Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Preschool's Auction

I'm just proud as punch, so I have to publish it. My preschool had an auction last night. Our board thought we should shoot to earn $3,200. We earned well over $5,000. I'm just so excited. Oh, have I told any of you that I am the director? I'm the director of the preschool this year. Don't confuse that with success on the auction because I don't deserve any of the credit. The credit goes to our wonderful Kym Foster (Co-Director) and the amazing parents of our preschool. Every one of them put effort into the auction. It has been so great for me to be a part of this community of people who care about their kids. I just love it here in Elma! Nice job to all my preschool buddies! (I don't have any pictures, but it was pretty classy in the end!)

Masked Marvel

Scotti is always cooking up ideas for his pretending. I have a hard time getting him to accomplish the things I want him to because he feels that he is so busy with his own things, he doesn't have time. He's always upset with me for making him go pick Cooper up from preschool right in the middle of his soccer game or his cars' race or whatever. I mean do I really expect him to just leave his team (imaginary) in the middle of a game to go pick up Cooper? Mom! You're making me let my team down! He wakes up every morning and tells me about all the events that are going on that day. Today he had a soccer game, a race, and then cub scouts. All pretend. He carries out every one of his plans and that entails some serious thinking and creating on his part. On the day of this picture, for example, he had decided to be the Masked Marvel, but had no mask. He got out the red felt and drew a mask shape on it and cut it out. I doctored it a little around the eyes and this is what he came out with. Not bad!


I completely forgot that I have given no report yet on Halloween! All my kids decided to be Power Rangers this year. They don't know what Power Rangers are, but the super hero costumes looked awesome to them. We did end up getting one book that has Power Rangers in it, but it is really weird and basically my kids are just really confused by it. They just play super heroes in them. Sammi was yellow, Cooper blue, Scotti red, Everett green. We had a Halloween party with friends and it was really fun. Some of the party was still going when it was time to trick or treat in Elma, so here is the picture of all our little buddies in their costumes. Here all of "downtown" (I use that term loosely) Elma accepts trick or treaters for the afternoon of Halloween. The entire community turns up and downtown is filled with everyone I know in full costume and ready to trick or treat. It is just so fun. We had a great time. Sammi changed costumes for trick or treating and was a Snow Fairy Queen. She loved it.

I have loved our Power Ranger costumes. Imagine the fun I have watching my four kids in full costume play Super Friends. My bedroom is headquarters and they each have their own special power: Sammi has pointy elbow power, Scotti has speed, Cooper has the power to roll (isn't that a funny choice?) and Everett has the power to... Well now I can't remember what his power is. They meet in headquarters and talk in super hero voices until one of them declares that there is a bad guy some place in the house. Then they all cruise out of my room and start fighting a pretend naughty guy with such passion, I wonder if they aren't really superheroes after all! Every now and then one of them declares that they are dead. At this point, the other superheroes drag the dead superhero out of the room and lament the death of such a brave fighter until the so-called dead superhero is brought back to life by some miraculous superhero power! It is a stunning performance.

I think Halloween costumes are an investment. when I buy a nice one that will last, my kids get more use out of them than out of any of their other toys. In fact, the only disappointment I had about Halloween this year is that my kids didn't really think it was that special to dress up, even in new costumes, because they basically dress up every day. I'm so tired of getting them changed out of them, I've finally decided they can even wear them in public to the grocery store and the library. What's the big deal anyway? Usually people just think it is cute.

Power Ranger faces

Yesterday Cooper came and told me about his faces that he uses when he is a power ranger. I took pictures of all of them. The first picture tells the bad guy that he is not afraid of him. The second picture is when he is deciding if he should get the bad guy or not, and the third picture tells the bad guy that he better get out of here before Cooper gets his hands on him!


This week we were in a store and Everett asked me if I would take a picture of him with his buddy. I said sure! Who was the buddy? He replied, "Cooper is my buddy mom! Are you teasing me?" This is the promised picture. Aren't they sweetie pies?

Another couple of Ev stories while I'm at it: I'm always after Everett for playing in the car. This week, I was doing puzzles with the three older kids and Everett was happily playing trains upstairs by himself for 20 minutes or so. Soon, I went up to check on him, and he wasn't there. I had heard him the whole time we were doing puzzles and could still hear him, so I wondered where in the world he went! I opened the garage door to see if he was playing in the garage and there was Everett sitting in the driver's seat of my car. He yelled through the window to me, "You're here! Phew! I almost played in the car!" I told him that it looks like he's been playing in the car for a while and opened the door to get him out. He stumbled a little as I opened the door and said, "Oh my gosh mom! I almost touched that steering wheel!" So smart. So scheming. How could he know to use such intelligent tactics to save him from punishment?

