Thursday, November 15, 2018

Everything Halloween

On Halloween Costumes:
We've started a "Family Economy," so this year the boys were in charge of paying for half the cost of their costumes. Asher decided to be a banana--we already had that costume. Sidebar: I have been dying for someone to wear the banana for Halloween since we bought it on super clearance two years ago. Dreams came true. Asher looked awesome. Reed found an awesome day-of-the-dead mask at the 99 cent only store and paired it with a dope hat and a lace poncho (that we referred exclusively as Lace Pancho Villa throughout the month) also from the 99. Total cost for him: $1.50. I loved his mask SO MUCH. His one downside was that everyone thought he was Coco. Lila wasn't in charge of buying her costume (due to rules of the economy), but she chose a costume we'd bought on clearance last year--Rey from Star Wars. They all looked great!

On Halloween at school: I got to help in Lila's class (FINALLY, according to her. I help in Asher's class weekly but her teacher hasn't helped yet) while they did "Pumpkin Investigations." They got to measure pumpkins, weight pumpkins, see if pumpkins float, make a pumpkin craft, count pumpkin seeds, etc. My center was the pumpkin dessert--we made pumpkin pudding cups and they were pretty tasty! After centers I got to go to lunch with her and meet her "peanut friend" (she sits at the peanut free table and that's pretty much exclusively how she refers to another girl that sits with her). After lunch, we had the costume parade, woohoo! It was a little hot and a little hard to track everyone down, but I got to say hi to everyone. And finally I got to hang out with Lila during her party. 

On pumpkins: For FHE, we carved our pumpkins! Both boys decided to use a pattern from the book. I helped Reed with just a few tricky parts. Ryan helped Asher on a few tricky sections. Lila teamed up with Ryan to plan a face, then he carved whilst she gave directions. Their pumpkins turned out really great! One amazing thing we tried this year was using a drill to scrape out the majority of the guts--it was effective and awesome!

On field trips: Reed's class had a field trip to the Smith Center to see the Las Vegas Philharmonic on Halloween Day! Crazy, right? At Forbuss we'd already celebrated Halloween, though, so it was a fun way to spend the day so we didn't have to do any school work. I got to go with Reed as a chaperone. The Philharmonic was AMAZING. They were incredibly talented. And the director was amazing with a crowd of kids--he taught us a few things, explained a few things, and got us involved in the songs. The kids all got to sing along to "This Land is Your Land," which they've been practicing at school. We had a great time. After the field trip, I pulled him out of school early and he and I went to IHOP for a lunch of free scary face pancakes.

On trunk-or-treat: Our trunk-or-treat was on Halloween night! We did a new variation of our monster car: a SHARK CAR! We made our customary teeth but added a dorsal fin, tail fin, and eyes. We also played a variety of Baby Shark Songs. IT WAS AWESOME. We got to feast on hot dogs, chat with our friends, and start our night off right with at least half a bucket's worth of candy for each kid.

On trick-or-treat: After trunk-or-treat, we went to Huntington to trick-or-treat! Per usual, there were scads of other people trick-or-treating with us. We walked and tricked and treated until we were exhausted, then drove home. Upon compiling their candy (they'd left their trunk or treat candy in the car while we trick or treated), they each realized that they had more than a full bucket. Daaaaaaang.


Asher's Party

This year, Asher decided he wanted to have a Harry Potter movie party with a small group of friends. I thought that sounded like the perfect idea. He has been super into HP lately as have a number of his good buddies. And we've done a Harry Potter party before so I knew we could probably pull off a pretty decent party!

Asher invited Jackson Gage, Ty Gourlie, Landon Perry, and Aria Walker. (He also invited Ryan Whittaker but Ryan was out of town!) While we waited for everyone to arrive, we colored Harry Potter bookmarks. Once everyone was there, we sorted into houses! Next we opened presents. Jackson gave him a paracord bracelet making kit, Ty gave a lego batman stop motion movie making lego set, Landon gave Star Wars Battleship, and Aria gave the Aragog's lair HP lego set. Asher was quite pumped about all of his presents!

After gifts we ate dinner. Asher chose pizza rolls with wings to look like Golden Snitches and fruit + fruit dip. We also had color-changing Sprite--the color your drink turned determined your fortune! And finally it was movie time! We decided to watch HP 1 in case any of his friends hadn't seen the movies/read the books. The kids settled right in and were having a great time were fairly captivated for a long time. With about 40 minutes to go, they started to get a little antsy, so we decided to push pause and have cake! Asher had chosen a cool quidditch field cake that he and had made together the morning of his party. He was pretty pumped with how it looked and, luckily, it ended up tasting pretty yummy, too! We also went "shopping" at Honeydukes sweet shop. Reed volunteered to be the shopkeeper and doled out everyone's candy orders. Asher and I had made chocolate frogs, licorice wands, and golden snitches and purchased bertie bott's every flavor beans, fizzing whizbees, and dragon claws (bugles). The kids LOVED the sweet shop.

Once we were sugared out we finished the movie, then played for a few minutes until parents came. We had a lot of fun. Asher is so blessed to have good friends!

Asher Turns 8!

