Monday, September 29, 2008

Politics, Elementary style


Our elementary school held their student elections last week. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders are allowed to run for various student offices. Being in 5th grade, Alexis decided to run for Sergeant of Arms, which is the student that helps give announcements over the loud speaker in the morning.

She made her poster, we made fun stickers to pass around, and she wrote a short and simple speech. The great thing about Alexis is that she will try just about anything that sounds interesting, not ever afraid that she might not win or do as well as others. We spent plenty of time talking about the possible outcomes of the election and as a mom, it was comforting to know she was okay with whatever happened, Alexis just wanted to try.

Voting day was Friday, and the 31 students that were running for various offices all gave their speeches that afternoon. Being the proud mom that I am, I stayed up late Thursday evening making her a cute little skirt to wear for her big day. (That skirt is one of the many projects I have been trying to finish recently, so I am knocked at least one thing off my to do list!)

The results were posted in the front of the school this morning, and Alexis did not win, but she was still okay with that! She is looking forward to the ice cream party for all the candidates after school today. Way to go, Alexis!


Sporting her cute new skirt from mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It all starts up again...

Fact: The more kids you have, the busier you are.
Fact: The older your kids get, the more they are involved in.
Fact: The more involved you are, the busier life gets!

Idea: Limit, limit, limit! Right?

Fact: Limiting doesn't eliminate all craziness.


I try not to over schedule my kids since it just causes more craziness for everyone, and it wears everyone out! With the constant running, when do we get to sit and relax a bit?

Alexis and David each are involved with Activity Days and Scouting at church, and then we let them pick another activity to do as well. Alexis loves Girl Scouting, so she stays busy with that. She actually gets to play the violin too, but that is because that is offered in school! At this time of year, David always opts for flag football.

Lily is really wanting to do gymnastics, but I have waited to sign her up until I knew what David's football schedule would be--I can only run so many place in a day! Well, practice is on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so that works since Alexis and David both have scouting commitments on Wednesdays. Alexis also has Activity Days on Tuesday evenings, so our Tuesdays and Wednesdays are officially busy for the next couple of months! Looks like gymnastics will have to be Monday or Thursday...

David LOVED practice last night. About 5 kids from his team last year are on his team this year, plus another friend from class. His coach also seems really good and nice. David has the chance of playing quarterback, which is fantastic in his mind, and the kids all voted on their team name being the Trojans (like USC), David's favorite team.

Since Ez works Tuesday and Wednesdays, the kids and I will have fun running around town staying busy. Last night we were gone about 3 1/2 hours, but luckily lost a few kids to sleep on the way home.

Today Alexis had Girl Scouts and David had his pack meeting, so we only had an hour to kill between the two and I had no intentions of running home to try to squeeze in a meal, so I took the kids to Foster's Freeze. We had lots of fun, the kids really liked it--it was their first time eating there. The best part was the ice cream at the end, of course!


Keeping entertained while dinner was cooking


Enjoying some soda


Being Joe doesn't stop in public


Yummy


Yummier


Yummiest

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shoes

Some might call it lazy, but I just call it sensible -- Evie got her first official pair of shoes just last week and yes, she is already 15 months old! What is the holdup? Well, she had Robeez for a bit when it was chilly. But then it was summer, and hot! I also have heard that it is better for little ones to go without shoes for longer to help the muscles in their feet improve, but that might just help me feel better, who knows. I just haven't really felt like she needed them.

Well, we are going to Disneyland in just about 2 weeks, hooray! I am sure Evie will want to do her fair share of walking, and she most definitely is not going bare footed. I also have learned from experience that little ones cannot go on the Autopia ride without shoes on, so there it is. Evie is in need of some shoes.

The problem? She is obsessed. Evelyn wears her shoes all the time. She doesn't even care if one falls off, as long as she has at least one shoe on. If she realizes they are not on, she will go to the shoe basket and rip out shoes until she finds hers. Oh, and if they are not there? Watch out!


Luckily she fell asleep on the way to church and I could take them off without her remembering!


Oh, was she mad that I left them in the van! We ran and got them shortly after this scene.

Caught being good


On Sunday morning David was pretty much ready for church and had some time to kill, so he sat and read to Joe. I was pleasantly surprised since David is not our biggest fan of reading, and I don't see him typically offering to read to someone else! Evie was interested too, so she scooted in on his lap. It was just a moment too sweet for me to not enjoy!

