We took the opportunity to take individual pictures of the kids so I will also take this moment to give a little update on each of them.
Ali . . . is now seven months. She is growing so fast. She has become an independent sitter and gets so much attention. She is at that wonderful stage where napping is how she spends most of her day. She used to sleep through the night, but she has recently decided that she would like a bottle at 3AM. I will be putting a stop to that soon, but she is generally a good baby. She has been chomping on her thumb for a few weeks and drooling like crazy. I hope she is teething and not just cranky. She looks down all the time when she is sitting so 95% of the pictures of her were of the top of her head, but I sure think she is cute when she is looking up.
Andy is a total joy! He is talking like crazy and really wants to be one of the big kids. He wants to play soccer with Caleb and loves it when his brother will play any ball with him. He doesn't even mind when Caleb plays tackle football with him. He loves to get his hair done. He says, "hair, cute" and points to the bathroom counter. He is so happy and go-lucky, but he hates getting his picture taken. He freezes right up and refuses to smile. The only pictures in which he is smiling is if we asked him "where's Ali?"
Cara is not quite as sweet as she used to be. She is discovering her independence and really wants to be the boss of herself. She can throw a tantrum with the best of them. She sleeps on the top bunk, and when she is mad she lays on her bed and kicks the wall. She loves being busy and wants to be with her friends all of the time. She has abandoned the boys that she used to play with and only wants to hang out with the girls unless of course the boys will play house with her. She calls it "the mom and dad game". Today I asked her to tend Ali and Andy while I went for a walk. (Josh was home too.) Her reply was "how much scoops." She was wondering how to make the formula for Ali. She is already looking forward to being a baby sitter, and she was extremely pleased that I asked her.
Caleb is really enjoying 1st Grade. He wonders why he doesn't have any time to play, but he doesn't complain too much. He is in one of the top reading groups. Unfortunately he is struggling with math. (I can relate.) Numbers are very abstract for him. We were trying to add units of 12 for his homework last week and he couldn't do it because he didn't have that many fingers. He needs manipulatives for almost all of his math. (In talking to his teacher today I guess his skills for math are on grade level so far.) I am taking suggestions on how to help him. He is really enjoying soccer, but he CAN'T WAIT to start basket ball. He dribbles his ball everywhere. After pictures we went out to Arctic Circle for 60 cent hamburgers. Caleb ate two hamburgers and a corn dog! Oh boy, how am I going to keep my boys fed as they grow.
Josh continues to work day in and day out. There have FINALLY been a few real estate deals close this summer. I feel like he has three years of working without pay to make up for, and we have the debt to match it. We are really looking forward to improvements in commercial real estate so that we can get out of the hole. His name is all over town. (It's almost like he is a celebrity.) He should be very well positioned for when things improve. He is enjoying doing graphic design. He hasn't taken on too many clients, and I am so grateful for the way he has been able to bridge the gap in our income by freelancing. He is so talented! He was released from Young Mens this summer after about six years. (I was very happy about it, but he was sad.) He is now teaching the 10-11 year olds in primary. He has a huge, crazy, giggly class, but he is enjoying it. He thinks anything is better than going to Elders Quorum.
I am sincerely enjoying staying home. Having four kids is not been nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. Caleb is my highest energy child and with him gone to school seven hours a day I can get a lot done. Car pooling has also worked out awesome with Cara so that has helped as well. My life is my kids and my calling. I am the first counselor in a primary with over 150 children and a staff of over 50. It is almost like a ward within the ward. I really enjoy it!! The kids are adorable, and I am really grateful for work that primary teachers do. My life is really good, and I count my blessings every day.