Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween 2008
(In case it isn't obvious Porter is a storm trooper, Bennett is a monkey, and Maya is an ugly bug)
Being the scatterbrained parents, we of course forgot to charge our camera batteries before Halloween so we only got two pictures of the kids in their costumes. Neither was very good but I though Bennett looked cute in his little monkey costume so I used my mad cropping skills and created this masterpiece. Enjoy.

Lesson Learned



Maya learned a valuable lesson today when she tried to give her four goldfish a bubble bath. There are four more goldfish souls in heaven tonight.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Andy Goldsworthy

When I was at Olin Partnership on my internship, I was exposed to this really neat british artist, Andy Goldsworthy (http://www.morning-earth.org/ARTISTNATURALISTS/AN_Goldsworthy.html) and I was totally amazed and felt a deep connection with his work as he is an artist/naturalist. I know it sounds hippie, but his projects are so cool that I had to try out some works of my own, i know it's sort of copycatting, but who cares, it was a ton of fun and took me a good 6 hours to make gathering up all the leaves from different maple trees and arranging them arround the trunk of one of our trees. As I was working on this I started by collecting leaves from one of my own trees, but as I ran out and needed more colors, I kept having to go around my neighborhood to get more leaves. I think it turned out pretty cool and the next day, it had pretty much blown away, but it was still a fun little project. I even had a little go at the front porch which didn't get completed.








Sunday, October 12, 2008

MONSTER!

You never know what's lurking around the corner!
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

While you've been away...

I know that we haven't had much to post of excitement these past couple of weeks and that usually our blogs are heavily photo based and for that reason you haven't heard from us. Well, we are at the Porter's this weekend for conference and I had to take a few pictures of our newest member of the family strutting his stuff and getting his first haircut.

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On another note, I can't believe Philly's getting a temple! Or Argentina for that matter. That's pretty neat. The members in Philly were told that if they'd pay their tithing, they would get a temple. Someone must have written a huge check!

Friday, September 19, 2008

YIKES

Today I was talking on the phone with Sarah when Maya decided to go out back and play. She opened the door, stepped outside and started screaming her brains out. I was afraid she had sliced her foot off (or at the very least her toe) so I ran over and started scanning the area for blood. I didn't find any blood, however I did find a rather large praying mantis standing near the doorway. My child who loves everything nature was pointing and crying hysterically. Being the mature adult that I am, I made fun of her and suggested we catch it so we could show Porter and Dad when they get home. Maya now loves her 'Pry Mantis' and after a short while came in saying "Mom guess what my 'Pry Mantis" did?" "What did he do Maya?" "He POOPED and it looks just like our poop." After that exciting event she decided her "Pry Mantis" was hungry so we got out the Bug library book she just checked out last week and did some research. It turns out Mantis are voracious eaters and will eat just about any bugs so we went bug hunting and watched that "Pry Mantis" devour a cricket. It was awesome!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I needed this

I dug deep into the vault and I'm hoping I'm not repeating any pictures.
I'm tired of not seeing my kids when I log onto our page so I'm posting these to make me feel better.
My sister is borrowing my mom's camera and said once she gets her camera back I can borrow my moms so I can't wait for that joyous event.
I guess these picture of the younger version of the ragamuffins will have to do till then.
But I'm mostly trying to avoid planning my joyschool lesson for tomorrow. I have been pretty productive today and the last thing on my list is joyschool and I'm just procrastinating.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Camera Crazy

