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Oct 31, 2008

Success

The Ninth Ward Halloween Carnival was a smashing success on Tuesday. My committee delivered on all their assignments, various ward members pitched in with supplies and man-power, we had enough food and carnival prizes (with a little to spare), and everyone appeared to have a great time! I think there were about 200 people at the party for dinner, games, and trick-or-treating. I was completely exhausted at the end of the evening, but was especially grateful to have felt reasonably well all day. That was truly a miracle!

I'm including this photo of the gym, pre-party, for my mom, who brainstormed and shopped with me the week before the carnival. (Thanks for agreeing with me on the tablecloths.)

This photo is for me, to remind me of the seemingly endless crush of people lined up for hot dogs and chili.

This one's for Elder Ryan Dixon (Croatian missionary). I thought he'd get a kick out of these missionaries' "costumes." The Elders were the judges for our chili cook-off.

Garry brought the boys in their costumed glory: a turtle, a ninja, and a transformer.

Tyler's favorite carnival game was "dangling donuts." He got smeared with chocolate but had tons of fun!

This is a completely UNflattering photo of me (I promise I'm not showing yet...or least not as much as those overalls suggest), but it's such a fun snapshot of Colleen and Kendra (just two of my buddies here) that I had to include it!

Now I need to start planning the ward Christmas party...if any of you, fair readers, have a suggestion, please let me know! I need ideas for the menu and a kid-friendly program for starters!

Oct 30, 2008

11 months and counting

Gavin is eleven months old today. It's amazing how the time flies!!

Here's what happened in Gavin's world during the month of October:
  • More frequent and enthusiastic waving and clapping
  • "The one-armed salute" -- an arm pointing outward, cheek on shoulder, balled fist
  • Throwing things down the stairs, in the garbage can, and in the toilet
  • Transition to 100% full-time walking
  • Arching back and screaming during dressing and diaper changing
  • Biting (playfully?)
  • Squealing in a very shrill, high-pitched way -- but always to express happiness
  • Preferring Dad to Mom almost all the time
  • Getting a foot stuck in the crib rails during nearly every overnight sleep
  • Weathering a very icky cold and cough
  • Insatiable curiosity for cupboards, drawers, tubs, shower stalls, boxes, garbage cans, etc.



These monthly photos are getting pretty tricky! Gavin sure doesn't like sitting still for very long!

Oct 29, 2008

The post before the one I need to do

I have a post in the works about the great event that was the Ninth Ward Halloween Carnival.

And one about Gavin turning 11 months tomorrow.

And one about Halloween (which I know is still two days away).

But this one is for the great group of friends who showed up at playgroup today.

I haven't been to playgroup for a few weeks. Who can deal with friends and sunshine when there's puking and sleeping to be done? Anyway, I have missed it, as has the ever-socially-deprived four-year-old in my life. So today we went, even though I didn't shower and Gavin didn't get a nap and I didn't take enough snack food.

It was unbelievably refreshing to sit on a blanket in the scratchy dead grass with six of the women I'm coming to know and love. It was so fun to watch our millions of children running pell-mell about the playground, and to see our babies eat sand and pillage food from each other's diaper bags. Tyler was a stinker the whole time (watching TV and playing computer games by himself has diminished his social skills, apparently), but I still enjoyed myself.

My favorite moment was when Gavin barfed a mouthful of cheese and grass all over my arm. As my stomach rolled and I struggled not to lose my own cheese, six arms reached out with baby wipes to clean up the mess. I just closed my eyes and let them take care of it. Soon enough, the moment had passed and all was well with the world, and I couldn't help but smile.

Thanks, ladies, for making my day.

And now for a group nap.

Oct 26, 2008

Honey do[ne]

Like most husbands, Garry has an omni-present, ever-evolving honey-do list. We joke that I'm his shift manager on the weekends (it's probably more true than not, but I try to give him a break once in a while). This week he deserves a shout-out for the big dent he made in his list.
  • Fix the desk hutch Zach broke by climbing on it {check}
  • Winterize the sprinklers {check}
  • Mow the lawn {check}
  • Suck up all the leaves in our yard and the neighbor's {check}
  • Bring in the dining set we can't seem to sell {check}
  • Organize the garage so it can fit both cars {check}
  • Make progress on the flagstone patio {check}
  • Woo out-of-town higher-ups at work {check}
  • Take three kids to church alone so I can barf in peace {check}
Here's some proof of Garry's awesome work:

Yes, that would be five giant bags of leaves and grass from our yard.

