Thursday, November 21, 2019

Halloween 2019

In light of all the craziness of October, I wanted to keep Halloween costumes super simple.
The boys usually want to be something creepy/gory,
and I am not a fan, so I tell them I won't buy them a creepy/gory costume.
It is always a struggle to find something we both agree on.

this year things were looking up when Talmage said he wanted to be a dragon!
It didn't take much convincing at all for the other boys to agree to be dragons, with Benson as the baby knight to slay them all.
I quickly looked up dragon masks and found a cheap one on Amazon that came in lots of colors--perfect!
I told myself I would be able to find shirts and pants at Goodwill in coordinating colors and I would just quickly attach some wings and tails.
Easy, peasy.

Unfortunately, I am the queen of underestimating how much time, effort, and money projects will take.
I definitely bit off more than I could chew with this one,
and I spent far too long drawing scales on clothes and re-making shirts and pants that, although I found in the right color at Goodwill, were definitely not the right size (Maxwell's shirt was actually my size!). I even enlisted my mom's help while they were visiting for Wesley's baptism to draw on scales on Halloween afternoon.
And in the end, I didn't quite finish all the scale-drawing (seriously, I spent so many hours on something I thought would take me a total of about one hour!). And it is silly that I was working so hard on it when it was pitch black on Halloween as they were trick-or-treating!

But the boys were thrilled with their costumes.
Talmage had the idea to pull out some gloves (we just so happened to have gloves in all the right colors) and add masking tape claws to them, which made for a fun addition to them.
I made Benson's hat by adding a little felt to a women's winter hat I found at the Dollar Store, and I could not get enough of his little face poking out while he stomped around, wielding his sword at all his brothers, who would dramatically fall writhing to the ground.

The boys made up names and abilities for their dragons:
Talmage (Black)-Scythewing; Deadly Poisonous Horns and Breathes Black Fire
Wesley (Blue)-Speartooth; Breathes Gasite (poison mixed with darts, arrows, and gasses)
Lincoln (Red)-Redclaw; Breathes Comets
Maxwell (Green)-Poisonwing; Breathes Green Poison

**Today's Tidbit: I saved a lovely 9 foot Christmas tree from my neighbor's garbage pile yesterday! It looked like it was in great shape, but it was pre-lit, and none of the lights worked. I decided to take all the lights off the tree, since I don't mind stringing my own lights each year. FYI, if you want to take the lights off a pre-lit better settle in for the long haul. It looked like they had started to remove the lights and got about a third of the way done before giving it up. I can see why! My hands are all scratched up and it took several hours, but I got it done and it is set up in our living room! It fits our space a lot better than our old one and it's a bit nicer looking. But, confession...I decided to set up our other one as well, in our other living area (in the South they call it a "hearth room"). The more, the merrier, right? I don't normally put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, but I didn't want to haul our "new" tree up to our attic, so it will be a Christmas-y Thanksgiving at our house!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Benson at 18 Months

Our Benson-boy is 18 months!
Here are a few bits of his life at this age:

-He is a crazy climber and climbs on things ALL day long. I had to put our barstools in the attic, because I was constantly finding him up on the kitchen counters. He regularly pushes chairs, buckets, benches, etc. to be able to reach what he wants, but at least putting the barstools in the attic has saved my sanity for the time being.

-He is talking up a storm! He is starting to string words together and sometimes form basic sentences. He is always asking, "What's that?" and "Where are we going?" The other day when he got frustrated he yelled, "s'NOT WORKING!" He also frequently says, "Please stop!" (I wonder why?) I love how he says his own name, as well as his brothers'. I regularly say, "He's just...such a person!" because he seems older than he is based on his thought processes and the way he expresses himself.

-He LOVES animals and will almost immediately try to hug them. The other day we were on Facetime with my sister, who is in Costa Rica, and she showed us a dog. Benson immediately gave the phone a big hug! (He also said, "Hola!" and "Dios!" to a Costa Rican woman my sister was with.)

