Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dinner out


We went to dinner a couple of weeks ago at a resteraunt that we had never been to before. I don't even remember the name of it anymore. It turned out that they were having a special night with face painting, games and balloons. We were the first people there and it turned out great. The kids didn't have to wait in line for anything and we would relax and eat while watching them be entertained. It started to get busy right before we left.

Water area at Sea World

Trip to Sea World

I had heard it was going to be raining for the next week or so, so I decided to go to Sea World before it started. Brayden. Brookelyn, Sasha and I spent several hours down there last Wednesday and had a lot of fun. We saw the Sea Lion and Otter Show, which was fun. Brayden and Brookleyn liked watching it, but Sasha really only lasted the entire show becuase I had a bunch of snacks to keep her busy. She ate all of our strawberries, cheese and crackers while we watched the show. She did watch a little of it and liked it. We saw the horses, played in the kids play area, ate lunch, saw the show, went through the shark exhibit, and then went back to the kids play area. It turned out to be beautiful in San Diego and the kids had a great time playing in the water area. I hadn't brought swim suits because I didn't think it would be nice enough. I didn't think they would want to get their clothes wet, but all three ran right into the sprinkler. I let them play in their underwear for a while. I usually wouldn't, but there were hardly any people around, probably becuase it wasn't supposed to be a nice day. Sasha wore a pair of Brookelyn's underwear, which she loved. It turned out to be a really nice day.

UCLA and Tet

We went up to UCLA with a few parents of the Los Angelos Chapter of Families With Children From Vietnam. I have gone up to most of their gatherings, they seem to always get a good turnout of people, which is great. Ray has been out of town for most of them, but was here this time so we all drove up. We got to UCLA and were able to see some of the show. My girls LOVED the traditional dancing. Both of them ran out into the aisle and started dancing, though Brookleyn told me she was sad that she didn't have a beautiful dress on like the girls who were dancing. Unfortunately, there were a lot of skits put on by the college kids and they didn't hold the kids attention. Sasha, who doesn't usually talk much, chose that time to start babbling. Then she started running up and down the aisle, so we had to leave. I had wanted to stay to see more of the traditional dancing and the dragon, but it was already past 9:00 pm and we couldn't wait any longer. I had planned on bringing the kids up to Fountain Valley today for lunch to see if we could find a parade or show, but I heard it is going to be packed and I don't want to do it on my own with three little ones. Pictures are of us on campus and at dinner nearby.

