Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Week

Today is a dismal day. The sun is not shining, which is always gloomy for me, and my kids have been home sick again! The fourth day this week for Erin, the third for Alex. Marissa stayed home from preschool one day and Jared took a sick day yesterday. I literally think all five of my kids have fevers today. Having all of them home this week has put quite the damper on my ability to run errands or go anywhere for that matter.

But, I am so grateful for all of them, that they are alive and safe. Earlier today I found out about the tragic shooting at a Connecticut school where 20 kids and 6 adults were killed. It makes me so sad for those families who won't see their kids alive again. Even though it hasn't been the most ideal week with sick kids every day, I love them all so much and consider them the greatest blessings of my life.

This is what they've been doing all week. Yes, on the same couch... by choice.
I just thought this was kind of funny last week. We used to have a bouncy seat that babies never fell out of, so we didn't bother to strap them in. The one we have now has, in my opinion, quite the design flaw. You have to strap them in...
...or else this happens. Peacefully sleeping and then, bam, onto the floor. The funny thing is she didn't even make a peep when this happened. I just turned around and she was on the floor.
And just this week, Hallie started sucking her thumb.  Seriously, not another thumb sucker! She is such a good baby and I can't complain about her at all, I just know it can be a hard habit to break. I feel like she tries not to be any trouble at all, and maybe that's why she started sucking her thumb. Oh, and another weird thing is that she only poops every four days, once it was over a week. None of my other babies have done this, but I have it on good authority (via my internet search) that it can be normal. She doesn't seem constipated or sick, and she's still eating and growing so I guess it's just her body right now. When the day comes, it's always a doozy, like today for instance when it got all over my pants as well as hers. I sure love that baby though!
Alex has been doing Jr. Jazz basketball every Saturday along with our neighbor. Neither of them are any good at all, but Alex really likes it anyway. He has made a few baskets, but he's not that aggressive, which is kind of necessary in basketball.
Marissa had her winter dance recital and it was awesome! I don't think there is much more that she loves right now more than dance, so I am so glad we signed her up at this place. Her teacher did a great job teaching them the actual names of different positions and dance moves. They did a Jazz number and a ballet number. The costumes could not have been any cuter! I love my little snowman! Here is the photo shoot. Some of her smiles make me laugh.
This was the night of the performance

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Post

First, a bunch of pictures of Hallie.
First smiles :)
Bumbo (I think the kids wanted to make sure her head was supported)
After a bath
Sleeping like a baby
Put up your dukes
More smiles
Just like a doll
Some people ask me how life is with five kids. That's usually when I stop and realize that five is kind of a lot. It's weird because with four, it always seemed like someone was missing and that we didn't really have that many, and now it feels like so much more. It is good, most of the time. I would say that my life is way easier now with five kids than it was when I had three little kids. It helps that I am not going to school and pulling all nighters anymore. I still have a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn like I did then, but those two older kids make such a huge difference. They can do up car seat buckles and pour cereal and milk for everyone. They are incredibly helpful and I'm so glad I have them. I feel so blessed for all of my children!

Most of the time I feel like I do okay, that I am keeping my head above water. But every so often I find myself sinking, like there are just too many demands coming from every direction. Even though my older kids aren't so needy, they have other things that demand attention. Every time I turn around there is something else I am supposed to make sure they are doing:  practicing piano, reading out loud to me, learning to type, homework, spelling, reflections, etc. Don't forget teaching them the gospel. And this is all while Connor is hitting Marissa and the baby has pooped out her diaper or needs to be fed. And I keep having to make meals for everyone, like daily--when I just fed them yesterday! Usually, I can handle it all, but sometimes it's just a lot.

Like this week. Sunday, I wasn't feeling too well but was still functional. On Monday, I felt horrible (sore throat, fever, achy, etc.) I slept on the couch all day while Jared took care of everyone. I hate feeling so helpless that I can't take care of my family. I've been feeling a bit better the last few days. Yesterday was kind of an "I'm a bad mother" kind of a day. Marissa and Connor were both on one, and for some reason I felt the need to drag them around with me to four different places (I know, that was stupid. I should not go places with so many kids.) Marissa was particularly whiny and demanding. She has been so hard for me lately. She has so many good qualities, like being social, brave, sensitive, loving and so eager to learn. But she has been angry a lot lately too. I didn't deal with it very well by the end of the day. I know there are probably better ways of addressing her behavior, but it seems like I am either nice and she continues with her bad attitude or I blow up and end up feeling guilty for crushing her spirit. I made her write a note to Santa telling him that she was sorry for crying and that she would be good. I often wonder if she will always be this way or if it's something she will grow out of. I was looking at some pictures of Erin at that age which sparked the memory of Erin acting in a similar way. Erin isn't perfect, but for the most part, she is nothing like that now. It gives me hope for Marissa. We'll try again today.

