Monday, November 12, 2018

Find Joy in Today

On Friday after school, Abi helped me rescue the finished/carpeted part of the basement from the mess it was in. Corey told me earlier that day that our friend Rafael from Brazil would be staying with us one night. I wanted to say in response "We are not in a position to entertain guests..." but instead I tried to make a place ready for our house guest to sleep. It didn't make sense to move any of the kids out of their rooms, so the only option I felt we had was the basement. And that place was a horrible mess. I only had an hour to get it looking hospitable. Abi helped me work a miracle. We cleaned it up before she had to go to the church for activity days and before I left to take Sophi to a group violin lesson. It was a quick clean up (aka we just shoved everything in bins and pushed it to the other side of the basement, (don't look at that side...)) so overall it's still the same messy, but we moved 100% of it into the unfinished side instead of the 25/75 mess it was. So yay, it's nice to have that one part of it clean! It's been a while since the floor there was clear... it's been a mess since Wesley started working on some team moral building activities for his SBO's leadership conference.  That was back in September when he started working on those projects. The leadership conference is now over, but the mess has remained, including a big palm sized blue glue stain in the carpet right in the middle of the room. Wes strategically placed the couch over the stain so I didn't discover it for a few weeks, although I did notice and wonder why the couch had been moved. I should have known. This time it was my turn to strategically place a carpet over the stain. We put up a mattress and then Abi and I had to leave, and I told Corey it was as good as I could get it in such short notice. Then he texted that Rafael was going to stay with a different friend. Well, I won't be bugged that I was stressed for the past 3 hours about hosting a guest, cause I'm happy that that room of the basement is cleaned, so we'll count that as a win.
I rearranged my weights in the exercise area -
The black desk in the left corner is where I'm working on filling the scrapbooks. 
And here's the other side of the basement that I've been avoiding for weeks... Too bad there's not a door there.
I know I said don't look but I thought I'd share how sad and messy it is. Just keeping it real, not that I've ever really tried to hide the reality of my inability to keep on top of the mess around here (example 2 from last year).
That's life with kids. I was thinking recently about the problems with this house and the list of things I want to have replaced or fixed... and I was thinking about how I want to figure out how to keep it clean and keep things in order, and as I thought of that, I thought that some day (so I hear) my children will all leave and be grown and out on their own, and I will have a clean house and probably will have money to fix and update things and have a house that I like more and that stays tidy. And when I am that older woman living that "new normal" life, I think I will look back on this time and probably think of what a wonderful time it was. I should do that more now while I'm here in it. Create my happiness now. Find Joy in the Journey now. To quote from the Prophet President Thomas S. Monson - I was thinking of the second paragraph here, but will post these 4 verses, they are all good, but read or listen to the whole talk at the link above to get all of it -

If you have children who are grown and gone, in all likelihood you have occasionally felt pangs of loss and the recognition that you didn’t appreciate that time of life as much as you should have. Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”3 We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.
Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.
Joseph said at the end of his email to our family this past week  (the email isn't posted there, but just for time reference) - "Thanks for all you guys have done and are doing for me and for teaching me a lot back when I lived with you. LOVE YOU."  I guess that last phrase "when I lived with you" sounded so much like a day far in the past, a time gone and over. He will live with us again for a little bit when he returns from his mission, but soon after he gets home he will be off to college, so the days that he has lived with us really are over. I will strive and seek to find joy in what this day, these children at these ages, offer to me now before their childhoods expire. Find the joy that each of these present moments give to me now.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Mending Blankets

