Friday, May 25, 2007


The song I have recently been working on learning to play on the piano is "Follow the Prophet". It's Ainsley's favorite. If any of you have the primary childrens song book, you'll notice the picture for this song has 3 children dressed as prophets of old. One is holding a staff, one the stone tablets and the other a whale.

Ainsley was sitting next to me as I was practicing. She said, "Mommy, why is that man holding toast?" And you know, the stone tablets hold a striking resemblance to a piece of toast.

Don't you love a child's perspective?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Humanitarian Service

Back in early March, I attended my parents ward where they had 1 hour designated to explaining and planning humanitarian service. Their stake was planning on sending 5,000 kits (of all kinds) to Salt Lake by July. My parents ward wanted to make roughly 1500-2000 kits of all kinds. What I didn't know until that day are all the varieties of kits their are. (A kit being any item or group of items being requested such as a quilt, or a pair of slippers, or a school kit, a new born kit or a picture book etc...) The church website has a list of all the kits, what is required in each, and patterns and templates you can follow. They also list their greatest needs. I decided that it would be fun to donate one family home evening a month to working on some kind of humanitarian kit. We decided to do the ABC books. I bought sheet protectors and card stock and a few folders with brads. My dad and brother came over to join us and we finished almost two books. The kit instructions ask that they be colored carefully and in the lines. The boys did a very good job and we just filled in some of their bare spots when needed. We gave Ainlsey all the pages that didn't print exactly right. She didn't know we were not keeping hers and she worked really hard at coloring hers very carefully. It sort of made me sad to throw hers away later, but I guess it's really good practice for when she can stay in the lines a bit better. I think we will start a folder of pictures cut out of magazines so we can do a picture book. And I would like to make some baby quilts that we can tie as a family and put together a few hygiene kits. If any of you are looking for ideas for service or home evening. I encourage you to take a look at the kits on the church's website and see what you can do as a family, or in Young Womens, or as an enrichment group.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Conversations in the Car

We spent Friday night and Saturday at my parents cabin with Wood and Woodine. It was a really fun trip with mostly great weather. We managed to squeeze in some fishing, walking trails, time on the boats and making s'mores. Of course it was too short but we were so happy to have the time we did.

We drove home early Sunday morning because our church doesn't start until 1:30pm. On the way home Ainsley began this conversation:

A: "Mommy, where can you go on Sunday? Can you go to your Grandma's house?"
Me: "Yes"
A: "You can go to your Grandma's house if you're sick. . . (pause). . . and eat cookies!"
Me: " Do cookies make you feel better?"
A: "Yes"

Later, we were about 45 minutes from home, but on the interstate in the middle of the mountains

A: "I have to go stinky really bad"
Me: "You'll just have to wait til we get home, it's not too far now"
A: "I have to go really bad!!" (if you know Ainsley, she can be a bit of a drama queen)
Me: "You can poop in your pants." (I know it was not the most mature thing to say as a parent, I was just letting her know there weren't any options at the moment)
A: Makes a big frowny face as if to say YUCK, I'm not doing that!
A: "You can stop at a red light and I'll go in the grass"

I am happy to say there were no red lights on the way home until we were very close. She made it home just fine and in fact she forgot she needed to go. We were reminding everyone what they needed to do first thing since we only had 1 hour to get cleaned up and ready to leave for church. We asked her what she was going to do as soon as she walked in and she said, pick out her dress. We asked again and she replied the same. We then reminded her that she should hit the bathroom first. I'm glad that she neither went in her pants nor in the grass!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cleaning Lady

I am not a great house keeper/cleaner!! I am certainly not the worst out there but I know I wouldn't be ranked very high. There are so many other things in the world that I would rather do with my spare time plus the fact that whatever I do clean/straighten gets dirty and messy within hours. Sometimes I wonder what's the point? Why bother? I liken it to an artist that sculpts his clay into a work of art, gets it just how he wants it and then someone comes up and squashes it before he has even had the chance to admire his work. This can be so discouraging! Sometimes I feel that you just have to let things go and when you know you are having company - THEN it's time to get to work. Because then someone will actually see what you've done and appreciate it before it goes back to chaos.

Sometimes you need a little motivation to get things done!! Sometimes you just have to strap on your hot pink sequin headband and yellow gloves and ROCK OUT to radio Disney! Sometimes that really works!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Celebration of Generations!

