Saturday, April 30, 2011

Backyard Camping

We chose to spend every day outside in April.  (If you aren't sure what I am talking about, you can find out more here).  I wanted to do something special with the kids to celebrate our month outside.  We were lucky enough to make it outside every day this month, without fail, rain or shine, sickness and in health.   So we decided to surprise the kids with a backyard camp-out and spend the last of April outdoors.   I love backyard camping!  The house is there for those of us who would like to use the restroom indoors, the kitchen is accessible for late night treats, and if we forgot anything (like a very special bedtime lovey), we can hop right back in the house and get it!  Don't get me wrong, our family also loves real camping, but backyard camping is its own kind of fun.

 Here is our tent all set up and waiting for us.  My Mom and I set it up! 

  We grilled outside for dinner.  Then Daddy blew bubbles with the kids while I got things cleaned up.

We  played a comical family game of kickball.    Comical because the children couldn't remember having ever played before and kept mixing up the rules with soccer.  Andrew didn't want to touch the ball with his hands.  Ryan wanted to keep kicking the ball after the initial kick.  Molly wanted to pick up the bases.  As you can see, eventually we got the hang of it.  Kind of.

After the difficulty with kickball, we decided to stay with a game we all knew the rules to.  Hide and seek!

We moved next to jumping on the trampoline.  Then we laid down on the trampoline and watched the sunset together, listening to the sounds of the crickets, birds, and neighborhood dogs.

 Of course we made S'mores once it got dark.  How can you have a camp out without them? 

We put on our jammies and read stories and sang songs together until the boys fell asleep.

I'd like to say that Molly fell asleep soon after, but that would not be truthful.  Our neighbors were having a party and played loud heavy metal music until after 11pm.  Molly danced and sang along with the music. 

In the morning, the kids crawled in our sleeping bags for snuggles, before we had hot cocoa and breakfast. We laid there and listened to the animals outside.  Andrew was very excited because we heard an owl.  

Later the kids helped take down the tent, and were happy and helpful, despite the fact that they wanted to sleep outside FOREVER!

We had a wonderful time together, last night, today, and EVERY DAY this month. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend 2011

We had a beautiful Easter weekend with our three sweet children.   We attended church together this morning.  Since church doesn't start until 11am, we were able to snap a few pics beforehand.

 (For optimal viewing, click on each of the collages).

Molly was more than happy to let us take pics of her in her dress, but not happy about putting it on.  I bought this dress for her two years ago, before she was born.  She was VERY upset this morning that her dress was not pink!

Ryan was very happy to get dressed this morning, because his clothes were almost identical to Andrew's.  Whether or not his outfit looks like Andrew's is the number one most important factor in Ryan's clothing choice each day.  To the point of refusing to get dressed if it does not.    He also refused to pose for any pictures this morning WITHOUT his brother.  So, all of my pics of them are together.  You would never know from these pictures that Ryan was having a meltdown 2 minutes previous, because I was trying to take a pic of him alone.  Nothing makes Ryan happier than having Andrew by his side! Not that I blame him.  Andrew is pretty cool!

We went to my cousin's house to be with my Mom's side of the family for an Easter Egg hunt and dinner after church.  We hid over 600 eggs!  It was so much fun!  

My 90 year old Nanie LOVES egg hunts.  She didn't want to wait for a basket, so she made one out of her shirt while someone ran to grab one for her!

The Easter Bunny came to our house in the morning and brought the children way too much!  Molly loved her little yellow duck AND her candy.  She insisted that we open the candy.  I was very surprised when she chose to feed it to her duck BEFORE she ate any.  For breakfast we made Resurrection Rolls. We read the story of the Savior's Resurrection in Luke together.

On Saturday, we spent the entire day preparing for Easter.  We painted Easter Eggs together outside.

We also made this Resurrection Terrarium.  I had seen the idea on a website called Impress Your Kids.  We made a garden scene of the tomb with the stone in front of it.  The kids were excited to see it this morning refreshed with flowers and with the stone moved. And of course, the tomb was empty.

We ended the morning by hiding 12 Easter Eggs in the backyard yesterday that were filled with symbols of the Easter story. We came inside and opened them up.  We used the symbols and Gospel Art Kit pictures to retell the miracle of Easter. (click on the link for the symbols and the pictures we used).  

