Mar 31, 2015

Celebrating the Passover

Yesterday Princess and I were discussing how much fun it would be to learn about the Passover at Family Home Evening. Although I know a little about it, I have never studied the tradition before and certainly never participated in one. The kids have done it several times at church and in seminary so they had the basics down. Unfortunately, Princess had school all day and then dance, so she wasn't able to help me plan anything.

But I shouldn't have worried... Drama Queen to the rescue!

She was in Idaho all weekend with friends, and when I mentioned my disappointment, she jumped right in and owned the project. She and Baby Doll did all the shopping, including several stores to find real Matzah. Once she got her lamb roasting, she was off and running and getting everything together.

I was in and out of the house all day with various errands including dance and ball practice. When I finally picked up my last fare (I shouldn't call it that, I rarely get paid), and drove home, it was almost 8:00. Our Passover was scheduled for 8:10 when Princess and Crafty arrived home from dance.

Bossy's family showed up right after that and eventually Beauty and The Beast joined us. As I approached the house, I saw red construction paper hanging on the doorframe and I knew they were ready. As it turned out, that was Curly's idea...we couldn't possibly have a Passover meal without using something for the lamb's blood.

I didn't know that this meal is often taken lounging because that signifies free people. In fact, everything was symbolic of something! We started with a glass of apple juice (there's no wining/whining allowed in our house ;) and then we all washed our hands.

Drama Queen passed around celery for sweet herbs, romaine dipped in salt water for the bitter herbs and roasted eggs. (Who knew you could actually roast an egg!?) We had more juice and Matzah bread. As a general rule, I love bread, but it wasn't my favorite although some of the kids thought it was wonderful.

To help the little ones understand the significance of the Passover, we put on some clips from the Prince of Egypt movie while Drama Queen served the roasted lamb, potatoes and carrots, and an amazing salad with apples and nuts. For dessert, she had made rolled pastries with raisins, apricot jam, and cinnamon. They were SOO good!

We finished our lesson with a conference talk from President Howard W. Hunter about the significance of the Passover in our Christian faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We definitely have ancestors who lived and celebrated this great event for hundreds and thousands of years. I was so grateful to understand it better.

It's starting to feel like a new family tradition to begin our celebration of the Easter week.

Mar 30, 2015

Asking the Boy

Princess got all the kids involved helping her prepare to ask a boy to Girls' Pref. They were up way too late last night filling balloons with confetti and little scraps of paper that spelled out the word PRINCESS.

Yeah, she really did invite him using her blog name. She thought it might throw him off a little, but he knew right away.

They waited until he went to his mission prep class and then she took the kids with her and they scattered balloons and candy all over his room and hung streamers in his doorway. It was a little like the way he invited her to prom last year.

When he popped the balloons to find her name, I think he was a little surprised to get showered in confetti, but it didn't stop him from popping every single one.

Just guessing, now, but I'm thinking he will probably say YES...

Unless he is mad about having to clean up that mess.

Mar 29, 2015

Random Weekend News

My Girl Scout cookies are gone! I'm so happy about that, you have no idea.

First of all, when there are cases and cases of them in my living room, it's way too easy to help myself to a cookie every now and then. Pretty soon I've eaten the whole box!

We had a very relaxed troop meeting yesterday and the girls finished up the Room Makeover badge by putting together these cute wreaths. This one is Scout's. They were all so fun and so different!

The Dog Walker decided we needed a few Easter lights this year. Nothing elaborate like the big holidays of Halloween and Christmas, just a little fun. The one's on the porch railing are pastels and the ones on the windows are eggs and flowers. It didn't cost much and it made him so happy. :)

Around our baseball and softball practices today, Bossy took the kids to Toys R Us for what is called a "Lego Build." Each of the kids got a little free kit with 99 pieces in it that they got to bring home. Sport and Curly were super excited about theirs! They also went to Lego Crew at the library this week. They all love building things and using their imaginations. I would much rather have them do that than play non-stop video games. They have to interact with each other and work together to make something really cool that they can hold in their hands when they are finished.

Some of the girls went with me to the stake center for the Women's General Conference meeting tonight. Princess and Crafty had a dance competition so they didn't come and Drama Queen is in Idaho. Teach went downtown and watched it at the Conference Center. Their group was only about 20 rows from the front. She said they had amazing seats!

