Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Eth!

I woke up children at 5:45 this morning and invited those who so desired and who were physically able to come join us in the kitchen as we wished Ethan happy birthday before he left for jazz band at 6:10.
Abi and Lily had be we been up so early! Ethan and Hyrum have, and they know that being awake at such an unholy hour is supposed to be accompanied by a dazed look or a head collapsed on the counter.
Doesn't that look sad? No balloons... it's all dark... only 4 kids singing for you... The joys of the school year. Ethan was so tired that he was struggling with the basics of birthday celebration, like blowing out candles. He started to laugh at how pathetic it was when he couldn't get the last candle out.
He is 15 years old and excited and ready to get his driving permit. For his birthday he got contacts and I had also bought him new Vans shoes a few weeks ago as an early present. Other than that it was a regular day with music lessons and school. He is planning to hang out with friends tomorrow. The older kids are happy that it is the end of the term and that spring break starts tomorrow. Joseph found put that he and Xani made it past the Primary election for SBO, so good luck wth that Joseph! We tried out some new varieties of Red Button ice cream tonight, (I had too much) and even though it was kind of a regular day, I hope it was a good day for you, Ethan, we love you!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Internet Issues

Corey was dinking around on our firewall this weekend and I haven't been able to access blogger since. He admits that the timing of our internet troubles does make him a prime suspect, but claims innocence from having caused the problem. So well see if we need a new router or something.

So here is a "just touching base" post via my phone where it is not easy to type very much. Here is a picture for the day of little Daniel sitting in my yoga wheel like it's his little nest.
 He is totes adorbs!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Playing and Cleaning with Guests

Our guest from Chile have been with other US friends for the past two weeks, but on Tuesday night (after many days of the little girls asking "When is Angela coming back?!?!") they have returned. The kids were excited and they played out in the back yard too late, so late that we got a text from our sweet neighbor saying they were having a hard time falling asleep with the noise from all their fun. Doh! Kids, back inside! I know it's warm outside, but it's not summer yet!

So, it feels like they cleaned the whole house again. It's so nice to have help, wow. Angela helps with the daily stuff - picking up toys, sweeping, vacuuming. Her daughters picked up the girls' room. The boys' rooms didn't get helped this time (they might be beyond help....) Yesterday I spent most of the day doing a big day project that I hadn't planned on: it was time to clean out the fridge again. We got a refurbished fridge delivered on the day Abi was baptized over a year ago. 3 months after that was when it first began to make the noise, our 90 day warranty covered it being repaired that first time, but a few months later it did it again. Warranty now gone, so I've tried to do my best to fix it. It comes from ice building up around the fan and then the fan hitting the ice. So it still makes the noise every couple of months. When it does I usually just go hit the power switch off and leave it off overnight. I use the breaker box cause I don't want to roll it out and unplug it, cause that's a pain. So defrosting it that way helps and it usually works after one night off. So, it started making it again last night but I didn't turn it off cause it wasn't that bad, but this morning it was full on LOUD, so off the power goes, time to defrost the fan! It's some kind of design flaw since there are lots of people out there experiencing the same irritating noise. Ironically, I had just noticed and eve mentioned to Melodie how nice it was that the the noise hasn't been here for a while. I googled it more this time and did find these troubleshooting instructions here on their customer support page.  I have now properly leveled the fridge, and I know the ice was all gone off the fridge cause I left it off all day (moved all the food to the garage fridges and freezers - I guess it's good I haven't sold our 2nd extra on the classifieds yet), so we'll see how it works. It's a pain, but a good way to make me clean out the fridge every few months.
Tonight they've been dancing to 80s music and some Chilean hits in the front room. It's fun, they are all laughing and having fun and making memories.
The kids have shoved pillows up their shirts and are body slamming each other. Hyrum is "The Red Apple" Wesley is "Purple Plum", Lily was "Cotton Candy"... then Gabriella brought down Owen with a blanket shoved in his pajamas, we named him "Blue Berry Boy".
Sophi, not to miss out on the fun, ran upstairs to plump up her clothes, Her name is "Cherry" - just to keep with the whole food theme.
Body slammin' in the front room to entertain their Chilean audience.
We're going to try to do something short and fun this weekend with them and have plans to take them to Las Vegas for a quick trip spring break in 10 days. :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eugene Fitzherbert

