Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Area

Well, our house guests left on Saturday morning. I had plans for the kids to help me reclaim my basement office area on Saturday evening, but it didn't happen. Today I did it myself. This morning I made a pathway and brought my treadmill back in, yay! The kids needed to leave for school and Daniel was awake, so after sending them off, my baby played sweetly with a toy on the floor as I did a 20 minute jog with a few walks and a few sprints in between. I put the treadmill in a different corner that I think works much better than where it was before. My cd player is also nicely within reach so I can skip songs as needed. I also have my yoga stuff set up. I took apart the beds, moved the black table back in and made a vase of flowers for it that I think is cute and pretty, I'm in the process of bringing my weights back downstairs. I moved them up into my bedroom closet when they came in February, thinking I could do a little resistance exercises in there... never happened. I also raked up the pile of leaves out the basement door that were wet with rain and stuck on the cement. Hopefully it will dry up a little and then I can sweep it off. Anyway, so far I'm really happy with how it looks!
I even have my laptop here at my desk again! And I'm typing here rather than in my closet on the floor. Well here is Wes sitting at it as I took a picture of it.
I still have to go through all my little piles on the desk shelves and on my bookshelves on the opposite wall behind me. When Angela and her girls first came, this office area was a total mess, and I was stressed out as you might recall. This is the only carpeted area in the basement, but it was a mess, so I cleaned up the lego area instead and put their beds up there. It wasn't the best, as it has cement walls, but was all I could do at the time. When they got here though they cleaned up this area and wanted to move their beds over here where it would be warmer. I felt kinda like a bad host for setting up the beds in a bad area... We've been watching the Kindness Diaries on byutv. It's a little documentary of a guy traveling around the world relying only on the kindness of strangers to give him gas for his motorbike, food, and a place to stay each night. Like two weeks ago we saw him stay with a family in India where they said "Guest is God" and a guy and his pregnant wife slept on the floor so his kids and Leon could sleep in the bed (I think it was the guy in the blue shirt at :10 here). That would have been the more charitable thing for us to do for our guests, but maybe not for 2 months? I was impressed with them though - As I sit here in comfort and luxury I hope that someday I can learn to be as charitable to others as poor people in India.

Anyway, so my closet has been my homebase for a while and the house is pretty desordenado, but not much more than usual I guess. I'm glad to be able to put it back together. The kids and I have been talking about clearing out most of the junk in the unfinished area and turning it into a roller skating area, ha! I think it would be fun, we'll see if we can actually get rid of all the clutter, cause that would be fun. I still remember playing at my friends house as a kid, her name was Krissy Vargeson (Not sure of the spelling there... I can't find her on facebook...) - we set up a whole street area in her garage, with chalk roads, yield signs, stop signs, and we'd ride around her garage on our bikes, it was so fun. It would be fun to set up something like that here - and Owen and Natalie can ride their scoot bikes and trikes around it while the older kids use roller blades, skates, or ripsticks. Fun fun! I'm going to go clean some more and see if we can do it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mel's Talents

Just a few pictures of Mel a few weeks ago doing what she does best:
Best thing #1 (which is also what she loves the most): Snuggling with her baby brother Daniel.
She can always get him to sleep and he always looks so content as he lays on her chest. It's the sweetest.
Best thing #2, which is kind of a hidden/unknown talent to the rest of the world: Making herself and all of us laugh with any random object she finds in the house that happens to spark her creative side. Object of the moment is a hat loom.
The looms were out and about as Mel taught Cata and Gabby how to knit hats with it. Seeing a loose loom, Mel tried it on as a hat. Then over her head and around her neck as a necklace. Then putting it off it puffed up her hair so nicely that she thought she'd try out some hairstyles to see what it would look like to have such volume!
Ya look good Mel! And you're a weirdo.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wride Family Clue

We are trying to clear things up in the basement once again. As we shuffled through one of the many bins of clutter and junk, we came across these cards, which I thought I'd take a picture of so I won't feel horrible if I decide to throw them out in the trash.
These are from a Clue board game that I made years ago for the kids to play with the Wride cousins at Park City. I'm guessing this was in 2010 before our trip to Costa Rica and Chile, cause Lily was about a year old in her photo. (I can't find hers but I remember). Our version was a little more kid friendly than the murder solving Clue version sold at stores. In ours, you need to find the room in Grandmas' house where the grandkid ate the dessert without permission.
I painted a board of Corey's parent's house, took pictures of the rooms of their house, of each Wride grandchild, and also pics of the dessert erasers I was using for the game pieces. I also made a game pieces for each kid with a photo of their face on a painted dice. Covered it in Modge Podge. Then I had the cards laminated. I thought it was pretty cute. I'm not sure what happened to the board. I think little kids attempted to eat more than a few of the dessert erasers, thinking they'd taste good. Sorry to disappoint. I'll make another one someday, maybe of all my kids when they're grown, and then their children can come play Clue at our house and choose which dad/mom or aunt/uncle they want to be for the game. I'll update this with more pictures of the cards of the other kids if we find them.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Early Birthday