-He is pretty fearless. He is also undeterred by injuries and will generally hop right back up and try again as soon as he's mostly recovered. He loves the thrill rides Sam gives him and laughs hysterically.

-Nursery at Church was a pretty seamless transition. He is in there regularly with me as I teach the signing time, and Maxwell is already in there, so he was already used to it.

-He loves to be with his brothers, swing at the park, read stories, build block towers, drive transportation vehicles and make their sound effects, go on bike rides and walks, and just be outside in general. He is CRAZY about music and can't seem to stop himself from dancing anytime there he hears a rhythm--he will even dance to the sound of the kitchen mixer! He has the best dance moves and also just loves to be a spaz in general and do weird poses and movements, like waddling with his arms outstretched behind him and a weird expression on his face, just to make us laugh.

This is such a classic Benson face, probably asking, "What's that?"

Love you so much, Bensy-boy!

**Today's Tidbit: I just love hearing my kids talk. This morning Maxwell did a cool trick and told Lincoln, "That was ecip!" (He meant "epic.") On the way to school, Talmage told Wesley to "stop fretting." Yesterday I turned around and drove back to the house after leaving because I thought I left my straightener on and as we drove up Lincoln said, "I don't see any tendrils of smoke!"
I'm sure they get it from the books they read, but there is definitely a healthy dose of DNA in the mix, as well. Sam's use of language never ceases to delight me. Just a while back, I commented that we needed to come up with a word to describe our behavior when we make a feeble protest against something while actually hoping the other will do it. You know, like:
Sam: "I'm going to take out the trash."
Kaitlyn: "No, no, let me do it." (actually hoping he will insist)
This happens pretty regularly in the evening...I am cold and tired and want to stay wrapped in a blanket and then Sam says he will go check on the boys or something, so I protest insincerely. When I proposed making up a word to describe what I was doing, Sam had one almost instantly: "fauxtest." 
Get it? It's a regular part of my vocabulary now.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Wesley's Birthday Party

I was struggling to come up with a theme for Wesley's birthday party that we were both excited about and that I could come up with a lot of ideas to go along with.
But the day the boys decided to be dragons for Halloween, it hit me: The Dragon Slayers' Academy!
I had planned way too much for the 18 or so kids that were crammed into our house (it was raining outside) so we didn't get to all the games and the party was a bit chaotic.
I didn't manage to snap more than a few pictures, but I think all in all it was a success!

The Invitations

The Food
-dragon fire roasted pizza
-dragon scales (Pringles)
-dragon eyes (grapes)
-dragon tongues (fruit by the foot rolls)
-dragon's gold (Hershey's nuggets)
-concentrated dragon smoke (homemade root beer with lots of dry ice)

The Games
-Knight, Knight, Dragon (A variation of Duck, Duck, Goose.)

-Target Practice (Each kid had three chances to hit Talmage, who was dressed like a dragon, with a bow and arrows.)

-Dragon Egg Hunt (I spray painted plastic Easter eggs with faux granite spray paint to make them look like dragon eggs and filled them with little dragon figures.)

-Slay the Dragon to Retrieve the Stolen Treasure (A dragon pinata, filled with Hershey's Nuggets and Rolos.)

-Escape the Dragon's Lair (A variation of the game "Categories," where the dragon stood with his back turned and called out dragon/castle related items. If the item each child was thinking of was called out, they would try to sneak over to the door and touch it and return to the other side without the dragon hearing and turning around to catch them!)

-Dragon Tag (We couldn't do this one since it was raining...a dragon had a lair and was armed with silly string and would try to tag people with the silly string to get them into his lair. Once three people were in his lair, there was a new dragon!)

-Dragon Tail Tag (We didn't get to this one, either...I made "dragon tails" out of stretchy sequin ribbon that the kids could loop around their fingers. They would run around trying to steal each other's tails for 2 minutes and at the end, whoever had no tails had to sit out. Repeat until there is one winner.)

