January 28, 2009

Donovan's Birthday Party

Donovan had a wonderful time at his birthday party. He has been fascinated by legos lately so he got to have a Lego Birthday Cake. The blue lego was the favorite for the party and was the first color to be devoured.

Donovan got a computer game that he has played with (virtually) non-stop.

He also received a "Planet Toss" from our neighbors, the Simmons. Another instant hit. The boys played with this game until we had to pry the "planets" from their fingers and send them to bed.

I'm certainly glad that Donovan was able to have an enjoyable birthday party.

Donovan's Birthday

What a crazy kid! Normally I would have expected a child to look forward to their birthday with great anticipation and excitement. But apparently Donovan is a unique and lovable child. He happened to be the first kid awake and he groggily wandered into the living room.

Before we went to bed we had put up the birthday balloons and the Happy Birthday Banner. So we were expecting Donovan to be so excited to see that his big day had finally arrived, after all, he'd been counting down the days since the new calender went on the wall! I happened to wake up about the same time as Donovan so I met him in the living room. Upon seeing the decorations he exclaimed, "I don't like birthdays!" That wasn't exactly what I was expecting for his birthday reaction.
The rest of the morning found Donovan in a similar disposition about everything from breakfast to getting dressed. It was the kind of attitude that makes you consider canceling the entire celebration. But the wheels of destiny were already set in motion. Fortunately his mood did improve toward the evening. And by the time people began showing up he was quite happy and animated.
By 6:00 pm the cake was just coming out of the oven and we were just sitting down to dinner. So when the (adult) guests began to arrive at 6:30 pm we put them to work decorating the Lego cake. Of course the kids were having a blast running through the house and playing with the toys. With all of the adults occupied with finishing the decorations the kids found new levels of excitement.

By 7:00 pm we were ready to sing "Happy Birthday" and have cake an ice cream. All of our guests had arrived so we rounded up the kids and gathered around the table. It did take Donovan a couple tries to get all 4 candles blown out, really cute watching him try. After the cake and ice cream we opened his presents and we were done by 7:30 pm. It was short and sweet and provided Donovan with his Birthday moment of Chaos.


January 27, 2009

Are You Going To Finish Strong

We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. With so much going for us, with so many blessings already in our possession, I don't think we can ever have a good excuse for giving up or not giving our best.

Nick Vujicic has no arms or legs but has come to terms with his lot in life and he delivers an inspirational speech to these school kids that they will probably never forget. It is a very inspiration thought, to always get up no matter how many times we may fall.

January 26, 2009

Donovan Survives His First Week in Primary

Donovan has been suffering separation anxiety from leaving the senior nursery. This has been a rough transition for him but I don't suppose I can really blame him. With a birthday in January he was definitely the oldest on in his class. And the nursery has toys and treats and fun activities for 2 hours!

Now that he goes to primary he is at the bottom of the food chain; everyone is bigger and older than he is. I don't know if they have an actual teacher for his class yet. Now he has to go to sharing time which general last as long as sacrament meeting, from 1:20-2:40 p.m.! That is a long time to sit after being so reverent through sacrament meeting and this all occurs in the middle of the afternoon!

But this last Sunday he managed to struggle through, but not without a minor hiccup. After Sacrament meeting the boys all headed off to class, or so we thought. Just to be sure, we followed them up the stairs to the primary room to verify that all boys were secured. Well, David was in sharing time and Michael was in his new nursery room but Donovan was no where to be found. Needless to say we felt as small twinge of anxiety.

We put our books and bags down and began to search through the entire church building to find out missing son. We double-checked in sharing time but the leaders hadn't seen him (they noticed because they were supposed to sing a "Happy Birthday" song to him this week). We rechecked the nursery room and then started through the bathrooms, other random classrooms and adult Sunday school classes. Back through the cultural hall and chapel and, just to be sure, poke our heads outside and check by the car. No Donovan!

Admittedly, we were started to get a little concerned. Another primary leader joined in the search. Just when we had decided to start checking every room in the building a little head just poked out of a darkened classroom! Donovan didn't want to go in the big room with all the big kids so he had taken a detour and was just as happy as could be in a room all by himself. We were just excited to find him.

