Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 4th Mr. Roman

Roman, Roman, Roman. We've had quite a few posts about you this year. I think cause you're so mischievous. And a stinker. That's right, you're a little stinker and you know it. And you're proud of it, too. 

This little guy just makes me so happy all over. He drives me absolutely batty most of the time, mostly because it's so hard to discipline someone when you can barely keep a straight face! 

He's been so excited for his birthday, we've literally been counting down since August. He was asking even before that. He is SO READY to be FOUR. Three is just so last year. Nobody's three anymore, except maybe the babies. And Roman is not a baby. Although I did ask him if he would just stay three this year and stop growing and his biggest concern was the presents. So I told him we'd still have a party, but he had to promise not to turn four yet. He ALMOST agreed to it. 

Can I just say we measured him on our cute giant ruler board and he has grown ONE INCH since AUGUST? Maybe I just don't realize how fast kids are still growing at that age, but man! At least I'll be keeping track now that I have that thing. I mean, you always look back from year to year and see the evidence in the pictures, but you don't think of it in terms of picking up an inch in three and a half months. 

Xandri's birthday was kind of hard, because his was just around the corner (we tried celebrating separately this year) and everything she had for her birthday he wanted for his. He switched some things up, though. Like cookie cereal for breakfast and cookies for lunch. He requested cheese pizza for dinner, then halfway through making it he said, "No, Mom, I wanted quesadillas!" Then at actual dinner he proceeded to eat half of Avril's non-cheese pizza. She was not so pleased at that turn of events. 

He was obviously thrilled to see what awaited him in the kitchen. Especially getting to finally open his blue card-- a LEGO card, no less! Thank you, Auntie Camas!

Max loved the balloons again. This time we skipped the helium and just taped them by their strings to the cabinets. That worked out well for Max who just batted at them while standing on the stool saying, "Ba! Ba!"
Note the shiner-- he fell down the steps out the side door the day before. That was a very sad time. Also note the toothbrush (aka "utt") in his hand. (So named because it's "up"). He LOVES the taste of toothpaste.

So after breakfast since it was a school morning, we quickly adjourned to the living room for the scavenger hunt. It wasn't long-lasting since he basically got three things besides the GIANT TRAIN TABLE that is now our coffee table in the living room. It was still in the box, so I don't think he was as initially impressed as later- but judging by the look on his face in the first couple of shots here I think it was enough. 

Once we got the girls off to school it was time to assemble the table. 

A word here about toy/furniture assembly. I actually like it. It's like a puzzle for me. I like sitting down with the instructions and going from step to step, completing them neatly in order and accounting for all pieces. 
So, for me, this wasn't a problem. Initially. But once I got the table. And the drawers. And the hardware all assembled and still had the spiral tower, the airport, and the control tower with their 22 itty bitty A. screws and their 34 itty bitty B. screws and their 8 little bit bigger C. screws... well, let's just say all gifts for the next several months will come preassembled. 

Halfway through assembly Tutu (Grandma Zan) showed up with a bucket. And it was FULL of dinosaurs- just like Sammy's bucket in his favorite story. 

Well, let's just say that before presents, he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese like Xandri did. And after? All thoughts of Chuck E. Cheese quickly faded away at the prospect of trains, cars and dinosaurs all in the same proximity. Then when the girls got home from school, the fun started all over again!

So then pizza for dinner, birthday cake to follow. As soon as those candles got lit, they got blown out- which earned a scandalized and scathing "ROMAN!!!" from Avril who then scolded him for not waiting till we sang and till he wished. So we relit the candles, at which point Xandri said, "Hey maybe now he'll turn 8!"

Happy Birthday song followed- and then:  

After several (8-10?) failed attempts he finally blew all those candles out! I think he's gotta be at least 12 by now. Or does failure to blow them out the first time subtract years? Huh. I'll check Wikipedia. 

Happy Birthday Roman! We love you and we're eagerly watching to see if you'll grow big like a giant this year!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy 6th Xandri!

My Xandri turned 6 on Saturday-- I can't believe how the time's gone. Six more years and she'll be 12-- adolescent, entering Young Women at church, practically grown up. Six more after that and she's 18, her own person and off to college and whatever else life holds for her. It makes me cry just thinking about it-- and makes me realize how precious the time I have with her (them!) really is. 

Trying to sit here and think of the words to describe this little girl fills me with such tenderness. Squirrely. Giggly. Silly. Wiggly. Busy. Distracted. Imaginative. Yellow kitty. Loving. Snuggly. Teasing. Spicy. Xandri.