I'm going absolutely nuts without my camera! My mom always told me "You should never love anything that can't love you back", and I usually try to heed that advice, but I'm dangerously close to loving that stupid camera. I hate not having it, especially now when my baby is starting to make his first big boy messes.
Due to the previously mentioned delima of having no camera you will have to dust off your imaginations and picture this... I was siting in the living room talking to my sister when Addie (my niece) came in saying 'Bennett eat food' I just assumed she meant he was playing in the pantry and continued my discussion. Well I know what happens when you assume but I don't let that keep me from proving it. A few seconds later I happen to see Bennett's little leg from around the corner and it's covered in a brown powder. And instantly it clicks "OH CRAP HIS GOTTEN INTO THE COCO POWDER." I had just bought a brand new container of coco and somehow he had gotten into it and spilled it all over himself and the pantry. It was a terrible mess to clean up but his little coco face was priceless and he smelled delicious all day.
At leas until the next big mess of the day. A little later I saw Bennett going into the bathroom while I was busy so mentally I say to myself "Oops he's not supposed to play in there I'll get him in just a sec." A second was just long enough for him to get into the toilet and not only grab the contents (he has a sister who is afraid of the sound a flushing toilet makes) but put them into his mouth (don't worry I wouldn't have photographed this mess). What has my baby turned into?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's the thought that counts

Last week the we finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl to the kids. They both loved it! And in celebration of our accomplishment (reading our first big book) we bought a ton of Wonka brand candy and settled in for a movie night. We had prepared everything and had even borrowed the video from Sarah (way to save a buck). I had made these cute meatloaf and mashed potato cupcakes from family fun, and candied carrots (Willy Wonka wouldn't have it any other way). After dinner we started the video, broke into the candy, and the kids had eaten more than I care to admit before the opening credits even finished (we watched the old version). Well you would think with all the careful planning that went into this little shindig we would have been all set, but less than 10 minutes into the movie the disc started skipping infuriatingly (that's what I get for being a cheapskate). Casey then tried to improvise by renting the movie online, but it was going to take an hour to download so in a fit of desperation we let the kids watch an animated Star Wars movie and gorged ourselves on chocolate and 'fizzy lifting drink' to lessen the disappointment.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The last few days we have discovered it's getting cooler outside as we walk Porter down to the bus stop. As much as I hate to admit it I think summer is quickly making way for fall. Every year about this time I start panicking, thinking "What am I going to do when it too cold to play outside?" We always seem to manage but I honestly think summer is the BEST! Maya and Porter both have learned to hula hoop (Bennett is still practicing), Porter learned to whistle, Maya learned to snap, Bennett has taken his first (very wobbly) steps, Porter learned to ride a bike with no training wheels, and Maya learned to ride a bike with training wheels (we found one this weekend at a yard sale for $10.00 -Oh, another thing I'm going to miss, Yard Sales). Summer is great for learning new things (hopefully the school year will be able to measure up).


(P.S. our camera is out of commission (Casey broke it on his camping trip with his brothers - yes he is in big trouble) so we are having to rely on older pictures, indefinitely)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Orange Co. Biker Porter




Porter is 5 years old now and has never had a real bike. Of course he had a Little Tykes Big Wheel, but it's not the same. So when we went down to Nana's house this weekend, there was the coolest kids bike in her garage. It was a bike that looked like a chopper motorbike which one of their friends had given them for Porter. Needless to say, Porter wanted on it the minute he saw it and within 5 minutes he was begging me to take off the training wheels which I did. He got on the bike and with a push he was gone. I think I only helped him balance 2 or 3 times before he was doing wheelies and getting massive air on his own.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Darby Canyon or Is That an Omen We Should Be Paying Attention To?

For Months now I had been looking forward to flying out to Utah so that I could spend some time with my brothers, sister, and the unofficial 6th Elmer sibling, Cameron Rippy.

After flying into SLC, my brother Dan and Cameron and I drove up to Rexburg, Idaho and crashed at Will and Nicole's place where we stayed up late catching up.

The next morning, since we couldn't leave until 11am, we spent about 3 hours on Willy's Wii trying to hone our Ninja Gaiden skills which we had cultivated as teens in the early 90's. Luckily the Wii's controller was as un-ergonomical as the original had been and we soon found out we were just as bad at 30 as we were at 13 and that level 3 is still way hard to beat!

After that exciting dip into the past, we gathered our gear and packs and headed out to Darby canyon in Driggs, Idaho, about an hour away.


