Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mark's Awards

I hesitate to write this post because I hate bragging about my children, but then I reason with myself and say, "this is your personal blog about your family, so it's okay." Needless to say, if you don't want to hear some serious bragging...stop reading right now.

Mark has been busy with school, piano, soccer, basketball, and many other things, but we did squeeze in some time to work on Reflections. We require Mark to enter at least two categories of Reflections. For those of you not familiar with Reflections, it is sponsored by the PTA and it encourages children to explore their artistic side, so the categories are music, art, literature, dance, video, photography, and so on. Every year there is a different theme and their entry must fit the theme. This year the theme was Believe, Dream, Inspire. Mark entered a photo of Seth as a baseball player (see below). And he also wrote a story about how he dreams of becoming a DH (designated hitter) for the Red Sox.

Mark with his entries.
There weren't as many entries as last year because our school didn't push it very hard, but Mark won 1st place for his story and an award of merit for his photograph. He was excited to receive two awards. Both of his entries will move on to region and compete with other schools. Last year Mark won 1st place for a song that he wrote and received an award of merit for his photo of Dax kissing Seth. His song moved onto region, but nothing came of it. We are so proud of Mark and the work he put into Reflections, even though there was a little complaining along the way. I really like Reflections because I think it pushes Mark to do something he isn't very comfortable with. Schoolwork is easy, but being a little creative is sometimes a little more difficult.

Mark also competed in a festival on the piano. He had to learn two songs and play them as a duet with me. He practiced very hard, but was so nervous while we waited for his turn. He didn't play them perfectly. In fact, in both songs we had to stop and reset, but he kept going and he played them very well. I was a little frustrated with him after all that practicing and then to let nerves get the best of himself. But Mark earned the best rating possible...I am interested to see the judges notes because I would have been happy with good or okay, but he earned superior. Maybe they could see that he was the youngest student there and that it was his first time. I am proud of him for trying so hard. He will compete in the solo festival in February where he will play alone and his piece must be memorized. I hope that he learned a lesson about taking a deep breath and not worrying about the judges, but we'll see.

Mark's reflection photo

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dax, the Letter Writer

Dax has become obsessed with writing letters. It all started because we have lots of people in our family on missions. I try to encourage my children to write to them every once in awhile. Soon it became Dax writing them letters every other day. I figured it was good for the missionaries to get mail. I also like that Dax is practicing his writing because he keeps making his little a's wrong and it drives me crazy, so I'm hoping I can get him to fix it.

Anyway, he has recently switched to some other people in our family. Dax will come up to the table with a stack of papers and announce who he is going to write his letters to each day. Then I help him spell their name and he does the rest. He usually draws a picture and writes Love, Dax--that he can spell himself. The other day he wanted to write a joke to his cousin...that took awhile because I had to spell out every word.

I scanned in a few of the more recent letters because I find them so endearing. Dax is truly a sweet little boy and I love that he is sharing some sweetness around.

Dax has a little trouble with the letter S. I
I love the size of him and Seth in his picture.

That is his uncle Bob cute!

The joke letter--it's his favorite joke.

I thought Dax's people were exceptional in this letter.
I especially liked the ears.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Seth's Haircut

Seth got a real haircut! He looks so grown-up. Everyone comments on how different he looks. So here are the before and after pictures.

By the way: Seth hardly cried for his haircut. Our other children have screamed and I've had to hold them still, but not Seth. He sat really well until the end when I think he was just tired of sitting and holding still. I was glad it was so easy.

Here are a few more pictures...
Cheesy smile...but you can see his long hair needs to go.

Right after the haircut!

Loves his hair!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Blurry, but cute!
Okay, I'm going to confess right now that I really don't like Halloween. Ask my family...I am grouchy all day. I hate dressing up, trying to scare our little kids, the enormous amount of candy (even though I eat my fair share), and the pointlessness of the whole holiday.

Now that I have that out of the way, I do try and make the best of it because my children love Halloween. And it is definitely more fun to celebrate with my kids. So to start Halloween on the right foot, I made some pumpkin pancakes. These pancakes weren't pumpkin flavored, they were just regular pancakes dyed orange. Randy said they were the best pancakes ever, Mark ate only one, Dax wouldn't even touch a pancake, and Seth nibbled on his. So they weren't a huge success, but I thought they were cute.

We usually have letter pancakes, but I made the pumpkins for Halloween.
Later that morning, we went to Mark's school for the Halloween parade. It is so CRAZY. The school has too many kids and the halls were packed, but both Dax and Seth were excited when Mark came parading by.

Mark with Dax's hand pointing at him!

A few hours later we picked Dax up from preschool and his class did a little Halloween parade down the street. I'm so glad it was a nice day for Halloween.

Dax is Spiderman!

Then after dinner, we hit the neighborhoods in Highland for trick-or-treating. We like to go trick-or-treat all the people we know from teaching up there (plus it's a high-income area with really great treats!) Seth loved trick-or-treating. He ran from house to house, and kept trying to go right in when they opened the door. He held onto his most recent piece of candy, so when they held out the bowl, he'd drop one in and take one out. I guess he thought he needed to trade.

I think the boys would have gone all night, but I got cold, and it was getting late. We ran into something unique while we were trick-or-treating--the headless horseman. Someone was riding their horse dressed in all black with no head and throwing candy to people. We saw him while it was still light so our kids weren't even scared. I didn't get a picture, but Randy and I were impressed with the costume. It really was a Happy Halloween!

Mark's Captain America Pose

Dax's Spiderman Pose

Seth was a cute elephant.

Seth loves trick or treating!

Seth was so proud of this sucker.
He showed it to everyone we passed!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Carving Pumpkins

Both Randy and I dread carving pumpkins. It is our least favorite activity at Halloween time, but our kids love it SO much that I feel a tiny bit guilty about disliking it. So every year we suck it up and let them carve pumpkins. Dax has seriously been asking to carve pumpkins since we turned the calendar to October.

This was definitely our best year. Both Mark and Dax carved their own pumpkins with just a little bit of assistance. Dax had two to carve because he got one on a field trip. Randy took care of Seth's pumpkin and his own, while I carved mine.

The boys cleaned their own pumpkins out.

Loved every minute of it!

Randy worked hard on two pumpkins.

I'm not sure what made this year so easy. Maybe it was that the older two boys were so independent. Maybe it was that we kept the faces very simple. Or maybe it was our attitude. Whatever it was, I hope it holds up for years to come. We are very proud of our pumpkins.

Dax carved the one on the right all by himself.

Mark's vampire pumpkin.

Seth loved his pumpkin. He laughed at it and still
runs outside to check on it every day.

Randy...very creative as always.

I figured since I had a white pumpkin I'd better make a snowman.

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