Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Our First Tooth Fairy Visit

Life with "believers" is simply magical.  Now I understand why parents think it's so sad when their kids grow out of this phase.  A lost tooth without the Tooth Fairy would just be a lost tooth that leaves a gap in your smile, but instead it was full of excitement and anticipation.  Mariah's tooth on Sunday was beyond ready to come out.  She could hardly eat but was so drama about getting it pulled.  After several hours of pouting about it, Adam, aka technology in the form of Frozen, finally convinced her to to pull it. 
I think I may love her new smile even more than the old.  Her bottom left tooth is also very loose and ready to come out any day now as well.  This year it looks like we will be singing "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth".  With a slight lisp and all.
Mariah was really worried that the Tooth Fairy was going to keep her tooth.  We said if she wrote a note saying that she wanted it for her scrapbook, that we were sure the fairy would be polite enough to leave the tooth.  My little kindergartener makes me swoon:
From Mariah, Dear Tooth Fairy, please leave the tooth.
With the note written she was ready to "pretend" to go to bed.  But only pretend because the real goal was to catch the Tooth Fairy in action.  She wanted to include in the note that she had left a camera by her bed because she wanted the Tooth Fairy to take a picture of herself.  I told her that was against the rules so Mariah decided to just catch her instead...The next morning she claims that she did and that she looks just like Tinkerbell.  The same size and all.  Little liar.
We finally got to use the Tooth Fairy bear from Grandma
Mariah got a whopping $2 but if you look closely, you will see that the dollars have magic fairy dust on them (or gold shimmer spray, whichever you prefer to call it).  The sparkling dollar was enough to make a couple of kids gasp out loud. 
Yep, it was a whole lot more fun with the Tooth Fairy involved.  It makes the dependence and work of little children completely worth it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trick or Treat

I just love Halloween.  It's the start of cooler weather, holiday festivities, and seasonal decorations.  It means time with family and friends and many reasons to celebrate.  Sometimes I even get more excited than the kids.  Like when it was time to carve pumpkins.  Not a single child was interested in gutting it.  I dug in trying to convince them of the fun and when I pulled out a big handful I looked at Zach and said, "See, this is more fun than collecting bugs!".  Mariah piped in, "Yeah but it's not more fun than collecting diamonds!!!"  High-maintenance!  I proceeded to gut and carve out all of the pumpkins by myself.  After 5 minutes they didn't even watch me and went outside to play.  I would have stopped but I wanted the seeds and I even tried my hand at roasting the pumpkin for homemade pumpkin ravioli.  It was gross.  Next year we will stick to painting the pumpkins.

Outside of the pumpkin carving, the kids enjoyed the holiday.  We went trick or treating 3 times (Adam's work, ward trunk or treat, and Halloween night).  The first time it took Clayton convincing to wear his costume.  He didn't like it on at all...until he learned what trick or treating was and that it involved candy.  The next few times it was time to get dressed we had NO PROBLEMS.  He was all game!  Except for the mask. He did not want that on his eyes!
I wanted to be Peanuts characters for Halloween and have Benson be Charlie Brown.  Mariah and Zach didn't think Lucy and Linus looked like fun costumes at all.  I couldn't even talk them into Snoopy or Woodstock.  Zach was determined to be what he wanted.  He had a hard time deciding between his favorite characters since he got several dress-ups for his birthday
Ultimately, Captain America was the winner, because he had gloves and a shield.  It's all about the accessories.  Sometimes Zach and Mariah aren't that different I tell ya.  Mariah wanted to coordinate so everyone went as superheroes.  At least this way the costumes will get much more use since every boy that comes to our house wants to play super heroes.
I made a cityscape backdrop for our trunk which also made for much more fun pictures.  I also made Adam be Batman because then he had to carry Robin around all night to complete the look.  I'm so smart :)
Notice Mariah's hair.  She was so excited to have it black until she inhaled some while I was spraying it.  I made her keep going because I wasn't going to do a half job.  Needless to say, for Halloween night she was a blonde Wonder Woman and not in the least bit unhappy about it.
My little trick or treaters all ready to go.  Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron-Man and Robin.  Don't these pictures just make you smile?  You would smile even more if you could hear how Clay says 'Iron-Man'. 
We headed out to a friends for Halloween night.  After going down a few streets we decided we had enough candy (remember this was our third time!) and went back to the house for pizza, an outdoor movie, and smore's.  Halloween in Arizona is so perfect.
The crew

 Now bring on November and the pies!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mad Scientist Party

