Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scovil Decor 2010

 Double effect courtesy of the granite counter

This is our 11 foot Christmas Tree. We have never had a tree this tall and now that we have the ceiling space for it, we thought "why not?" It was hilarious watching us decorate this thing. Nate had to rig up a broom stick with a hanger on the end of it to get the lights/ribbon strung clear up at the top. 46 trips to Bi-Mart for non-functional lights and after 7hrs we finally had it finished!

The boys were even lucky enough to get a tree for their upstairs play room. They decorated it how they wanted to and didn't do too bad for a 6 and 3yr old. Kept them entertained, so that's a score in my book!
 Part of our annual Christmas Village, courtesy of Mom and George.

Of course you can't see it here, but we have those (somewhat annoying yet fun) lights that are synchronized with the Christmas Music that belts out of the box the lights are plugged into. I'm sure our new neighbors love the seizure-causing flashes coming from next door. They then open their door to see what the chaos is, only to have "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" at 100 decibels staring them in the face. Ahhhh, the joys of the holiday. 'Tis the Season, folks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Bean.

No, I know what you're thinking and that is NOT a pile of dog poop birthday cake. It is, in fact, an active volcano, don't ya know! Can't you see the spew of hot lava flowing down the sides as it explodes from the top? (That is, by the way, melted down Cherry Jolly Rancher for the explosion part and Fruit By the Foot for the lava down the sides). Maysen turned 6 this weekend and it was filled with cheers and thrills all weekend.

My little boy's love for trains continues to this day, mainly encouraged by random YouTube videos of Amtrak and other "bullet train" videos he finds. So, what could have been more appropriate than his first Amtrak ride. We have a train station in town, so Nate's mom dropped us off and drove with Griffin to Albany (45min away) while we boarded the train...just Maysen, Nate, and I.

It was wonderful! It was such a pleasant surprise for all of us. I've been on a train here and there, but never a "mode of travel" train like Amtrak. It was smooth, it was quiet, it was sooo relaxing. In fact, we decided on that 45min train ride that this must be our newly discovered mode of traveling. Maysen fell in love with this train, never diverting his gaze out the window as he rediscovered every day images in a new way.
This foot rest ended up being the coolest thing, for all of us. Within 20min of our ride, we all 3 had them up with our seats reclined and arms behind our head. We were enjoying life .. and our McDonalds apples.
The thrills continued the next day with Science Experiment Birthday party. We did experiments with Dry Ice, Milk Swirls with food coloring & QTips, Alka-Seltzer Lava Lamps, Instant Snow, Glue Gak, Baking Soda volcanoes, and the finale were 4 Mentos Diet Coke Geysers!! It was an absolute blast!

The fun and hilarity of chaos!
Maysen and good pal, Natalie. Doesn't he look handsome here?
Part of the loot
Digging in the piles of instant snow ..

I was so happy that Dad and my step mom Jo made the jaunt from California to be at this party. It was the first one they've been able to attend and it was such a help having them here as I think we underestimated the amount of help we'd need for this caliber of party. As you can see, even the adults were enthralled.

Even though I did a run through before the party, I needed to re-read instructions for the Green Glue Gak (which we deemed "Monster Boogers"). Again ... as you can see the adults were just as intrigued...

During the last few kids, we added food coloring to our vinegar when we did the volcanoes. It was a neat change. I, regrettably don't have pictures of our Diet Coke Mentos geysers. I am trying to get a few from a few of the other parents who had cameras out. If I get some I will post them. We did them in our back yard. Nate had my dad as an assistant and all of us were safely sitting on the porch. Safely, we thought, until Nate pulled the release trigger, dropping the Mentos into the 2L bottle and the top was on crooked. The diet Coke shot out sideways shooting most of the kids. I will admit that a few parents shrieked with surprise too. It was an absolute blast and I'm sure that we will be remembering this party for quite some time. Some of Maysen's friends at school were still talking about it today ... he was so proud!

So, Happy Birthday, My Little Train Conductor. I'll love you forever ...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Go Mario Kart - Trick or Treat!

And this is what we wait all year for. Costumes. This year the pair decided to be Mario and Luigi from "Mario Kart". What a hoot they were!
And because they were from "Super Mario Kart", we had to be complete with the Mario Kart vehicle. They drove this hummer door-to-door all night trick-or-treating. It was an ordeal hopping in and out of this thing every 20ft, but they did it! And were excited to!!

