Monday, December 30, 2013

Ice Castle

Tonight we drove up to Midway to visit the Ice Castle there. It looked surreal and beautiful and so cool! Loved the patterns and shapes, so pretty!
The drive to and from took more time than the actual event for us, but that's cause we only did a quick in and out.
We could have stayed longer, but I wasn't sure what to expect with this being our first time. I recommended that the children attire themselves in pants, socks, and shoes or boots. Lily, our feisty four year old, didn't want to go. So she was just kinda grabbed and forced into the car with the few things we nabbed on our way. Next time we'll make sure she dresses warmer, cause she mad most of the time. But then again, she's just a little Jekyl & Hyde persona right now anyway and I assume will be for the next 6 months until she turns 5. Still, overall I think it was a good surprise and since it was a fresh and new experience, I trust the awe and memory of it will be strong.
Ethan and Melodie were both trying to document with their phone cameras. I told them they can take pictures if they want, but I am the official document-er of family outings. Thus I had to take a picture of them taking a picture.
Lily and Sophia both wanted Corey to hold them and they loved the ice castle from this vantage point. And this here is not an easy thing to do: carry two toddlers as you walk through ice and snow. Being as he stayed up until 3 a.m. helping our friend Eduardo translate (long story there...) he was pretty wiped out already and thus didn't hold them both for very long. As I said, Lily was not well prepared. She didn't bring gloves and was quite unhappy. The phrase the kids repeated the most often during the excursion was "My hands are cold" by Lily... (See Sophia holding a purse there, these little girls are so cute)
and the next phrase runner up was Abi, Wesley and Hyrum all looking inside the tiny icicle caves and saying "I wish I was a Lego!!!".
Those minifigures would have had such a grand adventure in that ice castle, it would have been like them climbing Mt. Everest.
After having enough of Lily's wailing, I volunteered to help not ruin everyone elses' experience by taking her to the car. So with Natalie in tow, Lily and I tried to leave for the exit. It was slow going. Lily faced her trial better when she thought we were on our way out and thus wasn't complaining as we shuffled out way to the exit. I held her hands against my leg. I let her guess as to which path led to the car, and so with her guidance we were able to hang out in the castle a bit longer. When we got to the car, I turned on the hot air and she kicked off her boots and was happy with me in the front seat. We must have taken a long time getting out of the castle, cause we were only in the car heating ourselves up for about 1 minute when everyone else showed up ready to leave. Then Lily got mad at me when I told her she had to go sit in her booster. "I wish I was never in this family!"  My reply "Love you Lily, into the back seat you go..." Her reply: "I'm going to find a new family!" Abi chimed in here with a reply that made me laugh out loud "But Lily, if you do, then you'll find a even worser family!" Yup, can't get much worser than us, ha! :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Killer Musical Chairs

The kids made up a game this evening. It's Musical Chairs, but taken up a notch in intensity. Kinda like how Killer Uno is just intense Uno. Each kid had their turn being "it" and sitting out at the stereo. Whoever was in that role had just as much fun as those being in the game cause they were able to choose the music. Instead of just having the kids go round and round the chairs, they could require them to do a silly dance. Mel and Joe did a Gangam Style dance.
Here Ethan is it at the stereo, music stops... and oh, Mel won!
They also changed things up a bit by, after a few laps around the chairs, shouting out orders for all the contestants to go run to some obscure location in the house and touch some random object or go give a kiss to a cute chubby baby, (that means you Natalie!)
(Natalie with the red-eye reducer light above, without below)
It was cute to hear them laughing and playing. :) Loving Christmas break, even though this first week just went way too fast. Hope next week slows down a bit!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Story Before Bedtime

I got Corey a book for Christmas - "My Name Used to be Muhammad" by Tito Momen. Pretty intense story, wow. Corey started it on Christmas night and finished it in one day. Last night after reading scriptures, he wanted to share a few parts from it with us. The kids were laying down as they listened, but were awake for most of the time. When he'd say "Well, we should stop...." they'd protest and ask him to read more. But one by one they all gave into slumber and Corey finished the book while they all slept on the floor around him.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pointe Shoes

