Saturday, February 28, 2009

Muddy Kids

Some pictures from summer 2008 - I think Melodie was the one who began the "make-art-with-mud" activity in the gutter, and Hyrum and Wesley eagerly played along.

They all did a good job of keeping their clothes clean.
Here is Hyrum's hand drawing a face

And Wesley using his foot to leave a print.

They had their hand prints all over the gutter and lined in a row running up the driveway. I thought it was really cute. There's something about kids and mud that just softens your heart. It's 100% childhood.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My New Mascot - the Penguin

The Penguins of Madagascar
Kowalski (top), Private, Skipper, and Rico (left to right)

Last night Corey slept over in Provo because they were having an MBA Reunion. He was there for a mix and mingle last night and stayed with a friend so he could attend the activities today. Anyway, since he was going to be gone, I picked up a Redbox DVD - Madagascar 2, and I just love the penguins. They are just so funny! They always seem to be causing chaos, but then it turns out that they are really in complete control - I love it.

I have committed to memory one phrase they said in Madagascar 2 that I hope will help me have a "can-do" attitude when life's problems are seeming overwhelming. Setting: they were trying to fly from Madagascar back to New York, the Penguins were manning the plane, and they crashed down in Africa and the plane was pretty much destroyed. The other animals were complaining about how they were going to get the plane to work. The Penguins reply: "We'll fix it!" "Fix it?!?! How are you gonna fix it?!?!" And the penguins matter of factly reply (and here is my new motto...) "Grit, Spit, and a lot of Duct Tape."

I also read "The Last Lecture" book a while ago, where Randy Pausch talks about Penguins... At the beginning of each semester, Dr. Pausch would organize his classes by teams and at the end of the semester he would honor one team with The First Penguin Award – a stuffed penguin. The award would go to the team that took the biggest gamble in trying new ideas, projects, etc., while failing to achieve their stated goals. According to Randy, it was an award for glorious failure and it celebrated the use of imagination in a daring way. For Randy and his students, First Penguin winners were losers who were definitely on the road to success. (Sometimes I feel that's the boat Corey and I are in!) The title of this award was based on the behaviors and practice of Penguins – but only certain Penguins; the Positive Deviants. The story is that when Penguins are about to jump in the water that might contain predators, someone must be the first Penguin. It is this Penguin that has the internal courage and spirit to risk everything. The story of the Penguin describes behaviors that are internally driven and celebrates risk and encourages students to attempt hard things and not to worry about failing…failure is not just acceptable, it's often essential.

So here's to glorious failure - and to keepin' at it with grit, spit, and a lot of duct tape.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trip to California - Part 3 - Disneyland again

On Tuesday (Jan 20th) we had planned on all of us going to Disneyland. Corey was feeling a little better, but since he hadn't gotten any work done on Monday like he planned, he opted to stay at the room and kept Abi with him, and so I went to Disneyland with the kids and met up with Wayne and JeNeal there around lunch time - they had gone to the airport to pick up Mark, Seth, and Issac. Nancy, Jordyn, and Alixis had also driven down with Wayne and JeNeal. The park didn't open until 10 on Tuesday. Without Abi, I thought we'd have a good time going on all the coasters again, but poor Wesley is so short, he couldn't meet the 40 inches requirement to ride on the roller coasters. He couldn't even ride on the simulated ride Star Tours. As the other 4 kids entered the attraction entrance, I held Wesley's hand as we walked away to find a bench while we waited, and as we walked he protested "...But I am big!" Later when we met up with the inlaws, it was sad to learn that Wes was the only one among all the 3 year old grandkids (Seth, Jordyn and Wes) that didn't cut it. Wes was quite upset he couldn't go on the big rides, again insisting "...but I am big!", so we chose new vocabulary to help explain his plight "Yes, you are big, but you aren't tall yet, and you need to be tall to ride those rides. You are big, but you're short." (Wesley has been eating his dinner better since Disneyland, as we remind him that eating all his food will help him be tall!) Still, I felt bad for the little guy. We were able to all go on the carosel together. After that, we all went on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, after which I didn't feel so bad, cause he was crying from fright of Mr. Toad, thus leaving me with strong doubts that he would have been able to handle the Matterhorn or Space Mountain anyway. But still, I was talking with the inlaws after and we all decided that Wesley shouldn't have had to pay full price since he wasn't allowed on so many of the rides. They shouldn't have the entrance tickets priced on age, it should be on height. And below 40 inches should be able to get a discount or something~

He did like the Buzz Lightyear Blaster ride. Even Grandma was able to ride on this one with us.
And another highlight of the day for Wes was ToonTown, where he got to ride on a rollercoaster and loved it, as you can tell. Three cheers for Goofy! The boys went to Mickey's house while Mel was with the nieces in Minnie's house. We were pleasantly surprised to find him home! Wes kissed him on the nose.

