Friday, May 30, 2008

School's out!

Sam has finished the first grade! We were a little worried because his report card was full of zeros, but once we figured out that they were actually O's for "Outstanding" we stopped panicking.

Sam's class voted on the first grade awards, and he was voted both "The Most Likely to be a Movie Star" and "The Smartest Boy" in Mrs. Nuttall's class. Not bad! And Sam's First Grade Yearbook (a little journal they wrote) was full of interesting tidbits, such as:

My teacher's name is: Mrs. nuttall
Three words that describe her are:
1. short
2. wide
3. nice
My favorite thing she does is: read to us!


My favorite color is red
My favorite indoor game is tic-tac-toe
My favorite place to go is pizza Hut
My favorite TV show is A-team
My favorite movie is peter pan
My favorite toy is transformors
My favorite sport to watch is Hockey
My favorite things to do in the summer are swing
My favorite outdoor game is tag

We did ask him about his apparently deep love of hockey and he explained that since we don't watch any sports, he just picked on that looked cool. Makes sense to me!

And on Tuesday Sam's grade hosted an extravaganza of song and dance, including a rousing dance finale of "Ain't Gonna Paint No More". It was really cute, and Sam has been teasing us for weeks about the cool dance he was learning, so we were very excited to finally see it ourselves.

I'll leave you with my favorite journal entry from our brilliant boy - the spelling and punctuation are all his:

I (Now this is a fact) love swimming (but I'm not very good). and I like t-ball. Heres how you play. well theres not unuf rume Sory about that. I do fine at t-ball

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Enjoying a summer at home

I am very proud to announce that the Morningstars are actually enjoying a summer at home! I know that this would not ordinarily prompt an announcement with fanfare, but we are coming to realize that just being home, enjoying our yard and gardens and patio, is quite the pleasure after two insane years of grad school.

I have to say that our strawberries, raspberries, and flower gardens have never looked better, and we're really enjoying having the time to weed and prune and then even to enjoy the fruits of our labors hanging out in the adirondacks in the yard! I'm already scheming about making jam again this year.

And we planted the veggie garden after two years of... um... letting the dirt rejuvenate itself. Here's a sweet photo of Ben inspecting the green beans - Ben and I go out every day to check on the seeds' progress, and he simply can't wait to grow green beans (his favorite) of his very own! So far, we've planted lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, a few onions, parsley, sunflowers, zucchini, watermelon, and green beans and are looking forward to a bountiful summer harvest. Or, if not a bountiful harvest, at least a few happy days of getting our hands dirty and enjoying the back yard.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hitting the Links

We finally enjoyed some nice weather for our final day with Grammy and Buddy! The mountains were beautiful, covered with snow from the past few days of precip, and Grammy just couldn't resist taking a Spring family photo before heading out to the links for a game of mini golf (a true family favorite).

Despite Ben's rather unorthodox putting technique, he actually did surprisingly well in mini golf - it's so fun that the boys are old enough to really play games; rules, technique, and all! Well, I should say that he played well when he was actually attending to the game instead of climbing the rocks and running over bridges, but it's hard to blame the boys for needing to explore the course. And Sam is turning into a regular golf pro, even on a tougher mini golf course like Cascade. That kid is going to beat us all in a couple of years.

As usual, however, Daddy schooled us all with Grammy running a close second and Buddy competing with Ben for the ever-important high score. I spent much of my time hacking my way out of water traps... but at least I had fun doing it :) It was a great end to our visit with Grammy and Buddy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and Grandparents

Indiana Jones fever is gripping the Morningstar home! Ok, that may be a little strong, but the boys are sure excited about the new Indiana Jones movie, and Ben has been honing his skills on his musical foam whip. Yes, we spent actual money that we could have spent on something worthwhile on a musical foam Indiana Jones whip. But seeing the sparkle, the sheer joy in his little eyes as he wreaks havoc on unsuspecting family members makes it all worthwhile.

We went to see the movie Friday (work rented a theater - go Move Networks!) and all really enjoyed it, even if it did increase the fervor of Ben's whipping. Sure, it had a few hokey parts (what was the deal with the Tarzan scene?!?), but we all left singing the Indiana Jones theme triumphantly, so it must have been good.

