Friday, March 9, 2018

Pinewood Derby

With having my hands full at home night and day, I told my presidency that I'm ok to not do a Pinewood Derby this year. But everyone said they'd help out and I know a lot of people in the branch really enjoy it so we ended up doing it. Besides, our cubscout program fell apart last summer when our cubscout leader moved away and this activity at least gives our boys a taste of what cubscouts is like.  With our fiasco of an attempt at doing really fast cars last year, Chris and the boys were really determined to do better this year. We let the kids sketch out whatever design they wanted and then Chris cut it out with our scroll saw. Then the kids sanded and painted it and Chris and I glued on weights to try and reach 5 oz. Charlie's is the black car, first in the bottom row, then Gwen's teal with red and glitter stripes is next in line, followed by Freddy's multicolored one, then skip a car and the skinny gray fade to black car is Alec's.

I pulled out some decorations I made for the pinewood derby two years ago and Chris, once again, figured out the brackets and ran the races. We let the kids take turns pulling the lever down to let the cars drop on one of their car's official runs.  A lot of the races were really close and our 1 young man, Holden, used his mom's phone with the slow-motion camera to double check our eyesight.

Turns out the overall winner of this race, despite getting crashed around a bit at home before hand, was.... Frederick!! He was super excited and super fun to watch.  Charlie, Alec and Gwen all finished in the top 6 or so. Not a bad showing for the Archibalds! Go Chris!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Random School and Spring-ish Fun

Alec's team at school put on a Wax Museum where they researched famous black person for Black History month. They wrote a short life sketch, memorized it and dressed up like the person. Then they stood around their auditorium and would recite the life sketch when someone pressed the red button in front of them. Alec did a famous chemist, whose name I can't remember right now. He was really good and looked super handsome in a borrowed lab coat and tie. 

Charlie was asked to be in the 3rd grade choir for the Leadership Day Assembly.  He often seems to get singled out to do the fun thing. I know his teachers in the past have told me how easy it is to rely on Charlie to get along with everyone, follow directions and be a good helper and leader. He worked on his songs at home and was so happy to get this chance. Freddy and Max always love to go to the kids school and see them. 

Gwen's teacher, Ms. Stroud, told the class that anyone that earned 300% of their A.R. (Accelerated Reader) goal, she'd take them and one friend to an MSU basketball game. Gwen got close, but her classmate, Isaiah, earned it and picked Gwen to be his + 1.

With spring fast approaching, Chris and I decided use Family Home Evening one Monday night to get our storm shelter outfitted with a few buckets with things we might need if a tornado flattened our house.  The kids love talking about natural disasters. 

The boys have loved playing outside in this mild springish weather. The daffodils are popping up in the yard and after Charlie and Freddy brought me a 'bouquet' of daffodils, I had to explain that some flowers we just leave in the yard so we can enjoy them longer.  Alec helped come up with this beautiful way to display the ones they picked. He wanted to 'bake' this mud pie in the sun with his handy outdoor pizza box oven he made. He's always finding cool things to make out of magazines or books.

Chris was out of town for an all day excursion to the temple with the youth in our branch one Saturday. I thought it would be fun to take the kids to play tennis by myself.  I took turns hitting the ball back and forth with each of the big kids while the other ones played together or pushed Max around the tennis courts. We were going to go get a redbox on the way home for a fun movie night,but the kids were fighting so much in the car (Chris needed the van, so we all squished in the little accord) that we had to go straight home.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Valentines Day

More smiles from our Maxwell. We can't get enough of them! He also has a pretty cute serious face. 

"The Archibald furrowed brow" 

Chris and I had big plans this Valentines. (insert sarcasm) We didn't feel like we could spend money on anything with taxes around the corner and more house remodels to save up for. So we decided to make a special dessert: Creme Brulee. We tried looking for a blow torch around town but couldn't find one. Luckily one of my good friends here had one we could borrow. Valentines happened to be on a Wednesday this year. By the time Chris got home from YM, and I got the kids in bed, we finally looked up a recipe and realized it needed a few hours to chill. It was too late and in typical Chris and Brittney fashion we didn't plan ahead well enough to make it happen.  So, in typical Chris and Brittney fashion we came up with another idea and made last minute Chocolate Baby Lava cakes. They were very good.  I was still a little sad about our lame-ness, so we continued to make treats over the next few days and say, "For day 4 of Valentines, lets make...."

I had lots of fun getting the preschool kids to make these cute valentines gifts for their parents where they blow kisses on a canvas.

Our branch had its annual Valentines Day dance. I feel pressure to get the dance going (not sure why) so I forced myself to get out there and bust some moves.  I loved how much Gwen wanted to dance and tried hard to always say yes to dancing with her.  Chris and I rarely get chances to dance and so I really enjoyed the 2 slow dances we got together. Charlie wanted to dance with me and Freddy too. Cute boys.  I tried to get Alec to ask a girl to dance and I asked him what it would take to bribe him to do it. He said he'd do it for $100.  Honestly, I'm not sure he would've done it even then!