It still took some coaxing to get him into the room. Then Michelle helped him find his way from the very back of the room up to his seat with his class. I don't know what else happened after we left but we found him after church happily participating with his class. So it appears that he survived his first full day in primary. Let's hope next week goes even better.

January 25, 2009

Draper Temple Open House

We had the privilege of visiting the Draper, Utah temple yesterday during this month long open-house. We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for our boys to actually go inside the temple. Every time we drive past the Provo temple they get so excited it just seemed like the perfect opportunity. So when the occasion presented itself we decided to take advantage of it.

What we didn't count on was the other million other people are also taking advantage of the opportunity. That means that it takes a long time! And our boys can only be reverent and quiet for so long before the excitement and energy of youth just bubbles out! All things considered I think they were fantastic.

Here's how the trip worked out...

1:30 pm - I begin to get the boys dressed in their Sunday clothes, pack the diaper bag, get our temple tickets, text Michelle to hurry home from grocery shopping.

2:00 pm - Text Michelle again, finish grabbing fruit snacks and shake mix for the boys snack at 3 pm before we enter the temple.

2:20 pm - Finish unloading groceries, start loading boys.

2:30 pm - We start driving to the Temple drop off point (one of 3 designated chapels near the Draper temple).

3:00 pm - We arrive at the church parking lot and begin to dispense afternoon snacks to the boys.

3:20 pm - Finish snack time and enter the church, enter first holding cell.

3:30 pm - Sneak into earlier group, enter the Chapel and wait...and wait.

3:40 pm - Watch a 12 minute video about temples in general and the Draper temple specifically.

3:55 pm - We're lead to next holding cell where we wait (to get in line to wait for the bus that will shuttle us to the Temple).

4:10 pm - Get in line to wait for bus.

(boys holding still momentarily while waiting for the bus)
4: 20 pm - Bus comes, we're transported to the Temple.

4:30 pm - Unload from the bus and begin a slow but steady walk through the major rooms of the temple.

5:15 pm - Complete tour and head to adjacent stake center for complimentary cookies and water.

5:30 pm - Finish eating cookies, get into line to await return bus to the original chapel.

6:00 pm - Finally board bus to return to chapel.

6:10 pm - Arrive at chapel, quick bathroom break, load into car to come home.

6:30 pm - Start driving home.

7:00 pm - Arrive home; time to start dinner!

The experience was truly amazing. We love to see the temple and we went inside yesterday! The boys had a hard time moving at a snail's pace through the temple when you could easily walk off the plastic walk-way and zip around everyone! When you can't go fast you might as well sit down on all the comfortable chairs or climb the hand rails or find something fun to do; alas, we had to thwart our boys alternative plans as well. They did seem pretty excited to point out Jesus in all the artwork hanging on the walls and that helped to keep them occupied (momentarily). If this hadn't been the Lord's house will His Spirit there, we would have really had troubles controlling our boys (we were also fortunate to have our friends, the Howells, there to help grab a child or two).

The temple is very beautiful and I'm excited to go through after it's dedication next month. We were hoping to get a family picture outside the temple but the rain and fog limited visibility to 50 feet! Besides I'm not sure how we would have escaped the maze to get outside in the first place. There were covered walkways from the bus drop-off to the temple, from the temple to the stake center and from the stake center to the bus reloading zone. And the walkways were more like very long tents so there was no escaping.

The drive home was very loud! The boys had been reverent for nearly 4 hours and couldn't contain themselves any longer. The whole process started at 1:30 and end when they got out of their Sunday clothes at 7:30 which is six hours! These boys wouldn't settle down until almost 9:00 pm working out all the wiggles of the past 6 hours. As I said, I think they did a remarkable job being reverent in the House of the Lord!

As wonderful as this experience has been I don't anticipate that we'll take them to the Oquirrh temple open house which should probably happen in the later half of this year.

January 21, 2009

Homework is Exhausting

Michael has been working so hard to be just like his brothers. Each time that the David sits down to do his homework Donovan and Michael want to do homework as well. Today, it was just a little more than Michael could handle.