Boys night out



On Saturday Ez took David and Joe to their first football game! They went to see Stanford play San Jose State. They all had a blast! The weather was great, the new stadium was really nice, and it wasn't too crowded, which helps when you take Joe.

A few highlights of the game, according to Joe and David:
1. The seats were great because it wasn't packed, so they got to sit pretty close.
2. The popcorn, nachos, and cotton candy were yum.
3. Joe almost caught a football (part of the pre-game thing apparently).
4. David said everything was awesome.
5. Joe said the fireworks were scary and the people scored touchdowns. The funny part is that Joe emphasizes the "downs" parts of the word, so it makes it fun to hear that people scored "touch DOWNS"!


Ez was great to take photos for us. The problem? Joe was just being a goof ball the entire time, so most pictures of him didn't quite make the list for mom...


Joe and David eating


Delighting in Cotton Candy


Hanging out as close as you could get...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Few Quarters

I really enjoy reading. I know I don't read as much as I could, but I find it a wonderful gift in life to have a book to read and enjoy! We try to encourage the kids to read and really have that excitement to dive into a good book grow in them. I am not past a bit of extra encouragement to help them along their way either!

Ez and I challenged Alexis and David to each read 2500 pages over the course of the summer, promising a cool reward if they met their goal. This was not problem for Alexis because she enjoys reading. For her reward she wanted to go out for a special lunch with mom, go on a little shopping spree at Justice for Girls (a store she really loves), and then out for ice cream at Fenton's. We had tons of fun! David has to wait a bit for his reward--he gets to go see USC play Stanford in November, but for him it is worth the wait!

Lily just has started to pick up books and read them during this past month or so. She is doing really well and I am impressed with her desire to learn. The cute thing about Lily is that while she will read books appropriate for her level, she also loves to pick up books that the older kids would want to read and tries to read those. While I know that is far too difficult, who am I to discourage such an effort?

Getting back to my point...I was at the library today with Lily, Joe and Evie. We were checking out our books and for some reason I glanced at the section where they sell the older library books. I have never really spent time looking to see what they have, so I never knew what treasures could be discovered there. While we were looking, Lily spotted an American Girl Mystery book and really wanted it. The paperback books are only a quarter! Can you believe that great deal? I handed her a quarter and she got to go put it in the little money drop box, and we kept looking--I had 4 more quarters and was suddenly hoping to spend them. Lily was so excited when she discovered 4 more American Girl Mystery books! The books are in great shape, outside of the obvious library markings on them. Lily was so thrilled about our find and immediately started trying to read them! Who knew 5 quarters could be so valuable?!

I will have to start checking those shelves for good finds more often!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I love my library!

I really love our library. They of course have lots of fun books for the kids, great CD's and DVD's. They even have these great little back packs for toddlers to check out with 4 board books and a CD, each revolving around a certain theme--Joe especially loves them.

None of these are the real reason I love my library, however. My reason? I love inter library loans. It doesn't matter if it as my library, or one 2 towns over. I love that when I want to check out a book all I have to do is sit down at my computer, log in at the library website, search and request books, music, movies, whatever, and when it comes to the library, the lovely librarians set it on the hold shelf with my name on it, send me an email, and I go and pick it up. I can be in and out of the library for myself in minutes flat. OR, if our books are due and I am never going to make it there that day, I can just hop online and renew them! I know that sounds so lazy, but it is just so convenient and makes my life easier!

It means that when we go to the library I don't have to spend time searching for my things, I can just help the kids. It means that when I am in a hurry to pick up my books, I can send in Alexis or David, they know how to find my books on hold, and they can check them out for me!

NOW, wouldn't it be nice if Target were like this? Think of all the time I would save not wandering around in Target getting distracted. Think of the extra money I'd save not picking up a few extra things we suddenly need once I stumble upon them...

Yeah, I'm all for someone else doing my busy work for me if I can swing it.

Wiped Out

David got to go stay at his friend Nathan's house yesterday, and we met up at church this morning. When I asked him if he had fun, of course he said yes. When I asked him what time they went to bed, he of course had no idea--which means he must have stayed up late! I knew he was going to be tired and need to head to bed early tonight.

Ez works long, crazy hours sometimes and often doesn't get the amount of sleep he needs. He worked last night and was able to sleep about 4 hours before having to get up for church, so he was obviously wiped out as well!

