Friday, November 30, 2007

Promises

Right now, we are supposed to be on a preschool field trip to a really cool restaurant in Mesa called Organ Stop Pizza. This restaurant features a mega-theater-organ which they have rigged up so that the entire restaurant is part of the music - horns blowing out from the back walls, drum sets in the corner. The organist plays the entire time you eat. It is way cool for kids and adults.

Unfortunately, we are not there right now because I am the meanest mother in the world. You see, a couple weeks ago, I got a phone call from the neighbor behind us. She said, "Did you know Eli is over here at my house?" and I said, "WHAT?"

When we pieced it together, we realized that Eli had figured out how to climb the back wall (easily 7 ft. tall)using our trampoline, and once on top, he jumped down to a little playset of the neighbor's, slid down their slide, and voila! A playdate without the hassle of parental involvement! Needless to say, our neighbor's mom wasn't so happy about him showing up in her house, and Adam and I were totally mortified, and scared for his safety, in that order.

Well, we had a big talk with him. But over the next several days, it happened again, and again, and again!! Now we were really mad, mortified, and scared for his safety (still in the right order)! We started threatenings, taking privileges away, and still nothing worked.

Then, Happy Apple Preschool announced their Field Trip coming up! Haha! Ammo! I was very clear when I explained to Eli that if he hopped over that wall one more time, we would not be going on the field trip to his all-time favorite restaurant.

HOP! Over he went. I'm not that mean, so I gave him 2 more chances.

HOP!

HOP!!

Well, that was it. No Field Trip. That night I told Adam what had happened, and we also decided that a physical barrier was imperative. We moved the trampoline a foot or two further away from the wall.

The next day, Eli wanted to play outside. I made my usual threatenings, Eli made his usual promises. Out he went.

30 seconds later, I hear Eli yelling his head off in the back yard. "MOM!!!"

I sauntered outside. Eli was balancing at a 45 degree angle with his feet wrapped around the trampoline edge and his arms pressed against the back wall. He was completely stuck and helpless. "MOM!! I can't get down!"

"Oh, Eli what are you doing there? I thought you weren't going to climb the wall?"

"I just wanted to see how far away it was! Help me get down!"

"Oh, I'll be there in a second, you just wait while I go get my shoes."

I slowly sauntered into house to get my shoes, and then I moseyed across the backyard and rescued my suspended son, whose arms were trembling at this point.

Shockingly, we haven't had any incidents since then.

But, we're still not going on the Field Trip.

I don't want to take any chances.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Having a Distractable (hold on one sec...) Day...

Today, I am baking. Snickerdoodles, to be exact. I am doubling the recipe for maximum efficiency. So, this means fractions are involved. Anyway, I have been so distractable today, that even with an entirely quiet house, my thoughts were distracting me so much that I put in 5 eggs instead of 4 and had to scoop the superfluous egg out. Then I forgot the baking soda at the end, so I had to replace the beater and mix it in. Then, after rolling my first moist cookie, I realized that I must have doubled the 2 3/4 cups of flour incorrectly. Having been only able to find my 1/2 cup measure, I figured that 2 and 3/4 cups flour times 2 was the same as 11 half cups. Wrong! Recheck your work, girl! It is 11 half cups plus a quarter cup! So again, I replaced said blade and mixed it in.

My whole intent in going fast is to multi-task. In fact, I pride myself on my multi-tasking abilities. Hold on one sec, the cookies are done. Okay, I'm back, what was I saying? Oh yes, I feel like I'm accomplishing so much when I multi-task! But I believe I have crossed the line when my brain is distracting itself. This is the very reason that Adam is in charge of all food-flipping tasks: french toast, pancakes and grilled cheese. Oh, I can start out just fine. But waiting is what gets me! I'm so impatient, I'll think of something else I can do real fast and of course I plan to come back before the food is browned. That's when Adam steps in and the next thing I know, he's serving me a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich and I've completely forgotten about said flippable food. We must be a good match.

Well, I have errands to run! Gotta go!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Phoenician!






Dad treated all the boys to a day of golfing at the Phoenician. The weather was perfect! Eli learned to tee off and putt - he even got his own clubs and of course loved to drive the golf cart. But in the end, Dad was the one who won it all - just the way he likes it!! :)

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: Guitar Hero III


Truly, this was a highlight of the week: Watching Matt rip it up on HYPERSPEED EXPERT level playing Cliffs of Dover. It was pretty sweet.

