Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Catching Up

So it's been a crazy busy hectic kind of May. This little guy is part of my therapy.
Although he probably could be labeled as the cause of a lot of my stress, cause my productivity has been cut in half.
Yes Peter, it's your fault!
Actually, I rather just pretend none of the chaos exists and snuggle with him in bed. 
This Maycember video captures the chaos and overall feeling I've been having very well (aka Maycember sucks!)

Corey and I watched that together last Friday. Made me feel better. So, the high school kids are done now and Mel is graduating tomorrow. Wes is finished with jr. high. I am hoping that life will slow down a bit with not having to get those 4 kids out the door in the morning. The elementary kids still have two weeks. We'll see how it goes with the older kids at home - I'm hoping they'll be helping out and I'll be able to catch up on the blog and recording life's events these past two months. It's been nuts. Luckily Maycember is almost over! Here's some of it in a nutshell (things I need to blog about!)

Melodie - GMS gala, Lyceum, Concerts, Chamber rehearsals, Utah Symphony Youth All Stars, Flute lessons, AP tests, work
Ethan - Crescent, sectionals, JEN conference, jazz band, Wind Ensemble, Lessons, AP test
Hyrum - he's our only not very busy child. Did have AP test
Wesley - SBO and getting ready for COW, Little Big Band Rehearsals and Studio recording, Ballroom rehearsals and performances, Utah Youth Jr. Symphony Orchestra, carpool, kidnapping new SBOs, hanging with friends
Abi - flute lessons, piano lessons, piano recital, soccer games, soccer practice, NOVA, State float parade
Lily - Coding Camp, piano recital, piano lessons, school spirit day
Sophi - violin lessons, group lesson, violin recital, school spirit day
Natalie - Kindergarten program, field trip, playing with friends
Owen and Daniel - naptime at 1:00
Peter - 4 month check up

On top of all that we've had more than a few visitors coming and going. Iveth has helped make the house liveable, but basement guests and crazy mornings mean that I haven't had space or time to exercise. I did so good, I will do good again, I'm telling myself it's not that my habit has been ruined, it was just a temporary chaos and I can and will get back on the wagon as soon as it slows down. Diet has been pretty good. Ok, I'm going to start blogging now, we'll see how much I can get caught up on in the next 2 hours if I go to bed at midnight. I'll start with today - I had an early morning. I checked on Wes at 5:20 - he had woken up on his own and was in the shower (way to go buddy! I think you're ready for high school!) We left at 5:50 to go get another student body officer, then we went to pick up two new officers and then I drove them out to Holladay for a breakfast surprise thing. I got back in time to take carpool - my last time, hallelujah. (I'm going to try and take a Monday or Friday drive shift next year, they get more holidays off!) 

Mel had a graduation rehearsal this morning, then the high school kids had a breakfast at the Seminary building, and then they hug out with friends for a bit. I drove Ethan to do work for my parents, went to Walmart to buy some Junk in the Trunk "Minute to Win It" supplies for Corey - which he needed for a Youth activity tonight, and then I went home to drop off my groceries, then back to pick up E, back home so he could get his dress up clothes, then out to drop him off at his friends house by Skyline (he had a SBO thing up at the U) then I went to pick up Hyrum at a friends house, then took him by to pick up some English lesson folders things he's working on for ymad, then fill up the car, then Corey texted, luckily I hadn't headed for home yet and so I went by his parents house to pick him up (his car is getting some body work done, it's been falling apart bit by bit) and then home. The dinner plans I had were then changed cause now I didn't have time to prep it. Plus Peter was starving cause I had left him with Mel and he was famished. Anyway, that is a kinda typical Maycember afternoon. Kinda sucks. I feel busy but like I'm not accomplishing my goals, so it's just go go go with no reward or feelings of success. I think I need a walk in the mountains. It's been so rainy though that I haven't been outside much. I guess I'll blame it on the rain. When we got home, Corey stayed in the car to work and so Owen wouldn't see him or know he was back. Joseph called as I walked in too - so I spent an hour talking to him. We sure miss that kid, he's almost been gone a year!! Crazy, I hope it keeps zippin' by. And yeah, that's about it for today. Busy busy. I apologized to Joseph that I hadn't written him again! I told the truth that I've haven't had time to sit at the computer - I'm not blogging, I don't check facebook, I'm not in the EJC, I'm just not online, I just run around like a crazy Maycember mother of 12. I set like 5 alarms for to write him and it didn't help me. When I saw he was calling, I said outloud "Is it Wednesday?!?!" I'm losing myself (Matt 10:39), I hope that is a good thing. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Another COW Done