Her birthday meals tell enough-- Ramen noodles for breakfast-- with nothing in them. Normally I put peas and tomatoes in in a weak effort to inject some degree of nutrition into the meal. Xandri doesn't believe in mixing foods. Almost ever. She hates peas. She wants the tomatoes on the side. Or not at all.

Lunch was cupcakes, applesauce and the little individual cereal boxes.

Dinner was her favorite- Cuban Black Bean Soup. Or just "bean soup" as she refers to it. She loves it. And she loves dipping her tortilla chips in it. Dessert was brownies (the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate brownie mix from Costco) and ice cream cones. That girl has SUCH a sweet tooth!

So we decorated the kitchen with streamers and the birthday banner, breakfast out and ready to go. They each got to blow up balloons with the helium and I showed them the helium voice, which they loved. Avril was the only one who tried it, it was hilarious. 

A balloon dance party quickly ensued. 

The balloons, however, caused all sorts of distress for Max. When they were up, he wanted them down. When they were down, he wanted them up. He walked around the house half crying, half yelling for the better part of the morning, stressing about those horrible balloons. Which he's really not supposed to play with anyway, but I defy YOU to keep him away from them.

Then we moved to the living room for a birthday scavenger hunt. I think she wanted the presents wrapped AND hidden. Hmmm. Well. The Lazy Mom Method got two good years outta that tradition. Derek got her a toy grabber to pick up all her things with and they loved playing with it. Thanks Grandpa for the book! 

Since Roman's birthday follows Xandri's so quickly, I let him open his present from Grandpa as well. It was well-received.

After the morning festivities, we went to Chuck E. Cheese. Now Xandri is the only one who's actually been to Chuck E. Cheese and remembers it. So when I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate her birthday, that was IT. She really wanted to share that experience with her siblings. That's another thing about that girl-- she shares what she loves. Experiences, that is, not candy. 
Just so we have that straight. 

Grabbed the mail on the way out and what did we find but a pink envelope addressed to Miss Xandri Zickgraf (there was a blue one for Mr. Roman as well, but we'll discuss that on his birthday when he opens it) just in time on her birthday from Auntie Camas. Thank you Auntie Camas, the princess was SOOO pretty!

The kids LOVED Chuck E. Cheese and Roman wants to go back tomorrow for his birthday. We brought Tutu along with us and she entertained Max, who was mostly enthralled with the basketball games. The kid loves balls. What can I say? Better get him into sports and pronto! 

I think the hardest part of the whole experience was the agonizing decision of what to spend your tickets on at the end. Do you go with the plastic rings and the little gooey bugs? Or go all out and get the princess tiara? In the end, she settled on one biggish thing, a really cool rubber bracelet that was really like 3-in-1, a top and a couple spiders. Yellow and purple. Smart choice, my girl.

After lunch, it was pool time. Scott pool-- water slide, rock climbing wall, kiddie pool, diving boards. That's all out fun right there!

Home for dinner and her new movie- Barbie and The Diamond Castle. It was everything a little girl could want-- sparkles and pink and purple everywhere, diamonds, beautiful princesses, dancing, singing, twin handsome princes that rocked a mean guitar, puppies, you name it, it was somewhere in this movie.

Finally, she turned 6 after blowing out her candles on the cake. I was slow getting the camera ready for this all-important moment, so the clearly all you see is the remnants of the candle. This girl is all business. 
The first picture is her self-proclaimes "Robot Face". Avril decided she needed to get in and show Xandri how to make the appropriate birthday wish cake face. 

I think she nailed it. 
 Happy Birthday my sweet little 6 year old. Try not to rush through the next six years quite so fast, ok?

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Learning a language can be a tricky thing. There's all sorts of things to figure out.

Like no "attractions" at the table. That's one of our rules. We're not too sure what it means, but people are gettin' attracted by all sorts of things around here- books, cars, games, sisters. It's really easy to get attracted when you're supposed to be doing a job. 

Another tricky one is how things keep "jus-appearing". He sets a toy down and goes away for a while and when he comes back, it's "jus-appeared" and nowhere to be found! It's pretty confusing.

Or when he's watching SuperHeroes or Diego on the "tevy" and people keep "erupting" him. This boy really hates getting erupted. And those sisters do it all the time. Poor guy can hardly get a word out before somebody's erupting him again.

