Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Super Cute Four Year Old

Bayden turned four last Wednesday! I've been all sad about it the last month to think that my baby is four, but he was so excited for his big day to come. He has been crafting his birthday list every time we go to Target for the past 3 months.
He started his celebrating the day before with his little friends from his speech class. Here he is with his sweet little friend, Sara.
Here is the lovely crown he was presented with at speech.
Snacking on a few leftover birthday treats.
The kids couldn't wait for the next morning to come to celebrate with Bay. He chose donuts for his birthday breakfast.
Opening up his gifts that his siblings carefully picked out for him.
Pure joy when he discovered he got the "big kids" Harry Potter Lego Set
Along with the Thomas Train Set he really couldn't live without.
Gracie worked on this card for him the night before for about an hour. I love heartfelt sentiments like that.
The gang before I marched them off to finish piano, brush teeth and do their reading.
I had big plans for us the entire day, like riding the train, going to the park, feeding the ducks and he just kept telling me, "NO". He just wanted to stay home and play with his toys and cuddle. Finally at 2:00 he said he would love to go to Trader Joe's to get his favorite cookies n cream ice cream and veggie sticks!
After Trader Joe's I convinced him to ride his bike up to the school to pick up the kids. Of course that is always a treat. He is a crazy on that bike.
The kids so badly wanted me to bring him into each of their classrooms so everyone would know it was his birthday and they could all sing to him. I don't think they understand that their teachers probably wouldn't enjoy the interruption, but I did find it very sweet that they all wanted to show him off.
He chose In-N-Out Burger for his birthday dinner. Don't be fooled though, he doesn't actually eat anything on their menu, but he will drink a chocolate shake!
His final birthday wish for the day was to watch Toy Story 3 with all of his "big friends" aka all of his siblings friends that he thinks are his own. We had a houseful of fun kids that sure made him feel special the whole evening. Every time I went to check on him he was right smack dab in the middle of the action.
He really wanted "Harry Potter Buttcakes" (He can't say cupcakes, so he calls them "buttcakes". This results in hysterical laughter from all of us anytime he says it. Which causes us to ask him almost daily if he wants cake or cupcakes for dessert and he will always choose "buttcakes" which makes us all laugh all over again.) It will be so sad when he loses that little lisp of his because it provides us with some very funny translations.
I accidentally bought trick candles. I felt so bad because it was so disturbing to him. He is going to have a Pirate birthday party with all of his "little friends" following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Now I get to tell Bayden the four things that make him so fabulous. Actually there are a lot more than four, but I'll try to control myself.

1) He is REALLY funny! This little boy has a sense of humor and loves to make others laugh. He is pretty good at it too with his dance moves, funny facial expressions and hilarious comments. I often wish I had our daily conversations recorded because I don't think people believe all the truly funny things he says and does. He puts a huge smile on all of our faces.

2) He is tender. He loves to come up and tickle my arm and then he'll whisper he loves me in my ear. He loves to have his arm tickled, so it is his way of showing affection. It is really sweet. He loves to cuddle with his two blankets and always wants either Mark or I to cuddle him to sleep and then he wakes up every night without fail to ask us to come back in and sleep with him.

3) He is tenacious. He doesn't give up and has no fear. He expects a lot from himself and get frustrated when he can't do something. He works hard though and through his persistence he usually gets it done.

4) He loves his part from our Primary program. Honestly, he still says his part about 3 times a day, "Jesus Helps Us Do Things!" A few weeks ago he was crying because I asked him to clean up the Legos. I said, "I need to see you do your part and then I will come and do mine". He stood up really tall and said, "Jesus Helps Us Do Things!" He thought that was the "part" I was talking about when I was really referring to his share of the work. That has probably happened a dozen times since because I'm always encouraging him to do his "part" around the house (again referring to chores), but he just thinks I want him to recite his part. It is funny and now the kids are always telling him to do his part...the poor little tortured soul.

I must admit I'm quite obsessed with the little guy. I hate to be away from him too long and I find myself wanting to let other things slip by the wayside, so I have more time to be with him. He is such a bright spot in our home and we love him so much! You are the best Bay!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Wedding In Vegas

The weekend of Halloween I had the opportunity to fly to Vegas for a quick trip to see beautiful Aubrey get married! This sweet girl was our babysitter when McCall was just a baby. Their family is like an extension of our own family and we were beyond sad when they moved from California back to Las Vegas several years ago because we love them so much. Luckily, we still manage to see each other a couple of times each year which really isn't enough for us, but it will have to do until Eric figures out that California is where they belong.

