Monday, November 17, 2014

School, Calling, Baby and More

I feel like ever since school began, life has not really slowed down. Oh, did I mention that school started? In August. It's November so I'm just a bit behind. Here are the kids' first day pictures.
Erin got the teacher she wanted. She is fun and young and loves Erin. Funny story about how young she is. When it was 9/11 she told the kids that she was in school when it happened. I was thinking like college or high school at the very least. Then Erin said she was in 4th grade! Jared and I just started laughing because it doesn't seem like it was that long ago, yet I was graduated from college at the time. So yeah, she is a reminder of how old we are getting and how young 23 actually is.
I'm still not quite sure about Alex's teacher. I think he likes her fine, but he doesn't say a whole lot. She is very strict about behavior and academics. I know a bunch of students are struggling with her and I talked to a mom whose son hates school this year because of the teacher. I guess I am lucky that Alex is so good at school and well behaved. It just doesn't seem like the best year for him either. Just a hard one for me to figure out.
Marissa got a great teacher. She is new this year, but she is really nice and friendly to the kids and parents. Marissa does really well in school and is on her fourth chapter book at home. I know this because every time she starts a chapter, finishes a chapter or is part way through a chapter she tells me, and likes to give running updates on the plot. She is good at making lots of friends, probably because she is not afraid at all to talk. When I was helping at her Halloween party she would just ask the teacher things in front of everyone without a second thought. So different from when I was a kid. The other day she came home and said that three boys were in love with her. Oh boy.
Connor is doing two preschools this year. One is Upstart, a free online preschool that he does for 15-20 minutes a day five days a week. It is helping him so much to learn to read. I am very impressed with the program, especially since he couldn't string any words together in the summer and now he is reading short, easy books. His other preschool is a joy school that I'm doing with him and two other families. I originally wanted to get more people, but everyone else was already doing some sort of preschool. I was a bit concerned about having to teach so often, but with only three kids, it makes it a lot easier. We decided to do one week at each of our homes and then the fourth week go on a field trip. So we're only teaching one week a month. I don't know why, but I really like doing it. We do a letter a week. I think it's fun and fulfilling to think of creative ways to teach different things or make different crafts. The kids get along so well too and they love free play. Anyway, it's a good year for Connor getting ready for kindergarten, and though it makes my life a bit busier, I am glad I'm doing it.
 This was Apple Art for the letter A.
A is also for Airplane

 This was the day we made Green Goo for the letter G. It was also the day before Halloween, which is why they're dressed up.
 This was the field trip I planned where we got to take a tour of the fire station. It was awesome! I'd been wanting to do it for a long time. We also went to story time and had a picnic in the park.
 This was our next field trip to the planetarium. I'd never been there either and it was pretty cool.
Hallie is liking being involved in preschool with Connor, though she can't do everything that the older kids can. She is just a sweet, cute little girl. (Notice the two different shoes in this picture?)
I've also been busy with my calling as the relief society weekday activity leader. The one in September was so much work for me. It was a craft night where we did holiday wood block decor. I took all the orders, made some spreadsheets to keep track of it all, cut all of the wood and put them together in little kits for people to pick up at the activity. We had lots of people sign up for two crafts each, so about 600 pieces of wood. I also got vinyl cut, bought other supplies and paint... it was a lot of work! I tried to delegate as much as I could, but in the end, I wanted to make sure that people had everything they needed when they got there so I made sure of it myself. It was a huge success. We'd had an average of about 20 people at previous activities and this one brought 65, including a bunch of non-members. So apparently when you say "craft" and "free" then people start coming out of the woodwork.
I told the RS president that after the November activity I would be happy to be released. We had a huge dinner and bingo night this week and it was also a big hit. This time I delegated so much to my committee that all I had to do was bring two things and show up (I couldn't even help set up because Erin had a performance right before). It is so nice to have such a great, reliable committee now. They've called some new people and it is such a relief to me. Everything got done so smoothly. Anyway, they had already told me the Sunday before that I would be released the Sunday after and gave me a new calling. It's Activity Days. I've done it before and I loved it. Erin is actually really excited to have me as her leader, which kind of baffles me. It feels kind of like the same calling as RS activities, except that the girls will actually come and be excited no matter what I decide to do.

