Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Air & Space Museum was just PERFECT on Monday. It's the slow season for tourists around DC, and I was so happy! We walked into the museum, and there was just nobody there! We went into the "How things fly" hands-on exhibit and were practically the only people in there. On a regular day, it's SO crowded that you can hardly move without rolling over feet with the stroller, constantly losing sight of the kids, and stressing just a bit!

This is Grant participating in the Paper Airplane Contest, something we've never done before because it's always full before you even know what's hit you.
Our little photographer, Grant, captured us in front of the Wright Brothers plane. This trip to the museum was easier than it's ever been! The kids are a little older, and with Grant and Faith both reading, they can learn for themselves by reading the captions, and Clark and John were both sincerely interested in the planes. Everything went so smoothly.

Now, smoothly for us goes something like this:
2 trips to the bathroom, Come this way, Clark! 1 diaper change, Grant is so involved that he is having a hard time listening, 1 trip back out to the car (freezing cold) to feed the meter, back in to see the second floor of the museum, where's Grant?, stop at McDonalds to pay $10 for a 5-piece Chicken Strips Meal that we all shared (supplemented by food from home), Clark's tired and trades John for the seat in the stroller, 2 more trips to the bathroom, Faith had an accident somewhere between the bathroom trips, a stop at the library on our way home to get 25 more books (hard to keep up with my readers these days), and off to Faith's gymnastics where we ran in 10 minutes late because of traffic! I love my life!
These are BIG airplanes that they have suspended from the ceiling in the new exhibit. Did you know that the first flight by the Wright Brothers was less distance than the length of modern-day passenger planes? We have come a long way, baby! Mom, we know where YOU want to visit next time you come!
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Could You be a Stewardess in the 1950's?

On Monday, the kids had a Teacher Prep Day, so we went to the Air & Space Museum downtown! This exhibit is new and made me think of my cute mom the whole time! Mom was a flight attendant in the early 70's and I think that many of the same rules applied. You had to be a certain height, weight, single, white, and have a nursing degree or 2-years of college. My, how times have changed!
Read these requirements. Aren't they funny? I love that the stewardesses had to be so clean and poised.
At the bottom, the biggest requirement is SMILE! Clark's doing his silly face - guess he wouldn't qualify!
The kids loved this model holding all the food. They've been on enough airplanes to know all about how fun it is to have everything brought to you on a tray!
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Happy 4th Birthday, Clark!

Each child gets to choose their favorite Breakfast Cereal for their birthday, and my sweet Clark chose my homemade Granola! Not Cap'n Crunch (that's what the kids chose for me last week!), not Trix, not Fruity Pebbles...Granola. I was quite pleased with that decision. It may have been that he didn't even know he had all those other, cavity-provoking options, but that's fine with me.
This is Clark opening his Pirate Ship from Mimi & Papa. It was a hit with all the kids, especially the cannons that really shoot out of the little doors on the side of the ship. Very cool, guys. Thanks!

Clark is just so delightful about 98% of everyday! He rode on his new Plasma Car for only 5 seconds, when he was interrupted by "Can I try it?" (Grant) "Can I try it?" (Faith) "Can I try it?" (John). What did my sweet Clark do? He said "Sure" and jumped off, giving it to his brother. I was so pleased with him. He loved having it be his birthday, but was never possessive or grouchy about sharing his toys. He smiled almost the whole day long and made me laugh so hard when he was riding his car (after the kids went to school) pulling Johnny behind! Those two are such great buddies!
Grant, Faith and John gave Clark this Motorized racetrack (that Mommy found months ago for 75% off at Target). It goes REALLY fast, and often the car will fly out of control off the track because of it's amazing speed. Clark is particularly interested in SPEED these days. He always asks me "Can you see me run, Mom?" as he bolts around the "track" in our house. And he's only satisfied when I say "Wow! I could hardly even see you - you are SO fast!" So, this car track that goes "so fast you can hardly see it" was a hit. YOu can tell by Grant's hand positions that he LOVED it too.
Ok, here's the Birthday Cake situation. Clark wanted a green cake to look like a soccer field, with a boy playing soccer on it. I was just about ready to start that, when he decided he wanted ice cream sundaes instead (phew...4 hours less work for Mom). So, we built ice cream sundaes, complete with sprinkles, chocolate, cherries, caramel and bananas - he was a happy camper.
The outfit he's wearing is a dressup I found after Halloween. It is ADORABLE on him because it has the patches on the arms and chest, and a little belt to fit him nice and snug, like the army guys wear theirs.

