Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Up North

The holiday weekend turned out to be a little bit chilly.  So we decided we would just go up to the cabin and spend the day instead of staying over night.  

Because of the cooler temperatures, the kids didn't have any desire to go in the river.  Not to mention that for some reason the river was really high.  I don't ever remember seeing it so high.  I bet it would have been over their heads right off the dock.   That made for a bit of a more nervy visit than usual.  They are usually allowed to play on the dock until their hearts content - this time they had to have a grown up around. 

So instead of playing in the river, we did a bit of clean up around the cabin.  Spencer was deemed big enough to climb the ladder to the roof and collect the big sticks and throw them down.  

Hailey has been obsessed with this old hula hoop lately and insisted on bringing it.  I am actually glad she did, because it kept her occupied while we raked around the yard.

I am still not sure what went down, but when I noticed Evan sitting on the stump, talking to himself,  obviously upset about something, I had to take a photo.  I think he was mad because Spencer wouldn't let him poke at the fire or something.

He got over it just as quickly and he and Hailey began to play a game they made up about them being farmers and taking tourists around their farm to milk the cows and teach them how to plant crops.  I snapped this picture of farmer Hailey riding her "horse".  Can you believe her eyes?  This poor girl has the worst allergies of anyone in our family.  She has been itching her eyes for at least a week.  I bought her allergy medication, but she won't take it because she hates the taste.  Being up north didn't help her any - you could actually see the cottonwood pollen flying through the air - at times it looked like it was snowing.

And then there is this kid.   I can't believe he will be finished with elementary school in two weeks.  

Daddy decided that he couldn't be at the cabin without going in the river so he got his suit on and went in.  Hailey put on her shorts and decided she was going with him until she chickened out and decided not too.  The step that Trent is standing on is usually three or four inches above the water - on this day there was an inch over the step.

Hailey and Evan made a few casts trying to reel in a fish, but didn't have any luck.

I did a nine year old mini photo shoot with Evan.  I think we got some good ones.  Obviously this isn't one we will be using - this is him being a goof for the camera.

The little ones enjoyed hanging on the jelly chairs and eating some chips.  While Spencer the pyromaniac wouldn't leave the side of the fire.

Then the three of them made up a play about hula hooping.  "The Best Hula Hooper in the World" I believe was the title.  The three of them took turns on the hoop.  They all have an amazing ability at it - especially Hailey and Spencer.  I timed one of Spencer's turns until four minutes were up - then we sabotaged him.   But four plus minutes???  Holy Moly!  Trent and I couldn't get that thing around our hips three times!  I don't know where they get it.

I guess I need to go to the store and buy a couple more hula hoops.  They can come up with their own family hooping act.

Judging by the fact that Little Miss Wee was out as soon as she got in her car seat, I think it was proven to be a full and fun day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee...

I love Evan's third grade teacher.  She was new to the school this year and came in with a whole crop of fresh ideas.  As much as I love the fact that my kids have had the same teachers and we have established relationships with them, sometimes it is nice to shake things up a bit - at least as far as homework and curriculum go.
Because of an idea that Evan's teacher found on Pinterest and wanted to try, this year the third graders had a Wax Museum Project.  It was a pretty extensive project.  The students had to pick an American hero and then find a biography and other information about them via internet or what have you and learn about their chosen hero.
They had a worksheet with general information to answer that gave ideas of what kind of information the teacher wanted them to find out.  Then they had to take that information and come up with at least ten important facts about their hero and type them or write them out and put them on a trifold poster board along with photos and other things to represent their person.  They also had to find a costume or props that they could use to dress up in to become their hero at a wax museum that the whole school would attend during the day and that parents could attend later that evening. 
The American Hero that Evan chose was Davy Crockett.
He had the coon skin cap from his Halloween costume from two years ago so that was the main part of the costume.  He borrowed the jacket from my Aunt Peggy.  The jacket was awesome and perfect and the best part was that she wore it as a kid.  A friend of Grama Bonnie's let him borrow the powder horn and the bota bag.  A super simple costume and he looked so great.
They also had to come up with some sort of "button" that they could place in front of their poster that would have them turn on during the wax museum and start spouting out their facts.  For Davy's button, we just covered a box with fur and cut a slab of wood (actually from the base of our Christmas tree) and Evan wrote on it with a burning tool.

