Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 3 and done

Good thing there were only three days of school this week, I was struggling with things to come up with for "fun" Christmas lunches.  Today.....probably pretty lame.  But, at least I attempted.  My most brilliant idea was to put in in the stocking.  I also included more jokes.  My favorite, "What goes oh, oh, oh?  Santa walking backwards." HA! One more, "what goes Ho, Ho Whoosh! Ho, Ho Whoosh?  Santa stuck in a revolving door."  Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

School Christmas lunch day 2

Easy enough with the Christmas bags.  We are calling it the "Funny Lunch" because I snuck some fun jokes to read while they eat.  Smiles always make lunch more fun.

Monday, December 19, 2016

School Christmas Lunch 1

This week for school is only 3 days, so I only have so many times to give them fun things for their lunches.  Today was snowman themed.  Melted water bottle snowman, pop corn snow flakes, carrot noses, snowman shaped sandwich, and a snowman wrapped candy.  I love having fun with my kids and I hope it gives them a small smile today.

So many fun things to remember

 More advent fun!!!  Watching Prep and Landing, the movie.  
 Red and Green dinner.  
 This next activity was a new one for us, but so much fun!!!  Definitely adding it to the routine next year.  A Christmas Dinner Treasure Hunt.  Peter and I came up with a secret code.  Then I wrote the messages to each family member of what they were in charge of.  I was in charge of the main dish.  Each of them had to take a silly picture at the store, plus find a part of our meal.  One funny thing that should be remembered: when Caleb was "breaking" one of the coded messages it was not making any sense.  I was really worried that I had screwed up somehow.  After about a minute Caleb looked at it again and exclaimed, "I have it upside down!"  HA!  William's picture was with something soft.  Rob and William were in charge of choosing a side dish, they chose buttered popcorn.
 Peter and Haley were given the job of selecting a desert.  They chose M&M cookies, and they were a big hit at the dinner.  Their photo was in front of some pretty flowers.  Something they both love.  Haley loves to look at them, Peter loves to dissect them.
 Caleb's photo was to be something silly.  Here, he is showing how he really feels about seafood.  Caleb was in charge of finding a drink for dinner plus another side.  He chose chocolate milk (it was gone in a flash!) and Pringles chips.
 They were also supposed to take a silly group photo.  I love this one!  Such cool kids!
 While I was getting everything together, they had one more code to discover and a treasure to find.
Such a fun time as a family!!!  

Christmas Cheer and Smart Kids

Continuing with the advent activities....
 We had a service day.  Some of the kids were really not excited about this one.  So, I got some cookies and frosting ready to make it more fun.  We decorated the cookies, ate some for ourselves, and delivered the rest to friends.  Peter had a lot of fun with the sprinkles.
 Caleb's creations were great.
 Smart kids are terrific!!!  Caleb's school and teachers recognized him with a very special award this last quarter.  It is called Lion of the Quarter.  As we listened to the teacher describe what it is, Caleb is doing great!  It is an award that can only be earned once in your time at West Jordan Middle.  A teacher may only nominate one girl and boy from the class.  Then that nomination goes to all the other teachers and faculty in the school to see if they all agree that said student should be given the award.  It is not only based off of academics.  They also look at your work efforts, your interactions with other students and teachers, how well you do overall.  I think there were 6 students from each grade given an award.  Such a great honor for Caleb to be recognized!  They said some great things about him and it was so fun to see him be surprised.
One other cool surprise was that his teammate, Justin, was given the award also.  We are so proud of Caleb, for all the hard work he puts in to every aspect of life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Let the festivities begin!!

It is so hard to see the detail, but one of my favorite Christmas decorations that we have, and I made it.  Too bad it is only for the 12 days before Christmas.

We started last night.  So much fun.
Gingerbread houses have been made.  Lots of candy was consumed but no one got a tummy ache,  that is a win.
 Last night we had our Christmas party.  Really, it is just dinner made fun with games and silly shenanigans.  Haley had such a hard time waiting all day for the party to start.

See, silliness.  They loved the little headband things.  Some pink lemonade may have been spilled with craziness.  But it was fun. 
 They all loved this game.  Put a paper plate on your head and someone tells you what to draw.  You are not supposed to peek (although a few kids did), but just try your best to draw.  It was silly and fun.  We also did puzzles.  Haley was not even into helping, she just kept playing the paper plate drawing game on her own.  But the rest of us, even though some struggled (aka, Diedre's/Haley's puzzle was really confusing), did great on our puzzles. 
 And slightly hidden behind Peter, the vacuum tree lives on.  We decorated it last night.  So, for the next week....until I decide to undecorate, we will go without vacuuming the house.  But the sacrifice is worth it, such a fun tradition.