After the lesson, Ryan asked me if Jesus had died for his sins.  I told him yes, that Jesus loved him and had died for him.  That He would have sacrificed His life, even if Ryan was the only person on Earth.  Then Ryan proceeded to ask me if he had died for the sins of each and every person that he knows, naming them by name, one by one. "Did he die for Andrew? Did he die for Molly? Daddy? Mommy? Grandma Stone? Grandpa Bud? Nana, Papa? Grandma, Grandpa? Did he die for Uncle Ben? Alex? Emily? Rachel?"  He continued and listed names until he could think of no one else.  (Ryan knows a lot of people)! It is hard to put into words the sweet and overwhelming feeling I had when I replied "Yes!" to each and every name of those people that I love so dearly, as well.  Tears were in my eyes, but a smile was on my face.  With each and every yes, we became happier and all started to even laugh.  Yes, my sweet Ryan.  Our Heavenly Father sent His Only Begotten Perfect Son to earth to suffer and die for us, to pay the price for all of our sins.  He did this so that we might live with Him again someday.  He loves us, each of us, as individuals.  He came and showed us the way to return.  He paid the price for our sins.  This is the joyous news of Easter! I love these short, simple moments in my life as a mom.  Moments when my children truly begin to understand, when the Spirit is present in our home.   The moment was brief.  We moved on to lunch and naps.  But it is a memory I will always cherish and want to write down so I never forget.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Molly's Teddy Bear Picnic 2nd Birthday Party

My sweet little girl is two!  We celebrated with a Teddy Bear Picnic on her birthday with her family and a couple of little friends.

We had peanut butter and honey teddy bear sandwiches for the children, chicken salad croissants for the grown-ups.  We had fruit, cheese, lemonade, gummy bears, and teddy bear shaped crackers, made from tortillas.  Each of the guests received a bag of teddy grahams tied with a teddy bear and pink ribbon.  They also brought home their egg baskets and bubbles.

  Molly loved her pink cake pops I made for her birthday!  Thanks for teaching me how, Aenea! Molly loves to sing Happy Birthday and was very excited to have everyone sing it to her!  She added the Cha-cha-cha part herself.

We had a "Bear Hunt" in the woods.  We hid eggs filled with candy and teddy bear stickers and teddy bear gummies.

Molly loved sharing with the Teddy Bears at her picnic!

She received lots of nice gifts from her family and friends. Thank you for coming and sharing our special day.  Thank you Grandpa and Courtney for the great pics!

We gave Molly this little table and chairs for her birthday.  She plays with it all day! 

Oh, how I love my sweet Molly!  Molly loves to sing, dance, climb, and play pretend.  To say that her favorite color is pink, is an understatement.  EVERY morning when we go to get Molly out of her bed, the first thing she says is "PINK!" Every single morning, without fail for the past few months.  She also wants to only wear pink clothes.  Molly is a nurturer.  Any time anyone is hurt, Molly is there to give hugs and kisses. Molly loves her brothers.  She wants to be wherever they are and do whatever they do.  She plays Star Wars and trains and cars with them.  They play with her dollhouse with her.  She loves spaghetti and all fruits.  Her favorite movies are Tangled and Elmo's Potty.  Her favorite books are "My Pink ABCs" and "Snuggle Puppy."  She loves all things princess. 

Molly is spunky with her own opinions.  She is beginning to speak more clearly and is putting a few words together.  She communicates her wants and needs clearly, just not always with words.  She loves to say the prayer and to sing songs.  She can sing any tune she hears and we can often hear her singing the Star Wars theme over the baby monitor.  She also "sings" the ABCs and "Happy Birthday."   She loves to play outside.  She follows multiple step directions.  She loves puzzles and to color.  She loves to sort and to play in the water table. 

Molly brings so much joy to our family.  She is happy and fun to be with.   Happy Birthday, my sweet little princess. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ryan's Silly Monkey 4th Birthday Party

 Ryan loves Monkey Joes.  He really, really wanted to have his birthday party at Monkey Joe's.  Ryan also loves his cousins and Mommy and Me friends.  And he really, really wanted to have his cousins and Mommy and Me friends at his party.  But alas, the closest Monkey Joe's is over an hour away, and we don't own a bus to transport them all there.  So his Mommy helped him decide that a party at our gymnastics place with inflatables and monkey cupcakes would work!  So we had a Silly Monkey birthday party!  Ryan got very excited about this theme.  He told everyone he met that he was going to be four and have a silly/crazy monkey party.  We had such a fun time.  I made these little monkey cupcakes and we had chocolate covered frozen bananas, too!  (I love the little tiny silly monkeys we found to put on the cupcakes.  Each one is making a different face).  We gave each guest a hanging monkey as a party favor.

