Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bye-Bye Reids

Last week was great. Jeremy's sister came into town - well, to be fair, both of his sisters came into town, but Kristen ended up staying for a full week. They were here for the whirlwind that was last weekend. There was a baby shower, 2 birthday parties, a baptism, a dinner party, a wedding luncheon and reception, confirmation the following day, a baby blessing, and one final luncheon. Whew! What a weekend! Did you count? That was 10 activities in a 2 1/2 day period! Goodness!

Anyway, the point of this post was not to gawk at that crazy schedule, but to reminisce about the lovely week that followed the madness. Kristen's two boys are the same age as our Lizzie (5) and Jackson (3). These cousins had an absolute blast hanging out all week. Ryan and Lizzie were thick as thieves playing dress-up, Wii, and planning sleepovers.

Jackson and Tyler would also probably call the other their BFF (if they had any concept of the term). Those 2 boys were 2 peas in a pod. They played trains, watched Wall-E and Thomas the Train to their hearts' content! Kristen and I both commented on just how well they play together for 2 boys their age. They rarely fought and genuinely enjoyed the other's company.

It was great to visit with Kristen too. She's 8 months pregnant and you all know how I LOVE the pregnant belly! She looks so great pregnant - I just hope we get to see her pregnant belly several more times. And we can't wait to meet baby "Sally Sparkle" in another month or so. Here are some great shots from her family baby shower.

That evening was so fun to hang out with just the girls! Kristen got so many fun pink things - I think her head was swimming a bit from it all. That baby girl is already so loved.

It was great to have you guys at the houses for a week. We'll miss you guys!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Joy School End-of-the-Year Par-tay

It was a great year for Joy School. Lizzie had a great time learning with her 2 friends Preston and Sarah. They worked all year on writing their names, learning their numbers, shapes, colors and letters. They are ready for KINDERGARTEN!

We celebrated at the park with an ice cream party and lots of playtime. Benny was our special guest this week and the younger siblings (Ashlynn and Jackson) got to join us as well. We were a lively bunch eating ice cream in the freakishly cold, overcast, slightly sprinkling rain weather.

Enjoy a slideshow of our last fun day together.

Monday, June 15, 2009

And heeere we go!

I think we're officially ready for summer!

We have our chore list. Check.

We have our "what to do if you're bored" list. Check.

We have our schedule in place. Water Polo. Swim Club. Tutoring. Piano lessons. Check. Check. Check. Check.

Our daily and weekly incentive programs are set. Check and check!

Let's do this thang!! ("This thang" meaning summer vacation of course.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chimp Lips

When Jackson puckers up....


This is Jackson's face whenever I ask for a kiss. He is not shy about it. It's always wet and smoochalicious! Sometimes he plants a good one on me and does not let go. He wraps his little arms around my neck and keeps his lips pressed against mine for a good 10 seconds. Whew! that's some love right there!

Does he not look like a little chimpanzee?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Logan's Baptism Day

This day was long anticipated by our now 8-year-old Logie Man. We've been having many discussions about religion and answering several of his deep questions about the meaning of life these past few months. Most of the discussions were sparked by his questions - not mine or Jeremy's. Here's a sampling of some of our topics:

1. What if 1,000,000 people are all praying at the same time? Can Heavenly Father really hear all of them?
2. How old are you when you get the priesthood?
3. When I get baptized will all the bad words be washed out of my head?
4. What does the Holy Ghost look like?
5. What does the Holy Ghost feel like?
6. Where is the Holy Ghost right now?
7. What happens if I sin after I'm baptized?
8. Where is heaven?
9. What did it feel like when you got baptized?

A few of his questions had to be answered with, "We won't know the answer to that question until we can ask Heavenly Father face to face." But most of them we could give him a good solid answer that he could wrap his head around. It was great to be able to have that time to bear our testimonies to him and watch him grow in the gospel.

And he was ready by the time his baptism interview came around. By this point, we'd been over the reasons why we get baptized many times:
1. to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
2. to follow Jesus' example
3. to return to live with Heavenly Father

And when the day arrived he was prepared as best as he could have been.

Here are several pictures from just before the baptism. They look so good in their "whites".

Daddy and Logan

Logan & Mommy

Logan & parents

The cousins got baptized on the same day! Congrats to Maddy too!

What a great moment...
two brothers baptizing their kids on the same day.

The special musical number by all the cousins - don't they ALL look thrilled?

Logan did perfect in the overly warm water. One dunk. One big grin. Perfect. Even his spiky hair was perfect. Jeremy didn't even have to comb it after they got dressed!