A few weeks ago my sister Brinn was visiting and we decided to go visit my Grandparents. She was still expecting at the time and my grandmother really wanted to see her before she had the baby. I was really happy to have the opportunity and the time because they only live 25 minutes away but because both of our schedules are so busy we don't see them often enough. They live in a very nice retirement community and have trips, lectures, dinners, and other events. We have 4 children all involved in activities, school and church. This being said, I need to make a better effort to get down and see them.

I love the fact that my children are getting to know their great grandparents. I was actually born with 5 great grandparents and do have a few memories of times I shared with them. My great grandpa Von Stetten lived to be 101 years old. I was 16 when he passed away and we used to visit him at least twice a year so I remember him the best. One of my great grandmothers lived near Pittsburgh so I didn't see her as often but I remember writing letters to her and she always wrote me back. I wrote her in high school and metioned that I played hockey and loved it. She remarked to my father that she just couldn't imagine teeny tiny Brittney on ice skates playing hockey. (Hahaha)

My grandfather recently accepted the invitation to come and be interviewed by some 3rd grade students (not Chase's class) from the boys school. The third graders are studying Lancaster County this year and wanted to interview people that grew up here. My grandfather is a great resource and was able to tell them about what it was like to go to school here 72 years ago. Chase was able to sneak away from his class and listen in for about half the interview. How awesome to show off your great grandfather. A funny story - my grandpa told me one of the boys asked him if he served in World War One, Chase quickly jumped in - NO WAY, he wasn't even born then! I don't think most kids know as much about wars and the years they occured. Chase has read every war book in his Elem. School library.

The boys are in awe of the stories my grandfather tells them about the war. They love to look at his memorabilia and talk about aircraft carriers and hellcats. My grandfather always has Neco wafers and tells them each time we visit that Necos are the oldest candy still made in the United States. I think Ainlsey will remember him as the "Neco grandpa". My father said he had the "whitehaired grandma" and the "bologna grandma". That's how he told them apart. One grandma always brought ring bologna when she visited. My grandmother loves to hold the little ones and always has things for Ainsley to look at when we visit. Last fall she kept all of my grandfather's "get well" cards from after his knee surgery so Ainsley could look at each one and lay them out the way she does. Then my grandma would remember a trait from the card and ask Ainlsey to find the card with a kitty on it or a red bird, etc... It definitely kept Ainsley busy. And my grandma is so patient as she answers the curious questions of a 4 year old - like, "What are those lines on your face?" And "Why are you old?" Not to metion the "to die for" sugar cookies and milk she serves.

Here my grandpa is pursing his lips together and blowing a really high pitch whistle at Ainsley. She loves it!

My grandparents now have 12 great grandchildren. I hope all the great grandchildren know how lucky they are to be able to interact with and be photographed with their great grandparents. I need to continue to make the effort for my children to spend time with them so they will have treasured memories in the future.

The Silent Instrument

MacGregor's teacher plays the guitar, banjo and maybe another stringed instrument. Outside of school he is in a band that plays mainly folksy music. The benefit of this for MacGregor's class is that they sing everyday in school. If you get this teacher for 1st grade you will perform a musical assembly for the rest of the school in the month of May. Chase knew this and was so excited when MacGregor was assigned to Mr. Bs class.

The big program is this Friday. I think they will be performing 10 songs. They keep it "hush hush " even from the parents. I don't think there are speaking parts but I do know there are props involved. One number involves "moster suits". And then each child was assigned to make a homemade instrument that does NOT make any noise for the final number. The instrument needed to be sturdy - made from heavy cardboard, plastic or wood. MacGregor thought we could just whittle up a native american flute. When I told him we just didn't have that kind of time (nor the expertise) he decided he would make a "tissue box guitar", but then we got another idea from my dad so we decided to try something new. We luckily had some very thick cardboard. We did help Gregor cut it out, we decided it was not in anyone's best interest to turn a first grader loose with box cutters. But he did all the painting and used a black marker to trace the pencil lines that Dan had faintly drawn for the keys. All in all I think it turned out terrific and I look forward to seeing the other 24 homemade silent instruments.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

5 Months - come and gone

It's hard to believe 5 months have come and gone. I am SOOO behind on things I wanted to post about. But on April 23rd, Piper turned 5 months.

She still gets LOTS O LOVE by everyone in this family!!!

