Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rhett's Birthday

I can't commit to having birthday parties for my boys every year. Just can't do it. And because I consider my sister an expert on all-things-parenting, I'm going to copy what she does, which is "friend" parties for the years when the boys turn a multiple of four (so 4, 8, 12, 16). This doesn't mean, however, that we're not willing to do something fun on the off years. So like last year, we let him pick a friend and an activity. This year it was our neighbor friend and going to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles (the Udvar Hazy one). It's hard to not have a great time here.

Paper airplanes demo.

And then on Sunday we finally got around to making his cake. Theme cakes have never been done before in our house. But last year I made the mistake of giving him this book for Christmas and he was immediately enamored with a castle cake in there. So Chuck stepped up and did it. And also like last year, we hosted family for dinner. The End.

P.S. More about that cool museum: In August, one of the helicopters that my dad flew when he was a Marine will be flying in and landing there. We're so going. We're so sitting in the cockpit and getting pictures.

Monday, March 23, 2015


So yes, we celebrated a certain child's birthday this weekend. And I know I'm supposed to post pictures about it and say how great it was and how great my kids are and how perfect the cake and presents were and all that junk. But right now, I'm just not feeling it. So forgive me. Let's wait until Wednesday when my feelings aren't so raw, so then I'll be ready to pretend everything (and everyone) was perfect, okay? Okay.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Of Course

It's the first day of spring. Of course it's snowing. Why wouldn't it be?

P.S. Anyone else bummed to miss the solar eclipse? I heard this guy talk about it on the radio last night. He made it sound sooooo cool.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Hard Life

Remember when Chuck and I got a heated mattress pad for our anniversary? It's nearly perfect. It's warm; it's dual-controlled (so Chuck can make his side of the bed into a sweat lodge and I can not melt); it makes getting into bed in our 58-degree bedroom not a terrible experience. But there exists one design flaw: it doesn't turn itself on. I mean, c'mon: Does it really expect us to remember to turn it on 15 minutes before we want to go to bed? I think that's asking a LOT of us. Instead, it should just have a timer so that we can set it to always turn on at 9:45 p.m. Because then my life would be easy.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Pi Day of the Century = 3.14.15

Three years ago I realized that this year's Pi Day would be monumental. It's been on the news, in the papers, and all over the blogs. Even non-math people have recognized the bigness of it. And as prophesied, Chuck and I threw a big party for it. We did nearly everything I said, only omitting the time factor (who can party at 9:26?!) and the throwing of hot dogs (we threw fat popsicle sticks instead). We invited lots of friends and lots of them came. It was fun and crazy. I just wish I had started planning three years ago. Oh well.

Now I document all that we did. We tried to have lots of things for the kids to do. I'm not sure how many did them, but that's okay. At this station was a calculate pi activity using M&Ms.

Over here we made bracelets or necklaces. The digits of pi corresponded to a color of bead and the kids were supposed to string them according to pi. But you know I didn't care if some kids went home with all-pink bracelets, right?

And here we had a pi maze, pi word search, and pi ku.

We played "Pin the cherry on the pi" on the window. Chuck cleverly thought to use the big pi as window decoration. I liked it.

Oh, and notice that tiny green pi on the great big pi? That was for a scavenger hunt. The boys stuck pis (that looks so wrong!) all over the house, six of which had stickers. Then the kids had to go around finding those special ones. Not only did Ollie find all of them, he took them off the wall and brought them to me. It meant a delayed start for that activity.

We did a "Hundred Pi Dash" in the street, but sadly no pictures. There was a kids heat followed by a mens heat. Both were pretty intense. Also unpictured was the pi recitation contest. One friend sat and memorized all 27 digits in the banner (see above) and was able to recite them all. He was the first and only contestant. Brady for the win! Also unpictured was throwing popsicle sticks on the ground to estimate pi. We got 3.7, not bad.

And we wanted to have a pie eating contest, but how could I make it work without being so overly gluttonous? Use oatmeal cream pies, of course! The kids just ate them and the first with an empty mouth won. But for the adults, we made them kneel at the table with their hands behind their backs. Chuck easily won (he has so few talents, but eating quickly is one). But it really was as gross as it sounds.