I have a huge win - my laundry room desk is clean. It's been making small progress over the past few weeks and on Tuesday night we got it done 100%. Everything is cleared off except for several little superglue piles of dried glue that I think might be permanent (although I might consider taking a razor blade to attempt to chip them off...) So, with the laundry room desk clean, last night I was able to do some needed mending. Most things I don't bother with - clothes with holes go in the garbage - socks, pants, shirts... they're all goners. If they look somewhat redeemable they'll go in the thrift store donation box. But with most things it's easier to just buy used instead of trying to mend them, except we have one non-negotiable item that has to be repaired, for it cannot be thrown away and also cannot be replaced. They are Owen's baby blankets. Knowing how much he loved and was attached to them, last year I tried to find some back ups in case we ever needed a spare. I gave them to Owen for his birthday. He humored me that day and accepted them for a few days, but then he was like "Nope. Those 'new' blankets have not been with me through all my lonely nights... they cannot replace my original blankets, which, though tattered and worn, have proved themselves tried and true, and have bundled by me through thick and thin..." So, I still have those 4, and they all still look basically new. And Owen won't have anything to do with them. I've mended his old blankets two times already, cause they are ripping up as they keep getting more and more thin. I don't know what happened this past week but they got pretty ripped up this week and were almost in pieces. So last night, on my improved laundry room desk space, I was able to pull out the sewing machine and I layered the blanket over itself on the huge rips and sewed it up, and I basically rounded off the corners, which were un-redeemable and sewed them up. I did keep all the trim with tags. But I did wonder if I removed the tags, that maybe he would find them unacceptable and reject them? And maybe take the new ones? We'll save that strategy for another time, but it's a course I might pursue in the future. Owen is almost 3 and a half. We'll probably let him keep the blankets, but it might be time to make him lose the binkies, little buddy... The binkies make me question my parenting.
Owen takes naps and goes to bed with his binky, blanket, and Louie the Lion. It's hard to believe Louie has not even been with us a year - seems like he's always been there. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning a month or two ago, and I'm not sure what caused this thought or question to come into my mind, but as moved myself to the bed after having slept next to Owen on the floor for most of the night, I wondered - If we were to lose our little Owen (like my friends lost their little boy who would be Owen's age) would Louie go with Owen into the casket? Or would I want to keep him to hold and comfort me as I missed Owen? And I just started crying. The thought can make me cry again. I hope we don't lose you anytime soon. Your Louie will always remind me of you as our little boy. I might have to keep him when you grow up, he'll be on my shelf with the other stuffed animals of my children from days gone by. I need to put Natalie's baby leopard up there soon. I'll give you guys a few more years before I collect the stuffed animals to always remember the little you by.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Good day today. We cleaned the house well yesterday and it stayed clean all day today, which was so nice. A clean home makes a perfect palate for kid creativity. Tonight their creativity manifested itself in a restaurant game. I think it was Abi's idea and soon all the little kids had joined in. Abi straightened up the kitchen and then felt like decorating it too, and so she set up some candles. That made it look like a fancy restaurant, so then they made a restaurant. They brought up the toy food and wrote out a menu. Abi put on the chef's hat and an apron.
Yes, before you can play a game, you have to get the proper attire, which every Wride knows. The little girls ready to play - Lily and Natalie in their waiter outfits. Ethan just wanting to get in the shot to flare his nostrils -
Another pic with Eth. Lily was like "fine, I'll pose with him, but he hasn't been part of the game though..."
Sophi is a customer.
I'm not sure they ever really started the game but they were busy at it doing something for 2+ hours. They liked lighting and blowing out the candles. Owen and Daniel were especially drawn in by the magical glow of the little flames.
During the course of the evening, Hyrum made real spaghetti. When Corey finally got home, they turned off all the lights and presented Corey with a candlelit pasta dinner (aka Hyrum's leftovers). On his plate was a love note - from Abi, Lily, Sophi and Natalie. I don't know that Corey ate it (it was late and he'd already had dinner) but he loved the presentation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Jumping and Dreams

