Saturday, December 31, 2016

The end of 2016

It's the last day of the current year.

I wrote a letter to send out with my Christmas cards this year, but never finished editing it, and never got copies made.  I did send out Christmas cards though and and Ross' Great Aunt Pat made sure to send a note in her holiday card telling me she missed the letter.  She also called me "Amy".

It's all good in the hood. 

So, being as it's the end of the year and I never sent the letter, it will serve as the final blog post of 2016, along with my accompanying end of year slide show.

The boys and I discussed it the other day and decided that our song of the year was "Hand clap" by Fitz and the Tantrums.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas 2016

As I sit down at my computer and try to figure out the best way to sum up the past year, I sort of draw a blank.  It feels like the last year has been a whirlwind of activities, vacations, carpools, practises and games for all the kids sports.  But, of course, I’ll give it a try, and I’ve got my instagram feed to remind me of all the highlights.

This year we took a great trip to Seattle in June to watch Argentina (Leo Messi specifically) play Bolivia in the Copa America soccer tournament.  We hit all the Seattle sites, drove up to Anacortes to go on a whale watching excursion and ate great food!  We went to Disneyland with Annie’s extended family in October to celebrate her parents 40th wedding anniversary and the safe return of Willie (Annie’s brother) from a LDS mission in Lithuania.  Ross’ parents also returned from a mission in South Africa and spent the Thanksgiving holiday in our home.  We took a couple road trips to and through Las Vegas just so we could eat hamburgers and french fries at Shake Shack.  And, the biggest project of the year, we finished our basement over the summer.  It was a long 9 weeks, but we are so happy to have the project completed and no, we didn’t do it ourselves.  

Ross started a new job in April of this year with a company called Solera.  He is just as busy, doing just as many projects as before, all of them technical and finance related, but luckily is working  closer to home.  He coaches Elliott and Wyatt in basketball, Quinn in soccer, and is a great dugout manager for any of the boys baseball games we are attending.  This fall, Ross was released after 5 years as scoutmaster as his church calling and was given a new calling as executive secretary to the bishop, keeping him very busy on Sunday’s in meetings.  Oh, and lest we forget, he spends what little free time he has (about five minutes) playing fantasy football and obsessively checking the ESPN and WOOT apps on his phone.

Annie is continuing to be a stay-at-home-mom with the boys and staying busy being their tutor, coach, short order cook, nurse, classroom volunteer and everything else that comes along with keeping three growing boys from starving every day.  Some days, she drives back and forth from the elementary school 6 or 8 times.   She continues to make and sell tote bags and lots of other stuff at local boutiques and seems to always have one too many projects going on to keep her sane.  This spring, Annie switched over to an insulin pump for her Type 1 diabetes and it’s made all the difference in the world.  Like Ross, Annie  also got a new church calling in the fall switching from a three years tenure teaching primary to a position as the secretary to the young women’s organization working with 12-18 year old girls.

Elliott will be turning 10 in January and is in the 4th grade, in his 4th year of Spanish dual immersion.  He is nearly fluent in Spanish speaking and is above grade level in reading and writing en Espanol.  He’s growing like a weed, and by next year at this time, may be taller than Ross’ mom.  He is turning into a really great kid and a  pretty responsible one, too.  He’s pretty goofy, but takes his school work, mine craft, ipod, fit bit and Pokemon very seriously.   He plays competitive soccer in the Spring and the Fall and basketball in the Winter; regularly helps cook dinner; has become an obsessive reader; plays the trombone in the school band; and mows the lawn.

Wyatt is 7.5 years old and will be turning 8 in May.  He is looking forward to getting baptized in the Spring.  Wyatt plays soccer, basketball and baseball.  He is a really good baseball player.  He is fast and smart and has a great time.  At the end of this past season, he was chosen to be the “all-star” representing his team   Wyatt is in the 2nd grade and also in the Spanish dual immersion program.  He is a very talented artist patiently coloring complicated designs and paint by numbers; he loves to listen to music and identify all the instruments being played; he sings and dances, plays nice with his brothers, and is a perfect, straight A student.  In fact, his Spanish teacher, Senora Gonzales told us at the most recent parent teacher conference that she LOVES him.

