Monday, February 25, 2013

Catching Up and Ramblings

It never ever feels as if there is enough time in the day to get everything done I want. Ah well, I suppose that's life.

- I've been scrambling to get caught up on some blog posts and have done a number of them and will hopefully finish soon. Now I'm ONLY a month behind. One thing I have to say, I am extremely glad I decided to stop editing my pictures before doing a post. I don't think I would still be posting if I didn't give that up, so while the pictures aren't as pretty or finished as I'd like them to be, they are what they are. Because editing? I ain't got no time for that! But despite the time and energy that go into it I'm glad I do. The boys and I went and looked at pictures when they were babies and they loved it. Totally worth the effort.

- I have been teaching my sunbeams for a while now, enough to really get to know their personalities, and they are all so funny. I have two identical twins, which I of course always mix up, and sadly they will be moving in a few weeks leaving me with only two other kids in the class. So they will have to consolidate because apparently you can't have a class with two kids but I don't know where that will leave me. The president said she might put me in with the other sunbeams class but I don't know if that will happen because the twins mother is also a primary teacher and she will be gone and I can see myself in some other callings. Anyways, within a month I should have a new calling. I really really like teaching sunbeams, I love that fun age, but I'll do whatever they want. Well....almost anything. Sorry enrichment committee, I will have to turn you down.

- Speaking of church, last week I did the first solo I've done in a LONG time. We're talking years, in sacrament. I went with 'Lead Kindly Light' but I wanted to do a slightly different melody that I heard a long time ago and it's always been stuck in my head. I've always wanted to do it even though I can't for the life of me find sheet music. So I got my accompanist and we both sort of improvised things and made it all up as we went. It was awesome. At least I think it was. The very last verse has this crescendo and it gets very strong and powerful and on the last line or two I looked at my mom way in the back and teared up. Luckily it was at the very very end because I could barely finish the last line. Way to go mom. I love to sing, I can't imagine not doing it, I just wish I did it more.

- I have been working on my website but it has been very slow going because I have been having to fill orders at the same time so I'm slowing things on the production side way way down so I can have time to get things up and running with the site. It is SO much work! Probably a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am also going to basically re-do all of my photographs so everything has a much more professional, cohesive look to it. Let's just see how long it will take me to finish it.

- Around the house we have made a few changes, they are mostly things I've been really wanting to change over the past several years but we hadn't quite done yet. Oh the list of projects that are in my head! Right now Jason is working on the railing in the landing area. At first I started stripping the old one but it took a ridiculous amount of time and soon would be money wise so we (ok I) decided to just replace them and Jason has the first part done and I think it looks amazing. He also put up new curtains last night, the old ones were as old as I am and just needed to be changed. We got a new smaller dining room table. I was never in love with the other and mostly bought it from my sister because she needed money and we needed a table, but it really wasn't family friendly. A small bookcase for some of the boys school/craft stuff. We have a new chandelier in the entryway and dining room (also all older than me). I updated pictures and added things on our entryway wall. Little by little were getting things done. But I'm loving it all and having things like I want them! 

- Both boys are doing well. I am loving being their mom. They are just such good boys! Ok, they fight and pout, and ONE of them never wants to clean up anything because 'it's too hard!' (I won't name names) but we overall have a blast. The mornings are filled with schoolwork stuff, reading, piano, coloring, doing chores. Then lunch and off to the bus for Levi and home for Max who plays legos or watches some shows while I work. Later we head off to pick up Levi and the boys play and play with all the kids on the playground and we go home to do snack, play, chores and get ready for dinner which is followed by the bedtime routine. It's awesome and we love it.

- Along with this routine I've found that we haven't really been watching much tv lately, at least during the week. In fact last week they went 3 days without it at all and didn't really notice. We just don't have time for it with everything else and over the years I have noticed that during the times there is less/no tv the boys actually fight less and are much less 'dramatic'.  So I'll go with that. Now I personally do watch tv while I work but for them they don't as much. It's pretty much banned in the mornings because I've found that that is the time where they fight or become easy to anger after whatever it is is turned off, probably more so than in the afternoon. Also when we have watched shows for even a few days consecutively in the morning they start demanding it from crack of dawn. And that is when I cut them off. I'll take a messy house full of screaming boys playing over all that emotion any day.

