Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blue & Gold Banquet 2012

We were SO excited to attend Adam's first Blue & Gold Banquet.

It was a really nice night.  The leaders did a great job with the decorations, the skit was adorable, and the boys had a great time serving the food.

Adam received his belt loop for Marbles:

It was such a fun night!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekends at the Park

Last year, we would spend Saturdays cleaning the house, shopping at the store, and (trying) not to work until Monday.

There was no school on Mondays, and Mike was off on Mondays, so it made sense to work on Saturday, and have fun on Monday.

A few weekends in this year, we were doing the same thing.  But, I realized that since the kids now have school on Mondays, that it was kind of terrible for them to spend their entire weekend doing work.  

So, I forgo-ed a clean house and a full fridge.

Who needs those, right?

We do a little bit of tidy-ing in the morning, pack a picnic, and then find a new park.

If we really like the park, we go back Sunday evening with Mike.  Because the other problem with him working Saturdays (and late during the week), and the kids going to school 5 days a week, was that they were not getting to spend time with him.  Sunday evenings at the park have become something we look forward to (especially because after morning church and a quiet afternoon, with all of us crammed in the living room while Josh naps, has us all wanting to strangle each other).

Strangling on the Sabbath, is a no-no.


We recently found a park in Henderson that we L-O-V-E.  

I mean, it has a climbing contraption that spins:

How awesome-ly dangerous, right?

Even toddlers have to take a turn pushing:

We have had so much fun finding new parks and spending time as a family in the beautiful weather!

Especially because pretty soon it will be too hot to play on dangerous metal objects at the playground.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pinewood Derby 2012

Adam participated in his very first Pinewood Derby today and had soooo much fun!

The race was supposed to be in January, but the track broke, so it was delayed for about a month.  These boys were SO excited to (finally) get racing!

In our entire pack (which is a combination of 2 wards), there are only 4 boys.

Needless to say, the official race was over pretty quickly.

So, they raced for fun (with many different variables... backward, upside down, etc.) for the remaining 50 minutes.

The car catchers

Mike, happy to be racing.  Me, happy that it is over!  ;)

Adam ended up winning First Place!  Wahoo!

As fun as the race was, I think the real fun was in making the cars.  Adam made one with Mike, and one with my Dad and Mike, and then raced them to see which was faster.  He had soooo much fun making those cars and spending time with his Dad and Papa!

(Oh, yeah, the brown mark on his forehead?  He decided to "Harry Potter" himself this afternoon, in non-washable marker.  Lovely, huh?)


Monday, February 20, 2012

Good-bye, Elder Nathan Rice (Part 2)

After the picnic with the W* family, we went back to my parent's house, to officially say good-bye.

This was the part that had me really, truly worried.  

Because my kids, especially Grace, kinda adore Uncle Nate.

Which is kind of funny, really.  

When Adam was born, my family (and Mike's family) came down in anticipation of seeing him.  They crowded around when Mike brought him out of the nursery.  Oooh-ed and aaah-ed at his ten perfect tiny toes.

Nate, however, stayed in the lobby, watching cartoons.  

For whatever reason, he wasn't fond of having a nephew.  And over the next 3 years, had no problem admitting so.  He refused to go near baby Adam and fought with toddler Adam.

Then Grace was born.

And my Grinch-y baby brother's heart grew 2 sizes when she came into the family.  He warmed up to her, and Adam (and adored Josh from the start).  Before he knew it, he was wrapped around their little fingers.

Which is a good thing, because they absolutely idolize the boy.  He is Grace's "very best buddy" and Adam thinks he is the coolest person ever.

Which makes me thrilled, because, well, I can't think of a better person for them to have as a role model.  My baby brother grew into a great person, that I am so proud of.

Anyways, we love Uncle Nate and I was worried about Grace and Adam having to say good-bye.


At my parent's house, they finalized Adam's Pinewood Derby car:

Did some more playing:

Josh took a ride on my parent's horse/dog:


We got one last family picture with our missionary:

And Grace got a few more of the throws in the air, that Nate gives her, that she absolutely loves:

Then we said good-bye.

And when Grace leaned out her window as we pulled away and shouted, "Best buddies... forever" and Nate yelled, "Best buddies... forever" back, I cried.

I think I'm really going to miss that pesky little small fry. 

W* Family Picnic

I like to trick myself into thinking that spending time with our Phoenix family isn't that great.

Which sounds weird and mean.

Not to mention it's not true at all.

They really are all incredibly great.

It's jut that if I let myself remember stuff like this:

... how much my kids adore their cousins...

... how cute my nieces and nephews are...

... how fun my in-laws are to be around...

