Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I heart my camera.

During Spring Break, I thought I was being a nice mom to let the kids have friends over and just play all day, but it didn't take long until I heard, "I'm bored! There's nothing to do!" So I decided to take all 4 kids on an hour and a half drive to Rochester to try out The Strong National Museum of Play.

It was worth the drive. An excellent children's museum that we could have spent all day in and not have done it all. I wanted to blog about it earlier, but can you believe I forgot to bring my camera?! I bought a disposable one when we got there and then had to wait days to get the pictures developed only to realize I am not a good photographer without my nice camera that does it all for me!

So unfortunately I don't really have many pictures to share with our story. I really need to get in the habit of taking that with me wherever I go if I'm going to document our life in pictures! :) When we got there we took a ride on the nearly 100 year old carousel that is right inside the door. I wish I'd had my camera to take pictures of the teeny little stationary horses it had on it for the littlest kids to ride. Also in the entry there is a HUGE gift shop/toy store, a 50's diner car and a food court that includes Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, etc. I think the kids were sold on the place as soon as they stepped in and of course Kobe kept asking for a Webkinz! Not a chance on that one Kobe! Admission was $9.50 for me and $7.50 per kid. I probably should have gotten the membership which would have almost paid for itself after one more trip... oh well.

Anyhow- this place was so big- so open too which is nice to not have the kids on top of each other & trying to squeeze through the crowds.

We first went into the Field of Play. Really neat things to try out. We loved the slanted house which made us all dizzy and left me feeling a little nauseous with a headache the rest of the day. I wish I had pictures of these cool things in there like the exaggerated perspective house. Also there was the shadow play area where you see a "ball" bouncing across the wall. (It reminded me of the old Pong game.) The kids could hit the "ball" (actually hitting the wall) and the "ball would bounce back to the other side. Very cool stuff.

We went into the Sesame Street area and Jackson got a little star struck. There's Big Bird looking out of the window and there's the front steps to 123 Sesame Street! Disposable cameras are awful!

{this is what it really looks like}
Elmo's World could've kept Jackson happy all day. You could open the window to see Mr. Noodle and his brother, Mr. Noodle. You could see Dorothy in her fish bowl. You could play on Elmo's computer.

You could even video tape your self "on TV" with Elmo or some other Sesame Street friends.

They had a lot of nostalgic Sesame Street things there for me,but also the latest Sesame Street computer games to play with for the kids.
Wegmans had a grocery store there (the containers were empty of course). The kids got to go shop for 5 items with their little carts, go check themselves out at the register, take their real Wegmans receipt, and then restock their items. It took Kobe a while to decide exactly which 5 items he wanted to "buy."

There was a special exhibit there called "Grossology" based on the books about how our bodies function. The yuckiest part was called Y U Stink. You had to match the body odors with the parts of the body they come from: mouth, armpits, lower intestines, and feet. So gross. The museum website has a funny warning about this exhibit... PLEASE NOTE: Words such as “snot,” “boogers,” “barf,” “puke,” and “fart” appear in Grossology.

The kids had a good time with it anyway!

The museum has the largest collection of toys in row after row of display cases I have ever seen. I took a picture of the Intellivision I saw there for my sisters, but it didn't turn out. A little blast from our past.
I would've liked to spend a of of time looking at all of that, but it bored the kids to death so we moved on.
The Toy Hall if Fame had lots of classic toys for the kids to try out. Jackson enjoyed the big magnetic Mr Potato Head. The big kids played with the Slinkys. The all posed in the Lincoln Logs house.

We spent some time in Reading Adventureland. The whole place feels like you walked into some of your favorite classic books. The museum is actually a branch of the local library, so you can check out books you find there. Kobe and Jackson climbed Jack's Beanstalk, played in the giant's castle, in the gingerbread house, and the pirate ship. The girls enjoyed the detective and wizards areas. Everyone made a magic wand to take home with them.

There was plenty more to see- like the butterfly garden- that we didn't get to because everyone was getting cranky from fatigue and hunger. We took one last stop to ride the little train, grab a snack at the gift shop for the ride home, and take the last picture on the camera outside in front of the building. All smiles were forced by this time. Reagan's face actually shows everyone's true feelings by this time of the day!
Overall a good visit to a new place. At least I did one special thing with them over Spring Break!We'd like to go back sometime if anyone wants to go with us. Next time I will NOT forget my camera!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is this ugly?

This light fixture has bugged me since we moved in 2.5 yrs ago. First of all I don't really like it, but knowing that it's pretty new I've been too frugal to say get rid of it. It's just not my style, but it's just in the kids bathroom so it stays. My dilemma now is that in 2 years time I have had to replace 3 bulbs and 2 are burnt out again.
These are not your run of the mill bulbs though. I've searched the big hardware stores to no avail but finally found a couple at our little village hardware store. They are these strange little halogen bulbs that cost me $10 each- and apparently don't have a long lifespan!

