For family night, we continued another Halloween tradition; decorating a haunted gingerbread house. The decorating was fun, but the thing I enjoyed the most was taking a step back, glancing around the room and watching everyone content, doing their own thing while awaiting their turn. Cam was building Legos, Wyatt was popping the bubble wrap the house came in, Matti (seen in the background) was coloring her “scribble art”, Brooklyn was working on some art as well, all while Brit was taking her turn decorating. The TV was off and we were genuinely enjoying being together (I think Justin was enjoying putting Colton to bed. If not, he enjoyed the night after he was down). Sometimes it’s not the activity itself that’s important, the activity is the catalyst in bringing us together.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The process of getting family pictures taken for a family of 8 is not fun. However, the girls got their braces off and have beautiful smiles now, and all of the kids have grown so much since our last picture (only a year and a half ago) that it was time to suck it up and do it again. All I wanted was ONE picture with everyone at least looking decent to hang in our new house. We haven’t gotten all the proofs back yet, but here is just a sneak peek of what we have seen so far:
I often feel tired, no, exhausted with our day-to-day life. Caring for a family of 8 is no easy task, especially when “clean your room” means throwing all your clean clothes (that mom just spent 12 hours washing, drying and folding) you don’t want to put away back into the laundry hamper for mom to wash again (that was the “teachable moment” this week)! But when I see these faces, I am reminded that motherhood is a great calling and I am doing the greatest thing on earth and one day (maybe not today) it will all have been worth the effort, sweat and tears.
Remember that little crying spree we had with Colton in Disneyland? Well, Justin woke him up from a nap for pictures (although he rarely takes naps these days, this HAD to be the day he fell asleep) and he was fussy, cranky and of course CRYING! He cried before, during and after these pictures, for a total of about 2 hours straight. I’m amazed these pictures turned out at all. His face was splotchy and snot was running out of his nose from crying.
Justin wanted a picture of just the two of us. Although I was reluctant, I like how it is super romantic with the sun shining down through the trees. Thanks to our friend and neighbor, Cassie, who took these shots. She did a great job capturing the Bancroft Bunch as we are now, October 2011. We are definitely a little older, a little wiser, and little more tired than we were a little over 2 years ago when we became one, but the kids are also smarter, easier and more helpful as well.
P.S. I will be keeping the family picture under wraps since I am saving them for Christmas cards. Gotta leave some surprises!
Monday, October 24, 2011
What is it about the pumpkin patch that’s so enjoyable? Here are the top 5 things we like to do while we’re there:
5. Search for and pick the “perfect” pumpkin.
4. Get lost in the corn maze.
3. Climb on the tractors. This patch has about 15 lined up just waiting to be climbed on! Not even Cam can resist!
2. Give each other wheelbarrow rides
And the #1 Reason we like to visit the pumpkin patch is to hang out with each other!
Fall Break. What a great time to go on a witch scavenger hunt. At one of our favorite places, Gardner Village, we searched for a variety of witches including a witch landing her broom backwards, a witch with an “eye” phone, a witch fishing with dynamite and more. I think there were around 15 in all to find. We topped off the day with a trip to the old-fashioned candy store and a cookie from the bakery.
Visiting Gardner Village this time of year has been a tradition since we moved back to Salt Lake from Logan when Cam was just a toddler. He used to love it. Unfortunately, he was bored out of his mind this year and totally disinterested. When I asked him, “Which witch was your favorite?” he replied, “I don’t care”. He wasn’t being rude, he really just did not care. Here we go teenage years. What do you do with your kids when they outgrow traditions? Do you change them (the traditions, not the kids)? But what about the younger kids who still like to do them? Do you make the older kids participate anyway or do you just let them stay home and hang out with friends? I’m beginning to cross that bridge of autonomy and letting go with my tween and I’m not sure how to deal with it yet!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Our visit to Oceanside was a last-minute decision (like, there’s the exit, let’s take it) so we were not prepared with a change of clothes, towels or swimming suits. We didn’t even have a blanket because we had to make room for luggage. The kids were told they could play in the water up to their ankles, walk along the beach and hunt for shells. Hmmm. I guess our kids think their ankles are by their chests, because by the time we left, they were soaked, cold and itchy the whole way back to our hotel.
