"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Little Words

I don't know how many of my readers actually VISIT the blog. I usually don't physically visit blogs, I just use a feed reader like Google Reader to keep track. Anyway, on my sidebar I keep a running list of funny things my kids say. You may have noticed.

I decided to put them onto a little blog of their own so they can have an RSS feed and be read in a reader. If you would like to follow along, add www.cutelittlewords.blogspot.com to your feed reader. I will still continue to add them to the ol' sidebar as long as they fit. It's getting a bit long though...

p.s. School starts tomorrow... (Hooray!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lazy Afternoon, and the Consequences that Followed

School doesn't start until next week, so the kids (um, also I) have been a bit restless (read: lazy). We can't go places EVERY day, so yesterday I declared it to be a staying home day. It also also happened to coincide with a "no screen" day, which seemed like a great idea at the time. (Doesn't it always.)

Around two-o'clock-ish, however, our tiny little rental house with very white carpet was quite trashed. There were library books scattered everywhere, tiny bits of cut up paper from Ellorie's stuffed animal pajama pattern-making project, hundreds of watercolor masterpieces lying on every flat surface of the house to dry, all the toys from the toy closet dumped out in every corner of the house, garbage and food bits everywhere from Rylan's dumpster diving attempts, and then to add to the soup, Rylan dumped a whole bunch of dirty paint water (Which coincidentally I had asked the kids a dozen times to put away) all over the white carpet. Mommy had a small melt down and we cleaned up for a while. Fortunately, most of the paint came right up. No harm done. But next time we are painting OUTSIDE.

I took a few pictures of the kiddies painting. Rylan is super funny right now. He flashes this crazy grin every time he sees the camera. It totally cracks me up.

He is learning his colors and adores painting. His favorites are yellow and blue, which he now calls by name.

He's such a fun boy.

Mason read the entire book, the Candy Shop War, and then painted pictures of all the cool candy described in the book. He also took extensive notes. I think he's dying to go back to school. He sure is fun to have around the house. I'm going to miss him during the day! I love his unique perspective on things.

D'ya like my cardboard pile? I know, it totally needs to go. Tomorrow is recycling day.

Ellorie and Averie were super careful and cute with their narrative painting.

I love Mason's painting "stance". He's ready to take flight at a moment's notice.

They painted for a solid two hours and used nearly an entire package of paper. So I guess one major spill isn't too bad. It was really my fault anyway for not putting away the paint water sooner.

It's a little bitter-sweet that they will be at school all day in just one short week. The summer went by so quickly. Here's to the last of the lazy summer days!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ellorie's Crocodile Death Roll

As promised...

Ellorie has been perfecting that move all week for your viewing pleasure.

Rylan sort of steals the show there at the end. He's so cute. He just decided yesterday that he likes the water. Now he screams when I make him get OUT instead of IN. He doesn't even mind the big kids splashing him in the face with water. He's already a pro.

Here is another video of Averie's sweet trick. It doesn't look like much, but trust me, it's a big accomplishment:

And a couple of shots of Rylan playing in the water. I just can't get enough:

He was loving that blue pool noodle today, though he was using it as a serious WMD (that's weapon of mass destruction). He was wacking the other kids, but since he was so tiny they all just sort of looked at him helplessly. Time to teach that boy some manners.

Today was Mason's last tennis lesson. He has totally loved it. I'm going to have to find more classes for him to take. I didn't get many pictures, and my timing was terrible, but here are a couple:

Getting ready to serve:

Listening to his coach:

Tomorrow is also the last day of swimming lessons. It's bittersweet for me. The kids have loved it and learned so much, but it's certainly a lot of work for the momma. They are excited for "game day" and getting their certificates. I think they all passed their classes with flying colors. It was a good experience for all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Concise Correspondence

Dear iron, twin sheets, and bedding,

Where in the world are you? You have been greatly missed, but will be replaced in a very short while if you fail to make your presence known. That is all.


The Allen Family

Dear Library,

I adore you. Thank you for being open and full of books. You make the long summer days a treat.

Blissfully Yours,

A Delighted Library Patron

Dear Landlord,

I know it's really not effecting me personally, but the nine foot geyser in front of our house from the broken sprinkler is getting annoying. Sure, the kids enjoyed playing in it for the first day or so, but two weeks later I'm beginning to feel that the water would be better used in other ways. Like irrigating a large farm? Just a thought.


