Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Matthew's Moments

Today I had a funny conversation with Matthew.  It went like this:

Matthew:  "Mom?  Um, when are you going to go to the store and buy me a police man costume?" 
Mom:  "Uh...why do you need a policeman costume?"
Matthew:  "So  I can put it on, and take my whistle (he's holding his coaching whistle) and go out on the road and stop the cars."
Mom:  "Oh!  (First reaction was complete laughter...then fear of the thought of him going out on our busy street.)  "Matthew, you know you can NEVER go out on that road, the cars go too fast and you would get hurt."
Matthew:  "Well Mom, police guys do it all the time, and all they need is their whistle."

At this point we went into a more lengthy discussion of why Matthew, a 4 year-old boy is not old enough or big enough yet to go out and stop cars like some policeman do.  Oh boy, the things he comes up with!  Every day he has a moment that goes something like this and it just makes me laugh.  He definitely keeps us on our toes!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spring Break Saga: The Finale

On our last day of Spring Break Vacation, we traveled down to Ogden and went to the Dinosaur Museum.  The kids loved it, and so did Andy and I.  There were to scale and some life-sized statue replicas of many different kinds of dinosaurs all over the park.  Each one had a sign telling you if the statue was to scale, or if it was the true size of the dinosaur, and then would also explain when the dinosaur lived, and where it's fossils are found, what it ate, etc.  It was very interesting.  We spent several hours here wandering around reading and taking pictures.  
 
We started with the T-Rex of course.  And another thing that made this place amazing for the kids was that it had speakers placed all over outside along the walking paths with sounds imitating what scientists believe the dinosaurs sounded like.  So, as you were walking along, you could try to imagine that you were walking through Ogden canyon millions of years ago and listening to the sounds of dinosaurs. 


At first I don't think Lainey knew what to think about everything.  The dinosaurs were so big and looked so foreign to her!
 

I can't remember the scientific name of this dinosaur, but it was something about "mother."  This particular dinosaur would stay near her eggs until they hatched, and watch over them fiercely if needed.

 

And here is Taylor, continuing his trend of posing for silly pictures.  He was so entertaining this trip.
Here is the gang next to the "Sarah" dinosaur.  The kids were so funny, they would refer to the dinosaurs by name if they were the kind of dinosaur's that were animated in the movies "the Land Before Time".  This Stegosaurus is a life-sized adult.  It was huge.


Okay, now we all had to get a little silly.  We couldn't help it, we had to stand right under this one's mouth and scream.  I love Brooklynn's expression the best.  What a fun, silly group of kids!


There were also water dinosaurs displayed.  This one in the background looked to us like a modern day dolphin.  But the science didn't make any sense to me, because dinosaurs were reptiles, and dolphins are mammals.  So...if we go with the theory of evolution then the dolphin used to NOT be a mammal?  Well, it was a pretty neat statue anyway.
 

I forget all the names of these, and I know this one is not a triceratops even though it looks like one from the front horns.  We just had fun taking pictures in front of all of them.
Lainey really liked this small blue one.  She kept coming over to it, I think she thought it was pretty.  This one was life-sized as well.  Whenever I think of dinosaurs, I always imagine the big huge ones...there were a lot of small ones as well that looked just as dangerous!
This was a fun little area.  There was a small stream coming through, and they had old pans and lots of iron pyrite.  So the kids "panned for gold" for a little while.  Rachel actually found a stone that is either a small diamond or a small cubic zirconia.  It's about a quarter karat-sized and she was SO excited.  I felt really bad for whoever lost it from their ring...and who knows how long ago that was.  We told her we'd take her in to a jeweler to see if it was worth putting into a setting for her.  She was estatic!


Matthew also really liked the fossil dig area.  There were different sets of skeletons under the sand, and they had brushes for the kids to use to gently brush away the sand.  Matthew uncovered a bunch of bones, as well as a nest of eggs.  (All cast stone of course, not real fossils!)




Soon he recruited Taylor to come help him.  I love watching my two boys do things together.  Taylor is 7 years older than Matthew, but they seem to have a lot of fun together in spite of the age difference.