A few weeks ago I tried to get Natalie excited about the bathroom. I told her if she went to the bathroom I'd take her out for ice cream. She didn't care. How about fruit snacks? Meh. A toy? Candy? Nope, she wasn't taking the bait. Nothing that I thew out there seemed like a big enough deal to catch her attention. I had to think "Big to a 3 year old" - then I came up with "It can be your Birthday!" and that worked! So a "birthday present" it was. I was even willing to do cake and balloons, whatever was necessary to get this training going. It still took a week, but then after I showed her the Ariel lego she could get "for her birthday" she was ready and she was successful and she wanted payment. Thus I gave her a present. They all got lost in building it and Natalie didn't bring up or seem to want the whole cake and ice cream party. But still I was hoping it wasn't premature. Thus to keep her motivated, and since Corey was gone, I said that he had a surprise for her, too! "But you have to keep going potty until he gets back." Well that was enough motivation, and she has kept up her toilet independence and hasn't had one accident on the floor or carpet. Hence I do hereby declare that she has been the easiest of my children to potty train, thank you Natalie!

So Corey got back home and Natalie had told me that she wanted a Rapunzel Lego. So I ran out and bought a Rapunzel lego set for Natalie for Corey to give to her. But then I saw a Moana lego set too and I thought it was so cute (I have a toy problem) so I got that. And a Wonder Woman set for Sophi, cause I have another toy problem in that I can't get something for one kid without having to eventually fork out gifts for more kids. So I put those at the top of my closet and said I'd save them for birthday presents.

Then, when Sophi cried on the way home from my Wednesday scripture study group cause she didn't get to sit by Daniel or Owen again, I told her I had a surprise for her. She is really patient with Natalie (Natalie's kinda the boss and gets her way pretty much always, sorry Soph!) To get her to stop wailing I told her thank you for being so nice, followed with "Would you like a lego?" So I gave her the Wonder Woman toy - Sophi had been dressed in one of Melodie's old Liberty ballet costumes the past week and I thought it was perfect for her, cause it kinda looks like an America Girl Lego. Then, I decided I didn't want to wait to give Moana to Natalie. The kids have been singing it this week - all the way to the airport on Monday when we picked up Corey, ya gotta love YouTube. And I justified it by telling myself that it's okay cause it's her birthday gift from us, for real. She'll get enough other things from Corey and grandparents on her birthday, so I said these will be the gifts from me. So, Happy Birthday Natalie! You're not 4 yet, but here ya go, gifted along with some new Disney princess underwear. It's official, you're a big girl
So Natalie, that is what you got for your birthday when you turned 4 in 2017, even though you got it before you turned 4. I also got her a dress at Kid to Kid a week ago, cause I can't take kids' shopping with me without having to buy stuff. I have problems if I go alone and if I go with kids, I can't win! But when Natalie said "This dress is Perfeck!" I just had to, cause she is adorable.
I wish I could record everything she says and does, cause her little voice is seriously the cutest. "Happy Birthday" Natalie! I love you! We'll take you out to eat on your real birthday. :)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Thursday

At church this past Sunday, the children in their Primary class made an advent box to help them know the things that happened during the last week of the Savior's mortal life. Some of those events were emphasized at a stake fireside that night by Eric Huntsman that was so great. Here is his blog where there is lots of great stuff I want to refer back to next year. Brother Huntsman emphasized how he and his children especially know and are aware that the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane took place on a Thursday. I wanted to really remember the Savior and what he did for us on Thursday, and it has been a day to reflect. I especially loved reading the scripture from their advent box tonight, they all paid attention really well and I think felt the great awe of what Jesus did for us. We read the account in Mark 14 of his verses 32-42. Pretty sobering words. I imagined out loud to the kids: Here was the Savior, he's known for an eternity that this moment was going to come, and now it's here. He knew that it was going to be so hard... and now that it's here, he's got to do it! He's amazed perhaps as some of the feelings and suffering begins, or amazed at how much he's scared and doesn't want to do it? He fell on the ground, was astonished... and this was just the beginning of the next 24 hours for him - most likely not getting any sleep or rest during his night time trial and obviously no moment of repite the next day as he was scourged and crucified. He was alone, the sheep scattered, and then the shepherd was slain.
I really enjoyed talks from this last General Conference emphasizing the Savior and his Atonement (esp Pres Nelson) and talks that mentioned memorizing "The Living Christ" (Elder Ballard and Pres Nelson) - I'm setting a goal to memorize it by the end of May. I want to draw nearer to Christ. I did better this Easter than we've ever done and I hope to make this an Easter tradition for our family. I'll have things planned out better next year, but I'm glad it's in the forefront of my mind now.