And Mel was upset that she didn't see Mickey. I think she's perfected her scowl/pouting face, wouldn't you?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sleeping on the Floor

A pic from 2007 of Wes sleeping with Joe. Joe's not in the trundle right now - that's Wesley's spot - but Wes still likes to get in whichever bed Joe is in. He loves his big brother.

It's midnight right now, I am writing in my journal, and finally figured I'd go wake up Corey who never came up from putting the kids to bed downstairs. I go into the boys room to find only one boy in a bed (Ethan, the wise child) and find Corey, Abi, Mel (I didn't see Mel sneek downstairs...) Joe, Hyrum, and Wesley all asleep on top of each other on the floor, with a few pillows and blankets thrown in the mix. It was precious, I took some pictures, but my camera and I have issues, so I'll have to upload those later, but it was really cute and funny. 8 beds in the house (not to mention lots of couches if needed) and I've got a husband and 5 kids sleeping on the basement floor. Joe had his arm around Abi, and Abi had her face flat down in the carpet. (I don't know how she breathes like that...) Time to go put them away.

Trip to California - Part 2 - Monday with Mom at Disneyland

On Monday we had planned for me to take Joe, Mel, and Ethan to California Adventure where we could go on all the big rides without the little crowd of toddler cousins to slow us down. Corey has a friend who is from Irvine, California, who has a friend who works at Disneyland who could get in 3 people for free (good to know - and I'm glad Corey has these connections... saved us a bit of money - 4 passes to Disneyland for the price of 1, not bad for the vacation budget). So the only glitch was she had to go to check in at Disneyland at 8:30, it was 8:30, and California Adventure didn't open until 10. So we skipped out on the California Adventure plans since we didn't want to wait in the courtyard for an hour and a half and figured we'd check in and have fun at Disneyland.

(side note - going to Disneyland over California Adventure turned out to be a good choice - Later in the week (soon to be documented) on Thursday we went to CaliAdvent. with all the Wrides, and Ethan and Mel were just barely too short to ride on California Screaming, which was what we were all hyped up about at California Adventure anyway, so on Thursday I was able to leave the other kids and go on it with Joe (4 times) with the other kids had fun with Grandma and Grandpa - so it was a good thing...)

We had fun - we went in and first thing went on Space Mountain like 3 times in a row - yeah! We went on the Matterhorn once, Splash Mountain twice, Thunder Ranch Railroad twice, and some of the other little rides.

They all loved the Roller-coaster rides - here we go on Splash Mountain!

One of the highlights for me that I just thought was so fun was the Jedi Training Academy! We got there early and waited at the Tomorrowland Terrace for the 3:30 show - and we were not disappointed - lucky for me Joe, Mel, and Ethan were all chosen to train as Jedi's (Ethan was one of the last chosen to go up - he was getting worried and so was I! Lucky break for me - 3 for 3). Here's Joe fighting Darth Maul (and a very convincing Darth Maul at that!) Ethan and Mel got to take on Darth Vader - they let each kid come up and have their 5 seconds to prove themselves brave by taking on the Evil Empire. It was really fun, I was laughing a lot. It was a very good set, good sound effects, great costumes, it was a lot of fun. They each got a certificate stating they are certified Padowans. We headed for the hotel at 6:00 to save some energy for the next day, Tuesday, when we were coming back to Disneyland again with all the cousins, aunts, and grandparents. See you tomorrow Disneyland!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pictures of My Job Chart

Be sure to check my past post to see the update with pictures of my job chart! We're two weeks into it and these kids are already great helpers!

Trip to California - Part 1 - The Drive Down

Two weeks ago we came home from a week long vacation to Newport Beach, California. In December Corey found (using our timeshare exchange) that there was an opening at the Marriot Newport Beach Resort, so he booked it and then gave a ticket to Disneyland to the kids for Christmas. So we packed up Friday night at 6 and loaded the car and were ready to head in the wee hours of Saturday morning (aka 4:15 a.m). I had the first driving shift, and although I didn't go to bed as early as planned, I did fine cause I was listening to a CD of Brian Regan, our family's favorite comedian. There was some fog in Utah County that slowed me to the speed limit, and other than that I was bookin' it at 85/90 most of the time. We were pulling into St. George around 8:30.