We got Melodie's pointe shoes today. 
We got them at Pat's Dancewear in Bountiful, that's Utah's "Point Shoe Place." Who knew there were so many different kinds of pointe shoes? 
They all look the same, right? But each one is just a little different. She tried on about 10 different kinds, then narrowed that down to 4, and then compared those 4 to each other until she finally decided on a pair that was comfortable. comfortable as pointe shoes can be. (not that I know... I'm not a dance mom. Well, I took a few years of tap dance, but I don't know anything about ballet.)
It was about an hour process. Sophia, who is all about shoes (from her Christmas dolls yesterday) seemed to enjoy watching Melodie. We are pretty sure that "shoe" is Sophi's favorite word.
We've all been sick during this holiday week. Sophia's still got a stuffed nose and cold, but was a perfect little girl during the shoe process. And she loves Natalie. 
With Mel as the amazing big sister providing the inspiration, it will be fun to see if someday we have a group of little ballerinas. Maybe they can teach me how to do the splits or atleast help me improve my posture. I think I hunch over too much, I should have taken ballet!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I'll probably update this later with more stories, but for now I shall briefly document the two highlights of my day - watching Sophia play with the princesses and their all important shoes! And watching Natalie be totally excited and amazed with Ethan's flying Helicopter. You can see his hand holding it at the top of this first picture. It was pretty cute.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Deja Vu

A year ago we were waiting for the sick bug to finish the rounds. And we're there again. Hyrum and Abi were sick over the weekend, they both missed the last day of school, which was basically a party day. Hyrum was pretty bummed. Yesterday Sophi caught the bug... see her there in the picture below? 
She was watching the video on Corey's smart phone with her siblings. 
She had enough strength to keep her eyes open. Poor little girl.
Sophi's still been sick today, and Natalie and Lily and Melodie all joined her in fever land.
They had a rough morning but have taken long naps this afternoon.

While they've been sick and chillin' with their rice bags, just like last year, I've been having another deja vu from last year. Guess what the kids discovered in the basement this morning? A soaked carpet! Our basement is flooding again! What are the odds, huh? Last year it was on Christmas Eve with a clogged sewer. This time it's nice clean water from the water tank. It's seal is broken. Good thing we are renting from the best landlords in the world. But it might mean trouble for kid's town...

I shall remember that there are no problems in life, only situations to be dealt with. This is just a situation. I've been dealing with it okay. Although I did start to curse our luck when I couldn't change the lightbulb in the room where the water tank was. It popped off and left the bottom part of the light bulb screwed in, then as I tried to get it out with pliers I ruined the whole thing. But atleast I didn't get electrocuted. Yes, just situations to be dealt with. I shall not give into my pain body that wants to yell at the world. Chin up!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mom Confession

Well I'm feeling like a total hypocrite for my spouting of "how to have a good day" stuff two days ago, cause today I was GRUMPY. And unfortunately it wore off on everyone else. I think the problem was being woken up and not waking up on my own. (*See note to self at end) I woke up to a big pounding on the door at 9:00. Why was I still in bed? I shouldn't have been and won't be again (*Yes, see note to self at end)- someone was here to pick up Melodie. Um, Mel? Last I heard, as we planned the day out the night before, you were leaving with her father for orchestra at 9:15? I asked her what was going on, she forgot about this thing with the neighbor, she'd double booked herself. She quickly decided to go with the neighbor to be an elf helper for a little Christmas service project, and Corey still had to go to orchestra without her cause he'd volunteered to do something there today. Anyway, so she was off and Corey was off, and my day was off on the wrong foot.

