Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Babe

Well, the baby of the family is rapidly approaching a point in which she will no longer be a baby. It's bitter sweet. I love watching her grow and learn, but knowing that I am not going to have any more babies I feel a little sad to let the baby stage go. She still likes to cuddle but can be very defiant. When she says no, she means it. She is starting to express herself in entire sentences. Just this morning she said "I go ow-sigh?" ow-sigh means outside, in case you didn't get that. She's lots of fun and really good at asserting her independence.

Here are a few pictures of her playing ow-sigh this morning:

And just for the heck of it, here's one of Grace enjoying the snow:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

We really had a great Christmas this year. My girls are just such a joy. Below are some photo highlights from the festivities- enjoy!

Ian made us an amazing dinner of chicken cordon bleu, rosti, caesar salad, and sacher torte.

Christmas Eve jammies. This year we did a "Christmas Eve Box". It had new pajamas for everyone, a movie, and stuff to make s'mores. I think we'll keep that one up, it was fun!

Etta got an Elmo chair from Santa.

Santa brought Aven a game called "Robot Turtles", which teaches kids how to code.

Ian, Etta, Aven, and the Mario Bros. blanket I made him.

Look at my pretty little Aven!

Aven and Uncle Brance.
A couple Minnie Mouses

A couple Jamines and the inevitable breakdown of Christmas night.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas 2013!

It's been a mostly wonderful Christmas. Etta didn't nap, so that made the end of the day particularly stressful. Aven was so over-the-top with excitement that she crashed pretty hard at the end of the day as well.

I can't complain. I got to watch my two favorite girls enjoy the magic of the day and I got to see Ian open the blanket I have been working on making him since September. I am, however, very eager to get back to normal and may even be compelled to take down the Christmas decor as early as tomorrow. We'll see.

Here are a few family pictures my sister took of us the day after Thanksgiving. If you got our Christmas card then you've already seen some of these:

Ian is not a fan of this picture because he thinks he looks like a missionary. So sue me for wanting to do a formal picture for once!

My favorite awkward family photo- and trust me when I say that there were a lot of awkward ones.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in Redmond, 2013

We went to Redmond for our annual Christmas visit with my dad. We had a lovely time. My dad has the best hide-and-seek house ever, so Aven was in heaven. We spent a lot of time keeping Etta away from the wood burning stove, which is oh so enticing. We also spent a lot of time "playing the piano" and going up and down the stairs.

Opening presents.
Etta got a bear chair. Luckily it's big enough for both girls.

A very sweet picture of my dad and Etta.

Going on a cold walk.

Aven loved feeding the horses this year and was not one bit timid.

Etta got to meet a horse as well.

A girl and her dog running through a winter wonderland.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Program 2013

Last night was Aven's annual Christmas program at daycare. The toddlers didn't perform this year, so we didn't get to see Etta cry on stage, but that's okay, there's always the spring program!

Aven actually sang this year rather than shyly hiding behind her hands or staring out into the audience in shock. I was very proud and very impressed that her amazing teacher was able to get such good results.

Look at those cute Rudolphs!
The Chimney Song. Aven didn't sing too much during this one. She was too distracted by the chimney around her face.
The grand finale: "What Does the Fox Say?" Aven was the bird.

Santa even stopped by for a visit.
Here are a few short video clips from Aven's performances:

Monday, December 16, 2013

At the Races

Aven and Etta and so dang cute. They are best buddies and play so well together (most of the time). Etta watches Aven like a hawk and tries to copy everything she does. I am constantly amazed with how fast Etta picks up new skills thanks to her smart big sister.

Here they are racing :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

In the Middle

When people find out I teach middle school I usually get reactions similar to:
-"Are you crazy?!"
-"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure a high school job will open up soon."
-"Bless you, you deserve sainthood."

Believe it or not I have been teaching middle school since 2003 because I LOVE IT! The high school our middle school feeds into has tried to poach me twice but both times I have steadfastly refused to leave.

My days are varied and interesting. I laugh. A lot. Sometimes I get so mad it feels like steam is literally coming out of my ears. I sit in meetings where we are told that we are going to have to work harder and do more for the same or maybe even less pay. I have to jump through a hundred hoops every five years just to be able to keep my job. I boost confidence. I hand out band aids, I look up weird facts on Google to settle arguments, I listen to kids' favorite songs. I ask about new baby brothers. And of course, last but not least, I plan engaging, fun, meaningful lessons based on my core curriculum. I think I may have one of the best jobs in the world.