- Speaking of TV I've asked my mom about what did she do as far as TV went for us when we were kids and she said that she let us watch whatever and had no limits on time. I do remember that actually. We didn't really have a set amount of time we could watch and don't remember having the tv turned off by her. But I was thinking about it the other day and  I really don't think that would fly in this day and age, at least not in this house. Growing up we had no cable, MAYBE 8 channels, half of which were super boring and only the good stuff was on certain times, we had a small older tv, a vhs with a very very limited amount of videos, most of which were recorded off tv or something so the quality wasn't that great. So while we could watch whatever, the choices were extremely limited and there were tons of times when there really wasn't anything on tv and we had watched every video we owned100 times already and pretty much anything sounded funner than watching 101 Dalmations again so we would go outside and play, do our homework or something besides watch TV. Now the number of extremely entertaining things to watch is endless. Between Hulu, Netflicks, cable, tons of DVD's and redbox, you could watch awesome shows 24/7 your whole life and still not watched everything. And kids shows are way different than when I was a kid and they allow SO much more stuff than they used to so you kind of have to watch what they watch. I'm just figuring out where I stand as far as media in the house goes and where to draw boundries. I figure it's better to figure it out when they're younger rather than teenagers cause that is one battle I'd rather not fight.

- I LOVE reading. If I didn't have kids or work, I'm pretty sure I'd spend half of my time creating and the other half reading. I have always loved it. Right now I am reading a book called "The Minds of Boys" which is really interesting. In the book it talks about how boy's brains and bodies were not made for the modern western educational system. Our current system forces boys to be taught in sedentary settings often using learning styles not fit for their masculine minds. It made me think a lot about those boys of mine and how I personally teach them. The book has some great solutions helping boys learn in their own way. That is not to say that it's a bad way, it's just different. Up until recently the technology didn't exist to really take a look at the different ways boys and girls learn from a biological and physiological perspective. Boys and girls (and men and women's) brains really are different and different areas are the brain are used at different times and in different amounts. And because of that they need to be taught in different ways. Anyways, weird stuff that I found very interesting and it had some good ideas I hope to use as I teach my knowledge hungry boys. I swear Levi would have me read books to him all day long if I could and I seriously can't wait until he can read harder books on his own and we can talk about them. I know, I'm a total nerd. At least I know it and have no delusions of coolness.

 - I've started jogging again and boy am I slow. While we had our old table blocking the treadmill, which I had normally used, I got the itch to just jog, don't know why but I did. So I decided to do what I never did besides in some of the 5 and 10k's I've done, jog outside. I did it despite the fact it was pretty late and kind of drizzly but I found I loved it. It's WAY better than jogging on a treadmill staring at some dusty boxes that mostly made me want to clean out the garage. It's been fun going and doing it. I'm extremely slow and I'm pretty sure an 80 year old grandma with some good walking shoes could pass me but I'm liking it. It makes me feel good to get outside, listen to some of my favorite music and 'run away' from work, housework, the kids, life if only for a short time. I usually come back happier so hopefully I'll keep it up!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Casino Night

Way way back in November I decided what I was going to do for Jason's big 3-0 party.

I decided to do a game night rather than a traditional party because while I think he is great with talking to people and is extremely sociable, I knew he wasn't a fan of stand-around-and-chat parties. The one thing I knew he LOVED was playing board games with friends, so I ran with that.

I went with a casino night theme and used the colors black, white and red for it.
I brought all our favorite games and set them out on a table so people could choose what they wanted to play and I even invited them to bring their own if they wanted to play that instead.
Lots of playing cards were used, I got them all from the dollar store. I made this little 'banner' the night before with a sewing machine and sharpie. Yeah for procrastination!
Everything wasn't too hard to put together. Mostly a lot of cards sewn together from the dollar store, ton's of snack food and awesome friends.