A Concerned Tenant
p.s. So how about those missing window screens and bathroom mirror?

Dear Swimming Lessons,

You are a life saver. Perhaps literally.

Gratefully Yours,

Mom of 4

Dear Idaho and Utah Friends and Family,

I miss you.

Love, Brittany

Dear Cardboard Boxes,

Why are there so many of you? I mean, you are flattened in a pile nearly to the ceiling. I'm sorry I have let you sit so long on my kitchen table, but I'm not really sure where to recycle you. That, and I have four busy children. I'll get around to it soon. Thank you for being patient.


Moving Mama

Dear Pigeons,

I never knew how much I would loathe hearing your cooing at 5:15 every morning. I mean, I'm used to interrupted sleep, but now that my children are finally sleeping through the night, I guess you had to fill the void. I sincerely hope you are happy.


Sleepless in the Suburbs

Dear Summer,

Thank you for being warm and long and beautiful. I'm enjoying every moment.

Love, Brittany

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bird Refuge

Mason's new scout group had an activity at a bird and wildlife refuge nearby. The whole family was invited, and so we went. (And of course I forgot my camera. These pix are from Brandon's sub-par cell phone camera. My apologies.) Also, add to the list of things we cannot find: Mason's scout shirt.

Ellorie and Averie were totally in their element. Bugs and birds galore!

No, Averie is not crying because there is a grasshopper on her neck. She is crying because she has to let it go in the weeds. She wanted to bring it home with her.

Ellorie immediately found a preying mantis and Averie was clearly in love with all the bugs. They got to watch invertebrates swim around under microscopes and look through telescopes at huge osprey in their nests across the water. Mason loved watching the osprey. He was also fascinated by the tiny mosquito and dragonfly larvae.

A worker there was putting tracking bands on mallard ducks and the kids were allowed to "assist" him. They banded several ducks and then released them.

The refuge there keeps records of all the ducks and tracks where they migrate and live. These ducks travel as far as Alaska and Tennessee. All the kids were totally enthralled. Ellorie has reaffirmed her desire to be a entomologist when she grows up.

There was also a bird dog demonstration and a little class on how to build wood duck boxes.
A taxidermist was stuffing a duck, which the kids found really interesting. They had a museum of sorts inside with all kinds of local birds and animals.
Rylan couldn't stop giggling at all the animals and birds. Ellorie loved the coyote and peregrine falcon in the museum. It is pretty impressive to see some of those huge, powerful birds up close and personal.

We didn't stay too long because it got really hot and Rylan was ready for a nap. I think with all the aspiring scientists in this house that we will likely be returning again.

Here are a few more pictures I nabbed from the World Wide Web. My in-law's home is actually in the background of this one. This refuge was literally in Brandon's backyard growing up. He did his Eagle Scout project here as a youth.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer is for Sunshine!

School doesn't start here for a few weeks still, so we are enjoying the summer sunshine. The kids started swimming lessons on Monday and Mason is also doing tennis lessons.

I am so impressed with the teachers and the whole set-up. The actual swimming lesson is only 1/2 hour for each kid, but they are allowed to swim in the 2 foot kiddie pool during the other lessons. Their lessons are really spread out, so it adds up to 3 solid hours of swimming every day. Awesome! Ellorie and Averie have both learned a lot just messing around and practicing what they learned in their lesson. They all learned more in one day than in an entire session in previous years.

Rylan could go in the kiddie pool, and we have tried, but so far he much prefers to play fetch with Averie and splash in the drinking fountain by the bathrooms. Yuck. I keep him buckled in the stroller most of the time. He is not really loving it. Hopefully by next week I can get him to go into the water a little more.

Averie has never had lessons before, and has really only been swimming a few times in her life. She is no longer afraid of getting wet or putting her face in the water. She is doing really well. Here was her "backfloat" yesterday:

And here is Ellorie learning her "big arms":

She is doing really well at holding her breath under water. I've been very impressed at her progress considering that the last time she had swimming lessons she was still sitting on the stairs with a death-grip on the railing on the last day of classes. You should really see her "crocodile death roll" in the kiddie pool. The girls have been sharks or crocodiles in their make-believe this week. I guess wolves and dragons aren't swimmers.

Mason is a lot harder for me to get pictures of because he is always under the water. Here he is practicing his side breathing. Sort of.