If you're following the math here, I have spent $30 in light bulbs and need to spend another $20 to get it back to normal. $50 in 2 years on a light fixture I don't really like?! I'm trying to decide what is more practical. Should I take it down and put up something that takes normal less expensive bulbs and I like (but would probably cost $100 unless I can find a really good deal)? This would be so much easier if it were some old brassy light fixture!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My First Webkinz!

For those of you with Webkinz fanatics in your house, you will know that last weekend was the Webkinz Extravaganza!! {Woohoo!!} We had to go get a present for Kobe's friend and of course it HAD to be a Webkinz so we went to the store for the Extravaganza!! The store we went to had a few stations set up where you could play a game and win some sort of Webkinz item. Well, can I just tell you how HAPPY JackJack was when he realized he had just won his very own Lil'Kinz !
Naming the dog...
Speaking of names... lately Jack Jack has gone international I guess. When he says his name sometimes it comes out, "Jacques Jacques" :D

52 Blessings Project #16 and #17

I got a week behind on my blessings project- so I'll do 2 today to catch up...
Church Magazines

Today we used many of these magazines which bless our lives. With Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching today we were able to have good gospel discussions with the friends we visit inspired by the words in the Ensign. I also spent a little me time reading some articles. (I just realized I had only read the Visiting Teaching message and one other article this month. Hello, April is almost over!) The other one I read is about an amazing ward in the D.C. area- I believe it's the same ward that Kristi from Everything Pink served in with her family last year! Today I read something which inspired me to get some words on this blog again. In this article a woman wrote about the blessings that have come to her from daily journal writing for over 25 years. It felt good to enjoy some 'me-time' with the Ensign.
Jillie used The Friend today when she taught Sharing Time in Primary. In our ward they've been assigning kids to do a little sharing time from that month's Friend... "Friend of the Month"
Luckily I was subbing in Primary today so I got to enjoy her lesson about following the prophet. She did excellent. She told the kids about his favorite color (yellow) and favorite ice cream (burnt almond fudge). She read to them the story President Monson told about the boy who tried to imitate his every movement during a church meeting- but the boy couldn't figure out how to wiggle his ears like President Monson did. :) She talked with the kids about what things the prophet has taught us to do and them gave them each a picture of him where they could write what 3 things they will do to follow him. She did great and really had the kids attention and even concluded it with her testimony. A blessing to those kids, to Jillie and to me.
The Church's goal setting programs

Jillie turns 12 in June and so does her friend Lilli. This means they will graduate from Primary and into Young Women. (Boy I feel old!) Both organizations have an excellent goal setting program. It teaches them to set and accomplish goals as they develop their testimonies and increase their knowledge of the gospel. Faith in God is the Primary program {click above to see the entire program she's been working on since she was 8 years old}. She needs to have it all done in less than 2 months. Today Lilli came over so they could work together on the section called Preparing For Young Women. I sat with them as they accomplished these goals:

• After studying the thirteenth article of faith, make a list of things that are uplifting and virtuous. Discuss with a parent or leader how you can seek after these things.

• Write in your journal how you can serve the Lord as you stand for truth and righteousness.

• Read D&C 88:77–80, 118 and D&C 130:19. Discuss with a parent or Primary leader how important a good education is and how it can help you strengthen your home and family and the Church.
It was really nice for me to discuss these topics with these bright young ladies. They have a good understanding of the gospel. Warms my heart!
Won't be long til she starts the Young Women Personal Progress (goal setting) program!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Must

A must see. I learned of this exhibit from my sister-in-law Abby- and I'm so glad she let us know about it. If you have not seen the work of this artist in Reflections of Christ- you need to click here. If you're in the Mesa, AZ area, you must go see this art exhibit in person at the Mesa Temple Visitors Center... and then tell me all about it! :)

I should mention that I got a surprise in the mail yesterday... some Good Mail from Holly. After my encounter with the "helpful" lady at the store, she ordered this for me.
Isn't that so nice?! I've already started reading it. It's an excellent book- a real pep talk for all mothers. A must read if you haven't yet. Thank you SO MUCH Hol!

Jillie was excited to see this book. She's a big fan of Jane Clayson Johnson ever since she learned about her this year. Jillie would love to follow in her footsteps- to be a famous news anchor and then a mother too. When she found out Jane Clayson Johnson would be at Time Out for Women next month she begged to go with me. She wants so badly to meet her and have her sign the paper Jillie wrote about her. :) I hope we'll be able to do this! So it looks like Jillie and I will be in Toronto May 30-31 for Time Out for Women. Anyone else wanna go along too?? :) The more women the merrier! A must do.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sunny, Sunny, Bo-Bunny...

