Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hang a Spoon

Joseph taught Sophia a trick, the old "hang a spoon on your nose" trick.  He was so proud of his little student.
When it would fall off she's pick it up and throw it at him.
She's like a little puppy that the kids are trying to teach and train, it's fun.  Cute kids.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ice Cream Picnic

On Monday night, to celebrate the safe return of Melodie and Ethan from their weekend trip to southern Utah, we decided to go to the park for a picnic.  We ate dinner at home first, then had an ice cream picnic.  Rocky Road and Cookies and Cream ice cream cones.  Kid heaven.
Our crew was able to finish off two half gallons before they even had a chance to melt.  I was impressed at their ability to consume.  We've never let them have that much ice cream in one sitting.  Well, maybe sometimes at a buffet restaurant or something.  Usually it's one cone and then I start my "that's enough sugar" lecture.  They even came back for more after the two half gallons were gone.  Sheesh!  That, my friends, is a low-Satiety and highly Agressive food, which I've been learning about (really enjoying this book).  So yeah, not such a healthy dessert for everyone.  I was proud that I controlled myself and just picked out some of the chocolate covered nuts as I scooped up the cones for the kids and then promptly told them to "get this stuff away from me".  That is also why this was a one time celebratory picnic.
After the treats we let them run around the park and they were all playing so nicely, it was great.  Ethan and Mel were especially happy to see Sophi.
Mel ate her ice cream with Sophi, and Ethan played on the slide with her.
They'd go down together, or Ethan would wait for her to go and then ask for her to catch him, to which she obliged.  I loved seeing her little squat, precious!
The girls took a break from tag to go see some horses that stopped by for a visit.
 After they'd worn each other out enough, Corey decided to get in the game.
...which he dominated, of course.  He says that's one of the fun things about being a dad, you finally are the biggest and fastest kid!
 King of the playground right there, oh yeah.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Heart the Miracle Ball

I'd like to give a product endorsement for the Miracle Ball.  I first came upon the Miracle Ball in the fall of 2006.  We'd moved to Virginia and hadn't gotten settled yet, and Corey's back was aching regularly and he hadn't found a chiropractor.  I saw the Miracle Ball at Costco and figured it was a good alternative until he found a more permanent solution.  And we both loved these little things.  I remember hiding in my dark closet and laying on the balls and just letting the stress of my muscles fly away, it was very very nice and relaxing.  Being un-stressed by these balls might be one of the reasons why Virginia was such a great experience and why I absolutely loved it there.  I highly recommend these little miracle balls. They come with a booklet that explains how to use them.  Good stuff.
The kids keep using them as their toys over the years, so they've gotten lost and thrown over the fences or something and are always disappearing and I'm having to buy new ones.  I've got the purple pregnancy pair now that I keep a close eye on and do my best to keep away from the kids.  I'm not able to lay down on the floor very comfortably right now, but Corey uses them still, and I recently had Joe use them ~ here's that story.

