Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ash-man turns 5!

Holy schmokes! My Asher is a five-year-old. How did this happen so fast? He's such a fun, happy, smart and peppy kid. Looking back over his first five years, I can say, hands down, that this kid has been a joy to have around. Sure, he's getting plenty of his own opinions about things, and can dish out his fair share of naughtiness when it comes to his brother, but the rest of the time, he keeps us laughing, and his brother entertained. Already, I have seen some special talents in him, one being that he is a friend to all. Really. He started out early on calling any kid he'd see a friend, which I thought was cute then, but it has since turned out to be a really cool thing. He plays with kids of all ages, anywhere he goes, and is always quick to make new friends. Asher can be the best brother in the world too(when he wants to be). He's loved his Brother from day 1, helping him and including him, and now playing with him every day. I just love that. Asher also loves to learn, from books(he's reading a bit already), to drawing, to numbers(counts to 100 and beyond), he just seems to pick things up. He loves preschool, and he's been talking about Kindergarten recently and seems really excited to go...we even had to do a drive-by last week. I wish I could take the credit, but really, it's just him, and he still surprises me with the things he comes up with. He's diplomatic, a charmer, very funny and has a great smile. Love my Ash!

His birthday request this year was all about dinosaurs. He'd never taken to them much until he started watching the PBS show, Dinosaur Train. Now he loves them, and it made for a fun b-day theme for a family party and for his first ever friend party, which we delayed for a couple of weeks until we were done with the holidays.

Party #1 was on his actual birthday and G-ma and pa Reitz were there, as well as my sister Jen and her cute family. There are always a few extra family members around to help make his day special, which I think is really a bonus!

Party #2 was a few weeks later. Again, the theme was Dinosaur Train. Including Asher, there were 9 little boys running around! It all went smoothly and I think the kids had a good time, mostly thanks to my mom and her super ability to get kids to listen to her. I was SO glad my parents were in town to help! My dad ended up taking Beckett upstairs to play for almost the whole party. A house full of 5 year olds was a little overwhelming for Beck, but as an added bonus, he had Grandpa all to himself, so really he had a little party of his own! I was just glad the party went well, since it was our first endeavor, I wasn't really sure what would work or what wouldn't. The boys painted dinosaur suncatchers, hunted for dinosaur eggs, played pin the tail on the T-Rex, and dug for dinosaur bones(the big favorite). Then we had cupcakes, and food. My one faux pas was in trying to buy dry ice for the punch, which I thought would add a fun 'volcanic' flare to the food table. I bought it the day before, brought it home, and then googled how to store it. Whoops...dry ice 'subliminates', meaning you buy it as close to the time you need it as possible. Mine was gone before the day was through, and I wasn't going out to buy more. Lesson learned! Overall though, fun times! I loved how happy Asher was having all his buddies there, and there wasn't one argument or fight from anyone. Later that day, after the party was over, I asked what his favorite part was, to which he answered, "having all my friends over." Cute boy:)

And so, we are wishing a BIG Happy Birthday to our own Ash-a-saurus. A wonderful little boy that we can't possibly imagine living our lives without. Love you buddy!

P.S. Grandma and Grandpa Pettit, we all loved our visit with you guys! Thanks for making Asher's day perfect and for spending your time with us! We love you and miss you already! Especially the boys...who else spoils them rotten and happily plays with them, entertaining them with authentic animal sounds (Grandpa...also pulled these sounds out at the party and to my amazement had the bigger boys laughing in seconds), and books and songs(Grandma...that alligator song has become a beloved classic). Come again soon:)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Christmas Time!

Wowsers! This month could not have been busier, or gone by faster. Corey and I tried hard to get all of our shopping done early so we could just enjoy the season, but somehow we were busy despite our efforts. Next year, we will just have to try even harder. I really can't attribute the madness to any one thing, just lots of different things. My little camera strap business was as busy as I could keep up with while trying to do all the other things I had my hands in. Our ward put on an extravagant and amazing Christmas Party this year, literally re-creating an 'Old Nauvoo' in our Stake Center's cultural hall. I helped with decorating a bit and was also a caroler that evening. It was really spectacular I thought, and a lot of people worked really hard to make it the memorable evening it was. My kids had a blast going to all the little shops, spending their pennies and making things. So cool! That kicked off our month of Christmas.

We decided to get a live Christmas tree this year, which started out as a really good idea. We didn't exactly go out to the forest and chop down our family tree, but we did pick one out at our local Costco, tie it to the car, and bring it home. Oh, the smell! It was amazing. I've done candles before, but nothing can really replicate that true pine smell. We thought we had a handle on the water situation, checking it every couple of days or so. Nope, wrong. We now know that if the water runs out...even once, it's OVER. It's not like with a houseplant, where it wilts a little, but you can miraculously save it with a little water and a couple of hours. No, a tree with no water is a dead tree, and that's exactly what we ended up with, two whole weeks before Christmas. We were afraid to turn the lights on much after that, since we basically had ornaments and lights hanging on kindling in our front room. It was terrible. And there was hardly any smell left to boot. Lesson learned: water your Christmas tree, every single day.