January 18, 2009

Technology is Fascinating

The boys get so excited when Uncle Kyle comes over to visit. Every so often Uncle Kyle has some new gizmo or gadget and the boys are just fascinated by it. Today Uncle Kyle had a new game on his iTouch that he was playing before dinner was ready. The boys thought it was amazing and flocked to see this new technology. I'm not sure how well Uncle Kyle did with his game but the boys never lost interest and were quite disappointed when it was finally time to eat.

January 16, 2009

Spotted Aleky

Our poor child has turned into a connect the dots amusement toy! The poor guy hasn't complained even though he looks absolutely miserable. I think he needs to visit the doctor and get this mess cleared up right away.

(posted 5/31/11)

January 14, 2009

David Visits the Museum

David's class had a field trip to the Bean Museum. Michelle volunteered to help shuttle kids to the museum and back to the school. Of course the side benefit was that she was able to enjoy the museum with David.

David told me that a museum is a zoo full of dead animals. Apparently the animals still have enough character that he was able to bring some of it home with him.

I'm thinking that David is going to be one of those people who loves the camera as long as he doesn't have to sit and make a pretty face.

Michelle enjoyed the experience. While she was having fun at the museum I was home with the other boys. Fortunately Aleky was sleeping and Donovan and Michael were distracted with a movie so I was still able to get some work done.

January 13, 2009

Ballroom Dance Music (List)

The biggest question that I've been asked by Ballroom dancers have is, "Where can I get some ballroom dance music?" or "Can I borrow some music from you?" Well Marci Edgington from BYU's Ballroom Dance program has compiled a list of music that anyone can access.

I'm sure that just about anyone has access to much of the music listed on this site. This list is only a list but it tells you on which album to find the music and which song on the album. I hope you enjoy your dance!

PlayDoh: A Sophisticated Boy Toy

There are some days when it seems like it is all we can do to keep our boys busy or occupied with, well, just about anything. One of the boys favorite activities is to play with Play Doh. Michael added some toys to the Play Doh collection this Christmas and all the boys love it.

Don't be fooled by it's common-place appearance! This is serious business and requires amazing concentration and focus...

Of course this level on concentration only lasts about 30 minutes before it's time to change activities. The biggest down-side to Play Doh is the clean-up after the fun is over.

January 11, 2009

Batman...A Christmas Present for Zachary?

My wife is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She is always concerned about others and she is constantly trying to figure out something special she can do for someone that they will really appreciate. Sometimes she tries so hard to do so many things that occasionally none of them get completed. But not this time...this time she was able to complete her project!

With the new Batman movie in theaters and certain friends of ours who happened to be fans...Michelle decided that Zachary needed his own Batman cape!

It was only after the present was opened that I realized that the present wasn't for Zachary so much as it was for his DAD!

Is there any doubt that Michelle has incredible insight into the human psyche? She contemplated the perfect present, not just for one person but for two.

Don't get me wrong, Zachary obviously loves this present and certainly understands the time and effort that went into such a precious gift...

And you have to admit that he is stunning with his new cape on.

January 7, 2009

Sleding with David's Class

David's kindergarten class decided to take advantage of the snow. They invited any families who wanted to go sledding to come join the class as they went sledding down the school hill. David was pretty excited to go and was very excited that his family was coming too.

Donovan and Michael thought is was simply splendid that they could join the "big kids" and go sledding at David's school. They didn't waste any time and jumped right in with the class.

David wasted no time hitting the slopes. He went down, and ran up, and went down, and ran up. We had to help him remember that he had to share the sled with his family.

For some reason Aleky felt content to sit back and watch. But the other boys were not so content.

Michael was ready to prove his boyhood and headed down the slope solo. He wasn't quite a quick to run up the slope but he was having a blast.

Donovan was doing great too. Occasionally he would get distracted by the mountain of snow and forget he need to return the sled to the top of the hill.

I couldn't resist the temptation to join my boys on the slopes. So with a simple invitation from Donovan, off we went.

Michelle suggested that Aleky, for all of his patience, really wanted to hit the slopes like his brothers. Well, there's only one way to find out. He loved it! He had a smile and some giggles all the way down.

But what a wimp I turned out to be. Michelle took most of the family in a single trip! None of this one kid at a time stuff. We have 4 boys who all want to go at the same time. Well, Michelle is the mom who can do it!