After dinner (probably around 6:20) we sat down to watch a Living Scriptures video as a family. About 15 minutes into the video, I looked over to find this...



p.s. Ez is probably going to kill me and will want me to take this off, but we will see! He doesn't know how to take it off on his own, and I kind of like it here!

Snacking

A favorite treat in our house is a large bowl of air popped popcorn, preferably with lots of butter and some salt! We made our big batch for a snack last night and the kids wanted to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on it, another yummy approach. The kids each took a smaller bowl and put some popcorn in and sprinkled a bit of cheese on top.

I was in the other room getting Evie to sleep and when I came to join in on the snacking, I could tell they were all enjoying the popcorn!



Hey Joe, want a little cheese with your popcorn?!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Copy Cat

Lily loves it when she gets to walk home from school because the big kids do it nearly every day on their own. Her favorite is when I bring her scooter and helmet and she gets to cruise home. She is actually rather good on her scooter and can coast quite a while. I enjoy watching her.

Evie gets mad the moment she sees the scooter come out of the stroller, however, because that means someone gets to wear the helmet, and it isn't Evie! The moment we get home, she gets that helmet and starts strutting around like she is a big girl.

I guess now that it is starting to cool off (90's instead of 100's), we can do a little more walking...


Trying out the scooter!


Evie also LOVES to carry around the kid's lunchboxes

New Glasses... and other growth

Alexis is our only child who needs glasses, so far. She gets a new pair each year, so on Monday Ez took Alexis to her eye exam and to pick out her new pair of frames. It took quite a while because there were many decisions to make--type of frame, color, shape...but in the end it was a choice between two cute pairs, and the one with the cuter (green) case won. They were ready fast--we got to go pick them up today.

The craziest thing about her new glasses? That's right. Alexis no longer fits into the youth glasses. What is up? When did my daughter start to grow enough to move out of the little kids stuff? Oh yeah, probably this summer when we were in San Diego on vacation and she went to put on a pair of Capri's and I realized she had grown out of nearly all her pants! Probably when her legs started getting so long that all her cute little knee length dresses and skirts looked far too short. And, oh yeah, probably when her feet grew an entire size over the summer, thus warranting all new shoes....

I guess it is safe to say Alexis really isn't my little girl any more! But isn't she growing up so lovely?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our names

It is not unusual for me to be completely sidetracked and end up spending far too long "roaming" when I am on the computer in the evening. This evening's computer time started in much the same way--check out the basic news on CNN (my source for information since I don't get the paper or get to listen to the news in silence), check my email, and then check the blogs that I typically check, which is what typically gets me in trouble! You know how it is, you see something interesting, click on someones side bar, etc. and before you know it you have just lost 45 minutes searching who knows what or reading some random person's blog because it was connected to someone's somewhere along the line...it is a dangerous waste of time!

So I got sucked in tonight. I was checking one of the blogs that I enjoy and found a link to this fun website that will tell you all about the popularity of your name--when it was most popular, that sort of thing. Of course I was intrigued. I especially wanted to check on the popularity of Evelyn's name because since she has been born I have heard of 5 other Evelyn's born within a year of her--how strange since I otherwise never hear of the name outside of older ladies...

So, here are our exciting results. It is fun to check it all out.

Ezery--well I typed his name in and the following response appeared: No names starting with EZERY were in the top 1,000 names in any decade. We knew you were unique, but this seals it, honey!

Keri--

Popularity of names starting with KERI

KERI

It's like my name doesn't even exist anymore! I feel so alone...

Alexis--

Popularity of names starting with ALEXIS

ALEXIS


David--

Popularity of names starting with DAVID

DAVID


Lily--

Popularity of names starting with LILY

LILY


Joseph--

Popularity of names starting with JOSEPH

JOSEPH


Evelyn--

Popularity of names starting with EVELYN

EVELYN

I guess it is making a comeback!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Grateful

Is it a silly thing to be grateful for the Internet? Because I am. It has been a blessing of different sorts during this past year. I hadn't heard much about blogging until we got invites to view a few of our friend's blogs in their Christmas letters. I thought they were so fun, and now here we are!

Writing on our family blog has been a fun way to express myself and my love for my family. There will be times when I think about the blog during the day and plan out what I might say. I even find myself debating particular topics for days! I take photos specifically to put on the blog. It has helped me find a way to document this special time while our kids are growing and changing that I actually do regularly and willingly!

