Friday, October 21, 2016

Funnies and a Haunted Corn Maze

Charles: "When can we go to Halloween, because I really like that place."

I took two friends out to lunch recently.  Charles came with me wearing his astronaut costume (he can't wait for Halloween).  He was the apple of the waitresses eye and made everyone swoon when we went to the grocery store afterward.  On actual Halloween, he'll add his Batman cape because a Batman astronaut is even better.

The friend I took out works for attorneys and she said how ridiculous they all are both in attitude and in life skills.  They've got fancy degrees, but they can't even handle basic repairs around their office, home, cars, nor basic budgeting and common decency (they talk and act horribly). This furthers my belief that schools are failing kids and we need basic life skills to be taught again!  Homemaking, basic home repair, shop, family relations, anger management, etc.  Or just inspire families to do a better job teaching those things at home :)

Lately Charles is always grabbing a hold of walls or door frames while we're walking so he can suddenly yank me backwards since I'm either carrying him or we're holding hands while we walk.  He's strong!  And he thinks it's hilarious.

Before I forget, Dallas knew I liked this violin song called Gus Pike's Theme from Aunt Hetty's Ordeal, so he went online and found the piano music for it and learned to play it for me!  Music is the best investment ever.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do for music for Leia.  Evan will be playing the organ this coming Sunday.  How cool is that!?  (Primary program).

About a week ago I noticed the first zit I've ever seen on Dallas.  I said, "Well Dallas, you are officially a teenager and it's all downhill from here", speaking of my struggle with painful acne through high school.  It cleared up in my 20's to simply a few zits all the time, and in my 30's to mostly clear (except right before my period).  Pat had his share of zits too, so I felt sad that Dallas had to enter this phase of life.

Anyway, a couple days later, I noticed the zit was gone, and I said, "Wow, your face cleared up!  I guess you've made it through that phase of life", and without skipping a beat, he said, "Whew- it was rough", and "I'm glad I can begin to move on", and a bunch of other stuff about the trauma of it all, with a perfectly straight face that had me laughing out loud- it was hard to drive!

At school they had spirit week and on crazy hat day he wore a HUGE three-musketeers type hat I found at a thrift store.  It was black with a gold fringe and a huge white feather.  His teachers even let him wear it in class, except for his History teacher, who asked him to remove it.  And what was underneath?  Another hat!!!  Man that kid kills me.  His teacher had to roll his eyes and say, "Both hats."  Our other kids had Jelly Belly factory hats from a friend Sister Ettin in the ward who visited Northern California recently and brought some to our kids.
I sat down to do some planning for the month and realized Dallas should throw a Halloween party!  He's old enough, we have great Halloween music, and it just feels like a party time to me!  I thought we could meet at a cemetery and then drive over here or something... (though in this small town, we all know people in the cemetery so it's not so much creepy as it is sad).  He was so confused about why we would have a party when it was no one's birthday.

Pat and I made a list of possible movies we could show (some using vidAngel to remove bad parts): 
Halloween Town, Hocus Pocus, ET, Monster House, The Shallows, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or the last Harry Potter movie), the Birds, the Blob, Poltergeist, The Witches, The Mummy, Paranorman, Watcher in the Woods, Ghostbusters, The Haunted Mansion, Wallace and Grommit-Curse of..., Something Wicked this Way Comes, Twighlight Zone the movie, The Gate, The Burbs (with Tom Hanks) etc.

But then, facing issues of how to have a party in our small house at an age where you don't need parents and little siblings all up in your party, (there's no where for the rest of us to go unless we lock ourselves in a room for 4-5 hours, I remembered that we have a large corn maze just 15 minutes away, and they do a fantastic Haunted House and Haunted Maze at night!  So we told him instead that he could invite friends and we'd do the driving.  They were all 13 years old and it was the first time going for all of them!  I don't even know if Dallas wanted to go, because it's really scary, but it seemed weird to take Dallas to the pumpkin patch this year during the day with all the younger kids so...

They got there and were given cards from a deck, and they had to wait for their card to be called and then line up.  So rather than just wait in line for almost 2 hours, they could enjoy food, or the band or dancing, etc.  Some of the actors went and terrorized people waiting in line or out in the general area.  One scared D's friend Larry to death.  So the waiting wasn't so bad, and was actually kind of fun.

This is a man in a costume behind them

They had a dance floor set up in the barn with tables, music, smoke, lights... and Pat said that it was mostly Dallas and the four girls out there dancing, but the other two boys joined in for the songs they knew.  Pat said Dallas was the only one out there for the rap song which cracks me up.  He probably looked ridiculous (to both rap music lovers and haters alike), but I love it when he pulls a Josh Smith.  UpTown Funk, Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, it was lots of party music!  Pat said he wished I could have come because they played some good Latin music.  I wanted to, but we had no more seats left in our van!