Upon arrival at the trail head an hour later, we had learned three very important pieces of information. The first being that "Holy Diver" was the lyric Dio and Kill Switch Engage sings and not "Moldy Tiger" as Cameron suggests it was. The second was that no matter how gently you bang on a cracked windshield, it still is never a good idea, even if you are Willy. And the third is that if you're going to be hiking into the Ice Caves, you'd better darn well make sure that the birth canal isn't still plugged with ice before you pull your rappel rope after the initial 60' ice rappel into the caves or you could be spending the night in the caves and have search and rescue come and rescue your butts out of there.



There were about 50 cars parked at the trailhead because SAR (Search and Rescue) was conducting a search for some cavers who had gone into the Ice caves and had gotten stuck by ignoring important piece of information number 3. It was comforting to know that if we did get ourselves in over our heads, we'd at least have someone there to pull our dead, frozen bodies out of the caves. Search and Rescue Sign stating: "Search and Rescue Operation in Progress. Please do not drive past this sign!"
Thankfully they had a pretty good attitude about us going up there, but maybe that's just because they were kind enough to snap this final mugshot of all of us together so that they could quickly identify bodies and notify next of kin.
The 2 mile hike up to the Wind caves was peppered with comments like, "When is it going to level out?" and "There is no way this is only 2 miles" and "I knew I shouldn't have eaten 10 Jack-in-the-Box tacos even though it only cost me $5." Most, if not all of these comments came from the extreme left of the above picture, but i'm sure we were all guilty of thinking them at one point or another.



We decided that we would camp at the base of the Wind Caves since our plans of actually going through the caves was impossible due to the ice plug, even though a small portion of our group wanted to try chipping out the plug with a hatchet. We unloaded our gear at base camp and put on the only clothes we had that weren't dripping in sweat and headed up to the Wind Caves where a massive waterfall was cascading out of the entrance to the caves. As we entered the cave, you could immedeatly feel the temperature drop about 20 degrees and as we hiked further into the mammoth entrance to the cave and as it got darker, we started flipping on our headlamps and strapping on our knee pads. We finally came to the entrance of the Wind cave, a small birth canal of a hole, about 2-3' wide and squirmed our way in. It only got tighter from there and at one point the cave makes this funky Z-shape and Dan was pickpocketed by the cave as it grabbed everything in his pockets and scattered them on the floor as he slithered through. We finally got to the toilet bowl, the furthest you can go in without ropes and we rappelled in. Malerie did her first rappel ever in 40 degree blackness into a wet pit. The rest of us dropped in and we found that we could not really go much further, though 3 of us were able to get across a raging underground river by stemming above it. I imagine we could have all made it across, but due to the fact that some of us could no longer feel our fingers despite the neoprene gloves we had, we decided to turn back and watch Cameron display his remarkable crevasse rescuing skill of ascending a rope with Prusiks. Progress was painfully slow, but in the end he made it up and was able to belay the rest of us out of the Pit of Despair. By the time we got back to camp, we were excited and exhausted and did what any excited and exhausted cavers who had just returned to camp would do, we consumed calories! and man did I punish that MRE that I brought, though after that meal, I do not envy those serving in the Armed Forces.
The evening was spent sleeping under the stars and with Cameron, Dan, and Will waking up every ten minutes thinking they'd heard a bear as they had chosen to sleep closest to the fire pit where Dan had dumped his Tuna juice on the fire to quench the flames before bed. Robby, who had forgotten to pack a sleeping pad, made do with about a million little pinecones and slept like a slept like the Princess and the Pea.


The next morning we awoke and against overwhelming odds, the group was persuaded to ignore their sore muscles and aching backs for a push to the entrance of the Ice caves. The hike was again peppered with the "There's no way this is 1/4 mile" and "Do you really know where the entrance is" but despite all that, we made it up and enjoyed the icy cold air blowing out of the entrance. After a bit of exploring, we decided to call it quits and trucked on back to the base camp and packed up our stuff and headed off. After hiking an hour back down to the car, we decided to take a dip in the icy stream, but as we were all changing, a group of young women drove up while we were in our B-day suits. Malerie of course was sent elsewhere to change, but I think we definetley scared those young women away. 10 minutes and 10 screams later we were back in the car and on our way back to the Burg. All in all, a successful trip i'd say.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The day all parents dread

You know it's coming but for some reason you never actually think it will get here. The dreaded first day of Kindergarten! I was so nervous about sending Porter to school (probably because I though he'd be like me and spend every day in the bathroom crying) but he did amazingly well.
And the first day of school is here. My baby boy started kindergarten today.
Who wouldn't be happy to start school with the coolest backpack around (thanks to Nana)

The proud parents
Filling out the paperwork

Waiting for the school bus, is tougher than waiting for Christmas!