Everyone--even Reed--was up and at 'em at 7 a.m. on Asher's birthday. And good thing, too, because I'm not sure Asher could have waited for anyone! The first order of business was to find the Birthday 5 hidden around the house! This year his Birthday 5 were glow sticks, spearmint gum, a cookie layer crunch bar, modeling clay, and a big ball. The thing I was most excited to give him was the big ball--Asher is always bouncing balls around the house--his favorite spot being the front door--and I had an inkling he'd be pumped about a big ball. I was right. He's carried the ball around pretty much non-stop since he got it.

The next order of business was deciding if he wanted to open his birthday gifts right then or after school. At first, he was just going to open one gift. Then two gifts. Then he decided to go for it and open everything! He got a Lego Advent Calendar from Grandma Lexie and Grandpa Jack and a gift card from Grandma and Grandpa Hambly. He used the gift card + $50 he'd saved up from allowance and bought a huge Harry Potter lego set--Hogwarts Castle! He was so antsy to get the lego set. The two Targets by us didn't have the set in stock, so we had to order it online and wait THREE WHOLE DAYS for the set to come. The set was only supposed to take two days to ship and when it hadn't shown up by night two Asher's comment was, "Well I guess I just wasted $100." (exclaimed with tears in his eyes.) I reassured him that he had not, in fact, wasted $100. We were all relieved when the set showed up the next day and Asher got to start building. (Funny sidebar: Ryan was the only one home when he heard a knock on the door. He'd just gotten out of the shower and he told Asher how he threw on pants and a shirt without even pausing to put on underwear so he wouldn't miss the delivery of Asher's set. The person at the door was not, in fact, bearing Asher's lego set but was Linda Cannon, campaigning. Asher still laughs about that, weeks later).

And because I know Asher will ask later, his other gifts were a Wubble-x ball from Reed and Lila; and a lego skate park set, a new scooter with light-up wheels, qixels 3d maker, and a new pillow and pillowcase from mom and dad! The pillow is his first sponge pillow, which is milestone in our house.

After presents and breakfast we got everyone off to school. Ryan surprised Asher, though, and picked him up for lunch! Asher chose to go out to McDonald's. They followed the golden arches with a trip to the movie theater (!!) to see The House with a Clock in it's Walls. And finally they went to Del Taco for churros and mini shakes. Ashie was so jazzed about his day date with Daddy. That night he chose macaroni (not homemade) for dinner--it's his all-time favorite. And then we had soccer practice! We had decided to take a treat to soccer and Asher wanted to make peanut butter cookies. Peanut butter is another of his all-time favorites. Immediately after he suggested the pb cookies, though, he started crying! I asked him what was wrong and he felt badly that Lila wouldn't be able to have any of the cookies so was just going to choose something else. I was so proud of him for being so considerate of his sister! We ended up making a batch of peanut butter blossoms and a batch of chocolate chip cookies, sans chocolate chips and with a hershey kiss on top so Asher could have his favorite and Lila could have something, too. 

We had a good day celebrating one of our favorite boys.

A few things we love about Asher:
Lila: He's kind.
Mom: I love hearing Asher play the piano! He loves it and I love the variations he comes up with. I also love seeing Asher be a big brother. He is really helpful to Lila and very considerate of her.
Reed: He's always willing to play with me.
Dad: He's always willing to help out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

From Today

1. Asher and Lila decided to sleep underneath the bunk bed. This choice of bed seems highly uncomfortable to me but they are in fact asleep as I type. My one real worry is that when they wake up and try to sit up they'll hit their heads. My one irrational worry is that somehow there's not enough air under there and they won't be able to breathe. So that's percolating in the back of my mind, which is fun.

2. We went swimming with the Whittakers today. We all love the Whittakers.

3. I won Lila won the contest to name the school library's new bearded dragon. She originally submitted the name "Golden Knight" (#goknightsgo); but after chatting we the librarian about how the winning name would be chosen and learning that a group of librarians was choosing the name, she and I submitted a second name, together: Norbert. As in Hagrid's Norbert. (Or Norbretta, as Reed keeps reminding me). And she won! As a prize, she got to pick any item she wanted from the book fair. She choose a paper rolling craft book and we made her first craft today: an adorable mouse christened "Mousie."

4. Today was a running late kind of day. We were running late to meet the Whittakers because I ran into Carolyn Gourlie when I left voting and we chatted for a while. We were running late to the movie we saw (Hotel Transylvania 3) because I was trying to take an apt voting selfie (no shame) and the kids were filling their pockets with Halloween candy. We were running late for swimming lessons after the movie because I forgot to account for previews and for traffic. But we made it through the day and weren't too terribly late for anything.

5. The kids got election day off from school (I didn't remember this was a thing) and I told them we'd have fun all afternoon if we did a serious cleaning of the boys' room in the morning. And were we ever serious. When we finished, Lila said, "It's SPARKLING in here!" And then all three children proceeded to make carpet angels. And I could finally vacuum! The kids all do a "10 minute tidy" of their rooms each day, which is a result of me deciding that always having sparkling rooms isn't really a fair requirement and isn't really a battle I want to fight. Their rooms are kept clean enough but I don't often vacuum the boys' room for fear of sucking up $20 worth of legos. But today, everyone helped, no one complained, and at the end I could vacuum the floor. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. (Full disclosure: I heard at least two lego pieces get vacuumed, but as I couldn't see them they must have been small at least.)

