Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fun with the Kids

For the past several months, we've had a pretty great system going on. It's nothing too original, but seems to work well for our kids who love rewards and visible progress. We call them the "Puff Jars." Benjamin and Peter each have their own jar, and try to do good things to earn puffs. They're not allowed to ask for puffs, but we fill them whenever we catch them being good. Once their jar is filled with puffs, they get an outing of their choice with either me or Paul.
The latest outing that they earned was a trip to the City Museum with Paul. Paul and I have only been there once, but this was the first time for the boys. And since that day had such nice weather, they got to explore some new areas that we never got to. SUCH a crazy place. You can see Benjamin almost reaching the top of that giant dome and Peter looking on from the bottom.
 I tell people who have never been that you have to have a certain level of tolerance for filth. There are so many bizarre passages and places to climb though, most of which I have no idea how you'd ever keep clean. But if you're okay with climbing all over decades' worth of germs, it's a blast.
Benjamin and Peter up on the roof.
 And riding the carousel on the roof.
 Exploring the craziness outside.
 Climbing up to the helicopter via metal tubes FIVE STORIES UP!
All in all, a perfect outing for boys! They had a blast!
 And on an unrelated note, we've been getting our Thanksgiving on a little early this week. We're so excited to spend the holiday with our families! Peter and Nora had fun making little apple turkeys while Benjamin was at school.
We also made butter in little glass jars (sort of like pilgrims), which was right up Nora's alley. I think butter is her favorite food group.
 Our Thanksgiving tree that we're filling with "thankful leaves" was started on Sunday, and Nora made sure that we added Hello Kitty. Seriously, I don't think her life would be complete without it. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Evening Things Out

We're having a GIRL!!!!

So for the past few weeks, I've been looking at babies and getting tired just thinking about what lies ahead, but now I can honestly say I'm ecstatic. Seeing that sweet little profile and squirmy little body in there changed a lot, but knowing that Nora will have a little sister really made my day.
The funny thing was, I had had myself convinced that I didn't care either way. In fact, I mentally planned on it being a boy. But after seeing this beautiful little face (which was before the gender was confirmed),  I began doubting my own intuition. She's perfect.
Nora helped me model my 20 weeks shot (which is really dark and fuzzy, much like the ultrasound pics). I've finally gotten to the point where people know I'm pregnant and not just a tad fluffy in the middle.
And I think I would be remiss if I did not mention that the boys won. Peter told me as soon as we found out in that dark little exam room that he and Benjamin knew it was going to be a girl all along. Way to go, boys!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


After last night's election results, I have certainly been a little gloomy. These passages from President Gordon B. Hinckley's "Standing for Something" were just what I needed today:

"We all tend to worry about the future. And yes, there may be lean days ahead for many of us. There will doubtless be challenges of all varieties. No one can avoid them all. But we must not despair or give up. We must look for the sunlight through the clouds...

We have so much to live for, so much to hope for! Humanity is essentially good. We are all of one great family. We can give strength to the voice of hope. We can give thanks to those who work for peace. We can give added attention to those who feed the hungry and bind up the wounds of conflict. To the extent we cultivate the virtue of optimism, we will bless all the world's peoples."

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Big Day

It seems unreal that this moment was four years ago. My Mom stayed home with Benjamin, and I trekked off to the polls with my tiny two-week-old baby in tow.
Paul and I took turns this morning, and were finished by 8:30. It felt nice to walk out of there, feeling like I had done all I could, and saying a little prayer for this great country we live in. I'm not sure how much I'm going to sleep tonight!
The Magic House was having a "voting day" today, so I decided to take my kids. Benjamin had the day off of school anyways, since his school is being used as our district's polling place. The kids had a blast making Uncle Sam hats and flags, then filling out their Voter Identification Cards so that they could cast their votes.

Benjamin went through the whole process like it was old hat. Then he played "big brother" to make sure Peter voted for all the right people too. :)
The kids, all standing by their pick in the "Oval Office." I'm not sure why Nora wasn't wearing her hat in this picture. It was almost as big as she was.
Benjamin had fun playing President for a bit, and took some important phone calls before heading off to the other exhibits.
I'm so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in this country, and for the process of voting. I love having something bigger than myself to be pulling for, even if the uncertainty of it all drives me a little crazy. Tomorrow, tomorrow...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Star of the Week

Benjamin was the Star of the Week last week, and helped me make this poster to share with his class. He was also supposed to share a video, so we decided to send in his old Star Wars flick. Peter, Nora and I went in to his class to watch him during his moment. He did a great job!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

More Halloween Fun

Just thought I'd catch up with a few more pictures from this week. Here's Peter, apprehensively gutting his pumpkin.
And Benjamin, digging in with enthusiasm.
Benjamin drew the design for how he wanted to look and Paul did the carving. Peter and I decided to make his into an owl, given its shape. Nora's was getting mushy pretty fast, so we painted it to look like Hello Kitty.
I helped out with Benjamin's class party this year, and got to watch as the entire school come out for a flash mob dance to "Thriller." Then they left to parade around the neighborhood. It was a lot of fun to watch!
The night of Halloween was pretty chilly, which was fine for the boys, who were in multiple layers and felt capes. I knew there was no getting around covering up Nora's costume, and luckily had this little red shawl around that worked perfectly. I think it even made it cuter on her.
The kids made it around the entire neighborhood, wanting to get to the teepee that is in our Cherokee neighbor's front yard every year. They had a little campfire inside, which made it actually quite cozy in there!
Benjamin finished up soccer this week, and made a lot of progress during the season. He scored the only two goals for his team yesterday, and was even "recruited" (I don't know what else to call it. ha!) to play with a more advanced team next year. Here he is with his first trophy. A big moment in a little boy's life!