Monday, November 25, 2013

Almost Thanksgiving

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost here already. We leave for Arizona the day after tomorrow, and I know I'll take a ton of pictures while we're there, so I'd better get one last post done about what we've been up to.

One cool thing I'm excited about is that Bud was asked to join the recreational climbing team at the climbing gym. The coach took notice of him and so they offered Bud a chance to have a scholarship and climb with them. Bud's so happy that being on the team means he gets to climb a lot more. Awesome. I'm seriously so happy for him.

We are definitely beginning to experience the cooler fall weather, but there have been enough semi-warm days over the last few weeks for us to enjoy. One of Edith's new pleasures has been "parking" her trike and walking the curb back and forth while I stand there. She does it for ages. Good thing I like her so much. So goes living life on toddler time..

This particular day was even warm enough to sit in our shirt-sleeves after our long excursion. It was nice to sit and chat, the sun a warm caress on our skin. So relaxing.

We fit in another trip to the park, too. There was a boy there who was a huge invader of personal space, though, so Edith and I didn't stay quite as long as we might have otherwise. I mean, this kid was annoying! Edith came to stand next to me to get away from him, and the little boy actually squeezed his way in to stand between us! The crazy thing is that his mom didn't tell him not to do it. She would just laugh at how "cute" he was and say, "He can be a little intense." Um, yeah. At least Edith was able to escape to the swings for a minute. Until the boy tried to get too close again and I had to yank Edith's swing to a halt to avoid braining him, that is. So, we left. Sorry for the crazy play date, Edith.

I have traced Edith's hand about a gazillion times over the past few weeks so she can make turkeys for Thanksgiving. I left her coloring at the kitchen table the other day while I took the boys to school and Rophone was showering. When I walked back in the door she exclaimed, "I made my own turkey! All by myself!" And then she added on with some embarrassment, "It's really sloppy, though." I added the details and assured her that her turkey was the best one yet. And, of course, I praised her on her use of the word 'sloppy'. Good work, Edith!

I went to pull a roll of toilet paper out of the last of our jumbo pack the other day and was met with something unexpected. Kinda like the prize in a box of cereal. Or, as one of my friends suggested, evidence of child labor law violations.

The coolest thing happened the other day! Waaay cooler than the watch in the toilet paper. Edith drew her very first person! I love it. I know she would have added the arms if I mentioned it, but I didn't want to prompt her. I think she's the only one of my kids to draw their first person with an actual body, rather than just legs protruding from a headbody. It's so good!

Even though the temperatures are starting to dip, it feels so good to get out in the crisp air to go for a tricycle ride. It was fun to have Big out there with us a few times last week. He and Edith "raced" a few times and it was so cute to see how fast Edith's little legs could go. They had a blast.

On Saturday, while Pen was watching her friends dance in The Nutcracker (and feeling jealous), Rophone surprised the rest of us by taking us out for a little sweet treat. I couldn't resist taking this photo while he was letting me know they have gluten free options (I took some to Pen). I'm still trying to get used to his Movember mustache and figured it needed to be documented. Stellar. Thanks for the fun family treat, Rophone!

Phew! Feels so good to be caught up. Hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving like we're planning on doing! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Week of Funny

There were some funny things that happened since my last post. I needed the reminder that my life really is enjoyable. Even though it's stressful, there are plenty of things to laugh about and get joy from. I'm trying to learn to be happy and satisfied and I think my family is what will help me get there.

Rophone celebrated his birthday a few days after Halloween and a couple of the kids woke up with longer feet that very morning. So, as seems typical, we went and spent Rophone's birthday money on something that was needed. We knew the boys were close to the end of their shoes when we checked a few weeks before, so it wasn't much of a surprise. We don't want anyone to have pinched toes, so Rophone was happy to do it.

It was really nice to get out as a family anyway. While we were at the mall, Ginger found a Christmas ornament she decided was worth spending some of her own money on. It's a super cute owl. With the boys getting new shoes and Ginger getting the ornament Edith was feeling left out, so I found a pair of underwear on sale. Lame consolation purchase, you're thinking?  She fell in love with them immediately, snatching them out of my hand and insisting that we needed to purchase them. For her!

I had to laugh on the way home in the car when Edith hugged and kissed the underwear (of course she had to hold them while we drove!) and then had the banjo playing bear on her undies start up a conversation with Ginger's owl ornament. Ginger was such a good sister to play along. A little funny, see, but totally normal around here.

Since we were gallivanting about on Rophone's birthday, we made sure to have his special birthday dinner the next day. It's been too long since we've had salmon, I think. It was delicious. So delicious that I ate off of a salad plate so I wouldn't fill up a big plate and make myself sick. Thanks for choosing salmon, Rophone!

I finally got emoticons on my phone. I was looking for an excuse to try them out, so I texted Rophone about my bad Scrabble letters. I like Rophone's emoticon better than mine. 

It gave me such a good laugh that I really needed. I'm so glad Rophone's mine.

I love how much Edith enjoys coloring. She's a girl after my own heart. She can color for hours and is getting really good as a result. Good coloring, Edith!

This next thing made me laugh and laugh. Big and I were out working in the yard together while Edith rode her tricycle up and down the driveway hill (our garage is under the house). Big looked over at the driveway and exclaimed, "Hey! Edith is doing mountain climbers!" Her form stinks but, oddly enough, he was right.

