Friday, November 8, 2019

Birthdays for Talmage and Wesley

October 11 and October 22 marked 10 and 8 years old for Talmage and Wesley!
Here's how the days went down:

The morning of Talmage's birthday, there was a Mother's breakfast at the school (a clever and effective ploy to get parents to come to the book fair--the Father's breakfast was earlier in the week).
We had a great time and I was impressed at the great lengths the school volunteers had gone to in order to make the book fair fun and engaging!
There had been a storybook pumpkin contest, which I decided not to do unless my kids asked me to do it.
They never did so I didn't worry about it, but when I saw how cute the pumpkins were, I immediately started telling the boys that we need to do one for next year!
The pumpkins were displayed in a Winter Wonderland tent.


(Talmage was dressed up to be an attorney in the mock trial his class was having later in the day)

 The boys ended up using their birthday money from relatives to get some new books,
and after I told them good-bye I came home to pick up Sam and take him to his chiropractic appointment in Mississippi.
After his appointment, Maxwell and Benson started holding hands in the car on their own and I just about died of the cuteness:

We dropped Sam off at work, stopped by the house to grab my shopping list, ran to the grocery store to pick up some things for Talmage's birthday dinner and treats for his class, gassed up the car, and bought him a cheeseburger before going back to the school to have lunch with him.
Rain had been pouring down all morning, and with the craziness of all the errands, by the time I got back to the school I was quite a sight to behold.
My hair resembled a wet dog, so I looked fruitlessly around the car for an elastic or something to tie it back with. At last, I saw the solution!
Benson's sock!
Talmage got the biggest kick out of it when I showed him at lunch and wanted to point it out in some pictures.
(My phone takes super grainy pictures in lower light. Just throwin' it back to 1992.)



When I got home from the school, I started on the birthday boy's dinner.
He requested:
tortellini with pesto
baked potatoes
chocolate bran muffins
sliced apples
brownies
moose tracks ice cream

Talmage has invented a superhero called Electryke. He has written loads of comic books about him, draws countless pictures of him, makes up stories about him, and has even made coloring and activity books about him for his brothers! He wanted Electryke to be drawn on his brownies with melted white chocolate. He and I worked on it together.

And Wesley drew his own version of Electryke for him as a birthday present!

He opted to search for his presents. It was a happy evening for him!
(Note the 6 rolls of masking tape from my parents...while shopping at the "Grandma store" over Facetime with my mom, that is what he wanted more than Legos or Beyblades or games or sporting equipment...he is an inventor through and through!


Sam had a church conflict on Wesley's birthday, so we had his birthday dinner and presents the day before.

For dinner he wanted fettuccine alfredo with chicken, apples, and banana muffins.

And his cake had Cogman, a transformer he desperately wanted, perched on top of a pile of brownie rubble, held together with white chocolate Oreo cream cheese frosting.
Easiest cake ever!
We served it with cookies 'n cream ice cream.

He also elected to find his presents rather than having them wrapped.

The next day, on his actual birthday, we met up with him at school for his birthday lunch and to take treats to his class. He has recently hopped on the cheeseburger bandwagon with Talmage, after many years of avoiding them, so he wanted a Wendy's cheeseburger.

Eight is a big birthday at our house, so there were lots of accompanying activities that will be highlighted on the blog in days to come!


**Today's Tidbit:  Did you know God cares about baby shoes? Benson is the king of kicking off one shoe. He has lost one shoe from SO many pairs of shoes! Today we got home from a consignment store about 15 minutes from my house and I noticed he had only one shoe on. I called the store, but they hadn't seen it. I got the boys lunch and in our prayer over the lunch we prayed that we would be able to find his shoe. We then headed back to the store. And there, in the spot I had previously parked, was the shoe! He lost one of the SAME pair of shoes at the mall a month or two ago and I didn't noticed until we were getting into the car. I had walked all over the mall, but I headed back in with a prayer and guess what? I found the shoe within 5 minutes.
When Wesley was a baby, he had a cute little pair of shoes that, although weren't needed (since he wasn't walking yet), I just loved. I was running some errands one day and I stopped by Sally Beauty Supply and then went to Walmart. In the Walmart parking lot, I noticed his shoe was gone. I looked all over the place, retracing my steps, but to no avail. I even drove back to Sally Beauty Supply and asked the employee there. "He had them both on when you left," she told me confidently. "I know because I looked at him and noticed how cute his little shoes were." I gave it up as a lost cause and went home. I took his remaining shoe and went to put it in his drawer and...his other shoe was in the drawer!! You can't explain that away.
I know Heavenly Father loves us and wants to help us, even in matters as trivial as baby shoes.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Actual Reality Goggles

I could try to write something profound about this, but I'm just going to leave it right here for you to ponder.


A while back, I bought some Reese's Puffs as a special treat for the kids.
I'm not sure whether these goggles were intended to be a satirical commentary on the over-techified world we live in or just meant to be funny,
but either way we got a good laugh out of it!
(And yes, the boys totally made them and were "BLOWN AWAY" by how awesome actual reality is.)

Also, I feel like there are so many little bits and pieces of our lives that I want to remember but that aren't necessarily something I would blog about or think to put in my journal. So I'm going to start putting "Today's Tidbit" at the bottom of my blog posts.

