Friday, December 14, 2012

The MAGIC of Christmas

I've always believed in Santa and in magic, but nothing makes me believe more than watching the excitement of my kids at Christmas time.  I must admit that it feels a little wrong to celebrate Christmas without my dad around and with my mom in such a sad state.  In an attempt to keep my spirits up I have started some new traditions this year that are blog worthy.  The first and best, one that I recommend to every parent, is the Elf on the Shelf.  This is our Elf Ruby.  She watches the kids during the day and then she reports to Santa at night.  She comes back in a different place each morning.  The excitement of waking up to see where Ruby is has not gotten old.  Cara talks to her, and Caleb and his friends have written a few letters.

Yesterday started the 12 days of Christmas.  I have tried a few different versions of this in the past, but I am really excited about what we are doing this year.  Each package has some kind of Christmas activity.  They are mostly things that we would be doing anyway. For example, Saturdays bag has all of our Christmas cards and we are going to work together to stuff and label them while listening to Christmas music and eating a christmas treat.  Another bag has gifts for the neighbors that we will package and deliver on that day.  I love the idea because it isn't adding significantly to my Christmas work load, but engaging the kids in helping by making it a game.  It also forced me to plan and schedule all of the remaining Christmas projects so we can get them done.  Each day also has a scripture and a song to help turn our minds to the Savior.

I was really busy in November sharing essential oils and wellness products.  This picture is two of my good oil friends Deonne and Caroline at a holiday gift show that we participated in.

It has been a year and a half since I was first introduced to Essential Oils. It has been a wonderful journey and they become a significant part of my life.  

Somehow in the craziness of the last 6 weeks Ali got potty trained.  She changes her pants and under-ware every time she goes, but other than is doing pretty good.  There are just two things that I hate about potty training, #1 and #2.  Just glad that is over!

This picture is an example of what happens if I don't give my kids enough attention!  Note to self, don't ignore the kids or you will pay for it.

Speaking of which, Johnny is in the phase where he needs to get moving.  He is no longer happy laying around.  He just started reaching, but he wants me to entertain him.  Not my style.  Good thing he is cute as can be!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Family Pictures

Today we took family pictures in my parents barn.  (In honor of my dad.)  I couldn't wait to post them.  The family pictures were a bust, Ali wouldn't stop crying, but we got beautiful pictures of each of the kids.  They were so good that I haven't even made a single edit.  It was really hard to narrow it down to a handful of each.  Enjoy!

Johnny is 5 months old.  He is practically perfect!  He is flexible.  He is happy.  He sleeps 10 hours at night.  He self soothes by sucking his thumb or rocking himself.  He loves to eat his rice cereal.  Really, what more could I ask for?!

Ali is a little fire cracker.  As long as any given thing is her idea she is perfect, but trying to get her to do something she didn't decide on herself is next to impossible.  Her determined and strong soul is going to get her far in life.  Some kids talk to themselves, not Ali, she SINGS. She is 2.5.  

Andy loves to play and to rough house.  I am constantly telling Caleb to stop picking on Andy and Andy replies, "mom, I like it."  What can I say?  Andy is 4 now.  He says the cutest things.  A few nights ago we took a dessert to a friend who is in his late 50s.  He told the kids that the treat looked so good he was going to eat them all himself.  As we were leaving Andy got the attention of this man and told him, "you can share some with your mom too."  I love this kid.  

Cara is 6 years old and in 1st grade.  She is awesome at the monkey bars and loves playing the piano and violin.  As you can see she is also very photogenic, even with her missing two front teeth.  I love that she is so helpful with her siblings.  No one can make Johnny smile and laugh like Cara can. 

Caleb optimizes an energetic 8 year old (3rd Grade) boy.  We can't even finish one fun thing before he is wondering what we are going to do next.  He continues to be obsessed with sports and is currently playing basket ball.  He is also getting quite good at the piano. 

Following is our attempt at family pictures.  Most of them looked like this.  Ali really wanted to wear her hood, or at least cry. 

