Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our Thankful Tree 2013

We started a new Thanksgiving tradition a few years ago while we lived in Cleveland,  and its one that our whole family seems to look forward to.  Each year, at the beginning of November, I put up a bare tree, and set out a bowl of paper leaves on the bookshelf closeby.  Then, throughout the month, family members can write things that they are thankful for on the leaves and tape them up.  I love watching the tree fill up.  This year, I decided that in addition to taking a picture of it, I would write down what we had put on it.  Here is our 2013 Thankful Tree.  
Lainah with our Thankful Tree

poetry & good books
the beach with my family & shells
the peace I feel when inside the Temple
pens & pencils
prayer & personal revelation
warm socks
air conditioning
quiet mornings
priesthood blessings
good books
washer & dryer
hugs & kisses
good friends that we've gained from ISU to Iona to Cleveland to Boise
family members who show love, concern, & interest in our children
vacations as a family:  McCall, Oregon, & California!
geneology work
temple work
My children:  Taylor, Rachel, Brooklynn, Matthew, Lainah, & Addyson
animals--our pets past & present
Yukon XL
speaking @ firesides
sunsets & long walks
Clearwater Dental & Andy for providing for our family
computers:  keeping in touch with family & friends, learning new things, geneology, & entertainment
modern medicine
my nose
good teachers
Wii Just Dance for exercise!
"Book it!" certificates
good health
my talents & how I've been able to use them
little baby voices & words
fingers & feet
words to read
good grades
postum & warm blankets
crisp fall weather
my house
Andrew Aaron Thuernagle
Sherrie Lorraine Belnap
water for drinking
journals & pictures
my mouth
my room
Mexican restaurants & Super Nachos
family traditions
family game nights

As I'm typing out all of the things we've been thankful for this year...I noticed that "Lainah" comes up pretty frequently.  I should point out that although I know that we are ALL so very thankful that she's a part of our family, and that she has such a wonderfully vibrant and fun personality...that the reason why its up there so much is because she learned to write her own name this year and kept writing her own name and taping it up on the tree.  Too cute. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Explode the Code!

I have been working with Lainah since the beginning of the kids' school year on a preschool book series called "Explode the Code" by Nancy Hall.  I love these books, they are the same ones that Taylor's preschool teacher used, and the same that Matthew's preschool teacher used.  I haven't found any that prepare a child for reading faster or better!  Lainah just completed the first of a 3-book series, and she is amazing!  She knows a handful of letters by sight, she knows their sounds, and she can write each one.  You can say a word and she can tell you which letter it starts with and write if for you.  It's amazing how quickly and efficiently this series can teach letter recognition, sound, and writing skills.

Addyson 17 months Lainah 4 years
I love teaching Lainah, she is so bright, imaginative and fun!  She learns so quickly that she keeps me on my toes, constantly thinking of new things to teach her!  She enjoys doing her schoolwork and is excited for Kindergarten next year.  I will miss her.  Addy will too...Addy has had so much fun throwing colored pencils around, climbing all over the place, and doing anything she can think of to be a part of the preschool fun!

Lainah with her completed preschool book and certificate!

I made this certificate for Lainah when she finished the book.  I told her that when she finished, that Andy and I would take her out to a special dinner.  She was SO excited about that and said, "you mean at a RESTAURANT!?!"  Her eyes got huge and she was all smiles.  I'm excited to take this little one out to dinner, she is a gem.

Lainah's certificate and dinner date with Mom & Dad

You're Just a Grandma

Yesterday night right before bed, I found these two boys in my room yo-yoing.  When I came in, Taylor stopped what he was doing, stood behind me and started pulling a wrestling move on me.  I said, "Hey!  You can't do that to me, it will hurt me!"  Immediately, Matthew said, "Ya Tay, Mom's just a grandma."  Boys.  Tay and I laughed pretty good over that one.  I do love these two so much, they bring such great light-hearted laughter and goofiness into the home that I would miss so much if it wasn't there. 