Today was the COW - Churchill Office Winners. Wes made a really cute Thor.
(Although I know "cute" wouldn't describe the look he was going for...) Poor kid, he just can't help himself. Daniel saying hi to Iron Man.
Corey wasn't able to come this year, and we also didn't get the girls out of school to come like we did last year when we let them come to see Wesley be announced as the new Governor. This year we didn't turn it into as big of a deal because Wes was just passing the torch. His parent's were there to support as always. Wayne made a nice cameo in the COW film they showed, he had one of the infinity stones above his computer! 
Nancy saved me and helped me get the toddlers in the building in the pouring rain. Ethan and his good friend Ella.
And the COW began - Avengers unite!
It was pretty much the same video quality and concept as we've seen in previous years of the COW. Wes got a good cheer when they were ready to pass the mantel of leadership. He looked "cute" again - little Wes, barely able to see over the podium...
Then Thanos came out and there was an epic battle...
Thanos defeated and dead on the stage - (that teacher was a good sport)
Wes and his cousin Jordyn - 
Another year, another COW success and checked off. Abi will be starting at Churchill next year, and Wes is heading to Skyline. Ethan was just at Churchill and now he's going to be starting his Senior year. It's crazy to realize how quickly time is passing. Soon all our little Joseph's will be talking to us on the phone with a year of mission experiences under the belt! Wes will be a Senior before we know it and soon Abi will be the up and coming freshman. Hang on tight, here come life full speed at us!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Mom Moments

Well, yesterday the inevitable happened.  Owen's blanket broke. It is now in two pieces, the main piece, and the strip with the all important tags. Owen brought it to me last night and said to fix it, but this blanket has had more than it's fair share of mending, so much that I haven't even dared wash it for months (I know, nasty...) so I told Owen "I can't, it's broken" and lo and behold... (is this the moment we've been waiting for?)... Owen was able to go to bed without it! Am I happy? Or am I sad? Another baby is growing up and another phase of his childhood might be past and gone forever. That makes me feel kinda sad, but I guess I have two more behind him. Last night Owen didn't take Louie to bed with him either. Today he fell asleep for his nap in my room without his binky, blankie, or Louie. I kinda felt sorry for Louie though...
Tonight when we were going to bed, I gave Owen his blanket strip, which he rejected, and so I tried to just give him his binky and Louie, and he threw Louie across the room! (Well, as far as a 3 year old can throw a toy). I picked up this dear stuffed animal and told him sorry and hugged him. I can't find if I ever blogged it, but some time ago, I think before Peter was born, Owen woke up during the night and I layed down with him, and then I had this random thought that if Owen were to die, what would I do with Louie? Would I keep him with me, to remember my little Owen, or would I bury him with Owen to keep Owen safe? I don't know what I would have done, but the thought of it made me cry, so I was laying next to Owen at 4 in the morning crying about Owen being gone and what I would do with Louie. But now I might not have to worry about that. All this time, Louie has been a faithful companion, and just like that, it's over. Doesn't seem right. We'll see if Owen takes him at all this upcoming week. If not, I will be taking Louie and putting him on my shelf where I keep my babies' faithful but forgotten toddler toys like Natalie's leopard.