Still Busy

I made a decision to slow down on most of my outside volunteering things for a little while and really focus on my kids. I always feel pulled to help out with others less fortunate, but I do want to spend more time just being with my kids. I am still head of our school's PTA, am in charge of running our jog-a-thon, and just signed up to be the team mom for Brayden's teeball team, but those are all connected with my kids and/or their school. I am also finishing up on a project I started a few weeks ago. I have been part of the local MOMS Club in my area since Brayden was a baby. I have met a lot of great women (fellow moms) that way. I haven't gotten that involved besides getting together at local parks with our kids or things like that. A few months ago I volunteered to be in charge of planning guest speakers for the group. I decided to plan a Preschool Information Night. I called 20 local preschools and asked them to come share information with parents one evening in a room of our public library. I then got ahold of all of our local MOMS Clubs, MOPS groups, meet up groups, local papers and magazines to tell them about the event. Once I saw how many preschools were coming I worked really hard to get the word out about the event to as many parents as I could. It went from being an informative night for a couple of MOMS Clubs into a big event. I have had several preschools, a children's store, and a local magazine call me trying to be included in the event. It will be a lot like a college night where parents go from one table to the next and gather information about the preschools they are interested in. It will be held in a really big room, but I really have no idea how many parents will be there. I hope there will be a lot, but you never know. Of course, the preschool/elementary school my kids attend will be there.
Brayden got sick again. Thursday morning he woke up and said his legs hurt too much to get up. He had a high fever and had it for two days. He and I stayed home and layed on the couch for the next couple of days. Evenings were a a little tricky because I was trying to keep him away from the girls so they wouldn't catch it. He was really miserable for a couple of days and said his whole body hurt. He hates taking medicine, even though he knows he feels better afterwards. I needed to keep giving it to him though, because he was miserable without it. He started feeling better Friday afternoon and so far the girls don't seem to have caught it.
Ray went out of town on a ski trip. He left Friday and is coming back Monday night. He goes on one or two ski trips and one or two golf trips with high school friends every year. I don't mind his going, but it isn't good timing this trip. I have tried to get as much sleep as I can at night since it is just me. I have also had the cough that everyone seems to have that won't go away. So this weekend I have tried to go to bed soon after the kids go to bed so I won't be exhausted. I usually stay up really late cleaning and doing paperwork, so the house is kind of messy and paperwork seems to be everywhere.
I signed Brayden up for basketball and baseball. The basketball is just through our local recreation center and will only be every Friday evening for seven weeks. It looks like it will be run by volunteers and will be organized chaos. Brayden has been dribbling since before he turned two and likes to make baskets in the little on we have at home, so that should be fun. I signed him up for baseball (little league) because it is real beginning baseball. He was on a team last year through the rec center and didn't want to play after a couple of times. He could tell it wasn't real baseball, it was just a bunch of little kids running around. I know Little League is more organized and the kids actually learn how to play. I signed up to be the team mom, but had no idea how much was involved. I was team mom for Colton's baseball team years ago and it definitely wasn't this time consuming. I'm sure it will be fun though. The hard thing will be watching the practices and games while watching Sasha and Brookelyn.
I had signed up to go to a snow day on Saturday. A ton of snow is brought to a nearby park every year and people buy tickets to go sledding. It was supposed to be cancelled if it rained, which it did. I was actually very happy to see the rain because I wasn't really excited to get out all of the kids snow gear and bring them. Well, I found out they were holding it anyway, so we went. Brayden was fine and all of the kids needed to get out of the house. I couldn't have done it without Colton, who didn't want to go either. It stopped raining right before we left and I figured we would stay until it started raining again. I picked up two of my nieces and we went to the park. It actually turned out to be a nice day and the kids had fun. Sasha and Brookelyn loved the snow. There was an area where little kids could play and they loved it. Colton showed them how to pick up snow and throw it at people and they had fun doing that. We went sledding, ate lunch, played in the snow and then waited in line for balloons. The litle girls couldn't go sledding so I stayed with them in the snow area while Brayden went sledding with Colton and their cousins. The balloon line was really long, but the guy who made them did an amazing job. Watching him make them was pretty entertaining. We were exhausted when we got home. Since we had been gone during the regular nap times, all of the kids took late naps. Which is never good. Yesterday was no exception. Brookelyn never fell asleep and was actually really happy, which was great. Sasha and Brayden both were reallllllly cranky when they woke up and stayed that way for a couple of hours. I put them in the tub earlier than usual and that got them out of their bad moods. Sasha and Brookelyn went to bed and then Brayden, Colton and I watched 'Cars' for movie night. Every Saturday night Brayden and I watch a movie together. I tried to stay up and watch tv with Colton after Brayden went to bed but I fell asleep within minutes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Busy Month

