Thursday, February 27, 2020

Random Kids' Drawings

At the end of the day, the computer desk is typically scattered with an assortment of drawings, homemade books, paper airplanes, or other creations.
The mess drives me crazy and simultaneously makes me so happy to see the fruits of the boys' creativity.
A few random pictures I've saved from the past year or so that made me particularly happy:

My sister's friend was in a sad accident in which she broke both of her knees, so my sister suggested the boys draw pictures for her while she was in the hospital. Lincoln's made me smile so much! From writing "crackd" in a bone and "knees" in a leg to the crying faces to the horribly cracked bone, the whole thing is so sweet and funny. 

 Sometime last Fall we had the boys make cards to send to the missionaries serving from our church congregation. Wesley's encouragement was so cute--"You shine like the sun! Don't give up! Don't despair! You can do it!" And I loved his little note, since he had used scented crayons--"the colors smell good."

Lincoln drew this picture for my sister and was very meticulous about the details, making sure to include her car she goes adventuring in and all of his brothers. I love the exchange of so many hearts between them, the fact that Benson is swaddled up like a newborn, sister's ripped mini-skirt? What? Where did that come from?

One Sunday I challenged the boys to draw a picture in which there was something to represent each member of the family and their personality or gifts. Talmage is a bird expert, and I loved how he incorporated specific birds to correspond with each family member. 

Lincoln went through a phase several months ago where he would write me messages on paper instead of asking me when he wanted something. I adore his spelling here, and his apology for being "unpashinte." 

Wesley drew these amazing pictures of a knight flying a dragon and then taming the dragon. I was blown away! I loved them so much I had him trace over the light pencil in pen so we could save them without the pencil getting rubbed away.

And this drawing of Lincoln's is just so cute and detailed. I love the footprints on the bottom. 

And here is Wesley's crayon sketch of Buzz Lightyear. He is so good at caricature-type drawing!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Soggy Memphis


If I were to describe Memphis in one word this Winter,
it would be soggy.
It has rained so much--a cold, dreary rain that permeates to the bone.
And then it is cloudy and overcast for a couple of days before it rains again, so the ground never dries out.
There is mold and moss growing in abundance all over the place,
and our backyard has been a permanent mud puddle.

I have been so reluctant to go outdoors in the damp, chilly weather,
but I recognize that spending time outside does wonders for my body and spirit.
So today I decided it was time to put on my big-girl pants and brave the elements for a walk.
I bundled up myself and the boys, and then opened the garage door,
only to find that there was a biting wind and a light, misty rain was coming down.
My resolve instantly dissolved and I said, "Actually, I think it's too cold for a walk. Let's go back inside."
Maxwell, however, was determined. "NO!" he replied. "We can put on our hoods!!"
I sighed, put everyone's hoods on, grabbed an extra blanket and a pair of gloves, and walked out into the wet.

And wouldn't you know it,
but with every step my spirit lifted.
We found mushrooms growing on a fallen tree,
and spike-ball seed pods,
and awesome sticks,
and daffodils.
We watched a concrete mixer at work
and looked down into the drainage stream that was rushing in the ravine below us.
Maxwell walked beside me chattering the whole way.
We came home refreshed and rejuvenated (although with icy hands)
and then we sat in front of the space heater together to warm up.

Time for me to start adhering better to the Scandinavian saying I read years ago:
"There's no such thing as bad weather--only bad clothing."

 P.S. I finally got a new phone, which means no more super blurry/grainy phone pictures!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Dinosaurs in Antarctica

On Thursday, we visited the Pink Palace for another members' party--this time for the opening of a new IMAX movie about dinosaurs in Antarctica!
The boys spent a good chunk of time playing with the exhibits in the lobby before we headed over to the refreshment table and munched on cheese and crackers, pasta salad, fruit, and brownies.

