Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Coloring Turkeys with Oil Pastels

Ellie's favorite art supply is oil pastels. They happen to be the perfect medium for creating her disguised turkey this year. This year she had to disguise her turkey as a famous Oklahoman. Being a little gymnast she chose Shannon Miller.

This year she had to write and essay in addition to simply coloring her turkey. She learned a lot about Shannon and I encourage you to check out her website. I especially loved that Ellie got to learn about life after gymnastics and to see a courageous woman who won the battle against cancer.

Oil pastels are a great tool for blending colors. When she brought it in to show us we were amazed at how she so many times, teaches herself by doing. My children never cease to amaze me in how they learn. Each are unique in what they are gifted at. It's really a beautiful thing to watch.

This years Thanksgiving Turkey disguised as Shannon Miller at the 1992 Olympics!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hunger Games Party

Holy fire cake Katniss! The older they get the harder it is to theme them out, but I keep giving it a try. For Ethan's 11th birthday, we celebrated with Hunger Games. We have both read all of the books and had a really fun time discussing them and excitedly waiting for the movies to come out and going to see the movies together. Since it was going to be a co-ed party I came up with some "cool to 5th grade" Hunger Games. Really they had a blast. I am a pretty cool mom when it comes to parties.

Here is what we played:

Hungry Egg Run: Where you have to balance an egg on a spoon and run through an obstacle course.

Marshmallow Knock Down: Kind of like dodge ball but with marshmallows. Divide the kids equally and have one kid on each side balance a cup on their head (which is pretty funny in and of itself). The objective is to knock the cup off of their head using the marshmallow. You could also line cups up and have the kids try to knock the cups over and have prizes underneath (like candy, because they still are cool enough for that).

No Hands Cookie Eating Contest: Balance the cookie on your forehead. The first one who gets in in their mouth (no hands) wins.

Hide and Seek {Flash Light Version}- This is the really fun one. Give all of the kids a flashlight, or as we found out, they can use their cell phones. Divide into teams, boys vs girls (works well if its co-ed, so there are no boys and girls hiding together, lol, which didn't happen but just in case). Set boundaries (no go rooms or places). Turn off all of the lights. One team waits outside and while the other team hides. They have 5 minutes to find them and they can only use their flashlights. Super fun. We played dozens of rounds of this.

Hunger Games Banner on Etsy {Instant Download}

Oh Girls. It has begun!

Join me later this week for a tutorial on how to make a Hunger Games Fire Cake!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homecoming {Pardon the lateness of this post}

We started going to the homecoming parade a few years ago and have created a great little tradition. Last year Ethan was in a wheel chair with broken legs and this year Ellie had a broken hand...we can break that tradition kiddos! This year we packed a picnic lunch and ate at the farmers market after the parade. Thursday nights have various artists that come and play. It was a beautiful evening, I don't think we could have asked for better weather. The kids were great in public (the car was eventful though) as they are 99% of the time. They all ran around and climbed and jumped, laughed hearty laughs and made new friends.

Friday we went to the football game. We had a great time. Ethan got to sit with his friends in the student section this year. Jack was on the jumbo screen. We beat the pants off the other team by halftime. They had some amazing kettle corn and it was a real treat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Little House on the Prairie

Did you know that the Little House on the Prairie was on the way from Topeka to Tulsa? How in the world did I miss this? Sunday I decided (along with some help from my mother-in-law) that our run around and wiggle stop would be there. We took a potty break about 30 minutes prior but I wish we would have waited. The bathrooms at The Little House on the Prairie were far superior to the gas station we had stopped at. The admission was $3 for adults and $1 for the kids. I would have paid that just to use the bathrooms there. It makes a great rest stop.

I think that Ellie and Jack loved it the most. Jack talked to the donkeys nearly the entire time we were there. Ellie loved all the little details. The school, the post office and the little house all were perfectly put together. We even found a little turtle crossing through. My mom would have loved it. It reminded me of her. Such a fantastic learning opportunity. We talked about homesteading, why the post master would have lived at the post office and all sorts of things. I think it will be really neat to do some research, reading, maybe a couple episodes of the show and then visit it again in a few years. It is just far enough off highway 75 that it's nice and quiet, giving you that 1870's feel.

Take a detour and make your rest stop here. You won't regret it! Stop at the gas station for drinks and snacks or bring your own. We got butterscotch and peppermint sticks at the gift shop 10 for a dollar.

Love when I get them all together in a pic. 

Jack LOVED the donkeys. That was his favorite part.

The mail boxes were a big hit.

Ellie was really in her element!

Anyone ready for school?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Merry Go Round and Teeter Totters

I don't think I have seen a merry go round or teeter totter in Oklahoma since I was a kid. In Kansas, they are still out in full fashion. We traveled this weekend all over Kansas. We went up Friday for my husbands grandmothers funeral. Not a fun reason to go up but perhaps one of the best times we have spent with Dale's family in a long time. It was a celebration of life and I think his Grammy would have been happy that we had such a good time all together. After the service we went to Dale's cousins house. She had an old wooden teeter totter in her backyard. Jack managed to figure out how to walk across it. He is most definitely my daredevil. We had such a good time sharing memories and connecting with one another. Lots of kids, food and laughter.

Saturday we slept in and didn't eat until lunch. We took selfies while we dove into delicious, coma inducing pizza. Then we headed to Dale's brothers house to hang out. I took a nap with Jack while the girls painted their nails with their new Auntie gal. Then we decided to go to the park around the corner and play while we figured out that just doing nothing was the perfect thing to do. Merry go round and teeter totters. It also had two diggers! Nothing has stopped Ellie from doing just about everything the other kids are doing. I'm going to bet she has to have surgery. Keeping her from using that hand even with a temporary cast on has been like a full time job!