**Today's Tidbit: Benson is a crazy climber and climbs on top of the kitchen counters allll day long. Today I caught him up there eating from a bowl of peanut butter (from his brothers' after-school snack), using a large pair of scissors as his eating utensil. Parenting award!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Lincoln at Age 6

I never wrote the annual highlights for Lincoln around his birthday,
so here we are 2 months later!
Lincoln at age 6:


-Lincoln feels everything deeply. Much of the time that comes across as enthusiasm, but he also has very strong reactions to injuries or perceived injustices. He almost knocks us over with his hugs and is almost constantly in motion. I recently realized that he is a very physical person, so I have tried to be more deliberate in hugging him and being close to him which seems to have a calming effect on him.


-He is the best little soccer goalie! We always call him the "brick wall" because it is seriously hard to get a ball past him in our many games of backyard soccer.
(P.S. Check out the smolder below...)


-He has a serious appetite, especially when he gets home from school. The other day when he got home he ate a granola bar, a bowl of peanut butter/oat hummus, two hot dogs, and a plate full of lemon bowtie pasta and he was still a little hungry (but at least not in tears about it anymore)! 


-He loves to do artwork and is constantly drawing pictures and writing notes. While he reads even scriptural text with ease, he still spells very creatively so his notes bring a smile to my face as they say things like, "Sorry to be unpashinte but cane we mace the pancakse?" (That was a real note he handed to me one morning!)


-In spite of his energy, he is incredibly well behaved at school and has always gotten the highest rating for his conduct ("E" for "Excellent"). One day he was very upset because he almost got a "G" (for "Good") because he was spinning a paper around on his desk. I have been amazed that he has been able to keep the rules so meticulously when it's probably harder for him than some.


-He LOVES a good joke and will laugh...and laugh...and laugh over it! He also loves to be my helper and adores Benson and all of his hysterical antics.


-He has an incredible memory, which is serving him very well in school. He loves to read--especially "Beast Quest" books. He is amazing with math and loves to figure out multiplication and division story problems I give him by drawing pictures and using logic. He has a very extensive vocabulary and still surprises me with the big words he throws into everyday conversation. As one example of his logical mind, the other day we heard a song that stated, "You've got to believe in something that's true." He said, "It should say, 'You've got to believe in something that makes sense,' because if you're believing in it, you don't actually know if it's true or not." I was pretty amazed by his ability to point out those conflicting ideas!


We love you times infinity, Linc-Binc!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ethnic Food Adventure #2 and a Goal Update

We are making pretty good progress on our family goals we set in September!
Here is October's update:

-We have ridden about 25 miles together as a family (with a goal of 250). The boys and I have ridden substantially more, but for this project we are only counting miles we ride with every member of the family present. We had something big every Saturday in October, so we haven't made as much progress as we had planned! But we are getting close to making a final decision on a nice bike rack for the car and hopefully we will be able to get some more big rides in the books before the year is up.

-We have completed a couple of good service projects to work toward our goal of 25 over the year.

-We have made plans for a mini vacation over Thanksgiving break (with a goal of 3 vacations throughout the year).

-Sam and I visited the Global Cafe, a restaurant run entirely by refugees and immigrants! It is in the Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, a former Sears Roebuck building that sat empty for many years but has recently been redone with a cool industrial/modern vibe but with lots of original fixtures and antiques sprinkled throughout. There are lots of artsy things to do there and the cafe offers cafeteria-style cuisine from the countries the current chefs are from. Right now the chefs are from Syria, Sudan, and Venezuela. Sam and I both chose Sudanese food--I got the Blue Nile salad and he got the Chicken Shawarma. Neither of us had ever tried Sudanese food! It was fun to branch out and experience something entirely new.


I am loving the difference having some family goals to work toward has made in our family dynamic!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Corn Maze

This month feels like it's been a non-stop party!
The trouble is, as I told Sam, someone has to throw the party and clean up afterwards...
which means it has all felt like a bit of a roller coaster for me and I've had way too many super late nights.
It also means that I have about 20 blog posts lined up in which to share the craziness and fun that is Fall in our family.
Hopefully I won't still be blogging about pumpkins in January!

We finished out our Fall Break fun by meeting up with some friends at a local corn maze.
The boys are being dragons for Halloween, with Benson as a knight, and, incidentally, the corn maze was designed to be in the shape of a knight fighting a dragon!
They had a great time traipsing around through the mud while Sam and I remained slightly on edge the entire time as we chased Benson and Maxwell, trying to ensure they never got out of sight. Benson insisted on walking himself and kept trying to run down paths away from the group! The thought of a baby lost in a corn maze was too sad for me to bear.
This corn maze was set up with a mystery to solve and we had to find various punch stations throughout the maze in order to complete it all. The kids had fun consulting their brochures and trying to track down clues!

After we finished at the maze, we headed over to a park to have a picnic dinner together.
I made pumpkin gingersnaps with white chocolate chips to finish out our pumpkin week and we ate chili, rolls, fruit, and cookies while the kids played until dark.
A fun outing with fun people!

(aerial view of the maze)
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