Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring Sports

Rachel competed in the local Special Olympics again this year. She had a great experience last time--despite the awful weather and freezing temps. This year the weather was just about perfect. We deliberately came late because last year we seemed to wait around forever without any real purpose. Rachel competed in three events--softball throw, standing long jump, and 50 yard dash, and she got three medals, including gold in the 50 yard dash. I really like that they go out of their way to provide medals for as many people as possible. I also like that its good practice for when she (hopefully) decides to do track someday.

The boys and Rachel did Spring soccer, as well. I was really proud of them--they all learned a lot!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rachel is 11!

For Rachel's birthday this year, we decided to do a mini-cousin swap. We like to meet at the Wendy's in Youngstown...not sure the people who work there like it quite as much, because our kids can get pretty loud:)
This time, I took Karen back with me and I sent Hannah, Nathan, and Aaron up to Ohio. Pretty good deal, I'd say.

Plus, it was so good for these two to have some time together. They are spending lots of time online chatting together, playing games and writing stories. I love that they are friends.

 Christian made them fun shaped pancakes for breakfast, and helped them build a huge blanket fort in the basement.
 On Saturday we took the girls to Sky Zone.
 We drove up to Madison on Sunday to swap back, and had a yummy cake for Rachel and Uncle Jonathan. Why can't Rachel do a normal face for pictures???
 On her actual birthday, we did Joker's Cafe, which is becoming a regular tradition.

 Daddy was the server, while I prepped the plates in the kitchen.
 Her homemade cake was a bit of a disaster, but we were all so full, we didn't really mind.
Happy birthday, Crazy girl!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Look at me, posting again!

Last Saturday we took the kids to a Hibachi restaurant. Its something Christian has wanted to do for a long time, as much for the entertainment as for the food. The kids loved it.
There is a new place open by the mall. We went for lunch, and even brought the neighbor kid, Titan, who refused to eat anything (even the Sprite the chef wanted to quirt in his mouth). Our chef, who called himself Harry, as in Harry Potter, was awesome, the best I've seen, especially in how he included the kids. His cooking/show had lots of fire, including lighting his hat on fire. (The boys loved that when they told him his hat was on fire, he said, 'I don't care.' Then they had to figure out how he did the trick.) Harry asked Aaron to come behind the grill and try flipping an egg. Aaron didn't want to, but Nathan was happy to try. He got to use the flat spatula to try and catch an egg spinning on the grill and flip it up in the air. He did a great job--despite ended up with some scrambled egg.

The chef also chopped up bits of brocoli and had each of us try to catch it in our mouths. If we caught it, he's give us a squirt of Sprite (tried to give us Saki--had to explain we don't drink!). I'm proud to say I caught mine in the second try! Rachel, Nathan, and Aaron also caught it.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dirty Laundry (Room)

Two years now...We have lived here two years. We love our home, and it fits us very well, but during that time there are a few house weaknesses that bother us daily. Two of those is the lack of storage for school things and a laundry room that acts like a crowded hallway. This year, we finally came up with a solution to help us tackle both problems. 
Our laundry room is a small-ish room connecting the garage with the rest of the house. It came with lots of wire shelving and hooks and for two years we lived with the organization we were given. To the left of the washer/dryer is a utility sink and next to that, floor to ceiling wire shelves. On the ground, we keep a woven basket that supposedly holds shoes, but usually it just sits 1/2 empty next to the shoe pile. 
We finally decide to remove all the wire shelving and replace it with sturdy plywood shelves so that we could customize it for our needs. Those floor to ceiling wire shelves became 6 cubbies--1 for each kid's backpack, coat, etc..., one on the floor for a larger shoe basket, and one on top for extra seasonal storage. The best part of the process was letting our kids help out! (I promise they all helped, even if most of the pictures are of Nathan).

Nathan, nailing the side panel to the wall.
 Attaching shelves...

 Pre-drilling holes in the shelves...
 At this point, Christian left for work and I finished up nailing on the face frame by myself.
 And here is phase 1, nearly complete.
 With primer...
 It is such a narrow room, it is challenging to get a good picture of the whole unit at the same time. Here is a shot of the shoe cubby--the one at the top is the same size.

 Color-wise, we want this room to feel fresh and clean and functional. Just for fun, we decided to add a shot of color inside each cubby. Here are some color samples...

 The unit fully painted, with the new wall color... (Stonington Gray, by Benjamin Moore--same as our basement and girls' bedroom).
The room is still a work in progress!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, most of this will be a repeat...but I'm still like blogging for keeping records, so here goes...

 We had a fun gingerbread house-making party at our friends, the Giamo's, home.

 If you got a Christmas card from us this year (and not everyone did...we need to update our address list), chances are one of my kids addressed the envelope. I'm a big fan of child labor.
 Aaron got new, adorable reading glasses, which he usually forgets to wear.
Hannah and I finally got around to refinishing the desk we gave her for her birthday. Its darling, she picked all the colors and the handles, and its perfect for her room. She uses it for art projects.

Any of you with daughters know how hard it is to find cute, modest, age appropriate clothes that fit. This year it was a bit of a saga, looking for and trying on dresses. We love this Target dress we found...although I swear she's grown since we gave it to her for Christmas, and it will be too short soon.
 While in Ohio for New Years, Hannah got to go to a special viewing of the Meet The Mormons movie, with a question and answer session with Jenna Kim Jones, who narrates (and who happens to be related to the Stake RS Pres.).

Merry Christmas! I thought our tree was pretty. 

 Rachel has been begging for over a year for a guitar. Now we just have to teach her how to play it--and neither of us know now! Silly Santa--what was he thinking?

We were fortunate to have lots of time with friends and family over the holidays, despite being sick. (AGAIN. This winter has been AWFUL!) We went caroling with the Mitchells,  spent Christmas Eve  with the Tames, had lots of friends over on Christmas day, had a fun couples-only ugly sweater party (yeah, I forgot to take good photos...), and spent New Years in Ohio with the cousins.

The Green Cafe is becoming a standard cousin activity.
 This year, platypus was on the menu.
 We had a big Foosball tournament with the missionaries on New Years Eve. I'm pretty sure Isaac and an Elder won, even though Isaac decided he didn't want to finish the game.

 And, I finished it all up with this cute craft project for Natalie's bedroom.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The last few weeks in (mostly) pictures

pumpkin carving--
 the youth service project--

 Aaron's class party--
 Halloween night at our house--
 Then the Wesels came to visit from Michigan--

 And our dishwasher broke and caused a flood--

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Bad pictures, I know, but here's a quick before and after: