Tuesday, April 27, 2010

John's game

John concocted this game tonight with miscellaneous things he found around the house and outside (pretty sure the matches came out of a camping box in the garage.)

He kept explaining the rules to his dad but Peter apparently wasn't getting it because John kept winning. Note the rusty bolt in his left hand. I know I'm going to look back at this stuff and it will melt my heart. So cute!


Yea--it was crowded. Peter would have lost it.
(Note to self: Do NOT go to Disneyland on spring break)

John wanted to wear a gray shirt and I absolutely refused and Sarah openly questioned me as to why I was insisting he wear a bright green shirt. There were about 500 times that question was answered that day.

John fell asleep the second he hit his seat on the shuttle to our hotel at 12:30 am--which by the way, have I mentioned how absolutely filthy and disgusting our hotel was? It was a Ramada and there was mold in the bathroom, the floors were peeling, there was huge holes in the wallpaper, and the carpet was almost black.
I freaked out and called Peter who was in the very thick of the end of the tax season. He told me he couldn't deal with anymore problems on that day and so I needed to turn off the lights and go to sleep.

I slept with my clothes on to make sure I didn't touch the blankets and I forced the kids to wear their shoes every second we were there.
Never, ever, ever, EVER again.

This is how John spent the day until about 1 or 2 o'clock. He followed Mickey until he stopped and all these kids lined up for a picture. We were at the front and Rebecca was standing with Mickey and-- uhhh...where the heck is John? Mickey is pantomiming looking concerned and I am freaking out because he was right there 3 seconds ago. I spot him bolting down main street some distance away and take off after him with the whole crowd looking on.
"I don't want my picture with Mickey!! I'm scared! I want to go back to the hotel! Take me back!"
Oh. My. Gosh. John.

This was a safari ride where John screamed the whole time that he was scared and we were going to sink. This was a another example of the first half of the day.
Once he relaxed he finally perked up and then did great the rest of the day.

My personal favorite ride. I wish we could have gone a second time.

Poor Rebecca wanted to be running around free like Nathaniel and Sarah (who struck out together) but was stuck with me for a good portion of the day because I just didn't think she was old enough to be supervised by a 14 and 11 yr old in Disneyland. (What kind of a crazy mom am I anyway?)
She still got to go on lots of things and I sent her on rides with them in the latter half of the day--but I probably spent a total of 2 hours or more waiting at the end of rides for them to get off to be safe.

John did this on almost every ride--so funny.
Rebecca's face is pretty self-explanatory as well.

All in all I think Disneyland was a success. We all had a blast.
I would totally do this again--only during a slower time of the year!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

John and BFF Buzz Light Year

We celebrated John's 6th birthday today with a homemade Buzz Light Year ice cream cake made by yours truly. The picture doesn't do it justice--it was huge!
If you know John you know he and and Buzz are the very best of friends.
I have the cutest pictures of him when he was only 1 and 2 sleeping with his Buzz and Woody. He carried them every single day when I walked over to pick up Rebecca from kindergarten. The crossing guard would always talk to him about them and he would tell her all about their latest adventures. One time I was chasing him because I was trying to get him to put on his shoes. He turned his head and shouted, "Not today Zurg!"
He is out of his mind in anticipation of Toy Story III--I really wish they wouldn't advertise these things so early--they've been promoting it for at least a year!!

Here he is today getting his first video game.
He also got Lego Zurg and Buzz, a Toy Story Blanket, a Jessie doll,
and a Toy Story dinosaur Pez from Aunt Sally and family.

John's Toy Story toys are everywhere and he collects anything having to do with the movies. Monkeys in Barrel, Mr. Potato head, etc.

He has a collection of Buzz and guess what he wanted for Christmas? Another Buzz of course!
So when we went to Disneyland last week the first ride we had to go on was the Buzz ride. He was beside himself with anticipation and couldn't decide whether he was excited or terrified. I got this little video of him with Peter's tiny camera I took with us. So cute!!

He absolutely loved it of and we went on it again.

Newport Beach

Took the kids to Newport Beach while in CA. I'm not much of a beach girl but I gotta say it was SO nice. The day before it had been snowing in Tehachapi and we came to 80+ weather. The weather in Utah while we were gone was snowy, rainy, and just miserable. My neighbors were not interested in hearing about how nice it was. Why can't some people just be glad for you? I'm always glad for people when they get the chance to do something fun.