This is the fourth and final lovely daughter to be married. Her older sister, Amy was also one of our babysitters and was expecting her third little girl any moment. We were hoping she would be born while we were there, but no such luck. I flew down with one of my best friends, Denise for the festivities. Mark was the brave husband staying home to manage our crew. Except for the one small(well kind of big depending on who you ask) miscommunication he had a great weekend with the kids. I accidentally thought it was pajama day on Friday and had the kids jammies all layed out for them to wear to school (I know total mother of the year). Imagine Gracie's horror when she walked into a classroom of 64 kindergartners to realize that it wasn't really pajama day. OOPS! A quick walk home, a quick change and tons of tears later the situation was remedied, although I'm sure that memory might be cemented in her brain forever.

Here is the beautiful bride and with her parents on the left hand side, I love how happy Eric is in this picture.

Of course we flew in the afternoon before the wedding, so we got to have a little bit of fun the night before. Mark's sweet parents live in Vegas and they always show us a really great time. His mom had the great idea of going to see the Donny and Marie show. I can remember when I was younger my brother and I had Donny and Marie dolls with the purple outfits and their purple stage that we use to play with. I must admit it was a really great show, they are great performers. I think Donny has an amazing voice. Gigi, was the Donny and Marie trivia queen, I was so impressed. Here is a picture of Denise and I with Donny's Dancing with the Stars trophy.
Actually, on the night we were there, Dancing With The Stars was also there filming a segment for their big anniversary show where they are awarding Marie an award. If you listen really closely during the show, you will hear a really loud whistle...that came from our table, my friend Denise! Our little claim to fame.
Oops, I forgot to rotate these pictures, but I'm too lazy to fix it now. After the show we went to Serendipity, yep the famous one, for Frozen Hot Chocolate and the best nachos I've ever had. It was so fun to have an evening alone with Gigi. Whenever we are in Vegas it is always me and five other little friends, so we don't really get one on one time together. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids to pieces, but it was SO MUCH FUN to laugh and chat together without any interruptions or thoughts of having to get five little people ready for bed at the end of our evening. It was so relaxing. I'm thinking it would make for a nice tradition. Here is Gigi, Denise and I in front of the Paris hotel.

Here we are awaiting the start of the Donny and Marie show. We had awesome seats.
Denise and I at the Bellagio in their conservatory.
Laura and I at Aubrey's reception. Isn't she so young looking!
Aubrey and Dave cutting the cake.
The group of us that came to support Laura and Aubrey. Four of us still in California, one in Vegas and one in Virginia now.
We love these two fun people. Thanks for inviting us to a great party. The rest of Team Fellows were sad they couldn't join us for the fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tutu's Movitivate

Take a group of 15 twelve year old girls at a soccer tournament after a terrible defeat and tell them you'll wear a tutu if they win their next three games and you'll be surprised what they can do.

McCall's team participated in a Halloween tournament last weekend, lost miserably the first game and went onto win the next 3 games. They went to the finals of the tournament and won in double overtime where it finally game down to PK's. We won 5-1. Her wonderful coaches agreed to wear tutu's to yesterdays game against the number one ranked team in our district.
Here are the two lovelies, they are pretty tall and solid, but those tutu's worked some magic with the girls.
McCall with Coach Randy
Taking a break at half time.
McCall with Coach Marlin (love the neon green)
Here are the girls after beating the number 1 team 2-1 (the other teams 1 goal resulted from a handball in the goal box). Coach Marlin said, "Had I known the power of the tutu, I would have started wearing one back in September!" The girls were amazing! Strong legs, controlled passes, outstanding ball skills it was a really fun game to watch and the coaches made it pretty entertaining as well.
Here is McCall with her trophy from last weeks tournament. Four more weeks until District Cup, we can't wait for more tutu's!

Parker's team was defeated 3-1. Carson's team won 4-1 and Gracie's team ended up playing girls against the parents because the other team was a no show. Gracie said, "this was the best game of my life." I think it might have been one of my favorites too!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

I didn't think it was going to happen, but somehow we managed to make our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. We decided to have Gracie bail on soccer and McCall had to cancel her tutoring job in order for us to have an afternoon that would work for everyone.

