August 28, 2008

What Do You Do When Your Kids Don't Want To Eat?

As parents we try hard to provide the things that are kids need to grow up healthy and strong (and at least somewhat "normal"). Sometimes it seems that the elements have conspired against us in an effort to thwart our good intentions. Dinner seems to be one such ill inspired dastardly plan to thwart our on-going efforts to take care of our children. For some reason our boys don't eat dinner on a regular basis.

So what do you do when your kids don't want to eat? We have tried all sorts of methods, all of which have failed miserably. We have tried to bribe them with treats, candy, ice cream, cake, and privileges; no good. We have tried have tried to inspire them with awe and fear; no good. We have tried threats and begging and reasoning and logic and extended sit-ins; no good. Our boys, to their credit, have iron wills and cannot be influenced! Later in life we're really going to be happy about that. For now, we just end up with a lot of food that just gets wasted.

Since we can pretty much count on them not eating we make sure to give them vitamins and health shakes to keep up their nutrition in spite of the poor eating habits. Based on their energy output they seem to be handling the diet in stride. Oh don't worry, we'll keep trying, hoping and praying that we'll figure this dinner eating situation out; mostly we just figure that their appetites will change as they grow older! So we'll be prepared.

Uncle Kyle Comes to Visit

We have been very blessed to have uncle Kyle living close by while he attends BYU. He is an engineering student and is usually quite busy studying. During the school year (fall and winter semesters) we get to see him once a week for Sunday dinner. Our boys look forward to that visit each week. On Sunday when he shows up the boys race for the door to be one who opens it for him.

This summer we have been especially blessed to see Uncle Kyle multiple times each week. He has been busy with an internship is South Provo but works early in the morning to early in the afternoon. Since he hasn't been in classes since the Spring term he has joined us for dinner quite regularly. He has also been very instrumental in helping with many of the household projects that we have in process. I'm not sure how we would have done it without his help. We're pretty lucky to have Uncle Kyle living so close.

August 27, 2008

David Starts Kindergarden

Today is the big day! David has officially started kindergarden. It has been a struggle for Michelle to decide which school he should attend. We had the choice of three schools: Farrer, Wasatch and Freedom Academy. Each school had its pros and cons.

Farrer was the closest school, most convenient and where most of David's friends will be attending. Wasatch has the best reputation in the area and isn't too far away (0.85 miles up 900 East). Freedom Academy is the best academics but they don't have the social and activity structure of the public schools (it is a charter school and we just found out today that he had the option to attend), and it is across town.

We decided to send David to Wasatch Elementary School. It is still relatively close, he's met the teacher, and there is a bus that drops him off after school about 2 blocks from our house. David is thrilled to be attending school and has be anxious all week but especially this morning. He has a post-it note on the clock to remind him what time we had to leave to get there on time; he's been checking the clock every 30 minutes, he had his backpack all packed last night, etc.

It was fun to watch David when we arrived at the school. He remembered right where to go and headed straight to class. Donovan and Michael tried to keep up but were so distracted by all the other school kids that they bumped into at least a half dozen students on their way to class. David hung up his backpack and began sorting his school supplies. When Michelle got there she helped David sort the rest of the supplies and paperwork. When we left David in his class Michael threw a minor tantrum because he wasn't going to be able to stay with David at school. We tried to explain that he had to be 5 years old and he is only 2 right now. Logic doesn't get you anywhere with kids!

Michelle has handled the seperation okay as she bid David farewell. I think that sending him to preschool last year has helped her transition this year. David was so cute giving both Michelle and I a hug and kiss before we left his room. It's amazing that he is growing up so fast!

The bird is the class mascot and has yet to be named.

August 26, 2008

Aleky Eating Pears

Aleky is beginning to experience a broader range of life experiences. Here he is trying pears and isn't quite sure how much he likes it.

Bath Night

We have decided that bathing the kids every night is ideal and some families can do that very well. Maybe we're a little less than perfect but we only bath the kids 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). During the winter we figure the kids are less prone to the mud and dirt of summer and have dropped to just 2 times a week (Wednesday and Saturday). As the frequency increases the time with the toys decreases so right now they just get in, get clean and get out.

David was the mighty hunter yet again. Today he discovered a moth hiding behind the toy chest in the back yard. He immediately set out to capture his prey. With a plastic bag in hand he managed to capture the foul beast and held him captive in his plastic cell.

