Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Coming

Soccer Season.

Times 3.

3 Balls. 3 Pairs of cleats. 3 Uniforms (with 6 pairs of socks to lose keep up with).


1 team (thank goodness).


Luckily, there are a few perks of having 3 kids in 15 months, and that is that they can all be on the same soccer team, which means a LOT less running around for me! But pretty soon, we will be practicing every week and going to games every Saturday. And, since our little ones comprise a good percentage of the team, we can't miss anything!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Feelin' Alive

Guess what Jack did this weekend?


He learned to ride a "No Training Wheel" bike! He has been very, very close to getting it for a while, and on Saturday it all came together.

With only a few spills!


Today, while riding in circles in front of our house, he exclaimed "I feel so ALIVE"!


Isn't that a great feeling to ride a bike and feel the wind and the balance and fun that it is?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glimpse into Society

I went to a meeting for parents of new kindergartners last night. It was quite similar to the meeting last fall, but it still surprised me.

They presented classroom procedures, curriculum, and expectations of the students. Not one hand went up. That segment was finished in 15 minutes.

Then they mentioned the cafeteria, and we spent the next 45 minutes discussing every teeny tiny detail of the young ones food experience.

I couldn't help but wonder if we were in a similar meeting in India or Japan... would they have nothing to say about learning and ask a million questions about food? I tend to think not. The only curriculum based question came from an Indian gentelman who wanted to make sure there was equal focus on reading and math. It may not matter that he was Indian, but he was the only one to ask about the learning.

There was one other area that peaked a lot of interest- many hands and questions- the after-school child care options.

I find it really disturbing. We seem to only care about who can take care of our children (not the parents, of course- that would be ridiculous), and making sure they get their fair share of (awful) food.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Second Day of School Party

We had a great Second-Day-Of-School-Party!

What? You don't celebrate the second day of school? You didn't even know it was a holiday?

Well, now you know!

We decided to go bowling for our family night/ second day celebration. The kids have just done so wonderful in school so far that we felt they deserved a special treat. :)

Everyone had fun... although the ending was a bit rough because unfortunately not everyone can score the most points!

But thowing big heavy balls down a lane trying to knock something down was quite enjoyable!
And, after the kids were in bed, Kydon and I had a little second day party of our own!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dollywood

We had a great time in Dollywood. Waiting until the very end of summer paid off big time, because the park was completely empty. No lines, no crowds! A few of the big coasters were closed, but we couldn't ride those anyway, so it all worked out just fine.


I was so pleased with how well the kids did- all 3 of them walked the entire day! We didn't have to carry anyone, they could eat normal meals (well, normal to them), and were happy and cooperative the whole day! It was awesome to see how far they have come from even just a few years ago when we would have had to carry a gigantic bag and stress about food, drink and bathrooms all day.


And now please enjoy the many pictures of kids riding amusement park rides...


Abigail was all about the thrill rides! She was tall enough to ride them, so Kydon and I took turns going with her or staying with the boys, who may have lacked some height, but did not lack courage!
They had to ride everything- even when it was a "boring baby ride", they still had to give it a shot!

Aidan's favorite (of course) was the train.


We were waiting for our turn on a ride, and I looked down and realized something...
Jack and Abigail have the exact.same.hair. Wavy/curly on top with ringlets near the neckline! And with hers short and his long, it really looks similar! Don't know where Aidan came from, but I thought it was pretty amazing!

When she pulls out her genuine smile, there is nothing cuter!

Monday, August 23, 2010

School Day Monday

In spite of the days when we thought this day would never come, and moments when we wished it wouldn't, the first day of school finally arrived.
They were all up and dressed and ready to head out for the bus by 5:45 am. I had to break the news that the bus doesn't come until 7:15, so could they please be quiet and let Mommy sleep a little? (the answer was no, in case you are wondering)

I was trying not to hope or plan which teachers we got, because there are 5 Kindergarten teachers. Abigail's teacher from last year got moved to another school, so we knew we wouldn't be getting her. But on back to school night, I was so happy to find that the boys got the two teachers I was secretly hoping for! I know they will each have a great year!

Although, the separation might be hard... we've already had tears over having different things in the goody bag from the teacher. I tried to explain that they will be getting different things this year, but facing the reality is difficult when everything has pretty much been the same for the past 5 years! I know they will miss each other!

Abigail is super excited, but I think last night she started getting nervous... so many unknown elements! I was sad that none of her friends from last year are in her class, but her teacher seems fantastic and I know she will just make new friends!

Aidan will be great at school, but a few nights ago he started quizzing me about the principles office- "do all the kids go there sometime?" "what does the principal do when you go there?" I think he is worried (and rightfully so, I might add) that his behavior won't be quite up to par!

