Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Break

Even though Emil was in training, we had a pretty exhausting Spring Break. The first day was mostly uneventful, but we did try something I saw on Pinterest. (Now that I have the Pinterest app on my Kindle, it's becoming more of an addiction.)
That took three minutes. What about the rest of the daylight hours, Pinterest? What about THAT? So we drew a hopscotch board, played on the trampoline, fisticuffs (always)...
Oh, and this was my idea. If only I knew how to do anything on Photoshop. And if I had Photoshop. 
Colin likes to draw balloons with the sidewalk chalk lately. He was the only one who looked like he might be floating.

On Wednesday Daddy took the kids to the park to play with his parents. Emil came home in a diaper after going through two changes of clothes I sent with them. (That's right. I didn't go with them. I ate a lovely lunch on a patio in perfect weather, reading my book.) He's not ready for three juice boxes and being at a park where he needs to run far for a restroom. Noted.

Thursday Daddy came home for half the day again and we all went to lunch and then bowling. There were a few moments of high adventure running Emil to a potty, but he never had an accident and we all had fun.

On Friday Brian took the whole day off and we rode the train to Salt Lake. It was Emil's reward for completing his training.
We went from Frontrunner to Trax and then to Temple Square. The weather was PERFECT and I'd taken a Zyrtec, so it was pretty much a perfect day. 
We headed for the South Visitors' Center first to use the restroom and see the coolest thing ever - a replica of the temple that shows what it looks like on the inside. Amazing.
It's the Celestial Room! I've been in it - even the couches are right. And look at the tiny floral arrangement in the middle. I have fond memories of waiting in this room for Elder Richard Hinckley to come get us for our sealing with Bridget. 
We ate lunch at the Lion House in the outdoor courtyard behind the house. This was my absolute favorite place to eat with Angie back when I worked at the COB. Dappled shade, pretty white tables, fresh (mostly) air. Ahhh. (We packed a lunch for the boys because Colin rarely eats the kid food at restaurants. He wants his peanut butter and honey sandwich. He actually has a name for that sandwich, "Lunch.") The boys had their sandwiches and a little bowl of fruit while the rest of us enjoyed real food.
And now begins my adventures in trying to get a photo of all three of my beautiful children looking at the camera at the same time. (I wondered many times on Friday why I didn't talk Bridget into wearing pants without holes. I'd already made my self-imposed limit of one suggestion on her outfit. I only use it when she puts on something truly crazy.)
Ohhhh - so close.
A lovely, shady spot right outside the Administration Building. Colin went under the little chain fence to check things out and to be out-of-reach. Brian warned him that President Monson could see him. Ha!
Look at Colin's face! He is the cutest. At the Lion House he started doing a robot dance on the little grassy lawn. Hilarious. (Of course we used the restroom at the Lion House, btw.)
We waited in line to get these photos. I don't even know what is going on with the last one. Did Emil think they'd stand on his back and make a tower? Probably.
There was a break in the bridal parties when we got back to the temple, so we had a chance to see the doors up close.
Sorry for the seasick view. They were moving so fast, I had to take what I could get.
After this it was back to the South Visitors' Center for some bathroom adventures. No need for a lot of detail here, but I will say that I found myself picking up a small nugget that rolled under the bathroom stall door and we lost some McQueen underpants in the battle. It could have been worse. Other than that, Emil had a perfect game. :) Off to the museum!
Fishing from Nephi's boat! We really should have come here first, but we came here last and only had a few minutes before we had to get back to Trax and catch our Frontrunner train home.
They have lots of fun luggage statues at that station. No photos on the train home because I was busy finding a restroom with Emil. It was in another car of the train and when we finally found it there was a large human sitting right in front of the door and she was wearing headphones. Who sits in front of the bathroom of a train? Duh. When we'd finished in there, Emil took off running in the opposite direction of our train car. Love chasing a three-year-old in a crowded, moving train. We made it home in one piece and Brian and I didn't die. Success!