On May 8th, the Wednesday after we got home from California, Joseph came to me at night complaining of a painful and stiff hip.  He tried to remember when the pain first started, it was small at first.  We tried to think of what he might have done that caused it to get injured, thinking maybe he landed wrong when he was using the waterslide at the resort ~at the beginning of it you could kinda swing yourself and drop into it.  Also, that night for scouts, they had gone up Bell Canyon on a hike and he fell out of a tree he was climbing.  Then he also ran down the mountain on the hike down.  Two things not good for ones hips, especially if one does not stretch.  So I'm thinking his pain is from tight muscles and joints.  Joe was hurting so bad he could hardly walk, he was trying to be tough but still had tears streaming down in face.  Gave him some asprin, did some googling, and tried to think more of what it could be, but I thought it was stress.  This boy is on the go go go all the time.  For example, on this particular day, he'd left for school at 5:30 a.m. for volleyball practice, then band right after, school all day, stayed after school for track, when he got home at 6:30 he ran in and asked if there was any food-on-the-go cause he had scouts and they were going on a hike, and he grabbed something and ran out.  Came home around 8 and tried to practice music despite the pain, that's when he came to me and told me he was hurting and I took him up to my closet and read to him the first few chapters of the Miracle Ball Book about breathing (breath out slowly while making the "ssss" sound), relaxing, and learning to no hold your breath and your stress in your muscles.  I had him lay down on the miracle ball and told him to relax.  His feet were still totally flexed.  RELAX kid.  You're too young to start seeing a chiropractor already!  Come on, breath.  You're too busy, you gotta slow down your life a bit...  I'm going to intervene here, Mr. Ambitious.  Seriously, I wasn't this busy when I was in 7th grade, it's ridiculous.  Maybe when I was a Senior in high school, but in 7th grade, no, this has got to stop.  He agreed he's gonna skip out on the volleyball next time, but he likes track and band, and 2 things might be okay, I'll think about it.  So the next morning he was still hurting, but not as bad.  I had him stay in bed, use Ethan's crutches to get around, and he stayed home from school and just slept and breathed and relaxed (while I played "yoga relaxation" music on shuffle repeat for him).
He was better by evening and went to school the next day, and now stretching and breathing properly are a part of our daily conversation with each other.  Don't know if Joe or I will ever be as limber as Miss Melodie the Flexible Wonder, but hopefully we'll be able to get rid of some of the stressful "issues in our tissues" (see the video at this link, watch from the beginning to 1:25).  So if you're stuffering from tight hamstrings and lower back pain, start with the miracle ball like us, and the 4 stretches the yoga lady recommends in that video link, and we'll see where we are in a year or so.  :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013


On Thursday we let two of our children fly from the nest.  Melodie and Ethan are in Moab for the weekend with Uncle Mark and his boys.  They are having a holiday weekend of fun camping and river rafting.  We scared them with a few tales of people dying in the rapids - enough so that we expected they will be sober and safe and not make the list of river rafting fatalities this year.  As I picked up Joseph from school on Friday, Aunt Nancy and her family of little girls passed by us on the freeway as they headed down to join in the Southern Utah fun.  Joe's gone on overnight campouts before and several-day-long scout trips, this is the first time Melodie and Ethan have left us.  It makes me a little sad having them get lives of their own, but I guess that's life and it's inevetiable, I shall try to be strong as these occurances become more frequent.  I just got an email from Nancy that warmed my heart though...

"You have some really great kids!  So nice to have them with us- the only kids on the trip that haven't whined and complained about most everything... They help out and are fabulous to have around!!!"

Melodie and Ethan get on each other's nerves quite a bit around here, although perhaps it's no more than that which happens in all sibling relationships.  Still, I did think it would be good for them to be together and that it would help their relationship improve.  Excited to have them back home on Monday and hear about their trip and give them hugs and kisses and tell them that I'm so happy that even when they are grown and gone they will still and always be my kids forever and ever.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Music Practice

The same thing happens every night...  they come home from school at 4, take two hours to play to help them decompress.  Dinner is at 6, then... the music begins.  Music from every corner of the house.  In the study at my computer:
Hyrum's doing the smart music there tonight.  Corey's in the front room at the cd player, trying to convince Ethan that the Soprano Sax is an instrument worthy to touch his lips.
Ethan's not convinced, but eventually (and reluctantly) conceeds some ground to his father.
Joseph is in Corey's office, which Corey rarely uses anymore as it's kinda become the music room, sorry 'bout that dear.
And Melodie is showing off her talent in the kitchen.  After watching some Lindsey Stirling videos, Corey teased Mel that she needs to take it up a notch, and tells her to go jump on the trampoline or something while she plays her tunes.  She came up with this to please him ~ presenting Melodie, the hula-hooping flutist!  
Ethan's gotta get in on the action.  Little trickier with the saxophone.  Although Ethan, aren't you glad you're doing the soprano?  I don't think you could hula hoop with the alto.
Yup, your typical night of music practicing around her.  I was out in the front yard working last night and a couple passed by walking their dog, the man said to me "We went for a walk, we end up with a concert!"  Yes, a concert everynight with music coming from every window and every room.  A great thing for the kids to be spending their time with, great job to their dad.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Little Hobbit

