Sunday, October 2, 2016

Volume XII, issue vi, June 2016

Father, Where Art Thou

On Father's Day this year, as the kids were scarfing down the chocolate chip cookies that Eric had requested for his big day, Peter offered Eric a homemade gift. It consisted of carefully folded paper, decorative string, and precisely placed paper clips.

Peter grinned as Eric looked at it quizzically and explained, "It's art!"

See Better, Chuck

Unbeknownst to Eric and me, while we were lumbering along in our massive Suburban, Charlie chunked a large piece of Rice Krispie Treat on the floor in the back of the car.

As witness to his crime, Ethan told him, "Charlie, that was a bad choice."

Charlie looked completely nonplussed and shrugged, "No it wasn't. Mom didn't see it. Dad didn't see it. So it wasn't bad."

Ethan retorted, "Well. . . I saw it and I'm going to tell Mom and Dad."

Charlie was so shocked that he had no response.

The Tip of the Rexburg

Because of our heavy vacation plans in July, we signed the kids up for swimming lessons in June this year. Unfortunately for all of us (the swimming teacher included), we only have an outdoor pool for lessons and poor little Rexburg doesn't realize it's summer until mid-July. Our poor kids shivered their way through a series of freezing cold lessons with smiles on their blue lips. We were quite relieved when I didn't have to layer them in swimming suits, towels, jackets, and a good pep talk just so they could survive being cute little ice cubes every morning.

Just for Kicks

Eve, Peter, and Marie also got to play soccer on some chilled and soggy fields this month. Because Peter and Marie are close in age, I snuck them onto the same team so that we'd only have a measly 4 games to attend each week.
 When I signed Eve up for soccer this year, I assumed that there would be an even number of girls and boys on her team. When we arrived at her first practice, however, she was the only female in attendance.

My normally feisty daughter surprised me when she looked at me with wide eyes and whispered, "Please don't make me do this."

 I gently nudged her onto the practice field and whispered back, "You'll be glad you did this. Trust me."

By her first game, I proudly watched as my girl tromped down the field with her typical Eve-like confidence and kept up with every single boy on her team. She didn't seem the least bit intimidated by any of them. That's my girl! By her second game, we discovered that there was another girl on her team that happens to be one of Eve's friends, but by then Eve didn't mind too much.

May the Force Be Matthew

It was our nephew, Matthew's birthday this month, and we always try and make him an extra special gift to celebrate. His newly discovered love for all things Star Wars combined with the fact that he's old enough to start building blanket forts gave us the idea to combine these two things that we adore. Once I got started on the personalized glittering sheets and started sewing the bag to hold his supplies, I couldn't stop myself from making some matching PJ's. (When you've got the crafty force with you, it's really hard to control sometimes.)
As proud as I obviously am of my contributions to the birthday boy, I'm even more elated about the cards our kids drew for their little padawan cousin. (For example, coming up with the phrase, "Happy SITH Birthday" for a cousin turning 6. How could I not do a Chewbacca roar of pride?)

Before assembling the items for Matthew's fort kit, our panel of seven very serious product testers helped me make sure that we had included all of the hooks and strings and blankets Matthew would need to build the perfect fort by creating their own ginormous fort. With Caleb at the helm, the kids constructed and reconstructed their blanket fort until it was sturdy enough to satisfy them.
They made it look so fun, that one by one all of us crept inside it and giggled and told stories. When Eric got home, he found the rest of us crammed lovingly inside the fort and he said, "Hey! I want to come inside too!" The kids really wanted all of us to sleep together in the fort, but we told them someone had to protect all of our valuables upstairs.
Our time in the fort really got us into the camping spirit, so despite the wind and threatening rain, we roasted hot dogs and did what we always refer to as "d'Evegnée camping." We could feel intermittent raindrops as we were eating, so we gobbled up the last of our smores right before we had to take cover inside.

One Crazy Summer

Holden caught the travel bug this month and spent three weeks in three different states. He went from an Orchestra competition at Disneyland to Boys' State in Boise to the National Debate Tournament in Salt Lake City. He'd come home late at night at the end of each week just in time to wave both hello and goodbye before washing his clothes so he could repack them and move onto the next big event.

At the National Debate Tournament, he was able to go further than any other Madison High Schooler has before in Lincoln Douglas, and he made it to the top 50 in the country. Needless to say, we got to tell him how proud we were of him in July when he finally woke up after catching up on all of his lost sleep.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Volume XII, issue v, May 2016

The Cinco-eth Cinco de Charlie

Five years ago, we welcomed our baby burrito to the family fiesta! Even though I happened to be the pinata that day, it was one of the happiest I've had.

My El Guapito and I decided to celebrate with a little photo shoot. Those blue eyes earn him way more cookies and hugs than they probably should, but can you blame this love-struck Mamacita? 

Charlie-isms of the Month

I was attempting to rush Prince Charles out the door so I could get to class, and he paused his overly-imaginative play and said, "Should I use Super Speed?"

I nodded enthusiastically, and my thoughtful blonde speed-demon asked, "What day is it?"

Knowing there was a Charlie-worthy punchline just ahead, I told him that it was Wednesday.

He said, "Oh. I can only use Super Speed on Thursdays and Saturdays."