And of course little stripey-pants Lainey had to get in on the fossil-digging action.
She had to have her Taylor help her out.  Lainey loves her big brother Taylor, and often takes things to show him, or asks him to hold her hand, or to help her with something she's working on.  A lot of times it's like 11 year old Taylor is 2 year-old Lainah's "knight in shining armor."  I love it.
And before we knew it, Rachel and Brooklynn had had enough panning for gold and wanted to try fossil diggin as well.  Again, after watching all 5 kids enjoy this so much, I thought to myself that I really just needed to go buy a load of sand, throw some rocks in the bottom, and give them each a tiny paintbrush and tell them to find the rocks.  I'd have at least a couple of hours free time to....read, or nap....or blog!  Ha ha!
Whenever we go somewhere where ther are these funny wood scene cutouts...my kids HAVE to get their pictures taken in them.  So here we go.  Matthew and Rachel...
Matthew and Brooklynn...
Yes, Taylor is STILL being a goof.  He just cracks me up!  He was even doing sound effects for us all.
Hey!  How did I get into that picture!?  Hmm...maybe I'm the reason my kids love these so much!  I love them too!
This one is my all time favorite of this trip.  Lainah would not leave until I took her picture with this one.  She LOVED the pink dinosaur.  I just can't stop laughing each time I look at little Lainey-Lou...the Cavewoman with her pet Dinosaur...Pepto! 
Here are some actual fossils that the kids could touch.  I thought that was really neat to see them in the rocks before they are dug out.  Pretty weird to touch them and know that you are touching the literal remains of these ancient creatures.
Yes.  I might have to agree with the sign....They may try to look innocent, but watch out!
Next to one of the play areas, they had Fred and Wilma Flintstone's house with Dino at the side window!  Matthew was the first to meet and ride Dino.  (And truth be told, I really wanted to jump on for a ride myself...)

Lainah had fun climbing up and then sliding down the shell of this turtle guy.  The play areas were really fun here, there were plenty of things for the kids to climb on, that's for sure! 
And inside they had these fossils on display.  I loved this part.  The lighting inside made it difficult for us to get any decent pictures with our camera so we don't have very many, but we spent a lot of time in here, it was great.  It reminded me a little bit of the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C., it even had a woolly mammoth...but this was a lot less busy!


On the upper level of the museum, they have a room full of glass displays filled with different precious stones.  Taylor, Rachel, and I especially enjoyed looking at all of them.  They had everything from diamonds, to amethysts, to turquoise, to jade.  It was amazing to see all of the different colors and samples.  They had some that were set into jewelry and that had been donated over the years to the museum, and they were absolutely beautiful!  In this room they also had salt crystals from the Great Salt Lake on display.  They were really neat too.  Overall, it was a fun and amazing place to take our family!  I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area!

After our day at the museum, we spent our last night of vacation in Eden, Utah at the Wolf Creek condominiums (which the kids loved) and then headed home for Nampa the next morning.

I think it was the best Spring Break ever!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Break Saga: Part III

Wednesday was a fun day.  We went back down to temple square first.  Our first stop was the visitor's center and up to the top level so the kids could see the big statue of Jesus Christ.  Lainey was in awe of it really...she kept asking me why Jesus was so big. 

 I'm not sure what Andy was saying right here...but I like how he remembers to use the teaching moments with our children.  He's a good daddy.
 The spring flowers were being so brave!  It was NOT a very warm day, and we were having rain and sleet off and on, but still the flowers were in bloom and of course us girls thought they were beautiful.  I had a hard time keeping Lainey-lou from picking them.
So all of us girls had to get our picture taken with the pretty flowers.  The boys really didn't care so much about flowers. 

 Pretty Rachel with the daffodils...
 and isn't it amazing how quickly a smile can disappear!?  Rachey wanted a picture all to herself...and Brooklynn just wanted to join in.  Too funny.
 Something they've added since I've been there last is computer screens that let you navigate the inside of the Salt Lake temple.  You can touch different rooms on the screen, such as the Celestial Room, and it brings up a picture of the Celestial room with an explanation of what the room represents.  You can do that with the Baptismal font, the Sealing rooms, the First Presidency Council room, etc.  I really like this and it was great to be able to show the kids a little bit about what we do when Mom and Dad go to the temple.  We all really thought that seeing where the Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve meet together and council in the temple was pretty neat.  Taylor was annoyed with Matthew in this picture...because Matthew just wanted to keep touching all the icons on the screen rather than read and look at the pictures.  So pretty soon after Andy took this picture, Tay just went and got on his own touchscreen...and he went completely through it one picture at a time.  I liked that.

 Here's the gang in front of the temple.  Matthew was being so squirmy!  I thought for sure he was going to fall off that ledge right into the fountain.  I was so surprised when he didn't.
 And so our little tour of Temple Square was done!  It was fun to be there with General Conference weekend coming up, there were busy people everywhere, working in the gardens, and getting all the buildings ready.  You could feel the excitement, and the kids kept saying over and over, "So Mom...the prophet is going to be here on Saturday!"  And I can truly say that that weekend when we made it home from our trip and watched the Saturday sessions, that our kids were much more attentive than they've ever been before.  It was fun to see their eyes light up when they saw the pulpit of the conference center and realize that they were just there.  I think it's a lot like living near Kirtland, Ohio.  Now, just like with the Kirtland Temple...the kids know that the Conference Center and General Conference isn't just a good story, or a place you only see in movies or on TV...it's real.  It's a real place, and they've been there. 


Well, after spending a couple of hours at Temple Square, the kids needed some time to just be kids and play...so we took them to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum, which was just a couple of blocks away.  Our awesome Boonshoft Museum pass from Ohio got us in there free of charge.  Woo hoo!  Love that pass, I'll keep renewing it for as long as I can!