A two-car garage!!!! We haven't had one for years. Just in time for the snow.

And the "someday" patio. This will be its status for the winter.


Love ya honey. Thanks for your hard work!

Oct 25, 2008

Granny to the rescue

Our week was made better and brighter with the presence of my dear mother (a.k.a. Granny).

I joked with my dad that I got a taste of what it would be like to have a live-in maid/nanny. I was only kidding a little bit. Granny seriously worked like the Energizer Bunny to transform our long-neglected house (bathrooms and laundry and ironing, oh my!), entertain the kids, feed the family, tend to the yard (summer blooms out, tulip bulbs in, leaves raked, porches swept), and make sure the upcoming Ninth Ward Halloween Carnival (yes, I'm in charge) will happen according to plan next Tuesday.


While she labored diligently, I napped and read and watched TV and generally lazed about. The best part is, Granny never made me feel guilty about it. She and Gavin got to know each other and he finally considered her a friend with his one-armed salute. Zachary and Tyler got fun bedtime stories every night, had 15 library books read to them, and got fun Halloween treats from the stash in Granny's suitcase. Zach also got to take two dozen birthday cupcakes to share with his classmates because Granny stayed up late Sunday night to finish them.

In short, our barely-functioning household got a huge, giant lift this week. And now that she's gone, it has a huge, giant void. But we're so glad she came.

Thanks a million, Granny. We miss you already.

Oct 23, 2008

Some preschool stuff

Tyler had a busy week at preschool, with school pictures, "E" Day, an evening open house, and a field trip. While I still fervently wish he was in a three-day program, he seems to love school, his teachers, and his classmates. Given our ugly experiences last year, I'm grateful for what we've got.

On "E" Day, Tyler took a picture of his Uncle Eric (above).
It just so happened to be Eric's birthday that day (love ya, Ed Dude!).

Ty's open house was a little strange, but Tyler enjoyed this activity best.
Permission to deface an object with a hammer and nails (golf tees) is pretty cool.

In lieu of Thursday class time, the class met at Fountain Creek Nature Center.


The scenery was quite lovely, though wildlife was scarce.

Tyler was sure to stay right by our tour guide, Mr. Paul.
He asked lots of questions and maybe learned a little bit.

By the time we ended our 90-minute walking tour,
everyone had shed their coats, hats, and gloves.
The warmer weather and fresh air was good for Tyler and his mama.
It was a fun day.


Oct 22, 2008

Snow

Colorado Springs got its first snow of the season this morning. It's supposed to be 70 degrees by the weekend....

Oct 20, 2008

The children speak

Yesterday our ward had its annual Children's Sacrament Meeting Program. All the children ages 3-11 (75-ish) sang beautiful songs and had speaking parts on the theme of "I am a Child of God." This was Tyler's first year participating and Zachary's first year overcoming his stage fright. We were so proud of the boys for doing so well. Seeing Zach step to the microphone and deliver his part flawlessly was a huge pay day. I cried.

I recorded the boys saying their speaking parts at home.

video
Zach did a great job with his mouthful of big words.

video
When it was Tyler's turn in the program, he held up a picture of Brigham Young and said, "This is Joseph Smith...DOH!...I mean Brigham Young!!!" It was hilarious.

Well done, boys. Well done!

Oct 19, 2008

Zachary turns seven!

Sometimes when I look at Zach I still see the little baby we brought home from Orem Community Hospital seven years ago. How much has happened since the day we first became parents! We sure love our not-so-little Zachary.

Zachary's birthday celebrations were made much grander with the generosity of his far-flung relatives who all pitched in with great presents. Having Granny here for the early-morning festivities was fun, too. I love that Zach is at the age where Speed Racer underwear Batman Legos, a motorized coin bank, Captain Underpants books, and a camera are equally exciting. Grandma Bartle stole the show with a remote control airplane, though. The boys quickly discovered that the airplane is best operated at a park, but it's still a huge hit.

