Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tday 2012

We had a pretty calm Thanksgiving this year. Origionally we had planned on having a number of others over but plans were changed the last minute so it was pretty much who we usually have, us 'White' siblings in the area and significant others. Turkey was had, I counted and we combined ate more than 9 can's of olives, we tried a new bakery for our pies and they were amazing. Over all it was a great, calm day.

For Thanksgiving I'm of the philosophy that we shouldn't make it harder than we need to so we divide things up so no one ends up having to make up everything. Jason does the turkey, I do the potatoes and stuffing and set up, Isaac brings rolls, Scarlett does a great fruit salad, Jared does a mean sweet potato and mom and gram get the pies.

This year I talked to the boys and asked what they wanted to do and we came up with ants on a log despite the fact they didn't really know what they were. So we tried it out and turn's out they're quite good at it and find it pretty tasty.
Yeah, they were pretty good.
Also earlier in the week the boys and I made up some table decorations which the boys could barely keep their hands off.
Fly turkey fly!
Then all we needed was a little break before everything was ready.

Everyone, despite having consumed ridiculous amounts of olives, had their fill.
They even fought over the drumstick.
The boys and I also made this little guys. They actually turned out pretty cute.
The aftermath.
Later that evening we headed off for yet another big meal at my dads house which was followed up by beginning the holiday season with some gingerbread men.

Levi School Pics 2012

I am sure it's a mom thing, but I'm pretty convinced Levi is among the cutest, sweetest boys in the world. He looks so handsome in his kindergarten picture!  

I am loving getting to know my older boy as he is figuring out who he is, what he likes and doesn't like.

One of my favorite things about Levi is his amazing attitude. Overall he is pretty positive and up beat. When I ask him to do something (which happens a lot, he's my big helper) often his response is: "Sure, that's easy!"  He tries to see the good in things and is happy to help people.

I love this kids brain. And again I don't know if it's a mom thing but I think this kid is one smart guy. He has a great memory, he must get that from dad. When he hears something, like facts from a book or story, he remembers them even if it has been a long time and he only heard it once. And him playing paino? I had no idea he'd be able to play a song by now. It seems like it took me forever to do that. He is extremely inquisitive and loves to learn about new things. Anyways, I love his brain and am a little jealous at times.

Levi is very loving. He still says I love you, gives me hugs and kisses at random moments throughout the day and loves to snuggle with me, especially first thing in the morning. It melts my heart. When he is around little kids and babies he is extremely sweet and gets to their level trying to talk nicely to them or share a toy. He talks about being a dad one day and that he has 'kids' who are his stuffed animals he takes care of.

Lately he has gotten more and more confident about writing and drawing. When he was younger I couldn't get him to color because he knew he didn't do it 'like he should' or stay in the lines and he felt very self conscious of it but now as we have been working on writing and fine motor skills he is getting better and better and I can only see him improving.

One word. Energy. This kid has it from the top of his head to the tips of those wiggly toes of his. He is pretty much always moving and wants to be doing something. It can be hard to get him to sit sometimes, though he has been practicing and is getting better and better at it. Sometimes all that energy is good sometimes, not so good but that's how it is with a lot of traits I suppose. He will sit still for a show or game, while we read books, and a few other times but he is a mover and shaker. That goes for his mouth too, he's a talker and I'm pretty sure that's from me. He talks sun up to sun down about everything, though for the life of me I can hardly ever get him to tell me what he did at school. I think it's a boy thing.

I absolutely LOVE shopping with this kid. He is fun to take to on grocery trips, out to run errands, basically anywhere. He is along for the ride and it is a fun time to talk to him about things. Whenever I do my grocery shopping with him we always end up having interesting conversations as we get what we need. He asks random questions that not only make me smile but I see others smile around him. Also he almost never asks for things at the store so when we do happen to go down a toy aisle it is a lot of fun because it's just for looks and so we have a lot of fun but can just walk away without having to buy anything. He gets it, which is nice.

He is getting into reading and listening to long chapter books. We have gone through almost the entire 'Magic Tree House' series and love it. He's read the original Robin Hood with grandma and is working on Dr. Doolittle. Right now he can read most of his Level 1 readers and is getting more confident in his reading skills. It is so amazing to see someone you have known from their very first day on earth reading a book by themselves. I'm sure the feeling only gets more amazing.