Delta Dental was the main sponsor for the movie, so they had their tooth mascot there.
He came over to the boys and snuck up on them--they mostly thought he was hilarious, but poor Benson was terrified and his entire body started shaking violently!
The blur in the bottom right of the second picture is Lincoln escaping the tooth as he tried to "brush" him with his toothbrush. It was pretty amusing.

After refreshments, we went to check out the dinosaur display.
The boys got to touch a real dinosaur leg fossil (I think Stegosaurus?)
and dig for other dinosaur fossils. The woman running the exhibit was very knowledgeable and sweet with the kids.

Then we headed in to watch the movie!
It was interesting to learn about how scientists excavate for fossils in the frozen rock of Antarctica and see the beautiful dinosaur animations. Maxwell was literally perched on the edge of his seat the entire time!

Sam and I were sitting on either end of the boys to allow Benson some space to roam during the movie if needed, and at one point in the movie our eyes met across those 5 heads and we shared a knowing smile. Our first date was to the IMAX theater nearly 12 years ago! If we could have been given a glimpse then of that night at the Pink Palace, I wonder what our thoughts would have been.
It has been so fun to be members of the Pink Palace this year.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sundays with Benson

Dear Benson,

Sundays with you are always a bit of an adventure.
You LOVE people, and your Nursery teacher tells me how you are the happiest boy every Sunday and how you always run into the room with the biggest smile on your face and wave at her.
Your enthusiasm for life, however, tends to explode out of you in the quiet of Sacrament Meeting and as a result we spend a lot of time pacing the halls or the back of the gym.
Today I tried to keep you quiet during the Sacrament by showing you pictures of Jesus,
but when you saw the picture of The Last Supper, you said loudly while pointing to the bread Jesus was holding, "What's that chicken?" And then, pointing to the pitcher of wine, "What's that drink-a-milk?"
Your loud commentary in response to every picture I showed you led me to put the pictures away and instead point out the rocks on the wall behind the choir loft.
You immediately started growling, "Rocks!" and then pretended to throw big rocks, complete with sound effects.
You tried to climb over the bench to one of the Young Women who babysits you.
You caught sight of someone else, a few rows back, who you recognized and did your ultra-fast full armed wave while shouting, "HI-HI!!!!!"
When your brother left to use the restroom, you ran over and stole the pen he had been using and then said "I took it!" repeatedly with an evil smile (well, as evil as your charming 1-year-old face can muster).
You weren't interested in looking at books, but you LOVED it when I drew you an airplane,
and you conveyed your enthusiasm by loudly declaring, "DANKOO, Mommy!!!"
You then scribbled all over the airplane and when you finished, you raised both fists high in the air and said, "I did it!!! I did it!!"
And throughout the meeting as I tried to get you to speak in a whisper, you would mimic me by whispering quietly a word or two or putting your finger over your mouth and saying, "Shhhhh!"
But after a few seconds you were back to your old ways.
And darling, I don't want you to ever lose that enthusiasm for life.
Let's just find your volume button, mmm-kay?

Love you forever,

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


February is proving to be almost as low-key as January was.
Today was warm and sunny,
and we had a pretty laid-back agenda.
We did some housework, hit story time at the library, took Talmage and Wesley to their church activity, and stopped by the grocery store.
I also spent far too much time reading my book I checked out,
which is why I stick mainly to non-fiction.
The suspense just gets to me and I find myself neglecting what I really ought to be doing (like, you know, folding the laundry)!

Speaking of reading, Maxwell loves to choose stories that have an element of suspense in them.
But whenever it gets a little scary or someone is about to get in trouble,
he covers his eyes or his ears.
And yet, he chooses those books over and over again!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mini-Golf and Trader Joe's

On Saturday, I took Wesley mini-golfing for his monthly outing.
It was our first time visiting this particular course,
and I was a bit disappointed when I pulled up and the holes were simple putting greens without any fun decorations or obstacles.
But once we started playing, we had a great time regardless!
The highlight was when Wesley got a hole-in-one!!
Afterward we picked up a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe (the closest substitute we can find for Jamba sad that the closest one is in Nashville! And there they have FIVE locations...come on, share some love with Memphis, people!).
I love spending time with my boy!

