24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! We just finished up the boys’ school break from school last week. Unfortunately, it was pretty rainy week (with a bit of snow here and there to keep things interesting), so we spent a lot of it indoors. But we did have some fun.

Kolby got his first two big homework assignments (the teacher is starting to get them used to homework now, to prepare them for second grade when they will start having homework all the time). So Kolby’s two assignments were to build a model of his home and to write a report about a location in the community (he was assigned the fire department). With his house project he is supposed to come prepared to tell the class his address, tell them about they layout of his house, and what his favorite room is, etc. And with the community report we went and took his photo in front of the fire department, and luckily the other day there was a special presentation at the library over spring break with local firemen who answered the kids’ questions and showed them the fire trucks. Kolby was so excited – he took a notebook and took a page of notes from what the fireman said, so he could use it for his report. He has most of his report written now. And we made his house. I believe in letting the kids do the work on their own projects, but I did chip in a little on this one since Kolby wanted lots of little doors and windows cut out of the shoeboxes he was using, and I didn’t really want him using an exacto knife (I even cut my thumb when I was using it). So, I did pitch in a little, but he helped put it together, made some stairs for the inside, and painted the entire house. He even came up with this cute idea to use yarn and packaging tape to make window pains and “glass” for the windows. It turned out really cute – I’ll have to take some pictures before he takes it to school.

On Wednesday we had an Easter egg hunt for playgroup at the church (because it was raining (with a bit of snow) that morning, so we couldn’t go to the park. The kids had fun doing a quick egg hunt in the primary room, followed by a fun new running game in the gym (‘the fox and the eggs’) that we hadn’t heard of before. So that was nice. Oh, and that night Michael happened to get home from work at a decent time, so after dinner he took Kolby swimming for his night up, and they enjoyed that a lot (we’re still working our way through the punch passes we got for the local rec center when we moved here almost two years ago. The rec center has this annoying rule about having a 1 to 1 ratio of adults to children under the age of 5, and since we have 3 kids under 5 we can basically never go swimming as a family. We knew about the rule when we got the punch pass, but we had planned on being able to drop off Courtland, who was still pretty small then, at the rec center’s kid care so we could still take most of the family swimming sometimes, but later learned that the kid care is only open early in the day on weekdays, so that rules that out. So we’ve been using it for nights up with the boys, and the pass lasts longer that way anyways, I guess, since we only have two of us going at a time).

On Thursday we went to that fire safety presentation at the library, and then stayed longer and the boys played in the children’s section and we checked out books. (I am really looking forward to the summer vacation – I love being able to go out and have fun with the kids without worrying about having to leave things early and rush home for a school bus. Plus, this is our last year of afternoon kindergarten [because Camden will be in preschool next year, and then the plan is to move the following year and they have full-day kindergarten in San Diego], so we won’t have our days cut up so much anymore – just have to be home for buses in the morning and later in the afternoon, not around noon too, so that’ll make it a little more relaxed when we want to go to playgroups, storytime, etc.) Anyways, while we were at the library I picked up the 2nd and 3rd Harry Potter books. I finished the 1st one a week ago, and liked it. As I expected, I thought that it was appropriate for Kolby to read. (There was one swear word in the first book, but nothing else really inappropriate). And at least so far as I’ve started the 2nd book there hasn’t been anything bad yet. So we’ll see how that goes. Michael was telling Kolby that he could probably watch the 1st Harry Potter movie after he finishes the book (Kolby’s about half way through it now). I’ll probably need to watch it again as a refresher to make sure it’s ok, but as far as I can remember there’s not anything too bad about the earlier movies – I seem to remember that they start getting scarier as they go on. But that first one’s probably ok.

The boys had piano lessons on Thursday, and they both did quite well. This week Lijah chose to play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Jolly Old St. Nicolas,’ and Kolby is playing ‘How Much is that Doggy in the Window?’ and a second song that I don’t know the name of, but it’s got a rather pretty tune in a minor key. Won’t it be fun in a few years once all the boys get to the level that they will just sit down and play for fun (well, they do that already), but once they can sit down and read most new music and just do it for fun like Michael does?

On Thursday evening I went to Ladies’ Night Out at Karen Lane’s house. It was really fun. People brought different cookie ingredients and we made all sorts of cookies and then watched “Rear Window,” an old Alfred Hitchcock movie that I hadn’t seen for years. It was a fun night out.

On Friday the boys and I spent the morning at a couple of new thrift stores that I found. The boys did really, really well at the first store – playing quietly and reading to each other for quite a while while I looked through a lot of clothes. I found lots of good deals, and besides a few pairs of jeans, pajamas, and a church suit for Kolby for next year, (and anything that they wear out between now and then), we are all set for boys’ clothes until about this time next year, which is a pretty big deal – I’ve never bean that far ahead on this before. So that felt good.

On Saturday morning we dyed Easter eggs for a special Easter egg party we were invited to at the Gilchrist’s. We found the instructions online for a fun (and quick, easy, and clean) way to dye the eggs. You hard boil the eggs, then you put about 5 eggs at a time into a colander in the sink. You pour a cup of vinegar over all the eggs (we put a shallow pan underneath to catch the vinegar so we could re-use it for the next sets of eggs). Then you put a drop of food coloring on each egg and swirl the colander around a bit. Wait for 30 seconds, then do a drop of a different color on each egg, swirl, and wait for 30 seconds. You can do 2 or 3 colors on each egg (but the instructions say that more than 3 colors makes them look kind of brown). Then after a minute or so, rinse the eggs with water and set them out to dry on paper towels. It was so quick and easy! And there was no mess – the boys all gathered around and had lots of fun squirting the drops of food coloring onto the eggs. I think it’s going to be our new method of egg dying from now on.