Climbing onto the bus- the best part of the whole day! I came home to an empty, quiet, lonely house. (it was nice). I, of course, have huge plans for the days/weeks/months ahead. Very first on the list (after blogging) is to C-L-E-A-N. I did pretty good the first of the summer keeping up with everything and even getting the kids to help. But as the days wore on and school got closer, we all just sort-of gave up, and the house is showing that neglect!

I can't wait to hear how it all goes today!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pigeon Forge, TN

After our marathon-by-choice drive up to Tennessee, we decided to take it easy the next day and just do stuff in the city, saving Dollywood for a day when we could get the kids to bed on time the night before.
So we looked around and picked two things- the Titanic museum, and go-kart driving. We also tricked the kids into a little shopping by eating lunch at the outlet mall.
Abigail is a girl after my own heart- she loved the shopping, and insisted on wearing her new clothes right away!

I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical of the Titanic museum, but it looked better than anything else. I will also admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find it much better than I expected! They had done a really great job with the recreation (parts of this museum were used for the movie), and I loved all the people in costumes and all the information they had.

Of course, no pictures were allowed inside, so we just got a few outside. The kids had listened to "Tonight on the Titanic" Magic Tree House book (we all love those books), so they actually were able to have some sort of framework. And after we went to the museum, we listened to the book again, and they were piping up with all sorts of details they remembered from the museum.
We finished the fun times by stopping at one of the thousand of family fun centers!

They were so excited that there were go-karts they could drive *All By Themselves* without a grown up. Granted, it wasn't the wild and crazy track that covered 3 levels, but at least they could do it alone. (I was glad for that as well).
Go Kart driving is serious business!

Abigail was a little timid the first lap or two, but she quickly found her stride and got really into it.
The place was pretty empty, so I think we got in a few extra laps, since there wasn't anyone else waiting to go on the ride.

This is the face of dreams coming true! His only disappointment was that we weren't going to spent the entire day letting him drive around.

We decided to stop at Walmart for a frozen pizza rather than eating out again, so we made a quick stop. It was a few minutes too long for one child, and Aidan completely lost it. No vacation is complete without a major fit in Walmart, right?
I thought it was so funny that he was crying so hard, yet still eating his ring pop we had tried to bribe him with! The blue mess around his mouth combined with all the redness and tears was cracking us up! I know, we are mean!
But isn't it funny?

3 Cute Kids do Rock n Roll

We had some guests for dinner the other night, and after eating, we were treated to a rock and roll show- I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

...I love the "fire fire fire" as lyrics!

...I love Aidan performing his interpretive dance in the foreground.

...I love Abigail trying to direct everything and be "cool"!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whose Cuisine Will Reign Supreme?

Welcome to Iron Chef: Dollywood Edition

Chef Aidan, please tell us the inspiration for your dish.

I was very inspired by the classic childhood urge to take delicious food, and dip it in something to make it taste even better. I had ketchup, mustard, and ranch dressing all available to me, but that kind of dip had been done before, and I wanted to go for a new, bold flavor. When I saw my packet of butter to the side of my roll, I knew I had found the flavor combination I was going for.


Simply take your *fried chicken*, dip it straight into the *butter*, and enjoy.

Thank you, Chef. Just when we thought fried chicken couldn't get any more unhealthy, you have expanded our culinary minds.

Chef Jack, please tell us the inspiration for your dish.

I too was inspired to 'dip', but unlike my competitor, I enjoy the simple flavors. I wish to show the range and delicacy of the butter itself. I do this by my confident removal of not only all other ingredients, but I also removed all utensils.

To experience this dish to the fullest, simply take your butter tub, dip your finger, and enjoy.

Thank you, Chef. We were having a difficult time making our decision of which chef will earn the title of Iron Chef: Dollywood, but then Chef Aidan made a last minute entry in the dessert course:

I wanted to combine two of my favorite things, to create a completely new flavor profile. So I took my vanilla pudding, with a small dollop of whip cream and a few sprinkles, and I combined that with an entire piece of chocolate cream pie (crust and all). It was a risky move, and although the first few bites were enjoyable, I had to admit that it was not my finest work.

Thank you, Chef. Your creativity has earned you the title of "Iron Chef: Dollywood". We will issue you a word of caution, however, that your presenation and plating could use some improvement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Last Monday Before School

It is the last Monday before school. I'm trying to decide...

I want to stay at home. Get the kids back into the routine, get laundry and cleaning done, recover from our vacation, and take care of those peaches I have sitting in boxes in my kitchen.

The kids want to go somewhere. Do something "fun" (because, you know, it has been so gosh darn boring the past few days). Take advantage of the last few days of summer.

I guess we will try to find a way to do some of both.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yin and Yang

My nicest child is also my meanest child.

My most obedient child is also my most disobedient child.

The child that frustrates me the most is also the child that makes me smile the most.