As you can tell from the photo, Grammy and Buddy are in town this week, so I apologize for the long time between posts. They've been playing a lot of Lego Star Wars 3 on the Xbox, enjoying several Lego spaceship battles per day, and doing some quality hanging out. The weather this week has been less-than-desirable for outdoor activities and projects, but they still managed to make it to the zoo and the park, and they have also spent time neighborhood shopping, trying to figure out nice spots to focus their house shopping on when Dad retires. Today's our last full day with the grandparents, so I guess I'll go enjoy our time together now and give you a more complete update later - have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Adoption Update

I know that this will come as no surprise to anybody, but adoption is not for the faint of heart! I mean, parenthood is no small adventure, but international adoption truly adds a whole extra layer of excitement (and exceedingly tedious waiting!) to the whole thing. I say all this not because there's been any real change in our adoption situation - we're in week 4 of dossier translation, which should put us about halfway through the translation process - but because the reality of the difficulty of the wait is becoming painfully clear to me. I mean, I always knew it would be hard, but knowing and feeling the pain are two very different experiences.

Maybe it's just Mother's Day that has me feeling sappy... I was shopping in Target Saturday afternoon and all of the sudden the weight of the separation from my little girl snuck up on me and left me teary in the stationery aisle. How can I so deeply miss somebody that I've never met? But she's so real to me, to each of us. Now, I should fill in the whole crying in Target story by letting you know that I had just come from Toys-R-Us where I used my Mother's Day money to buy two new outfits for sestra's doll, so I was probably setting myself up for an emotional fall. But, still, I was astounded by the strength of my emotion.

Speaking of sestra's doll, I got her before Christmas and man am I glad that I did! I happened to be in Toys-R-Us and saw a sweet little Asian-looking doll with short hair and figured that I ought to snag her and now it looks like that style was discontinued by Fisher Price! Score one for the mom buying her daughter a doll a full year before she'll even meet her.

It's weird - I want the boys to continue to anticipate the arrival of their sister, but I also worry that they'll tire of the wait. They show no signs of weariness so far, though. The other day we painted a teaset that I got for my birthday (thanks Laura!) for sestra and they were very enthusiastic. Granted, the creamer got painted black because it's the color of venom, but as Sam explained, "Hey, we're boys, what else do you expect?!?" And Ben is still loving Russian lessons - he and Daddy and Teacher Ben are making Russian phonogram cards so that we all learn the sounds of the Russian alphabet and they're having a blast.

But it's hard, really hard. Our new baby cousin was born on Tuesday (welcome little one!!!) and Uncle Mike texted me a photo. I showed it to the boys and Sam exclaimed, "Is that our sestra!?!" and I almost burst into tears. I don't know how we'll make it another 6 or 8 months, but I believe 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 and I choose to see the purpose in our wait. I look forward with eager anticipation to Christ shining through so much weakness.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crazy Monkeys

I know that few of you out there will doubt it, but I think that I must have the craziest monkey boys in the whole wide world. Steve got new equipment for our swingset last weekend, and Ben is throughly enjoying the new "trampese" as he calls it. He has mastered hanging from his legs, "just like they do in the circus" and doing "skincats" to dismount. He's only knocked the air out of himself once so far, so we figure that we're going well.

The boys' other crazy new hobby is eating exclusively with toothpicks. It all started when they tried some samples of chicken fingers at Costco and liked them so much that Steve agreed to purchase said chicken fingers. But it will come as no surprise that once the chicken fingers were cooked in our oven at home, they lost some of their appeal - that is until Steve cut them up and let the boys eat them with toothpicks a la Costco samples! Now that boys are hooked - they haven't eaten a meal since then with forks. In fact, Ben speared every green bean last night with his toothpick!

Never a dull moment...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I had a simply splendid Mother's Day today and I hope that all of you moms out there had a similarly great day. The boys have been teasing me for days about how many presents I was going to get and how much I would love them all, and I certainly wasn't disappointed! Sam made me no fewer than four Mother's Day cards, which were all very sweet, plus a journal with those fantastic lines with the dotted middle line to show you where your lower-case letters should end :) and my very own popsicle-stick jewelry box (which he was quick to point out could be used for any small objects, not just jewelry). Sam also gave me a book that he made at school, complete with illustrations:
My Love for You
Is prettier than the flower below (flower drawn below, of course)
Is taller than the capital state building
Is longer than a river
Is bigger than the U.S.A.
Is stronger than a gorila
And greater than all of these together forever!

Yeah, it was pretty freaking sweet.

Daddy and Ben collaborated on a gift that came in the biggest box I have ever received on Mother's Day - a new clock for the back yard! For those of you acquainted with our back yard, you'll probably remember that we have had a series of fountains that all break after a couple of years, so Steve decided that maybe a clock with hanging baskets of flowers would hold up better and Ben approved (although he did mention a few times that he would rather have gotten a bird bath - that kid loves his water!)