On the 5th day of Valentines we actually made Creme Brulee. It was pretty much a fail. It had the right flavor, but we either baked it too long, or whipped it too much because the texture was really grainy. Oh well, we should try again.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Saturday and Sunday fun and Grandma Dixie comes!

The kids are supposed to clean their rooms, bathrooms and zones on Saturdays. Sometimes, it takes them all day because they get distracted and just end up playing. We try to encourage the kids to get it done early by thinking of something fun we can do once chores are done. There's not a whole lot to do here in Starkville, so we planned to go to the bouncy house place in Columbus one Saturday. Only we got there and realized the highest age cut off was 10, so Alec wouldn't be able to go on them. We decided to get a redbox movie and buy treats at the store instead. 

On Sundays our favorite tradition is to eat a treat at night while Chris reads a book aloud to us. We've read, The Hobbit, the Princess Bride, the first 4 or so books of the Chronicles of Narnia, and another book I can't recall at the moment. Currently we've started the Chronicles of Prydain with The Book of Three.

We've been enjoying the InstaPot that we got for Christmas from Chris' parents. We've tried beef stew, chili, whole frozen chicken, Tika Masala, hard boiled eggs, baked beans, pulled pork. Its pretty awesome.

Chris had to be gone for almost a week at a conference, so when Grandma Dixie asked when would be a good time to come out and help with Max, we knew exactly when to suggest. She came on a Thursday afternoon, and Chris left Saturday morning and was gone until Wednesday.

Dixie helped get the kids up and ready for school and helped take care of Max, sick Freddy and sick Gwen during Preschool, helped hold and quiet down Max in the evenings when he's pretty fussy and took care of most of the meals and cleaning. It was so helpful and wonderful to have her.  Max, I think, is getting too much air when he sucks. Theres this squeaking sound a lot of the time, and I can sometime hear him swallowing air when he chokes. I think this is the main cause of his fussiness with gas/moving bowels. He is SO tense and keeps a straight back and just really struggles and cries and fusses before passing gas or a poopy diaper.  I've been trying to burp him better (it takes FOREVER and is sooo hard to get a good burp out of him) and incline his head more when he nurses, and try to de-latch and re-latch him to get a better seal. Dixie seems to have a magic touch with him in getting him to be calm.

We hopped the back fence and went on a walk to see the horses with her. There were TONS of horses out and almost all of them looked pregnant, and we saw a few mama horses with their foals.  We found some hay that spilled out of a truck or something and had lots of fun feeding the horses.

Maxwell is totally smiling and cooing. I saw the first beginnings of a purposeful smile when he was about 4 weeks, but now he smiles all the time and he LOVES to talk to us. At his 2 month visit, the doctor was trying to look into his ears but Max didn't want to turn his head and break eye contact because he was in the middle of telling the doctor something. Dr. Ruff just stopped what he was doing and had a sweet little conversation with Max.  He said Max was way ahead of the game - social speaking. He was about in the 35 percentile for weight coming in around 11.5 lbs and the 45th for height.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Max's first 5 weeks

I didn't start teaching preschool back up until Max was 5 weeks old. During that time we just survived and adjusted. Max eats and needs attention so much in the night that Chris would get up and get the big kids off to school by himself. One day he came home for lunch and found me rocking two sleeping boys. Freddy really misses the big kids and wants to be in the same room as me all the time. He is surprisingly very good at being quiet and entertaining himself on my bed with pillows.  When he gets tired of that, he'll snuggle up on the arm of the rocking chair while I feed Max on the other side.  Probably a better mom would have enjoyed every second of this... but I think the words out of my mouth when Chris saw me was, "I'm trapped." I can feel pretty tethered when I'm nursing a newborn. 

Max's umbilical cord didn't take long to fall off so pretty soon we could do a real bath. I was able to get the water pretty warm and he LOVED it.

I keep reminding myself that Maxwell is probably our last baby. My last baby to snuggle and rock and hold and kiss. I can't help myself from kissing him CONSTANTLY. He just has such squishy cheeks. Sometimes I wonder if I were Max, would I want to be kissed that much?

It no longer surprises me that Charlie is one of the best helpers with a new baby. He's not afraid of crying or changing diapers, or slobber or anything really. He's going to make a GREAT dad someday. 

Maxwell seems super aware and loves to stare at our faces while we talk to him. Its like he's trying so hard to understand us. Finally his skin has started to look less yellow..and its losing its tanned look. I was kinda worried about it before his 2 week visit, but the doctor said everything looks great and to not freak out too much about germs and getting the flu or whatnot because newborns usually have super immunity and don't yet put their hands or other things in their mouths. 

In the mornings on Saturdays, we'll get all the kids in our bed, excited to see Max. Often, Max is in our bed already from a 5:00 feeding or something.  Knowing there's little time for sleep left, I will nurse him laying down so I can try and go back to sleep myself.

I'm not positive I'm totally ready to start preschool back up, but Freddy is. Chris worked from home for the first couple of preschool mornings and took care of Max who slept for most of it.  Freddy and I both enjoyed showing all the preschool kids and parents our cute little baby and it was the perfect reason to study Babies/Nursery Rhymes, Favorite Stories and Fairy-tales as the first theme.