Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome to New York

1. On Sunday afternoon Lila filled up three of her purses with random toys and stuffed animals and told me she was going on a trip to New York. Yesterday, she planned for the two of us to "make an airplane out of pillows and fly on a trip to New York." I told her we could definitely do that while the boys were at school. So while the boys did their homework, she packed. We ended up with the three purses, a stroller filled with such necessities as her Minnie Mouse cash register and her baby's pretend potty, and another stroller with one of her babies in it. She also filled an empty box that was in the recycling pile with books to read on the plane as well as toys and snacks for her baby. Today we built the plane and finally went to New York. I'm not sure where exactly she came up with this idea but she certainly was persistent in filling it!

2. While I was brushing her hair yesterday, Lila said, "Mommy, I have been watching you and now I know how to be a big Mommy girl!" Then she said dramatically, "Sooooooo many years!" I asked her what had been so many years and she told me, "Since I've been watching you!"

3. Lila and I attempted homemade bread today. My last attempt was not successful. I used to make bread all the time but apparently in my bread-making absence I've forgotten how to properly yeast and flour a bread. Anyway, today's loaves were looking beautiful when I put them in the oven. When I opened the oven 30 minutes later, I found that they'd fallen. Sad face. They do taste amazing (way better than my last batch), they just look a little sorry.

4. Asher landed on blue yesterday! His teacher uses a color behavior system. He's been on green everyday (where you start) and has never moved up or down. To move up, the teacher has to notice you do something particularly kind or helpful or awesome. Anyway, yesterday he took a girl her papers after she'd forgotten them at his table--and he moved to blue! If he stays on blue until Friday he gets to pick a prize from the special treasure box. He is so pumped. His table also earned 10 points (for good behavior), so Mrs. Stegemann is going to bring them suckers.

5. Reed taught us how to play "triangle tag" after school yesterday. Basically, three people hold hands and one person is "it." The person who is it has to announce who they are going after, then the triangle people try to protect the person in their triangle who is being targeted. We played several rounds and it was hilarious.

6. FHE last night was about seeing a need and filling it. This morning, Lila accidentally spilled her entire money holder, which is full of mostly coins. Reed immediately hopped out of his chair and helped her pick up all the money. What a sweet brother!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


1. The boys recently re-discvoered an old toy--the disc shooters. They've played with them non-stop over the past few days, finding team before school, after school, after dinner, and any time they walk past the setup they've made. We've almost gotten rid of the disc shooters a few times, but every time the boys pull them out they're in love again.

2. We had an empty gum box that was the perfect size for Lila's stuffed animal "Tigee." I mentioned making a blanket and she was immediately on board. This morning we went to the store for fabric and she decided she really wanted a blanket for herself. I did some quick calculating and a big blanket was far out of the budget I had in mind. I told her I was just planning on making a blankie for her Tigee, and she got really quiet. I asked if she was okay and she said, with a tremble in her voice, "Yeah, it's just a bumma (bummer)." My heart broke. I made her a deal: if she would choose a less expensive fabric she could have a blanket, too. Day made.

2a. On a related note, Lila calls blankets "blank-lets."

3. We went to the library this morning and checked out 37 books. No big deal.

4. It started pouring this morning around 5:30 a.m. It's now 1:32 p.m. and the sky is blue all around. I wish it would have rained during the day!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mornings with Lila

Last year, Lila was in morning Pre-K and took naps in the afternoon. This year, she is in afternoon Pre-K and hangs out with me in the morning--which means she and I have a lot more one-on-one time than we ever have!

To be honest, on the first day my thought was, "What are we going to DO for four hours?!" because it's been kind of a long time since I had one child to occupy at home for many hours. But as it turns out, there are a lot of things to do. And we are both loving all the time together.

I try to let Lila choose what we are going to do. Last week she wanted to do Lila school. One day we went to the splash pad. Most days we read books. This morning she wanted to do watercolors. We pulled out the watercolors yesterday after kind of forgetting about them for a few months and had a great time painting, so I was totally on board for a repeat. This morning we painted and chatted and had a very low-key but happy time. After we painted, we thought baking might be fun. Lila looked through the cookbook and chose the first recipe she saw and would not be swayed thereafter! The recipe was for angel food stackers. We didn't really want to go to the store, so we looked up a recipe for angel food cake. Turns out you have to have a special pan to make an angel food cake, but I found a DIY version online so we decided to try it. Lila reallllllly wanted to try separating an egg and we had 12 eggs to separate, so I let her give it a go. Surprisingly, she nailed it! After she saw what she'd done, she screamed, "I DID IT!!!!!" She separated 9 eggs total and didn't break a single yolk! Go Lila. She was pretty proud of herself for separating "even more eggs than Mommy." She was entranced watching the meringue whip, and snuck more than one taste of the batter.