One of Sophi's nicknames is "Hobbit Child" which name I think was given to her by her father one day when her hair looked particularly wild and cause she's just such a little halfling.  In these pictures her hair's been brushed and tamed a little.  When she wakes up in the morning though, she's usually got a real crazy hairdo.
If I don't put it up, she'll just carry on thoughout her day looking like this with hair in her face.  Here Sophi, let me help you brush that hair out of your view.
There it is!  There's your pretty face!!!  A little easier to read that way, right?  What a cutie.

Monday, May 20, 2013

ABC Books

When Joseph was a baby, we had a little board book of "Baby's ABCs" that had pictures of babies holding things for each letter of the alphabet.  As we read through the book one day and I saw B was of a baby holding a ball, I thought "I have a picture of Joseph holding a ball... and I have a picture of Joseph eating an apple..." and that's how I got the idea of a personalized ABC book.  6 of 8 kids have one.  Lily's is almost done.  I have kept up with making one for each kid, ...barely.  My goal usually is to finish the ABC book for a baby before the next baby came along, and I did good through Abi.  I finished hers before Lily was born, and I almost had Lily's done before Sophia was born, but then didn't every wrap it up, not sure why.  Well, Mel's been bugging me a little bit about it, asking when I'm going to finish Lily's ABC book, so I hunkered down and made a goal to finish it this month.  And I made a goal to finish Sophi's book during June.  I finished all the pages for Lily's book over the weekend, I just need to take the trip to Kinkos to get it laminated.  (I know it's FedEx office now or whatever, but I still call it kinkos, and I can do that since I used to work there.)
Love the picture of Corey kissing Lily on K ~ 
there's just something about a man kissing a baby...
So, since I'll have to get Sophia's laminated too, I'm saving myself a trip and will get them both laminated next month after I finish Sophi's book.  Here's how I make the books:

1 - Go through photos from the first 2-3 years of the child's life and pick out cute pictures that you like, trying to find one for each letter.  I usually have like 60+ photos that I narrow down.  Q is usually Quiet, sometimes it's Queen.  For X and Z I've been okay with using a word that had X or Z in it, like Box, Six, or Buzz (Lightyear).  I'll write out the ABCs and then look at each picture and see what letters I could use it for, since I usually end up shuffling them around from one letter to another to get the pictures I want and covering each letter.  Just keep narrowing it down.
2 - Then I figure out the colors that I want for each letter that compliment the final photo that was chosen.

3 - I've always used this type of Sketch notebook for the paper, since it's acid free and the right size for what I want, and I usually have had one on hand.
4 - Then I choose the font to use and go through and draw each letter in the color with a little saying under each picture, and I write the date on the side of the picture.  Here's an example from Melodie's ABC book.
5 - With scissors I round the corners of the pictures and the paper.

6 - Get it laminated - Find a store that has 10 milimeter lamination, as it's the strongest and will make it most durable from when the toddler's handle the books and write on them and get their sweet sticky hands on them.
And that's how I make my kids' ABC books.  :)  As the kids grow and go to college and get married, my plan is to keep them here and then giving them to each kid when their first child has their first birthday.  Won't that be fun!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day of Rest

