Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Erin's Birthday and Camping

Erin turned 11 on June 18th. Eleven! She is growing up so fast and is such a wonderful girl. She has become very responsible and can be left with all the kids if we need to go somewhere. That is a game changer for us. We spent years having to worry about babysitters, and now we have Erin. It's amazing! She is so great with the baby and taking care of Hallie. She'll will often just make Hallie lunch or get her dressed without being asked. The other day I left for some reason and as I was leaving she asked if they could watch a movie. I told them to clean up a little and then they could. When I came home, everything was cleaned up really well. She said that she assigned everyone a job and set the timer for 15 minutes. If they weren't done by then, she would set it for 5 more minutes--but everyone was done after 15. They are obviously motivated by watching TV. I was impressed that Erin would do that on her own.

She got the now traditional birthday breakfast in bed, home made waffles, pears and juice.
Erin wanted roller blades for her birthday. They were sent to us a week before and she was dying to open them right away, so she got her present a bit early. On her actual birthday, she wanted to go to Classic Skating with the family. Looking back on that day, I was really stressed out. First off, Jared couldn't find his keys that morning so I hastily gave him mine so he wouldn't miss the train. Then I looked everywhere for Jared's and couldn't find them. I had to go and pick up some chicken that I had ordered before 9:30 that morning (and by "some" I mean 80 lbs.--yeah). I was panicking a bit. I asked to borrow my neighbor's car and as I was leaving, I reached in my bag and found the keys. Nice. For the rest of the day I was canning chicken. The first batch turned out fine, but the second one took over an hour and a half to get to the right pressure (it's supposed to take 10 min). I didn't know whether I should stop cooking it or continue trying to get it to pressure. It was taking forever! By the time Jared got home, it was super late and it still had to cook for an hour. Jared fixed the problem (just like he fixes everything for me!) and it finished cooking. He took the kids to the skate rink and I met them when the chicken finished.

Anyway, the point was I didn't make Erin's birthday that exciting. I did bring home a treat for her for babysitting and some new earrings for her birthday to make up for it. I think she had an okay day despite my frustration.

 These three had lots of fun!
 Gotta love skate rink carpet. Connor is pretty cautious about skating/trying new things.
And this is Jared making sure that he had a sufficient amount of fun himself. He stayed on for a long time and would have been able to go two more times if his hands and legs hadn't gotten so sore the first time he rode. It's so funny that he wanted to do that.
 This is to prove that Wesley was there. No proof that I was however...
Due to the chicken incident, there was no time to make a cake. Erin got to pick this one out from Harmon's on the way home.
Erin really is an amazing person. As she has gotten older, I feel like I have more fun with her. She has a great sense of humor and is a great actress. She can recite funny lines of movies and shows that she's only seen once. I don't know how she remembers them exactly right, but she has always had that talent. I love her creativity. Lately she has been working hard in the basement with her best friend Emma on their invention business. They draw out different ideas then pitch them to each other. There's even a patent on the wall. Now they are working on building a prototype for one of the inventions. I think it's a pet habitat/home? I don't know much about it except for the times when they come up asking for pvc pipe, a glue gun, a needle and thread, and other random items.

Erin is still doing great with piano. I love to see them get better and actually enjoy playing. Luckily, their teacher is really great. Since she has a waiting list, every student has to practice 6 days a week or they will get kicked out of the studio. I like it because they have to practice. Erin also really loves to read. Yesterday we went to the library and I told all of the kids to get a lot of books and fat books so that they would last longer. So far, Erin has read 2 1/2 of hers. That's not exactly going to last that long. But I love that she likes to read.

Here's just another example of Erin's creativity. We went on a little camping trip right before her birthday and she was the brains behind these little fairy houses made of moss, sticks, flowers and rocks.

And can someone tell me how I am just now hearing about these amazing campfire eclairs? We borrowed these dowels from my neighbor, then wrapped a crescent roll around one and cooked it over the fire. Once cooked, you add vanilla pudding with cool whip and put it inside. I even added chocolate frosting on mine. Umm, delicious! I liked them so much more than s'mores. I'm going to have to make me some dowels for future campouts.
 We went camping with Jared's brother Brian and his sister Rachel and their families. It was definitely a fun and relaxing time to get out of the heat and into nature. No technology or screens is always a needed break. Sure, we got poured on the first night. It was raining so hard that water started dripping through the rain fly as well as seeping through the bottom of the tent. There was a river flowing under the whole tent that made it feel like a water bed. The kids thought it was great until their stuff started getting wet. We lived. Come to think of it, I kind of always feel like I narrowly escape disaster/death every time I go camping. I still love it though.
We played four square and spike ball. Not sure if you can see this, but Marissa and Olivia were dressed just like twins. I kept mixing them up all day. Even though they are two years apart, they are exactly the same height. Marissa is a little on the short side:)
And here's the photographic (though very far from photogenic) evidence that I was indeed on this camping trip.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Connor's 5th Birthday

Connor turned 5 on June 14th. In case you weren't aware that June 14th is also Flag Day, Connor made sure to have everything flag themed. We made a flag cake, got little flags and decorated the house with red and blue crepe paper. Every time Connor sees a flag anywhere he yells, "It's my flag!" because it is his day after all. We also got him a green balloon because green is his favorite color, and Hallie popped it before Connor even woke up. Sad.

