Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Shnuggo, Shnuggo"

Just one of those things I don't want to forget....

Lately Lauren has been saying what sounds like "Shnuggo, Shnuggo" when she wants to snuggle. She'll climb up into your lap and say this as she's giving you a tight little squeeze around your neck or snuggling up onto your chest. Her sweet little voice melts our hearts every time she says it. I'm so grateful that she's such a snugly little girl.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Memories

"Children sleeping, snow is softly falling
Dreams are calling... like bells in the distance
We were dreamers, not so long ago
But one by one.... we all had to grow up
When it seems the magic's slipped away
We find it all again on Christmas day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe......."

-Josh Groban from Believe (Polar Express Soundtrack)

I love this song. It reminds me of the magic of Christmas that we all felt when we were little children. This year as I listened to this song I realized that the years in which ALL of our children "Believe" (if you know what I mean) are becoming numbered. Jacob still believes but now that he is 7 I guess I'm starting to realize that with each year that passes it could be his last. And with his last the rest will soon follow, year after year each one leaving behind the innocence and wonder of their early childhood days. Years from now all we will have are the memories we make today and when our children are grown and gone I want to know that I cherished every one.

In recent years I've found myself becoming increasingly protective of Christmas. It's hard sometimes to balance between seeing family over the holidays and having your own families traditions at home with your children. Over the last few years we've found a happy medium by spending Christmas Eve (day) at the Grandparents house and then coming home in the early evening so we can have our own families Christmas Eve and Christmas morning traditions. In the late afternoon we usually have friends or family over for a nice Christmas dinner. I've noticed though that the larger our own family has become the harder it's been to do this and still enjoy the day. Entertaining takes a lot of preparation and work and frankly adds a lot of stress to the entire household with everyone scrambling to clean up the house from the Christmas morning storm.

So this year I decided to take a break from entertaining and really enjoy Christmas. The result was a stress free day spent primarily in our Christmas pajamas, lounging around at home watching the kids play with their new toys and enjoying the day. We had our fancy Christmas dinner, did our traditional live nativity with the kids dressing up and Aaron reading from Luke 2. Then we all watched "The Nativity Story" with the kids that night. (this movie is amazing by the way-if you haven't seen it it's a very special movie). Overall it was a great day.

It was so wonderful to relax all day with the kids and enjoy every moment and memory without any outside stresses or distractions. This was the first year that we did this and I feel pretty sure that we'll be doing it again next year too. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Here are some pictures to share........

Visiting Santa

After waiting in line for nearly 2 hours they finally had their turn to sit on Santa's lap. This Santa visits our mall every year and he is so wonderful!

Getting our Tree
Bacons Christmas Tree Farm in Belfair

Every year we go to the same place -Bacon's Christmas Tree Farm in Belfair. I love this place! It has over 300 acres of rolling hills covered in Christmas trees. In a word it's magical and after 6 years of coming here it has become one of our favorite family traditions.

We pick our tree, cut it down and haul it in the trailer up to the checkout where they serve free apple cider and hot cocoa. The last couple of years the boys have been able to sit in the back of the trailer with me bumping along on the dirt road singing Christmas songs at the top our lungs. It is so much fun! I love that the boys are getting older now and that they can help Daddy carry the tree. I can be terribly sentimental sometimes about our family traditions and I can't help but look at my sweet little sons holding up one end of the tree and imagine how years from now they will be 3 young men probably cutting down the tree and carrying it themselves while Aaron and I watch. After we found our tree the boys had fun running around exploring, and climbing up to the top of some of the hills. In the picture on the top right of the collage Joseph and Lauren are smiling because they are tickling "plumber" Aaron's back (or maybe something a little lower) while he was leaning over to cut down the tree.

Decorating the Tree
I realized after looking for pictures of the kids decorating the tree that there weren't any because I was enjoying decorating the tree so much that I completely forgot to take pictures. And since my darling husband does not have the mind of a photographer he happily watched us decorate the entire tree without even thinking to snap a picture. Oh well. I didn't even think of it until Joseph was chosen to put the angel on top. Oops! I did manage to get a couple of Aaron stringing the lights.

