Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scouting Milestone

In January, Nate passed one of (hopefully many) Scouting milestones. He 'graduated' from Cub Scouts into the real deal, the Boy Scouts of America. No more blue shirt, pinewood derby, or pack meetings. We are on the road to Eagle! Maybe I'm being a bit overzealous. I mean, he hasn't even earned a merit badge yet. But he's working towards 1st class scout and taking it seriously. We hope he is always this enthusiastic towards Scouting.

At his last Pack Meeting, he was awarded the "Arrow of Light." This is the highest award a cub scout can earn, so we were very happy for him and his hard work.

The Scout Master made this very cool thing for Nate to display all the awards he had earned in cub scouts.

I like how the Scouts recognize the mom when the boys reach a milestone. It's like they realize, "Hey, if it weren't for mom nagging, this probably never would have happened." (I have four brothers who are Eagle Scouts. My mom did a LOT of nagging!) And yes, there was the obligatory "if you poke your mom we take the award back" joke as Nate put the pin on me.

Off he goes! Nate and his good friend, Conner graduated together. Their new leader, Brent Zollinger is not only my best friend's husband, but an incredible Scout Leader. They've already had several fun campouts and lots of fun.

Lego Exhibit

Here's another "catch up" post from January...

So, if you don't know this about Nate, he loves legos and trains. I mean LOVES. Maybe borderline obsessed. So when he found out that the model railroad museum was having a lego train exhibit, well, we knew we would be making a trip to San Diego. The following are pictures from a beautiful January day (yeah, short sleeved t-shirts. eat your heart out!) in Balboa Park, San Diego.

Think Legoland, but on a smaller scale. I think Brent and Nate daydream about building lego displays like these.

After the display closed, we walked around the park for a bit. Balboa Park is amazing. I love the architecture, the way it's laid out so you can walk to all the different museums. I wish Los Angeles had a similar park. They said they were going to build a "great park" in Irvine where the old El Toro Marine base was, but so far they haven't done anything noteworthy. Maybe someday...

Anyway, here are more pics from the day.

The kids loved playing on this crazy alligator sculpture. I hope it was "touch and feel" art...they were climbing all over it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

One Year Older...

This will be the "birthday bash" post. We have all our birthdays in a short 3 month period, and actually 4 of the 5 in less than a month. And since I've been less than diligent in posting to the blog, I figure I will post about all of them at once. I know, I know. My kids need individual attention for their accomplishments. Trust me, this is just one of the MANY areas I am failing as a mother.

So, although we always sing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song, I have always preferred a song from the Primary Songbook. It goes like this:

You've had a birthday, shout "horray!"
We want to sing to you today
One year older and wiser, too
Happy Birthday, to you!

I think I like this song because everytime I sing it, I think, "Please God, make them wiser. Please please please. Help them learn to clean up after themselves. Teach them how to avoid doing things that are annoying to me. Is it asking too much to have them do their homework and piano practicing without complaining?" I know that's a lot to expect, but it says right there in the song that they'll be wiser...

Nate's birthday
We had been up at the cabin with several of the siblings, but decided to head down the Heber to celebrate New Year's Eve and Nate's birthday. We got to Kirk & Tricia's in time for a delicious dinner with Kirk's family, Heidi's family, and Tyler's family. It was so fun again to be with all the cousins. (I will admit now that I regularly fantasize about living in Heber or Springville to be closer to my family. I love them like crazy and always get sad when I think of all the fun we could be having if we lived closer.) After dinner, we started work on a puzzle (a Livingstone New Year's tradition) and introduced our kids to the movie "Transformers." We are apparently very lame parents. It hasn't been intentional, but the kids haven't seen most, ok, all of the "big summer action" movies - Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean, Transformers, etc. To be fair, we hardly see ANY movies. But the kids were hooked. We had to pull them away from the movie to see the fireworks. Fireworks? Yes, fireworks. For those of you who don't know, the Murdock family (Tricia's family) are kind of an institution in Heber. They've been there forever and are always doing things for their community. I love that and am so impressed with how they are involved in making their community a fun, safe place. Anyway, they don't just light a few fireworks from the local fireworks stand, they put on a SHOW. So we layered up as best we could (it was around 30 degrees or colder) and drove down the street to watch Uncle Kirk and his brothers-in-law light off fireworks for about 10 minutes. I don't know where they get them, but they were professional quality fireworks. And it was interesting to see a "behind the scenes" view of how they are set off. After finishing up, we headed back to the house for cake and ice cream and bed. We were exhausted after a long day of sledding, fun at the cabin, and fireworks. It's always fun to have an extra reason to celebrate on Dec. 31/Jan. 1. Happy Birthday, Nate!

