July 25, 2009

Growing Pains

Garrett has managed to master some additional skills, and his new found independence makes things a bit more interesting at our home, to say the least.

On more than one occasion, we have had an unintentional tug of war with his spoon, resulting in baby food splatterings on the wall, me, and the floor.

And now that he is walking, he is also climbing stairs, falling off said stairs, climbing to the top bunk bed, climbing on furniture, well...you get the idea.
Here is footage taken on July 3rd of his early stages of walking (he's much more "sure footed" now):

This post authored by Amber

July 23, 2009

Chasing Butterflies

Who knew bug collecting could be such a fun hobby that the whole family could get involved with? Well, my niece, Rachael, for one. She sparked an interest in my boys that was furthered at the family reunion by spending time with the Dunfords, who all happen to be bug enthusiasts. With the acquiring of bug vacuums, butterfly nets, and kill jars, it appeared as though we were set. We were given a tip for a location that was perfect for catching insects (thanks Tilly), and so we took a jaunt to Provo canyon in search of swallowtail butterflies. We easily captured four or five within ten minutes of unloading from the van. This presented a problem, though, as we had no way to display our specimen. On our way home, we had to stop at the Bean Museum to purchase an insect display box and pins. We then spent the evening catching dragonflies to add to the collection. I never realized how much I would enjoy having a freezer full of bugs!

Spencer with his first swallowtail:

Brevin with his first cabbage white:
This post authored by Amber

Thornhill Family Reunion

It's been nearly ten years since we got this whole "clan" together, but from the time we stepped onto Little Creek Ranch in Paragonah, Utah, there was a secure sense of familial familiarity (whew, say that five times fast). Sure, it was nice to have name tags for the sake of remembering first cousins once removed, but were all friends on Facebook, now, so that will make it easier for next time.

Cheryl did a wonderful job orchestrating the details that went into housing, feeding, and entertaining nearly ninety people. We had a variety show (what an incredibly varied and talented group of people!), water balloon launches, horseback riding, playground playing, board games, a melodrama performance to honor my Aunt Fran and Uncle Gary's 50th wedding anniversary, a grab bag, slide show videos, a sock hop, and games and relay races, too. Don't worry. There was ample time to visit and become reacquainted.
Brevin and Spencer loved every minute of it, and they will forever have fond memories of Paragonah...as will Jason and I.

This post authored by Amber

The Rockets Red Glare

For a greater portion of the holiday, I was working to complete a video slide show for our Thornhill family reunion. I did, however, put the project on hold to enjoy a barbecue dinner with family. Greg and Tilly graciously invited us to their home for the meal. We then headed south and threw out our chairs and blankets amid the masses at Fox field to enjoy the fireworks display (enhanced by light of our own glow sticks).

This post authored by Amber

Our Flag Was Still There

Perhaps it's a little worse for wear, but this flag was raised in a somber, reverent manner as "Taps" was played on the trumpet followed by "The Star Spangled Banner." It was an intimate gathering of family members, and we paid tribute to those dear to us who served their country valiantly. I'm not surprised there were so many from my extended family who had served in the armed forces; patriotism runs deep in our veins. Ragged, though it may be, this flag is our present day Title of Liberty. May it forever "wave o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"

This post authored by Amber

Up, Up, and Away!

It has been some time since we've participated in the Freedom Festival's Balloon Launch. I think because it requires such an early waking, it is hard to motivate yourself to commit to the festivity. Once you're there, you are so glad you rolled out of bed, slapped on a hat, and dragged three children along to be fascinated by man's colorful, fanciful attempts at flight.

This post authored by Amber

July 2, 2009

High Five!

Wasn't it only yesterday when I was across the street sitting on Brad and Angie's front porch, timing my contractions while the potatoes I was boiling for dinner burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan? After a less than desirable meal of creamed (and charred) peas and potatoes, Jason and I were convinced by his parents to go to the hospital, and not a moment too soon. When I was situated in my room, I didn't have time for the anesthesia to take effect before it was time to deliver, and a concerned husband was reassured by a sweet nurse that she was capable of delivering the baby if Dr. Woolsey didn't make it to the hospital in time from his home across the street. What a fast and furious delivery!