When Corey's parent's and siblings heard we were planning a trip, they wanted to join in the fun, so they booked a week too and were driving down. They had left the night before and had plans to stay the night in Las Vegas. We called them when we were in St. George to wake them up and see if they wanted to meet up for breakfast. Wayne was awake and answered the phone, and told us they had stayed over in Cedar City instead of Vegas. "We didn't make it that far..." So we were already ahead of them and Corey told him "Yup, Tiff's a speed demon. ...she's got the ticket to prove it." Yes, as a side note, I did get pulled over in Cedar City. Doh! I was trying to get as many miles gone as possible before the kids woke up, but should have remembered to slow down when we neared a populated city. I was getting a little droggy at that time, so I had just barely called Nicole to chit chat to help me stay awake (She's on East Coast time, so it was 9:30 a.m. for her) and just as we had said hello, I said "Oohh... I think I'm getting pulled over... I'll call you back..." The cop had taken a quick turn around and put on his lights right away. I slowed down and pulled over behind another car hoping he'd pass me for someone else in front of me he was going to go after. But nope, he got behind me, I pulled over, and to my disappointment, with the car now stopped, all the kids woke up. Corey woke up when he heard me tell Nicole I was getting pulled over. The kids in the back started asking "Why is there a police man behind us?" The officer came to Corey's window. "License, registration, and insurance... I clocked you at 89 mph. Any reason why you were going that fast?" "Nope, just on cruise control..." I handed him my Virginia driver's license, he asked if we were from there or Utah. (Doh! Another thing I haven't taken care of yet eventhough we've been in Utah for a year and a half... Maybe I'm holding out in hopes we'll move back) We told him the address on the registration was correct, we are in Sandy. He went back to his car and I called Nicole back quick "Yup, it was me. So we're just sitting here." When he came back he said "You must have gotten on the road early this morning..." Yeah, we left around 4, trying to get going while the kids can sleep. "Where you headed?" California, just a little family trip. He said he only put me as 9 miles over at 84 mph, which made me should-have-been $200 ticket into a just $100. Thanks officer. He was nice. But I still hate highway patrol. They are like spiders waiting to kill unsuspecting passer-bys.

So yes, as Corey told his father, I am a speed demon and I've got the ticket to prove it. As he talked with his parent's we were gloating to each other a little on how slow they were! Only in Cedar City? and they left LAST NIGHT?! Later when we were in Vegas Corey felt bad for gloating as he said "...At least my dad takes his car in for tune-ups...." Yes, in another side note, that statement came over the phone as he was at GoodYear Tire and I was at the Las Vegas Outlets with the kids. As we were entering Las Vegas, a car pulled up to the side of us on the freeway and said our back left tire was really low. We got off at an exit and went down the strip looking for a gas station with an air pump. No luck, so we finished the cruise down the center of Sin City and then Corey dropped me off at McDonald's to get the kids some breakfast and he took the car to get the tires checked and to get an oil change. We had meant to take the car into Jiffy Lube before we left, but never did, so better late then never. Well, as I was at McD's with the kids, Corey called me and said that the car was in need of some emergency repairs. The Goodyear guy took a look at our car and asked how far we were going. "California." "You're never going to make it." He said that our oil gasket was about to explode, (I don't know what that is, but I think it would have wiped out our engine...) and lots of other things - basically we needed $500 in emergency repairs, another $900 of repairs could wait until we got back to Utah. So here's thanking the Lord for a flat tire and for sparing us the experience of having a broken down car in the middle of the desert somewhere in the California desert.

So we got back on the road after 5 hours in Vegas, got to Newport 4+ hours later at 7:30 California time. And that was our trip down to California. More exciting adventures and pictures to come.

I Love Abi!!!

Abigail is so cute. It's amazing how observant she is. I got a haircut last week, I've needed one for a while - just way too many split ends. I must have been sitting on the couch picking my split ends a lot, cause occassionally I'd hold Abigail on my lap, and she'd take a handful of my hair, then divide it once, twice, then pull out a strand and look at me with a mischievious smile. The first few times I didn't know what she was doing, then I realized she was imitating me picking my split ends - way funny I thought - what a smarty pants! (and time for me to get a new hobby! What a waste of time!)

Also, she's naturally taking to learning how to be a future mother. She'll walk around with empty bowls with spoons and mixes her invisible batter - a future cook! Several weeks ago, she spilled some yogurt on the kitchen floor and then washed it up with her empty hand (aka spreading it around on the floor). I got a washcloth to wipe it up, which she took from me then she got on her hands and knees and wiped it up herself - she looked like a little cinderella, it was so cute. All the kids were watching her with me and laughing, we all love Abi. After wiping most of it up, she walked over to the garbage and shook it out over the trash - something I never noticed I do when I wipe up the tables. Again, it's fun to learn again how observant kids are!

I take way too many pictures with the digital camera - I took like 20 of her in the tub this day, she was just so darned cute. It's fun to be smitten. She's cute when she's clean or when she's dirty!
In California when I spent the day at Disneyland with the older kids, while we were on the Riverboat ride I scrolled through the pictures I'd taken of us during our day, when I scrolled back too far and saw these pictures of Abi. I called Joe over to show him, then Mel and Ethan came too, and we all laughed as we looked at all the pictures and thought of how we missed Abi and were so excited to see her little face again that night.

Husband's are Great

Thank you thank you to Corey for figuring out how to transfer my photos for me! He's amazing in everyway.

When we went to California Corey was sick for a few days and stayed home from Disneyland with his favorite little girl, Abigail. Eventhough he was still feeling sick on day 5, he came with all of us to California Adventure (first photo).
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