Thursday, February 28, 2008


Ok- Nathan and the kids DID have a little party for me last night. Complete with Soy Ice Cream. It was lovely. And then they gave my my presents......

Nikon D40X BABY!!!

More to come later, I just HAD to let you know......

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My VERY Happy Birthday

Usually I think I am a year older than I really am for some reason. My darling sister Sunny was nice enough to hi-light 33 things she loves about me, which makes me feel younger. Love her! My older sister Nikki, who is a perfectionist unfortunately for me, reminded me that I am actually 34 by hi-lighting 34 she "knows and loves" about me. So sweet of them both, and they both made me laugh! I am so thankful to have such great sisters!

When I woke the kids up for school I said, "Hey! Do you know what today is??" Saroya's eyes popped and she said, "Oh YEAH! Today is the day we are doing a concert for the kindergartner's! We are singing the song about Martin Luther King Jr. and 'Go My Son, Go and climb the ladder'." And then she proceeded to sing a song I remember from my childhood. (My mom was nice enough to buy the tape, I think, after we watched a BYU performance in GR.) Weird, and exciting to me all at once.

Then I announced that it was my birthday- so they better get up quick and get dressed. We couldn't be late for the bus on my BIRTHDAY! :) I'll use anything I can!! :) They were sweet and got right to it.

Nathan had a meeting at work but then called me after a half an hour and said the meeting had been changed so he was on his way home! When he got home, I filled the bath and soaked for a LONG time! That in itself was a great birthday present.

The rest of the day was filled with lovely e-mails and calls from so many people. Even about 5 of the Young Women from the ward wished me a happy birthday. It was so touching.

Miss J wasn't feeling so hot (or actually she WAS feeling hot with a fever..) so she just wanted to cuddled and be held mostly. It was nice to have an excuse for not doing much!

I got to see the sun today and it didn't snow. If I could just ignore the foot of snow still on the ground, I might actually think spring is on the way.

Last night we went to the Blue & Gold Banquet for cub scouts. I was a little bummed about having to go their rather than out with my husband, but it turned out so GREAT! I got to see friends that were so sweet to bring gifts and birthday wishes, and the whole pack meeting sang happy birthday to me (so what if they called me "Amy"?!?) Anyway- my thoughtful visiting teacher

remembered how much I love her Asian chicken salad, and made extra so I would have some to take home. Every time I see it in the refrigerator I get excited! YUMMY!!

And she also made homemade egg rolls for everyone (Hey- I'm giving you props for helping too Leanne! THANK YOU!)

Anyway- by the end of a long corny night, I felt like I had gone out to eat for a GREAT meal with my husband (and about 35 kids... Oh well!) thanks to the thoughtfulness of my great friends.

Now Nathan and the kids say they have a "real" birthday party planned for me tonight. We will see what that brings!!

Anyway- thanks so much to all of you that helped make my birthday one of the best!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snowed in Sunday

Ok- enough with the weather already!! Today our high temperatures were a balmy 5 degrees with a wind chill factor of-25 to -30. They used words like "snow squalls" "blizzard conditions" "zero visibility" and "frequent whiteouts" a little more than I usually like to hear. Ever. They actually said this on the weather today... "The wind will diminish after midnight allowing wind chills to improve to 0 to -10 by daybreak." Sounds nice, huh? Well needless to say- Church was canceled. After making breakfast for the kids, I went back to lay down by Nathan (who had to brave the treacherous weather not once but TWICE today to get to and from work.).

I woke up (oops!) to Ethan asking what "preheat" means. I said, "just wait a minute." and tried to clear my eyes. Ethan said, "Why when I try to turn on the oven to 425 and push start, it goes back to 100?"

"Ok, ok. What are you doing? ...And why is my camera around your neck?"

"You'll see"

As soon as I get to the kitchen, (after passing Saroya in the living room counting pennies) sure enough there is a frozen pizza on a baking sheet ready to go in the oven. Then he shoves a paper to me.

"Mom- will you out this on e-bay?"

To translate in-case you can't read it, it says,
"Gumball Machine for Sale.
-it is for $35.00.
-it comes with 81 (used to be 101) pennies and two dimes
-and comes with 105 gumballs
-how you re-fill the machine... You unscrew the bolt on the top of it and then pour the gumballs in.
-to get the pennies out. You unscrew the bolt and then the bottom will fall apart
-hardly been used
and apparently they understand the power of pictures when selling things, so they took these pictures.

I love the special touch of the penny already in place just waiting for you to come, turn it and get a prize!

I said, "Why are you guys selling Saroya's gumball machine?"

"Well, we decided that we are going to sell it and use the money to buy a bigger one. You are in charge of editing."

Yes- That is exactly what we need. A BIGGER gumball machine. So I think of the pro's and con's to this situation. I tell the kids that we won't be selling it today because it is Sunday and we don't buy or sell things on Sunday. I have until Monday to decide what to do. Ethan walks away saying quietly, "This is going to be such a GREAT experience!" Humm....

Ok- so gumball machines are selling for about $5.00 dollars on e-bay. ("Yeah, but OURS comes with 81 pennies and 2 dimes!) It would not sell for $34.00, I am quite sure. But they have worked hard on developing their plan of action. Looking for how they can make it attractive to the buyer, taking pictures that make it look like you NEED this, plus there are numerous opportunities for teaching about economics. The down sides are that I don't even know how to sell things on e-bay, would they be so sad that no one even looks at their item?, if by some freak accident they DO sell this, are they going to want to sell everything in their possession? So I need some QUICK advice. How far do I take this??