Matthew 6 years 1st grade

Taylor 13 years 8th grade

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lainah's Preschool Art

I have had the privilege this year to teach my little Lainah in preschool.  Instead of paying a private preschool a lot of money each month, a small group of my friends decided to get together and form our own preschool group.  So we four moms trade off teaching two week segments, twice a week for 2 hours.  We have several field trips scheduled for the school year, including the pumpkin patch (which we did in October), a trip to Clearwater Dental, to the Boise Aquarium, and to the Boise Zoo.  Lainah has thoroughly enjoyed having school with her three friends, Mersadies, Aftyn, and MiKayla.  Lainah is so bright and smart, and creative...she is just amazing!  She is very independent in her work at such a young age, and I'm just so excited for her and am so proud of her.  I know that she'll love Kindergarten next year, she is SO ready for it right now...and I am going to miss having her home with me every day...she has been such a joy to have with me all the time.  She is a bright, bubbly, imaginative, sweet and fun little girl.
Lainah 4 years old with her Indian Corn preschool craft.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brooklynn as J.K. Rowling

Brooklynn at the Living Museum Project, 4th grade, Reagan Elementary School
Brooklynn dressed up as J.K. Rowling last week in order to participate in her school's "Living Museum" project.  Each student had to choose a famous person from the present or past, dress up like them, and then present some interesting facts about their life.  It was really great.  Each student took a pose and stayed still until someone pushed their button "which was a white sticker on their shoulder."  So we parents went around pushing buttons and listening to these famous people come to life and tell us their stories.  Brooklynn did a wonderful job, she looked beautiful, and I was so proud of her!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tom the Turkey goes Royal

Today Matthew turns in his "Disguise the Turkey Project."  Taylor helped him design the disguise for Tom the Turkey.  They decided to make him a member of the Royal Guard.  These two boys crack me up!  Their own personal impressions of members of the Guard were even better...but I didn't get pictures of that.  Happy Monday!!!  Who couldn't have a great week, starting out with a project like this?

Matthew's Disguise the Turkey project 1st Grade

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

East Valley's Got Talent

Every year, East Valley Middle School has a talent show competition/fundraiser to help benefit the school's choirs and bands.  This year, both Taylor and Rachel decided to try out for the show, which is called "East Valley's Got Talent."  This year, nearly 80 students auditioned, and only 10 acts were chosen for the performance night.  Both Rachel and Taylor were chosen!  We were so excited for them!  Taylor did a yo-yo trick routine, which is incredible, truly incredible.  We made a background disc for him using songs like the Pink Panther, and some others that are really upbeat and entertaining.  Rachel and her friend Lauren, performed the song "Sisters" from the movie White Christmas. 

Rachle and Lauren striking their final pose of their routine.
They were SO cute, choreographed their number all by themselves, and chose their coordinating outfits.  I was just so excited and proud of both of my kiddos.  We would have had to be there that night anyway, even if they hadn't made the final 10 because Rachel sings in the choir, and Taylor plays the trombone in the jazz band.
Rachel getting ready to sing another choir song, "Stand Together."

Tay in Jazz Band, his friend Jacob Bledsoe is to his right.
 It was just a fun and exciting evening.  Taylor got to play a solo on his trombone, and Rachel's choir performed some of the songs they sang at their last concert.  Grandma and Grandpa Belnap came over from Rigby to watch, and Uncle Kyle and Aunt Ashleigh and their family came over from Middleton.  Addy, Lainah, Matthew, and Brooklynn were also there to cheer on big brother and sister. 
Tay and Rachey with grandma and grandpa Belnap

Taylor with his award and Rachey after the show.
 Taylor won 2nd runner-up with his yo-yo routine, and Rachey and Lauren were just so cute to watch, and their singing was beautiful!

Taylor shortly after being announced as a winner.  Rachey is smiling and beautiful and excited in the background!
Rachel and Lauren waiting to hear the judges' critique.

