Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spring Is In the Air!

The kids started back to school today after our week-long spring break. Some parents love it when school starts back up- but I'm always a little sad. I like doing our own things. Oh well!

We went to the movies, painted ceramic animals, dyed Easter eggs, made our own movies,( all indoor activities for the three days of rain we had), played lots of games, had a picnic in the park, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs in the backyard and had a jolly good time.

Although all of that was fun, the highlight of the week was going to Virginia to camp with our cousins, hunt frogs and celebrate Easter. My brother moved to Virginia last year and it's been great having family within driving distance for the first time in 7 years!

We found a great campsite near Gettysburg so after visiting the battle grounds we stayed up late and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows again (they never get old!). For much of our time around the fire the kids told jokes. Kid's jokes are awesome! Half of them are "new" jokes that are somehow the very same ones I remember telling 25 years ago to my own cousins and the the other half border on being so stupid that they aren't even funny at all!-- Yet, interestingly enough, for that very same reason- they ARE funny and we all laugh and laugh. Good Times!

On to the "frog-hunting" part of the trip. Within the camping facility is a little fishing lake which we took the kids to on Saturday morning. There we discovered a little marshy pool of water loaded with mating toads. They were everywhere! The males were croaking and blowing up there necks to look macho and then pouncing on the lady toads right and left. The older kid figured out what was going on right away- and the little ones thought it was cute how they were giving each other "piggy-back" rides. Too funny.

Kimball waded right in and started catching toad after toad. It took a little while for the other kids to warm up to it- but soon everyone was catching toads- even Laura. This was my favorite part of the week and the good news is that I actually pulled out my camera!

Kimball wading right in!
Laura trying to work up the nerve to catch one.
At one point my nephew picked up a "couple," and no matter what this little guy would not let go of his lady. He held onto her with the jaws of life!
Awww Spring! Got to love it!

I did get this one other picture!
Overlooking Gettysburg

I Pray for You

A friend of mine introduced me to this song last week. It makes me laugh. And....he is quite the cutie! Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

But No Elephants

There is nothing like snuggling with a little one and reading a good book! It's the best. Every night before bed one of us reads books with Laura, and last night we read one of my favorites, "But No Elephants, " by Jerry Smath. This book just warms my heart- not only because it was one of my favorites as a child, but because our copy is the very same one that I had. It's still in great condition and I love to think about my own little chubby hands turning the pages and listening to my my mom read it to me again and again.

The story is about a little old lady who lives all alone and is trying to get ready for the upcoming winter. A pet man comes along and sells her various animals, each of which become a great friend and help her in one way or another to prepare for the oncoming cold. She buys a canary who sings to her, a beaver who cuts the wood, a wood pecker who fixes her roof, a turtle who carries her on his back when she is tired. Each time the pet man sells her a new animal she proclaims with passion, "But No Elephants!"

Finally the pet man comes to sell her with his last pet left and of course it is the elephant. Grandma once again refuses him. What would she do with an elephant after all?

The pet man must have decided he didn't want an elephant either because he ditches the poor animal right in front of Grandma's house. Then winter begins and it snows and snows and snows and they can all hear the elephant crying. Grandma feels bad and her heart is softened-- so she lets him in. ....

This of course causes all sorts of problems! He falls through the floor and gets stuck and then he eats all the food. Grandma says, "What will we do? We cannot leave or we will freeze. We cannot stay or we will starve!" The elephant feels terrible for what he's done and he wants to help, so he stands up and starts to walk (imagine a little house with elephant legs sticking out of it). And he walks and walks and walks until they get to a warm sunny place!

The book ends with a very groovy looking grandma serving fruity drinks to a bunch of elephants out side of her new sunny warm home hosting a sign that says, "Welcome Elephants!"

Every winter when the dark and dreary cold sucks the life out of me I dream that a elephant in shining armor would just pick up my house and walk me someplace sunny. Grandma sure had it good!

I love that I can pass on this sweet book to my kids. I will make sure they each have their own copy for when they get to sit down with their own chubby-fingered babes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Craft Ideas

I found something adorable online the other day while surfing blogs. It was one of those afternoons where I sat down to look something up and somehow ended up wasting a couple of hours in the world of "link-a-links," jumping from one craft blog to another admiring and imagining all the cute stuff I could make.

I got really excited in particular about this adorable valentine tree some other crafty Mom(most likely a Utah resident) made. It was just the perfect idea for my dining room table to add that whimsical touch of romance for our valentines dinner.

Here's the problem- I went back the next day to see the photo again and start my project- but I could not find it anywhere! I forgot to bookmark it and since I arrived at the blog through the before mentioned "link-a-link" method I had no idea where I saw it. I was so bummed!

To solve this problem I have now decide that whenever I see something I love, and that I want to make, copy, purchase, or just continue to covet, I am going to post it here. This way I can always find it again- and the few people who actually keep up with my family's simple life will benefit as well!

With that in mind, I found silhouette pendants, designed by Whitney Phippen today! I love, love them. Wouldn't my neck look gorgeous with these? It's like having one of those Victorian cameos- only cuter because it has your own kids silhouettes!
You can purchase them here. They are a little pricey- maybe I can come up with a way to make myself a knock-off version? Or drop a few hints for Mother's Day?

Also- I think I will need a few more kids to get the full effect here. It looks adorable with six and I'm afraid my mere three children would make a necklace that was much too sparse!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Morning Boost

This morning I woke up to music and it was great! I always wake up to the radio- but it's usually set to NPR and I drag myself out of bed to the drone of some British voice talking about Afghanistan, the latest from Obama, the state of the economy- or other equally depressing stuff.

