Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Prepping for pics.

This was just before getting our family pictures taken. I think everyone was actually in a better mood here; if only I had a nice camera they would have been keepers! And Isla actually had a headband on if you can believe it!

Faye at the car wash.

I recently saw an advertisement for a three dollar car wash and figured that was worth saving me the effort, so I told the kids we could go through a real live car wash after we ran a couple of errands. This was one of the best announcements of their lives; they were so excited! 

While the boys remained thrilled about the whole thing, apparently Faye had no idea what actually happens during a car wash. She went from being this excited about it, to...

this, when she saw the humongous red rubber flappers coming straight for her, strapped in with no where to hide. I don't think she'll be going through a car wash again any time soon, or trusting her brothers to tell her what's going to be lots of fun!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Family Pictures 2013.

My amazingly talented friend Kim took some great family pictures for us a few weeks ago. One of my favorite things is putting together coordinating outfits to make these cute kids look even cuter and then seeing the results. We walked just down the street and found this rocky area behind our neighborhood pool and park. It was perfect, and Kim makes even cranky kids look happy! (Isla was particularly a mess.) Here are some outtakes and a few winners!

Great for the Christmas card, except...Isla is busy nursing.
Now everybody's trying to make Isla happy.
THE WINNER. I love this picture!
Is that a cute face or what.
I guess Rick didn't get the memo to duck down... or maybe I didn't know to pop my head up?
The girls.
Oh, and happy anniversary to us two days ago! Seven years.
Marriage is still fun!
And now, to attempt a full family picture...
Kim may or may not have switched some heads around to get these great ones. :)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Otto family!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Carson is six!

The age transition from five to six seems a little drastic. A five-year-old is still a little kid, barely consequential. But a six-year-old! Six-year-olds read, write, ride bikes, take out the trash, mow the lawn... well, maybe not yet. But it does seem like we have an old kid in the house!

Carson is quite mature, so his turning six didn't seem quite that dramatic. But he has acquired his first loose tooth since turning six! And when I watch him play with friends, socially he does seem like he's getting much older. The other day we had a dozen kids over, and Carson and two other six-year-old boys were doing some hard core wrestling in the family room. (One of the boys weighs almost 100 pounds, but Carson held his own!) He and his buddies like to play "boy scouts" at our house. You can bet the girls are not allowed into their secret hideouts.

Carson loves reading Roald Dahl books, so we went with that theme for his party.
The invitations were good handwriting practice! Carson's teacher has mentioned that handwriting is his one area that could use some improvement, and since his writing looks a lot like his dad's, I'm not sure it's going to get much better!
The party decor.
Party favors. 
The craft, making an enormous crocodile.
Which they used later on during the story time.
Party food from various Roald Dahl books. The kids were not as adventurous as I'd hoped with trying the foods!
We also did a few games outside and here, made our own dream jars like from the BFG.
Current favorite things about Carson:

  • He carries around a little schedule of the Spurs and pretty much has the thing memorized. This morning, he surmised that the Spurs were probably going to get on an airplane tonight, since they're playing all the way up in Toronto tomorrow.
  • He and Everett love to play the game "war" with face cards. Sometimes they play while running around the backyard, calling out what cards they pull from their stack. If they pull the same card, they run to each other, plop down, and start the "war."
  • It he's talking to me about something kid of secretive, he spells everything out so the little kids can't understand. When everyone's ready for bed, he usually gets 15 minutes to read before he has to turn out the light. To ask for it secretively, he'll say, "M-O-M, C-A-N I H-A-V-E M-Y F-I-F-T-E-E-N?" He never says the spaces though, so sometimes I have a hard time knowing what he's saying.
  • He loves to do "exercises." If I need him out of my hair while I do the dishes or something, I'll give him an assignment to do sets of push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, squats, etc. He is all about completing the work outs!
  • Carson attends a second grade reading group at school that he loves. His kindergarten teacher is so awesome about giving him extra things, and he is thriving at school.
  • He's received a few love notes from a girl in his school class. It's obvious that he has no idea what they mean, though. When I asked him if he thought Chloe like him, he said, "of course! We've been friends since Pre-K!"
  • Yesterday, the next-door neighbors' dog passed away, and we went over for the burial. Carson was visibly emotional and sad about it, even though he is terrified of dogs.
  • I think our house would be a disaster without Carson. He is amazing at cleaning up, delivering laundry, and even taking out the trash. With a little incentive like earning "points" for putting things away, he goes crazy!
I could go on, but we'll leave it that we love our smart, hard-working, strong, helpful six-year-old!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The past few weeks...

I guess I am too tired to think creatively at all, so this post has no organization or theme.  But if I get current with my picture documentation I can move on with my to-do list. Here we go.

