Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eli and His Soop

We have been chilling out at our house for the past week. I have just finished decompressing from our Salt Lake City trip. I am glad I am home and that I could have this last week to recover. But you know that life goes on and my kids keep growing.

Eli is now very enthusiastic about swimming. He wants to swim all the time and he will take off all of his clothes and ask for you to put his "soop" on him, meaning his swimming suit. One day we had friends come to swim in the afternoon. Eli joined in on the fun at the expense of his afternoon nap. They left and I started to make dinner. I turned on the television and started cooking. I could see the top of Eli's head and I thought he was watching t.v. also, relaxing while he waited for dinner. I went to get him when dinner was ready and this is what I found.

He was G.O.N.E. It was 6:15. He didn't stir or move an inch. When we finished dinner, he looked exactly the same. I took him up to bed and I didn't hear from him until 8am. That was one seriously tired kid. Swimming pools do work magic when it comes to this sort of thing.

Julia is really getting around now. I am including a little video to show you how she "crawls", commando style, I guess. She is actually pretty quick.

Don't you love that high-pitched squeal? She is the only kid to ever do that. It must be her girly side coming out. I love it!

You might be surprised to know that she eats a lot more food that Harry. She can really smack it down. The girl loves her food. Now, I know for sure she is my daughter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Intermountain Suzuki String Institute

It was a big week for me. You remember how before everyone thought I was totally crazy for taking my kids by myself on a little jaunt through Arizona? That was just a warm-up for the week I just experienced in Utah.

I took Raef and Zach to the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute camp this week in Draper, Utah. Wow, what a week, huh? Let me, check. Raef, check. Zach, yep him too. Oh yeah, then there was Eli, check. Harry and Julia, check, check. Yep, uh huh. Just me and five little ones at a rather serious Suzuki string camp for 6 days. I didn't have a clue what I was getting myself into when I went.

It was at a private high school and it was me against all of them. I mean, me and all of them together. One big happy family.

My thought was that I would stay the whole first day and get them oriented to their classes. I had arranged babysitting with Melanie, superwoman! After that first day, I would drop them off in the morning and spend time with Melanie and go to a few classes in the middle of the day.

There was only one teensy weensy little problem.

"Mom, are we done yet?" spoken by Zach after the first class was finished. He only had 3 more on the first day, and 5 more days ahead of him.

"Is this my last class?" spoken by Zach after his second to last class, to his fiddling teacher, the guy who was teaching 6 different classes in a large high school where every single room was being used for classes.

"Are you Zach's mom?" spoken by Zach's violin performance teacher Andrea Sanderson, on Tuesday when it became painfully obvious that Zach was very wiggly and disruptive to the entire group.

"I couldn't find my class." spoken by Zach when I needed him to go to his next class on his own, as I had to deal with my little ones. I had only physically walked him to his class twice so that he would know where it was and had also written down his schedule with all the class numbers, so he could ask someone if he got lost. He lost the schedule on Tuesday morning.

"Your violin bow is not a sword." spoken by me.

"IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!! YOU ARE CHEATING!!!!! YOU DON'T PLAY FAIR!!!!" spoken, I mean, tearfully screamed by Zach at lunch break when he didn't like the way the game was going because the other kids were bigger and he was constantly losing.

We went to Melanie's house a few times to hang out when camp was over in the evenings. It was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed reconnecting.

This gal is the best. She totally saved me. When it became woefully apparent that I was going to have to do a lot of hand holding for the entire week, she stepped right up and watched my babies the majority of the time. They got lots of naps and attention and fun. Whew! She totally saved me.

At night we stayed with my Uncle Barry and Aunt Sue in Orem. It was a lot of fun being able to reconnect with them and just hang out. I was grateful for the opportunity. There was one tiny, little thing that I didn't like. Bedtime. I mean, Eli and bedtime. Those two things just didn't really go together very well. You remember how I chronicled his bedtimes problems at our house? I am not going to rehash that, but needless to say it was quite painful. It was Act III. Every night it took hours to get all three of them to sleep. The problems really revolved around Eli. Errrrrrr!