 At the beginning of the party, the children had a blast jumping into the foam pit!  I think they would have been happy to do that the entire hour!

Ryan loved dancing to the music and stomping the bubbles.  At the end, we all climbed inside the parachute tent and sang Happy Birthday to Ryan.  Even Molly joined in at the "Cha-Cha-Chas!"

The last activity was the inflatable climbing wall and slide, which was of course, why we were there...and Ryan's favorite part.  Molly opted to hang on these bars.  She does not like inflatables at all!  (I think the noise scares her).  When the games were complete, each child received a gold medal.  We then ate treats and opened presents.  We all had a great time! 

In the Kitchen with Molly

Molly has a new favorite place to play...IN her kitchen.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Wizard of Oz

Our school held its annual Spring Fling in April.  One of the children's grandfathers (who is also our family friend) graciously agreed to come and play the part of the Wizard of Oz and perform magic tricks for the students!  The kids unanimously agreed that his show was the best part of the whole event! Thank you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ryan's 4th Birthday at Home

Ryan will have a party with his cousins and a few friends later in the week, but today was spent at church and home with just those of us who live at our house.  Ryan decided he wanted a monkey party, so Chad and I made him this cake.  (without a monkey pan...on our own...I was pretty excited)!

Molly helped clean up the frosting.

We read Ryan's favorite book outside after church.  Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday To You. Which, by the way, is not my favorite.  It takes close to 30 minutes to read.  But Ryan LOVES it!  He asks for it all the time, everyday!  He wanted to have hotdogs on a string for lunch today because of that book.  Not sure where you buy those.  He had to settle for regular hotdogs. 

So, I know this post is about Ryan's birthday, there is nothing HOTTER than a dad reading to his kids.  I love this man!

Ryan was very eager to read his cards and open presents after dinner.  (Dinner was his favorite...spaghetti). 

He received a lot of nice gifts including this cool parachute toy. (from Nana and Papa).  

And the only thing he asked for his Mommy and Daddy to get him was a Buzz Light Year with a helmet that opens and closes. 

Happy 4th Birthday, my "funny and cool" guy! (which is what you always want me to call you).

Happy 4th Birthday, Ryan!

 Ryan's Birth

 First Birthday

2nd Birthday

 3rd Birthday

Today on his 4th Birthday (being his normal silly self)

My sweet, loveable, silly Ryan turns 4 today!  I can't believe he has been part of our family for so long.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father sent him to our home. Ryan is so eager to please.  So happy most of the time, so loving.  He has the sweetest voice.  Andrew remains the center of his universe, but he is beginning to recognize Molly as a viable playmate and is very sweet to her.  (As long as she isn't wanting to sit in Mommy's lap or play with HIS toys).  Ryan loves all things Star Wars, Super Heroes, Buzz Lightyear, sharks, and monkeys!  Ryan is beginning to read a very few sight words.  He can write his name, loves puzzles, and colors beautifully!  He is a good friend and plays well with everyone.  He is developing a very cute and quirky sense of humor and is very silly and goofy.  He has also recently decided that he is NOT shy and is very outgoing in public.  He walks right up to adults and children and introduces himself and our family.  "Hi, I am Ryan.  I am 4.  This is my mommy.  And my sister.  She is one, but she will be two soon.  Andrew is at school.  He goes to ABES.  He is 6.  Andrew likes Star Wars and birds.  But yeah, he is at school.  I am in Mommy and Me.  I am going to have a monkey birthday party."  And on and on he goes.  Until the person walks away or asks an appropriate question.  It just surprises me so much.  Until recently he shied away from any contact with others.  I guess my little boy is growing up!

Ryan's Four Year Old Favorites

Favorite Colors: Orange, Blue, Pink, and Purple, oh...and Silver, too
Favorite TV Show: Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Favorite Movie: Cars
Favorite Toy: Robin (from Batman and Robin)
Favorite Food: Cake
Favorite Candy: Lollipop
Favorite Song: Batman
Favorite Places to Go: the park, the beach and Monkey Joe's 
Favorite Game: Lego Star Wars
Best Friend: Andrew