Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Well, I can't tell you how taxing the last two and a half years have been. These two last kids have been very difficult! Wes, because he has been my worst sleeper as a baby. He only slept though the night 4 times in the first 11 months. He did a little better the next year until he learned how to climb out of his crib before he turned 2. Then it was impossible to put him to bed or give him naps. This is the first kid that hasn't had consistent naps at this age so I don't ever really get a break. Not only that, but he learned how to take off his diaper and clothes so he would run around naked, peeing and pooping wherever he pleased. We tried so many things, like backwards pajamas, onesies and duct tape around his diaper, all of which helped for the time. He is doing a bit better, but it is not uncommon to find him naked, especially outside... in the front. That leads me to another difficult phase, he can open any door so he goes out front all the time (where he could get hit by a car). We have to watch him constantly! He also likes to go knock on all the neighbors' doors, with or without clothes. He is a very active, brave kid so he climbs on everything and jumps off high things (like my dresser the other day). He is constantly doing things to give me a heart attack. So between all of his crazy antics, being naked and not sleeping or going to bed at a decent time, he has really been the most difficult baby we've had. I guess that's why Heavenly Father saved him for last. We may not have had so many kids otherwise.

Hallie has also been kind of a nightmare for the past two years. While she was a fine sleeper and napper as a baby, she has been the worst sleeper by far at this age. She is up the latest out of all the kids (her and Wes), but refuses to sleep in her bed or even her room. She has been sleeping on our floor for the past year or so. Jared and I are so tired that we just don't even care where she sleeps as long as she sleeps somewhere. But it is always a constant, nightly battle. The older kids go to bed when they are asked. Maybe it takes a few times of asking, but they go and they stay in bed. Hallie needs to be tucked in about 4 times and still gets up saying she is scared, or hungry, or not tired, or lonely, or wants to sleep on the couch, or whatever. Between 11 and 12 is usually when she finally goes to sleep. And then she is the first kid up. What the heck? It just makes me feel like the worst parent. How is it that we have not been able to figure this out after all of the other kids? What is wrong with us? What is wrong with her? We have tried everything! Sharing a room, having her own room, sharing with a new sibling, being nice, yelling, putting a lock on her door (which only makes her scream bloody murder until we unlock it)... We are at our wit's end with her. Every night she gets yelled at, unless by some miracle she falls asleep on the couch. But then we almost assuredly have Wes awake due to an untimely nap he takes. Hallie has also been the worst at this age (the 3-5 age). Marissa was really whiney and Connor had a lot of anger at that age. They were both really challenging. But Hallie is both whiney and angry! She is very, very demanding, just constantly wanting things, asking, talking, crying, screaming, being mad... not happy very often. She probably acts even worse because she doesn't get the sleep she needs (see above!) It has been awful! Again, I have tried so many tactics, but ultimately, she is disobedient and unhappy and I feel like a constant failure.

That is why things have been so difficult for me kid wise for the past two plus years. The bad part is that I don't even see it changing for another two years. I dread the next two years, and I hate that feeling. Next year she has three days of preschool, 2 hours at a time. That will be a good break from her, but I will still be dealing with Wes. The next year she will have 3 hours of kindergarten... again, a nice break from her but I will still have Wes. He'll be better by then, right? I seriously pray that he will not give me as much of a hard time at age 3-5 that Hallie has. I don't know if I will survive that.

Anyway, it's just been an exceptionally busy month. June always is. I try to make each person's birthday special, but it is a lot to ask of me in a two week time span (4 birthdays and Father's day). I feel responsible for the success of all of them. Let's do something fun, let's give them breakfast in bed, let's let them choose what dinner they want, let's make them a special cake... overwhelming. On top of that, it has been baseball season for two kids. Last week we had 5 games! It is very time consuming, but they love it. I have fun watching, but I get so exhausted doing all of this. Also, it is the Parade of Homes right now and there is nothing I love more. The bad part is that I only have 4 days to go to it due to busyness and vacations. I have also been doing a 12 week course called uncluttered. I really feel like I need it in my life. I feel so stressed with all the demands on me! All the time! I also feel smothered by stuff. I have been going through stuff room by room and getting rid of a ton of it. But then there are times that you just hit a roadblock. You just can't do any more. It is emotionally exhausting. It is also demoralizing to feel like you have a space pretty good, and then you go back a week or two later to find it trashed. Somehow, because I didn't take out everything, they found a way to make a huge mess. I don't know if I'll ever have a clean uncluttered home/life. I mean, living with kids that is.

