Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Excitement

The excitement around here is so thick you could cut it.  My little ones couldn't be more excited for Christmas.  They sing, they dance, they run around, they chant "Santa Clause" over and over.  They are enjoying every second of the anticipation.  Caleb dreams about what he is getting and constantly asks for clues. Yesterday I started telling him that it is small, it is black, it burns easily, and it starts with the letter C.  He doesn't like that clue.  Cara is obsessed with making and giving gifts to her friends.  Andy is just so excited he doesn't know what to do except jump up and down and yell Santa.  Ali may not know what is going on, but she knows it is exciting.  Unfortunately I am still spending most of my time in bed trying to keep my food down.  I choose to stay in my room rather than on the couch so I don't have to see the messy kitchen.  Josh did take time to make gingerbread cookies with the kids so they could use the Christmas cookie cutters that they were dying to use.  I am glad for Sunday afternoons and that Josh enjoys cooking to make things like this possible.

Cara had her Kindergarden Christmas program and of course she was adorable.  I was totally amazed at the amount of material the children performed.  They did a great job!  Cara is in the red and black dress in the middle.

Andy had his Joy School Program too.  He is so cute.  I can't believe how he is growing.  He lives for Joy School Days so even though he will have three years of preschool I am so glad I included him this year.  He has so much fun with the kids. He is pictured here as a shepherd.

We have continued the tradition of letting the kids sleep under the Christmas tree on Friday nights in December.  I like it because it is easy and free.  The kids love it.  Of course Caleb has a hard time sleeping, but he has a hard time sleeping anywhere this time of year.  Is he Josh's boy or what.

The USU Aggies made it to their first Bowl Football game in 15 years.  Josh used that as "once in a lifetime" ammunition to convince me that he and Caleb needed to make the trip to Boise to see the game.  It would have been a dream trip with the Low boys except that the Aggie's lost by 1 point in the last 17 seconds.

Caleb loved his 2nd basketball season.  He is turning into a pretty good little player.  Josh told him that we could go to the dollar store if he made two baskets durning his last game.  He made three of the four total and played an awesome game.  It is amazing what a little dollar store bribery can do for his game.  If course being a head taller than all of the other children doesn't hurt.

Each year Josh and I go to a beautiful, formal Christmas party.  It is one of our favorite traditions.  We are lucky to have friends that go to such effort to create wonderful memories for all of us.  I even kept my dinner down.  It was a wonderful night.

I did get Christmas Cards out this year.  I was quite impressed with myself.  I actually had one printed rather than doing the newsletter type that I usually do.  I did include the following update:

Top 10 of 2011
10. Josh and Carrie kicked off the year with their first cruise.  They loved it!
9. We had a couple of awesome family trips including Lake Powell and St. George.
8. We spent spring brake in Disneyland.  A place we would like to spend a lot more time! [We might have ugly furniture, but we have great vacations. Obviously travel is important to us.]
7. Josh is now working full-time doing Graphic Design when he isn't with the 11 year old scouts.
6.  Carrie has found a new passion for essential oils and learning more about alternative medicine.
5. Andy started Joy School.  He lives for preschool days and serves as Ali’s interpreter.  He is always concerned about making sure her needs are met.
4. Caleb is in 2nd Grade.  He is a great reader and loves to play any sport.  We spend a lot of time at soccer and basketball games. 
3. Cara started Kindergarten.  She loves it, mostly because it gives her lots of social time. She played what was probably her first and last soccer season.  She is a great dancer.
2. Ali learned to walk and talk.  She is turning into “one of the kids” rather than our baby.
1. We will welcome baby number five to our family in June of 2011.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just in case you were wondering . . .

We did celebrate Thanksgiving, even though I have been in bed for about a month.  The kids all have awesome teachers and did some great Thanksgiving projects at school.  I am so grateful for their amazing teachers!

The week before Thanksgiving I was especially sick, but I pulled myself together to leave the house and go to my parents to celebrate the holiday. Of course it was a really fun day.  Cara spent her day with my cousin Emily's daughter, Kedzie.

Yes, my parents had chicks in their bedroom.  Connie rescued them and promptly gave them to my parents to deal with.  The kids loved it!

The horse riding is always a hit, even in the cold.  My poor dad walks miles and miles in front of the horses so that the kids can have a good ride.

Connie followed Kate and Ali around and took nearly 50 pictures just trying to get a good shot of them in their matching Christmas dresses.  This was as good as it got.

We all love Grandma Iva's cookies and her wonderful Thanksgiving meals!

Someone must of had mercy on Ali and gave her one or two or five.  Life is good!

What a Girl

Ali has a spunky personality and sometimes it shows up in the funny things she does. (Other times it isn't as funny, like her obsession with Vaseline that seems to be lasting forever.) I decided to take pictures of her little adventures and got these in just two days a month or two ago.

It is no wonder that one of her clearest words is "stuck."  She finds herself stuck quite often.