This year I made the goal to get all my Christmas shopping done by Dec. 1, which really only gave me one week since I didn't start till after Thanksgiving. I wanted to be able to enjoy the Christmas season without having to worry about shopping or fretting over what to get people. I made an advent calendar which I've never done before. It not only has a piece of chocolate for each day but an Christmas activity that we will do that day (I stole your idea Callie--thanks). Some of them are simple, like reading a Christmas book and some of them will take a bit more planning. I am really excited about this Christmas. I've ordered almost everything off of Amazon, so we've been getting packages every day. The UPS guy came at 8:30 last night to drop one off. Already working over time. It's like Christmas for me every time I get a package. Who doesn't love getting packages?

Hallie was two months old on Friday. She is an absolute delight. What a blessing to have her sweet spirit in our family. She sleeps in the car and in her swing for most of her naps. As the fifth child she gets schlepped around a lot and doesn't get a schedule of her own. I don't know if that makes her more easy going and flexible, or if I'm just lucky that she came out that way. Sometimes if nobody gets her when she's crying, she just goes back to sleep. What a good baby! She has been smiling for a few weeks and she is so cute. I love her round little face and calm gaze. I know I'm probably jinxing myself for saying this, but she has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly since about five or six weeks. I'm no good at keeping track. Every so often she has trouble getting to sleep (I think because of being a little congested and having a hard time breathing), but once she gets to sleep she usually doesn't wake up until about 7:00.

We had her baby blessing on Nov. 4th, when she was five weeks old. It was such nice, warm weather (for November). A few days later it snowed; we were so lucky we missed that. We had lots of family come down and be with us, something we are not used to because of living in Florida for so long. She was such a beautiful baby in her fancy (and slippery) white dress. Jared gave a great blessing. He blessed her to be a peacemaker (which will come in handy in our family), to have a testimony of Christ, and to raise her family righteously. Something like that anyway. I don't know why, but I always have this fear that my babies will die in a freakish way, so it was actually a comfort and relief to me that Jared blessed her to make it to adulthood and have children. I literally stopped worrying about it after that.
I wish these pictures were better, but it was such a crazy day and we did what we could. You can kind of see Jared's black eye in this one. He got it two days before playing in a racquetball tournament. Totally worth it since he won second place.

We had a great Thanksgiving with my family and another one the next day with Jared's family. I can't get over how nice it is to have family around. They are awesome! In other news, they just opened the new outlet mall right by our house. Very exciting! Now we just need a grocery store, and maybe a gym with a lap pool and racquetball courts close by too. Am I expecting too much? It'll come in time. I look back at when we were looking at places to live in Utah and how we ended up where we did. It still seems kind of random, but at the same time I feel so strongly that this is where we are supposed to be. I do love our little neighborhood and proximity to the freeway. The new train, frontrunner, will replace the buses that go downtown in a week so Jared will start riding that. They have just finished building the last house on our street so at least our block is complete. No more dirt flying around or big trucks blocking the road! No more piles of free wood to raid either. Bummer. We scavenged enough for a bunch of projects to keep us busy for a couple of years though. Also, I don't know if I mentioned it before, but our ward split the day that Hallie was born. They submitted the papers for the split when our area got to 300 people and now we are over 400, and still growing. It's hard to keep up with all the new people, but it is a good ward. Still tons of primary and nursery aged kids. I feel a little old in this ward, actually. But I think we fit in because we're still having children. Jared and I oddly have (almost) the exact same callings we had in the old ward. Jared is the first assistant in the High Priest Group again and I am on the RS Meeting Committee. I am happy not to be the leader anymore. I am a much better follower and am glad to do whatever they need me to do.

Oh, I went to the doctor for my post-baby check-up at seven weeks and stepped on the scale for the first time since having her. That was not my favorite moment of the year. Apparently, I was only 10 pounds less than when I delivered. Really? Sure, I knew I was frumpy. I mean, what else could be expected after giving birth? But you're telling me I pushed out a 7.5 lb baby, a placenta, amniotic fluid, blood and had spent 7 weeks "shrinking" down to a normal size, and that only added up to 10 pounds??? Dang you, middle age, dang you! I keep trying to reason with myself, I was wearing shoes, and pants (not shorts), and a hoodie, and probably layers (I can't be sure), and I hadn't fed the baby on one side yet--that's like at least 3 oz. right there. So surely, that number wasn't correct by I'd say a good 3 pounds, right? But still. The baby weight just used to magically disappear. Time to P90X again, I suppose.

Our latest project is to add storage to the mudroom in our house. These projects seem to take forever for us to complete! I was planning this project in my head before we even moved in a year ago (unbeknownst to Jared) and it has been evolving for a few months. I basically need a place for each kid to hang their coat, backpack and lunchbox and a place for them to put their homework, take home library books and other papers. Right now we only have six hooks for a family of 7 and the kids can't even reach them. So our mudroom is almost always a huge mess of shoes, jackets, homework, and backpacks. I finally figured out the right solution, got the pieces cut out and am in the process of painting the everything--which is taking forever! I can't wait till this project is done. Good thing I don't have to worry about shopping!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I figured since I put my Christmas tree up yesterday, that it was probably time to document what happened two holidays ago. We did our annual pumpkin carving. This time we let Erin have her own, since she didn't need as much help with it this time, then the boys had one and Marissa and I had one. They all wanted to do monsters so none of them ended up with two eyes. Erin's had one eye...
Alex's had three eyes...
and Marissa's had four eyes, with eyelashes of course. Hers was a girl.
They did all the designing. I have to say that doing things like this is so much easier than it used to be. My kids can do so much more by themselves so it makes this stuff pretty enjoyable, as opposed to it sounding like a good idea until we actually try it and it ends up being so much more stressful than fun. See? It even looks like Jared is having fun.