So been feeling a bit sentimental today. Remembering my little ones, I can't stop time and tuck away their childhood (Lily's pillow) but I will try to savor the moments. The good, the bad, the irritating and the messy. Today it was mostly the irritating and messy. The kids haven't messed up the floor from it's mop and shine yesterday, yay. But there's always the mess that comes from a family of 14 - they all contribute to the mess. Abi was trying on different jackets for school before she left... I began to tidy up after, and I had already picked up 3 of her jackets in the side room, I then came into the front room to find two more...
She is my best kitchen cleaner, but clothes are her weakness. She leave a big mess of clothes in her bedroom, she just drops them. This morning, after looking at her room again, I told her we gotta break that habit. Took the jacket pick so I can remember to revisit the topic with her again. Another annoying thing - downstairs in the basement, about a week ago I found an empty box of my ABC markers which I had tried to hide from them... I looked around and couldn't find the markers. I have two sets, one old, one new, I wasn't sure if this was the old or new set. But today I found the markers in a box hidden somewhere by kids. Most of the lids were off, and it was my new set. I threw them hard into the trash can. They destroy and break things quickly and often. Sigh. Breathe...
I found those as I was cleaning up the room for a friend from Chile who is coming to stay with us for a bit (Angela's husband). I had Imagine Dragons on the bluetooth - "I Don't Know Why". Yes, why!??! Why can't they stop getting into my things? I just need to lock them all in our room. I looked at the markers, tried to breath. Not a big deal, like $7 bucks maybe? Am I going to miss the mess? Or will it still visit us in grandchild form? The music played, and I felt like it was my destructor children saying it "Tell me that you love me, tell me that you love me, tell me that you love me..." I don't know why they seek and destroy, but I will try to remember what is important. They are more important than markers. I am trying to practice being calm. I had a few voxer chats with Holly about that too - give myself an opportunity to breathe. Oh, and Peter threw up on me this morning too - right after he ate, he started coughing and made himself gag...
Luckily I was holding him towards me, so I was able to cup it all in my chest between Peter and I
Yay, it didn't get on the carpet. All the mess and struggle is giving me experience and teaching me to be patient and calm and to control what I can control. I can control myself, they need me to be that steady rock for them, a rock of calm and security. It will all become good memories eventually anyway, I will try to be calm and enjoy the now before these baby and toddler and childhood moments all slip away forever.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mop and Shine Up

On Monday I told my friend Iveth to not to worry about coming on Wednesdays and we'd just do a big clean on Mondays, but she texted asking if I wanted to start that next week or this week, so then I said yeah, just come today for a little bit. As soon as I said that though, I kicked it in gear and I got the main floor clean in 30 minutes. So when she came it looked good (I'm not going to worry about the kids' rooms today, they're covered in a mess of clothes) so I said let's do a good scrub of the kitchen tile and grout. It took us two hours, and my fingers are raw and will be cracking from the bleach, but the floor looks lovely!! Ahhh~
At Iveth's request, I bought a bottle of "quick shine" last week, and so we did that to the floor too. I got it all on right after putting the boys down for their naps at 1, so it had two hours to dry before kids came home. Yay, its looks pretty! And we did a deep clean of the master bedroom and bathroom on Monday. It is still clean and lovely today, even under the bed.
It's been really nice to have Iveth come and help me here. The house is cleaner that it's ever been before and we have a fun time visiting as we work. Joseph called today as we were cleaning, so Iveth finished the scrubbing while I talked to him. He's doing good. We sure miss him, he's almost been gone 11 months!! The first few weeks were hard, but it's gone faster since he got in the field. I hope it keeps going by fast!

