Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

Yes, it started last week, but I haven't gotten a chance to blog about it yet.

Gabe started going to preschool last. My friend Jamie (who is really the most adorable and fun mom around - seriously, I want to be her) organized a group of moms in our ward to take turns teaching preschool. It is on Mondays and Wednesdays for a couple of hours, and Gabe seems to be having a good time. He is a little shy around other people still, but Jamie did say that she got him to smile, so that's something! Here he is on his first day. He think he is checking to make sure the car he brought for show and tell is still in his pocket.

Colin started 1st grade last week. His teacher was actually the person who took over for his kindergarten teacher for three months last year while she was on maternity leave, so he already knew her quite well. From what we saw of her last year, she pushes the kids a little more than some of the other teachers, and some of the work he has brought home already seems to show that. The second day of school he brought his math home (what they did in class, not homework). It was questions like 14-9, 16-4.....things I'm not sure they covered much in kindergarten, and this was the SECOND day of school. I heard a bunch of the moms talking about it the next day at pick-up. Some of them were saying that their kids were in tears over it, so I asked Colin how math was going. He said it was "kind of frustrating" but that he only missed one problem. Then I remembered that the previous day, when I picked him up, he told me that he had said two prayers while he was at school. When I asked him what they were about, he said, "I didn't want to mess up on what I was doing" but couldn't remember what he was doing. I am thinking that was math. I am glad that he seems to be able to handle the extra push that his teacher is giving them, but of course I will be keeping a close eye on that. He has taken going back in stride and seems pretty happy. His biggest complaint is practicing writing characters, which was what he hated most last year too, so nothing new there.

Here he and Gabe are in front of the school garden on his first day back.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Second Annual Back-to-School Dinner

On Monday we held our Back-to-School Dinner/FHE. It was first inspired last year by Nie, and though I will never pull it off as beautifully as her, I suppose I can get away with it since I have only boys, who wouldn't truly appreciate it if I did.

On the menu:

Zuppa Toscana with garlic butter crostini (okay, it was garlic bread)

Mom's Lasagna

Salad with broccoli and garden grape tomatoes

After dinner we had a special Family Home Evening highlighting this year's family motto, Our Home Should be a Sacred Refuge, which was inspired by this talk.

Although we have lived in this home for two years, we hadn't dedicated it yet, so after talking about it with the kids, we knelt and Chad offered a dedicatory prayer.

Our motto and a theme that we wrote that we are focusing on for the year are now hanging in our front room to remind us of our family goals.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

The Day We Learned To Never Trust a One Year Old

Oooh, look at those pretty lights.

A little closer please

Do you see them mom? Can I touch them?

Fine then, I will just play with the frosting.


Swift move of the hand by Daddy saves the day (phew!)

(Pictures are stills taken from the video I took yesterday - I spared you our singing)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For Grandma and Grandpa Coleman

The books were a big hit.....

And so were the puppets!

Thank you!

Here is a video for you to enjoy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oliver's Birthday Party

See the little one in yellow? The one with the grin from ear to ear?
This was all about him.

We all got together last Friday to celebrate Oliver's birthday . We knew everyone would be busy on his birthday (which is the first day of school again) so we thought it would be fun to have it a little early - one last family summer hurrah.

It was a very simple party

The pool provided all the entertainment we needed.

We had banana splits instead of cake, because Oliver screams for ice cream.

We opened presents and Granny and Grandpa had a huge hit with the sippy cup they gave him - one of those ones with the flip up straw.

He carried it around with him the rest of the party.

This is what he looked like the whole time! Just a huge smile, cruising around. I think it was the perfect party for our little boy.

(Tomorrow is his birthday and we will do a little celebration with a cake here at our house. I don't want to think about it too much- I might cry.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Wild Saturday Night

I couldn't take it any longer.

I don't know if it was the summer heat getting to me, or the kids breathing down my neck, but I need to live a little.

I felt old and wanted to feel young.
I had fought the urge for way too long.

It was a Saturday night and I just wanted to party like the old days.

The kids were in bed, and Chad was playing the Wii.

