Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Third Quarter Reading

I was able to get in a lot more reading this quarter because I finally started listening to books. We started a Relief Society book club in my ward and I realized that I was never going to be able to read any books I want to read, if I read all the book club books. I thought I hated listening to books, but I didn't hate listening to the ones I listened to this quarter.


1. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. Written at the request of the First Presidency from an office inside the Salt Lake Temple, this book is a comprehensive look into the life and ministry of the Savior. It is thick and intimidating, but I found it was entirely doable at a slow pace of a couple pages a night. It took me over a year to get though it, but I'm so glad I persevered. As I was getting close to the end, I kept thinking, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." More than just being a good book, it is spiritually enlightening and definitely helped solidify my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. This book tells the story of how nine working-class boys from the American Northwest won gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I struggled to read this book. I made very slow progress, stopping and resuming my attempts a few times over a year. I had heard it was excellent from so many people (and it is), but I was bogged down by the many details. After successfully listening to a few other books, I decided to listen to this one and I'm so glad I did! It is narrated by Edward Herrmann and after listening to it, I want to listen to every book he ever narrated. It could be that I started listening when I finally got to the really interesting part or Edward Herrmann's narration made it that much better, but I found myself searching for errands to run, so I could listen while I drove. (I checked out the CDs from the library and the only CD player I had was the one in our van.) I am definitely going to be listening to this again (the whole book this time) very soon.

3. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was taken from her home in the middle of the night by Brian David Mitchel. 9 months later, after enduring unthinkable abuse, she was reunited with her family. This was my third time reading this book and it was just as excellent as the first two times I read it. I needed to pick a book for my turn to host book club and this was the first book to come to mind since it was such an excellent book club book before.

4. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. Mrs. Pollifax is a widow with grown children. Depressed and bored, she decides to fulfill her lifelong ambition to become a CIA agent. This was for book club and I thought it sounded so incredibly dumb, but I decided to listen to it and I ended up loving it!

5. That Summer by Sarah Dessen. Everything's changing. Haven's father is getting remarried and her sister, Ashley, is planning a wedding of her own, but Haven just wants things to go back to the way they were "that summer" when life seemed perfect. Partway through this quarter, I found that I was only reading (or listening to) book club books. I wanted to read something just for fun, so I went to the YA section in our library and grabbed a Sarah Dessen book at random from the shelf. I have yet to find a Dessen book I didn't like and this one was no exception.

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Harry has never even heard of Hogwarts when letters start arriving for him. His aunt and uncle try to keep the letters from him, but on his 11th birthday, Hagrid arrives and gives him the astonishing news that he is a wizard and that he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I had the best time introducing Corbyn and Peyton to Harry with the beautiful illustrated version of this book.

7. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. Mr. Hoppy is in love with his neighbor, Mrs. Silver, but he is too shy to do anything about it. He develops a rather extreme plan involving her tortoise to make her fall in love with him. I keep thinking we've read all the Roald Dahl books and then I find one we haven't read yet. This one is quite short - I'd probably classify it as a short story, rather than a full book. Whatever it's classification, this might be my very favorite of Roald Dahl's books.


8. Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly. Belle discovers a book hidden in the library of the Beast's castle that has the power to transport her to a glittering new world, but are things in that world as they seem? I saw this book at Costco and was immediately drawn to it because of the beautiful cover. I was intrigued by the idea of a twist in the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. I didn't love it quite as much as I hoped, but it was still very enjoyable.

9. The Witches by Roald Dahl. A seven-year-old boy goes to live with his grandma after his parents are killed in a car crash. His grandma teaches him all about witches and then amazingly, he finds himself trapped in a room full of witches at their annual meeting. Another great Roald Dahl book. Corbyn really got into hearing about how you could spot a witch which was fun.


10. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. This was a book club book and it was actually the book that got me started listening to books because after a few chapters, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish reading it in time. I saw the movie before I even knew it was a book and it is one of the rare cases where the movie is better than the book. The book could have done with a few less details, but what an incredible story! 

Like last quarter, I'm including the books I read with Peyton for memory sake.