The next day takes the cake for my favorite moment of the weekend. Everyone returned for our sacrament meeting to see Logan get confirmed. He was so nervous to be up in front of the entire congregation, but we convinced him it wouldn't be so bad - he'd be encircled by family members and it would be like he was in his own little room during the whole thing. He thought that was pretty cool. After the confirmation was finished he sat down by me and leaned over to whisper, "Mom, I feel all tingly." Oh, melt my heart! He'd been waiting for that moment for so long! In that moment I knew that he knew what he had done was right.

The proud Ward Family

Logan, you had so many friends, family members and even your primary teacher there to see you get baptized and confirmed. You can look to any of them as an example to follow. They can all answer your questions about the gospel and Heavenly Father's plan for us.Logan, you were such a great example to your younger brother and sister on your baptism day. They look up to you and will follow in your footsteps. Keep choosing the right and they will choose the right too! You made the right choice to be baptized and Heavenly Father is happy you chose to follow the example of our Savior.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"What time is it? Sum-mah time!"

I loved Rebecca's post about their last day of school so I thought it would be fun to do the same and take some pictures of the boys before they headed out the door this morning. These boys were so excited for the last day of school today. Can you see the excitement flowing through their faces? That semi-tanned skin, the wrinkled shirt, the lazy grins - they are in summer mode already. Awesome.

Note the hair-dos here... no spikes, no nervous half smiles. So much less pressure from the first day of school. Who knows if they even brushed their teeth before they left...

Here was Trevor's face when I showed him the two GINORMOUS gift bags full of cute teacher gifts he was going to have to carry all the way down the street, to the bus, and onto campus in front of all his friends.... oh, the humiliation! I could hear his mind screaming at me, "Mom, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!"

And here are the gifts I made yesterday (thank you again to Rebecca for this idea - although I think hers turned out cuter than mine):

It's been a great year. The boys got lots of support from their teachers and finished out great. The awards assembly was last week and both boys got 2 awards. Both got perfect attendance for the 4th quarter - without even trying! Logan got the highest Physical Fitness Award/golden medal. And Trevor received High Honor Roll for the first time ever!
We are proud of you boys for trying hard and always doing your best. We're going to have a great summer!

WOO HOO! Last day of school! Bye-bye 2nd grade! So long 4th grade!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

kids say the darndest things

We're driving in the car and I start singing to Jackson (to the tune of "Danny Boy"):
Me: Jackson, I'm going to sing your song. Oh Jackson boy, my Jackson Jackson bo-y. My Jackson boy -
Jackson: No mommy. I like to move it move it!

The kids are playing in the playroom upstairs and I hear someone rip a good one.
Me: Who cut the cheese?!
Ammon: What cheese?
Ryan: String cheese!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Award

Jeremy worked his buns off this year putting together his school's application for the California Distinguished School Award. He didn't do all of it on his own - there were many others on the staff that also helped with the paperwork. There were many late nights and lots of energy put towards this application.

Here are some interesting tidbits about this award if you've never heard of it before (I took this info from the award website - click HERE to read more about it: "The program identifies and honors many of the state's exemplary and inspiring public schools with the California Distinguished School Award. Although participation is voluntary, the award is highly sought after by schools in all regions of the state. Approximately five percent of California's public schools are selected each year."

The California Distinguished School representatives always make a visit to the school to check things out and see if the school really does all the things their application says it does. The staff all came together and put together an awesome display of student work samples. They cleaned out the library and the entire room became a display area for project after project. The representatives were totally impressed with this excellent display.

The Vice Principal also organized a lovely catered luncheon and spiffed up the staff lunchroom for the occasion.

We didn't get any pictures of the outside grounds, but the custodial team did a great job prepping the aesthetic curb appeal of the school as well. They spent many hours planting flowers and scrubbing that school until it sparkled and shined.

The California Distinguished School team was impressed by all the efforts made to make their visit so comfortable. Two days later Jeremy got the phone call that, yes, they officially received the award. Woo!

Here they are at the awards ceremony in Anaheim. The first picture is of several staff members, Jeremy, and the superintendent of Fresno Schools. The second picture is Jeremy posing with the Fresno Unified Superintendent and the State of California Superintendent.

Good job to Jeremy and his staff for all their hard work.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Logan's 8th Birthday Party - Gladiator Style!

Logan is known for his wild and crazy birthday parties. It's not a "Logan Party" unless there are 30 kids running crazy in the backyard through obstacles half naked in their swim suits. This year he chose an American Gladiators theme. Jeremy and I had fun coming up with games and an ultimate obstacle course. Here's how the fun-filled evening went down:

We began with a delicious dinner, Logan style, of bbq hot dogs, chips, SODA, and watermelon. Then we moved on to our first event - The Gauntlet.