I've been doing the RS activities for almost three years and definitely had my ups and downs with it. When I first moved here, I was going through a really bad depression and had a hard time making friends, like good close friends, which is what I needed. That made the calling a bit challenging. I remember having to hold back my tears going to meetings in the beginning. The committee was really great back then and had been doing it for a long time together, so that made things easier. Our ward split the day Hallie was born and I immediately got called to the RS activities committee. That was such a good calling because I could do whatever I was asked but I wasn't ultimately responsible. A year later, our ward split again and I got called as the leader again. Since our ward was so small, we had an almost non-existent committee. Those first activities were a bit rough. I remember feeling like such a failure because no matter what I did, it seemed like very few people would come (our ward was small at that time). There was one big one we did in March where we made freezer meals to take to anyone in need in the ward. That took a lot of coordination and preparation, and there was some miscommunication between me and the counselor I was working with. We both bought ingredients for the same recipes! Ugh. But even though I was so frustrated, I felt prompted to start talking to her and she really opened up to me. Now we are good friends. (One reason to be grateful for this calling)

There was another time when a new girl got called who was really struggling at the time. I wanted to get released a few months before, but the bishop said he thought I should keep doing it. I tried to reach out to this girl and help her feel welcome, but it wasn't until after one activity that I began talking to her and realized that we had been through some of the same things. I just really felt like she needed to hear some of my experiences, things that I don't tell very many people. I feel like those experiences were why I had to be in this calling for so long, and I'm glad I didn't quit.

At the beginning, someone's husband was making all the posters & flyers. At some point, he couldn't do it anymore so I reluctantly said I could do it. I got so many compliments on the first few posters I did, even though I was not at all confident about doing it. After a while, I realized that I liked making them and was pretty good at it. I don't know why I was so reluctant because I had put together a lot of layouts in architecture school, but it took doing it month after month to bring me the confidence I needed. I've even made them for the whole stake. Here are some of them:
Today I am 24 weeks pregnant, so less than 4 months to go. I have been really excited and happy about this one, probably because I feel like it is our last one. I have also been feeling pretty good, physically and emotionally, which I am so grateful for. I felt like it was going to be a girl since before I got pregnant (and yes, this one was very much planned in advance). Everyone else thought it would be a boy, especially my kids because we just couldn't break the pattern--but really, how can you keep up this pattern with so many kids? I was so amazed that it actually was a boy when we found out a few weeks ago. Our midwife was too and said that girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy just doesn't happen. I love that it evens everything out. I always have liked balance and even numbers. This is how I announced it to people. And I've always liked the Brady Bunch! Now if only we could get ourselves a maid.
The day we got the ultrasound, our kids wanted us to do something creative to tell them if it was a boy or girl. We kind of wanted to trick them, so when they came home, we had a bunch of pink balloons that they could see when they walked in hanging from one blue balloon that they couldn't see. They immediately thought it was a girl until they saw the blue balloon. Then I told them they could find out when they bit into the cupcakes that I had made... only half of them were pink and half were blue. Next, we had them go into the pantry where it was completely dark and we gave them each a glow stick to break. Two were pink and two were blue. Finally, we told them that they could go outside and spray some silly string that we had taken the caps off of. If it all came out the same color, that's what it was. It finally came out all blue and everyone was so excited (including our neighbors who were there). It was really fun!

Another thing that I've been doing that I love is the babysitting co-op. It is a bunch of people in our neighborhood that each have a regular daytime shift and then we rotate for Friday and Saturday night shifts. We pay in popsicle sticks, one stick per kid per half hour. I absolutely love the freedom it gives me. I can go to doctor's appointments or run errands kid free anytime I need to. We haven't needed to pay a babysitter for a long time either because of the weekend co-op. We usually leave Erin and Alex home and drop the other three kids off at the co-op. The older kids love being home alone (without having to watch younger kids) and we don't have to pay as many sticks. I love it!

My shift is Friday morning and it has been super busy every week. I always have tons of sticks, more than I can usually use in a week. I used the co-op 4 times last week alone and I still have 25 sticks left. I really don't mind watching kids once a week for a few reasons. One is that my kids have other kids to play with, thus canceling each other out. Another is that I get enough sticks to leave my kids when I need to. And the last reason is that it forces me to clean my house at least once a week. I mean, you can't have people coming over to leave their kids in a pigsty. It's a win-win. I also love teaching preschool for the same reason, I get a clean house out of it.