Proud parents with these two kiddos.
 I was just so impressed by all of the talent numbers, and so pleased that Tay and Rachey had the courage to try out and then to perform in front of their peers and an auditorium full of parents.  I feel so blessed to have these talented, courageous, brilliant spirits in my home!  I feel overwhelmed as well with the responsibility of keeping up with them, and with teaching them well during the short time that I have with them.  My love for them just brims over...I feel very full of love and gratitude for my family.

Rachey, Mama, and little Addy...who thoroughly enjoyed wiggling throughout the entire show.

Tay and Rachey after the show

Monday, October 28, 2013

Andy's Birthday 2013

Saturday was Andy's birthday and he turned 39!  We had a great weekend, celebrating his special day!  We started out by doing a surprise part down at the dental office with his staff, Lainah, Addy & I...his staff toilet papered his office and got him a cake.  That night, I took Andy out for dinner and shopping to get a few things he had wanted...and then we had a little getaway!  Saturday morning we came home and had lunch with the kids, then went to the Linder Farms corn maze.  The kids did pedal tractor racing, played on the inflatable toys...and we also traversed the maze.  Taylor was our fearless leader and was amazing at following the maze map.  After the corn maze, we came home, changed into our Halloween costumes and went to the ward Halloween Carnival.  Andy was Wreck it Ralph, I was Fix it Felix, Lainah was "Glitch" or Vanellope van schweetz, Addy was Minnie Mouse, Brooklynn was Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter, Rachel was Van Helga the witch, and Taylor was Where's Waldo!  We went and partied for a while then came home to have a yummy blizzard ice cream cake with Andy before heading to bed.  What a full, busy, wonderful birthday weekend!  Happy Birthday Andy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Funny Things Kids Say

I was editing my blog and updating the background pictures and clicked into one of the sidebar gidgets labeled "The Funny Things Kids Say."  I didn't realize that blogger had stored all of my previous entries...I thought that they were replaced each time I added something new.  So tonight while Andy was making fudge, the kids sat around the kitchen while I read aloud about 5 years worth of entries...just little tidbits of funny conversations we've had with the kids.  Here's a sampling...

GROWING UP: According to Brooklynn, "Mommy, do you know what daddy's do when they grow up?" Me: "What?" Brooklynn: "They become Mommy's!" Awesome....

ABOUT TOILETS: Someone in our house plugged the toilet yesterday, but failed to tell me about it. No worries, I saw it before a catastrophe occurred, but I did gather the kids together to explain to them that there wasn't anything wrong or bad or embarrassing about plugging a toilet. (Okay, ya, it's embarrassing...but oh well.) Anyway, I told them that it was just very important that they tell me about it so that I could fix it before yucky stuff flooded the bathroom. So, a few hours later, Brooklynn comes running into the room I was in saying "Help Mommy! The toilet is drowning!" Yep. Plugged again.

ABOUT BOOTS: Yesterday, Brooklynn told me that she didn't want to wear boots anymore. I asked her why, and she told me: "It's because when I wear my boots, it makes my head feel coldness." So, while giggling a little bit, I asked her why she thought that her boots made her head cold, and she said "because they don't do anything but walk around in the snow." Oh my...I love Brooklynn's logic.

COLLEGE FACTS: Today at lunch, the kids were discussing what would happen if they went to college early. Brooklynn: Well, we'd have to have our own cars. Rachel: Ya, but we don't know how to drive because we don't have license plates. Brooklynn: Where do we get license plates from? Taylor: From the store that sells licenses. But they're really expensive. Taylor: But you can go to college without a car. You just have to have a bike or a scooter. Rachel: Ya, but if we go to Cleveland then people will steal our bikes like they did Daddy's. Taylor: Well, that's why we won't go to college in Cleveland. We'll go somewhere else where they don't steal your bikes. Brooklynn: What do you do in college Mom? Taylor: You learn about real science experiments and math. You get to multiply things by the thousands. Rachel: AND...you get to have your own computers. Taylor: Only if you need them. Brooklynn: Well, I don't want to go to college. Everyone: Why not? Brooklynn: Because they don't give you juice and crackers for snack!