Water Kitties

For some reason the kids love pretending to be kitties. Roman is the Green Kitty, Xandri is the Yellow Kitty. I'm not entirely sure if Avril is a specific color of kitty. Although sometimes she's just the owner of the kitties. Max enjoys the crawling part of this game, particularly now that he's walking. I think he likes feeling like he's pretending with the big kids. He's a smart baby, that one. 

Anyway. Back to the kitties.

Avril and I were mermaiding (yes, that is the technical term for shouting "I'm a mermaid!" and diving under the next big wave) when Avril informed me that the kids were "water kitties" today. 

I asked her how that worked since most kitties hate water and she explained that water kitties are very rare. 

So I asked how many there are in the world. 

"Three," she replied. 

"Oh, I see. And do water kitties have paws or fins?"

Scandalized at my ignorance, she replied in a voice dripping with all the scorn and incredulity she could muster, 
"Paws, of course! We're not CATFISH!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Avril's Baptism

I didn't cry when she started preschool. 

Or when she rode the bus for the first time. 

I didn't cry when she started first grade- having skipped kindergarten.

But when my little girl turned around to look at me from the front pew where she was sitting with her dad, singing the opening song during the baptism, holding my gaze for the duration of the song...

Well, I tear up now just thinking of it. My heart is so full of joy and pride in my little girl for making this important decision in her life. So full of joy at the maturity she regularly demonstrates, her goodness and purity and her sweet conviction in the gospel. Watching her learn and grow, her testimony of Christ, of prayer, of the power of the Holy Spirit blossoming into something real and vital... I think this is the greatest reward a mother can experience. Sometimes I can't believe she's really only 8. She is such a good example to her siblings and to her peers- and to her parents. I love this girl with all my heart!

(four generations!)

I'm so grateful my family was able to make it out for her baptism. They were wonderful- fun, pleasant guests, helpful, easy to please and overall great to have. Also thanks to all our dear friends who were able to make it to her baptism and celebrated with us afterward- as well as those of you whose hearts were with us. Your love and support warms our hearts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to School!

Yes, I know, it's crazy, right? 
First day of school here was July 30th. 
I can't believe I have a 3rd grader. And Xandri's in 1st grade... Eek! They're growing up too fast. 

I think Avril looks so much like her aunt Micaela in this picture, it kills me.

Xandri's expression makes me giggle a bit. She's standing in front of our school's mural/mosaic thing. It's pretty cool. I think it's my favorite part of the school.

It's crazy to me how proud I am and how nostalgic I get at the same time when I look at my kids. I call 'em my babies, but as often as I do they indignantly remind me that they are NOT babies. 

And like any good mother, I tell them that no matter how big they get, they will always be my babies. 

They are both so full of personality and energy, imagination and life. I love eavesdropping on their conversations and watching and hearing how they develop and how their world view shifts as they grow. At the same time, that scares the bejeebies outta me!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

'Neakin' Around

Roman fell off his chair and told Derek that Xandri pushed him.

This little lie earned him a time-out on the couch from Daddy.
Who went back to playing Diablo 3 with Weston ten feet away. 

After some time he came upstairs, got some paper from the printer and some crayons and sat next to me, quietly coloring. After drawing a couple pictures, Grandpa Wayne said, "Roman, what are you doin?"

Roman replied, "I'm 'neakin' out of my corner."
The he finished coloring, ate a little snack and got down from his chair. 

Wayne asked him where he was going.

"I'm 'neakin' back to my corner."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Leggy Pepper

This morning at breakfast we were all eating our eggs when Roman asks, "Mom, what is this black thing?"

I glanced over between Max's bites and said, "It's pepper, Roman, you always have pepper in your food. It's fine."

"But Mom, it has legs. I don't like pepper with legs."

"What? Pepper goes on eggs, Roman, it's fine."

"Mom, we don't eat pepper with legs."

Finally convinced this might not be pepper on mispronounced eggs, I inspected the proffered fork and egg. 

Sure enough, his "pepper" had legs. A little roach had somehow found it's way into the pan. I still don't know how and I'm quite traumatized.

I'd post a picture, but I'm still trying to hold down what I hope is legless eggs. We all left off the eggs and moved onto better things. Legless Poptarts. 

I need me some Orkin!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pretend Xandri Did It!

Standing at the kitchen sink rinsing some dishes when suddenly I'm attacked from behind by a Bad Guy under the cover of a blanket.

And then CHOMP!
Right on my behind.


Ducking quickly away...
"Mom! Mom! Pretend Xandri did it!"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dad & Shelley Get Hitched

So we left off last time, with Derek getting on a jet plane to go home without me while I went on to my dad's wedding.