Connor also got breakfast in bed (technically he was under the table on the carpet in his room--for some reason), but since he is such a late sleeper, there was no rush to get up and make it before he woke up. It was a Sunday though so we had to hurry and get ready for church.

Later that day we had cake and opened his presents. He got money from his grandparents and a soccer ball and soccer nets from us. He is signed up for his first real season of soccer this fall. I'm really excited to see him play because he has always loved sports and balls.
We had this box from Amazon with Connor's present in it for over a month just sitting by the door. The kids wanted to wrap it, but I told them to decorate the box instead.
 Connor and Alex playing soccer. These boys really love each other!
You may have noticed the cast on in the birthday pictures. The last week of May Connor broke his arm. He tells the story way better than I do. And he takes his time telling about it. It is really important for him to be heard and to finish what he is saying without getting interrupted. "I was jumping off the A of my swing set and I fell and landed on my chest and I pinched my bone." This is the story he's told over and over. I didn't see it so I'm not exactly sure how his arm was if he landed on his chest. He came in crying and saying his wrist hurt, so I had him just lay down and ice it. He seemed okay after that so we went to pack meeting, played and went to bed. The next day we went to a preschool party at the park and he played just fine all day. That night Alex was playing and grabbed his wrists. That's when Connor started screaming. Jared took him in to get x-rays and they revealed that he had a little buckle fracture on one side of his bone. Since it didn't really crack the bone, it looked more like the bone was pinched (which is why he always says that he pinched his bone).
He got this cast on a few days later. It is his favorite color and is also a waterproof cast. What will they think of next? It was a little bit extra money but way worth it. He can shower and go swimming without having to worry about it stinking and getting all gross. He loves getting people to sign it (it has way more on it now than in this picture).

Connor did great with his online preschool this year. I'm happy that he will start kindergarten knowing how to read. I think he will do great next year. He also had tons of fun with the Joy School that we did with his friends. This is a picture of him getting his preschool diploma at the park. Again, he is making quite a speech when he was asked what he liked about preschool this year. He went on and on about everything he liked. Such a funny kid.
Connor also gives really great prayers. He will always ask that we can be respectful of other, and follow Jesus, live the gospel, feel the spirit, have a missionary 'sperience, etc. He has some great friends on our street. He plays with Hunter almost every day, but he loves playing with Hadlee, and Andrew and Alan from across the street too. Alan is a year younger than him and he adores Connor so much, a little too much for Connor sometimes.

He has really turned into a mellow kid who is really fun to be around. He also shows love by giving hugs and kisses and is always aware of when he thinks I might need one. We love Connor so much and are grateful for what he gives to our family. Happy Birthday Buddy!

Marissa's 7th Birthday

Marissa turned 7 on June 6th. She started the day by getting breakfast in bed, which has become a bit of a birthday tradition in our family. It was definitely her year to have a birthday party. She really wanted an American Girl (and I use that term loosely seeing as she got a knock off and not the real thing... it's like saying Kleenex for tissues, right?). She got to pick her doll out and she really loves her. Her name is Sadie. Then we had an American Girl doll themed party.
I made these adorable little party hats for each doll and we just laid out some paper with some fun sayings on top to decorate. I thought it was cute.
When the girls got there, everyone got to make a tutu for their doll. Everyone was so quiet and well behaved. It was pretty much the exact opposite of Alex's party which was insanely out of control with all those boys. We played American Girl doll bingo and then played Don't Eat My Doll with Smarties.
 Here they all are with their dolls, tutus and hats. 
  They got to decorate a cupcake for them and then a mini one for their doll.

Hallie was quite the sad child due to me taking her doll's tutu and giving it to a girl that came late. I told her we could make her doll another one right after but that just put her into hysterics. It's hard to be two sometimes.
It was a really fun party. She got some great presents from her friends too. Marissa is really growing up. She did really well at school this year and loved her teacher, Mrs. Blair. She really took off with her reading and loves to read different chapter books. She likes Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse and the Rainbow Fairy books most. I'm really impressed at how she has been able to catch on to things with school. A couple of weeks ago I asked if she wanted to learn multiplication and she learned 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10 and 11 in just a few minutes. She can also be really diligent, especially when she wants to go play with friends. She will do her jobs, clean her room, do her workbook and practice before anyone else has even started theirs.