We have a tradition of fun homemade birthday cakes. This year I selected a few photos online of cakes I was willing to make and Zach picked his favorite. Pizza obsessed boy that he is, he picked a pizza cake. Toppings include cheese (sliced sticks of orange gum), pepperoni (fruit leather), olives (M&Ms), pineapple (jelly beans), and sausage (chopped Crunch bar). Thanks to Granny and Garry for putting together the pizza with me. We also had frozen pizza for Zach's birthday dinner (since it was Sunday and we elected not to order out).

Here's Zach making a wish as he blew out his candle.

And Gavin LOVED tasting cake for the first time. He's the next birthday boy in our family, so we thought he ought to practice.

Happy birthday, Zach!

Oct 18, 2008

Saturday afternoon

We enjoyed a lovely outing to the pumpkin patch with lots of friends on Saturday afternoon. You'll notice we have no pictures of pumpkins, since pumpkins shipped in from lower altitudes and crated in boxes aren't nearly as exciting as those you can pluck from the vine with your bare hands. However, great fun was had by all for the fabulous price of ten dollars.

The best part of our outing was playing with a huge pile of friends from our ward.
If I'm counting right, there were seven families with 21 collective children!

Granny flew in from Mesa on Saturday morning to spend a week with us!
She and Gavin are buddies...as much as Gavin will allow.

Tyler made a friend in this goat, who was being rather uncooperative.

The wait for the hay ride was long and the ride itself was short,
but the kids (nearly all on this ride were with our group) had a great time.

This slide was another highlight of the trip
and this photo was the funniest of the bunch.

And our cute boys.

The end.

Oct 16, 2008

It's fun when it starts....and it's fun when it ends.

The soccer season has come to an end.

If I wasn't worried about spewing all over the keyboard, I'd do a ceremonial song and dance. You'll just have to use your imaginations.

Zachary and Tyler had a great time learning to play the game, getting to know other kids, and wearing their cool gear twice a week. But as good things always do, soccer time has come to an end. It's getting cold and dark at game time, and the boys are anxious to do other things every evening. But we'll definitely give soccer another run next year. Garry will probably even coach again.

To celebrate their seasons, each boy's team had a little party and awards ceremony after the final game. There's nothing like pizza and trophies and pictures to send off the season with style! Each party was a little crazy in its own way, but we had some memorable evenings with our boys. Zach thought it was cool to wear his soccer shirt to school on the day after his last game and take his trophy for show-and-tell (he's the star of the week in his class).

Here's a little slide show (I figured it out!) of soccer pictures. Since it is rather little, though, you can click here for a bigger version. Enjoy!


Oct 15, 2008

Mini G

The little man in our household hasn't made the headlines lately. Why? Because he lives in the shadow of the big boys' activities, that's why. He gets carted to and from their schools every day. He wanders on the sidelines of their soccer games. He sits with snacks in his high chair every afternoon during homework time. He co-exists rather peacefully, rarely exhibiting the shocking behaviors of his brotherly counterparts. In short, no news is good news, and we're grateful.

But even from my ever-present couch perch, I have noticed a few things about our sweet baby boy that are worth recording.

One is his recent obsession with carrying clothing. He'll pick up a shirt or a jacket and drag it around, sometimes chewing on it for a bit. He's especially fond of silky items and Dad's t-shirts for some reason. Since laundry has a hard time finding its way into hampers these days, Gavin has plenty to work with, but I have tried to substitute whatever random article of clothing he's carrying with a little receiving blanket. (You know, I'm trying to turn him into Linus.) He doesn't go for it.

This boy also loves to dance. He can bob and sway to any beat, any time, anywhere. He bounces to the rhythm of the dishwasher, TV commercials, piano music, and kids' songs. Garry loves hooking up his iPod to speakers or finding a great radio station and watching Gavin groove his little body. Here's a demonstration:

video

Gavin has also developed a little gesture we think might be a precursor to pointing. He smashes one shoulder up against his cheek, extends that arm, and balls his hand into a fist. Then he grunts or squeals and walks in the direction of whatever he wants. Frequently he "points" like this when he sees a parent who's been absent, but sometimes his purpose is unclear. It's just funny.