.... how nice it is to talk and laugh with them...

.... and how great it is for my kids (and me!) to spend time with family...

... I get filled with Mom-guilt because my kids don't get to be around family all that often and I know how happy/how good it would be for them if we got to spend more time with our Phoenix family.

Not to mention all of the 10 kinds of sadness I get when I think about living away from family.

So, I trick myself.

It's a very complicated coping mechanism.

It's also very weird/mean, I know.


So, even if it will make me feel sad to admit it...

We had a really fun day at the park on Monday with (some) of Mike's side of the family.  We had a fun picnic, played on the playground, and then Mike took some of our nieces/nephews to play softball with, which led to everyone heading down for a game.

We had so much fun!

Really truly!

Even if I will probably tell myself that it wasn't that fun later on down the road, I have it documented here how grateful I am for our family and how much we really do love and miss them.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good-bye, Elder Nathan Rice (Part 1)

We went down to Phoenix, to see my baby brother Nate, give his farewell talk and to visit with him one last time before he left on his mission to Daejong, South Korea.

We went to church and listened to his wonderful talk.  I can't believe how grown up he is now!  He did a great job.  Grace and Adam got to be the visitors in Primary (they love that!), and I got some good ideas for out Primary from my parent's ward.  So it was a pretty successful church block.  ;)

Afterward, we went to my parent's house for a pizza party/open house.  We had so much fun helping make pizza and visiting with family and friends.  I got to meet my soon-to-be cute niece (and the kids' soon-to-be-cousin), K*, who is darling.  I also received some good advice from my parent's dentist about Adam's teeth.  So, it was a pretty successful pizza party, too.  ;)

(All pictures by my mom - or someone with my Mom's camera... thanks!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Randomness of February

Mike hasn't had his most favorite Girl Scout cookie in a few years (Samoas).  So, I made him a bar version. They were yummy!

The three different ways that the like their PB&Hs.  Grace, with no crusts.  Josh, with 4 pieces.  Adam, with 2 pieces.  They eat these for breakfast AND lunch almost every day (so does Mike), so we go through a lot of peanut butter and bread around here.

We tried watching the Superbowl.  Mike doesn't have time to watch very many sports, so he looks forward to it each year.  Unfortunately, the converter box broke.  Then, our "extra" TV got knocked off the table by Josh and broke.  We decided the Superbowl wasn't meant to be.

The food was still yummy. 

Grace loves being lifted onto the bathroom counter each morning, so she can check to make sure she looks 'just right' before heading to school.

Adam, Grace, and I went to see a girl in our Primary (and Adam's friend), Julianna, perform in Mulan.  It was adorable!

Adam chipped his tooth.  Again.  So, we went back to the dentist to have it re-covered.  She wants us to get a crown from a general dentist.  We're thinking about it.

Grace is learning how to paint her own toenails.

Grace went to a birthday party at a roller skating rink.  Her first time roller skating ever.  Her "bum was very sore afterward from all of the falling," she told us.

Grace, my very non-girly girl, who used to be very no fuss about her hair, has been requesting I try new things with it.  It's been fun experimenting!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's day, the kids woke up to a fun decorated table with a box of chocolates and a "I Love You because ___________" frame.  I really, really want to make myself write a new reason that I love them each day so those stinkers know how much I absolutely, positively adore them!

And then, I was a uber-fantastic mom and made them...

.... peanut butter and honey sandwiches (cut in heart shapes, of course).

Actually, now that I think of it, that's a lie.

Mike made them.

And cut them in the shape of hearts.

I was dead asleep in bed.

I had every intention, of course, of making them a fun breakfast, but a toddler who had a rough night changed those plans.

The kids were thrilled (thanks, Mike!) and headed off to school.

They were so, so, SO excited to go to school for their Valentine's parties!  It was a half-day so these guys pretty much partied all day at school, and then came home insanely hopped up on sugar!

I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of their Valentine's that they got from friends.  They were adorable!

Mike had to work until 9:00 Valentine's night, so we had grilled cheese (in heart shapes) and tomato soup.

The next night, we had our traditional Valentine's dinner.  We began with everyone telling why they loved everyone in our family.  Then we had heart meatloaf, pink mashed potatoes, heart beets, and Adam's Poppin' Peas.

For dessert I made raspberry swirled cheesecake (from Our Best Bites) and took this fabulous picture:

It's artistic, no?


I LOVE Valentine's day!  I love having a day set aside so I can focus on how much I love these guys!  I totally believe in showing love every day, but Valentine's day is too fun!

I am pretty sure that Adam had a pretty good day, too.

Or, at least that's what his Valentine bag claimed:


Happy Valentine's Day!