Thursday, March 27, 2014

temple sunset

We had a Tuesday night temple trip with the youth a few days ago. One of my favorite things in the world is stepping out the main doors of the temple feeling refreshed and happy, and looking around at the stunning world we live in. It doesn't matter what season we're in, or which temple we've been to, everything looks better after spending time inside our beautiful temples.

I have to add a little paragraph about our small miracle that happened that night. I was riding in the bishop's car, and when we arrived at the temple, he walked around and looked at his tires. A light had come on in his dashboard that said his tire was low, and it was a light he said he always ignored. He backed up slowly and we heard a "ssssssssss" from the back passenger tire. A nail was in the traction, and it was losing air fast. Unfortunately, the bishop didn't have a spare tire.

The other man in our car, Brother Cooper, told the bishop he'd drive the car to a tire place so the bishop could go with the youth. As he drove away, the tire was looking dangerously low. We hoped he'd find a place quickly. When Brother Cooper showed up a little while later, we were surprised to see him so soon. He later told us that he pulled up to a tire shop and the man inside said there were several cars in front of the bishop's and that he was supposed to close up shop 15 minutes earlier. Brother Cooper asked what the man recommended. The tire was totally flat and there wasn't a spare tire to get somewhere else. The kind man immediately took the car in and fixed it for free.

To me it was a sweet small miracle that 1.) the bishop paid attention to that light on the dashboard, and 2.) there was a shop nearby that was still open and would willingly fix the tire even though it was an inconvenience.
Most of the Young Women couldn't make it that night, but it was a wonderful evening anyway. Ethan found 15 family names to take to the temple on I'm proud of him for being excited about finding his "cousins" and exploring our family history.

Monday, March 24, 2014

super josh

The other day at church I looked over and found Josh quietly ripping paper. I whispered that he shouldn't rip paper during sacrament meeting. He made a few more rips, then put his hands in his lap. When I glanced over again in a few minutes, Josh wasn't there anymore. A super hero sat silently in his place.

Friday, March 21, 2014

a bunch of mormon youth out causing mischief...

Our combined Young Men/Young Women activity last Wednesday night was to paint the graffiti wall. This wall is so cool, it goes on for about a half a mile and anyone can paint on it anytime, so it changes daily.
Ethan is now in the Young Men's program, but Ashley's not 12 yet so she just had to come with me to hang out, since Chris in charge of Josh's cub scout group at the church. Her options were: hang out with a bunch of crazy cub scouts, or paint a wall with less-crazy teenagers...You can see it wasn't a hard choice.
We made it to the wall a few minutes early, so I took a couple of pictures of the kids.
When the youth finally arrived, everyone decided to paint the "6 B's" from {this} talk by President Hinkley. We assigned everyone a word and they got to put their own personal touch on it.
Luckily some graffiti artist before us had left a huge bucket of blue paint and some new rollers laying on the sidewalk, so we were able to cover an entire portion of the wall for our own use. You can see in the picture above that Ashley misspelled Prayerful (kind of cute), but luckily with the roller and paint it was easy to start over.
 We had enough time after painting the "6 B's" that one of the girls decided to paint a giant CTR symbol.
 It was a fun activity with a bunch of great teenagers. As we were cleaning up, a guy on a bike stopped to ask us where the 6 B's came from and what CTR meant. My kids thought that was pretty cool, that their words could possibly make a difference in someone's life.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Can you dig it...again?

Last year we finally decided to brave the crowds and go check out our museum's Can You Dig It event on geology. It was so much fun we didn't want to miss it this year. Most of the things were the same as last year, but the kids loved it anyway.
 Josh and Ashley did a little cake "drilling" with a clear straw to get samples deep inside the earth. They also did plate tectonics with Oreo cookies. This was a popular table.
 Ethan brought a pocket full of rocks to ask the experts what the rocks were. He already knew this was a geode, so it wasn't a big surprise :)
 It was kid heaven -- it seems pretty universal that kids love rocks, and each table gave away shiny, colorful rocks. Everyone came home with at least four unique stones.
 One of our favorite things is still this sandbox. when you dig deep, it creates water. When you pile the sand up, it makes a snow-tipped mountain. So cool. Here's a video we took last year: (link)
 This guy had a cool experiment about tides. When the buckets of water were up high, the tide comes in. When the buckets are lowered the tide goes out. And the Lego people get to enjoy the beach!
 Ethan made a tsunami by pulling up and pushing down on the stick.
 Josh got to make waves by moving that stick back and forth.
I love activities that are fun and help us all learn something at the same time. We'll miss Can You Dig It!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ethan cooks

Our apartment kitchen is so tiny that nobody is usually allowed in there when I'm cooking. So my kids haven't had much experience in the kitchen, even though they've asked me for years if they could help. See that counter space in the picture above. That's about all there is. It's as non-gourmet of a kitchen as you can get.

Ethan's scout group was doing a cooking merit badge, and he had to create a menu for a full day -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- then prepare those meals for at least two people. For breakfast he chose "raisins, oats, bacon, eggs, milk." For lunch he wanted us to eat celery, bread, butter, and peanut butter (but ended up just making Chris and himself a PB sandwich with celery and apples on the side). He made us a delicious taco salad for dinner, with taco meat, lettuce, salsa, cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.