Today's activity was deemed as less exciting.  It is a day of service.  But hopefully we can pull some fun out and make it great!  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sleep in? Nope, awake before the sun....

And dive into 44 minutes full of adrenaline, excitement, pride and determination. 

Caleb had a game this morning, 6:30am, be there at 6:15am!  It was against a very tough team, Razzia.  What a ride!  Caleb was keeper first half.  He did incredible!  Even the parents on the other team were commenting on his great performance.  At half the score was 1-2.  We were down by one but because of Caleb they had only scored 2.  As I heard the other team's parent put it, "we should be ahead 10-1!"  They had taken 38 shots on Caleb in that first half.  Caleb's defense was terrific!  I mean, those boys know how to back each other up!!!  So, first half is done.  I was shaking so bad!  All that adrenaline.  All that cheering, stat keeping, and motherly/team pride. Caleb was supposed to be on field second half.........

But beginning of second half, he still had the keeper jersey on.........

He was walking out on the field with his gloves still on.......

He Was Still Keeper!

Oh the anxiety in my heart.  Oh the pride in my heart.  Oh the pressure on those shoulders.  He walked out there confident, determined and they all played like champions!  Caleb made terrific saves.  I have now coined several phrases for Caleb.  Sticky hands. Keeper stance. And today, Glory Jump!  He did it all.  He got the high balls, he charged when he needed to, he played with zero fear.  I could hear the other team's parents saying what a great keeper he was, how he knew when to time things.  He made me so proud today.  In the end though, they lost by 1.  1 freaking goal!  Glory ended  with 3 goals and Razzia had 4.  Caleb ended up taking 60 shots on goal, with 39 saves and 4 misses.  Did you read those stats?  Caleb was holding back the tears because his team did not bring home the win.  But those boys, not one of them played with anything less than their whole heart.  They did not stop until that final buzzer, they did not even stop then.  They scored a goal, after the time had run out!  Caleb's defense was awesome!  Caleb played with everything he had.  And at the team huddle, Coach commented that "Caleb is the reason we kept it so close and why we almost won."  I actually heard the team cheer when Coach said that.  Thank you, Coach.  Thank you team for supporting each other.  Thank you, Caleb.  For pushing yourself to be better than you thought and for making it so Razzia walks away, remembering who Utah Glory is, and that you are a great goal keeper.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Eagle Project; R. Caleb Gray

Well, thankfully that is done! For those of you who do not know yet, in October Caleb decided what he wanted to do for his Eagle.  He would choose a local assisted living center (Beehive Homes), have some Christmas decorations made by our ward and family, then go with some of our ward and decorate the living center and sing some Christmas carols to them.  How did it go?
The prep work.  We cut up some wood from a branch in our back yard and made some cute ribbon Christmas trees for the residents.  Caleb also had some Relief Society sisters sew up a few Christmas scarves for the residents as well.
Caleb set up a room at our ward Christmas party for the ward members to come back and help make the decorations for Beehive Homes.  Some of the them turned out really cute and the primary kids all had a lot of fun helping Caleb.  As Caleb put it, "it went extremely well.  Better than I expected."
Some of the door decorations that were made for the project.
Last night, 7 December 2016, was the night of completion.  We gathered at the church before driving to Beehive Homes.  There was a great turnout (32) and so we had plenty of help with decorating and singing.
Caleb was not feeling too well that day, head cold and pinched nerve that gave his right leg pain, but the show still happened.  Caleb did great!  As Rob put it, "For a service project run by a 13 year old, it was great!"  Caleb feels that it went really well.  I think that the residents enjoyed the singing.  I, Diedre, hope that there are enough decorations to make their home look cheery for the holidays and that we did enough.  You know, basic mom worries of, "Did we do enough?"  Peter said this, "Mom, I think that the people there just liked having us come and spend time with them."  Peter speaks the truth.
So, an Eagle project.  The scout is supposed to learn leadership skills and serve his community, "help others at all times."  I hope Caleb learned some of that while doing all the work for this project.  He did not enjoy me reminding him of things here and there.  He did not enjoy the footwork of approaching strangers and asking for their help or donations.  The paperwork is still to come, so I am sure there will be more nagging to get that done.  However, my hope is that Caleb had JOY in his service to others.  Also, that this small piece of service helps the people at Beehive Homes feel special and cared for.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The breakdown of my birthday

