Friday, July 29, 2011

summer nights . . .

Last night was a great night. We didn't have a million places to go. We were mostly just home together. I "made" Chinese for dinner--teriyaki chicken and pot stickers from Costco and roasted broccoli. Christian makes sure that we use chop sticks whenever we eat anything Asian.

Next, Jessi and Christan had planned "family games." Andrew had scouts, so he missed the fun. The games were eight different challenges--boys vs. girls. We did a soccer dribble, a frisby toss, a baseball hit, trampoline jump, a head balancing thingy and a timed bike ride.

The trampoline jump winner was the person who got the highest from the mat.

It came down to Mike and me. The kids were the judges. They determined that Mike won.

The balancing game.

The kids were timed on riding laps around the little bike path in our backyard.

In the end, we had so much fun doing the challenges, we never figured out which team won.

When Jessi saw that I was taking pictures, she asked if she could be a model. This happens quite often and the girl can pose.

By the time I got in the house from cleaning up, Bev had already started helping Kiki with his homework--a "personality plant." It is in these moments that I am grateful for having a mini me around the house.

She had him write all of his answers first on a scratch piece of paper and then onto the final product. These are a few of the things I heard her say:

"Here is a little cup of water to help you have some energy."

In an exasperated voice, "Hold on a minute Christian, Tiger needs to come in--she is out there meowing." She then let the cat in.

The cat came and stood right next to her and meowed. In another exasperated voice she said, "Okay Tiger, I will get you some snacks." I asked her why Tiger was getting snacks. She said, "Because she is so cute."

"Good work Christian. You are being so patient to write your letters perfect."

"Oops. That is messy. Turn it over and do it again. Make it perfect."

We were not in a rush to get anywhere. Most of the kids activities are on hold through July. I will miss nights like tonight.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


He walks in from school and transforms himself. I then spend the next few hours having many spells cast upon me. I do not know what they all mean. I just know that this kid's imagination is magic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

first day of school (for the boys)

The whopping 3 weeks of summer vacation have come to an end for the boys, and they went back to school this morning.

I let Christian sleep until 8:30. I wanted him well and rested for his big day back. (He still has sleepy eyes in this picture.) When he was getting ready, he looked older to me. He is starting 2nd grade. He goes to Chinese in the morning and English in the afternoon.

When he came home, I asked about his day. He told me that Mrs. Chang "doesn't have any bad parts." He thinks she is super nice.

Andrew started 6th grade today. He woke up excited and willing to help. He got his piano done and his room cleaned. He picked out his own clothes and played his DSi for a few minutes.

He likes his teacher and is excited that he is a man. When I took them to school, he told me that I didn't need to walk him to his class. I guess having your mommy walk you to class in the 6th grade is not cool.

I got Andrew this backpack at Costco when he started kindergarten. He told me that he was going to use it all through elementary school. That is one sturdy backpack. Drew is also good to take care of his stuff.

I have a mini crisis every year when the school year begins. I think it's a reminder that they are growing up fast. I miss having them around. I worry about them. I hope they have good teachers. I hope they aren't hungry or thirsty. I hope they behave. I hope they have good friends--and that they are a good friend. I hope they love learning.

I didn't go cry in the car in the school parking lot like I normally do--it helped that I had the girls to get home to. (The girls go back in three weeks.) I did bring the boys their lunch boxes later in the morning--just to check on things. They were doing great.

I'm doing great too.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"in like" with Harry Potter and friends

(Halloween 2009)

It's official--we are Potterheads. I have watched the movies with my kids, but never really got into them. I didn't know my dementors from my death eaters, my expecto patronum from my stupefy. I didn't really care.

Well, that all changed this week.

We started on Sunday and watched one or two Harry Potter movies every day. Sometimes we started the movie late at night--poor Mike had to get up and go to work the next day. I highly suggest watching them in order, I mean if you have two hours every day for 8 days. I had forgotten a lot of the story. Jessi had not forgotten much.

