Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arts in the School Night

The girls had their "Arts in the School" Night last night at their school.  There was amazing art all throughout the whole building.  Nearly every wall was covered with art displays.  It was really neat to see so much creativity and talent.  I took a lot of pictures...I hope you don't get bored looking through these.  Each grade level was assigned a country or topic.  We started in Asia:

Moving on to Africa (3rd grade):
This was a giant representation of Africa made of tiny pieces of magazine

Jarem next to the hut

Tessa next to her African mask, writing, and some sort of African rug

Forest Floor was 4th grade:
This was by far the most popular hall because it had moss-like cover along both sides of the hall with critters made of clay, paper mache, or etc by the kids.

Another big draw to this hall was the real cockatoo!

As you can see, Tessa and Jarem were fascinated with the bird.  We kept losing track of them only to find them back watching the bird again.

This giant US flag covered much of ones of the halls

Jesikah's honor choir performed 5 songs in the gym.  They practice every Thursday morning before school.  They have to try-out and be in 4th or 5th grade to be part of honor choir.  They sounded excellent.


The last song they performed was "Surfin USA" which they added a lot of choreography to.  After the kids sang, the principal had a surprise.  She called all the teachers up to dance with her to the song and the kids sang it one more time.  The kids LOVED that!

Jesikah's music clay model.  On the paper she said that she made a music model because music touches her in a special way.

This is a very poor photograph of Jesikah's shadow painting.  It was beautiful.

The painting in the green is Jesikah's painting of the "bubble people" style by a famous artist.  The helmet is floating behind.

Enter Canada:
Jesikah's Canadian pamphlet and passport

Inside the pamphlet

Down the Kindergarten & 1st grade hall they did Australia:
This giant sea turtle had a different item glued on each section of his shell

Man-o-wars made with coffee filters and crepe paper...they were so pretty

And lots of Nemos

One of my favorites were the fish made with old CD's, tissue paper, and the children making fish faces

Of course, kookaburras

These snakes were very colorful.  Some of them were made with plasic Easter eggs


This is a collage modeling a famous artist made with little bits of paper cut of magazines.  The picture was amazing.

It was an enjoyable night...a great reminder that we have a very bright future ahead of us with these creative and talented children!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jarem's Obsession

This is Jarem's recent preschool picture

As parents, we learn that each child is different, and the same things are not problems with each one.  A few weeks ago, Jarem was eating an orange, and had that scary feeling that he was going to choke (you know when part of the membraney stuff doesn't get completely separated).  Eric gave him a tap on the back, and it came back up and he was fine, but I think he realized how easily he could choke on something.  Ever since he first learned that people could die, he has a great fear of dying.  I guess this just complicated things when he realized he could die from choking.

Since then, (probably about 2 weeks now), he is afraid to swallow anything.  We realized it when he was only eating a few bites of any meal in the time it took everyone else to eat a full meal.  He chews and chews and chews until it is completely liquified in his mouth and doesn't want to swallow.  We have to continually tell him to swallow.  Then, he wants to open his mouth and show us after each bite is chewed to see if it is chewed adequately.  He is paranoid. 

We have tried everything to try to get him through this.  I have tried to tell him your body knows when it's time to don't have to worry and think about it.  I told him that it is instinct...even babies know when it's time to swallow and no one teaches them.  Your body just knows.  I have told him that the choking feeling only happens with oranges (and bacon, he said) cause they are stringy.  Eric suggested that he count a certain number of times before swallowing, but then he was methodically counting every bite and somethings don't need to be chewed as much as others.  I was really worried for a few days that he was bordering on an eating disorder.  We found things in several trashes that he had spit out around the house after chewing them.  It was causing him so much anxiety that he was having stomach aches everyday.

He is eating a little better now, but we still have to tell him to swallow and he is worried still that he might choke.  We are making sure he is eating enough, but it is painful somedays to have to constantly tell him to swallow every bite at meals.    Any of you have any words of wisdom?