Jason was very surprised (at least so he tells me) and needless to say he won't be telling me I never give him any big parties like I do the boys anytime soon. Bam!
For the 'cake' I did some dominos out of brownies and frosting, some stacked oreos (his favorite) and some easy to make cupcakes.
Snacks were pretty much all his favorite stuff along with some that stayed on the red, white and black/brown theme. Yeah, they were all pretty much gone by the end of the night.

Happy Birthday Sr. Jason, I love you tons!

Tower toss

On our way home we went a different route than we normally take stopping in Astoria at the Astoria Column. We heard you are allowed to throw airplane off it so we made a bunch of paper ones and headed up.

Jason was a trooper and carried Mr. Scardy Cat Max up the whole way.
I'm pretty sure Jason was digging it just as much as the boys were.
Yeah, even though I carried all the planes up (though at least it wasn't as heavy as a huge almost 4 year old boy), I didn't get to throw a single one. I was probably to busy catching my breath and taking pictures. That and they couldn't wait to chuck those things.


You can't go to seaside without going to the Seaside Aquarium, at least not in our family. When we first told the boys we were going I asked what they wanted to do and see and they immediately said go and see the seals at the aquarium.

We got lucky because when you buy a pass it lasts for the whole stay, at least when you are staying at where we were. That was good considering we would otherwise have to pay a small fortune to go every day.
Come on mom, stop taking our pictures. Even Jason has 'the look'.
Feeding seals, the boys loved throwing those fish.
I realize this is a crazy amount of pictures of Max but he was digging it, Levi was occupied and the lighting was perfect. That and I think he's the cutest kid in the world and every face he makes is different and absolutely adorable. he might have been making this face right after he'd fed all the fish to the seals. Don't judge. It happens and he didn't SEEM to taste and fish juice.
Both boys were fascinated with all the sea life. 
Pictures. Gotta have those.
On the way out we saw the souvenir penny machine and decided to get one. We later got one at the carousel as well so looks like they're starting a collection!

Hotel Hangout

Even though the weather was nicer than pretty much anytime we've visited in January, we ended up with a lot of hangout time, but that is what I love about vacations. Hanging out with no work to do, no house to clean, no school or schedule to worry about. Just playing and having fun.

We did a number of games and Max rediscovered Barrel of Monkeys. I don't think any one 'played' it but he sure had fun with them.
We lucked out and got by far the nicest rooms we have ever gotten. I think we originally thought about having some family join us but as we asked around everyone was busy so it was just us in a huge condo with three rooms and three bathrooms. It was amazing. We ended up using the 3rd room as a toy/play room for the boys where we had brought all their legos. They sure love those things, me too for that matter. They have never played with any toy so much as they do their legos.

And our view? Spectacular. You could just open the windows and there was the beach. The boys enjoyed people watching.
Me? I think my favorite was the huge jetted tubs. Yup. Definitely the bathtubs.

Around town

During our beach trip we also walked all around town, including going on the merry go round. Levi LOVED it.
Max on the other hand......
not so much. I don't know if it's just me but I think these kind of pictures are hilarious. He screamed most of the time but endured the torture and stayed on.
I don't know what happened but a year or two ago Max loved rides, now he is absolutely terrified of them. But he was talked into it and made it on. After it was over he said that next time he was going to go in Santa's sleigh (there was a bench that looked like a sleigh on it.) But some how I get the feeling he'd still be screaming.

Oh this picture. I love it. Levi's so chipper and happy, Max is testing everyone hearing and noise tolerance levels. Good thing we were the only ones on.

Whenever we go to seaside we like to get an elephant ear because let's face it, elephant ears are delicious and you can't just get them anywhere. It's the fair and this. We downed two in less than 5 minutes. It's a record I'm sure we'll soon break because these boy's appetites aren't getting any smaller.
On one of the last nights we set up some goodies the boys and I had gotten dad for his big 3-0 party. We picked out his favorite foods which included chips and salsa, Reeses, root beer floats, and Oreos. The boys were in heaven because we let them have whatever they wanted. Talk about a sugar high.
Oh and singing birthday cards. The boys have now discovered the cards that sing and to them that is the only kind of card with getting or giving. I'm pretty sure they've listened to them more than Jason has.