Christmas Eve at Papa and Grandma's House

I love our tradition of going to Papa and Grandma's house and spending the day on Christmas Eve. This year we actually came over the day before Christmas Eve and spent the night so the kids got a full day at their house. This year there was so much snow Aaron and his Dad spent over an hour just shoveling out their driveway so that when the rest of the family came they could get through. The kids had fun playing Foosball and doing puzzles with Papa. The prime rib dinner was delicious as always and the kids were showered with gifts from their sweet grandparents.

Christmas Morning
This year was a STAR WARS Christmas for the boys. Santa brought them each a light & sound Light Saber and they had fun playing with their Star Wars action figures and spaceships. All day they were playing "Big STAR WARS" (where they battled each other with their light sabers and pretended they were various characters from the movies). Then they would play "Little STAR WARS" (where they would play with their spaceships and action figures). Lauren got her first Baby set with a stroller, bassinet, diaper bag etc. and a jewelry box full of beaded necklaces and bracelets that I had made. I also made her a Christmas dress. All day she was pushing her little stroller around the house wearing various necklace combination's from her box and trying to steer clear of her brothers light saber battles. She was so darling.

Another thing that was really special about Christmas this year was the gifts that the kids made/gave to us. I have to admit that one of my favorite things about them reading and writing now is to see how they express themselves when they make things for us. We had about a half a dozen cards from the boys with pictures that they had drawn and written sweet messages on. They had sealed them up with tape and placed them under the tree weeks before Christmas. We also received a homemade calendar from Jacob and a clay Santa ornament from Joseph that they had made at school. They were so excited for us to open them.

Christmas Day
After Aaron finished assembling toys we just hung out together enjoying the day. The boys were very eager to help me make juice with my new juicer. Aaron's turkey turned out so moist and delicious, and the kids were cute as ever in their live nativity. It was a wonderful day and a very enjoyable Christmas. The only thing that didn't go as planned was that the kids Christmas pajamas (even though they were ordered 3 weeks before Christmas) didn't arrive until a week after Christmas thanks to all the beautiful snow that kept the mail and deliveries from arriving on time. That was kind of a bummer but luckily their Christmas pajamas from last year still fit so they wore those instead. Here is a picture of them (a week later) sporting their pajamas after the new year. (It took me weeks to finish this darn post!)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Here are some more pictures from our winter wonderland here in Washington.....

The icicles hanging off of the house are over 2 feet long and the snow is so deep we made a whole family of snowmen and still didn't hit the ground. I've never in my life seen this much snow!

Lauren & Jacob sledding down the hill (I love this picture), Aaron and the boys making snowmen (we each made our own and Jacob made Lauren's), Ben & Aaron warming up by the fire and Jacob making a snow angel.

Poor Lauren. The ride started out fine but she slid off the front of the sled half way down the hill and snowplowed her face for a couple of feet. I felt terrible! I ran to brush the snow off her face but HAD to snap this picture first! Joseph standing proudly next to the snowman he made.

Proof that kids aren't the only ones who like to eat snow...... (:

Our little munchkins all bundled up and enjoying the snow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Oh, what fun it is to ride..."

I don't know about you but we're all snowed in with no place to go. Our driveway is a sheet of ice under 6 inches of snow! After getting our cars out of the ditch, there was nothing else to do but go outside and play. Here is a clip of Aaron and Jacob sledding down the hill. Those of you who have been out here know how far it is from the top of the hill (you can see the swing set) down to the pond at the bottom. I was too chicken to do it (I bailed out before I hit the jump) but Aaron and Jacob went all the way down...

Hope you're all staying safe and enjoying the snow too. Here are some more pictures from today......

Notice anything different about Aaron's smile?
After nearly 2 years his braces came off yesterday!

Jacob taking a break from sledding.....

Benjamin riding down the hill.

Joseph headed back up the hill for another ride.

The boys down at the pond, after a day of sledding

The pond frozen over, not strong enough to ice skate on, yet......

Jacob taking Lauren for a ride down the hill, she loved it!

