Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pinewood derby

I found out a few weeks ago that apparently the Primary is in charge of the pinewood derby and that it should happen really soon. I worked together with the Scout Committee chairperson, who is in charge of cubscouts, and we put it all together. Neither of us had been in charge of a pinewood derby before although we have each attended a few. All things considered I think it turned out pretty good! We only have 4 cubscouts so we open up the races to anyone from the ward who wants to. We had a good turn out of cars and a good turn out of attendants. The food was a little scarce but with a potluck you never know what to expect. I found some simple, cheap but cute decorations on pinterest using printable racer flags and orange cones.  We also had some games/crafts/snack on the tables that the kids could do/eat while we waited for the races to start. A little road sign scavenger hunt and a raisin box racer craft where you first need to eat the raisins out of a little raisin box then color, cut and glue a covering onto the box to make it look like a race car. These were last minute additions to the event and I'm glad we did them. 


We put Chris in as Master of Ceremonies and he directed the races and figured out how to do the races fairly. We did a smaller more extensive bracket for the cubscouts where they got to race in each lane and take the average of 3 runs per lane... or something like that I think. We had a line of chairs blocking off the track and didn't allow any kids across it for the first bracket. Even though it would make his job a little more challenging, Chris agreed to open up the race area a little bit during the larger everyone-bracket to allow each racer to place his own car on the track and take turns lifting the switch to let the cars go. The kids got even way MORE into the races when we did it this way. I'm glad Malina and I stood up for what we felt was best and I'm glad Chris was flexible enough to yield to our request. 

When the last races were finishing up I started putting away all the tables and everybody pitched in and it went really fast. But then we realized that we forgot to tell the judges that they were supposed to judge the cars and find a "Best Design" and also give a certificate with an award to each participant. (like Most Whale-like car, or 'Flattest car' etc..) So while the judges did that our awesome, newly postpartum Scout Committe chair person played 'Duck Duck Goose" with all the kids. It was quite awe-inspiring and entertaining to watch her run around with her 2 month old BIG baby wrapped to her chest. 

Charlie won 3rd place overall!! and got awarded the Most Valuable... I think because he had the highest amount of coins hot glued to his car to act as weights?  The prize baskets were put together by one of my counselors and was a Movie Night basket with a redbox coupon, bag of popcorn a little pull-back car and the top 3 prizes had a Movie Theater sized box of candy. 

Another cub scout won 1st place overall, so we gave the Fastest Cub Scout award to the next fastest cub scout which happened to be Alec! His other award was "Largest Mammal" or something like that because it kind of looked like a whale. 

Here are many of my primary kids and their cars. I love these kids like my own extended family. Our little branch sure feels like a large family sometimes. Great people. 

My first primary sponsored Branch Activity and I think it turned out pretty good! I'm grateful for all the help and I'm glad its over. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentine's - Fairy Tale Ball, Delightful Sabbaths

Every year the kindergarten classes at Sudduth Elementary have a Fairy Tale Ball. They've been studying fairy tales in class and on the Friday closest to valentines day they dress up and have a Ball. Parents are invited and Gwen wanted Chris to dress up fancy and dance with her. She was excited to wear her fancy Sunday dress "high heel shoes" and a special necklace. 

 After the dance there was a valentines party in their classroom and Freddy and I went to help. The kids recited a fairy-tale themed song to tune of Jingle Bells. 

Then later that night our branch hosted a family Valentines dance and 'drop and swap'.  I danced the night away - mostly with the kids since Frederick was in shy mode and wanted me to hold him the entire time. Turns out dancing with a 2 year old on your hip is a great work out.  I did get to slow dance with Chris once (with Frederick sandwiched in between us). I love that guy. 

The next day was a youth baptism trip, so Chris was up at 4:30am to carpool and drive youth up to Memphis, meanwhile I had Stake Auxiliary training since I've recently been called as the Primary President. Gratefully there was child care provided since I had all the kids with me. My friend Audra and her son drove up to Tupelo with us for the training and we took advantage of the shopping there for a few hours before heading home. I'm trying to get my house looking like we actually live in it and plan to stay for more than a year (you know,.. putting pictures on the walls, getting curtains up, thinking about owning an end table or lamp etc..)  I was exhausted by the time we got home at dinner time (home decor is NOT a strength of mine and takes up TONS of mental power... and shopping and my kids don't mix well either). Chris had the house clean and  planned on putting the kids to bed while I went and got our typical Valentines Day cuisine as take-out: Indian food. I brought it home and we ate it sitting on our beanbag while we watched a documentary about Indian-style dating called "Meet the Patels" Good food, fun movie, snuggling with Chris on our bean bag at home = awesome valentine date. 