So I seemed to go to bed every night around 12pm, but we were always up bright and early around 5:45 to 6am. And somehow I survived.

But look at these faces...

Oh, come on! How could I be mad at that???

I made sure to take some pictures with their teachers. This is their orchestra teacher, Denise Willey. She was fantastic; dynamic, funny, instructive, helpful. Everything you would want in a teacher, she fit the bill. The kids loved her class. Raef was the only viola.

There he is...all by himself, holding down the fort and doing a mighty fine job.

Oh yeah, that is Zach...

Now unlike Zach, who struggled all week...Raef thrived. He is just a cool kid. There were not very many viola players and he was by far the youngest kid in his group. He is very advanced for his age. He is going into the 3rd grade and the next youngest kid was headed to 7th. But he fit right in and made lots of friends. In this picture he is getting instruction from his master's teacher, David Becker. He helped Raef work on his dynamics.

David Becker is from Wisconsin. Because the viola group was so small, Raef was able to get a lot of needed attention with his instrument. It was fantastic.

These are some of the kids he studied with this week. They are just the cream of the crop, wonderful kids with great personalities and so kind. I loved the environment he was in. The vibe in the viola class was cool. There was a camaraderie that really worked for him.

His performance and technique teacher was Dee Martz. She is also from Wisconsin. I loved her class and so did Raef. They would make up stories about the songs they were playing and this really worked for Raef. It helped him with dynamics quite a bit.

One neat thing about Dee is the viola she is holding. It was made in 1773! It is a Guadagnini and there were only 12 made, with 4 known to exist. The university she works for owns it and lets her play it. Isn't that cool? It has its own name and everything...Cosio. Whoa!

Raef made a friend at camp named Tyler. He came from South Dakota to study. They really hit it off and Raef and him would go play rugby in the field during lunch break. Raef thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Zach reminded me several times this week that he will never be an aborigine. But he did enjoy this exercise where they actually got to wander around while they played. He felt right at home as that is how he usually practices at home.

Zach with Andrea Sanderson. She is a very compassionate lady. She was very patient with him and pleasantly surprised when he didn't do anything outrageous during the final performance.

This was Zach's master's teacher, Deborah Moench. She is a well-known pedagogue in Salt Lake City and I believe her daughter is a world-renowned violinist. She is soft-spoken, but tough.

On Saturday we enjoyed the fruits of our labors and the kids did a concert in the main auditorium. The babies were terrible when it was time for the show. Luckily I brought my brother Jamie along and he watched them so that I could see it. Julia listened to a little bit of the pre stuff on the floor. Oooohhhh! So cute.

Of course I made a couple of videos if you want to hear what it sounded like. The actual concert footage is terrible, but it sounds good. There is a faculty orchestra that accompanied them and that was really cool.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Potty Master

I thought I would share a few pictures of my new potty master. That's right, he is a potty master! I had some cuter pics of him but I couldn't put them on the world wide web. He just gets it done and he continues to get better and better at it. This is one proud mama. I will ask him occasionally if he wants to go, but most of the time he goes on his own.

I deserve this! I only have two diaper kids to change now. Life is getting easier. Eli is potty-trained and Julia and Harry hold their own bottles. They are eating lots of solids now and sitting up and crawling around. Harry really crawls and Julia uses her arms to pull her whole body, like her lower half is paralyzed.

I finally got my two littlest to the doctor this week for shots and a general check up. Harry weighs 19 lbs 4 oz, which puts him at about 50th percentile, his height puts him at 75th percentile. Julia comes in at a whopping 15 lbs 12 oz, so she is average for height and in the 10th percentile for weight.

Did I mention that Harry crawls everywhere? And he pulls up on stuff, like in this picture.

I can't remember what happened here, but Eli got an owie smack dab in between his eyes. Poor kid.
They just keep growing and surprising me everyday. I love being a mommy.