THE GAUNTLET: We had the adults stand in a tunnel formation holding some super power squirt guns. The kids ran down the tunnel trying not to get wet! Yeah, they ALL got wet. One of the adults may have been holding the hose...

After the gauntlet was our POWER BALL game: This game was patterned after the game on the show. There are buckets of balls at each end of the arena (yard) in the center is an empty bucket. The object of the game is to get as many balls into the center bucket without being taken down by the gladiator. We only lost a couple of balls over the back fence and the kids had fun with this game because there was no water involved = no threat of getting wet.

The CANON BLAST was next. I filled about 100 water balloons for this event. Jeremy constructed 2 waterballoon launchers out of surgical tubing and your basic kitchen funnel. We were both surprised at how great they actually worked! The kids each took a turn launching a balloon across the pool at the opposing team. They earned points for hitting the other players. In the end no one was actually hit, but we did get close several times!

The JOUST followed the waterballoon launching. This event was the most anticipated of the evening. Jeremy stacked to two 2x6x16 boards and layed them across the deep end of the pool. The kids got to "fight" other players with a pool noodle with the object of pushing the other into the water. They thought it was great mostly because they had permission to hit, and push and shove the other kids. Amazingly, no one was hurt and everyone had fun that participated.

The last activity of the evening was THE ELIMINATOR. That's the name of the ultimate obstacle course at the end of every American Gladiators show. The kids had to make their way through the backyard and finish in the pool. We didn't time them or try to see who performed fastest - they were all in it for the fun. Here were their obstacles for this event:
1. squash a waterballoon with their buns
2. crawl through 2 collapsible tunnels
3. climb up the rock wall on the backyard swing set/play structure
4. slide down the slide
5. do a trick on the trampoline and watch out for the gladiator waiting there!
6. scooter around one loop of the backyard
7. swim across the pool and try to avoid the gladiator waiting there
8. climb out at the end of the pool and FINISH!

Check out a slideshow of all that fun! Logan is holding a Chicken Patty Birthday Cake at the end of the slideshow. If you know Logan, then you also know that he doesn't eat sweets. He LOVED the triple-stacked patties!

At the end of the festivities Jeremy had set up the projector to watch video footage of the evening's events. The kids thought it was great to watch themselves projected up on the big screen. All the kids had a great time - that's quite a feat considering their ages ranged from 3 to 15. Special thanks to our GLADIATORS. They did a great job and had fun participating as well. We really should have come up with names for those girls... oh wait! They already have names - Barracuda and Chainsaw - you know who you are!

The party guests got to take home several little party favors to remember this fun night. 1. Their team bandana, 2. a group picture of the RED team vs. BLUE team, and 3. a gold medal for being a winner!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Disneyland withOUT kids

Here are some fun pictures from our trip to Disneyland. And when I say "our" I mean just Jeremy and me. The children stayed home with the Grandmas and Grandpas so we could go all by our lonesomes.

It was the perfect weekend. The weather was overcast and cool and the crowds were not so crazy. We were excited to be there, but we were not as excited as others... there was this guy, just before the park opened. He kept yelling at the top of his lungs, "DISNEYLAND! WOOOOO!" Now mind you, there were tons of people standing around him. He was not ashamed of his excitement. He belted it out for all to hear. No one started cheering along with him, but it did bring a wave of extra anticipation through the crowd and a smile to all of our faces. Who said Disneyland is magical just for children?

And, speaking of children... there were so few kids at the park! How long have all you adults kept this little secret to yourselves? How did YOU ALL know that Disneyland could be so much fun even without the kids? We had a great time being all by ourselves, riding any ride we wanted, only a couple of bathroom breaks, no fighting the crowds with strollers, snacks and bags. We were so carefree - like a couple of newlyweds whispering and laughing with each other. Only those who have a house full of monkeys can know that feeling of freedom that comes with a getaway like this one. It was fabulous.

Having said all those things about spending time alone... would we wish to always vacation this way? No.

Will we bring our kids with us to Disneyland next time? Yes.

Is Disneyland really better without kids? No.

[Can you call me a "question talker"? Yes. But only for a moment.]

If you have never experienced Disneyland with children then you have not really experienced the magic. (And they were all sorely disappointed that they were not invited on this trip. So we will not do that to them again for a VERY LONG TIME.)

For now, we can all enjoy some pictures of Jeremy and Jennifer acting like a couple of kids at Disneyland and CA Adventure. (And watch out for that Monte Cristo sandwich - it WILL make you salivate!)