A couple of hours after that incident, Everett came and told me that he wet his pants but not to worry, he already took care of it. He was still wearing his wet pants, so I asked him what he did to take care of it. He said that he "Apogagized." (Apologized.) To whom? To his pee pee apparently. I guess it wanted to get in the potty and he got it in his pants instead.

Everett (and all my kids for that matter) can play a mean game of Uno. He knows all the rules and can play with next to no help. Smarty pants!

Cross Eyed!

Last week in the bath, we had that thrilling moment when my kids learned to go cross eyed. Here's the proof, though I kept missing them in their best crossed eyes!

Grandma Beck's 90th Birthday Bash!

We had such a fun time a few weeks ago traveling to Salt Lake City to go to Grandma Beck's 90th Birthday party! It was a weekend of Birthdays, beginning with a birthday party for Cate on Friday (and a tremendous sleepover at her house! Thanks Joni and Jer!), Grandma Beck's party on Sat., Grandma Janet's birthday on Sunday, and Ali's Birthday dinner on Monday. Whew! Lucky us to be there on such an important weekend!

At Grandma Beck's party all the great-grandkids sang some songs in a little program and we loved seeing all our cousins again! It was great to see all of our cousins kids playing with our kids too. Grandma Beck is one of the kindest people I know. She loves people for who they are and never supposes she's in a position to judge others (though I know she most certainly worries about every one of us!) She has such a fun sense of humor and always let me make up my own rules in a game of Uno. I always know that she loves me. What a lucky break for me to get such a grandmother!

Here are also some pictures of the kids having a picnic with their cousin Jake and at the Zoo with Grandma Janet and Great-Grandma Hatch. We saw the most adorable baby elephant, tigers, and giraffe! Thanks for the fun at the zoo Grandmas!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lacy Webs, Pumpkin Patch, and a Nice Dinosaur

Something wonderful is happening around here. The spiders are thriving all over the place, and the whole town is just covered in their lacy webs. In the morning, when the dew settles on them, they sparkle all over the place like huge snowflakes connecting all my bushes. It is like walking around the yard after the first snowfall. I've tried to capture it with my camera, but I just can't seem to. The picture here is my best attempt. The kids love to throw pine needles and such into the webs and watch the spiders run to get the intruder out of the web and repair it.

We had a really fabulous time this week with Cooper's preschool at the pumpkin patch just outside of Elma. The kids loved the hay maze and hay ride, but my favorite thing about it was visiting with all the other parents of Cooper's friends. There are just such good people around here. I guess there have been good people everywhere I've been. I just like realizing that there are good people to know everywhere.

So today I woke with that daunting Sunday task that has faced me so many other Sundays: getting the kids out the door to church by myself. I don't know why it is so hard. They don't like getting dressed up. They don't even like going to church. (It is so hard to sit still for so long!) They complain about it the whole time. I usually have something else to prepare for my contribution to the operation of church, and I always have to make sure I've prepared lunch and activities for my kids during the Sacrament Meeting portion of church. Plus, I have to get myself ready. All without detracting from the sweet spirit that we want to feel on Sundays: "If you don't get your shoes on by the time I count to three, I'm gonna....!!!"

I've done this tons of times--especially in residency. Today, however, I just couldn't face it. That's when the idea came to me. Puppies. I stood at the top of the stairs that declared that I was going on a walk and that if any puppies wanted to join me, the should get their leashes and meet me at the stairs. You can imagine how my four little "puppies" came crawling and barking. Everett said his name was Biscuit. Sammi was Flower, Cooper was Race Car, and Scotti was Cheesy. I took them all on a walk to Everett's room. That was the park. Then, I told Ev to play dead. As he did so, I tossed toys for all the other puppies to fetch. Brilliant mother that I am, I threw them FAR so that I had enough time to get Ev's pants on while he played dead and the others played fetch. Ev had to "sit!" in order to get his shirt on. Then, we went for another walk to another park. Scotti's and Cooper's room. Same story. Lots of fetch, lots of playing dead. Before I knew it, all my kids were dressed without a single bit of fuss. Am I the best mother in the world or what? (Never mind that all my kids got for breakfast was the picnic Sammi got out for them of green beans, pickles, and yogurt!)

