Thursday, December 2, 2010


I think we had fall this year--sandwiched in between a wonderful late summer and the Thanksgiving blizzard. Seth and I went out one afternoon to rake leaves and play with the camera. These shots melt my heart; he loves to be part of the action, especially if he can be your helper. We put the camera on the sports setting and took a series of shots of him throwing armfuls of leaves in the air. Classic fall fun.

By the time Charlotte came out, we'd mown over most of the leaf piles, much to her dismay. Laying on a thin carpet of leaves just doesn't have the same effect.

The sunset was spectacular. Swaths of purple and orange streaked across the western sky and reflected on the eastern mountains. I think I would have missed it had we not been out raking. I can't think of a better reward for our work, if you could call it that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's December first, which means it's time for the post on...Halloween, you guessed it!

Trying to embrace the whole costume thing, I drove the kids to every store in town looking for the perfect costume. Carden again tried my sewing patience to put together his Viking fur accessories. By the time Seth made his final decision, every store in town and every website was sold out of the outfit he wanted. He then set his heart on a 2-sizes-too-big, broken-zipper, hurry-up-the-store-is-closing costume from the thrift store. Did I mention I hate sewing?

Shocking, I know. A pink princess.

I dressed up--a first--as did Tyler. That Ghostbusters shirt made him a star with the 12-year-old boys at the church Halloween party.

We had a lot of fun, ate too much candy, and trick-or-treated on October 30 (in Utah, it's understood that when holidays fall on Sunday they will be celebrated on Saturday). All in all, I think we'll even do it again next year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween piano recital

The annual Halloween piano recital... I used to be a trifle annoyed by how many recitals Carden (and now Seth) have, but I now enjoy them a lot more. Live performance is a real motivator for the kids, and Halloween is a great excuse to work on music that they love.

I, however, missed this year's recital, being at school helping run the PTA Reflections program (school art competition). It was judging night and I was responsible to make sure 150 works of art, carefully crafted from tin foil, paper mache, clay, straws and cereal boxes--as well as the more traditional mediums--survived the night intact. So kudos again to Tyler, who took all the kids and Granny to dinner at Sonic and then listened to "Halloween, Halloween" and "Spook House" for the nine thousandth time, all while pretending he'd never heard them before.

His report: Seth was a natural. He's been attending these recitals for years, so now that it was his turn he got up there (still too short to actually sit on the bench) and did his thing without missing a beat. Charlotte, however, insisted loudly and emphatically after every performance, "MY TURN NOW!" Now that Seth has started lessons, she does not understand why she is being denied the basic human right of daily piano practice. After I supervise the boys' practice, she and I will run through the repertoire of Disney princess songs so that she feels like she's practiced too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The big ONE for Claire-bear

(I know--she doesn't have the most original nickname of the bunch. But you have to drawl it out the way Tyler does--"Bee-yer" or "bee-bee-beeyers")

She did it, we did it. The first birthday!

We got cupcakes from a fabulous bakery. The kids picked out their favorite kinds, so everyone was happy.

You got really fun presents, Claire. I promise I'm trying to take them away from the other kids so you can play with them, too. At least you know the clothes are all yours.

I wish I could have gotten a better shot of her face. She was so tickled with the doll. It crawls, and Claire thinks it's so funny that she's faster than the doll.

For some reason it's harder to write about Claire. We have lots of tender feelings for her particular spirit and have sometimes felt that she may have a harder row to hoe than some of her siblings. She has a quiet, peaceful air about her and she just wants to be cuddled and loved more than any of the others. For now we're loving every day with her, trying to hold on to these precious baby days that are already gone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Seth spent his summer






Seth had a great summer: swim lessons, tennis lessons, and lots of fun in the backyard riding his plasma car and tossing water balloons. He's growing up and enjoying life a lot more; the whining that plagued the previous two years has almost disappeared completely. Hurray!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

He didn't learn it at home

Despite the fact that we are not a family of sports fanatics, Carden has learned a few things from the local fan base, which as you can probably guess, bleeds BYU blue.

So upon opening today's newspaper, looking for his usual comics fix, Carden caught sight of the score from yesterday's BYU game--a loss to Utah State, marking BYU's third loss in a row.