6. An anthology of Phineas and Ferb books mysteriously arrived in our home. I seriously don't know where it came from and it bears no library markings. Today Lila asked me to read her one of the stories--and as each story ended on a page next to the beginning of another story, we ended up reading 5 or 6. And they were not great, if I'm being honest. But I did enjoy the cuddles.

7. I voted! I meant to vote early but never got around to it, so I had the whole crew along with me. I had them take turns pushing the buttons to select the candidates I wanted to vote for and we had a little chat about candidates and parties and questions, which was actually pretty cool.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Random Ramblings

1. Lila has been dying to do a lemonade stand. We actually had a day all planned out this summer--we'd made posters, purchased supplies, and were going to make cookies and lemonade first thing after we woke up. But then I woke up with this crazy shooting pain going up my leg and into my back and realized that a lemonade stand wasn't in the cards. We were then out of town for a few Fridays, and then it was so hot I just couldn't fathom sitting outside.

Well, the weather is finally (kind of) cooling, and our next few Saturdays are booked, so I knew this last Saturday was our chance. Lila was SO PUMPED. The boys were excited, too, but mainly at the prospect of making money. After Lila's soccer game we loaded up all our lemonade paraphernalia and went to the entrance of our neighborhood. And........nothing. It took 20 minutes to get our first customer! But they gave us a $5 bonus--as did pretty much every person who stopped. The boys were holding their signs together and making jokes with each other. We could only hear them giggling, but they explained later that they were pretending every car was Mr. Peterson (a teacher at their school) and then making up reasons for why he didn't stop, ha! Our friends the Whittakers did make the trek over on their bikes and hung out with us for a bit, which was nice.

We came away with $30--which, after tithing and materials, meant $6.75 for each kid. I think Reed was a little disappointed, but I was impressed. We'd only had about 6 customers, after all.

2. One day Lila was hard at work with scissors and paper. After a bit, she marched over wearing a crown that she'd cut, taped, and colored all by herself! It was so cute. After showing off, she went off to work again and came back with a crown for me! She'd taken her scraps and used a little piece of ribbon to connect them into a crown. I loved it.

3. Ryan had a birthday, shout hooray! We made his customary birthday ice cream "cake." We've made this cake literally every year we've been married and it never gets old. This year, the Whittakers came over to enjoy cake and dinner with us. We are really glad to have such great friends and loved celebrating with them. The kids had fun playing (you could tell by the fantastic mess they made of themselves and the backyard, ha!) and Mike and Natalie are two of our favorite people to talk to. We had a good night.

4. On Ryan's actual birthday, he and I got to go out to lunch! We tried Rev Pizza which was really, really good. Especially since we haven't had pizza in eons (#weightwatchers). After school, the kids and I made a big poster for him that we hung on the stairs. After soccer, when he was finally home, the kids were practically bouncing off the walls waiting for him to see his sign. They even turned off the lights while he walked up the first half of the stairs so he wouldn't see the sign too soon! The sign led him to a scavenger hunt Reed had made which led him up and down and up and down the stairs to various rooms. The scavenger ended with a card that said something to the effect of, "I just made you do all that. HAHA." It was amazing.

5. There's a couch residing in the desert just down the street. Ryan and Mike Whittaker have a running joke about said couch, so one day we had to stop and pose at it.

6. Jae Jae has been SO TIRED after school, poor baby. Welcome allergy season.

7. Have I mentioned our new couch? I don't think I have. Our couches were getting kind of worn out. Ryan, especially, was itching to get a sectional to replace our old couches. We planned to use part of Ryan's bonus this year on the couches (and on some other downstairs updates we are working on), so Ryan started scouring the facebook marketplace. Truthfully, I was a doubter. I didn't think he'd find what we were looking for selling for a good price and still in good condition. I thought we should just buy new. And I felt justified in those thoughts when the first few links he sent me did not fit the bill. But Ryan was undaunted. And one day, he found the perfect couch. The couch was a dark gray sectional being sold by an older lady who'd hardly used it. She bought it less than a year ago only to find that the couch was too big for her space. She used it for a month or so, then put it in storage. It looks BRAND NEW. The size is perfect. It's super comfy. It's a sectional. And we love it. Getting it home was a little tricky, according to me. (Not according to Ryan.) We put two sections in the Gourlies' truck (thanks, Russell) and one section in the Tahoe. Getting the couches in those cars was a lot of work and I had a crazy sore back the next day. But it was worth it, because the sectional looks fantastic. We all have two favorite spots: the chaise lounge and the corner where the two sides meet. We love our new sectional! We were able to donate our old couches to someone who needed them--which involved a sketchy drive with the two couches finagled into the back of the Tahoe. The back of the car wouldn't close, so it was strapped partly down so it wouldn't bounce around. But we made it and it felt good to give those couches to someone who could use them!