Sunday, May 22, 2016

Update, May 22, 2016

It's been a really cold and wet May.  We've gotten hail a couple of times, several thunderstorms, and a few 80-degree days.  Such weird weather.  My veggie garden is a little confused by it all, but at least the skies are pretty in between storms.
The boys each had their class plays in early May.  Isaac's was an opera - the 2nd grade works with the Utah Opera Company in writing their own opera (which the opera company puts to music) and design and paint their own sets.  It's pretty amazing, and they did a great job.  Isaac said he got a bit of stage fright as the play went on.  Here he is with his teacher, Mrs. Davies. 
Sammy's play was only slightly less musical.  He was the best monkey there!  ;)  Here he is with his best friend Jordan.
Isaac has done great this school year.  He's reading so much now - he loves all of Collin's old Calvin and Hobbes books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Geronimo Stilton, Big Nate, Captain Underpants, and Notebook of Doom. Sometimes he'll even go to his room to be alone and have some quiet reading time during the day. I just finished reading The Indian in the Cupboard aloud to him and he loved it. It was wonderful to bond over our love of a book. Isaac is such a great help to his siblings.  He's the peacekeeper between Sammy and Ellie, and often the only reason those two will play together.  He shows such genuine affection for Daisy, too. 
I've been doing a ton of baking this month.  Here's a lavender and strawberry buttermilk cake (buttermilk cake layers, whipped cream filling with strawberry-lavender compote, and lavender flavored Swiss buttercream).  I actually made a larger version for an order and this was the "leftover" smaller version I saved for us to eat.
Sprinkle sugar cookies - the kids had so much fun helping with these!  Dinner was late that night and totally worth it!
Another special order cake: strawberry cake with strawberry swiss buttercream.  She wanted a messy frilly look.
Pies!  Not special orders, but just because summer fruit is starting to go on sale and I love my new Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie cookbook.  The first is a sweet cherry streusel pie and the second is a peaches and cream custard pie.  Both were delicious.
Ellie doesn't like taking naps during the day, but she almost always falls asleep in the car whenever we go somewhere in the afternoon.  When she wakes up it's usually with a mighty tantrum.  Here she is after a particularly mighty one.  I had to take a picture because I thought she just looked so beautiful.
Ellie still rarely lets me put her hair up.  It's a big deal when she does, so I have to document it.

Ellie is super into dancing.  Almost every day she asks me to put on some music so she can shake her groove thang.

Daisy turned 10 months old yesterday!  She loves feeding herself, her favorite foods are cheese and sweet potatoes, she's super fast at crawling, pulls herself up to standing and is just starting to cruise a bit, babbles all sorts, still wakes up a few times each night, loves shaking her head 'no' and clapping 'yay!' and putting her arms up to show she's 'SO big', will maul you if you're lying on the floor, gives kisses (she even pulls Collin in by his beard to give him kisses), and is the best hugger.  She also loves to swing!  The higher the better!  Here are a bunch of Daisy pics and vids:
Last but not least, Sammy turned 6 on the 16th!  He's been planning this birthday since the day after his 5th birthday.  He was so excited for his birthday the week leading up to it that I'm pretty sure he didn't talk about anything else.  We sure love this crazy kid!  He's a rascal, to be sure, but underneath that sometimes maddening exterior lies a heart of pure love and sweetness and nighttime cuddles.  He has the brain of an engineer with the eye of an artist.  His Lego creations seriously blow my mind.  As in, I couldn't recreate what he comes up with if I tried.  The boy thinks only about Legos all day every day, with only occasional breaks to play outside or do hotwheels car races.  We gave him a large Lego set for his birthday that was rated for ages 8-14.  He completed the set entirely on his own in 5 hours and was glowing with pride when he showed it to us.  He is best friends with Isaac, loves Daisy to pieces, and is doing much better getting along with Ellie (they'll be friends when she stops pushing his buttons on purpose).  He has figured out how to read with a fair amount of fluency, understands language and spelling concepts, and has his math facts memorized.  I'm just in constant awe of Sammy.  My favorite quirk of his: Sammy constantly repeats whatever he hears in a bare whisper, almost subconsciously.  I think it's his way of internalizing information, but it's super cute to hear (and you only hear it if you know to listen for it).
For his birthday Sammy requested a neapolitan cake (he came up with the flavor combination on his own) with green sprinkles.  What can a mother do but deliver? 
 