Rick works with a doctor who got everyone tickets to a UTSA football game. The boys were thrilled, and it turned out to be a really fun family event (despite my prediction that the girls would be miserable.)
This girl was actually quite interested in the game. She'd look for the ball, she knew it was good if the orange guys caught a pass or tackled the other guys with the ball and would cheer appropriately. And then she found some kid's leftover goldfish bag on the ground, and that entertained her for the remainder of the game. (Side note, but this picture has too good a profile to pass up. Faye has announced that she has a baby in her belly. It's a girl, she says.)
Carson was thrilled every time the Roadrunners scored, which luckily was often this game!
Family football fans.
This was the Sunday of the Primary Program, where the kids run the show at church, doing all the songs and talks. We were proud of the boys for singing and saying their parts in front of the whole congregation. 
Our friend and neighbor came to church with us too, and afterwards showed them how to post for pictures.
That's my handsome Rett, who decided that the tie definitely goes in front of the vest.
After the kids do their parts in church, we serve them ice cream during their classes, so obviously this was like the best Sunday ever for them. 
So, back to Halloween. My friend Jan throws a great little party every year for the kids. Isla wore a more comfortable costume for this event than her peacock get up. (Funny that in San Antonio there is no need to wear anything under a costume like this!)
The parade.
And all the kids.
There's my little bird on Halloween night.
She did a lot of the walking from house to house to trick-or-treat. Once she started to go in the street, then paused, looked at the road, and shook her head no-no. She's a good girl.
Someday I'd like to have a husband home while we're getting ready to trick-or-treat. We looked everywhere and could not find those dang little bowling pins to go on Carson's shoes! So I guess he's a bowling lane that just got a strike? I'm sure no one had any idea what he was. Oh well.
And Everett threw aside the pumpkin costume we made for him in favor of fake muscles on a hand-me-down Spiderman costume. 
Sweet Everett did tell me that if it made me super super sad he would consider switching back to the pumpkin. But I knew he really wanted to wear this, so here he is.
While trick-or-treating, Faye told a few neighbors that she was going to "eat them up," like the Enormous Crocodile.

The kids ate a few pieces of candy Halloween night, then I put their buckets up and they were allowed a couple of pieces each day, sometimes as a reward for doing a job or something. I got so annoyed with people asking to have a treat all day long though, that we took a new approach. I gave them a choice: they could keep eating a couple pieces a day, or they could eat all that they wanted right then, and then donate the rest. (The school does a collection.) Carson and Faye wanted to do the binge, and at first Everett chose to save his candy, but once he saw the other two he jumped in as well. So, they ate as much as they could with barf buckets at the table just in case. I was surprised they each only at five or six pieces! And then they willingly gave the rest away, and thankfully all the candy is out of the house. I sort of love how it ended up!

One day I came in to see that Faye had emptied the entire dishwasher all by herself! 
The Christmas decor aisle at Lowe's is one of our favorite places!
The singing and dancing toys are seriously funny.
One day I straightened Faye's hair a little. We called her "straight-hair-Faye."

I introduced the boys to the game of war, and they love it. (This is why I would advise everyone to have their first two kids 16 months apart. You can teach them a super annoying game like this and never have to play it with them again!)

What's on my Head is a much more entertaining game. One day Everett took a long afternoon nap, so he got to stay up nice and late and actually caught a glimpse of his dad! (A rare occurrence these days.) I like this picture because Rick is inspecting his sweet potato fry to see if it's edible. I burn those things all the time!
Rick had a super hard time guessing the ladder on his head, mostly because Everett told him you use it to help you cook. Afterwards he explained that, when he cooks with me, he stands on a ladder. Duh.
Sometimes the mornings are stressful, getting ready for school with Everett who likes to spend an hour eating his oatmeal and doesn't like to put on his clothes or shoes by himself. After we take the boys to school, I like to sit down (eating the leftover oatmeal) and just look at my cute little girlies.
They are pretty fun little girls.
Chick-fil=A sure knows how to celebrate Veteran's Day! We got our free meals, to play with farm animals, win coupons for more free food, jump in a bounce house, etc.
There is a llama right next to me in this picture. Isla stood there staring at the animals for about 40 minutes.
A few people asked me about my five kids. Avianna is with us often enough that I just went with it. 
My Isla is obsessed with shoes! She will try to walk around in any pair she sees, even if it's all she has on.
Today, 75 degrees and beautiful, called for a walk to the park with the kids we babysat! And leg warmers, apparently.
Nothing beats this weather!
Serious little faces, but I sort of love this sisters picture. (Pictures like this where the lighting kind of ruins it also make me want to finally get a nice camera and really learn a thing or two about photography...)
And now we're caught up! On to the next to-do item so I can collapse into bed at some point.  :)