On Wednesdays, Melodie usually has Lyceum and Wesley has Little Big Band, both of which are in American Fork, so they drive down together. Today though Mel didn't have Lyceum, so I took Wes and ran to Costco while we waited. Corey needed the van for a youth activity at the church, so we took his car. Corey put in Owen and Daniel's carseats in and they were right next to each other. Thus the predictable occurred - they were fighting a good portion of the time during the drive. They did okay in Costco. But while we waited for Wes to finish, I got Peter out and was nursing him and Owen and Daniel were touching each other and trying to hit each other and yelling and crying, it was loud and irritating. They did okay on the drive home, but then we had more "wait in the car" time as we waited for the youth activity. They were meeting at the church at 6:30, but we were getting off the freeway at that time. So they were coming our way, so we just parked and waited. I nursed Peter, and O and D went at it again. Wesley had a bright idea to put a divider between them. He went to the trunk, emptied the Costco box of food, and then broke it down to put between them. Owen was fine after that, but Daniel was putting his hand through the cardboard handle hole to try and get at Owen still. It was pretty funny. I'll post those pictures later. I was glad to get home. I asked everyone if they noticed the lovely floors and most of them said yes. So yay, it is noticable, and we'll see how long we're able to make it last!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Barbie Creativity

Last Wednesday, Iveth and I cleaned all the kids' bedrooms. And there's nothing that beckons to a child's creativity like a clean room. It's like a blank canvas, just waiting and begging someone to come and express their creativity on it. So the girls have been in full Barbie mode for a few days and their room is messy again. They got into my fabric and tulle and thread and I'm like oh well, I'm not getting around to sewing anything anytime soon anyway. Abi did it last year. Lily's decided to use little elastics and tulle instead of sewing anything. Well, they did try to sew, but then they cut and poked their fingers, so then they opted for using little hair elastics.

So our friend Junior was invited to stay with another neighbor for a few days (cause Corey has a friend from Chile coming to stay with us, he just told me last Wednesday when we were talking to Joseph, Corey told Joseph and I was like "Oh? Nice to know"... I'm getting used to this and it's not stressing me as much anymore) Anyway, so he left and so the room downstairs was clean and provided another blank canvas... it took the girls all of 30 minutes to go trash it...
But as Iveth says "Dejales jugar" Let them play. "Estan felizes" They're happy. Yes it is good for them to play. Mel said she thought it was good that they were being so creative.
So I'll take a breath and let them be kids. I was impressed with their work.
Looks like they are fairies from Pixie Hollow? Or are these Barbie sized Elvendale characters? Yes, Lily got into my cardstock to make the fairy and butterfly wings. Oh well... in addition to not being close to sewing stuff anytime soon, I also do not forsee scrapbooking in my near future. So go ahead, cut it up.
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Last night they also made clothes for themselves. Natalie wanted to wear her dress to school. Go for it.
Pink fabric tied on with sparkly tulle. Cute kids. And this last pic is of the barbie's horse stable, made out of toilet paper rolls and a towel with a pink baby blanket for the barn door.
It is good for them to be creative. And someday when I'm a grandma, I'll buy fabric and cardstock again for my grandkids to use to express their creativity.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Día Del Niño

Well ya learn something new everyday. I've never heard about "Día del niño" but apparently it's a big deal in Latin America. Who knew! Well Iveth knew, and even though she's not in Mexico, she wanted to celebrate it and share the tradition with us. But April 30th in Utah this year was rainy and cold, so she planned it for today and invited us to come to her house at 5:00.
She had invited a few people from her English class - two ladies from Mexico and one from Congo! The Congo lady, Carine, didn't speak Spanish, so there was a lot of English speaking, Spanish speaking, translating, and repeating of instructions going on during the course of the evening. The kids played in the sandbox
Iveth brought out popcorn and cheese puffs
Then Iveth started games. They divided into two teams.
The games were pretty fun to watch cause a good portion of the participants were toddlers. Abi ready for a race...
...but she had Owen and Daniel on her team - Abi and Sophi tried to help them run, but Owen was dragged and Daniel was pulling a toy that he got distracted with after the race started.
The first person was supposed to run around a hoop then come back for a teammate, hold hands, run with them around the hoop/post/marker, then back for another teammate, etc. I got a kick out of how Iveth said "You Lose!" Abi's team lost this first race. It was cute though cause the toddlers didn't know what was going on, other than someone said "go" - so off they ran!

