Friday, April 4, 2014

Unexpected Date Night

Eddie had a mission reunion at BYU in Provo. He was excited to go. We were planning on bringing all of the kids but at the last minute Maddy volunteered to stay home and babysit. She must have been inspired because it was a small room with absolutely no kid entertainment and there were only a few other kids there. They would have been bored in a second and we never would have been able to stay as long as we did. It was fun watching Eddie interact with all of his old mission companions. He worked in the mission office so he knew a lot of people. There were 2 people that came all the way over from Australia just for the reunion! Amazing!! I loved hearing the New Zealand and Australian accent. It's very unique and not at all British sounding. There is no way you can mistake an Aussie or New Zealander. I loved it!

Eddie's mission president and his wife. Brother and Sister Ockey. It was an honor to meet them. 

Since we were on our own without kids, we decided to turn it into a date night. Since I had never been to BYU before, we did a little exploring. We were at the Wilkinson Student Center and it was a perfect opportunity to explore and try to blend in. We went to the Bowling Alley and there was probably at least 8 couples with newborn babies... wow. After only a little bit of exploration, I decided that I felt really old. I'm only in my 30's but geez, I felt ancient compared to all of the newlyweds and single students. It's amazing what 10 years can do. 

We walked up and down a busy street close to BYU with lots of other BYU couples. It was so entertaining. I haven't laughed so long and hard in a long time. Eddie and I just couldn't stop the jokes. We wanted to eat somewhere different and finally chose India Palace. We rarely eat out... and we rarely get the opportunity to go foreign so this was a very special treat. When we stepped inside an Indian with a turban greeted us, and Eddie and I just looked at each other and smiled. The TV in the restaurant was only channels from India... It was fascinating. 

The food was so authentic and amazing. I had this Mango Lassi which was to die for. It wasn't sweetened up like Americans love to do, and I really liked that about it. 

We had Mango chicken something and Coconut Lamb something... Both dishes were out of this world. And of course, accompanied with Naan. It was such a great night. Eddie and I laughed so much and talked and talked about so many unexpected things. It was a perfect date night. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's!

I've always been a little bit of a trickster. I love a good prank. Growing up, we were always pranking each other. My oldest brother was the BEST (and worst) at it. I really can't stand mean pranks but I think a little bit of fun and trickery adds a little bit of mystery and fun to every day life. My kids are old enough now to be a little skeptical on April Fool's Day... but they were so easy to prank. It was just too easy. And of course, I have to write this all down so that they have proof of what a horrible, mean mother I was. 

I woke up early and drew mustaches on all of them with washable marker. It was hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing. Couldn't get any good pictures before I washed them off. 

I made fake poo from cardboard (it looks amazingly real) and set it on Eddie's seat of his car to surprise him when he got in. He laughed pretty hard about it. 

For a fun surprise, I yelled at all of them to hurry up and come eat breakfast. They thought I was mad... until they came in the kitchen and saw Brownie Sundaes for breakfast!!! Best prank ever!

When the kids got home from school, I surprised them with a snack of oreos. I never let them eat oreos so they were so surprised and happy. Okay, I guess this one was kind of a little mean. I scraped out the cream of 3 oreos and replaced it with white toothpaste. You can't even tell!!! And then I told them we were going to have a race to see who could eat theirs the fastest. And to top it all off, I recorded it on video. I'm such a mean mom. The hilarious part was that Libby and Ryder were so excited about the oreos it took them a loooong time to realize it was toothpaste. They were chowing down. And Ryder never does well with tricks and pranks. He takes it very personal. So I guess this one kind of back fired on me... but man, it was funny. 


For dinner we had grilled cheese and cupcakes.... which was meatloaf baked in a cupcake liner with mashed potatoes colored blue and pink for the frosting, and angel food cake toasted in the toaster with orange frosting. It looked so real!!! 
Maverik was so excited about the cupcake. But then he took a bite of the cupcake and started crying. The other kids weren't very impressed either... but I thought it was delicious. Maddy is at the age where she very much appreciated all of the tricks. She tried to get me a couple times, but there is no competing against a pro pranker. Ha ha

I also made jello in cups with straws and couldn't stop laughing when the kids were so excited to have Kool-aid with dinner. Again, Mav did not appreciate the prank. He was very mad that he couldn't suck it up through the straw. Poor kid. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Miscellaneous March

March was filled with lots of stuff but somehow now that it's over, I can't remember much. Such is the way of life. That is exactly why I keep a blog and journal and take a million pictures. 

The kids had Dr. Seuss week at school. Libby wanted her hair done like Cindy Lou Who and this was what I came up with.

Maddy dressed up with  her friend as Thing 1 and Thing 2. One thing that I really love about Maddy is that she is not afraid to be herself. 6th grade is so tough. I remember how mean the kids can be, but she is never afraid to be herself. She knew that none of her class would dress up because "it's babyish" and "its dumb" but she wanted to and I love that she went for it. And she was right. She came home and told me that only 2 or 3 people in the whole 6th grade dressed up. Way to be confident with yourself Maddy!