Although the parting was difficult initially, I was comforted and left with a feeling of peace that allowed to look forward to and enjoy the rest of my journey. 

I'm so glad I was able to go. It was wonderful to see everyone- my friend Natalie picked me up from the airport and we hung out briefly that evening, catching up and enjoying each other's company. She then dropped me off at Derek's grandparents' house where I was immediately made to feel loved and welcome, I felt, as always, right at home there. I miss them already just thinking about it!

We caught up for a bit, but it was late and we were all tired so I crashed pretty quickly but made sure to set my alarm so I would have time to leave for the wedding by 8:00. Of course the travel and the late nights and the jet lag caught up with me though and I slept through (or "snoozed" through) my alarm. Thankfully Grandma Zickgraf had an eye on the time and listened for me- not hearing me she sweetly took it upon herself to wake me!

After a quick breakfast, I headed out and tried to remember my way up to Provo from Salem on the backroads. All things considered it didn't go too terribly badly. I got to the temple on time and when in to a near-on family reunion. Everyone was waiting inside, so in hushed voices we said our hellos and made our reacquainted ourselves. I was so happy to see a few familiar faces from my childhood ward and see the love and support my dad has at home. 

The sealing was beautiful. My dad and Shelley looked so happy together and I'm so grateful I was able to be a part of it. It was definitely an emotional experience for me.

I'm excited to get to know Shelley more personally, as well as her kids. I mean, wow, five more siblings in a matter of a few minutes? That's impressive. And daunting! I was delighted to meet them all, as well as some of their new spouses (this was the FOURTH wedding for Shelley and her kids in the past year! And when I say that, I mean her three oldest kids got married, not that she's been married four times in the past year. Just to clear up any confusion that may have caused.)

And of course I was more than thrilled to catch up with my own siblings- I mean who wouldn't love to talk to this face?!

These faces... well, I'm torn between the adjectives "entertaining" and "terrifying". And I mean that in the best way possible. 

It was so good to see my dad's family and catch up with them and hear about their own families as well. The saddest part was the whirlwind aspect of it all! We had so little time to catch up, I'm grateful Denise and Grandma will be coming with Dad in August for Avril's baptism. 

Shelley-- are you SURE you're ready for this crew? We're excited to have you, but I don't thinking you know what you're getting into! ;)
Oh and hey! There's Nic and Ethan in a picture! I wasn't sure I had any of Ethan, he slunk away halfway thru pictures. I'm pretty sure Nic woulda if he coulda, too, but I was his ride- sucker.  

I miss you, Amiee! I really wish we'd had more girl time together, it simply wasn't enough!
I could not BELIEVE how grown UP this girl looked when I saw her at the temple! Her hair, her dress, her jewelry... dang, girl. I'm still reeling a bit from the shock of it. Still my little sister, but no longer the baby, that's for sure.

It was a delight to meet Shelley's parents as well, they were so pleasant and charming. She just makes such a beautiful, classy, elegant bride. She carries herself with such confidence and you can see her inner light. As I said before, I look forward to getting to know this lovely lady!

Love you Grandma! It was wonderful to see you. I love this picture.

(Amiee, we need more of these.)

The newly-minted brothers. Well, except Ethan. This is the part where he ditched.  

And the women of the family... we're a pretty good-lookin' crew I'd say. 

We love you, Dad! Congratulations on this big step in your life! May you treasure each other always.

Afterward we got to catch up with everyone a bit more over dinner at Olive Garden, Chelsea and Reed serenaded them on the ukulele with a couple of songs, one of which was a personal favorite of mine. Aren't they simply gorgeous together?!

I also got to know Denise's daughter Aspyn a bit- she is a firecracker! She had us cracking up all over the place, good luck with that girl Denise! She's got boatloads of personality!

After the festivities and the bittersweet goodbyes, I drove back "home" to Grandma and Grandpa Zickgraf's house to pack up for the trip back. I wish I could have stayed longer just to catch up with them (and everyone); my time there was precious, more so for its brevity. 

Natalie once again hooked me up with a ride (thank you for driving me all over Utah girly!) and we went out for frozen yogurt before she dropped me off at my aunt and uncle's house for the night. Thank you Robert and Debbe for your hospitality as well! 

I felt so loved and cared for on this trip and I am so grateful for the many, many friends and family that I have out there. I look forward to the next time we meet in our many walks of life and think of you all with fondness until then.