Ariel Makes Waves by Liz Marsham. A cute story about Ariel's first trip to the surface. My least favorite of the three new Disney Princess Beginnings books, but still worth reading.

Meet SamanthaSamantha Learns a LessonSamantha's Surprise, and Happy Birthday, Samantha by Susan S. Adler. Samantha Parkington is an orpan who lives with her rich grandmother in 1904. These books tell her story. Reading these books to Peyton has truly been a blast from the past as I remember reading them when I was a little girl!

I love book club because I read so many more books when I'm in a book club than when I'm not. Hooray for a great quarter of reading (even if I technically listened to 3 of these books)!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Father's Day

When Corbyn was born right before Father's Day, we thought it was super fun that Corbyn was Rog's Father's Day present that year. But now as the years go by, it's not as fun. Father's Day is completely overshadowed by Corbyn's birthday and his birthday actually falls on Father's Day about every 6 years. I mean, it could definitely be worse. Father's Day isn't the hugest holiday, but still it's a bit of a bummer.

I had planned to make a special breakfast for Father's Day (can't remember what now), but we had a bunch of cinnamon rolls leftover from Corbyn's birthday (and that was what he wanted anyway), so cinnamon rolls it was!

I swear this happens every year - uncooperative kids for a Mother's Day picture, but totally cooperative kids for a Father's Day picture. πŸ˜‚

He requested a blower, so that's what he got. (I took this picture at Home Depot and sent it to him to make sure I was buying the right one because I'm completely unqualified when it comes to buying tools.)

We also made him a Pinterest-inspired gift. I cheated and added the letters in Photoshop after taking the picture because I knew it would turn out better that way. Call me crazy, but I didn't think it would go very well to write on the kids' feet (especially Logan's).

(He also got a coin/key holder made out of popsicle sticks that Corbyn made at school.)

Rog wanted his Grandma Phillips' spaghetti for dinner. I never want to make it because I know it's never going to taste just like when his grandma made it. Whenever we've ask for the recipe, it's totally unspecific (it calls for a jar of spaghetti sauce - what brand?! what size?! 😜). But despite my grumpiness in making it, based on this picture, I think it was a success.

We had skookies for dessert and based on this picture, those were a success too!

Corbyn got this game for his birthday from a friend and the kids were dying to try it out. We played after dessert and before baths and it really was very fun.

Diana, Jared, and I decided to make this DAD frame for our dad (Papa George) for Father's Day. I cut out the letters and mailed them to Diana and Jared. Then each family took a picture holding the letter and emailed it to me to edit. (We totally lucked out when we got our family picture on the second try! Apparently it took Jared more than 150 tries or something crazy to get his picture.) I emailed the edited pictures to Diana, she printed them off, and put them in a frame for Father's Day. We decided to do it at the last minute, so it was a little stressful getting it done in time, but I'm glad we did it. I think it turned out pretty cute!

And that was Father's Day in all its overshadowed-by-Corbyn's-birthday glory!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Corbyn's Birthday

Here in Oregon it's not a given that Corbyn won't have school on his birthday. This year school went until June 21st with all the snow makeup days they had to do! (It was originally supposed to get out on June 16th.) But this year his birthday was on a Saturday, so he didn't have school.

We let him open one present the night before his birthday - Mario pajamas, so he could wear them to bed and wake up in them on his birthday.

He got a Nerf gun (want)...

A PokΓ©mon binder and some cards (need - he had acquired a pretty big collection from friends and needed a place to store them)...

A Mario shirt and the Mario pajamas he had already opened (wear), and An Elephant & Piggie Biggie! with Elephant & Piggie stuffed animals (read).

He requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast (and Rog was mad because that meant I wouldn't make them for Father's Day the very next day).

On birthdays we let the kids watch as many shows as they want, but all he wanted to do was play Mario Chess (a present from his friend party the day before) all day.

The pizzas from his t-ball fundraiser were ready that morning, so Rog and the kids picked them up and took them to the people who ordered them while I went to yoga. (I had done my long run on Thursday, so I wouldn't have to do 20 miles on his birthday, but I needed to do something.)