I guess Edith didn't think that cycling up and down the driveway was a good enough workout. She had parked her tricycle in the garage, ran to the top of the driveway where she was doing a few mountain climbers, and then ran back down to the bottom again. Over and over. Big watched her for a minute and said, "That looks like fun!" and then joined her.

Are they insane?? Don't they know that what they were doing is actually considered workout torture? My trainer would be so proud. I just stood there for a moment, laughing, and then got back to work, with their heavy breathing as background music and a smile on my face.

Poor Edith ended up getting sick with croup. I'm so darn glad our pediatrician is part of a group that has an after hours clinic. When Edith woke up at 9:30 barking like a seal I booked it down there to get her medicated. It helped make the night much better than it otherwise would have been. She's been pretty darn miserable and has made sure that I know it. I was so grateful for the few happy moments brought by some of the apples I dried. It was worth all of the work just for those few minutes of happiness.

Since Edith felt so crummy, Saturday kind of became a hang-out-in-our-pajamas-being-creative kind of day. 

I helped Bud make this awesome Plump and Perky Thanksgiving Turkey in the morning (the 3rd graders were given the assignment to help decorate the school library):

And then the afternoon was spent coloring (Ginger, Big, and Edith), creating a "fake newspaper" (Bud), and writing a novel (Pen). I have to say, it made me extremely happy. I love to see my kids being creative.

Something funny (or fun!) happens every day around here. I just need to focus more on those things and less on the things that make me want to scream and pull my hair out. The good news is that if my family drives me crazy I'm taking them along with me, and we'll have fun along the way. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hoops at Last!

Big is finally big enough. After waiting his whole life, the kid finally got a chance to play basketball on a real team! With his dad as coach, no less. We came to realize very quickly that if the coaches didn't do a good job making their team follow the rules of play, and if the ref didn't do a good job of keeping the game under control, it was complete mayhem on the court. Rophone did a great job of helping our kids learn to play proper defense (no steals, arms straight up, only half-court one-on-one defense on the kid with your same color wristband, etc), but I can't say the same for some of the other teams. It made me really glad that Rophone decided to coach Big's team.

Even though the season was, at times, very frustrating, it was also extremely enjoyable. Big had games where he couldn't do much of anything because of the chaos, but also games where he shone and really realized what the game of basketball can be like. He had a few games where he scored in the double digits and had lots of rebounds, which was awesome, but I'm even more proud of the incredible defense he played in every game. He kept his feet moving, had good arm position and hustled back on defense every time. Way to go, Big!

I love the way he looks up the court as he takes the ball down, rather than having to watch his dribble.

Every time our team missed a basket, he hustled back on defense like this:

When our team made the shot, he ran back like this:

Every time. So cute.

I love how at this age they often ended up "guarding" their own teammates by blocking off avenues to the basket. 

Rophone did such a great job of coaching the kids-- they showed a huge amount of improvement by the end of the season. Big was definitely in heaven. He would get home from each game and run right outside to play even more.  

I just love watching Big play. I can't wait for next season!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


As a kid, Halloween is absolutely awesome. As an uptight parent, Halloween can be a bit of a nightmare. Trying (and failing) to get the kids to settle down enough to eat a good dinner before they go out trick-or-treating, and then the repeating sugar highs and crashes as they make their way through their candy, not wanting to eat any real food for meals, only what's in their bucket…. I'm determined to find a way to make Halloween more enjoyable for me one of these days. Maybe it will come with the empty nest. Or meditation. 


I do really love so much about the holiday, though. Carving pumpkins is a blast and I absolutely love to see my kids in their cute costumes. Just the fact that the kids are having fun makes it more fun for me. Okay, maybe I don't mind Halloween so much after all. And I'm sure that I'll miss it all terribly when my kids are older. I guess meditation it is!

This year both Bud and Pen carved their own pumpkins (and Ginger declined to participate), so that left me with only two pumpkins to carve. So much easier than in the past. I'm really proud of how well Bud and Pen did with their pumpkins, especially considering the difficult patterns they chose. 

Pumpkins from L to R: Pen's, Edith's, Bud's, Big's

I didn't take any pictures of the Halloween parade at the elementary school because they always turn out blurry and I hate feeling like I'm holding up the parade line to try to take a usable shot. Just know that it felt long and the kids were cute. Ha!

On Halloween night, Pen went out to dinner at a friend's house followed by trick-or-treating and a movie and Ginger had a friend over to watch a movie. After I told Ginger she could have someone over, I realized that it meant that I would once again miss seeing Edith go house to house so an adult could be present. Bummer. Rophone says she was super cute and narrated the experience non-stop. I guess between both her and Big his ears and brain got a workout. Next year I'll be sure to go along.

I loved that Edith became the 5th child to wear the bear costume we bought for Pen. Big went in the police officer costume worn by Bud last year, Bud was a crossing guard wizard, Ginger dressed as herself with a witch's hat on, and Pen glammed it up 50s style. Super cute, all of them, if I do say so myself. 

I mentioned to Edith that she was looking half-asleep in the photos…

Big told me exactly what kind of mustache his costume needed, and he was right. It was perfect. I wish I would have taken a picture without him smiling so you could see just how great it looked, but I think you can still tell.

Bud combined a few costumes in the bin to put his crossing guard wizard look together. (Ginger did the same a few years ago, with the addition of fairy wings.) I'm glad my kids aren't afraid to think outside the box. 

Ginger stole the hat from Bud for a quick photo op:

Just as the last of the light was waning, Pen was finally ready for me to take some pictures of her costume. Thank heavens I have a really nice camera.