Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins

Rachel has visited three pumpkin patches this fall.

One with our playgroup. It was windy and cold but still a lot of fun. The slide was super-fast and hot chocolate really hit the spot. Nothing like making memories with our friends!

Rachel sporting a "pink bat" on her face. What else would you want? Duh.

One was at her preschool. She is LOVING her teachers and all the arts and crafts at school. It was another cold day which is funny because they've been rather few and far between this fall. I guess we just know how to plan it.

The cows tried chasing us on our hayride. I think they're accustomed to having hay delivered by the hay trailer rather than nothing but loud preschool visitors...they really did get close enough to touch but I put my camera away to calm Rachel. She loves animals at the petting zoos but these seemed hungry and a bit angry. Yikes.

And lastly, one with the family up in Denver following one of Ben's soccer games. We ventured out to May Farms because we were already up in Arvada for the game and they advertised a corn maze. The maze was a lot of fun and the barrel train was suprisingly exciting. Even the boys had a good time.

Jake is old enough now to laugh at himself occasionally. Isn't that picture funny? Rachel is still laughing about this one. "Jake is funny on the tractor. He cracks me up." Yes, indeed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Haircut

Rachel needed a new look. I've been thinking of getting it cut for a while now. It looks fabulous, if you don't mind me saying, but then it does make her look grown up. It reminds me of Ruby's hair when she got that first hair cut a year ago...and the Egan girls when they were all this age. All such cute girls...
...And here with cute brothers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ben's Record: 2 -and- 1

That's not his soccer record, it's his fire record at our house. He's been a hero twice and caused a fire once. Because he's still ahead in the count we're going to keep him around, but he better watch it...

Yesterday Lori and Avery came home from the bus stop with me to visit with Rachel for a bit and it was a good thing. Lori's super-sonic sniffer smelled smoke before it could become really serious. After I retrieved my trusty fire extinguisher, which saved us in the case of the two previous fires, we went on a hunt to find the cause. We looked in every room of the house with no luck and yet the smell got worse and the smoke seemed to become a serious haze. Lori convinced me that it was not an overreaction to call the fire department. I have what I refer to as an irrational fear of fires, so I was glad for some moral support. I was envisioning an electrical fire in the walls...

The fire truck arrived with all its gear, including axes. The firemen had trouble locating the source at first but they were sure from the smell that it was not an electrical fire. After about 10 minutes they called me into the house to show me the source. A pair of socks was in this light fixture and smoldering away. They found them because the smoke had really picked up and they were about to really ignite.

Ben's socks. Thrown up there on the way downstairs Tuesday morning and left there. He apparently told Evan they were up there when he got on the bus, but no mention to Mom. He just found another pair in his room, so no problem, right? Wrong. So wrong.

Again, I feel so lucky that our day went the way it did so we averted disaster. If anything had happened differently it could have been really serious but we are blessed. So, so blessed.

Maybe my fear of fire is not so irrational after all...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rachel's Animal Kingdom

Rachel and I went to the zoo again last week. This time we went with our playgroup friends. It was another beautiful day! Check out that bear.

Shortly after our last trip to the zoo, Rachel started behaving like animals. She woke up one morning and declared she was a birdie. All day long she insisted I call her "Birdie" instead of Rachel. I thought it was so cute. She did not ever forget though...She even slept in a "nest" she built for herself that night. All day there were questions regarding what birdies like and do. She cracks me up. The next morning she woke up and declared she was "Rachie" again.

The boys never did anything like this. Ben did have an imaginary friend though named E-I-O, just like Old MacDonald on the farm...this friend managed to commit all the crimes that might have been attributed to Ben at the time. Convenient.

So far Rachel has been a bird, a monkey, a spider(until that same morning she discovered a REAL spider in the sink-"that's BIG, Mom."), a kitty-cat, and a "nice wolf". Where does she get this stuff? A "nice wolf"?! (We spent time practicing the growl of a wolf if Haywood started hitting again in nursery. That'll show him. Grrrr.)

I look forward to many more trips to the zoo and more imaginative days at home...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

End of First Quarter- 7th Grade

Self portrait-October 2008

Jake has managed to survive the first quarter of seventh grade. I guess I should say something other than "survive" since he ended with five A's and one A-. We're unbelievably proud and even more excited to know that he may have learned an important life lesson--do NOT procrastinate.

