Monday, March 29, 2010

Garden and Haircuts

On Saturday, we planted our garden. It's small, but that's the way we want it. When Ben and I were newly married, we rented a giant basement apartment and the owners let us plant a garden in their backyard, which was enormous. We had enormous plans and planted everything we could think of and guess what?

Nothing grew.

So this time around, we are thinking the simpler the better.


The kids had tons of fun helping. They loved all the little or I should say big critters we found along the way.


I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it is seriously over a foot long!


We hope that our plan works out this year and we will have something to show for it at the end. We also plan to plant some pumpkins for the fall, which Xander is delighted about since he wants it to be Halloween everyday. I wonder whose son he is?


I also buzzed Xander's head for the first time. I tend to like hair on my boys, but since Ben did it recently, I thought I would give Xander one. Comments went like this, "Xander looks like Joe" and then "Xander looks like Jes".


I told Xander that I loved his haircut today and he said, "Yeah, like Daddy and Zoey."

These are just for fun:


and if you want to check out some cool photos that I took yesterday, click here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Then, I'll do it by myself. . .

Kids amaze me.

The learning process amazes me.

Mia amazes me.

Mia is a very determined girl. She will keep trying and trying until she gets it right. She basically taught herself how to ride a bike. She is a very quick learner. It's funny how, for lack of a better word, lazy, you can be after your first. With CJ, she learned to ride the bike because I felt it was time. Through many tears, tons of crying and complaining she finally learned.


With Mia, I kinda forgot about teaching her with all the other kid distractions. It seriously amazes me how kids learn. I've decided that they learn the best when THEY are ready, not when YOU are ready.
No crying or whining or tears! Only laughing and giggling. Seriously, the cutest thing was listening to her when you helped her balance and gave her a push. She just giggled and enjoyed the rush of going fast.

One day she decided that she was going to do it and it didn't take very long until she did. Love this girl!

Have you ever noticed that some of your children's personality are similiar to yours? Mia has a goofy side that is very much like me.


Not that I walk around stuffing my shirt.


She came out one day with this hair do. Pretty smart. She could wear it to school one day. The teacher instructs them to color their worksheet.

Does she open her desk to take out her markers? NO! She pops them out of her hair.

Lady Ga Ga would copy her hairstyle and Mia would be famous.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

Happy St. Paddy's Day! May your day be filled with everything green!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leprechaun Houses and other stuff

For St. Patrick's Day, we usually make leprechaun latters that the kids hang next to their bedside so the leprechaun will bring them chocolate pieces of gold. This year, I decided to try something new. We made leprechaun houses to lure the little green guy in and hopefully, he'll leave his gold. The kids made the houses very inviting, some with even beds inside.



Last night, Ben's sweet tooth got the best of him. I thought he was going to ACE hardware to get a tool. He comes home with donuts and popcorn to make popcorn balls. The kids were a fan.


So, the kids made green popcorn balls and they are yummy!


Other stuff. . .


Ben is in Utah right now on an assignment from Pixar. Pretty cool huh? He was asked to go to BYU and help out with recruiting and mentoring. He is also staying with his family and hanging out with them. I'm excited for him to have this little break.

(P.S. Ben, I tried to make your eyes pop in this picture in Photoshop. You look crazy.)


Zoey has gotten two teeth and has said her first words as of last week. It was out of the blue. One day she was making noises like this, "Ahhhhhh, Naaww" and seriously the next day, she was saying,"Dada and Mama". Pretty cool.


She is also fascinated with I-Pods. I hope she doesn't ask for one for her birthday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Swords and Shields

This is Ben. I'm blogging here because I just posted on my own blog this morning and I didn't want to do another one there so soon.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad cut out some swords for me and Joe out of plywood. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever to have my own sword. I tried to give my kids the 21st century version of that awhile back when i made them PVC water weenie swords. They loved them and have used them for months.
As I was thinking about how cool it was when my dad made us swords, I remembered that he made us wooden shields too. So I figured I would try to give my kids the update to that too. Val has been excited for me to show her how to use some of my tools so I thought this would be a good project to teacher with too.
The main thing I remember about the wooden shields is that the edges were sharp. I spent most of my time trying not to get hit by Joe's shield rather than his sword. Keep that in mind and I'll show you my solution.

First thing, I sketched some possible shapes and had the kids pick which one they wanted. Then I cut out templates out of poster board and drew the shapes onto some scrap 3/8" plywood left over from redoing the bathroom floor.

Then I taught Val how to use my jigsaw to cut out all the shapes. She did really good although it became clear that my work bench is the perfect height for me, but a few inches too tall for her.

Once the shapes were cut out, I cut up one of my old belts and screwed the leather onto the back for the handles. I measured each kid to insure a custom fit. Then I painted the fronts with spraypaint and, to add a bit of flair, I cut out some stencils with their initial and sprayed it in gold on each one.

Now it was time to add the edge protection. For this, I used some water weenies. I cut a slit all the way down one side. Then i ran some hot glue down the edge of the shield and slid it into the slit till it hit the far end of the inner hole.

A few quick trims to match the corners, and It's done! These water weenies cut so easily with a sharp blade!

The kids went at it right away.

They seemed to be having trouble with the coordination of the whole sword/shield thing. I chalked it up to simple, youthful, lack of coordination. That is until CJ commented that it's too hard to swing her sword with her left hand (because the shield was on the right).


I made them for the wrong arm!

Luckily The straps are screwed on, so with some quick adjustments they will be proper-handed.

I hope my kids look back on this years from now and give their kids the update on it - with lasers and nanoparticles and stuff.

Now if I can only come up with an update to the helmets Dad made us out of empty 3 gallon Baskin Robbins ice cream tubs.