Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

The boys eagerly participated in the pumpkin carving this year. At first when I asked Derek if he wanted to touch the inside of the pumpkin he said No. Then Elliott said he wanted to take the insides out. Once he started, Derek decided he wanted to help too. They did great. It was nice to have helpers. Usually I do it myself and it's not my favorite thing. Elliott designed the pumpkin on the right. They both turned out great and everyone had fun.

Derek wasn't so sure he wanted to dress up as anything. I bought a couple cute costumes and tried them on him, but he didn't like wearing them. So, I took them back. At one of the stores, the sales lady said to Derek, "You don't want to be a dragon?" Derek's reply was, "No Derek be dragon, no Derek be robot (the other costume I bought), no Derek be doctor." Well, he summed up his feelings on the subject. In the end I won with the doctor costume (leftover from Elliott). I figured he couldn't have many objections to it, since it's just like regular clothes. The night of Trunk-or-Treat, he wanted to take it off after I snuck it on him while changing his diaper. I bribed him with candy. It worked and he didn't complain anymore. He even let me put it on him again for real trick-or-treating. I was lucky Elliott decided he wanted to be a skeleton again. That was easy. He loved having his face painted.
Ward Trunk-or-Treat

School Halloween Parade

I took the boys trick-or-treating on Friday night. That was our township's designated trick-or-treat night from 6-8. Yes, they tell you exactly when you can go. I was a little nervous about the whole thing and unsure how it would go. It was really easy - if the house's porch light was on, they were giving out candy. It just seems weird to have trick-or-treating scheduled for a different night. They do it every year. I've heard it's so the kids aren't out on a school night. I'm sure there are other reasons. For the really ambitious, you could trick-or-treat 4 or 5 nights during the week of Halloween. Pretty crazy. After about 1 1/2 hours, the boys were done. Brent stayed home and passed out candy. Unfortunately, not many trick-or-treaters came here. Most stick to the bigger neighborhood across the street. Now I know for next year. All in all, Halloween was a success. The boys got plenty of candy. That's all we hear about from Derek. He doesn't eat meals well anymore (even though he doesn't get candy unless he does eat). Everyone had fun. I'm glad it only comes around once a year.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

I love this face!

Pumpkin Patch

Last Saturday we ventured out to a pumpkin patch. We took a hayride out to the patch and let the boys choose their pumpkins. Derek had fun looking at the animals - chickens, turkeys, goats, and cows. Elliott went crazy running through the hay maze. It was a fun family outing.

Fall is here

Fall is here. It is beautiful. We have enjoyed the changing colors of the trees. It is amazing to see some of the hues. Most pictures don't do it justice, but here's a little taste. The actual colors are so much more vibrant. It's fun to live somewhere with such dramatic colors.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pioneer Day

On Pioneer Day, we were invited to our new friends, the Pococks, house for some pioneer activities. First we did a stick pull. Then the kids (and adults) shook cream to make whipped cream, which we enjoyed on some johnny cakes. The kids also made little button spinners. After the activities, the kids got wet in the little pool. It was great for them to cool off on such a hot day. It was fun to get to know the Pocock family and to celebrate Pioneer Day.

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Our First Visitor

Back in the middle of July we had our first visitor, Uncle Daniel! It was fun to have a visitor, something we hope to have more of. As a bonus, if you visit you might even receive a special card like this. (You know you want one!)

Elliott wanted to make Daniel a card. He did it all on his own. It was very sweet.

On Saturday we went exploring, something we need to do a lot more of. We headed to a train station to ride a train. On our way there, we saw a sign for Crystal Cave, so we decided to check that out first, since the train wasn't running for a couple hours anyway. Derek was whining the whole time about wanting to ride the train. He had no interest in anything else. We toured the cave. It was okay, nothing too spectacular. It's kinda sad that it's been a tourist attraction almost since it was discovered, so there's a lot of damage to the natural features. They have even had weddings inside. So, not really well preserved, but it was still interesting.

After the cave, we ate lunch in the little "town". While we were eating, Elliott started screaming. He had the misfortune of being stung by a wasp. That put a damper on things. He eventually calmed down and then we headed to the train station. It was the WK&S Railroad in the village of Kempton. (That has a nice Pride and Prejudice ring to it :))The tracks were originally part of the Reading Railroad. The train took us up the tracks 3 miles to the Wanamaker Station. We got off while they switched the engine and then went back the way we came. There was some beautiful scenery. It was fun to take a ride on the railroad. We realized the seats in the passenger car could be pushed back and forth to make them face front or back. It was neat to be able to sit facing each other. We had a fun day.