On top of all of this, I keep getting asked to help people with different things. I want to serve others, but a lot of times those are the things that are really the straws that break me. One week I was doing things for people every day. Can you help me build something? Can you help me design some graphics for the book I'm writing? Will you make dinner for someone (which by the way, I hate)? Can you help me do a photo book? Can you help me design a bunk bed? Can you help me cut something out on your cutting machine? Can you help me design a poster? How about design a basement? How about teach me how to build something out of wood? These are all things I love to do, but honestly, it is really stressing me out to the breaking point. In addition, I just got a new calling as the YW advisor as well as YW camp director. I love the girls and being in there with them, but again, it is a lot. I did an activity which took hours of prep work this week, I'm having to deal with camp stuff, I have to teach on Sunday, and I am supposed to find a suitable camp location for next year. Yes, I can and will do these thing. But man, I am on the brink...

Monday, January 25, 2016

More about our life

Again, my desire to record things has been overshadowed by my need to survive. So, here are some things I guess I don't want to forget and some pictures from Christmas.

The annual "stand in order in your new pajamas on Christmas Eve" picture
Christmas Breakfast on fancy china

Wesley is almost 10 months old. He weighs 17.4 pounds (10th%) and is 29 inches (62nd%). He is definitely into everything, as can be evidenced by the daily trail of destruction he leaves. Pulling all the towels and rags out of the drawer and getting into the kid dishes drawer are some of his favorite things to do. He does like to help take all the clothes out of the washer and hand them to me to put in the dryer. It's adorable. The barstool-at-the-bottom-of-the-stairs-baby-gate worked for several months until he learned how to crawl over it. We've moved on to the constantly-climbing-up-the-stairs-while-terrifying-his-parents-because-he-hasn't-learned-how-to-go-down-feet-first phase. It's a fun one. He's getting a lot better at it, but it's still scary. He loves to stand, but hasn't taken any steps yet. He mostly looks like he surfing because of his stance and the way he balances. (Update-since it's taken me so long to post this:  Wes took his first step one day before he turned 10 months. A week later he was taking several steps. 14 is his record. I've never had a baby start to walk this early!!)

Wes is starting to like eating table food but still eats a lot of baby food. His all time favorite food is yogurt and probably eats one every day. He still hates drinking a bottle but does it sometimes. The only way I can get him to drink it is when I'm holding him while standing. So it's like I'm feeding a goat with his head looking to the ceiling. When I try to sit down he goes crazy and stops drinking. The boy still hasn't slept through the night more than 4 times in his life. Last week we moved his crib into our walk in closet (since there's no other room available for him right now) and he seems to be sleeping a lot better in there. It's warm and dark and away from a lot of the chaos that could wake him up. He's been taking good naps, but he has been waking up twice a night since then. Still, a vast improvement from some of the other nights he's had where he would wake up 5 or 6 times and couldn't be consoled. I tell you, this baby has two purposes in life right now:  1-to slowly kill me and Jared via sleep deprivation and 2-to make dang sure, even though we weren't planning on it, that we will not have any more kids. You would think I'd be able to figure out how to deal with a baby by now, but I've never had a baby that didn't sleep before. Ahh, Wes. Some day he will sleep.

We all call him Wessie, or just Wes. I also call him Buddy Bud. He sure melts my heart by how cute he is. The other day we asked who wanted dinner and everyone raised their hands, including him. He also folds his arms for the prayer and loves to clap, something he learned the day before Thanksgiving. He shakes his head no a lot and sometimes does yes. He's got a great laugh. He was sitting in his high chair watching everyone carve pumpkins for Halloween and he just started cracking up by how funny one of the pumpkins was. Love to see the wheels in his head turning.
This was the best I could do for Wesley's Christmas picture. He was super squirmy!

Hallie keeps saying really cute things. Everything that has stripes on it she calls wobbly. She loves her wobbly dress and her wobbly shirts. She found some old cups with Dora on them, claimed them as her own and started calling them her "Nora tups". I guess we haven't watched enough Dora with her, or any come to think of it. Breakfast was "fetuss" and now it's "befduss", a movie is a "fawvie", rubber bands are "wubbin bands", ketchup is "teputch" and zip it is "yip it". Other common phrases are "Mom, where is you?" or "Where is her?" Instead of "I know how" she just says, "I how". Whenever we are in the car she asks, "Aw we dohing home? Aw we?" Oh, and I have to "yisten" to her or she will get really mad. If I'm not "yooking" at her while I'm listening then she'll break down and say, "Mom, you're not yistening at me!" When she wants something and I tell her no, she says, "No, I want it." Oh, see had I realized that you wanted it I would have said yes... Her favorite shows are Daniel Tiger (which she used to call Tigga Daniels) and Super Why (pronounced Supper Why). She talks about her friends all the time, especially Isabella. Usually it's, "Mine fends do dis," and then she'll say something crazy that her friends do but you know she's just making it all up. Hallie started Primary last Sunday! She could not be more excited to be in Primary. She just gets really excited and giggles about it whenever you mention it.