It's been another good Wednesday. I had to get outside and fill up the trash bins again before the garbage truck came by. Need to try and clear up leaves and pine needles while I still can before winter comes. I really should have the kids do it on Saturday... But it's good to get outside since it's not as hard now as it will be once there is snow on the ground. The kids put on their shoes and coats and out we went. It didn't take long to fill up the garbages. We had time to spare before the kindergarten bus came, so we went over to jump at the neighbors house.
It was quite chilly in their shaded back yard but the kids had fun. 
They told me to jump with them and they were all quite surprised and delighted with the amount of air they got as I jumped with them. Just a few small bounces from me and they went flying. It was fun. We only stayed over there for 30 min before we headed back for lunch before Natalie left. We've got a good toddler routine going these days and on most days both Owen and Daniel go very willingly down for naps either right before or right after Natalie leaves. So sometimes they come out to the bus with us, other times they are already resting. That gives me a good 2 hours of quiet time to get things done! Yeah! Yesterday and today I've been working a little bit on going through the piles and files of papers that I have around the house. Now that I have scrapbooks for all of the kids in place (2nd to last pic), I've begun to attempt to organize or toss the years of artwork, school work, photographs, certificates, etc. I must say I'm impressed with the elementary school's 3rd grade efforts of having the kids write down things that capture their thoughts at that time of their life. They have a whole big notebook, bound and laminated, that they make for the kids at the end of the school year. Yesterday I went through Lily's 3rd grade book to put things in sheet protectors in my scrapbook and today I did Abi's. I had to take off the binding and go through each paper. I threw away some that didn't mean anything to me (like of reports of some class science observations) or things that I've already blogged (like the wax museums Abi as Helen Keller and Lily as Amelia Earhart). For things that I wanted to keep I had to trim them down or take off the construction paper behind them. I got a kick out of these little write ups from Martin Luther King day - I read Lily's yesterday and thought it was a bit scary/sad and I felt the same today when I read Abi's. I mean what kind of horrible "dreams" for a better future are they having? I have a dream to not be kidnapped or killed?!?!
Oh my sweet children... Let's have some dreams about good things, shall we? Although it might be our fault... Abi's below on kidnapping might have something to do going back to 2012 when we told our little 5 year old Abi about Sierra Newbold. Perhaps that wasn't the best parenting move on our part... 
I just googled Sierra Newbold and saw this picture here - such a beautiful little girl - reminds me of our sweet Natalie. Oh what a hard trial that must have been for her family - to lose their little girl in such a horrible way. I haven't talked to the kids about things like that for a while - though I'm not really up to date on news and current events these days, as I've kinda checked out of the news since Novemeber 2016 when Trump won. I used to get some news from facebook, but I've hardly been on there the past month now - after doing the 10 day social media fast from President Nelson's challenge, and finding I much enjoyed it, so yea, now I'm mostly get my news from Corey, my mom, or catching things from comments people make at church. I'm definitely out of the loop. But I don't mind. I'm going to try to focus on things here in my home with my children, things that I actually have some control and influence over. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Chore Success

Last week's chore chart was a success. It was visible and in a location where everyone could see it, which helped with my need to be clear with the kids on expectations. So we're doing it again this week, and I guess it might be official cause I put up two command hooks to hang it from there on the pantry door. 
This one has a cuter font and was a little more planned out.
I traced the letters on the top of the poster from some dollar tree stickers I have on hand. The same stickers I use for the initials on the scrapbook binders (in last two pics). Today was a good day chore wise - another strong Monday start like last week with 6 out of 8 kids earning their check mark. Last Saturday kids earned two rewards - after they did their Saturday chores Corey took them to Momentum with the Get Out Pass, and then after they got home I had some Oreo cookies for them, one for each day they did their job - Sophi was our winner getting a check every day, good job Sophs. I asked Corey for pictures of Momentum, but he said he outsourced it to the kids since he had to help belay. I haven't seen them yet but Corey said they're all blurry. Maybe I'll still post a few. He took Hyrum, Wes, Abi, Lily, Sophi, Natalie, and Owen. They left with Daniel in the van but not Hyrum, then Corey called and asked Hyrum to come. But then they were short a seat. So they came back home, pulled into the drive way, all said "We're here!" and got out of the car, in an attempt to get Daniel to come out willingly. They walked in the front door, I brought in Daniel in my arms, and Hyrum joined them as they all walked straight through the kitchen then over and out into the garage and back into the car and off they went. Daniel and I had some chocolate cashew ice cream and he was never the wiser. Well, he might have suspected he'd been tricked, but I didn't hear any complaints from him at all. He's a good little kid. They had fun at Momentum, and they went by Costa Vida to get some food from Mel on their way home. I like us having an activity on Saturdays that the kids can look forward to. Our friend from Brazil, Rafael, is in town for work (He and Corey work together still). Corey helped him arrange for a room up at Park City, so I think our activity this Saturday is to go swimming up there. Fun fun.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Snapshots