That afternoon they had a Lego thing at the library and Corbyn wanted to go, so I took him and Peyton while Rog stayed home with a napping Logan.

A little later we went to see Boss Baby at Mt. Hood Theatre. It's an old theatre that only has one screen, so it was only playing at one time and that time wasn't the best, but we made it work.

Corbyn had requested Sweet and Sour Meatballs (the meal my friend Megan brought us when he was born!) for dinner. We knew we were going to be hungry and ready for dinner as soon as we got home from the movie, so I cooked them earlier in the day and put them in the crockpot on "keep warm" while we were gone. They weren't quite as good as they would have been if they were fresh out of the oven, but Corbyn was happy with them.

Grandma and Grandpa Ririe were coming the next week and we had decided to have his cake while they were here. So we put a candle in some ice cream (with sprinkles), sang to him, and called it a day!

And what a fun day it was, celebrating our big 7 year old!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Corbyn's Birthday: Party

I had fun throwing a Mario party for Corbyn's birthday. Since we don't live by family anymore, I'm only throwing one party per kid per year. This one had a lot of little details that took a long time, so it was a really good thing I was only throwing one party! 

We decided to have his party the day before his birthday right after he got home from school.

(I bought a big pack of Mario clipart on Etsy for like $2 and I used it to make the invitations and so many other things for the party.)

I ordered Princess Peach hats for Peyton and Kinley and made Mario hats for the boys out of red foam visors and sticky white foam. I thought I'd be able to cut out the M on my Silhouette, but the sticky foam was too think, so I cut them by hand.

We started the party out with some refreshments. For drinks we had Mario and Luigi Juice. I made the straws using this Chomp Plant Heads file. I cut them out (again by hand) and taped them to green straws.

For a cake we had mini mushroom cupcakes.

Then we played Pin the Mustache on Mario. I printed out a big Mario at FedEx Office and I cut the Mario mustaches on my Silhouette using this official Mario mustache released by Nintendo

I had purchased some sticky Mario Mustaches for the boys and after they took their turn pinning the mustache on Mario, we had them put them on. Unfortunately they were really itchy, so they pulled them off right after taking this picture. I wanted to get a picture of all the boys, but only got one of these 4 - Kingston Yates, Corbyn, Emery Martyn, and Sebastian Locker (not pictured - Owen Sullivan and Chayse Yates).


At this point we attempted an obstacle course. It didn't go exactly as I had imagined/hoped, but it was still fun. I got most of my ideas for the obstacle course from herehere, and here. First they went through this "Warp Tube" (borrowed from a friend).

Then they had to weave through the "Piranha Plants" (I cut green noodles in half, threaded a red dot balloon through the hole in the noodle, and used skewers to stick the noodles into the grass).

After that they had to "Stomp on a Goomba". (I cut the faces out of vinyl scraps on my Silhouette using this template as a guide for the shapes and super glued black plates to the bottom for the feet. These were a labor of love and I was so happy with how they turned out.)

Next they went down the slide into the brick wall. (The brick wall was also quite the labor of love! I ordered a bunch of 8"x8"x8" boxes, printed off bricks from these printable block templates, cut them out, and glued them onto the boxes. I made 16 bricks and covered 5 sides of the boxes, so do the math - that's 80 bricks I had to cut out and glue on! I was also very pleased with how these turned out.)

Then it was time for the final battle with Bowser. I ordered Rog a Bowser costume on Amazon and (SPOILER ALERT!) it's going to make another appearance at Halloween.

The "Fireballs" were tennis balls covered in red, orange, and yellow plastic tablecloth squares.

At this point, some of the boys were dying to play Super Mario (the actual video game), so we let them go up and play for a few minutes while the rest of the kids gathered "Gold Coins" (gold dessert plates) on the tramp.

We ended the party with a Star Pinata.

For favors the boys got a Mario cup, a Mario Kart fruit snack, a Mario pencil, gold coins, a Mario skateboard keychain, and homemade Mario tattoos (made with leftover temporary tattoo paper from Peyton's party). 

