Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Random Stuff

 Little Miss Claire is such a climber and can even get up to the next level and that super teeny skinny shelf.  Eek!
 Beautiful red strawberries.
 Turning them into jam with my girls.
 Even Claire got in there and helped clean the blender.  Such a helper!
 I just think this picture is super cute. 
 My kids love when we order stuff on the internet because they get awesome boxes to play in.
 This picture is pretty cute too.
 I don't know who even took this picture, but it is another pretty common occurrence at our house!
 This summer I got quite a bit canned!  By myself even.  That is major progress for me.  I did beans, carrots, salsa, and pickles.  And lots of all of those.  I had several quart jars sitting empty in my storage room for years, and now they are full!! 
 Some art of Drew's that we threw away only on the condition that I took a picture to document it.  Check.
 These girls like to hang out under the table sometimes.
 Madelyn doing some art.
 Cutie Claire.
 A Christmas picture that Drew drew....hahaha.  I like that he drew me next to him in the window.  :)
 Lily art that is just so sweet.  I love their art.
 This was Madelyn's impromptu artwork she whipped up in no time to take to the Activity Day girl talent show.
 While Hannah, Lily, Claire, and I decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, these guys and their dad started working on a clubhouse that they designed themselves.  Here they are building the foundation.  They worked hard the following day also, and were able to get the floor laid and frame two walls.  Then it snowed.  So they have had to postpone any further work....could be months before they can pull out their hammers again!
 A sweet note I discovered on our front sidewalk from Madelyn.  Loved it.
And a morning snuggle that Drew stole from me.  You can see Madelyn's beckoning arms wanting Drew to give Claire to her so she could sneak in some of that snuggle.  Mmmmm....love those morning snuggles.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Very Special Birthday!

 Madelyn's Big Day came!  She turned eight years old, which is very exciting because she has been looking forward to her baptism for a long time....  :)
 We woke up early and hurriedly wrapped all those gifts!!  I need to remember to have her stuff all ready by morning because she is such an early bird.  I sent her to go get ready for school while I finished the last minute details!!
 She got an awesome art set, something she was hoping for.
 An ankle jump roper thing which has brought us a lot of family laughs.  I'll just say they think I'm a pro and we might just have a family talent night and show the world our expertise.  ;)
 Claire was trying on Madelyn's new clothes. 
 Madelyn got a set of princess polly pockets, just like Hannah's. 
 Here's my 8-year-old girl ready for school.
 I don't know what I was thinking, but Madelyn and I laid out the plans for a friend birthday party on her birthday as well.  She wanted to paint nails, make mini pizzas, decorate cupcakes, play the skittle game, and a draw the birthday girl blindfolded game.  We narrowed down a lot of ideas, but we still were left with a pretty good amount of activities.  And we were starting at 4:00.  I really don't think my head was thinking about logistics:  painting 8 girls fingernails, cooking their pizzas, having cupcakes all cooked, and the activities made up?!  It was stressful, but I think she had a great time.  Next time (note to myself) less cooking, less me hands on type activities, and plan it when Jed can be home to watch the other children.  :)
 I'm so glad I got to meet her new friends from school this year.
 One of her friends accidentally packed this food storage lid in with her gift, we had a good laugh.  She was a really cute and fun friend.

 We just partied it up with this girl because then on the next Sunday we had a family party.  She had asked for this cake months in advance.  Unfortunately one of the cakes broke coming out of the pan and made for a very difficult time keeping the layers steady.  It didn't look so great, but seriously was AMAZING to eat.  Like best birthday cake ever.  Yum-o.
 I'm so glad she was so patient and forgiving of the less than visually ideal cake.  She was a sweetheart.  :)

 Then on to her baptism day!! There's her special "8' cupcakes!
 She and her good buddy from school.  They were so excited to find out they were getting baptized on the same day!!
 Me and my big girl.
They warned us when we got there that the font was not heated, and it was like -1 outside!!  
It was seriously cold water.  
She was so brave and we did our best to warm her up quickly when she was finished.  
 Love those 5 special young ones.
 Love that 8-year-old girl!!
She and her daddy.
What a wonderful and beautiful day it was.  
I'm so grateful she made the choice to be baptized and follow the Savior Jesus Christ.
Such a wonderful blessing to be there and witness the special ordinance and feel the powerful spirit there.
I was privileged enough to be able to speak at Madelyn's baptism too.  It seems to make it more personal.
Love you Madelyn!!

Right Now...

