Monday, December 31, 2012

Potato Cannon

This year Will's science teacher got them working on their projects early (for which we're so grateful, since by the last week of January we're slogging around without Papa during Sundance).
 Will decided that he wanted to do the most expensive and dangerous project he could find and he came up with the potato cannon. Above are the items he decided to try shooting off in it. The rocks are to show scale (I don't understand how, but that's what I'm told).
 This project required Grandpa Shumway's help when buying the materials, and then after the first attempts didn't work, we went to Uncle Kelly. Once Bulk got in on it, things started happening. Oranges exploded. Hands got burned. Shed doors got blown off. Dents were made.
After causing enough destruction in the test runs, they took the rest of our produce and headed out to the local park.
 They did well with potatoes, and the Mexican jell-o looked like liquid fireworks, but the long distance winner was the lemon which made it a whopping 684 feet! It was an impressive stunt. Rob's taken it out a couple of times since to fire off for cousins and friends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More of the Beaoo'ful School

 This one looks innocuous -- something about building roads and trains, but the caption informed us that Joss and the girl were actually playing some game about a cat and his owner. He appears to be saying "Miao. Talk to the paw!"
 Doing a puzzle.
 A train building party.
Lincoln Logs! This second session he learned about bread. We each got a copy of a DVD of the class walking us through all of the steps to making bread. There were four groups, all wearing white, paper bag "baking hats" and Joss was in the first, which had to grind the wheat. Since he's ground wheat with me at home on occasion, he was an old hand at it here.
Joss is now on winter vacation for the next month, and it may kill us both not to have a couple of hours apart each day! I'm looking for playmates!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Gingerbreadapalooza: Suburban Edition

 Last year's gingerbread church looked good, but Rob and I noticed that we were spending too much time decorating without the children and they spent too much time having a Nerf war and watching Elf. So this year, in order to ensure encourage more participation from the kidlets, we decided to build an entire subdivision.
Each person got their own gingerbread house, chose their own designated color, decorated their own house (and got their own exhausted, crabby mother who had baked five batches of gingerbread and spent too much time in the kitchen).
But the end result was a lot of fun, right?! And the permitting process went lickety split, if you'll pardon the pun.
Rob's house is orange; Maddie's is red; Will's is green; Sebi's is blue; Joss's is yellow; I got pink.
Everyone participated and decorated their own house. Joss wanted to decorate everyone's house, and wanted to use all the colors. Certain children ran off with Rob's orange candies before he could decorate, but he made the best of it and he's does a masterful job of royal icing trim.
Meanwhile the Isaaks were only building three structures between four of them. Theirs won the beautiful and stately award (a saltbox), and the creative award (a Mexican church and taco shop which was the best use of ribbon candy I've ever seen in 35 years). Here are some pictures of their creations too. Curtis also showed us this great method of filling a pastry bag without getting royal icing all over your hand, the bag, the spoon, the counter . . . You can see a video of it here.
There is the whole cul-de-sac, and you can see a bit of all of them! I'm terribly relieved that hurdle has been jumped -- now we just have to put away the chair that Joss brings over to the china cabinet several times a day so he can climb up and peek in the windows.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Adventsingen 2012

 There was an Adventsingen this year! It was at the DeJong concert hall on campus. The Powers That Be are still looking for someplace more permanent now that the Provo Tabernacle is not going to be an option. This year Rob was the MC, and he and Will sang in the Männerchor with Curtis.
Maddie sang in the Frauenchor with Katie and she even went over to BC's house to get "bedirndled" (this is the true event, in my opinion). Joss decided of his own accord that he wanted to wear the too small lederhosen not only to the Adventsingen, where that is regrettable, but understandable, but also to church, where that is just . . .  well . . . not a great fashion statement.
I spent one more hour of my life wrassling a small wound-up boy wearing that sweater while alphorns and hackbretts played. It is one annual tradition that I won't be sorry to see the tail end of. (Wrassling the kid -- not the Adventsingen.)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Holiday Update 2012

We hope this letter finds you and yours well. We’ve had a blessedly busy & typical year, but here is the short form for your perusal and enjoyment:

Mary Ann has spent this year jogging, writing, and reading and discussing texts for a Gendering Mormonism class. She's also spending a lot of time in the car with four kids attending four different schools. MA and Rob enjoyed a week in Iceland for a conference and their anniversary, and she was first to spot a puffin. Rob is cranky that her one academic article made it onto a class syllabus at Claremont College, while none of his have yet.

Rob has already received his best presents this year: a publishing home for the book he's editing, and a finished manuscript for his second. As icing on the cake, he was awarded BYU's General Education Professorship this fall, which was lovely recognition for his work with students and his department. In his spare time, Rob has been jogging, gardening and singing with primary kids.  He tried fermented shark this year. (“Mmm. Ammonia.”)

Madeline (14) is a whirling dervish of activities. In addition to her intense lineup of classes, Maddie made it onto the JV ballroom team this spring. Between team practices, socials, fundraisers, and swim team, violin, church activities and friends, Maddie is one busy girl! We mostly see her asleep at home.  And the girl reads: she finished War and Peace, Jude the Obscure, Les Miserables, Crime and Punishment, and Hard Times.

Will (12) moved up to middle school this fall. He has continued with the trumpet and the swim team, and started attending chess club. He and Maddie are die-hard Dr. Who fans—nerd cred! He enjoyed two backpack trips with his Dad this summer.Turning 12 has meant that Will can now pass the sacrament at church and he got a suit for his birthday. He's hoping for something more fun for Christmas: lots of snow so he can ski!

Sebastian (8) had a big year. He made it on to the swim team with Maddie and Will in April just after his birthday and right before his baptism. We finally have a kid who loves backstroke and butterfly!  He has continued with piano and Mandarin Chinese and just got his Wolf badge in Cub Scouts. Sebi is one tall dude—he stands eye-to-eye with his third grade teacher. His pursuit in life: to become a great chef. But he hates peppers. 

Joss (4) Rob's father recently called Joss "the exclamation point at the end of your family" and we couldn't think of a more apt description! Joss is raring to go at all times and his fondest hope is to become as big, old, and capable as his siblings. He learned to ride a balance bike, swam until he was absolutely waterlogged, and started BYU preschool with Mr. Brad this year. His catch phrases: “Back when I was a kid…”  and “That’s beaooful.”

We feel so fortunate to have you in our lives, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with health, peace and joy!

I Objurgate The Centipede

For Thanksgiving, we and our friends each learned a poem to recite to each other. Joss learned this one by Ogden Nash:

I Objurgate The Centipede

I objurgate the centipede
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy time he beats a path
Straight to the bedroom or the bath
And where you wallop, he is not,
Or if he is, he makes a spot.