Jacob's Christmas Concert

Playing the xylophone

Jacob's school had their Christmas concert tonight. His class had been practicing several songs and had learned sign language to a few of them too. Their biggest performance however was a song his class played on the xylophone. It actually sounded really good for a bunch of first graders. It was so cute to see him concentrating as he played. His eyes were glued to that xylophone. At the end of the song he stood up crossed his arms in front of his chest and did a bow (so did all the other kids but it was just so dang cute!).

Jacob had a speaking part in the concert. He had memorized it and so from time to time throughout the week I'd quiz him on it . Driving him home from school that afternoon I asked him if he was going to be nervous getting up in front of all the kids and their parents. This was the dialogue that followed.

MOM: "Jacob are you nervous about saying your part?"

JACOB: "No, I don't get scared." (said very matter-of-factly)

MOM: "Wow, that's really good, most people get scared when they have to talk in front of a lot of people. "

JACOB: "I know, because today (at the dress rehearsal) there was this girl who had to say her part and she got so scared she didn't say anything for a really long time...."

MOM: "Uh oh. Did she forget her part?"

JACOB: No, she had it on the paper right in front of her!

MOM: "Wow, she must have been really nervous."

JACOB: Yeah, when I go up there I just pretend like there's nobody there. Or I just pretend that they're all babies because babies don't care what you do."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tokens of Love...

I've been meaning to post this for weeks now.....

In addition to bringing me flowers, (when they are in season that is) Joseph frequently leaves little love notes on my pillow, bed or nightstand. I usually find them when I come upstairs to go to bed at night or when I'm in my room cleaning. They are completely random and he does them in secret so I'm never expecting them when I find them but it never fails to melt my heart.

(Found on my bed-he used my necklace from my jewelry box to shape a heart)

Now that Lauren is getting older he has started doing the same types of things for her. When Joseph started Kindergarten this September he started bringing home what I call little tokens of his love. In his class they have "choice time" where you can do/ or play anything you want for about 20-30 minutes. During this time he will frequently be over at the "recycled art" station where he cuts out hearts and writes "Mom" or "Lauren" on them. I volunteer in his class so I see him over there quietly working on his "projects" and it is the sweetest thing. He also makes these little "bracelets" out of paper strips that he decorates with stickers. On the inside he writes a little love message. The first time he brought them home he was so excited to show Lauren. He would pull them out of his backpack and lovingly slip them on to her wrist. I had to take a picture of these bracelets and some of the other "tokens of love" that I've caught on camera as I've found them over the past few months- I don't ever want to forget this.

(One of the many bracelets he has made and brought home)

(A little love note to me with very carefully drawn hearts)

( A "card" he made at choice time taped together with a message inside)

( I was not as thrilled about finding this one. He drew it on the sheet on my side of the bed-Oh well, at least it's washable marker)

Taped to the front door so that when I came downstairs it would be the first thing I saw in the have to click on it to see the note he wrote)

Joseph has been probably the most challenging to raise of all the kids. But, although his forgetfulness, inability to focus, and silly, goofy antics frequently push me to the edge (and sometimes over it) I am grateful for his little tokens of love and his sweet nature that frequently soften my heart and give me the strength to get through the more challenging times as his mother.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Prophet and Seer........Please watch this clip

I am grateful for the blessing of having a living prophet to guide us through these troubled times. In addition to our living prophet the Twelve Apostles have also been called and set a part as prophets, seers and revelators. I have great faith and trust in these men and I believe that their counsel and instruction come from God.

The following YouTube clip shares the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell (a deceased member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles) given over 30 years ago. Please take 5 minutes to watch and listen to his powerful, prophetic message and see how his words have been fulfilled in our recent day. I hope that this message will strengthen and renew your faith in the leaders of Christs church as prophets, seers and revelators. It has certainly done so for me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Soccer Season 2008

Saturday was the boys last soccer game....