Then, of course, the pie table. People brought so many wonderful pies, even though you can't see them because this only shows what I made. The winner was this gorgeous chocolate silk. We should have had more categories than just "best sweet" and "best savory" (my savory hand pies were the only entry in that category). Maybe "Best Pi Themed" and...something else.)

Oh, and I made medals for the winners of certain events. They were the worst! Total failures. Some day I'll get that figured out.

And this was breakfast on Sunday morning. People were terrible and LEFT THEIR PIES for us to eat. Which means, for me to eat. Terrible, terrible people.

In all, it was a fun, crazy party. Maybe next time I won't do such a long run in the morning and wear myself out before it even begins.

Friday, March 13, 2015

These Party Preparations are Making Me TIRED

Consider this your friendly reminder that Pi Day is tomorrow!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Stuff I Made

It just hit me that I never posted about the Christmas gifts I made, or the few things I've made this year. So here's me catching up.

Bowl covers for a sister-in-law for Christmas. I love using the binding for finishing. Plus, I lined them with PUL so they're easily cleaned. Tutorial here.

Cute little purses for two nieces. I love these. I want one in my size. Tutorial here.

Tokyo subway cross-stitch pillow cover. This was for my parents for Christmas. Remember they served a mission in Tokyo?

Ah, Slither, our new door snake. Necessary because Ollie broke the old. I love that it's a snake. Tutorial here.

As much as I like Ollie's old backpack, it was clear that this was the superior tutorial. So right before we went to Arizona, I whipped this up. It's made with heavier material and is a bit bigger. I am in love with that Ed Emberley and his fabric.

A friend had a baby last year and I never made her anything (probably because it wasn't her first baby...or her second. I get lazy on those subsequent children). Terrible. But then I remembered this cute tutorial and remedied my bad manners. And yes, I took these pictures on snow. It's much better than my dirty carpet.

Another friend had another non-first child and I remedied that. While I've used lots of tutorials from Dana at Made, I've never bought one of her patterns...until now. I'm thinking Ollie needs a reversible vest. Hmmmm.....

Friday, March 6, 2015

And On the Seventh Snow Day...

Today marks our seventh snow day of the year (due to yesterday's near 9" of snow). This makes three more days than planned, so who knows what that does to the end of the year. We'll probably be in school until the 4th of July. On the plus side, I'm getting really good at filling snow days. It helps when Chuck is home (like yesterday). It doesn't help when Chuck only has a delay (like today).

His first air catch! Notice Ollie just standing there watching him from the sidelines. He was NOT a happy snow boy yesterday.

But it's March. Let's be done with this, shall we? I want to wear flip flops.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Eggs of Wisdom

On Sunday Rhett asked me, "Mom, do you expect any surprises in your bed tonight?" My response: "Well I do now." I forgot until I found a plastic Easter egg in my pillow (Rhett's been playing with them recently). Cute. But when Chuck found his, he actually thought to open it. Surprise! Inside was a fun little note that read, "I like it when you give me sips of your soda." Of course I eagerly opened mine and found this gem, "I like it when you tell Dad to put away his phone." Awwwww. Sweet buddy.

So Monday night I was excited to find another egg in my bed. Imagine my disappointment to find this message: "Don't Steal." Words to live by, Rhett. Words to live by.

P.S. We're getting ready for tomorrow's likely snow day number 6. Toilet paper? Check. Milk? Check. Supplies for pancake tacos? Check.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy To Be Home? I Think Not.

You know how it's always crappy to return from a lovely vacation? I'm about to tell you how in five easy steps you can make it even worse.

1. Fly into a snowstorm. You know, one so bad the plane circles the airport for 35 minutes just waiting for the ground crew to clear the runway. But don't attempt to land just once. Oh no, ask the pilot to do a practice land but don't tell anyone on the plane he/she is doing it. Make sure to ask the pilot to get really close to the ground in your descent and then abruptly start climbing as if you were taking off. It's fun to scare passengers! Especially moms with little kids on the plane!

2. Upon landing, wait for your luggage for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Watch as planes that just landed get their luggage delivered within 20 minutes, but yours? Oh no. It's sitting on the runway somewhere. Getting soaked with snow.

