Friday, July 25, 2008

The Eleventh Prime Meets the Fifth Mersenne: Cheers, Andrea!

THIRTY-ONE. 31. XXXI. 00011111. 1F.

It's the 11th prime, the fifth Mersenne, and the third Mersenne prime! It's the number of flavors of ice-creamy goodness traditionally associated with Baskin Robbins. It's the number of days in the months January, March, May, July, August, October and December, as well as the code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands.

And today, it is the number of years the Earth has been graced with the presence of the beautiful Andrea Sue Clavin Fowles:
She was born on July 25, 1977. Here's another shot of birthday past:
But that was then, and this is now. Today, we helped her celebrate her birthday by ordering take out, making her a cake, giving her presents, and having an interesting pool party. Among other things, she got an ipod nano complete with an armband and some in-ear headphones to use for working out with her ipod. Here she is trying it out already!
All of the kids helped me make her pineapple upside down cake, and Peter even helped me flip the cake without destroying as I usually do! Matthew helped put the cherries in the pineapples and to blow out the candles.
Earlier in the day, Andrea enjoyed lunch with some girlfriends at Pappasitos. ¡Feliz cumpleaƱos! Happy Birthday, Andrea, on the 31st anniversary of your birth! The world is a better place with you in it! We love you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Independence Day Redux

We had a truly all-American Fourth of July this year- it was great!

Part 1: The Flag Raising
The day started out bright and early with a pancake and sausage breakfast associated with a flag-raising ceremony at our church. The sobering confluence of religious ideal and energetic patriotism felt there reminded us that both our spiritual and our temporal freedoms were purchased by sacrifices made by others, even the sacrifice of their very blood. We are grateful for the blood of our Savior and the blood of Patriots- the extreme cost for the freedoms we enjoy today, and hope that the memory of the price paid never grows dim in our hearts and minds.

Part 2: The Parade
We went from the ward breakfast to Independence Parkway in Plano to watch the Plano City Parade. The Plano parade is a fantastic one to attend- if anyone is ever in Texas for the Fourth of July, I highly recommend it. It helped us to again reflect on our precious freedoms as we saw veterans, fire fighters, policemen, community dignitaries, representatives from various political parties, and disciples of various Christian and other religions marching by. Of course, there were also clowns, floats, bubbles, marching bands, loud fog horns, classic cars and motorcyles, and plenty of candy tossed out for the kids. I think both Andrea and I got a little choked up at times as we waved our American flags with our children for the soldiers who sacrifice much and generally basked in the rays of July freedom sunshine. Here are a few pictures of the kids at the Plano Parade:

(P.S. We note with serious chagrine the shocking dearth of pictures of Andrea- Jordan will try to do better at taking pictures too so that Andrea appears- she is definitely easier to look at!)

Part 3: The Lunch and Rest
After the Parade, we headed out for some all-American (and, infinitely more importantly, TEXAN) barbecue at Dickeys. We enjoyed an assortment of meats, sides like mashed potatoes, baked potato casserole, barbecue beans, jalapeno beans, potato salad, mac & cheese, all topped off with Dickey's delicious regular, sweet and spicy barbecue sauces. We topped it off with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, always included in the price of every meal at Dickeys. Here is a picture of an all-American boy (Matthew) enjoying his Fourth of July Dickeys treat:

After lunch, we headed home for some rest before proceeding with the rest of the day's festivities.

Part 4: The Pool Party
Once we had sufficiently recuperated from our busy morning and stuffing lunch, we got into our swimsuits and headed over to our friends' home (two doors down) for an afternoon of fun and swimming with the our friends and neighbors from around our neighborhood. The pool was packed with kids, the coooler with cold drinks, the barbecue with good food, and the chairs with chatting adults, all celebrating under the hot Texas, July sun.

After swimming for a while, the kids enjoyed soaking Andrea and me with water balloons, usually at most unexpected times. Hannah was the sneakiest, one time waiting for me outside the back door for probably over five minutes to soak me with a water balloon and a squirting (i.e., untied) water balloon as I came out of the house with a plate full of food! Every time I dried off again, another one of my four kids would suddenly appear, get me dripping wet again, then run away laughing hysterically before I could gather my senses and throw them into the pool (I did manage to get Leah once). None of the other adults there were quite as soaked time and time again- of course, none of them had four children. Getting wet at pool parties is just one of the hazards of fruitful loins, I suppose.

We partied into the twilight hours, but then it was time for fireworks.

Part 5: The Fireworks
As dusk fell, the pool party disbanded and everyone headed back home to change into dry clothes so that we could go see the Fourth of July fireworks. We are lucky to live right beside the main 500 acre park in Richardson, Texas (Breckinridge Park) where they have the big Richardson fireworks show every year. We walked across the street to the park with some church friends who parked at our house, and set up our blankets on a promising spot of grass situated on a bluff that overlooked the rest of the park. We were not disappointed.

The fireworks began at 9:45 pm and were accompanied by live (Richardson Community Band) and pre-recorded music. Hearing the loud booms accompanied by patriotic music, Andrea and I both got a bit choked up again as we thought of the artillery in the battles fought for this country represented by the colorful spectacle of fireworks exploding above us. Our kids were also mesmerized by the brilliant (and loud) display- not one was scared in the least.

