Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Babes and I visit the Police Station

The babes' preschool class scheduled a field trip to the local police station. We had quite the tour. First was the police dog demonstration. 

Cheeks, an all-around pet enthusiast (heaven help us when she gets older and realizes all her friends have pets except us) was just about the first in line when they offered to let the kids pet Jake the police dog. So gentle, so enraptured was this little girl. Boy Howdy, on the other hand was very stand-offish. Interested, but super shy. Once the line had dwindled and a final offer was made he mustered enough courage to pet Jake. The police officer said he liked being scratched, so Boy Howdy took one hooked finger and gave Jake the tiniest of scratches before retreating back to the safety of my legs. (Well, at least we have nothing to fear from his pet affection.)

Next we did a tour of the police facilities, most of which was lost on these little guys. They even let them look into thermal imaging cameras and night-vision cameras. I'm pretty sure the parents were way more interested than the children. What did interest them was a paper bag full of their very own stickers and coloring pages (with various PSA's) and finally a beanie baby they got to pick out themselves. The stuffy was just about the only thing my children talked about for the rest of the day. So if the police officers wanted to buy my children's affection - objective attained.

Next we went back outside for a tour of our police officer's SWAT vehicle that the kids even got to ride.

And finally, they got to take their turn sitting in the front seat of a police squad car. I think their faces say it all. What impressed me most was how well all of children did waiting ever so patiently in line for their turn. You can tell their preschool teachers are working so well with the kids if they can teach my little butterfly of a girl to stand still in line until it's her turn (she was one of the last kids).

Overall the kids did really well at the police station, so we celebrated with a Jamba Juice and Great Harvest followed by a trip to the library for some new books. Good job Preschool!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Matthew's Cross-Stitching is Officially Complete

Matthew began working on these beautiful women 10 years ago. The last one in the series, Autumn, was completed last April, but wasn't framed until the end of December. And then after yet another month, she finally made it on the wall. I'm so proud of this man.

P.S. Sorry about the glare, I couldn't figure out how to get a decent picture without the flash.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boy Howdy Rearranges His Room

A week or so ago Boy Howdy decided he wanted all his toys taken out of his room. The current rule is that their room has to be tidy if they want to watch a show. I think Boy Howdy decided that having to clean his room would be a lot easier without all the toys, even if it meant not having them at night to play with after being put to bed. The benefit, in his mind, greatly outweighed the sacrifice. We moved everything downstairs and I even managed to convince him AND his sister (which is a big deal since she never wants to get rid of anything) to pare down their current inventory. Everyone won that day.

Today, he made another big decision - let's rearrange my room. Oh, this is a boy after his mother's and ESPECIALLY maternal grandmother's heart. Growing up, my mother rearranged the furniture on a regular basis. So when he wanted to switch up his room, I decided it was an easy thing to let him win. He was very particular on where he wanted items to go, and except for having his bed shoot out in an odd area of the room, I respected his wishes. I think he is pleased with the result. Even if it meant having to clean under the furniture after it was moved.


Happy Children. The next task will be to graduate Cheeks to a big girl bed sometime this summer - after I get her quilt completed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Random Interview with Boy Howdy

WITHOUT prompting, ask your child these questions and write EXACTLY what they say...
Boy Howdy -- age 4
*What is something I say a lot?
Hold on & Clean your room
*What makes me happy?
Kisses and hugs
*What makes me sad?
Me angry at you
*How tall am I?
A lot of tall
*What's my favorite thing to do?
Play games with me and alone time by yourself & reading your scriptures
*What is my favorite food?
Sausage soup (not sure what this is)
*What is my favorite drink?
*If I could go anywhere, where would I go?
*Do you think you could live without me?
*How do I annoy you?
I don’t know but yes.
*What is my favorite TV show?
Mama’s cooking ones.
*What is my favorite music to listen to?
Church songs
*What is my job?
Taking care of us
*How old am I?
A lot
*What's my favorite color?
*How much do you love me?
*How do you know I love you?
Because I do nice things.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fitness Goals

Getting old is no fun on my metabolism. A few years ago I bought a basic baby treadmill for the sole purpose of walking inside whilst surrounded by my bouncing babies. I started out super slow. It's amazing how little speed still got me sweating. But gradually I found myself walking a little faster and eventually I outgrew my baby treadmill (it currently puts off an alarming heat and smell when I try to overtax it). Thankfully my neighbors were throwing away their perfectly good one so Matthew and I saved it from the curb and adopted it for our own.
Last year I had a goal to work out for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And I mostly made it. I would say I was successful at my goal more than 90% of the year. And I was even running enough to merit buying running shoes. For a girl who ran in high school and swore never to do it again,and for the most part kept her promise to herself ever since, this is a big deal.
This year my goal is to run 10 miles at one time. Currently I am up to 4 miles. 10 miles still feels like a long, scary way away, but hopefully I can slowly but surely make it. And as for the darned, aging metabolism, I'm hoping that focusing on this fitness goal will be a healthier and more satisfying goal than just focusing on losing the pounds currently irritating me. Here's hoping.