Marissa has been wanting to take piano lessons for a really long time, but she's been on the waiting list forever. I finally had the thought that we should take Erin and Alex's two spots and rotate the kids' lessons so that they each have two weeks on and one week off. This would give Marissa a chance to take lessons and wouldn't be more time for their teacher. Their teacher, Mrs. Hawks, said she would try it out for the summer and so far it has been great. Marissa just loves piano. I just hope everyone can progress well even though they don't get it every week anymore.

She is still a very social child and loves playing with friends. She is so lucky to have her best friend Aurora next door. They play every single day like they are sisters. She's got some other good friends that she plays with in the neighborhood. Marissa has lost 6 teeth and has 2 more that are loose. She loves wearing make up and dressing up. She is a very loving child. She always remembers to give hugs and kisses to me and Wesley and I know she needs lots of love back.

We do love Marissa so much! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hallie-isms, Wesley and Mother's Day


Happy Birthday- whenever we ask if she is happy, she says she is happy birthday (and has for months)

A'cause, for a Christmas- she says this one whenever you ask her why, or she just says "a-cause" (because)

Whenever I try to call the baby Wessie or Westerly she says, "No, it's Baby Wethley!"

Whenever she goes to bed she says, "Wuthu too, night!" (Love you too, night!) We've all started saying it. She says it to the kids when they go to school. So cute.

Her favorite knock knock joke is the boo-who one, only hers goes like this, Knock, knock. Who's there? Don't cry, s'a joke. (she leaves out the boo part)

She gets really mad when we turn her shirt towards her tummy to put it on and yells, "No, it's backwards!" She doesn't get that it will end up the right way and usually puts her shirts on backwards because of it.

Putday Pawty (Birthday party)- She got invited to her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago and would not stop talking about the putday pawty that she went to. She even slept with the invitation.

Mickey Mouse Tubhouse (clubhouse)- this has been her favorite show for months. Unfortunately, Netflix only has one episode (the road rally) so she watched it over and over again.

Real and Fake Remote- Since Hallie always wants to hold the remote, Connor gives her an old remote that doesn't work and tells her that she has the real remote and his is the fake remote. It seems to work. Sometimes she asks where the fake remote is.

Up... Pie (up high) and Apples... Sauce- said with big pauses between the words

Sit on Santa's Yap- ever since she sat on Santa's lap (and screamed while she slid off), she always talks about it. At first she would say that Santa is really scary. Now she always says that she got things from Santa, like her belly button.

He is so tute- referring to baby Westhley

Tose a door (close the door) and Oh-oh it (open it)

Yelling "YA-YIN!" in the middle of the night. She shares a room with Erin now so she often wakes her up yelling her name.

I asked Hallie to go get a diaper and she didn't want to. After a little bit she said, "Fine" and went and got one.

This picture cracks me up. I came home one night and all the kids were in their pajamas. I didn't recognize the shorts that Hallie had on until I looked a little closer and saw that they were Wesley's 0-3 month size pants! You know your two year old is skinny when she fits into her newborn brother's clothes.
She loves getting her picture taken. Whenever I want to take one of Wesley, she insists on getting hers taken too. She is such a cute, funny and sweet kid and is growing up so fast.


Wesley is two months old! He started smiling a couple of weeks ago and looks so cute when he smiles. He is growing a lot and is a very solid/chunky guy. He weighs almost 11 lbs. now. He eats really well and acts happy, but his immune system is still compromised. His poop has been really runny since he was a week old (not normal newborn poop), which is an indication that his gut hasn't built up the good bacteria yet after the antibiotics killed it all. We still can't take him very many places because the doctors are worried about him getting sick. We've been lucky so far, especially with so many kids around him constantly. I would hate to have to give him another round of antibiotics.

He is an okay sleeper, but is not on any sort of schedule. He takes all of his naps in the swing or snuggling with me on the couch. Nights are pretty random. There were three nights in a row that he slept a solid 4 hours and the fourth night he slept for 6 hours! It was amazing (though I do recall still feeling like a zombie all day). After those great nights, he started waking up every 2 hours again. What can you do?

I love this little guy so much! I am looking forward to being able to take him more places and to feel like his immune system is more solid when we do.

Mother's Day

I completely forgot about Mother's Day until Jared and 5 of the 6 kids came and woke me up with breakfast in bed (Connor has been sleeping in super late recently). I got some great home made gifts including a hard bound book of poems about me from Erin. So great. I got to go to church and see the kids sing for Mother's Day. We took some pictures after church. All of a sudden this looks like a lot of kids! They are all so amazing and interesting. I couldn't imagine not being a mother. It is the greatest blessing in my life. Even though it can be challenging, there are so many moments that make having them around so great. I feel so blessed!