Friday, August 28, 2009

Spring 2009

Okay. So. I have obviously taken a slight break from the blog, but now that the two big kids are back in school and I can be on the computer for longer than five minutes without said big kids begging to check out Webkinz world or Horseland or any other number of child-friendly websites anytime they see the flickering of the monitor, I am back in the game. Seriously. This time it's totally going to happen. Daily...'ll just see what happens. No guarantees other than this will be the best freaking Mormon Mommy blog that Blogger has ever known. I might even enter it in their "Award-Winning-Blog" competition. Obviously, it will need to be in the "Two posts a year or less" category. Maybe I'll even win a free custom layout. A girl can dream.

Lest any of you think that during the ensuing time between posts, nothing happens at the Miller household, this will be your proof:
Foster's first rocket launch:
So he may have had a leeeetle bit of help from his lovely assistant, a.k.a. "Dad", but I was impressed at what they were able to accomplish.
The countdown.
Blast off!

The mad scramble for the rocket that follows any successful launch. (This is what Jon told me anyway.)

The rocket scientists forgot to account for the intense tailwind when they chose the launch site. (A field at Comeaux High School.) As a result of this oversight, the Miller boys got an excellent workout and a earful from the hapless residents whose home was struck by the "missile of death." Furthermore the statement of "It's okay, I'm an engineer" is no longer acceptable in our house.

Another year wraps up at school:

Maya reached and exceeded all of her A.R. goals (at the end of the year, she was reading at a sixth grade level), and got medals for being on the principal's list and honor roll.

Foster also met all of his A.R. goals and received the ever-coveted "Tiger of the Year" award.

Maya and Foster's first swim meet:

I believe Maya is signalling her third place finish in her heat for freestyle. Foster finished first in his heat of backstroke. Don't worry, when it came time for him to compete, we tucked those ears into the cap to cut down on any extra drag.

Getting written on is seriously the highlight of any swim meet for these two.



Mother's Day 2009:

Maya's first art show:

Maya is in the talented and gifted art program. Back in first grade, when her teacher recommended that she apply for this, I had no idea how grueling it would be for her to get in. Seriously. Her teacher was asked to submit some of her work from class, Maya needed to submit an additional portfolio of her past work, and do some other drawings that were requested from the board. She then had to take an art aptitude test administered and judged by professional artists. It seriously felt like she was auditioning to get into an exclusive art institute. In the midst of this, I really questioned if this was a good idea to put a little kid through all of this pressure. I am VERY glad that we did it. (I would probably feel differently if she didn't make it into the program after going through all of this, though.) Every Friday, the gifted and talented art teacher comes to the school and has a class with Maya and two other kids at her school. This is the highlight of Maya's week/life. Every morning, she does the countdown to Friday and art.
Foster does soccer camp:

Over spring break, Foster was able to do this camp. It was 3-4 hours long, all week. He had a great time and was excited to go every morning. It probably helped that he did it with his buddy, Nick. He is starting fall soccer in about a week. We will see if camp paid off. :)

Lots of lunch and play dates with Merrit, Tanya, and McCord:

Ella loves her Merrit time! Merrit started kindergarten this year, and Ella has been sad to not be able to hang with her older cousin!

A trip to see Uncle Gregg in Destin, Florida:
Jon's brother, Gregg, was stationed for training just outside of Destin, Florida. It is not often that we have family a mere six hours from us, so we took the oppurtunity to drive over and see him... and also the beach!

Gregg made an excellent pack mule.

We had a great time burying each other and working on our sand sculpting skills:

Jon as a busty mermaid.

Ella allowed no time for art. It was in the hole, cover with sand, "Get me out!", all within the space of three minutes.

Foster was also not as obliging as he could have been.

Maya as "Muscle-Man," er, "Muscle-Mam." (She would correct us anytime we would slip.)

Ella's entire reaction to the beach was surprising to me. She loves to swim and play in the water, and she is not adverse to getting messy with her moon sand. I thought this would translate well to the beach (especially as the sand in Destin is the same basic constinency as moon sand.) It did not. We walked down the boardwalk and stairs to the beach and as soon as her feet hit the sand, she freaked. If you have ever heard Ella scream, you know what this entails. The most ear-splitting, mind-shattering, high-pitched scream that can be imagined. As we were all loaded up with stuff, none of us were able to carry her, so she had to tough it out. The sand was one thing, the water was another thing entirely. Anytime anyone would get within five feet of the shore, Ella would issue warnings mother-hen-style. She stayed in her little chair pretty much the entire time and called out warnings to all of us. She would occasionally venture a few feet from the chair and turn a couple shovel-fuls of sand and then beat a hasty retreat.