By the way, Raef did a blog entry all by himself and it would totally make his day if you hopped over there and left him a comment. I would be very grateful.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Freedom Isn't Free

Today was election day: the primary to determine candidates for the general election in November.

Can I just say it really sucks to live in a swing state?

Did you know they have been running ads for Harry Reid since before Christmas last year to remind us of how wonderful he is?

Do you realize that I have had, on average, 10-15 calls a day by different candidates. These are mostly recordings, but sometimes you get a live one.

One live one even knocked on my door to encourage me to vote for the candidate he was supporting. He was from Ohio. This candidate was leading in the polls in an imaginary race against the incumbent and because of this, I should vote for them.


Soon my television will be overrun with political ads...over and over and over and over and over again. I am so grateful for DVR.

But with all of my complaining, I am so grateful that I have this problem. I can really understand the saying, "Freedom Isn't Free!" My phone and front door and radio and television set and neighborhood fences and street corners pay the price everyday.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Grandma Rounds

We made the rounds this weekend in St. George. I will call them the grandma rounds. I think this many grandmas is making my kids' heads turn round!

Let's see, I have two grandmothers in St. George and now Rinar's grandmother, who has long been a fixture in Laie, Hawaii is currently residing in St. George. I never thought we would be able to see her before she passed on, but I was wrong. I mean, we can't just gas up the car and make a quick trip to Laie. At least, I don't know of any car that can do that yet. Maybe Steve Jobs is working on that as we speak.

Anyways, we went to St. George because Aislinn's daughter Jayde got baptized! Isn't that wonderful? She is now 8 and the room was packed with all of her extended family. Jayde's father has a lot of siblings with their spouses' and kids and there are five kids in Rinar's family. Everyone has young children, so let's just say it was a bit rowdy for her big day. But it was love-filled rowdiness. Isn't that the best kind?

Since we were all dressed up, we headed over to Kolob Rehab Center where Grandma Lillian is staying. She just went in, as she cannot live by herself anymore. She is practically blind and is suffering from Alzheimer's. I believe that a lot of the residents have this disease. We brought the kids to play a little concert for her with Rinar accompanying them on the piano.

They each played a couple of things they have been working on lately. When Zach was playing I heard Grandma tell her daughter Linda (Raef and Zach's grandma), "Does he know that he is really good?"

Grandma Linda confirmed that he knew he was really good. She said this a couple of times when he played.

Then Raef played the viola and again Grandma Lillian said to Linda, "Does he know that he is really good?"

Lillian asked many times who they were and everything and you knew that she wouldn't remember. However, she was thrilled that they came and played for her. She had a big smile on her face. She still seems pretty spry for her age.

When they were playing, there was also a lovely lady who parked herself in a wheelchair behind me and kept asking me the same questions repeatedly and by the way, she really likes Lillian! She told me that about 5 times.

When we finished at Kolob we headed to my Grandma Nell's assisted living facility to play for her. On the way, we picked up Grandma Wilma, my other grandmother. The kids played the same songs and Eli ran circles around them while they were playing, while Harry crawled everywhere. It was an entertaining show!

Of course we would put on an entertaining show, we are from Vegas you know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prepare to be Wowed!!!

As I mentioned before in an earlier post, I fell in love with a play kitchen from my friend's website. It is totally awesome. I just had to have a play kitchen, now that I have a daughter. Yes, she is only 8 months old now, but you can never start too soon. I had to find an entertainment center that I could work some magic on, and as luck would have it only about a month later my neighbor was throwing this away.

It is a standard 90's entertainment center. Haven't you seen these everywhere and thought, yuck!

Now what do you think?

Did my husband I do a great job? It was my conception and vision. Okay, it was actually Erin's idea. I would have never thought of this in a million years. I just improved upon her vision.