One more thing, last Sunday was our ward's primary program. There are almost 100 kids in our primary so they were all squished onto boards that they laid over the seats. All the kids did really well and sang great. Erin, Alex and Marissa all had their parts memorized. Connor needed some help. After Connor said his part, he ended up sitting next to Hunter, who is his best friend and who was purposely not supposed to be sitting next to him. All of a sudden, we noticed that Connor was doing some really crazy things like making funny faces and pretending to sing like a crazy person. Then Hunter started pulling on his tie and pretending to punch him. There was some sliding up and down the bench and squishing each other. It was utterly hilarious! There were some adult teachers up there, but they didn't do anything to try to stop them. I was waiting for one of them to get hurt, but luckily there were no incidents... that is besides being the worst behaved kids in the entire primary program! We were laughing so hard. I have never had a child act that way in a primary program before. I asked Connor why he was doing those faces and he said that he was just trying to make Hunter laugh. Anyway, it was really awesome.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Alex: Eight is Great!

Alex turned 8 on Oct. 10th. He really wanted breakfast in bed on his birthday, so we told him not to set his alarm (because he's usually the first one up) and we woke him up with breakfast. I'd say he was pretty happy about it.
We wanted to get him his own scriptures because he was getting baptized, so we met Jared after work one day and picked them out. That day was a bit crazy. We had to take Erin and her friend up to West Valley for her acting class and it was right by a Deseret Book. Jared gets a discount on things there for working at the church so we thought we'd pick him up at the nearest train station and go there as a family. Traffic took forever and the train was delayed so by the time we got there, we only had 10 minutes to pick everything out. It was a bust for two reasons:  1. that we found out later that there was a Trax station right next to Deseret Book (which we didn't know) and that would have saved us a lot of time instead of driving to a further one, and 2. it turned out that Jared doesn't get a discount on scriptures like we thought, only on other merchandise, so we only saved a couple of dollars on the scripture bag and markers and paid full price for the scriptures. Oh well. It was also kind of a bust because I didn't think about the fact that we would have to drive Jared home from there with an extra person in the van (because we carpool). So we had to double buckle a couple of kids and endure screaming and fighting the whole way home in rush hour traffic because they were squished. Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do...

But back to Alex. He also wanted roller blades for his birthday and had been wanting them for like a year. I told him I couldn't get him much more than the scriptures, but surprised him with roller blades as the other "little something". He loves them and spent the next few days on them constantly. Luckily, because he already had roller skates, he had no problem switching to blades. Oh and this is the outfit he refers to as his Finding Nemo outfit. It had to include the orange shorts, not just the striped shirt.
He likes his scriptures too. It's been great to have him and Erin follow along in their own scriptures for family scriptures. He's also excited about doing Faith in God and keeping his book in his scripture case.

Alex kept telling me that he wanted a party, but I kept trying to avoid the subject because... they're just a lot of work. But two days before his birthday I thought we better nail this party business down if we were going to do it. He originally wanted a movie party, but I didn't think 10 8-year olds would sit quietly for a movie. Instead, we decided to do some games in the back yard and call it an Olympic party. I only had 10 minutes before the bus left to whip up some invitations, but I got them done. Phew. The games were pretty fun but there were some really rowdy and loud moments (sorry neighbors). Jared was gone, but Erin and her friend were there to help with the Olympics. With 10 boys, and my other kids and their friends, I had 16 kids there by myself. Yikes! 

The games were pretty fun. We did 3-legged races, egg on the spoon races, roll the hula hoop, standing long jump, pass the hula hoop, hold the balloon between your heads races, pass the sponge and fill up a bucket race and wrap the mummy. Here is Alex and another boy getting wrapped. I think Alex enjoyed being the one to get wrapped.

All the games were done before the first hour was done and we still had an hour to go. We did spin the bottle to open presents. Of course that never takes up as much time as you expect. So after presents, cupcakes and ice cream, we still had 45 minutes and I had to think of something else to take up the time. I decided to have them watch Studio C and it was a huge hit. They were all glued to the TV for the next 25 minutes. Yay! After all that, they all wanted to put together the Lego sets that Alex had gotten. He got a bunch of little sets so they split up and did them all. They were enthralled and quiet for the rest of the party. I should have just done a Lego party and they would have loved it! Alex got so spoiled by all his friend gifts. They are all really nice boys. I'm glad he has good friends in the neighborhood and at school.
The week before he got to do his first pine wood derby (even though he wasn't quite 8 yet). Jared got really into the building of the car and how to make it go fast. I got to help with the flames and numbers. Alex had all the ideas of how he wanted it to look and helped Jared in the garage with sanding and grinding screws (and whatever else Jared did to it). In the end, Alex got fourth place. After the races, Jared tweaked the wheels a bit and did some races with the first place winner and won a couple of times. It was kind of a bummer because if he had done that before Alex's car probably would have gotten first or second. Next year... It was a really fun night and fun process to make the car. I think it turned out really cool looking.