It can be fun for a little bit but mostly it's just down right tedious!
Finally all our waiting paid off and he's home!
He really loved his first day and as he stepped off the bus he told Sarah "I loved everything about it". Later he did tell me that the lunch wasn't big enough so tomorrow he wants to buy school lunch and take a lunch box (he is certain a kid did that today, but I have my doubts). I have really debated weather I should put him in half day or full day and was certain I wanted half day but when I got there for registration I talked to the principal and some other people and decided to try full day with the option to switch if it isn't working, but Porter told me today he LOVES FULL DAY! I honestly don't think he missed me at all. Thank goodness for a great school and a good teacher!

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recruiting

For those of you who have heard me talking about the biggest loser contest Casey and I have been involved in and thought "Wow, that sounds cool. I wish I could find something like that!" Your day has come. The next session starts Friday (yes that is tomorrow, but I believe anytime this week is acceptable) and all you have to do is head over to my Moms site (http://biggestloser-doingitsolo.blogspot.com/) and leave a comment saying YOU WANT IN! Easy peasy. Each contestant is required to purchase a $10 gift card for a favorite place (Barns and Nobles, Dairy Queen, whatever) and I believe the prizes will be split up among the top three place winners. We weigh in each Friday and the percentages are figured and posted by my lovely mother. Each contestant can post encouragement, recipes or simply talk smack to the other contestants (my personal favorite). It's a great way to keep yourself accountable and motivated. Hope to see you in the winner bracket.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer time, Summer time, Sum sum summer time




One of Casey's cousins, who I admire, did a week of activities where she let each kid plan a day and the day had to include meals, main event, service project, and quiet activity (unfortunately her blog is private so you can't see all the adorable ideas and pictures she posted). I loved the idea and since my kids are pretty young still I though I'd help them come up with some options. While snooping around on other peoples blogs I came across this list of fun summer activities to keep the munchkins busy and entertained.



Crafts:
Make homemade stickers
Paint with watercolors (I let them use my real watercolor paint)
Use potatoes carved with simple designs as stamps to make our own wrapping paper
Stamp birthday cards for family and friends, file them to send throughout the year
Make Christmas decorations or ornaments
Create scrapbook pages
Make home made pinatas
Break your pinata
Make playdough
'Stained Glass Windows' - Cover the sticky side of contact paper with several colors of tissue paper, make sure to leave about an inch edge all the way around so it will stick to the window
Make your own chalk
Make candles
Make papercrafts. This site has loads of fun printables to make and do!
Write Secret Messages

Cooking:
Bake a cake, decorate it, and sing "Happy Unbirthday to Us!"
Make popsicles
Bake mini loaves of bread, make butter to spread on them
Bake up different batches of muffins to freeze for snacks
Make homemade bagels
Decorate sugar cookies
Bake cupcakes and deliver to friends
Choose different cookies recipes to bake and freeze for snacks
Make Ice cream in a bag
Make tiny treats

Field Trips:
Go swimming
Pick raspberries
Go to the museum
Ride a horse
Go out for ice cream
Trip to the dollar store
Go to the movies
Attend a concert
Visit a nursing home or an elderly neighbor or friend
Go bird watching

Education:
Learn a new Primary Song or Children's Song
Check out a book from the library on paper airplanes. Make all different kinds and have competitions.
Make 'Slime'
Make a list of what you want to learn about this year (Homeschool)
Buy school supplies
Catch butterflies, compare them, learn the life cycle of a butterfly
Plant a garden
Learn about different types of poetry (haiku, limerick, acrostic) and write your own
Design a quilt
Sew your quilt
Read books all day or listen to books on tape
Write a story then illustrate it