And kids fell and got ran into and distracted, typical of kids all over the world I'm sure. It was fun to watch. Then they had a water balloon toss game -
Another game where you had to use teamwork to grab cups from the middle of a square without touching the ground inside the square, if that makes sense. Sophi's team did awesome on that one - Sophi got a lot of cups. And of course, there was a pinata - Go Owen!! Hit it hard!
Then it was Daniel's turn
After all the kids had a turn whacking the pinata, it was Corey's turn to go and he finished it off

Hooray! Candy falling from the sky!
After the pinata, I took Peter home to feed him, and a few more kids followed me (Lily, Natalie, and Daniel). Corey stayed to clean up, and Peter took his time nursing, so when Corey still wasn't back after 45 minutes, I decided to go back over. I walked into Iveth's apartment to find Corey was the center of attention telling funny stories of how crazy life is with 12 kids, he had everyone laughing.
I stayed and listened to his stories and added my two cents, but mostly I just grinned as he talked. He often says that he wanted 3 kids, I wanted more than that, so we met in the middle with 12, haha. Owen was clinging on him and was doing a good job giving a proper demonstration of what Corey deals with every day, and has dealt with for 19 years as a new baby always shows up in line to replace the kid that has grown up. So, it was a fun event, one that we might try to continue if we have Hispanic friends we can tag along with. My kids have often asked me why there is a Mother's Day and Father's Day but no Kid's Day?!?! I have said that every day already is kids day! What we need is a break from kids being the center of the world. On that note, I've been reading a good book called EntitleMania by Richard Watts, which is giving me some good perspective on proper parenting techniques. "For everything you give your child, you take something away."
I liked an analogy he made in the book on pg. 20 that parent's should not be copilots, who are experiencing the ride with their child, but they should be air traffic controllers, on the ground in the control tower, where we can see things the pilot doesn't see. We track the entire flight, but our role is to respond to pilot inquiry and advise of irregularities so that the plane can avoid catastrophe, but we leave the flying of the plane to the pilot. It's been a good time for me to read this with the car outta gas drama we've had this past week. It would be easy to give them money for gas, but we do want to help them be ready to face the world and have to pay for their own gas (if they are able to get a car) so we're trying to let them take a little more responsibility bit by bit. They need to learn to think ahead and plan ahead and budget accordingly, instead of doing what Ethan did with the money Corey gave him for his cell phone "I want to hurry and spend this before I need it for gas" - that is almost a direct quote! Luckily having a large family does require the kids to learn a lot of self survival. Most of them do their own laundry, Owen can get his own cereal from the high cupboard, and Natalie helps me by going to fill Daniel's bottle sometimes. There is so much to do around here that we do need the kids to help, and they are learning to contribute and are picking up skills little by little along the way, yay!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Busy Wednesday

Today Iveth came over. Our house guest, junior, was out of the house for the day, so this was our opportunity to go downstairs and see what mess/damage had been done by kids in the basement. It was a mess, but Iveth worked her magic again (I helped) and we got it clean in 90 minutes. Last time it was 4+ hours. It's been nice having Iveth's help here at home. Originally we talked about her coming over twice a week, Monday and Wednesday, for 90 minutes, so I was ready to let her go back to her family after we were done with the basement, but she asked quite persistently if there was anything else she could help me with. No, it's okay. "Are you sure" The main floor was already still clean from Monday, but I said that I was going to continue to clean the upstairs bedrooms, but I was good to do it myself. She said she would help. So up we went and we cleaned all the kids bedrooms, under the beds, and made the beds! Our house has never been so clean! Sadly, the master bedroom is the messiest place in the house now, I'll have to try to fix that. But after cleaning for 3 hours together, Joseph called, we introduced him to Iveth, she kept cleaning, I tried to talk to him, but it was hard to hear him again. She finished the kids bedrooms at 2 and headed home with Asis and Maria and I got ready to go pick up kids. The fiesta is outta gas and the teens didn't want to fill it up, so they've been without a car. Plus the check engine light it on, so we need to take it in anyway. So, I took Wesley to Little Big Band today. When I picked him up, I realized I'd forgotten his trumpet. So we went back home and then left for LBB. He was 40 min late. Yay for having a dvd player in the car, cause it helped the kids not mind the long trip. I took all the kids cause we were going to go to the wood park. We pulled up, and surprised disappointment, we saw that the whole park was gone!