Rock on, Brother.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Feast!









We have some serious cooks in this family! John made the butternut squash soup, asparagus, and carved the turkey, Erin made the salad, Adam made the stuffing, Mom made the shrimp cocktail, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams and dessert, and I did the turkey and cranberry sauce! YUM!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Polar Swim




After the annual Turkey Bowl on Thursday morning, Adam and John took their annual Polar Swim in our pool - the water was about 70 degrees, but I tell you what, I wasn't going to swim in it! Those crazies!!

The toasty warm and very dry onlookers:

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: Turkey Trot


So, sorry for the long absence from my blog, but for those of you who didn't know, we hosted 6 visitors in our house for the week of Thanksgiving - making a grand total of ELEVEN people staying in our house!! With one kitchen, two bathrooms, three laptop computers, one guest bedroom, alot of flexibility and amazingly deep sleepers, we were able to make it work - What a party! So, to play catch up, I'll start with the Turkey Trot that we had at Paloma Elementary last Wednesday where parents (and Grandparents) can come and run about a mile with the school kids.
Here we all are starting our run! And Grandma even had foot surgery not so long ago - look at her go!

Focused and Dedicated, Eli was our first finisher...

Some of us were more concerned with looking glamourous...

Afterwards, we had lunch with Lizzie at her school and Eli checked out the tetherball.


Thanks for letting us borrow your amazing camera, Luke!!

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Hike!




John Morley flew out from NYC two days early just so he and Adam could go on a major hike. They decided on Sycamore Canyon and went with friends Adam Dibble and Dave. You aren't going to believe this, but these pictures were actually taken with a cell phone camera, the only camera among the four of them.

Peace Out, Baby.


So, Ivy has started to come out of her shell a little bit, and it all started when she turned 2 last September. She figured out how to say "I'm two!" and started telling everyone she met how old she was. Then it evolved into her just glaring at people and putting up her two fingers. So, in case people thought she was being unfriendly, we taught her how to say "Peace." as she was doing it. Needless to say, the Young Men's group in the ward thought it was great!

Photo Credit goes to Whitney Palmer from her cell phone camera!

Peace Out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Adam and James' Hike




Last weekend, before Thanksgiving, James drove up from San Diego and he and Adam hiked the tallest mountain in Arizona - Mt. Humphreys (over 12,000 feet!) They were sorely disappointed in the beautiful weather. Adam promised storms, icy temperatures and possible near-misses with lightning, but these blue skies was all they got.
If you click on the picture and look at a zoomed-in version, you will see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the right of Adam's head...
Thanks for the great pictures, James!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quarterly Enrichment Meeting


We had our November Enrichment on Thursday:
"This 'n' That Thursday" (kt) - (that "kt" is for Kim Tait, who we now all know came up with the name after my idea of "Thirsty Thursday" got thrown out the window! For some reason Zana felt the need to explain my bad idea to everyone that night and how it sounded like a bar-themed night) :) It was so funny.

So anyway, we had a couple classes, three different crafts to get ready for the holidays and a potuck dinner - yes, we were choosing to be eclectic! It was such a blast, as usual, and I love hanging out with the sisters in our ward. We have so many talented women in our ward too - creative crafters like Lisa and Xan and Jane and Zana, and then we had Holly teaching gardening in AZ and Sunny teaching photography. The first tip on her list was to always have your camera with you and to take lots of pictures! So I took a picture of her teaching the class

but I don't think I've mastered the "rule of thirds" quite yet...

We really have a great time together and our Enrichment committee is just so much fun to work with. Sometimes I feel guilty telling Adam I have to go to a meeting for enrichment when we spend most of the time laughing our heads off. Well. It was a really fun night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gymnastics - **Warning: Contains bragging and Gushing. May be suitable for Grandparents only


Lizzie finished up her first ever fall season of Level 4 Competitive Gymnastics this past weekend! She started out practicing with the team once a week in August, and halfway through the season in October, they decided she was ready to compete! It was tough to come in midway, but she really rose to the occasion! (Hair-do explanation: the better to do backward rolls, you see.)

Here's a list of her scores from her first meet to this past weekend at the State Championship Meet, where she was judged against every team from the state in her age group.



