Monday, January 29, 2018

Super-Old Seven

I can't believe my baby boy turned seven. Somehow seven seems SO much older than six. Six is little boy still, and seven is suddenly grown up. Big kid. 

I asked Ammon to take a picture for his birthday and he insisted on taking it next to Kendrick. Ammon really loves his brother. 

For Ammon's actual birthday day, it was pretty duddy. I had to work that night and so I bought them some pizza and salad to have without me and arranged for Brigham to take them out to McDonald's for an ice cream cone. (A McDonald's WITHOUT a play place because those things are just germ cesspools, and with the flu and hand and foot going around, we are avoiding play places like the plague. Because they are probably carrying that too...)

Saturday, we took Ammon to his first basketball game. He loves practice but the games stress the kid out. I totally understand with the chaos that is first and second-grade boys running around trying to control a bouncing ball with coaches yelling demands at them. He's slowly adjusting to the excitement of the game, but he still prefers weekly practices and actually plays way more aggressively because he's more comfortable.

I will say that he's pretty awesome on defense: his hands always up with his hysterical hopping slide he uses to stay with his man. He just forgets to switch to offense when his team gets the ball. But he's improving.

That night we went out to Red Robin for dinner to score the free birthday kid's meal. We love taking the kids to Red Robin for a birthday dinner - not just for the free kid's meal, but also for the singing, free ice cream, and balloons. It's like a mini birthday party where I don't have to do any work.

Sunday was the big day to actually celebrate Ammon. He waited so patiently until Sunday night to be with family and have everyone there to open presents and have the birthday dinner of his choice (meatball sandwiches) with his cake and ice cream. 

I was so impressed by a seven-year-old boy's ability to wait two days to open a single present for his birthday without complaining once! I tell you he is full of goodness, this kid.

When he finally did open presents, there was definitely a lego/Pokemon theme. He was thrilled to get more Pokemon cards and a binder to finally store them all in so they aren't just laying around everywhere.

Ammon asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate chips in it. I dug around Pinterest for awhile, and added my own couple of ideas to come up with this beauty.

I was pretty proud of myself. I tried to pipe a fancy frosting design (I've been watching too many baking competition shows) but it proved to be much harder than I thought, so I smoothed out the frosting and sprinkled chopped up Reeses and Hershey bars. I thought the cake tasted alright the first day, but it got better with age. A week later, it was even more moist and I liked it even better.

 Luckily, Ammon liked his cake too.

Some of my favorites about Ammon: he loves to play, he is full of innocence, he is quiet around others but at the dinner table we cannot get him to stop talking. His imagination and ideas are fascinating once we get a peek into them. He loves games. If he doesn't pray, "Please bless that we'll have fun," at least twice each prayer, something is wrong. He loves food as much as I do (poor, poor guy). His blonde hair and blue eyes. His grin.

Recently, the primary president emailed and asked for one attribute each of our children has that will help them throughout their life. Something that will help them hold to the iron rod. I thought for awhile about Ammon, and the word that kept coming to me was goodness. I mentioned it before, but this kid is full of goodness. He has so much desire to do good, be good, and his heart is full of gold. Sure, he doesn't listen at times, forgets instructions, can be selfish, and all the other six seven-year-old boy flaws that come, but he has such a spirit of...well, goodness. I hope he carries it with him for the rest of his life. 

Ammon, I love you son. Happiest of Birthdays!!

Ammon's Seventh Birthday Interview
1. What's your favorite song? Eye of the Tiger
2. What's your favorite thing to do with Mom? Play games with her
3. What's your favorite thing to do with Dad? Play the Wii
4. What's your favorite day of the week? Saturday
5. How old are you? Seven
6. Who is your best friend? Hyrum
7. What's your favorite thing to do? Play the Wii
8. What's your favorite color? Blue and Green
9. What's your favorite food? Ice Cream
10. What do you like to do with your family? Play the Wii together
11. What's your favorite toy? My legos
12. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Police Officer
13. What makes you happy? My family
14. What makes you sad? Grandpa Dan dying
15. What's your favorite show to watch? Ninjago
16. What's your favorite book? Superman
17. What do you like to learn about? Math
18. Where do you like to go? To Utah
19. What's the best part of your birthday? Getting to open presents
20. What's your favorite treat? Cake
21. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Imagine Dragons
22. What's your favorite movie? Sword in the Stone
23. What's your favorite game to play? Go Fish
24. What sports do you like? Basketball
25. What do you like to wear? Pajamas and basketball shorts
26. Who's your favorite Superhero? Spiderman

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Christmas Surprise

Christmas 2017 was one I was looking forward to for quite a few reasons. All of my siblings were in town with their families, we had a lot going on, and Brigham and I had a special surprise planned for our children Christmas morning.