While our cake baked, we whipped up a fresh lemon curd. The curd turned out beautifully and I am really excited to have it tonight. The cake did not turn out beautifully. I wasn't sure if it was done, but I'd let it bake 10 minutes longer than the recipe directed and I *thought* it was done, so I took it out. You're supposed to let an angel food cake cool upside down, but my DIY pan had an aluminum can in the middle full of water which I didn't want to get all over the cake. I came up with the idea of using a medicine dropper to get the water out--but could only find a super tiny medicine dropper. I went with it. That was taking forever, so I was going to tip the cake quickly to hopefully dump the water straight out--and the can popped right out. I dumped it, replaced it, and put the pan upside down to cool. And the cake fell right out of that pan! The cake proceeded to shrink by at least half. On a happy note, Lila and I tasted it and it doesn't taste bad, it just looks ridiculous.

After our cake adventure, we had lunch. Lila wants to match lunches every day (why? I'm not sure) and today we had ham and cheese melties, plums, and apples. And then she was off to school!

This is her last year before full-day Kindergarten and my goal is to soak up every minute of our time together. I sure love this girl!


     Our third and final trip of the summer (not that I've blogged about trip 2 yet) was a long weekend in Colorado to see our new nephew's blessing. My entire family was planning on coming, so we made the weekend into a family reunion. Lynnie and my mom spent so much time planning and prepping for the weekend and we had so much fun.
     We were originally going to drive on Friday, but didn't want to waste almost a full day driving so amended our plan to driving Thursday afternoon. Then when Ryan remembered he had a work meeting he couldn't miss we changed that plan to leave Thursday night. We pulled out of our house at 5:30 p.m. And we got to Colorado around 2:30 a.m. The drive wasn't too bad and the kids woke up early as ever the next morning, ready to go.
     On Friday, the kids spent a good chunk of the morning playing and running around the entire house being spies. I'm pretty sure this is the day we went on a bike ride/walk, too. We also got to play "27 seconds to win it" (think minute to win it) games that my mom and dad had made up. My favorite to watch was the booty shaking game where you had to try to get ping pong balls out of a kleenex box tied around your waist. My team just about won--until we counted our score properly. Oops. After our games, we were going to head to the bowling alley but the kids were having so much fun playing that we stayed home! Nick and Lynnie's house is pretty cool and the kids love playing with each other so much that they were more than happy with that decision. Meanwhile, the adults got in some chatting and game time, as well as some volleyball action.
     On Saturday morning we took family pictures, then got to do a gigantic slip n' slide. The slip n' slide was so much fun! The kids loved sliding down it--and when they weren't sliding, they were busy using water squirters to shoot the people who were! After I took pictures, I got in on the sliding action. At one point, we made a continuous sliding loop--we had about 15 people and as soon as one person hit the plastic, the next went. After making it to the bottom, you'd run up the hill and go again. We did the loop on repeat until the adults were about ready to collapse! After the slip n' slide, the ids took turn tubing down Nick and Lynnie's creek. That night we had a s'mores cookout with more s'more varieties than I knew were possible, then the kids watched a movie while the adults enjoyed more games and volleyball.
     Sunday morning was the blessing! Max looked so sweet in his tiny white suit. After church, we had a big family lunch (well done on the meat smoking, Nick), then people started rolling out. Ryan and I were staying, so we enjoyed yet more game time with the family, then a one-on-one basketball matchup. We played horse and around the world and both won once. It was so nice to be able to be outside and not melt!
     On Monday, Ryan noticed a weird bald spot on our tire. Thankfully, the tire was in the perfect position for him to see it--the bald spot was only a few inches long (which is weird), and had the tire been at another angle the spot would not have been visible. Tender mercy! We went to get it checked out before we left town and found out that it was a manufacturer defect that causes air to get between the treads. If not replaced, the tire could burst! We replaced that tire for free, then ended up replacing the other three as well. The salesman gave us a great deal and we drove home confident in our car! While we waited for the tires to be replaced, we walked to Wal-Mart. We walked away from Wal-Mart with a few bags  of clearance clothes which, if you know me, isn't really that surprising. We were able to make the loooooong drive home safely.

Random note before I wrap up: Before we left, a friend gave us a huge bag of hand-me-downs. One of the shirts in it had a double, so we brought the shirts for Lila and Maliya to wear. Madison was a little sad to be left out, so Lynnie and I went to the store and got matching shirts for all three little girls.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On Saturday Night

On Saturday day, we got this crazy cool disc launcher gun thing from TJ Maxx that claimed it could send it's disc 100 feet. On Saturday night, we decided to put them claim to the test.