Very nice not to have any kids afraid of the water this time around. John was in heaven in his giant sandbox and was so bold in the water I was nervous and kept having to tell him not to go out so far. The water was cold as usual, but not frigid.
We ate at the Crab Cooker where we were not impressed with the price for the servings and the Rockin' Lobster, which was fantastic. We'll be going back there as soon as we can. My kids just love seafood. Such smart children. Though sometimes I wish they didn't and there would be more for me:)

Taking down the 15 yr. old deck

So a recent RM in our ward did our aeration this year and while he was here I mentioned we were planning to do some things in the backyard, including taking down the deck. He was eager to say he would do it and Peter had already made it clear he wanted to hire it out. I asked him to call me later with a bid.
He called back with a ridiculously low bid.
"Mark," I said, "let me tell you a secret to owning your own business. You actually have to charge people for your work."
I told him he was probably underestimating how much work this was going to be and he agreed. So I made him a more realistic offer and he took it down and hauled it away in truckloads within the week.
Ahhh...the energy of the young.

These posts were cemented feet into the ground. He brought over his ATV to pull them but when that didn't work he just manhandled them out. The deck must have been original to the house because when he removed it there was no siding where it had been attached to the house. Weird.

I can't believe how much bigger the backyard looks. It was a huge deck!
Of course it began raining as soon as he was finished and our dog made a holy mess in the house while the kids and I were in California. Now there is a sheer drop out the backdoor. Peter and I have agreed it is where we will lead the persistent salesmen that come to our door all summer.
"Just step through this door..."

When Mark asked me what our plan was now I told him we hadn't gotten that far. We just knew we were just ready for that deck to go and want something level with the ground for privacy.
He says he'd do work on that and I told him he'd probably be getting a call.

Mouse Trap Car

Over here at the Mitchell household we have had no internet for almost 3 weeks. I almost lost it on several occasions and was reduced to using it at the library to get the confirmation information for our hotel in Aneheim. So now that I'm FINALLY back online I'm doing some make-up blogging, because lots of stuff has been going on!

Peter has been gone until yesterday and I finally hit the wall last week with being a single mom so it was good timing. Of the multitude of inconvenient things that happened while he was gone the worst was the building of a mouse trap car. Never heard of one? Me neither until Nathaniel was required to build one for science. It is a big thing here at Springville Jr High and quite the competition. Nathaniel gave me absolutely NO indication of how major this thing was going to be and you basically fail the class if you don't build one. It has to go 10 feet to get full credit--10 points per foot. (The record is around 150 ft.)
Why is it that your kids are assigned things the teacher knows the parents are going to end up doing? Isn't that like parent homework?
I won't even start on that one.
Of course all the other kids have their DADS to help with this project. And trust me, this was way beyond building something like a pinewood derby car. You could leave that as a block of wood and it least it would still go. You can't use a kit in the mousetrap car project--it is against the rules. So we are trying to build a vehicle powered by a mousetrap using engineering I was not really grasping.
Make car. Disassemble a mousetrap and remove excess parts. Attach mousetrap to car. Attach lever to mousetrap spring. String tied to lever and wound around axle is powered by the spring in the mousetrap, which spins the axle and turns the wheels.

Here is Nathaniel's design:

For me I cannot move onto step 4 until I've done step 3 and so on because I can't seem to see beyond the step I'm on, which, as Nathaniel can tell you, created some problems.
"Uhhh...Mom, I told you this was going to happen but you weren't listening."

Here was the first go-around. What a disaster.
We made this on Monday and it was due on Wednesday so we had to completely start over on Tuesday. Here I am using the circular saw in our garage to cut the wood (my contractor neighbor had to come over to show me how to take the safety off.) Sanding, cutting, drilling, gluing.
It was ridiculous.
Monday night I was a nervous wreck. I had a ton of stuff going on and this thing was not only sucking up all my time but I was unsure of what the heck we were doing. I finally bought a book of designs online and spent quite a chunk of time pouring over it at midnight only to have stressful dreams about it all night.
Tuesday morning I had it out with Nathaniel.
"Why didn't you tell me how major this thing was going to be??!"
"I didn't know it was going to be!"
"It doesn't even seem like you know what you're doing! I'm doing all the work! Can't you talk to your teacher?"
"I do know what I am doing!"
"Then why aren't you doing it?"
"Cause I don't know!"
So I could see this wasn't going anywhere.
In the carpool I asked the other boys how long theirs took to make.
"Mine took me about a week."
"I donno, maybe a couple of days."

So this was #2. Note the balloons stretched over the wheels for traction. I took the plans to the hardware store down the street and had four men all racking their brains on how we were going to create working axles for the wheels. Finally one guy says, "You realize between us you have four college degrees trying to figure this out?"
Enough said.
When we finally finished, after about trip #134 to the hardware store, we set it on the kitchen floor and let it go. It went all the way across. First time.
We high-fived each other so hard my hand hurt for half an hour.
All we wanted was the 10 feet.
For the event his went 25.
When I called Peter to tell him he said, "See? I knew you could do it!"
I said he was a liar. He admitted he was.