Yeah, that is correct.  I am old. 40 years to be exact.  I have always looked forward to my birthday.  Birthdays are fun, not to be bragging about myself, but just to have fun and celebrate life.  But this birthday, the anticipation was different. Less excitement and more, ugh.  But my kids helped make it a great day.  Thank you family.
The day started off with Haley and Peter getting along quite nicely!!!!!  They were making silly maps together and following each other around the house.
Haley made a sweet note for me and Peter made the heart and brought it to me together.
The sweetness continued when William brought me another handwritten note, wrapped up in a box.
I had a little/slightly challenging basket weaving project for us all to work on together.  It proved to be too much for Peter and he did not even participate.  Caleb became quite frustrated at one point and had to take a breather.  But in the end the baskets turned out so cute and it was all worth it.
 The birthday food was great!  Carmel corn, YUM!  But see that clean counter, did not last for long.  And see those bowls of popcorn, oh buddy.  Not big enough by any means.  But oh it was tasty!  Plus the hash browns for breakfast were perfectly crispy and yummy.  And the homemade taquitos for dinner were a great choice.
 I gave each of the kids a little treasure and they gave me a gift of playing together happily for a while.  I love the innocent play of happy children.  Here Peter is demonstrating the scream his mine craft guy would constantly make during the game, it was quite comical.
 The craziness kept building after dinner.  It think it had to do with all that carmel corn.  We got out some games and had a lot of fun.  Peter and Haley got bored after a bit and went in the other room to build with blocks.  Here Haley is showing me her grapes and Peter is doing what he does best.
Before it became too crazy... Rob and Peter were going at it and William was winning big time, but not without some good efforts on our part.  William had put hotels on Baltic Ave. and Mediterranean Ave.  The rent on those babies were $250 and $450, he was really excited about that.
It was a fun birthday.  Sometimes crazy, sometimes trying to fight off the boredom of bickering kids....but it was successful.  At least for me, 40 might not be so bad.  Thank you family, for making me feel loved and helping me have fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Adding to the gratitude

 I am thankful that I still had some fresh fruit for a fun breakfast this morning.  I am also thankful that my kids still let me be silly and somehow like my play on food.  They may not always like the food I make, but usually when it is special occasions like this, they go with it.
Haley is so thankful for Grandpa Terry and his Thanksgiving dinner.   I am thankful for my dad who is so good with my kids.  He always makes extra rolls for dinner, because he knows the Gray boys will eat a lot.  My dad made 6 dozen rolls for dinner tonight!  He also brought over extra ham, yams and frog eye salad for Haley because she said she loved it and wished she had gotten more.  My dad is also amazing because he was able to get Peter and William to come into the house for dinner, when they refused to do so for me.  Pretty thankful for patient people who care and love.

Thankful for many things

 Last night gave me an early chance to be thankful for a few things.  SNOW!  Love it.  And so do my kids.  We were all thankful that the windy, blustery weather brought a little snow to play in.
 Haley had a lot of fun making this snowman.  She is so cute!  I was thankful that the rest of the boys came out to play in the snow.  It was perfect packing snow.  A little too perfect.  The boys started making a bunch of snowballs to have all at once in their snowball fight.  But boy those babies hurt if you got hit in close range.  So, I was VERY THANKFUL when a rather hard snowball got me square in the glasses and face that my glasses did not break.  My nose hurt a little, but my glasses were fine! Thankful I still have glasses today.
I am thankful that even though we get grumpy, we can still forgive and be happy again.  Yesterday morning pretty much everyone got a taste of someone else's temper, and it was not pretty.  But we forgave and still had fun.  Then last night, same hard snow made a couple of boys grumpy when they got hit too hard.  Yet, somehow through talk, hugs, some snow ice cream (yum) and making a snowman, things were forgiven and people were happy.
I am thankful for a warm house that provided us shelter from the cold.  I am thankful that Peter told me about his prayers last night and he has such a good heart, just sometimes he gets misunderstood.  And I am thankful for a family that is trying to make the best of everyday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Piano Guys

I am simply putting this hear for the sake of remembering.  No, we have not been to their concert, although that would be awesome.  I just want to remember that my kids have become real fans of the Piano Guys.  They love looking up the videos and watching these amazing musicians play beautiful music.  It has especially helped Caleb get through nights of homework.  When he does not want to do it, put some of this music on and he can get it done. Thank you beautiful music that inspires us to be better.