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Gardening...

When I was a teenager, if someone would have told me that I would enjoy gardening as an adult, I would have never believed them.  My parents always had a very large garden and a big yard to care for.  As kids, we had responsibilities to help with mowing the lawn, weeding flower beds, and helping to plant, weed, and harvest the garden.  I HATED IT!  I remember telling my dad that someday when I had my own house, I would NOT be having any garden, flowers, or grass.  I would have rocks for my front yard! :)
Less that two years after Eric and I got married, we moved in a duplex in Orem, Utah with a backyard while attending BYU.  I was so excited that it had a backyard so that I could plant a garden.  Eric didn't start out being the gardening type, but after years of my persistence in planting flowers and vegetables at different places that we have lived, he now enjoys it too, but it still isn't his passion like it is mine.  There is something very rewarding about watching things grow and enjoying the fruits of your labors.  It is very enjoyable to work together in the yard.

With spring arriving, we have taken advantage of the nice weather to do a little landscaping and gardening.  We finally have created an area outside our basement patio that will be inviting once we get some furniture.  In the picture below, you will see our peas growing with netting around them to protect them from deer and rabbits.

As we were trying to decide where in our yard to make a garden, an opportunity arose.  The fascia board that surrounded our back deck had some bowing.  It was still under warranty, so it was replaced at no expense to us.  They left the old fascia boards.  Well, it just so happens that these boards are made of a composite material that is very weather resistant...what better thing to use them for than garden boxes.  About the same time the boards were left, I had some friends that were telling me about a class they had taken on square foot gardening.  So we decided, why not?  I think they turned out pretty good.  We planted peppers, tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers.  We still have some leftover wood, so I hope to get Eric to make a couple more soon.

About the same time we planted the peas, Jesikah and her friend were making a clubhouse near her basement window, and they were going to plant some weeds in these leftover bricks for a garden.  I told them, "Why not plant some pea seeds?"  Jesikah loves fresh peas from the garden, so she did.  She planted one seed in each hole of 3 bricks for a total of 9.  She watered them everyday, and guess what, they all came up.  She is SO excited about them.  She goes and checks them along with the rest of our garden and flowers everyday.  I hope I'm sowing in her the same love for gardening that I have. :)  The other kids enjoy seeing them grow too.
She took these pictures of her peas the day she discovered them...they are awesome pictures.  In the above picture, one hadn't come up yet, but it now has.  She took advantage of the sweet evening light without even knowing it!

Love the light!

Tessa Humor

This is a book that Tessa checked out from the school library recently.  Knowing Tessa, the part that attracted her to this book is the little speech bubbles of the pigeon talking.

A few days after seeing the book, I found this paper that Tessa had made.  It's her own little pigeon story, but this time it should be titled, "Pigeon Wants to Play Video Games".  In top left corner it's hard to read, but pigeon is saying, "I'll give you 10 pieces of candy".  She is a funny girl...I enjoy her creative side even if it is a bit quirky at times! :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Birthday

Even though I don't always like to advertise my birthday (another year older and all that), I do want to post it to show appreciation to those who made it special!

My birthday came on a Sunday, but it really started on Saturday when my dear friends (Linda, Tina, and Elke) took me out to a birthday lunch at Olive Garden.  I had delicious salmon, vegetables, and my favorite Olive Garden salad.  It wasn't absent of desserts either: raspberry white chocolate cheesecake and donuts...yum!  Even with all that though, I still have to say, the company was the best part. 

Well, as is becoming tradition, I had to go shopping that morning for a birthday outfit to wear for lunch (which I found on a great deal at Kohl's along with some other clearance clothing that I couldn't pass up).  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Olive Garden, and that would have been plenty, but they treated me to great gifts as well.

A beautiful decorative treasure chest from Linda...she explained in the card that she considers good friends her "treasures".  :)

And there was something inside too...a bead spinner which I can't wait to use in threading all those little beads included with batteries and all!  She knows me well!