3. It's not exciting to have your car start right-away (even after snowstorms and record-breaking cold temperatures), so try to do better than we did. BUT when you exit the long-term parking, try to get the most unreasonable employee to check you out. You know, the one that admits his company made a mistake (ahem, I'm looking at you ill-printed ticket), the one that won't be reasonable and let your car full of small children go. Sure, we tried to pay, but we were forced to sit for 20 minutes and argue with the man about the exact time we entered the lot. Fun!

4. Drive home on I-95 without it being snowplowed or treated, with lots of other cars, and a lot of snow! It's fun! Will the cars in front of you stop whilst driving up a hill?! Who knows! It's part of the fun. Make sure to make your normally-45-minute drive take twice as long.

5. When you get home, have fun shoveling in the dark the 10" of newly-fallen snow that fell on the couple of inches that fell earlier in the week while you were gone. Because that's what you want to do after waking up to 50-degree temperatures that same morning: dig out snow gear.

BONUS TIP! Wake up in the morning already forgetting what 77 degrees feels like, get church cancelled, and enjoy the snow!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Arizona, Part 3

Because it's me, I have weird random thoughts about Arizona:

I love my western hair. Washing it is so easy when I can let it air dry. Air drying is so wonderful when I know it won't be crazy frizzy, or even frizzy at all.

Denny's restaurants are everywhere. Why is this? Gretchen told me that Arizona has a big brunch culture. But Denny's?

Everything starts early in the morning. I LOVE this. I would do so well with this. Get out early, and then hide inside in the air conditioning in the afternoons.

HOAs can be CRAZY.

Speed limits are awesome. With limits of 75 mph, we can get places fast. Unless it requires driving through downtown Phoenix, and then it's slow. But I'm no stranger to traffic.

Phoenix is HUGE. It's one of the largest (geographically-speaking) cities in the country. (Crazy fact: the top four largest U.S. cities by land area are all in Alaska. And these four are all larger than Rhode Island.)

Solar panels. This shouldn't be a surprise, but man, they were everywhere. Good for you, Arizona.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arizona, Part 2

Travelogue continued...

Wednesday. We opted to head north towards Sedona (instead of the Grand Canyon), with lots of stops on the way. It was long day, but the kids did great. I was nearly in tears a couple of times because it was just so darn beautiful. We had this amazing blue sky set against the red rock. The temperature was perfect (for me) and it was just so, so wonderful.
1--Montezuma Castle.

2--Montezuma Well.

3--Bell Rock hike outside of Sedona.

4--Tuzigoot (then Jerome, but I got no pictures there).

Becoming a junior ranger.

Thursday. To make the boys happy, we went to the zoo. The boys loved it of course, and Chuck and I are always happy to have happy kids.

Friday. We started the day hoping to get some waffles at a waffle truck, but sadly missed out. That's okay because we met up with Nikki and kids one last time. We were also super close to the Gilbert temple, so we thought we should stop there as well. Then we lucked into some tickets to a hot rod race through a friend from college. It was a new experience for all of us, but it was fun (after the first 20 minutes of Rhett's crying).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Arizona, Part 1

We just got back from a lovely week in Arizona visiting Chuck's parents and oldest brother and his family. And when I say lovely, boy do I mean it. Weather-wise, it was perfect. Mornings in the upper-40s, afternoons in the upper-70s, skies of blue. Activity-wise, it was fun! We did lots of things with just enough downtime. Family-wise, it was so good. It was really good for the boys to see their grandparents and cousins, and all the adults enjoyed seeing each other. Just good times all around. Our only plan was to go to the Grand Canyon, but then we nixed it. Really, my only goal was to be outside as much as possible. And that we did. And now for the travelogue:

Saturday. We left Maryland on a direct (but not non-stop) flight. We stopped in snowy Columbus and felt sooooo lucky to get out of the airport and on to Phoenix.

Sunday. We started with a walk around the neighborhood, then to sacrament meeting, and finally enjoyed family. Lucky me got to have lunch with a dear friend who now lives in AZ.

Monday. The whole family met up with our friends, Nikki and Collin. We played, ate, and visited. It was so great seeing them, even if Ollie and Freddie are frenemies. That evening was more family time.

Tuesday. As we all needed a down day, we spent the morning at some botanical gardens, and then went home to rest and have a regular bedtime. Everyone benefited!