Foster, on the other hand, LOVED the sand. (And it loved him.) He went into the water some, but mostly constructed castles, forts, and looked for sea vermin.

Maya was all about the water. She would go out as far as her over-protective little sister would allow her to.

A picture with Gregg on the base:
We had a great time with Gregg. The only thing missing was his wife, Kayla, and their little kids. We wish that these other Millers could've gone to the beach with us! Gregg has since gone back to his family in Idaho, but we loved seeing and spending time with him!

Foster's Birthday Party:

A stroke of genius on my part: we went to the movie theater for a "movie birthday party." The only way to go with a gaggle of seven year old boys. The guests arrived, played a couple of arcade games, went into the party room for presents and cake, and then into the theater for the movie. This required very little effort on my part (my favorite thing is to expend as little energy as possible whenever possible), and I didn't have to go crazy keeping said boys in check. I sat back and let Dreamworks do all of the work for me. We saw "Monster's vs. Aliens." Not our favorite movie of all time, but still a great answer to a birthday party!

I didn't even have to make a cake. I would've felt guilty if I could make something as cute as this, but as my kids think they are eating gourmet when they have chocolate frosting on their brownies, I let Albertson's make this contribution.

He did pretty well for himself!

Thank you, Blogger, for always uploading picures so crazy and backwards and thwarting my well-laid plans. Maybe I won't post for another six months again, afterall. It is so frustrating...

A trip to the Baton Rouge Zoo:

We have a zoo membership that we purchased at our zoo here in Lafayette. (Broussard, actually for you locals:) This is such a bargain! We pay 60.00 a year and this gets us in to our own zoo and lots of others, too. It also gets us discounted tickets to most aquariums, as well. If you have kids, you should seriously look into a zoo membership. Really. Do it now.

In the petting zoo area, they provide the kids with these brushes to torture and torment the animals (mostly goats) with. Ella was seriously baffled why this goat didn't run out for a grooming session at her hands, despite her oh so persuasive pleadings.

Maya and Foster got into a little bit of a scrap:

You've heard of fighting cocks? Well, no trip to the zoo is complete with out a jaunt over to the "Fighting Tortoise" pen for a quick wager on the winner. Just kidding. No tortoises were harmed in the taking of this picture. (I had to say that for the benefit of any animal rights activists that may have strayed to this blog by mistake.) I have never been so fascinated (in a bad way) by nature. I could not peel my eyes form their yucky necks. Who would've thought that tortoises could be so feisty?

It was a fun zoo that allowed us to get seriously up close and personal with the animals. Maybe a little more than I would really have liked...

Giraffes are cool, but not when there is only a four foot fence separating you from their vicious teeth. Jon actually fed this giraffe those leaves. During this feeding, I was concerned that our life insurance might not cover death by giraffe. I was relieved when Jon was able to walk away, virtually unscathed.

Proof that I do, actually, exist.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lessons from a little girl

I love being a mom and, for the most part, feel like I'm pretty much on top of things. However, whenever I start to feel too prideful, "something" usually follows to strike me down. Lately, "something" = "Ella." Here are some of the lessons learned:

A two-year-old little girl LOVES all things pink, sparkly, messy, and OFF-LIMITS. I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago and, while I am feeling better now, I was pretty much "down" then. Jon was offshore, leaving us land-lubbers to fend for ourselves. Ella had been asking me all day to polish her nails (her phrase). At the time, I wasn't able to bend over, let alone do an intense toddler mani-pedi, so she was made to understand that it wasn't going to happen. I turned a Barbie movie on for her (which usually cements her bottom to the couch) and laid down on my bed. All was quiet, too quiet, and as my little brother Joey taught me much earlier in my life, silent is deadly. About the time that Barbie discovered that she was really a princess that had marooned on a beautiful tropical island with animals that she could speak with, I started to notice that my house had the aroma of an Asian nail salon. I slithered out of bed and followed my nose only to disover this:

Back in the day, the pharmaceutical industry was forced to implement tamper-proof lids on all meds so that little children and arthritic little old ladies wouldn't be able to access any of the medicine inside the bottle. Someone please explain to me WHY the child-proof nail polish lid has not been invented and utilized?

