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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We've got a 12 year old!

McCall turned 12 years old on the 7th of October. Since last year her birthday happened to land on the week I was deathly ill and unable to do much of anything and because I still feel guilt over this fact, we celebrated big this year.

McCall has a lot of really sweet friends. She felt a little overwhelmed last year with so many at one party, so somehow she talked me into two parties for this year (can you tell how guilty I felt about last year). We started out the festivities with a swim party with her church friends and friends from soccer. Her sweet teacher, Sister Hall offered up her home for the party. The girls swam, made necklaces, played a few games and most importantly they ate. Burgers, Ribs, Hot Dogs, Chips, Dips, Bruschetta (McCall's favorite), Baguettes, Fruit, Pasta Salad and Cake and Ice Cream. I'm grateful she has such a fun group of friends to associate with at both church and soccer.

Next we partied with her school friends. Another group of adorable girls and one steadfast boy, Rizal, McCall's best friend since birth. I actually think he came to the hospital with his mom the day she was born. They are super tight and it wouldn't have been a party without Rizal. I must confess that after the first 20 minutes he ditched the girls for about an hour to play with Parker and Carson. Once he convinced Parker to join the party everyone was happy. McCall's favorite restaurant is the Melting Pot (thanks Caroline for introducing us to it), so we went with a French Fondue party. The girl loves food, so of course it was all about the food again. Two yummy cheese fondues with steak, chicken, ham, veggies, pretzels, bread and apples for dipping. She followed it up with two chocolate fondues and brownies, rice krispie treats, strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, and pretzels for dipping.

After dinner we played games and opened gifts. When each of the girls gave their gift to McCall to open, they each shared one reason why they love McCall. I have to say it was so touching to hear the lovely things they had to say about McCall. Their comments were so heartfelt and well thought out. What a great group of girls. They are so kind to each other and push each other to excel at whatever the other is doing. Again, I'm so grateful that McCall has such a tight knit group of friends that she loves dearly.

By the time her actually birthday rolled around the following Thursday she was feeling pretty loved. As my gift to her, I let her skip piano practice and sleep in. Her brothers waited anxiously to run in and wake her up.
The 12 year old making her entrance.

Opening presents from the family followed by her birthday breakfast of French Toast, Berries and Bacon. We surprised her with a new bike since her old one was totally small and she looked like a nerd riding it.
Mark multi-tasking, finishing up breakfast while bringing McCall's bike outside for her.
New boots and a new bike with her jammies on! She was so happy about the bike she couldn't wait to get out there and ride it.
Here she is just before she left for school with her birthday outfit on. The rest of her day was busy. Bayden and I were able to bring her lunch to school and cookies for all of her friends. After school we had yummy snacks and then she had to rush to soccer and then straight from soccer to thing she was most excited for... Young Women's!!! She has been counting down the days since she is the youngest girl in her primary class. She had a great time even though her chair collapsed on her and her entire dinner went flying all over the YW's room. At least she made a memorable entrance. We ended up doing her family birthday dinner the following Sunday, so the girl was celebrated.

Here are the 12 things that make McCall so special:

1) She is super patient.

2) She tickles Gracie's back every single night until she falls asleep (because as stated above she is patient and I am not)

3) She is a good teacher. She explains things so well, especially to those who have a hard time understanding things.

4) She is kind. She is very inclusive and it always looking for ways to serve others.

5) She is the best sister. If I could have handpicked an oldest daughter, McCall would be it! She is constantly exceeding my expectations. Her brothers and sister adore her because she looks out for them and takes care of them.

6) She is a very hard worker. She works hard at everything she does. She gets up at 6 to practice her piano for an hour, she runs herself into the ground at soccer and she works hard at her studies, not to mention she does a great job with her chores.

7) She is smart. Not only is she book smart, but she has great common sense. She remembers everything including strange little facts.

8) She is resourceful. If she doesn't know something, she can figure out how to find the answer. If she doesn't have access to something, she figures out another way to make it work. She doesn't spend a lot of time bemoaning the fact that she doesn't have something, but gets right to work finding a solution.

9) She is obedient. She does what she is told and doesn't push the envelope (As we head towards the teen years I'm crossing my fingers this quality remains constant.)

10) She is respectful.

11) She is interested. She is a really good listener(sometimes a little too good) and takes a strong interest in others lives.

12) She loves food (no explanation needed.)