Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Surprise!

This morning at preschool Jed hid under the couch to surprise his friends. The first one was surprised and then she hid under the couch, too. Together they surprised the next one, and so on until I had four little giggling turtle noggins popping out from under my couch! We all had to do several rounds of "Surprise!" until they were ready to come to circle time, and even then I had to bribe them with ring around the rosy.

After circle time we did a flannel board of the Thanksgiving story and talked about American foods. We played Hot Potato with a sweet potato (interestingly, I let each of the kids hold and toss a sweet potato and that was the biggest hit of the day.) Then we rolled out our own individual pie crusts and made sweet potato pie-lettes in ramekins. We traced our hands and feet to make handprint turkeys while we sang turkey songs. Then I told Pres. Monson's story about the lean Thanksgiving from the last conference (complete with stuffed rabbit visuals) and we read a silly turkey book. I had a great time. I think I enjoy hosting preschool as much as the kids do participating!

Preschool is over for the fall, and we will miss it. Jed learns a lot from more structured activities with the other kids, and he looks forward to it every week! He has improved at listening and participating though it is still hard for him some days. I'm not too worried, he's just growing into it and preschool is good practice for him.

Here is a photo of Jed at the Preschool Halloween Party with his friend Thomas.
(See the side-wards eye glance? Yep, Granny Z knows that look. Every picture I ever drew as a kid had the character with eyes glancing to the side, and now it is so funny to see Jed look at things out of the corner of his eyes all the time.)

We were late so we missed the group photo, but here is a shot of all the other kids gathered together, along with a few miscellaneous little siblings thrown in for fun. :) Cute little group of kids, and all very well behaved.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Halloween

Our ward holds a Halloween party nearly every year up at a ranch just out of town. Everything about it is perfect -- brilliantly-colored leaves rustling in the trees, warm sun against a cool blue sky, friends gathered around a crackling fire, a chili cook-off in the barn, children playing in the leaves and decorating cupcakes, everyone roasting hot dogs and giggling at our costumes, kids shouting from a tractor-pulled hayride around the farm. It is a real midwestern harvest festival and I look forward to it so much every year.

As is customary we didn't end up with a single photo of our whole family (Seriously, someday my children will look back and think I was a single mother!) But I did dig up this cute photo of the kids and me with our good friends the Rosens.


Michael and I dressed up as the nerd couple, and we were quite the sight if I do say so myself. Also, that costume was FAR too easy to assemble. Nerdy clothes? Right here in our closets! Ugly makeup? I've got plenty. Super-nerd books to put in my bag? Which edition of Plato should I choose?! Side ponytail? Are you kidding I had one my whole childhood! And an actual conversation:

Me: OK, I've got the gum massager to put in my pocket. Dang it, I don't know what happened to my pocket Constitution, it would be perfect! It's got to be around here somewhere.... (scrounges in kitchen drawer, where obviously one would keep a pocket Constitution.)

Michael: (Comes out of office waving small book in the air) Oh, no worries, here you can borrow mine.

That's right folks, we BOTH have them, and right at hand in case of emergency.

Also, in the photo you can see Jed dressed up in his Stripling Warrior CTR costume that Granny Zo'An made him. There is a cool leopard print cape on the back of the breastplate, but you can't really see it in this shot. Beneath the costume you can glimpse his Zombie shirt.

And here, of course, the final glory. The little princess dressed up in a fluffy little wisp of an outfit, with gauze and ribbons and bows aplenty. She has the cutest billowy skirt on but you can't quite see it here. Also, a sweet crown with bows down the back that here has been converted to a necklace. I confess some bias, but she really was the darlingest Halloween princess in town.

Monday, November 8, 2010

White Chicken Chili

The prize-winning crockpot wonder,
courtesy of Jan, Emily, and Penny Stanfill.

White Chicken Chili
In crockpot, combine:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 can chunk chicken (drained)
The following cans not drained:
1 can corn
1 can garbanzo beans
1-2 cans great northern beans
3/4 bottle salsa verde (mild or medium)
1-2 cans diced green chilies
15-16 oz can of hominy
Taste it. If it's not spicy enough, dice up 1/2 a white onion.
If you want it more soupy, add more broth.
Have it summer in your crockpot for about 3-5 hours.
Serve with:
fresh squeezed lime
diced avacado
chopped cilantro
cheese
sour cream

Jed's Best Day Ever

A backhoe in the backyard! Trucks and trailers and all sorts of "shamines!" Pipes and hoses and dirt-piles galore! It's Jed's best day ever!

Unfortunately, the cause of all this excitement is the recent collapse of our septic tank, which wasn't exactly Dad's Best Day Ever, but we've been blessed to find a very inexpensive deal on a new one. But our poor beautiful lawn!
Earlier this morning, Jed begged for me to open the window so he could sing the Bob the Builder theme song for the men digging a hole. The man was nice enough to conduct a (prolonged) conversation with Jed about men named Bob who build (the installer happens to have a friend named Bob), favorite Bob videos (he has a son Jed's age), and how many "shamines" Jed has ("I only have one shamine, it is a backhoe." The man replied "Well, we only have one too, but it's a big one." Jed glowed.)
video

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Preschool

This fall, a bunch of friends and I started a co-op preschool for our five little ones who are all about the same age. We meet Wednesday mornings for two hours. Each mom does it two weeks in a row. We are only doing 11 weeks this fall, so we don't encroach on the holiday frenzy.