I made her some doll house furniture for Christmas and she loves it!

This was a DIY fort kit that we made for our kids. They made lots of fun forts in the living room (this is why we need our basement to be finished)

Connor is a funny kid. He was the only kid who told Santa what he wanted when he sat on his lap and what was it? A tiny Santa. I asked him what he meant afterwards and he said, "Ugh, Santa knows." So, he got a tiny Santa in his stocking and yes, it is his favorite present. So crazy how the littlest things make them the most happy. I got a text from the mom of a girl in his kindergarten class asking if Connor ever talks about how she kisses him every day. He was pretty embarrassed when I asked him and denied it happening, but did say that she (Eliza) chases him and tries to kiss him every day and that she has a crush on him. When I told him she wanted him to come over he said, "I'll go, as long as she doesn't kiss me." Then, come to find out, Connor is the captain of the boys, since Landon moved that is. After all the digging I've done I've only gathered that the captain is only the captain when the girls start chasing them, that he is the one who makes the plans, and that the dumbest plan they made was "Run!" Also, the reason he is the captain is because he is the skinniest. He says this stuff so matter-of-factly too. All I can do is laugh.

Besides that, he is really taking off with reading. He got the Elephant and Piggie books for Christmas and thinks they are great. He had the longest part of all my kids in the Primary program and he did a great job memorizing it and saying it so clearly. It had some hard words too like begotten, whosoever, perisheth and everlasting. Last week we remembered that he had the scripture at the end of Sacrament meeting. Jared looked one up and read it with him once. He read it great in Primary and then said it completely memorized after church (after only two times reading it!) Another funny thing he said yesterday was, "Mom, you're old" and after I started laughing he said, "Well, not that much old."

Marissa has been loving gymnastics, even though her best friend quit taking classes with her. You know this because she is always doing hand stands and cartwheels all over the place, like in the hall, the kitchen, 2 inches from Wesley's head, etc. She is getting pretty good at them. I took her to be evaluated at another gym and she made it into level 2 (she is already on level 2 the current gym). Hopefully there will be a spot open for her when I try to sign up, mostly because it is half the price and will give her a longer class. Marissa was a very grateful girl this Christmas. She loved getting the Crayola cling creator which produced a good 15 slimy window decorations to be displayed right by our front door. She really did love that gift. The other thing she got was a camera, which she also really wanted and loves. Her best friend at school is Brooklyn, who really, really likes Marissa. Her mom told me that she was so grateful that Brooklyn had found such a great friend because she has a hard time making friends. Needless to say, both parents hear a lot about the other friend. It's nice to be able to find someone like that.

Alex has been loving basketball right now. He is on a team with his neighbor friends and has made a basket every game. He has also been learning some really fun songs on the piano. Over Christmas he learned and memorized a few on his own and a bunch of Christmas duets with Erin that they performed on Christmas Eve. I love hearing them play together! Now they are working on Linus and Lucy from Charlie Brown and it is so fun to hear. Alex will sit down several times a day and just play songs and is starting to learn some chord progressions. He is persistent and talented with it. Alex and Erin also performed a couple of times with the school choir.

Two of his favorite Christmas gifts were a pocket knife (which came in handy opening stuff on Christmas) and a Rubik's cube. All six of the neighbor boys his age got one in their stocking (random, right?) so they all carry them around trying to solve them. He is getting good at it and only has to look it up on certain parts. This year the class field trip was skiing and snowboarding! He chose snowboarding because it looked cooler, even though I tried to convince him that we are a skiing family. They gave him lessons and spent the day up there. He loved it! Now if only we could find the time and money to take him and our other kids up some other time.

