Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Nov '14

Wesley’s 7th Birthday

I never posted memories from Wesley’s birthday in September, so…

He went to school in the afternoon, and we had a friends-birthday party afterward. Wes picked an Angry Birds theme.

I always make Wes a birthday badge to wear to school.


His grandma and grandpa donated the beautiful balloons.




The kids colored.



We played a game in the backyard where they tossed a ball at a wall with piggies, like unto Angry Birds.




My friend offered to make this terrific Angry Bird cake. It was chocolate and Wes liked it.






Grandma and Grandpa dropped by afterward with presents!

We are glad to have Wes every day. He constantly reminds us what life is all about by forcing us to slow down, have fun, and love.


Carissa’s 4th Birthday

I realized I never put up memories from our Carissa’s fourth birthday party in August. We had a party with friends (and grandma and grandpa). Carissa picked the theme: Hello Kitty. For the Big Day, she wore her Hello Kitty (pajama) shirt and put a pink bow in her hair like Hello Kitty.





We started with coloring Hello Kitty pages and decorating Hello Kitty sugar cookies. The kids liked this part. Wes liked eating the frosting.

We did “Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty.” John did the terrific job of drawing and coloring Hello Kitty on poster board. I would have just free-handed it, but he made a grid with pencil first so it was all proportional and it looked really good! Carissa still tells me today that she can remember how she could see when it was her turn to pin the bow on. But that’s because she was obviously cheating and peeking.





Next Carissa opened presents. The kids all want to help. She got some amazing gifts that are very reflective of HER: lots of arts and crafts type of things, nail polish, a Hello Kitty umbrella, etc.

A Carissa's presents sm

A Carissa's presents b sm

A Carissa smile

Then we moved to the backyard where we had decorated a canopy and had the birthday cake. When I asked Carissa what kind of cake she wanted, of course it was Hello Kitty. I showed her lots of pictures on the Internet of Hello Kitty cakes and she clearly showed me that she wanted a cake that looks just like Hello Kitty. And then I–the non-cake decorator–had to figure out how to make it. I think it turned out really good.

A 8.14.14 Carissa's Hello Kitty Cake by me sm

We ran out of time for the pinata, which we saved for Wesley’s birthday. The kids had fun and Carissa had a beautiful celebration of her wonderfulness. We are so blessed to have Carissa in our family. She is full of creativity, full of life, full of opinions, full of surprises, and we are glad she’s here to stay.

A Mom bday cake sm

A Bringing the cakev

A Carissa cute

A lighting candles

A Carissa cake

A the party outside better

Nov '14

Vacation July 2014: Day 6 (Seattle)

On Tuesday, our last full day in Seattle with John’s dad, we went to the Boeing Museum of Flight. We are glad we did.


We spent a lot of time in the WWI and WWII sections, learning about how flight impacted each war. Very cool.


There is also a neat space section that explored space flight.

Then we went outside to the tarmac where they had a few retired planes we could walk through–famous ones, like the super-fast concord and an old Air Force One.




The funny thing was that just after we exited the old, retired Air Force One we heard a plane landing, we looked over and there, across the street from us in the Boeing Airport, was the REAL Air Force One with President Obama in it. Such good timing as that will never happen again.


We also walked through the final section of the museum that includes a kids’ section that the kids liked.


We met up with John’s stepmom Deanna for dinner at a buffet restaurant with the world’s dirtiest bathroom, but pretty OK food. It was the first chance we’d had to visit with Deanna since she’s pretty busy with running the bed and breakfast.





This is the front of the bed and breakfast. It has beautiful English gardens.


John’s dad is a photographer and offered to take our pictures in the garden. It was late and the kids were getting tired, but it was our last chance so we jumped on it. I mean, I did and John kindly went along with it.











He took some nice pictures of us. I don’t have all of them handy now, but he took some of our family, some of just Carissa, and some of me and John. This is one of our family.

family pic july 2014

Lastly, Deanna took us on a tour of the Thornewood Castle, which I always enjoy. It’s a pretty popular place for weddings, and we saw at least one while we were there. The kids were super tired by now and John took Wes and Elizabeth back to our apartment to sleep while Carissa continued the tour with me.