Elliott was able to play the Wii with Daniel. Elliott loves playing and it was nice to have someone new to play with. We all loved having Daniel here for a few days. Come on over, we'd love to have you too. :)

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First Day of School

Summer has ended and I'm way behind on my blogging. Maybe this summer didn't really happen. Wait, except for the fact that it was the LONGEST summer in history. Because of the move, Elliott's last day of school was May 14. His first day wasn't until September 7. Just shy of 4 months of summer! It was an entire month longer than it should have been. But we survived.

Unlike many people who are sad to see the summer end, I was thrilled. And I think Elliott was too. A couple weeks ago he told Grandma that he was excited to go to school so he could make some friends. It's sad that he didn't really get to play with many kids this summer, aside from at the pool. I'm glad he has something to keep him busy now.

He loves school. He spent much of his summer reading - almost constantly - and working on math workbooks. He loves to learn. The week before school started he began learning multiplication! Before that he mastered addition - adding thousands. Plus I taught him regrouping in subtraction. He gets so excited when he realizes he can do it. He thinks it's really cool. On the Friday before school started he got to go see his classroom and meet his teacher, Mrs. Bendekovits. I got a chance to talk with her for a few minutes. She seems like a great teacher. I asked how she assesses the kids and what opportunities they have for working at their level. I didn't want to say anything pushy when first meeting her. Hopefully she'll figure out what he needs. Elliott had the chance to ask her a question. He asked, "Do you have any multiplication?" She said no and asked if he knew multiplication. He said yes. Yeah, that's a little beyond first grade. At least she knows she has a smart kid on her hands.

After the first day of school Elliott said all the kids were ready to go home about half way through the day. That sounds about right. 1st grade is a big adjustment. He's gone a long time. The bus comes at 8:30 and drops him off at 4! There's not a whole lot of time in the afternoons, especially when he has karate twice a week at 5:15. He's a trooper. Derek misses him during the day and is really sad he can't ride the bus. All day the first day of school, he kept saying "Ride bus too." He likes waking up from his naps to get Elliott at the bus stop. I'm enjoying the quiet time while Derek sleeps. I get a couple of uninterrupted hours to do whatever I want. It's great!

First day of 1st grade - Kernsville Elementary

Elliott at his desk - I took this picture when we met his teacher

Watch Out

Elliott has been really into karate and ninja moves. He likes to think he's ninja. So, we finally enrolled him in a karate class. He loves it. He's not the most coordinated kid in the world, so it's taking some time to figure out the moves, but he has a great time. He got his white belt on his third day. He was very proud. Doesn't he look tough?

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Now I know my ABCs

Derek has been learning his ABCs. He loves to sing the song and recognizes letters everywhere. He love to do this train puzzle. He's finally able to sit and finish the puzzle rather than giving up after a few letters. He gets so excited when he figures out what the next letter is. I've been trying to get him to sing the alphabet on video for a while but it's never worked out until today. He was so excited. He laughed and laughed while he watched it back.

I guess I wasn't thinking when I did the video sideways. Oh well, enjoy anyway.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy 4th!

When Elliott heard the 4th of July was coming up, all he could do was talk about fireworks. Brent's idea of watching fireworks is to turn on the tv and watch the national shows. I'm glad Elliott shares my love of fireworks. Growing up we always went to Tustin High to watch the awesome fireworks display. I loved doing that. It was fun to go as a family and to see the fireworks along with hearing the patriotic music. A friend from our ward sent me a link to all the fireworks displays around the valley. Then another friend invited me to go with her family and another from the ward. Brent stayed home while Derek slept, and I took Elliott to enjoy the festivities. We met at the Norton's house so we could carpool. While there, Elliott and Spencer got to play with sparklers, thanks to a kind neighbor. They had fun doing that. Once we got to the park for the fireworks, all the kids had fun running around and trying to catch fireflies. The only thing missing from the display was the music. It's just not the same when you don't get to hear the patriotic music. We were a little bit away from the stadium where the actual show took place. It was fun to spend time with new friends. Thanks, Tracie, for inviting us to come along.

this is my pathetic attempt to capture the fireworks (my camera even has a fireworks setting - I guess it's still not that good)

Brent asked what I would like to do for the 4th. I said have a BBQ. Of course we don't own a BBQ, so it wasn't an option. We spent a lot of the 5th in the pool. Brent had the day off work, so he was able to go to the pool with us in the morning. That afternoon we were invited to a friend's house for swimming and a BBQ. It ended up being a fun day and I got my BBQ afterall. :)

