1) How both Will and Elizabeth were voted among the top three students in their respective classes for the Storytelling Festival at school. Elizabeth read something from one of our favorite picture books, Zen Shorts, and Will did a bit from an old Bill Cosby act. (Brandon has some of Bill Cosby's old stuff on his iphone that his Dad used to play for him when he was young, and our kids just love it!)
2) How Brandon and I are giving up sugar for Lent and it feels GREAT! (Me + excessive sugar=depression and lethargy, so I really need to watch it.) We knew 100% abstinence would be expecting too much, so we indulge on Saturdays and call it our Devil Day. On Devil Day last week we ordered a flour-less chocolate cake for dessert at a restaurant after dinner, and that was after eating part of a piece of Magleby's $60 chocolate cake for "breakfast" in the morning. (A patient brought some into Brandon's office.) The moral of the story is that it feels good to eat rich, delicious garbage when it's actually in my mouth, but then I feel kind of gross and depressed afterward. (That's only if I overdo it, which I kind of did, which is why it's better sometimes to make sugar totally off limits since I don't have a strong enough shut-off valve.) (And yes, I know we're not Catholic, but the idea behind Lent is a good one for people of all Christian faiths, don't you think?)
3) How 3 of the 4 awesomely Japanesey bento boxes I ordered for my kids have arrived in the mail and the kids have started taking their lunches to school/friend's houses in them. Get a load of the hysterical Engrish on Will's:
This one is Rachael's. It's from the movie, "My Neighbor Totoro" which you should watch with your kids THIS weekend.
Is this just the cutest lunch you've ever seen? It takes no more time than whatever you're already doing; probably less.
Speaking of Totoro . . .
4) How we are LOVING the Hayao Miyazaki films, watching them one by one on Netflix, and then ordering them on Amazon--they're all worth purchasing! The first to be released as a major motion picture in the U.S. is in theaters right now, and you should take your kids to see it this weekend (have a Ghibli Studios marathon): The Secret World of Arietty. You should know that these movies move much slower than most of the in-your-face movies for kids. (That's what we love about them. And they're even 2D.) They are slow, but with story lines and characters that totally draw you in, and if you notice, every one of his movies is full of gorgeous nature and music. (The other reason we love them.) And of course we love the overt Japanese elements like the nature, the food, the architecture of the homes and their way of communicating/interacting with each other. (THANK YOU Betsy for introducing us to these movies, and for giving me the idea--and the first tools--to make bento lunches!!)
5) How we still haven't been skiing this year because of a lack of snow or the lack of a free Saturday, but we've had fun doing some indoor active stuff like tramp parks . . .
. . . and ROLLER SKATING a few weeks back. (Everyone, including me, upgraded to the roller blades--way easier.) The kids loved it! I think the last time we went roller skating as a family was when we were still living in Iowa City and broke as a joke. We used to go to the free family skate night at the local rec. center where they had really old rental skates and we just went around the gym with cones. No music, no lights, just our little family and the guy working the "rink" who had a slight mental disability and a crush on me. Fond, fond memories.
6) How this Republican presidential nomination race is becoming the most insanely protracted affair in the history of American politics! I feel like it's my Super Bowl and there's a playoff game (debate or primary) once or twice a week. It's killing me, but I can't turn away!
7) How after both Brandon and I AND the Binky Fairy failed to get Rachael to give up the binky at night for good, Elizabeth managed to do it in one miraculous night while snuggling/reading books together in one of their beds. I just realized I don't even know how she did it! I was just so happy she did.
8) How Will had an orchestra concert last weekend (he's in the junior program of the Lyceum Orchestra program, of which the most advanced group helped Steven Sharp Nelson to create THIS phenomenal youtube video--they are high schoolers for crying out loud!) and we all went to Sub Zero afterward:
Love how she really thinks she's playing:
9) How Brandon's next youngest brother, Damon, had dinner and spent the night with us last night while in town for something work related and we veered off our holy lent track just a bit and shared two of our prized gourmet root beers with him when the kids weren't around.
10) How Kate is so amazingly artistic that her art teacher tells her she doesn't even care how long it takes her to finish making something, she will get full credit no matter what because she just wants her to do whatever she wants to/can to the ultimate. Here's her portfolio just to keep her art in this semester. It will get totally thrashed during the semester, and Kate will try to throw it away at the end. I think it's gorgeous, but Kate says she doesn't really like it and it's just "doodling". What???
11) How Will is totally into wearing bright red socks to school or his "Stepping Stones Pre-School" tee which FINALLY fits him. This t-shirt has been a joke in our family for years. Why in the world his pre-school ordered t-shirts this size for 4-year-olds I have no idea, but I seriously can't believe he's actually wearing it to school. (Well, I can, because he's just funny that way.)
12) How my kids absolutely LOVE to play around on Google Earth. They have gone to Honolulu, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, and the other day Kate was on top of Mt. Everest. Heck, Elizabeth even went to Mars. Seriously. Get your kids playing on Google Earth.
14) How I really do think we will eventually get this house, but there are various and sundry details making it so it's not your usual cut and dry deal. We're in the process of getting more detailed appraisals right now.
15) How Brandon and I got a couples massage for a belated Valentine's Day date last weekend. (When we gorged ourselves on flour-less chocolate cake.) This is our new annual treat, and this year the place we went to was a little too "Mother Earthy" for me, but how can you complain about a full body massage?
16) How Brandon DID make it to Dads with Doughnuts for at least half of the time (crises averted!), and the PTA president told me the reason they do events such as these is because "studies show" the more parents are in the school the better the children do. (Heather, your comment about that was so interesting, especially because I had just read something along the same lines about male influence ((or lack of)) in the schools just the day before, which totally reminds me that I'm supposed to be promoting this truly FANTASTIC article on Deseret News about the war on boys that took quite a bit of effort/research to put together. Please read it!)
17) How tonight my dear, beloved, devoted, faithful husband went digging through the trash can outside to see if he could find Will's book report that I accidentally threw away. (Will forgot to turn it in, so when I found it in his backpack a few days after the due date I assumed it had already been graded and I chucked it. You don't save all your kids book reports, do you?) I guess he could have waited until I got home and made me do it since I'm the one who threw it away, but he probably knew I couldn't (wouldn't?), though I did retrieve a really nice watch that Brandon gave me for me birthday out of a latrine at a George Bush rally several years ago. (True story. Don't ask for details.)
18) How Elizabeth managed to down about half of a honey bear on one bowl of cereal when I wasn't noticing one day, and how she is so darn cute when sleeping:
20) How it's already time to come up with another post for Friday even though I feel like I just barely finished this one. (Comments always appreciated!)