As we tucked the exhausted kids into bed at the end of the celebratory, fun-filled and sobering day, Leah sleepily whispered to me that she liked the Fourth of July almost as much as Christmas. Indeed.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Visit from the Kings

Last week Jordan's only sister Jenna came for a visit from Arizona. She and her husband flew here with their four darling children. We had a wonderful time and really packed it in. We did lots of fun things and kept the kids busy. We did activities with them daily and at night after they all crashed us adults played games. It really was so much fun.

Hanging out in the hottub. Jenna, Travis, Matthew and Leah:

Travis (left) and Matthew happy to be going for a bike ride in Mimosa Park:

Peter and Matthew enjoying a chat in Mimosa Park:

Our newest niece Eliza and her cute mom, Jenna:

Jordan and Matthew sharing a snuggle at Allen Splash Pad:
A thirsty Matthew excited about a drink of water at Mimosa Park:

The kiddos enjoying a snack of muffins at Mimosa Park :

Super Hannah enjoying the Allen splashpad:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Missing: Peter's Tonsils

Yesterday, Peter had his tonsils and adenoids removed. We were a little nervous as we kissed him goodbye just before he went "under," but he woke up about 40 minutes later as scheduled. As he came out of his drug-induced haze, he was a bit groggy and disoriented, but still very polite with the "thanks" and "no, thanks", etc. So far, he has not been in very much pain, and has loved eating all the ice cream, popsicles, frozen fruit pops, and Ramen he can eat. Hopefully that will continue to be the case until he is completely recovered. Here is a pre-op picture of Peter, taken on Andrea's cell phone:

As a side note, some of you know that Hannah has a sort of obsession with disgusting things. That is, she loves to look at things that make most normal stomachs churn. For example, she always wants to look at Matthews poopy diapers before we roll them up, etc.

Before we took Peter in for his surgery, I teased the kids that the doctor was going to let us keep Peter's tonsils and adenoids in a jar to put on our fireplace mantel as a decoration. When I got home, Hannah of course asked to see the jar of tonsils first thing, and seemed genuinely disappointed when I reported that the doctor did not let us keep them.

Wish Peter a speedy recovery!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Catching Up a Bit

I thought I would share a few fun pics of the kids. A few weeks ago Peter went to a party and this is what he came home looking like!! Needless to say I was a bit shocked. You can't see too well but he has on a lip ring and a tattoo on his arm. It was a rock-and -roll/ swim party. He really had fun!!
Notice the tiny violins on the wall behind him. One is Peter's and one is Leah's.

A Day at Six Flags
For Hannah's birthday in May I took her all by herself to Six Flags over Texas, a huge amusement park for those who may not know. We had a great time. She is my dare-devil and will try anything she is big enough to ride. While there though a single father with his daughter decided he wanted to spend the day with us. Grr! I told him all about my husband and my three other children but that didn't seem to bother him. I finally told him (after hanging around us for almost two hours!!) that I wanted to spend time alone with my daughter. Kinda funny but at the time it was annoying!!

Trip to Utah
At the beginning of May we went out to Utah for Jordan's brother's wedding. Adam married a beautiful girl named Eve. Yes, they are Adam and Eve! We drove up to Sundance while we were there. Here is our family. It is so beautiful there and it sure made us miss mountains!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hopping on the Blog Bandwagon!

Okay, here I go. My very first blog!! I have been wanting to do this for a long time but have been intimidated at the process. I guess I have to learn by jumping in. So for my first blog I think I will introduce my little family since many of you live far away and don't know my children well.


Peter is a sweet 9 year old boy and I am grateful he is our first. He has always been pretty easy going and cheerful. He is curious about everything and picks up on things quickly. He loves science. He is so helpful with the younger kids, especially Matthew. He is currently taking violin lessons and has a really good ear for it. He likes cruising around on his bike, swimming and reading.

Leah turned 7 in April. She is a sweetheart, most of the time. :) She is very affectionate and sweet. She enjoys reading, pretending with her sister, dressing up, getting her toenails painted, swimming, playing at the park and helping me in the kitchen. She, with her brother, is taking violin lessons and is doing great. She tries hard to be a good girl but has a crazy girl streak in her where she gets all hyper and giggly. She is a lot of fun.

Hannah Banana

Hannah, Hannah. What would we do without our Hannah?? She is our fiesty five-year-old. She keeps us on our toes for sure. She was born with a very independent, strong spirit and although we know this is a strength in her she can be tough sometimes!! She is very, very sweet too though. She loves to make up little ditties and prances around the house singing her songs. She loves to dress up with Leah, play with dolls, swim (she is quite athletic), do gymnastics, pick up songs on the piano and tease her siblings. She can get a rise out of them easier than anyone!! She is a strong, beautiful girl.


Matthew turned two in Februaury. Although he is in those "Terrible Two's" he is so darn cute most of the time we just laugh at his antics. He is the sweetest boy. One of his first words was "Thank you" (dee-doo) and he still says that for every little thing anyone does for him. He is such a boy. He loves playing in dirt, swinging swords, turning things into guns, driving cars and trains around and being loud!! He is very, very affectionate and gives the best hugs. He loves to pray and has to say prayers before he takes naps and won't ever let us forget.
My Man

I can't write about my kids without writing about their wonderful Daddy. They all adore him and can't get enough of him. He plays with them as much as he can but teaches them important things as well. The longer I am married to him (we just celebrated out 11 year anniversary) the more I realize how blessed I am. He is amazing!! He is an extremely hard worker, very ambitous, smart, generally cheerful and just a great guy. He has a very kind heart and cares a lot about others. I am very grateful to be married to him and love him very much.

Okay, that's all for post #1. I plan to post often now that this is started. Love to all!!