The Internet has also kept me in better touch with friends and family far away, and has put me in touch with people I have lost track of and have been so lucky to find again! It has helped to develop relationships and friendships.

I am on goodreads, and a great friend from college found me on there just by chance (my face was shown as someone that had been on recently), so now I get to keep in touch with Annukka and watch her family grow. My Uncle Kent invited us onto Facebook--it has been another fun way to connect and reconnect with people. I didn't grow up knowing my cousins too well, and I have had the chance to keep in touch with some of them now.

My cousin, Marla, had a fun little contest on her blog. She collects pencils and had a contest to see who could guess how many she has (she has been collecting since she was a young teenager), and the winner gets a free pencil! I thought our kids would love that, so I made a very calculated guess....1031...okay, so it was Alexis's age and the date David was born on (Dec. 31)...and we won! Marla was so sweet to send a pencil to each member of the family, and the kids absolutely love their pencils! It also got Alexis wanting to collect pencils, so that was a fun start for her.

Marla's husband has been really sick and he passed away today. I am so grateful she has kept a blog so that I could know more about her, her marriage, and all that she and Rob have gone through. I can always sense her love and strength as I read her entries. How grateful I am for her example of enduring support and love. How grateful I am to have a sound understanding and appreciation of our Heavenly Father's love for us.

How grateful I also am for having the worries that are mine. I know we will never be given more than we can handle, and that in and of itself strengthens me!

A nice afternoon

We had a rather nice Sunday afternoon. We had the afternoon and evening together because Ez doesn't have to work any more Sundays on his new shift--hooray!

The kids had their typical wrestling matches with dad, we ate some dinner, had some reading time, and played a game of Monopoly Junior. I love that game because it is so much easier--less time and strategy are involved, and therefore less tears! Lily and I lost--we ran out of money first because the only people that would land on our properties were us--the nerve. Although Alexis owned more property, David ended the game with more cash by $4! Game well played, I would say.

Alexis, who is famous for making her delicious homemade brownies offered to do just thta, but since it was so hot inside and out, we all agreed upon yummy, cold ice cream!


Typical Joe--at least he stays dressed through church!


Lily reading Dick and Jane--she is our earliest reader!


Trying to ignore mom...


Enjoying some Harry Potter


My boys aren't looking too thrilled here--they needed more properties, and fast!

Ahhh....Just what I needed


Saturday morning I got up early (well, for a Saturday), showered (another shocker), and drove into Sacramento with my friend Shannon to spend the day hanging out with the likes of Kenneth Cope, Mary Ellen Edmunds, and Sharon G. Larsen. That's right, I got to go to Time out for Women! I have been looking forward to this since May (it was my Mother's Day gift from Ez), and it was worth the wait!

Shannon and I had a nice time visiting, the music and the speakers were great, and plus we got a free cute tote bag! We went to a cute Deli near the Convention Center for lunch where we were met with a rather long line. We were so lucky that another group of ladies from Vacaville were there in line and let us sneak up front with them--they saved us a good 3o minutes of waiting.

I also ran into friends from previous wards that I haven't seen in forever--Wanda from when we lived in Sacramento, and Tika from our old ward in Elk Grove!

It was such a nice day, I came out feeling inspired and uplifted. And of course, it was nice to come home and feel missed!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What it's really like

I thought having the kids back in school was going to change things. I thought I would have a bit more time to accomplish things, since there would only be 2 kids at home half the day. I thought that with the kids being busier with school and homework, they would bicker a bit less since they would spend less time with each other. Ha ha ha! Why did I ever allow myself to live with that crazy assumption?

Reality check: It is around 9:00 or 9:15 by the time I get back home from dropping kids off at school, depending on if we drive or walk. I really only have 2 1/2 hours at this point to get something done. Cleaning is good, except I have to 2 most destructive kids at home still, so leaving them to their own playing while I tidy is somewhat unproductive, but at least the mess changes rooms and form. And then there are other activities too!

Tuesdays Joe has his Music Makers class at 10. So we get home from dropping kids off and hang out for about 30 minutes, head to class, and get home with about 30 minutes before we get Lily. Nothing gets accomplished, really.