It's Spirit week at Skyline. And Joseph, the aspiring Student Body officer, is taking it seriously. Tomorrow is Walt Disney Wednesday. So he took another trip to the DI with his friend to seek inspiration. He found this sweet vest and with that pulled together this get up. Can you tell who he is? (If you need a clue, look at the blog post title...)
Yes! That's right! It's Flynn Ryder from Tangled! Joseph's got a little Indiana Jones bag as his satchel, which I made years ago for 5 year old Hyrum's kindergarten costume. Brown belt over the vest, then a frying pan to complete the look. In the photo Joseph is defending his costume idea as Ethan tells him the bag is too small. I'm impressed Joseph. J is also really excited for "Thrift Store Thursday". Like most teenage boys, rhe's a big DI fan. I remember my little brother would seriously shop there before prom and find awesome stuff, cause everything is awesome when you're a teenager!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Elf Crowns

On Monday, Lily and Sophi were making crowns. Sophi and Natalie had blue paper "Elsa" crowns, and Lily made Elf crowns. She made one for Daniel. Can you tell he likes being an Elf?
When he gets excited he tried to eat your shoulder. Watch out Lil, he's about to chomp on ya!
As I've been clearing out toys a bit, I've taken another trunk full of stuff to the DI. I pass a DI on Mondays when I take Wesley to New Bop, so Monday is my new DI Day. I'm glad to see the kids getting creative using paper. Markers are probably going to go. Up till now I've had a hard time resisting buying them at the store. But I just gave the little girls some new markers that I'd held on to that were meant for stocking stuffers on Christmas. And they love them, but they leave the lids off. So after 2 days when I find one again that's been without it's lid for a few days, I just throw it in the trash. From here on out, so help me, I'll save the money. We'll keep paper though. Yes, it makes a mess, but it's okay cause I know I can just throw it all way. If I throw away something they wanted, then hooray, they get to make it again! Paper is a good toy. Creativity is good.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Digitizing Scrapbooks

Once upon a time, I spent my free time scrapbooking. I bought papers and stickers and took pictures with film and printed them at Costco. My dad had a digital camera. He took a picture of our first born son and it was the first one I had, cause he was able to print it from home with his color printer. I thought it was a precious picture. And I had just the paper to put it on. And thus was scrapbooked the first photo I ever scrapbooked~ Little Baby Joseph just one week old.
I was a serious scrapbooker for a solid 5 years, or atleast feigned to be - having lots of cardstock and stickers and markers and an area where I did my work. I did baby's first birthdays and eventually got to our wedding photos and a little of college. Then I tried to keep up with scrapbooking life as each kid joined our life. I started to fall behind when Corey started his MBA and money was tight and space more limited in our student housing apartment. Then Wesley came along which continued the time crunch, then we moved to DC... I was still taking lots of photos but wasn't able to keep up with the scrapbooking workload. Then moved to Brazil, and there it officially stopped. I stopped printing pictures in 2007 cause I already had like 6 photo albums to do... no need to print more until I'm starting to make a dent in those. But I began to blog a little, then blogged as my official hobby when we went to Costa Rica. That was when my scrapbooking went the way of all the earth.