There’s really not much that feels better than burying your feet in soft, warm sand.
Our California trip (not vacation; vacations are restful) began at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. A bird show, tram safari ride to see many wild and endangered species, and petting zoo were just a few of the fun activities we enjoyed.
One of the kids’ favorite things was feeding nectar to the Lorikeets:
Colton learned the hard way not to pet the Lorikeets. They will bite. It hurts. And you will cry.
Here are a few of our favorite species we got to see in this baby factory. If you look closely, you can see the mama gorilla carrying her new baby. Since owls are my new favorite animal, I just had to snap a picture of this handsome guy. Last but not least, have you ever seen a 3000 pound nursing Rhino? Neither had we.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
If it seems like we have been MIA, it’s because we have been busy enjoying the Happiest Place on Earth, aka: Disneyland.
As you can see, we bravely brought Colton along with us this year. We got cold feet and almost canceled the trip a week before we were supposed to leave. But, his Special Ed teacher provided encouragement saying she thought he would absolutely love Disneyland. And we felt guilty not taking the other 5 after we had gotten them excited about going. But he did not like the rides. The first day, he only cried after getting off the rides. Here, he is on his very first ride on the Matterhorn:
The second day, he cried before, during and after the rides. In fact, he learned to start crying as soon as we got him out of the stroller and the entire time standing in line…
Granted, Tower of Terror is scary, so he was justified in crying on that ride, but The Chew Chew Train, Little Mermaid and slower than cold tar bumper cars?
We thought the rides, lights, treats, and action would have gotten this reaction from Colton. We could have saved a lot of money if we only would have known that a simple light-up bubble blowing toy would have made him this happy and excited.
Another problem that needed solving was Matti’s height. She was an inch too short to go on the Indiana Jones ride. She wanted to go sooooo bad, so we broke some rules. We folded napkins, put them in her socks and carried her through the line so they wouldn’t get compressed.
Although we generally had a good time, we aren’t going back for years and years after this trip. And, by the time we are brave enough to go again, the kids will probably be too old and disinterested in many of the attractions, so we justified making her a little taller just this one time.
Friday, October 7, 2011
We are sitting in the movie theatre enjoying Smurfs with the kids on the big screen. The phone rings. It’s the babysitter who is home with just Colton. Justin exits the theatre to answer her call and doesn’t come back. Wondering what happened, I found him in the hall, still on the phone. Was it an emergency? What was taking so long? Well, this is what happened:
Colton got a hold of some keys. Not just any keys. The keys that have a remote. Not a car remote. It looks like the remote to lock and unlock your car, but it happens to be a state-of-the-art remote that sets the house alarm and turns it off. Well, unbeknownst to our cute 14 year old sitter, he set the house alarm. Oh no, that’s not all. Of all nights, we were doorbell ditched. When she opened the door, the alarm went off.
That’s when the fun just began. Her phone dies while on the phone with Justin. She gets her mom’s phone and has Justin and the alarm company on each ear. The alarm doesn’t turn off with the code, so she has to manually power it down with step-by-step directions from the alarm company which included screwdrivers, wires and boxes, and going to multiple locations in our house to disarm it.
Luckily Colton slept through the whole thing. He is a sweet boy. I guess just like any other kid he has a way of getting into things when your back is momentarily turned. But for some reason, his silence and strength magnify the trouble he gets into. He literally has to be watched every second. And that’s why we pay our sitter well. She is a trooper!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Ever since Justin sold his Harley earlier this year, I’ve heard nothing but longing from him for another one. To pacify himself, he rented a Street Glide for a day. About 200 miles and a fun double date with our riding buddies later, he returned the bike with a little bit more satisfaction. Now he knows exactly what he wants when another mid-life crisis comes along and our house is built, furnished, landscaping complete, truck paid off and he’s done with his masters. He is planning on about 3 years from now, but my bet is that he will find a way sooner than later.
Our scenic ride around Utah Lake. It was so beautiful, I just had to grab my iphone and snap a pic. I love seeing the shadow of us cruizin’ on the open road.