Saturday, April 30, 2011

April in Review

April is a very busy month for us.  Three of the five people in our little family have birthdays this month.  Not to mention all the extended family birthdays.  And Easter.  So, here are a few of the highlights.

First was my birthday.

I made our traditional cheesecake that Tyler and I share every year.  His birthday is just a few days after mine, so we eat half of it on my birthday and save the rest for his.  You can think we're lame for that.  We don't care.

My wonderfully awesome father-in-law got me a GUITAR.  I am so excited.  Tyler and I had talked about wanting to learn to play, but knew it would have to wait until he was done with school, but Tyler's dad was so excited about it he went and got one for me!  I have been building up the callouses on my fingertips and can play a few little children's songs.  Not very fast, mind you.  I usually only play at night after the kids are in bed because I can't play fast enough for them to enjoy it yet.  Except for "Are You Sleeping?" 

(Frère Jacques).  It's only one chord.  

Next was Tyler's birthday.

Yeah.  30.  
Most of my friends' husbands are turning 30 and everyone seems to be throwing big parties.  I thought and thought about throwing a party for Tyler, but then I thought, "Is that really something he'd want?"  What he really loves is our time together.  So instead of a party, the kids went and stayed the night at Uncle Layne's and Aunt Lorrie's while we rented a hotel room and spent the evening out.  It was SO FUN to just get out, go see a movie, go to dinner, go shopping, get dessert - and not have to worry about what time it was!  There was no rushing back to get kids to bed.  Or to wake us up in the morning.  And we realized we hadn't had a night alone together since Cade was born.  It was amazingly refreshing to get to know each other again and I highly recommend it to everyone.  

The next festivities - Easter.
 I'm lame and forgot to get dye for eggs, so we just colored on them with crayons instead.  It was a little more difficult than I thought it would be, but still fun.  And memorable.

While we colored the eggs we talked about why we have eggs at Easter.  Eggs symbolize life.  We dye them because, traditionally, they were dyed red to remember what Christ has done for us.

The week of Easter we learned about the last week of Christ's life and did some sort of activity to go along with it (like making palm leaves when we talked about the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, making oil lamps out of clay when talking about the parable of the ten virgins, etc.).  This Easter has been my absolute FAVORITE.  It was so Christ-centered.  Easter morning we read a book about the Resurrection then made Resurrection Rolls.  I had made each of the kids a little bunny out gloves (sorry, no pictures of that) and got them an egg of M&Ms, so we gave them that as kind of an afterthought.  We don't do the Easter Bunny (or any other mythical being that mysteriously leaves surprises for small children), so they knew it was from us.  Just a gift for a special day.  There was no shouting or ungratefulness.  It was a nice, quiet, reverent morning.  I hope that we can continue that kind of feeling in Easters to come.  :)

Here are the kiddos in their Easter outfits.  They've actually been wearing them for a while because they're so cute.  

 Later we did an Easter egg hunt at Aunt Lorrie's.  Eliza took off and ran after this giant egg.  JACKPOT!  Oh, wait.  That's a softball.
Checking out their loot.  Eliza's basket was tiny and could only hold about 4 eggs, so Cade and Ali helped her.  And then she helped them eating their jelly beans.

A few days later was Cade's birthday.

 Here is another reason I love homeschooling.  We didn't have to rush in the morning and send Cade off to school (where they had a bomb-threat that day, I might add), wait for him to come home and spend a little time singing "Happy Birthday," eat a piece of cake and send him off to bed.

Instead, we had chocolate pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles for breakfast.  We sang "Happy Birthday" and then watched the video of his birth (like we do with all the kids on their birthdays).
We found a turtle (actually the day before) and played with it.  

We went to Chuck E. Cheese.

We had green eggs and ham for dinner.  Yes, he picked that.  We make our eggs green by blending them in the blender with spinach.  Add a little milk, cheese, salt, pepper and tarragon and you have one delicious recipe for green eggs.

My grandma even flew in to see the kids for his birthday.  

Not every day is a party when you homeschool.  But the nice thing is, is that some days just are.  And most of the other ones just feel like it.
 Today we went to "Local Fest" which is a big festival for all things local.  Food, bands, art - whateva.  We got to pet this llama that came from a place here that does yarn from their wool.  It was unbelievably soft.

After Local Fest, we had Cade's party with a few friends.  He wanted an Amazon Rain Forest party.  I tried my hardest, and the M&Ms weren't my original idea for the leaves on those Kit-Kat trees, but it worked and Cade liked it.

 We had chocolate icing for the forest floor, the blue M&Ms for the Amazon River, green ones for the giant lily pads in the River and the understory and Kit-Kat bars for trees.  The other kids didn't really care what it looked like, but I heard no complaints about all that chocolate candy on top.

To top it all off, we got to see this 13-Year Cicada.  They only come around every 13 years.  Who knew by the name, right?  If I remember correctly, they only live in this part of the country.  So, a rarity in deed!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eliza's 1-year-old Pictures

I finally did Eliza's pictures for her first year.  Check out some of my favorites!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Perfect Storm

What do you get when you take your kids to a huge, beautiful field when it's moments from a thunderstorm?

Some pretty awesome pictures.

(A little overexposed, but I like the golden color contrasted so sharply against the black sky.)

It was absolutely gorgeous light.  The clouds were big and dark, but the sun would still shine through at times. We were only hit with about 3 raindrops.  I would have liked to have stayed longer, but alas, Super Cade wanted to go shirtless to show off his stunning physique and got a little chilly in the wind.

We will be seeing a lot of this field in the future.

Thanks to those of you who came to photo group today.  If you're interested in coming next time, please let me know!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Atlanta Temple Open House

For those of you who don't know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is having an Open House for the Atlanta Temple.  Normally, only members of the Church holding special recommends are allowed to enter these holy places.  There are a few times that everyone is invited to come and take a walk through these beautiful places, however.  Before a temple is dedicated when it is first finished is one of these times; another is if it needs to be rededicated for some reason - like after major renovations.

The Atlanta Temple has been closed for almost 2 years for renovations and is finally ready to be opened again!  We took this rare opportunity to take the kids down so they could see what a temple is like on the inside.  It was beautiful.  The chandeliers were the most captivating to me.

They did have fun, I promise.  The grass felt good on bare feet, but it was a little more scratchy when you sit in it. 

I want to get each of their pictures in front of the temple printed to have in their room to remind them of their experience.  We sat down yesterday and I asked them questions about our trip to the temple so I could write it down for them to help remember.  I'll share it here because I thought it was cute.

What was your favorite part of the temple?
Cade: "I liked being in that Heaven Room.  It was my favorite one.  It was the most beautiful room."  (The Celestial Room)
Ali:  "All the pretty parts."

How did you feel in the temple?
Cade: "It was good.  Very, very good."
Ali:  "The things on my shoes.  They hurted.  And I was sad because I couldn't go in that water."  (They make you put little plastic slippers on over your shoes so you don't dirty the carpet.  The water she was talking about was the baptismal font. I reminded her when she is old enough she can go in the water and asked how that made her feel.  She said, "Happy!")

Is there anything else you want to remember about the temple?
Cade: "Yes.  When I went in.  It felt...mmmm.... good.  And when I went out of the temple.  I felt bad because I was leaving the temple and I wanted to stay in it."

I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who gives us a way to be a family forever and not just until death separates us.  I am grateful I could take my children there and let them feel the love and the Spirit that is there and the spiritual experience we had together there.