Vault:

7.8

8.25

7.65

8.35

8.50 - This won her 12th place last Saturday at State!

Bars:

7.25

8.0

8.550

8.20

7.8 - at State! (this is the one we have the video of below)

Beam:

6.7 (this is what happens when you fall off the beam!)

7.875

8.550 - this score won her a 6th place medal that day

7.650

8.525 - She got another 12th place medal at State for this routine!

Floor:

0.0 (a scratch -that first meet was overwhelming!)

7.625

7.75

7.75 (we also have a video of this one below)

7.95 - What an improvement!!

So, sorry if I gush, but I am her mother! I'm just so proud of her for working so hard and continually improving! What a girl!

Here's a video of her bars routine from the State Meet:

video

Be sure to scroll down to the next post that has her floor routine video from last week! (The video card that allows us to download our videos only holds 50 seconds - I never get lucky enough to catch the best moments of the meet on this card!)

E.S.P.N.

[This is from a post I had written last week, but when we couldn't figure out how to get the video up, we removed it. Now that we know what we're doing, here's the floor routine video to enjoy!]

"Extra-Curricular Stewart Performance Narrative"

First up: Lizzie has had two meets the last two weekends - the "Tumbleweeds Halloween Meet" in Tucson and the "Fall Round-up" in Glendale. The highlight was that in Tucson, she got 6th place on beam! In Glendale, she received medals for every event except floor, but her floor routine is what we got on our card to transfer to the computer! She's not happy about her back handspring landing on this one, but I'm still so proud of her! So, enjoy the video!

video

Eli had two more t-ball games. He loves to hit that ball! But apparently, the feeling is mutual, because at the end of the game on Saturday, he got clocked in the face with a ball! Luckily, it was a softball, and the only stitches he has on his face are the imprints that the ball left: And this picture was even taken a day later!


And that's it for this week! Tune in next week to find out how Lizzie does at the State Meet in Tempe next week!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Adam's Lunch Break

So, Adam has a Young Men's Activity coming up this Saturday - the Annual Stake Turkey Shoot. The boys and leaders have a trap shooting competition with two other Stakes in the area. Since Adam owns a shotgun from his younger days of skeet shooting, the boys from our ward will be using his for the activity. He was missing some of the necessary accessories, so today at lunch, he decided to go pick them up. Here's his story:

'Being that I was getting "hard core" gun accessories (cleaning supplies, ear protection, and a pouch for my shells), I wanted to make sure I went to a true gun store, so I immediately ruled out Big 5 Sporting Goods. I found a true Sporting Goods store named Del Res not far from work and I went there only to find out that all they had were cowboy hats, cowboy boots and fishing gear. The guy behind the counter recommended that I go to Shooters World - a store that has all firearm accessories.

So I traveled across town to Shooters World and as I approached the front door, I noticed a large stop sign that stated:

"ALL WEAPONS MUST BE BAGGED BEFORE ENTERING"

Being that I didn't have my concealed weapon on me, I confidently walked through the door. The interior of the store was nothing like any sporting goods store I'd seen before. There was lots of wide open space, white walls, and beautiful glass cases. I was expecting Cabela's, and got Tiffany's - only there were guns in glass cases instead of jewelry. It was surprisingly busy for a Monday afternoon. I quickly noticed the assult rifles hanging on the wall and the commando knives in the glass cases.

I walked over to the pistol case where I overheard a conversation of a couple men admiring the non-metallic construciton of the pistols (the better to get through security, of course). I'm usually not one to be uncomfortable around firearms, however, I started to realize that this store catered to a different crowd. I suddenly heard the pop of a semi-automatic weapon being fired, and thought "Who didn't bag their weapon?!?" as I almost dove behind the glass cases. Then I realized that there was an indoor shooting range in the back.

To the sweet melody of tinkling shell casings, I asked the man behind the counter where I could find a leather pouch to hang on my belt to hold my shells while I trap shoot. He gave me a puzzled look and said that the only leather products in the store were the concealable pistol holsters over in the corner. He recommended a product that was a shell carrier for our sawed-off assult shotgun (Arnold Schwarzeneggar Commando-style) Not quite was I was after.