Last week, Alex went into the orthodontist and got his top braces off. He'd only had them for about 6 months so that was pretty awesome. He should get his bottom ones off next month. After looking at an x-ray, they found that one of the bottom tooth roots was angled enough that the permanent tooth next to it could grow on the wrong side of it if it was not angled back. Anyway, that's why they kept the bottoms on. I can't tell you how glad I am that we did an early intervention on him because he had quite a few issues that would have been harder to fix in the future. Now I think his second phase will be way better.

Alex got baptized yesterday. It was a really special day for him. Jared baptized and confirmed him. Since it was a stake baptism, there were a lot of people there. There were four kids from our ward and they did all the confirmations together in the cultural hall. I was so hoping they would plug in a microphone because it is so loud and echo-y in that room. They didn't. Errr. It was the same thing for Erin's confirmation and I couldn't hear a thing. Since Jared was going last, I told him to talk really loud. His was the only one that people could hear. It was a good blessing. One thing I remember him saying is how Alex's kindness is a beacon to those around him. This is very true!
My parents flew home from their mission for the weekend to be here for the baptism. It was really neat to have them here. We also had Jared's parents & Matthew, Jason & Kristine's family, Brian and Callie's family, Rachel & her girls, Dave & Becky's family, Emily and my neighbors come. I think we had 39 people at our house afterwards. I get so stressed out when I have things at my house, which is why I try to avoid it as much as I can. We'd been preparing for weeks, deep cleaning and trying to finish projects (many of which never got finished). In the end, I know it didn't really matter that much, but at least I know that the pantry, mud room, blinds, baseboards, laundry room, couches, etc. are all clean... or were a week ago. And the bonus was that we found two library books that had been missing for months. I guess it's good to have things at my house occasionally if nothing more than to clean the house really well.
We had yummy breakfast casseroles, muffins, bagels, fruit and juice. The morning was also a bit stressful for me. I was trying to get the casseroles made, get the kids ready, get myself ready and get the last minute cleaning done. I may have yelled at a couple of kids. Erin helped me so much that morning. Thank goodness for older kids! I got to the church later than I wanted still having to do Marissa's hair and put Connor's shoes on, but we made it. By the time I sat down and started singing the opening song, I just started crying because of how frazzled I was. But it was a nice baptismal service. I kept thinking that if we still lived in Florida, we would have had a simple service just for him and we would have actually heard the confirmation. We wouldn't have had anything at our house, just some cookies & brownies afterwards at the church. It just sounds a lot less stressful. I am so grateful to have family here to support us, but I can see the perks of living away from here too. 

Here's our family picture of Alex's big day. It's a good shot of "Billy Bob Joe" too (me pregnant at 22 weeks).
Alex really is one of the kindest people I've ever known. I don't know how I got to be so lucky to be his mother. I don't know if it was something that could have been taught to him, he just naturally sees the needs of others and shows kindness. This makes him such a good brother and friend. He is a deep thinker and remembers everything you tell him. He does very well at school, even though his teacher is not one that everyone liked. He is very talented at the piano and really impresses people when he plays because of how young he is. Alex is obedient and tries to do the right thing. He doesn't always talk a lot. Sometimes it's hard to get things out of him (as opposed to Marissa that tells me every last detail of every little thing), but when he wants to start talking about things, he will open up to me. He really is a good boy. I could not imagine our family without Alex being there to bring peace and harmony to our home. We love him so much. Happy 8th birthday Alex!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hallie Lou is Two!

