Sensory Play

The Williston Toddler Days' activity was really fun a few weeks ago! Each committee member was in charge of a few stations and the kids got to go around and have sensory play time.

 photo SensoryPlay1_zps4ff85758.jpg

Declan hung out in the stroller and away from the bees. There were bees everywhere this summer. They are finally going away. One good thing about the cold is that it kills all of the bugs!

 photo SensoryPlay2_zps481d4289.jpg

 photo SensoryPlay3_zpsdb0670bd.jpg

I couldn't drag the boys away from the painting. I bought that huge roll of paper from the Williston Herald for $5. I have since used it to cover our table, wrap presents, and as kindling to start a fire.

 photo SensoryPlay4_zpscc1cd106.jpg

I was in charge of the scent station and the ice station. I used little bags from the craft section of the store and added spices to them. The four bags with cotton balls have liquid extracts. I cut up a cereal box and stapled the bags to the pieces then wrote what is in each bag on the back of the strip.

 photo SensoryPlay5_zpscfaaa86d.jpg

Maggie helped me freeze water into chunks of ice for the ice station. We both added food coloring to our water and it looked cool when we first dumped them in, but then melted into a yucky brown. Next time, no food coloring!
 photo SensoryPlay6_zps1393695c.jpg


Chokecherry Festival

They did a much better job of advertising the Chokecherry Festival this year. It felt like everyone in Williston was there. Last year's Chokecherry Festival was the reason I started liking Williston. It is awesome that we live in a place that can have something like this.

On Friday night, they served free burgers and ice cream with chokecherry syrup. We sat with friends from church and had fun playing with them. After we ate, we went to watch the dog show.

 photo ChokecherryFestival1_zpsf5ea044b.jpg

 photo ChokecherryFestival2_zps03e0eda1.jpg

 photo ChokecherryFestival3_zps79a43258.jpg

 photo ChokecherryFestival4_zpse25f7e99.jpg
Declan loves Maggie.

On Saturday morning, we went back bright and early and stood in the ridiculously long line for pancakes. Last year, we just walked right up. Sam had to leave so he could go run the Chokecherry 5K. We didn't want to leave the line because, by that point, it was even longer than it had been when we arrived. We weren't able to watch Sam run but he finished and then came back to meet us. Still in line. We waited in line for an hour. The pancakes were good but I don't know if they were that good.

 photo ChokecherryFestival5_zps647ef13c.jpg
Who designs race shirts? Red tie-dye?!

 photo ChokecherryFestival6_zpsf90eccce.jpg

 photo ChokecherryFestival7_zpse499b413.jpg

After breakfast, we went to ruin some animals' lives. Petting zoos are mildly terrifying places. So many animals in a tiny place and little kids running around. The boys thought it was the greatest thing ever.

 photo ChokecherryFestival8_zps81b75321.jpg

 photo ChokecherryFestival9_zps33764896.jpg

They didn't have awards for the adults but Sam was standing around talking to the guy in charge and he gave Sam an extra prize. I was so excited! Chokecherry rhubarb syrup!

 photo ChokecherryFestival10_zps93374049.jpg
Black eye thanks to an elbow to the eye at church basketball.

We were walking around the park and the boys wanted to play on the bounce houses. There was a circle of several bounce houses. We walked in between two of them and didn't think anything of it. The boys took off their shoes and started playing. About 10 minutes later, a little girl started yelling, "This little boy got in here for free! He didn't pay! He doesn't have a wristband!" I didn't even realize there was an entrance. Oops. That was embarrassing.

 photo ChokecherryFestival11_zps78db8991.jpg 

We went to play on the playground instead. The boys were happy there, too.

 photo ChokecherryFestival12_zps972f7629.jpg

Although the Chokecherry Festival was more populated this year, it was still fun. Sam and I joke about how Williston is always handing out free food at events. I don't know how much longer they will be able to keep that up because this city is growing so quickly! It already feels so much different than it did when we moved here 14 months ago.


Police Station Tour

I am a committee member in a group called Williston Toddler Days. There are four moms on the committee and we plan two activities a month for toddlers in Williston. The activities are more education focused and less of a playgroup. It is really fun and I love the different activities we do. In August, we got a tour of the police station from a real detective! The boys got to play with handcuffs, look in the mirror in the interrogation room, observe 911 calls coming in, knock over potted plants (impromptu portion of the tour), sit in a police car, and get their very own police badge.

 photo PoliceStation1_zps5a968a89.jpg

 photo PoliceStation2_zpsab91198f.jpg

 photo PoliceStation3_zpseaa6ccb5.jpg

 photo PoliceStation4_zpsb627be2f.jpg


Coming and Going

Early one Monday morning, I was in bed reading the weekly email from my brother, Elder Jared, serving in the Taiwan Taichung Mission. I was excited because the letter seemed longer than usual! Five paragraphs in he said, "Speaking of which, I'll be moving next week. This time it will require a plane ride too. Actually, three plane rides. So now you're really confused, right?" I was so confused. But he explained it and I cried and was happy that he could come home if it was better for him. I was excited to talk to him, too! Eight days later, and five months earlier than expected, he arrived back in Arizona.

 photo Missionaries1_zpsadd9caa6.jpg

 photo Missionaries2_zps447e7ae2.jpg

 photo Missionaries3_zpsa7a41fb7.jpg

We Skyped with Jared later that day and he got to see Declan baby. He might go back on his mission after counseling, he might not. Either way, he served with honor and I am grateful he got home safely.

 photo Missionaries4_zpsdf33957a.jpg
"You look different than I expected."