Asher's preschool put on a Nativity program, which was very entertaining. Asher was a Wise Man, with a gift of gold for the baby Jesus. The kids all did a great job, but I think Asher was the most energetic and loud when it came to singing 'Feliz Navidad.' I don't know what it was, but his penchant for that song was undeniable. Every time we got into the car he wanted me to magically play it on the radio, and when it was on he wanted me to turn it up louder. He sang his little heart out at the program. I seriously LOVE watching my boy up there, and Asher's performances don't disappoint in the least.

We didn't have a white Christmas (darn it), but we did have one really good snow. We even went and bought the boys some snow pants and sleds! When it snows here, it's usually gone by noon, but this stuff was the real deal, so we took full advantage. We all had so much fun, just sliding down a small hill at a nearby park. And it was so beautiful. I am really crossing my fingers that we get another good storm!

Most of Corey's family was in town for Christmas. We were able to see Adam and Kayla for a few days, and his parents were here too. We played and visited. Corey's dad made his signature Chex Mix (in very large quantities), which every one devoured(Beck loves the stuff), and his mom made all kinds of snacky foods for the holidays. Our kids love it when family is around, the more the merrier, so it made the holidays special for them.

Christmas morning was a treat. Santa had eaten one of Asher's decorated sugar cookies(with mounds of frosting on it...Asher style), and there were surprises waiting for both boys. The boys had very different present-opening styles. Asher wanted to rip through each one, toss aside the gift and get on to the next. Beckett was happy just to mangle the bow (he's been a nightmare for any bow adorning a gift under our tree) on top, but was pretty proud of himself when he'd finally get to the gift inside. It was fun to watch the boys. My super crafty sister-in-law, Danna made these fantastic capes for the boys. They are the cutest thing, and Beck tromped around in his for quite a while Christmas morning. Asher wanted to know when we can have Christmas again. In the afternoon, we headed up to Aaron and Meagan's for some family time and amazing New Mexican food. Yummy!

For New Years, our friends Jon and Bella had us over for games and dinner. The kids made it to 10 o'clock before we decided to pull the plug on their madness and head home. Corey fell asleep soon after we came home and I was reading in bed when I heard the fireworks going off outside. Over the years I have come to regard New Year's Eve as something celebrated by high schoolers, singles, and people who live in Big Cities. Am I wrong? I do love the chance to set some new goals for the year though, a chance to begin fresh and do a little better.

So, with that I'm sending out a big Happy New Year! Here's to 2011!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thanksgiving 2010!

We have much to be thankful for. Our family, friends, health, opportunities to serve others,
our wonderful country, a roof over our heads, Corey's job, our amazing children. We are so, so blessed. It was a busy, but very nice Thanksgiving holiday. Asher had his first ever Thanksgiving Program (at preschool). He was a little indian for the 'Harvest Festival', and wore a hat he made, and sang a few songs. Then we all ate cookies and treats together. He even brought home a little pottery he'd made at school. What a cutie. He gets into the songs and actions...a lot. I wish my pictures had caught more of that! A week or so before that, we all joined Ash on a field trip to see some petroglyph drawings about 5 minutes from our house. I am ashamed to admit that I've never seen them before(but have always wanted to). They were very cool, and there were lots to see. It's always a nice treat to discover new gems where you live!

Our actual Thanksgiving day was mellow, since it was just our little family of four. I always find myself wondering why I bother to make ALL the normal food for just a few people. In the last few years, I've come to the obvious conclusion that it takes the same amount of time to cook for four people as it does to cook for 20. There's a very strong sentimental part of me that wants to make the food, and smell the smells of Thanksgiving. Then, there's the free-willing, practical part of me that wants to head on out to a restaurant for a nice Thanksgiving dinner and call it a day. Maybe one year I'll be able to push little Ms. Sentimental aside and make a reservation somewhere. Maybe.

Overall, though, the day was great. We watched to Macy's parade on t.v., perused the shopping ads, ate a lot of food, and just enjoyed being with each other. A fun Thanksgiving Day! Oh, but I am still trying to persuade the rest of my family that sweet potatoes are a divine Turkey Day treat. Nobody else believes. Yet. I plan to wear them down over many years, so that eventually I won't be the one to eat the whole yummy casserole, all by myself.

Beckett, before and after. He started stripping down after eating the big meal. Why? Who knows.