Hallie is growing up to be such a cute little girl. I love this age when you can start to see their personality more and more. Some exciting changes for her include giving up her bottle and moving bedrooms. The bottle was a bit of a tough one. I knew I wanted her to stop drinking them around age two and it just so happened that we kept losing them. I suppose we could have searched the house and car (or gone back to Toys R Us for one), but it left us with a good excuse to not give them to her. She wasn't too happy at first and kept asking for her "uh baa" but now she doesn't so much anymore. Yay! Now she just asks for "uh foo" (which means food).
The other change was moving her crib from Marissa's room into Erin's. Erin thought this was very unjust, seeing as she was the oldest and was entitled to her own room. Marissa had a hard time sleeping in her room with Hallie crying and waking her up, so we thought it was time to let Marissa have her own room. Erin is really good with Hallie. She's good at ignoring Hallie constantly yelling "Yahyin! Yahyin!" to try to get her attention and get her out of her crib. Eventually they both go to sleep. It's not ideal for either girl to have a baby in their room, but it is better than putting Erin and Marissa together.
Recent accomplishments:  
-Growing enough hair to put it in little pigtails (so cute)
-Turning her car seat around
-When you ask her who's cute, she will always point to her tummy and say "Hi-yee", which is how she says her name.
-When she wants to tell you to be quiet, like when her babies are asleep, she puts her finger on her nose and says "ssss"
-Saying a lot more words. My favorite saying of hers lately happened when I asked if she was happy. She responded "happy buhday" (happy birthday) and the way she says it is so cute. She calls her monkey "ah ah" and can say all of her siblings' and all the neighbor kids' names. She used to always say no for everything, even if it meant yes. Now she says "yeah" a lot. She says now after a lot of things, "doh now" (go now), "foo now" (food now), "pop now" (meaning pop it in the toaster). She also says "sis'un" meaning this one. She knows very well about going to the bathroom, but doesn't do it quite yet. She says "poop and peep" whenever someone needs to go. She says "ya ya peas" for water please. And then she just talks and talks without anyone understanding her. I'm sure she will have a lot to say when she learns how to say more.
Things she hates:
-She hates it when the sun gets in her eyes in the car. She will start screaming in the car whenever it happens. I've never had a kid do that before. We got her some sunglasses, but she refuses to wear them. Funny child.
-She is still taking one long nap during the day. If it's too late then she will stay up really late. She doesn't love going to bed. Sundays are the worst because church is during her nap time, but she can't make it till bedtime without a nap. This means a super late nap with her waking up at like 8:00 pm and not sleeping again till midnight. Someday we'll have a normal church time again.
Things she loves:
-She loves her baby dolls and has one in her hand almost constantly. She always sleeps with one or many dolls. I haven't had a child that loves them as much as her.
-She loves it when you trace her hand and asks for you to do it over and over again.
-She loves eating cereal with milk. I think she is being kept alive by it right now.
-She loves playing with my hair and gets mad when someone else wants to.
-She loves playing with the other kids. They all just love her.
-She has grown a lot lately, mostly in height. She is still skinny, but she definitely looks like a normal sized child now.
-Right before her 2nd birthday we took her to the doctor and she weighed 24 lbs (20%) and was 34.25 inches tall (59%). Six months ago she was only 14% in height so she's grown a lot! Besides that she looked perfectly healthy.
 Her birthday was kind of a busy day. I was teaching preschool so she got to participate in that. She was pretty cranky during it and wouldn't let me do anything with the other kids, so I put her to bed at 11:30, which is way early for her nap. That night was the pine wood derby which we all had fun at. Afterwards, we came back home for her family party. My sister Emily came and our neighbors. We had a gumball machine cake (because I can do what I want when they are this age--hey, it turned out pretty cute) and opened her presents. I was going through a little dilemma about what to get a two year old who already has a million things to play with and like 12 hand me down baby dolls already. She loves babies so much that I let her pick one out at the store. She loves it! I also got her a doll couch that folds out into a bed, some new pajamas, sunglasses and new underwear (that she probably won't use for 6 months--but she was going to need them at some point, right?) It was pretty simple and a good day for our sweet, happy Hallie! I just love this girl so much!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday, Monday

It sounds like a couple kids are up this morning, no fighting though, so Marissa's probably still asleep. Ouch, my neck hurts. It always does when I sleep on the couch. I wonder how Hallie slept? Is she still on the floor beside the couch? Oh, there she is. Guess she slept okay. Wait, that sounds like... no not on the carpet! Here, throw up on my blanket instead. Stop pushing it away. Seriously, I like this rug.

All right, I guess I'm awake now. I should probably get the girls up. Where is Marissa anyway? The hall? The boys' room? Our floor? Nope, she's in the living room. Why do we have all these beds anyway if no one wants to sleep on them? Does that mean I can turn their room into a craft room? Maybe that would clear off some of that clutter from the dining room table. I should probably clear that off today, right? I mean, we're going to probably want to eat dinner on it at some point. Ugh. Does this mean I need to make dinner tonight? Again? What is there to make anyway? What even sounds good? Ever since I got pregnant things don't sound so appetizing anymore. Too bad we don't have any tortilla chips. That sounds like a good dinner to me. I wonder how much chips cost at the gas station. I wonder if you have to be dressed to go to the gas station.

