Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Not Eggactly Your Average Hunt

I wouldn't say that we have many official rules when it comes to egg hunts.

* We only put money in the camo eggs.
* Egg have to be visible from some angle.
* We let the younger kids start first, but not by much.
* You can only find a certain amount of camo eggs and you can't shake them and put them back. (This is because the older girls would shake them and if it sounded like coins, they would put them back and try to find ones with silent bills inside.)

That is pretty much it. Egg hunts are usually done outdoors, but they can certainly be done inside. There is NO Easter Bunny. Mom usually hides the eggs.

In Washington, Tim was kind enough to hide eggs all over the house. (Although not in every room - some rooms were off limits.) I hid the camo eggs and kept track of where they were. There is an exact number and everyone wants their fair share. All the kids stayed down in Miranda's room while we hid the eggs. They were ready to hunt.

Pearl was off first, with everyone else in turn. Miranda was kind enough to help Pearl along the way.

Robyn found some very sneaky ones.

Grandma's room was fair game. She was resting up and possibly giving away some of our egg locations. (Sneaky G'ma.)

Grandpa, on the other hand, was in one of the off-limit rooms. He was happily sequestered with his computer, probably planning a lesson for institute. (More on that later.)

Tim did a great job hiding the eggs, although I think Tyler was the one who put some eggs in the curio cabinet. I could NOT figure out how to open that thing for the longest time. Tyler was laughing at me as I shook it in frustration. Even these kids are struggling to find the way in.

But June eventually got it open. (Faster than I did.)

We had two photographers on the job. I wish I had thought to take a picture of Tyler...

Most of my pictures involve the back of someone's head, but every once in a while, I would slow them down long enough to get a front shot.

Barely sometimes. (Ivory is trying to tell me something. Wish I could remember what it was.)

Who was our big winner finding the $5 bill this year??


I was surprised it wasn't Pearl because many of her eggs weren't shakers, but she ended up with several dollar bills. Good job P!

Everyone seemed to be happy with their candy/money. I miss the egg hunts when I was little where we looked for real eggs. Maybe next year we will decorate more chicken eggs and hunt for them. Then again, I have hundreds of plastic eggs. Choices, choices.

But that was just the start of the Easter festivities. You know if we are with the Dargans, we have to have a Crack Off!! Just wait for all the fun eggs.

Getting There is Half the Battle

Spring Break: What a fun time to get away and do something as a family. We don't often travel during Spring Break. Sometimes it just takes too much work, and I usually enjoy a week off school where we can just play at home.

However, this time around, my mother was having surgery and taking time off from work. It was perfect timing for us to come up and visit her while she convalesced. I really like seeing my family, and they usually come around Easter time. However, it is always daunting to realize we need to travel 900 miles to get there. That is a lot of time in the car. (Yes, I know we don't have babies anymore. It is so much better than it could be. Or is it...?)

Tyler does an activity book for the kids. He does such an amazing job. We don't bring movies in the car, but we do take an occasional audio book. The book for this trip: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede. (It was fun, although I didn't love the dragon's voice.) We also bring snacks along. The kids entertain themselves in many ways, and of course, we always stop to see something interesting or strange along the way.

We decided on a flexible game plan. We left after school and wanted to drive a large chunk of the drive in the evening. We didn't have hotel reservations, but we figured we might find a good spot along the way to stop. We drove and drove and yet with intermittent potty brakes, it seemed to take forever to go anywhere. Around 9pm, we decided we would find a store, since we had forgotten a few essentials, such as dog food. (Sorry Moxy.)

Everyone was supposed to take a potty break and then we were going to settle down for the night and see how far Mom and Dad could make it. June was a little put out as Robyn pushed her way out of the car abruptly, but immediately took back her animosity when she said, "Uh...Robyn is throwing up."

Turns out Robyn had been feeling sick for hours, but didn't want to say anything. (Clearly the better option is to wait until it is too late.) Fortunately for her, she made it out of the car just in time and left an epic donation in the parking lot. I was all kinds of grateful that she made it out of the car. Puke in the car is a game changer.

We loaded back in the car and I drove for another 4 or 5 hours, while Robyn threw up intermittently. Poor Robyn. And Pearl decided to pee in the back seat at one point to keep things interesting. Driving with children is a joy!

Tyler took over in the early morning hours, but only made it so far before fatigue overcame him. He pulled into a Walmart parking lot and we all slept until around 6 in the morning. Luxury accommodations for sure.

At least we were close to food and bathrooms when we woke up. Robyn was practically finished with her car sickness, which is what we diagnosed as the problem. So much for fun activity books. Robyn should be looking out the window and not at anything else.

It was a beautiful day and we happened to be in a nice city, so we decided to explore and look for an interesting thing. Check out this awesome Phoenix mural.

We also found a Bull taking up his fair share of a bench. But he scooted over so we could have a seat.

June gave him a high five as she was leaving.

Tyler was challenged by a friend to ride a bull, so every chance he gets, you'll find him testing his skills.

I was happy just to snuggle. (After all, it had been a long night.)

Turns out the bull lived on Pearl street. If you have a Pearl, it is mandatory to take a picture.

Fortunately for us, we had already done the bulk of the driving the night before. We made it to my mom's house before the morning session of conference was over. (It was conference weekend. We originally left early so we could get there before we missed too much.)