Since I didn't get my fix of patriotic music on the 4th, I finally broke out the one patriotic CD I own - MoTab - a couple days ago. I had been singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and Derek would say "Glory, glory, hallelujah." It was adorable. So, I found the CD and let them hear the song. The next day I turned on the CD again, and Derek asked for "Glory, glory, hallelujah." So, I put that song on again. As soon as it was done, he said, "Again." Elliott said, "No way." We kept on going instead. I love patriotic music. We're still making our way through the CD. The boys really enjoy it. Today as I was listening it reminded me of the summer when my parents sang patriotic songs at Knott's Berry Farm with their caroling group. I remember having so much fun that summer. I would follow them around while they sang. I loved it. It makes me happy to hear great songs about our country. I always get that warm fuzzy feeling. When we sang the National Anthem at church on the 4th, I was emotional. It was difficult to sing all the words. I'm glad I have such a love for this country and the things that make it great. I hope that we will continue to enjoy our freedoms that so many have fought and died to preserve. God bless the USA.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DaVinci Science Center

Here are some pics at the DaVinci Science Center. We've been 3 times and enjoyed it every time. The last time we went with my friend, Emily, and her son, Alex (bottom right of the collage). The first two pictures are of Derek touching a snake. He was brave. Elliott stayed clear of it. Derek wasn't interested in touching the creatures in the aquarium though. The last time we went Elliott got up the nerve to touch one a star fish. That was cool. There is lots to explore. There is even a station that shows you step by step how to make paper airplanes. Elliott made a really cool one and got to throw it down over the balcony (with permission from a worker). It was fun. Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy other science centers as well - whenever we go somewhere, since our membership is good at many different centers.
Check out Elliott's eyes through these goggles. Pretty crazy.

If you can't tell, they are distorted. The goggles are supposed to help you understand what it's like to drive drunk or something like that - impaired vision.
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Summer Happenings

Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to this summer:

Swimming - There is a pool that is free from 9-11 most days of the week. We try to go 1-2 days each week. There are some friends from the ward who also go. They teach swim lessons there as well. Elliott said he thought he should take lessons, so I got him signed up. He started on Monday. He's a lot more comfortable in the water than he used to be. He's trying his best to learn some things and do what the coaches ask him to. He's having fun. Derek is a little fish. He has so much fun jumping and splashing all over the pool. It's great because the pool starts at 2 feet, so Derek can actually stand up in it. He absolutely loves swimming.

it's kinda hard to get any shots of the boys having fun in the water, since then I wouldn't be watching them very closely, so this one will have to do :)

Dorney Park - I decided to get season passes to the local amusement park/water park. It's very similar to Great America (in Northern CA). It's owned by the same company as Great America and Knott's Berry Farm. It even has Camp Snoopy. It's less than 15 minutes away. So far we've visited the water park twice. We try to go once a week. They have a few fun little kid areas. Last week I took the boys on the lazy river, thinking it would be a nice ride on the tubes. Little did I know that there are big waterfalls you pass under. I wasn't prepared for that. Elliott was a trooper. He held on tight to his tube and did great. Derek was crying most of the way. It was really difficult to hold him on the tube as well. Lesson learned, we'll probably wait a while before trying that one again. Every day since then, Derek talks about going on the boat through the waterfall. It's kinda funny.

DaVinci Science Center - We also got annual passes for the science center. We've been 3 times now. The boys really enjoy it. I'll do a separate post for this one.

Library - We have made it back to the library a couple times. The boys are both participating in the summer reading program. They get little prizes for every couple hours that they read.

Playground Program - The school district provides this awesome program for kids from grades 1 thru 6, M-F from 9-1. The best part is, it is completely FREE! He goes to a rec center and they play indoor and outdoor games. The first day Elliott spent most of his time inside and even got a leader to play Yahtzee with him. Another day he spent most of his time outside. It was pretty obvious when he got home. He really enjoys it. It's good for him to get out of the house and have people to interact with. It's good for his social skills. He has said he wants to go everyday. So far that hasn't worked out, but hopefully when swimming lessons are done he'll go at least 3 or 4 times a week.

Elliott spends lots of time reading. I've got to find some good books for him. He's read all the Magic Tree House books tons of times. He's read a few other things, but it's hard to know which books have good content for a 6 year old while still being challenging enough for him to read and not be bored. He spends time playing the Wii and playing Club Penguin on the computer. He also loves playing board games. I taught him how to play Monopoly and he loves it. He also likes Yahtzee, Sorry Card Revenge, LIFE, Sorry, and UNO. We have also worked on his erector set. It's fun to make things that move.

just a random shot in his "ninja" costume

Derek is still obsessed with trains and wants a new track pretty much daily. Elliott is nice to help with that a lot. Derek also loves the Little Touch Leap Pad. We had it for Elliott, who played with it a ton when he was little. We hadn't gotten it out for Derek until a couple weeks ago and now it's all he plays with besides the trains. I think it's actually taken the first choice spot. He caught on to it quickly so he needs minimal help with it now.