This girl loves books!  Really, it is nothing like I have experienced before.  Her bed time/nap time cue is I put her in her bed with a book.  She is "reading" it when I leave the room and "reading" it when I go to get her hours later.  Of course she sleeps somewhere in there too.  She would like me to read to her all the time.  If she isn't holding a doll, she is holding a book.

Whoops!  She got a little too excited about getting in the tub and jumped right in with her cloths on.  Yes, she is wearing a miss matched skirt over her pants.  She, like Cara, would like to add a skirt to every outfit and she is very anxious about dressing herself.  One year olds aren't supposed to have opinions about what they wear!  She also wants to be potty trained.  I am confident she would catch right on.  With no training or even encouragement she sometimes tells me when she needs to go.  I just don't have it in me to train her right now.

Somewhere I lost a picture of her sleeping on the changing table with two dolls that she had also brought over from her bed.  She hasn't quite mastered climbing all the way out of her crib.  She can get from the crib to the changing table though so she has started many naps and nights by falling asleep on the changing table.  Don't worry I have learned to check on her regularly.  If I don't know where she is or what she is doing it probably isn't a good thing.   She has been doing better about staying in bed since I discovered handing her a book.  She is quite the girl!  I never know what to expect - except the unexpected.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Something to Celebrate!

You may have noticed that I haven't posted on my blog for the past month.  In fact, that is not the only thing I haven't been doing.  I heaven't been getting out of bed.  I haven't been leaving my house.  I haven't been cooking or cleaning.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is all because we have something to celebrate . . . we are having baby number five in June.

We are really excited to be expecting again.  I have to remind myself everyday.  If you know me at all you know that my pregnancies are brutal, and this one is no exception.  (Ironically I just took a puke brake.)  Yes, I have joined the world of making food choices based on how it tastes coming back up once again.  Having four previous pregnancies gives me a lot of experience and does help matters.  I know that I have a 10 minute window after throwing up in which to get something down that will settle my stomach.  I know that veggies take hours to digest and are a bad idea.  I know that I will have a healthy baby even though I can't keep vitamins down and making the effort to take them is entirely not worth it.  I know that if I take it easy and say "no" to a few more things I will keep a few more meals down.  I know that this feeling won't last forever, just 8 months, and then I will get the eternal reward.

My week 9 was especially difficult.  I wasn't able to keep down my medication so it didn't matter that I was on the "big guns."  I was throwing up constantly!  I mention this because it was durning that difficult week that I had two inspired friends and my mom come and take my kids.  It is amazing that the Lord will take one right to their capacity and then send some relief.  I was so grateful for the help!  I was also grateful for suppositories to help me get things under control, something I never thought I would be grateful for!

When Josh and I got married we were committed to having five kids.  We both come from families of five kids so that seemed complete to us.  After having Andy I was enjoying parenting so much I changed my mind and decided that I wanted six.  I still do want six kids, and I know that this isn't my most difficult pregnancy, but I don't think I can do it again!  Even though I am only throwing up 1-3 times a day, now that I am keeping my meds down (with other pregnancies it has been much more) I think just being older and having a house full of kids makes it all a little harder.

So there it is, our good news with a few of the yucky details.  I will be counting down to JUNE!  I am 10.5 weeks and officially due June 25.  Time can't go fast enough right now!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Pictures

I have intentions of doing a Christmas card this year, which may or may not happen, but it did motivate me to get the kids pictures.  I was hoping for a good group shot, which was a total bust.  (Ali refused to cooperate.  She loved her individual pictures though.  Maybe she should have been an only child.)  
We did get some great individual shots of each of them.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween - Check

The good witch. (It was hard to choose a picture from all of her great poses.)

The not quite as good witch that finally decided to smile once she realized I was taking pictures.

 You see my point with the good witch thing. : )

The just happy to be alive lion.

The Aggie Football Player, need I say more.

 The whole gang enjoying the fruits of their labors.  
Connie took them trick-or-treating and earned (and took) her share in the loot.  
Josh enjoyed answering the door with a "ho-ho-ho" and a "I'll be back in a couple of months."

Caleb enjoying his first experience with power tools of course supervised by Grandma Iva.

 Cara busied herself using every kind of Grandmas sparkles on the fall cookies.

Just for the record the kids carved pumpkins too.  They did a couple with the Kirks and one with Connie.  Luckily I avoided it all together this year.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Time to Come Up for Air . . . Let Alone Blog

I can't believe that it has been almost a month since I last posted.  I feel like I have been moving at a neck braking speed.  We are getting in a great back to school routine, but it seems like everyday presents some kind of exception that keeps me up late or get's me up early.  I like to be busy so I am happy with the pace.