Exactly one month after Jared got home, my next brother opened his mission call. "Dear, Elder Neil. You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the New York Rochester Mission. You should report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language." Woohoo, Elder David!

 photo Missionaries5_zpsf15f6ef8.jpg
That's me on the phone in Flannel's hand! 

 photo Missionaries6_zps787b961b.jpg

My sons have some good examples with these uncles. I am glad to have such good examples as my brothers. At the end of Jared's email he quoted a scripture from John 14. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice."


Alex's Birthday in Minot

Alex had been looking forward to his birthday since Edison's birthday in March. Throughout the day he kept asking us, "Is it still my birthday?" Yes, Alex. Still. When he woke up, we let him open the presents from us. We got him some books and a model car. He also got a cool "monster car" from his Warnick cousins.

Sam took the day off for Alex's birthday and we went to Minot. Alex really wanted to get to the zoo. We left home an hour later than we were planning. So we decided to switch around the schedule and do shopping, lunch, and the movie before the zoo.

 photo AlexMinot1_zpsc452cb41.jpg

 After a trip to Hobby Lobby to get some decorations for Alex's birthday party, we went to Ebeneezer's for lunch. I am so happy we happened upon this place in January. Target is no longer my destination in Minot. I dream of Ebeneezer's.

 photo AlexMinot2_zps4dfd779a.jpg

Alex did not want to eat anything during lunch. He was resting his head on the table. Then, during the 10 minute drive to the movie theater, he fell asleep. He had a fever and was not in a celebratory mood.

 photo AlexMinot3_zps5efe8552.jpg

He perked up once we got to the movie. We saw Turbo in 3D. I don't like 3D movies at all but the boys loved the movie.

 photo AlexMinot4_zps95069716.jpg

 photo AlexMinot5_zps8748a579.jpg

After the movie, we went to the zoo. As we walked in at 4:30pm, we saw a sign that said they would be closing at 5pm instead of 8pm for a private event. I was furious. I went up to the desk and asked if we could walk around for 30 minutes and they said yes, but it would still be full price. I was so annoyed because there was nothing about the closure on their website and the zoo was the only thing Alex asked to do on his birthday. But I am cheap frugal awesome, so we left without going in. Oh well. Hopefully we will make it there sometime soon.

 photo AlexMinot6_zps4667f480.jpg

Instead of going to the zoo, we walked around the Minot Riverwalk. It was really pretty and the boys enjoyed playing on a few playgrounds.

 photo AlexMinot7_zps14298c85.jpg

 photo AlexMinot8_zpscf609bb7.jpg

 photo AlexMinot9_zps88306eea.jpg

 photo AlexMinot10_zps5494a7a8.jpg

 photo AlexMinot11_zps7b68d740.jpg

Next, we went to play on a putting green at a golf course. Edison and Declan fell asleep in the car so Sam and Alex played and I got out for a few minutes to watch. Alex and I were swarmed by mosquitoes and Sam was not.

 photo AlexMinot12_zpsc4512d1e.jpg

 photo AlexMinot13_zps52cec429.jpg

 photo AlexMinot14_zpsa741bc76.jpg

 photo AlexMinot15_zps7a7b9636.jpg

 photo AlexMinot16_zps9343a87a.jpg

Alex wanted waffles for his birthday. I thought we would be back in Williston by then but the schedule got kind of messed up so we went to Denny's instead. Then we drove back to Williston, and got home at 10:30pm.

 photo AlexMinot17_zps8f9800ab.jpg

The boys were really tired the next day. Alex took a five hour nap and Edison took a four hour nap.

 photo AlexMinot20_zpse7e6685e.jpg

When he finally woke up, he got a package from Grandpa and Grandma Merkley. Alex was so excited that it was still his birthday!

 photo AlexMinot18_zps13d460cf.jpg

He also got a fancy shirt from Aunt Emily. Every time I see it I think he spilled on himself.

 photo AlexMinot19_zps5de8f863.jpg

Sam and Alex built the model car that he got for his birthday. It is pretty durable so they get to play with it, too.

 photo AlexMinot21_zps27d0fa0e.jpg

He also got his requested waffles! Happy 4th birthday to my little dude!

 photo AlexMinot22_zpsd9177acb.jpg

Blog Archive