Sunday, November 2, 2014

Reflecting on Reflections

When my kids complain that they are bored during the summer, I often encourage them to do projects for the annual PTA Reflections contest. There are a bunch of arts categories and a child can submit to each category, so there is potential to keep them occupied for a long time with this.  I have also learned over the years that while droves of children at my kids' school submit drawings and photos, very few compete in categories like music or film.  My kids tend to come home from Reflections night well-decorated with medals, since they are often among the only children at the school to submit a project to one of the less popular categories. 

I just helped them turn in their projects.  This could be the year that they learn the hard life lesson that you don't always win.  Most of their submissions this year happen to be from the high competition categories.  

Here are last year's submissions:

My daughters song (sung) and my son's song (improvised on the piano).  (I set them to random kid-created video footage.)

My daughter's poem:

My daughter's multi-media sculpture:

My son's sculpture (just clay).

My kindergartner spent several weeks (in very short sessions to accommodate his short attention span) making this 10 second video:

In contrast, my daughter, on the night Reflections projects were due, became extremely motivated when she realized that her younger brother had a video to submit and she did not, so she whipped this out:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just a bunch of photos of kids being cute and stuff

Why do we buy toys?

Showers are pretty much his favorite thing.

His "I like to crawl over people and pets" phase. Big brother was not a fan.

More from that phase...

Potty training was exhausting.  For both of us.

My three-year-old orders mac and cheese.

Interview with a Three-Year-Old

For a library art contest about things underground.

Yes, he had permission to play on the police officer's motorcycle.


My five-year-old made this sculpture of me.  Looks just like me!


Mom-and-Me Girl Scout Camp

 Putting on a show with her cousins.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's never too late to post your holiday photos: Christmas Edition

Well, maybe it is too late but I am doing it anyway.

Santa tried to help me get baby to look at the camera.

Since my husband is an eternal Ph.D. student at the U, we get free tickets to Pioneer Theater.  Here we are at "Elf" (obviously).

Speaking of free entertainment, here I am with my mom and daughter at a King's Singers/MoTab concert.

While decorating the tree, my three-year-old wore the name tag he got camping the previous summer and announced that he wanted "to go to the hills and do the camping."

Here is my lovely niece preparing for Christmas Eve dinner at my mom's house.

My son saw these enormous wrapped presents at my mom's house and asked to be photographed with them.  He had never seen such a thing before because his own parents are too lazy to wrap gifts that are too big to fit in gift bags.

My parents have about a zillion nativities out at Christmas.  When my oldest was a baby, I gave them this fisher price nativity to keep in the lowest nativity nook, in the hopes that my daughter would play with that instead of all of the much more breakable ones.  It has been a hit with all the babies ever since.

Enjoying the lights at Temple Square.

My 3-year-old was in his refusing-to-wear-long-pants phase at that time.  I tried to coax him into snow pants for the chilly Temple Square visit, but I failed.

We gave the kids a new play room for Christmas, made from a small cement-walled room in the basement that used to be a coal room.  I took the kids with me to the store to get paint color samples.  My kids love paint color samples, so they grabbed a bunch too, including some really crazy colors.  At home, I divided the samples into two groups, "Maybe" and "No."  I asked my two oldest for their opinions on the colors in the maybe pile and they vehemently disagreed with each other, which is typical.  Then my husband walked in, picked up a fluorescent green sample from the no pile and said, "I like this one" and both children were suddenly in complete agreement.  So I worked long hours to paint a room--with several shelves--a hideous shade of fluorescent green.  Here is my son in front of the magnet board in the room, with magnets my sister gave the kids for Christmas to go with the new magnet board.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Llama Llama

My sister-in-law gave my son his first "Llama Llama" books by Anna Dewdny and the whole family was hooked.  These rhyming books describe the very typically preschool-age adventures of Llama Llama and his Mama, such as temper tantrums, not wanting to go to bed, over-stimulation, and separation anxiety.

My daughter reads Llama Llama to our giggly baby:

My toddler "reads" Llama Llama.  (He has it memorized.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Great, Indoor Duckling Round-up at My House, Earlier Today

This morning, before my daughter went to school and my husband went to work, there was a great parent/child confrontation in my household on the topic of open doors.  Doors must not be left open.  We have a one-year-old toddler.  Since spring has started inviting older siblings to go outside, the baby has escaped through open doors not once but twice and darted for the street, where our beloved and alert neighbor has twice stopped him and prevented catastrophe.  While our neighbor is wonderfully vigilant, we do not want to continue risking baby escape.

Apparently, humans aren't the only parents who have problems with babies and open doors.

This afternoon, in spite of the morning confrontation, my children went out to play and left the door open behind them.  This time, my baby did not escape.  Instead, three duck babies escaped the wild and came in to my house.