On the way home from church, Scotti and Cooper got in an all out fight. I separated them and put them each in their rooms. I talked to Scotti, and then spent some time talking to Cooper. Here's how the conversation with Cooper went:

"What happened in the car?"

"Well, Scotti hit me, so I hit him too."

"Is it ever ok to hit?"


"What about if someone hits you?"


"Let me tell you a little story."

"Is it about a nice dinosaur who takes a little boy named Cooper for a ride?"


"Is it about a man who hits another man and so he hits back and then they both say they are sorry?"

"Actually, yes."

"I'd rather hear the one about the dinosaur."

Then, later in the conversation Cooper attempted to quote to me his own made up Article of Faith. (In our religion, there are 13 statements that describe what exactly we believe about life. We've been studying them in our family scripture study.) It was pretty incoherent with a lot of big religious words. Then,

"Do you want to hear the second one mom? It's like this: I'm really naughty, so I'm not going to go to God."

"Well I don't like that one at all! Do you know that even when you are naughty you can go to God? You just have to say you're sorry!"

"Well, I'm not going to tell Scotti I'm sorry mom."

"You are right, that is naughty."

"I guess if I see him again I'll tell him I'm sorry, but only if I see him again."

"OK Coop. Let's go find him."

Coop apologized in the end, but I loved talking to him about the problem.

Oh man, one more thing about this week. Soccer is proving to be a defining experience for Sammi. She is just so funny. This week she fell down at the beginning of the game. She stood up and yelled as loudly as she could, "I quit! I'm never playing soccer again!" and then she got in the car and refused to come out for the rest of the game. She is just so funny about soccer. She loves it, but just can't stand it if everyone doesn't do everything exactly how she wants it, so she ends up in the car every game. She's only made it through to the end of the game once (maybe twice?) without having a fit. Sports always teaches us great lessons, doesn't it? The character building is intense here!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Developments with Ev's Laundry Skills

Now that Everett knows how to do his own laundry (see my former post), it has created a huge problem. I discovered today that Everett has been peeing in his pants, putting them in the dryer, and then putting them back on. I don't know how many days he has been doing this now, because in retrospect, there have been a lot of intermittent periods where Ev had no pants on that I cannot explain. I caught him doing it today. He must have thought he found a great alternative to using the toilet (which is hard for him because he's not tall enough to reach the toilet yet, though he is potty trained.) Oh my funny kid.

While I'm sharing stories, this week during General Conference, I had a big talk with Scotti about how it is really important to learn about God and about how life works because it will help him make good choices and prepare to be baptized when he's eight and get the priesthood when he is 12 and go on a mission when he is 19 and be a good husband and father one day. He liked the idea of having all those responsibilities a lot. As a result, yesterday he was sent to his room for some form of misbehavior. When I went to get him out of his room, I asked him if he was ok and was willing to make things right about his actions. He told me that when he got in his room he had a really hard heart and he knew he couldn't feel the Holy Ghost because of it. So, he said a prayer in which he asked Heavenly Father to help him like me again. Then he looked at me really happily and said that it must have worked because his heart is softened again and he doesn't hate me anymore. This really took me by surprise, because he was in his room because he kicked Cooper, so I thought he was trying to soften his heart against Coop. The thought that he was up here angry at me that whole time just made me laugh. Anyway, it goes to show that kids are capable of understanding important principles of life like the difference between a hard heart and a soft heart. I'm going to try more to talk to my kids about these kinds of things on a level of higher thinking. I think they can handle it sooner than we think.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This week's happenings...

So this week I'm busy making dinner and I notice that Everett is walking around with no pants on. Soon, before I can get to it, he comes over to me and hands me his pants and asks me to put them on him. I take them from him and realize that they are really warm. "How did your pants get so hot Ev?" I ask.

"Well, I sat in some water, so I put them in the dryer." That's right. My two year old took off his wet pants, put them in the dryer, turned it on, waited for them to get dry, and then took them out and gave them to me to put on him. Oh I love 2 year olds!

This week was the first time I have ever decorated with my own harvest. We decorated for Halloween and used pumpkins from our own garden (shown here), and corn stalks from our own corn. I love it. I love it so much I might have to grow some hay so I have a big rectangle of hay for next year.

This week we also built our compost area. I'm really proud of it, because I researched what I thought would work best for our big wastes in our yard, as well as how much compost I wanted to put on my yard each year. We'll see how it goes. I'm excited to make some dirt! We've already got one of the bins almost completely full of yard waste, breaking up for us to use in the spring!

General Conference was this weekend, and boy was it a hit. General Conference is when God's prophet and all the leaders of the church come together to address the rest of the world. It is eight hours of inspiration (not all in one sitting!) My kids were so excited about it because we've set up a lot of festivities around General Conference, mostly involving good food and fun activities to help them learn from the talks. It is fun to sit with my kids and explain the answers to their questions about life that come up as they try to understand what they are hearing. I love that God finds a way for me to be inspired by such talks even in the midst of the chaos of trying to get 4 little kids quiet to listen to old people give very dry talks. We've had a fun weekend together.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cute Ev talk

Today Ev had a lot of cute talking moments. He told me that he said "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" for his owie to feel better. Cute. He is working on memorizing all his favorite books. When he knows the words, he turns around on my lap and puts his hand over my mouth before I can read the page, looks me in the eyes, and says quite seriously, "Don't tell me." Then, he proceeds to try to read the page on his own. It's so fun to watch kids learn our language!


We have lived through our 2nd week of soccer. It is really fun, but now I understand why so many moms always told me they could join my parties after soccer was over. It really takes up a lot of time! It has been so much fun to see how happy my kids are on the soccer field. On the first game, Scotti laughed the entire time he was in the game! His smile was so big it made me smile too. Cooper was thrilled with the whole thing too, and neither one of them can stand to not have the ball. We are going to have to do some work on things like passing the ball, and not trying to get the ball from your own team mate! Sammi, who only joined the team for fear that she would miss some pretty great snacks, was delighted to find out that she absolutely loves soccer. She had so much fun on her first game and kept acting so surprised that it was fun! She loved it so much, however, that she had to be drug off the field at the beginning of the 2nd game and had to spend the rest of the game in the car because she refused to come off the field when it was time to put someone else in. All the way to the car her fit was full throttle, "I'm never playing soccer again! I hate soccer!" I'm not at all worried about her saying she doesn't like soccer though, because this morning when she came down for breakfast I told her to come over and have some french toast for breakfast. She replied that she didn't like french toast and that I needed to find her something else to eat. 30 minutes later, I invited her back over for some french toast for breakfast and she replied, "Yes! I love french toast!" I'm hoping it's just a phase.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Ev Story

Tonight at Cooper's soccer game, Ev kept asking me if I had a snack for him. I told him that no I had absolutely no food at all. Once he was convinced I really had no food, he asked, pointing to a guy (and stranger) down the field, "What about that guy over there? Could he get me a snack?"

Leaf Crowns

Today Sammi got out her art kit and asked me if we could create something just the two of us from her art kit and nature. I was busy pruning a bush and told her that if she came up with an idea I'd help her in any way I could. She came back to me with some ribbon, leaves, and her little stapler and asked me to staple these leaves on the ribbon to make a crown. Cute idea! Of course, I had to make one for each of the boys too, except Ev who said "No thanks. I don't feel much like being a king today."

By the way, Ev's favorite word is "totally." He includes it as often as he can. Today I served him canned chili for dinner and here was our conversation:

Ev: "Mom, did you totally make this?"
Me: "Yes."
Ev: "It is totally delicious! I totally love it."
Me: "Thanks."
Ev to other kids: "You guys should totally try this delicious dinner. Mom made it herself!"

Note: Last night I made a delightful vegetable soup out of vegetables grown only in our yard and all the kids thought it was gross (except Coop, who usually eats everything but milk.) I guess I need to learn how to make canned chili.

First Day of Preschool

Cooper started preschool yesterday and man was he excited! He is going to the school he went to last year, so he feels very comfortable there and told me he was going to help all the new kids feel comfortable there on their first day. He told me that if any of them needs to go potty, he'll show them where to go and how to wash their hands and use a paper towel to dry off with. He was worried that he was going to have to drink milk for snack because he has a new teacher who doesn't know that he doesn't like milk. That cute kid just walked right into school and gave me a kiss and said goodbye. He's just such a sweetheart!

Tumwater Falls

Last weekend, we hiked around Tumwater Falls. It is a gorgeous park in the middle of Olympia where you follow the Deschutes River over waterfalls and watch water trickle into the river as well. It is so fun to have such beautiful things right in the middle of the city. There are so many sanctuaries like this in Olympia. I just love this city. Also, the Salmon are starting to run, so the river was full of them. That was a highlight!


We went to the Tacoma Zoo last weekend and had such a great time! The kids absolutely loved feeding the Budgies there, so I thought I'd put their pictures up. I highly recommend getting a pass to the zoo wherever one lives. We never feel that we have to visit the entire zoo in a day, so we get to really sit and appreciate the exhibits they have and find ways to spark curiosity and learning when we go there--not just for the kids, for all of us! We all have more fun. Plus, zoo passes usually get you into lots of other places too. Especially other zoos and aviaries.