I needed to act quickly and quietly. If Chad caught me, he would definitely question me and try and talk me out of doing what I was about to do.

I grabbed what I needed and rushed upstairs, to somewhere I could be alone.

I couldn't think about this too long. I needed to act now.

Oh yeah, this was gonna be fun.

Smile for the camera!

Then clip clip clip.

Once you start, you can't stop.

There is no going back.

I woke up this Sabbath morning a little fuzzy-headed. Did I really do that?

Something like regret seeped into my heart. How could I go to church and face everyone? Would they judge me?

The regret fled, I put on a happy face, and walked tall into church.

This is me, take it or leave it.

(I really do think I am doomed to have short hair for the rest of my life.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Week - Day 5

Yes, I missed a day. Sorry! You can dock my pay if you want to.

I first started to hear about There Is No Me Without You through the various adoption blogs and websites that I frequent, especially ones that are for Ethiopia. Since I am cheap and our library didn't have it at the time, I never read it.

One day my sister-in-law Audra (who I believe had just started the adoption process for Ethopia) mentioned that she was reading a great book and told me about it. I was so happy when I realized it was this one. I borrowed it after she finished, and it lived up to my expectations.

It is a little slow in the beginning when it talks about Ethiopia's history, but getting through that part really does set up a solid context for the rest of the story that the book tells - a story of one woman who changed the lives of thousands of AIDS orphans.

It is a story that is especially close to my heart now that Levi and Audra have three beautiful Ethiopian children.

When I finished it, I wanted to change the world, and believed that I could.

Have you ever read a book that inspired you that way?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday Meets Day 3 of Book Week

Let's be real here,

Chad and I haven't always had this perfect marriage ;o)

I would even say that for the first five years of our marriage, neither of us were completely happy with our relationship.

When it all came to a head, we read this book together,

and it completely changed our marriage and our lives.

I swear I don't use the term "life-changing" very often, but this book was exactly that.

If I weren't afraid of offending people, I would buy this book for every new couple as a wedding gift.

And even if you really don't "need it," it is downright interesting.

So here comes your own chance to keep it real -

Any self help books you have read that you can give an enthusiastic thumbs up to?

And let me just add, if you think, "Getting my husband to read a marriage book would be like pulling teeth"...yeah, that is pretty much what it was like, but I think Chad is happy with the results.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Week! Day 2

Growing up, we got to open one gift each on Christmas Eve. Since each of the eight children gave each other something, we had gifts aplenty, but most of them were purchased at Pic 'n Save for under a dollar each. One gift always stood out under the tree - the gift from my Nana and Papa, which was almost always exactly what you asked them for. When I was in third grade, my fervent wish from them was for the complete Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Book gifts were a very deal for a little girl in a little town with a little library. I am pretty sure the library didn't even have the complete series at this point.

When my wish was granted, I couldn't sleep for excitement. Do you know that feeling - the delightful anticipation of finally having the book you have craved in your hands? I couldn't fight the feeling - I stayed up late into the night, spread out with the books on my bottom bunk, reading with aching eyes by flashlight.

These books were my first literature loves. I made bookmarks for each one. I thought about naming my first son Almanzo. I rejected the show because it wasn't faithful enough to the books.

At that ripe old age of eight, I was sad for Laura when I read the last book, The First Four Years, but felt a little disappointed. It wasn't exactly the fairy tale ending I had been hoping for (nor was Almanzo and Laura's courtship in These Happy Golden Years been dripping with modern day romance - oh, but I see the romance now!).

Reading this book as an adult, it is devastating and beautiful. It wasn't completed or published before Laura Ingalls Wilder's death (it is basically just a manuscript), and it concise and relatively emotionless, which in a way, makes it all the more poignant for me. Read it, as a mother, and it is a much different book than what an eight year old sees.

All of the books are very different to me as an adult, and I still love them.

I made the mistake this year of reading The Long Winter in succession with The Diary of Anne Frank this past February. Either of those books can have you alternately depressed and bursting with gratitude, but if you read them together in February, you won't want to leave your bed for a few days.

