Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekly Digest, November 22 2015 - Happy Birthday Isaac!

Isaac turned 8 this week!  But first, we have some catching up to do.  We had our first major snowfall (is 1 inch major?) on Nov. 10.  The kids were delighted to be able to play in it, making tiny snowmen and shallow snow angels and picking miniature icicles from the chicken coop.  Good times.

Sammy's kindergarten class held a "Dads and Donuts" event on Nov. 12.  Collin took him to school, read books with him in his classroom, and ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Sammy was in heaven!

Speaking of Sammy, his drawing ability has progressed quite a bit recently.  He loves doing figure studies of his favorite things: AT-AT walkers, Lego Mixels (little Lego creatures), robots, etc.  He draws them from all different angles, then creates elaborate scenes that include captions and self-spelled dialog,  Here's one of the Mixels:

Sammy's also recently stepped up his Lego game.  He's capable of following all the instructions, but he also comes up with his own rather complex models, often with several moving joints and great detail.  Here's a large AT-AT head (have we mentioned his obsession with these walkers and the Battle of Hoth scene in general?) he designed on his own based on the movie and a tiny, simplified model that he owns (and treats like a pet):

Not to overdo it on Sammy brags (but really, can you blame me?), he also made up his own little board game the other day.  It was fraught with danger and... actually, that's about it.  You pretty much weren't going to make it through without your figure getting bitten by poisonous snakes/scorpions/dragon or having a giant rock fall on you or falling off a cliff.  Sheesh with the morbid endings, kid!  At least Ellie had fun playing it with him.

Most of the family was sick last weekend, so not much happened.  I'll just leave way too many super cute pictures of Daisy here instead (who, incidentally, has been sleeping horribly for the past two weeks and is acting like she might be teething - drool and runny nose and finger chewing as far as the eye can see.  The lack of sleep happening around here is approaching torture-level.).

And Ellie, too (who, incidentally, is going through some serious terrible threes lately and getting butt-hurt over the smallest things, then quietly sulking in bed until someone comes to apologize.  That, or she screams like a banshee because reasons.  Good thing she's so cute.)

Some random food I've made in the last two weeks: hazelnut caramel pumpkin tart with caramelized hazelnut topping, and pumpkin chocolate granola (super good with whole milk Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds!).

And now, ISAAC!!  He turned 8 on Wednesday!  He had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, played hooky from school, opened presents (Star Wars Battlefront, Battleship, Legos, books), played with presents, and had pizza and lemon meringue pie for dinner.

A present for Isaac is pretty much a present for Sammy, and vice versa, since they both share just about everything they own.  So naturally, Sammy was more than eager to check out Isaac's presents and join him in playing with them.

We gave Isaac his very own set of scriptures at the end of the day and told him how special they were, how Mom and Dad each have our scriptures that we receive when we turned 8.  He was so thrilled to have them, and I think he really felt how special it was.  We also told him he could highlight different verses, words, and phrases that stuck out to him as important.  The following night I saw that he had highlighted a few phrases in the first page of the Book of Mormon: "destroyed," "build a boat".  Ah, things that are important to an 8-year old boy!

Isaac wanted a friend party for his birthday this year, so we obliged and threw him one.  He only wanted to invite three friends, so it was super casual.  The boys had an epic Nerf gun battle, using piled up couch cushions and the play kitchen as forts.  They had a Mario Kart tournament, played soccer outside, and ate pizza and chocolate pudding pie for lunch.

A few things about Isaac:
- He tries really hard to be a good brother to his siblings.  He often takes care of them without being asked.
- He wants to be good.  I mean, genuinely, sincerely wants and tries to be a good person and do the right thing.  He doesn't try to get away with mischief or push boundaries.
- He's into Legos, playing running games at school (soccer & tag), and video games (Lego Avengers, Lego Star Wars, Battlefront).  He loves watching Pokemon.
- He loves reading right now.  He's almost done with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and asked for books for his birthday.  He'll usually read at bedtime from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the book.
- He's trying to learn new ways to be self-sufficient.  He wanted to make chocolate chip cookies earlier this week so we walked him through the process step-by-step so he technically made them all by himself.  And they were great!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekly Digest, November 8 2015

Since we moved our clocks back an hour last week Elinor has been getting up a little before 7:00 each morning, just in time for me to get her breakfast before I leave for work.  She was being really cute one morning (in Isaac's/Sammy's old pajamas) and I had to grab a few pictures.  She readily supplied me with sweet smiles.