This morning before the girls left for school - they gathered candy to take as their snacks. Owen used the opportunity to trick or treat some more as he went person to person asking for handouts... "Trick or Treat..."
He seemed quite pleased - "Cool! It worked again!" Every kid loves free candy!
So that was cute. This afternoon - Natalie walking to the bus stop, showing her little brothers the way.
I love these little kids. Love seeing them take care of each other.
I went to the temple again - that's five Fridays in a row - go me.
The sun was just setting as I came out - the tops of the mountains glowing in the last rays of light, pink clouds above them.
It looked like Mount Sinai from the old Ten Commandments movie. Just beautiful. Corey went with Ethan to his Cresent band rehearsal tonight cause they were going to have a parent meeting afterwards to talk about their tour to China. Corey said it sounds awesome - Eth will be traveling city to city on a bullet train (can reach 200+ mph!) Speaking of E, it's late at night right now - I'm up waiting for our young man actually. After our date night (Bandits Grill, delicious strawberry quinoa salad with shrimp (cause I'm still do a little bit of sea food) we got home and Eth wanted to hang out with friends, we said not tonight (we're kinda clamping down on his privileges until he is ready to take over owning the music opportunities before him) anyway, so he left anyway - had a friend come pick him up. So he's most likely going to be grounded, although Corey was too disappointed to talk about consequences and he just sent to bed. I think E was trying to sneak out, but obviously doesn't have a lot of experience, unless he was totally planning on being caught - cause it was just 9:30 pm and Corey and I were both still awake. Anyway, we were able to text the friend who picked him up cause E left his cell phone here, which made that easy for Corey to confiscate as punishment.  Corey texted "Can you have Ethan call me?" We'll see how it goes this weekend with that, our first kid sneaking out. But we can't see where he is on life 360 with his phone here, a possible con to not letting him have his phone back. Other than that it's been a nice day and should be a nice weekend - Abi has her last soccer game, Mel GMS, and Wes his symphony orchestra. We're going to try to do a get out pass thing tomorrow after kids do their jobs, a list of which is already up and on the wall, go me!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Free Candy Day

The kids had a great time trick or treating last night.
Before we all went out about the neighborhood, we were invited to a neighbors house for pizza, hot chocolate, and apple cider. Natalie... sorry, I mean Elsa, ejoying her pizza. She has a very low front hairline. But it was pretty chilly, so I think Natalie was using the wig more as a hat to keep warm.
The hot chocolate was a good idea. The kids had fun watching them press freshly picked apples on their cider press, pretty cool! Little pirate lily on the left there.
She was more concerned with looking cool than being warm. We had Owen and Daniel wear little zip up costumes since it was so cold. They were fine in these toasty outfits. Owen the frog - 
 Daniel the lion, although he insisted he was a dog.
Keeping his cheeks warm. After they ate enough the kids were out in the back on the playset.
Owen headed down the slide, Daniel at the top, Natalie on the swing. Time for a group picture of all the neighborhood kids. After a day in a prim and proper dress, Abi was ready to be able to breath and relax, so she traded her victorian gown for the Mario costume we got for Wes.
Wesley was at a party with friends for most of the evening. He was dressed up as a Wasatch Jr. High SBO, wearing my sweater from almost 30 years ago. Wasatch is their rival school. so he was sure there would be nothing scarier than seeing him posing as a student from their enemies walking around Churchill's sacred halls. Funny. He had started to gathering black clothing so he could be Westly but needed a few more things to make it work, and I refused to take him to the store, seeing as we'd already spent $40 on a costume for him, so I told him tough. I was glad he figured something out. I stayed home for a bit handing out candy, until Hyrum was ready to take over my post. Then I caught up to Corey and the kids. Daniel was a cute little straggler...
Too slow, Daniel missed the house, let's turn and go across the street...
Sophia came to help him catch up for the next house. 
Corey picked him up for a few more. They didn't last very long.
We split up and I tracked down Natalie who had left with some boy friends.
She decided she was done with them and so she and I finished a few houses together until it was dark, then headed home. They got lots of candy to eat, yesterday was a free candy day for gathering it up, and today has been free candy day 2 - cause they are free to consume it. I don't care at the moment and just want it gone, so it's kinda been a free for all - "Sure. Eat it. Get rid of it..." Dinner tonight was low key/non-existent since after school they just ate from their bags or from the left over loot from our house. I'm finding wrappers and candy everywhere. Sooner it's gone the better. I know I could just throw it away, but they'll eat it gone soon enough. I bet it will all be gone by the weekend.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ready for Halloween