I feel like sometimes I need to post a "right now" post weekly, because things change around here so quickly.  I just have to record some things before they fly away from my memory! 
Right now....Drew is doing really well in school, I hope that doesn't change within the week.  ;)  He definitely puts forth his best effort.  He is a perfectionist, like someone else I know, and sometimes it bothers him when things aren't "just so."  I'm trying to help him with the idea of just doing your best and that is enough.  Man, I wish I could drill that into the head of that other person I know too.  Some things I wish weren't so readily picked up by our own children.  ;)  He is working super hard in scouts, he has earned the leave no trace award, the bear award, three arrow points, the whittling chip card, and is working toward more arrow points and his religious knot award.  He is very self-motivated and that is SO nice.  He has made friends with a great boy down the road from us and they seem to get along so well.  I'm so glad because there just aren't many boys his age very close to our home, so I'm SO grateful for this friendship.  It has been a blessing! He is really into making up Justin Bieber "tunes" with his friend Keegan and Madelyn.  They are basically stories about unfortunate events that happen to Justin Bieber....don't really know why he is the butt of their jokes, but he is.  :)

Right now....Madelyn has just started activity days and is loving it!  Her first activity was a talent show.  We found out about it just with a couple hours notice.  She was all over it and painted a poster with spring-like landscape with her new art set.  She was not bashful at all, she just got right in there and did it.  Way to go!  She has already memorized all of her Articles of Faith and has completed several requirements in her Faith in God booklet.  She has helped me a couple of times lately, braiding jump-ropes for children in need for Christmas presents.  It has been a fun service to work on together, and she is a pretty darn good braider.   She is doing well in school, but her real teacher had a baby and is on maternity leave.  Unfortunately, I feel like she isn't being pushed and therefore isn't really enjoying it as much as she used to.  She doesn't really enjoy her real teacher this year, but at least she was giving her extra work to keep her more challenged. 

Right now....Hannah is working on getting rid of her blanket.  No easy feat.  She's got to tackle that first and then we'll work on the thumb sucking.  Hannah is a super sweetie.  She has been so grateful in her prayers.  We had a luncheon for Madelyn's baptism and had TONS AND TONS of leftover pasta.  We've been eating it all week.  Hannah said in her prayer:  "we're thankful that we could eat pasta for a week..."  Jed and I were doing our best to stifle our laughs.  So hilarious.  She has been asked to sing a solo in church for the Christmas program next week.  I'm playing my violin with her.  We've been practicing together and it has been so cute.  She has a super cute little voice and is just so petite.  We sang/played it through with the choir at their last practice.  Hannah was stationed on a stool behind the pulpit.  Her solo is just the first two lines of Silent Night, and then the choir joins in.  Well, since she couldn't get down off this high stool she just sang with the choir (into the microphone no less) the first two lines over and over until the end of the song.  Everyone in the choir was beaming with bright smiles.  It was pretty cute! 

Right now....Lily is working on perfecting this potty situation.  Oh man, does anyone want to potty train Claire for me?  It doesn't have to be right now, I just don't think I have it in me to potty train one more child!!  Call me.  ;)  Anyway, Lily is going through a little naughty phase.  Love that little cutie, but I sometimes get to the end of my rope and don't know what to do next with her.  I'm really trying to work on being patient, even when she does the opposite of what I say, and trying to find the good and give her lavish praise for it.  It works well when I'm doing it, but if I lose my patience with her, it just seems to feed the next naughty inclination that comes to her mind. But oh the screaming, yelling, stubbornness, scratching, biting....yes biting.  STILL!!  So, yes, these behaviors totally wear me down.  Anyone with any ideas of helping teach this girly to be nice.....I welcome your advice.  I feel like I've tried everything I can think of.  Now, she doesn't have all bad moments, she definitely has wonderful moments of being hilarious, adorable, expressive (no one has expressions like Lily), and sweet. 

Right now...Claire is in love with milk.  She has a few must have items:  froggie blankie, sippy, her lion, and a baby.  She loves babies.  It is so sweet.  She is very clingy and wants me to hold her all the time.  While I'm cooking dinner, she loves to throw a fit and get in between my legs and the cupboards and just push me away.  She has an adorable little run and is a total mischief maker and loves to climb!!!  Oh does she ever love to climb.  She loves to give me heart attacks by climbing all the way up the computer desk, or get in the most precarious/dangerous positions in her attempts to climb.  Goodness.  She loves yogurt and did a little dance and song combo when she saw I put it on the table for breakfast.  :)  She is such a little snuggle bug too.  I love those morning snuggles.  Sometimes Drew or Madelyn get her out of bed so they can get them!

Just a little peek into what the here and now is like around these parts!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Normal Day...

