Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birthday boy

an Applegram intro by Landon a few weeks ago

We celebrated Landon's birthday today with an Arctic Animals birthday party (with the highlights of  ice melting/treasure finding, arctic slime, balloon candy popping,  and a present of "Onto the Desert" from Jordan and me.) All day he was so super excited, 'what time is the party again?!?' I sat down with him for a couple of minutes before the party to tell him 7 things that  I love about 7-year-old Landon. And they were something like this -
1. His total excitement for life.
2. Watching the joy he feels so completely when he is happy about something.
3. How he works so hard at things that he feels are important
4. The way he is very conscientious at school in trying to be so respectful
5. His compassion. How he loves to come to the rescue and save the day and help any way he can when he sees someone is having a hard time.
6. I love hearing all of the interesting facts that he loves to share from things he's read or watched, especially about animals.
7. I love what a great leader he is for his siblings. It is a delight to watch them play together in one of the games he's thought of and leads the way on, and I know Ellie and Owen love it too.

Oh, this Landon! Who feels things so intensely - happy and sad, joyful and despairing, filled with gratitude or bursting with frustration…

Tonight he sat on the couch with us, squeezed between Jordan and me - showing us each of his new animal cards and stopping every once in a while to express his gratitude "You guys do so much for me! You work so hard to do these special things for me!…"  Oh, we do so love you

(a few fun pics, though I wish I had an even better one to capture the immediate and wonderful and total complete joy that Landon shows when he is playing in the water!)

Landon at the Oregon beach, just before first birthday
Landon and Owen at La Jolla beach

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our new garden (animoto)

Summer Day Animoto

Sunday, July 6, 2014

From Ellie: 4th of July is Awesome!

Fourth of July is awesome! Mom invented a new thing that we have never done before. Before we had 4th of July, Mom's invention was Star Day. When we had done a lot of activities, I  thought that Mom's invention was a great idea! On Star Day we did a lot of activities. We did kind of a lot in a row even. We made bags for the parade on 4th of July. And I even did an activity with Dad to make paper bags for extra.  I just forgot about parades because I didn't know they had a lot of candy! I thought they just had a little so they would be light for our paper bags that me and Dad made.  I liked to do all those activities! And we even made something out of pool noodles! We made a decoration to put outside.

And then, when that day came I was so excited for a parade that was happening that day at 4th of July. In the parade, Landon got a lot of string cheese, and it was funny because when he came back with the string cheeses, he said "Next time don't buy us some string cheese!" I thought that was funny because we didn't buy it - Landon just got them from the parade! It was funny because Mom brought some water bottles to bring with us because it's hot in summer, cause she didn't know that they had free water bottles at that parade! Everyone got a ton of candy, except Owen - he rested a lot of time. And sometimes I was a little tired, but when I saw another thing when Landon got the string cheese, then I raced up and got one. But I didn't know it wasn't candy - I thought it was candy, but it really was just string cheese. I did get one, but I just put it on the grass with the other ones that Landon got - he got a ton!

And at the parade, when the candy was done and the real parade part was done, we went to see some things that were fun to do somewhere else where they did the parade. We found a bubble machine. There were bubbles everywhere and they went about to my shoulders!  I went in it - I fell down a couple times, but one of the times I wasn't scared because I fell down in a little hole where there was no bubbles and I poked my head up where there were no bubbles. I got so bubbly! But Mom told me they had some paper towels I could dry myself up with just one.

A couple days later, Mom thought of an idea that she thought I would love - when we first came to a new park we'd never been to, with some friends - it was called the Splash Pad! A couple days later Mom's idea was to go to the Splash Pad again with swimsuits. And I had a lot of fun time! I played with a lot of the water. I had a super fun time at the Splash Pad!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July/thoughts on service

(Today's post for the Cache Valley Volunteer Center)

My kids and I are spending our days this week with red, white, and blue projects and star-spangled flag activities. Our fridge is getting stocked for a weekend barbecue, and plans are in the works for fireworks and parades. The kids have been learning to sing 'Fifty Nifty United States' and it has become the soundtrack to our summer days.  In the midst of all the fun, conversations are popping up over breakfast, craft projects, and car rides. 'I'm so happy to live in America' or 'Isn't it great that we have so much freedom to choose what we want to do?'

A friend recently told a story of living abroad years ago. He and a friend were looking for a way to serve in their small community when they came across an old  wall overgrown with bamboo. They went to the city officials to get permission to work on clearing the space, and were met with confusion and suspicion. 'Why would you want to do this for us?' was the general idea.

I think that one of the great blessings of living in our country is the culture of service.  Every day I see neighbors, friends, and strangers here in Cache Valley offering service to one another - usually without giving it a second thought.  What a wonderful area we live in.

Because of my husband's work, we've had many opportunities over the past several years to spend time in New York City.  While he works, my kids and I explore and enjoy the sights and sounds and wonders of the city so unlike our own. As our family has grown, our recent trips have left me wondering if I wasn't one of the most unique sights to see in the big city (a young mom with 4 young children!)  And yet, each time we visit I am amazed at how quickly the strangers that I encounter there go out of there way to help me and my family.  Carrying a stroller up the subway steps, giving a smile or a kind remark to a tired child, giving up seats on the train, holding an elevator, offering directions, opening doors and holding them for our full parade of children to pass through. And all of this service, again, without a moment's pause.

With this week's celebrations and festivities, I'm so grateful to live in America. And I'm grateful for the examples of service great and small that make our country - with it's  big cities and small towns -  a such a wonderful place.