It was a usual busy morning with exercise and running carprool, with the added fun this morning of helping kids get ready for the Halloween parade. Wesley was the only older kid that got dressed up. He found my old SBO sweater from Wasatch Jr. High, which just so happens to be Churchill's rival. So he was a Wasatch Student Body Officer. There can't be anything much scarier than that for Chruchill kids to see wandering their hallways! Back at home, here's the elementary kids heading out to the bus (with a few neighbor kids. I do not have 7 kids in elementary school...) -
My little girls are all so responsible... they woke up on their own and were already mostly ready by the time I got back from carpool. I helped with the finishing touches - Natalie's Elsa wig -
And makeup for the Sophi witch -
And Jack Sparrow eye liner for Pirate Lily -
Two weeks ago I forgot about the parade and scheduled an OB appointment for this morning at 9:30, so I told them I wouldn't be able to make it to the school. When I first started to tell Abi she gasped with worry, but turns out it was just cause she thought I wouldn't be here to help with her hair. But no, I said I had to leave after they will have left, so I'll be here to help, I just can't come see you. Oh, good. As long as you can help us get ready. I thought they'd be sad about me not coming but they didn't care. Sweet! (Maybe I can get out of the parade next year? j/k, kinda, haha.... years and years of halloween parades and I'm still a halloween scrooge) So for this year, I'll just watch the parade video from 2017 and imagine Sophi in the witch costume and Lily in the pirate one Abi wore last year... And Abi's been wearing the blue dress around the house enough the past three days that I've got a clear picture of her in my mind's eye too. This is a dress my sister in law made, she's an amazing seamstress. Abi loved having a poofy dress like this. She said George Washington's wife
 And they're off to school -
Corey was going to work from home and watch the kids for me but then said he needed to go in, so I hurried and woke up Daniel, Owen was already up, got them dressed, and we hurried out to the dr - I had to be there on time to get my blood drawn "exactly one hour" from finishing my glucose drink for the pregnancy diabetes test thing. All these tests. Oh, and we just got the bill this week for the panorama test thing... $3900 dollars! Luckily insurance took it down to just $750, still made me shake my head. I thought it was $300 for us to pay, $400 tops, just ridiculous. I told Corey to help me remember how much it costs so we don't do it "next time" I said with a wink (...just if there is a next time, sweetie, haha...)

Will post tomorrow or maybe update here later with the trick or treating fun tonight. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Yet Another Family Chore Chart

