A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hero Grandma

Zachary participated in his school's after-school writing club, and their topic was heroes. The instructor asked them to write two stories, one on themselves and one on a hero. Last night we went to the reading, and Zachary read his piece, "Grandma Palmer." He was hilarious writing it, because he kept asking me more and more information about Grandma, but then when I'd give it to him he'd say, "I don't want to write that." For example, when I said he could write that she has 26 grandkids, he said he didn't want it to be wrong when people read it later. I said he could write she has "more than" 25 grandkids and it would still be accurate. Nope. So then I'd ask him what he wanted to know, and he couldn't come up with anything. Gotta love "homework." :)

Needless to say, for the occasion we took a picture of Zachary and his hero (who freed her superhero schedule to come to the reading :).
Zachary and Grandma

And, in case you wanted to read them, here are his stories. I love it when children write!

"Grandma Palmer"
by Zachary Brown

My Grandma is my hero. She is my hero because she is really nice and when I ask for food, she lets me have the food I ask for. She has a brother and a sister. Her dad died when she was just 11. He died because of an enlarged heart. She was married when she was 18. She has 8 children. Her mission was at Omaha. Her favorite food is Mexican food. She likes doughy cookies and crunchy French fries.

Her favorite movie is Snow White. Her favorite thing to do is scrapbook. Her favorite book is Follow the River. She is more than 63 years old. Her birthday is April 15th. Her fourth baby (my mom) was due on her birthday, but came four days early. When I go over I always play with my cousins who live next door. What did she do when her dad died you might ask well they were poor and her mom had to go to work.

by Zach Paul Brown

My name is Zach Paul Brown. I was born in Washington. I wrote this book when I was 7. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. My favorite food is a banana. And my favorite movie is Star Wars. My favorite book is Magic Tree House. My best friends are Carter Baldwin and Thomas Baldwin. My favorite thing to do is play the Wii.

My favorite color is blue. My favorite sport is soccer. I used to play on the Charge Team. The Meeks brothers were on my team. My mom was the coach.

I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers. My older brother's name is Tyler. He goes to Spanish Oaks in fourth grade. My younger brother Austin is a 10-month-old baby. He has brownish-blond hair. My sisters are named Becca who is in eleventh grade and Shayla is in preschool. There are 7 people in my family. My mom's name is Denise and my dad's name is Paul. I'm lucky to have his name as my middle name. My cousins and I started a kids next door club called the Kids Next Door Club.

I like doing Family Home Evening. We have a chart where everyone moves -- Activity, Conducting, Lesson, and Treat, Music and Memorization of the Articles of Faith.

Potpourri of Fun

We've had a lot of fun things happening around here. I guess with five kiddos, that is a guarantee. :) I don't feel like I've gotten much done as I've held a sick and clingy baby lots this week! Austin has bronchiolitis (most likely from RSV), so his cough is so sad. :( And he wants his Momma and generally won't go to anyone else. So, we've been hanging around at home a bit and hope he gets better soon.

But other things move forward ... For example, Zachary lost another tooth, which left him without his two front teeth for a bit:

Last weekend we had our Blue and Gold Banquet. The theme for the cake contest was Be Prepared. How does one make a cake for that? Anyway, Tyler just used blue and yellow M&Ms to spell out "Be Prepared" on cupcakes and won third prize. There were other cakes there that were really cool, but the contest apparently focuses on the theme:

Paul doesn't get much time on my blog, so here's his moment of "fame." ;) The Sunday before last we had our good friend Scotty visit from Virginia. We LOVE his family and miss them terribly. (We're counting down the days until they return to Utah. When is that, Marilee? ;) Anyway, as two geeks who like geek talk, Scotty and Paul swapped phones and played around to determine what they like and don't like about each style. Geeks!