Erin has been enjoying her music dance theater class and did a really fun performance at the Festival of Trees, that I have no photographic evidence of due to our other kids being crazy cranky (in their defense, the performance didn't start till after 9 pm) Erin was challenged by her Primary teachers to ready the Book of Mormon this year. The first week she was supposed to ready 50 pages, about 7 pages a night. Instead, she started reading 7 or 8 chapters a night. It's only been a few weeks and she is already in the middle of Alma! She comes down and asks questions about it and is really enjoying it. She said that she wants to read all of the standard works this year. I'm amazed by how ambitious she can be when she sets her mind to something. She has also read all 20 battle of the books titles and is starting to reread those.

Erin was really ambitious with her Christmas presents this year. She made a doll quilt for Hallie, a doll rug for Marissa and made a car mat for the boys. It's really cool because all the roads are moveable. She spent a lot of time cutting and gluing in her room. Just before Christmas I taught her how to use the sewing machine to finish the projects, and that night she stayed up late sewing a little purse that she designed. Awesome. We found out that 4 of her Refelctions projects went to the district and 2 of them went on to the region. I received an email saying that one of her projects went on to the state level! We'll find out tomorrow which one. It's cool to see her succeed at things, especially since she worked so hard on Reflections the last two years and didn't get anything. Erin also just got her second phase of braces on. Hopefully this phase won't take too long and she will have perfect teeth by the middle of 7th grade.

Jared has been gaining a lot of momentum on our basement. We realized some time in November that he had a lot of vacation days that he hadn't taken, so he took two weeks off in December. We decided it was time to finish the basement (since we started the framing over two years ago). In that time we have paid for my Lasik surgery, purchased two new cars, gone to Disneyland, had a baby, had some medical bills and basically haven't had much time to work on it. We hired out the HVAC and Jared has done 75% of the electrical so far. He also finished up the framing, so we are making some real headway. I can't wait to have it done! I'm glad Jared is so handy and talented at figuring stuff out. Even so, there are so many little details to think about as far as lighting and framing that it takes us a long time.

This is obviously my favorite gift I gave to Jared. I LOVE it when MY WIFE lets me play racquetball. This was also week 2 of his 3 week Christmas beard.

I, Laura, have been staying alive and keeping my kids alive. That's about it. I feel like this year has been a big blur. I am not depressed, which is good, but I am basically doing what I need to take survive. Someone once said to me that she heard that anything after three kids is easy (this was coming from someone with three kids). Totally not true! While I do remember three kids as being quite challenging, I have to say that having the sixth has been completely exhausting. Sleep deprivation has been pretty brutal. I think it has been most challenging physically, as I haven't had much time to exercise. But I know this phase will not last forever. I am almost done nursing Wes, though he still goes crazy in the middle of the night without it. Being done always makes me feel more like myself again. He is also really hard to leave places because he just cries, so I mostly have him with me all the time. I am leaving on a 3 day girls trip this weekend and I'm hoping Wes will be okay without me. I am looking forward to a fun break.

I got a laminator and Jared and I got really nice new phones for Christmas! I'm excited to be able to take better pictures from my phone.
And this was our Christmas card this year. So basically, I managed to do something last year.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Two Birthdays

Hallie turned "fee" on Sept. 30th. Ever since then she says, "I'm bigga" (bigger) over and over again...  probably a good 30 times a day... to which I have to say (over and over again), "Yes, Hallie, you are bigger." She still says she is "happy birthday", something that started a year ago when she turned 2. In the last couple of months, Hallie has really gotten the hang of potty training, something which I am extremely grateful for. So no more pooping in her underwear, no more sloshing poop in the toilet--Hallie-luiah! My life has gotten better by a good 65% I would say. And amazingly, she has never wet the bed. That girl has some great bladder control.

I baked a chocolate cake in the morning and then went upstairs to take a shower while it was cooling. When I came downstairs, the cake had been completely cut up as you can see in the picture. I guess Hallie wanted to cut her own cake? Who knows why kids do the things they do? The point is that I had to turn the cake upside down and frost it the best I could, despite it being cut into pieces. It was a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake with all the characters, fitting since she has watched the one episode we have about 100 times since last year.

Apparently, I was not very good at taking pictures that day. We hung out at the children's museum for a while and then my parents came over to give her some presents. She said she wanted clothes when they asked her so they gave her some cute things, including new underwear. She also got new underwear from me and now thinks that any time she changes her clothes (which is multiple times a day) she also needs a new pair of underwear. Since she loves Minnie Mouse, she got a Minnie dress up and a Minnie stuffed animal.