Quinn is 4 years old and the crazy sparkle of our family.  He loves Pokemon and dinosaurs and his favorite movie is Jurassic World.  He sings and dances and talks all day long.  He loves to draw and color and practice writing his letters and numbers.  Quinn goes to preschool three days a week, just finished his first season of soccer, where, surprisingly, he was exceptionally aggressive and scored a dozen or so goals.  Quinn makes us laugh all day long, is pretty sarcastic for a 4 year old, and would live out on the trampoline, no matter the weather, if we’d let him.  Or at Target.  The kids loves to go to Target.  I can’t complain about that one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December blur

I thought November went by fast, but December seems to be in hot pursuit of the world record for time flying by.  We blink, and a week goes by.  We sleep a night, and it's a new month.  That's really what it feels like sometimes, like time is just flying by.

December so far has been full of band concerts and assemblies, preschool Christmas programs, parties, cub scouts, basketball practices and games, Utah ball games.  If we are lucky, there has been one night a week this month where we haven't had something going on, and that's the night ALL the homework gets done for the week.


This month is always hard for me.  I miss my grandmothers terribly.    Even though my Grandma P. has been gone for eight years, and my Grandma Huber for almost 6, it really feels like it was just yesterday that they were supervising breakfasts and feasts and presents and parties.  It seems that in these years since their bodies left us behind that though their spirits are still with us, the hole just feels too big sometimes.  Their magic is missing.  We move on, we celebrate their lives, we talk about them daily, but it feels especially during this month, that the gap between us and them is too large.

On Monday I got a text from a neighbor who grew up in Magna with my family.  Sherry (Belliston) Larson.  She lives in my neighborhood now,  but her mom, Judy Belliston, and my grandma were, I'm pretty sure, forces to be reckoned with back in the day.  Sherry sent me a picture of my grandma from an old Cyprus High School yearbook.  I'm sure it was a PTA meeting, but there was my grandma, smiling at me on Monday morning when I got up.

It's funny how these kind of things make me feel.  I felt that it was a much needed blessing...dare I say my Grandma willed such a thing to happen from her seat up in heaven.  She knew that I needed to to know that she was watching and looking out for me.  But, it is such a bittersweet thing, to be reminded so lovingly of someone you miss so terribly.  I wrote on an instagram post earlier in the week that this week before Christmas is hard for me - it's the week I'd be wrapping her presents, running her errands, and laughing with her at the kitchen table.  Man, I miss those times, but am so lucky that I have them locked away in my memory.  Her, sitting at the table with her yellow notebook of lists, throwing presents into piles, losing gifts in the office, arguing with Haley and me about whether or not she gave that exact same thing to that son-in-law the year before.  We'd have lunch, drink diet cokes, and wrap presents until we just couldn't stand it anymore.

I've been crying off and on all week.  I guess I could blame it on not feeling well.  I do have a sort throat and a stuffy nose.  But instead, I'll blame it on memories of Christmases past, and even though it's a hard time of year, the joys of Christmas present and future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

time passes quickly, doesn't it?


It's been over a month since my last blog post.  Funny isn't it how time just marches forward, whether we pause to document it or not.  It's nearly Christmas however, and the end of the year and I probably don't want the final blog post of 2016 to be me whining about, what is proving to be, a really horrible election outcome.

Anyway, November.

November went by so quickly.  The boys were off-track for three weeks, even though Quinn still had school three days a week.  The month was eventful and uneventful all at the same time, if that even makes sense.  We had our fair share of ups and downs in such a short four week period.  We also had a really rough 11 days or so, right in the middle of the month where chaos reigned supreme.

In an 11 day stretch of November the following things happened.

*Ross parents returned from the 18 month mission to Africa to our home.  They stayed for 8 days.

*Wyatt broke his toe and had ear infections resulting in a late night Insta-Care visit and some antibiotics.

*We went bowling.

*We hosted a small Thanksgiving with a standing rib roast that Ross prepared and a smoked turkey, we bought from a bar-be-que joint.  The food was delicious and my parents and Willie came by later in the evening for dessert.

*I sewed my heart out for a holiday market in, Holladay, right after Thanksgiving.  Set-up, volunteer in a blizzard and take-down all in a three day span.

