Sunday, April 28, 2013

Waiting for the Bishop

After church the Bishop usually hands out candy outside his office, so there is usually a line of children along the wall right after sunday school classes let out.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Ninjago Birthday Bash

Colouring Throwing Stars

Throwing Stars

Balloons & Swords

Ninja, Ninja, Lightning

Pin the Beard on the Sensei




One of the funniest things was when we told him to say thank you for the presents. He naturally went in for a hug, since that is what he usually does with Katie. Some of his buddies were totally ready to hug it up, while others weren't sure what to think.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Six and Soccer

Scott turned six!

And just as it was two years ago, his birthday was also the first day of soccer season. We enjoyed a pizza dinner at home and a few presents before rushing off to the field to play. This year is particularly fun because Scott's cousin Hayden is also on the team and his uncle Luke is the coach (I am the assistant coach).

Happy birthday Scotty!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Ninjago Pinata

Apr 23 2013

On Conference Weekend while the kids were doing their dollar-store crafts, I was working on my own creation: a Ninjago Pinata.

The first few pinatas were somewhat formulaic: get a big balloon, cover it with papier-mache, paint, fill with custom t-shirts. However, as I got better at working with the medium, I was ready to attempt something more challenging. Katie's castle pinata was the first venture into the non-oblong world, but it was pretty safe, since it was based around a cardboard box. When Scott said he wanted a Lego Ninjago birthday, I immediately set about planning a spinner.

The problem with store-bought pinatas is that they use a lot of cardboard and no child in a blindfold is every going to break one of those open. Even an adult with a baseball bat would probably strike out before before hitting a homer. The key is to use just a few layers of papier-mache and as little cardboard as possible. That's why balloons are great -- the internal mould dissapears after the shape is constructed. In this case, I thought I an external, removable mould would do the trick.

I used Scott's flying saucer sled as a form and made the top and bottom panels of the spinner. I covered the sled with pieces of tissue paper to keep the glue from sticking too much. This worked REALLY well. The sled is about 2.5 feet across, so we had the start of a very large pinata. I taped a tupperware container to the sled before making the bottom section, which gave it the proper shape.

I used some cardboard strips and duct tape to combine the two sections together. Then I cut a Cheerios box to the proportions of the Ninja's torso. The head was a Countrytime Lemonade tin which I cut down smaller and covered with some yellow electricians tape. The arms and hands were just paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls. I ran a computer cable from the base all the way through the center of the torso and the head. This way the whole thing could spin around once it was hung up.

With construction complete, I used black and red crepe paper streamers to decorate it. I figured this would be simpler and cheaper than using a bunch of spray paint. I tried applying the black streamers with some papier-mache glue, but that turned into a massive mess. The dye from the streamers came off in a dark green clouds that stained my hands like crazy, leaving the pinata looking a bit bleached. For the red streamers, I did my best to just wrap it around tightly and use bits of duct tape to hold in place. Although the end effect looked something like a man sitting inside a sombrero, I was really pleased with the way that the ninja's outfit turned out.

The whole process took a few weeks to prepare, and Scott would constantly ask me, "Are you going to work on my pinata now?" In fact, when it came time to invite his friends to the party, he decided on inviting fewer friends than he was entitled to so that he would be able to have more turns at hitting the pinata.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Family Party

R's parents were going down to Rexburg the week of Scott & Lacey's birthdays, so we had a little family party before they left. It was very cute to see an impromptu gift exchange in the front entrance as each of the kids arrived -- they had all made little crafts or coloured pictures for each other.

Grandma M likes to to give presents that are large. She found the world's largest gift bags to go with her large presents. Scott had to climb into it to get something that was down in the bottom.