Last weekend my kids had a Friday off of school, wahoo!!  They got their chores/responsibilities done early and wanted to call friends.  No success there with finding a friend at home, so they hung out with me all day!  It was a great weekend.  Sometimes I get nostalgic and feel that life is passing by much too quickly, but then there are moments when I absolutely love the way things are.  Last weekends was one of those totally content and happy moments.  Not to say that things were absolutely perfect, of course not, but it was one of those moments where there seems to be a lot of happiness and laughter hanging in the air.  It is fun to have growing children.  We laugh a lot.  They can make me have genuine hearty laughs with some of the things we joke and laugh about.  They understand parts of life enough to really laugh with me about some things, and that is so fun!
We had a Little Rascal movie party, made caramel popcorn, played at the park for possibly the last time until spring, worked together, etc.  Good times.
Drew and Madelyn have read some of the Harry Potter books.  Drew has read 1-4, and Madelyn read 1&2.  We had movie parties with the big kids after the younger girls were in bed a little while back to watch the first 2 movies.  It was a lot of fun--but they thought the books were a lot less scary.  
 There is a spoof music video about Harry Potter that Studio C has done, and we have always thought it was funny....but never as funny as it was when we showed it to Drew and Madelyn. It is so funny to see them "get" things that we think are hilarious, and we were laughing to tears together! 
Just some moments of awesome for us to remember and enjoy.  :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Family Pictures....

We got our family pictures done!!  
I always feel like I need to record what family pictures is really like.  It always cracks me up that family pictures are so beautiful and smiling, but they have a behind the scenes story that usually no one ever knows!!
So here's mine:
We were scheduled to take pictures one week before we actually got them done.  The clothes were laid out....
I was pretty much focusing my all day efforts on being totally prepared.  
The timing would be tricky, Jed gets home from work with not much sunlight left.
I called him in the early afternoon to make sure he was going to be able to make it, he was working a ways out of town.  He let me know it was going to be iffy.  
I called my sister-in-law who was going to be our photographer and said lets just plan on it unless I hear from him, and we were just going to start with me and the kids and have him join in at the tail end, at least we were hoping.
But as I talked to my sister-in-law a little later, she was feeling the onset of a major migraine ( I felt so bad for her.)  So we cancelled, and it was a good thing too because Jed wouldn't have made it!!  He got home way past dark.  
I had 3 of us girls all ready to go, but we postponed til the next week.
Fast forward to the next week.  I didn't dedicate near as much time to preparation as I had the week before.  I got my shower in and then decided not to sweat it until the kids got home from school.  They got home and I kicked it into high gear--which suddenly put me into crazy gear.  I still had to run an errand to town and I needed Drew to stay home with some of the kids while I went.  My errand took probably 30 minutes longer than I had anticipated.....it wasn't supposed to take me long at all.  Then I got home and and got a phone call from my sister-in-law saying she was at our location.  (!!!!)   Keep in mind I had gotten as far as a shower for myself and that was it!!  So in the next 20 minutes, I was hurriedly doing kids hair and my own and throwing on a bit of make-up.  Drew also kicked it into high gear and completely got Claire dressed without my asking.  He was a saint. So I left Jed a sticky note with what to wear and how to wear it and we would meet him as soon as he could come.
I was certainly not the above-and-beyond prepared mom I was the week before!!  In fact, Madelyn wanted straight hair and the whole time I was trying to do her hair I had her tell me "It's not the end of the world mom.  You do your best and that's all you can do."  I was coaching her to on what to tell me.  It's amazing how helpful that was, even when I was telling her what to say...but hearing it come from someone else's mouth was somehow more reassuring than coming from my own mind.  :)
I get another phone call from my sis-in-law, making sure we were on our way.  And we were pretty much on our way out the door.  Phew.  We did it, not with the hair-do's I had planned, but I did my best and that was all I could do.  :)  But the house was a tornado.  Oh man.
Then the actual taking the pictures is a total adventure.  Kids running into photos.  Whining.  Complaining.  Tears shed.  Threats made.  Bribes given.  You know, the works.
That's family pictures for ya.  
But I love that they capture our family despite all the craziness.  They capture us.  We're frozen in time for a moment.  All those ones that I love surrounding me.  
It's beautiful!!

Ice Blocking

 Ok, I'm going back in time to do my first catch-up post.  
Back in September, we headed to a park for our Family Home Evening.  We had a picnic dinner and then ice blocked our little hearts out.  It was the first time the kids had been, and I can safely say they all had a blast! 

 Even little miss Claire.

 That brave little girl......
 Me and my girl.
 Even troy and his special friend came with us.  About a month later, this special friend became a fiancee`.  :)  Exciting!
 For awhile Troy thought he was going to "surf" his way down the hill...
but it mostly ended up in this ^^   It was a fun idea though.  :)