Brooklyn Is a Handful

Before I talk about Brooklyn’s birthday, I guess I need to explain the joke in the title. Rick asked me why I said Brooklyn is a handful because she is actually pretty easy to take care of. I had to explain that it’s just a joke: she is five years old, there are five fingers on your hand, so she is a handful. Do you get it? I guess a joke is not that great if you have to explain it, but I don’t want you thinking that she’s a difficult child.

Brooklyn had a fantastic birthday. She had been counting down the weeks, then days since Christmas.

When she woke up in the morning, she got on her new striped dress and prepared for preschool.

In the hustle and bustle of me getting lunches made, kids dressed, messes cleaned, and people fed, she interrupted with, “I’m 5. I should be able to read.”

“Yes, a lot of 5-year olds read. You are very capable of learning.”

“You should teach me right now, then.”

If only teaching somebody to read was as quick as that. I told her we could spend some time each day on reading skills, but not before driving everybody to school. That satisfied her.

On the way to preschool she asked, “Do I start Kindergarten today? Five year olds go to Kindergarten.”

I assured her that she would go to Kindergarten in August, but the first day of Kindergarten is about 7 1/2 months away. Until then, she would get to go to preschool 3 days a week, then have summer break, and then start Kindergarten.

At preschool, she got a crown and birthday bag. She also provided cute butterfly plates and napkins for snack time (Kids don’t bring birthday treats to preschool).

At home, she helped me make the birthday cake. When the big kids got home from school, she talked Andrew into swimming with her. They jumped into the cold pool water a few times, but mostly stayed in the hot tub. When the kids were outside swimming, she had another big five-year old question, “Do five-year olds pick their noses?”“Of course they don’t because they’re too grown up for that.”

As she picked her nose, she responded, “Well, I’m not actually five-years old until tonight. And I like to pick my nose, so I probably won’t obey that rule.”

The rest of the night was great. We had homemade pizza for dinner. At dinner we each shared some of our favorite things about Brooklyn. Gavin shared that he likes to play “doggies” with her. Andrew likes to read Junie B. Jones to her. Makayla likes her brutal honesty. Dad likes her hugs and smiles. After dinner, we ate cake and ice cream and opened presents. We spent the rest of the night playing with her fun presents. She got a pink karaoke microphone and a disco light–we are expecting a lot of crazy dance parties in the future.

I love having Brooklyn in our family. She is energetic, friendly, spunky and fun. She is growing out of her bossiness a little bit and is more willing to go with the flow than she used to be. She is very sweet with Gavin and they play lots of fun games together. She loves to be outside, but doesn’t like to be sweaty and hot because she doesn’t want to have a “tomato face.” I love being Brooklyn’s mom and am looking forward to all the fun things she will get to do this year because she’s finally five.

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This Week’s Snapshots

The boys looked so handsome last Sunday. I didn’t get a picture of Ricky or Rick, but they looked handsome too.

Waiting for Brooklyn to get out of preschool can be entertaining.

We had so many lemons from our lemon tree! The other morning, I decided to make strawberry lemonade–delicious! I have about 40 quart size bags of lemon juice in the freezer–we will have lemonade all summer long!We had some beautiful sunsets this week. Emily sent me this cute picture of her and Avery at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. That’s about it for this week. Next week, Brooklyn turns five years old!!

Winter Break

We were busy every single day of break.

Anjee’s family spent the night on Christmas Day. When they loaded up the car to begin their drive home, Makayla and I headed to the airport to pick up her two friends from Iowa. We stopped at the Puppy Place on our way home.

Later that night we drove up Mt. Lemmon to get a giant cookie and watch the sunset at our favorite stop, Windy Point.

The next day, we went to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Petting the stingray was the favorite part.

The girls also went horseback riding and enjoyed lovely warm temperatures. I felt bad that they flew home to negative temperatures.

The night before Makayla’s friends flew home, Karitza and her family arrived. I wish I had taken more pictures (I keep saying that). I love my friend Karitza and her family. She is a good, loyal friend. She is funny, thoughtful, kind, good, prayerful, and easy to talk to. I also love that she is comfortable in my kitchen. She made us so much good food! I never had the stress of worrying what to feed everybody because she just got right in there and took care of everything. I loved exploring Tucson with her family and our New Year’s Eve Fiesta was a blast.