*In 11 days, we attended, in some combination of family members, three or four Utah basketball games.

*We got a flat tire on our way to a cousin's baptism.  Luckily, my dad and Willie were close by and they came to help with the tire and take the boys with them to the baptism.  Ross and I headed to Costco to try and get the tire fixed, but because the tire shop was booked up for the rest of the weekend, we had to wait until Monday to repair the tire.  That meant we got a teeny tiny rental car from the airport that, I hit my head on the hood every time I got into it for a couple of days.

*The same day as the flat tire (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) I had a rough day.  Any combination of factors could have caused it, but I had climbing blood sugar all day long and finally, around 5:30 or 6:00 pm that evening, Ross took me to the emergency room because my blood sugar had spiked to 546 (normal is 120).  I cannot say I remember a lot except that I was cold (probably because of the IV), my speech was so slurred that I couldn't talk, and my body was heavy as a rock.  After a few hours of fluids and insulin, a blessing from my Dad, Willie and Ross, I was released to go home.  The next day, Sunday, I felt miserable, like someone had kicked me 50 times in the back.  I couldn't stand up straight or concentrate, and my speech was still slurred for most of the day.  It was a pretty pathetic experience.

*We purchased nine sub-for-santa gifts and helped out a sister missionary at the MTC from Madagascar.

*Quinn stopped sleeping and went completely insane....after a few nights of feeling like we had a hysterical newborn, Ross took him to the doctor, and he too had ear infections and a sore throat like Wyatt the week before.

*I volunteered with a neighbor to clean the temple in the middle of the night.

*I sewed and sewed and sewed for another Christmas show in Provo.

*We got out and set-up all our Christmas decorations.

*Play dates with friends were arranged.

*Off-track was survived (barely)

*Went back to school and had a band assembly.

*Driving to IKEA on Bangerter, a rock found it's way into my windshield.

*Saw Jim Gaffigan at the Delta Center.

It was a lot for a small 11 day stretch.  Ross and I were so tired and worn out from all the commotion, extra people, illness and food preparation and consumption that I still don't think we've recovered.  I made this list on Instagram a few weeks ago and my mom commented that I should look at it not as everything that happened, but as "holy cow, look how much life you still accomplished in spite of all the drama."  She is right.  Even though everything fell apart for eleven days, we still managed to get all our things done.  Our house was clean, our children happy, everyone was fed and watered.

I guess rather than a list of stress, in hind sight, I can look at it as a list of productivity.  Even under pressure, we can get stuff done.  And that, that's a pretty good feeling.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

shock and awe


I have a wonderful family and amazing parents.  These 11 individuals are my world.  I value their time and their love, our dedication to each other.  As a 38 year old, I still want my parents to be proud of me and value their opinion.  I love my sister (and her family) and my brother fiercely and would do anything for them.  My husband and children mean more than the world to me and I will protect them forever, as best as I can, from all the nasty in the world.

I was raised to be thoughtful and kind.  To treat others with respect no matter who they are, what they look like, or how dumb I might really think they could be.  To work hard to get what I want.  To be on time.  To treat others as I'd like to be treated.  I'm doing my best to teach my children these same things.  We have conversations about race and gender.  Every single day when they get out of the car to go to school I tell them, "Be kind to everyone!" and hope that they heed my advice.

The outcome of the 2016 presidential election, and my current morning after are hitting me harder than I thought.  I've found myself fighting back tears and my stomach hurts.  How silly, right?  My country, my state, members of my religion elected a bully to be president.   Chose someone who has said out loud, so many hateful and horrible things about so many different people...said things I fight every day to keep my children from feeling and thinking.

I voted for Hillary Clinton.  Not because of her history or her controversies, or even so much her politics.  And not as a protest to Trump.  I voted for her, because she was a HER.  Because I felt so empowered as a woman in a country run by men that, the mere possibility that a woman could be in charge - could be the commander in chief gave me goosebumps.  She was no more corrupt than anyone else, no more scandalous.  But I truly felt that I could believe that a woman, a mother, a grandmother, could bring something to this office, this country, that we had never had before.  I was so hopeful that my sons could see a woman in power, for all the girls of America to see that yes, the really could do it.  A girl could finally win!