For school Tyler's still in his Harry Potter section. He's now finished with five of the books (!!!) and still going strong. Yesterday he got to play Seeker for the second time and again caught the Snitch. Sad I missed it, but I can't go every week just in case! :) Anyway, for his book report about the Goblet of Fire he wanted to make a goblet. I asked if he wanted to make one out of foil or if he wanted to paper mache one. (Of course, I had to explain paper mache to him. :) He chose the latter, and we got to work. Turns out this is the boy who loves clean hands, so once we got going he wouldn't even put his hands into the mess. Zachary, on the other hand, was right in there helping me put it together. Hilarious! Anyway, we let it dry for two days, spray painted it silver and he put his book report (in sections) in the goblet. He was pretty happy with the final product:

When Austin isn't as grumpy he's wanting to play with EVERYTHING. He doesn't crawl yet, but he can get pretty much wherever he wants to go, although I don't think he has translated this to places across the room (phew!). His latest love? Legos. He'll fit in well in this home!

And Shayla and I have been making more flower clips for her hair. I found what I consider to be the perfect size, so we made a bunch. Too bad she thinks that means she has to wear more than one at a time. I've perfected the, "Let me fix it before we go into the store" and pocketing one or two until we return to the car. Other days I just don't care and she gets to have a few flowers in her hair. Gotta love that little girls love frills, flowers and PINK!

 We also had the opportunity to go to a tea party at the library for little girls and their Mommies. She dressed up completely like a princess and loved it. They got to learn proper etiquette, decorate fans and have the cutest little refreshments (a mini pink cupcake, a pink wafer and pink lemonade). 

I caught some AWESOME clearance at Kmart and got her another set of matching dresses for her and Ella. I love getting things like this for less than $5!

She was hilarious posing them in so many ways. This reminds me of Lion King:

And I suppose all the neighbors can blame the snow on my cute little Snow Princess. Shayla wore this shirt and headband all around yesterday, even to the boys' school for the writing club program. Here she is posing herself once again, and I think in the second one she's just beautiful. Gotta love little girls:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Cuteness

Okay, so from the title you think I'm going to post more pictures of Austin, right? Not this time. :) This is a plug for my niece's new business, Alyssa's Baby Creations. She seriously makes the cutest things! I mean, have you ever seen diaper creations like these:

And although the diaper creations are my favorites, she also does blankets, burp cloths, car seat tents, etc. Here are a few of my favs ...

This one is crocheted around the edges with yarn and is soooo soft!

These are her matching blankets and burp cloths, which also are crocheted around the edges:

Here is the car seat tent she made out of Cat in the Hat material for a kindergarten teacher:

And look how she's wrapping the blankets and burp cloths for delivery! Adorable:

Check her out and keep her in mind if you have a baby shower coming up or new loved one joining you soon. Check out all her cute stuff at alyssasbabycreations.blogspot.com. (And if you forget it, I'll have the link on my sidebar from now on. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Saturday night was the big date! Becca had her sweethearts dance and had a ball! We feel so blessed to have so many friends and family who were willing to share their talents. One neighbor sewed sleeves on the previously sleeveless dress in exchange for free babysitting from Becca. My niece Alyssa came over and did her hair beautifully once again. And my friend Leslie even offered to help me clean the kitchen! (You were saved this once, Leslie. ;)

Anyway, Becca was soooo excited! Not only does she love a fun date, but this one was with a crush (if I'm allowed to say that?) and I made her favorite (chicken alfredo) for dinner.

Here she is sitting patiently while Alyssa curls her hair strand by strand:

And here she is ready to go. Doesn't she look beautiful?

Here's her group, who came to our house for games and dinner before the dance:

(I love that all the girls were completely modest.)

We had sent the other kids to Grandma's and Grandpa's house to keep them out of the way, but we kept Austin home with us since he'd been a little cranky with teething (hopefully teething, anyway :). He LOVED watching the action and when we were finishing up the dishes he kept peeking around the corner at the group in the family room:

Here he is from the other side:

Becca didn't mind showing off her adorable little baby brother at all. In fact, I think she took pride in having such a cute baby to share.

Here she is with her date, a neighbor named Kyle:


She had a blast and can't wait to go out with him again ... of course, after she dates the obligatory two boys in between. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

KND and a little Quidditch

So, you may remember that my dad built my kids a clubhouse. Well, obviously they can't have a clubhouse without a club.

One day returning home from my mom's house I saw the boys had a bunch of soda can tabs. I asked what they were doing with them. Turns out they are the "money" for their new club, the Kids Next Door club. I got to hear various details and figured it was a one-time thing. Not so.

