Sorry I haven't posted in so long -- it's been a busy month! Hopefully Sammy's kept you all entertained and informed in the mean time. Beware, this is going to be a loooooooooong post. Let's see, what's the biggest news? Dan has finished his website and book one in his Mutant Ranch series is now available for free download. He's worked so hard on it and has really done an amazing job. I can't wait to see what kind of feedback he gets from it. If you haven't seen it yet, it's www.mutantranch.com -- make sure you check it out!
Sammy graduated from preschool! He was so excited to show us where he's been going to preschool and show off some of the things he's learned. The kids all sang songs, and Sammy's individual part was singing Hey Diddle Diddle. He did such a great job, as you can see here:
Now there's just a loooooooong summer stretched out before him until he can start kindergarten! He's so very excited. Sammy's also been doing soccer, and has been much braver this year. He has gotten some good kicks in, and when he falls down he jumps right back up instead of bursting into tears and running off the field. His favorite things to do, though, are definitely painting and blogging on the computer (but I'm sure you had an idea of that if you've visited our blog before).
Josh is getting very interested in letters. He tries to identify them everywhere I go, and is getting more of them right every day. He was very excited yesterday when we were down in Provo and he saw the big Y up on the mountain. Josh is such an individual -- he has to do things his own way -- but he's also so loving and sweet. He went with me on a Mommy-Joshy date yesterday to run some errands, and he just kept up a constant stream of chatter the entire time, informing me that he saw a guy sitting on a roof, some cows eating stuff, that it was "raining dogs and cats," and that he was going to get 3 dogs, 3 cats, and 4 horses.
Eliza is growing by leaps and bounds these days! This past Monday she started cruising, as you can see here:
She is no longer content to stay in one place -- she crawls and she cruises all over the house. She even started climbing up the stairs to follow me while I was vacuuming. She only got up one step before I scooped her up, but she was quite determined. As a result of all this exploring she has bruises all over her forehead, but she seems to be holding together alright. She pitched herself out of the stroller (which her mother had stupidly not buckled her into -- sheesh, send that lady back to mommy school) and landed face-first on the Costco parking lot, giving herself a huge goose-egg on the forehead, a couple of little scrapes, and cutting her gums, but thankfully she didn't have a concussion. She babbles all the time, especially when she's mad, and even says "DADA!" quite emphatically, definitely meaning her Daddy. She's definitely figured out that Daddy and her brothers exist to entertain and adore her, and she's not shy about making her demands known. She has the sweetest toothy grin, and just gets to be more and more fun every day.
Last Saturday we had the pleasure of joining my parents, Uncle Terry, and Emily on the maiden voyage of the new pontoon boat! It was a blast, and I can foresee many happy hours of fishing and cruising around and Bapa's Party Boat. Even the boys got a chance to drive the boat, which they loved. (Sammy was grinning from ear to ear, yelling "I'm so going to blog about this!")
Then on Monday Nana invited all the grandkids over for Nana's Cooking Camp, where they made a menu and shopping list, then went to lunch and shopping for ingredients (all 5 little people pushing little carts down the aisles of Smith's Marketplace -- that Nana is a brave woman!), then made dinner for all the Mommies and Daddies. Oh, and they also decorated aprons. The kids had such a wonderful time and felt so special and grown-up. You can see lots more pictures in my mom's Facebook album.
On Friday Nana and I took the kiddos to the Discovery Gateway, which is always a big hit. This time around Eliza even got to get out and play. They have an area that is perfect for tiny tots and it was much less crowded and crazy than usual, and Eliza had a blast crawling around exploring. Sammy and Josh got to go to a class about plants and got to plant flower seeds to bring home, and later Sammy did a found-objects-mosaic class. Joshy wasn't much interested in that, but we had a great time playing with blocks and magnetic gears and all sorts of other goodies while Nana went to the art class with Sam. Man, I love that place! So much better than having them sitting around watching cartoons.
All this month, Dan and I have been doing a lowest-net-calorie contest with my brother Dan and his wife Carrie and my sister Emily. Dan P. worked up a nifty Excel spreadsheet that helps you figure out and track how many calories you burn from exercise and various life activities, and the five of us worked really hard all month to eat right and exercise. Since Dan and Carrie were leaving yesterday for California, we decided to end the contest Friday night at midnight and have our celebration on Saturday night -- the losers of the contest had to buy dinner for the winners (and pay for the babysitter, so this was bigtime). The suspense was driving us all crazy, because none of us had any idea if we were 50,000 calories ahead or behind or if we were neck and neck. But, drum roll please -- Dan and I won! Yippee! Not by too much, though -- this was a fierce competition. And really, we all won. Between the 5 of us we lost 60 lbs! The contest was such a good motivation to get back into the habit of tracking my calories, which is the best method I've found for myself for losing weight. I've been having great fun digging out my skinny clothes! Dan is looking really great, and he's discovered a hidden talent for running. Friday night he ran 10 miles straight! He really enjoys pushing himself to accomplish new things, and I'm so proud of him.
Sunday, since Mom and Dad and Dan and Carrie were all gone to San Diego (sniff!), we had Emily and Amy and Chad and Esther over to our house for Sunday dinner, which was great fun. I just love hanging out with family. Who'd have ever thunk, when we were teenagers and at each other's throats, that we'd grow up to be the bestest of friends?
Whew, you made it to the end! As you can see, there's never a dull moment in these parts. If you'd like to see more pictures, you can see them here in my Facebook album. We're counting down the days now until we leave for our big trip to Washington -- the kids and I will be staying at Grandma and Grandpa Hill's house for 3 1/2 weeks! Onlyl 10 days left til we leave -- should be tons of fun!