The femminist in me doesn't believe in giving up, that there will be another chance, maybe even in my lifetime, for a woman to reach the highest office in the land.  The realist in me however, is questioning so many things this morning, that I don't even know where to start.

This was an historical election, and I am historically bummed.

Monday, October 17, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland :: Mickey's Halloween Party

So, for our third day, we didn't have a plan for the 12 of us.  We decided to let our kids sleep in a little, which they did.  But, we missed breakfast at the hotel, which stressed Elliott out.  Nothing a giant cookie from one of the Disney Bakeries couldn't fix however.

When Elliott and I had a minute, just the two of us in the morning at California Adventure, we talked about important Petersen things - like walking.  I told Elliott that he may be a Howden in name, but he is also a Petersen.  And being a Petersen means lots of things, but at Disneyland, it means we walk fast.  He knew exactly what I was talking about.  I told him that Uncle Willie calls it the "art of the dodge and weave".  There maybe isn't anything more annoying at Disney than people who don't know where they are going and stop right in your path.  Elliott was blessed with longs legs for a reason.  And, he is learning how to use them!

Anyway, CA Adventure was a mad house!  Absolutely stifling with people.  We got some fast passes, hung out in bugs land for a bit and then high tailed it over to Disneyland.  We were a little grouchy, a lot hungry and super stressed out.  The goal was to get a picture of all 12 of us in front of the giant Mickey pumpkin that morning, while our matching t-shirts were still clean.  Getting everyone at the same spot was a big tricky.  But, we did it, and then splintered again.

Grandma Judy set up shop on a bench for the parade - which at the time was 2 hours away.  Willie and I enjoyed a conversation with Mr. Lincoln.  My mom has the best job at Disney...she sits on a bench, people bring her food, and she hands out money.  I aspire to her job one day.  At one point, all the big boys (including Wyatt) headed back to California Adventure to ride Tower of Terror a couple of times.  My mom, Haley and I along with Molly, Jack and Quinn hung back to eat popcorn and watch the parade.

Note:  My children drank almost more Diet Coke than me on this vacation.

Finally, it was time to take a small break and do some souvenir shopping and get ready for the day's main activity:  Mickey's Halloween Party.

Long story short: Worth the extra $80 per person.  We will do it again.  We may never go to Disneyland ever again EXCEPT in the month of October because being in the park with 30,000 people instead of 100,000 is so worth the "price of exclusivity" (Ross' words).   The ambiance was awesome, the rides open with no lines and the fireworks were very cool indeed.

We did not manage to see the parade - tired kids and an early morning drive home were waiting for us, but the stressful morning we' had getting everyone together melted away as we wound down the day.







Sunday, October 16, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland :: Hot and Sweaty


Day two at the parks saw us heading into California Adventure for the coveted Cars ride fast pass.  We got it, but the park was super hot and crowded and we hadn't made a really good day two plan, so we floundered a little.  We did the Monster's Inc. ride, which never has a line and sort of wandered around.  Eventually, we ended up indoors and ready to watch Dude Crush at "turtle talk".  I absolutely love listening to crush and am amazed at the technology.  The best part, Crush picked my dad to talk to.  He called him, "Carvin' Karl" or something like that and teased my dad about the possibly too causal way he might swim.  It was pretty funny and a great time.

The rest of the day morning we just sweated, ate churros and fought the ginormous crowds.  The temperatures got up to a sweltering 95 degrees and it was just sticky and miserable.  So, after we all rode on Cars, it was to the shuttle, the hotel and off to the beach!  We put the kids in their suits and Quinn had a rest on our drive the beach.

I think it's mostly because of my mom's obsession with the Beach Boys and all historically California ideals they generate, but our beach of choice is always Huntington.  The pier is cool, there are always surfers, and we can head to Ruby's Diner for dinner - ice cream first.

The beach was a total energizer for all of us, especially the kids.  The only time Quinn cried on the whole trip was the beach...the ocean was a little too big and windy for him, but I was more than happy to hold a squishy kid wrapped in a blanket on the beach.

After our time at the ocean and one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen (seriously, it was divine) we headed back to Disneyland.  We stayed until 11.