On another very entertaining and endearing note, I have loved having my children watch their parents exercise. I have been so anti exercising for so long that I am glad that these new resolved parents are the examples they will remember as they grow. Matthew is also working towards his own fitness goals and is running and weight training. As such the babes are doing their own form of exercising. Most days Boy Howdy uses "exercising" as an excuse to wear shorts and short sleeves in the middle of winter. He turns on the treadmill for a few seconds and then claims he is done, yet conviently doesn't change back into his normal clothes. Other days, he joins his father in his pull ups and push ups, mimicking his father in the most adorable way possible. Yesterday Boy Howdy, upped his endearing level by changing into exercise clothes and running laps around our kitchen and family room followed by retrieving the chair from his bedroom so he could "pump" it into the air. It still wasn't a long workout, but his earnestness and creativity won him major points. I love this boy.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow in Oregon

Since the middle of December to today it has three times, each a two or three inches. We were all excited. An excuse to stay home and bake is a good excuse. The Christmas before we left we bought snow gear for the kids. We purposefully bought a the bibs a little big so they could wear them for multiple years. Last year, we didn't really have occasion to pull them out last year, but this year we are trying to get one last use out of these flood-level bibs. The snow mittens still fit but, in true Oregon fashion, they are sporting rain boots with their outfits. They don't seem to mind.

Boy Howdy's snow angel.

Our general rule has been to warm up with hot cocoa after being outside. I'm pretty sure it is one of the main reasons the kids go out to play. But recently, it was the ONLY reason they ventured into the cold. They would go out for a minute or so and then return claiming their "right" to cocoa. I told them their sacrifice didn't merit warming up. Boy Howdy acquiesced and went upstairs to play with his legos. Cheeks, tried at least three more times with similarly bad success. She did, however, get her fingernails painted purple, so I think we will call it a draw.

Side note: We live at the top of a pretty steep hill. After shoveling our driveway on one snow-day Matthew and I found ourselves alone since the kids had already gone back inside. We decided to follow the lead of the neighborhood kids and sled down the hill. It felt kind of fun and naughty to sled sans our children. Once Matthew tired, I went in and convinced Boy Howdy to come get his warm clothes back on to go sledding with me. We went a fair number of times, but he was a little concerned with our speed and was not interested at all in going down by himself. On our more recent snow day, I convinced Cheeks to go sledding with me. She was ALL about the speed, ran back up the hill each time and asked to have the sled to herself. She didn't get very far on her own. I mostly had to kick the sled until she got going.

So grateful this unusually snowy winter has given fun memories with my babies.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Management Sign - No Mean Allowed

One of Boy Howdy's recent creations. I LOVE it. He drew the collection of smiley faces on a recent trip to the Portland Children's Museum. Today he added the mean face with the slash through it. He also had me dictate the new rule and tape it to the wall next to the stairs. I love it and I hope Boy Howdy adds more "management" rules in the future.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Goals

I am a goal girl. Some people hate them, I LOVE them. Our family goals for last 2016 are as follows:

  • Sara
    • Try not to yell at my children. I'm not sure how successful I was at this, but the constant reminder was definitely helpful.
    • Read Jesus the Christ. Completed and what a wonderful experience it was. My love and understanding of my Savior and just what he went through skyrocketed because of this book.
    • Read all of Matthew's books. Completed. I am in constant awe at what this man's mind is capable.
    • Make a vegetarian meal once a week. I did pretty well with this, but probably not as diligent as I could have been. My efforts more often than not, tended towards cop out, let's have egg-salad sandwiches for dinner. I'll call it 70% successful.
    • Do some sort of exercise 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Other than a bit on vacation or while I was sick, I was really good about this. I would say I was 90-95% successful on this one.
    • Spend one evening a week reading. Total fail. I'm pretty sure I only spent a max of 5 evenings reading. It's not that I don't want to read, but my evenings with Matthew are generally spent watching a show together while he worked on his puzzle and I sewed or otherwise crafted. Reading for the evening would have meant being by myself and that didn't seem very fun. 
  • Matthew
    • Get shopify site up and running. Fail. I think he decided it just wasn't going to be worth it. We also didn't know anyone with experience to help us.
    • Edit books 2 and 3 of the Wordsmythe Chronicles and get them published on the site. Mostly successful. They didn't get published on his shopify site, but the entire series (Books 1-4) got self-published by the end of the year.
    • Finish and frame last cross stitch. Completed. I feel kind of bad though that Matthew finished it in April, but we didn't get it framed until 3 days until the end of the year. 
    • Finish Aelef series. Complete. It's pretty awesome. We both hope it also sees the light of day someday in the future.
    • Start weight-lifting. Somewhat successful. We never got around to buying weights, but Matthew did start doing push-ups and pull-ups, effectively giving him guns and pecs for probably the first time in his life.

This year we have new goals. I am excited to see if we can be as generally successful this year as we were last year.

  • Sara
    • Pay off student loans. We both feel very strongly about this. Right now we have about $30,000 left. I know with Heavenly Father's help, we can make this happen.
    • Perform 10 temple ordinances for deceased ancestors. 
    • Run 10 miles (at one time). Right now I can do 3. This makes me excited and nervous at the same time.
    • Learn how to play all the games I own. In the last few years we have gotten a fair number of games. But because it's just Matthew and me playing them and because they are kind of complex, we haven't gotten around to playing them. Hence my goal.
    • Read the Church History Student Manual. In gospel doctrine class this year, we are studying the Doctrine and Covenants. In conjunction with our Sunday lessons, I felt I should re-read this book that details the beginnings of the church and gospel I love so dearly.
  • Matthew
    • Pay off student loans.
    • Finish Malcontent and Tabitha series. Two new series I am excited to read.
    • Determine course of action on books (editing more series, doing more marketing, etc).
    • Attend the temple at least quarterly.
    • Have 100% home teaching.
    • Don't purchase any new computer games.
    • Have daily scripture study.
    • Exercise 3 times a week.
So that's it. A brief analysis on the results of our previous year's goals as well as an introduction of this year's goals. With luck we can make this a productive and fun year.