My life has been so busy this last couple of weeks! Brookelyn caught the flu and she and spent one night sleeping on the floor next to a bucket. She threw up again and again for a few hours and then seemed okay the next day. She was tired, but seemed fine otherwise. Then that evening she threw up again. Two nights later, Brayden started throwing up, so he and I spent that night on the floor by a bucket. It was again hours of throwing up again. Poor kids. He was wiped out the next day and threw up that night. I was really hoping neither Sasha nor Dakota would get it. Sasha is so little and Dakota was heading back to college. Luckily, neither got sick. I was shocked that I didn't catch it. I didn't go to work for several days since I was home with sick kids, so I spent the next week working every day. I got one of those colds that hang on and on and have spent the last several days with no voice or an extremely deep on.
A month or so ago I volunteered at a homeless shelter. While I was there I signed up to come again and bring food and several other volunteers. It should have been pretty easy, because I had a lot of people who volunteered to help. Suddenly, a couple of days in advance, people started cancelling. At first, that was fine too, since I had thought that may happen and had asked more people than I had needed just in case. Unfortunately, a couple hours before we were supposed to be there I found out that one woman who had said she and four friends would be coming and bringing food had changed plans and it would only be her coming and she wouldn't be bringing food. Luckily, I found three people to come with me (one was my 11 year old niece) and my sister, mom and I each made big pans of food. I had a lot of people donate supplies like toilet paper, soap, shampoo, blankets...which was great. I am sure I will volunteer there again, but I think I will wait a few months. I have too many things going on right now.
I am in the local MOMS Club and volunteered to be in charge of booking guest speakers. I decided to ask local preschools to come share info about their school. It is a free service for parents so to save them time calling and visiting schools. Now they can have all the information about the schools before they schedule a tour. I spent the last couple of weeks calling and emailing preschools, getting the info to local newspapers and other media, inviting other MOMS Clubs, MOPS Groups, meet up the area. I scheduled 17 preschools so I really need to make sure we get a lot of traffic. Otherwise it will be a waste of time. It went from being a little thing into a huge ordeal. I have had preschools emailing me and calling me to get into the event. It's free advertising for them. We also had a family magazine that is published locally call me so they can be part of it. I guess I got the word out, which is great. Now, unless it rains, it should be a great event.
Another thing which has taken a lot of my time is an article that is being done about the jog-a-thons my school does. We have donated all of the money (almost $60,000) we have raised for causes that benefit women and children around the world. I had called and emailed local papers and magazines for the last couple of years trying to get publicity for the kids about it, but really haven't had much luck. This fall I decided to start calling and emailing editors until someone covered it. So someone called me to interview me one morning this week. Unfortunately, I had taken some cold medicine so I was a little loopy. I hope my answers made sense. The magazine put it on their website and are publishing the article next month. YEAH! The kids at the school will be really excited. After she interviewed me she asked me for a copy of a "How To Run a Jog-a-thon Manual," that I had written so she could put that with the article. I spent the next day gathering photos of the jog-a-thon and updating the manual so I could get it all to her.
So I have had a lot going on lately. This Tuesday I am hosting a knitting/crocheting night so I can donate scarves to local shelters. That won't be hard, since I am determined to keep it easy with simple food and drinks. After that I will have the Preschool Information Night at a room in our local library. And then I am going to take a lot of time before I take on anything new. Really.

All of my kids

More portraits

New Portraits

I finally got all of my kids in a professional portrait studio. It was a little crazy getting them all fed, dressed, at the studio and willing to get their pictures taken. Sasha warms up to new people slowly, so she wasn't into sitting down and smiling until we were ready to leave. Brayden wouldn't put on nice clothes, but once he was there loved being in the pictures. Colton had forgotton about the appointment and when we got ahold of him to see where he was, his car battery was dead. He found someone to jump it and made it just in time. Dakota had never had her senior pictures taken. She asked me if she could draw a picture of herself for her yearbook. At first I said no, and then I thought about it and realized it should be her decision since it was her yearbook. The picture she drew was really good and looked just like her. But since I didn't have a deadline to get her pictures done, we didn't get around to doing it. So she went first and got hers done. She did it as a favor to me since she didn't see a need to have them. I hadn't taken Sasha's 18 month pictures (she is twenty months now) so she had hers taken. I hadn't had Brookelyn's 3 year old pictures taken either, so she had hers taken. They took a few of Brayden also, which he loved. I will probably bring him back when I get Sasha's 2 year old ones done. Anyway, it was a lot. And it was a hot, hot day. We were there for a long time since once they were taken I had to look through them all and order the ones I wanted. I think they turned out okay, not great, but okay. I probably shouldn't have ordered so many since they werent great. But getting there is a hassle. Next time I will only do one of two at a time.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Art Project and Brookelyn's Big Girl Bed

Art Project

Art Project

Art Project With Brayden and Brookelyn

We did a fun art project the other day. Dakota and I bought two really big canvases and a bunch of acrylic paint. We asked Brookelyn and Brayden what colors of paint they wanted on their canvases and where they wanted the paint. From there we just sat and watched them work. It was a little hard for me not to point out empty areas or to give them any instructions about how to do it. They didn't ask for any help, they just went to it. Brookelyn used a paintbrush and her hands and covered most of the area before she said she was finished. Brayden spent a lot of time mixing colors. He took longer to do his piece. It was interesting to watch him because he did some of the mixing of colors on his hand and then would dip the paintbrush onto the paint on his hand and use it. I am glad Dakota was there or I may have asked him if he wanted to work a little longer on his. I am glad that I stayed out of it and let them do what they wanted to do. The only thing we did do was help them each put their handprints on the bottom left of each of their paintings. They were dry in a couple of hours and we put them up in their rooms. Both of them are very happy to have their work on their walls.