We have a Soccer Party coming up on Saturday for 6 of his little buddies, and we'll make cupcakes then - I'm thinking to stick them all together and decorate them like they're a field. Any ideas for a "guy" on top?
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

This is an Army game that my boys invented. They set up army men on each side of the train table, using train pieces as their walls, and then shoot each other's guys with rubber bands! Every 3rd turn, they can use a BOMB, which is a wooden ball that can be rolled across to attack the opponents! They could play this game all night - Daddy turns into a 7-year old too, out to get the "bad guys".

I love this set of "army men" because they are actually from the Revoluationary War. We bought them at Mt. Vernon (or was it Williamsburg), but it comes complete with George Washington riding on his white horse! I love living where all the action really took place!
Tonight, we are going to attend a Baptism Preview for our Grant. It is almost unbelieveable that our sweet Grant will be baptized this year (in June)! We bought him this suit to wear for his baptism, and he insisted on wearing it to church today. I love that the small part of his tie is hanging below his jacket. He's such a darling boy, and I feel privileged to be his mother. I also know that despite the fact that he's reading "Ghosthunters" books on the Sabbath (after I asked him 3 times to choose something else), he will choose to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Did anyone watch the Miss America Pageant last night? As a young girl, I just LOVED the pageant and it seems like we did everything we could to watch it every year! I hadn't seen it for about 5 years, and was excited to hear that it would be on. That Miss Utah, Jill Stevens, was darling, wasn't she? And to be America's Choice was great! Andrew, after teasing me for 3 days about watching it, sat down with me and we were both in tears as they showed the soldiers in the audience supporting their fellow "GI Jill". Good for her!

One more thing...Andrew and I watched a great movie last night. It's called "The Ultimate Gift". If you want a great motivation to appreciate what you have and be a better person, grab the box of tissues and watch this one! It's a darling love story as well. Andrew liked it as well as I did.
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Never a dull moment!