Initially, we didn't sign up for the tennis lessons. Today Mason was totally obsessed with watching the boys his age play. He was begging to play tennis. The lady in charge happened to overhear him begging and told me he could take lessons for the rest of the session and just pay half! So for $8 Mason gets to have 4 group tennis lessons. He loves it.

So I guess we're staying busy. Hope you are enjoying the summer sunshine as well!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Go-Kart Fever

The old workplace in IF had their annual summer party on Brandon's last day of work in July. We like to think of it as a goodbye party. They had it at a place right down the street from our house that we had never been to. Figures, that we would realize something really cool was right next door the week before we moved. Oh well. The kids loved it.

Namely the Go-Karts.

Some kids beg for a pony, now mine beg for go-karts. Nearly every day, even weeks later.

Even Averie could drive the mini karts with some amount of skill. She was really nervous at first and wouldn't try them. After watching Mason and Ellorie for a while she decided to give it a "go". It was hilarious because she had this terrified, dead-serious look on her face the entire time. But when you asked her if she wanted to go try something else she refused to leave. She wanted to ride the go-karts forever and ever and ever.

She also has an inclination for road rage. She thought Mason bumped her once and totally tailgated and rammed him down for the rest of that session. None of these children shall ever possess driving licensed while they live under my roof unless a few things change drastically. Enough said.

The place was called "Riot Zone" and also had paddle boats, bumper boats, a rocket ride, rock climbing, and a gigantic bouncy house area. They were there in the hot sun all day and cried and cried when it was time to leave, 10 hours later. Rylan was grumpy and didn't like anything until the very end. We found out a few days later that he was cutting 5 teeth, so it was no surprise. Poor babe. He sort of zoned out an watched the rest of the kids play.

The office had a yummy dinner catered and we enjoyed the evening talking with Brandon's work friends. We have a lot of friends there that we are really going to miss! It was a bitter-sweet ending to four years of employment.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back Online in WA!

Internet, dear friend, I have missed you.

We moved! Like, for reals. And after two hours waiting at the DLD yesterday, I am officially a resident of Washington State. It's still surreal to me. I'm loving the warm weather and lack of wind, but I'm already really missing friends and family.

I sort of had a three week vacation from my camera, blogs, and pretty much everything else. The only downside was moving roughly 11,000 pounds of belongings in the process. (I was relieved to find that we had only 11,000 and not 14,000 pounds as that was what one of the movers estimated. Way too much crap, if you ask me. It's amazing how it accumulates.) Anyway, we are finally getting settled. Since I didn't even know where my camera was for at least a week, I haven't taken many pictures. But here is what we have:

Rylan and Averie eating the remaining contents of the freezer.

Rylan and Averie came back to Idaho with us for the move. Mason and Ellorie stayed in Washington with their grandma. It was sad not to have them there, but SO nice to not have to endure 20 extra hours of driving in the car with them. Also, we were able to get a lot more done while Rylan had naps during the day. My wonderful friend Shatzi watched Averie almost all week. We would definitely not have finished it all with out her help. She and my awesome friends Liz and Bonnie also came over and helped clean the house from top to bottom (literally) after the movers loaded up all the stuff. I am eternally grateful for all their help!

The gigantic trailer that held all of our earthly belongings:

Don't worry, we only filled about a third of the beast.
(And as a side note, those packers are seriously skilled at fitting things in a small space. It was like watching a real-life game of Tetris.)

And last but not least, our new little rental house:

This is the back view as the front is pretty much just the garage. The kids are totally in love with the playground. We love our neighborhood and ward so far and can't wait to meet more of the neighbors.

The house is brand new and has WHITE carpet and WHITE matte finish walls. (What were they thinking? What was I thinking? Goodbye huge deposit.) We love most things about the house though. It was vacant for 4 years, but has never been lived in by anyone other than spiders and one mouse that is now very dead. Another story for another day. Another huge plus is the two car garage to temporally store all of our afore mentioned crap.

I guess I'm starting to feel "settled", whatever that means. Everything is still very new. I get lost every time I drive anywhere. Not really "lost", uh, I just take a lot of "detours". Mason gets really annoyed with me every time I get on the wrong freeway. I'm working on it. I'm used to living on a grid, and these roads are more like a spaghetti bowl.

The kids start swimming lessons tomorrow and we are all really excited about that. Brandon is absolutely loving his new job as the financial controller at the hospital. It's always great to have a happy husband. I am back online now, and I'm ready to blog once again so stay tuned!