Here are some pictures and memories from
Soccer Season 2008

Benjamin #11

This was Ben's first year playing soccer. He was actually a little young for the team (just by a few days) but he'd been watching his brothers play for the past couple years and we knew he'd be heartbroken if he had to sit out another season. When I registered him online I had to put a birth date different than was on his birth certificate in order for it to go through. Several weeks into the season we got an e-mail from a member of the board because of the conflicting dates. We were a little nervous that they wouldn't let him play because of his age. This is the response that Aaron sent back to him (I thought it was pretty cute)-by the way I hadn't told Aaron about having to adjust Ben's birth date online to get him on the team :

Sorry for the mistake, I didn't do the registration, so I don't know what happened. Is it a problem that he's underage by a few days? Please advise the board of the fact that he scored 5 of his teams goals on the U5 team this last Saturday which shows that his ability to play is not diminished because he's younger. He's a very feisty and aggressive little guy and very good at Soccer as he is always playing with his two older brothers that are both in SKSL.

Let us know what the board says.

Benjamin in Action

Well, as you can see they let him stay with the team. I think he had a lot of fun playing and really enjoyed the fact that he had his own soccer practice and games like his older brothers. At his game we noticed Ben would get really bashful every time he'd score a goal. Even though we'd all be hooting and hollering he'd never jump up or act like he was excited. He'd just bashfully walk away from the goal suppressing a smile as he'd look at us from the corner of his eye. He did this all season long and it cracked us up every time. Also, when we wanted him to score a goal we'd yell from the sidelines, "Your brothers are watching you!" and he'd almost always kick it up a notch and try to make a goal. It was really funny.

Joseph #22

Joseph played on the U-7 team this year with Jacob. Having both boys on the same team made it a lot easier for us (what am I was still crazy) but it did have its drawbacks for him. Since he 's only 5 and was playing with 6 and 7 year olds it was obviously more challenging. I worried that he would get frustrated about not scoring as much as he did last year but he had a really good attitude about it and was a smiley boy the whole season. It was kind of hard for Aaron and I because we knew he'd be getting a lot more time with the ball if he was playing with kids his own age . Sometimes I think he got frustrated that he wasn't scoring as many goals as he had at games last year but we just tried to focus on the other things he was doing to help his team (he was an excellent defender). We're still trying to decide what we want to do next year. We certainly don't want Joseph to feel like he's in Jacob's shadow. Being on his own team would be better for his self esteem but we also really don't want to have 3 boys on 3 separate teams with three soccer practices and 3 games to go to on Saturdays. It stresses me out just thinking about it.

Joseph in Action

Jacob #23

This was Jacob's third year playing soccer and it was so fun to see him improve. He is a very fast, high scoring player and is really getting good at dribbling the ball down the field instead of just booting it toward the goal (which is something he always used to do). It was also fun to see the kids pass to each other and start to work more as a team. Jacob loves soccer and always gives 100% when he's out there playing. Its funny to see the difference between the boys because when Ben scores a goal he is modest and bashful.....Jacob, (as you can see in some of the pictures) proudly throws his hands up into the air in victory, (not a modest bone in his body). Jacob and Joseph's team name was the Jets and they had a really cute cheer that they used from last year it went like this: "J-E-T-S....Jets, Jets, Jets!!!" Jacob is still very competitive and always knows what the score is (even though at this age, they try not to focus on which team wins). At the end of every game he tells us how many goals he had-not like we weren't counting on the sidelines. (: It's really fun to see him playing out there and doing something that he loves. The picture in the bottom right corner was a lucky shot that I just happened to catch.....He was so happy that they beat the other team he picked up his brother in his excitement.

Jacob in Action

One thing that the boys really look forward to is the end of season party at their coach's house. Here is a clip from Jacob and Joseph's team party (they are sitting next to each other on the left). Ben's party was on Sunday during church so Aaron asked Joe (the Jets coach) to present Ben his trophy at his brothers party to make it more "official." Unfortunately the battery on our camcorder died and so we missed him getting his trophy. This video clip is from our camera which I figured out a little later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brotherly Brawls

Is this going to be my life for the next 15 years? Breaking up fights???

After doing 50 push-ups (as punishment) I sent Jacob upstairs this morning to apologize to Joseph for decking him in the ear (it was really red). I followed closely behind him to make sure he apologized "correctly". This is the dialogue that followed....