Hallie also loves to say the prayer. Whenever someone else gets asked to say it, she immediately says that she will say the prayer for dinner or for bed (whichever is the next one).  She also doesn't like to go to bed (just like her mom), so we always have Hallie and the baby up for a couple of hours after the other kids have gone to bed. Sweet Hallie is sure growing up! And we love her so much!

On Oct. 10th Alex turned 9. Since Alex is usually the first one up in the family, we made him turn off his alarm so we could bring him breakfast in bed.
Erin made this awesome card and homemade basketball for him. So creative!
Alex has a fun personality. He wanted a cheese cake this year... like a wedge of cheese made out of cake, not an actual cheese cake. I'm not sure if anyone remembers the racquetball racquet/fly swatter cake that I made for Jared a few years back. The one in which I declared that it wasn't my worst cake ever, to which Jared asked which one was worse than that one? That cake is infamously known as my worst cake ever... that is until this one.

This is what it was supposed to look like...
...and this is what it actually looked like.

All I could do was laugh about it. Since it was chocolate, all the dark crumbs came through like it was a piece of cheese dropped in the dirt. And all the holes we tried to put in it just made it look that much worse. It has been affectionately named "The Cheese Touch" cake and "The Pinterest Fail". Oh, and then there is the writing. It kind of looks like it says "Alex is 91. Alex was such a great sport about it and just thought it was funny. I love that he does things just to be funny or ironic, like wanting to be Santa Claus for Halloween.
Anyway, we rounded up whatever part of the gang of boys that was lurking around our house at the time and gave them each a piece of the Cheese Touch (it was delicious, in my defense)

He got a new basketball, a circuit making kit (something that Jared loves) and the second Harry Potter book. Alex just finished the first one and loved it.
Since it was a Saturday and since we weren't having a friend party for him this year, we went downtown for a family day. We spent hours at the Leonardo museum. We had never been there and it was so fun. They had tons of things to play with and build, as well as paint and create. The best part was that there was hardly anyone there. I feel like if we had that museum in our neighborhood, it would be packed all the time. Anyway, it was a really fun family day!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Head Above Water

Wow, life just keeps going faster and faster, and keeps getting busier and busier. I suppose having 6 children would explain this phenomenon. My kids love reading out of the blog books that I had printed several years ago and there is so much that I don't remember until they read it. I know there's so much going on right now that I will completely forget because I'm not documenting it. It's okay... I don't have to document everything, but I would like to remember some of what's going on right now. So here goes...

Wesley is such a great addition to our family. He is incredibly happy and has a giant smile ready for anyone he sees. We had to go back to the doctor every month for a while to get his blood tested (for his neutrophil levels) and now they are back to where they should be. Yay! We have been so blessed that he has not gotten sick at all since his hospital stay. He is growing and developing just as he should.

Wes has not been the best sleeper. He went through 3 weeks back in May when he slept for 6 hours at a time, and then he went back to waking up between 3-5 times a night. I think this is one reason why I've been so drained and exhausted. Every now and then he sleeps a little better (like only waking up once a night) and I always feel so much better the next day. So it gives me hope for him eventually sleeping through the night. Nothing lasts forever, so I know he will do it some day and that I will be able to feel better. Napping isn't much better for him. Some days he takes great naps, and other days he only sleeps for like 10 minutes at a time.

He also refuses to take a bottle. He was fine in the beginning, but since I was homebound with him for so long and also dealing with the PICC line antibiotics, it was just easier for me to nurse him. He doesn't know what to do with a bottle besides chew on it now. I started giving him baby food at 4 months so that I could have some freedom to leave him, if only for a short time. He does love most foods, which helps me see the end of the nursing tunnel (more food=less nursing). I always feel so much better when I'm not nursing. But I also know that this means I will no longer have a small baby, and that's very bittersweet.

He started sitting up well at 5 months and going from his tummy to sitting at around 5 1/2 months. Wesley was 6 months on Sept. 13. That week he started to scoot around (army crawl style) and get up on his hands and knees. This week he has really started crawling and getting into everything. Time to baby proof stuff again. He also cut his first tooth last week. This child is a big drooler (just like Alex and Marissa), and not just because of teething. His shirt is always wet from drool, but I know this will end too.

I try to enjoy the sweet moments nursing him, holding him and watching his milestones, but there is also so much other stuff going on that it makes it hard. And thinking about him being our last baby is both happy and sad. I want to remember the good stuff, but there's also a lot of trudging through the hard stuff that makes me want this phase to end (like sleeping through the night and getting my body back to myself). Anyway, I love this baby so much! His sweetness, his happy demeanor, his non-cuddly nature (like me), his cute laugh, his soft bald head and big blue eyes, his squishy thighs and so much more.
Such a sweet, happy boy!