She is such a good baby. She doesn't cry too much and her fussiness is usually for a reason and if the problem is solved she goes back to her good natured self. She has really found her voice this past month and half. She squeals, laughs outloud and complains in a voluminous voice. She loves to play "peek-a-boo".

She is very adept at pulling her "happy" (pacifier) in and out. She likes toys, rattles, stuffed animals, and books. She loves paper! Paper makes her go psycho! She will snatch it right out of your hands. In fact last week at church, Dan had her as a sign up paper went around. He said he was passed the the sign up sheet and had it less than a second when Piper whipped it out of his hand and crumpled it up. He was caught completely off guard! Then this past week Ainsley had a little spring program at her school with a cookie reception afterwards. Dan had taken some things to the car and I was holding my cookies and napkin in my right hand, Piper was on my right hip and I was helping Ainsley pick some things out with my left hand. Meanwhile, Piper grabs my napkin and begins to tear it up and put it her mouth. My hands were full and I really couldn't stop her. Then we sat at one of the tables that had thin plastic table cloths on them. She proceed to grab the table cloth and pull it along with everything on the table. Then Daniel tried to get sandwich out of a bag on the table but he had to wrestle it away from Piper. NOTHING IS SAFE! She loves the phone and will try to remove it from my ear if she is being held while I'm talking. She also loves the remote and will try to wrestle that away from us too if it's anywhere near her reach.

She still rolls from tummy to back but NOT back to tummy. She will roll on her sides and you think she is going to make it all the way over, but no. She can spin in all different directions when laying on her back.

I started her on baby food and she loves it. She has had sweet potatoes, carrots and apple sauce. I only give it to her once a day at this point mostly because that's all I have time for. She also likes bits of bread, noodles and yes coco coco puffs (but only bits). I know it seems too young but all my kids have started eating early, they know what to do with food. They know how to hold up their heads. They know to open their mouths for a spoon and how to chew and swallow. MacGregor was eating peanut M&Ms before he had teeth. Crunching away with his gums. Why we gave him chocolate covered peanuts before he had teeth is a good question! Probably because we were eating them and he was begging - just as Piper was for the coco coco puffs. Piper is also driking water from a sippy cup. It's not the traditional sippy it's a Playtex Snap & Tote which has a horizonally wide but thin sipper. It has one hole in the sipper that will slowly drip if turned upside down. She can easily suck the water out of this cup without choking and I like haveing a quick alternative if we are out and she is thirsty. Sometimes it's just enough to hold her off or keep her from being bored until the end of ... say a baseball game (where we spend 4-6 days a week right now).

We can't wait to see the personality develop of our little fuzz head.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Egg Drop

MacGregor's teacher, Mr. B, does this experiment with his classes each year. The idea is to design and create a container that you can put an egg inside and when dropped 15 feet onto the pavement, the egg remains whole. He encourages all the kids to be creative and he gave us many ideas from the past. However, he wouldn't tell you if the inventions from the past worked or not. Some of his ideas included - the parachute egg, inside a nerf ball, in jello, or noodles.

So 2 weeks ago we all trying to come up with ideas. Dan wanted to go buy stuff, like mattress foam, or nerf balls. I did NOT want to spend $20 dollars on this one day project and thought there had to be something at home that would work. The teacher said, it's not a pass or fail - It's an experiment to see what works and what doesn't.

I was thinking of those bags of air they put in boxes being shipped. My mom brought a few over and a neighbor had some more. So we tried it at home. We took a set of 3 connected air bags and placed an egg inside and took some packing tape and taped it all around. We threw it up to the ceiling and let it drop and the egg cracked open. The egg had fallen on a flat spot where the air pillows connect. So we got a gladware container and separated all the air pillows. We then packed air pillows all around, put the egg inside and more air pillows on top and taped the lid on. We tested it 3 times. Once from our kitchen ceiling - it worked! Once from the top of our stairs - it worked! Then we threw it up to the ceiling of our 2 story foyer and it fell on the hardwood floor below - it cracked! So we didn't know what would happen the next day. Mr. B brings the eggs and they have to put in at school the morning of the competition. So we got all our air pillows set and hoped it was going to work.

For the answer - follow the picture sequence of events.

Yeah!!! It worked. There were only about 3 whose did not work. But I fear we were all a bit too practical using bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, foam, suspension with pantyhose, pillows etc.. It would have probably been more fun to see the eggs dropped in containers with jello, noodles, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cotton candy etc...

Here is Maco with his best 1st grade bud - Timmy A.