Today is...


Can you believe my baby sister is already 32?! How can that be when I am only 25? ;)
Sunny- unfortunately I was a little late getting your gift in the mail... and I'm a little late posting this... but I hope your day has been fabulous!

I will try to narrow down the things I know and love about her to 32 in honor of her day...

1. Sunny was supposed to be named after my mom, Pam. But after the difficulties mom had while pregnant with her- and the fact that she came out blonde- it seemed more appropriate to name her "Sunny"- Dad's nickname for Mom.
2. When we were little my parents would ask us which temple we wanted to be married in. Sunny would say Nauvoo. Mom says she didn't have the heart to tell her it had been destroyed long ago. Well, guess who was one of the first to be married in the Nauvoo Temple when it was rebuilt in 2002?! :)
3. Sunny, since she was very little, is at home among the flowers. I remember her walking around the flower beds of our old house, singing to herself .

4. Sunny graduated from Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in horticulture.

5. Her first roommate at Ricks, Emily, was a stranger, but could have been her long lost twin!

6. I have always admired Sunny's faith and ability to recognize answers to her prayers.
7. After college she prayed about what to do next with her life. She got the answer she should serve a mission. She did NOT want to go. But she went and there is no doubt in any of our minds, it was exactly the right thing for her to do.
8. She speaks Spanish now because she served in the California Ventura Spanish Speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

9. During her mission she learned to eat things like chicken- though she prefers it with tortillas. (Before her mission she had a list of about 10 things she liked to eat.)
10. I think Sunny has always enjoyed dressing up in costumes. (And likes to be "in character" too!)

11. Sunny is a great seamstress. She tried to teach me, but I wasn't a very good student. SHe made some of her own dresses- and one for me too!
12. I used to help her with her homework when she was young. (Sunny, do you remember improper fractions? "My name is Helga, I'm from Sweden. Would you like some Swedish meatballs? Helga is a-top-a-heavy!")
13. We used to read and memorize poetry together... "Goosey, goosey gander, whither do you wander?..."
14. Sunny used to type and type stories and poetry on her fancy electric typewriter.
15. When Sunny is happy, she's very, very happy.

16. When Sunny is moody, she's very, very moody.
17. Moody like chase-your-sister-around-the-house-with-a-knife moody!
18. She learned to scream into a pillow instead.
19. It must be a pain to be the youngest. We always made her go get stuff for us, left her out of things, and gave her all the hand-me-downs.
20. No wonder she gets moody.
21. Sunny saves everything like the Great Depression is returning. She has boxes upon boxes at my parents house full of high school notes, pictures, playbills, candy wrappers, and many other things that have sentimental value. Holly and I tried to help her purge a bit, but... here's where the moody comes in again. ;) Someday soon she'll have storage place in her own home for all of it!
22. She loves her sisters even after all we put her through! And we love her!!
23. She has LONG legs!
24. While single Sunny went on some family vacations with us... Palmyra/Kirtland/Cleveland's Worlds of Adventure amusement park and Disneyland. SO much fun to have her along!
25. We traveled to surprise Sunny a couple of times. We surprised her by flying to Michigan from Utah for her high school graduation.
We also showed up at her dorm at Ricks one weekend unannounced. Greg had badly sprained his foot just before we went up there from Provo. We spent most of our time with Sunny in the hotel room- all napping! (Ahhh, college days!)
26. She was Derek's first real kiss. She must be good because he married her! There couldn't be a better match for her anywhere. He was well worth the wait for her. They have a great marriage- 2 peas in a pod.
27. She and Derek have made one of the cutest boys EVER!

28. She's a great mom- even if she did make him wear a speedo on his first visit to the Lake Michigan lake shore!

29. She is a great aunt to my kids- and they love her like crazy!

30. She loves Michigan.

31. She's a romantic.

(This is her helping me set up for a date. She used to get so excited for me to go on dates- and so embarrassed to see me with a date. She's still actually easily embarrassed when it comes to mushy stuff- and unfortunately Holly and I know it, and we have worked hard to embarrass her whenever possible.)

32. She is the most frugal person I know- to the point of going without heat, cars, and storage space in the name of paying cash for everything! It's actually quite impressive, but I bet many of the outfits pictured in this post are still in her closet! :)

Happy Birthday Sun! Thank you for being WONDERFUL to all of us! We miss you so much! Now I need to go read Holly's birthday post to you. I hope she covered different things than I did because there's still so many good things to say about you! :)

Oh! One last note: Happy Birthday to my cousin Michael today too!! He was born on Sunny's 16th birthday. Today he turned 16 himself!!