Allison's birthday
Allison had been looking forward to her birthday for a LONG time. There is something about being 5 and so excited for that one special day. Unfortunately, Brent had to go out of town on her actual birthday, so we celebrated early with cake and ice cream. I found the coolest candles at the party supply store! (It's a good thing all my kids have 'common' names...)

Cake and ice cream were a little messy, so we had to interrupt the birthday fun for a bath. (It's no fun having an anal retentive mom. It's no fun being an anal retentive mom, either. Can someone get me some prozac?!) After we got all cleaned up, it was time for presents. Allison was THRILLED about her tiger and cheetah stuffed animals, excited about the Lightening McQueen piggy bank, and ambivilant about the princess polly pockets and carriage. Should I be worried that my girls have never had an interest in dolls and girly things? I guess Allison has her 'princess' moments, but Sarah? Never! Although she still loves her toys, she has already let me know that next year she wants a pink Nintendo DS. Actually, she wants everything there is a commercial for or that she sees at Target, but the pink Nintendo comes up regularly. At least I can start shopping now...

The next day was her day to celebrate at school. There was a lot of time and effort spent deciding what special treat to take. She finally decided on donuts and juice.

Sarah's birthday
For some reason that I now can't remember, Sarah was feeling like her birthday wasn't "special" enough, so I took the guilt bait and kidnapped the kids from school at noon and went to Knott's Berry Farm. It was a beautiful day, and there was hardly anyone there. Although I'm not a big fan of Knott's (think of it as Disneyland's cheap, dirty cousin) it was a fun day.

Sarah actually found a roller coaster that wasn't too scary. She now boasts proudly that, "Jaguar is AWESOME!!" (that's her on the right)

She was really excited about her birthday presents and can't wait to try them out. I think they will work better in the water, but the couch is a good place to practice...

Nate's birthday party
For his birthday party, Nate decided he'd rather invite 3 friends to do something special rather than have a big party. I was F-I-N-E with that decision. I'm all for doing what makes my kids happy, but big parties are such a hassle. Being the put-together, organized mom that I am, we went April 11. Yes, his birthday in January 1. It wasn't all my fault - finding a day that all 3 boys could go was difficult, and everytime I called one mom, they had JUST had a family crisis. But we finally got it together and they had a great time.

Sarah's birthday
Sarah opted for the big party. D'oh! I tried to plan out a fun evening, but the girls just wanted to eat pizza and jump on the trampoline, so I let them. They took their bracelet kits and coloring bags home with them and hopefully had fun doing them there! I was proud of the cupcakes I made, so I'm posting a few pictures. It's hard since I hurt myself patting myself on the back!

And finally...
On my birthday, we drove to Utah. Yeah, I know. What better way to pamper yourself than locking yourself in a car for 12 hours with your 3 kids and dog? But c'mon. I'm 34. I don't really care about my birthday and was excited to get to Utah. When we got there, my great sister had brought over 'trixie sticks' which well, you have to eat them to know. They are a favorite treat while in Provo. When Nate realized it was my birthday, he did this for me:

He's a good kid, huh?
(I tried to post the video of it going, but I am apparently 'tech-tarded.')

Dashing through the snow...

I have had this post composed in my head for months now...time to finally get it on the blog!

One of the best parts of being in Utah in the winter is giving the kids the chance to play in the snow, and there is PLENTY of it at the cabin. The first full day we were there, Uncle Tyler was kind enough to suit up and go outside with mom and the kids and help start a snow fort. We shoveled off the trampoline and let the kids jump on it, which was a strange experience. Then out came the sleds. The kids all had fun, but I think Allison enjoyed it the most. She was just the right size to lay down in the sled and go all the way down the driveway. And when she got the the bottom, she jump up, grab the sled, walk up the driveway and go down again! She did that for hours, all by herself, even when Nate and Sarah got tired and went inside for multiple hot chocolate breaks.

A day or so later, Brent arrived. Heidi,Jayson & Mae, Drew, Kirk, Tricia & kids came up, too. It was so fun to have so many of us there! We loaded up the snowmobiles and went to great sledding spot. It took a few trips to get everyone (dogs included) up there and we managed to break a snowmobile in the process. Damn! But it was a ton of fun and the kids again had a great time sledding.

After New Years, Pine Mountain was EMPTY! We practically had the place to ourselves, so we took the opportunity to race the remaining snowmobiles around the meadow. We also tied a sled the the back of the ATV and dragged the kids around. I'm not sure I would like it, but they had a blast. (My stupid camera wasn't working that day, so no pictures. Drat!)

I LOVE the cabin! It is such a great place to relax and have fun with the kids. Thank you, mom & dad for allowing us to use it. And sorry to Kirk, who has to fix all the stuff that breaks. I promise we try to be careful!