Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fireman party!

Weston had his first friend birthday party.  It was a success!  No tears or mishaps, the weather was perfect, and I think everyone had fun. 

I didn't let Weston pick the theme though.  He wanted an orc party, but I already had party stuff for a fireman party.  I had bought fireman costumes for $1.40 each - Halloween clearance, back in 2009.  My intention was to use them for Jared's 4th birthday party in May of 2010.  However, I realized that we didn't quite have enough fireman costumes for his friends.  So we boxed them up, saving them for another party.  We never used them, until now.  I figured this might be my last chance, since he probably wouldn't want a fireman party for his 6th birthday.  And Savannah likely wouldn't request a fireman party.  So I just planned it, and hoped he wouldn't throw a fit the day of the party.  (I checked out some Fireman Sam videos from the library too to try to get him excited about it.)   

We had pigs in a blanket, watermelon & cantaloupe, and cheetos/chips, and lemonade for lunch.  

(My try at this Betty Crocker Fire Engine cake - the instruction video is nice.)

The party went pretty well until it was time to have cake.  Weston wasn't really in the mood for it, but we did get him to participate.  And he cracked a smile or two as well, so that was a bonus.  :)

We set up a little obstacle training course - they had to climb a (small) ladder to rescue a cat from a tree, they had to run around the yard in their fire truck, axe through a wall, climb under the smoke, and spray out the flames.

They also had fun spraying each other with the water hose, trying to pop bubbles with their axes, and they did a scavenger hunt for fireman gear.  

Each of the party guests got to take home a cardboard fire truck and their costume (jacket, hat, and axe).  

Our little orc is FOUR!

We made the mistake of letting Weston watch The Hobbit.  He picked up some aggressive moves from the movie, and his new favorite thing is orcs.  He has been constantly talking about getting his orc Lego set, with Azog (a big ugly orc).  He pretends to be an orc, and many answers to questions asked of him are "orc".  We can sometimes get him to do something by saying "that's what orcs do."  

Anyway, he was really excited to get his big Azog Lego set, along with his other presents.  I think he really liked all his presents, but at the end of the day, he was still holding on to Azog.  

I thought his reaction to this toy gun was funny.  If you didn't understand him, he said, "I do not want this, because it's real dangerous."  He did decide later that it was okay to play with it.

Weston wasn't much help in special birthday food requests.  When asked what he wanted for dinner... he said, "Man flesh."  (That's what orcs eat apparently.)  Well, we didn't have any man flesh available... so we had lasagna and rolls instead.  We went with waffles for breakfast, tortillas & cheese and watermelon for lunch, and milkshakes for dessert.  He did give input on the chocolate shakes.

We didn't do cake on his birthday, because he had a friend party later that week.  

In that last picture, he was saying "No more pictures Mama."

But he's such a cute little orc.  My youngest boy is FOUR!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our little watermelon

We may not have watermelon from the garden, but this sweet watermelon is growing big!  

19 months old

Out and About

Nice day at the beach

Outing with friends

We got to see friends visiting from Washington - the kids had fun finding little crabs

Another fun outing

They all love water, rocks, sticks, and dirt!

4th of July

We had a pretty low key day on the 4th of July this year, which was just fine with us.  Besides going to see fireworks, we just stayed home.  We played games, had grilled hamburgers and M&M brownies and ice cream for dessert.  We couldn't find a very good spot for watching fireworks, but we did end up seeing some of them.  We had to climb up a small wall and onto another's property... I'm not sure where we were exactly, but we could see some fireworks through the trees.  It turns out we also missed the end of the fireworks.  They just abruptly ended - we waited a minute or two - then headed home.  I later heard they finished the show about 15 minutes later. Technical difficulties?  Oh well.  Better luck next year.  

(Nathan is chewing off the top of an onion...weird kid.  :) )

Nathan won this round of Ticket to Ride.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

She's 18 months!

The significant thing about 18 months is that's nursery-age at church!  No more wandering the halls (at least not with her... maybe with our 4 year old...)  She seems to like nursery - there are only a couple of other kids in there.  She mostly only cries when it's time to go home, and when we pry the baby doll she has been carrying around out of her hand.  We are learning to bring HER baby doll so we don't have that problem.  