Derek's hair was really gross after a super hot day - lots of sweat and pool water will make your hair stand up

I have made time to read. A friend in the ward invited me to a book club. I went last week and it was fun. We didn't spend a whole lot of time talking about the book, but there was lots of other talking. I stayed for almost 4 hours! It was nice to be out with the girls. I've missed that.

It has been fun having so many things to do. I got to the point where there were too many things to choose from, but that was a nice problem to have. We're having fun.

More Random Observations

Cheddar cheese - It is almost impossible to find medium cheddar cheese. I guess they really like sharp and extra sharp cheese here. Weird. Maybe it's time to adjust my tastebuds.

Church bells - It's not uncommon to hear church bells ringing. We often hear them at our house since there is a church just up the street behind our house. I've also heard them at random parks and even when we got to church on Sunday (I don't know where those ones were coming from - obviously not our church building).

Cemetaries - They are everywhere! I don't think you can drive anywhere without passing at least one.

Riding lawn mowers - Everyone has to have their riding lawn mower. I think I've seen 3 regular lawn mowers now. Even people with not very big yards have riding ones. It's a little bizarre.

Wildlife - There are so many creatures here. It's really cool. We always see squirrels, pretty much anytime we're out (unfortunately they make good road kill too). I've even seen a chipmunk. There are also rabbits and geese. We saw a rabbit in our bushes the other day. Too bad we think they're guilty of making a mess of the bark/ground covering stuff in our yard. There is a gaggle of geese that we see almost everyday on the way to take Brent to work. As we drive past the spot, Derek is always on the lookout for them. Brent and the boys actually saw some geese in the field behind our house this morning. There are also raccoons and probably opossums - those I just see as roadkill. That's another thing that's not lacking in this area.

Rules of the road -
No turns from shoulder. That one is really obnoxious. There is an enormous shoulder that serves no purpose. We're getting used to it though.
Left lane must turn left - Isn't that pretty obvious? These signs are all over the place.
Tiny street signs at some major intersections. When you don't know where you're going, it can be a real problem when the streets aren't well marked.

All in all, we are enjoying life here. We are so lucky to have moved just in time for the hottest June on record. It was HOT. But now we've had lots of rain the past few days. It's nice to live somewhere that gets a good amount of rain. We don't think anyone has sprinklers here - at least we haven't noticed any.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Terriffic 2 Year Old!

We finally celebrated Derek's birthday 2 weeks after the fact. Since we were driving across Ohio on Derek's birthday, we didn't have a chance to celebrate. After a couple weeks, I felt really bad that we didn't even have cake or presents for his birthday. I was having a hard time trying to figure out what to get for him, he has plenty of toys. So, I bought him some pajamas and called it his birthday present. It works. He loved his cake. Ever since, if anything is cooked in a similar pan, he calls it cake (even though it's really enchiladas or something else).
Derek is such a fun, adorable boy. He's growing up so fast. He is learning to form sentences, even if half of the words are unintelligible to anyone but his parents (even we have a hard time with it sometimes). He knows his ABC's. He can count to 11. He's starting to sing songs, which is so cute. He recently started saying "Yes" or more commonly "Ya" in his cute little Derek voice. Before he would mumble a resemblance of yes. He is obsessed with trains. He plays with his train tracks everyday. He loves watching shows with trains. We can hear the trains blow their whistles from our house. Fortunately the tracks aren't close enough to hear the trains going by. We do see trains anytime we drive anywhere. He asks to ride the train all the time. He also started putting his hands on his hips and huffing. That's a funny one. I really don't think I do that, so I'm not sure where he got that one. Derek has really starting picking up on everything we say. He copies a lot of things we say. He loves to copy his big brother. Elliott isn't so fond of the idea. One bad word Elliott often says is "stinky bum." Derek will call Elliott that when he's upset with him or sometimes just for fun. He also will copy us when we tell Elliott what his punishment will be for not doing something. If we tell him he'll go to his room, Derek will say "Ei-yi go room." It's hard not to laugh when he does it. He has so many cute mannerisms that make him who he is. He is such a sweetheart, even though he going through those "wonderful" 2's.
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