Friday, January 24, 2020

A couple of things

+ This morning I said to Isaac (with meant-to-persuade enthusiasm) "Maybe you can take a bath today!" and he replied cheerfully, "Why? I'm never dirty. I'm always not dirty!"

+ Jordan noticed that Owen was in need of some new shoes as he would run on the gym floor at basketball and try to stop but would just keep sliding with his no-traction-left shoes. I took Owen shoe shopping yesterday and when we found a pair that felt good, he asked if he could go test them out. Soon he was running full speed up and down the shoe aisles (with quick stops to test the amazingness of a little tread!) Fortunately there weren't many other shoe shoppers around. Ha! My thought for 'testing them out' wasn't quite the same, but he knew what really mattered.  :)

+ One evening this week I was making dinner and feeling a bit in a 'dinner every day, really?' mood. I had started some taco meat on the stove and started to work on something else. Porter came in, pulled up a stool, grabbed a spatula and then stayed at the stove as cheerful as can be till it was all cooked. Then he just kept jumping in to help (in real, helpful ways!) all through dinner and I was so grateful!

+ Landon and I went to a new-freshman meeting last night at one of the high schools -- we're in the process of deciding which school he'll attend. It was pretty fun to look around the auditorium though and see so many familiar faces, especially so many kids that I got to know helping out in their  kindergarten and first grade classes!

+ Ellie has been really into programming lately and has come up with lots of fun tricks that the Lego Robots can do. This week she and Jordan made the snake game (on the Robot screen), and it was so cool to hear them talking and planning and to hear all the excited creative problem solving.

+ Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

This week

Snow fun

Ellie and her friends were playing outside in the snow one day after school with such happiness. I had been watching them from inside in the kitchen, and they seemed to be trying to get something down from up by the roof, so I went to see if I could help. "Nope -- that's the game! We're just trying to see if we can get it with a snowball!" It was just fun to watch these girls playing, building an icicle village, climbing the tree (maybe not the best with snow + boots...) I love these happy girls! 

Preschool time

A friend and I have a little preschool-time/play day swap worked out for a couple days each week now, and it is such fun. These two kiddos get along great -- Isaac is happy to play family when she wants to, and she is a great sport at playing Isaac's latest favorite Star Wars ("Okay, so I am Luke Skywalker, and you are Princess Leia and hmmm.... you don't like Darth Vader, right mama?") Having a friend over for preschool time also makes it fun and gives me a little more motivation to pull out or prep some more involved or unique activities that I might not otherwise. 


Given the choice between city rec basketball or doing our own Brough basketball, the kids all chose Brough basketball this year, and Jordan has been their super coach. He has great drills for them and tracks their progress. We set dates and times and scheduled it all on the calendar to make sure it would really happen. So far, the kids have asked for extra days to go play or practice, so I think it has been a success! 

Anne Frank 

Landon has enjoyed getting ready for an Anne Frank play his English class has been prepping over the last couple months, and they've been performing their scenes over the last week or so. Today he got to take a frosted cake "Peace in 1944" as a prop and class dessert. (Also, Landon baked the cake but I helped him by frosting it. As I frosted the letters (the very extent of my cake decorating skills), Landon and Ellie watched with the sweetest comments encouraging me on  - Whoa! How do you do that??  Another mom passed along a kind comment from the teacher about a group Landon was performing with "You have restored my faith in 8th graders!" :)

Classroom time

Just before the break, I got to help out with a couple of the kids' class parties and I realized I was missing helping in their classes this year. Today I started helping out in Porter's class, and it was so fun! First grade is the best, and I love these kiddos already! 

Beautiful days 

We've had a snowy January, but a lovely one. Lots of warm days in between stormy days, and enough  new snow to keep everything looking white and feeling fresh and lovely. And not too crazy cold - hooray!  We had a super hard January several years ago  (when we escaped to Idaho with their -6 degree high, but clear air!) and maybe because of that extra grey and cold year, since then I feel like each year I'm surprised at all the beautiful January days we really do get! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

sound bytes

I had a long enough break from writing here that I took some time to look through some of my unfinished drafts from the last few months and found a few I still wanted to either finish up or just post unfinished. (This one and a few more to come.)

One little sound byte I have to add in is Isaac's recent "Right, Mama?" He was just having a lunchtime conversation via hangouts with Grammie and Grandpa and I loved every few minutes as I prepared my lunch answering his earnest "right, mama?" questions.

Falling asleep last night, I was thinking about all the funny little conversations I'd had throughout the day with the kids. I wish I could remember now what they all were, but I thought I'd write down just a few bits anyway as a little snapshot of life right now.

"What's on the calendar today?"

"Mom, how can we jump or even walk if there is gravity?"

"What if we could scoop up all the gravity from everywhere on the earth and take it up to space..."

"I finished making my game! Will you play it with me?"

"I'm almost done with my jobs! I just have _____ and_______and _______and _________left..."