Tickling the Ivories

One of the things I have always wanted for my kids is for music to somehow be a part of their lives, it has always been a part of mine. Music, weather it was piano, singing or guitar,  has helped me to be a better person, comforted me, taught me discipline, given me courage and confidence, increased my self-esteem and helped me to ponder my own life, values and relationship to God and others.

I had thought back and forth about having the boys do piano for a number of reasons. It was something I wish I had started on and stayed with earlier in my life because I really only took lessons for two years, once when I was 8ish and then for a year when I was 15, the rest I figured out on my own. While I had a great passion for playing/singing my theory knowledge and technique was horrible. When I took private lessons again in collage it was really hard to overcome some really bad habits I had picked up on when I was on my own, I still struggle with a lot of things musically that I probably wouldn't have if I would have stuck it out when I was younger.

At the same time I don't like the idea of putting kids in too many classes and activities because it can make life pretty stressful all that running around. That and I don't know how I feel about just picking something for them to do weather it's a sport, activity or something they haven't expressed interest in.
When I was a freshman in collage I remember I had two good friends, both boys, who both played really well at about the same level and when I talked to them about playing they both told me their moms had both pushed them and pushed them to practice. One said he was really grateful for it but the other said he wished he hadn't learned. I'd like to think that the one who didn't has since changed his tune and I never really believed him when he said it because when he played he looked like he enjoyed it too much but who knows. Just talking to them had a big impact on me and had me determined that if I had boys they were going to play piano. Sports, hobbies, and even employment would come and go but music will stay with you for a lifetime if you let it. 
So after deciding to do it I did some asking around about it with friends and from what they told me 5 or 6 was a good age to start and the other piece of advice was that you shouldn't teach your own kids. It's hard enough being the one who has to be on top of them practicing but to be the teacher too can be a bit too much from on person. That plus the fact I had no idea where to even begin teaching had me convinced I was not the one to teach, just help with the practicing. We decided to ask our cousin Krista if she would teach Levi because we know her and also I love her way with kids, she just gets them and I knew she would be great with Levi and she has been. Her lessons are short and to the point (perfect for a wiggly 5 year old boy), she is always patient with him and I love how kindly but firmly she teaches. Plus as a bonus she brings her little Abby over so we get some baby time with her.
Levi did a great job at his first recital and did a song called Handbells and had Mary had a Little Lamb memorized. It is amazing to see how much he has improved even after a few months. Levi you are awesome!!! And a special thank you to Krista, I'm so glad you live close to us!

Friday, December 7, 2012


 I am pretty much all done Christmas shopping for the boys, and I don't know whose more excited, them or me. Normally I don't buy the boys lots of toys (though Jason thinks I do), they have far too many already and we have very limited space but for Christmas bring on some toys!

I doubt when the time comes I'll write about what they got, not that presents really matter much but they do to kids. It took quite a long time to come up with things that I knew they would really like and that would be played with often.

Both boys really love books and particularly non fiction books with facts, information and pictures. We've gotten these books a lot at the library and so I bought a bunch of used ones to add to our collection. Among others I found sharks, arms and armor, Rome (Levi likes stuff about Rome and Greece), trains, cowboys, robots, amphibians, insects, mummies, the myans and more. I'm way excited to read them with them.

 This year we are going to Montana with stops in Washington which means a lot of time in the car. I was thinking I'd wrap up some of these books, which will be from me and Jason, and give them piriodically on the trip.

Along with the books I got some fun figures. Levi and I found these at a store and he fell in love with all the figurines. I got a number of sets and we'll see who gets what. There are dragons, Indians, pirates, soldiers, knights.... So I was thinking on the trip I'd give them the books first, let them read them and then give them corresponding toys to then play with. I think they'll enjoy.

Speaking of figures I also got them some animal figures to add to their collection. They play with their animals all the time. This year we'll add reptiles, bugs, animals from Madagasgar and Polar Animals. 
Wild Republic Polybag Insect 10 Pieces

 On the sciency front I got a couple of things, I'm not sure who it will be for but they will both love any of them.

Break Your Own Geodes4M Crystal Mining Kit

Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden

The boys also LOVE stuffed animals and puppets, they play with them every single day and consider them their kids. It's very sweet. One thing I thought would be fun would be people puppets. We have animal puppets but no people, I think they will love them. I didn't get all of these but some. A king, pirate, knight and dragon. I figure they can probably come up with some pretty steller stories. 