Back to School Shopping

School starts for David on Wednesday! So naturally it is time for the back-to-school shopping. With 4 energetic boys just the thought of shopping can be daunting! But before we went to the store, at the store, and twice in the store we stopped our boys and talked to them about being good boys and behaving while we were shopping. And they we're almost angels. We only lost Michael for 3 minutes (when he wandered to the other side of the store, by accident?)

The highlight of the shopping trip was getting new shoes! The three older boys have successfully worn through their old shoes and needed new ones. Michelle made a thorough inspection of each shoe option to make sure it was appropriately rated for active boys (would crack, tear or wear out). The boys couldn't contain their excitement as they tried on each pair of shoes. The rest of the shopping trip seemed to pale in comparison to the first stop in the shoe isle.
This morning the boys couldn't wait for morning to get here so they could put on their new shoes. On their own initiative they got dressed and put their shoes on even before breakfast, scripture reading or family prayers! I figure if they are that excited about it, you just need to go with the flow. We're excited for the new school year and David going to Kindergarden!

August 25, 2008

Too Content

Aleky has been nick-named "squooshy." He has received this dubious honor because he refuses to display any muscle tone except to kick (especially in water) and to find his thumb. He has passed his 10 month anniversary (of his birth) and barely manages to roll over (occasionally) and I think that may be by accident. Generally he is content to sit around all day and play with the toys at hand. Who can blame him? He has the most wonderful family who wait on him hand and foot. I suppose it doesn't get any better than this.

Olivia's Birthday

We were invited to celebrate my niece's birthday yesterday. She is turning 1 year old. So we gathered at the central meeting point, Grandma Joneses Houses. When we got there Darius was putting the final touches on his beautiful birthday cake, The Ladybug. Surprising to me, Olivia didn't actually tear her piece of cake apart when it was served to her. In fact, she need coaxing just to taste it (I guess I'm used to my boys who tear the cake apart trying to eat it and end up wear more of the cake than they actually ate). But she is certainly a cutie!

We were invited to share in the potluck (& BYOB) dinner before the birthday celebration. It was a time of relentlessly teasing my sister Trista who has recently returned from her mission (in Georgia) and is just getting past the "arms-length" mission rules and re-entering the world of dating. And since she was "caught" giving a hug to her most recent date she was teased about everything from dating to marriage, holding hands to kissing. The irony of it all is that she's just barely getting back into dating and still so innocent.

While the dinner preperations were in full swing the kids were playing inside and outside as their whims directed. But Michael managed to find a small amount of "trouble" in his wanderings. He managed to discover that his head could fit through the leg slats of the dinner table but once through his head didn't come out quite as easily. Needless to say he express his distraught feelings and rallied the appropriate attention to be rescued (those expressions were relatively minor but they brought a chuckle to all the bystanders).

David managed to summon the great hunter inside and captured a wild animal in the backyard, a little field mouse. He claims to have found it in the sandbox while he was playing. It was definitely still alive and he was quite proud to show off his prize. Most of the family was just worried about the little critter getting loose in the house should it be dropped; secondly they were worried about the germs! It seems that only his dad was proud of the valiant efforts of his first born son. The mouse was returned to its "natural" habitat in the sand (where his caring uncle Leo quickly disposed of the remains).

Revised Entertainment Center

Ever since our DVD player starting scratching our DVDs and we brought the old player out of retirement, Michelle has been wanting to modify our entertainment center to accomodate the change. So we took matters into our own hands yesterday and lowered the top shelf so that the old DVD player would fit. While we were making the change we modified the audio input/output slightly to get a little better sound. Now we can have the sound coming from the speakers and the TV. While it really isn't surround sound it does sound pretty cool. We're pretty excited about the change.

August 23, 2008

Waterpark Celebration

We decided to take the family to the final day of the season at Veterans Memorial Water Park. It is only $3 for each person ages 4+. I believe that they open at 1:00 pm-6:00 pm but we went from about 3:45-6:15. It was an awesome time with the boys.

David wanted to show me that he could swim under water (his swimming style only uses 1 arm because he has to use his other hand to plug his nose). Ever since David discovered goggles he's been an underwater tycoon.

Donovan was happy just to run around and splash in the water. He did go play on the toys some but mostly just splashed. Michael did seem very interested in getting wet. In fact, he resisted any attempt to get him into the kiddie pool.