Michael took Kolby and Lijah over to the church that morning for basketball practice. I think the season is about over – no one else happened to come this weekend, but they still had fun playing together. Then we went to the party, and had a lot of fun. I guess that Susan Gilchrist’s grandma does a yearly party where they do an ‘egg roll’ where two people sit down and roll their dyed eggs towards each other until one cracks (the winner is the one with the egg that doesn’t crack). Susan even had a bracket chart all printed with everyone’s name so we had a fun little tournament with all the kids and adults. (And I happened to win, woohoo! Michael’s pretty psyched with my grand prize: an extra large bag of skittles). Then we had yummy homemade cinnamon rolls and enjoyed each others’ company until the little ones started to get grumpy, so we headed home. After we got our younger boys down for naps and Michael called to check on some patients who had had surgeries recently (he’s still on his Mohs surgery rotation), he took Kolby and Lijah to “Bounce It Out.” It’s this big warehouse with several of those huge inflatable things – a bounce house, a giant slide, some climbing things, and they said there was even something new this time: an oversized inflatable Twister board. Kolby and Lijah had each been there once before for birthday parties, and they decided to save up their money from allowances and doing extra chores around the house so they could go. It costs $9 a person (which is way too expensive in my opinion, even though it’s a real fun place), and they’ve been saving for weeks (allowance is $1 a week, minus the 10 cents they pay in tithing for each dollar). What good boys – to set a goal, and save up enough for such a long time – I’m glad they got to go and enjoy it together.

Yesterday the boys also helped me and we reorganized their closets. We folded and put away all their clothes, but we also decided to try something new: hanging all their shirts in the closets. We took the closet doors off in the big boys’ room (we’ve had a dresser in that closet, but it was hard to get to some of the drawers, so I just decided to remove the doors for now). We need to get some more hangers before we’re all finished with the job, but at least for now it seems nice to have all the extra space in their drawers. And this morning was really nice when we got ready for church, since we’d just organized everything – the boys walked in their rooms and most of them got dressed without needing any help to find any of their clothes – it was so much quicker than Sunday mornings usually are.

So, today was Easter. The boys had a little egg hunt in the living room this morning before church, and they were also excited because they got the Disney movie, ‘Tangled’ (I’m crossing my fingers that Michael gets off work early enough tomorrow that we can have our family home evening lesson and maybe still have time for a family movie night afterwards, but we’ll see). The boys did well at church, and enjoyed their classes. And after church they were all very excited – the church library was clearing some things out, and they were getting rid of several old sets of scriptures and gave them to Michael for the boys. Now they each have their own set with their names in them, and we won’t have to stop and check them out of the library each Sunday morning. But you should have seen them when Michael gave them each their own – it’s so cool to see such little kids get so excited about something like that.

After church Michael and I made bread (we’ve slacked and haven’t done it for a while, so it was nice to do again). And Michael made a ham for our Easter dinner, which the boys loved. We read some books, and the boys played together. For fun, Michael pulled out the hide-a-bed couch in the study and he finished reading a Magic Treehouse book to the boys. The older three boys asked if they could sleep on that bed tonight, and I let them – I thought they’d end up being noisy and have to go back to their room before too long, with all three of them in the same bed, but everything’s quiet now so I suppose they all fell asleep alright. We got to talk to some family on the phone tonight, and now Michael’s sleeping on the couch while I’m writing this. It’s been a nice relaxing day. I’m not ready for school to start again tomorrow – at least I don’t have to be anywhere tomorrow.

Oh, and I almost forgot our big news! Isaac is doing amazingly well with his potty training. He was doing really well for the last month or so, but the poor little guy had diarrhea a few weeks ago and it threw him off and he was having accidents even after he got over that, so we put him back in pull ups and made him a chart. He had to keep his pull-ups clean for 5 days in a row (and we used diapers during nap time and at night) before he could have underwear again. He had one accident again, and then did the 5 days in a row without anymore problems, and was excited to get the underwear. The other day at the store I stocked up on underwear for all the boys, and I got some new little boxers and told Isaac that if he stays dry for 5 days and nights in a row, he can have “big boy underwear.” He’s so excited. He’s now been totally dry for 2 days in a row, so we’re getting there. And he’s so proud of himself – telling us whenever he needs to go. I swear that it makes such a big difference to wait until your child is old enough that they really want to do it themselves, because trying to do it when they’re not ready and excited about it (doesn’t matter if they are able to do it, they need to want to do it by themselves) will just make you mad (come on, no one enjoys cleaning out messy underwear) and then the kid won’t do well. I made that mistake once, and it took months to potty train, and since then I’ve just said it’s better to have them stay in diapers longer than to force it and be frustrated about it, and it really is better for everyone. Anyways, Isaac is almost there. With all of the other boys, once they were able to go a week straight staying dry day and night, then it was pretty much smooth sailing from there, so we are very close to officially having only one child in diapers. It has been a long, long time since the last time we had only one in diapers. (After having 3 in diapers at two different times, this will be a breeze). Now that’s cause for celebration. :)

Well, it’s 12:30, I’d better get to sleep. This week I won’t have the luxury of sleeping in a bit that I was able to enjoy a few of our days over the break last week. Good night.  And happy Easter.

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