For our drive we're up to this one. Levi listens to one every single night and they are great for road trips. 
 Magic Tree House Collection: Books 41-44: #41 Moonlight on the Magic Flute; #42 A Good Night for Ghosts; #43 Leprechaun in Late Winter; #44 A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time
 Now this is something I am working on for each of the boys. While I was pregnant with Max, Grampy, my grandpa, had gotten a sock puppet kits for both Levi and for Max. Less than a month later he passed away and I never quite got around to making them for the boys. Well I finally did it and I think the boys will love them. They not only love stuffed animals but we talk about Grampy a lot, though Max never met him, but Levi did. We talk about how he's in heaven and what he was like. They know and understand and I think they'll really love their monkeys.

 Another gift I'm making them. This has been in the works forever! I wanted to make them for Levi's birthday and even had all the stuff but it didn't quite happen. So I worked for almost an entire day on them at my quilting retreat and they (along with three other sets for friends) are almost done! It is from their absolute favorite show Wild Kratts which has these two brothers who use these creature power suits to turn into that particular animal, and thus learning about it, and solve whatever crime/problem of the day. I'm pretty sure they will freak out.
Now this isn't one I'm getting but I know my mom is. It has a story behind it. One night as we were preparing for bed Levi comes up to me and asks "Mom, are you 18 years or older?" I tried my best to supress a laugh because I was pretty sure where this was going. When I replied that I was he began to spout off information about this toy that had so many pockets to put stuff in, and that it came in all these differnt was very cute to see his excitement about a toy because he doesn't really ever do that about any particular toy he wants. It reminded me of Ralphie on the Christmas Story movie. It actually took a bit of investigating to see what it was all about because they are in the comicerials on the shows he watches downstairs with Gram (we don't really watch them up here). Oh then after explaining he said "your mom said she would get me one". But of course when I talked to the source she had no idea what he had been talking about but found out and decided to go with it. I forget what she got for who but the boys will love em.

         Now I know Christmas isn't about toys and I think I've been thinking more about toys than they boys have. We haven't really done a list or anything and they haven't mentioned much about presents or what they're getting, which I kind of like. Over the past several months I've tried, in an effort to lessen the fighting between them, to emphasize that people are more important than toys. In fact I ask them numerous times "What's more important, people or legos/toys/blocks?" and have tried to work this into our celebrating of Christmas.

For FHE we took the evening to go to the dollar store to get presents for the kids in the family. They each got to pick things out they thought the other kid would want and we didn't get one thing for them. I think it's good for them thinking not about what they will get but what they will give. We'll wrap them next week. Hopefully. Also we bought cards for the adults because that would be WAY too many presents for each kid because our family is getting pretty huge. We have been working on writing/drawing cards for a few people each day so they can be handed out at Christmas and I think that has been good in helping us think of others.

Lastly to help with the spirit of giving we (again hopefully and dependant on my stress levels) will be going through their toys and they will pick out some toys who need new homes. I've done this with them several times and they actually do better than I expect and almost to the extreme. It's quite sweet. Plus that will make room for the new ones.

Anyways Christmas preparations are going well and I feel like most of it is under control. Except for that Jason who made a list for me then went and bought pretty much everything on it. Ah well. I'll figure out something.

Monday, December 3, 2012


 The holidays are in full swing over here and we've been busy busy busy! But I feel less stressed than last year for a number of reasons. 1.)No diapers, enough said 2.) I'm more prepared because I have known what to expect as far as orders go 3.) babysitting co-op which I only started doing this year, it's a life saver and my kids love going to their friends house while I work 4.) mother's helpers, I have a couple of younger kids, our neighbor and two boys in our ward who come over for a few hours once a week to play with the boys in the afternoons while I get my work done.  5.) no holiday shows, I've done numerous in years past and they are a TON of work to prep for and be at and only a part of the time worth it not only financially, but emotionally with all the stress and being away. I just do better and can be more flexible with online sales and now I have more time to do things my way. Just the way I like it.