Blackberry Festival!

Over Labor Day, we had a blackberry festival at our house! Our family went to the blackberry patch near our house and picked as many blackberries as we could muster. Then, we went home and got busy making our feast for our friends who were coming for the Blackberry Festival. We served salmon (caught by Grant the day before) with Blackberry sauce, a blackberry spinach salad with blackberry viniagrett, rolls with blackberry butter, and for dessert, what else? Blackberry pie. We had such a fun time putting it all together. It may be the beginning of a fun tradition at the Jacksons! By the way, the blackberries were delicious, but the highlight of the day was most certainly the fun we had with the friends that came that day.

First Day of Kindergarten!

Yes, that's right. Sammi and Scotti started kindergarten Sept. 1st. I can't believe it. They were absolutely thrilled and Scotti was mad at me because he wanted me to stay in the car and let him walk in to his class by himself. I admit that I was teary for a good 10 minutes after I left them--you know, a good bawl about my little babies and how grown up they are and how I don't even know what is going to go on in their day today and I've know about virtually every thing they have done until now. Then, there certainly was a freedom when I realized that daily life is much easier when you have only two at home instead of four! I can actually go grocery shopping with only two kids now! I can barely take the liberation. I am having to adjust my parenting for the hole left by the kindergartners. I'm starting to find ways to pay back Cooper and Everett for those first years in their lives where they only got whatever attention I could spare them, instead of whatever attention they deserved and needed. Poor boys. Kindergarten is 2 1/2 days a week and I think all parties involved are pretty thrilled with it!

Sammi is so cute. She has been painting pictures and leaving them up in places around the house where they can best make her family happy. Isn't that sweet of her? Here are her pictures on the door as you go out to the garage and the door the my bedroom. She often leaves little notes or pictures under Grant's or my pillow too. Often, there will be a small treat with the note too: a starburst or a few marshmallows or something.

Whole Hog

This highly unattractive picture of me is meant to show to you that we have adjusted well to the small town life of rural Washington and have bought ourselves our first pig. That's right. We bought an entire pig (raised by our dear friend Lovena), had it slaughtered, and put it in a new freezer we bought just for the occasion. We now have pork to last us all year. I know you are wondering... Yes. It does taste better than the pork I bought at the store. How cool is it that I own my own hog?

Pony Rides

We had a really fun time at the Olsen's house a couple of weeks ago getting a pony ride from Cricket. The kids all piled onto the cart and went for a fun ride through the woods that is the Olsen's backyard. It was such great fun! Sammi has been drawing an endless supply of pictures of Cricket ever since! This is one thing I love about living in Elma. It's normal to have a friend who can give your kid a pony ride!

Jacksons Meet: The Jacksons!

In August, Grant's little brother Jeremy and his family came to stay at our house. We had such a great time! They were such fun! The kids played at our house and messed around Lake Sylvia. It all started with a fascinating couple of days at Mt. St. Helens. All the kids loved seeing how the whole side of the mountain just fell off! It was fun to see them actually understand what happened that day.

Back in Elma, we all went to Lake Sylvia (where the kids got in the water despite the 50 degree weather!) and played at my house. The kids, dirty and cold from their Lake Sylvia adventure, took the biggest bubble bath I have ever seen. They were absolutely covered in bubbles! It was truly unbelievable. Afterward, a little TV was in order in my bed (as per the picture shown here!)

We had a great time combing Rialto Beach and looking for the largest trees in the world (which, by the way, are an unbelievable experience!) We drove around Forks looking for sights from the book and movie Twilight and then rented the movie a couple of days later. It was really fun to see our Northwest highlighted in a movie!

We had a delightful day picking blueberries and cooking them up into a blueberry festival too.

We stayed a couple of nights in a cozy cabin at Mount Rainier to end the trip and we got to hike through all the old growth rainforests and work on Junior Ranger badges. Sadly, Mount Rainier didn't show itself that day, but the wildflowers on its hillside were spectacular! Truly an experience to come back for!

We love Jer and Joni, Cate, Josh, and Heidi. Come back soon!

The Joy of the Youngest

So growing up I always just thought, "Come on parents! We all know that the youngest child often gets spoiled, so now that we are educated, we can change things for the youngest in our own families!" Well, that was before I had this little darling to dote on. How am I ever going to let this child grow up?