Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to discipline a 12-year-old...

So what do you do when your 12-year-old won't eat his vegetables and keeps trying to sneak bags of chips?
You lock him into a high chair of course. Works every time! °Ü°

Just in case some of you are reading this and don't know about Crain sarcasm's a joke. Spencer put himself willingly into the high chair to tease Ellie and gave me the dirty look because I got the camera out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


As a Thanksgiving tradition, on Friday we took the kids to the movie theater (a rare treat) and saw, "Enchanted".

I often enjoy kid's movies, which is probably because I'm more of a kid at heart, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed "Enchanted". It left me feeling, well, ummm, enchanted, for a lack of a better word. The movie was definitely aptly named!

Everything about it...from the story line, to the characters, to the music, was delightful. My whole life I've always loved happy endings, romantic comedies, and musicals and this fun show combined all of these elements into one delightful package.

It's definitely one that will be added to our DVD collection in a few months, which in our book is the hallmark of a really good that we'll watch again and again!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day on the town !

Every year for Emma's birthday, I find that the timing of it makes it challenging for me to put together a birthday this year we decided to forgo the big party with friends and do a day out on the town!
So, on Saturday (I have NO idea how to fix or turn off the incorrect date stamp on our camera), Emma, Mika, and I went to Benihana's in Georgetown. We had so much fun watching as they cooked our food right on our table and tapped their knives like drums and entertained us. Emma did awesome with her chopsticks---even eating her rice!

Then, we had to drop off Mika, so we picked up Adam to head to the mall to finish our night on the town! We had smoothies and....

Adam holding "Michael" and "Daniel" and Emma holding "Amanda" and "Sophie"

off to Build-a-bear. Our very first time, but surely not our last! They had SOOOO much fun choosing their new stuffed friends, helping the workers to fill them with stuffing, putting in a heart, sewing them up, and choosing their clothes.

I'll take this kind of birthday party any day over sending invitations, taking rsvps, making lots of food, and entertaining 10 children for two hours!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to K (yesterday)!

My sister, Kristina, is only 2 1/2 years younger than me, so growing up we occasionally had a few little cat fights, mostly revolving around her wearing my clothes...however now that we're all grown up (sort of), Kristina, like all my siblings, has become a best friend.

Kristina is an awesome mom who is not afraid to get down and play with her sweet Andrew. And not afraid to go through another 9 months of heck to have another one in a few weeks!

Kristina is the queen, or maybe I should say "King" of thoughtful surprises and finding the best deals...whether it be at Kohls, on an airline ticket, or car rental, or the latest hot toy that's impossible to find (thanks K), somehow she always finds the bargain of the day.

Back row: Nate (4), cousin Aaron, Kristina (2 1/2)
Front row: Me (5) holding Peter(baby), cousin Ashley
holding another unknown cousin

Being the big sister that I am, I have to put in a little embarrassment into her birthday blog post.

Kristina used to be deathly afraid of dogs, hence the dramatic screaming in the above picture when a dog walked nearby. I actually vividly remember this picture being taken, because it was so traumatic and confusing for me when everyone else started screaming ! Thankfully, she has outgrown her dog and screaming issues quite nicely!

We love you K!

HAPPY 32nd BIRTHDAY Kristina!!!!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours...and Happy Birthday to Kristina (who will receive proper blogging attentions tomorrow)!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Seven Year Old Patriot!

Over the last couple of years Emma has developed a strong interest in the time of the Revolutionary War. Her book choices each night usually alternate between "When Washington Crossed the Delaware", "The Child's Biography of Patrick Henry", "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere", and "Oh Say Can You See: A Story of our National Anthem". Even her favorite American Girl doll is Felicity...a red head from that time period.

She is well-versed with Revolutionary War terminology, such as Redcoats, Tories, Patriots, Loyalists, etc. and can easily recite the first stanza of the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Last year she literally begged for weeks in advance for me to take her to Mount Vernon on President's Day, so she could see where her hero, George Washington actually lived!

It's been very amusing and heart warming as this interest has literally become a passion of hers...the first one of my children to develop such an abiding, long-lasting love for any topic, yet alone one of such good educational value. In fact, it's also been very enlightening for me as her interest continues, as I continue to learn things I'm sure I've never heard before.

So, with all that I shouldn't have been too surprised when her somewhat dramatic friend, Elena came over to play, that it wouldn't be too long before a performance of some kind of ensued. I had to smile when they came out of Emma's room wearing colonial clothes and enthusiastically singing the National Anthem.

We sure love our sweet little patriot!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Surprise, surprise!

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Matt called me and told me of a grandiose surprise he was playing on Karey, his wife. He was taking advantage of the Veteran's day long weekend (some people actually get that off apparently) and surprising her with a trip back home to Pennsylvania.

He informed me that there would not be time to come down and visit, but that we could try to meet him half way on their way to the BWI airport. I agreed, but then quickly realized I was completely in over my head that Monday (see previous post as to the reason for my crazy state) and there was NO way on earth I was going to be able to drive an hour and a half to meet him at the battlefield.