Fajita, Scout, Bossy, Prima Donna and I sat in the darkened chapel and watched it on the big screen. It was pretty nerve wracking because Prima Donna has her electronic baby for her FACS class this weekend and we were all afraid the baby was going to start fussing and she would have to take her out. Miraculously, she stayed quiet for the entire hour and a half! Considering she was awake about half the night last night...even with my bedroom door shut I could still hear her crying...not Prima Donna, the baby. Although with the lack of sleep, she might have been crying too.

The kids love having the baby though. Even the little ones hold her gently and like to give her a bottle. Prima Donna named her Grace and she sings Amazing Grace to her.

Just like a real baby.
Without the poop and spitting up.
...and the laundry.

Mar 28, 2015

Blast From the Past - San Francisco, 2004

 I may have shared some of these pics with you before, but I was excited to find the entire file this time. We took 2 trips to San Francisco in consecutive years, so I hope I'm getting this one in the right year. (If I'm not, I'm sure the Dog Walker will 'nicely' let me know.)

We drove down and spent about a week there touring the sites and seeing the bay. That was the first time we discovered City Passes and their cheaper prices made it possible to do things we probably wouldn't have done otherwise. We got to see the Aquarium Under the Bay and then we took a ride out into the bay. We decided not to take the kids to see the prison (and I think that tour was full anyway).

One of our favorite places was Ghirardelli Square. The kids always love free candy! The Exploratorium was our most exciting stop. I think we could have spent the entire week in there. The Dog Walker especially liked the long tube that echoed all the way across the room. The whole building was full of fun science and learning opportunities.

As you can see, Sport was little and slept most of the trip in his stroller. Crafty was about the same age Baby Doll is now and she loved seeing new places and trying new foods. She did NOT love it when people spoke to her and her favorite place was always right beside me.

Princess is the one in pink pants with all the attitude and Prima Donna is wearing her all-time favorite pair of green stretch pants. She eventually wore those completely to rags.

Teach is wearing the pink shirt and in 2004 she would have been 13 and Drama Queen in the green shirt would have been 15.

You can probably guess which one is me. Why do I always let my sweetie take the pics? Then my silly looking face is the one recorded for all time...

Mar 27, 2015

Definitely Spring

It's definitely spring! The flowers are poking out of the ground, everybody's grass but mine is starting to turn green (remember when the Dog Walker spilled a whole bag of fertilizer last fall?). Weeds are growing in the garden area and of course my tiller is broken.

I also had to arrange rides for softball/baseball practice tonight and the schedules are finally out for games. Yeah, you are right, conflicts everywhere...

But all of those things aside, the reason I know it's spring is that the first of the concerts have begun. Last night we were favored with Crafty's clarinet finesse. For a middle school band, they truly do a great job!

Over the next few weeks, we will get to attend concerts for Prima Donna, Sport, Taco, Fajita, and Princess. Oh and Dog Walker is singing on Sunday with his institute choir.

Prima Donna also had her audition for the Madrigals today, the most elite singing/dancing choir at Bingham and she got a call back for next week. She is super excited and very nervous and hopeful.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

And when the grass finally turns green.

Mar 26, 2015

Planning for Graduation

Today was a milestone day. After school I escorted Princess and the Dog Walker to the main campus at SLCC for the graduation fair. It was so fun to watch the two of them try on their caps and gowns and anticipate their upcoming commencement!

It's been 3 years since we have had a graduation in the family and now suddenly we have 3, two for Princess and one for the Dog Walker. Princess is graduating from SLCC with High Honors, so they gave her gold cords and the Dog Walker is graduating with Honors, so he got silver ones.

They also got to spin a wheel for prizes and Princess won 2 nice mechanical pencils while the Dog Walker won a ceramic mug. When they redeemed their prizes they were also given soda and donuts.

We only had one hiccup when they had a misspelling in Princess's middle name and it took them 20 minutes to decide it was OK to capitalize her A. So silly...

But of course she wants her name to be spelled correctly on her diploma.

So happy for these two! They have both worked so hard and that hard work has finally paid off.