A few weeks ago I heard Tyler saying he needed to take his KND book (which sounds a lot like candy when they just use the initials) to school so people could sign up. Apparently only the general or second general can add new members. (Kimmie was the general, Tyler is the second general.) But some friends were earning the right to be in the club, because they earned their snow running badge that day. (??????)

I mentioned to my sister about Kimmie being the general, and apparently Kimmie wasn't aware of this. So, we asked Kimmie if Tyler could be the general (since she obviously didn't care and he's LOVING this new club), and she said sure. It's hilarious to see how many kids want to join this club that Tyler has talked up. I think we're in the teens of how many members there are now.

So Tyler and Zachary planned a meeting for all the KND members. I figured I'd be a cool mom and make them badges, so I asked Tyler what badge he'd like them to earn at the meeting. He said Defense Against the Dark Weapons. (Can you tell he's been reading the Harry Potter series? :)

We had the meeting, and they earned their badge and played ninja attack. Some of the friends couldn't make it, so they have had several meetings since to make sure all the members get their badge. Here are the first earners of the badge:

And here are the co-founders after earning their badges (including the extremely happy non-general Kimmie :) :

And the First General himself:

Speaking of this general, he is also playing Quidditch in his school. For 13 weeks they have a whole Harry Potter theme, which I mentioned before when he was sorted into the Ravenclaw house. Well, as a part of this whole thing, they play Quidditch every Friday.

How does one play Quidditch? It's a little complicated to explain, but easy to play. They tape three hula hoops up onto the wall, which is where people can get points by throwing the blue balls. (Each team stays on their side of the center line, but they have to throw them to the hula hoops on the opposite side.) Only the two Beaters can throw the black balls, and if you're hit by a black ball, you're out. And if you don't go out after getting hit, the other team gets a penalty shot where they get to throw the balls at the hoops with only the Keeper (goalie) to defend it. There is one Keeper per team to defend all three hoops. And the Beaters can't get out since they are the Beaters. Each team has one Seeker, who can go on either side of the court. They are to catch the snitch, which is a tiny bouncy ball that is not thrown out until some unknown time during the game. Each team gets 5 points for each blue ball that hits in the hula hoops, and they get 50 points if their Seeker catches the snitch.

That said, I went to watch and it was so much fun! Tyler got to be the Seeker for his first game, and he got the snitch so fast I'm not sure the other Seeker even saw it. I'm glad about that, because some of the games the Seekers are wrestling each other trying to get to the snitch. Tyler was SO excited! He practices catching the bouncy ball at home so he can catch the snitch better. (Unfortunately the men teachers run the game, and they are more into winning rather than making sure all the kids who want chances get them. But at least Tyler got his chance once and proved he's a great Seeker. :)

Anyway, here is a picture of him on the sidelines with the action happening behind him (of two different houses playing):

Rah! Rah! Ravenclaw ....... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (his team's cheer)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My sweet baby

Austin is growing up. I guess kids tend to do that. Last week he finally started rolling over, and now there's no keeping him on his back. (Of course, he still hasn't figured out the tummy to back thing, but he doesn't want to be on his back so that's okay. :) He also finally grew his first tooth!!! He was cranky for grandpa (what?!?) and the next day had his first tooth. My two littlest are so silly (as if they can help it) -- their first tooth was on the top. Really? Anyway, once it's actually in farther we'll post a picture, but for now you'll just have to trust me.

I guess it's been a couple of weeks of firsts, because he also got his first haircut last month. He was pretty good, although about half-way through he decided he needed to find out what was going on. Luckily Alyssa is used to kids and handled his wiggles with ease. (Much different story than Tyler's first haircut, where we got a full refund!) Here are the pics ...


During (duh!):


Here is his 10-month-old picture with Austin:

We think he has been passed up (in weight, anyway, maybe not height?) by his cousin Gavin. No wonder since Austin is not the greatest eater. We have to trick him into eating. You know, get him to smile and shove in some food. Tickle him to get him to laugh and shove in some more. He's got a mean left-hook (what I call it) where when he doesn't want food he'll swing his left arm back and forth to prevent you from getting the food to his mouth, little stinker!