The highlight of the evening was our family of five's ride on the Jungle Cruise in the dark.  I didn't know that they ran the ride in the dark, but it's much more fun than in broad daylight.  The boat captain shines a spotlight on the animals and is a little more loose with the script.  Our captain was Juan.  He was maybe the funniest tour guide I have had on the jungle cruise in my life.  And not only was he funny, but, we saw a LIVE RACCOON on the ride.  It totally freaked Juan out and he went off script for the rest of the ride he was so flustered.  It was the best.

Then, we went to bed!









Thursday, October 13, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland - entering the park!


All of us arrived at the hotel in Anaheim at different times on Friday night.  We had a quick team meeting in my parents hotel room and then it was off to bed.  I mean, when your early entry day to the park is your first day, you need your rest.

Ross and i woke up at 5:30 in the morning.  We were all meeting at the shuttle stop at 6:20 am, so we could get into the park right at 7:00 am and ride as many rides as we could before it really started to get crowded.  
First ride: Peter Pan.  Then the rest of fantasy land.  Then, the group splintered, as expected with the "riders gonna ride" and the "sitters gonna sit".  We spent the next three day sin multiple combinations of family, taking turns with the littles.  My mom and I were pack mules, hauling all the crap that belonged to us.  Haley hauled most of her crap in a backpack on her back and a bum bag on her bum.

The weather was VERY warm and in the afternoon, we all started to melt a little.  Nothing that a nice lunch in Downtown Disney couldn't fix.  And, bugs land, in California adventure sure saved the day on the first day.  The kids could just get on any ride they wanted and it was shady and cooler than anywhere else.

By the early evening, Quinn was desperate for his main souvenir of the trip, a giant Buzz Lightyear.  Once I got it for him, and grandpa opened it for him, Buzz didn't leave Quinn's sight for the next three days.  He called him his, "special friend" and never let go.

On the first night, we left before the fireworks with three very tired kids.








#BoompaGoesToDisneyland - more driving

Day two of our adventure, Friday, October 7 was another long driving day, but at least we got to do the driving in the daylight.  We loaded into our rented mini van, started the movies and were on our way.

Things to note from day 2:

*Elliott has decided that Harry Potter is the greatest thing ever.  We are borrowing the books a couple at a time from Aunt Karen and he spent nearly the entire day in the car reading book number 3.

*Wyatt is a great car traveler.  He just sets up shop and hangs out.

*Quinn is great in the car, long as he can keep eating.  He may have eaten his body weight in hi-chews in the car.

*Ross had major work drama the entire drive.  It was so stressful for him, and consequently me.  I'm not sure how many times we had to pull over so he could take a work phone call.  It was rough.

*Shake Shack in Las Vegas.

*The highlight of the day for me was stopping at the 7 Magic Mountains just outside Las Vegas in Jean, Nevada.  It's an art instillation that is up for two years and was super cool.  You take a frontage road, park in the dirt and walk out to 7 gigantic towers of bright and fluorescent rocks.  We were all impressed.

*Semi truck on FIRE on the side of the road in Victorville.

*Eating dinner at a hole in the wall Italian place in Anaheim called Carolina's.  It was absolutely delish!






We went.  We played.  We drove home.  Sounds pretty simple, but the reality of getting our family of five somewhere, let alone somewhere at the same time as the other 7 members of our extended family is a pretty significant feat and now, days after our most excellent vacation, I am still exhausted and sleepy and have very sore feet.

When we all finally settled on a date for our Disneyland adventure, the countdown began.  In the days leading up to our vacation, the boys were more crazy than if Christmas were impending.  And, after a very slow start on day one, I really never thought we'd get on the road.

Rather than a travelogue, as I'm apt to do, the next few blog posts will just hit a few highlights of the trip.  There is just too much detail to ever try and write it all down.

So, let's commence the highlights.

We left on Thursday, October 6 in the evening.  The boys had to attend school, Ross work, and of course, there was a soccer game that Elliott needed to play in.  We waivered for the whole week as to whether or not we should go to the soccer game or just get on the road.  But, we decided yes to soccer and a very late start.  It was the better decision.  Elliott played an excellent soccer game.  His team squeaked out a win.  We got dinner and then headed on our way with the goal to spend the night in Mesquite.