The kids ready to come downstairs to see what Santa brought!
Lydia and Ammon love to spend the night at my parents' house on Christmas Eve, and this year there was so little room with so many people crammed into one house, that they slept on the floor in my Grandma Busby's room. Brigham and I came over early with Kendrick and everyone filed downstairs and entered the living room to see what Santa left.

We looked through our stockings and enjoyed the "big" present left by our stocking before we ate breakfast.

After our breakfast of cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs, the present opening began!

Last year we surprised our kids with a trip to Disneyland. This year our surprise was even more epic, and a little more life-altering. I requested the first present to be opened that Christmas morning to be the kids' surprise.

The three of them tore eagerly into the paper and pulled out another framed countdown. And they were super confused....

We finally helped them realize that it was a countdown to the due date of their new baby brother or sister!!

I don't think they were as thrilled as a trip to Disneyland, but I didn't really expect them to be. The reality of it wouldn't set it for a while with all the Christmas excitement. But the surprise was fun for me.

This was one of the hardest surprises to keep because I get so sick with my pregnancies and I'm sure my kids were wondering why they had the worst mother ever for so many months. This particular pregnancy, the sickness wasn't easing up and it would have been nice to have a reason to give them for my crankiness. I was already at twenty-two weeks Christmas morning and it was getting hard to hide my expanding middle and not talk about being pregnant around them. Such a relief to share our exciting news that morning!

Because we weren't sharing the news of our pregnancy with the kids, we also weren't sharing it with anyone else besides close family.

But now the news is out in the open: the newest Tappana member is due April 27th, 2018. We already had our ultrasound, and no, we do not know the gender. We are choosing to keep it a surprise. So now everyone can wait in anticipation until April/May-ish for the next surprise. I love surprises!

After that exciting moment, the rest of the present opening continued.

Everyone got a few surprises and we were spoiled more than I thought possible.

Probably my absolute favorite thing about Christmas this year was that it snowed!! I've mentioned that I love snow, and to have a snowstorm on Christmas was magical.

The kids put on snow gear - luckily they received new gloves and boots as presents - and we went outside to play.

My parents' dogs loved running through the powder until big balls of snow attached to their furry legs made it hard to keep going. The snow was the perfect consistency to make snowmen and snowballs, and we did a little sledding, had a few snowball fights, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I couldn't get Ammon in the house that evening! After Lydia and Ammon built a snowman together, Ammon stayed outside building snow things by himself until, finally, dessert was called.

The rest of us were tinkering with our new toys and electronics, including a throwback Atari and an indoor basketball arcade-thing that my kids were given to torture Brigham and I by my aunt. And believe me, storing and moving it is torture.

It was a wonderful, wonderful day. And now we have preparations to make for six stockings to hang next year! Wish us luck!

Merry Christmas, love the Tappanas!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tappana Times: Christmas Festivities

This past December, we were able to meet Santa on a couple different occasions. The first was at Brigham's work party. Kendrick wanted nothing to do with Santa and clung to either Brigham and I tightly with his face buried in our necks. He eventually was persuaded to sit by himself on Santa's lap because of a Christmas carol and the jingle bells on Santa's wrist, (I think the candy cane and present helped as well) and though he was very uncomfortable, I was proud of him.

For Lydia and Ammon, it was easy as pie.

All the kids were spoiled by getting an individualized present wrapped just for them.

The kids are always spoiled by Brigham's work at the Christmas party with crafts and games and swimming and more.

The kids met Santa again at the ward Christmas party.

Santa looks sort of grumpy in this picture, but if you know who this Santa is you have to laugh because he's one of the happiest, nicest guys ever. I think Kendrick was sitting on his beard.