Now had I had my habitual school morning with some quiet time in the car to pray and affirm my mood (can't believe I'm missing my school morning schedule!) I might have had a normal day. But, although it wasn't a big deal, the pounding on the door like there was an emergency and not knowing what the crisis was and answering it in my robe, yeah, just set me off on the wrong foot. I got dressed and started to zombie walk my way around my house. And as I beheld the mess that was my home the downward spiral began. Want to see pictures? Oh, fine. Yes, this is our current life. This is what happens the house usually looks like on Saturday mornings, (after kids have a movie night and Corey and I are gone on a date) but I just wasn't ready for it today. Here's the evidence, first one:
This small pile of paper, which I recognize "is not Valley Forge", (speaking with the big picture in mind of trials that people on this earth have endured) was made my Melodie last night. And now she was not home for me to chastise or ask to clean it up. Grr. Why didn't she clean it up last night? She had been making beautiful snowflakes to decorate the house with. Good idea, but...
...poor Melodie's snowflakes just happened to be created in a house with little girls who are just too curious when they see something new taped to the windows and walls. Ooh! What are these? (rip and pluck them all off the windows...) oh, they're snowflakes! Cool. Smash and crumble into a pile and throw it somewhere. (That was Lily and Sophi who did that.) Let's go look at the girls' bedroom:
Hi Abi, how you feeling? (she's been sick for 4 days) Sigh. Again, Melodie's not here to help her sisters clean, therefore probably not going to happen until she gets back, and who knows when that will be. Let's go look at the boys room:
Hmm, better than usual, so that's nice. And since it's 11 in the morning I'm glad to see that they're all finally out of bed. (Poor Joseph had such a busy day yesterday, with no school and a full day of skiing to put in, poor chap, it's pretty rough.)
Next room, the laundry room. Ahh, my desk. My laundry room desk. My personal dumping ground that the kids rummage through occasionally and make more disorganized that it already was. How to fix this bad habit, I do not know. Right behind the desk, the laundry piles:
Clean piles all over the floor. Since no one around here knows how to fold. I try sometimes, but I just get it all messed up. I can hardly tell any of the boys' clothes apart, so I try to have a boy and girl basket and they can fold them... yeah, never happens. Gotta help them make a habit there. To my room:
I have made my bed! Good job me. Blankets all over the floor. I'm not liking that cast iron above my bed, another project that I do not ever get to cause I walk around like a zombie trying to process where to start with cleaning this place. And do not look at my dresser...
NO! I said don't look! Here we have the one downside of being tithe payers ~ Malachi 3:10 "there is not room enough to receive" or store all the blessings, they overfloweth. And back downstairs, ah, Joseph is awake and has eaten his breakfast. Does he see all this mess around the house that I see? Yes, he is studying it closely, looking at one of the spare Christmas lightbulbs that Lily threw up in the sky like rice at a wedding. So, Joseph, shall we lay around today and look at it all or shall we clean it up? Yeah. Ok, I shall continue to walk around and look at it all.
I turn behind me to behold the closet, and that was when I started to give up. "I'll just clean the house after they're all in college..."
All I ask these children, ALL I ASK (ok that's not true) is that they PLEASE PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE SHOE CUPBOARD AND COASTS IN THE COAT CLOSET and HANG THEM UP and Please, we timed each of you doing this simple mundane task and it took 10 seconds top, AHHH! And how's that for a mom confession? Sigh. I just can't keep up with these kids... Kids... Kids? Where are these kids? There they are!
Yes, of course! The 2 year old is doing the hokey pokey on the island counter!
Sigh. Well, on the bright side, as I nurse Natalie for hours on end I get to read a lot. I'm learning all about how to get on top of my game. And someday I'll do it, too. As for now, it's midnight, and that was the longest uninterrupted time I've had to blog in a long time. Goodnight.

*Note to self, I shall begin to establish a habit of waking up before my little hurricanes do and I will listen to Piano Guys and say and think happy thoughts and pray and stretch and breath and I love these kids more than anything!!! I know it seems like foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14), but you just have to be a parent to know. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Popcorn

We've been making some Christmas treats this week to give to neighbors. My friend Monica made this stuff every year and we loved it. She's since moved from the neighborhood so we're taking over the tradition. The kids voted for no nuts, they still haven't learned that nuts are delicious. We made some of our own toffee, so that was in big chunks rather than bits, and also Abi wanted to add some marshmallows to the mix so we did.
We had like 5 big bowls going to try and toss all the stuff in the white chocolate to get it evenly coated.
Looks like a lady named Tami deserves the original credit for this delicious concoction, but we call this Monica's Popcorn. Pretty tasty! It was fun to do it together. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How To Have A Good Morning

On page 47 of the Change Your Life Challenge book, Brook shares her belief that a bad morning can cause a whole day to go bad. I didn't agree with that at first, wanting to deny that I could let a bad morning define my day, but as I tried her little experiment and re-read her chapter, I do agree that our mood does define our day, and our mood usually begin when we wake up in the morning, so we've got to intentionally and deliberately try to make our mood be a good and positive one.

So, she says to repeat this little positive statement to yourself each morning to help you start out on the right foot:
"Something great is going to happen today
... I can't wait to see what it is!"
Kinda hokey, right? Yes, it is, and she admits it is, but she said just do it anyway, and since I'm trying to do my homework from this book, I have done it. After doing the morning shift of carpooling, when I'm all alone driving back home, I've had the radio off and faked a good mood and said to myself very energetically "Today's going to be a great day! I can't wait to see what happens!" Say it again, Tiff, louder! "Today's going to be a great day! I can't wait to see what happens!" One more time, let me hear you like you mean it!!! "TODAY'S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY!! I'M EXCITED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS!!!" There ya go!  And you know what, after saying three or four or ten times, I feel like a silly goof and I actually feel kinda happy! Look at that, it works!

