November 6, 2014

The Witte

One of our first trips out on the town when we moved here to San Antonio was to the Witte museum. We joined up with some homeschooling friends for a great time. One of the most fun stops was the Body Adventure exhibit. There were a lot of really cool demonstrations to explore what our bodies can do and how they work. There were lots of friendly and really knowledgeable staff to guide the kids through and teach them about the body as well. During one presentation on the different systems of the body the little girls got a little bored and had more fun trying things the hands on way. The big kids were totally soaking it up though!
 Parker and Andrew got to try out their climbing skills on this wall. Andrew made it all the way to the top!

 This sky bike was to demonstrate balance.
 Another exhibit the kids really enjoyed was this room showing gowns from the Fiesta parade here that honors the battle of the Alamo. Thoughtfully set up in the middle of the room was a whole cabinet full of dress up clothes for the kids to wear as they walked through to view the elaborate gowns and headdresses.

 And while GROSSly underrepresented in pictures, the favorite of the day with the kids was the GROSSOLOGY exhibit, examining all of the gross things our bodies do. Like sneeze and burp and fart. Here I'd spent the morning giving the kids the usual lecture on manners before heading out the door and the first thing we did was play in this exhibit; it all went right out the window! They sure had fun though. They got to do things like shoot boogers into a giant nose that would sneeze them all back out when it was full. The little girls spent most of their time crawling through a giant GI tract. They'd climb up the stairs to go through the mouth, slide down into the stomach, crawl through the intestines and come out and land on a little poop shaped pillow. While it was all really silly and funny, the kids actually learned a lot. I think my favorite part was this giant sized operation table. Cool, no?  Anyway, Sorry for the lack of pictures here as this exhibit was the most crowded and I had my hands full, but the memories were certainly made. Andrew especially still likes to tell anyone who will listen all about GROSSOLOGY!!
We also got to see other exhibits exploring plants and wildlife native to Texas and specifically to our area. We even saw a bit about dinosaurs and mummies too! We had a great time and the Witte is definitely a place I would visit again.

October 31, 2014

More Halloween

This morning I woke up to hear the kids sorting their loot from Trunk or Treat. They were checking out the goods and offering swaps. It was so cute I just lay there and listened a while. It went on all day until they finally dumped it all out together to create "the candy store." They had more fun swapping than they did eating it.

 All dudded up for Trick-or-Treat tonight.  Miss Merida............
 Queen Elsa. I don't braid. Don't judge. ;)
 Princess Anna.

 This is Drewbs as Spiderman. He LOVED his costume!
 Parker had a really cool Iron Man costume that he wore to Trunk-or-Treat last night, but at the last minute he decided to be a pirate tonight. Good thing we always have a stash of pirate gear around! He was having lots of fun, just decided to give the camera his scallywag face.
 It was enough work to get these five together, so I didn't bother trying to get Noah in with them. That and Dad was anxious to get out on the Trick-or-Treat trail.

 How much is that doggy in the window? No he's not for sale. ;) He hated his costume just as much tonight as he did last night. But I still thought it was adorable. He tugged and tugged and said, "I don't wanna!" for a while and eventually I let him out of it to run up and down the drive and greet trick-or-treaters as they came for candy. 

Hope your Halloween was a happy one!

October 30, 2014

Halloween Fun

We've had a really fun October this year! Brandon's brother and family recently moved to Texas and we've gotten to spend lots of time with them and Brandon also was able to take some much needed time off work to spend with us. One thing we did while he was off was hit the pumpkin patch. Although there are several in San Antonio, we made the hour long drive to this particular one on recommendation. As far as pumpkin patches go, I think I've left my heart at our favorite one in Kansas.  There were some cool things about this one. The kids got to dress a scarecrow, run through a haymaze, take a hayride and see some farm animals. By far the best part was the tour of the apple orchard. We got to learn all about the growing process, and the cider making. We really really wanted to bring some cider home, but when we found out it cost $12 a gallon I told Brandon that if it didn't contain any gold flecks or come from the actual fountain of youth we weren't buying. Many of the other activities and treats were similarly priced, so overall I think next year we'll be trying somewhere else.

 The kids were so much fun carving pumpkins this year. Other than carving off the top, Parker did his whole pumpkin himself this year and then went on to help with the others too. He was so proud! They turned out great.