Ammon wasn't very happy to be playing the star during the ward program, but he did his part - even if it was with a frown on his face and eyes looking down the entire time.

We got together with my friend, Brittany, and her girls to make gingerbread houses.

We used graham crackers and frosting to build the structures and laughed hysterically as the walls kept collapsing over and over. The kids eventually ran off while Brittany and I had to fix their houses and laughed some more at the giant globs of frosting and caving roofs.

Eventually, we thickened the frosting and it dried enough to allow some stability to decorate with candy.

Kendrick had the right idea to just eat his supplies and forget the whole construction process from the get-go.

Lydia and Ammon's houses became great gobs of graham crackers, frosting and candy, and they were very happy. Just how gingerbread house making is supposed to end up.

Kendrick just continued to eat his weight in graham crackers and jelly beans.

As for the week of Christmas, all of my siblings were able to come home to Washington so we had the entire crew here to entertain, house and feed. This made for a crazy, chaotic, busy, fun week together so jam-packed with activities that we didn't have time to think straight, let alone be bored.

We had a cheese-tasting contest where pretty much everyone got every single one wrong. Only a couple people guessed a single cheese correctly.

We also had another cooking competition this year. We were split into teams and assigned a dip and some sort of premade Pillsbury dough recipe - it could be whatever we wanted as long as we used a premade dough from the store.

Katrina and Scott were on my team and we worked well together making a pesto puff pastry....thing, and a goat cheese, red-pepper jelly dip.

working on our pastry
Our final products were amazing, but the competition was fierce.

The team of boys - Dad, Taylor, and Brigham - won overall with their Mexican dip and wreath taco roll. They were awarded a cute little Pillsbury doughboy ornament from the judges Aunt Sandy and Russ.

I was horrible taking pictures this year and only remembered to get ones of the rest of the food entries once it was all half eaten or gone.

The family also took a personal vote and the other team's crab dip and lemon crescents won the family vote.

We concocted a pizza and root beer taste test as well (we really like food in our family).

I don't remember the outcome of the rootbeer because there were so many choices, but out of our blind taste test of pizza, Dominos came out as the strong winner. I believe Pizza Hut and Costco were the two losers.

Besides our food competitions, we had an amazing race put together by my dad. It had snowed the day before so the roads were treacherous and my mom's van got stuck once, I was rear-ended (luckily no damage) and lots of sliding took place. It was a great time and my mom's team won because they were stacked with some of the strongest people who know their way around Maple Valley.

We solved our third murder mystery.

The picture is of such high quality due to Lydia being the photographer. The setting was an English Manor this year, and we acted out our parts while we ate roast, creamed peas and mashed potatoes, with English trifle for dessert. Kyle ended up being the murderer and successfully averted all suspicion so that no one thought it was him. Most of our English accents were appalling, while Brigham's French accent was spot-on. It was a jolly good time.

We also went to the temple, played about eight million different board games, went to two different movies (The Greatest Showman and the new Starwars), played basketball at the church twice, watched football, and spent lots and lots of time together.

Christmas Eve, we had a family program and people performed musical numbers. I played the piano while my family sang If I Were a Shepherd, a song written by my cousin. Kayleen played her violin and Lydia played a couple songs on the piano and we sang a few Christmas carols together.

And then we had an indoor snowball fight!

Though they are fluffy, stuffed balls, getting whacked in the ear and face by one of them thrown at a million miles an hour hurts! And my brothers showed no mercy - they aim for the face on purpose! We laughed and pummeled each other until we collapsed with exhaustion. We were finding snowballs for days afterward.

The three toddlers, who are just months apart from each other, were all obsessed with electronics and fought over Chloe's I-pad constantly.

Having these three run around was one of my favorite parts. It warmed my heart seeing Kendrick snuggle with Aunt Sadie, and Lydia and Ammon hang all over Uncle Kenny and Uncle Ryan.

I sure loved having everyone here in Washington with all my heart. Nothing makes me happier than having my family around and I could have it this crazy wonderful for forever. Christmas morning came with gifts, chaos, love, and a surprise....

But you'll have to read about that next!