Friday, November 20, 2015

Where We Are

It is November 20th and I haven't posted AT ALL in November.
We've been busy, but no busier than normal.  I'm not sure why I've fallen out of the habit of doing something I enjoy so much.  No use trying to catch up what I've missed.  I'll just start where I am.
Here are mini updates of everybody.  I do need to work on a Christmas letter soon, so maybe this will help give me some direction.

Peter is a lot of fun these days.  That's not really something I've said very much over the past 15 months.  His digestive system and sleeping schedule seem to have mellowed and he's pretty happy.  He is walking all around-- before 15 months!  That's pretty early for our family.  When he hears a song on the radio he likes he points his index finger in the air and "dances".  I find it particularly charming because my mom used to do a funny finger dance that we kids used to love.

George is my errand running companion.  I don't leave the house without him.  He likes doing his school books and practicing the piano.  He is ever the hoarder and collector of objects the rest of the world doesn't value.  He checks the mail at least four times a day before noon and retrieves any credit card offer/junk mail I throw away.

Cannon is quite the song and dance man.  He is taking a tap dance and a hip hop class, and I admit I am DYING to see him at his Christmas recital.  Always cheerful, always ready with a joke.  I find him absolutely charming.  He loves learning and figuring things out.  He never seems happier than when deep in concentration.  He is really doing well with piano and surprising me with how quickly he passes songs off.

Faith is still taking tumbling classes twice a week.  She worked really hard practicing at home to get stronger and got herself moved up into a higher class.   She working on her front aerial and standing back tuck.  Her latest accomplishment is a round-off, three back-handspring, back tuck.   She is also working hard on piano.  Everyone is in "get ready for recital" mode.  The recital is Tuesday, December 15th and if I have my druthers, all of my little dearies will play something! 

Elinor is the tallest 12 year old I know!  She is seriously almost as tall as me and I'm 5'9"!  She has a piano teacher other than me and is thriving.  It makes me so happy to see her progress.  She is also doing swim team again at Marv Jenson Rec. Center.  She doesn't get to practice quite as often as I would like, but such is the schedule of a busy family.  Both Elinor and Bethany are very helpful with the younger kids and I am beyond grateful.  Elinor has had a bit of a rough adjustment to algebra this year, but I think she's on the right track now.  Elinor and Bethany are really enjoying our Mother/Daughter Jane Austen book club.  After finishing Pride and Prejudice they were tickled to watch the 5 hour A&E version.  Now they can truly appreciate it!

Bethany is in the middle of a violin lesson even as I write.  She is LOVING being a part of the Lyceum Philharmonic.  Of course I would like her to practice more-- like 3 hours a day.  She seems content with 1 1/2  hours right now.  She is enjoying her Ancient History course this year.  The three oldest kids have a schedule of reading and then turn in projects for each book.  They have a lot of leeway in what kind of project they turn in-- write an essay, write a play, artwork, write a song, oral report.  Whatever they books inspired in them.  Bethany has turned in some really clever, artistic projects.  Having already completed her personal progress, she is working on getting an Honor Bee.

Clark is working about 15 hours a week at Papa Murphy's Pizza.  He likes it and I like him having that responsibility that I'm not a part of.  He's a junior this year, so he's working hard on school work and ACT prep.  He's about 6'3" with a deep voice-- rather imposing.  He's already known for planning thoughtful, fun dates.  He's one I would like to play a piece in my Christmas recital, but I'm not sure that will happen.  He is preparing something, but perhaps isn't so keen on public performance.  I've told him, "Clark, you only have to do this two more times and then you are done forever! I won't ask you to play after you mission".  It's is so strange to think this is is second to last Christmas at home before he'll be mission bound.

I will be better about blogging more regularly.  Sometimes I just have to start writing.  That's what this post was.  Hopefully, I'll have more pictures and more interesting stories next time.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Night 2015

This is how I tried to spend much of the evening of Halloween.  Admittedly, I did find it challenging to concentrate as I had to help children get ready for trick-or-treating and then my door bell rang a lot.  The struggle to read is real.
 And this is where our oldest spent his Halloween.  Clark (on the right) made pizzas for us, and for many, many others working at Papa Murphy's.  It's their biggest day of the year by far, so all hands must be on deck.
My first, and favorite trick-or-treaters.
They met up with Faith and friends at the next house they went to.
Quite the neighborhood convergence at the Lee's.
 The little ones are always wary, yet intrigued by the gorilla at the Kitchens.
Good to know there is protection nearby.
Abe and Frankenstein
Elinor the beggar met up with the boys.
My comfy setup, until it got too dark and cold.  Then I went inside.
Cannon found his buddy, Jake.
I hope every neighborhood has that one really creepy house.  We sure do.  We also have the awesome house that grills hotdogs.  And another that grills hamburgers.  I'm telling you, this is Halloween Heaven!
I'm not really a cat lover, but I was charmed by the black cat that hung out on our front porch for a while tonight.  I was kind of sad when it left.
It must have cast some sort of spell on me;  I even tried to lure it to stay with a bowl of milk. Why would I do that?
Elinor found some other beggars to keep company with.
Faith and Lily and Gracie got so much candy it was a burden.
Abe's scariest moment of near incontinence--- realizing the statuesque pumpkin headed creature was alive!
Glorious Halloween!
Even as I write, two children are near to throwing up.  It happens every year.  I don't try to stop them.  Go ahead and eat yourself sick once a year.  It's some sort of rite of passage.