Hallie has been quite the challenge for me lately. I've been getting flashbacks of how hard age three is with each kid (she'll be 3 next week). But, eventually they turn into happy, non-whiney kids so I know this phase will pass too. The kids going to school has been a big adjustment for her. The mornings are okay because she has Connor to play with, although most days they fight too. But after he goes to kindergarten, she doesn't know what to do with herself. I don't think she has ever had to play by herself before, and I of course don't know what to do with just one kid. So she follows me around everywhere I go. She's like my shadow, which would be perfectly fine if the shadow didn't yell at me all day... or poop in her underwear every other day.

Which leads me to my next point, potty training. What is strange is that she can go all night without wetting the bed, but has all sorts of accidents during the day. I bought a 140 count pack of suckers to motivate her to poop in the potty. She thinks that every time she pees in the potty that she gets one. Sometimes I try to hold fast to the sucker=poop rule, but most of the time I give in so that she stops yelling at me. It is not worth the battle... I guess what I'm saying is that my nerves are worth more than her rotting teeth. I know she'll get it soon and this phase of me sloshing poop out of underwear while gagging will barely be remembered. But I tell you, every time I find myself sloshing poop out of underwear I take a good look at what my life has become... parenting is not always pretty, people.

Most of the time she gets something in her head and won't let it go all day. Like one day she insisted that I take her to piano lessons. I tried all sorts of reasons why we couldn't go, like the fact that she doesn't have a teacher or that she is 2, but she continued to cry and yell about not getting to go. Hallie does love going places. It doesn't really matter where, but she needs to get out. I take her to the babysitting co-op often and I set up a weekly play date with her friend. I also take her with me to the store and she is usually good while we are out, but I feel like I have so much to do at home or need to give Wes a nap, that I can't always get out every day. I do feel bad that I always took my older kids to the park or different museums, but I don't do that with Hallie. Why? Shouldn't she get the same life that they did? She should. I just don't have quite the motivation or desire to do it anymore. Maybe it's partly because I feel like I should take all of them if I'm going to go somewhere fun so I wait until they're all home. Maybe it's because I'm too tired as a parent. Either way, I will try to start making an effort to do fun stuff with just her.

On Labor Day, we were at the park doing some old fashioned games for the Lehi Heritage day when she got a bean stuck in her nose. The game was to put the bean on your nose and drop it into the bottle. She heard "put a bean in your nose" and so she did. We couldn't get it out, and at her age she sucks in instead of blowing out when we tell her to blow her nose. My dad was smart enough to go talk to the police that were there and they called the EMT's (which were just a block away). The fire truck and ambulance came. They said they didn't have the right tools to get it out and that we'd probably have to go to an instacare, but then one of them came up with the idea to use the oxygen tube on reverse and suction the bean out. Thankfully, it worked and we saved the hassle of going to the doctor.

The bean in the nose incident. They gave her a stuffed animal that we call "Bean"

This was a temper tantrum right before the picture above (poor Hallie)

Connor started kindergarten this year. I wasn't sure this was so great at the very beginning because the first day I put him on the bus and he ended up going into the wrong class. Then he kept leaving things that I sent to school in his backpack. He has figured things out since then. He comes home every day singing a new song or reciting a rhyme he learned, so I suppose things are sinking in. He is the only kid to get on the afternoon bus at his stop, which is kind of weird. I never know if I have missed the bus or not since nobody else is ever waiting there. On the way home, he gets to walk home with all the big kids and does great. He is really growing up.

He just finished his first real season of soccer. It was cute to see him play. I know he'll love it as he gets older.

Connor has also been into hearing and repeating all the cute things he used to say when he was little. This is another reason why I should keep up this blog a little better, so I can remember all the cute things they say.
First day of Kindergarten

Marissa is loving piano. She also does great in school and loves the social aspect of it all. She did another season of soccer this year and did really well. She is not afraid to get in there and kick the ball. I think she liked being with friends and getting treats the most though.

She has been dying to do gymnastics and just started a month ago. She takes it with her best friend Aurora. I always think the progress is so slow at the beginning, but I know she is learning things and getting stronger. She definitely has a lot of fun doing it.