After a (thankfully) uneventful drive south we caught up to my parents, passed them, and all ended up staying in the same hotel for the night.  Quinn slept on a bed I made him on the floor and Elliott and Wyatt shed exhausted tears as they drifted off to sleep lamenting the fact that they were sharing a bed.




Thursday, October 06, 2016

Elliott plays soccer!

Elliott has been playing soccer now for so many years, I've lost track.  Like the other boys, he's been playing since he was 4 years old and he just loves soccer.  Lucky for him, he's a really good soccer player.

Elliott's season runs fall and spring.  This past spring, the leagues across Utah changed their rules and decided that teams would be made up of kids in the same birth year, not the same school year.  Unfortunately, this meant that the team he had been on for the last year which was made up of kids from his school class would be dissolved.  And, all the kids would have to find a new team to play on.  Oh man, it was a stressful couple of weeks.  Ross and Elliott knew that he wanted/needed to play at a more competitive level, but to do that, you have to try-out and make a team.

The first frantic try-out was a bust.  There were about 70 kids trying out for maybe 3 spots on a team.  It was a disappointing mess.  The next try-out was smaller and luckily, Elliott made the team after a couple rounds of "auditions".  He was excited.  His dad was excited.  An entry level competition team seemed perfect for him.

Well, the fall season is nearing an end, and so are the bad news bears.  There have been a few more downs than ups - one kid broke both of his arms, another just up and quit the team, a few kids are pretty sporadic practice and game attenders....but, my kid has persevered and I'm proud of him.  He LOVES to play soccer.  There is a level of aggression that comes out of him that is pretty interesting to watch when he is on the field.

I tell the boys, especially Elliott, that all that matters at the end of the game is that he (they) did their best.  That he (they) needs to be able to walk off the field, regardless of outcome, and know that a good game was played.  I don't get soccer at all, but I'm really happy to watch my kid(s) play so well.

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Wyatt plays soccer!

Wyatt has been playing soccer for a few years now, but this is his first year on a bigger field with someone else's dad as the coach.  He also lucked out this year and has 4 of his best buddies from school on his soccer team.  They yell and cheer and hug each other at the beginning of every practice, even though it's only been 90 minutes since they last saw each other at school.

Wyatt is a great athlete.  He is strong and fast and powerful.  He does however, sometimes, base his performance on how many people are watching him on the sidelines.  The more fans, the better the performance.  What can I say - the kid loves an audience.

All of Wyatt's games this season are at 8:00 am.  That is so early, and lately, so chilly to get the 5 of us out of bed and to the field on time.  But, it's worth it.  Wyatt has already scored a dozen or so goals and is really doing well - and looks good in a uniform.  It's fun to watch him shift gears on the field and go from regular to super speed.  He's really doing well.

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Quinn plays soccer!

This is the first year my littlest buddy is playing an organized sport.  Starting with soccer, when your dad is the coach, and your bestie cousin is on your team is a pretty good introduction to competition.  Ross is an excellent coach and Quinn is pretty competitive apparently - more so than I ever thought was possible.

The first couple practices, he melted down a little.  The first game he wasn't sure what to do and only RAN when we all yelled at him, "QUINN....RUN!"  But, since then he has been a goal scoring machine and last week, out ran and hustled a giant bully of a girl (who, by the way, was not a 4 year old) and even scored a girl on her as she tripped him and knocked him down.

It's so exciting and fun to watch him get excited and have fun.  Let's face it, kids a couch potato who loves TV, french fries and riding in shopping carts so to see him have energy and run and be enthusiastic is really really great.

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Quinn is FOUR!


Oh my goodness!  You, my dear Quinn, are four years old.  Time sure flies, doesn't it.  You have been asking about and "Mom, I be so excited for my burfday" for weeks and weeks.  It got to the point that every morning when you woke up, you asked how many more days until your birthday, September two!

Well, when that birthday eventually arrived, you didn't believe me, or the boys, that it was actually the day.  I think when we had your party in the evening, swimming and pizza and cake and ice cream at Great Grandpa's house, you finally believed us.  And, then, in true Quinn fashion, stressed out about the amount of attention you were getting and sort of ran away into Grandpa Huber's family room to escape some of the chaos.