Finally they got to go through the haunted corn maze as a group, and Pat walked in the back.  He said they had a little bit of everything, and that it was really well done and very scary.    One of the moms told me her daughter has a blood blister on her hand from another girl squeezing it so tight!  Some of the actors waited until all the kids went by and then scared the dickens out of Pat which the kids thought was great.  They talked all the way there and all the way home and seemed to have a great time.  Dallas was sure nervous to invite the girls and all, but hopefully he'll get better.  Be good friends.  That's important. 

Leia ready for soccer:

We got some books to send to family, and Leia was reading one and said, "Whoever made this book- I am so proud of them, because I really love it.  The pictures are nice, the story is nice... I am really proud of them!"- so good job Virginia Lee Burton.

Of note: We went to our ward Chili Cookoff at the soccer field (look at that moon!)

and a Family History day at the church to learn about new apps and programs. 
My friend Kathleen taught the kids class for 2 hours with old time games and songs, and I think she's the neatest person.  She home-schooled all her kids, she keeps her own sheep, she spins their wool at Las Golondrinas (kind of the Sutter's Fort of New Mexico) for all to see, she knows every kind of homemaking art and is a great music leader.  She has a blog for her primary chorister ideas and another blog to show what she's doing for her daughters Hope Chest which she has been filling since she was a baby and her daughter just graduated high school.  I guess why I like her so much is because she is one of those examples of how successful you can be working with your hands and your talents.  You don't have to have a job outside of your home or a college degree to be fulfilled and though there's nothing wrong with those,  no one should ever force you to believe that that is necessary for success.  Trades are just as important.  Just focus on what you love to do.

Because she has done this, she is one of the few women who still know many of these arts.  Her husband goes around NM by truck and by helicopter monitoring animals for the forestry.  For years and years they've been asked to help a small branch of the church out here, though it means they drive hours each week to get to and from the church for all the activities in addition to Sunday meetings, when they technically could be in our ward much closer.  They are not well off,  and live in a small simple house out in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, but I think they are rich in the things that are important.

Some funnies from Charles:

"Mom, lets go to the store!  Can we buy my favorite snack?  Can you help me, because I don't know what my favorite snack is."

After wetting his pants I said 'what a naughty boy who won't grow up' (which may have been harsh but we've been potty training for 1 1/2 years) and he said, "Well, I'm growing up slow."  And then under his breath, "I wish I would hurry."  (I agree, but only in the potty department!)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2016

We've had some beautiful skies lately. We always do though! This is from our front porch.
I sent the boys out to stack wood.  I thought it was funny that they brought out a CD player and listened to a book while they worked.
I got to sub in nursery.  Charles at the end of the table is almost moving up to primary.  He's a funny kid.  He talks a ton and has the neatest thoughts, but he's a mama-only boy, so only I know this (and the rest of the family a little).  When I work out, he doesn't want to play with the other kids running around the church.  He won't give other adults the time of day (besides Sister Holly with the blond hair in the picture) and that includes his grandparents and others in the extended family.  Pat watched him in Albuquerque this last week while I got my teeth cleaned and he didn't even want to go to the park with dad.  He said he just wanted to go find Mama.  Yep, he and I are super buddies!  Not that I'm happy about his not being friendly to others, but he'll be more social when he's ready.  Oh, Charles.

NOW THE BALLOON FIESTA!!!  This consists of getting up at 4am so you can drive down and wait in the dark and cold until dawn when the balloons start going up.  So it starts out awful, and turns out great! But there's plenty of food to eat while you wait (we all shared some hot chocolate and burned our tongues), and you can just lay down on the grass and watch like Dallas here:
Once they start going up, it's fast and furious!  You can be right next to the balloons and touch them, even help the balloonists right their baskets and then wave goodbye as they lift off!
This one

Sunday, October 2, 2016

what everyone else has been up to

Found some great things at our local thrift stores lately.  Including this bike for Charles in perfect condition!  $10, I'll take it!
Here's some more of our loot.  Skirts and several ties and perfectly new shoes for me with the tags still on them.  All of this for $10 also!  At another thrift store we got the game Pictionary, Halloween costumes, glass cereal bowls, a dress for Leia, books of all kinds, and some shirts for me!  I love getting things we need so cheap!
Packed the kids a salad for lunch one day.  It was an Asian salad with green and red cabbage, lettuce, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, brown rice, etc.  It had a tangy sweet dressing of Apple Cider Vinegar, Tamari, and Maple Syrup.  Dal and Sam loved it.  Evan and Leia didn't.  I guess I just need to make it more so their tastes will change!  Ha ha.  Who knows if that will happen, but that's why they didn't like it.  Because it didn't have Ranch!
This is tofu cooked in much the same sauce that could be added to that salad, but I cook this up and then make wraps with it for me for lunch all week.  I love it in a tortilla or on a sandwich with either cabbage or lettuce, cilantro, a bit of mayo, and anything else I have like carrot or cucumber.
Evan's boat took 3rd place at the Rainwater Regatta!  He made his boat entirely on his own and decorated it so nicely!
Evan's math teacher at school, Mrs. Hutchinson, made a point to come up to me after school and said that Evan is really good at math, like his brothers, and that he has a great attitude, great smile, and is a joy to teach.  She's had all my boys, and currently she's the 6th grade teacher, but Evan goes to her class since he's a grade ahead in Math.  He's doing really well in school.