Initially we wanted to go to the big fancy pumpkin patch an hour away with giant slides, train rides, panning for marbles and tons of yummy food. Our plan was to pick up McCall early for school and leave at 3:00. Because of a little work drama and traffic at 4:00 we were exactly .5 miles from our home. At 4:30 we were exactly 2 miles from our home. Since the pumpkin patch closes at 6:30, we accepted defeat and decided to go to our own little pumpkin patch right in town. I must admit that sometimes less is more and everyone was just as happy. Sometimes we try to make things so grand and I have to be reminded that kids are pretty easy to please.
Here is the crew in front of the barn. Of course it is really difficult for them to pose for a normal picture, but they were having fun.
Here is the fam in the midst of our search for pumpkins.
Bayden was totally obsessed with the wagons. I think we had about 10 different wagons in the course of our visit.
Just for the record, McCall doesn't usually wear weird shirts like this, but it was crazy shirt day at school. Here she is with her crazy eyes.
Goofing around in the corn maze.
Parker sat there forever trying to get that silly goat to eat his corn. He would eat everyone else's, but not Parkers.
Can you guess who the comedian is in our family?
Parker was my pumpkin pal. He helped me pick out a great pumpkin.
Carson trying to narrow his pumpkins down, somehow he talked me into two.
More corn maze fun.
Another side note...Gracie picked out her outfit today hence the sweater with the weird shirt.
One final picture before we headed out for dinner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Status Report

I can't believe we are heading into the last week of October. It has been a busy month full of memorable things for both the kids and Mark and I. Of course, I'm never as diligent as I would like to be about documenting it all, so here is my quick run down on the latest at the Fellows.

1. First Bayden is potty training. Yes, we have been working on it for some time, since August 9th to be exact. I was hoping once we reached 3 days in a row without an accident we could celebrate and let the world know we are done with diapers. Unfortunately, we haven't made it to that magical 3 day mark yet! It has been a challenge to say the least and I believe I've tried every technique/bribe known to man. I've come to the conclusion that somethings are harder for certain individuals and I just need to patiently help him find success in this area. Either that or he is just trying to secure his position in the family which he has safely done the last 3 months.

It is a good thing I determined this about 1 month ago because last week he decided to flush his Diesel 10 Thomas Train down our toilet. It required a lot of deep breathing on my part because it has totally ruined our toilet. I didn't freak out, but in a really strained voice told him what types of things we flush down the toilet. Luckily, I have a friend who has frequent "toy flushings" at her home and she has inspired me to fix it myself instead of paying the $350 to a plumber! Now if I can just get an uninterrupted 1 1/2 hour block of time, to actually attempt it. I'm thinking next Monday might be my lucky day for attempting this little feat.
2. The Halloween boxes and decorations have provided a lot of joy at our house this month! The kids are begging me to take their photos with their random outfits and disguises on.

3. Parker, yes shy little Parker, ran for Student Body Treasurer. He along with 19 other students boldly stood before the student body to share why they would excel as school treasurer. He lost, but he was glad that he got to sit on the comfortable benches throughout the entire assembly (which was super duper long with 65 kids running for office each delivering a speech). I was proud of him for trying and doing something that is REALLy hard for him.

He took another bold step (and surprised me again) the following week by running for his class representative, this time he won. I don't really care for politics, so hopefully this will be it for him. He wanted a soccer theme, so here is the poster we came up with.
4. McCall had her first orchestra performance of the tri-mester. Unfortunately I had a Stake Primary meeting that I had to present at, so I was unable to see it but Mark said she did a great job! I love listening to her practice her songs and I'm anxiously awaiting her Christmas concert.
This week is Red Ribbon week at our school. Yesterday was "Crazy Sock" day and Carson and Gracie were pretty excited about it. Here are the ensembles they came up with.
I figure if he is going to take over 3 months to get potty trained I'm going to get as many blackmail pictures as possible. He may be causing me a little grief now, but I'll cause him a little when he's older. The other night during Family Night he came out with his underwear on backwards. We all got a kick out of it. He is quite possibly one of the funniest people I know.
Gracie was "Star Student" in her class last week. She was so so so excited about that and counted down the days until it was her turn. As part of the fun she gets to bring the class mascot, Freddie, home with her. She loves that little stuffed animal. Of course she had to bring it home on the same day that we got a little note from the school informing us that one of her classmates had lice, NICE. Let's just say, I had to deep breathe every time I saw her hug that little Freddie. It grosses me out to think of all the kids hugging it and kissing it and drooling on it while they sleep and then passing it off to the next kid. Finally, I couldn't stand the thought any longer, so I had to put him in a Ziplock bag. When she was sound a sleep, I gave Freddie his own little spa moment giving him a hot soapy bath in the washing machine. I felt much better about her posing for the picture below in the morning.
About three weeks ago, we got one of our favorite friends to stay with us for the night while his family was out of town. Calvin Millett came over and as you can see poor Calvin was stalked all night by our children. We love Calvie!
Carson finally lost his snaggletooth and now all he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth! He also made this lovely fall centerpiece for me at school. I will always cherish it, thank you Carson. He was so excited about it that he decided to make one for our sweet little friend in the assisted living home, Gwen. He took his money and went and bought all of the supplies and taught us how to make it one night for Family Night.
Mark and I had a great trip to San Francisco. It actually was a lot of work for Mark and more fun for me. His mom came and watched our kids while we headed into the city. I love being close enough to rush home if my kids get sick, but still be able to have a little down time. I got to go to a few great art museums in the city, shop, take long walks and eat at all of my favorite restaurants. When Mark wasn't busy with work, which really wasn't that often, we had a great time together.