We would start a movie and she would tell us all about what happens. She explained in detail about dementors--how they "suck all the happiness and joy from you." Her memory for all things Harry Potter was amazing. She would start telling us stuff and I would think how I wished she remembered other things as well as she remembers her HP facts.

Tuesday, we went to put in The Goblet of Fire and couldn't find it anywhere. I ran out the door at 9:50 p.m., hoping Target had it in stock. They did and we were able to stay on schedule.

Everyday the little kids, with the help of Bev, played Harry Potter. They dressed up and made wands and put an owl in a birdcage and packed bags for Hogwarts. They brought me my suitcase and look what was in it.

That is a small carry-on suitcase. She was folded up in there munching on a tortilla.

Christian came walking down the stairs in his full costume. The kid tied his own tie--correctly. I had no idea he even knew how. He is so independent. He used my kitchen broom. All Jessica could find to use was my Swiffer stick.

We watched Deathly Hallows, Part 1 on Friday night and bought tickets for Saturday to see Part 2. We all loved Part 2--I think the consensus is that it's our favorite one.

The movie explained so much. (I now heart Severus Snape.) But, a few questions remain--especially about the Malfoys. For the rest of Saturday, we (I) couldn't stop talking about it. I was ruminating about it when Mike said, "Um, you know this Harry Potter stuff is make believe, don't you?" Well, I may have forgotten for a few hours, but I remember now.

This is how Jessi watched most of the movie--she is a tiny, flexible, funny little thing.

I share with you a great article on the benefits of Harry Potter to your life:


1. The fact that I don't need a wand to fight off bad guys in my daily life.

2. Popcorn and raspberry shakes.

3. These four muggles that make my life crazy and great.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"in like" with my blender

My mom always taught us that we love people, not things. I totally agree, but my mom has not met this blender.

Mike surprised me for Mother's Day and got me one. I had been experimenting with getting healthy stuff into smoothies when my old KitchenAid blender broke. All I can say is that this machine is amazing.

We are in the middle of a week-long Harry Potter marathon (more on that later) and I have made one of these every night this week. I was a little suspicious about the blender's ability to make ice cream out of skim milk, ice, powdered milk and sugar (I use stevia.) But, it can and it is yummy. I just add raspberries and it's almost as good as a Bear Lake shake.

Our little raspberry, blackberry and strawberry plants are not producing near enough for this nightly ritual. Thank goodness for Costco and farm stands.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christian at the Capitol

On Saturday, Christian sang with some other Chinese immersion first-graders at the Capitol. Utah is hosting the National Governors Conference, and several Chinese governors were here as well, so they invited the kids to perform.

Over the last few weeks, they had several practices. We met a few hours before the performance for the kids to practice again. It ended up being a very long day for a 4-minute performance.

The director asked Christian, at the end of the performance, to say, "Thank you Governor Herbert for giving us this opportunity to learn Chinese." We practiced it a bit, because every other time he said it, he said, "Gobernor Hervert." (He hasn't quite figured out how to use those new big front teeth he's got.)

The acoustics in the rotunda aren't the best, so it was a little hard to hear, but the Chinese visitors loved it. The kids did a great job--especially considering how long they had to wait to actually perform.

I cannot stop singing the Chinese New Year song--Gong Xi Ni. Christian cannot stop correcting my Chinese while I sing the song.

While they were performing, I kept looking around for "The Gobernor." I didn't see him anywhere. At the end, Christian gets up to say his part and the director hands him a piece of paper and he reads something different than what he practiced. Apparently, Gobernor Hervert didn't end up coming, so Christian had to say, "Thank you Utah State Legislators and Senators for giving us the opportunity to learn Chinese." He said it perfectly, although most people there would have no idea what he said because of the echo.