All lit up.
Hallie, as always, was a good little baby who stayed in her swing the entire time. She didn't even mind getting treated like a rag doll (see photo).
We had a ward trunk-or-treat the night before Halloween, which allowed the kids to get oodles of candy with very little effort. Erin went as a cat (easiest costume ever).
Marissa went as a fairy. Do not make the mistake of calling her a princess like some people did, because you would be completely wrong--and Marissa would have told you so. I think she was supposed to be a fairy named Rhapsody from a super annoying show called "Meet the Fairies", which I eventually had to ban for my own sanity.
Connor was Woody, partly because I was too lazy to get him a real costume of his own that wasn't already in the dress-up box, and partly because he refused to put anything else on. 
He loved the lollypops (I am so glad our candy is all gone now!)
Hallie sort of had two costumes. The first was a pink poodle that looked more like a sheep and that was two sizes too big for her. Look at her little arms poking through that giant costume.
The second costume was a cat hat and cat socks, which she wore to the school Halloween parade and trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
Alex was Batman just like last year because, again, I was too lazy to get him something new. It still fit him. Here they all are before the Trunk-or-Treat.
They ended up going out the very next night around the neighborhood to double the amount of candy they had from the night before. And yes, they were getting candy from the exact same people that had given them candy the night before. So dumb. Overall, I'm sure we got a net gain in candy. I used to love it as a kid, as I'm sure my kids do too, but as a mom it is so annoying to have that much candy around. We were lucky that the weather was so nice that day so that we didn't have to bundle up too much. Reminded me of Florida. Until next year, Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Alex!

Alex had his 6th birthday (over a month ago). October was busy and flew by, mainly due to our new little bundle of joy, a family reunion, Halloween and a birthday. Remember how I said I couldn't have any more birthdays in June because of all the craziness, cakes, parties, presents, etc.? Well, now Alex and Hallie have birthdays 10 days apart, so it looks like we'll have two kind of crazy times of year. I was not exactly up for throwing a birthday party just after giving birth, but that is what Alex wanted. There are so many boys his age in our little neighborhood that I had to limit the amount of boys to 8 (there could have been at least 3 or 4 more--sheesh!)

Jared had just made a rocket launcher to take to our family reunion, so I thought it would be a hit with these kids at the party. The only hard part was helping all the kids make their own rocket (thank goodness our neighbor decided to come and help). Here they all are with their rockets--minus Marissa, her friend Aurora, Connor and the baby. Erin got to have her friend over too.
Here they are shooting the rockets. It was a hit! And nobody got hit by a car either (although some of the rockets hit our neighbor's car--sorry!)
He said he wanted a Cars cake, and since I think I am the cake boss I always decide to create it myself. I kind of like this one. My neighbor thought we had bought it. Ha!
After eating cake, and half the kids eating under the table (because I told them that if anyone eats before the birthday boy they have to eat under the table--that may have backfired since they seemed to enjoy it quite a bit), he opened presents. He got so much loot! What a lucky kid. We got him a basketball and the game Apples to Apples Jr. He really wanted this game after playing it at his cousins' house. He kept trying to get his friends to play it with him later that week, but I kept telling him that #1, you need at least 4 people to play and #2, you have to know how to read to play this game and not many of his friends can read that well yet. Our family enjoys it though.
After that we had them go into the back yard to play tag and running games. It got pretty wild and loud with 13 cray kids yelling and screaming. Luckily there was no school the next day (fall break). I think they all had fun. This is what Hallie did the entire time. What a good little one!
I am so grateful for Alex in our family. He is a sweet, kind, easy going boy. He loves trying new things, which include rollerskating and basketball this month. He loves playing with his friends and Erin. His best friend is our next door neighbor Orion. He loves playing the piano and reading. He has started to show his sense of humor a lot lately. He really is growing up. He has only held Hallie a total of three times, and that was only because we made him. I can't really get to the bottom of why he doesn't want to hold her, because he says he likes her. I think he just doesn't know what to do if she cries. I love his quiet nature, probably because I can relate to him. He is generally obedient and doesn't fight much with the other kids at home. He is happy when he comes home from school, which makes me happy. I asked him if he was the smartest in his class and he said, "I don't know if I'm the smartest, but I'm the goodest" (meaning he is the most well behaved). That I believe. His teacher confirmed that at his parent teacher conference. He wants to be a builder when he grows up, and not a garbage man anymore (because that's really gross, but it would be fun to ride on the back of the truck). I love you Alex! Happy Birthday!