Anyways things have felt less stressful for me but I've also had less time to show off of my cute kids to the world, so here goes:

Max is loving preschool and going to his friends house. There are only two other boys in the co-op but it's worked out more or less. Max came home one day with a mini loaf of bread he had made, he was so proud.
So proud he insisted on using it to make mini pbj's with.
 Up until recently we would walk most days to school to pick up Levi. This was on one of the last nice days of Fall. Their favorite activities include freeze tag (#1), balancing, hop scotch and climbing. Basically anything with other kids involved.
 At the beginning of November I got to go to a quilting retreat as part of my birthday gift. Just me, my mom, my sewing machine and a ton of unfinished projects. It was 3 days of sewing, chatting, not cleaning or cooking, and doing whatever I wanted. I don't think I've done anything like that in a LONG time. It was wonderful and I got a number of projects done, some Christmas presents made for the boys, a quilt top and back done that I've been working on and off for over 3 years. I hope I get to go again soon! It was me and a lot of grandmas, but I love grandmas! They are actually quite hilarious.

This is my new/old singer featherlight. I love it almost more than my new(er) one. It just has a more solid feel to it when I'm sewing. Plus it's pretty dang cool. 
 Since I got a smart phone my boys, especially Max love to pose or do videos.
 He usually makes me photograph is projects. I forget what this one was.....
 One day after school Levi gave me this picture. The hand part we actually did for his class halloween party and then they finished it later. I love it so so much even more so after he explained it to me.  The hands are the spider, the red part in the middle is the poison. The blue bubble part on the spiders bottom is his spiracles (yes he said it was his spiracles). I asked if the brown part was the border to which he said "No mom, that is the dirt. Can you guess what this is?" as he pointed to the small orange object on the top upper right corner."It is the spiders prey" Now this wasn't any ordinary spider according to Levi, it was a trapdoor spider hence the dirt and the grass. I love this kid!
 Fort time!
 A while back a few kids in our ward were selling tickets for their high school's production of The Little Mermaid. I'd been looking to take Levi to a musical or kids play for quite some time but I wanted to make sure it was a good, kid friendly  one.

The show was amazing, costuming was brilliant and it was just a fun and up beat production. Levi was throughly entertained and exclaimed very loudly after the resolution (when Ariel is fianlly turned into a human so she can be with prince Eric) "It has a happy ending!!" We got to shake hands and give high fives to a number of characters which thrilled him to no end.

When I asked who his favorite person was it was King Triton. It is so funny to see a boys take on traditionally girls movies. To be honest Triton was this huge guy (almost couldn't believe he was in high school) with a big booming voice. Next to him Prince Eric looked like a shrimp.

Speaking of twists on movies, the movie Brave is according to Levi all about bears. Boys.
On our way to pick up Levi from school, Max usually likes to bring some sort of toy. This time it was horsey and he wanted me to take a picture and send it to dad. I love walking to school even though it takes a lot longer but I think it is good for everyone to take a nice walk and play a bit.

Notice Max is wearing PJ pants? Didn't want to fight it that day.
 We don't to many computer/video games around here but Levi was begging and they all got all their chores done so they got some time. They love sitting on the chair together and Max usually opts to watch and cheer Levi on.
 We had a day off of school last week and since it was going to be our neighbors birthday the next day and she was over while we baby sat her we decided to go to Pump It Up. They even got to go in the wind tunnel thing. Everyone loved it, but Max decided fairly quickly that all that wind was not for him.
 Mom! Take my picture!
 No pictures!
 Max wearing dad's glasses. He looks pretty cute with them on!
 Max and Levi don't really get any sort of 'allowance' but we have family jobs, which are jobs you just do because you are part of a family and have to help out, and pay jobs which are just that, pay jobs. Extra jobs that take a little bit more work and you get paid. Levi's weekly pay job is to take out the recycling and Max helps sometimes. Then they do other random jobs around the house, sometimes upstairs sometimes down.

Anyways, they combined their pay job money with the money they got from Grandma Tami for their B-day and decided to make their big purchase. Levi has been eyeing the dragon/action figure display when we go to Michael's and was lusting after their Chimera (has three different heads and a snake tail) and they both adore dragons, knights and castles.

So we raided their John Deere piggy banks, paid tithing (for Max it was his first time and first purchase) and headed off.

Immediately Levi knew which one he wanted while Max went back and forth, back and forth but finally settled on a red dragon with wings and a little baby dragon. They were quite excited about it all and have been loving them ever since. Me, not quite as much because while I love their interest in it and enjoy watching them play I do not like stepping on them, those things are pointy!
The boys and their 'mythical creatures'. Gotta love them. Just wait till the see what we got them for Christmas.