So I've got a good fifteen 3-ring binders of scrapbooked pages in their sheet protectors. What to do with them. Well, I've been thinking when the kids are on their missions, I plan on keeping their emails and photos copied and pasted right away over to a blog that I can print up for them. Hmm, maybe it would be good to get started on that, but how? Well, on Sunday, my friend Kathy O. from our church ward told me about how she just learned at Roots Tech how to scan and organize photos. Then she came over yesterday to show me how with my phone and so I've started! I've scanned the scrapbook pages with the PhotoScan App and then will figure out how to organize them in Google Photos, where you can organize by person, place, by event and such.
I'm still toying with it, and depending on the picture I think just taking a photo might work better than the photo scan sometimes but we'll see if I'm able to do this. I've got enough work that I could be busy for the next 100 years. If only I didn't have to raise a family or sleep or do dishes, but then I guess I wouldn't be enjoying or creating all these events to be documented. I'll try to enjoy the now and I know that someday if I ever do send my last off to kindergarten or if I ever am an empty nester, I've got lots of projects to keep me busy. It will be fun to do, whenever I get to it!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Missed Alarm

This morning I missed my alarm and didn't wake up the kids, thus everyone was running late. Is it kinda ironic to sleep in the day after I write a post about how I'm the family alarm clock? It wasn't on purpose. Actually it's probably the shoveling snow at 3 am that did me in, especially cause I never got a nap. I guess I do have physical limits. So last night I went to bed at a decent hour, but I had also been gone all day, so I had to charge my phone, and my side of the bed doesn't have a night stand, so I plug it in across the room. I went to bed trusting that I'd be woken up several times during the night, as usual, and would grab it then. I have the alarms set on a very low volume cause I can wake up to it fine that quiet and cause I don't want to give any loud alarms the chance to possibly wake up the sleeping baby next to me. So anyway, Daniel slept through the night, I slept through the night, I woke up at 6:45 and sat up right away... it is light outside the window, and I don't think it's a Saturday... we're late! I looked out under the crack of our door as I got dressed to see if the bathroom light was on (the kids always leave on the light) and nope, it wasn't. I bet that that means everyone is still sleeping! Go to peek in their rooms and sure thing - Joseph and Ethan were supposed to be at Jazz band at 6:30 but they were still in bed. Woke them up - "It's 6:45" Go to wake up Mel "Mel, it's 6:45..." (she had to catch carpool in 5 minutes. She is great at hussling and getting out of the door quick and she made it. Hyrum left on time at 7:10 for carpool, Ethan staggered out the door at 7:20 for the same carpool as Hyrum and was lucky that they waited for him.  Wes left at 7:30, then I went to wake up Lily, Abi was already awake from the 6:45 frenzy. Abi and Lily left at 8:30. Lily had time to read and do her math before she left. And that was our school morning. Have I mentioned that the kids are at 4 schools? This will be the last year of that though. Our kids attend two different school districts and one of them moved the 6th grade to middle school before the 2013-14 school year, the year when Ethan was going into 6th, so we've had to go to the middle school for Eth through Wes, but next year the other district is moving 6th to junior high too, and the 9th to high school~ so no more 4 schools when Abi is entering 6th grade. Something else that is kinda fun - next year we'll have a kids in all 4 grades at Skyline. It's fun to go to school with your siblings, atleast I thought it was.

So I think the chaos we experienced this morning wasn't too bad and was worth the full night of sleep I got. Maybe it's time to let the kids own their own waking time... maybe it will help them go to bed earlier?

What else happened today... I'll mention one good thing and one bad.

Good thing: The kids played really nice today, lots of delightful moments. Hyrum, Abi and Wes took Owen sledding earlier which was cute but I didn't get any pictures. After they got back and were able to watch Daniel, I took Mel to buy new jeans at Kid 2 Kid. I love that store. Unfortunately I got a little excited looking at toys as Mel was trying the clothes on. I was shaking my head at myself, wondering why do I complain about all the excess we have, and then let myself go looking around the toy isle?! I have a problem and need to stay away from toys. But I was looking for classic toys, so I did end up getting a wood puzzle, some wood blocks, and another wood toy.
So we got home from there the same time as Joseph and Ethan got back from Voodoo.