JACOB: "Sorry for hitting you Joseph"

MOM (standing behind him): “Ask him if his ear is okay."

JACOB: "Is your ear okay?"

JOSEPH: "No, it still hurts"

MOM to Jacob (who is still not showing much sympathy): "Jacob have you ever been hit in the ear before? It really hurts."

JACOB: "NO, but I've been kicked in the penis before,.......... by HIM!!!"

I grew up in a house full of girls (my poor brother was in the middle of 4 sisters), so I'm not used to these brotherly brawls that erupt from time to time. I worry about what's going to happen when they're older and bigger and could really hurt each other......
How much of this is just normal brotherly behavior and how much of it is my responsibility to intervene? Last night Aaron and I were laying on the couch after dinner when something erupted between Jacob and Joseph. I'm not sure what started it but Jacob got mad and started trying to take Joseph down..... before I knew it they were in another brawl wrestling on the floor. Joseph was laughing at Jacob who was trying to pin him down which only made Jacob even more mad. Aaron held me back as I tried to intervene and just told me to let them duke it out. "Sometimes boys need to get physical, it's good for them to wrestle it out" he said.... In the end it did end up one was hurt and they ended up both laughing. I'm just reminiscing of a time when I didn't feel like a full-time referee.

What's it like when sisters get mad at each other? I'd love to know how girls "duke it out."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Broken Things

Last week I was up in my room doing something when I heard a VERY loud crash downstairs. The boys had been down there playing and chasing each other around the circle making their usual ruckus so after hearing the crash I cautiously came downstairs afraid of what I might find. It didn't take me long to spot my favorite roman numeral wall clock (that I've had for years) busted to pieces on the floor. I looked across the room to see my 7 year old son holding a long piece of racetrack (which the boys frequently use as a "light saber") in his hand. Now Jacob is not usually the one who breaks things in our house and so I thought, (given his proximity to the clock), that it was possible that this was just a crazy coincidence and it fell off the wall on its own. I was so upset though, I didn't know what to say or do. I really didn't think that he had done it (because it really is so unlike him) but feeling the need to blame someone I said in a very threatening way, "I am seriously going to freak out if I find out you were swinging that thing around and knocked my clock off the wall! Did you do it?!!" I felt my blood starting to boil and whether he did it or not I was in real danger of losing it.....Then, like a bucket of water poured on a fire he looked at me and said cautiously, "Yes, I did it." The anger went away and I was filled with respect and admiration at his honesty. I am still so sad and upset about my clock though!

Earlier this week I heard Benjamin putting something in the kitchen trash (his pull-up from the night before) and getting mad because the lid would not open. It has a motion activated sensor that usually makes it open on its own but the battery is low, and I haven't taken the time to replace them so it's been wigging out. Anyway, I heard him grumbling about it and then heard him smack the lid. I didn't think much of it until later in the day when I walked past the trash and noticed that the lid was open. I tried to close it manually but it was jammed. When I looked closer I discovered that a plastic hinge on a roller had been cracked and busted off -definitely not something that can be fixed. So now I guess I can scratch changing the batteries off my to-do list since either way the lid will never open on its own again.......any guesses on who broke that one?

Last night I'm in the other room when I hear Aaron say..... "What are you doing!?!" When I ran in to see what had happened I found the lamp knocked on the floor and the shade bent and busted. Benjamin appeared from the corner with a sheet tied around his neck like a cape. Apparently he had jumped out from his hiding place under the lamp table and when he emerged his extra long "cape" caught on the cord and pulled the lamp right off the table. Aaron managed to "fix" it for the time but told me not to touch it or it would fall apart. Nice. Actually this didn't bother me that much because I've been wanting to replace the shades on the lamps in that room anyway. Still,.....chalk up another one for Ben.

Also this week, Aaron and I came upstairs to go to bed and when we pulled back the blankets to climb in what did we see? Black permanent marker graffiti of a race car on our ivory sheets! Now if these were any other sheets I would not have been so upset but I had just that day put on our ONLY pair of really nice sheets. Aaron saw it before I did and looking down at the cute little picture of a race car he suppressed a smile as he knew that would probably be the straw that would break my camel's back. I guess after everything else that had been shattered, broken and destroyed from the week all I could do was laugh and breath a heavy "I give up!" sigh.

