Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Report Cards

Today is report card day. The day I didn't even think about before Tom had the teacher he had last year. Grades always came easy before that for Tom and Logan. Then came the second grade crash. This year Tom has a great teacher that has spent countless hours helping him catch back up and, more importantly I think, get excited about learning and school again. What a difference a teacher makes.

They were both so excited to show me their report cards today and both are doing great. Tom has steadily improved throughout the year and this time was no different. He got his first "O" of the year and almost every other subject also improved. Before last year's problems, he almost always got "O"s but he has worked so hard this year to improve again and I am so proud of him. I keep looking at his report card and smiling.

School comes easy for Logan. It's amazing how different two boys raised by the same parents in the same house can be. His report card is the exact same as last semester with all "O"s and one "G" so I couldn't be happier. School is such an important part of life and I hope we are instilling in the boys that it is rewarding to learn and do your best.

GOOD JOB TOM AND LO!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Activities

Yesterday was a busy day for us but it all seemed to work out in the end. Who ever said Sunday was a day of rest, never had four active boys and church callings! Ethan gave his first talk in Primary and I really admire him. He loved every minute of it. He decided on his own what he would talk about and it ended up being testimonies. A couple months ago we did a Family Home Evening on testimonies and made our own testimony gloves to help the boys remember five points in a testimony. He got up there and told the kids all about it - with me whispering everything into his ear. No nerves. No shyness. Pure excitement.

I taught Relief Society right after and I wish I could say the same about me. I wasn't really nervous but I think that was because I was too tired to be nervous after the previous week. Somehow, I made it through the lesson but I did end about five minutes early even after stretching every point I could. I knew it was going to be a challenge because I didn't have time to run through the lesson before giving it Sunday to see how long it would take. When the High Councilman stood up in Sacrament Meeting and told us he was basing his talk on the same article I was teaching from, that was my second clue I would be in trouble. Oh well. I did my best and that's all the Lord asks from us, right?

To end the evening, our faithful home teacher came over with his family to share a message. He always prepares a message for the boys and I love that about his visits. Their family has four little kids, five and under, and they are so reverent and well mannered. I really look up to their parenting skills and gospel teaching. Anyway, half way through his lesson, he was teaching the boys that President Eyring's grandmother was teaching people about the gospel in Germany even when it was against the law at the time and that she could be arrested and be taken to jail. It was then that my lovely nine-year-old blurts out, "I would beat the crap out of the policemen."

Seriously?!? So wrong on so many levels. First of all the "crap" word is not one the boys are allowed to say. Second, beating up law enforcement? Really? In front of our sainted home teacher and his family? Honestly?

The night ended with Tom deciding to listen in to my telephone conversations and Logan, Ethan, and Dylan fighting instead of cleaning up their toys. Needless to say, they went to bed at about 6:50. Yep, ten to seven. I am so grateful that today is a new day and so far, knock on wood, it seems to be going a bit smoother. How many days until Gary gets home again?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Logan

Logan is my resident lady's man. You wouldn't suspect him at first but I'm pretty sure that is why his hair is so long and why he is so obsessed with it spending countless time in front of the mirror and wanting to use product. Yesterday he got an invite to a girl's birthday party. Tom would have been mortified at his age.

Logan's reply when I asked him what we should get her? "Maybe some more make-up because that's what girls like."

I know we will spend quite a bit of time at the store this afternoon picking out the right gift. Not because he can't decide. Not because he doesn't want to be there. Not because I have to talk him out of the star wars figurines or the guns. Because he wants it just perfect and that means looking at every inch of the girl stuff. I don't mind.

As if to reinforce my theory that he is in fact a lady's man, he brought home a phone number today from school. It was for a girl.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Hack

So, we've survived the first few crazy days since Gary's been gone and done pretty well so far getting everyone where they need to be on time. Gary told me I need to buy a lottery ticket because everything I've been hoping will happen, seems to lately. I'm not too sure about that though. He is staying busy and has been moving around the state of Texas a bit. I think he's in Odessa now but I could be wrong. He was stationed at the airport President Bush used to fly into to go to Crawford but they've just moved again to a smaller, more remote area. I was telling him that he couldn't be spending his day in air conditioned comfort on a fire assignment while I'm home with crazy schedules and kids. I thought he should be in the dirt and heat to make it even. (he he he) The next day he told me I got my wish. They had moved and now were sitting in a hanger that did NOT have a big screen t.v. and the air conditioning was a thing of the past. I should be more careful about my wishes I guess.

While Gary's been gone, the two little ones have been bonding. Maybe sharing is a better word. Ethan had the cough, congestion, and over-all cold when Gary left and now he has been kind enough to share with his little brother. Dylan is coughing like crazy. All night long - even with some cough syrup and cool-mist humidifier - I hear, "hack, hack, hack" and can picture his little body coughing up a lung. He isn't eating either which probably isn't helping. As a mom, I feel so helpless not being able to do something for him to make it stop. If it's anything like Ethan's cough though, he only has today and then it will start improving. At least it hasn't turned croupy. If anyone has any tried and true cough remedies, SHARE!