November flew by....

So, it is the end of November, almost.  We have been busy.  We have been working on things.  Like another fundraiser for the Gray Soccer Club.  Or working out the fine details of Caleb's Eagle, it is getting so close, I hope it all works out.  Taking Haley to dance and William and Peter to scouts.  Of course there is always homework. The few things we have documented in this month are as follows.....not to say that November is not exciting, just that the camera is less important.
Soccer is of course on the schedule.  Right now we have Peter and Caleb doing indoor.  William will start after the first of the year.  Peter's team is of course rocking it!  Caleb's team has had some really great games lately, they have actually won their last three!  The fun part is that Caleb plays keeper first half and then coach has him on field second half.  I love the change up!  Caleb has had some great saves as keeper, and great plays as field.  HE EVEN SCORED A GOAL!!!!  So cool.

Haley has been keeping herself entertained at home while we do this and that.  She made mini fruit kabobs the other day.
 Took the liberty of decorating the house for Thanksgiving.  She scattered filberts, apples, mini oranges, carrots and dried pasta on the table to give it the first Thanksgiving feel.  She also taped filberts and pasta on the walls of the house to spread the holiday cheer.  She tried to tape up oranges but realized that was not happening.   But A Happy Thanksgiving cheer was felt!
 We did our pinecone turkey family.  Rob went for awesome, as usual.  Peter went for simple.  Caleb turned on his creative juices.  Haley went for colorful, cute and soft.  And William just went for everything.  Diedre, I went for pretty.
 I pulled out the old creative juices this morning and gave the kids small bags of different things for lunch.  With this photo included to say, "build your own turkey lunch."  Hopefully it gives them a smile today.
 Last but not least, I had to document Haley's pink personality.  Yesterday would have been a better picture, but today works just as well.  Yesterday, when the class lined up I noticed the kids had this color scheme going on.  Blue, black, blue, black, black, PINK, blue, black, blue, blue........  Guess who was the pink kid?  Yup, Princess Pink Haley.  Today she does not stand out as much, but she is still there, in all her pink glory.  Pretty awesome sometimes.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I always say, "Be Awesome!"

I always tell my kids, "be AWESOME!"  Whether it is going to school or walking onto the soccer field.  Be Awesome.  And they all are, in their own unique way, each day they show awesomeness.
However, THIS KID, gets the spotlight right now.  This kid, he displays awesomeness all the time.  That shirt he is wearing, Utah Glory, we have begun what I like to call the "Beast of Indoor soccer" and he will do awesome no matter where he plays.  See that pot he is holding.  He made it in his ceramics class this last term.  And he gave it to me on Friday, as an early birthday gift.  He has such a good heart.  And those papers in the other hand, yes- those are Boy Scout Eagle papers.  And yes, he is well on his way to getting his Eagle project completed.  Papers have been signed, now we do the work of getting it done.  He is awesome.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall Break Madness

Photo madness to come.  Fall break turned out to be pretty fun.  We did a little family fall festival, which the kids look forward to and mom tries really hard to make it good.  I think we succeeded.  
 Just one of the fun creations the boys made.  Somehow the game made sense to them and they were happy together.  That is all that mattered.
 So, for the fall festival we started out with some simple fall crafts.  Here is Peter, showing his off, in his own goofy way.  When this kid is happy, he is silly.
 We did pin the vine and nose on the pumpkin.  They all loved this activity.  Although Haley made us move all of her's after she had seen them, they were not in the right place.
 Peter used his panda costume for his blindfold.
 Caleb got a kick out of trying hard not to put it in the right spot.
 We made "gingerbread" haunted houses.  Peter is a true minimalist, or at least he likes to be done fast.
 Haley always tries to make her's the most fancy.
 Then we carved our pumpkins.  GOOP!
 Caleb did a fabulous job of doing his, 100% on his own.  An no one was injured in the process.
 They got some little treasures from the festival.  The favorites were Halloween slime and the balsa wood flyers.  Those things flew great!
 Kids doing what kids should do in the fall.  Jumping in a huge pile of leaves.  Although they did not like taking a shower each night before bed.  William realized that he would have to take a shower again on Sunday night and just kept his head out of the leaves.  That way, his hair stayed clean.
Our finished pumpkins.  And a little witch craft that Haley and I made.  Yeah for happy kids and fun times.