Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tower Master

Spencer is a very clever fellow. He found a bunch of plastic cups down in the food storage room and discovered a quick use for them. We now have in our repertoire of play things 100+ plastic cups specifically for fort building and, subsequently, battles that involve some serious destruction.

Dulles Plane Pull

The Dulles Plane Pull is an annual event in our area, and one that has always intrigued me, but we seem to always hear about it after the fact. Thankfully, these cute friends, Amanda and Areeje, invited us to go along with them when Amanda's work team needed a few more people on their plane-pulling team. It totally made Adam's day; he has always wanted to participate in the plane pull. I was pretty happy to be a spectator.


Here's a photo of the team. They didn't have as many people show up as they had hoped, so at the last minute Spencer got to jump under the spectator rope and help pull the plane using the tow rope.


Emma was really sad she didn't get to join in the plane pull, but don't worry...she got her turn to show some strength. Look at those fierce muscles just after she helped her dad and brother pull a school bus. AND she did it all in her pink peep-toe pumps. Love that girl and her shoe fetish.


Here's Adam talking shop with the kids. Adam loves aviation and used to work at the airport. Those were the days.


Here we are by a C-something or other...some big military plane. Adam could tell you. There were some really impressive planes in the line-up. Lots of small aircraft, but the military planes are so big it seems implausible that they could ever make it off the ground. This picture makes the blog because it shows the double stroller at full capacity. It was about 100 degrees the day of the plane pull, and I found myself HUGELY grateful for the double stroller and the Baby Bjorn when we were walking along the hot tarmac with tired kids. Despite the heat, we all agreed that this is definitely on the list of things to do NEXT September.

Kayaking

Adam works from home, and it has some definite perks - one being the flexibility of schedule. On a regular old Monday morning, we got to go kayaking with some awesome folks, Mike and Cate Todd, to celebrate Mike's birthday. We had a great time paddling around the Potomac and chatting with them. Thanks for the invite, Todds!


My Boys

Some Saturdays are particularly magical at our home. Every so often, the calendar is clear, leaving room for creativity (and lots of cleaning). So satisfying.

On one such Saturday, Spencer made an ingenious little car for his baby brother John. These two are going to be buddies, I can tell. Note the paper plate wheels and the masking tape roll for a steering wheel. Spencer has informed us that he plans to be an engineer when he grows up. He regularly requests that I describe how to make cars as we drive around town, and lately has me throw back the imaginary parts so he can make-believe manufacture vehicles in the back seat. Emma joins in the fun. "Chassis! Screws! Dashboard! Steering Wheel!"



Here's another snapshot of this perfect Saturday. Nothing better than a boy, a dad, and a little snuggle nap.

Sit-up boy

I have done a poor job documenting how amazing our little John-Johnny is. (Nickname courtesy of big sister, Emma). Here is a quick video demonstrating his sitting skills at the early age of 4 months. We love this sweet, happy, STRONG little man.

video

Marriotts and Mormons

On a Saturday in September, we took a long drive out to Hume, VA to the Marriott Ranch. The Mormon Orchestra of Washington, D.C. had been invited to play for an annual Western Gala held for the diplomats and their families. I play violin with the orchestra, so we did our best to get all gussied up and headed out to the country. We had a spectacular time playing "cowboy" with the complimentary hats and bandanas provided by the Church PR folk. What is it about wearing a cowboy hat that makes everything more fun? After playing some fast fiddle tunes, I joined my cute family, and we meandered about enjoying the activities: pinewood derby races, archery, mini-pony carriage rides, jump rope, and crafts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Retiree Luncheon

My mom is amazing. If you know her, you already know that. But she deserves to have her praises sung publicly from time to time. This lovely lady has raised 11 children...let's pause there for a moment. ELEVEN children. As mother of THREE, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. She has monumental amounts of patience, is not easily flustered, and is a genuine nurturer. She put all these talents to work (and to the test) when she took on the formal role of teacher as well as that of mother. In 1990, my mom started home schooling. Each of her 11 children has been under her tutelage; she studied elementary education in college and was well-qualified for the task. When Mom started home schooling, my older brother Aaron was entering 6th grade; I was entering 4th grade; Dan was entering 2nd grade; and Jenny was starting kindergarten. Each of us, and the succeeding children, re-entered the public school system by high school and found success in our studies there.

Now, 20 years later, my mom has retired from home school. In addition to teaching all the core subjects, she has been field trip planner, room mom, counselor, bus driver, dean, principal, and tutor. To celebrate her success (and her retirement), Emma, John and I took her out to lunch at the local Panera. Mom deserves a lifetime educator's award. She has been the single greatest teacher in my life, and I continue to turn to her for counsel and advice. She has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to me, and I know each of my siblings feels the same. She has sacrificed her schedule and her own hobbies and pursuits, deferring those to help each of her children have a strong foundation not just in school subjects, but also in the Gospel. For this, I am forever grateful. I know that this foundation helped keep me firmly grounded in correct principles through my teenage years and beyond. Thanks, Mom.

Princess of Preschool

One evening at dinner, Adam and I were telling Spencer how proud we were of him for his brave attitude regarding kindergarten. "You are the King of Kindergarten" we told him.


Not to be forgotten, Emma piped up, saying, "And I am the Princess of Preschool."

Yes you are, Emma. Not only are you a master of alliteration, you are an absolute fan of preschool. This year, we are doing a co-op preschool with 3 other friends and are using the Mother Goose curriculum. Emma wakes early each Tuesday and Thursday morning SO excited. Other mornings, she still wakes up early asking how many more days until preschool. She takes her "homework" very seriously, often walking around with a notebook and pencil writing letters. She loves to learn, and we sure love this little princess.