Hallie moved back into Marissa's room this summer when she transitioned from a crib to a toddler bed. For the most part, this arrangement works, although things are a bit more tight in the room than before. We put up a reading lamp and got her a clock to put on the top of her bed so she can easily read at night. She has been reading up a storm lately, which is great to see.

On another note, the permanent tooth finally grew in in the space left from the one she knocked out 5 years ago (when she was barely 2). I'm sure she will be getting braces some time in the next few years. All of the kids will at some point, I'm sure.

First day of 2nd grade

Alex is looking so much more grown up lately. One reason could be his hair. He had me cut it super short a few months ago, and then one day at the beginning of the summer, he came out of the bathroom with his hair in a faux-hawk and has worn it like that almost every day since. This cracks me up because I always suggested that he spike his hair or do something different with it (like on crazy hair day) and he never ever wanted to. And then one day he just decided to make the change. I also think it's funny because the faux-hawk kind of makes him look more rebellious in a way but he is still such a kind, sweet kid.

On Tuesday he had 3 more baby teeth pulled (for a total of 6!). When we went to the orthodontist and looked at his x-ray, the orthodontist said he didn't even know what he was going to do with this case yet. Because he had the ectopic molar removed and because of losing a baby tooth on that same side, his teeth have been sliding together making an impossibly small space for 3 permanent teeth to fit in. That's why the other 3 baby teeth were pulled, to get the permanent teeth in sooner, to have something to anchor to to push the back molar further back... anyway, it's a mess. I have faith in our orthodontist. Alex is so easy going about everything. No problems at all getting his teeth pulled.

That night, he did the pine wood derby. His car looked really awesome again. Alex had definite ideas of what he wanted it to look like. Jared designed the car to ride the rail and go really fast on the regulation track, but when we got there we found that it was not a regulation track. It was a plastic one with no rail. We were annoyed that the track was different. Anyway, Alex took 5th this time.

Alex had a really great soccer team this year. The field was huge compared to what he has done in the past. They won every game except their last one. Alex was a great runner and great on defense. It's so cool to see the skills develop as they get older. It makes for some really exciting games.

He still sets his alarm for 7:00 so he can wake up and eat, pack his lunch, do his homework, practice and still have plenty of time to play or just relax before he has to get on the bus at 8:45. Now that Marissa has an alarm clock she does the same thing. So funny. I love to see how independent they are about getting their homework and other things done by themselves. There's just not enough of me to go around so I think they are forced to be independent. The way I see it, I'm doing them a favor.

First day of 4th grade

 This was his Utah cake he made for school, and en example of the faux-hawk
Pine wood derby and his smile showing his missing teeth

Erin started 6th grade and is now ruling the school. She has a great teacher and is doing some really fun things this year in school. They had an assembly about reflections and she came home determined to enter in every category (except dance). So she's been working really hard on entering 6 different things. The deadline is next week. So far she has done 3D art, 2D art, wrote and illustrated a book, composed a piano piece and started a movie. She has an idea for photography as well. I really hope that she will win something this year.

Right before school started, she cut off 10 inches of hair and donated it. I think she looks so cute with her new haircut. She is so good at making up different hair styles as well. She loves to look pretty (and she is!)

Her activity this year, besides piano, is a Music Dance Theater class that she started at the Alpine Community Theater. It's once a week for an hour and a half and she does it with her best friend Emma. The first day the teachers couldn't remember their names. Emma wore stripes the first week and Erin did the next, so they kept switching their names that week. Yesterday, they dressed exactly the same to try to trick the teachers again. Funny girls. I'm excited to see what they learn this year. I think this is one of Erin's talents. It's definitely a challenge to try to find out what talents your kids might have and then to know how to help them develop them more.

I love this girl, Erin. She is very sensitive to other people's feelings. She always asks what's wrong and is someone I can now talk to about how stressful this parenting thing can get. I'm so grateful for her and for the other older kids. They are at such great ages.

First day of 6th grade

Jared came home from a work party one day with a first place trophy. It was for go carting (that was the team's party). I said, "Why am I not surprised that you won first place?" He said, "That's exactly what I told my team that you would say." We know each other so well. Jared just kind of wins at everything of this nature. He is very competitive, which helps, and also watches others to see how to do things right, then he makes changes and improves his own performance. This is why I am never surprised about him winning.

Racquetball season is in full swing. I have no doubts about him doing well again this year. Right now he is ranked 17th in the state.