He wanted to bring some kind of gun to school, but since it is a school - no weapons are allowed.  One of his classmates lent him this bow and arrow.  He was pretty stoked about it.  I thought it kind of detracted from his costume.  The fluorescent doesn't really fit in with pioneer days.  Just an example of one of the things I have to let go - it made him happy - just go with it.

One of the pages on the worksheet that they filled out during their research was a sheet of reflection.  The question posed to the kids was:

 If your hero could give you advice, what would he say to you that would help you in your life? 

Evan's answer:

That life is hard but it can be good. And when it is, look to God and say thank you or please help.  And when that worst moment happens just think - at least I was born.

Could you just die of the cuteness?

It was a really cool project and all the kids did an awesome job. I almost can't wait for Hailey to be in third grade so we can do the project again.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cupcakes, cowboys and celebrations

I feel like I write this all the time, but life has been crazy the past couple weeks around here.  Maybe as these  kids of mine continue to get older life will never be "not crazy" again.  Don't get me wrong - I love the things we are doing, but I love down time too.  I love down time A LOT! 

Speaking of getting older.  Gulp.  My baby boy turned nine last week.  Nine.  The last year before double digits.  It just doesn't seem possible.  I swear I was just holding him in my hospital bed.  Him wrapped like a tiny mummy in a blanket with only that black, black head of silky hair and his sweet little scrunched up face peeking out.   Then I blinked and he was nine years old and already better at math than his mom is today.  

The day of Evan's birthday, his class was attending the one room schoolhouse for the morning.  So I helped him get dressed up in my old London Jean overalls.  I knew I saved them for a reason.  He was the cutest little school boy anyone on the prairie has ever seen. 

Since they would only be at the schoolhouse for the morning, he wanted me to bring his birthday treat in that afternoon.  Luckily I had whipped up these sweet little Ninjago cupcakes after my PTO meeting the night before.  They turned out pretty cute, but once again I was bested by packaged fondant.  Let this be a reminder to me that there has to be an easier way.  

After a steak and cheesy potato dinner that was the choice of the birthday boy, we headed out to his baseball game.   I love watching him play ball - and he has improved so much this year.   Just look at that stance.   

At first and ready to run.  He hasn't struck out yet this year.  Most of the time he gets a hit with the first pitch.

I was so glad I had my camera out at this moment.  He just scored a run and put his arms up in a victory pump!

Their team won the game by one point and Evan's last hit brought in the winning run.  That night he had three base hits.  Two runs scored and as I just said, brought in the winning run.  Look at that stance again.  My boy looks like a PLAYER!

Since it was his birthday he handed out ice cream sandwiches to the team after the game.  They were all so happy they won.  It was the first game they won all season.

After the game I asked Grama Bonnie to take a picture of us with Evan.  One thing that I try really hard to do is get some pictures - at least on their birthday - of the kids individually with us.  That way when they are grown they will have some pictures of themselves with their parents that will be just theirs.  It might sound weird, but if you think about it how many pictures do people have of themselves with their parents.

Of course Hailey wanted to get in a shot.  This would have been a really nice family photo if Spencer had been in it.  Poor Spencer was home fighting a stomach bug.

After the game we went home and Evan got to open gifts that we got for him.

He was thrilled about his chocolate fish.

The kids are fascinated by this Land of the Lost series.  We had the first season on DVD and they were dying to see the rest so we bought Evan the complete series.

Soft pillow cases.  Evan is a boy who loves anything that is soft.

Over the weekend, Ev had a small party with some of his friends at the laser tag place in Holland. 

I swear this boy could play extreme hunting games until he can't see straight anymore.  I don't think he played anything else for the whole two hours - besides the laser tag.  My kids (and husband) love laser tag and can't wait to go back. 

On Sunday, we had my mom over for Mother's Day and celebrated Evan's birthday one more time.  He hadn't actually had a birthday cake yet so he had yet to blow out his candles and make a wish. 

He found a recipe for this chocolate cake in a cookbook he checked out of the school library and I promised him I would make it for his birthday.  Initially he had requested a "How to Train Your Dragon" themed cake, but since the movie is pretty old, I couldn't find any characters or anything to go on it.  I found this lizard and stuck it on top with some cracked up white chocolate pieces and it was everything he ever dreamed of.

Although it was a busy week, it was a special one too - celebrating with our second born.  Happy Birthday Evan!  I hope all your wishes come true!