Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gifts that Keep on Giving

With 2 kids' birthdays 8-14 days away, I'm currently on a desperate hunt for gifts that keep on giving, giving all the way through the hot summer so that I do not have to deal with fighting, boredom, etc. Okay, maybe that's asking a little much, but still, I need some help. What are the most-used gifts your kids have received?  (And I'm assuming books, legos, playmobil, and outdoor items like bikes/scooters are on everyone's lists.)

I'll add a few of our own below.

A recent winner for H:
All of the kids have loved this one:
H is currently obsessed with games and this is one for his age that I don't mind playing over and over again:

Mister got this for Christmas this year and he and Sweetie love building all kinds of contraptions--a doorbell, a light, etc.
My favorite game to play with the kids, hands-down. We love this one!
These books have kept my kids occupied during sacrament meeting and road trips for a couple of years now:

So what would you add?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just call me a "Viking"

Today's my first day teaching here: 
But not actually there since I'm teaching online. In fact, I have no idea what the building in this picture is, but it's beautiful and hopefully my teaching experience will be beautiful too! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Words for the Week

Monday night, in a fit of cleanliness, I put away almost everything that usually sits on "my" counter in the kitchen (with J working from home so much and usurping my office, I tend to stack my computer, my camera, and my piles there--teaching prep pile, Primary pile, book proposal pile, kids' papers pile, you get the picture). Unfortunately, since I put the camera away, you don't get the picture, or pictures, that is, of our week. These 2 are the only ones. But they're goodies. I give you . . . 
Sweetie's Art Debut
We got a letter in the mail a week or so ago, informing us that Sweetie's art had been chosen for an art show for our school district and that the open house would be Monday night. Sweetie had no idea which piece of hers was selected, so it was a surprise for us all. Here's our resident artist with her work:

Had I taken pictures of the rest of the week, you might have seen a lot of blue, red, and purple lips because we are the happy owners of a snow cone/slushy maker and have taken it upon ourselves to sample the flavor possibilities. 
And we've had the perfect weather for it. This afternoon after church, we spread the blankets out on the lawn again. J read; Sweetie, Mister, and I played Sleeping Queens, and H alternated between holding my knight cards, playing in the sandbox, and being sent inside for throwing dirt from the flowerbeds. It was just what I needed after spending the entire day yesterday cooped up in the library reading about rhetorical agency and moral agency. Blah. I don't want to talk about that and you don't want me to talk about that. We're trying to soak up the sun while we can. I have a strong premonition that in a few weeks, we'll be trying to stay out of the sun. I think that's the extent of this week's excitement. Without pictures, I don't remember much . . . how sad is that? I did break the camera out again and solemnly swear that I will not indulge any fits of cleanliness this week. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

The dishwasher is humming in the background. It's a sound I love because, first, if I can hear it, it means kids are tucked tightly in bed, and, second, it means the dishes are done. And there were piles of them tonight, stacked up from the breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls of this morning and from the 98 rolls I made for Primary and Easter dinner. Luckily, we pretty much just showed up at Vickie and Ron's for Easter dinner, rolls and green salad in hand, and were treated to lots of deliciousness with hardly any effort on our part.

It was a good--and typical--Easter, full of hunting for baskets in the morning

and eggs

The aftermath of the egg hunt in H's chair.

and new clothes

and enjoying the company of family.

And, thankfully, full of talk of our Savior. Because when it comes down to it, if we did not have Him and His Atonement and Resurrection, none of the rest of it would matter.

Poem of the Month:

Death Be Not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die. 
John Donne

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What a good Good Friday

What a good Good Friday! The kids were off of school, so I slept in a little longer and then went on a 6-mile run and got my fastest time in a while. I also managed to get my Segullah post up in time. Then we headed to the park to dye eggs with friends. (Unfortunately, in H's case, eggs were not all that were dyed. His legs are still a nice green color. I managed to salvage the shoes, but not the shorts/shirt/socks.)

After the park, Sweetie, her friend, H, and I rolled out the sugar-cookie dough I had made the night before, and we all frosted the bunny cookies.
Covered in flour and smelling like the vinegar in the egg dye.

Before dinner, J took the boys to the Fathers and sons campout. I tried not to think about the possibility of J chatting with the men (because we do know how he likes to chat) while H falls in the fire or gets lost in the dark (because we do know how he likes to run/trip/make mischief). To take my mind off such possibilities, Sweetie and I visited the candy store Sweeties and picked out candy for the Primary Activity Day ("A Day on the Prairie") and for the kids' upcoming Harry Potter Birthday Bonanza. Then we went to the mall to look for a belt for me; we came away empty-handed and passed over the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (much to my dismay) in favor of Chick-Fil-A and pottery painting, the latter of which Sweetie had had her heart set on for quite some time.  She picked out an ice-cream-cone box/holder and we went to town. I loved spending time with Sweetie. In our "normal" lives, I spend far too much of my time with her asking her not to bug or boss her brothers or to put away the overwhelming number of her possessions that seem to make their way daily out of her room and into the communal living space, and threatening to make her pay me her allowance if I have to pick them up or do her jobs. One-on-one, Sweetie is, well, very sweet. And funny  (e.g., doing crazy dance moves to the music in the isles of Forever 21). One day she will be the one laughing while telling me that I am embarrassing her, instead of the other way around. She was great company and she does really know how to laugh and have a good time.
Picking out her paints.

In all, it was a great day. The boys made it back in one piece this morning--I'm sure some Fathers and sons pics will be coming soon. It has been a good Good Friday and I have been grateful for the goodness in my life and the Gospel that gives it to me.

The one regret I have this Good Friday is that I haven't spent as much time talking about the Savior this week as I have in the past. Last year for a Relief Society nonSunday meeting, I managed to update my former plan/schedule for elementary school kids and teenagers (email me if you want a copy), but the evenings and nights have found part of us gone off to different activities. We have managed to do about half of the nights' readings/discussions and watched a couple of the church's Bible videos to go along with the eggs. But all of a sudden I have a moody almost 9-year-old (and to think I thought I had 3-4 more years before all of that starts!) who is not as excited about participating as in years past. Oh well, I think I'll hide the eggs and the pictures and we'll try to finish up tomorrow morning, since we have afternoon church.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ahhhh. Conference weekend.

When we get much-needed food for the soul and not-so-needed food for the body. Here's a short photo-documentary of our conference Sunday:

The kids get a piece of candy for each member of the Quorum of the 12. The candy has their pictures taped to it. The older 2 get to eat it after listening and taking notes. H just gets to eat it. He wanted that Elder Perry piece of gum so badly. He held that gum with both hands and kept saying all through a previous talk, "I want him say Amen." When I went to grab my camera, he took advantage of the moment.


Running and jumping on dad.

Follow the leader