The past five years have gone by just the same...fast and furious, that is. Wait! That doesn't sound very nice. Consider the years as fast and fabulous. (Now, that sounds better. I wouldn't want anyone to think I have ever been furious during the past five years--although I've had my moments, to be sure!) However, with a flash of his brilliant smile paired with an irresistible charm, Spencer can diffuse the deepest anger or lighten any heavy mood. He's simply a great kid!

The Friend Party

I have decided that five is the age to begin having friend parties, and only every other year. That made this an especially exciting birthday for Spencer. We worked together to pick a theme, make an invite list, and plan games and activities. He wanted an "encore" of his third birthday volcano cake, so we chose the dinosaur theme. That was great because I had the know-how for the cake, the dinosaurs for the decorations, and even some left-over dinosaur plates. Nice and simple.

I used the image from the movie Jurassic Park, and altered it to read Spencer Park for the invitations. It was a nice touch, enhanced by a free font I found online that matched the original text.

The boys made masks, created fossils in plaster of paris (sort of), listened to Jason read the book Dinosaurumpus, had a dinosaur dig in the sandbox, ran a water obstacle course with hard-boiled eggs, and searched for giant dinosaur eggs from which they retrieved their goody bags. And because two of the five invited guests could not come, it was a calm, intimate group, and it was perfect!

Out to Eat

The birthday boy gets to choose where the family will go out to eat for dinner. We prompted Spencer to choose something a little more sophisticated than McDonald's (it is a special occasion, after all) and he settled on Chuck E Cheese's. I didn't care. I didn't have to cook or do dishes. Plus, the boys always get a thrill from burning through twenty-five tokens in five minutes or less. We followed the pizza with a vanilla and chocolate twist ice-cream cone from Macey's.

A Sabbath Birthday

Spencer's actual birthday landed on Sunday this year. That worked out great, because we stretched out the celebrating and it was really manageable. The festivities actually started Friday night with a "Father and Sons" camp out in the backyard. I was not too disappointed that I wasn't invited to sleep in the tent with Brevin, Spencer, and Jason, but I don't think it will improve my status as the lesser favored parent. I did make his breakfast of choice, though: blue pancakes with blue syrup. Whatever.

Cupcakes and frosting had been made in advance for the family party, but Jason and I spent a greater part of our morning cutting mini marshmallows and shaping them into popcorn. It was an idea I got from this darling book.

Steve and Judy were gracious enough to host the family party in their home where we enjoyed gifts, cupcakes, ice-cream, and viewing Spencer's year in review video.

This turned out to be such a fantastic weekend for Spencer. I'm just afraid his birthdays will all be "downhill" from here.

This post authored by Amber

"Oh, They Say When You Marry in June"

It's nice to feel like you're a bride every once in a while. Going on a date to a fancy restaurant sans kids, holding hands as you stroll through the parking lot, getting your picture taken as a couple at the end of the evening; it all had that familiar air of newly-weddedness. Yes, it was a great way to spend an evening (while making a substantial financial contribution to the sushi chef at Happy Sumo). What a lovely 12th anniversary!

This post authored by Amber

July 1, 2009

Playing Favorites

After a shopping trip to Wal-Mart with the boys, I waited with them in the van in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. We had redeemed the final personal pan pizza Brevin had earned through his reading program at school, and I was about to make him split it with Spencer for lunch. When out of the blue, Brevin made this comment, "Mom, we still like you, but not as much as we like Dad."

Please understand, I had, not too long before this declaration of loyalty toward Jason, informed them that they would not be receiving the ice-cream cone from McDonald's I had tried (unsuccessfully) to bribe them with in hopes that they would behave well for me at Wal-Mart. I also informed them that since I was good at the store, I was still going to stop at McDonald's to get said cone for myself...and I wouldn't be sharing!

But even so, I can't say that I blame Brevin for his remarks, nor did they upset me too much. I mean, let's be honest. Jason is pretty amazing!

The pictures for this post were obviously taken on the most recent Father's day. Quite appropriate for the written content, don't you think?

This post authored by Amber