I don't know why I'm posting this other than to vent my frustration over the many things that have been broken this week. I know in my heart that these are just "things" but it still rips me up inside when I see my nice things damaged or destroyed. Maybe I place too much importance on these things,I don't know.....
I wish that I could add a little lesson at the end here about what I have learned or some spiritual perspective I have gained from this but all I can think of right now is how frustrating this is! I am grateful however to have such sweet, active, imaginative and thriving boys and believe me I do know things could be a lot worse. The reason I'm blogging this is because it is such a rare occurrence for me to have to deal with these things. As a mother of 3 boys I count myself very lucky to have limited experience with dealing with broken things .

Still though, I will miss my clock and automatic trash can lid and will look back on the memory of a time when I didn't have to wake up in the morning and see a race car drawn on my sheet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trunk or Treat.... and my thoughts on Halloween

Here's a picture of the kids at our ward's Trunk or Treat.....

Jacob as Darth Vader, Ben as Spider man, Lauren as a little Indian girl and JoJo as the Hulk.

I must say it was fun this year to have Lauren dress up. Last Halloween she was so little that we we didn't even bother but it was so much fun this year to see her in this cute costume. If it looks familiar to any of you its because it's the same one Josilyn wore a couple years ago-thanks Janna for letting us borrow it.

We went to the Trunk or Treat and the kids got totally loaded up on candy. This year I decided to not be the candy police and told them to eat to their hearts content because Sunday night any uneaten candy would be thrown in the trash (translation-given to Daddy). I used to ration them and let them have a couple pieces after each meal but with 4 kids that gets pretty exhausting so I hung up my whistle and let them binge for 3 days. Well, it's Sunday night and ALL the candy got eaten, and tomorrow they're done and we can go back to a healthier diet.

If you really love Halloween please don't be offended by the thoughts and feelings I've expressed below. I love you all regardless of whether or not we agree on things and I hope no one will be offended by me blogging my feelings about Halloween.

I've never been a fan of Halloween. My parents actually stopped celebrating it when I was 3 years old. I still remember the night they told us. It was the first year I had ever even remembered dressing up. We went to the ward Halloween party and all I remember was trying to bob for an apple, and getting lots of candy. It seemed like a pretty good deal to me. On the ride home from the activity I remember sitting in the back seat of our station wagon with my older brother when my Dad made the announcement that this was going to be the last year our family would be celebrating this holiday. I remember feeling sad at first but then after he explained why, I remembered feeling that it was a good choice. They told us that as members of Christ's church they didn't feel comfortable participating in a holiday that focused on death, fear and evil influences. Even though I was only 3 what they said made sense to me. So that was the first and last time I celebrated Halloween. Or so I thought.....

So, fast forward nearly 20 years and I found myself married to someone who of course grew up celebrating this holiday. Now there are very few things that Aaron and I don't see eye to eye on but this was one of them. For years we butted heads on this and as our kids got older we knew we had to make a choice. Sooooooooo, the compromise has been that we let the kids participate in the fun parts about the holiday while abstaining from the emphasis on the dark, scary and haunting things that Halloween is traditionally known for. As a result we have kind of established our own family traditions which include letting the kids dress up (nothing dark or scary), carving their pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and taking them to the Trunk or Treat. Another family rule we agreed upon is that they get to dress up and do the Trunk or Treat until they are 12. It's just my opinion but after that I just think they're too old.

So I'm finally feeling okay with Halloween (as we celebrate it) but something I still don't understood (and I don't mean to offend anyone here) is why some members of the church participate in the darker side of Halloween? I'm always surprised when I go to members homes and see their yards and houses decorated with witches, skeletons, ghosts and vampires. Or when parents let their kids dress up as vampires and witches. Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal to them (or maybe they just grew up with it so that's what feels normal?), I don't know. All I know is that when I'm around things like that I don't feel the spirit and I'm always disappointed to see people attending church activities and walking the halls of the church dressed up as witches or vampires. Isn't that a slight conflict of interest? Just my own thoughts, I'm sorry if I'm sounding preachy here.