On Saturday we got to spend most of the day with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Peggy. 
The kids got to eat out AGAIN for lunch (this time at The Wild Zucchini - the Italian version of Cafe Rio) and play at the park. Thank goodness everyone needed a nap, because I was dead on my feet by the time lunch was over. Grandpa jumped on the trampoline with the kids and Grandma brought a bunch of rubber bands. ("It's for the kids!") Really, though, Grandma and Bridget made some very cool bracelets. :)

Pretty exciting week for not going very far. As Colin and Emil like to say, "FUN!"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Scrappy Baby Quilt

I was inspired to learn how to quilt by my Great Grandma Rhoda Lee. She used scraps from dresses and other clothing that was worn out. Her husband, Great Grandpa Edward Lee, made the pattern for her lone star quilts, which she pieced by hand using bias-cut fabric. Then she hand-quilted everything on a quilt frame Great Grandpa Lee made. My version of quilting is salivating over beautiful, usually expensive, fabrics at the local quilt stores, buying a bunch of it, using Quiltsmart or some other simplified method to piece everything together, then sending it to a long-arm quilter to get it all stitched up. In conclusion, I'm kind of a fraud. (To be perfectly honest, though, some of Great Grandma's quilts aren't the prettiest. Someone in her family wore a lot of Pepto Bismol Pink.)
Last month I made a baby quilt with nothing but scraps. I found a piece from one of Sarah Jane's fabric collections, then matched everything to that. The batting was a big piece leftover from another quilt and even the back is a large scrap I decided not to use on something. I quilted it myself (as if you couldn't tell - why would I post a close-up shot of that?) on my machine, then bound it with another large-ish scrap. The only thing I had to buy was a can of spray adhesive (no more safety pins for me!). I'll be able to use that again, but I figure I used about a $1 worth of it. So here's a $1 quilt. 
You can tell I'm not the random-scrappy kind of quilter. So many of my rows ended up lining the same fabrics up. I had to turn things around and try all kinds of combinations before it looked a little random. Can you see how the tree fabric is almost a perfect row?
I'll probably keep it. It was an experiment (especially the quilting) and now I know how long it takes to make it. If I sold it for a reasonable price, I would make about $4 an hour. Ha! There are plenty more scraps where those came from, too. (I got the pattern from a book called Sunday Morning Quilts: Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. "Treasured Fabrics" makes me laugh.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yes YOU Do

A little warning - anyone who isn't a parent and maybe my best friend is going to find this post to be TMI. I will want to know 20 years from now how I potty trained twin boys. I will need to remember that this almost broke me. (Also, this will be handy documentation. It is nice to have Bridget's potty training saga on the books. Look how little she is!)

Late last April (as in April 2013, almost a year ago) I decided it was time for the boys to potty train. I bought fun apps for the tablets, lots of juice, two potty seats and a small seat to fit over the regular toilet, movies they'd never seen before. I was ready. There is no I in team, y'all. I put the boys on their seats in the kitchen first thing in the morning and they both peed in them... at different times. While I was taking care of one of the removable bowls of pee, the boys used the potty seats as walkers, sliding them all over the wood floor. Ah! Also peeing on the floor.

We went downstairs and put a movie on and the two of them sat on the potty seats for a minute and watched. I had a handful of jellybeans if anyone did any business in the potty. Both boys peed in the potty and I celebrated and gave them each jellybeans. Almost immediately, Emil pooped in his underpants (he was across the room from Colin at the time), then stepped in the poop as we were getting the underpants off. A three-alarm mess to clean up and Colin was sitting on the little potty with nothing on. As I cleaned up poop in the bathroom down the hall, I called out to Colin, begging him to stay on the seat. When I finished and came back to Colin he was still on his seat. I thanked him, he gave me a kiss, then he reached into the bowl of his potty seat and handed me his jellybeans. The jellybeans that had been in the potty bowl. A few minutes later Colin pooped on the floor and confirmed my suspicions that it was not the time for potty training. I put them back in diapers and down for naps so I could curl up in the fetal position and do nothing for an hour.

What WAS that?!!! I've heard many people say that the kid has to be ready. I did not believe that. I'd heard that boys are usually older than two when they train successfully. I did not believe that either. I called my friend with five year-old twin boys and asked her how she did it. She was surprised that Emil and Colin were both ready to potty train. Once again, I was thinking of them as the same person. 

I tried again several months later, but I could tell neither of the boys really cared and I just ended up in the fetal position again. Thinking about nothing.