ABEM...otherwise known as ABUM: Brooklynn had a field trip today to the grocery store. She was so excited to tell me all about her bus ride there and back. Riding the bus was the coolest part of the whole field trip. Anyway, I asked her who she sat by on the bus, and as she's putting another big spoonful of macaronis into her mouth she says, "Oh...I just sat by ABUM." I still can't get over how funny it sounds coming out her mouth...and yes, I have a vivid image of a "bum" they picked up from the grocery store and let ride home on the preschool bus.

This morning, the first thing that sleepy little Brooklynn said to me as she's rolling out of bed half asleep is, "Mommy, last night I stayed asleep the whole night and kept my shoulders covered because it's not modest to show our shoulders."

ROPE MARKS: Yesterday Brooklynn had gym day at preschool. I asked her what activity they did. She said they played "Zookeeper." I asked her to explain to me how you play zookeeper. This is her explanation: "Well, first you have to have some kids be wild animals, and then they have to run around and you chase them around because that's what a zookeeper does at his job, but we didn't get to use ropes for tying up the animals." Asked her why she thought they weren't allowed to use ropes, and she says "Well Mommy! If we put ropes around their necks it might leave marks!" So, forget the fact that it's just flat out dangerous! A rope would leave marks and we couldn't have that happen!

I DON'T WANT TO BE FOUR: So last night at Taylor's birthday dinner, the kids were talking about a fit that Brooklynn had had earlier in the day. Andy casually said, "three-year olds are allowed to have fits." Okay, my eyes about popped out on this one. Clearly that statement was made by someone who is NOT in care of the children throughout the entire day or that comment would not have been said. Too late though...because the next words out of Brooklynn's mouth were: "On my next birthday, I don't want to turn four, I want to stay three." hmm....smart three-year-old.

SIGNS YOUR CHILD IS DEVELOPING A SENSE OF HUMOR: This morning, Rachel shows me a scratch on her forehead and says, "Mom, do you want to know what happened to my head?" Me: "Yes" Rachel: "Me too."

"PACIFICALLY SPEAKING" Last night at dinner, Taylor asks: "Mom, Dad? Could I ask you a pacific question about something?" Mom: "Sure Taylor, so long as it's not an Atlantic question." Taylor looking a bit confused: "Okay, pacifically, can we watch The Bee Movie?" Mom: "Um, well, Atlantically, I'm not sure. Indianically...maybe. But Pacifically...I think so." Okay, by this time Andy is rolling and I am laughing, but the kids are just staring at us like we're from another planet. I then explain to Taylor that the word he meant to use was "specifically", not "pacifically." Awesome. I love it when they start using new words.

This morning, Brooklynn was letting the blinds up in the living room. Andy and I were in the kitchen, and we hear her call out, "Mom and Dad, I just threw up the blinds!" Andy and I look at each other and burst out laughing. (Sorry if you don't get our humor) I call out, "Brooklynn, are you feeling better now?" (Andy is still laughing) Brooklynn is confused.

Last night, we were all enjoying some cherry pie for dessert when Andy felt something wet and squishy hit his foot and fall to the ground. He looked across the table to Brooklynn, who was suddenly very busy trying to get underneath the table. He asked, "Brooklynn, did you drop a cherry on my foot?" From under the table we hear, "No Daddy! I dropped it onto the floor and your foot got in the way!" (Don't worry, we didn't let her eat it once she retrieved it. YUCK!)

"QUEEN ARMADILLO" So, we let Taylor, Rachey and Brooklynn watch Star Wars, Episode I during their Spring Break. They loved it, and Tay and Rachey have been battling it out with light sabers ever since. Well, Rachey was playing princesses with Brooklynn and she tells Brooklynn... "Okay Brooklynn, now you can be Princess Leia, and I'm going to be Queen Armadillo" (Okay! So I bust up laughing and run out of the room...I couldn't help it. Queen Amidala's hair-do's do sort of resemble an armadillo at times.