Now the day is ending with Saroya running to the bathroom with a bowl by her face and Jaleigh running after her, "Saroya? Are you gonna choke?? (her word for puke) Come on Saroya, CHOKE! It's ok..." Then she walks away after Saroya gets to the bathroom, "Oh man- I do NOT want to see her choke..." What a sister.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Valentines Cards & Snow Days

When my sisters and I were kids, we would each get a card in the mail from our Aunt Ruth (my grandpa's sister) on every holiday. Now thinking back, that was quite an accomplishment. I can't even seem to get out 1 birthday card a year for my family members! But without fail, every holiday we would get a card. St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Valentines Day, Halloween, etc. And then on our birthday, we would get a card with some money inside. She was so thoughtful.

My parents now carry on that tradition with my kids. When we first had Ethan Nathan couldn't understand. "A St. Patrick's Day card?? I didn't even know they made those!" But now he gets excited to tell the kids when they have gotten a card in the mail. Each child gets their own card and they usually have a sheet of stickers in it. Oh how the kids love it! In fact, those cards usually get VERY worn quickly! Here is what Jaleigh's valentines day card apparently said...

Saroya and Jaleigh decided that they absolutely needed to write a thank you card to my mom and dad, for sending them Valentines Day cards this year. They both went to work writing them, drawing pictures in them, and putting stickers on them. As soon as Nathan had the driveway cleared enough so they wouldn't get lost on the way to the mailbox (Can you see how high the snowbank is next to them?) they went outside to mail them.

With 3 snow days off of school in the past 3 weeks, we have had a little cabin fever around here. The previous two snow days were canceled due to snow and wind chill. You can't go out and play in -25 degree weather. On Thursday though, school was canceled due to a foot of snow dumped on us. By afternoon most places were dug out and we were ready to get outside.

We went outside for a while...

and of course Saroya & Ethan had to have a wrestling match for a while... (I love this picture even though I am quite sure they will kill me for it when they are teenagers. Whenever they are "play wrestling" they always get right in each others faces and use "fightin' words" before throwing each other around. I happened to catch this "fightin' words moment and it cracks me up!) Then we hit the sledding hill. Why is it that kids always end up going down the hill backwards? :) I thought this was a cute picture of Jaleigh & the little boy I babysit going down the hill together. They barely went anywhere at all because the snow was so deep and they are so light. (even together!)Saroya and Ethan went right for the snowboards..

We will have to get a better video of Saroya because she actually did VERY good this time. My camera however, decided itself when it would record and when it wouldn't. Have I mentioned that I need a new camera?? ;)

Ethan says he needs to do this all day long... :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

(Mostly) A Grandparent Post

I usually try to avoid "these kind" of posts, but I am thankful for the lessons learned so I wanted to document it. ****WARNING!! I am proud of my KIDS!!****

They have a program in Ethan's school called the Accelerated Reader Program. Certain books are given different point levels depending on difficulty. After you have read a book, you take a test about it and how many questions you get right determine how many points you actually get for reading the book. Those points are collected and when you reach different levels, (5, 10, 20, 35 points etc.) you get a certificate. Last year I think he got 25 points for the whole year. This year in the first semester he had already gotten 25 points! I was so excited for him. Then the other kids in his class started reading Harry Potter....

Harry Potter books have some of the highest point values but they are by far some of the longest books to read. Ethan has developed a bit of a competitive spirit this year so he rented Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That is book 4 in the series, and has one of the highest point values of all Harry Potter books. I was concerned that he would get tired of reading it, or read it and not understand what he was reading, I mean a lot of things were probably covered in the first 3 books, right? Well, he read it, took the test and got 100%! He was so happy and we were floored. Then he went back and started with the first Harry Potter book. I think he started reading these books in the middle of November and right now he is more than half way through the 5th book he has read in the series. More than that though, he has become an avid reader. If he forgot his book at school, he would just get a different book at home and start reading that one just as passionately. I have even had to "ground" him from reading a few times because I have found him reading well into the night. Secretly I love that he loves it so much!

Well, on Friday they had a Honor's assembly at school and he wrote it on my calendar to make sure I was there. He was given an award for reaching the 100 Point level!! I was so happy for him! In addition to that though, the day after the semester ended, he took another test and is now in the 125 point level. There is only one person in his grade that has a higher point level and that is 150. I am just so impressed because he is self-motivated in this. It's a completely optional program, and Nathan & I haven't pushed him at all.

He also got an academic achievement award that is given to kids that have all A's or A's & B's. I am most impressed because he really is working hard to keep his grades up. Pretty much since he started taking spelling tests in 2nd grade he has been getting 100%'s. (Grandma & Grandpa give rewards to him for getting all 100%'s in spelling for a whole semester) This semester though, they started him on a "Challenge" spelling list. He has worked hard, but frankly they are works I would spell wrong. They are HARD! He was really discouraged because he would study hard and then get a B or C. Well, the last spelling test of the semester, he got a 95% (one wrong) and then this last spelling test 100%!! I don't know if he'll always remember how to spell manufacturer, enthusiastic, or specifications, but I do hope he will remember how he felt after working hard and finally having success. Yea Ethan!!
I should say also that Saroya did excellent on her report card too, getting "Achieving Goals" and "Exceeding Goals" in all of the areas except dribbling a basketball. We will have to work on that... :) She is in an accelerated reading and math group and really likes the challenge. So, Yea Saroya!!

I hope they will continue to do good in school, but even if they don't I hope they will at least always try hard. I am thankful in a way, that Nathan is still going to school. They see how hard he studies and they hear us talk about what kind of grades he strives to get. (Did I mention he got all A's last semester?? :) I wonder if that has some influence on them. Either way- I am sure proud of my family. I better get doing something to keep up!! :)

Now for a few pictures of what the kids did on the snow day they had on Wednesday. Big surprise about Ethan huh? :) It was so nice they weren't connected to something electronic!