Mar 25, 2015

3-Point Shots

You know how much I love basketball. Well, I'm not the only member of my family who loves it. My older brother played on the high school team. He was pretty short then and didn't get his full height until after high school, but he always had a solid shot and more heart than most players.

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised that his son is amazing too. He sent us this fun video he put together with some of his highlights. You won't believe how many 3-point shots my nephew can swish! And from way outside the 3-point line. It's pretty amazing!

Just see for yourself.

Mar 24, 2015

Free Tickets to the Jazz Game

Remember way back at Christmas time when we went to the sing-along at the Energy Solutions Arena? Not only did they treat us to a show and give us goodies, we also got free tickets to a Jazz game. They were playing the Timberwolves and honestly it wasn't supposed to be that great of a match-up. Not that my kids care, they just love going to a game in the big arena.

The ride down was uneventful and we were eventually all seated in section 135. We always get the nose-bleed seats, but what do you expect for free? The Jazz didn't seem to be bringing their best game, but that made it close and it was exciting when the score kept see-sawing back and forth.

Then they brought out the Sprite sling-shot. They were literally shooting one full-sized green basketball into each of the 4 quadrants of the audience. Everyone was on their feet, hoping to be the chosen one.

As I watched that ball sail from way down on the hardwood floor, I knew it was coming to me. I just had to be able to catch it.

And I did!

The only problem was that it hit my hands and the hands of the older gentleman in front of me at the same time.  He graciously let go and I quickly handed the ball to Curly who had the biggest grin imaginable on his face. After a moment, I tapped my new-found friend on the shoulder and thanked him for being a good sport. He turned and looked at my cute son with his arm wrapped around his precious ball. "No problem," he chuckled. "That's right where it belonged."

The Jazz lost a nail-biter in overtime, but we walked away happy. It's not every day we get to see such good sportsmanship displayed at an NBA game.

Mar 23, 2015

A Little Down Time

This weekend was not as crazy as some weekends are. I already told you about our trip to Funtopia on Friday, but I didn't tell you what Princess was up to. She was mostly in charge of a carnival for the Hope Kids on Saturday. She spent her day making 250 sugar cookies and the frosting to decorate them with. Then she and the Drama Queen made this cute fish pond.

On Saturday morning she had a job interview at 10:00 and then she had to have all her stuff at the carnival by 11:30. It was a little crazy, but she managed it. Oh, and at some point in the morning she found out that the princesses they had lined up had canceled on them so she was dressing up herself and her sisters so they could all be princesses.

One little girl followed Crafty around the entire time and called her Aurora...

The girls did skits and helped with cookies and wands and fun for these Hope Kids. It was a ton of work, but so rewarding. My kids love service.

The Dog Walker had a busy weekend. He watched these cute little dogs from Thursday through Sunday. He also had a Choirside tonight that he performed in. This is a pic with one of his missionary companions after the performance.

My sweetie worked most of Saturday, but then he ran me to Utah County for a Tupperware errand and then to Penney's to buy him some new clothes for his upcoming work trip. On Sunday we had all the kids to our Sacrament meeting because the girls were the special musical number singing As Sisters in Zion. According to my sweetie we sounded great!

Then Scout had a talk to give and after church we had choir practice. Oh, and Crafty had to make a grape launcher for school. I finished binding another of the baby quilts for Daylen's Eagle project and Sport managed to pass off the Digital Technology merit badge for scouts while Curly completed a Soaring Leader project.

You know, on second thought, maybe this wasn't such a quiet weekend...

Mar 21, 2015

Guest Blog: Bippity Boppity Boo! by Drama Queen

Remember that part in Cinderella when she is all ready for the ball but the step-sisters tear apart her pretty dress and all she can do is cry and cry?  And the worst part is is that you know how much she worked and stressed to make sure she could go but then just a few minutes of people being careless and mean just ruined all of it?

I feel like that sometimes when it comes to cleaning.

Like it or not, the truth is that it is hard to keep our home clean.  We've never been the type to shy away from hard work..but easy work can be a bit more challenging.  Why take your backpack all the way to the mudroom when it can be left in the living room?  Why drag dirty clothes back to your hamper when the bathroom floor seems sufficient?  I'm terrible with taking out the trash.  I'd rather scrub the entire bathroom with a toothbrush than empty the kitchen trash.  It's just a weird thing that we all seem to struggle a bit with.  But, while living here at home I've decided to try helping the littlest kids work harder to help Mom keep things clean.