It was quite a relief to exit the car. Robyn did not puke again and no one got sick while we were there, so we officially list her under kids that get car sick. (Right under June.)

Next up, an egg hunt. It was Easter, after all...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pearl's 5 Year Gallery

One would think that Pearl would be the easiest to photograph since I have more time with her than any of my kids. We could take any morning and go out for a photo shoot. Clearly that is not the case. This morning a previous appointment was canceled and Pearl did not have school. That left us a very open schedule.

No time like the present. "Time for pictures," I told Pearl. She was all for it. She ran off and got all dressed in her fanciness. (I didn't even help her choose an outfit.) She requested braids and you might notice that she is wearing the same headband from last year.

Although I am a month (or two) behind, I have been thinking about taking her pictures. In fact, I kinda wanted to take them up at the tulip festival. But you are not supposed to take portrait pictures unless you get a photo pass for $75. We did go up to the festival (used my membership and everything. Booyah!!) and there were plenty of people taking portrait pictures. And we took some family shots as well, but I think that is standard fare. If I had taken Pearl's gallery up there, my conscience would have had something to say about it.

So I chose the next best option...the temple...which happens to have lovely tulips out front. It was like a miniature festival with no steep price tag or guilt. Win/win.

I hope you enjoy Pearl and her cheery smile. She is a fantastic kid. Especially when she is in a good mood. (Then again, aren't most of us more enjoyable on a good day.)

I love my little peapod. I wouldn't say she is blonde anymore. Her hair is light brown, but compared to the rest of us darkies, she still wins the fair award. And glasses.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Crack Me Up

I think I have more eggs on my blog than a farmer has in a hen house. This time of year, the Crack Off competitions just keep on coming.

I promised Ivory a Crack Off in her class, but I still feel like third graders are a bit young. (Yes, I know the first Crack Off I did was in Robyn's class when she was in third grade.) So, despite some desperate opposition, I skipped her class this year and did Robyn and June's classes instead. (Let's just say that I will be in BIG trouble if I don't do Ivory's class next year.)

First up: ROBYN

Her teacher is new this year and I thought he would enjoy the originality of the Crack Off. (He actually planned two Easter parties the week before Spring Break. I think he was trying to keep the kids busy so they didn't melt down early. I'm not sure I entirely approved, but I also hear he has a really tough class, so I don't judge too much.)

Recall that Robyn won her class Crack Off last time. I think she was feeling lucky this time around as well.

But her luck didn't last.

The competition was intense. In one battle both eggs broke. (Hate it when that happens.) But eventually there was a final round and a winner was decided. Good job Lindsey. (Mr. Mortensen was laughing because I guess the boy in the photo has a crush on her. Cute)

Next up: JUNE

June's class did a Crack Off last year, and the majority are the same kids. They know the drill. Everyone has a few minutes to decorate their egg. Here is June working on hers.

I did not have my trusty photographer with me this year (a.k.a. Tyler) but another mom was kind enough to take some pictures, so I have some shots of the action. I love this picture, because almost everyone seems to be laughing or smiling.

June's class has been doing CHEF NEWS all year, so they record everything. The Crack Off was no eggseption. (Plus, their teacher was gone that day. I think she wanted to see what all the fuss was about.)

I was told that a white board would be provided for me. Somehow I was thinking something a little wider, but we made it work.

As you can see, our winner was Britney. Good job. Your ninja egg kung fued them all. (Do ninjas use kung fu?)

Don't forget: MOM & DAD

I love our neighborhood Crack Off. This year was no different, although I wasn't as relaxed as usual since I was trying to get all my kids packed so we could leave on vacation the next day after school. I sent them off packing (literally) while we cracked eggs. (The only adverse effect of this was Pearl packing simply one shirt. She survived since she borrowed from Daisy and wore her jammie shirt most of the trip.)

Meanwhile, back on the farm, the eggs were coming in. Check out some of our contenders. There is often someone who brings eggs decorated with hair, stickers, etc. (Ironically, it doesn't seem to protect them.) This guy is awesome.

And his brother.

My egg was named after a book from Battle of the Books. The kids read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. My egg was Number the Shards.

Here are a bunch. I loved Groot. Tyler hasn't even seen Guardians of the Galaxy. (You may not have either.)

My Golden Goose was more bronze since my Gold sharpie is worthless. Check out the Skeleton...

Here is an aerial view of all our creative designs. (Charity would say that her eggs were boring because she didn't know they were supposed to go all out. But I loved her blue and pink eggs that she named Mr & Mrs.)

Jonny won the decoration contest with Eggs o Skeleton. Very detailed and awesome!

Now to the cracking.

TJ liked to spin his egg. It wasn't the best strategy. Jonny cracked TJ's egg right out of its spin.

And yet, Jonny liked to spin his eggs as well. (Whatever works for you. We haven't found the best strategy yet.)

Although children aren't invited, we do get some sneaks that crash the party.

TJ was still spinning his eggs.

Regardless of all the crazy rotating eggs, Chris rolled the good old fashioned way and won the competition. Way to go Chris. It was your wife last year. I must know your secret!!!

And then the boys spent the next 20 minutes spinning eggs. As you can tell, once they get spinning, they stand on end. It looked pretty cool. Some of the colors were just perfect for spinning. And if they fell on the ground, it was okay...they were already cracked.

Fear not...if you feel you haven't seen quite enough eggs for one April, there is still another Crack Off that will happen up in WA. But we have to drive there first...