Do you have any poignant memories one of the "Little House" books?

What was one of your first literature loves?
*Edited to add
Christie assures me that our library had the full set. Sorry, I didn't mean exaggerate how horrible our library was (but it was!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Week! Day 1

Well, I am trying to limit my computer time this week (it is the week before school starts so I am trying to spend a lot of time with the kids, and I am not allowing any TV), but I can't go a whole week without blogging, so this week will be Book Week. I am going to try and feature some books that I read again and again - books that have appealed to me at different times of my life for different reasons. Hopefully they will be books that you have read too and are willing to comment on!

Day 1

One summer when I was hanging out with my cousin Olivia (yes, my very cool Gnome Sweet Gnome cousin), she was reading this book. I think I was probably twelve or so at the time. It definitely didn't look like a book I was would like (I was already very into Anne and such), but she said it was interesting and offered to loan it to me, so I gave it a chance. I can't really remember sending it back, so Uncle Buck, if you have been missing your copy for 16 years, sorry!

I was immediately hooked. It was definitely unlike any of the previous books I had read. Smart, interesting, yes, even violent. Kids who weren't in babysitter clubs, but training as soilders. Satisfying yet heartbreaking ending.

I have to admit that though I have loved several Orson Scott Card books, his are the only science fiction I have ever really tried. I'm not sure why that is.

So, if you have read it...

How old were you when you first read it?

Did it turn you on to science fiction?

Have you read it again as an adult and gained a different perspective?

Did you like one of the sequels more?

Any other science fiction that I HAVE to try?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer night at the garden

During the summer, the garden stays open until 9 every Thursday (instead of it's normal closing time of 5). I completely forgot about this fact until last week when we went with my sister Lindsey. I have always wanted to go to the garden in the evening because the lighting is so much better for photography, so I decided to make a trip tonight without my kids (gasp).

It was even lovelier that usual in the evening - the scents were so strong and it was nice and cool. I was really enjoying myself and looking forward to a million un-rushed shots (though I wished I had brought my tripod). About a half an hour in though, my camera battery died. I had a nagging feeling all day that I should charge it, but I could have sworn that it was almost full, so I never did.

I spent the rest of my alone time just enjoying my stroll and taking paths I have never taken with the kids.
Speaking of kids, here are some pictures from our visit there last week with Lindsey, Lily, and Granny.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

And you thought your husband's feet were ugly......

Chad got home from work last evening and Colin immediately requested that he get his big Styrofoam airplane down from on top of the neighbors porch. Chad retrieved his expandable ladder and soon had the toy down. As Chad went to slide the ladder back down, it slid more quickly than he expected and landed right on his foot. I was in the front yard and saw it happen. He couldn't budge an inch - just stood there hunched over the ladder, gasping. I walked over as he took his sock off and gasped myself. It was immediately swollen. It did not look good.

Dinner was eaten quickly and then we dropped Colin and Gabe off at Sabina's and made our way over to the express care. After a few X-rays, it was determined that there was no break (THANK GOODNESS! I WOULD HAVE MURDERED MY CHILDREN DURING THE SIX WEEK RECOVERY PERIOD THE DR. WAS PREDICTING AND CHAD WOULD HAVE GONE MAD FROM SITTING STILL), but it was declared a "severe contusion." He is supposed to stay off of it for a week or so and got a prescription for night time pain relief.

I think he was a little disappointed that it wasn't broken because he wanted some proof that he wasn't exaggerating his pain level.
And let me just state that I can't really can't talk about ugly feet -mine are pretty bad - and the Dr. and the nurse kept looking at Chad's x-ray and telling him how excellent his bone structure was. Weird. I think the nurse was just flirting with him. She even mentioned her age (41 and she was blond. Cougar!) and made a joke about how he should wear that apron thingie during the x-ray if he "wanted to keep having more of those boys".

Poor Chaddycakes. Get well soon loves - and thanks for giving me some blog material.

(I'm not sure how well this fit into the Keepin' it Real category, but it is Wednesday and it has a yucky picture of a foot, so why not?)