Sunday we made a special desert to celebrate as a family. We've started some new traditions in an effort to make our Sabbath a delight. It starts on Saturday - baths/showers for the kids, assembling church bags etc. and getting to bed early, and simpler planned-ahead Sunday dinners (usually crock pot since we've got extra extra long days at church 7:00 Branch Presidency Meetings for Chris, 7:45 Branch Council for both Chris and I, 9:00-12:00 church, then Branch choir directly after until 1:30 or so). We've also stopped trying to take Sunday naps and instead try to give the kids a quiet/book reading time and then do some kind of family activity which today was carving soap (inspired by Alec's recent cub scout adventure), and then we close out the day by eating something sweet while Chris reads a book aloud.. we've started the Chronicles of Narnia.. one of Chris' favorite series. Some days its wonderful, and some Sundays are still very challenging, but I'm getting better at looking forward to them. Sacrament meetings are still hard.. with Chris on the stand, Its just me and the kids. Freddy is SUCH a handful. I usually have to go out with him 3 or 4 times, and just hope the other kids aren't killing each other.  I'm debating banning all toys and all snacks and getting the kids to just learn the skill of sitting quietly... but I'm scared to start that endeavor without my co pilot next to me. Then Primary is busy and if my sharing time went well, I feel great (!) and if it didn't go well, I feel stressed and sad. I like this quote I read out of President Hunter's teachings manual.."Peace was on the lips and in the heart of the Savior no matter how fiercely the tempest was raging." I'm trying to remember that and still radiate Christ's love and peace throughout Primary. 

Our home-boy Valentine. The boys are trying to teach him to say "Peace! man" while making the backwards peace sign. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Normal life - sick kids, temple/Costco trips, scouts, basketball, friends

Its always around this time of year that I think back on when Freddy was just born and Chris finished his stem cell transplant, and then still was in the hospital for 2 weeks and then started radiation.  And I find myself really grateful when we can just deal with normal problems like sick kids.  It started with Charlie this time, he came home from school on Thursday and complained of a sore throat, and felt a little warm to me but he still played with his siblings like normal and slept well. Friday morning he complained even louder about it and wasn't getting ready for school fast enough so I was going to let him stay home as long as he acted sick but then take him to school as soon as he started playing normally (which I assumed would happen in the next hour or two). Sure enough, I was on my way out the door to take him to school after dropping off a package of Trek clothes to the postoffice for Thom and Brittany, when I decided to take his temperature and it was BARELY high. Like 99. I decided to just keep him home all day. Over the weekend he acted totally normal again, except for some red bumps/almost blisters on the soles of his feet. Since he has been wearing his rollerblades constantly at home, I thought it was from that. Then after church I noticed some on his hands and on his face.  Monday morning I took him to the doctors and he confirmed our suspicion: Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Although it is extremely contagious (like the flu or a cold) it is apparently harmless and by the time the spots show up, he's no longer contagious. So I sent him to school the next day and waited for the rest of the kids to get it. A day or so later, Alec and Gwen came home from school with fevers and their first red spots. Alec got over it fast and was back at school after only 1 day home, Gwen took a little longer and had more red spots. Poor Freddy got it THE WORST. He had a fever for a couple of days and got TONS of the red bumps/blisters.  All over his hands/forearms, bum, toes, only a few on his face.  He was overly fussy and needing to be held almost constantly for about a week and I admit by that time my patience was out and cuddling with him on the couch no longer seemed like a fun idea.  The house suffered a lot with my inability to keep it picked up and clean which made me feel even more crazy. But now, as I'm writing this a few weeks later in a freshly tidied house, it seems silly of me to have been bugged so much by it. The wise counsel from Chris' grandma Zelma in one of her letters to me while we lived in Canada comes to mind: "The house work can wait. There will always be time for it later. " 

Because of Alec getting sick he missed his first ever cub scout meeting! But the next week he was early, in uniform and SO excited. I'm so glad that one of the new families in our little branch are scouting buffs and VOLUNTEERED to get cub scouts going because they think its so good for the boys. (And although they have 7 kids ranging from 12 years old - 1 month, none of their kids are cub scout age!) 

Two days in a row we got to pick up our friend from school and play with her until her dad came home from work since her mom and younger siblings went to visit an aging grandpa. We used the excuse to hop over the fence and check out the construction we keep hearing around the pastures and fields out back. I think they're starting to build the road/sidewalks that will become the main southern entrance to campus!  Our friend was brave enough to pet the horses... I think my kids were very impressed.

Other normal happenings include our monthly trip up to the Memphis temple and our nearest Costco. Its a 3 hour drive one way so we try to pack it full of good stuff. I took the kids to the zoo while Chris went through a temple session, then we picked him up and went to Costco. $400 later we drive home, grabbing dinner on the way.

Charlie and Chris are still having fun with basketball. The team is getting better although we've still only won 1 game. But we scored 18 points at our last one and have been playing really good defense... only losing by 1 in our last two games.  I was being cheap and thought I could just take a picture of the team pictures with my phone and save 20 bucks... But... this was as good of a shot as I could get. Cheap Parenting fail. 

Charlie's teacher, Ms. Black has been coming to some of Charlie's games. She is SO sweet. She also occasionally texts me pictures of Charlie doing some cool thing in class.  She is a great teacher, I really like her.