I took quite a number of pictures, but I think my favourite is this one of Scott reveling in his new HotWheels cars, because he was doing something he used to always do as a baby. He is waving his hands together in a silent clapping motion and making this hooting sound with some very puckered lips. So excited. So awesome.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nail Polish Nightmare

We babysat our neices and nephews recently while their parents went out on a date. R settled in on the couch with our cute little baby nephew while we got the briefing about bottles and soothers. They had only been gone for 5 minutes when I asked R, "Are the little girls upstairs?" She thought they were downstairs, but I was pretty sure I saw Katie and Adalia heading upstairs, and I hadn't heard anything further from them for a dangerously long span numbering at least 7 minutes. I went upstairs.

The bathroom door was closed, and inside I found the girls sitting on the floor with their socks off, painting with nail polish. Adalia had strayed from her nails and had painted her toes, then her feet, then her hands then her arms. Fortunately, she didn't have a larger brush, or she could have made even more headway. Katie also transitioned from nails to skin, but she hadn't made half as much progress. When I exclaimed, "What are you doing in here?", Katie gave me a little shrug that probably meant "Yeah, I was wondering if this was a little off-side."

I just didn't know what to do. I have heard of nail polish before. I have also heard of a very strong solvent called "nail polish remover". I really hoped I wasn't going to have to douse this poor little girl in a chemical bath. In the meantime, I just picked her up and put her in the bathtub. All the while she admired her work and repeated, "Pretty. Pretty. Pretty."

I went and got R, who was still holding the baby. I offered to trade the nail polish incident for a quiet baby and she took my offer. Fortunately, the nail polish was a kid version that washed off.

Nighttime was very cute, as all the kids lined up on the edge of the bed for a story, which was a great finish to the evening.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Conference: "Can We Watch It Again?"

When we announced to the kids that it was General Conference Weekend, a cheer went up that bordered on wild screaming. This is because Conference = Crafts in these parts.

For the most part the crafts were just right for the skill level and the kids did really well working on their own and even listening a bit -- when they weren't saying "I need help with this"). Using large, red-dot stickers to mark which people had spoken took a bit of an ominous look -- more like one of those most-wanted hitlists (probably inappropriate to say, but that's the way I see it).

Scott cracks me up. He sometimes repeats a word or phrase that he's just heard like it is the single most interesting and confusing thing he's ever heard in his life. Other times he says something like, "I already knew that. Why did he say that if we already know that?"

When the final session of conference faded to a blue screen, Scott looked at it for a few seconds then turned to us and said, "Can we watch it again?"

Katie + Karla

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Among Mannequins

If we make a stop at Old Navy, Katie ALWAYS spends a little time with the mannequins. She has helped adjust clothing, hugged the little girl mannequin and often tried to ride the little dog mannequin. She finds them endlessly fascinating.

Going Pro

Earlier in the week, Scott told me that he changed his mind about what he wants to be when he grows up. He said that he no longer wants to work in China, but would rather work in the big buildings downtown like I do. I thought this was very endearing.

A few days later, about two weeks into March Madness, he announced to R that he would like to play basketball for his job. R explained that the players we were watching on TV were not playing basketball for a job, but were playing for their university and that they probably got scholarships from the school to pay for their school fees. She futher explained that lots of people like to play basketball, so it is a pretty competitive business to be in. Usually, you need to be tall.

S: Will I be tall?
R: I don't know for sure.

He appreciated her concern, but he still plans to go pro. Every time we load up in the car to go somewhere he slips out of the garage and grabs his basketball and shoots a few quick shots on the driveway before we leave.

Monday, April 01, 2013

March Madness Date Night

R is wonderful. She planned a date night centered on basketball, and then it essentially lasted for weeks. She printed out March Madness brackets for us to fill out and then we spent many evenings watching games and keeping track of our wins. Fortunately, Scott also jumped in and filled in a bracket, so he keeps mine up to date for me.

R got some gluten free cookies and hid them in the pantry away from small, prying eyes. She also got some real milk (as opposed to the typical almond milk we have on our cereal) and we had an evening full of non-stop dunking. It was awesome. I love her.