 Drew didn't think much of cleaning out the insides. Lucky for him, (and me!) big brother was so willing to help.
 Paige and Claire were a "team" so that we didn't have to stay up all night carving pumpkins for each individual kid. They didn't mind a bit.

 Emma and Noah were supposed to be a team as well, but this is as close as Noah got to the action.
 Emma sure enjoyed herself though!

 The finished pumpkins. The first night we light them, we like to keep them indoors until bedtime since the kids really don't get to see them outside much afterwards.
 Tonight was our ward Trunk or Treat. I managed to keep Noah's doggy hood on just long enough to snap this picture. I can't even get the boy to wear a tie to church and the one Sunday I put a sweater on him he had a fit trying to get it off and only gave up out of sheer exhuastion, so I'm impressed that the costume went over even this well. Maybe tomorrow night we'll manage a better picture?
 At the party there was a DJ and all the kids loved dancing, but our little Emma was the best to watch. She got right out there and was moving and grooving. She was our beautiful princess Merida.
 Andrew was super excited that his primary teacher gave him an extra special treat! It was sweet of her to think of that!
Our years of satisfying the kids with the trunk or treat only are over. The kids are old enough to know about real trick or treating now and there is no getting out of it. ;) They're so excited to do it all over again tomorrow! I'll post better costume pics then!

September 25, 2014

Livin' the Dream

My boys had the day of all days today. It was packed with the best kind of boyish fun. First it was off to soccer. We are lucky to have a friend who volunteered to coach and organize the whole thing, we just get to go and enjoy! As an added bonus it coordinates with our scout night. Drew and Parker so far have gotten to play on the same team which they love, and tonight they won! Afterwards it was off to pack meeting for bottle rockets. Here is Parker with his finished rocket. Don't judge any design flaws, it was my first ever bottle rocket, and more importantly, his. We had fun making it.
 It was his idea to paint it white and plaster it with Halloween stickers. It was then christened the "Boo Blaster."
 The Boo Blaster worked just fine, in spite of Parker's worries that it wouldn't. The kids had a great time. Andrew was even lucky enough to participate as the boys' scout leader had made a few extra rockets just in case. Here is Parker holding it steady for Drew while he pumped it.

 And the Boo Blaster in action.

I think the funnest part for the boys was running to retrieve the rockets and crashing in a pack around the boy who managed to get it first. The girls were also excited to get to go. They hate the weeks when only Parker gets to go! Emma was so funny. Because soccer was at the church, we didn't even have to go anywhere for the rocket launch, so all during the pack meeting she kept asking when we were going to go to scouts. We kept trying to convince her that we were there, but she wasn't sure. Finally when the rockets were done, they announced treats at the pavilion. She took off running yelling, "Yay! We're going to scouts!" Except it was ''Lay!" because she still doesn't make the 'y' sound. ;) 

I have really been enjoying all of these little moments with the kids lately and feeling so grateful for them all. With a new school year starting and life just in general being so busy with 6 kids, I've got to admit I've felt overwhelmed. It's hard to see past the to-do list and the fact that it never gets done. But over the last week, every time I get feeling bogged down, one of them does something adorable that reminds me why it's all worth it, and that even if all the to-do's never get crossed off, there is joy to be had in trying.

September 5, 2014

Princess Paige is 5!

Let's catch up on some birthdays, shall we? We have had five of them around here that have gone regrettably unblogged. Paigey girl turned 5 on us this year! She was so excited that she didn't even notice it wasn't our usual birthday fare. After being in Utah for a month, Brandon and I decided we'd had enough time apart. He was here in Texas working and staying alone in a two bedroom apartment that the company provided him. They had no problem with us coming to stay with him, so we did, the first weekend in April. We figured it would be helpful for me to join the house hunting, and good for us all to be together. A month apart from Daddy was rough on us all!

I will note here that the drive from Utah to Texas was incredibly long. Two twelve hour days in the car, (and we don't make stops longer than a few minutes). Not only is it incredibly long, but horribly boring. You have to drive all...the...way...across...New Mexico, which by the way is a place I would never want to live. It just looks gross. Sorry New Mexico! (Ashlee, I'm sure Ramah is a magical exception to this rule. If you ever have reason to make it out that way, I could come and find out!) So needless to say, it's not going to be a drive that takes place often!