The ladies in our family are so cute!  Just grabbin' a selfie here.
Here's Maxine as a baby with her cousin Michelle.  Cute little cheeks and an unfortunate hairline.
Daisy has been so cute and smiley and laughey!  Tonight we were with Grandpa and Grandma Mann and Daisy was smiling so big listening to Grandma talk.

Each night after bedtime Sammy stays up until around 9:30 to 10:00 drawing intently.  I mean, really intently.  FEVERISHLY.  He can't sleep unless he creates a masterpiece and he proudly comes downstairs to show us when it's done.  Lately the boys have really been getting into Lego "Mixels" and they love building them during the day and then drawing them at night.  Of course if Sammy's not drawing Mixels he's drawing Star Wars AT-ATs, AT-STs, and AT-DPs.  The other night he drew a bunch of AT-STs dancing in a dance club with colored flashing lights.  He even drew musical notes in the air.  (In this photo you can see that Isaac and Ellie are asleep in bed.  And yes, they all sleep in the same bed together every night.  By choice.)

On Friday night we had some new friends (the Cromptons, Wendy's kin) come over for a cheese shindig.  It was a fantastic platter, with honey, hazelnuts, and truffle salami.  Much fancy.  Wow.
  • Cypress Grove Chevre Purple Haze (goat cheese with fennel pollen and lavender (Northern California)
  • Rocchetta - cow, goat, and sheep cheese (Italy)
  • Raspberry Bellavitano Sartori (Wisconsin)
  • Domaine De Vallage  Triple Cream (France)

  • Uniekaas Vintage Aged 3 year Gouda (Holland)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weekly Digest November 1, 2015

Daisy has recently begun laughing so now when she's awake we spend the majority of the time trying to get her to laugh or at the very least smile.  Seriously, so much time is put into this effort.  She smiles easily but laughs are really hard to come by.  Usually it involves a lot of bouncing up and down.  This is the first time we caught her laughing on video:
We've been eating really well the past couple weeks.  I only grabbed a few photos but seriously pretty much every dinner has been blogworthy.
It was "Red Ribbon" week for drug awareness and on Tuesday the students were allowed to wear mustaches to school.  Sammy designed his own mustache.  We forgot to get pictures of Isaac and Ellie.  Maxine calls this the "Gomez".
Some random pics of Ellie because she's amazing:
Friday was the kids' school carnival.  They kept saying over and over how it was the best day ever.  They got to go trunk-or-treating in the parking lot.  This year Sammy mustered up the courage to go through the "haunted house" with Isaac (level 2 scariness!) and neither were scared at all. They decided that next year they need to go to level 3.  Ellie was just happy running around getting free candy.
After the Halloween Carnival we carved our pumpkins.  We picked our pumpkins weeks ago so the wait was apparently really hard on Sammy.  He was SO excited to be able to open up the pumpkin carving kit that he's been holding onto ever since the day we got the pumpkins.  Seriously, he slept with it the first night we got it.  The boys designed their own faces and we helped them with the carving. And Ellie painted Daisy's pumpkin.
For Halloween we met up at Sheena's house.  Our kids were superheroes and a monkey, the Menkes were bats, and the Barringtons were Harry Potter characters.  Sheena's neighborhood is perfect for trick-or-treating.  The entire neighborhood has the ideal amount of houses and the final house is always giving out free hot chocolate.  Kind of a perfect way to end things.
After we returned the kids watched "Hotel Transylvania" and traded candy.
We got a cute picture of Daisy and Gwen.  It reminded us of pictures we took of Isaac and Cade back in 2008.