"I can't imagine having another school year better than this one" (Oh, hooray!! :)

"Mom! Look!"

"Please bless Dad to be safe in New York and to have fun working while he is there."

"When are you done with your morning jobs?"

"Scriptures?" (An invitation/reminder from Ellie)

"Will you tuck me in?"

Monday, January 6, 2020

Christmas Traditions

One day in December Ellie showed me a mini book she was making of all our Christmas traditions. Until I took a minute to read through her sweet book, I kind of thought we didn't really have that many traditions. But we do! And it was so fun to see which things she picked out. I don't have it with me but here are a few favorites I could think of today:

+ Christmas Eve Program
For the last few years Ellie or Landon have helped me plan this. We read about the Savior's birth from Luke and act out the nativity and sing Christmas songs and often add in some other fun music like handbells and cello this year.

+ Christmas Eve Room
One year just for logistics, we had all the kids sleep in the guest room downstairs together on Christmas Eve. I think I strung up a strand of lights and set out a basket of Christmas books.  The next year the kids were super excited to sleep in the Christmas Eve Room and this happy tradition was started! Now we decorate on purpose and the kids look forward to this special night. This was the happiest accident that still always has all of the kids excited to go to bed on Christmas Eve.

+ Cinnamon Bear
Throughout December (when we can) we gather up with blankets and pillows in the front room with all the lights off except the Christmas tree and listen to the Cinnamon Bear before bedtime.  This year I felt like I did a lot better at just relaxing and enjoying the cozyness (instead of trying to get something done/finished up/worked on) while listening. This was great, except then I had to get back up from a so-cozy spot to help get all the kids to bed!

+ Pizzelle Making
Beginning probably December 1, the kids start asking "when can we make pizzelles?!?" I love that they love to help with this! This started with a single batch for our nearest neighbors in Provo and each year we make and share a few more than the year before. And we have an amazing little system worked out with cookie makers, edge trimmers, timers... so fun! This is my favorite.

+ Music
Forever favorites -- Peter Breinholt, Amy Grant, Celine Dion, Michael W. Smith, NSync (this has faded out of my rotation I guess, but it still makes me happy and has to be included :)

Newer and still long-time favorites -- Lower Lights, Lady Antebellum, Mindy Gledhill, Ingrid Michaelson (newer)

+ 12 Days of Christmas
Just like my grandparents did for us when I was kid, my Dad & Shauna send gifts for the kids to open, one each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. This year they loved most the breakfast cereals and pajamas.

+ Gift Giving/Christmas Morning
We get each of the kids a book, a toy, something for a hobby, and a game. I love to wrap presents so everything is wrapped!  Christmas morning we wake up and open stockings (Ellie's favorite part of Christmas Day, and one of my favorites for picking things out. Then we have breakfast (a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls -- most often refrigerator biscuit style :), and then we open presents.

+ Other little things --
Decorating with our same favorite decorations each year, putting up our tree and putting ornaments up, lighting candles or simmering a pot full of yummy smelling things, lighting up our round-about tree that our neighbor and friend decorates, sledding at the park, looking for ways to help and share.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Holly Jolly Design Challenge

(don't mind the fuzziness of these goal tonight was to record something here, and I'm deciding not to let getting this perfect stop me from writing something :)

I joined in on a fun little design challenge in December with Olivia Herrick design and had so much fun working on it and learning some new things. Above are some of my favorites:

1. this poem (I drew that little house (!) and then edited it a bit digitally)
2. repeating pattern (with help from a great little tutorial)
3. christmas card (clipping/mask practice)
4. color palette
5. little houses ( I drew those then played around with adding detail/color digitally)
6. an address stamp
7. logo for "spruce" (this floated around in my head for days before I finally found that just right little tree icon! :)
8. christmas lyrics (love this song!)
9. non-digital (that cute black and white cushion makes me happy each time I come into our driveway, and that little Isaac is awfully cute too!)

Quiet time + goals

Jordan took all the kids this afternoon for Brough basketball and then a dinner out to give me a little bit of quiet time to myself. After a pretty full Christmas break and some busy days (plus a stomach flu for Jordan which had him out of commission for one of those days!) I was feeling pretty depleted, and this quiet evening with just my 'calm' playlist for company has been much needed and much appreciated.

I had time to organize the bits and pieces of goal setting thoughts I'd had floating around in my head for the last week or so. (I love fresh starts and reflecting and looking ahead and all of those New Year's things, and I was wishing for some time and focus for all those things!) And I even had time to make this cute little chart to help me remember all these good goals I'm wanting to be working on. (And, ha! this picture is another great test of not letting my desire for something perfect get in the way of something -- those dark shadows/shining computer, that bright pink fire dept. ruler...!)

My quiet time tonight:

+ Time for thinking through and organizing goals for this year
+ Making this little tracker and playing around with making it digital
+ Cereal for dinner (!)
+ A great winter evening walk
+ And writing here a little bit -- hooray! :)