Okay, these kids need to get to school. Where is Marissa's homework? It's due today. Why can't they make all the homework due on the same day? Oh, here it is. Now how many minutes did she read this week? How can I make this add up to 100 minutes? Why can't she fill this out herself? I'm pretty sure she read some stuff at the beginning of the week. And scriptures count, right? Let's see, Thurday... nope, didn't read scriptures that night. That was the night the I lost my voice yelling at Marissa and Connor for fighting instead of coming down for scriptures. That wasn't my best moment. But I had been up till 4:15 the night before, taught Joy School that morning, ran to the school for a performance, took kids to piano, then soccer, then straight to a planning meeting that I was in charge of, and Jared was at racquetball so I had to put them to bed myself. It wasn't the time for kids to be fighting. They should've known that.

I should really clean this place up. I'm pretty sure all the bowls the kids are eating out of are only rinsed, not washed. Too bad the dishes didn't get done last night. It probably won't kill them. Unless that's why Hallie threw up. Could have been me trying to make her drink sour milk. Ew, I should've opened that bottle sooner. No wonder she kept asking for more milk. She needs to stop drinking bottles, when she turns two, in three weeks. Cold turkey. Poking my eyes out sounds easier than taking her bottle away.

Oh by the way, you kids should probably change your shirts before you go to school, I mean since you slept in them and all. Oh, and picture day is this Thursday. Do you think you can get that front tooth out by then? You know, so it's not all crooked and scraggly. Can I please wiggle it? I just want to see how close it is. Ok, stop screaming. I'm not going to pull it out. Woah, look at those nails! I've been meaning to cut those for, well a long time. Today's the day. I don't want a note sent home from school that my child's nails are too long. That wouldn't happen, right? Where are those nail clippers anyway? It's not like we only have one pair. There should be some in the downstairs drawer (nope), the kids' bathroom (nope), my bathroom... yes. Here we go. Now where is that child?

Yes, I will fix the zipper on your lunchbox. Sure, I will cut strawberries for you. What else are you having in your lunch? I know you never eat sandwiches when they're in your lunch, but it just seems weird not to have one. Fine, you can just have pretzels, granola bar and strawberries. And no, you can't dump out a perfectly good water bottle to put apple cider in it. I don't know why your older sister did that because now all of you want to. And by the way, you need shoes on.

Come here so I can do your hair. Wait, you say your stomach is hurting too? What exactly does that mean? Are you going to throw up? Did you not eat enough breakfast? Was it the dirty bowl? Just tell me if you need to stay home. If you're really sick then stay home. Are you sure you want to go? All right, fine. Everyone quiet, I can't hear what Alex is saying. I hope it wasn't important. Erin's getting really good at the piano. I'm glad she likes it. Maybe I shouldn't have taught her the Black Forest Polka because she plays it 400 times a day.

I still can't believe that Alex's teacher corrected his homework and sent it home for him to re-do. Doesn't it seem a little extreme for third grade? Does he really have to be perfect at his homework? This only means that I have to do more work making sure it's all right before he sends it in. What the heck? At least he's really smart and doesn't have a problem doing it. I can't imagine trying to do the same thing with someone that struggled in school.

Whose turn is it to say the prayer? That's good enough, right? Makes up for not reading scriptures. Love you guys! Have a good day at school. I probably should've made them brush their teeth. Tomorrow. The dishes are almost done. Although that pan in the sink with 5 day old mac-n-cheese mixed with water and probably sour milk looks a little too much like barf. I kind of feel like barfing. And here's another knife with nutella all over the handle. I'm not buying that stuff again. That's all these kids eat.

I should probably put all that salsa that I canned in the basement. Too bad we don't have those chips. Still not sure if two full days of work was worth it. I can't believe I quadrupled the salt the first time, then had to wait for our garden to produce 22 more cups of tomatoes to fix the recipe. It's no wonder I hate cooking. Too bad tomatoes sound disgusting when I'm pregnant, along with anything in the garden really. And next time, I'm wearing gloves when I cut the jalapenos. I thought my hands would never stop burning! I must've tried 20 different things to get them to stop burning. I was already playing out my amputation because of it.

"Moooomm! Can you wipe mine bum?" Sure. Three minutes later a naked baby comes down, "Uh, bum." Okay, I'll wipe your bum too. I sure hope she leaves her diaper on today. I wonder where the duct tape is? Did the floor ever get mopped after she peed on it twice on Friday? I think so, but the four year old did it so it probably doesn't count. Yep, still sticky spots from apple cider. Maybe I'll mop the floor today.