Earlier in the day we went to the Community Center for Harvest Festivities complete with ring toss, cotton candy, cake walk, and $1 hot dogs. It was a blast. We met up with some great friends there and that completed the afternoon.
The boys were even asked to join the costume contest. They didn't win but they were sure cute up there strutting their stuff!
The afternoon was rounded off with making a trip to MiddleField Oaks to visit mom. The whole place was so excited to see these two munchkins walk in the door that we could barely leave. We played a few rounds of Go Fish with mom and then headed home to prepare for the real deal !
And it all boils down to this repetative position and phrase "Go Go Mario Kart, TRICK OR TREAT!" They said it over a hundred times last night, I'm sure. Our loot is ridiculous and I'm hoping to accidentally drop some in the trash. Oooo, wait. I'll pass it out as party favors for Maysen's upcoming birthday party. That's our next event. Two words: Science Experiements. Can you imagine the mess? Ugh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Red Riding Boots

Big brothers are usually good at many things. In our house, Mase is usually the fight instigator and bully most of the time. I know he really does love his brother but he likes to put Griffin in his little-brother-place. I bought the boys slippers for this winter, as I usually get "My feet are cold!" in the mornings getting ready for school. They love wearing them and have donned the phrase "Little Red Riding Boots". At the library last week, Maysen picked "Splat the Cat" and has been reciting the book over and over. On this night, sitting by the fire, Bubba asked Griffin to sit by him as he recited, word-for-word, Splat the Cat Goes to CatSchool. They really are good pals ...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

LonePine Farm 2010 .. another year.

It smelled the same as it always does; crispy breeze carrying the smell of kettle corn through the dusty parking lot as we all bailed out of the van. We parked on the field lawn - a zillion yards away from the actual farm itself. It is like we've done every year for the last 6 years. There was a sense of annoyance in me mainly because I don't necessarily enjoy crowds and this tiny little farm houses four hundred million crowded into a city block radius and no one and I mean NO ONE knows how to drive around there. But we do it ... for the kids.

We spend $5 on handfuls of feed to feed the overweight and bloated sheep and goats with the other 200 kids behind us waiting to stuff the goats as well. But the kids love it.

We revisited the genius of a creation that is the ATV roller coaster. Built only out of used parts from chairs and barrels, this $7/ticket ride is a must every year. We scoff at how much money they must rack in every single year from this thing ... but at the same time marvel in the simplicity of this gold mine ... and the kids love it.

When we finally make our way back to the pumpkin fields the kids dart in 86 different directions in search of the perfect pumpkin. Meanwhile, Nate and I are left in the dust to maneuver around vines and disintegrating pumpkins that 325 people before us have trampled on. But we do it ... for the kids.

Then there was the majorly hazardous new hay maze they had this year. They stacked hay bales 5 high and created a maze for the kids to wander through. I watched in horror while 728 kids all ran around on top of the bales with little or no parent supervision. The nurse in me was envisioning a little one getting shoved out of the way by bigger kids, little on falling over backwards and landing on head, arm, leg wrong resulting in fractures or worse. Paranoid? Admittedly a bit, probably. But still. The kids love it.
Yes. I sound a bit critical in this post. The fact is, every year it feels like a duty to our children to go. However, as I sat watching the boys getting chased by my 6'2" husband as he loomed over the hay bales pretending not to find the boys in the maze, I heard quiet whispers behind me. As I turned around I noticed this tiny older couple in their presumed 80s. I smiled as they nodded my way and asked if those were my boys. We chatted about how fun this place is and the woman, weak and tired-looking said, "You know we used to bring our 2 boys to the farm every year. They are grown and gone now but we still come to the farm every fall just to watch all the young families and reminisce." I turned around to watch my husband snatch up the boys from where they were trapped, them screaming with anticipation. It was then I realized that this wasn't a "duty". Every year we come, there might continue to be the same things. However, the boys experience it different. This year Griffin could carry his pumpkin and he wasn't scared of the roller coaster. This year Maysen wasn't afraid to feed the goats and he was able to load the pumpkins and push the wheelbarrow. Their experiences change every year there and it truly is a blessing to get to watch this transformation every year.

We walked hand in hand out of the parking lot. Maysen squeezed gently, smiled, and said "I can't wait to do it again next week!" I knew he meant "next fall". I simply smiled, "Me either, buddy. Me either."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First School Days

He always saw us take Bubba to school so there really was no explaining that this was "his" school now. Maysen has sadly graduated from our beloved Christian preschool and moved to public kindergarten. Griffin took the Scovil void Maysen left behind at the Christian preschool.

"Having" to wake up for something is a concept that Griffin has not really had to experience. So when Nate walked up those steps and gently woke him up, he was a bit flustered, but he knew he was going to school; whatever that meant.

With the parking lot filled with aflutter of nervous tots walking into the building, Griffin seemed to remember the wall of apples that greets the new children on their first day. Nate helped Griffin find his apple as he proudly sat on the bench like all the other kids to pose with this official certificate that meant HE was positively 'in school' now.

This was not an unfamiliar hallway to Griffin, as just last year Maysen was across the hall and we were trekking down this hall daily to pick up Bubba from Miss Nicole's classroom. However, he had never experienced the cries, screams, and wales that came from within his particular classroom. Nothing like the first day of "Young Preschool" cries from children whom had never been left alone before. Griffin wasn't too sure about willingly going in there.