I think merry go rounds and teeter totters are my favorite things about Kansas. They make me feel like all is not lost in this world full of the latest and greatest. Simple and oh so fun. Perfect Saturday evening.

Here we go!!

He is growing up so fast!

Melt my heart.

We had to stop to investigate this guy.

Digging in his digger shirt.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Breaking Point

I think so many times when you have a bunch of kids people assume you are some sort of super mom. No such case here. Let me tell you, yesterday was a case of the "I feel like the worst parent ever" moments. Ellie, my gymnast, was walking out of Girl Scouts with her friend while we loaded up meeting stuff and her friend did a cartwheel and accidentally kicked Ellie in the hand. No big deal. Just thought she was being a little emotional and I basically told her she'd be alright and to suck it up. Oh geez. That was last Tuesday night. I put ice on it and wrapped it up. She felt bad Wednesday so I gave her some tylenol and wrapped it up again and then again on Thursday. She had a bit of a cough and a runny nose so I thought that was the main thing she was feeling bad about. Friday she said it felt sort of better so I didn't take her to the doctor. We thought we'd see how it felt over the weekend. It was bruising pretty bad so I thought she had just bruised it pretty good.

Monday (SIX days later). Went to the doctor. Her hand is broken. Broken!!! We go back to the surgeon next week to see if she will need surgery and screws. Whoops. Parent fail. I have to give her some credit though, because she really did suck it up. I felt so awful that I hadn't taken her right away and that I had told her to suck it up! She told me not to feel bad, that even she was surprised it was broken! What a doll. She was bummed she didn't get a pretty pink cast and that she is out of gymnastics for the next 6 weeks.

I hope that she can take away from this how strong she really is. I always knew she was, but this should have been her breaking point and it wasn't.

Apparently I wasn't holding it up correctly (the broken hand is her left and this makes it look like her right). Not bad for in the car with my phone!

Tough little cookie!

Oh you know I got her ice cream!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

September is such a great time of year. The weather begins to change and we start to settle into our routine. It is the calm before the storm. I adore our activities but sometimes I just don't know how I do it all. I am not perfect but I try and I think that in this situation that's what counts. I think that one of the hardest things we do as parents is devote so much time to our children without knowing what things will have the greatest effect on them. What memories will be most dear to them? What will they take away from the experiences we have? I wonder if I'm doing the right things and making the best decisions. The impact from those decisions is decades away. What a tough job!

So many times people say "I don't know how you do it." Well honestly, I don't either! I have so many thoughts of doubt that could consume me if I let them. Did I make the right choice by going back to work? Do I give them each enough time? Are we reading enough to the little ones? If I let all of these doubts play on my mind I would never get anything done. I have been working on not doubting myself and the choices I have made to better my family.

Here's what I have done that I am so very proud of:

I read to Ethan and Ellie ALL the time. Now I have them read to Regan and Jack. They even do the voices just like I do.

I taught each child to do chores. Even Jack (who is four) can put things away and swiffer for me. I do not want to send them out into the world thinking that their mommy is going to do those things for them. Or worse that their wife will!

I taught my children how to wash themselves, brush their teeth and hair and get dressed by themselves. I know that some of you might think, duh! But I can tell you that I have witnessed a ridiculous amount of children that cannot accomplish these tasks for themselves. It is rather heartbreaking to see a child that is 6 or 7 and can't (or won't) get dressed by themselves because their parent just didn't want to give up that control or didn't give their child that capability.

I lift them up and tell them they can be anything that they want to be. I also tell them that they should expect greatness from themselves because that's what they are capable of.

I have taught them compassion and empathy. I am most proud of those moments when they have shown their outstanding capability to love one another.

I challenge myself to stop relishing in the what if's and be content with here and now and to forgive myself when I do something wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Year in the Making

Ethan excitedly asked me last night if I knew what tomorrow was. I think I disappointed him when I referenced the tragedy of our nation and not his own personal struggle. September 11, 2013 was the day he had surgery to break his legs and correct his in-toeing. A huge, monumental day for him. He has come so far. Six weeks in a wheel chair and then a few months of walking with a walker and taking it easy. He has metal rods and screws in his femurs for the rest of his life. With all of the struggle that we had in those first few days and weeks I am so glad we decided to fix his legs. He came out of it stronger than he went in. Physically, mentally and emotionally it helped him to grow. His surgery was a bilateral femoral derotational osteotomy, just in case you were curious. I am glad that this day is a personal victory for him, Especially when it is such a sorrowful day for so many.

The week before you can see his in-toeing. His was pretty severe.

He slept quite a bit in the hospital. 

This was his first outing about a week later.

He got to play a lot of video games and had lots of down time.

His toes are even pointed out a bit here. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lacy Burlap Fall Wreath

I really think that making wreaths is one of the most satisfying crafts ever. When you finish it you put it on your door and present your masterpiece. Perhaps that's a bit dramatic but I always feel accomplished putting up a great wreath. I have been using this same twig wreath for forever. I've definitely gotten my 7 bucks worth. I reused my sparkle corn cobs, feathers, leaves and beaded twigs from last year. I added some lacy burlap wire ribbon, my gold J and some gold pine cones, which I found in the Christmas section. Took about 10 minutes and I think it looks pretty fabulous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Best Buddy

Jack is perhaps my best buddy. None of the other kids really like to snuggle the way he does and we do a lot of snuggling. We talk a lot about the most random and awesome things, like jumping into a pool of marshmallows. Even the other kids agree that he tells the best stories and we all enjoy hearing his made up "adventures". He really does bring such joy to our family!! He can't wait to play football, loves everything super hero and loves loves loves frogs. He is our official frog catcher. I can't imagine life without Jack.