(I love all the kids' faces in this one)

(Dragon tails for the game we never played)

The Favor Bags
I made bags out of this fun sequin fabric I found at Hobby Lobby and called them "Dragon Skin Bags." The kids filled them with their candy from the pinata and the dragon eggs. We also stuck an invitation to Wesley's baptism in each one and made a certificate of achievement for each guest.

We had so much fun coming up with ideas for his party and getting things ready!

**Today's Tidbit: Today I took the kids to the dentist for the first time since we moved here (oops). So it was our first time at the new office and it was AMAZING! The walls were all painted with incredible murals. The waiting room looked like a swamp/bayou and had lots of real plants incorporated into the murals to make it really feel like you were there. There was even a cute little kids' waiting area called "the treehouse" up a little passageway. The exam area was made to look like the ocean and even had a big fish tank with tropical fish inside. There were flat screen TVs everywhere, each with their own enormous library of movies on it for the kids to choose as their teeth were checked. And best of all, there was a second waiting room surrounded by windows in the middle of the exam area that was made to look like a boat (so cute!) in the middle of the ocean so I could wait there with the kids who weren't getting checked while still watching the ones who were getting checked. Also, shout out to St. Jude for giving us such amazing dental insurance...for cleanings, x-rays, fluoride, and even Wesley's shark-tooth extraction with local anesthetic, the grand total was...$21. It was all so great, I'm sad we waited so long to go!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wesley's Eight Date

We encourage our kids to read The Book of Mormon before they turn eight,
and as a celebration when they finish and in preparation for their baptism,
we like to take them out individually for a nice dinner.
Wesley wanted pizza, but I told him I had in mind something a bit nicer than Little Caesar's.
So instead we went to a local Italian restaurant that is well-known for their pizzas.
They have (dated) pictures of Venice covering the walls and a large fountain in the middle of the restaurant. Wesley has very seldom been to a restaurant with a waiter/waitress, so he was rather enamored with the whole experience!

Once our waitress found out we were there to celebrate Wesley's birthday,
she brought him a free decadent dessert.
It was so great to spend some time with our Wesley-boy together!
He is such a sweet, grateful, loving boy.

**Today's Tidbit: Sam and ALL the boys stayed home from Church sick today. :( We have a nasty cold that has hit the family. This evening there was a knock at the door and my sweet friend had brought over a freshly baked loaf of homemade bread! She said she had noticed that I was the only one at Church and had assumed the rest of the family must be sick, so she wanted to bring bread. She is one of the best "noticers" I know and I want to be more like her in that way!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Shelby Farms Clean-Up

For one of our 25 service projects, I contacted Shelby Farms to see if there was anything we could do to volunteer there. They had us come on a gorgeous Saturday to help pick up garbage. The very kind woman gave us all sorts of little mementos for the kids...candy, a keychain so that Benson would get to hold something too, magazines, enormous safety vests for the kids to wear (which they were super happy about), stickers, garbage bags, gloves, and lavish compliments.
It was the kind of project that is super enjoyable for ALL of us.
The boys were able to run around relatively freely and try to find garbage (and even some bones!) while Sam and I enjoyed their antics and basked in the lovely weather and the glorious fact that our house was not getting messier by the minute, since we weren't in it.
They ended it all with some stump jumping!

**Today's Tidbit: This morning it SNOWED! Nothing stuck, but there were actual flurries coming down from the sky! Maxwell saw the flakes and said, "Are dose snowballs??? Dey're soo cutie!" We braved the 19 degree weather and walked about 2.5 miles with my friend and her girls, the boys in the wagon, all bundled up in their coats and blankets. Maxwell, who HATES the cold, whined, "I need a blanket for my face!" So I pulled his hat down to the bottom of his nose and he contentedly spent the majority of our walk with his eyes completely covered, but warm.
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