On many a Saturday, I am asked a question that for some reason totally rubs me the wrong way: "Do you have a list of chores for the kids to do?" I'm usually asked that by my sweetheart. And I guess it frustrates me cause I think that he and the kids should all freakin' know by now what tasks and chores need to be done around here to make our home livable. Do I really need to spell it out everyday/every weekend? Ugh. So I'll sometimes make a list, but usually I don't and I just verbally remind or ask them to do their jobs, and surprise surprise, I'm often frustrated that the kids don't do any chores or seem to have done anything to help around here. Hey Tiff, maybe they do need a list. Apparently it isn't clear what expectations are, sigh. I've had chore lists going up the stairs before, and had their chores on clipboards in their room, which worked with the younger half of the kids, the ones who bought into the system. That one left me frustrated with the three older kids, although Joseph would always make his bed. That small attempt at something was enough to fill my cup. Kids, just do something for crying out loud - you know what it is! Bed, Bedroom, Clothes! Can we just start with that? I've always thought it was clear, but I guess the fact that chores are not done and I'm frustrated means that we still haven't found a solution that works. So, today, I found a big posterboard size sheet of construction paper in the basement. On a whim, I wrote out KIDS CHORES and wrote down the chores that I've talked with them about before and that they all know they need to do.
When Corey came home, he saw the huge yellow chore chart on the pantry door. "WELL! I can see that! That's hard to miss! I like it!" It's all just scribbled on there and looks ugly, but I guess that's not a big deal since it is just up for a week anyway? Part of the reason I haven't gone this route was since I am looking for a permanent chore solution/system, I haven't found a good place to permanently hang a white board or whatever in the kitchen area. And I didn't want any ugly stuff on the wall in the kitchen, but a temporary paper on a pantry door... I guess that is a do-able thing. Maybe we'll keep it. I guess this might work. I listed the chores. Then Corey asked for a daily check off under each kid, so I scribbled that on and checked them off when they were done. Now we have a visible paper for weekly accountability ready to be referred to by myself or Corey (without having to ask me how the kids did on their chores) when they start to come on Friday night asking if they can hang out with friends.

Also, I've had a family calendar on the fridge since last October, and another 4 weeks just ended on Sunday. I took of the 4 weeks that were there yesterday and made the next 4 weeks - so now October is almost all gone and Christmas is on the fridge, AND also... that very last Monday square is January 14th!
Which will be when I'm 39 weeks! Which means that might be the day this pregnancy comes to an end, yahoo! Baby day approaching, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel once again. Although it still looks far away, 11 weeks. But we all know how quickly those top 4 weeks of the calendar go by and get checked off, so maybe the baby will be here before we know it, hallelujah.

I had a good day today. The win I'm most excited about - I cleaned the dirty carpets in the study, front room, and on the stairs! Another win is that six of the kids did their chore yesterday (EHWALS) and another five tonight (HWLSN) and the house looks awesome right now. 3rd big win - we've had 3 sit down dinners in a row. On the list: the basement. That place needs work, but little by little, I think things are coming together.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Carving Pumpkins

Today the elementary girls didn't have school, I'm not sure why. But it was nice to have them home. They wanted to carve the pumpkins, so I told them they could after they did their jobs. They worked quickly, then carved them while I took a little nap (sounds like a win-win, don't you think?)
I think they should be okay and not dry out too much as we wait the two days until trick or treating time. We're looking forward to an evening with neighbors on Wednesday. A few Halloween memories of years past - 2014201520162017, and one of our most memorable - in Costa Rica in 2010

Nap for Mom, and they did the pumpkins by themselves and they turned out great. I took a nap as I tried to get Daniel to take a nap, as he woke up very early this morning. 6:30 is super early for him. I was out on my walk and Wes got him out of his crib cause he was crying. He liked spending a little bit of the morning with Wes and was saw when Wes got out of the car for school. "Come?" he begged... Sorry buddy, you can't come with me! Wes gave him a hug...
 And Daniel worked his frown to try and get Wesley to change his mind.
Look at that lower lip... so very sad! Pretty good Daniel, you're good at breaking our hearts. 
Speaking of my little Daniel, yesterday I finished the scrapbook binders for Owen and Daniel - go me! 
They all look so cute and colorful up on the shelf now, it makes me happy.
There's my group of kids. Looks like I could call them "J'Meh Wal Snod" for short. Not that that is very short.
I even started on the new baby's binder, although I didn't get far, being as we don't know his name or initial. But it's good that I have a place to put his ultrasound pictures and things from the hospital when that day comes in January. "Just 11" more weeks, yay. Hmm, what should the next initial be? I'm thinking it will a B, G, K, or R and if we were using all their initials together as the deciding factor, I think R would sound the best - "J'Meh Wal Snod'r" We'll see.
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