Bad thing: As I get in the house, a few of my "informer" kids come and tell me Ethan, who had been home for seriously less than 2 minutes, had already so bugged and upset Hyrum that Hyrum threw something at Ethan. And now the computer is being weird. Turns out Hyrum hit the computer with the small Bose remote that he threw at Ethan's head, and thus cracked the monitor. One of the new monitors we just got like 2 months ago. Great.
I texted Corey to vent, and it took about 10 minutes of big sighs and breaths before I wanted to talk to them. Stinkers. Please control your tempers! Hyrum was in tears, Ethan apologized, and then they went their separate ways. The rest of the kids kept playing in the front room. Joseph got Owen dancing which was funny and I started to record it. (warning: Natalie gets a little loud)

Soon they were playing Ring around the Rosey in the front room. It was cute to watch. (Glad I wasn't doing it, it can get exhausting cause the kids never want to stop!)

They have their rough moments just like I do, but overall they are great kids and we have a lot of fun. We just need your father to make loads of money to pay for all the breaks and cracks from this fallen world. Chin up, somehow we'll survive the fender benders and broken monitors.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Waking Up at 3 a.m.

I woke up at 3:00 this morning and figured I'd shovel the driveway, cause Corey is going to Seattle again. He wasn't leaving until 5:30, but I wanted the snow shoveled before we drove on it, so now is as good a time as 4:30. I just have to shovel it before it gets driven on, it's part of my north facing house curse/OCD syndrome. If it's last minute shoveling, I'll hurry and plow one line for each row of tires, which has about a 50% chance of lining up when we actually put the car in reverse and pull out. Last night Joseph said he'd take Corey, thinking that would be good cause Joseph could head straight to school to put up their SBO campaign posters. But when 5:15 rolled around for him to get up and get ready, his slumbering incoherence gave the impression that he might want to change plans. Just as well, I was glad to be able to talk with Corey on the drive there. After dropping him off at 6 I began my wake up calls. First to Jospeh - no answer, then to Hyrum, no answer. Melodie - hooray! She picked up, "Will you go wake up Ethan and Hyrum and Wes..." she replied with a drowsy "ok". Then call back "Oh, and Jospeh too. Even though it's late start today, he has to be there at 7 to put up posters." When I got home, Melodie said it was kind of annoying to wake them, cause they lay there and roll over and groan and won't open their eyes and say "I'm so tired!" Yeah, it's annoying. She suggested I don't wake anyone up anymore. Well, I don't think that will work, cause then they'll miss carpool for sure and thus also school for the rest of the year. And that is not allowed if they are enrolled in public school, so then I'd be driving them in each morning. I guess I'd rather be a daily alarm clock than a chauffeur.

Speaking of waking up kids, I have been waking up at 3am this past year more than I would like. Usually it's at Ethan's request. That request often comes after a long day of band practices (Tues and Wed) when he's exhausted and would rather crash and wake up super early to do homework than to try and stay up to complete it in his exhausted state. Thus the reason for this picture taken last Wednesday at 4 a.m.
I got up to wake up Ethan, and whilst I was momentarily absent from feeding my teddy bear, he decided to wake up. So I brought him downstairs where there was someone who could "play" with him. His adorableness helped Eth wake up too, thus why Ethan asked to hold him.
Daniel doesn't know yet that humans are not supposed to be chipper and happy in the wee hours of the morning. Humans don't like 3am, or 4 am. Or 5 am. Most humans tolerate 6, but they don't like it. So get that smile off your face, Daniel! Waking up Ethan at 3 a.m. is something I'd like to stop doing, and according to this article is something I should stop doing for my teenagers. But alas, this is the life we've chosen (aka public school, I wish everyone homeschooled) and usually no one wakes up around here without me doing it. And coming back to double check and triple check that they've gotten out of bed. Yes, something I'd like to stop, but I've been surprised that getting up doesn't seem to bother me lately. Daniel usually sleeps so well that I'm not feeling exhausted like I did with Owen. I guess I've gotten used to the school mornings. I haven't been doing my morning jog or caught a nap for a while (like since Corey's last trip to Brazil last month and this past week in Seattle) hence why my left eye is probably so red and irritated... all dried up. I guess that's probably a hint that I need more shut eye, maybe I'll go take a nap

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Baby Bonk

Today Mel took Daniel into the kids' bathroom, cause he likes to check himself out in the mirror. But Mel is a little camera shy and didn't want to be in the shot... (DANIEL IS SO CUTE!!!)
So she stood close by but also tried to be out of the picture. Little D is sitting up better but still a little rolly polly on bottom. And he rolled back a few times and Mel caught him and caught him again (but she was making me nervous) until he rolled forward instead of back, and that was when Daniel got his first taste of the pain and suffering that comes from living in a fallen world.