Kindergarten

Hard to believe, but my first baby is a kindergartner this year. He got a letter from his teacher, Mrs. K, inviting him to bring his parents to an open house before school. We went, excited to see what his classroom would be like and to meet his teacher. Spencer was excited to see his new school.

He got right to work on his first assignment when we got there.

His teacher is AWESOME. She has tons of personality and knows how to make kindergarten F-U-N. There are songs for counting by 10's, learning vowels, and erasing white boards. Spencer was a bit shy at first, but within the week he was telling us how much he LOVES his kindergarten teacher. (He's even written her several special love notes). Her little boy goes to my neighbor's house for day care, so Spence keeps a close lookout after school to spot his teacher at pickup time.


Here is Spencer's FIRST DAY picture. He was all excited, but very businesslike. He didn't want to miss his bus.


He loves to ride his scooter down to the bus stop. He's pretty good on that thing. When he sees the bus come up the street, he ditches scooter and helmet in the grass and gets ready to board. Spencer is so ready to be in school. He loves riding the bus, loves his class, loves his teacher, and I love volunteering in his classroom. Yep...a little separation anxiety on my part. I was all tears as the bus drove away the first day. We're proud of you, Spencer!

4 months

This blog doesn't have nearly enough pictures of my cute baby John on it. As part of my catch-up blogging, I HAVE to show you how cute this boy was at 4 months old. He has been, from day one, a sweet, smiley little man.

Clemyjontri Park and a Cousin Sleepover

Remember how I said we love this park? Well, to prove it, we went back the next week with our cousins.

Maddie and Spencer

Ryan and Daniel

Ryan and Emma


After a fun day at the park, we had a cousin sleepover! Here are my cuties with their Pascual cousins...all on Spencer's bunk bed (which, incidentally, used to be MY bunk bed. Thanks, Papa!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Emma Moment

Emma and I were playing a game called "Flapdoodle" this afternoon. She drew a question that said, "Name 4 different kinds of fish."

Her response: "Flotsam, Jetsam, Finding Nemo, and Dory."

We're starting the training for next year's Disney Trivia quiz. Peter and Leslie...watch out.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Roommate Reunion 2010

2000 was a good year. It was my Sophomore year in college and the year I lived in King Henry Apartments with these lovelies...

Four of us (Cortney, Katie, Hanne, and I) were in the same Freshman ward, and Linsy joined us as a transfer from RICKS. This became my core group of roomies in college, and in August of 2010 we were reunited!!



Honestly, I still can't believe we pulled this off. Katie wrote an e-mail this summer saying that she and her cute fam wanted to come for a visit. We settled on a weekend in August, excited to spend some time hanging out together. Some time after that, Linsy came down with her boys for an impromptu visit. (I love that she lives a mere 2 hours' drive from here). Lins decided to plan a return visit to coincide with Katie's visit. We tossed around the idea of having a real roomie reunion, but it seemed like a total dream scheme. After that, my little family was on vacation in Williamsburg for a week, so no further planning was going on. Upon returning, though, we started making some calls. Cort bought a plane ticket a week out from reunion time (Am I right on the timeline, gals?), and Hanne amazed us all by purchasing her ticket to come out with just 1-2 days' notice. Props to Cort and the Hannster for coming from UT and CA, respectively. Double props to Hanne's baby Chase for enduring cancelled flights and 17 hours in airports and planes on the way to VA. It was totally worth it when we ALL showed up at the airport to pick you up...right, Hanne? I'm reliving that moment, and it is still so surreal that we were really ALL together again!

We spent a little time at the neighborhood pool.
(Notice baby John totally zonked in my arms, even though he is hanging out in the water - such a sweet boy. It is a major blessing that he will nap on the go).

Here are some of the kiddos (Megan, Annie, Emma, and Spencer) warming up in the sun.


Here is Eric under the mushroom waterfall. We were SO glad he came to keep Adam company and to help move our group, which included 10 kids, from one activity to another.



We went to the National Zoo on a hot, muggy, humid, August VA day. The kids were troopers. It helped that we had some "Bear Hunters" along. Before we left, the boys had been gathering lots of "bear hunting tools" in a box - miscellaneous toys from the basement, really. Spencer decided they all needed to wear matching shirts with the letter B written on them (in washable marker, of course).




Remember how I said we had 10 kids along? Well here is a photo of the stroller brigade to prove it. Yes, these all belong to our group...including baby James who is sleeping through the noise of the Ape House.

What's that look for, Cort?


We took a walking tour of some of the monuments by starting at the FDR Memorial (a favorite) and walking around the tidal basin.




We ended up at the Jefferson Memorial, and then part of our group kept going to see the rest of the DC sights.


Another highlight was our trip to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum. It's close to our house and makes for a nice, easy outing. Here's the only large group shot I have from reunion weekend. Excuse the poor attempt to get rid of red eye.



We had fun seeing the sights, but my favorite part was hanging out into the late night hours chatting with these gals. We looked at old photo albums, laughed a LOT, caught up on the recent past, and I am left looking forward to the next reunion. When shall we do it, ladies?


Hanne got to stay one day longer (HOORAY!) with her sweet baby Chase. We had a fun time going to Great Falls.

Then we went exploring a little and found my new favorite playground: Clemyjontri Park.




SO glad you all came, Girls. Here's to the next reunion (and to finally getting this one blogged)!