Yesterday the kids didn't have school for Presidents' Day.
They spent the day riding bikes and playing with some neighborhood kids, for the most part.
I did take them to Trader Joe's to celebrate and told them they could each choose one snack to share.
I always stick out like a sore thumb when I go out in public with all five boys,
but especially when I go to a place like Trader Joe's where the average clientele is a single, hipster millennial.
Pardon me while we take up an entire aisle of the small store!
Of course I got stopped throughout the store while people made comments like,
"That's a lot of boys!"
"You're so blessed!"
"Do you homeschool?"
"They're so well-behaved!"
"Are you going to try for a girl?"
For the most part I don't mind being a spectacle, especially when they're well-behaved.
On one trip to the library a while back, I had forgotten the stroller and was struggling to get our mountains of books checked out while holding Benson, keeping Maxwell close to me, and keeping the others in check.
The librarian said something like, "Well, I was going to ask if you were going to try for a girl, but I think you've got enough on your plate..." :D

Monday, February 17, 2020

Valentine's Day 2020

I just love Valentine's Day!
Our celebrations started the day before Valentine's Day. When the boys got home from school, I asked if I could kiss their faces with lipstick and do a little Valentine's Day photo shoot.
Talmage and Wesley are probably getting a bit too old for this sort of thing...
Talmage was totally willing to go along with my antics, but Wesley was shifting about uncomfortably and saying, "This is SO embarrassing!" Haha. They were such good sports.

I had set out a bunch of craft supplies and metal Valentine's mailboxes for each member of the family,
so after our little photo shoot the boys got to work making valentines.
The cute little buckets were like 89 cents at Walmart and they made everything so festive!
They worked through the afternoon and evening on valentines,
and Sam and I worked together late at night to make our own valentines for each of the boys.
(After Sam got back from the laundromat, where he did 7 industrial washer-sized loads of laundry because our dryer is out of commission and we are at the mercy of our landlord to get things going again. That's no joke with 5 little boys! *sob*)

The next morning, everyone woke up to Valentine's surprises and we had a breakfast of Kodiak cakes with homemade chocolate syrup and chocolate milk.
The boys scurried off to school for their Valentine's parties and festivities. We've been using these printable fruit valentines for the past 3 or 4 years now, and I still just love them!

Meanwhile, Maxwell and I prepared more valentines to hand out at a potluck pizza party lunch with friends! The boys just had a half day of school for parent/teacher conferences, so after school we headed over to our friends' house and they had a ball with a grand total of 24 kids packed into one house! I whipped up a silly little chip graphic and we put together these chip valentines to hand out, in addition to the fruit ones.

The boys had gotten free happy meal coupons with their report cards, so we picked up some happy meals for dinner.
Our sweet friends had offered to come over with their 1-year-old boy and stay with the boys while Sam and I had a Valentine's date! They even brought sugar cookies and decorating supplies so the kids could decorate cookies while we were out! 
We added another check mark to our monthly ethnic food adventuring and tried out a Mongolian stir-fry grill. It was fun to experience-a waitress brought us each a bowl and then we went down a line where there were over 80 different meats, vegetables, sauces, spices, and other toppings we could pile in our bowls. There was a giant circular grill at the end of the line and we told them what grain we wanted to add to our assortment, and then they cooked it all to perfection-super fascinating to watch!
We topped it off with hot chocolate from the Godiva store, which is the BEST hot chocolate I've ever tasted. 

We attempted to watch some more of a 1950s version of A Christmas Carol after our date, but (as usual) I fell asleep after about 10 or 15 minutes.
Poor Sam...I am the worst movie-watching companion ever.
I don't know what it is, but movies have very predictably put me to sleep ever since I was a young girl.
All in all, it was a fantastic holiday.
I LOVE to celebrate LOVE!

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