On Wednesday Gavin woke up with an icky cold and after his morning nap he had a fever. Other than the ridiculously snotty nose he's sporting, he doesn't seem overly bothered, but his appetite is off. Thank goodness for bottles -- they are a home-run no matter how picky he is at meal time. I think it's kind of funny to see his enthusiasm when I'm mixing water and powder for him. Who knew formula could be such a delicacy? I fear that between the bottle and the binky we're creating quite a dependent little kid, but what can I say? It's all about Mommy's survival, baby. We'll deal with withdrawals later.

Gavin's ability to putter and entertain himself has been such a blessing lately. He is particularly happy downstairs, where I can close gates and doors, lie prostrate on the couch, and let him roam at will. He's happy to play with toys, carry around books, crawl all over the treadmill (someone ought to), and roll around in blankets. He'll steal a remote control or a telephone once in a while (his absolute FAVORITE toys) but I can usually substitute a good tickle and story for the beloved object without too much objection.

In short, Gavin is doing great and growing up. He's a full-time walker now and seems much older than his 10 1/2 months. We sure love having him in our family!

Oct 14, 2008

Let there be heat!


The last several days brought a cold snap to our area.

A freezing, snap, actually.

And we discovered that our furnace didn't work.

So since Friday night or so, we've been rather chilly in our beds at night. And in our chairs at lunch. And, for me, on the couch all day. The boys wake up with rosy noses and icy hands, no matter how many layers they have. It's a little ridiculous, especially since we haven't seen the tip of the iceberg as far as winter weather is concerned.

Today I dug out our home warranty paperwork (hooray for that!) and phoned a technician. He was at our house within 2 hours and fixed the problem in 15 minutes. Suddenly our house is ten degrees warmer...and climbing. And because of our warranty, the $150 repair only cost us $50. I'd say that's $50 well-spent.

Oct 13, 2008

I'm Awesome

Garry took Zach to school this morning (as usual) but unexpectedly returned home instead of continuing on to work. He had forgotten his cell phone and went to his dresser to retrieve it.

Only it wasn't there.

This was pretty strange, since Garry is a creature of habit and ALWAYS unloads his pockets in the same place: the top of his dresser. Unlike I, who am known for being scatterbrained and always on the hunt for something, Garry never varies from his routine. The missing cell phone was quite a mystery.

Garry retraced yesterday's steps. He knew he had the phone at church (it has his calendar on it, so it proves useful there) and was pretty confident he'd brought it home. Still, he searched the car (a few times), his dress pants, the laundry basket, and every room in the house. He looked under covers and couches, on counters and desks. His blue tooth headset connected to his cell when he called it from the home phone, so he knew it was in the house, but neither of us could determine the phone's exact location because he'd turned the ringer off at church.

We were both perplexed as we searched, but true to his nature, Garry was calm and collected (I would have been a frustrated, explosive mess). Just as Garry had given up and decided to head to work sans phone, I opened the top drawer of his dresser. I rummaged a bit...and found the phone. I called to Garry, who was pretty surprised where I had found it. I felt a teensy bit like a hero.

And then I realized that The Case of the Missing Phone was my fault.

When I retired to bed last night, the phone was sitting atop the dresser (its usual spot, mind you), blinking a bright blue reminder light (it was Tooth Fairy night at our house...didn't want to forget again). In the dark, the flash was driving me crazy and preventing sleep. Instead of walking downstairs to ask Garry to take care of the flash, I tucked the phone in the top drawer. Still it blinked through the cracks. So I stuffed it under a shirt. Ah...darkness. Sleep.

And of course, because I have zero short-term memory these days, I had absolutely no recollection of these events as Garry was searching for his phone today.

Luckily for me, Garry laughed off my idiocy when I told him about it. And he probably whistled his way to work, simply glad to have his phone back. What a guy.

Oct 12, 2008

Conference traditions

I am definitely slow in posting about this, but better late than never!

Our family has a couple of traditions surrounding the semi-annual General Conference of our church, which happened last weekend. The first sprang from Garry's family, who always has crepes for breakfast before the Sunday morning session. Mmmm....crepes!

Our favorite filling is strawberry jam and whipped cream, but we've also experimented with bananas and Nutella; cinnamon and sugar; and other jams and spreads. When we told the boys that Conference time was coming, Tyler's first question was, "Are we going to have crepes?" We've trained them well!