My husband loves me when I come up with these awesome ideas and then he I spend hours executing my vision First of all, I took the top off. Then I pulled the top shelf off and moved it to where it is now the counter top. I bought the "sink" at Ikea, a standard silver bowl. My husband cut out the hole and reinstalled the counter top to its current location. I painted everything. My husband put the refrigerator door on from a scrap piece of MDF laying around our garage. I bought new locking hinges for the door and stove door at Home Depot. I also got the handles in the outdoor section and spray painted them a lovely lime green.

Rinar cut out the middle section of the door to make it look like an oven door and then screwed a piece of plexi glass on the backside. We re-used the sink front from part of a door as well. I actually cut that piece, but Rinar installed it. I painted the inside oven shelf silver metallic to make it look like a rack. I made the curtains and installed them by nailing them to the top. I haven't put in a window yet, but I was thinking I would put a mirror there, instead of a picture. I ordered oven nobs from eBay, and also got a black rotary phone from eBay as well. Wait, but it's green, you might say. Yep, I took off the cover and spray painted it, along with the handle. The thing was REALLY heavy, so he opened it up and took out the heavy part. It must have weighed at least 20 lbs!! I painted a chalk board to the right of it.

There are still some details I would like to add, but it will have to come as I have the time and the inclination to do it.

Oh, did you notice the light switch? That's right. One of those switches actually works and lights the whole thing up with a small LCD light. The other switch is just for play. Don't I have great ideas? Rinar just LOVES all of these ideas that take up his entire night of leisure and relaxation. Each of my ideas only takes him about an hour to execute, and I have LOTS of ideas. {{love you honey}}


Memorial Weekend

We had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend in St. George, Utah. I would first like to report that Eli is going strong with potty training. We were gone all weekend and he did great. I think he only had a couple little accidents.

We stayed with Lyf and his family in Hurricane. The kids had loads of fun playing with their cousins. I am so grateful that they get to play with lots of different cousins. I never got to know any of my cousins growing up because we lived so far away. It always made me sad. Now, they are strangers, in essence. I don't want that for my kids. It is a wonderful thing to be able to live closer to family. My kids definitely know all of their cousins well and they are some of their best friends. Here is Bryn and Mary Jane greeting us on our arrival. They were statues!

Julia got to experience a wonderful new creation...watermelon! She loving caressed the watermelon, admired the watermelon and ate the watermelon. Julia was on happy little girl.

We worked hard on Saturday and Monday cleaning up the condo and moving stuff in. I did a big yard sale expedition with Angie and I found some great treasures, including a $5 kitchen table. It was a little broken, but Rinar fixed it up. We also purchased new beds and I have tested them out. They work great.

On Sunday we went to church with Rinar's parents. It was awesome because Rinar's Grandmother C. was there! She has lived in Hawaii for a long time, but has recently moved here so that she can go to a long-term care facility. I gave here a hug and introduced her to some of my kids. She was very nice, but she didn't have a clue who we were. I didn't think she would. I missed out on getting a picture of her, but I will get one soon.

Since it was Memorial Day, I decided it would be a good idea to go visit Grandpa N. at the St. George Cemetery. I called Grandma N. and she came along. I am embarrassed to report that I have never seen Grandpa's headstone. That's right people. I have not gone back to visit his grave since the funeral. I always mean to go and I think about him all the time. I just never went and I never took my kids. At least now, I have proof that we have been. I just never worried about it because I know that he is busy up there doing important stuff, so he wouldn't be offended if I didn't visit his grave.

Then I realized I had never told my boys about Grandpa and how he died and everything. That was an interesting conversation as we were driving to the cemetery. You see, he was killed in a car accident about 5 blocks down the road and we drove right past it on the way to his grave. It was quite a show and tell moment.

Grandma is doing really well, see?

Before we left, Rinar and I went to the grocery store to get some flowers for Grandpa's grave. We took Eli with us. It was the cutest thing. He walked into the store and immediately grabbed a bag of Frito's corn chips. He hugged them like a teddy bear and carried them around. He was doing some serious shopping. It wouldn't have been my pick for chips but he seemed confident in his decision. He just looked up at us with that cute grin of his and we were hooked. Now I remember why I don't take my kids grocery shopping.
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