Then we decided that it was time to try the "big" slides, the ones you have to climb up the stairs and wait in line for. I tried to find David so that he could be first but we suspect he was exploring a lost under water civilization because we couldn't find him. So I took Donovan down the big slide first. At the head of the slide is a torrent of rushing water and Donovan wasn't so sure about the slide idea after seeing that but after some gentle coaxing (I picked him up and sat him in the water, on the slide) we starting down the amazing, twisting, rushing, thrilling, splashing event known as the big slide. Once we were going Donovan had a blast and the moment we hit the splash pool at the bottom he was ready for round 2.

Donovan was bummed that he had to wait his turn for the big slide. But Michael was up (David was still exploring the under water civilization). Michael thought he was a big boy climbing up the stairs to the big slide. But his fears were magnified beyond those of Donovan at seeing the raging torrent of rushing water. No coaxing there, I just picked him up, sat him down and starting sliding. It took Michael 2/3 of the slide to discover that he really enjoyed the experience and he was ready to go upon splash down.

Finally David was located as he surfaced from his most recent dive. Michelle had enough of sitting on the sidelines and decided she would take David down the slide (we have to accompany any child under 48 inches and right now that's everyone!). I was going to dutifully take pictures of the exit into the splash pool and we were waiting for the signal that she was going. And then she appeared out of no where (she'd gone and failed to give the signal!).

Each boy was able to have a second slide and wanted to go more but we ran out of time. Elisa Simmons was there with Nathan and their 2 girls and they helped to watched our boys. At 6:00 we decided that it was time to head home. Our family had a wonderful time in the sun.

Cleaning the Chapel

Our family decided to participate in the ward breakfast and chapel cleaning event this morning. The ward provided pancakes, eggs, bacon and cantelope (and drinks of course). In general our 3 older boys don't have the ability to focus on food when there are so many friends to play with at the ward functions.

So while they may not have eaten the best meal in their lives they certainly had an enjoyable time running around and playing with their friends.

After breakfast we began our "deep" cleaning of the chapel. This includes more than just wiping off the chalk boards and emptying the trash. Our assignment was to clean the tables and windows in the classrooms. David and Donovan bravely took the assignment of spraying each table and window. Michael and Mommy were on wipe-down duty. Daddy got to carry the trash bag and keep everyone corralled until we moved to the next room. Aleky was a full-time supervisor. Occassionally we were able to get everyone (except Aleky) with paper towels and cleaning all at the same time! As we neared the end Donovan and Michael were doing a great job working together as a team, Donovan would spray and Michael would wipe-down. David managed to sneak off to the gym to play with his friends and had to be retrieved to finish the work.

When we had finished our assignment we were please to hear those immortal words "But mom, we want to clean some more!" While these sentiments may not last it brought a warm spot to our hearts.

August 22, 2008

Hike to the Y

We had a wonderful family outing today. More or less a last minute decision, we decided to join Bradley Robinson’s hike to the “Y” (for his Duty to God award requirement). As it turns out there was Bradley, David Bean, Neil & Kelly Johnson (& Zachary), and our family (Khayyam, Michelle, David, Donovan, Michael & Aleky). We met at Bradley’s house just after 7:00 pm.
Michelle decided that I would get to carry Michael and she would carry Aleky (David and Donovan would have to fend for themselves). So we took the child backpack for Michael. David and Donovan wanted to carry something too so we pulled out the hydration packs which were far too big for them and that was the backpacks they got to carry.
As it turns out, my 3 boys all made the entire hike to the “Y” and back again all on their own power. So I carried the child pack for nothing and Michelle ended up carrying the baby for the entire trail. We kept thinking that Michael would give up and I would carry him but he would have none of that…he wanted to hike just like David and Donovan.
By the end of the hike Donovan and Michael were completely worn out. David stayed at the head of the group and gave the big boys a run for their money. Michelle and Kelly hiked together and were able to continue cementing the bond of friendship that they share. I hiked and the tail end of the group keeping Michael on task (and occasionally helping Donovan too). It was nice in that it wasn’t too hot, we saw a beautiful sunset (with a nice alpine glow) and a cool evening breeze. Unfortuneatly the cool evening breeze was kicking up a lot of dirt and that was painful under the contact lenses but somehow we managed to hike down in the dark (with eyes full of dirt). At the end of the hike all the adults had “jell-o” legs. I suppose we’re a little out of shape.
I’m glad we went. The view was beautiful and we are able to add another family experience.

August 12, 2008

Recording the Family Experiences

I think I need to start keeping track of the cool family experiences that we're having. So I'll start keeping track of experiences and pictures here.