blue and Gold Banquet, Angry Birds Style

We had shared a few ideas with the boys for the Blue and Gold Banquet theme this year, but as soon as we mentioned “angry birds” their eyes lit up, so angry birds it was.

We planned a bunch of games—too many, in fact.  We were up late that night, but it was a lot of fun!  And I took a lot of pictures.



I was in charge of the centerpieces.  The people at each table would need to use their resourcefulness to build a small catapult and then knock down a stack of cups in the middle of the table.  The boys helped me draw some pig faces on green cups.  In the bags are supplies for building the catapults (popsicle sticks, rubber bands, clothespins, cups, and ammunition).  We ended up sending this game home with everyone.  I had made some sample catapults so that I could make sure I included enough supplies in the bags.  I was pretty proud of the design that used the cups.



Darlene made a bowling game.


The Dennings made a “Pop the Pig” game.


Hunter and Everett painted this beanbag toss game.


Suzie brought another kind of pig popping game.  The kids are running round trying to pop each other’s balloons.  Cary ended up popping a lot of them because they were hard to pop!



We used a catapult that the boy scouts had made to knock down these pigs.



Gavin was one of the smallest ones there, but he managed to knock down every one of those pigs!


I made a cake.  Suzie is an expert, but I wanted to give her a break.


Suzie also did a presentation about the cub scout colors, complete with dry ice.  The kids all had a great time.  Lana, Maddie, and Gwyn all wish they were in cub scouts.  I remember having that same feeling when my brothers were in scouts.  They keep asking me when they will get to be in activity days.  One more year, girls!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Saturday mornings at our house are spent doing chores.  The kids are responsible for tidying up, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping the kitchen floor.  I supervise and take care of whatever is left, which often feels like more work than actually doing all of the cleaning.  I’m sure it isn’t, but the supervision aspect can be frustrating.  I know that teaching the children to do these things and to be responsible is important, so I keep at it, showing them the same things repeatedly.  Maybe someday they will all hang their coats on their hooks instead of dropping them on the floor directly in front of the hook.  Maybe the bathroom will really look clean when they’re done cleaning it.  Maybe they’ll even surprise me by doing it without being asked.

As the kids were doing their jobs today, they were almost fighting about who got to have Emma, who is two years old, as their helper.  Emma “helped” Lana clean a bathroom and Everett wash the kitchen floor.  I'm glad these kids love their sister.  I wish I had their morning attitude all the time.  Even though Emma wasn't making things any easier for them, they were happy to have her with them and very patient with her.  They let her sweet spirit make their burden lighter instead of heavier.  They were more cheerful, even when I asked them to go back and correct something they had missed.  Emma was soaked and happy when all the cleaning was done.

I am thankful for all my little helpers and what I learn from them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Craftiness

Every week our family holds “Family Home Evening”.    This is a chance for us to spend some time together having fun and teaching each other about different gospel topics.  Each member of the family is given a small assignment.  We take turns preparing a lesson, choosing songs, and making treats.  Sometimes we also play a game or have another activity.  We had been using two paper plates attached with a brad to keep track of the assignments.  While this was functional, I wanted to make something that looked a little nicer to hang on the wall.  Here is the new family home evening chart:


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Calendar Blocks

Once each month I have been getting together with a group of friends for a craft night.  We take turns hosting it and coming up with the craft.  In September we made some really cute Christmas or Halloween calendar blocks.


I really liked the idea and decided to also make some for a teacher gift, and some that would work year-round in our home.  For the teacher gift I used three blocks so that she would be able to count up to the 100th day of school if she wanted to.  In our elementary school they always celebrate the 100th day.


For our home, I wanted to be able to exchange month names throughout the year.  This is what I came up with.


I printed the month names, cut them in strips, stamped them, then coated each strip in mod podge and a spray sealer.  I put two eyelets in the top of each one.


I spaced the eyelets to hang on hardware that I installed on the bottom block.


The months wouldn’t all fit on one side, so I put some on the back of the block as well.  That way I could keep all the pieces in one place.


I am happy with how they turned out!  Many thanks to Suzie for sharing the calendar block idea and for cutting out the vinyl!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Memories of Dad

This winter the kids figured out how to roll big snow balls.  Today was a snow day, and they were all determined to get out there and build a big snowman.  They reminded me of my dad.  He didn’t come outside to play his kids that often, but when he did it was awesome!  He played frisbee, gave us rides in the wheelbarrow, and took us camping, biking, and hiking.  Once, he decided to build a big snowman.  The snowman was so big that he had to use a sliding board and some ingenuity to put the head on.  The snowman had a big bucket for a hat, and was as tall as the roof of our house.

One winter, Dad and Everett had a Spongebob party and sleepover.  They ate crabby patties, built a Spongebob snowman, watched Spongebob, and danced together in their Spongebob jammies.  My dad was weak and had difficulty breathing and staying warm, but he wanted to have this special time with his grandson.  I am so glad that Everett got to know him.  I think of him often when I am planning our cub scout activities because he is so good at everything they do in scouts.  I sometimes wish he could have been Everett’s scout leader.


I love you Dad!


The kids all rolled big snowballs today.  Even Emma got in on the action.  They made a fort and several snowmen.  Their masterpiece was a mama snowman and a dada snowman who were “holding hands and looking at the sunset”.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Triple Birthday Part 2

On Saturday we got dressed up and took everyone to see the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony at Heinz Hall.  They played Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Bizet’s Farandole from L'Arlesienne Suite, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.  I really enjoyed it, especially the Firebird Suite.  The girls looked like they were quite bored at times, but when it was all over they kept telling us how awesome it was.  It didn’t hurt that it was in such a fancy venue.


After the concert we took the kids out to dinner at Moe’s.  They liked the food, but especially enjoyed the high chairs.


Maddie and Lana


Everett and Gwyn

Today we had our silly string battle.  We had a can for everyone, and it was fun, fun, fun!