But first, I should go put that throw up quilt in the wash. I hope I can get into the laundry room. I had no time for laundry this week. Maybe if I did, we wouldn't have spent 20 minutes looking for a soccer shirt last Saturday. I shouldn't be responsible for that though, I wasn't the one that took it off and left it on the bathroom floor. I hope I can figure out which clothes are clean and which are dirty. That's kind of a pet peeve. Oh, why did I just smell that pair of underwear! I need to sit down. If there's a question, just wash it again. Why don't I learn? Hey, at least the dryer is fixed so I don't have to hang everything in my closet again. Jared sure is handy. I was already planning to buy a new dryer when he came up and took that thing apart. I guess it's good that I know the inner workings of the dryer now. And it only cost us 11 bucks for a new belt. I'd probably be in an institution without him, or at least out the cost of a new dryer.

After the laundry I need to finish up the basement plan that I was working on. Just a few tweaks so it shouldn't take too long. That was pretty awesome when we hooked the laptop to their TV and showed them three options in a 3-D model. They were impressed. They told me to keep track of my hours, but that's pretty much impossible. Let's just stay that it took over the last half of my week. I still don't know how much to charge them. Sometimes I think I should take more jobs like that. Sometimes I wonder if I can handle anything else besides my kids.

That reminds me, Connor never did his 5th day of online preschool last week because I was on the computer all day. It wouldn't be a big deal except the state is paying for it and we're required to do 5 days a week. They wouldn't kick us out over one day would they?

Here comes a naked baby again. I should put a new diaper on her... and she just peed on my purse. Last time it was a library book. Oooh, I hope I can find those three missing library books before next week. Maybe they're under the pile of laundry. Maybe the fort in the living room? Could be in the house the kids made in the basement. Anywhere really. Too bad I get so tired every day from being pregnant. Is 10:30 too early to take my daily nap?

I guess I should call the four people that said they were coming to the committee meeting and didn't. I'm dreading it. I don't know why I still have this calling. I'm not good at it. I hate announcing the activities. I wish I could just slide through this life without anyone noticing me. I bet there are people out there that would love it. You know, people that like attention. I just have to get through this next activity. I thought we would have two Sundays to announce it and get people to sign up for which crafts they want to do, but realized during church that next week is stake conference. Now how are we going to get people to sign up? Stupid crafts. Crafts that took me 3/4 of the day to make on Saturday so we'd have examples to show on Sunday. I stress myself out too much over this calling. After November, I'm done. Do you hear? It's been almost three years, I can ask for that, right?

Okay, fine. I'll go play Blokus with you, even though you really don't know how to play. And you, stop hitting your brother on the head with blocks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Shenanigans

This summer was a good one. I feel like time always gets away from me before I can document anything. We didn't do a whole lot as far as trips and such, but we had a fun and relaxing summer. The first week was our family reunion and the last weekend was a little camping trip. Other than that, we were home the whole time. The kids loved not having a schedule and just being able to play almost all day (after they did their jobs of course). Here are some of the things we did that I actually got on camera.

We dressed like cows and stood in a long line to get our meal, but it's always worth it and fun. Saved us over $30. My nephew was with us that day so when my brother picked him up I made him come too, complete with a cow marked garbage bag.
The same day happened to be 7-11 day. Free Slurpee's. Still a line, but definitely not as bad. I love how Hallie is trying to use the straw.
Then, of course, there was Lehi Foam Day which was fun. It's always a bit crazy and there's always tons of kids crying, including our younger ones, but it was great to see Erin and Alex really get into it this year. You can't tell from the pictures because Alex had soap in his eye at that moment, but he really did have fun.

We went to Thanksgiving Point for a jell-o fight. Let's just say that next year Jared and I may go alone or just take one kid. The only kid that had fun was Alex, all the other kids hated it. Like REALLY hated it. And when Erin gets mad about something, it's not fun. Just to describe the event, you basically have 5 or 6 kiddie pools where they dump several 5 gallon buckets of jell-o and then about 350 rowdy people, mostly teenagers, charge the jell-o and smear it all over whoever happens to be next to them. This is fun if you don't care about getting sticky and jell-o-y and if you can get to the pool and do it back to someone. Erin never got to the pool and kept getting attacked with jell-o. Same with Marissa. Alex could see the fun in it. Once that jell-o dries, it's super sticky so you have to get hosed off or rinse really well in the sprinklers when they turn those on. Jared and I loved it.

