Monday, May 26, 2014

Manassas and Airplanes

After a super busy week getting the house clean, getting kids stuff lined up, and tying up loose ends, we were able to get on our way and start and American history trip extravaganza. The flight to Baltimore was thankfully uneventful. We got our car and found the hotel, after a gluttonous dinner at the Golden Corral. We are staying very close to the Pentagon and since it was Memorial Day weekend, there were some crazy things going on here at our nation's Capitol. For one thing, about 800,000 motorcycles converged to celebrate the holiday.

After church on Sunday, I wanted to go to the Mall and see the monuments and stuff like that. But it didn't start out well since every exit from the freeway was closed. When we finally got off an exit, it was like a parking lot. It finally dawned on me that all of those bikes were at the Mall. Since we have five days in this city, Rinar and I thought it wise to abort the original plan and think of something else to do... like anything away from the city.

Hence, we headed to Manassas for an unplanned trip to the National Park. It was not too far away and the kids were able to watch a cannon demonstration by some reenactors, and even participate in the demonstration. They took their jobs very seriously. Then we attended a short lecture on the beginnings of the Second Battle of Bull Run at Brawner farm.

 It was about 3pm when we finished, so we had to find something else to do. We opted for the Air and Space museum near Dulles. It is huge and even has the space shuttle Discovery on display there. We took the kids to an IMAX movie, D-Day and it was a really well done film. Even Zach enjoyed it, so it must have been good.

Rinar wore the perfect shirt to the museum. It says, "Back in my day, there were 9 planets." Then he found a replica of a space probe that is going to Pluto. It was kind of funny.

On the way back to the hotel, I decided to try to get a hold of my high school friend Kelly since I knew we were driving past her town. Amazingly enough I had her address, so we just went right to her house and knocked on the door. I was worried it was not the right house, but to my good fortune it was her house and she was there with her family hanging out by the pool. We had a wonderful visit remembering some fun things from school and playing a few games with our kids. Kelly and I even took our boys on in a quick basketball game in her driveway. It is one of life's pleasures to be able to reconnect with old friends.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Noelle is 8 Months...Almost

Guess who got their first tooth this week? (bottom left)

Noelle is now approaching 8 months and man is she a busy little girl. She is starting to stand up on stuff, has attempted to climb the stairs and is super grabby. She doesn't like to be left alone too much and really likes to be in the middle of stuff. She shakes her head no occasionally and loves to smile. And you will probably never see another baby that is kissed and hugged as much as she is. And she loves every minute of it. 

I have also been more consistent with feeding her solid food and the girl can throw it down! She will eat anything and lots of it. 

Lunch Dates Galore

Exciting things are on the horizon for the next few weeks. We are taking Raef and Zach on an American history trip. We will be flying into Baltimore and then flying out of Boston. My mom is coming to take care of the kids while we are gone. I feel very blessed that she could do this for us.

Unfortunately, this means I am not going to see my four little kids for two whole weeks. That is a long time.  Eli suggested that I take him on a date, so I committed to taking all three of them individually on a lunch date this week. It was interesting to see what they picked.

Eli got to go first and he chose Panda Express. I was sure surprised by that.  He thinks it is the best restaurant in the world and that it is a fancy place. It just makes me smile. I made sure to get him some chopsticks and he did surprisingly well with them. Only a couple of pieces ended up on the floor. And boy, he sure had a lot on his mind. He would bombard me with the most random do light switches work? How do cars work? Did I ever have a coin collection when I was a kid? etc. etc. etc.  I can't even remember the questions because there were so many and they were in rapid fire succession. He is really at the gathering stage of his life, soaking up as much knowledge as he can.

Harry was the next day, Thursday. His choice? Well, where do you think a 4 year-old boy would choose? Yep, McDonald's. We didn't do much talking. He would go and play on the playground. Then he would come back and talk a little bit and then be off again. Harry was excited to get the french fries, chicken nuggets and toy. It was a Spiderman electro guy. He kept forgetting what it was called and would ask me repeatedly. He also really wanted chocolate milk, so after a quick stop at the thrift store, I splurged and bought him a bottle. The boy was really happy about that.

In the evening I took everyone to Hogle zoo. Raef and Zach were there to do a merit badge class on insects. So we spent a little bit of time at the zoo seeing the animals.

It was a cool moment when the gorilla decided to get a closer look at the kids.

Rinar flew in from Denver and was able to meet us for dinner after I left Raef and Zach at their class. It was a happy reunion. We are always very happy when daddy comes home!