So interesting how their best qualities are yin/yang with their worst qualities. It makes me think of the scripture:

"I given unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Drive That Lasted All Day Long

We started with the best of intentions... a 5 hour drive to make it to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We planned a stop at a state park to check out a waterfall, maybe do some hiking. We weren't in a big hurry.

We took our time leaving the house- a big breakfast, finding all the blankies and toys, and finally started off around 9 am (that is pretty late for us- we are early risers!). 10 minutes into the trip, we made our first potty stop. While waiting for the potty-goers, I remembered all the things I had left at home, so we went back to get it all. At 9:30, we got back on the road, for REAL this time.

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you we made the five hour drive never driving more than 30 minutes without stopping!

Many, many, many potty breaks.

A detour to Walmart when the DVD player (already on its last legs) just would *not* work. Sometimes I feel pathetic that I'm so dependant on stuff like this and don't just tell my kids to suck it up and deal with not having a movie-- I drove to Cali both ways and didn't even have a radio when I was a kid! But despite my patheticness, it just isn't worth it to go without! An oven, sure- no problem- 4 months without it. A DVD Player? Pull over! Gotta get it right NOW!

Daddy's rule of no eating in the car meant breaks for lunch and snacks.

A few more potty breaks (next time I'm going to purposely dehydrate them).

A beautiful State Park where we saw some amazing waterfalls and took a short mile-or-so hike, plus visited the nature center and went to the potty.

We had to turn around and go back after passing a front-yard peach stand and buy a bushel of peaches! I can't wait to make jam and canned peaches (and peach pie and cobbler and crisp) when we get home! We also ate several in the car (much to Daddy's dismay). Those fresh, warm, fuzzy peaches brought back my childhood! I also picked up a couple of hand-crocheted wash cloths. My grandma gave me some years ago, and I loved them until they disintegrated! Plus I like to buy hand made things!

I almost (lucky for you it was only almost) reached for the camera when we pulled off to the side of the road and all 3 males were lined up in pee formation. But the mental picture makes me laugh.

All in all, we arrived around 7 pm- a full 10 hours after we initially started! It wasn't all that bad, but I think we were all just SO ready to be done with the car! We ate a quick dinner, then the kids jumped right into the pool! Swimming at 9:00 pm is how you know that we are on vacation!

And now, everyone is asleep, and I am blogging... life is good!

Monday, August 9, 2010

2 More Mondays

How we used to roll...3 cute kids in a double stroller!

There are only 2 more Mondays (counting today) until school starts. And we will be out of town most of this week, so that means only about 9 more days of summer.


I'm very sad about that.


I'm also very happy about that.

Summer has pretty much been everything. There were days I went absolutely nuts-o, and days I never wanted to end. And many, many days in between. I have tried my best to have fun- take them on adventures, work on projects, visit places we normally wouldn't have time for. It has been great (except for making them believe that every single day must be packed with something exciting). The kids have enjoyed it, and I have too.

But the house is a wreck. And I haven't helped Kydon one little bit with the kitchen remodel. He is starting to get annoyed. There is work that needs to be done, but I know it won't happen until school is in session and I have time and energy to devote to it all.

My final plans for summer include:
  • Visiting the cyclorama to see the REAL TEXAS. From Aidan's favorite civil war story. He is obsessed with it all, and is very, very excited to meet his idol the train.
  • Take a short trip to Tennessee. We have not had any vacation this summer, trying to save for our kitchen. Kydon decided he couldn't take it, so we planned a long weekend up in the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Finish the back to school shopping. Abigail needs a few pairs of pants, Jack and Aidan need just one or two more outfits, and the boys are in desperate need of shoes. To keep himself busy in church yesterday, Aidan stuck a pencil in each of the holes in his shoes. I got kinda embarrassed when he had 6 pencils in before he ran out of holes! That is why we don't do a lot of hand-downs to other kids! :)
  • A few more summer activities- swimming, library, fun times with our cousins.

I'm excited for school to start, and I'm also excited to enjoy these last few days. I sure am going to miss them all, but it is a great new adventure for all of us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grounded from TV

I love the TV. I know it isn't that good for them, but I don't really care. I always try to limit what we watch to around an hour a day, but there are days when we watch a lot more. I can't help it- the kids love it, I get things done, and there are limited messes.
So, naturally, I don't take away the TV priveledge very often. Because, grounding them from the TV means grounding me from the TV, and I don't like to do that.

However, on Sunday, when I picked each of the kids up from their church classes, each of their teachers pulled me aside to speak to me about their behavior. This was after spending all morning talking and practicing and bribing them to behave at church. So, we had to go for the drastic... grounded from TV for 2 days (along with a few other things).

And, you know, it hasn't been that bad. Actually, it has been kind of nice to have quiet, and while there are more messes, there is also a lot of creativity and more playing together than I would have expected. Maybe I'll do it again next year!