She loves to carry around a baby doll and her pink bear.  She loves being outside, just wandering around or following her brothers around.  She still likes to pull heads off the Lego guys and carry them around.  

She has 15-20 words.  The pediatrician made me list them for her.  I came up with 17 there in her office.  I guess that's okay for now, but she needs to know 50 words by the time she's two years old.  Better get talking... and writing those words down (so I can hand the list to the doctor).  

Whatever she may be lacking in speech she makes up for in cuteness!  She is MY baby doll (who is getting bigger every day).  

"Helping" with the groceries... and just looking cute.  

Father's Day

I think the pictures pretty much sum up the day, with lots of his favorite things... 

We love Da-da!  

Here's his framed collage:

Camps & Swim lessons

Owen went to a Safety Town camp for one week.  It's designed for kindergarten-age kids to talk about safety in the setting of a mini town.  They got to drive around little "cars" on "roads", learning about stop signs and road safety.  They learned their phone numbers and 911, talked about fire safety with firefighters, being safe around water, and what to do in various other situations.  Owen had fun and hopefully he learned a lot about being safe!  

Nathan and Jared had fun at cub scout day camp for a week. They enjoyed time with buddies and passed off several scouting requirements.  Alex volunteered for 2 of the days.  He got to spend one full day teaching the boys how to play Bocce ball and another as a group leader.  Friday was family day - with fun things for the whole family, like popcorn, otter pops, bounce house, magician, pinwheels, games, and picnic.  Savannah loved the pinwheels!

The other paid activity this summer was swimming lessons.  It was Weston's first time for lessons... he didn't do so well.  Of the 10 days, he cried for about 7 of them.  And it wasn't just whimpering - he was wailing.  "I want to get out!  I want to go home!" he screamed over and over.  He had snot running out of his nose, clinging to the wall, crying.  I wasn't sure what to do - the teacher said to just let him cry.  I couldn't believe he could cry so hard for 25 minutes straight.  After about the 6th day of it, with no success in bribing or various promised rewards, I tried something different.  I told him if he didn't stop crying that I would just leave.  "If you want me to stay and watch you, you have to stop crying."  He quieted down pretty quickly as I started to walk away.  I had to keep reminding him every so often about our deal.  He still didn't do what his teacher wanted him to, but at least he wasn't crying very much.  He had a few moments, but was able to just be in the water without crying.  The teacher even got him to smile a couple of times.  He enjoyed the last day in the inner tubes.

Owen, Jared, and Nathan made good progress and are getting more confident in the water.  No tears or fears from them.

The younger three were able to take lessons at the same time.  Nathan was able to help me watch Savannah (while I attended to Weston...) during their afternoon session.

Nathan was only able to take lessons in the next session - but he was at 6:30pm, so we mostly were able to just leave the rest of the crew at home with Dad.  (I enjoyed my time out just sitting there watching Nathan.)

                                                                               Weston was smiling while in the inner tube!

Summer fun

Our summer is going by fast!  We have stayed busy enough to not get bored or go crazy.  We established a similar system to last year with the boys having to earn afternoon screen time by playing outside in the morning.  This year there was a 2.5 hour max per afternoon they could earn, and they had an I-pad shift (since we only have two I-pads for sharing).   

It didn't matter what they did outside.  Most of the time they were active, running around, sword fighting, or riding bikes.  Some mornings they were just sitting around playing Pokemon.  Whatever.  Works for me.  

We also have been playing a lot of board games, watching movies, bowling, library reading program & shows, and other outings.  

I have taken the kids bowling at least once a week.  They get 2 games per day for free.  I went ahead and bought $20 bowling shoes online - seemed like a good investment since they should be able to wear these shoes for a while hand-me-down.  Otherwise, we still had to pay $4 each for shoes - no thanks.

Weston only bowled a little bit.  He and Savannah were pretty bored, until I thought of taking the I-pad for them to watch videos on.  That worked pretty well.  The older kids bowled while the younger ones watched "Dora the Explorer".

Alex spent time in the garden and also made several jars of peach and plum jam.  

A hike was in order the weekend after school got out.  Unfortunately, I think this was the only hike so far this summer.

Stay tuned for more summer activities...