Anyway, back on track. So we'd been in Texas for about two and a half weeks when Paige's birthday rolled around. In this two bedroom apartment, we had a kitchen, but it wasn't really set up to cook in apart from a few dishes to eat on, and one sorry pot to cook on the stove in. No knives, etc. We hoped from the get go that it would all be temporary, and didn't want to either purchase a lot of unnecessary stuff, or go digging through our stuff in storage to find things, so we were pretty much eating whatever we could keep in the fridge and assemble easily, or what we could find that came prepared in it's own oven safe baking dish. We did have our Vitamix for morning smoothies thank heavens!! We also were in pretty tight quarters at the apartment. There was no playground, so we had to drive to the park to get our wiggles out. The apartment was in a busy part of the city, and for me, (after having lived in the middle of nowhere for so long) it was really intimidating to get out and about much. I kept hoping that I wouldn't have to get used to this part of town, and so really didn't venture out as much as I probably should have. Looking back I wish I would have made more effort to take the kids out and keep them occupied, but we were all, myself included in a bit of survival mode with so much uncertainty. So needless to say Paige's birthday was not what it should have been, but we still did our best to show our girl how special she is to us.

We made sure to stick to our usual tradition of decorating for the big day in the birthday girl's favorite color. My kids have come to expect this, and honestly I think it's even more fun for me! Paige's birthday breakfast was jumbo sized Costco muffins (we did splurge for some chocolate ones) with a candle in it of course.

 These cuties love each other so much and it melts my heart to see how honestly excited they get for each other.
 From Grandma and Poppy Smith, Paige got some princess Duplos, (Aurora) to add to her collection. Those continue to be a huge hit for our girls, and other than a few dress ups and stuffed animals, are the only toys the girls keep in their room. She also got the new Tinkerbell Pirate Fairies movie.

 Isn't she so beautiful?! I love this picture! She sure loved being the center of attention.

 From Mom and Dad she was given Aurora dress up clothes. She wasted no time in trying them out.

 Then she got to open her outfit for Sparkle from Grandma and Grandpa Morgan. She was so excited about that!

 She was so sweet about her cake. I normally make the kids' cakes myself and was feeling sad I wouldn't get to for her, but she was all sorts of excited about picking out a grocery store cake. I've got to be totally honest and say that it looked nothing like the picture they promised and was a bit sorry in real life, but she thought it was fabulous and still has all the figurines from the top. At least she was happy!
We did some shopping as a family, had facetime with the grandparents and had take-out from our favorite Carabba's as a splurge for dinner. It wasn't much, but if nothing else, my girl knows she is loved.

A few things about five year old Paige:
She is our super socialite. Whenever we go anywhere she is always looking to make a new friend, and usually succeeds!
She loves to sing and dance, and color, color color. I'm constantly refilling the paper and she is always looking to fill up wall space with pictures. She loves to send pictures to people, or make cards. In the last few months, she's loved to try writing notes as well. She did take some convincing that her name is spelled P-a-i-g-e and not P-A-J, but we've got that down now.
She loves to play pretend anything. Sometimes it's a game of Mommy/babies, sometimes it's princesses and pirates, sometimes it's copying a show she has seen. My girls can entertain themselves for hours this way and for now, I don't usually interrupt it. Not even for school. I love to see them play so well together and be so creative. They are easily lost in a world of their own and it's adorable to watch.
She is a quick learner. She has officially joined our school this year as one of the big kids, (last year was the basics of reading and motor skills like cutting). She loves to read and takes no convincing like her brothers did at that age. She loves to write and keeps at it, even when it's hard, or she spelled something wrong. She soaks up like a sponge whatever her brothers are doing and it's been hilarious to sit down to a math lesson only to realize she already knows whatever is being covered that day. Right and left? Duh, mom. Two cubes and three cubes makes five? She can do it in her sleep. She is excited and hungry to learn and it is a joy to teach her.
Paige is a party animal. She's always trying to plan a tea party or a girls' night. She does get a little grumpy if things don't go exactly the way she imagines them, (lemonade and cookies in the girls' room doesn't exactly keep with house rules around here) but she's always up for a good time.

We love love love our exuberant little Paige. She's still a BIG personality in a  SMALL package, and we are so grateful she is ours. She is a good example to her younger sisters and a great friend to her Mom. I couldn't be more proud.