Saturday, February 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jake

Harry Potter Birthday Party

For Jake's 10th birthday, we through an epic Harry Potter themed party. I have to say that it is a good thing he chose "Harry Potter" as the theme as I was WAY into decorating and planning--I am a huge Harry Potter fan. One thing is for sure--when I like the theme, the party is so much more fun!

I sure love my little boy, and I am happy I got to celebrate him in such a fun way. Jake is such a special part of our lives and our family. I can't imagine life without him being a part of it! I am grateful every day that he is mine. A few things I love about this 10 year-old of mine:

He's always ready for a good laugh.
He will be the first to jump into an exciting game of Nerf Wars.
He loves his daddy and adores everything about him.
He thinks his sisters are pretty fun too.
He is kind-hearted.
He is knowledgeable in the gospel.
He has a testimony.
He loves The Book of Mormon.
He wants to be good.
He tries hard everyday.
He is my favorite little boy around. (And I can have a favorite!)
Most importantly--he loves Jesus Christ.

Truly, I wish I could put into words the feelings of my heart when it comes to this little man...I am so grateful I get to be his mom.
The Entrance to Our House

I made brooms for every child. I used wooden dowels, willow twigs, and hot-glue. I hot-glued the willows to the dowel first, and then wrapped them with rope to hold them in place. 

I also made each child a wand. These were made with longer chopsticks (purchased from Amazon), hot-glue, and paint. I first used hot-glue to create the handle. Once the glue was dry, I painted each wand. I liked the black spray paint wands best, but craft paint worked too!

We put a walkie-talkie in the end of the sorting hat. I spoke a little louder than usual, so my husband knew when to speak, and then he sorted the kids from the other room. It worked perfectly!

Previous to the party, my family and I went to Universal Studios in Florida. We loved the Ollivander's Show, so we tried to re-create the show at our house. We tied fishing twine to different objects, so the objects could fly off the shelf as the wizard (boy) used the wand. We only allowed two of the children to experience the show as it would take too long for all of them. When it was time for the rest of the boys to get their wands, we pretended that their wand was claiming them as well, and we told them what was special about each one--just like the show. It was super fun!

Connor in the Ollivander's Show

Jake in the Ollivander's Show

This was my favorite part of decorating. I loved the candy and the signs...really--everything about it. It was so much fun!

For Potions Class, we labeled items for Italian Soda's to sound like items from a potion. Each boy created their own Italian Soda, and drank it with their cake. We also did an exploding baking soda potion where the color of the explosion (food coloring) described the type of wizard each boy was. 

I loved re-creating Hagrid's cake!

Jake led everyone with his wand in singing Happy Birthday to him. It totally cracked me up!

I made wands, brooms, and scarves for each boy. The scarves were made with two pieces of fleece sewn together. I cut the ends to look like the movie. We used these scarves to sort the boys in the different houses. 

I wish I had a picture of the boys playing Quiditch. I was too busy running around that I missed the whole thing. My neighbor made these rings for us with PVC pipe. We only had one hoop on each end instead of three. We tried to keep the game similar to the real game, but there were definite differences. Each team had a Seeker who would search the grounds for a golden ball (golf ball painted gold). We also had a Keeper for each team protecting their goal. The action happened with the Beaters and the Chasers. The Beaters were on the edge of our field. We didn't allow them to come to the center with the Chasers. They had to stay in marked areas running back and forth on the outside of the field. Their goal was to throw the Bludgers (soft balls) at the Chasers. If the Chasers were hit, they had to run to a penalty box and back before they could proceed to play. All the while the Chasers were busy trying to score.  To add an element of difficulty, the Chasers could only run a few steps before they had to pass their ball to a teammate.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hiawatha Trail

Hiawatha Trail
 This was definitely an experience of a lifetime.  Amber Described it perfectly by Saying:
 The Hiawatha Trial is a bike trial that follows an old railroad line. Because it is on an old railroad line, there are many tunnels along the trial. One of the tunnels is as long as 2 miles. In the middle of the longest tunnel, it is pitch black and freezing cold, which initially created a little bit of fear for me. My mom was in the front with a bright light on her bike, and my dad was in the back with the brightest light. All of us kids were in the middle—we also had lights, but our parent’s lights were brighter. When I started to get scared, my dad instructed me to follow mom’s light, and to notice his light as well. We grouped together in a tight formation, so that we might make all of our lights shine together as one. We then prayed and encouraged one another looking to the light at the end of the tunnel far in the distance. As we worked together, I felt my fear disappear and I felt peace. The rest of the day was filled with excitement and anticipation for the next tunnel, and it brought my family closer together. This experience taught me that as we pray and come together as a family, we are a greater force than when we stand alone.

Just like our lights directed our path in the tunnel, our Savior, Jesus Christ, can also be a light to direct our families. Helaman 5:12 states, “And now my sons remember remember that it is upon the Rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God—that we must build our foundation. That when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his might storm shall beat upon you. It shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation. A foundation whereon if men build we cannot fall."
We all need a “light” in our life. Just like the lights on our bicycles guided our way and brought my family together on the Hiawatha Trail, the Savior can be a light to guide our families. As we spend time together, as we study the scriptures, participate in family home evening, pray together, and simply follow as we have been directed by the family proclamation to the world, we will have the Savior’s light as our guide. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, and He sent me to this family for a reason. Through His plan, I can live with my family again.

I loved this experience. I absolutely want to do it again. We pulled together as a family and we accomplished something extremely difficult. We were only planning on riding our bikes one direction; however, the transit system was down, so instead of only riding down the mountain--we had to also ride back up the mountain. The journey up the mountain was a difficult one for Jake. We had to stop every mile to encourage and lift his tired spirit and body. It became a team effort as we neared the end of our journey--all of us cheering each other on to victory. Sometimes hard things can be great things when the bind our hearts together as one, and that is exactly what happened for us!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy Birthday to Our Family

17 YEARS… 

We are getting old, but at least we are doing it together.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Rush Soccer

 Hailey’s Passion

Hailey is passionate about soccer. She absolutely thrives on the intensity of the game. When she is playing, she is all in—heart, mind, and soul. When she was little, it was so fun to watch her—almost funny—as she learned how to play. Now, she knows exactly how to play, and the fun has intensified.