First thing Lainey wanted to do was play with the balls and air tubes.  Hard to describe, but there were hundreds of these plastic balls with a whole bunch of different openings.  The kids could stick them into the opening, and the vacuum would suck them away and blow them out somewhere else.  The kids loved it.  Taylor figured out that with one of the airways that blew the balls out, that if you placed a ball directly in the path of flowing air, that when the next ball shot out of the tube, it would bounce the floating ball out of the way and replace it...so there would always be a ball just floating there.  Such fun...the older kids figured out the science behind it, and the little ones just saw the magic in it.   

 Brooklynn being a helper...as always!  Busy hands!
 The girls really enjoyed this area as well.  There was a full circle of these xylophone things, with music on the music stand.  Each plate was labeled, and so you could read the music and play songs if you had enough people standing around the circle.  The girls and I played Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle, and a couple of others.  This was something they kept coming back to throughout the day.
 Another fun place Brooklynn and I found was the movie and sound effects area.  Here she is drawing a storyboard.  In this area, they had a little stage with stage lights and dress up clothes, and different backgrounds that the kids could pull on and off the stage to make their own plays.  What a fun, creative place!  After Brooklynn was done making her storyboard, she and I went into the sound booths and we recorded our own sound effects to a story.  You hit record and then used boots, bells, crumpled up paper, hinges, etc. to make appropriate sound effects for different stories.  Then you hit play, and you could listen to what you had created.  It was pretty fun!  We did a pirate story. 
 On the next level up was more building and science type activities.  Here they had an entire TV, news anchor set up where the kids could sit behind the news desk and record themselves giving the evening news.  They had teleprompters and everything. 

These blocks that Tay is using were so fun to build with.
 Here's Tay's huge tower...after this block...it crumbled, and made a spectacular crash. 
 Outside on the roof, they had some picnic tables...and a helicopter!  Matthew thought this was SO awesome....at the beginning.  He loved it until the sound effects came on and it started vibrating, then it scared him to death and we couldn't get him to get back into it for a picture.  He is so sweet.  Lainah however...thought all the noise and vibrating was super fun and enjoyed every minute of it. 
 This is as close as we could get Matthew to stand to it after the initial shock of hearing it "start up."  He was really afraid that if he got into it, it would fly away. 
 Brooklynn got out these alphabet foam letter puzzle tiles...and put them together.  Twenty-six spread across the floor.  Only in a children's museum can the kids just spread out and do activities like this.  I love it.  It really made me miss Cleveland's libraries and their children museum!
 Sorry Andy!  What a shot!  This was a magnetic wall where you could design your own pipe system and then put a ping pong ball into the top and watch it go through your design.  Matthew and Lainah thought it was okay for a while...but it was Taylor who stayed here forever!  I think he spent most of his time at this wall designing, and redesigning.
 There's Lainah dropping her ball in!
 Here's on of Tay's designs.  Seeing how much the kids enjoyed this particular activity made me think that we should just bolt up some sheet metal to the side of the garage and then go to home depot and get some plastic plumbing materials...it would keep them entertained for hours!
 Okay...Matthew spent most of his day here at the construction site.  Previous to this picture he was even wearing the orange vest and a hard hat.  He is so hilarious!  He had an entire "crew" of little boys helping him.  One would load the block onto his crane pouch, then they'd tell him "okay, take it up Matthew!"  Then, a boy would be up on top of the platform telling him to "bring it this way" and then that boy would unload it from the pouch and then more boys would get the block and put it where it belonged on whatever they were building.  At one point, Matthew had to go potty but didn't want to leave the crane, so somehow he convinced this older boy (maybe about 7 yrs old) to sit on the crane for him while he ran off to do his business.  What a turkey!  Unfortunately, Matthew ran through the WRONG door.  What he thought to be the bathroom door was the emergency exit, and the second he pushed in the latch, the alarm went off.  He immediately covered his ears and ran to me, terrified!  We apologized to the workers there, who just laughed and said it happens several times a day.  Well, it took me a little while to convince Matthew that it was safe to go to the bathroom.  He was convinced that he really did push on the bathroom door the first time and wouldn't try again because "that bathroom has a scary siren on it!"  When we finally got back to the crane, his faithful friend and "co-worker" was still there keeping it occupied for him.  Too funny.
 Another section that we spent a lot of time at but didn't get pictures of was the water table.  It was huge, and Lainah stayed there for most of her day.  They had cute little waterproof aprons to put on, and she just played and played in the water with buckets, boats, rubber duckies, you name it...

Brooklynn made friends with a little girl and they spent a lot of time together playing in the pretend store.  They were stocking shelves, and using the cash register and making things in the bakery and deli.  It was just a super fun and creative place and the kids all enjoyed it.  Mommy and Daddy enjoyed it too and by the end of the day...
 ...we were all completely exhausted!