At this point, my lunch break had lasted two hours, so out of desperation, I drove back to the other side of town and went to the Big 5 Sporting Good Store and found ... everything I needed.



Some people live in a totally different world. Yikes!

Friday, November 9, 2007

No More Secrets




I cleaned my fridge today!!!!!!

(Is this really blog-worthy, you are asking yourself?) YES!! IT IS!!

(Is this truly such a rare and wonderful experience, that you have to take a picture of it and tell it to the world?) YES!! IT IS!!

Now I have no secrets lurking in a dark corner of my refrigerator somewhere. Now, I am confident in letting others open the door and confident they'll find a place to put their dish. In short, now I am ready for VISITORS!!!! The Stewart House is OPEN for business!!

Kindergarten-Prep

We rebuilt the Mayflower! Well, sorta. At our Kindergarten-Prep class yesterday, we learned about the first Thanksgiving. Then, we decided to try our hand at ship-building. Everyone received the same materials, and they each made their own boat. We tested them in water to see if they would float - and every single one of them did! I love seeing how each child comes up with a completely unique idea even though they all start out with the same stuff. Such creativity!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Week Later and...


LOOK!! Look at all this candy! Imagine twice as much (at least). That's what we started out with. And it's not as if I have been hoarding it from the kids! This afternoon, in fact, Eli was bored and I said, please, please, eat as much candy as you can! When Ivy woke up and Lizzie came home from school, I gave them the same job, and you see what I am left with! TONS OF CANDY!! I've only had a few (dozen) pieces myself! But, this is what happens when you have three trick-or-treaters in one family. Candy overload. I had never thought about it before this year, but it's kind of insane. I mean, really, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THIS CANDY???? Seriously!

I can't give it to the poor. No nutritional value. I can't can it. Or make it into jam, like I would if I had an overabundance of a fruit or vegetable. And I can't save it for next year. (Tacky Mother-of-the-year Award, not to mention old chocolate. Not to mention that the chocolate would never make it through an Arizona summer.) Throwing it out seems wasteful and mean. No, there is nothing to be done. I am simply forced to be tempted by it daily, and ration it out to the kids so they don't tip the scales of the childhood obesity crisis in America. I mean, what am I teaching my children? And HOW amd I supposed to handle them when they are on a constant SUGAR HIGH!! It's not as if they aren't naturally hyper and loud, and now, well, let's just say that on Sunday, I was counting down the hours till bedtime at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

I wish I had an actual recipe for "Sweet Dream Pie" which is the name of the book I read to the kids at bedtime tonight. In it, an old couple makes a humonguous pie and fill it with "everything sweet," and it lists everything on our counter, and then they bake it and serve it to the entire neighborhood and everyone eats too much and their sweet dreams turn in to wild dreams. But at least they got rid of the candy.

So, what are you doing with all your candy?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Two Precious Portraits!

November is an important month in our family: It's the month that Adam and I talked to each other for the first time 10 years ago, and the month in which we got married 9 years ago.

It is also the month of my little (but much taller) brother's birthday - Matt is 18 years old today!! Crazy!

To honor our anniversary this month, I have our engagement picture for you to see.



And in honor of Matt's birthday, I want to share with you a portrait that he drew of Adam and me (almost an exact replica of the professional portrait!). I had almost forgotten all about it until I was looking through an old journal a few weeks ago. Ever since then, I have been waiting with anticipation for just the right moment to recall this picture to everyone's attention! Matt gave it to us as a gift in complete sincerity when he was about 11 years old, and we have treasured it ever since. Seriously, we have! It was the cutest thing!

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Napoleon Dynamite comes to mind...("I worked on the shading of your upper lip for hours!")
Love you Matt! Have a great Birthday! Betcha thought we forgot all about that picture!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Erin and John's Costumes...

Since they don't have their own blog...yet (hint, hint), I have been given permission to blog this event for Erin and John (my sister and her hubby).

Ahem, ahem. Drumroll, please. We have a clever, coordinating couple here! (John, this may be used against you if you ever run for office...Erin, this might help you if (heaven forbid) you ever run for office.)


John went as a Republican..."They'll take my guns from my cold dead hands."


Erin went as a Democrat..."Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn't have to think about. It's all George Bush's fault, and the Vice President is Satan."


Together, living together in perfect harmony. Side by side on a piano keyboard, in fact. Why can't we?