Soccer season started back up! Here we go with the insane practice and game schedule. We love it!

 I played in our Regional Basketball Tournament and our team took 2nd. It was a lot of fun. I look forward to it every year.

Briya has really changed and grown. She has become the clown of the family. She loves to make us laugh. She loves wearing necklaces and hats and the kids love catering to her every whim.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Great Grandma's 80th Birthday!

The weekend of spring break we headed up to Idaho for Great Grandma M.'s 80th Birthday Party! We left Friday around noon and caravanned with all the other Lyman's. We made it to Rexburg and of course immediately headed for the hotel pool. The kids were in heaven. Briya and her cousin, Mathew shared this tube for awhile. It was so cute I couldn't help but take pictures.

Then Briya decided she wanted to climb in and out of the pool for the next 2 hours... over and over and over...

We took over the hotel pool! Those are all Lymans. Great Grandma brought a roll of pennies and had the kids dive for them. They loved it!

Briya wanted to wear all of the goggles she could find. She is pretty hilarious. 

On Saturday we celebrated Grandma's birthday. All of the kids gathered around her and she had made each of them a really cute little thing. 

Then she told storis for awhile and it was so fun to listen to all the fun things she has done in her life. We had a talent show and some of the great grandkids performed. Liberty played the piano and did really well.

Briya wandered around in her squeak shoes being adorable as usual.

We had a yummy lunch and birthday cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday and then sang Grandmother's Old Fashioned Garden. 

It was a super quick trip, but it was a lot of fun and I was so glad we got to go. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Break 2014

I always try to plan a few fun things for our spring break, but this year I feel like it came and went so fast. I had a list of fun things to do, but we didn't really do much. Which is okay, because the kids really wanted to just laze around and relax. I suppose that is what spring break is all about.
The girls took off to Grandma's house for 4 days, and I was lost without them. I tried to do some fun crafts with my boys and they weren't interested... AT ALL. They wanted to be left alone to play their games and do what they wanted. It was a huge wake up call to me about how insanely and incredibly different boys and girls are... at least my boys and girls. I am so thankful that God gave me two girls to start my family.

The two things the boys actually enjoyed doing were making cereal/candy necklaces and toilet paper tube racers. Although these lasted all of maybe 15 minutes...

After the girls came home we did a couple experiments. This one they absolutely loved. If you submerge skittles and M&M's in warm water, the letter S and letter M will float to the surface of the water. You can see them in the picture. The kids thought this was so cool.

When I finally left them alone to just play, I was surprised at how well they all got along. We didn't have hardly any fighting that week. Maddy bought a big Dry Erase board for her room and they all colored on that for days. Note to self: Buy big dry erase board. I loved that Maddy was so generous and loving to them. She would divide the board in sections and they would each draw in their sections and come up with some pretty amazing creations.

The one big thing we did was drive into Draper and go to the new Living Planet Aquarium. Eddie discovered that they give a military discount and they were also doing a special where if you went that week, you would get free passes for every ticket for the summer. They did this because not all of the animals were there yet. It turned out to be an amazing deal and now we get to go back in the summer for free!

That green eel wrapped around Ryder's neck has a heart warming story. Ryder found it and latched onto it. He was determined to buy it. It turned out to be $18 and he had forgotten his money. Eddie and I don't buy things for our kids and let them pay us back later. We are trying to teach them to be accountable for their money and develop good financial habits at a young age. (We reminded everyone to bring spending money if they wanted it at least 5 times before we left.) Ryder was determined... and I could see a huge melt down and fit coming, but I kept reminding him that we were not buying it for him, but he could carry it around for a little bit. The thing with Ryder is that he doesn't have the capacity to "let things go". He is mentally incapable of this. It is part of his disability. He is getting better with it, but still has a long way to go with this. I was so tempted to just buy the dumb thing and let him pay me back, but I knew it would open a can of worms with the other kids and I didn't want to go there. I knew that Eddie or I would end up carrying him our of the gift shop and the rest of the day would be filled with his screams of anger and frustration.  Anyway.... I went out to the lost and found because I lost Briya's head band. When I came back everyone was ready to go and Maddy was standing in the checkout line with Ryder. I found out that she and Libby had pooled their money and decided to buy the stuffed Eel for Ryder. They each had only brought $10 with them so by making that decision they were unable to buy anything for themselves. I was so touched by their generosity and kindness to their brother who is always tormenting them and making their lives difficult that I just started to cry. What wonderful sisters he has. When he got home, he did pay them back, and both the girls said they could always buy something when they went back in the summer. 

The Aquarium was amazing!!! We loved every single part. The kids loved watching the Otters and we spent a long time watching them swim back and forth. The lighting was really dim in most areas so I didn't get any great pictures, but it was so amazing!