So in complete Matt-like fashion...he drives way out of his way and shows up on our doorstep, to spend 30 minutes with us before needing to leave for the airport.

It was a whirlwind 30 minutes with the kids going crazy and jumping all over the two of them. Matt found 2 sacks of potatoes within a minute of walking in the door!

Emma completely enjoying her Uncle Matt time--full of energy and loads of giggling!

Ellie and Adam sharing a quick snuggle with Karey. Ellie wouldn't leave Karey's side the entire time she was here. Apparently she was getting a little bored with her Mom and needed a fresh face to talk, snuggle, and giggle with.

More of Uncle Matt's crazy antics...giant jumps to the ceiling!

This picture just about perfectly sums up the mood in our house during their quick visit.

Thanks for making us feel so loved Matt and Karey!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Six months ago, before our cool new computer and high speed internet entered my life the term "digi-scrapping" was foreign to me. Since then, I've been introduced into a whole new world of mess-free scrapbooking! And I'm completely addicted.

So being the slightly over-zealous person that I am, it wasn't enough to just start digi-scrapping for my family.

No I needed a challenge...and a deadline.

Since it was my turn to teach preschool this week, and I had "Families" as my topic, I got this great idea of how cool it would be for all the kids to be able to truly see what their family history looks like first hand.

So my totally insane idea was born and now after hours of collecting photos from everyone, scanning like crazy, and days and days of really getting to know my Adobe Photoshop Elements--here is a glimpse at one of the EIGHT finished projects!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Preschool Evolution

Eight years ago we were just getting ready to move from our home in Baltimore, down to the DC area. We had loved our time in Baltimore, but we were excited to take a step forward in our lives and move on to somewhere where we could settle down a little.

Due to the fact that our ward there was quite spread out (45 minutes tip to tip) and the primary was very small, Spencer and Cami had not had very many opportunities to interact with other kids from the ward very often. Imagine our delight when we moved to our DC area ward when Spencer was 4 and found that his Primary class had 12 kids in it and no one lived more than 10 minutes away. What a fun development this was for our family!

Yes we were WAY skinnier back then!

At that point Spencer had never been to preschool before as we were WAY too poor to pay to send him to a private preschool. So in another life-changing development for our family, someone in our ward invited Spencer to participate in a Joy School group.

Wow what a cool concept! Although I had never heard of such a thing up to that point in my life...I fell in love with everything about it! Spencer loved it! I loved it! And we have never turned back! I grew dissatisfied with the Joy School curriculum and system after a couple of years, but we made some changes and went on. And now it's been 8 straight years without break of participating with one (or more) of my kids in a co-op preschool!

Adam's preschool (plus one) wearing the shirts they tie-dyed and painted with a fish while they were learning about oceans!

The kids get the fun and independence of going off to preschool, but instead of being taught by overworked teachers in a big classroom, they're taught by loving, talented mothers of other preschool kids. It's come far past the point of financial restraints being the driving force and it's evolved into a much so that this year I even designed a curriculum for Adam's Pre-K group to help prepare them for all-day kindergarten which awaits them next year. Although it is sometimes stressful, especially when it's my turn to teach, I seriously couldn't imagine it any other way!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

X marks the spot!

I guess I shouldn't have been too shocked when I walked into the kitchen and found Ellie had just marked a giant X onto the linoleum in PERMANENT green marker! After all, each one of my kids has gone through a phase using the world as its easel...thankfully most of them have had the lucky fortune of using something other than a Sharpie for their masterpieces.

X marks the spot that will remain until we replace our kitchen flooring someday!

However...this was a lot more unexpected!

Of course I thought Cami had outgrown this phase like 8 years ago, but apparently she had a short relapse into her toddlerhood after I informed her that she could no longer wear these jeans in public due to the large hole in one of the knees. So being the creative soul that she is--she made them into her fun jeans by creating a matching hole in the other knee and "decorating" them ankle to waist band!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Golden Nine?

No I'm not having twins (or even one)-- Kristina! After a lot of begging and convincing their mom...the kids are delighted to announce that we've officially become a pet family!

Meet Fui--the gerbil
(pronounced "phooey")

And Lucy--the other gerbil

The maze Spencer and Glen created for a science project (the final impetus for getting out the door and actually acquiring the gerbils)!

And in a sick twist of irony...on the day that we purposely brought 2 rodents into our home we caught (yes caught!) our first wild rodent that had made its way in our patio door. It was almost as cute as Fui and Lucy, but this little rodent did not receive the same welcome response! After a quick trip to the woods we were back to only two again!

On an interesting note, while at our trip to the National Zoo today we learned that of 5000 species of mammals in the world, over 2000 of them are rodents! Ack!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Commitment issues!

Cami kept having these great ideas for what she wanted to be for Halloween, but when it came right down to it she just couldn't decide which one was the best. So rather than being boring and committing to only one, she decided to wear a different costume to each Halloween event.

Costume #1--"Halloween Girl" worn for Activity Day party

Costume #2--"BYU girl" worn for ward Halloween party

Costume #3--"Colonial girl" worn for trick or treating

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