Tina hit it right on the mark too with a gift card to Busy Beads & Moore and chocolate(which I couldn't take a picture of because it's gone).  They know that I love making jewelry!

Elke hit another of my favorites with this photography book which I've already been reading and learning a lot!  It is in question and answer format and covers many topics in photography!  Also, I'm excited to try out this cookbook especially for women.  I'm always looking for new recipes.  Thanks Elke!

When they dropped me off back at our house after lunch, I found that the house had been cleaned very nicely including the kitchen floor mopped and Eric had taken the kids to Rivers and Spires as a reward for getting their Saturday jobs done (the kids were happy and the house was clean...that's a gift in and of itself).  They had also gone to Cracker Barrel to buy the two black rocking chairs that I had requested for my birthday for the front porch, but they didn't have any in stock except ones with the army logo.  So that will have to come a little later when they get restocked.

Eric was planning to go to a regional Prom for our church that was 2 hours away and take several of the boys from church along that evening.  He had planned to ask me with a rose on Monday if I would go to the Prom with him.  He never got to go to his senior prom and he was planning for it to be something special for my birthday.  He wanted to go shopping for a dress and buy me a corsage and everything.  I guess I kind of ruined the plan several times, because first, I found out before he asked me, then I told him that I didn't want to wear a formal and I didn't need a corsage.  Then, later on in the week I accidentally texted him something that was meant for a friend saying that I didn't really want to go. (ugh!) I felt horrible!!  He was trying to make it special but I kept foiling his plans.

As it turned out, we still went.  I wore a dress from my closet and we took 3 boys along.  The theme was "A Night in Paris".  It was decorated beautifully and someone had created an amazing Eiffel Tower.  We were ready to get out and dance when we were informed that chaperones aren't allowed to dance!  That was a bummer! (glad I didn't buy a formal or corsage).  Anyway, we did enjoy our evening together despite the many set-backs.  We talked and ate plenty of refreshments and had a good time socializing with the teenagers from our church.  And the last 10 minutes, we were finally allowed to dance.  When the dance ended, we drove the 2 hours back home and were tired.  We had a hard time making it up the next morning for church.

Eric had planned to make me my favorite coconut cream pie for my birthday, but we woke up to find that the kids had left the milk out the night before and it was spoiled.  Oh well!  Tessa told my friend, Laura Richards, the sad tale at church about Mom not getting any cake for her birthday.  Laura offered to make one and bring it over (I found out later). :)  The kids and Eric felt much better that I would still get cake! :)  This was delivered Sunday afternoon:

The cupcakes were delicious.  There was something for everyone...white on white, white frosting on chocolate, coconut frosting on chocolate, coconut frosting on white, small and big.  They were all delicious, but my favorite was the German chocolate style with the coconut frosting on chocolate. Yum!  Thanks so much, Laura!

The girls and Jarem got busy right after church and made cute cards for me.  The one above is from Tessa.  She also gave me one of her chapsticks.  It was very sweet.  Jarem's I don't have a picture of because he made it on dark paper which made it hard to read.

Jesikah's was a thoughtful flipbook

Page 2

Page 3

The final page...Jesikah put a lot of effort into it and it turned out beautiful!  No gift from her could have meant more.

And guess what?  I still got the coconut cream pie and banana cream pie the next day!!  Eric had taken Monday off for my birthday, so as per my request, he spent the day building garden boxes for me.  Then we shopped for plants, soil, and got our garden boxes planted (more to come in next post)!  It was a lot of work and I really appreciated all of his help.  Then he spent all evening making pies!  He was worn out by the end of the day. 

On this day I also received a sweet card from my parents and Cindi & Steve.  Those were both very much appreciated.  I can't wait to go shopping with the watch money I got from Mom and Dad! It's always fun when your birthday lasts a few days! :)

The pie might have come a day late, but was well worth the wait!  In addition, I received other cards and many greetings, each was so meaningful and thoughtful.  Thank you to each of you who thought of me on my birthday!