He noticed a familiar face poke out from behind all the books; Karaline! Luckily we have great friends who have a little girl in the same class. She has been doing day care at 5Cs for a few years now, so this was a piece of cake for her. She openly hugged Griffin to show him "See, its ok!" If only it worked for a few others .. Griffin seemed to enjoy his "vacation" for the day as he thought. For when he went back the following day, Wendy was not greeted with such a welcome response. He threw himself on the ground and cried out as if torture is what was coming. Poor Wendy ... these boys are everything to her (and also not her kids) so to see her glorious baby having such a hard time was very hard for her. He was a bit clenchy on day 3 when I took him but I think by then he had realized it was going to be ok and although he shut the door behind me upon entering (such a sly dog thought that would actually keep me IN!) he begrudgingly let me go on my way. I did take a wandering peek back to see him happily playing Farm with Kara.
Next was Maysen. We had a wild week of orientations/skill review and finally last Thursday he officially started Kindergarten. I'm blessed with such a mild mannered kid. He just cruises through whatever situation is handed to him with such ease. I don't ever have to worry about him. In fact, I'm a grown adult and I had anxiety for him boarding the school bus for the first time and to him, trip up the first step and all, he smiled and there would be nothing that would get him down.

This particular picture is from the very first day of skill review, and the bus didn't come get him. It was a misunderstanding, but this picture breaks my heart when I look back at it because I know in about 5min from the time this picture was taken, the bus drove off up the street with him waving and all - and didn't pick him up. Broke my heart!

What is even more sad is that I came in right away and called, and was reassured he was on the list for taking the bus home. I picked Griffin up from school and sat outside anxiously awaiting Maysen's return on the bus. Now, it was to arrive at 11:25 so I sat with the camera, video camera ... 11:30 ...11:33 ... 11:38. I figured I'd better go in and check my messages. I heard the following: "Hi Leslie. This is Mrs. L. Maysen has been waiting for pick up since 10:55. He's now in the office waiting for you to pick him up."  You got it folks. My new little kindergartner had been waiting for his momma to pick him up for 45 min now after I reassured him after school he'd be on  the bus :( No worries - the rest of the week went just fine and he's been riding ever since!

Getting ready to go in!

"LOOK AT ALL THESE KIDS!" His little 5Cs entire school had the whole population in the school that was in this hallway. Upon really looking at this photo, I note that Maysen is not taken aback by the crowd, but he has spied a little boy with a blue Mario Brother's shirt on. Nothing like distraction ...

That's my boy ... so handsome.

Maysen went to 5Cs with these two little ones, C and C. He went straight to work on the important stuff: playing house. And so it proves it really can start at an early age. He did tell me years ago that C was his girlfriend.

Our rain is here! I took this picture because we just got our fence stained just in time. We're all ready for fall (especially me). Our small privacy fence got put up and I think now we're just ready to settle in for fall! I even walked in the rain yesterday ... true Oregonian. Hah!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


We are lucky enough to have family who travel around the country so we can take advantage of visiting not only them, but the super cool places they live and work in. My dad and Jo travel around and manage KOA RV parks. They've worked in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and a few awesome places in California. Because of their California choice, we've been able to visit Disneyland and just this past weekend, Yosemite National Forest.
Maysen has been a huge fan of trains since he was about 1yr old. Griffin is following in his big brother's footsteps like all little brother's are supposed to do and his love is growing leaps and bounds. We took the Sugar Pine Railroad Steam Engine train ride. It was really neat and the boys were amazed by the actual "fire" that was under the train.

One of the first things we did when we got to Dad and Jo's was grandpa built Maysen and Griffin a tree swing. It was hard imagining their little rear ends on this small, tiny actually, little piece of board. It was only within a few hours that Mase really had that thing down and enjoyed it a great deal of the time.
Although gorgeous, it was hot most days. Nearly 100F every single day, a campfire was more like roasting marshmallows in hell than anything, but there is just something about a campfire at Grandma and Grandpa's to really feel like vacation. At night it would cool down (a bit) to the 60s.

On the 3rd day, Dad and Jo had to work so we headed off on our own to Yosemite National Forest. Sporting the proud football Oregon Duck attire, both boys must have been thinking it was just about lunch time ...
The wait in line was horrible. Leave it to us to decide visiting a World-Renowned National Forest on a National Holiday was a great idea. We didn't end up getting to see any view points, as all of them had 2hr waits. Instead we found a few pull-offs with no one around and had some quality alone time. Look at the boys' catch of the day. I won't tell you that 6 of those monster pine cones accidentally made it home with us. Sap and all ...
I guess we forgot nap time this day ...
Post Monster Throw via Daddy.
Here's Griffin playing "Bob". Somehow Griffin got it in his head that my dad, grandpa, was "Bob". He started calling him "Bob" about 4 months ago when, matter of factly, he walked up to dad and said 'Hi Bob". Ever since, my dad is Grandpa Bob.

It was a fun time, but knowing we had a busy week ahead of us, we left and decided to drive straight through home. I had already spent $104 on our hotel, done, paid, signed and ready ... but my bed was calling me too hard. Nate was luckily on the same page so instead of stopping and spending the night in Redding, CA we trudged through another 5hrs home. It sure felt good to get home and in our own beds and the kids did so well. It certainly helps to have a DVD player with endless amount of Scooby Doo at your fingertips. Very thankful we had this time together as a family right before important changes in our lives; the boys starting school! Griffin started "Young Pre-School" and Maysen will start Kindergarten tomorrow. School pictures to follow ...