Sock Puppets

Something fun that we did this year after the Trunk or Treat was to take goodie bags to the kids in the hospital up in Silverdale. For FHE a few weeks ago we made a bunch of sock puppets to put in goodie bags to pass out to kids on Halloween. When Jacob got that infection earlier this year it really made me feel so sad for all the kids who miss out on holidays because they're stuck in their hospital room. By the 5th day Jacob was in tears because he was so bored and wanted to go home so bad. We've been talking a lot about service in FHE's and thought that it would be a fun thing for the kids (especially Jacob) to do. I wanted them to see how happy they could make someone and experience the joy that comes from doing things for others. I think it went really well and I'm glad that we were able to do it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jacob's Race

And the winner is.....

Our school district does something fun each year by holding a running race for all the kids in the district. There are 5 elementary schools that participate so it's a highly anticipated event. This was our first experience with it since they start in the First grade. Jacob came home with his permission slip a couple weeks ago very excited to be in a "race" of his own. On the drive over there he even told me that he thought he was going to get a number on his shirt just like a real race. He told me his "strategy" as we were driving which was to keep pace with the kids in front, and then on the home stretch he was going to "turn on his speed." Too funny!

As he was talking about it I started getting the butterflies! I know that sounds crazy but up to that point I hadn't really thought about him winning, I was just excited for him to have this opportunity. After all, there were going to be a ton of kids there, and even though I knew he was a fast runner I honestly hadn't thought about him actually winning.....until that moment when I thought, "Oh my goodness, he might have a shot at this!"

I'll try to see if I can post the video clip of him but if I can't get it to work here are the race details.......

He lined up on the start line with all the other first grade boys. He started off not so well because he didn't cut the field like the other kids did. He was trying to stay on the line (very typical) of him. Soon though he was at the top of the hill and was approaching the front of the pack. The race is 400 meters (equivalent to 1 lap around a track). Half way through, the course looped back around the school where you can't see them. In a few moments I saw him coming around the corner with a huge lead. He didn't know where the course was (it was a little confusing) and so he almost missed his turn to the home stretch. Luckily there were people there to help guide him down to the finish line where he broke through the ribbon and took first place. It was such a fun and exciting moment!

One thing I really liked about the race was that they gave out ribbons for more than just 1st-3rd place. The first 20 finishers also received ribbons and they had the race timer above the finish line so that you could see your finishing time......that way you can challenge yourself next year to try and beat your time from the year before. Anyway, it was so much fun and a great "first" race for my little runner.

Now that's one happy kid!......(and one proud Mommy)

Pumpkin Patch

Just some pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch.....

Family October 2008

Joseph picking out his pumpkin with Daddy.

The boys posing with their pumpkins.

Joseph and Jacob as "Pumpkin Men"......(they came up with that idea on their own, cute!)

Hunter Farms is a little out of the way but a beautiful drive and something we've done every year since Jacob was a baby. They started charging money this year which we weren't very happy about but it's still a great place to go.
Hunter Farms has a tractor-pulled wagon that takes you out to the patch. Back at the farm they have a hay maze for the kids, a small little petting zoo and a hot dog stand that also serves other yummy treats like kettle corn, BBQ corn on the cob and funnel cakes. It's fun to go back every year to the same place. Our rule has always been that you can pick any pumpkin but you have to be able to carry it out of the patch (it can be kind of a long walk back to the tractor). As the boys get older it's fun to see the pumpkins they pick get a little bigger.

Jacob with his Pumpkin

Joseph's Pumpkin

Ben's Pumpkin

Lauren's Pumpkin......
Can you even see it? Oh well, it was the one she wanted. (:

This year the pumpkin selection was really bad. I don't think it was a very good season for growing anything but I was surprised to see so few orange pumpkins (most of them were still green and there were even some blossoms on many of the plants-weird!)

Still it was a fun outing with the kids.