Your dad and I cannot believe you are four years old.  Watching you grow and learn is the most fun thing every.  You are such a smart little fart, with a pretty strange sense of humor and we all cannot help but marvel sometimes, at the kid you are turning into.


You like to say prayers, with help.  You like to tell horrible knock-knock jokes.  You love to sing and dance and we find you humming some of your favorite songs regularly.  You are so good at playing with toys and using your imagination.  You still love animals and DINOSAURS, but are slowly moving towards Lego's, super heroes and more big kid things.

Speaking of dinosaurs, you are still pretty obsessed.  Grandpa Karl calls you "Blue" or "Charlie" because those are the names of your favorite raptors from Jurassic World, a movie you watch almost weekly.  You even have dreams that you are a raptor trainer and can ride on their backs and make them smile.  Generally, there is a dinosaur figurine in your hand or a book close to you.  Your practically a Dino encyclopedia and listening to you say names like, "Therozinosaurus" is pretty fun.

Countless times a day, you walk up to me and say, "Mom, guess what?"  I play along and act interested and surprised with my response of "What?", and you yell with a giggle, "Chicken Butt".  You also sing the first line of Sir-Mix-a-lots, Baby got Back, "I like big butts and I cannot lie" all the time.

Your favorite foods are Little Cesar's pizza and McDonald's chicken nuggets.  And yogurt and bacon and crackers.  You are a complete couch potato and cannot start to function in the mornings until about 10 am, after you've had your fill of screens and sunny delight to drink.  You love kindles and ipods and ipads and can navigate most games pretty well.  You also love to jump on the trampoline and tackle your brothers, usually knocking them down in the process.

Though you won't admit it, the return of Uncle Willie from two years in Lithuania made your life complete.  His lap was your throne before he left and even though it took a couple weeks, his lap is once again where you perch yourself whenever he is around.  The two of you play lots of fun games together.  He asks you every time he sees you, even when you are sitting on his lap, if the two of you are friends.  You laugh, give him a sideways glance, and tell him no.  It's pretty funny.


You also play other games with him, that only the two of you seem to get.  A week or so ago, he was hanging out with us after school and he said in his high pitched funny voice, "My favorite house is the 7-11."  You, repeating that same tone said, "My favorite house is a....bush!"  That got the whole car rolling with laughter.

You love the shows paw patrol, the lion guard and wild kratts.  You love Darth Vader.  You think that the hulk is pretty incredible, but flash is your favorite superhero.  The thought of going to Disneyland in a few weeks is blowing your mind and you are loving preschool, which makes me so happy.  You love to run errands and go to target and get Slurpee's and go to the zoo and eat churros.  Pretty much, you are the coolest sidekick around.


I am so happy to see you growing up, getting bigger and stronger and faster and smarter.  There was a time, when two kids were going to be the only kids in this family, but goodness gracious, I'm so happy I listened to those voices from heaven telling me that there was someone special who needed to be in this family because that was you and I don't know what we would do if you weren't here.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Color Run 2016

Back in April, we signed up under the team "Lithuanian Express", led by our fearless leader to participate in the Color Run on August 20.  In May, when the boys were off-track, we practiced "walking without whining" for three weeks, where I took the big boys on a 2-3 mile walk while Quinn was in school.  After those couple weeks, I was confident that Wyatt would do just great walking a 5k and I already knew that Elliott could probably run the thing.

Fast forward to Saturday, the 20th.  Our team also included the Binggeli's, Meranda and Pedro and Natalie.  We arrived early in the morning and on time and participated fully in our matching t-shirts, sweat bands and enthusiasm.

Elliott decided to run the whole thing with Willie - they finished in about 30 minutes.  Wyatt and I walked, mostly with James and Jack and the two of us finished in 54 minutes.  The others were either before us or behind us, with Haley and Molly bringing up the rear, Molly riding in the wagon.

As if we weren't coated in enough color at the finish line, we threw the packets of color they gave us all over ourselves and were sweaty and sticky rainbows when it was finished.

Upon purchasing the celebratory slurpees and diet cokes, the boys declared this activity one of the most fun things they have ever done and asked if we can do it again next year.

Of course we can!

Before Pictures:



After the race:






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