Luckily it is being rebuilt. But it is scheduled to take a week, they are starting this Saturday. So we'll have to come back, but as for now, we're outta luck. So we would have gone to Costco, but I didn't have my visa card. It was damaged and I'm waiting for a new one to be sent. So, we just drove around to try and find another park and eventually we found one.
It had a parking stall close by, which worked for me, cause I was able to feed Peter in the car and still see them.

(HE'S SO CUUUUUTE!!!)
Abi said it was a pretty lame park. And I agree, it was small and hardly worth the 2 hours in the car wait. So Abi found a tree that she thought was more interesting than the slide.
But Owen and Daniel were super happy playing.
"Dat Fun!" said Daniel over and over again.
Sophi got a few blisters from the monkey bars, and she and Owen joined Abi in a different tree for a bit.
 
Soon they were ready to go. With me being gone, I did not get dinner ready. Corey started some frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots, and I said I'd reward the kids with some ice cream for their good endurance of the afternoon. Abi had to hurry and blow some dandilions before she got in the car.
I warned her to never never blow those near our lawn. Corey showed us this BYU short film last week - https://www.weedsshort.com/ - cute animations, but that was NOT a happy ending in our opinion. I like flowers, but not dandilions. I have been eating sooo awesome this week, but I didn't have any nice cream on my birthday, so I said yes and let myself enjoy some good Ben and Jerry's non dairy dessert. Yum. So that was our busy day and run around afternoon.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Junior

Joseph's MTC teacher in Guatemala was a fellow named Junior.
Junior was also the ward mission leader in Joseph's first area of Lo De Coy. When Joseph's companions went home, Junior did splits with him a lot. We are grateful for him! We were in touch with him on facebook when Joseph was in his ward and we got a few extra pics of Joseph on days other than p-day which was fun. Junior is up in Utah right now, I think he's been here for like a month? He started off doing some touristy stuff in southern Utah where they give you a place to sleep if you help work or something like that. This month he's up in the Salt Lake Valley and is staying with us. I knew Corey had offered for him to stay with us, but I didn't know when he was coming and I'm not sure how long he's going to be here. But he got here on Friday and I went to pick him up. Corey texted me a pic so I knew who I was looking for.
That night he went with Corey and the young men in our ward out to Lone Rock to camp and do some climbing and gun shooting.
Wes is up high on the wall there, pretty cool photo!
So, them being gone for a night gave me a little bit of time to figure out a sleeping place for Junior. I did mention to Corey it would be nice to have guests if we actually had a guest room. Oh well. So I had Sophi donate her mattress since we gave away all our spare furniture to Iveth and Diego. We gotta make do with what we have. I told the little girls to share the full mattress on their bottom bunk - there is plenty of room there. They did the first few nights, but this morning I woke up to find Sophi was up on the top bunk bed again and that she slept on a hard wood board!
That didn't look comfortable to me. I showed Corey. When Sophi got up for school, Corey asked her how she slept. "Fine. Why?" she replied as she looked at him like he was weird for asking. "Well you were sleeping on a piece of wood..." "It was fine."  
Ok, more power to ya. While I was at it, I took pictures of other sleeping children. Looks like Louie kicked Owen out of the chair.
Owen is still sleeping with a blanket and pacifier, although we try to remember to take the binky away from him after he falls asleep. I don't dare wash Owen's blanket, it's getting so thin and ragged. Can you tell which is his favorite corner to fidget with?
This blanket is hanging by a thread. I wonder what will happen if the tag part falls off? Hang on little blanket! Blankie Man needs you. Here is Peter asleep in our bed, all nice and snug, Corey in the heap of blankets behind him
And a cute picture of Peter tonight, he is so adorable.
He's starting to grasp his hands and grab at the toys, it's so cute!
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