Being in 5th grade, Alexis has the option of playing an instrument in school this year. She chose the violin. We purchased the book and planned on renting the violin, which we thought was available through the school. Nope. Miscommunication. This is what happens when teachers don't send actual notes home, but leave children to relay the information. We have to rent the violin from a music store in town. So I make a few phone calls and realize that the rental for the school year will be about $150! SO, I hopped on Craigslist and found a practically new violin for $70 out in Sacramento. Guess what I spent my Wednesday morning doing (when I suppose I could have been at park day)--driving to Sacramento to purchase a violin. A good activity, money and time well spent, but another morning of not being too productive--plus Evie cried nearly the entire 1 1/2 hours of driving! Yum.

A few moms are going to be doing a home preschool on Thursday mornings, which will be great for Joe. Today was our planning meeting, essential, but there went my Thursday morning!

I have gotten little accomplished this week! Evie has napped terribly and so is going to bed at night terribly! The kids find new things to fight about--David was mad that Lily was telling me all of her Zoo Phonics sounds while he was doing his math. He was also upset that he had so much homework in one evening--but that is what happens when you don't do enough out of the homework packet during the week! Alexis got mad at David that he got the green goggles in the pool, even though she swore she wasn't going to swim today and came out 20 minutes after we had started! It is hotter than I would like (104 today), so we are all a bit grumpy. On top of that, our air conditioner is getting tired of working I think. It cools off the house fine during the day, but I looked at the thermostat at about 7:30 this evening and it was 86 in the house! At 8:15 we were all too grumpy and so I piled everyone in the van, cranked up the air, and went on a nice drive to cool us all off. I am so ready for a new weather season!

And on top of it all, Ez started his new 12 hour shifts, so he leaves at 4:15 in the afternoon! That is an adjustment as well.

So, things are busy. I am trying to come to grips with the reality that life is just busy and hectic no matter what. I think this new school year is just going to take me a bit longer to adjust to! Bummer, I was really hoping to be doing better on those school year resolutions by now! Maybe in another few weeks...

Never enough Evie

We never can capture enough photos of our kids when they are little, right? It has been fun with Evie lately because she will see the camera and then attempt a little pose--she will stand still, or scoot back and smile, or head to her favorite chair. We have these cute little wicker chairs that are just Evie's size--she spends a great deal of time in them! On Sunday morning I was trying to take a picture of Evie, and David was standing behind me trying to get her to smile. The cute part was that she ended up trying to copy him instead--when he snapped, so did she. When he clapped, Evie followed suit!





Evie and her bling!


What happens when the pantry doors get left open...

Fine Cuisine

We never had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in my house growing up. My mom thought it was gross and simply never purchased it for us. I still remember going to friends houses and loving to eat it--it was like a treat to me! Why mention this? Well, aren't there things each of us avoids purchasing for one reason or another?

At park day last week and few of us were chatting about what to send with your kids in school lunches. My friend, Sarah, said her kids love Top Ramen slightly crushed up with the seasoning packet sprinkled on it. I thought that sounded kind of fun, perhaps it was worth a try. Only problem? I don't buy Top Ramen. I kind of think it is a gross food, but I figured it could be worth a shot so when I was at the grocerry store I picked up a few packages for the kids to try.

When I told David about it, he informed me that Top Ramen is on the list of foods not allowed at school because it attracts Sea Gulls. Really? I have heard some weird restrictions on food this year at school. I think I need a list for proof. Anyway, so we cooked up some noodles--and the kids LOVE them! We finished off the 8 packs I had bought in 2 days and then when I went to Costco this week, David reminded me a number of times to pick up some more noodles there!

I was surprised just how much they loved them and decided I would go ahead and buy them occasionally--they are totally terrible for you, plus it is a snack that the older kids can actually make that I don't have to!



One last summer party

Ez had last Friday night off and we enjoyed a fun barbecue and pool party with a few friends. The weather was perfectly HOT, so the pool was appreciated. We had lots of good food, good friends, and fun conversation. We ended up with 8 adults and 15 kids, so the moms and dads were outnumbered, but it could have been worse--Sarah's oldest 2 were not there!

I of course forgot to take photos until later in the evening when it was dark and we were all sitting in the back yard in the dark eating dessert. Here are a few photos that were successful.


Lucas after eating some delicious homemade ice cream!


Becky


Samantha notices her dress still needs some velcro action to take place


Evie


Joe and JD enjoying the ice cream