But not today.... Somehow my clock had gotten switch to a music station and it became a major boost to my day!They were playing the song above by Train titled "Hey Soul Sister." I love it! It puts a smile on my face and makes me want to dance- and I firmly believe that dancing is the best way to start any good day!

So, with such a positive morning, why don't I always have my clock set to awaken me with music? Simple--my past experience with morning DJ's is this: They are all disgusting! They are crude and vulgar and full of themselves and I hate listening to them.

Why do radio producers think we want to wake up to, or commute to work listening to, a bunch of jerks telling crude jokes and laughing at themselves? If they would all shut-up and just play music then I would tune in, but they don't! They blab on and on offending me right and left and so I avoid them at all costs.

I have to believe that a huge portion of America would agree with me on this because I also believe that most of America is still made of decent, moral, family-going folk and NOT the select group of trashy a-moral losers that get themselves videoed on various reality shows! And if my suspicious are indeed correct- radio hosts should figure it out and stop with the nasty potty talk!!!

OK- I have said my peace. Back to the music...

I have learned a good lesson today, and I'm going out to get a clock that I can hook up to my IPOD, thus ensuring me many more smiley, upbeat, music-filled mornings in the future! (Because honestly people- I couldn't care less about what Obama said or didn't say this week! He makes my skin crawl!)

I love the new song by Train, but it is not alone in my list of happy, pick me-up songs. I'm sure you each have your own, but in case you want some ideas here are a few of mine. (I put links with some of them so you can have a taste!) Enjoy!

"When The Night Hears My Song" by Bedouin Soundclash
"The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani (clean version!!!)
"Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus **my kids and I can rock the kitchen with this one!
"Mardy bum"by Arctic Monkeys- not a big dancer but still makes me happy
" Sk8er Boi" by Avril Lavigne
"Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol try the Glee version here!
(this will always make me think of my older brother dancing in the family room and jumping all over the furniture- about 25 years ago! It's still a good one!)

"Shot Through the Heart," and "Livin on a Prayer" by BonJovi (They never get old!)
"Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins
"Cowboy Casanova" by Carrie Underwood
"Young Blood" song from musical "Smokey Joe's Cafe"
"Good people" Jack Johnson (again not a big dancer- but i still love it.)
"Pata Pata" - an African folk dance song. So fun for kitchen dancing!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

8 Great Years

Here is the video I made for Kimball's baptism. So much of his life was before we had a digital camera, so I had to have a lot of photos scanned in at ScanMyPhotos.
***(If you are not family- be warned- this is long and probably NOT of interest to you!)

Kimball's Baptism

January is over today and I couldn't let it pass without journaling one very important event(for family history's sake)-Kimball's 8th birthday and his baptism.

Kimball has one of those right-after-Christmas-forgotten-about-birthdays that gets itself smooshed into Christmas every year. I would feel bad about that except that this actually works out well for him being that most years we are on vacation at the time. This means that most years he gets to celebrate with his cousins and grandparents and we have convinced him many a time that we go to Hawaii, Disneyland or to California or "Ruby's on the Pier" in Balboa-just for him, in celebration of his day. My favorite was the "volcano birthday" in Hawaii with a cake made out of Ding Dongs and Ho Ho's. We even did fire-works that year. He thought he was so special!
However, we may have over done it in this regard because I now have another child who has started asking me, "Mom, how come we don't get to go on vacation for my birthday?" That's the thing about parenting: you try and do something nice for one kid and, inevitably, that very thing is somehow viewed as an oversight by another. Another example? I walk into the room and notice "Child A" drawing a lovely picture.

"Oh, what a good artist you are. That is lovely!," I say.
In comes "Child B":
"But, mom- I could have made that way better! I'm a better artist-right? "

Geepers! Is this just my children? Did I fail somehow? ........ I will add it to my ever growing list....

On to the real story here- Kimball's big day. This year Kimball turned 8 and we debated about where we would baptize him. It was important to us that he get to be with as much family as possible and being that Grandma Neilson can't travel right now, and we wanted her to be there- we decided to fly to sunny CA. Seriously- shorts and tees in January? They are so spoiled!
It was a perfect day with all four grandparents and lots of cousins from in town and from out. I wouldn't have had it any other way. It's hard for me to believe, or accept for that matter, how much my babies are growing up. Kimball is such a delight in my life. He is always cheerful and loving. He never lets a days pass without giving us all hugs and telling us he loves us. Kindness is one of his great talents. Thank you for being you-Kimball! We love you so much!
**One funny side note: Stanton had told Kimball before the baptism that he could be the one to go down and pull the plug in the font when it was over. Unbeknownst to us- he took this very literally and no sooner had Stanton finished baptising him- but he let go and dived right in! My family thought he was taking a wild swim- kicking and splashing and having a dandy ole time-( it was Kimball after all!) but he was just trying to pull that plug out! It was hysterical.

Oh how I love that boy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The FlipCamera

This Christmas we received a great toy from my brother's family- the Flip-Camera! I love it! It's the perfect size to take with you wherever you go, but the best part about it is it's simplicity. It's very basic, with just a couple of buttons. Even my 5 yr. old has it mastered. For that reason alone it gets used a lot in my house. My kids catalog their weirdness all day long. We are very rapidly creating hours upon hours of video that I can use to embarrass them with later in their lives.

Here are a two moments of randomness from our home:


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