I was making Rachel's birthday cake and Brooklynn was helping me. I got out the cooking oil for the cake mix, and went to measure it out and she said, "Wait Mama! Not this....oh...no, that's okay, this one isn't for the toilet." "What?" I ask bewildered yet again. (Sometimes, I just feel so out of it.) "Well Mama, this one is for cakes, and the one in the bathroom is for toilets." I looked at the bottle of vegetable oil, and realized that to a 3 year old, it could very well look like the bottle of lysol (you know, yellow?) "Oh...no Brooklynn, this is NOT for toilets, this is oil for cakes." "Yep! That's right! For cakes, not for toilets!" (Sidenote: I went to the bathroom to make sure the cleaners were still on the very top shelf...and wondered... if she thinks the yellow lysol bottle is for cleaning the toilet, I wonder what she thinks the white bottle with the blue spray is for???)

"Kidney Infection" Tonight at dinner, we had an interesting discussion about kidneys. Andy and I were talking about how my grandpa has been having some trouble with his kidneys, and Rachel asked me, "Mom, have you ever had kidney problems?" Me: "Nope, my kidneys work just fine thankfully." Rachey: "YOU HAVE KIDNEYS?!?" Me: "um, yep, two of them." Taylor: "How can you have two kidneys and not have an infection?" Me extremely confused: "Well, our bodies are supposed to have two functioning kidneys. Kidneys clean the blood." Tay very confused: "Ya, but how do they clean the blood if they cause infections?" Andy smothering laughs. Me still confused but very entertained: "Um...kidneys don't cause infections guys, but sometimes you get infections IN your kidneys." Both Rachey and Tay together: "OH! We thought that there was a germ called "Kidney" and that it gave people infections sometimes." Me laughing now: "Nope. Germs give your kidneys infections, and kidneys are your blood cleaners, they're the good guys." Tay and Rachey: "OH......" Ahhh....another mystery solved...what will be next?

We were visiting with friends last night, and our friend Jennifer asked, "Brooklynn, how old are you?" Brooklynn said, "Um, I'm three." Jennifer then asked, "When are you going to turn four?" Brooklynn looked up at her and said, "On my birthday!"

Today Brooklynn (3 yrs) was drawing a picture with her markers while I fixed dinner, and she said "oh, Mommy. My drawing is ridiculment." I asked her what "ridiculment" means, and she said, "it means that my drawing is not doing what I want." I told her, "but honey, you're doing a great job!" and she said "no mommy, when a drawing has ridiculment, you just have to start over." And she turned the paper over and started drawing on the back--problem solved.

Rachey came home from school yesterday wearing a blue NASA sticker. Andy asked her why she had a NASA sticker on, and she said "Well, I don't know. It's just a word that people use in space."

"So RACHEY, what did you learn about in school today?" "Well, I learned about a guy named Paul Remere!" "Really, Paul Remere? Who's he?" "Mom, (said with exasperation) he's the guy who rode all over the place telling people that the British were going to come over." (me trying desperately to NOT laugh) "oh, ya, that Paul Revere guy was pretty awesome huh!" "Yep, he sure is!"

TAYLOR: "Mommy, do you think we'll ever be in another canine?" Mommy: "A what?!?" Tay: "A canine, you know when there's no food?" Mommy: (suppressing an outbreak of giggles) "oh, you mean a famine? Hmm...I'm not sure." Later that night Andy and I laugh and laugh and laugh. I love it.

"Mommy, I have a headache." "Really? Where is your headache?" "In my tummy, I think I need some pop." (BROOKLYNN)

"Chocolate milk doesn't come from chocolate cows. It comes from cows who've been in the mud." RACHEL

When asked if he was warm enough TAYLOR responds: "Yep Mom! I'm as warm as a polar bear hibernating."