He wanted to have a small birthday party this year with three of his school friends.  One of them couldn't make it, and another didn't show up after a sort of miscommunication about Sammy being sick (he woke up sick the day before but was fine the morning of), so it was just Sammy's best friend Jordan that came.  It actually worked out really nicely.  The kids had so much fun playing together!  Instead of slaving away with another cake, we just did a donut "cake" for the party. Add in a piƱata and you've got yourself a party!  Awesome!

 Here are some random pictures of the boys jumping.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekly Digest, April 24, 2016

There was some nice weather this week so Maxine took the girls to the park.  Daisy LOVES the swings.
 Daisy has a new thing where she tilts her head to the side to get us to praise her cuteness.  It works.
 Maxine experimented with a new fancy style of crust.  The resulting pie was gorgeous.  These were triple berry pies that contained fresh strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.  So amazing!
Tonight Isaac and Sammy came up with this little illusion.  I could hear them plotting from the other room and then they waited patiently for Maxine to come down the stairs and see.
Otherwise it was a pretty normal week.  We finally finished putting all the baseboards back on yesterday and we feel a lot closer to having a normal house back.   

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Update, April 17, 2016

Our life the past two weeks has been consumed with flooring.  The new laminate had to sit in our house for at least three days, which turned into a week and three days when the installers couldn't come any sooner.  So we lived for a week with access to the front door and hallway blocked because of the boxes of laminate, and told visitors through the window to enter through the garage.  It was less than ideal but amusing all the same. Collin spent 3 days ripping up all the old flooring and baseboards, and after many hot showers and much Bengay, he's none the worse for the wear.
And now the fun part - new floors!!  We love them!  They're a bit darker than we expected and there have been a few slips and falls getting used to having all hard flooring, but I'm still happy with the switch.  Now to get all that trim back up...

The boys were on spring break the first week of April.  Collin took that week off so we could either go on a spontaneous trip or get stuff done around the house.  The delayed flooring installation decided for us that we'd be staying put.  We did manage to take the kids on some fun outings, though.  Collin took Isaac to the nickel arcade where they played to their hearts' content, and I took Sammy to see "Zootopia" at the theater.  We played his first game of air hockey while we waited for the theater room to be cleaned and he loved it.  And then there was a chance for a random photo op, so there's that.  Ellie chose Farm Country as usual for her outing.
 
Spring has sprung!  I just love this tree on the side of our house.  When we first moved in I had plans to remove the tree because it was so close to the house and wasn't anything special besides being a good shade provider.  Every year I look forward to it blossoming.  And every year shortly after it blossoms there's a fiercely windy storm that blows most of the flowers off and then I am sad. 

I saw rhubarb at Harmon's last week and had to buy some for pie. I had some strawberries at home already, so strawberry rhubarb pie was born!

And the following week Smith's had a sale on berries, so strawberry-balsamic pie was born.  This one was extra juicy and made me very glad that I'd lined the pan with foil.  The pie turned out perfect, though!

The kids have been working really hard to get along better lately.  And by "the kids" I mean "Sammy and Ellie," and by "get along" I mean "not kill each other."  They've been making some progress.  Here's proof: A month ago Sammy wouldn't have been able to coexist on the same couch as Ellie.  Thank goodness for Isaac!

We had a few nice days this month between all the spring showers (more like tempests here!), and the kids took advantage.  Here they are lined up for a bike race:
Daisy's a crawling champ now!  She's a little too good at it sometimes - look away for a second and she's halfway across the room!  She moves a bit like a bulldog, and it's pretty cute.  She's about the brightest baby I know, by which I mean she's so full of light and love and happiness.  If you call to her from across the room, she'll look at you and a huge smile will fill every inch of her face.  In fact, that smile extends to her whole body, which will start convulsing with joy.  I think it's the most validated I have ever felt in my life.  Because of that, here are a million pictures of her!