So, the last thing about our trip to California that I want to document is about going to church in Las Vegas on our way home.  It was Sunday, the day of rest ~ ah, sleep...
Kids were quiet and peaceful in dreamland, but we had to make them get up and eat and get ready for church.  (But they do always look so sweet sleeping, tragic to have to wake them sometimes...)
It was the first Sunday of the month, which means it was fast Sunday.  I knew this before we left and the kids  and I fasted the Friday before we left that they could skip it on Fast Sunday.  Sitting in a car all day is hard enough, didn't want to torture them.  So they woke up and enjoyed the continental breakfast at the hotel, then we tried one last time to get spruced up for church.  Several of the kids were complaining and moping about it.  Ethan in particular was having a hard time.  His white Sunday shirt had gotten poop on the sleeve when he held Sophi last Sunday after we arrived in Escondido - He had got her out of her carseat and carried her inside before he discovered that she'd had a blowout.  Sadly, I didn't make sure to grab his white shirt when I washed the whites that week, so Ethan's only Sunday shirt still had stink on the sleeve.  I tried to wash it out there in the sink in our room with hand soap, but you could still see it and he was repulsed.  That was just stooping too low...  "I'm not wearing that.  It's got poop on it, and NOW it's wet too!!"  Eth, you gotta wear it, it's your only shirt, hurry, we gotta go, we're gonna be late.  "Why do we have to go to church?!?!"  He also grabbed the wrong pair of pants when he was packing at home and they were floods, which he was mad that he had to wear again.  So he didn't feel he looked his best and wasn't in the mood to go, but we made him.   He was talking back and dragging his feet and finally in tears as we left (we were late, hoping to make it in time to take the sacrament).  Poor kids, the pain of obeying parents is real.  We told them were just going to attend Sacrament meeting and then we'll head out and finish the drive home, you guys can do this, let's go. We gave a brief lecture of the importance of church attendance on our short drive to the chapel.  "Kids, we go to church, end of discussion.  It's important.  No excuses.  Instead of trying to think of reasons why you can't go, think of reason why you can and should."  I told them about Shannon Cloward and her life lesson #1 - Always go to church.  This isn't up for debate.

So, we walked into the chapel.  We just made it in time as the deacon passing the bread was just entering the foyer.  Then we went and sat in the back overflow of the chapel for when the water was passed and to listen to the rest of the meeting.  As it was fast Sunday, it was also Testimony meeting.  The second counselor was conducting.  He stood up after the sacrament was passed and said that as he thought about what to share today, he was reminded of an experience of once when he was on a trip to Vernal visiting a friend.  It was Sunday and he didn't have clothes to wear to church, but his friend was going and he knew he should go, so he went in his jeans that he'd been wearing for 3 days and in a white shirt that had some spills from breakfast on the front.  He was embarrassed.  As he was sharing this, I looked at the kids and at Corey a bit amazed, as this was pretty much the same experience we had been having that morning.  He said when they got to church, it was crowded and the only available seats were up on the stand.  He felt so embarrassed.  But through the meeting, he learned that it wasn't important what he looked like on the outside, the Lord wanted him to be there.  The Lord wanted to strengthen him and teach him, and that he needed to attend church for a lot of that teaching to take place.  Attending church was a common theme from the members that day.  Another lady shared how she's just returned from a vacation the day before and hadn't gotten to bed until 3 a.m.  She briefly thought about how it'd be nice to sleep in and skip out on the 9:00 church, but knew what she needed to do, and here she was.  It was just really neat to hear all the testimonies, and that they were teaching us so specifically that day was a very nice tender mercy from the Lord, I think it was a little gift and pat on the pack for the kids, for them to know that the Lord was aware that it's hard sometimes, but that they did the right thing.

We left after sacrament meeting and listened to a cd called "Gratitude, the theory of relativity" by Mary Ellen Edmunds on the drive home along with conference cds.  The Gratitude one was great and continued the lesson we were learning that day - we have absolutely nothing to complain about.  We had to go to church - could that possibly be a big trial, considering the trials of hunger and thirst and poverty in the world?  It's all realtive.  Great talk there by Sister Edmunds, love it.  Life is good.  We arrived safely home and were able to get somewhat unpacked and ready to get back to reality the next morning with school and music lessons and the rush of our busy family.  The kids had lost of homework to catch up on, but we're almost done, summer will be here soon, excited for the short summer break.  Always feels short to me atleast.  And a new baby will be here in July!  I'm excited to keep busy until the baby comes, then looking forward to trying to slow down time as I know that baby, like all the others, will grow up too fast before my eyes - I'm going to practice now to enjoy each moment and make time slow down by being fully present in the present moment I have. (That's a quote from 1000 Gifts, great book)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daddy Daughter Date