Geek 'em out when they are young.  That's our family motto.  Can you believe we convinced the kids to let us have a science party for their birthdays!  It was SO much fun.  We got to blow stuff up and get messy.  16 little kids playing with glue and foam...we must be crazy.  But they may have just loved it as much as I did.  Not as much as Adam though.  He definitely loved it the most.  After all, he is the true "geek" of the household...but he also brings home the bacon and we love bacon so it's all good.
The invites delivered in little test tubes
The party favors with safety googles, petri dishes, more test tubes and candy bars
Yes, we dressed up and yes, the kids loved it.  Adam answered the door with a beaker full of dry ice.
Dr Scientist Mariah (6) and Zach (4).  More dry ice in the drink. Dry ice is always a hit.
Our guests minus a few late comers
What would I do without Pinterest in my life.  It makes both party planning and nursing a baby a lot more fun.  I spent too many hours looking at all of the over the top Mad Scientist parties and tried to create the same fun without the over the top part.  We did many different experiments and some of the reactions we got were perfect.  We started with a little "magic show" where Adam and I did the experiments and then afterwards let the kids do some of their own.  Vinegar and baking soda to blow up a balloon, make popcorn jump, and explode a sandwich bag = lots of laughter.
I can't get enough of Grayson's face.  He may have enjoyed the party the most and came to church in his goggles
Once again the faces prove it was a hit
The kids enjoyed making their own slime to take home more than any other activity.  It was also the biggest pain to clean up but absolutely worth it. 
Why is he so stinking cute!?
Mariah and Addi
They also made lava lamps to take home, and performed the mentos rocket.  My personal favorite was the Elephant Toothpaste.  6% hydrogen peroxide and yeast makes these puppies foam fast and big then heat right up!  Even I couldn't hide my amazement.
Peyton, Saidy, Tess
Luckily, after such a crazy day with a lot of clean up, Adam and I had something big to look forward to.  Garth Brooks tickets in the Intel suite...for free...with VIP parking 3 spots from the door.  Yep, Saturday was a pretty fun day.  It kind of made their actual birthdays seem uneventful.  However, we did still celebrate.  For Zach it's the simple pleasures.  Waking up to this balloon curtain made his day.  Plus he got a remote control car with laffy taffy for desert so he had no complaints. 
Mariah has been asking and waiting to get her ears pierced.  For her 6th birthday I took her in.  She of course chose Elsa earrings and didn't cry one bit!  She wanted it too bad to cry.  Is it just me or do earrings make her seem REALLY grown up!? 
 We also took birthday treats into her class and got to stay and celebrate.
Mrs. Arnold and class singing
Once again, Pinterest. Can't say enough about it saving my lack of creativity.  When the birthday girl opened the door to a balloon avalanche, well lets just say she couldn't contain her excitement and had to come wake me up to tell me about it :( 
Another year has passed and these two are getting more independent all the time.  They are certainly kids now and not my babies but I'm so proud of them.  They are everything I hope to some day become and I learn so much from their perfect little spirits.  I just pray everyday that I don't do something to mess those spirits up!  Happy Birthday Mariah and Zacharias.  WE LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Elder and Sister Aston

These two!  How can you possibly put into words how great they are?  I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and still think I've never known better people.  The best part is that somehow I got lucky enough to call them Mom and Dad.  Two of the best people their generation has ever known and they are mine!  I couldn't be more proud that they have accepted a call to be full time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In just 2 weeks they will head out to Ventura, California to help others receive the blessings of this gospel.  They have done an amazing job of teaching about Jesus Christ in their own home and now they get to teach it in others'.  I've seen their work.  They already know how to do it.  They will kill it!  So many will call them blessed as so many already do.  Ventura is the luckiest place on earth for the next 18 months.  And so are we because they will be close enough to visit!!!  Best of both worlds.  They get the blessings of missionary work and we don't have to say goodbye!
Before they head out to California they made a trip to our house to spoil the kids one last time and that they did!  With lunch at Chick Fil A, shopping for birthays and a movie as well as bocci ball, a general conference store, and the trampoline we had some happy, happy kids!  In addition we got a "winner, winner chicken dinner" at Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles because Zach won the prize for guessing where Grandma and Grandpa would get their mission call.  He guessed Disneyland :)
We also went to a restaurant out in Tortilla Flats.  From a long standing tradition of being too far away from a bank, people use to leave their gambling money at the restaurant to play another day.  Following in suite, customers today sign a dollar and leave it to be stapled to the wall.  They estimate that there is $300,000 dollars of "wallpaper" up. 
The kids, of course, had to participate.  Because we are cheap we made them share.  Zach wrote his name with a backward "h" and Mariah wrote USA and BYU.  Probably because they are easy to spell. 
We also stopped at Goldfield, AZ which is an old ghost town turned new tourist destination.  My favorite part was the beautiful Superstition Mountains in the background. 
Caged animals in what use to be to display criminals for public mockery
We were suckered into only one of the many expensive tourist traps of the ghost town.  The kids had to have a train ride.  Luckily, the conductor was pretty funny and informative for us adults.
We will miss these missionaries.  As I mentioned they are wonderful parents but if it's possible, even better grandparents.  The kids couldn't love them more.  Even the newest addition couldn't stop staring at Grandma's face in admiration and love.
He seriously stared for 5 minutes
Best of luck to the first "Aston" missionaries to enter the field since the one and only Hermana Aston 11 years ago!  If they follow in her footsteps, they are sure to have the best experience of their lives.  One that they will think about daily even more than a decade later.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Balloon Fiesta

We went to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico over fall break.  It is the most photographed event in the entire world.  WORLD, I tell ya.  I may have taken more than 200 photos myself.  Thank goodness for digital!  The problem is I took them with an i-phone.  An outdated i-phone at that!  Pictures don't do this thing justice, as they rarely do when you are trying to capture something incredible.  However, a professional camera and photographer can usually get pretty close.  But not mine.  So just know that when I say this was absolutely amazing, that is was.  500 hot air balloons in the sky at one time, many of which were of fun shapes and characters is indescribable.  If you have a bucket list, make sure this is on it.  Worth the trip.  Even if it includes waking up at 4:30 in the morning, waiting in the cold, and over 2 hours of traffic.  We liked it so much we attended 3 different sessions.  Since they say 'a picture is worth a thousand words', I'll let the pictures do most of the talking for the rest of this post.  
Oops, I think my finger may have popped it!
It was soooo cold and we weren't prepared
Freezing babies and a bright flash!
Some of them were unbelievably massive
Mariah wanted to take the one of Rio for Hayden
Spider Pig was a favorite  
As was the la-la
I had to steal a few photos from some other photographers that I found on Facebook.  Can I get in trouble for that?
laser light show before sunrise
Because my camera took terrible photos at night
See what I mean?
 And for my absolute favorite... Yep, that didn't come from a camera phone!
Now to just catch up on our sleep.  Early mornings and a hotel rooms with 4 little kids = terrible!