I found my children and the ducklings in a panic.  My cat, pleased with the situation, was looking on.

My first step was to lock the cat in a bedroom.  Then I grabbed two mismatched gloves (no time for fashion) and went on a duckling chase.  After I caught each of the first two, I took them outside and deposited them in the yard next door, where mother duck was frantically pacing around.  The third was trickier.  It went down the stairs and took refuge in, of all places, the cat's litter box closet, then stopped chirping and hid silently.  It wasn't until I gave up looking and went upstairs that it finally started chirping again and I was able to find it.  (Were ducklings the inspiration for the Find My iPhone app?)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mom and My Sisters on Our Wedding Days

Once again, I made my mom scrapbook pages for Mother's Day.  (That is my own wedding veil in the background.)  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Too old to hunt eggs?

When I was single and 21, I attended a memorable family Easter egg hunt. I am the oldest female cousin on that side of the family, and my sister (age 20) and next oldest female cousin (age 19) were already married. My older male cousin was a single returned missionary. No one invited any of them to hunt eggs, but everyone kept urging me to join the hunt with the kids. I finally explained that I was too old to hunt eggs, given that I was now of legal drinking age. They were confused. “You don’t drink.”
Not taking my word for it, they turned to my mother, who was known to be a key witness to my birth, to verify whether I had really aged out of the hunt.  ”April is too old,” she confirmed.  Then she added, “She was never any good at finding eggs anyway.”
Kids look on as adults hunt eggs
But my egg-hunting skills continue to improve.  While I am too old to pick up eggs off the lawn with the toddlers, no one ever ages out of the annual “Adult Easter Egg Hunt” hosted by my parents. Sometimes the hunt is designed with clues, leading the adult egg-hunters to eggs hidden across the city. Winning this kind of egg hunt requires speed, geography skills, wit, and most importantly, an insider perspective into my parents’ warped minds.
Sometimes this event is similar to a traditional Easter egg hunt, except that ladders, shovels, and duct tape are employed to hide the eggs with the skill of a pirate hoarding treasure.  This kind of hunt can lose steam at a certain point, as we all wander the yard baffled, finding nothing. After fossilized eggs were discovered years after their originally intended hunt, my parents started numbering all of the eggs and recording their locations so that unfound eggs can be reclaimed, usually through a game of hot/cold, with the biggest, most aggressive egg-hunters emerging victorious from the pile of adults diving for the egg in the “hot” locale.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Skipping Across the Soccer Field

My 6-year-old skips when he is happy. He often skips his way to class when I drop him off at school. I love to watch him skip across the soccer field.

This is his "favorite sport"

I think gymnastics is her favorite, but she also rocks at softball.  I am excited for softball to start up again in a couple weeks.
My kids did not inherit my complete lack of athleticism. (Phew.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Baby likes...

Age 1
Washing Dishes but I do not love his help. It is sort of like a race, where I try to load dishes faster than he can throw them back out, and I often lose.

Showers:  If I say, "Shower?" my baby  enthusiastically tugs at his clothes and runs for the bathroom.  If I don't lock the door for a shower, a fully clothed baby comes in and joins me.  If I do lock it, an angry baby pounds on the door.

Mama and Dada and Nana--especially Mama.

The Parts of TV Programs that No One Else Likes: He drops everything and watches commercials and credits. (He likes jingles and theme music.)

Pinching the Cat or sitting on her. The poor thing doesn't fight back or run away. She just suffers.

Balls, especially tennis balls. They're bouncy and fuzzy!

Throwing Food on the Floor: Most toddlers I've known start throwing food when they aren't hungry any more. Mine does it the through the whole meal.

Anything with Buttons that light up and turn things off and on or otherwise cause chaos, like computers, TVs, phones and the dryer.  (My friends who have received emoticon instant messages from him can attest to this.)

Hugs and Kisses: He is a master hugger, who cuddles in with his whole body. He also likes to offer open-mouth kisses.  Often, when he releases from the hug, he goes back in for seconds.

Singing: He has excellent pitch!  But a limited vocabulary, so he sings nonsense words to familiar tunes.  His first song was "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Or "The ABC Song." It was hard to tell, because the tune is is the same.

Banging His Head Against Walls: No comment.

Friday, February 14, 2014

This Graffiti is So Cute!

This is how I discovered that my kindergartener had discovered written word:
"I like you"

"I love you"

It might have made me mad, if the messages weren't so sweet.

The cuteness stopped in December, when I bought several cans of hot chocolate to give away as gifts.  My son was not pleased with the plan to give the hot chocolate away.

"NO Mom and Dad do not giv this or ol kll you"

I told him that we don't tell people we will kill them because that is really mean, and he amended his threat as follows:

"or ol mak you do chors"