He's struggling to remain positive during this time in his life (ex. "how was school" "good, I mean fine. Or should I say nothing terrible happened, so Okay, I guess." --It's a bit exhausting. Any advice is welcome.) but there are times that his sweet, kind, loving, generous self is apparent. For example, he made a nameplate in wood shop class.

With the time he had left, he made a nameplate that said, MOM. It wasn't perfect, according to him, so he made me another one. I was so pleased to receive one, but two, c'mon! He then made one for Ben and then only had time to make an "R" for Rachel. So, so sweet and just like Jake...Dad did not get one...yet.

His next project was this clipboard.

He continues to work hard on his scouting merit badges and shows great commitment to getting his Eagle Scout award. He's also working hard as he serves as secretary in the Deacon's Quorum. I can see him developing some real patience and leadership.

This is a boot scraper he made in metal shop.

He's an awesome son, brother and friend. I guess the most frustrating thing is that I can't convince him of his amazing qualities with a pep talk. He's struggling to figure out what it is that makes him unique and it's something we all go through. Seventh grade is tough. He is in a toxic, hostile environment. Somehow he's managing to get through it...I just wish I could shelter him from the bad stuff, you know?

Cheers to you Jake on an amazing first quarter. We really couldn't be more proud.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ben Turns NINE.

Holy cow. Ben is nine years old today. He's had a good birthday run so far and I'll have to admit I think I'm birthday-ed out for a while. It started on Friday with a trip to the local Tepanyaki restaurant with two of Ben's buddies and the whole family. We had cake after the delicious dinner and then all the boys headed to Mr. Biggs until about 11pm. JonJon went home after the adventures but Max stayed for a sleepover.

Saturday was a fun day at home with no soccer game and Jake's gift of a new Wii game for Ben. I watched General Conference and the kids enjoyed having a day at home. We did manage to make it to WalMart for Ben to look for some Bokugan, with no luck this time...Sunday was more Conference and some time outside in the beautiful weather and more birthday cake.

Ben's favorite gifts included a laser pointer and chili cheese fritos. What a funny guy!

Today he brought cookies on a stick to school for his birthday treat. Yum.

We ended today-the special day-with dinner at Red Robin. More yum. I think we need to work on more family traditions that don't involve food...maybe after my birthday. Hahaha.

Lots of fun for our fun-loving boy. Love you, Ben!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September in Colorado

I have to admit that I love the fall weather here. I truly miss the foliage of Connecticut but there's nothing that beats the lovely blue skies and sunny, cool days of autumn here.

In addition to college football games, September also brings Lori's birthday. Here's a picture of some of my friends celebrating with her. Can you tell we have fun together-look at those smiles!

Trips to the zoo are also on the agenda in September (as long as you know not to visit the same day as Eagleview Middle School). We went on a day that was not busy at all. The animals along with Avery and Rachel provided lots of funny moments.

Autumn here is also filled with lots of soccer for Ben. He has practices twice a week, goalie clinic once a week and a game once a week. Whew. That makes for a lot of soccer. We love it almost as much as he does.

His team is undefeated so far this season(half way through) and he has done a great job in goal. Only one goal scored on him--he plays in goal every game for the first half! I may be getting an ulcer though while I watch. I have also lost my voice once screaming at the ref to call off-sides.

He insists on wearing his hair "hawked up" for the games because he thinks it intimidates the other team. He may be right because two penalty kicks were totally missed by one team when his hair was WAY UP--he didn't even have to try to get them because the kickers hit them so far wide. He says it was the hair that made them miss...

The last thing I can count on in September here is the annual elementary school walk-a-thon.
It starts off with a bang.

Rachel and Avery groove out to the stake-dance-hits of my youth.

Ben has fun while racking up some serious miles.

For Rachel, the fun is wearing off. Possibly a sugar crash happening here after cookies, brownies and kettle corn. (Glad this is such a "healthy" affair.) She would NOT move off the end of the slide. I finally had to remove her kicking and screaming.

Real exhaustion sets in for the girls.

Ben ends with a smile. He slept well that night. We sure love that kid!