But we did get one that just might work for our Christmas card.  Oh the adventures of having five little ones.  Family pictures are bound to get better when we don't have a two year old, right?!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Favorite Holiday

Okay, so who am I kidding, Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday, but I am trying to embrace it rather than resent it.  I am good at being a Halloween party pooper, but with the help of pintrest I was a little more festive than usual.  I guess you could say that I am holiday challenged.  It isn’t just Halloween.  Since I am so holiday challenged I have to celebrate the little things.  I was really proud of myself for making ghost pancakes.  Cute, don’t you think?

The best story this Halloween comes via Andy.  He has been praying for weeks for a Green Power Ranger costume.  He says, “thank you for letting Ethen (his cousin) come over and bring me a Green Power Ranger costume.”  I looked at all the stores and there were NO Green Power Rangers.  About a week before the big day I checked Amazon and Ebay and Green Power Ranger costumes were around $70.  Josh decided to put it on FaceBook.  His friend who “never gets on Face Book” happened to respond.   She lives here in Cache Valley and the costume she had fits Andy perfectly.  She only has one boy so she sold it to us for $12.  AWESOME!  Andy has only taken the costume off for baths.  He loves it.  Although we were trying to answer his prayers it really did take divine intervention.  It was a tough one.  

He wanted to be like his cousin Ethen the Red Power Ranger.

The biggest shock of this Halloween was the fact that I dressed up.  I should have gotten in the group picture with my kids.  I was “the queen”.  Not to be confused with a queen.  Unfortunately I am the queen that weights on everyone hand foot and finger.  I don't think I sat down the entire day.  I did get a picture of me with Johnny, the puppy.

Caleb had a Halloween party last weekend.  He is at the age where he is beginning to care what other people think.  My sister Connie helped him come up with an “Army Guy” costume.  He was excited about it right until someone teased him.  He refused to go as an army guy to school on Halloween.  I had all kinds of fund ideas for him, but he thought they were all dumb.  He ended up as a cowboy on Halloween.  It’s too bad kids can’t just be nice to each other!

I think Cara and Ali were the cutest witches in town.

In fact, I am pretty proud of my cute little crew. 

We ended up having a full-blown house full of family for the evening.  The weather was beautiful and we always enjoy hanging out with our family’s.  All in all, Halloween wasn’t that bad except for the piles of candy. Even looking at all of that candy is enough to make me sick!  Sometime I wonder if I will ever get all of the sticky spots from little fingers all wiped up!

Andy is either a photographer or a good old thief.  Almost daily I find a bunch of pictures on my phone of random things he has photographed.  Most of them are of him and look very similar to the one below but every once and a while he captures a few other people. 

Andy caught this picture of Ali.  I am potty training her this week so she wore a princess outfit just in case she had an accident until the evening when she and Cara wore the darling witch costumes that my mom made them last year. Potty training is going quite well.  I think she would be accident free if I would take her more often.  I forget that she is just learning until I see an accident.  Fortunately she has been "poop trained" for 6+ months so we don't have those accidents.  I wasn't up to potty training her when I was preggo and then I didn't want to train her in the summer because I didn't want to deal with her playing outside and not wanting to come in to go.  I was planning on training her in September and then my dad died.  She has been ready for a long time so it isn't too bad for either of us. 

Andy also captured this beauty of Johnny.  I like it because it reminds me how John's tung is often out.  He is perfect in every way except for the drool factor.  He has begun soaking himself in slobber.  It is quite disgusting.  I think he may be sporting a bib for the next year or so.  He is finally giggling, but still not rolling.  He loves to be talked to and talks back.  He is so attentive to all of the hustle and bustle around him.  He is such a joy.

Josh's sister Christina had her first, Rory, this summer.  He is about 8 weeks younger than John.  This was the first time they got together, on Rory's blessing day.

