Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Fun

The Schlow library in State College had the Polar Express come to town.  The kids got to hear the story and then hopped aboard a little trolley that took them to see Santa for a photo.  

Afterwards there was a free performance of "Where the Wild Things Are" in the library, which was a lot of fun.  When it finished, the kids got to go up and have their programs signed by the actors (Aria is in the pink coat).

We also picked up some of our favorite books at the library.  These two in particular are my personal favorite kids stories.

We also got a propane fireplace, which has really helped keep the house warm. The original wood fireplace had a broken liner, which was going to be fairly expensive to repair, so we decided it would be more convenient and just a little bit more expensive to just install a fireplace insert (as seen below).

Christmas presents have also started arriving in the mail, and the kids intercepted one from Grandma & Grandpa "C" and opened it.  Inside were little remote controlled cars, which they had a blast with.

Little Ryzen is now 6 months old and is starting to cut teeth.  He sits up on his own now and is growing like a weed. He's in the 99th percentile for height and is a sturdy lout.  

Last week we had planned to go to a tree farm and cut down our own Christmas tree, but it was so cold, that we decided to bag that idea.  Instead, we bought a relatively fresh one that was pre-cut.  We got it just in time before a big snow storm hit.  While the storm was just dumping snow, the kids had fun decorating the tree.

Then they started creating Christmas presents for the neighbors and the kids school teachers (i.e., Cookies in a Jar).  

Then the kids went outside and had fun sledding down the hill in our front yard with all the other kids in the neighborhood.  Here's Aria trying to catch snow flakes on her tongue.

 When all was said and done that day, the storm dumped over 6 inches of snow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

My sister Annette and her family came to visit us for Thanksgiving.  They've been living out east for nearly the last decade, during which time we lived in the west, so we didn't see them very often.  However, now that we live in Pennsylvania, and they're up in Syracuse, NY, we were finally able to get together. It's been several years since we've been able to hang out with both Scott and Annette, so we're really grateful we were able to spend time with them.

Here's the delicious feast we prepared for Thanksgiving, complete with Acini de Pepe:

The scenery outside during our feast was quite beautiful.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but everything was covered in ice and was glowing in the sunlight.  

After the meal, the kids had a great time playing with each other.  Sometimes kids don't get along very well, but fortunately they hit it off.

Hershey Chocolate World
On Black Friday we headed to Hershey, PA to check out Hershey's Chocolate World.  There was a nice free tour, which laid out the intricate process of making chocolate.  The kids also enjoyed decorating their own treats in the dessert cafe. Aside from that though, the remaining activities were so expensive that we couldn't justify doing them. Although we had a pleasant time, it wasn't worth the 4 hours of round trip drive time to go there.

On Saturday, the kids had a great time playing games at home.

In the evening we went to Fun Unleashed, which had a large indoor playground, which the kids really enjoyed.

On Sunday Annette's fam had to head home, but we got a group shot to remember the holiday adventures.

First Snow of the Season

Since we used to live in Arizona, the kids haven't had many experiences with snow.  That changed this week. :)  It snowed here in State College on Tuesday and the schools closed, so the kids got to stay home and enjoy some sledding.

Our front yard is a nice hill, which all the neighbor kids come to when it snows.  They all had fun zipping down it on their sleds.

Even Ryzen enjoyed the winter wonderland. (I worked from home and took a 5 minute break with the kids.)

Aria and her friend Margo had fun playing in the backyard and building baby snowmen.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Starting to get cold...

Today the high temperature was 27 degrees Fahrenheit, so it feels like winter is now upon us.  Despite that, we're still seeing furry friends in the backyard.

The Mighty 5 month old
Ryzen is such a happy little baby.  It seems like he's always smiling, even for strangers. He also seems to be the biggest baby we've had yet.  He's wearing 12 month old clothing and eats like a champ.  Although he still nurses a lot (including a couple times at night), Tara's started feeding him solid foods, and he adores real mashed bananas, blue berries, pears, smoothies, and oatmeal.  

He'll roll from side to side, and occasionally rolls from front to back.  He's now big enough to play in the Exersaucer, and really likes it.    

Here's the big guy in a subdued moment.  He looks a lot like his sister Aria.  

Crafty Kiddos
Ever since we moved from Tucson, AZ to State College, PA, the kids have really gotten into arts and crafts.
When Aria gets home from Kindergarten, she doesn't ask to watch TV, but rather asks for us to pull out the art supplies so she can start drawing.  She'll spend hours drawing and coloring pictures, and even wrote and illustrated a little story this past week. Here's a picture she colored at school this week to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I was really impressed.  That's pretty good for a kindergartner.  