Honestly Daniel, you barely bonked. I know you felt like you were skydiving and coming to the earth fast, but you were on a solid surface the whole time and your head only went about a foot down in height. But boy, that sobered him up good. He seemed to very much enjoy the comfort and attention that came to him after receiving such a big dose of hardship. It reminded me of something Ethan said to me once when he was a kid. He was sick and I was taking care of him, and he said "I like to be sick." "Why do you like to be sick?" I wondered. His reply: "Cause then you are nice to me." Ouch. Thus came another note to self that I needed to do better as a mother to my little Ethan. Daniel has lots of mothers. I think I'm his favorite, but he sure seemed to enjoy cuddling up to Mel after bonking his head.
He kept looking back at Joseph, which made us laugh -

I don't know if Joseph was just standing there or if he was making faces or doing something to get his attention, but I loved his little smiles and glances out of the corner of his eyes...
This little boy is just a joy and I'm so happy he is part of our forever family. He makes us laugh and smile and squeel everyday. We love you Daniel!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Plum Leg Warmers

Natalie and Sophi have been playing with their Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Dolls this morning. I've been purging our clothes storage (took two huge leaf bags to the thrift store yesterday) and they got distracted helping me as I looked through shoes and clothes for them. Sophi found some purple shoes and was excited "Now I can be Plum!" If only she had leg warmers. I said I could make her some. We looked through my material but I didn't have enough purple cloth, so I said I'd get some on the next trip to the store. I continued to go through the clothes when lo and behold, we found a pair of purple pants. They were the perfect color! And enough material for leg warmers! In fact, most of the work was already done. Natalie and Sophi were being pretty cute and amazed at me as I got out the sewing machine and showed off my amazing sewing skills. Yes, I can sew a straight line! Sophi kept hugging me and was being super affectionate, telling me that it was okay and she wasn't mad at me for cutting the pants. And asking me about when I learned how to do such cool sewing stuff.
Yes, they were a perfectly good pair of clothing, but that's okay. I cut them in half and sewed up the leg and voilĂ ! Leg warmers! The elastic around the waist is now above Sophi's calves and I think they look just like the Plum doll.
Then we put her hair in a pony tail to finish off the look.
Maybe we'll put curlers in her hair for church on Sunday. Then her pony tail will be curly too and I bet she could be playing Plum all next week. She makes a pretty good Plum. An improvement from the last Plum outfit. Who knows, If I really clear out all the clutter around here I might enjoy sewing little costumes for whatever they're currently imagining, that would be fun.

In other news, Corey has spent the week in Seattle, his plane arrives tonight at 7:30. Then he flies out again on Monday. After 3+ weeks of him being gone recently, it is staring to feel pretty normal. Even the kids aren't asking much where Dad is. I hope they don't attack him too much this weekend. Kids, we want him to be happy at home, we can't maul him. I'm hoping that the more clutter and excess I clear out, the calmer the kids will be, the less stressed I will be, and maybe that will even carry over to how they treat Corey. We're going for calm kids! Calm and clean, we can do it!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Skyline Campaign

Joseph is running for Student Body Office at Skyline. They have President and Vice President run as a team, so he and a girl named Xani made plans to run together. She's going for Pres, Joseph VP. Joseph had the idea to use La La Land as their theme, which was brilliant. He's got a really good idea for the video if they make it past primaries. Here are some of their posters:
Joseph is so busy, but made time to work on these and get them done for tomorrow. They have to turn them in to be approved. Then they will put them up on Monday morning.