That day we also thought we would take a family picture.  Isn't it a beauty.  Classic!
Since I'm a mind reader let me tell you what everyone is thinking:
Josh: "Hurry and take the dang picture."
Me: "Shoot me now" or "when did I become the mother of five uncontrollable kids?!"
Caleb: "I'm sure I could get Cara to scream."
Cara: "What you want me to hold still?  Impossible!"
Andy: "Johnny, stop crying for the picture."
Ali: "I think I saw a kitty I've got to get out of here."
John: "I'm hungry! Doesn't anyone hear me?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life must go on

We have spent a lot of time at my moms house over the past few weeks.  There is an empty feeling in my heart.  I have hardly cried at all since the funeral, but my grief has manifest itself in the form of a headache.  I have also been having a harder time getting things done.  I want to be with my mom when possible, and getting away without all of the kids has put some stress on our family.  Josh has been a great support though, and I have enjoyed taking a couple of kids with me to moms house at a time.  

Mom is not sure about a lot of things in her future, but she is sure she doesn't want to stay on the farm in Glendale.  She wants to be close to people and living so far away on so much land provides more than a place to live, it is a lifestyle that in many ways is better with a man.  Even though mom is sure she wants to move the idea of selling stuff is very difficult for her.  It is requiring me to exercise some patience as I wait for mom to be ready to move forward.  It is really sad to think that my kids will not have the farming, cowboy Grandpa I always wanted for them.  

We celebrated Andy's birthday at my mom's house.  He was very happy with his store bought "Angry Birds" cake, a few little gifts and some extra attention.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he thought and said, "a cake and a shirt like you got for your birthday."  So easy to please.  We even got him a toy!

Isn't it wonderful to be four!  He isn't the perfect child that he was a year ago, but he is still a great joy in my life.  If he didn't tease Ali constantly, and if he would eat "real" foods rather than just cheese and granola bars he would be so much easier.

Josh puts the kids to bed at night.  He usually reads them a book or two.  I am grateful for that help because I 8:00 I am spent.  I just want the kitchen clean and to take some time for myself.  (When I put the kids to bed Josh doesn't clean so it is best if he takes the bedtime job.)  All four of them "read" every night.  I gathered a collection of books in college as an el ed major.  They have wore them out.

When we moved Caleb, Andy and Cara down stairs in the spring Ali was supposed to have her own bedroom upstairs and John has.  Over time Ali has evolved to sleeping down stars on Cara's trundle.  Ali just can't stand that they are all down stairs without her.

I have a thumb sucker!  I'm not really sure how I feel about it.  Caleb was a binky lover.  Loosing his binky was like the end of the world so compared to that it is wonderful that John's pacifier is attached to his hand.  Cara, Andy and Ali didn't need a pacifier, in fact it made them mad when I would try to give them one.  There is an advantage to not having to take away something a baby is dependent on.  At about three months John started finding his thumb on a regular basis and now he has it in his mouth whenever he puts himself to sleep without being bundled.  I do take it out and replace it with the binky, but he finds it again the next time he needs it.  Yet another thing never to judge a mother on.  Kids just do their own thing.

Johnny has become an awesome smiler.  His eyes are so bright and he loves to give his toothless grin, but mostly he loves to talk.  He thinks that everyone is talking to him and he does a lot of cooing back.  He is so fun.

John is growing like crazy.  He weighs in at just under 15 lbs at 4 months.  He is such a joy to all of us!

Every year we try to hit at least one USU football game, and usually it is homecoming because I get discount game tickets and go to the leadership reunion luncheon.  The kids love the luncheon because they give door prizes.  This year we won a football.  Josh and Caleb took it outside to play and Josh promptly threw it into the water fountain on campus.  Once we decided it wasn't going to return to us, and with a little coaxing Caleb decided to retrieve it.  He has that football in his hands constantly!  He is obsessed.

I dressed the kids all up in their Aggie gear missing the memo that it was a "white out" game and everyone was supposed to wear white.  Oh well, they were cute anyway.

Johnny was a perfect baby for his first football game.  The night and the weather were beautiful.

It was a packed crowd, but we got front row seats which is great for wiggly little kids.  Gabe and Lexa come and brought lots of candy too so that helps!

The Aggies won and the kids loved every minute of the game.  The day pooped them right out!

I am teaching one of my favorite Joy School units this month, Joy of the Earth.  I love the beautiful fall weather and exploring the beauty of the season with the Joy School kids.  Ali really likes to show off and makes teaching a little harder than it should be, but preschool kids are so dang cute!