I'm going to explain a little scenario that happened today. It will either help you understand why I love middle school so much or it will make you even more certain that I am, in fact, crazy.

In my last class today I had a few kids who were done with the current project and these "early finishers" were engaged in a variety of activities. One kid was painting with watercolors. Here is a picture of his finished "work of art":

I admired his picture and told him that I really liked his background colors.

Then this happened:

Me: "So, what inspired you to create this . . . painting?"
Kid #1: "Poo."
Kid #2: "Our bodily functions are an art form."
Me: "Interesting. There was an artist who used to paint with elephant dung."
Kid #3: "What!? Someone used elephant poo as paint?"
Me: "Yep."
Kid #3: "They're wasting his food supply!" (points to his best buddy)
Everyone: Hysterical laughter.

I don't know if that made you laugh, but I got a kick out of it.

So there's a little look into my everyday life. Some form of this insanity happens in every class period, everyday I am at school. By June I am more than ready to leave it behind. By August I'm chomping at the bit to get back to it.

Call me crazy, but at least I'm surrounded by people who love Crazytown as much as I do.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Zoo with Friends

Today we went to the zoo with Aven's and Etta's besties, Alyssa and Jenna. Aven and Alyssa had lots of fun running around together, fighting, tattling on each other, making up, and then doing it all over again. Four-year-olds are exhausting. Etta and Jenna toddled around and had a grand time pointing at things and saying "whoa!".
Alyssa and Aven and a Gorilla.

Comparing themselves to Orangutans. 

All four girls in a nest. 
It doesn't get much cuter than that!

Riding on the bog old elephant.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We started our day by going to Feast with a Beast at the zoo. It was insanely busy and we had to park a quarter mile away. It was still lots of fun. As usual, the highlight for the girls was the carousel.

Aven is really quite comfortable on the carousel. If she could make a career out of carouseling, she would.

Etta is Joy and Happiness personified on the carousel.

 After the zoo we finished preparing dinner and very much enjoyed our feast:
The whole gang. 
I couldn't resist adding a messy baby-eating-pie picture.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why I Love Facebook

Once upon a time Ian and I had a friend at Westminster College named Kourtney. She was an Art major, just like us. She graduated the same year Ian did, I followed a year later.
Kourtney, Danny, and Ian

 Kourtney and I are Facebook friends, quietly following each other's lives in the strange online world for the past several years. A few days ago she posted about a pottery class she was teaching for 3-5 year-olds at Kimball Art Center and I decided to sign Aven up. Sure, I can do any art project I can dream up any time I want with Aven, but I thought it would be nice for Aven to be in an art class with kids her age and I got the bonus of seeing an old friend:

Aven had lots of fun pinching and smoothing her clay.
She was very proud of her creation. I got to make one too :)
We made cute little turkey containers. Aven just looked over at the computer screen and said "Hey! That's me making chicken potties!" Awesome.

We decided to turn our drive up to Park City into a full blown Aven and Mommy date. We went to lunch and then got a treat at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory:

Aven standing in front of, as she called it, a lady moose.

Our reflection in a store window.

Thanks for the great pottery class, Kourtney, you are an amazing instructor! And thank you Facebook, the thing I both love and hate, for helping me stay connected to awesome people from my past!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Spooktacular, 2013

Halloween just gets better and better the older our lovely little girls get. The last couple days have been jam packed with one fun Halloween activity after another. 

First we carved pumpkins:

Then I went to the annual Halloween carnival at the daycare Aven and Etta attend:

I dressed up as Bob Ross and taught my students about the worst, well-known artist if all time. After watching Bob Ross Remix they could not fathom why he wasn't respected in the art world. It was a ton of fun!

On Halloween night we went trick-or-treating with Aven and Etta's best friends, Alyssa and Jenna:
Alyssa and Aven
Jenna and Etta
Ian dressed up as my painting.
The Kearns swim team gave us a good laugh.
By the time we were done trick-or-treating we had a couple REALLY tired girls.
Checking out the loot!
 Yay for Halloween! Now bring on Thanksgiving!