Abe and I Should Just Have Our Own Party

Clark and Bethany invited a few friends over for a Halloween party Thursday night.  Abe and I talked about staying out of the way.  We talked about not embarrassing our children.  I planned to make them food and then let them be.

But we couldn't really help ourselves.  They were having so much fun.  We wanted to be a part of it.  I like to think we were "helpful" in organizing games. But I fear that is wishful thinking.
Next year, we'll just have our own adult party.  Then our children can get revenge and lurk around trying to get in on our games.
To begin with, Abe dressed as a creepy butler.  Well, like we're going to host a Halloween party and not dress up!
I was Amelia Earhart-- or some other female Aviator.  Not too shabby for last minute.
London and Raven in fine form.
London and Clark
Ben and his seriously disturbing marionette puppet.  He was asked to put it away by several of the guests.
Abe, Breanna and Yoda
 Adorable Corrine
Lisa and Raven
Cameron as Ron Weasly and Steve as a cop.  When Steve showed up, I admit I had a moment of alarm- why is there a cop at the party?
Nikki and Robin Hood
There are no words.
Emma and Heather
They played a fun "Battle of the Sexes" game.  For the record, the boys won.
They played several games that were hysterical, but I ask you, are you ever too old for musical chairs?  I loved Bryson sending Nikki flying in this picture.  So gentlemanly.
This isn't a picture of it, but the last round ended in a wrestling match over the chair on the floor.  
A pretty fun game called "Samuri" or "Hu-wah!"  You'll notice Cannon in many of the pictures, he was hanging with the big dogs in all of the games.  Someone forgot to tell him he was only seven and these were all teenagers.  I don't think he was one whit behind them.
This game is probably more fun to listen to than to watch. 
As you miss your cues or mess up the rhythm of the game you get out and the circle gets smaller.
There was mafia at the end.
The D&D boys ate doughnuts on a string.
It got a little ugly-- and messy.
The evening really was a lot of fun and I'm quite impressed with this great group of young people.  But I am serious about an adult party next year!

Homemade Halloween 2015

We sort of had a family theme for Halloween this year.  The theme was "Homemade Halloween".  Do It Yourself Costumes.  Part of me felt a little bit disappointed that I didn't make more of an effort, but the other part of me has never enjoyed Halloween more than I did this year!  Talk about low-key and chill.  I think I might need more low-key and chill in my life.
Bethany made this adorable unicorn costume.
Can you guess what Clark was?

A chick magnet!
I adored Elinor's blind beggar costume.  This brown robe has come in handy several times over the years-- Jedi, beggar, monk.  It was a good investment piece.
Could she have been a cuter Little Red Riding Hood?
 Peter wore the beloved puppy dog costume.  This doggie costume has been worn and loved by every single child since Clark.  It was purchased on clearance after Clark's first Halloween.  It has held up perfectly and I will NEVER throw it away.  My grandchildren must wear the doggie costume!
George was Army Man-- another well-loved hand-me-down costume.  I'm telling you, this Halloween was seriously low stress.  Let it be known that the number of hours or the dollars spent on a costume do not equate with the love I have for this boy.  He is wonderful and I adore everything about him.
I loved that he feel asleep on the floor 45 minutes before it was time to go trick-or-treating.  
 Cannon was Napoleon Dynamite.  He had some concerns that his friends wouldn't "get" his costume.
We told him that is true, but it's too funny.  Do it anyway.   The funniest part was to hear him quoting Napoleon.  HILARIOUS!
Here's one more picture, not quite as clear, but it makes me smile.

Those are the costumes everyone actually ended up wearing on Halloween night.  But since it was Homemade Halloween, nobody had to decide very far in advance, and, in fact, several of them tried on several other costumes over the week leading up to Halloween.  Here are a few runners up:
 George seriously considered going as a butterfly (I think it's a fly).
George was ecstatic to have Clark make him a cocoon and hang him upside down.  Big brothers can be really fun.
Cannon had a run as Commander and Chief.  Faith helped him with his more sophisticated hairstyle.  This cracked me up because Cannon reminded me so much of my youngest brother, Chip, at the same age.
Pete was a pretty cute little Yoda baby.
Cannon and Faith tested out the "Pioneer Children" look.  I thought it was a good look.
Abe went around with the kids as the doggies chauffeur.  I like that Peter is pulling at his doggie ears in rage.  I guess he doesn't love the doggie costume as much as some of the kids.
Faith wasn't with the boys tonight as she went with a neighbor's family.

Will we return to a family costume theme next year?  Probably.  Most of the kids seem to like it.  Or maybe not.  This year was very enjoyable and I enjoyed the kid's creativity in finding costumes.  We'll see.