And the cutest thing is that Austin is getting baby school. Yup, you read right. He's in baby school. This was invented and implemented by Shayla. Every morning when she hears he's awake she goes in to give him baby school. It's adorable, although I haven't really figured out what he's learning. But he is happy, and she is happy, and I am happy. Here's a cute pic I caught from last week's baby school:

Apparently it was a really rigorous day:

That's all about my sweet baby for now. I mean, how can you not love this adorable face?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Becca's shirt fun

Becca didn't want me to make her a shirt. I offered repeatedly to make her one that says, "Boy Crazy," but for some reason she declined ... ;)

Anyway, she had her own shirt fun. The next formal dance (Sweethearts) is girls-choice, so she decided to ask her latest crush. (I think this makes for more than 200 crushes in her short life, but fortunately I don't think she's counting anymore.) I digress.

So to ask this kid, we bought a shirt at the dollar store. Then we used permanent colored sharpies to write, "Will you go to Sweethearts with me?" and her name (in a different color). Of course, I had to write most of this so he wouldn't recognize her handwriting. Then we (Becca, me, Tyler and Zachary) used all different colors of washable markers to write names of other girls he's friends with:

She's pointing to her name. :) We attached a note that said he had to wash it to find out who was asking.

Several days later the shirt was returned like this:

Becca is pointing to the one she thinks will remain. (And if you want a little kick, go back up to the old picture and compare it to the smile in this one. I wonder if she's more happy asking or being answered? ;)

Only problem is that the boy didn't do it nearly as well as we did, so when she washed it there were four answers left: yes, no, maybe and aaaahhhh! She knew he was going to say yes, but it threw her off a little to have more than one answer remain.

The next day when he asked if she found his answer she said, "I think so," and told him a few hadn't washed out. Turns out he was trying to be tricky and had written on the tag a yes in a heart and had planned for all of the other things to wash out. Oops. And, by the way, don't let those "washable" markers into my house! :)

The big date is this weekend, which means we have much preparing to do. She has her dress (which a neighbor put sleeves on for us, thank goodness), her jewelry and her plans. Now I just have to clean the house and make sure we have all the ingredients for chicken alfredo (Becca's favorite) since they're coming here for dinner. Wish me luck! :)

1,000 words is worth a picture ;)

I've been having fun making shirts for the kids and as gifts for others. My sister showed me the technique and I've loved it ever since! The possibilities are endless, and I LOVE it!

First, I decided I better make some gifts for friends. So, I made a few for my friend's baby. (She was quite happy to be my Guinea pig while I figure this out. :) I love how they all turned out:

Sorry to my scrapbooking friends, but this last one is true. My friend is the bestest scrapbooker I know!!!

In any case, this got me busy doing shirts for my own kids. I decided to make one for Tyler about being in the Ravenclaw house. I found what I considered a great Harry Potter font, and Tyler was thrilled:

And the best news? He got a house point for wearing it! How cool is that?!? He was so happy.

I also wanted to highlight how much he has read this year. His teacher has a 75-hour club and a 100-hour club. Once they have read at home for 75 hours, the teacher will buy them any book out of the Scholastic book order (I think up to $10 or something). However, if they read 100 hours at home, he will buy them any book they want in the world, any price. (He said last year he paid more than $100 for four Star Wars books for kids. I'm sure Tyler will probably get one of those!) Anyway, Tyler was the first in his class to read 100 hours, and I don't think his teacher is making quite as big of a deal about the 100-hour club as I'd like. So we took matters into our own hands:

The other thing Tyler likes to point out is that he is the youngest in his class and the first one to 100 hours. Way to go, boy!

Then I decided to make one for Shayla that says Shayla Bela. We call her that all the time, ever since my niece was given the middle name Bela (which means beautiful in Portuguese). It rhymes, so it stuck. Needless to say, here she is in her Shayla Bela shirt:

And what to do for Zachary? My mom said I can't very well make him a shirt that says, "My mom thinks I'm disgusting." So, instead I made this:

He loves it. :) He's what Paul calls a "true" middle child -- one older sister, one younger sister, one older brother, one younger brother. That's how Paul is, too, and he'll tell you that is surely a TRUE middle child (unlike me, who is fourth of eight kids :).