So, on Tuesday, Ethan was having a bad morning. The day before had been super busy for him - jazz band at 7 a.m., school all day, home at 3, off to jazz band practice at 4, home from that at 7, then dinner, and right after dinner we had Family Home Evening and... he fell asleep during my doctrinal discourse which was apparently too long for most of my audience. I think we lost 5 of the kids to the sand man that lesson. So, poor Ethan wakes up on Tuesday in a panic cause not only did he wake up late for a normal morning, but he was late AND hadn't done any of his homework. When Ethan is feeling behind... it... makes... him... even... slower. Mel woke up late one morning and she was out the door in 4 minutes, she's fast when she's in panic mode. But not Ethan. Here we were, it was 7:00 a.m. and time to leave for school, and all he'd done in the past half hour was shower and get dressed. I told him that when he wakes up late, it's okay to skip the shower... and then he barked at me (cause he was in a bad mood, right?) He fought anything positive I said with his bad attitude, cause his subconscious mind wanted him to be right, right? It's looking for ways to justify itself: Yep, you're right, see! It's going to be a bad day today! So he was in a bad mood. I was in a pretty good mood since I had this positive self talk on my mind and my brain wanted me to be right too. Plus it's just so easy for me to be in a good mood when I have these bright eyes reminding me every morning (I love you Natalie!!!):
So as I took him to school, I told him that after I drop him off every morning, I talk to myself in the car saying "Today's going to be a great day!" in a hyper teenager voice, and that it kinda works to help me be in a good mood. Don't throw in the towel on your the yet, come on, little buddy, say it with me! And his first repetition was pretty pathetic, then he got into the goofiness of it with me, and when I was dropping him off, we were joking and smiling.

Yesterday he told me "I've been saying that to myself when I feel sad and it really works! I've been in a good mood everyday!" Isn't that great! Now we're going to start applying it to the siblings pecking order that's going on around here. Instead of letting them think "My brother is annoying me!" and then let their brains unconsciously look for ways to prove they are right ("Yup, he just did something Lily didn't like, he's a jerk! Yell at him!") Yeah, we're gonna nip that thing in the shorts and when they start to fight or if I can tell they are being irritated with each other, I'll make them say "I love my brother, he's a good kid" or something like that over and over again until they feel it. It like this re-learning of the idea of the power of words! Here's to another good day!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cut and Draw

I've found my new happy place to work at a little table in my bedroom. When I work at the computer here or read, the little girls usually join me. Lily likes to draw.
Sophia likes to cut. Thankfully she's stuck to paper and hasn't cut her hair yet.
Sophia worked so carefully and quietly, it's sweet. I love these girls.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ski Weekend

We went skiing this past weekend. Corey says you're not supposed to live in Utah without skiing. I got away with living and growing up in Utah without skiing. Well, I take that back... I went once when I was a teenager as a church activity. Corey went skiing a lot and is determined to give the kids the same experience. His determination became fixed when he missed out on winter when we were in Costa Rica/Chile, he vowed to make it up and he did at the first available opportunity. He's been trying to make ski bums out of the kids since then. I've been pregnant or with a newborn, so he's been on his own and I'm glad he owns it and makes it happen - 2012, 2013.

I agree that it's good on several levels. One of those levels is that it teaches the kids to figure things out on their own. One year Joseph and Ethan were out together and got stuck on the face of a black diamond. They couldn't come running to dad for help and whaddya know, when left with no other recourse, they figured it out!  (aka took off their skis and walked down the mountain). Good job kids! Sure, there are risks, and we had one ski injury last winter, but all in all they do well on their own and it helps them come that much closer to adulthood and freedom! Corey's only got two hands and two legs, so he can usually only help two kids ski once out on the mountain. This is how it usually looks:
One kid in between his skis holding on to his legs with the other kid in town via a ski pole.
We usually have to help all ages of children put on their boots, including Joseph, silly boy. Corey said several times that he forgot how much work it was to have fun. Melodie lost her ski pass, fell out of her pocket, so I guess the teenagers aren't totally independent yet, not when they're close enough to us to try and get us to solve their problems. Time to ski away, ski away!
Yeah, once they're out they are on their own (via buddy system) that's where the real fun and magic happen - real life experience. Good job kids. I got to stay with Sophia and Natalie in the cabin with our neighbor and her two toddlers.

We went skiing this weekend cause our neighbors were up at their cabin and invited us to join them. It was so fun. Right next to the run, gorgeous views, just amazing. They were so nice to share their blessings with us. Natalie cozy on the bear skin rug (not real animal but still real soft and warm.)
After the kids all took a soup lunch break they headed out again.
Wes and Tess here below, these two are such a cute pair...
You know all those movies Hollywood makes about a little boy and girl who are best childhood friends who grow up and marry? We'll see in another 15 years if stories like that really happen. If they do, it would be fun to have it happen to them, cause their names rhyme!
We had a great time - Kids out on the slopes with their dads doing the things that dad's like to do - give their kids' experiences and opportunities for growth.
I got to stay in the cozy warm cabin doing what I love - taking care of the little kids while I dream and plan, waiting for the crew to return and tell me their tales of adventure. :)
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