So my day started with breakfast and presents in bed, church, and a quick lunch before going to see Iron Man (great flick - throughly enjoyed by all. And, yes, it was my idea to go see the movie on Mother's Day, I wasn't dragged by any of the boys). Then we came home, planted some more veggies in the garden (green bean time!), installed the clock, and had dinner! It was a wonderful day - but with such fabulous boys, and the knowledge that next Mother's Day we will be a family of five, how could my day have been anything less than fantastic?!?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Adoption Update

We don't really have much of an adoption update to share - our dossier has been in Kazakhstan for three weeks of the two months that translation will probably take and we won't know much until translation is completed and our dossier goes on to the consulate in New York. We're trying to wait patiently and I'll admit that I struggle knowing that our little girl is waiting for us in an orphanage, not knowing that we're waiting just as eagerly for her, but I also know that God's timing is so much better than ours that it's beyond belief! And we trust Him far more than we trust ourselves.

So, what are we up to, besides redecorating seemingly our whole home, planting trees in the back yard, and getting the gardens in order? Well, today we met with Teacher Ben, Ben's new Russian tutor! He's a really nice guy who served in LDS mission in Russia and is going to come over three evenings per week to teach our little Ben Russian words and phrases to use with his new sestra and her friends in the baby house. Ben has exhibited a keen interest in learning Russian, so Russian lessons are a summer project for him (and all of us). I think it'll be really fun for all, and we've already learned the words for "doll" and "boy", so I think we're off to a great start :) If we're going to survive the seemingly interminable wait for our little Beauty, we might as well do it productively.

Paca! (that's like chao in Russian - see how much we're learning already!)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spring Kite Flying

Lest you think that we have spent the entire month of April working on home improvement projects (with that Oregon coast trip somewhere in the middle), I thought I'd post these photos of Steve and the boys flying kites last weekend. Well, more precisely they're of Steve and Sam flying kites while Ben plays on the playground at the park. Oh well, you can't please all of the people all of the time (or maybe you can, as long as the park has large grassy areas, wind, and a playground).

Unfortunately, the only photos we have to post are from Spike and Sharon's cameras because we have finally determined that our camera is lost. Our best guess is that we left it on the beach in Oregon. Steve maintains that his bag was - get this - attacked by a flock of seagulls while he was getting a few last minutes of kite flying in on the beach before heading out and the seagulls must have taken the camera out of his bag and moved it down the beach so that he didn't notice it when he cleaned up. I am likewise a little doubtful about this set of events, but I figure that if you're going to lose your camera, you might as well have a good story to tell about it!

So, another camera has been ordered and hopefully we'll have more photos to post soon. Sorry about the delay, but you know how aggressive seagulls get when they develop a taste for pocket-sized electronics.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A (Giant) New Tree

Ever since the plum tree in the back yard finally bit the dust in 2006, we've talked about replacing it with a nice shade tree for the northeast side of the yard. Well, last weekend we finally did it.

Gramma and I were at our favorite garden store when we noticed discount tags hanging from some lovely trees. Always on the lookout for a bargain, we perused the on-sale trees and found a beautiful 20 foot red maple that we agreed would be perfect in the back yard (and, yes, we did call the guys before making said purchase to make sure that a 40 cubic foot hole would fit into their weekend plans).

Getting it home was no small task - thank goodness for Rainy! Fortunately, the store is only a couple of miles from home and the guys could take side streets the whole way home with Spike holding the tree in place as it stuck out of the back of van. And the fun was just beginning :)

The tree finally made it through the arbor and was expertly placed to afford shade in the summer while still leaving a nice grassy spot on the right hand side of the yard for lawn sports. Then the guys went to work. I know that it will come as a great surprise to all, but apparently Orem has very rocky soil! I know, who'd have thunk that living in the mountains would put lots of rocks in our foundation.

Steve and Poppop heroically hacked, shoveled, and pick-axed their way through it all and by Sunday night we had a brand new, gorgeous tree in the back yard. Granted, right now it just looks like a really tall collection of sticks, but she's already budding for spring and George at the nursery assured us that she'll be ready for climbing in around eight years! And Sam very enthusiastically found plans for tree stakes that you could mow over, so he, Steve, and Poppop spent the better part of Sunday constructing a fabulous support system for our new tree - she's a well cared for tree, that's for sure!

We'll be sure to upload another picture once our new tree has leaves!


Related Posts with Thumbnails