Updated - Mon 3/6 - Joseph texted these to me. Today is late start, but he got there early to put them up. He thought he was super early, but when he got there, some of their competition's parents were there ready with ladders and tape on the wall, making sure their kids got the prime poster spot, even before they got their posters back. Neither Xani or Joseph had their parents there helping, sorry Joseph!
I have confidence you can make it without much help from us though, cause your creativity thought of Skyline Land, you've got a great shot, good luck buddy! The Primary elections are in two weeks, and then if they make it past that, they do a video and get a few more posters. 
Go Joseph and Xani!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Treasure Boxes

This past Sunday, we had a little FHE lesson that I was excited about. I had been thinking and planning it for a few weeks as a Valentine/Anniversay activity, so we're a little late for both of those, but today was the only time so far that would work with Corey being in Brazil and he's going to be gone this whole upcoming week too. There were several parts to it, but by 10 pm we'd finally finished all I wanted to do.

Part 1 - we started off before dinner with me reading to the kids the message from President Monson in the February Engisn about love and treasure. I had a treasure box like the mother in that story did, and I put pictures of the kids in it like she did. I used my collection of 2 month baby pictures that used to be on the wall but have since been moved to storage box status. I didn't have 2 month pics of Natalie through Daniel, but thankfully they are too young to notice. I take that back, Natalie noticed. So note to self: find and print some kind of "about 2 month" pictures for N through D. It's hard to keep up with traditions when stores close and times change. Anyway, so that was part 1.
Part 2 - They made their own treasure boxes. I got some photo boxes at Michaels and also printed up photo of each of them when they were little and a current photo. We were going to make things like this to put in the lid of their boxes to serve as little reminders of who they are and who they want to become - similar to a childhood handout that was made for me as part of a church lesson when I was in 6th grade.
I think it's kinda cool that I've kept that church handout for almost 30 years. I should write my teacher and let her know. Here are some of the kids lids:
Lily's new treasure box is now placed safely next to her trophy from 2014, which was here very first trophy!!! (You gotta look at her little face in that link there, so cute.)
Natalie - we didn't finish hers yet, but I'm not in a hurry since I know she won't be the one taking care of it. I'll probably make treasure boxes for Nat, Owen and D in like 5 years or so
Hyrum - he was the CUTEST toddler
Wesley and Hyrum both used as their treasure boxes some wood boxes that Corey's dad made for them for Christmas a few years ago.
Ok, after that activity was done enough to call it good, we got to Part 3: our fancy dinner for our "anniversary/happy birthday to our family". It is the only "party" that I am still doing each year. It wasn't as "party" as I would have liked, but with Corey gone in Brazil and leaving tomorrow for Seattle and us being gone in San Diego, this will have to do. 
We still need a bigger table. We have limited space to put it though... anyone know anyone who can do a custom built in dining area? I'd like to have benches built in all around the bay window and then a big table that fits in with it,
Lastly, Part 4: before bed I gave them one more thing to put in their treasure boxes. I first showed them a corsage that we have in our room that Corey wore on our wedding day. This very corsage was there on that day. It's kinda fun how physical objects have an ability to tie us to a moment in time i the past. They can tie us to the future too... and then I showed them some white ties and bracelets I bought. But the ties were for the girls and a white pearl bracelet (not real pearls) were for the boys. "If you want, you can give this to your fiance for your wedding day. When you see this tie I want you to think about him. He is out there, he is going to be the most important person in your entire life! When you see this tie I want you to think about him and pray for him that he is choosing the right and will be ready and worthy when the two of you are married. And this tie might be around his neck on that day when you are sealed.... or this bracelet will be around her wrist..." and then I said the same things about the bracelet, with a "no pressure/if you want" disclosure: this bracelet is going to be there on that day! Wesley gave me a cute look of "Woah..." as he held the bracelet very carefully. I'll have to ask the kids for some direct quotes of their thoughts, but it will be fun to see who of them actually keeps it and gives it on their wedding day. I think with 11 kids we have about a chance for atleast 5 of them doing it. :) Kinda fun to share ideas and traditions, you never know which ones might still be around in 30 years
Thank you Sister Olds!
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