Despite his somewhat interesting menu choices, I decided he should cook more often! But maybe when we have a bigger kitchen with more work space in a few months...

Friday, March 14, 2014

My family's favorite movie...

My family loves to watch this movie of themselves. Nobody else probably wants to watch it besides us and maybe a grandma and grandpa or two, but here are a few highlights of this video broken down by minutes:

5:10 -- Ashley says her ponytails exploded.
12:00 -- a christmas nativity
24:35 -- the kids make me a meal in their tent
28:57 -- Ethan sings in a "Man Voice"
30:00 -- after Ethan sings in a Man Voice, Ashley sings, and is sad that Ethan interrupts her song with his Man Voice.
41:55 -- Josh's first birthday cake. He shoves it all in his mouth at once, and then the poor boy sits and eats a plate while Chris video tapes and nobody helps him eat more cake for a while.
50:00 -- Ashley does ballet (she says, "we're not supposed to stomp in the house!" and then her angry ballet face is funny) (but please don't mind my singing along. We played this ballet video a lot...I know all the words.)
52: 00  -- Ethan has some rad dance moves, dude.

It's funny when I watch this, I can't figure out why I always felt stressed out and tired as a mom with three little kids. They're all so sweet! Those little voices melt my heart, and those chubby, kissable cheeks. Man I miss them. But I didn't video tape all the other times when they were fighting and when they were like, "mommy. mommy. mommy. mommy..." all day and night.

Even though I miss these guys as babies, I am beyond happy with where we are now. Pre-teens are the best. Most of the time. Except when they are fighting and when they're like, "mom. mom. mom. mom. mom..." all day and night. ;)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Fountain of Youth

For my 40th bday, the family headed to The Fountain of Youth. I know it's a tourist trap and not necessarily worth the money, but what better thing can you do when you suddenly find yourself over-the-hill? Obviously, drink from the fountain of youth.
Unfortunately, the kids drank from it, too, so now they'll never grow up. I'm always telling them to never grow up, but now that it's real, I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not... 
 We were tempted to buy some more water in a fancy bottle to use later, just in case the first dose didn't work, but we decided we can always go back for more if it starts to wear off and I actually end up getting older than 40 (which we all know is never going to happen!). Plus, it tasted kind of gross, anyway. I don't think a pretty bottle will help with that.
 In celebration of my birthday, the park set off a cannon every hour on the hour. Isn't that nice of them?
 The park has some pretty cool history. There's an Indian burial ground, and also a few recreations of old buildings, and one of the guides talked about an archaeologist coming in the next few weeks to unearth what they suspect is possibly the foundation of the first European fort built in the U.S.
This anchor has been sitting there for so long, the tree grew around it.
There were some peacocks wandering around, fluffing their feathers, and showing off, doing their part to help celebrate my birthday (or to celebrate the fact that I'll never get older?)
The kids got to experiment with pullies, lifting a 60 lb barrel. The first one was hard to lift, the last one was easy. I guess it's true, what they say: the more (pullies), the merrier.
 We sifted through some dirt. I'm not sure what we were supposed to find, but there were lots of sea shells and rocks left in the screen after shaking it.
I caught Ponce De Leon peeking over fence, watching us. Because he knew it was my birthday, I bet.
 The thing I enjoyed, more than the peacocks and flowers and cannons and water-that-will-keep-me-young-forever, was hanging out with these guys for my birthday. It was a fun weekend, even if I do end up turning 41 next year!

I'm sensing an over-the-hill theme here...

A few days before my 40th birthday we decided to head to St. Augustine (the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the U.S.) and drink from the fountain of youth.
After that we ate some tasty burgers and onion rings at Florida's oldest diner (see the theme yet?).
 I wanted to see what 40 candles on a cake (or in this case brownies, since I'm not cake's biggest fan) would look like. Did you know you can buy 44 Hanukkah candles for a dollar at the grocery store? How convenient!
The kids were so worried the huge 40-wick fire would set off the smoke detectors that they made me blow out my candles on the stove so they could turn the fan on afterwards. But this is what 40 candles looks like with the lights off (we should have closed the blinds! Oh well, next time I turn 40 I'll remember that). It's a lot of dripping wax on a pan of brownies. Luckily the alarm didn't go off.
 For my party/family home evening, we made cards for a sweet man from church who hasn't been able to come for a while due to health problems. The kids were happy to do something nice for someone on my birthday.
It was a nice mellow day with lots of nice phone calls, treats, a shiny balloon (yay!), and birthday wishes on facebook and email. I feel loved -- and the switch to 40 wasn't not too painful, so it's all good :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

post baptism bash

Later in the evening, after Rebecca's baptism, we headed over to an equestrian festival where kids played games, rode a pony, and watched real horses jump over fences.
 Chris appeared to be fascinated by the magician while the kids rode on the carousel.
Ashley sang "who let the dogs out" along with the music in the stadium.

It was a beautiful night, and so much fun to hang out with cousins, watching horses jump, petting animals, and watching the performers do tricks.