One thing we've instituted is our weekly job chart.  By having that visual break-down everyday, it helps keep in mind the expectation that there is something they need to help out with.  We've also worked to make privilegs a little more chore-dependent.  Or offer rewards like easier jobs or a free day for extra good work.  Me, Mom, and Dog Walker all run it and I think its been helping. 

But there's one chore I just can't seem to get tackled each week.....


Bedrooms are terrible things.  They really are.  Because its not a major traffic zone, the floor can get piled up with all sorts of crazy stuff, and when you have two or even three children getting dressed in the same room, the laundry gets pretty out of control.  Toss in lots of toys and it can turn into a real battlefield.  Even poor Cinderella might be a bit phased by what can happen in a week.   

So this week, I hit my limit.  Or  maybe a brilliant idea.  (I'm not quite sure which..)  And yesterday afternoon I announced to the girls: "If your room is completely clean by midnight, I'll take the three of you to see Cinderella  tomorrow."

You'd think Lucifer had spotted Gus-Gus!  With a bit of coaxing, a minor amount of pleading, a ton of help, and quite a lot of encouraging words, we managed to get each other through it.  And the boys did too.  Prima Donna even did her Saturday jobs!  (That was a miracle way bigger than some gourd coach..)

And I guess the old song held true, because I ended up buying ten tickets today..It's true what you say about our dozen,

Put 'em together and what have you got

Funtopia - Lehi

One of my favorite things to do with my blog is visit some fun new place that I may have never noticed without an invitation. We are just so busy, sometimes we get focused on what we know and the places we typically go. Funtopia is anything but typical!

When we first got the invitation, we pulled up the website and watched the video several times. The kids were so excited to find a rock-climbing gym just the right size for them! This was one of those places where even Baby Doll could have a great time.

Since Friday is our short day and our best opportunity for fun, we scheduled an appointment for 4:00. The good part about that is that we didn't have to wait because we were already on a magic list. As soon as we arrived, they fitted the kids with harnesses and then escorted them to a meeting room for a quick safety video. Moments later, we were in the gym.

Sport and Bean Dip were fascinated with the big spongy blocks and they kept trying to climb them, but the blocks would fall over before they could get very high. Curly and Burrito were fearless and they immediately climbed to the top of the highest walls.

My favorite one to watch was the buildings that ran in a square getting progressively higher. As the kids climbed, their cords helped them keep their balance until they were standing on top of the tallest building I'm guessing about 20 feet in the air. Scout was the first one to make it all the way up and then she threw herself down and the cable brought her mostly gently to the ground.

It took a while to convince Sport he could go all the way up as well, but he finally left the comfort of the large blocks and took his chances. After an aborted attempt halfway up, he tried again and eventually got to the top and thoroughly enjoyed the ride down

Baby Doll was afraid to get very high. She never did make it all the way to the top because after the first time, she was too excited to "fly" and she never got higher than halfway up before she was throwing herself off with a fit of giggles.

They have this gigantic slide, but the kids had to put on a red slippery outfit and then be pulled up by a cable. Curly thought it was super fun, but it took a while to convince the girls they wanted to try. Scout got quite a ways up, but let go before she reached the top, so when Baby Doll was all ready to go, I kept telling her to "hold on" until she was very nearly at the top. She is so small that she was speeding down the slide fast enough to make both of us nervous, and when she got to the bottom she didn't know if she should laugh or cry so I took the lead until we were both laughing at her daring adventure.

All too soon our time was up. Burrito was so disappointed that he hadn't been on the big slide, but as the other kids were removing their harnesses, the cute girl who ran the slide motioned for him to come over and she quickly dressed him and sent him up.

The staff was always helpful and they were much quicker at changing out the carabiners than we were. One thing that surprised me was that parents were allowed to wander and take pictures and help the kids on and off the equipment.

As we hustled across the parking lot so we could get home in time for me to keep score at the basketball games, the kids were all talking about how next time they wanted to do this or that first. So I'm definitely thinking our first trip won't be our last.

Thanks, Funtopia!

**We were given free passes to try out Funtopia, but the opinions are all our own.***