Last year, Jed wasn't much of a socialite. At playgroup, which we attended weekly for more than two years, he still would sit on my lap and stare silently at the other children for at least an hour. Then if most of the people left he would climb down and go play by himself. But this year, things have changed.

Typically, when I show up at preschool, he runs shouting up to the door and politely lets himself in with a bang. Then he disappears. I guess he won't miss me, so I leave. Zoe and I usually go exercise, and if we are close enough to home I go practice the piano for 45 minutes or so (wahoo! So fun!) When I pull back up to whomever's house to pick him up, Jed comes flying out the door and down the sidewalk.

"MOM! Go back! I TOLD you I wanted a LONG ONE."

Hi Jed, did you have fun at preschool today?

"NO, MOM." He begins to bodily shove me back in the car. "I TOLD you GO AWAY because I want a LONG ONE!"

Preschool is just never long enough for Jed!
I walk inside. I ask the Mom how it was today. Great, of course.

So, how did Jed do?

Well, he didn't do circle time. He decided he'd rather sit on the couch and read a book. No amount of coaxing would convince him. Then when she started to sing the good morning song, he looked up from his book and announced, "No, you're singing it wrong."

"Jed, do you want to come over and do it with us?"

"No, I don't think so, not really. I just really want to sit here and read my book."

But he graciously sang from the couch the proper way to do it, then went back to his reading. The children and teacher started over. When they finished, without glancing up from his book, my charming child announced, "Yep, that was right."

And that's about how every week goes. He only somewhat participates in the activities, but he is full of commentary and orders. He won't do the activities in their proper order. Nothing on his face, no girly stuff, no tracing of body parts. He goes over and around but not under or through. At least they report he eats treats with enthusiasm (he is my child.)

Nursery is about the same. He never bites, he never shouts, he never is mean or outright disobedient. He's no trouble, but he refuses to follow any orders whatsoever. My little man has an opinion, and very little will change his stubborn mind. Whenever I peek into nursery, all the other children are happily drawing or playing a cute little game, and there's my son in the corner, one of the nursery workers reading him a book. When he comes to music time, he insists upon sitting in a BIG chair, not a little chair with the rest of the cheerful obedient children, and when the time comes to go back to nursery, he refuses to go. He's suctioned cupped his backside to that chair, he's staying to see mom's lesson, because he helped with it this morning and he knows it is coming. Where do I draw the line? He's perfectly behaved, but at the same time such a stubborn old man.

Meanwhile, back at preschool, when the kids are running around in a little herd, playing and laughing, the other mothers snicker as my son shouts orders:

"You! I am the dad and you are my sweetheart. And you are my friend and you are the bachelor."

He commands everyone into the playhouse. Jed organizes the house and gives everyone their orders.. He grabs a shovel and a stick and holds them high.

"Now let's get it done and save the day!"

He leads the charge down the slide.

That's my boy.

Loverboy

Jed has become quite the loverboy. He takes after his dad. At social occasions, one lucky girl is chosen as his one and only. He holds her hand and rests his head on her shoulder. He calls her darling and sweetheart and leads her everywhere (whether she is willing or not.) He brings her cookies and goodies and tells her how wonderful she is. He gazes adoringly. It's quite disconcerting. The mother of his female friend is always very charmed that they are such a pair, and deep in my heart I know that my son is a fickle freddie, he has a new girl every day. When he turns 16 I know this will horrify me, but in the meantime he's such a little darling.

video

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

Also, in food news:

I won the annual ward Halloween Chili Cook-off! Since my mother in law is off touring in distant lands, I figured I'd go ahead and sneak into her email and send myself the recipe that Emily got from Penny and sent to Jan. I was right, it's a winner! Thanks, Stanfill Women, for making me look an awesome cook. I've got the ward buffaloed. Um, hope you weren't planning on entering it next year, Jan.

(Oh, you say you want photos of Halloween costumes and tales of children's antics and such. Boring! You'll just have to wait. I'm much too busy glorying my personal successes).

(Also, it's Michael's fault. The photos are on his camera.)

(PS. They were cute.)

Food Blog?

I'm so glad I paid extra for the fresh fancy-shmancy grass-fed hand-massaged cow meat, since this is how our hamburgers turned out tonight:
Yum! Egg-shaped charred rocks with raw centers--my favorite! Michael cursed them as "turd-balls" and swore with an oath that we shall purchase a new grill... TOMORROW! Meanwhile, I tossed em in the micro and gobbled them down, we Dowdles aren't fazed by a bit of charcoal. Once you gnawed through the exterior they were quite tasty.

This is why I don't have a food blog.