Saturday, April 28, 2012

We Partied. Angry Birds Style.

Today was the boys' birthday party, and it was fun even though the weather tried to ruin all of our plans.  I determined that the moms of today's moms were WAY cooler than we are now because they didn't have the internet and Pinterest to get all of their ideas.  They had to come up with this stuff on their own...

I got this invitation, the pizza idea, and the water balloon target all from Pinterest.  (Bless that site.)

It started out with some Angry Birds coloring pages and some general boy playing out back.  I'm so glad we have grass now or else all those crazy kids would have been inside the whole time (thanks a lot wind!!!) and I would have gone crazy.  Then we made some festive pizza.
We launched water balloons "Angry Birds Style" at the cool target thing that Colby built.  I feel lame that I didn't get a good picture of the one Colby built.  I'm sure I will sometime.  I think we'll keep it around for a while.

The idea came from Parents magazine's website.  Awesome, huh?

After everyone had a couple of turns launching balloons at the target, they decided to try for some more exciting targets like Grandma & Grandpa Stratton.  I don't actually think the kids came up with that, but the slingshot holders did.

That quickly turned into a water balloon mob on Grandpa.  He's such a fun Grandpa!

Then we played a little game with buckets of water.  We had big plans for all the kids to get soaking wet, but we woke up this morning to some yucky wind, so we adapted our plans to keep everyone a little more dry but still be entertained.

Once everyone got hungry we enjoyed a windy picnic on the patio.

The boys got spoiled by their buddies... thanks so much everyone!  It's great to have friends like you.

Don't you love that Tyler finished opening his presents wearing the flippers we got them for Hawaii.  I do.

Some birthday cupcakes were had and then it was time for some peace and quiet to return to our house.

I remember before Tyler was born I was nervous about how close their birthdays were to each other, but it has been darn fun so far.  We sure are grateful our boys love each other like they do.
Love you kids!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy birthday, Tyler!

It is kind of unreal that Tyler is three!  He's the cutest little trouble maker there ever was.  It's his cuteness that keeps him out of a lot of trouble, really.  He is all about pushing limits and testing patience.  I guess this sounds like I'm complaining, which I'm not, I'm just writing it down so that hopefully someday I'll enjoy the reminder of what it was like when Tyler was a naughty little bugger.  Either that, or when he's a teenager and I'm on medication in order to survive those years, I can look back and laugh at how funny it used to be.  Haha.  I love this kid.

The most recent pics I have of just him are from my phone, so you really get to see this goofy kid in action.

I love to see how he is definitely an individual.  He gets along really well with his brother, but is still very different from him.  Tyler is such a home-body and really enjoys spending time inside rather than outside.  It usually only takes between 5-15 minutes before he is asking if we can go home yet... no matter where we are or where we are headed.  I think it's kind of cute.  He also is always disappearing when we're playing in the backyard.  He never disappears down the street or into a neighbors yard... he's always finding his way back into the house.  He'd much rather be hanging out inside regardless of the weather.  It's also really cool though, that as much as he would like to be at home and inside, he is still very social and loves being with other kids.

Some things that stick out to me about Tyler lately:

He loves whenever something can turn into a competition.  He's constantly yelling, "I won!" or "You can't beat me!"

Tyler's favorite food is still cereal, Frosted Flakes to be exact.  And he does NOT like to eat bread with stuff.  So sandwiches & hot dogs are always eaten "deconstructed."  He does like bread alone, like toast and such, but you better not put butter on it.  It's always jam toast NO butter.

He is the world's best backseat driver.  He's constantly pointing out what color the stop lights are and doesn't hesitate to inform us the second it changes.  The best is when we are a few cars back in a line stopped at a red light.  Once the light turns green he yells and yells at us to get going because it's now green!  Another funny thing he's still learning about is left hand turns.  Our light will be green so I start my turn and by the time I am through the intersection he's yelling at me that the light was really red and that I needed to stop (of course it's because he eventually notices the red light for the opposite direction of traffic that is indeed stopped).

He likes to ask questions about his surroundings; "Are we driving in the truck?" "Are we going on a big road?" "Are we going to the gym?  ... Not again!"

He has quite the skill of noticing the "Recycle" emblem that is on all kinds of things.  Every time he will ask, "What is this, Mom?"  Every time.

He's very good at pointing out when he is on his best behavior when the kids around him are not.