* * * 

When Eric opened up Charlie's bedroom door, he awoke him with some melodious Daddy tune. Charlie sat up in his bed, frowned, and silently gave Eric a thumbs-down. 

Holden Goes to Prom

Holden's date is one of his closest friends, but apparently he didn't feel too comfortable getting too close. Her Mom and her Dad were posing the cheerful little couple and kept trying to get Holden to put his arm around their daughter or to make some sort of definable physical contact. At one point, her Dad pushed Holden's levitating hand onto his date's shoulder so it wasn't hovering two inches in the air. 

His date's own Mother invited Holden to place his hand around her waist, and you can see from the photo that his hand is actually not anywhere near her body--it is in a G-rated galaxy far, far away.

I showed the squeaky clean photo to our Bishop at church the next Sunday to prove to him that his chastity lessons are certainly doing their job. 

Oh Captain, My Captain

My two Orvals have been on my mind--one a grandfather and one a son. Both masters of language and skilled debaters. Both introverts to the core. Both willing to look outward if it helps someone else. I look forward to the day my two Orvals meet so they can swap stories and revel in their kindred kinship. 

Since starting debate last year, Holden's dream has been to be the overall speech and debate captain for his senior year, but when it came down to it, he didn't even apply for the position because one of his good friends had applied. I kept needling him (in a kind, maternal way, of course) to apply for the position, but he refused. He applied to be the captain of just the debate team instead. 

Holden came home after the debate teams' end-of-the-year party looking downcast. They had announced who all of the debate and speech captains for next year would be and his sad face had me worried. 

He told me the dramatic tale about how they announced each of the captainships and someone else had been chose as the debate captain. I doubled his drama with my own gasp. I couldn't believe it.

He continued, "And then. . . they announced the overall Speech and Debate Captain and the coach said my name." He looked at me sheepishly as he realized that perhaps he had taken it a little too far for his poor Mother.

I smacked him a few times before I gave him several big hugs of congratulations. 

I'm sure his namesake is both empathetic and proud.

Thank You, Elizabeth Cady Stanton!

My pre-Mothers' Day gift today was better than a whole garden of flowers and rooms full of chocolates. My oldest boy just strutted home after his AP History test and gave me a bear hug and a thank you for "all those conversations" that helped him write his main essay which happened to be about the Women's Rights Movement between 1945-1974. Who knew that years of cozy, casual mother and son moments about the value of women would help him earn college credit?

(And PS: Did you know that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was also a proud mother of seven in addition to all of her amazing political and social success?)

Feeling Overprogrammed

The frenzy of finale festivities included everything from sewing French chemist's lab coats to turning a Batman costume inside out to double as an ensemble for a third of the 3 Blind Mice (I. . . am. . . Ratman).  We assembled Mexican outfits and patriotic costumes. We outfitted a raw egg for a 25 foot drop (which it survived, by the way. No Humpty Dumpty at our house this year). We made cakeballs that looked like Neptune (luckily we didn't have the planet Uranus [Oh my goodness! That is such an old, horrible joke, but it makes me laugh every time! I am such a bad person). There were recitals and AP tests and programs and we lived to see another school year end triumphantly. We survived both pageantry and the homework. And we are so grateful to welcome a summer full of simple learning and reading and practicing and celebrating. . . with no scheduled event-based performances. 

A Plethora of Potter Parties
I'm over the Lupin moon about this one. (This will illustrate why I can't sleep when my brain is buzzing while I'm planning parties. . . it's kind of a curse.) We've had more than one Harry Potter themed soirée this month, and this is what we had for dessert to celebrate Sybill Trelawney and the power of Chocolate Divination. The chocolate crystal ball revealed a heart for love, a chocolate gold coin for riches, a sour patch kid for children, a grim-looking animal cracker, or a gummy shark for. . . death by shark. (And the ice cream hidden inside didn't hurt their future happiness either.)

We had a celebration with some good friends because they had also finished Book 3 of the series with their kids this month, Caleb's birthday party, Eve's End of the Year Party, and several Family Home Evening groups from Eric's ward on campus this month, so we decided to make each and every one of them Harry Potter themed. The Platform 9 and 3/4 sign on our door has been up so often our Muggle neighbors probably think that we're a bit magically muddled!

Our Family Home Evening lessons with the BYU-Idaho students even had a Harry Potter theme. We decided to talk about our relationship with God and compared when Moses finds out he's a son of God to when Harry finds out he's a wizard.

I hadn't warned Marie I was going to ask her any questions in front of the students because I wanted her responses to be genuine and unrehearsed.

When I asked her how Harry felt when he found out he was a wizard, she gave her trademark thoughtful look and said, "Well. . . it was like Harry knew he was a wizard in his heart, but he couldn't quite believe it in his head. So he just had to get his heart to trust his head and believe."

There was a long pause before we could go on with the lesson. 

Luckily our dear friends, the Wilsons, love Harry Potter as much as we do and could celebrate The Prisoner of Azkaban with us!

Our own little Hedwig delivered the invitations. It can't possibly get any cuter than this. My heart will explode.
My Dumbledore was feeling guilty that he got home late the night of Eve's party, so I had just the right amount of leverage to make him dress up to greet our party guests ( I was so glad he was late!). 

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