Another tradition has sprouted in an attempt to convince two rowdy boys to sit still and listen to eight hours of broadcasted messages. Considering their ages, we did really well this time! We made a list of topics they should listen for. When the key words were spoken, they got to eat a treat. By the last session on Sunday, the boys did have tummy aches....Dad really splurged at the grocery store and got more treats than usual.

We were sad that Garry had to work so much over Conference weekend. He was gone from 10 a.m. Saturday to 1:30 a.m. Sunday (yikes!) and for about three hours Sunday evening. The quarterly report he was working on had to be done on a certain day of the month, which necessitated the unusual weekend hours. We sure enjoyed him while he was home most of Sunday, and have a renewed appreciation for our weekend Daddy.

On Sunday we took a drive between Conference sessions to see the gorgeous fall leaves. Exploring our surroundings was fun (we haven't done much of that yet), and seeing the stunning yellow aspens against the dark evergreens was quite breathtaking! We stopped for a few family photos in the mountains. I hope this becomes another Conference tradition!


Oct 11, 2008

"Something weird" and other randomnicity

Yesterday Zachary hollered up the stairs with this announcement: "Something weird just happened to me!" Given our week, we assumed the worst. Fortunately, when he came upstairs, this is what we saw:

Zach had been using his teeth to pry a stopper out of a bouncy ball and his loose tooth just popped out. The weird thing? The tooth is missing. We think maybe he swallowed it. Any thoughts on how to alert the tooth fairy? He'll probably write her a note.

In other Zachary news, we had a parental first: grounding. Sad, huh? The kid's not quite seven! Happily, extended bedroom confinement did wonders for his attitude and behavior. Plus he read for several hours, played constructively by himself (this never happens), and thought that being released early to help out around the house was a fine idea!

Tyler was encouraged to wear purple to school on Tuesday. His wardrobe is devoid of this hue, so Garry had the brilliant idea to spray paint Ty's hair purple. Tyler was the most popular boy at school on Tuesday, and Dad got a heaping mound of Cool Points. The paint washed right out during bath time but left a purple ring around the tub.

Tyler is convinced our baby is a girl. He frequently prays for her health and well being...specifically, that she "won't die after just two days." We have pinpointed the origin of his concern on this front, and have encouraged him to just pray for the baby to be healthy and strong instead. This is a good compromise in his mind.

Perhaps the best part of the soccer season for the boys is playing with friends while the other brother has a game. Climbing trees is especially popular. Tyler scaled this one about thirty seconds after we arrived at the park one evening.

Ever since we moved in, our kitchen's Lazy Susan cupboard has been driving me insane. Thanks to advice from a friend, I finally rearranged our cupboards so that the Lazy Susan is (1) not used as much, and (2) contains rotating-friendly items on its shelves. Two days in, I haven't cursed it once. This is major progress. In other organizational news, I have decided that until I feel well, we are not using the dining room. All meals will happen at the kitchen island. Keeping one surface clean is about all I can handle. Plus, front door guests can't see the kitchen!

Although having a break from yard work since July has been wonderful, I have been strongly hinting to Garry that I'd like to complete our flagstone patio before the snow comes. We are running out of time, so yesterday we got started. I wasn't very helpful with all the heavy stones, but I tried. Garry had fun with his leaf blower, Tyler helped out with little rocks, and Gavin wandered about all bundled for the 39-degree weather. We made decent progress....until the pouring rain arrived. We still have a lot of work to do...

Because it has {suddenly} been so cold, we have all been a little chilly in the house at night. It was time to bust out the winter pajamas the other day, so Tyler got to fish around in the crawl space one day for clothing boxes. Zachary's jammies from last year didn't fit (big surprise) and only two threadbare pairs in Tyler's size had survived Zachary's use. So the boys got some new jammies -- "sliders" (the kind with feet) and Superman. What fun.

Also on the cold weather front: the boys have outgrown their winter coats. Tyler wore his to a birthday party on Saturday, despite it being very short in the arms. He commented to the birthday boy: "My coat is too small, but I'm getting a new one in the mail. It is orange." Unfortunately Zach destroyed the size 4/5 coat he had at Tyler's age, so we do have to replace it. Are we really ready for a Colorado winter???? My guess is not.

pass it on!

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