Today, Julia finally got her turn for a date. She didn't really care where we went, just as long as she got to eat some pancakes. I decided to take her to The Egg and I, the newest restaurant in Draper, that happens to be super close to our house. She was an adorable little date, and had lots to talk about also. It was funny when they brought her a drink. I showed her that the straw was bendy and her face just lit up in amazement. She was wowed! It is good to be reminded of the cool little things in life. Bendy straws are pretty fantastic when you think about it. Julia also really loved the flowers on the table. She adores flowers, a whole lot. If you want to unlock her heart, give her flowers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Golden Spike Trip Fail

And here is where I got this "brilliant" idea to take my kids on an educational field trip. My garden was all planted, tests were completed, pretty much all of their schoolwork was done. It was time to get out there in the world. I drove the kids up on Thursday to see the Golden Spike National Monument. It is about a two hour drive from our house. 

Everything was going really well here in these pictures. I took them when we arrived at the place. It was just after this that I began to question my sanity. Insert eye roll and excessively long sigh here...

The little kids acted just the way I expected them to. The problem was that Raef and Zach were not interested in this at all, no matter how I tried to engage them. They were so distracted by everything. I had difficult time getting them to read anything or look at anything. You get the picture. It was pretty darn frustrating. We saw some of the demonstration where they actually drive the train down the track a bit. And then I waved the white flag, put the kids in the car, turned the music up, and drove home. 

We are supposed to go out east this Saturday for an American history trip of epic proportions. It ought to be interesting to see how it goes. But I am not holding my breath.

Julia's Outfit

Wowzers! Now this is an outfit, don't you think?

Dinner Guests and Gardens

A couple of weeks ago we had a pleasant surprise of hosting Rinar's cousin Ranel, Kathy, and their daughter Ananda for Sunday dinner. It was nice to have them come over. Ranel had a lot of stories about Rinar's dad Lynn. He remembered Lynn from when he was a little kid and when Lynn was a bit of a wild child. It was fun to hear stories about him. Ranel was full of stories and it was nice to remember. 

He also had us test out a new game he has created called Treasures of Freedom. It helps you to memorize important documents in American history. We played the Gettysburg Address version and it seemed like the kids really enjoyed it. Kathy even took a little video and put it on their website. 

After dinner with them, the week just got crazy busy. I don't even know what happened. It is kind of a blur. I guess this is what happens when I enter my project mode. I kind of get tunnel vision a bit. But first, this is a cute picture I took of Noelle at the library with her dirty, booger nose.

Mother's Day was really nice. On the Saturday before, Rinar was playing with the kids and they composed a percussion piece for me. It was pretty darn hilarious. They were all pounding on their different kitchen "instruments" and having a great time.

All of my kids made me a card that listed all of the reasons why they love me so much. I think some version of food made it onto all of their lists. Haha! They love food as much as me. 

We also had my brother and sister and their families over for dinner and were able to Facetime our mom for Mother's Day. It was an enjoyable conversation with her and Dad.

Then on Monday I had to take the boys down to Provo to do year-end testing. Since they are doing a charter school homeschool, it was a requirement. It was actually a good thing for them to take an official test. They have never done that before in their lives. It was a two day test so Monday and Tuesday were pretty booked for that. I had to find things for the little kids to do while we waited for them to finish. On Monday I took them kicking and screaming to Bridal Veil Falls. None of them were very happy about going on a walk, but Harry was especially not happy. This picture was at the exact spot where we turned around and went back.

On Tuesday we hung out with Catye and Paul at the park.  It was an enjoyable visit and the weather was magnificent. I was also able to see Catye's cute apartment. She has done a fabulous job decorating.

Now I did mention the whole project-mode thing. Yep, we put in a large garden in our backyard. There used to be a playground there. It came with the house. I decided to sacrifice it and sell it on KSL. Luckily, we live exceptionally close to a city park and our neighbors across the street have a playground, sandpit, and trampoline that the kids can play on and believe me, they do. The nice thing is that I can see them from the kitchen window. I was never able to see the kids in my own backyard. I think this is really working out a lot better.

It was a whole lot of work to get the garden ready for planting. I had to move all of the ground cover. Then I got humus at Home Depot and Rinar picked up a truck load of compost from a neighbor. Once it was all laid out, I started to turn all of the soil. I didn't have a darn tiller. But at least I was burning a lot of calories.

Fortunately, Ryan and Lindsey M. have a tiller and he let me borrow it since I still had about 40% left to turn. I had the garden plot ready by Wednesday and then planted it. I am using the square-foot gardening method. We also planted three fruit trees and some strawberry plants. When I planted the garden I had all of the kids come out and plant something. They have been really interested in it and have been watching every day for the seeds to sprout up. I sure hope I start to see something soon. I know that they will be really excited.

