Thursday, August 30, 2012

Christianity 101, by A.

"BR, one of the Commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Punch!"

U.S. Presidents Project

I've been clearing out some drawers in anticipation of the new school year and came across these oldies.  L. had been doing a self-directed research project on each of the U.S. presidents. She was supposed to write a little summary of something significant about them or their presidency, and then add a relevant illustration.   It was pretty straightforward but she, as we all know, likes to get creative:


When it came to Abe Lincoln, she wanted to draw a picture of him as a child, and tell the story of a time he played a prank that involved leaving muddy footprints on the ceiling.  
I tried to move her in a different direction.  I suggested that she look harder for a more memorable achievement to highlight.   She sighed, exasperated. "Oh fine then. I'll write about the whole freeing-the-slaves thing, I guess."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

nothing has changed

A. lives in a happy world.  It is so fun to be around her because she just loves everything and everyone.  Remember her first drawings?  She really, really loves everyone. 

("I [heart] Moms")

But it still surprises me every time.

"So, A., what do you like best about being 6 years old?  What do you think the best thing about this year will be?"

Her eyebrows went up and her eyes got wide like she couldn't believe that I would ask such a thing.

"You mean besides hanging out with my mom?"

Sure, of course.  Besides that.

"down time" at a hotel

the talented artiste

Monday, August 27, 2012

every day since July 27th

...has been a good day.  The standard has been set and expectations have (once again) been clarified, and we, his parents, (once again) resolved to praise the successes more than we scold the failures, should the littlest and most forgetful one (again) neglect to remember the terms, as they had been agreed upon. 

"You are being so nice to your friend," we now say, when he is pleasant to his guest and generous with his toys.  (And we don't mention that really, if you think about it, it's just normal and not very exceptional to be minimally polite to visiting playmates.)

Or, "You tidied without even being asked!"  And we (try to remember to) use that exclamation point for emphasis only, rather than surprise. 

He is pleased with himself, too, and when, at the end of the day, as we name the many ways in which he has been spontaneously helpful or well-mannered or thoughtful, or has in some way has exhibited self-mastery, he likes to remind us of how far he has come since The Very Worst Day of All: "And I didn't hit my sisters and I didn't paint my face and theirs with mustard and I didn't even jump off the mantel while banging on the drum and I didn't even pick up a cat and slam it against a car AND I didn't pee in the trashcan!"

Well, so far so good today.  With only two more playdate hours to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

By the time I woke up, it was already too late.  L.'s head had already been consumed by a fierce paper monster.


luckily, some ninjas came to the rescue.

by midday, Ninja A. had transformed herself into a server and our kitchen into a restaurant.  She took our lunch orders: 

and what about BR?  Well, he remains aloof from such shenanigans. 

He, and his new 'do, are too cool for all that nonsense.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kara and Mark get married!!

First, a quick stop in Missoula to collect stones and taste Big Dipper ice cream...


...and then let the wedding weekend party begin! 

The wedding itself was sandwiched into the middle of an extended weekend of camping, picnicking, hiking, sitting around the bonfire, playing games and catching up with dear friends. The kids weren't so sure the long drive would be worthwhile, and I just kept saying, "You'll see" over and over again.  Boy were they happy to be wrong. 

At one point, I handed BR the camera, so I will let him tell the story:

a bluegrass band and hours of dancing--the kids couldn't get enough!


We had SO much fun.  It was a beautiful occasion and we are so happy for you both--congratulations!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

sights in the summer

We scheduled quite a bit of travel this summer, so we planned out the most scenic routes possible.  By the end of the summer, we'll have put over 5K miles on the car and hopefully by then we'll have learned how to not be so grumpy in the backseat. 

Nah, we don't have such lofty goals as that; we just try to enjoy the views:

Monument Valley, AZ

Yellowstone National Park:
Mammoth Hot Springs





grizzly bear!

Old Faithful
A steep and windy road somewhere in southern Utah:

seriously?  5 mph for 3 miles?  why?

Grand Tetons National Park:

breakfast while on the road (literally)
near Arches National Park:
we stopped in Moab, but not in the park itself
We took a ferry across Lake Powell:

and then swam in it!  (it was nice and warm)

We camped overnight at Natural Bridges National Monument:

I experienced a few technical difficulties keeping the camera battery charged (since we were camping and all), so what follows are some borrowed photos.

The kids and I swam in this icy reservoir in Breckenridge, CO while Jer was off trying out some downhill rides  (COLD!):


We drove through Capitol Reef National Park, which is one of the most remote places I've ever been to (on roads with no gas stations which means no drinking water at all) but is so worth a longer visit:

Waterpocket Fold (source)
This was one of our camping spots; we swam in the lake first thing in the morning (perfect temperature!): 

Yuba State Park, UT (source)
Our campsite was at the top of this hill overlooking the reservoir and this was the view at sunset.

Escalante National Monument (Giant Staircase), UT:

Finally, we stopped to visit Temple Square in SLC:
There was an organ recital at the Tabernacle (on left) just as we arrived (source)
But wait...That was all nothing compared to what happened next...