He is obsessed with the number 4 and the letters T and O.  He's really good at drawing T's (he got ahold of one of Daddy's Sharpie markers that was left in the yard and wrote his signature T all over our new cement and the garden cement) and is sure O goes at the end of his name.  Who knows how long it will take to convince him that is not the case.

I've noticed just lately that Tyler has an awareness of girlfriends.  I'm not sure if he's heard enough "older talk" and knows that boys love girls and it's a kind of special thing, or if he really just puts the two together and the girl that is his friend is his girlfriend.  It happened first when my young women from church had been over and one of them helped him with something.  He told me later that his girlfriend helped him with whatever it was and I was able to pin point the specific girl he was talking about.  Then the other day a girl at the gym was giving him a lot of attention and he referred to her as his girlfriend when we left.  Then just today he looked outside and saw a five year old girl (one of Marshall's friends) that was being babysat by our neighbor.  He jumped up and said, "Someone is here again!  My girlfriend!  My girlfriend is here!!!"  Like I said... who knows what he actually means by it, but it's kind of cute.

He likes to switch things up in order to make them funny.  He's always telling us rules are really the opposite (red light means go and green means stop) and things like that.  He also gets such a kick out of changing words to rhyme but sound ridiculous and nothing like the real thing.

His favorite shows to watch on Netflix are The Backyardigans, Dora, Diego, Wonder Pets, Super Why, and the Leapfrog Alphabet and Phonics videos.  Pretty much anything but Curious George (Marshall's TV show of choice).  
Disclaimer* these are all "educational" shows because the boys had "fighting movie" privileges taken away a while ago due to some aggressive behavior that we could not get a handle on.  It's been going on a few months now with only a few rare opportunities to watch the regular favorite Disney movies and such (how obnoxious that even Tangled, Toy Story, and Cars have so much fighting in them).  I have really enjoyed the change in material they are absorbing.  Also, the kids have had a lot more TV time since I got pregnant and SICK... can't wait for that to go away :)

Love you big time, Tyler Boy!  You're super cute and super fun to have in our family!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Birthday Boy

Dear Marshall,
Happy birthday (yesterday)!  You are a dream come true!  You are the blessed one that made me a mommy.  I love the way you smiled so big when I told you that last night.  I'm so glad it was you that came to us to help us try to figure out this whole parenting thing.  You make the very best big brother and that makes me happiest of all.  You are a good example and always looking out for Tyler's feelings.  You've been so sweet these last few weeks (and months) looking forward to the new baby coming to our house.  I love it.  I love the times you make me smile because you're so much more grown up than I usually realize.  I love the times you make me laugh when you say something off the wall.  I even love the way you make my cry a little when you are just over-the-top sweet.  Do you remember telling me about the time you tucked Tyler into bed when I was feeling so sick and didn't make it into your room as soon as you guys were ready?  I was so proud of you at that moment for recognizing the way you could help those around you.  I was also extremely humbled to know that you are one of my very greatest helpers of all time.  Thanks for being you.
You have become quite a character lately.  You're always asking me to take your picture and coming up with the goofiest stuff.  I enjoy this immensely because it feels like its been a few years since you didn't mind me taking your picture.  You're full of all kinds of great wisdom too and it is too funny.  Like last night when I told you I couldn't wait to get home and go to bed and you told me that you didn't want to go to sleep because the longer you were awake the longer it would be your birthday.  Another good one was at church a couple weeks ago.  You looked at me after the sacrament was over and said, "Next week... maybe they could say, 'Heavenly Father.  Bless this pizza so we can think about God.'"  I just looked at you (I'm sure my eyes were wide) and asked if you thought we should have pieces of pizza instead of bread.  You figured that pizza and water would be good.  Oh, I just laughed and laughed.  I told all the girls in Young Womens and everyone at Grandma's house and then at Great Grandma's house.  I even put in your request to the Bishop to see what he thought of it.  You seem to really understand the purpose of things now too.  Another funny moment in church was when you suggested maybe they should install little hooks into the ceiling of the chapel (like we have over our front door for hanging paper bats at Halloween) and in the church they could hang pictures of Jesus so that we can all see them and remember to think about Jesus while we are in church... since that can sometimes be kind of hard.

You're getting very excited for Uncle Chase to come home from his mission and then our family trip to Hawaii.  Then soon after that you get to start Kindergarten!  You are so fun to watch as you anticipate all these milestones you've been counting on once you turned 5.  I can't believe it's already here.