On a lighter note, Tom had his first baseball game last night. 13 - 0. I only made it for the last ten minutes because we were at Logan's soccer practice but I was there just in time to see him strike out - again apparently. Let's just say his team didn't score the 13 runs. He was pretty down about it and has already decided that this will be a repeat of basketball when they didn't win a single game all season. They play again on Thursday night and hopefully that will be a bit better.

Logan's team still doesn't know when they start games although the games were suppose to start yesterday for his league too. I hope they distribute schedules to the coaches soon! I am glad I have a day or two until I need to pick up the personal protective equipment from the sporting goods store for Logan. Gary bought Tom's and I'm pretty sure I'll turn red when I ask the nice sales clerk where they have the cups for a seven year-old! Honestly. The things you have to do when you are the mom!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Beginning of a Couple CRAZY Weeks

Today is the start of me losing my mind. If you see me or any of my children aimlessly wandering the streets in the next few weeks, feel free to help us back home and if this is the last post for a few weeks, you'll understand, I hope.

Gary leaves for Texas today and from there he'll head to Tucson. He'll be gone a couple of weeks which is pretty normal for us to deal with. The part that gets crazy is the boys and their schedules the next few weeks.

Tom and Logan are both playing soccer and baseball. In addition, I was silly enough to sign the three oldest up for swimming for this month. Thank goodness swimming ends in a couple weeks. So, when you have four teams with practices and games and one parent available to help it gets a bit hectic. Add to that the croup that Ethan came down with on Monday and still hasn't recovered from, and a fevering eternally teething 22 month old, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to cross over to crazyville.

Tonight we are living in the car and eating out of our lunch boxes. Logan has baseball practice at 4:00, soccer practice at 5:00 and Tom finishes the night with baseball practice at 6:00. To add to the excitement, all three events are at different locations. I had Gary put the DVD player in the car before he left and we'll stock up on travel food. If anyone has any good eating in the car recipes, I'd love it if you'd share!

There is a positive spin. We will be so busy that Gary will be home before we realize he's gone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eggs, Eggs, and More Eggs

We bought the "camo" egg dye kit this year. Even though we read the directions, they didn't really turn out too camo. They boys loved them anyway.

Tom was the funniest kid. I told him the eggs needed to stay in the dye but be turned over for 30 seconds (per directions) and he actually counted to 30 with each egg.

Logan was a bit more free-spirited. He'd dye them until they were the color he liked and then pull them out.

Dylan wasn't sure what we were doing. Gary helped him with most of his eggs. He tried to convince him he didn't need the spoon to stir the egg but could use his hands instead. Nothing doing. Dyl loves his utensils!

Ethan was proud of each and every egg as it came out. His hands were dyed dark but seems to come out fine for church after his bath.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rodeo

Last night we took the older boys to the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. It was so much fun! We had great seats thanks to a co-worker of Gary, Jan Baden. We loved every minute of it. It was "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night in honor of breast cancer awareness so the boys all had their pink bandannas. Tom even got pink bands on his braces this month in anticipation of the rodeo. I can't believe we've been here seven years and this is the first year we've gone. I hope we make it an annual tradition now even though it was a very late night on a school night.

Here is one of the cowboys riding his bull. This bull actually fell and rolled onto the cowboy's leg but he made it out okay and even opted for a re-ride. CRAZY!

Even though Ethan had his own seat, he preferred to sit on Gary's lap the majority of the time. They played the song YMCA at one point though and he REALLY got into it. I should have taken a video clip. He had all the people around us laughing.

Tom is not a big smiler in pictures lately but he had a great time. He didn't mind wearing his bandanna at all. Definitely tough enough to wear pink!

Logan and his funny faces. With his long hair, his hat had a hard time staying on. It was too funny. He didn't want anything to do with pink until about half way through when he saw how many cowboys were wearing pink shirts and then he wanted me to tie his bandanna on.

Ethan and I are just chilling out towards the end of the night. I needed to get a picture of him in his outfit before we left. Wranglers, shiny black boots and a cowboy hat made that kid look like he belonged on a ranch somewhere.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weekend Update

Last weekend, we went to Utah for a few fun events. It started with my mission reunion. I was a bit apprehensive because I haven't seen many people from my mission in over ten years but it was a BLAST! We reminisced, we ate, we laughed, we took pictures, we saw a great slide show, and we picked up right where we left off over a decade ago. It was the most fun I've had in a while. It was so great to see everyone, especially President and Sister Andersen. We decided we need to do it again with some of the sisters and no family because I think our families were a bit bored.

After the reunion, we stayed at my mom's house for the weekend. It is always a good time there and the boys look forward to every minute. From eating and ping pong to watching conference and aerating the lawn, the time went way too fast.

Saturday night we spent some time over at Uncle Kevin and Aunt Amy's house. They invited the Utah county family over and we had a great time. The cousins are getting old enough to play with each other now and that makes it so much more fun for the kids. She made a yummy, yummy dinner that Gary and I are still craving a week later.

Thanks everyone for the good times!

Group shot of President and Sister Andersen with all their missionaries who made it to the reunion.

Two of my companions: Anne Harmsen on the left and Hilary Olsen on the right.