(I'm holding my hands like that because of how sticky they were, FYI) I love Connor's face. Not. Fun. At. All.
We got invited to a party at the Lindon Aquatics center one night and they had this cool surfing place. Erin went on her belly and did really well. Alex was barely tall enough to go but didn't quite weigh enough so he just flipped right over the top, twice. Jared did the belly twice and then tried surfing a couple of times. It was not a surprise that he caught on to surfing really easily, even though it was his first time. He did awesome. The video I took was the second time so I missed him wiping out.
We had a fun block party one night in the cul-de-sac. It included good food, pickle ball, a bike parade and a bike wash, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn and an outdoor movie. I love our neighborhood! For some reason, I volunteered to do face painting even though I'd never actually painted a face before. I guess I just figured that it couldn't be that hard. And because we had 4 of us doing it, it didn't take all night to do the whole neighborhood. These are the ones I did on my kids. Marissa wouldn't be photographed, but I didn't do her's anyway.

We went to the Ogden Temple open house. It was really pretty. Hallie was such a cute kid the whole time. She had her little booties on over her shoes and walked almost the whole way, and then she waved to every single worker that she saw. She is such a friendly, social little girl. It's so cute to see her personality come out as she gets older.

There was lots of dress up going on this summer. Actually, I'm pretty sure Connor wore his Spider-man outfit every day at some point.

 Here are some shots of the kids at the new Children's museum at Thanksgiving Point. It's pretty fun.

 The zip line is awesome.
Like I said before, we finished off our summer by going camping. We have all this great camping stuff and hardly ever use it. And I actually like camping a lot. So I reserved a campground up American Fork canyon because it was so close. Once we got up there it was like we were in a different world and it just felt so good to be up there. I even kind of like cooking while camping. Maybe it's because Jared does most of the cooking. I just have to give him the ingredients. We made some delicious tin foil dinners one night, had yummy omelets, pancakes that Jared did a great job not burning (aren't they always burnt when you camp?) and chili pie one night. Delish. The first night was a bit of an adventure because it starting raining a bit during dinner, then stopped. We left everything out while we walked to the bathroom. While we were gone it rained a lot and got all our stuff wet. Then it stopped again so we could do some smore's, then in started again only really hard this time. It was almost 9:00 so we all just went to bed. Hallie had had a long nap that day so she was the only one that didn't want to go to sleep. She was kind of keeping everyone awake until she finally crashed. We survived that rainy night. I was impressed by our tent keeping us so dry, especially since a pole had blown through our tent the last time we used it and that part was patched.

I think this outfit on Hallie was picked out specially by her. She has her own ideas and you can't change them.
 The next day was beautiful, so we decided to go on a little hike. And here's what I mean by "little". We were given a small pamphlet with a bunch of hikes mapped out. There was a key telling you distances so we measured out a hike that looked about right for us, about 2 miles or so. Well, what the map didn't show was that the hike we chose was super steep with lots of switchbacks making the hike way longer than we thought. To make matters worse, since it had rained the night before, there were some really muddy parts. We kept expecting to make it to a certain sign so we could complete the loop and it just never showed up. Finally, after we had literally climbed to the top of the mountain (remember how steep it was?), we rested while Jared went ahead until he found the sign. Luckily it wasn't that far because with Jared's persistence, he wouldn't have stopped till he'd found it even if it had taken hours. We were so happy to find that sign and to begin our descent down the mountain. The worst attitude of the day went to Marissa. She would not stop complaining! She kept hanging on our legs and bending her whole body over because of how horrible the whole thing was. Hallie was on Jared's back and I was holding hands with Connor the whole time. He was such a good sport and pretty much talked the whole time. Funny child. It ended up being over 4 miles and took us 4 hours. A big feat for our family. It was definitely an adventure. There was a small period of time where I imagined all of us dying up there, but we made it. 

These pictures were take right before the hike.
This hike brought back some memories of growing up in my family where we would set out to do a 3 mile hike that would turn into a 6 mile hike, or a 6 mile hike that would turn into a 12 mile hike, getting lost, running out of trail mix and water 8 miles in. I don't know how, but our hikes always seemed to double. This tradition was fondly known as our Annual Fourth of July Deathmarch. I'm not sure why we kept hiking knowing what usually happened, but we did. There was one year that I remember very clearly. I know we were lost and I'm pretty sure we came out in a different canyon than we started off in--and not intentionally. I literally thought I would die up there. Well, I guess we are just carrying on the family tradition.

Goodbye summer.