The end of September brought with it a ton of canning.  We have kind neighbors that hooked us up with tomatoes that I canned diced and canned pasta sauce using the herbs from my garden.  I used my birthday money to buy peaches and canned 7 half bushel of peaches.  I also got a great deal on pears so I canned them as well.  It was a lot of work, but I am sure we will enjoy the end results.  Ali couldn't wait to enjoy!  She loves all fruits and vegetables.  She could eat fruit all day long.  She is not even partial, she like them all!  Maybe it is her love for healthy food that is keeping her in the 20th percentile for weight at her 18 month check up.  She is in the 90th percentile for height so she is tall and skinny!  She does have little chicken legs.

Andy turned 3 on September 23rd.  I love that kid!!  I really enjoy everything about Andy!  He was a cute little birthday boy!  He is so happy and healthy!  Although sometimes I think he must be living on nuclear energy.  He only eats about five different things.  He eats peanut butter sandwiches, hotdogs (when they are available which isn't often), green beans, and some desserts . . . Josh and I are trying to think of other things and cant.  He lives on milk alone.  Luckily he is in the healthy 85th percentile for both weight and height.  I'm hoping at some point he will get hungry and start eating.

He got a new trike. (Well, a $3 garage sale bike, but new to him.) His old one was a hand-me-down from neighbors and had gone through four boys prior to Andy.  It brought white-trash trike to a whole new level.  Andy loves his bike.  He doesn't use the peddles but he can really move those little legs.

Grandma Iva is always great at making birthdays special for each of her grandkids.

We didn't let football season go by without our trip to a USU game.  We went to the Student Leadership Reunion and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.  I was a proud mama of my cute crew sporting their Aggie t-shirts.  It was a beautiful day and a fun game even though the Aggies lost in double over time.  

The highlight of the reunion was the raffle.  Caleb won a t-shirt and shortly after Gabe won Caleb's dream football gear. It included a child's size helmet, pants, and a jersey.  Gabe traded with Caleb and Caleb's whole year was made.  He is going to wear it for Halloween.  It has been almost a month and he still plays with the helmet almost every day.  He even slept with it for a few weeks!

I jumped on an opportunity to go to Alaska and visit my sister Cathie and her family at the end of September.  I was there for four full days with a travel night on each end.  I have never left Josh and the kids and gone on vacation by myself.  I was really lonely in the car on the way to the airport, but I quickly got over that and hardly found time to call while I was there.  I loved being with the Coombs family.  Cathie is such a good mom, and it was nice for me to get to know her kids on a different level, without my kids around.  They are all wonderful!  I was COLD, but Alaska was beautiful.

I've been told that I can't really count it is leaving Josh "alone" with the kids.  We have Josh's brother, Gabe's girlfriend, Alexa, living with us.  She approached us last spring about living here in exchange for helping with the kids.  She is awesome!  She is on a full ride scholarship majoring in Special Ed and Elementary Ed at USU.  My friend says that we have a nannie (Alexa) and a "mannie" (Gabe) since he's often here to be with her.  Everyone did great at home so I think that means I can leave again!

The way that I rationalized the trip was to share the essential oil brand that I have been using and sharing.  I almost feel like a missionary again.  Of course I am not teaching people about something that will save them eternally, but I believe that I am sharing tools that are changing peoples earthly lives for the good.  My eyes have been opened over the past couple of months to the power of essential oils.  The company was founded by people from the essential oil industry who didn't like what they were seeing, which was inconsistency.  They raised the bar on testing and make sure that the essential oils that they distribute have every single compound that it should.  I get regular emails from people who are using the oils that I have shared with them, thanking me for the difference the oils are making.  It is so fun and rewarding to share!  I feel like it is one of those things I would try to share even if I were not making money, but I am bridging a gap in our income which is motivating too.

Last week I also started crocheting beards again for Beard Beanie like I did last year.  I like to make money without taking away too much from my "mom job" and I am excited about crocheting again, but I am having a harder time finding time to get the work done this year than I did last year.  I am busy with my business and of course with the kids.  I am trying to keep up on my calling, although we did get the primary program over with in September, and it was a great success.  (As a side note, Caleb sang the first verse of Praise to the Man with his best friend Isaac and did a great job.  It was one of the most powerful parts of the program.)  Of course there all the little things like cooking and keeping the house clean that fill my day.  It seems like by the time I get all that done it is 9-10 PM and then I start crocheting.  Besides, Ali doesn't like me to crochet.  She is quick to start pulling yarn.  I don't think I will last long burning the candle at both ends, but of course I am going to try.

This little bug is growing up! (For some reason my nickname for her has been "bug" since she was born.) She is walking and talking and has become the stressed out mother of a hand full of dolls.  She must say the word "baby" at least 100 times a day.

She is always wanting to take care of her baby's and have them close by.  She wants them in her bed which disturbs her sleep and she gets them dirty and sticky when she eats.  She loves her baby's.  She is all girl!

Speaking of all girl, miss Cara has been begging to have aunt Chris come and do a make-up class with her.  This week they got together and did make up.  Cara was so happy about it!  I thought it would satisfy her for a while, but no, now she just wants to know when she gets to do it again!