It is interesting to be able to actually have a garden. I am really excited about it. And as I have been laboring over this for the past two weeks, I can't help but draw parallels to child-rearing. Just like these plants are now so tender, so are my children. It takes lots of care and nurturing to get them to grow strong roots and to be fruitful. But I am really enjoying the journey.

Monday, May 5, 2014

St. George Half Ironman Weekend

We went to St. George this weekend to cheer on the Ironman athletes, but more specifically Bart W.  I have never been able to make it to one of these and I just love watching races.  It was the US Championships for the half Ironman. 

We stayed at Nordel's house and left the kids in the morning to try to go see the swim transition. Unfortunately, the road was closed so we had to settle for watching them come out of Hurricane on the bike. Luckily, we were able to spot Bart. Well, Rinar saw him. I would have missed him completely!

As we were driving back to St. George, Rinar was telling me about the course. And then it dawned on me that Rinar actually did the race last year. I was seriously clueless and didn't realize that he had competed in it.  I mean, I knew he did at some point, but I guess it did not sink in. This is what happens when you are pregnant and have moved to a new state I suppose.

We saw the competitors and Bart at several spots on the race course.  And I really wanted to be there at the finish line to see the winner come in.

And I did! Here he is...Jan Frodeno from Germany. He looked pretty stoked. When they interviewed them, he said that there were no uncensored words to describe the bike course. It was the hardest thing he had ever done. So, I guess when Rinar complained about the bike course there really was something to that.

The women's champion was from San Francisco...Meredith Kessler. I remember seeing her running out at about mile 2. She was in second place and I even said that she looked really strong. I guess I was right.

A few minutes after she finished, look who ran by...Bart.  He was giving a thumbs up to Rinar. Rinar was chasing him with his ipad, taking pictures. Bart got his best time by a few minutes. 

It is always an inspiration to see people do this kind of race. But still, I have no desire to do a triathlon. Could that change some day? I don't know. Maybe, but not likely.

Noelle is Seven Months Old

Noelle has now passed the seven month mark.  She is really coming out of her shell now. First of all, she has filled in a lot and is quite a little chubber now. And man is she busy. She loves to grab stuff with her hands and even feels everything out with her feet, if she can. Noelle is sitting like a pro now and rolls everywhere. In the past few weeks she has started to semi-crawl. But with each passing day, it gets better and farther. She also likes to stand on her head and can get to a sitting position from her stomach. She watches everything and takes it all in. 

I feed her just about anything and she seems receptive to everything so far. Noelle has lost interest in binkies. I don't give them to her anymore. She naps well and definitely does a great job sleeping through the night. This is a fun little baby.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ice Cream, Camping, Walks, Moments

I was going to blog a bunch of stuff last week and then I got derailed with computer stuff, cleaning things out, plugging things in, excavating office space. And then what do you know? Another 5 days has passed. Whatever!

Harry loves his little sister, and so does Julia.

And this was a funny moment. Zach just came into our room and was trying to tell us something and apparently it really cracked him up. He could barely get out what he was trying to say, he was laughing so hard. Yes, Zach is generally a pretty hilarious kid.

And then sometimes it is just really nice to slow down and get down. I was able to do that this past week as well. Rinar took all the other kids out somewhere and I stayed home with my little sweetie. I just watched her wiggle, squirm, grab, roll, and just move non-stop. This was my favorite move. She was working on her yoga form and really had the downward dog looking pretty darn good.

Raef and Zach went on their second Scout overnighter and it was at Spanish Fork Canyon. They have hot springs up there and it seemed like it would be a perfect camping weekend, until the rain and snow hit. I don't think they brought enough warm stuff. I was a little worried for them. But they came back the next day all in one piece. That was a relief. And they still like scouts and camping.

But while they were gone, we took the littles to the newest restaurant in Draper, Leatherby's. I have to say, I highly approve of this joint.  The ice cream looked amazing and Rinar and I shared a fish and chips entree, which was really good. Noelle had her first little bite of ice cream and the first time it went into her mouth, her eyes popped wide open. She was pretty darn happy.

And so was everyone else. Julia was a meticulous connoisseur, keeping it neat and even all the way around. She also was pretty speedy and had hers polished off in no time.

As for the boys, it was a melty mess by the end. But they loved it all the same.

And this was my view on the way home from church on Sunday. I am really committed to walking every week, as long as the weather is not wretched. Looks were very deceiving, as it looked beautiful but was freezing cold. I think it was actually colder at noon when we went home. And then I checked the temperature when I got home and it was 40 degrees, with a wind chill. Whoosh. But my kids were troopers and didn't even complain. 

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