First of all, the weather was glorious. Turns out that nights are cooling down which I hadn't yet discovered. #hallelujah. Second of all, we didn't measure the actual distance but the gun did indeed launch the disc very far and was realllllly fun to shoot! Everyone took turns being the shooter and the catchers/chasers. We'd also brought along frisbees (Asher has recently discovered a frisbee passion) and took turns throwing those, too.

Then all of a sudden, the sprinklers turned on. Surprise!

We gathered our stuff quickly and ran off the field screaming and giggling. And I'm not quite sure how this happened, but we started throwing frisbees into the sprinklers for the kids to chase down. They thought it was hilarious. Ryan and I even took our turns chasing the frisbees into the water. We played this fetching game until they were good and drenched and only stopped because someone had to go potty.

On our way to the bathroom we passed the splash pad. The kids wanted to run through the splash pad and who was I to stop them? They were soaked anyway. So they did. They were literally dripping wet now. When they were done playing, we went to the car and wrung their shirts and shorts out before they climbed in. It was the perfect way to spend our last non-Sunday summer night before school!


I could just say "we went to the beach," then post my thousand pictures, then be on my merry way.

But we all know that I could never be that short-winded.

Truth be told, this beach trip was over a month ago and I have a terrible memory. So I won't be as long-winded as usual. (Except for the four sentences wherein I explain that I won't be long-winded.)

One of the activities at the top of the kids' lists for our California trip was a beach day. Ryan and I were only too happy to oblige. The Lukes were busy, but Grandma came along with us which made the day even better.

Highlight reel:
+Reed kept pulling seaweed out of the ocean. He kept the seaweed all in a big pile and was adorably pumped about each chunk he found. When he found a clump almost as big as him (truly), he was beyond pumped.

+We went to Free Zuma, which is where we got engaged. Awwwwwwww.

+The kids and I (but mostly I) built our most legit sand castle to date. Five minutes after the castle was finished, the kids asked if they could wreck it. I begrudgingly allowed them to. (At least they asked.) They had more fun wrecking the castle than I thought possible, so it was totally worth it.

+The kids had a crazy game they invented where if you got touched by the surf you got wounded and could only be healed by a doctor (one of them) who smeared a clump of wet sand on your injury. You could avoid the surf only by jumping over it into the water. If you ran away, you got extra injury points. You could also reverse injuries by throwing wet sand into the water. I played with them until my "injuries" took me down.

+Kent and Ruth have beach umbrellas, which were a lifesaver because after the morning clouds cleared the day got pretty hot!

+The kids all let me bury them in sand. I love digging in sand.

+The kids could have stayed all day possibly, but eventually (after many hours) we packed up. It was a good day.

Pre-Fourth of July

(Before 7.4.17)

We were pretty excited when the boys' track break lined up perfectly with the Fourth of July. Last year we had to skip going to California for the Fourth because it was right in the middle of a school week! This year, we took a nice long trip to see Grandma and Grandpa.

One thing the kids did all week long was play with Grandma's Littlest Pet Shop animals. I'm not sure who came up with this idea (probably Reed), but each kid had their own "store" where they sold pets and supplies. The kids used Monopoly money to make their transactions and at various times they each had sales they made up on their own! I was invited to come to the stores many times and I thoroughly enjoyed taking advantage of their sales. Some of my favorite signs: "Really good sale all dogs and cats $40" (Asher), "Give Mom and Lila hugs for $20 off" (Lila), "Buy 2 for $100 and get one free" (Asher), "Buy two 'all others' and get an aquatic free" (Reed--he had categories for each animal!),  "Skateboard and ramp--make an offer" (Reed). They had fun with their shops all week long!

The day after we got to CA we decided to go down to Hollywood and see the Second City family friendly comedy show. I was hoping the show would be fun but was totally blown away but just how fun it was. The show was hilarious! I laughed out loud through a lot of it. The kids loved it, too. We will be back, Second City.

We took advantage of Grandma being retired and Grandpa having a day off for the holiday to go to the California Science Center! This is our first time visiting since Ruth retired and it was so much fun to see her so much and get to do all kinds of activities with her. We had so much fun that I didn't really take many pictures. Both boys went on the climbing wall, which I think was a highlight of the day. Outside the CSC is a beautiful rose garden that we spent some time walking around in. And we stopped at Tommy's on the way home, so that wasn't bad, either.

And finally, we got to see Uncle Justin play a backyard show. 

This is what the boys were doing. What are the doing, you ask? I'm not sure, but it involved giggling and pushing their heads together. Also, WE NEEDED SWEATERS. Glorious.