There is quite a stir in our surrounding neighborhood about the new Family Search building that has been proposed to go in on the Thanksgiving Point driving range. We, of course, are ecstatic about Jared's work moving 3 blocks away (the plan is to consolidate the Salt Lake and Orem offices to a central location--one big reason why we moved where we did, the hope of this happening here). The problem is that the building is on the West of the tracks. Perfect for commuters, but not perfect for the homes trying to leave the neighborhood at rush hour. There are only 2 exit points and they get really congested with all the new offices already in place as well as the Front Runner letting off tons of commuters around 5:00-6:30. In other words, it's already bad, but putting the new building there will only make things worse. There was a big community meeting opposing the project. We hope that it will still happen. How great would it be to reduce Jared's commute by 2 hours a day? He could walk to work and come home for lunch. Very exciting.

The other exciting thing about his work lately is a thing called FH5. The is where the management has been focusing on the employee experience. They've been implementing some great things. The newest is that they are letting people work four 10's and have every Friday off. Jared decided to do nine 9's and get every other Friday off. He works an hour more a day, which is a small adjustment. Hopefully we will like this change.

I, Laura, have been trying to keep my head above water, probably since school started. In the summer I could leave my kids home and go to the gym literally 2 houses down (she converted her garage to a gym). Now all I have are the hard ones home with me all day. Sometimes it feels like I am in a circus and that I have to keep juggling a whole bunch of balls. Most of the time I can keep them all in the air, but without fail, a ball will drop and then another and another. I try to keep everything going, but then I forget something or fail one of my kids in some way. I was watching the movie that we made in 2008 called "My Life 24/7" where I showed how fast the dishes, laundry and messes piled up as well as dealing with 3 demanding children. When I watched it this time, it made me kind of sad. I am still dealing with 3 demanding children, plus have 3 others to keep up with. Not only that but my piles of laundry and dishes are even bigger than they were back then. It's just overwhelming.

Jared was telling one of his friends that he plays racquetball every Thursday night and they asked what his wife does. He said that I have my things too, like Bunco every month and another monthly GNO with the pin-up girls. He said, "You're happy with your life, right?"... I guess it was the wrong day to ask that. I mean, overall, yes, I am happy with my life. I always wanted 6 kids (and here they are), I have a great home, and friends and so many blessings... but... I clean up poop and pee multiple times a day, I get yelled at by an almost 3 year old all day, I have to give my body to a baby every hour or two, I have to break up fights and clean up messes, and watch things that I like get broken or dirty... I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in months and I hardly ever get anything that I want to do done... No, this is not the picture of a happy life. It's hard when this is all I do. If I can just get one thing done for myself, one small thing, then I feel like I've done something useful. People will say, but what you are doing is so good or so important, and I know. It just feels so... hard when I'm doing it.

It hit me one day when my friend with one baby posted a picture of her 8 month old who had pulled all the toilet paper off the roll. Just one baby with an empty TP roll and a pile of toilet paper on the floor. Not that that isn't annoying, because it certainly is. But, I had just scraped a pile of poop off my bathroom floor and sloshed poopie underwear in the toilet while my baby screamed and threw a whole container of baby food on the floor. The older kids had reduced a chocolate cake to crumbs and were taking handfuls of it, licking their hands and spreading the crumbs all over the downstairs, smashing it into my just cleaned carpet. Dishes were all over the table and counter, and books, toys, papers and random pieces of garbage were evenly distributed throughout the space. A gang of 7 boys had just run through the house raiding my pantry and leaving various new cups of water on the counter as they ran back outside. A glass jar had been broken, book pages had been torn out of book, nail polish had gotten on the walls, and I had dealt with 3 baby diaper blow-outs and 3 toddler accidents that day. And amidst all this, I let a ball or two drop. I notice that one or two of the kids has long nails with dirt underneath them, or I'll notice a buildup of earwax in someone's ear as I drop them off for school, or I'll realize that Connor hasn't done 20 minutes of reading a day all week and I'll have to lie on his homework about it, or I'll send my kids to piano without having done their theory (because they won't do it unless I remind them to), and who knows the last time any of us showered... and then it seems like all of the balls I was somehow keeping in the air are now on the ground, the poop-streaked, baby food slimed and cake crumbly floor. It's intense.

It won't last forever. The baby will start sleeping, I won't have to change diapers for the rest of my life, and heck, I may even get to go to the bathroom by myself some day. I may get to work on projects without putting my baby on the dirty garage floor. But that day is not today. And that's okay. There is plenty to be happy about. There is plenty to take in and enjoy.

I do love this family of mine!