Probably one of the highlights was a concert we went to on Wednesday night. Oracle converted Treasure Island into a big carnival and invited 6 different bands to come and play. The first one we saw was one of our favorite, English Beat! They were awesome in concert and sounded so good live. After English Beat we went and listened to Berlin. It was a fun trip down memory lane listening to songs from our high school days. The funniest part of the whole evening was when the lead singer, Terrie Nunn, got on her bouncers shoulders and walked throughout the audience singing Take My Breath Away, she walked over and took Mark's hand and started signing to him (it was creeping and hilarious all at the same time)! Mark and I laughed the entire night about that one. After Berlin, Don Henley was up next. He was better than I expected. We were all pretty anxious for the headlining band, The Black Eyed Peas. Mark didn't get to hold Fergie's hand, but she was so fun to watch. She is a great performer. The evening ended with the Steve Miller Band. We didn't stay all the way to the end because we were so tired (I think we are getting old). Here is a picture of Grace Cathedral, a beautiful cathedral in the center of San Francisco.
McCall completed her honors english project, Anne of Green Gables! Phew, we are glad to have the sucker over with. I should have taken a picture of the back of the house because that is where all the detail is. We worked on it for weeks and then threw it away the day after she turned it in kind of makes me hate school projects even more.
The thing that has been consuming most of our time this month, well actually since August 1st is soccer. I have a love/hate relationship with soccer. I love that our kids enjoy it and work really hard at it, but I sometimes wish it wasn't so all consuming. Parker practices 4 days a week, the younger kids twice a week and then usually 5-6 games between all of the kids on Saturday, which means soccer 6 days a week. Combine that with after school clubs, homework, tennis, piano, viola, speech therapy, occupational therapy, scouts, and yw and we don't have a lot time left over for cuddling or just hanging out. I think it is probably the same thing we all struggle with, trying to find that perfect balance. We aren't good at it, so we'll continue driving all over the place to watch our kids play soccer with huge smiles on their faces.
We headed to San Francisco for another tournament for McCall. Their team took 3rd place at the Golden Gate Invitational. It was a great weekend down there and she was so happy to find out at practice on Tuesday that her team had moved to the finals on Sunday after winning both of their games on Saturday. Here she is wearing her medal.
Bayden is the consummate cheerleader always there to watch and support his siblings. They owe him some serious cheer time when he starts playing.
Carson has had a great season so far this year. He is working so hard and his ball skills have improved tremendously. He plays on the sweetest little team, with the cutest boys and funnest families.
I never seem to be on the right side of the field that he is playing on, so here is a very far way picture of him.
Gracie loves soccer and wants to play it all the time. I hear the constant thump of a soccer ball against my living room wall every night thanks to this little missy. She got asked to play goalie in one of her games. She got scored on three times before Mark made it to her game and asked me how she was going. When I told him she wasn't doing very well, he asked, "Does she know she can use her hands?" I seriously couldn't remember if I had taught her that or not. Too many kids playing soccer and I couldn't for the life of me remember if I had taught her that. Mark walked over to her and yelled from the sidelines, "Gracie, you know you can use your hands, right?" It was like a huge lightbulb switched on in her little brain...I guess I forgot to tell her. She didn't get scored on after that. I was so grateful Mark made it to that game because the thought never even occurred to me.
Parker is also thoroughly enjoying his soccer. He is playing with a lot more passion and determination than I've ever seen him play before. He was asked two weeks ago at a game in Chico to play keeper for the first time ever in his life. I was completely horrified...I hate the keeper position because it is so much pressure for one little person. He of course was thrilled and so was his coach. It is his new found love and now his coach wants him to go to goalie training and has him play that position in every game now. He is really excited about it and wants us to kick balls at him all the time now. I think I've lost this battle for now, so I'll just embrace it.
Well I have to run, Bayden just pooped in the tub. Seriously he did, I'm not joking we have total potty issues. It is a really good thing that I just wrote a few moments ago about how patient I'm going to be now because I'm going to have to really put into practice.