You might think this is just a picture of the kids eating breakfast...but, look closely! You'll see that John is wearing his very adorable BIRTHDAY SUIT! This is one of the funny things that happens when you have 4 kids. 6:50am: Clark and John get out of the tub, Clark dresses himself, Mommy gets distracted by one of the other kids, 7 o'clock comes (time for breakfast), Mommy runs down to be one step ahead of the "starving" kids, we say the prayer, and it's THEN that we realize...John is naked!
Watch out - they know karate! Daddy has taken up Karate in order to spend some more time with Grant. Grant is about 3 belts above Daddy, which is perfect, because Grant helps Daddy with his technique! Clark just loved being on Daddy's leg while they practiced, because he would get flung onto the couch whenever Daddy kicked! Doesn't my Andrew look handsome?
Another great toy for my kids - the BIG calculator. I think it was $2.50 at the front of the store in Target. Clark learns math without even knowing it! I'll give him problems, he punches them in, and then tells me the answer. You may say that he's not actually learning, but he's getting familiar with + and - as well as what = means. As the answer pops up, it's going into his memory for next time!
Faith attended a darling birthday party for her friend, Maddy, on Friday night. It was a Pajama Party where they made pizzas, and their "treat bag" from the party was their very own pizza-making kit. So, what did we do on Saturday night? We made pizza! Faith did this all by herself and was so cute saying "Didn't I do a great job, Mom?" and "I'm a little cooker!" I love that Faith so much!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This picture is really telling a story. We had just finished dinner, cleared the table, and loaded the dishes, and Andrew and I peeked in the dining room to see Grant and Faith trying to keep the boys away from the cake! John went as far as to come in the kitchen and get his own fork, ready to just dig right in, without a guilty thought about it! So, right as I clicked this, Faith (hand on Clark's at the bottom) and Grant are fighting off the boys to preserve the cake!
This might give you a feel for the SIZE of this cake! It was beautiful and I was so proud of Andrew for doing it! Thanks, bunch!
Today (Wednesday), the boys and I went with some of my ward friends to the Building Museum downtown. This was also our first ride on the Metro since moving here. You can't see much behind us in the picture, but with all the mommies together, we had 6 strollers and were quite a sight in that metro!
I think the boys could have played at this place all day! They had blocks of every sort - hard ones, soft ones, beanbags, books, pillows, legos, everything! We definitely need to go back there! And isn't it was free!
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This poster is the doings of my wonderful husband, who stayed up until 1:30am the night before my birthday, organizing the house, untangling my necklace, making this poster, baking my cake, and setting the table for breakfast. Andrew doesn't even like candy, so this was TWOOO WUVVV for him to do this for me, the candy-eating gal!
My sweet mother-in-law, Roseann, made this apron for my birthday! One side has peppers, the other side is corn. Clark said (speaking of the peppers side)...."that looks like vegetables in outer space!" I love it Mom, thanks!
This is the cake that my sweetheart spent SO many hours on, including an extra hour yesterday morning making the frosting. HIs work schedule has been very busy lately, and I appreciated the sacrifice on my behalf. The red things on top are frozen maraschino cherries. I have always loved them, and, as a kid, could eat a whole bottle of maraschino cherries in one sitting. But, last night, as I popped one in my mouth, I realized - I'm over them!
Can you see all the layers on that cake? 4 layers of cake, with 3 layers of mint chocolate ice cream in between. It tasted so good, but now we still have SO much left over - cake anyone?
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Monday, January 21, 2008

More Fish...

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we went to have a family picture taken at Picture People. We got a smile out of Faith - victory! The kids rode on the carousel at the mall afterwards, and then we headed to Panera Bread for lunch.

The highlight for the kids was stopping back by Super Petz to pick up some more fish! After Christmas, we bought 3 red-eyed Tetras to see if we could succeed at being fish tank owners, and they are healthy and thriving! So, we went today to get:

2 Long-tailed Mollies, 3 Zebra fish, 2 bottom-dwellers (Any fish who will clean is welcome in my tank!) and 7 Neon Tetras.
Here is the fish tank all finished, but it's really hard to see the fish, except the two orange ones (Mollies) near the lighthouse.

The fish tank makes us happy! Mimi and Papa, thank you!
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If any of you are wondering for the perfect gift for your child...give them two pink spatulas! They are much more fun than any sword, light saber or dart gun! They like the Williams-Sonoma brand, and choose these specific ones everytime. I laughed the other day, as we arrived at Target, because John yelled out loud enough for other people in the parking lot to hear "WHERE IS MY SPATULA???" So, parents, they were $1.99 each and worth every penny. They go through the dishwasher everyday, just in case I need to actually use them!
Clark learned how to put his own socks on, and he is very pleased with himself! It also makes mornings run a little smoother, because now I just worry about John's socks and shoes. He's focusing pretty hard to get the heel part in the right place!
Andrew has been building this Model Airplane for months now. He is making it to be an exact replica of the B-26 flown by his uncle Monty, who went MIA right at the end of the Korean War. I am proud of him for sticking with it, and the plane will be a treasure for all of his family members to enjoy. He's putting on the first decal in this picture, which means he is getting close to finishing!
On Saturday night, I made Falafel! If you haven't tried them, you really should! Andrew certainly didn't marry me for my amazing cooking skills, but it was fun! Our kids are so flexible about trying new things, and they all loved it! The cucumber dill sauce made them really tasty, and Andrew and I both had leftovers on Sunday after church, and they still tasted good.