Last night Abi and Wes decided they were going to go on a date.  They've gone on dates before, but it's been a while.  This one seemed to be planned a bit at the last minute, as it was past dinner time and getting late and it's a school night.  Abi got all dressed and started to set things up, but then Wesley canceled on her so he could finish a lego game with Hyrum.  So sad.  She was all dressed up with no where to go. Corey had mercy on her little girl heart and asked if he could take her on a date.  She said yes.  They went to Wendy's.
So it was a step up from a regular one on one cause of Abi's attire.
She might have been a bit over dressed for fast food, but lucky for her kids can get away with that kind of imaginative stuff.
Ooh-la-la Abi.  She's a cutie, and my heart is full as once again at her awesome dad that made her night.  What a guy.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day Circus

On Mother's Day this past Sunday we had a little family BBQ dinner in the back yard.  After dinner, Corey got creative again (lots-o-kids and cousins make his survival instincts kick in) and soon he's come up with a game that involved the kids lining up and jumping through a hoop.  Hyrum won the gold on that one, he did it  diving through the hoop head first and landing flat with a belly flop on the hard grass.  It was pretty funny.  It evolved bit by bit, we brought out a mattress from inside.  Corey wouldn't jump without a matress, giving the disclaimer before his jump - "This is how grown-ups get hurt, thinking they're still young..." Then we added a kid role of "alligator", who tried to grab the gazelles as they hopped by.
Next, why don't we try the "kid toss" - hold 'em by their neck collar and shorts...
I love all the laughing faces in this one below, especially Melodie.
Who's next?  Wesley's turn!!
Everyone was having a fun time.  Corey, Uncle Mark, and Grandpa all jumped through the hoop, it was so fun.  Corey is so good at making this spontaneous fun happen.  He's the fun one.
Corey's turn as the alligator.
Then they did a little bit of Gladiator Jousting too, I was just laughing the whole afternoon and the kids were on cloud nine too, having fun and being in awe of their awesome Dad.
Nothing better on Mother's Day than knowing your kids provided for and loved by a great father.  A million thanks to his mother and father for being the amazing parents that raised him.  I'm forever grateful.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Last day of our vacation was Saturday May 4th.  We had a nice easy morning, the kids helped clean and pack their stuff, then we went swimming.  Lily was happy to have her floatie back from the big kids.
Of course we covered up thick with the sunblock again.  At the Welk resort they have several pools by different buildings, this time we went to the one with the bigger and better waterslide.  The pool was of course busy for a weekend and a Saturday.  Having been spoiled from having the pool to themselves a few nights ago, I laughed as I heard Hyrum reveal his strategy to Wesley.  Wesley told him to stop splashing so much, and Hyrum said "If we splash, people will go away from us!"
Abi loved the waterslide.
All the other kids liked the slide, too, but soon they all voted to go up to the bigger pool where we'd been the other day.  Didn't have that to ourselves but it is larger and more accomodating to the crowds.
Lily took her lego minifigure bee girl into the pool despite my warning not to.  She lost her honey bucket in the water.  So sad, but she handled it well.  
And Sophi was just her sweet little self that she usually is in public (turning into a little 2 year old at home...)  She hung around in my arms, eventually fell asleep as I held her with the waves gently rocking us in the pool.  Then we decided it was time to be on our way to Vegas so we didn't arrive there too late.  We ran back to the room, changed  into our clothes and put the food from the fridge into the cooler and we were on our way home around 4.  It was a great trip.  Escondido was beautiful.  I could live there.

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