Our sunflowers are bursting and blooming beautifully, just like they do every year at this time!
Charles and I sitting in the car during Evan's soccer practice.  I taught him how to take pictures of himself, ha ha.  He did okay, but couldn't keep his hand out of the way.

He is turning into a real goofball.  He's turned crazy and is talking to everyone about everything and even making jokes.  It quite surprised Pat when he returned from Utah.  Charles really likes to pretend like he's a transformer and makes perfect sounds as he transforms into different things.  He also loves to pretend like he's and egg, which we have to crack open by knocking really hard.  We never know which animal baby will come out until we crack the egg open.  Sometimes it's a tiger and we get eaten.  (Yes I know tigers don't come from eggs, but don't want to spoil his fun).  He's always singing like crazy!

Leia is playing soccer for the first year ever, and she sure tries hard and says the funniest things.  I'll ask her after a game, "Did you have fun?", and she'll say, "YES!  The number one rule in soccer is to have fun!"  She's always lecturing like that, to show what she knows. 

Dallas sewing on patches to his merit badge sash.  Heck no I won't do it!  His old Deacon's Quorum leader used to joke that Dallas was giving him carpal tunnel having to sign off of so many awards, but actually sewing them on is way harder!  He made funny posters for all his teachers at school and Mrs. Williams and Mr. Beach hung them up!  I'll have to go see what they look like sometime.

Sam got to go to a birthday party recently (for a girl), and had a lot of fun.  Everyday he plays 500 during recess with a bunch of people (he says it's kind of like football).  He's doing a great job with his new duties as a deacon and got to go to the temple for the first time to do baptisms.  This is him on a Saturday morning trying to figure out how to solve a Rubix Cube.  He can solve it easily now.  I'm like, "What the heck!?  Those things are solvable?!"

This is a picture of Leia's nightly homework.  The school is rigorous and she has to make up a lot for not going to Kindergarten.  She's pretty much caught up now after the first month.  But it's been math flashcards, a math page, three pages of writing, and reading every night for more than a month!

She just said this poem with her class in front of the school, in case you wanted to see it.  I had to watch this three times; once to see Leia, once to see Charles, and once to see Dallas hit Sam with a football in the background.  We were busting up when we noticed all that was going on!
If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride:
If turnips were watches
I would wear one by my side.
And if if’s and an’s were pots and pans,

There would be no work for tinkers!

I learned at parent teacher conferences that Leia had a lot of tears in the beginning of school.  It broke my heart.  She would cry and get really upset when she didn't know how to do things, or when they would time her math facts and phonics facts.  The teacher says she keeps the timer behind her back now because it upsets Leia and she can't think because she's too busy watching it.  But her teacher also says she's been fine for the last few weeks and works harder than anyone at trying to do everything the best she can.  I love my little girl so much.  It reminds me so much of when she started dance, or when she was in speech therapy and it was supposed to take 3-4 years, but she self corrected and finished in only a year.  She still has a hard time learning new things at first, but she works so hard until she gets it.  She is such an interesting person, and I've really been missing her!

Meanwhile, it's just me and Charlie at home and we play a lot of Go Fish, and Matching.  We got a perfect deck of animal/letter cards at the thrift store and it was just what we needed!  He's learning his animals, letters and their sounds (though he can be quite stubborn). 
I was just called to help with Trek again, and it looks like it will be really fun and no small amount of work.  I'm in charge of communication and kind of keeping it all organized.  I'm so tired of secretary type jobs, but oh well.  At least I get to work with a lot of my favorite people!

Whenever Pat's out of town, all the electronics break.  I've decided it's because they know the one who loves them is gone.  Trying to survive without Pat, and going through a lot, meant that I ended up buying a lot of fast food and ice-cream.  We also went to the dollar store and bought three boxes of chocolate cupcakes to decide which brand we liked best.  You know, for science.  (I was in full survival mode emotionally.)  I decided Little Debbie's are better than Hostess, and Tastycakes have a weird smell.  You're welcome.

Then he gets home and teases me about how on his work trip everyone was glad to see him, they invited him to special parties in lounges with food and drinks, thanked him for being there, etc., and then he gets home and can't find a thing to eat and I tell him to make a sandwich on the heel of bread we have left.  Life is rough.  He's also worried about the Giants making it into the playoffs!