Our new superintendent, Dr. Patrice Johnson, came to the event. She was so great with the kids. I have high hopes for her. Christian's Mandarin teacher was also there--Mrs. McFarland is an amazing teacher.

Christian loved visiting the Capitol. I am excited that he is excited about learning Chinese. We are now off to enjoy the last week of summer break before the boys go back to school.

Friday, July 15, 2011

a note to Mike...

It's just me and the babies today. We went shopping to get Christian a suit because, as you know, every Sunday morning he only wants to wear his old suit that he has outgrown.

Then we stopped to get some craft projects.

Christian picked one of those puzzle things--a horse--because, as you know, he wants a real one.

Jessi picked some clay. Melanie gave us the idea to make her own Barbie food. She has spent hours making eggs and ice cream and cups and plates.

We stopped by Dunford and they each picked out a donut. They picked one out for you.

We are leaving for the movie in a few minutes. They are excited. They asked if you were coming. I told them that you were working, but that we would do something fun with you tonight.

Thanks for working so hard. Thanks for getting up every morning, leaving us asleep in our beds (actually, all of us in our bed) to go off to the hunt.

We love you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Uncles are the best.

Last weekend we went with my family on vacation. We stayed in Eden and played at Pineview Reservoir. The first night, as people were arriving, we decided to have pizza for dinner. Ryan and Erika picked up Papa Murphy's. They cooked it up and we all started eating. I was in another room when Randy came to tell me that Christian had just been saved. I went a-running.

Mike was on his iPhone getting directions for Melanie and Doug (who were on the road.) I got the kids pizza and then went to talk to my dad in the front room. Christian sat up to the table and apparently took a bite with a lot of cheese in it and started choking on it. He got down from the table, and panicking, went to the kitchen where adults were. My brother Ryan saw him and immediately jumped into action. He gave him a few good thumps on the back, and when that didn't work gave him the Heimlich maneuver. He had to do it several times, but eventually the hunk of cheese came up.

My sister Camille, who is an RN, was there and saw that the food was pushed out. She told Christian to spit it out. He was crying and red-faced, but didn't want to spit it out--he just started chewing it and swallowed it again. He was scared and upset. I held him for a few minutes and talked to him about chewing really well and taking small bites. He blamed it on the cheese.

I asked Christian to sit with Ryan for a picture, so he can always remember that Ryan saved him. He then re-enacted the Heimlich scene for me.

Thanks Uncle Ryan. You are our hero!

city slickers

It's been a busy last few weeks--the kids finished up school (and start school in 2 weeks,) we took a vacation and my sister Melanie and her family came for a visit. I have a lot to catch up on, so I will begin with the most recent and work my way back.

My bro-in-law Landon (and his sweet family) invited us to Wyoming to ride horses. The kids were beyond excited. Christian had his cowboy attire ready for days before the actual day of the event arrived.

At first Landon helped each child up onto the horse.

He led them around and taught them how to direct the horse and make him do what they wanted him to.

Jessi (who, when she grows up, wants to be a dancer, a singer and a cowgirl) insisted on wearing the fancy pink cowgirl boots.

Landon, along with his brother and sister, helped the kids get comfortable with Jackson.

Every kid loved it. Jackson was such a good sport--he let eleven kids take turns riding him for about four hours.

(Melanie with her cute kids.)

After a while, the kids started going without help.

Some of the kids (the dads and my mom and dad) liked the four-wheelers more than the horse.

I haven't been on a horse since I was a kid. After getting some good instruction (and help getting on the horse) I liked it.

They helped the kids feed apples to Jackson.

I just had to capture the fact that this kid can finally bite with his front teeth.

This kid cannot currently bite with her front teeth. (The toothfairy is busy around here.)

Jessi's horseback riding was more of a parade--she swung her arm around her head like she was in a rodeo.

I couldn't capture just how beautiful it was--such pretty, fluffy clouds.

It was a great day--nothing like being together in such a pretty place having an adventure.