An eternal truth: when you don't want them to fall asleep, they will. And with a smile on their smug little face knowing that they are thereby destroying any hope of being put down for a "real" nap that will enable you to clean up all that they have soiled in the course of the day.

You can buy world peace for a quarter... or at least a peaceful trip to Wal-Mart. I am not above bribing a child with a merry-go-round ride if they are a good shopper. ("Good shopper", of course, means sitting in the front of the cart (with the strap buckled), maintaining proper footwear at all times, remaining fully clothed, leaving the store with hair in roughly the same condition that it was upon entering the store, not eating any of the items placed into the cart, and keeping all noises (verbal and bodily) at an appropriate level.)

She's happy, I'm happy, and the Wal-Mart checkout lady is... well... maybe not exactly happy, but at least not cursing at me inside of her orthodontia-lacking-head for having the gall to bring a CHILD into a STORE, of all places!

Ahem, some lessons bear repeating: Silent is deadly. Of COURSE she's not playing quietly with her dolls and pretend food. She's found the rogue marker, buried in the deepest recesses of the couch, placed by the sofa manufacturer in the hopes that a random two year old will discover this blue wonder and destroy said couch, thus forcing the consumer to purchase more marker-implanted furniture. HaHa, Emerald Home Furniture, co. fat-cat. Jokes on you, er, or all over Ella...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grandma Foster came to visit us over the Mardi Gras break, and we had sooooo much fun having her here! We tried really hard to get her to extend her trip, but I think she needed to go home and recover. It was a really great two weeks that went by way too fast! Here are some of the hightlights:

Foster had his birthday on February 13 and Merrit on the 10th, so a Grandma-hosted birthday trip to Build-A-Bear was in order the night after she came.

Wishing it was her birthday...
I will be really sad when he decides that he is too old for this. He had a great time and loves his new buddy.
Another day, we decided to go to the Lafayette Children's Museum. Despite school being out for the break (Mardi Gras), it wasn't too busy.

My kids love the bubble exhibit and always try to do this:
(Which is actually harder than it me.)

The newscast:

The paramedics: (sorry about the broken ribs, Merrit but you really should've held still.)

The dentist's office:

(How many mouths do you think this giant toothbrush has been in? Despite a rather heartfelt lecture on the importance of NOT putting the t-brush into eachother's mouths, I still think there was a deposit of Ella's saliva on it when we left.)

Bon appetite! (consequently, this is Ella's very favorite meal. She is a total health nut.)

Of course, the zoo was on our agenda. It was a pretty day and I think that G-ma Foster was only on the phone two or three times bragging to all of the people she left behind in Utah about being able to be outside without the threat of hypothermia.
The llamas were VERY friendly:

Proof that fear of viscious animal teeth and saliva skips a generation.

My kids asked if I would get them some "llama food." Grandma's swift and immediate response:

...Anything for her babies.

The "picture tree" at the zoo:

It was so great to have her here...we are planning for the next time!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Team Sports

So, the last few weeks have been quite busy for us. Foster started soccer, and Maya started swim team all within the same week. Between games and three times a week practices, my mom-mobile has been running all over town. I have even had to enroll Jon's junk-mobile to help me divide and conquer the many practices that often occur at the same time.
Here is Foster "assuming the position." He is getting to be a pretty good goalie, but, let's be honest. What makes him fit for this gig is his sheer size. We had to submit his birth certificate to prove that he really is only seven. 5'10" mom + 6'2" dad= a soccer star.
The cheerleaders:
This is where Ella can be found at every single game. Thank goodness for bleachers. They make an excellent jungle gym.

Maya enduring to the end. It was FREEZING this day. (Of course, to all of our "Northern" friends, I realize that this is completely relative.)

Enjoying a post-game beverage.

Their team name is aptly "The Beast."

Here is our swimming girl. I only uploaded one pic of her doing her thing because the picture quality was not good. She has practice three times a week and is LOVING it! We are waiting for a meet that is not on Sunday and she will be ready.