And the girls got Princess Peach rings, homemade Princess Peach tattoos, gold coins, a Mario pencil, and a glow stick wand.

After the party we had some pizza with the Yates (Corbyn's request) and then they took the kids home with them for date night swap. We had ambitiously planned on going to the temple, but weren't feeling up to it, so we just used the time to clean up from the party and get stuff ready for Corbyn's birthday the next day. (Banner from here.)

It was a fun party for our Mario boy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

7 Years

Here we are 3 months past Corbyn's birthday and I'm finally getting around to posting about Corbyn at 7 years. πŸ™ˆ And I thought 2 months late was bad!

There's no official 7 year well child visit, but he was at the doctor a few weeks before his birthday for his skin issues and then a week after for a terrible stomach bug that lasted a week, so I'm including a combination of those stats. 

Corbyn's 7 year stats:

Weight: 54 pounds, 13 ounces (70th percentile)
Height: 51 inches (92th percentile)

Corbyn at 7 years:

*Is always saying, "Right?" (in the cutest voice) after he says something.
*Is a very good student and is always very well behaved. I got nothing, but excellent reports from his 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Christensen, who we knew from the Sunnyside Ward.
*Loves playing video games. He has a bunch he rotates between. (Megaman, Pokemon, Mario, and Disney Infinity are some of his favorites.)
*Learned to play chess during all the recesses they had to stay inside due to rain.
*Has become a good reader. This summer he read all 9 of the Ricky Ricotta books.
*Wasn't playing with his Legos too much when they were up in his closet, so we moved them down to the family room in the built-in cabinets and they've gotten much more use again.
*Can tie his shoes like a pro.
*Doesn't really have any friends in his grade, but has a bunch of friends in the grade below him. For better or for worse, he doesn't seem to need friends to play with at recess.
*Has mostly grown out of his picky eating habits of past years. He pretty much eats anything I put in front of him (even things that used to cause him to melt down when they appeared on his plate).

He's quite the little fish (even if he's been stuck on the same level of swimming lessons for a couple years now - he just can't seem to glide on his back far enough to pass).

Wearing Grandma Lori's CPAP mask.

Grandma Lori has these cute beds for the kids to sleep on when we visit. Corbyn's already too big for them, but doesn't mind - even when I find him like this in the middle of the night.

Tricky, tricky! (I didn't crop this one very closely because Peyton is picking her nose. πŸ˜‚)

I was not happy with his school picture when he brought it home, but we were at Disneyland on retake day, so it had to do.

Soccer was not his sport, but he loved having his dad be his coach.

The rest of the family did a Toy Story theme for Halloween, but he was adamant that he was going to be Iron Man.

Baby Corbyn.

Looking so big riding one of the Toon Town cars.

Big hugs for Pluto. I hope he's never too old for this.

He usually plays with the Lego minifigures or builds his own creations with his Legos, but occasionally he'll pull out an instruction book and build one of his sets.

Exhibit A. Corbyn is by far my messiest eater and it drives me bonkers! I feel like he should be able to eat without getting himself messy by now. Or at the very least, he should be able to wipe off his face after he eats, right? He just doesn't care.

Wearing Logan's clothes. Lol.

On more than one occasion, he's told us he wants to be an artist. I seriously doubt this will last, but it'll be fun to remember someday.

Corbyn and Logan traded jackets on New Year's Eve. I don't know which is funnier, Corbyn in Logan's tiny jacket or Logan in Corbyn's huge jacket.

He finally lost his first tooth in January and this is the face he gave me for his picture!

Luckily I got a cute one too!

I've already posted this picture, but it's one of my favorites. My gray men!

#4 has my heart! I loved watching him play t-ball this spring!

He was pretty excited that he got a trophy - his first one!

Exhibit B. Messiest eater ever!

He would stay inside playing video games all day, every day if we let him, but he seems to love hiking and playing in waterfalls too when we get him out.

Corbyn reminds me a lot of myself which I think is mostly a good thing. He's such a good kid and seems so grown up most of the time! I can't believe he's going to be 8 next year and will be old enough to be baptized!