Alas, what a mean husband I turned out to be. After all the fun and sledding, Michelle ended up packing the boys back to the car.

January 6, 2009

More Snow!

While I haven't checked the weather report I'm sure that snow has been in the forecast. It has been 2 days of non-stop snowing. Even shoveling the walks 2 times a day hasn't been able to keep them clear. Add the snow plows moving the snow from the road and into my yard and we are starting to amass quite a mountain of snow. Right now we have mounds of snow that are pushing 5 feet! While they may not be a record for snow fall, it is certainly more snow than I can remember in quite some time. At this late hour the snow have finally subsided into a misty rain and the temperature is hovering just over freezing. This is allowing the snow to melt and the walks to clear the snow and ice that has survived the half dozen shovelings in the past few days.

January 5, 2009

PVC Pipe Chairs

Michelle has been working hard during this Christmas season to give a couple extra gifts to a couple of close friends. As she has worked on these gifts she has realized that other people may also be interested in these ideas.

These personalized PVC pipe chairs are Michelle's brain-child, adapted from chairs that she had when she was younger. She thought is would be neat to make a set for young girls to have; a chair for themselves and one for a doll. So she made a second smaller chair. The chairs pictured are the gift chairs.

The idea would be to sell them but we haven't made it that far yet. So we'll see how it goes.

January 3, 2009

What do you do on Christmas Vacation?

Kids are interesting creatures, especially when it comes to vacation time. It is not an infrequent occurrence when the boys will resist the "schedule" or "routine" of the day. But when they are not following the routine they are lost with listless expressions, not sure what to do. I've not doubt this situation will intensify as they progress through school. But I thought this picture was a classic vacation moment.

David is conquering every foe on the WII while the other boys, well it would appear that the action of the day has exceeded their capacity for focus.

Staunch Determination

David is one of those kids that knows what he wants and will figure out a way to get it. Today he decided he wanted to inflate his big hopper ball and I didn't know where the pump was being stored. David didn't wait for me to find it and began to inflate his ball the old fashioned way.

We eventually found the pump; just ask mom! There are some days I think David's staunch determination is the most admirable trait, determination to see it through no matter what the obstacle. Other days, when we differ in opinion...

January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve Celebration

We had a fun New Year's Eve celebration with the Johnsons. But the preparations started much earlier in the day. Michelle had several items that she wanted to have at our little party and so she started working early. Ultimately she made a taco bean dip, cheese ball and eclair cake. We also had chips and salsa. The Johnsons brought over the little weenies, meatballs and a special cider drink (for which I'll have to get the recipe). Ultimately we decided that we had more than enough food for everyone there and we felt bad that more people were unable to make it.

We started around 6:30 with the first course of delectable. The boys were content watching a movie and we didn't have the heart to stir things up and create a commotion so we left them alone. We played several games through the evening. We started with Bohnanza.Bohnanza This game ended in a tie! By the time this game was done we needed to put the boys to bed. Since the movie had finished it was a simple straight forward procedure.

With the boys in bed we began our second game, Killer Bunnies.Killer Bunnies Michelle completely dominated this game leaving no doubt who was champion. Not being in the mood to be so thoroughly defeated again we switched games to Jamaica. Jamaica I apparently have a game learning disorder that prevents me from understanding some of the basics of any new game. As a result of this mental disorder I managed to lose, even while having a controlling lead, to Neil. Once again we switched games, searching for my niche so that I could finally win! We tried to new card game Rage. Rage True to form Neil won the game and I was the biggest loser!

In spite of the failed attempts to dominate the Johnsons in both the card game and board games categories, we had a marvelous time trying. The food was awesome and the company was even better. We paused at Midnight to welcome the New Year and then quickly concluded our final game and parted for the evening. We certainly appreciate having the Johnsons as friends and we're glad we could welcome the New Year with them.

We count it a blessing (right now) that David will wake up and find a way to amuse himself without waking us up, usually by turning on the WII. It has allowed us to catch up on some much needed sleep through this holiday season. Now that it is coming to an end we'll have to start getting up earlier so we can read scriptures and have a more structured start to our day.

As we start this new year we would like to wish everyone a