In this picture, we are eating...(drumroll please) Mango with Sticky Rice! I ate this with Mindy and Jeff in Thailand and it was fantastic over there - here in the states, it was pretty good. The rice wasn't the sticky variety, but the taste was practically the same! We'll try again and let you know if we find the perfect recipe!
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And the race is on...

Just like my Provo home did, we have a "track" in this home, where the kids run, while screaming with glee as they chase and catch each other. Here comes Clark from the Dining Room into the kitchen, and he can really RUN! His hero is Dash from "The Incredibles", and each day he seems to be a little more like him - he is really fast. Now if we can just get those little legs to grow!
Here he comes running around the other direction, from the Family Room, to the hallway, toward me in the kitchen. He just makes us all laugh so har! Do you like his new haircut?
Here comes Faith, following close behind! You don't need to wonder anymore what our kids do on Sundays after church! The 11:30am time slot is quite nice, because they have so much fun with each other in the morning, and then again after church! And one of my very favorite thing in the whole world is to hear them loving each other!
Here's John with his "rope", a string that is more fun to play with than any toy. I know his cousin, Jack, would agree. It looks like he's trying to rope his sister, but all in love!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No Kiss in Church!

In Sacrament Meeting, we always sit on the 2nd or 3rd row, so that we can really get involved in the meeting and internalize the thoughts that are shared. This also means that our EVERY MOVE is seen by those behind us (for that, we apologize).

On Sunday, John and Faith were sitting next to each other, which means a bit of teasing. I was trying to distract John by saying "Just give Faith kisses, don't push each other". So, he leaned over to kiss her, but was DENIED! Faith is funny...lately, she doesn't like kisses from her brothers - I had forgotten that small detail.

So, after about 10 seconds of trying, he says in full voice (as the congregation prepares for the opening hymn) "Mom, Faith won't kiss me! Mommy, Faith won't let me give her a kiss!" to which I heard MANY snickers from behind us! My friend, Nicole, told me that these moments are what motherhood are all about - so I'm writing it down!

Last Sunday, the organ began to play the closing hymn, and the volume was abnormally loud. My sensitive-eared John puts his hands over his ears and YELLS "Mom, that's TOO loud! Mom,, that's too loud!" (Notice I always write what he says only twice, sparing you the other 8 times he repeats it). Clark follows suit and says, while covering his ears and standing up "Mom it's too loud!" I just had to laugh, and so did everyone else!

Faith had her sweet friend, Maddie, come over on Saturday for a playdate. This was the first playdate that Faith truly loved! She's struggled a little bit with being social, and bending to what her friends want to play, but these two just giggled for an hour over Maddie's toy parrot, and then jumped on the trampoline for almost 2 hours!
Grant and Clark are ROUGH on the trampoline, but somehow Clark seems to come out all smiles! They play a game called "Take That" where they bounce off the walls of the tramp while doing kicks, flips and twists like Ninjas. They never tire of that game.
Here are the boys after I peeled them off of each other - they love each other so much!
Maddie took out her ponytail so that her hair would be crazy like Faith's! Can you believe this static? Her hair was standing STRAIGHT up! The girls would accidentally shock each other and then fall down laughing!

Saturday night, we got together with our friends, Audrey & Scott and Cameron & Chelsea. We ate pizza and then had some great conversation about politics, motherhood, shopping habits and more. Cameron's Grandmother has a saying about the levels of conversations: PEOPLE....EVENTS...IDEAS!

I feel like we really got to IDEAS that night and I've been thinking about it ever since - we are so grateful for wonderful friends. I want to get to IDEAS more often in everyday conversations. Think about our Founding Fathers...if they hadn't gotten to IDEAS, where would we be now?
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