Fast forward to last week. Emil has been in preschool (where all the kids are potty-trained and often use the bathroom at the preschool) for three months. I took the boys to the daycare at the gym one morning last week so that I could workout. Colin needed a diaper change during my workout, so I took him to the van and changed him. When I brought him back, Emil wasn't in the main room of the daycare. "Where's my other one?" I asked. "Oh, he said he needed to go to the bathroom, so he's in there." I told her Emil was wearing a diaper and whatever was happening in the bathroom at that moment was not okay. I was right. His diaper was off, his clothes were wet with toilet water, and he was trying to wipe himself with a paper towel. There was my sign. Also, it was General Conference weekend and this week is Spring Break. We could be home to do this for a full week!
We went through about 10 pairs of underpants the first day. Emil wanted nothing to do with the toilet about halfway through the day, but I sang songs with him and held him and gave him lots of hugs. I've decided the hardest thing about potty training is not losing my cool. It's messy, stinky, emotional - it's hard to remember that they need nothing but positive interaction so that they don't associate me being mad to them using the potty. On Saturday Emil stayed in the same underpants all day - no accidents. In the evening he pooped in the potty twice. "I DID IT! I DID IT!" Emil and I danced and shouted and made total fools of ourselves. Colin pointed at the potty bowl and yelled, "EW! YUCKY!!" This morning Emil was dry. :) I'm not ready to go to the store with him, but we have all week to cement this new ability before he goes back to school.

One down.

One to go. (You can see Colin's feet in the photo. He often says, "MY TURN!" when he sees how excited we are for Emil. It is my theory that Colin is always peeing - even if it's just a little bit. He may want a turn, but he also doesn't care if he takes that turn in his pants right now. We'll get to him when Mo goes back to school.)

By the way, the title of this post is Emil's version of his preschool teacher's favorite saying, "It's the right thing to do." He always tells me, "Yes YOU do." Hahahaha! When I heard his preschool teacher say it I cracked up. :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

March 2014 Book Reports

Last month was a busy and travel-filled one for my Dad. And I gave him another book to read (The Trees by Conrad Richter), so he may not have had time to read our selection for this month. Whatever the case, I have no report from him this time. The book is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. I'm a few pages away from finishing it myself, so we'll save it for the April report.

1. Dawn's Early Light by Elswyth Thane 

This book showed up in the Recommendations section of my Goodreads account. Elswyth Thane wrote a series of books, all based in Williamsburg, Virginia. Each book takes place during a critical moment in American history. I always like to start at the beginning, so I looked around for a copy of Dawn's Early Light, which takes place during the Revolutionary War. It's out of print. Of course it's out of print. That only made me want to find it and read it even more! I'll bet they have these books somewhere in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

The story begins with an Englishman named Julian Day arriving in Williamsburg during the summer of 1774. He is greeted by St. John Sprague, who becomes his bff. Julian's father traveled with him, but died at sea. Nineteen year old Julian is on his own for the first time and in a foreign, but not foreign, country. Juicy! Julian does not approve of the talk he hears at the Raleigh, a local pub. Sprague and the respected men in town like Thomas Jefferson and Colonel George Washington and Patrick Henry are practically endorsing treason! They should fall in line with their fellow countrymen and accept that they are part of the British empire. :) And yet, Julian can't help but respect these men and especially St. John. They're friendly, open, courageous. Just misguided.

That first night, Julian meets a young girl, Tabitha "Tibby." When I say young, I mean 10 years old. I could tell from the get-go that this would be a love story and I was grossed out. In the beginning, Julian thinks of Tibby as a daughter. Julian is a school teacher and he speaks several languages. He teaches Tibby and helps her get into the local finishing school even though she is low-born. (Tibby would rather go to the real school like her twin brother, but them's the breaks in the 1770s, kid.)

The Declaration of Independence happens, St. John goes to war assisting Colonel Washington and Julian is left in Williamsburg to watch over St. John's sister, Dorothea, and his Aunt Anabel, as well as Tibby. (Julian is BLIND to the fact that Dorothea loves him and that Tibby is also in love with him. It's maddening and super cliche until we realize that it wasn't a cliche when Ms. Thane was writing it in the 1930s.) After almost four years of war with St. John coming and going with news, Julian realizes that he is American, and he wants to go to war to help them win. 

"Not children playing with fire in Arcadia now, he realized. Not irresponsible rebels who liked the sound of their own stirring phrases. Not two or three sullen cities defying from a safe distance a just and well-intentioned king.  This was a new nation, a virile, lion-hearted chip of the old block, determined, as Englishmen always are, not to be browbeaten - much less browbeaten by a rank outsider of limited intelligence and mid-European ideas of government.  This was a fight Englishmen had fought before and would doubtless have to fight again - a fight to preserve personal liberty and constitutional government from the encroachment of tyranny.  As an Englishmen, he belonged in this fight himself, on the side of the men who demanded the things England itself stood for, no matter who sat on the throne."