"WHAT?!?" He screams. "BYU lost to the AGGIES??!!? What is with them?" he rants. They're losing left and right, and up and down and even diagonal! If this keeps up I'm going to have to start rooting for those darn Utes!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Charlotte spent her summer

Playing with Seth--probably her favorite brother.

Loving a surprise visit from Dr. Papa

Thinking about life.

Watching out for a little sister.

Riding her pink plasma car (after convincing dad she r-e-a-l-l-y had to have one--it wasn't a hard sell).

Being cute.

Taking naps in odd places.
Supporting the Disney Princess franchise.

Playing in any water she could find.

Monday, September 27, 2010

How Claire spent her summer

Learning to crawl.

Eating berries.

Endangering the ankles (and paws) of everyone in the house as she zoomed around in her walker.



Playing. How does an 11-month-old knows exactly what to do with a cell phone?

Discovering the joys of food.

Being loved.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to school

It's been a whole month now, and the polish is rubbing off our back-to-school resolutions (eat nutritious snacks, do homework and piano practicing right after coming home, keep the house clean).

Here's what we looked like on that first bright, shiny day.

I swiped an idea from the NieNie Dialogues and the night before school started we held our first Back To School Feast. I remembered the idea at the last minute, but the kids still really loved being able to make it a special evening. The boys love the chicken cordon bleu from Costco, and with a bag of sweet corn from the farm stand and Carden's favorite punch recipe, we broke out the goblets and gold china on the tablecloth Dad bought in India.

I put Dad, our artist-in-residence, in charge of decorating the crowns for our new scholars. It was a good idea. I'm sure that years from now, they'll all share fond memories about how "Dad always drew these cool crowns for our Back to School Feasts..." And I'll bite my tongue about how I put the crowns and the Sharpie in his hand and said, "Have these done in an hour."

Carden is in third grade (note the three fingers he shows in every picture). The school addition is finished and he is in a brand new classroom. It's beautiful, with big windows and none of the funny smell of last year's portable trailers. He has two teachers who job-share, and both are wonderful.

Seth has a great teacher, and she admitted to me that he is one of her favorites (something about his love of staying after class to help clean up just endears him to people, myself included).

I'm so glad we kept Seth back that extra year. He grew up a lot and is now ready for the big time. He has a little more confidence now and he is just starting to sound out words, a feat that was completely beyond him a year ago, so I'm glad we didn't push it. I remember working with kids in Carden's first grade classroom and seeing how many of them were already labeling themselves as "smart" or "dumb." There's a lot of talk about "redshirting kindergarteners" to give them an advantage in sports or size. I'm sure that's out there, but for us, Seth was just not ready for school emotionally, socially, or academically, and I'm glad we didn't push him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Tyler left on July 7 for a round-the-world, 24-day, 6-country business trip. I stayed home for a round-the-house, 576-hour (I counted every one of them), 4-kid-and-1-dog experience.

Somehow we both survived.

He went to California, Germany, India, Singapore, China, Taiwan, and Japan. We went to summer camp, the canyon, swim lessons, the park, the pool, tennis lessons, Granny's house, and the store (but never with all four kids at once).

I gotta admit, I was really proud of myself. I was mostly patient, and even a little fun. I saw the appeal of simplifying life--we tried for only one activity a day and a decent dinner. Anything else was gravy.

Grandma and Grandpa Halverson came for a few days and were lifesavers with Seth's birthday party. There's no one better to help plan a 6-year-old's party than an elementary school teacher.

Seth had the never-ending birthday this year: a family party, a friend party, Granny taking him out for lunch a couple of times, and extra presents when Dad returned from his business trip.

His favorites: a zippy red Plasma Car, that he likes to steer with his feet, naturally.
And "curtains" that Grandma H. sewed for his lower bunk. We attached to the bed rails with shower curtain rings; Seth likes to close them and read books or sleep hidden from view in his wild animal fortress. He was so excited about them he would tell everyone, "Guess what I got for my birthday? I got curtains!!" This prompted more than a few raised eyebrows in my direction. It's one thing to pawn off socks and underwear as birthday presents, superhero undies notwithstanding. Curtains are another thing entirely. But they really are pretty fun.