Patriotic:
Make patriotic bracelets
Paint T-shirts for the 4th of July (search FamilyFun)
Make patriotic hats
Attend a parade
Do patriotic activity pages (wordsearches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages) Do an internet search to find more than you can ever do!
Sing the other verses to the Star Spangled Banner
Ring the "Liberty Bell" by throwing rolled up socks at a bell hanging up on the ceiling

Boutique Week:
Make soap
Make chapstick and lip balm
Have a make-up makeover. Don't forget to take glam shots!
Paint toenails and fingernails.
Make charm bracelets
Make seed bead rings
Sew some cool new PJ pants
Make hair accesories - tie lots of ribbons around hair elastics or make ribbon headbands

Outdoor Activities:
Build a campfire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows
Camp out on the lawn
Blow bubbles. Use different wands. Be creative!
Go for a walk
Try geocaching or letterboxing. These are SO MUCH FUN!!!!
Play water games
Try some new outdoor games (search FamilyFun)
Have a nature scavenger hunt. Write a list for older children. For younger children paint different colors on the bottom of egg cartons (different shades of green, brown, other colors of nature) and see if you can find objects matching those colors. You'd be surprised at what they can find!!
Bike riding
Hiking
Squirt gun fights
Water Balloon fights
Have different races: wheelbarrow, crab walk, crawling, etc.
Relax on the lawn watching for shapes in the clouds

Indoor activities (Sabbath appropriate):
Draw pictures and send to the Friend Magazine
Write down everything you are thankful for. Be very specific.
Read pioneer or ancestor stories. Act out your favorite ones.
Try writing your own song
Choose a cousin to write a letter to. Make sure to tell them all the things you admire and like about them!
Make your Christmas wish list (I like to get my Christmas shopping done by November)
Write real letters (not e-mail!) - to grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, or friends
Make your own envelopes out of wrapping paper to send your letters in (Look here for templates)
List 5 nice things about each member of your family
Play board games all day
Think of a good service project to do. Plan it out and carry through with the plan
Make a list of what to give everyone for ChristmasMusic Mix CD

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We miss our DAD!


Casey went to Utah this week to spend some quality time with his brother (and sister, I didn't forget you Mal). They were going caving and I'm sure he'll post about it when he gets back, but he sure sounds like he's having fun. So in an effort to keep up here are some of the fun things we've been up to while he's been gone.

  • Porter and Maya are on round two of swim lessons and are loving it this time. Our lessons are at 11:30 so it's much warmer out (Maya is especially happy about that) and Maya and Landon are in the same class so that is exciting for them (not so exciting for their poor teachers).
  • We went to tropicanoe cove and swam for half price on Family Day. The kids really had a good time there even they are all too small to go on any of the cool slides.
  • Nana and Hanny came to stay with us for a few days so we had lots of fun having them here. We played a big game of kickball in the back yard last night which was real fun except for uncle Steve made both of my children cry by beaming them with the ball (agressive).
  • Porter picked out a seeded watermellon (spoiled kids have never had one) and we ate that in the back yard and spit seeds at each other. They thought that was the coolest thing ever!
  • Aunt Sarah taught Bennett how to say Uh-Oh. It's cute (sorry about the blurry pic. it didn't look so blurry in the preview stage).
  • And I went to see The Dark Night (without Casey. I think he was kind of bummed). It was sufficiently creepy, and I'm dreading sleeping alone the next few nights. Hopefully I won't have nightmares of the joker coming to get me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Portraits



I'm taking a photography class (a wonderful lady from the ward is teaching for R.S.) and I'm really loving it. I haven't had quite as much time as I'd like to take pictures, but we are on the last segment of the class which is portraits and of course it's my favorite. Here are some of the pics I'm loving so far. I'm sure they are not the best as far as design goes, but I can't help but love the subject matter. Let me know what you think. I have to start choosing picture to submit for the CD she's putting together and for the gallery we'll do in a few weeks, so I may be asking for more input.