We played Loteria.

And musical plates (instead of chairs).

We ate tamales and had a piñata, which I filled with confetti (crazy).

We lit off fireworks. Well, Rick, Ryan, Emily, and the boys did. I watched and laughed at silly things.

At midnight, we watched fireworks over the city from our bedroom porch. I’m not good enough at photography to capture a good shot of that, but there were fireworks going up all over the city.

We did some other exploring on other days–Biosphere 2, an old church, Agua Caliente Park, Park Place Mall, Sonoran Hot Dogs, Eegee’s and more. It was a great visit.

When Karitza’s family left, we continued to do fun things together as a family to take advantage of our time with Emily home.

Here are a few pictures from our trip up Mt. Lemmon with Emily:

Usually, at the end of Winter Break I am counting down the days until the kids go back to school, but we have had such a good time I haven’t felt that way yet. School looms around the corner. Emily flies back to BYU tomorrow. We will miss her. I’m not looking forward to the driving I do every day when the kids are in school. The older kids are anxious about new school schedules. The younger kids are anxious about getting up early and being out the door on time after sleeping in and staying up late. We have had a great couple of weeks together, and I’m a little sad it’s coming to an end. I love my family and have had so much fun playing, exploring, laughing, and relaxing with them these past two weeks.

Christmas Day

I didn’t take very many pictures on Christmas Day. I was very tired after a sleepless night. Christmas is a lot of work and generates a lot of garbage, but I love the magic of it all.

We opened presents, cleaned up trash and organized gifts, then spent hours putting things together. Makayla did a lot of the work. She hung Gavin’s swing in the backyard and helped with the trampoline. The weather was beautiful–maybe even a little hot.

In the afternoon, I made Thanksgiving dinner food. Anjee and Jeremy and family came for the night. We had a great time together eating, playing, and visiting.

Christmas Eve

I love Christmas/Christmas Eve on Sunday. Usually, we make the kids wait until the evening to open their Christmas pajamas from Grandma Mergenthaler, but this year we opened them at lunch time after church. The kids enjoyed wearing them the rest of the afternoon, overnight, and most of the next day.

The weather was warm and sunny, so we played games on the back porch while Rick made treats.

After delivering treats and gifts to a few families, we came home to act out the story of Jesus Christ’s birth.

This time, Gavin was Joseph and Brooklyn was Mary. They fought over Baby Jesus through most of Luke 2.

Emily was an angel, Andrew a sheep, Sean a shepherd, Ricky a donkey, and Makayla a cow.

The rest of the evening was typical for Christmas Eve at the Mergenthaler’s. Mom and Dad stayed up very late to wrap 50 presents–why do we put it off every year? After the presents were wrapped, Santa came.

Rick and I finally went to bed sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. Less than an hour later, Sean was awake. He’s so obedient. He said he thought Santa may have come, but didn’t want to go downstairs yet just in case. He went back to bed. Around 3:30 a.m., Ricky and Andrew were up rummaging around. I angrily sent them back to their room with serious threats to lock them in until 8 a.m. unless they went back to sleep right then. I think everybody rolled out of bed around 7 a.m.

Before Christmas

We spent the weeks before Christmas going to school events and Christmas parties.

Ricky had a choir concert. He did a nice job, but I miss his Iowa show choir. Ricky enjoyed singing and dancing. I hate to say it, but the kids there were more talented than here–not sure why. Maybe it’s just a larger pool of kids because this school district is much smaller. Next semester he may be able to do a little more performing because he sweet-talked his choir teacher into letting him in the Theatre class.

Andrew participated in a 5th Grade musical production. It was cute. He was a pirate.

We went to a Christmas breakfast at church. The Primary children (ages 3-12) put on a lovely program about Christmas around the world and the kids got to see Santa. They also got to wear their pajamas, so that was special.

Brooklyn joined her preschool class in a very nice Christmas performance about When Jesus was born.

Not pictured:

  • We made a little progress on painting walls and doors.
  • We made lots of treats and delivered them to families. The kids wore Santa hats and we all sang, “Joy to the World” at almost every delivery.
  • Makayla survived her first “finals week” at school.
  • We have loved having a break from soccer and basketball games on Saturdays.