The next day, a rainy Wednesday, we said goodbye to John’s dad, thanked him for a wonderful visit, and we were on our way to see my brother’s family in Hillsboro, OR.


Nov '14

2nd Birthday









Nov '14

Our Saturday

We started our Saturday with flu shots for everyone. Boy, it was fun.

Actually, I anticipated that the kids (the two older ones, anyway) wouldn’t like the idea of it, so we didn’t tell them about it until we were almost there. Carissa immediately starts to protest and Wes starts saying, “Daniel Tiger,” meaning that he’s remembering the episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS Kids where Daniel goes to the doctor and gets a shot. (Which, by the way, in no way makes it easier for him to go get a shot, even though it’s “just like Daniel!”)

We were supposed to start with Carissa since she’s the one with an egg allergy and should be monitored for 30 minutes after to ensure she doesn’t react. But the nurses pulled the shots for John and me first, so we went first. Then Elizabeth because she didn’t know any better. She had a sucker in each hand as the shot went in, so even though she cried a minute or two, she quickly remembered her suckers and was OK again.

Wes was harder because he knew and didn’t want the shot. John tried reasoning with him for a while but it didn’t help. He pulled out his tablet and got Wes on Angry Birds. Wes was involved, cried briefly at the shot (super briefly) and then was engrossed in Angry Birds again.

Last of all was our allergic one, Carissa, who during this time was hiding in the lobby. She was effectively working herself “into a state.” We pulled her into the exam room and tried reasoning with her. No good. Her arms and chest and cheeks were flushed because she was so upset. The nurse said it was a good thing we noticed that now so we’d know it wasn’t part of an allergic reaction later. When it came to it we just had to get the shot done, and so the nurse did it.

It did not go over well.

If she was unreasonable before the shot, she was inconsolably unreasonable now. I can’t even remember all the things she was yelling and crying about, but we couldn’t even get her out of the exam room when it was over. She refused to leave. So we left her for a few minutes, but she wouldn’t come out, not even when the nurse tried to bribe her.


Finally John pulled her outside and she did not calm down until we were at BYU, which was our next stop. On Saturdays Wes gets to hang out with different BYU athletic teams, and today it was the gymnastics team–one of Wes’s favorites!

We were actually on time, for once, but the door was locked. The team was trying to get someone over to open it for us. So we waited.


And waited.


And waited more.


Until it opened! Wes loves all things tumbling and gymnastics. He dove right in, literally, by jumping into the foam pit and then climbing this thing.


I’d be scared of heights, but not Wes.


He did it again and again and again and again.


Wes also liked the trampoline.


And the rings.


Carissa found a buddy right away (Sin To) and got to work building castles out of the foam pieces and playing in the foam pit. She loved it.


While I have no pictures of Elizabeth to show, she was equally happy running around everywhere and doing everything an almost-two-year-old can do.

Once we got home I made lunch all around, put Elizabeth down for a nap, and did dishes. The plan was to get groceries but to wait until Elizabeth woke up so I could take her with me and leave the two older (and easier kids to babysit) home with John. But she took a long three-hour nap! By the time she woke up there were other things we needed to do and I didn’t get out for the shopping until after 4:30pm–dinnertime. Dinnertime is the worst time to go grocery shopping, especially when you take kids. I ended up taking Wes and Elizabeth and I admit to buying all sorts of things that weren’t on the list because they kept tossing things in and I was losing the willpower to resist. They were hungry, I was hungry (and I had brought snacks for them, but still), and we were at Wal-mart, which is the black hole of all grocery stores. You could go in and never come out, it’s so big and full of people and lines. By the time we checked out it was 6:30 and we had to wait in line 20 minutes just to pay for our stuff.

Thankfully Wes, who can sometimes be so frustrating to take places, was a great helper tonight. He loves to help, more than almost anything. He helped me put all the food on the conveyor belt, he helped me put the filled bags into our cart, and he even helped me swipe the credit card (his favorite part).

OK, we ended up with cupcakes and Oreos and drumstick ice cream treats we definitely had NOT planned on buying. But after all his hard work, he earned that cupcake with frosting.