I love you buddy.  I love everything about you!

Love, Mom

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting the Easter Sunday Picture

Don't you just love the process of getting a "good picture" of the kids?  These totally cracked me up!

Tyler seems to be going through a phase recently that he does the exact opposite of what you would like him to when you're taking his picture.  At Great-Grandma Stratton's the other day (while taking that group picture of all the grandkids at the Easter Egg Hunt) Ty kept a straight, solemn face the whole time.  Once all the cameras were down he busted up laughing and told us that the whole time the pictures were being taken he just looked grouchy.  He's such a little stinker sometimes, but his cuteness really keeps him in good standing around here.

Easter Morning at Our House

The Easter Bunny made quite the delivery to our house this year!  The boys' baskets were overflowing with all kinds of nonsense... how that bunny knows what will make these kids flip out is always surprising to me.  They got "grabbers," bunny cups, silly glasses, little dinosaurs, silly string, and just a little candy (he must have realized they got more than enough candy at Great-Grandma's the day before).

Easter Picnic

We changed our picnic location this year (and I didn't take any pictures of everyone together in order to document our time, haha) which brought us much closer to the river and the dinosaur tracks.  After lunch a bunch of us headed down to the tracks and Marshall & Tyler rode with Grandma & Grandpa Stratton on the four-wheeler.  Do you see how dirty their faces are?!  At one point Tyler had his shoes emptied of all the sand and I swear the pile (from one shoe) was as big as his foot!  They had dirt ALL OVER them.  What fun it is to be a child...

Egg Hunt at Great-Grandma Stratton's

I love the tradition we have started Saturday morning of Easter weekend.  A few years ago we organized an Easter Egg Hunt at Great-Gma's house for all the grandkids.  They used to do this kind of thing when a lot of the older grandkids were little, but now there's a big group of young ones again.  It's fun to do it at Grandma's so she can be there and witness it all without any extra effort on her part at all.  Here's a few pictures from the festivities.

Grandma Stratton was getting Tyler excited for the hunt to start.

I love watching them search out the best goodies and walk right past so many that they aren't too excited for just yet.  It's so funny that my boys haven't figured out they can actually have as much as they pick up.

Caught ya!  Marshall is getting old enough to find some of the more tricky ones now.

I love Tyler's face right here.  He was working really hard to get that full basket lifted as high as he could.

All of the younger grandkids that were able to make it that morning.  It's amazing to see them grow.

Here's all the grandsons and great-grandsons that were there.  They took a similar picture with the girls, but I was goofy and didn't hand my camera to Colby to get one of those.  I'll get one from somebody sometime and add it sometime.

These three boys make me smile.  Things are getting pretty wild when they are together.  Last night, for example, they were running at each other head on and seeing who could remain standing.  Even Brigham (who is just out of this shot) is starting to get in on it.  He's super good at finding some kind of kitchen tool (whisk, potato masher, rolling pin, etc) and chasing after the rest of the boys.
Easter is always a fun time for us as we gather as a family in celebration of the life and resurrection of our Savior and the fact that we can be together forever, thanks to Him.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Last Friday Night

We just had a big weekend at our house.  On Friday morning a huge truckload of sod showed up so we could put grass in our backyard which connects to our neighbors.  There was also some grass for another friend's house, so that was three spacious yards worth of grass!  The pallets and pallets that laid across the street attracted a lot of attention and had us all prepping for a lot of work.  We were ready to start right after Marshall's soccer game on Saturday morning and work all day long, but Colby and Brady got antsy and decided they would start on our yard Friday night.  After only a few rolls, they decided some lights would really help the process along so Colby ran down to a nearby job site and got some big lights.  By the time he got back, Colby's parents were nearly there and the four of them along with some great help from Marshall and Karter got all of our grass laid before it got too late.

Isn't that green just beautiful?!  By 10 am Saturday not only was our grass done, but the two other yards were done too!  We spent the rest of the day putting the finishing touches on the backyard (I planted loads of flowers) and got to hang out with some of our pals and listened to a lot of General Conference.  

These are the half of the flowers I planted on Friday afternoon (before the grass got put down) and then I repeated this arrangement in the other planter that sits outside the kitchen windows.  Our backyard feels like heaven now!
We had a great weekend!