Left to right: Becky Sandersen, Lesli Molyneux Lefgren with Benton, me, Sister Nunne Andersen, Julie Smith Allen.

Ping pong in the garage.

Tom in action.

Gary aerated Grandma's lawn on Saturday and boy was it COLD! Here she is keeping Ethan warm when he came out without his coat.

Bishop grandkids left to right: Cohen, Dylan, Haley, Truman, Jami, Ethan, Logan, and Thomas. The only one missing is Silas.

Four smelly boys dirtying up Grandma's tub.

Logan hanging out in Uncle Kevin and Aunt Amy's apricot tree.

Once again Dylan was lovin' on the baby. Here he is with Gary and Truman.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Monday was our first swimming lesson of the season. I say season although I am reminded regularly that we have NOT had swimming lessons in a couple of years - poor little men. Tom and Logan took to water like a couple of fish. I expected no different. After all, they are constantly asking and begging to go to "Hot Lava Springs" and we have only made it there once. They aren't the prettiest swimmers but they get the job done and love every minute in the water.

Now for Ethan. Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. I thought he'd LOVE it. He was so very very excited and looked so cute in his new suit. He sat at the edge of the pool by the stairs and the next thing I knew, four little girls about his same age were sitting next to him. I actually thought to myself, "It's a good thing that it's Ethan surrounded by girls and not Logan or Tom because they would have freaked out and never gotten into the pool." Stupid, stupid, rookie parenting mistake. No sooner had I finished thinking it, than I was living it. Ethan was freaking out and didn't want to do swimming lessons anymore. We had a "conversation" about how I paid for these lessons and he WAS going to enjoy them to the tune of $32. Ethan dug in deeper. Nothing doing. No way. No how.

Meanwhile, I am wrestling Dylan who WANTS to get in the water and do what ever the teachers have in mind for him. Too bad he is two years too young. It is 100 degrees in the swimming pool room. I am pouring sweat by this time and wondering how on earth I am going to convince Ethan to enjoy himself.

Finally, I get him to the edge of the pool and the teacher - a nice high-school age girl who isn't sure what to do with such a difficult three-year-old - swims over and I mouth that I think he is ready for his turn. When she gets close, he starts to clench the concrete under his feet with his toes and is holding on for dear life. All the while I am trying to hold on to Dylan and push Ethan in and keep myself out of the water. Looking back, I'm sure it was quite the comical scene. By now I had had enough and basically pushed/threw Ethan into the pool with the teacher and told her he would be fine once he was in the water. The kid is not afraid of water in the least but didn't like the fact his brothers were at the opposite end of the pool.

As I turned to walk over to the bleachers to watch amid the HOWL from Ethan in the pool, I noticed the faces of the other parents who obviously love their children more than I do. Horrified was one way to put it. There were a few polite smiles but lets just say I'm not getting invited over for any play dates any time soon.

The good news is we have swimming lessons again today. Can't wait. So excited. Looking forward to it all day. Can't you just sense the joy I feel knowing we get to do it again?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dylan and the Camera

Every time Dylan sees the camera out lately he starts to say cheese and strike a pose. He doesn't talk much so this is dang funny that this is one of the few things he says. After we take the picture, he insists on seeing how he looks and then goes for the next cheese shot and on and on until I finally put the camera away. I thought I'd put a few of his pictures on today. Most of them look the same but how can you resist those blue eyes?

Here he is at Christmas time.

Even strapped in the backpack getting ready to go snow shoeing he was cheesin'.
Can you just hear, "Cheese!" coming out of that smile?
He can multi-task too. He can pose and keep climbing onto our bed at the same time.

He was quite pleased with himself that he found his belt loop and that was in a few shots while we were at the farm. Belt loops and pockets are the newest and greatest discovery when you are posing for a good picture at almost two!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shoshone Falls

On our way home from the farm two weeks ago, we decided to finally make a small detour and see Shoshone Falls. In all the years we have been making this journey, we've never gotten off the freeway to see this amazing sight. It was bitter cold with a ripping wind but it was worth it to get the boys out and running around for a while.





Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our March Madness

Last Saturday, we took our little family up in the mountains snow shoeing. It was a blast! Ethan got a pair of shoes for Christmas and this, we're sad to say, was the inaugural event. He did great although he wasn't much into walking after he saw Dylan riding in the back pack. He prior snow shoeing events were much more relaxing when he was also in a back pack! McKay loved jumping in the snow but you could tell her age when we started back to the car and she stayed on the trail. She was one tired dog on the way home.

Each time we go, we realize how much fun it is and say we need to do it more. Now that Tom and Logan are older, they LOVE their shoes and can run up almost any hill it seems like. Even though this was our only trip this winter - Spring is coming right? - I hope we go more often in the years to come.
This is Tom helping Ethan up after he decided to lay in the snow and then couldn't get back up!
The boys posing.

Tom LOVES his hot cocoa and McKay wishes she had a little doggie snack after her hike.

Logan loving the outdoors. He loved climbing through the snow. They were all soaked by the time we got to the car.

The whole family. Dylan, Aironn, Gary, Tom, Logan, Ethan, and McKay. She didn't want her picture taken.