Zade also has gotten really into crafts.  Although he enjoys coloring pictures, he's much more into creating various crafts.  He's always building things.  We constantly find a piece of rope tied to different things as part of his newest trap.  Rather than ask for toys when he goes to the store, he asks for things like duck tape.  Here he is sporting a backpack he designed using an envelope, with straps made out of pipe cleaners and attached with duck tape.  
 We recently watched the movie "Megamind" with the kids and Zade decided he wanted to create his own "black mamba" (as shown below).  He likes to lay down the case, and climb inside.  He's glued colored Popsicle sticks to the outside, and has taped on various things:
Both Aria and Zade are so creative, but just in different ways.  

Game Time
We also picked up some games to play with the family, such as Jenga, which have been a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Esau's Porridge

Here's the design the kids chose to have me carve this year.  We were all pleased with how it turned out.

Co-op Halloween
Tara decided to host a Halloween party for Zade's co-op preschool.  Aria and Zade had fun trying out the materials  the night before to make sure they were kid ready.

 At the party itself, kids got to rotate around the house and hit different craft stations.

For Halloween this year, Tara decided to have Ryzen be a little Pumpkin.

Zade's preschool at the Presbyterian Church also had a Halloween party. Zade decided he wanted to be Darth Vader this year.  

 Aria's Elementary School opted to have a parade, where parents were invited to come attend and watch the kids show off their costumes.  Aria decided to be a kitty this year.

All the kids in our neighborhood got together to go Trick-or-Treating.  It's a little hilly around where we live, so the kids tuckered out within a hour (much faster than I would've expected.)  Since we'd gone to a Trunk-or-Treat the night before that the ward had put on, we were okay throwing in the towel and heading home.  The kids had a great time and collected a nice stash of candy.

All Saints Day
The day after Halloween, the Edwards had a costume party for adults at their place.  Tara and I didn't have any costumes, so Tara went to the store to see if she could get a good deal on some after Halloween specials.  She picked up a Dracula wig, that I wasn't interested in wearing, so we gave it to Ryzen.  :)

We dropped off Aria and Zade at our neighbors, the Brushwoods, and took Ryzen with us to the party, since he's not really bottle trained yet.  I went as Death, with bright red eyes that would fade in and out.  I wore Ryzen in a Baby Bjorn, wig an all.

Since the party had low lighting, I had to take off the dark hood, or I wouldn't have been able to see anyone.  Even without the hood, the costume looked pretty freaky. 

Tara went to the party as a Ghoul Bride.  Interestingly enough, we tied for the Best Costume at the party.

Here's the whole herd of everyone who went to the party.

Tara also managed to find a sweet costume for Zade to wear next Halloween: Wolverine.

Jacob and Esau
We told the kids that they could have 2 pieces of Halloween candy a day, so that it will last a while and so they don't overindulge.  The kids however love to see if they can push mom into giving them more.  :)  Within a day or two after Halloween, Tara was getting sick and tired of Aria and Zade's incessant questions asking if they could have another piece of candy.  She then announced to the kids that they could each pick out 15 pieces of candy from their loot and could eat them whenever they wanted, but when those 15 pieces were gone, they wouldn't get any more candy at all.  The kids loved this idea, and quickly picked out their pieces and began celebrating.  This occurred, right before bed time. 

Since we usually read scriptures right before bed, I decided to read them the story of Jacob and Esau from the Old Testament, since I was thoroughly convinced that they'd just gotten suckered. We read how Esau gave up his birthright blessing, which would've entitled him to the long lastly blessing of a huge amount of wealth, but he instead traded it for a bowl of porridge, which would be gone immediately.  I then asked the kids who they admired, and they said Jacob.  I then told them that they were actually just like Esau, which startled them.  I told them they had given up well over 3/4 of their candy for immediate gratification.  Aria started tearing up when she realized what she'd done, and ran upstairs and asked mom to re-instate the 2 pieces a day policy and drop the 15 piece approach.  Zade followed suit.  Once we agreed on the exact times the kids would get the 2 pieces and that each time they asked for treats when it wasn't time that we'd take a treat from their candy bowls and put it in the parent's candy bowl, Tara was okay with going back to the 2 pieces a day approach.  Anyway, it was a nice, unexpected opportunity to apply a lesson from the scriptures.