These jellyfish were so cool. Maverik loved the penguins.

We spent about 30 minutes in line to cross this very short rope bridge. 

Liberty walked around with Briya for a long time. Briya had on her squeakie shoes so it was easy to keep track of her.

The boys loved these cat fish and other weird looking fish.

We finally got to the shark tunnel and it was amazing!!!!! They had sharks and sting ray and manta ray and lots of very cool fish. The kids just loved it.

I was pretty impressed with the whole thing.

Briya pulled her headband off somewhere and we never found it. It was my favorite one. Darn. She looks like a little boy without her cute hairband.

Maverik loved the sharks. You can see 2 of them behind him in this horrible crappy picture. 

Eddie told stories to the kids for about 20 mintues and I thought it was so funny because other people had gathered around him to listen too. He's a great story teller. 

The kids all wanted to end the day at Chuck a rama but Eddie and I decide that we didn't want to fork over the money. We are too cheap. Chuck a rama is expensive with 5 kids!!! So we stopped at Denny's instead where kids eat free every night. Our meal was $20 for a family of 7. Not bad!!! Maddy and I were the most disappointed about Chuck a rama but ended up being pleasantly surprised at Denny's. It was one of the best tasting meals I've eaten at Denny's. I'm not a huge fan at Denny's so I was pretty happy about it. 

With 5 kids, anything... and I mean anything we do is a huge undertaking. It's always worth it in the end, but sometimes I think to myself, "Why do I ever leave the house?"  Spring Break turned out to be relaxing and lazy. We spent most of our time reading, playing computer games, and watching movies. The kids love sleeping all out in the big room watching a movie late at night and I let them do that every single night. It was cold and rainy and windy the whole week so that was kind of a bummer but we made the best of it. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Respect Badge

Ryder earned his Respect Badge in his Little Samurai Class. This was a huge deal for him!! To earn his respect badge he had to prove his respect at home and at the dojo. He had to show respect to others, himself, and things around him. I was surprised at how focused he seemed to be on it. We worked for weeks on it and Eddie and I were both constantly reminding him. 
It turned out to be so helpful for him in his struggle for focus and impulsivity. They are what he struggles with most and focusing on earning this badge really helped him. 
Eddie and I were hoping that this Little Samurai class would help him get control of the things he struggles with every day, and it has proven to be so beneficial. Ryder loves going to it. I love that it isn't based on fighting. In fact, it's all about controlling yourself and only using his "art" in self defense. It truly has been an answer to our prayers with him. 

Afterwards we went out for celebratory ice cream. Good job Buddy!

Here is the list of what he had to do to earn his Respect badge!! It's quite intensive. Especially for Ryder.

In the Dojo 

1. Memorize and repeat back the 4 respects as follows: 

o Respect Others 

o Respect The Dojo 

o Respect Your Karate (Art) 

o Respect Yourself

2. The student must follow all of the rules for an entire class. 

At Home (Let the Sensei know when the student has made progress in these areas.) 

1. Respect Others: The student should show respect for family members. 

o No Teasing or name calling. 

o Listening to parents.

o Following parent's instructions without whining or fighting. 

2. Respect the Dojo: The home is also considered the dojo and Parents are the Sensei of their home and family. 

o Keep room clean. 

o Pick up after themselves. 

o Help Parents around the house.

3. Respect your Karate (Art): Students can respect their art by doing the following. 

o Do not use their art to hurt others. Used for defense only. 

o Practice their art at least 2 times per week outside of class. 

4. Respect Yourself: Others will respect us more if we respect ourselves. We teach others how to treat us. 

o No whining at bath time.

o Willingness to eat or at least try healthy foods. 

o Don't talk bad or down about yourself.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Paddy's

I love doing fun things for holidays... even minor holidays that I have no real connection to. I just love finding ways to surprise my kids and make them smile. I have found that with 5 kids, it is a lot harder for me to do all the fun things that I plan than it used to be. We run out of time. I run out of energy. I run out of patience. However, I am determined to keep trying. 

This year for St. Paddy's, the tricky leprechauns did come to our house. But they only made a lame attempt at mischief. Poor little Libby was not impressed. But we did have some fun finding gold coins that they left behind. 
I made some yummy lucky charms treats. They were surprisingly delicious. 

The kids got some fun treats in their lunch.

After school, we did a quick little treasure hunt with a pot of treasure at the end. 

And for dinner we had a few surprises too. We especially liked the fruit rainbow. 

I especially liked the mint trifle dessert.  

Maybe next year, things will get taken up a notch, but for now, we have fun and laugh a lot, and I think those may be more important than any immaculate well planned event. I'm learning to roll with things. I'm learning to deal with the fact that I'm not super mom and I can't make everything perfect. I'm learning that love and laughter are really the only two important things required to have a good time. I'm learning that it is okay to not have things exactly how you want them. Life rolls by too fast to get caught up the tiny details.