The war sections were fantastic. This book is thoroughly researched. I marveled at the research many many times. One of the characters makes a short remark about the "new" flag (rather than the snakes and arrows one) and how elegant it was, how no other country had anything like it. Later on the day I read that I was driving in an area where there are a lot of American flags and I got choked up. Every time I read a book about the time period of the Revolutionary War I cannot believe it worked. The United States of America happened! Dawn's Early Light made me think of this period in our country in a new way (I've only read it from the leaders' point of view before). Nicely done.

2. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

This is a chapter book first published in 1941. The four Melendy children live in New York City with their father, their mother is deceased. They have a tough housekeeper, "Cuffy." The children are smart and curious, each with their own talents and interests. One boring afternoon Randy (short for Miranda and also to confuse me every single time I read her name) suggests that instead of taking their $.50 weekly allowance, which is basically good for nothing, they should pool their money every week and let one person have an adventure. The youngest brother gets $.10 a week, but he wants to be in on it too. With $1.60 they can paint the town red! 

Randy goes first and checks out a museum in the city by herself. Rush (the oldest brother) goes to the opera and finds a dog on his way home. Mona gets her hair cut at the beauty parlor and she also gets a manicure that shakes everyone to their core (RED FINGERNAILS!! THE SHAME!!). When the youngest, Oliver, finally gets his turn (he has to wait until everyone else has gone twice, I think) he decides to go into the city by himself to see the circus at Madison Square Garden. Oliver is six years old. Let that sink in.

For historical fiction sake, this was pretty great. We so don't do it this way. Can you imagine letting your 10 year-old daughter go into New York City alone?! And the whole red fingernails thing. Mona even wails to Cuffy that she feels "so cheap." Wow. Different now, eh? It wasn't my favorite book I've read with Bridget, but it was fun and different.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Princess Four Corners and Sir Bobblehead

Last night there was a Princess Ball at the grade school. All the little girls were invited to buy tickets ($2 for their combined ticket) and bring their dad, brother, grandpa, whatever. They had to come up with a name for themselves and their knight (see the title of this post). A few local restaurants offered coupons for kids meals or free dessert to go with the tickets to the ball. The day Bridget came home and told us about the upcoming ball she was totally freaking out with excitement. Brian decided to make a big deal of it and get her a corsage, take her out to eat, open her door for her, the works. :)
I thought Bridget would want to dress up in one of her princess costumes, but she went with a church dress instead. Too grown up. I painted her fingernails in the morning instead of having her practice the piano like usual. She did wear her Disneyland crown. (Can you tell she doesn't know how to hold her arm with a corsage on it? Adorable.) They got dance pictures and danced and had cake. Bridget won a door prize, too. 
The boys and I went out for ice cream and watched a little of "The AVENGERS" before taking the usual bath and going to the usual bed. Bridget had the time of her life. She told me her favorite part was the dancing, after she figured out that dancing meant staying in the same place and doing pretty much the same move over and over. (Up until last night, dancing meant covering as much ground as possible and leaping and turning and doing cartwheels.) I'm glad Brian was her first date - show her how it's done. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some Stuff

I'm only doing a post because it's been almost two weeks. We're just doing the usual. I've taken a few photos, so here they are:
I posted this photo on Facebook already, but I have to have it in our book. Colin is peeling the candy shell off a Cadbury Mini Egg. He'd done it before and Brian and I laughed and laughed, but didn't get a photo of it. I gave him some mini eggs a few days later and had my camera on stand by just in case he did it again. As Colin would say, "NICE!"
I made strawberry jam two days in a row (Emil is a huge fan of jam). Having helpers while I make jam is ... not so helpful. Everything is hot, everything is breakable and spill-able, and I'm on a time limit. Emil parked his truck in fun places and handed me bottles to put the "JAM?" in. (I find that truck in the funniest situations. One time it had a load of grated cheese in it. Emil called it a Cheese Truck.)

My literal BFF, Kellie, and her husband, Mike, stopped by on their way home from a weekend getaway. We talked and talked and talked. We've been friends for 35 years! I'm so glad she forgave me for kicking her back in 1983 because she is my favorite person. 
Kellie let Emil make a dance video for her phone. 
Colin likes to put his face between you and your screen. "I watch?!"
You know we are meant to be best friends because she has twin boys who are ten months older than mine. Once again, that has worked out in my favor because no one understands like Kellie. :) 

(I'm regretting now that I didn't crop out my feet. Look at that bunion. Look at it.)