"There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Dec. 2000)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Passport Brothers

Corey got back from Brazil on Monday. He's thinking he needs to be there full time again if possible. Thus we thought it best to get the passport/visa process started for these two new additions so that we can have the option to all go to Brazil with him. So we went down to the clerks office yesterday to get it done, but there was a big line waiting (the DMV ain't got nothing on the country clerk's office!). And then when we read they don't take passport photos for kids under 5, we decided to bail and try again another day. So I left and went straight to Costco to get their pics taken.
Owen had stranger danger, but I kneeled down and held him up like I was going to toss him in the air, and we got that great mug shot of a happy little guy. For Daniel they laid him down on a white towel on the table, thus making his face looking particularly round and his eyes a little squinty-er than usual... all that chub weight pulling his skin down! Cute boys.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Teenager

Tonight the moment came when we had to deal with Ethan's contacts. One of the reservations I had with contacts was what I believed would be the incurring expense of ordering them. Tonight one of his contact trial lenses ripped, thus the moment to order more was upon us. He thought we should pay for them, since it's a birthday present. No, son, we do not have room in our budget for this luxury for you. We will not be paying for these. With Corey's help we were able to come to a compromise that we'll pay for as much as we pay for glasses for the kids each year, which we said we'd round up to $100 (but this past eye glass season since we didn't go in for exams when we should have, that $100 a year was stretched to 2 years!) So we're giving him a deal by sponsoring that much for him. So we asked him to pay for the rest of it past the $100 allotment from us. He kinda was ticked at us and complained about it. I had done some research of the cost and it was about $40 for a box, and you need one box for each eye and that will last 3 months. He then proceeded to tell us what a great deal $40 a box was. Well sure, it's easy to think something is a deal when you're not the one dishing out the money. He's got to feel some of the pain that comes from parting with cash, and not just for your Wendy's fries and Frostys. "But I'm trying to save my money!" We are too... (I bet Ethan's been more successful than us) It all just disappears, we know! We understand, we get it. We mentioned buying so much food to feed everyone and then he started to complain about how we have no food and all he ever eats is Top Ramen. "We have food besides Top Ramen..." "I'm hungry all the time! We don't have any food here!" I just thought "Whatever" and didn't want to talk to him about anything anymore, but then as he stormed out of the room to get his $40 contribution for his contact lenses, he said "You don't know what it's like to be a teenager!" Corey and I looked at each other and smiled. I think this was the first time that that line was used on us. Corey then said "What he meant to say was 'You don't know what it's like to be a teenage boy...'" Ok, well that is true. I agree that I don't know what it's like to be a teenage boy.
So then I spent an hour figuring out where to order contacts. I figured out how to enter his prescription online - where to find the Power, CYL and AXIS numbers, whatever those mean... and how to enter his ophthalmologist, and we had shopping carts with lenses in them from two places - America's Best and 1-800-contacts but I bailed with both of those cause it was like a 6 month supply for $170, not the $140 we planned on. I thought we'd wait until I could ask someone who knows for some help. But one more google search led me to where the ACUVUE OASYS for ASTIGMATISM were only $29.99 a box! I ordered a 9 month supply for $153. And Ethan knows that after this, he's on his own, so he's got 9 months to save up his saxophone lesson money to order them for himself next time.

Most all the kids were in the kitchen area or close by and heard the exchanges taking place between us and Ethan as we discussed money and life and paying for things. They mostly felt sorry for me, as Abi, Lily, and Wesley all came up to give me a hug and let me know I'm a good mom. I think that seeing how Ethan treats us sometimes might forever innoculate them against teenage-hood, cause it's hard on all of us. Hopefully they'll remember how it felt to be on the other end and when their teenage urges and drama are ready to surface, perhaps they'll pause and think that they don't want to be the one acting like teenager Ethan acted. Melodie also came up into my room later and told me how dad once said that Ethan is the teenage daughter we never had.

I love you Ethan. but I will say you have been our first official teenager, and it's hard. Please don't let it hurt you feelings, it's nothing personal. When Owen is older I'll let him know he was my hardest baby (Daniel's been awesome) I'll tell Sophi that she was hard to potty train (Natalie was a piece of cake). When I was pregnant with Hyrum it was great, for most of you it was not. There are a lot of phases of life with each of you kids, from pregnancy through when you fly from this nest you call home and begin your own life. You are a great kid and you're gonna turn out great, I know you'll be great cause you're a little Corey, and he's the best ever. But I will still say that I'm looking forward to the day that this teenager phase will be behind us! We can make it! Love you

Friday, April 7, 2017

Potty Training Champ

Guess who is a big girl?!?! It's Natalie!! This little girl is officially trained. She started using the potty last year, but then lost interest after Daniel was born. She digressed a little after he came along... she'd pretend to be a baby and talk like a baby and I think she thought it was more fun to be like the baby. Thus: no potty. It's much better to be like baby and wear diapers. I tried to bribe her with treats, ice cream, toys... Nope, nope, nope. If she's not willing to do it, I'm not willing to train. I've tried that before and don't like training them if they're not interested. But then on Wednesday, this past week, I showed her a picture of the Ariel set that she could have if she went poop in the potty. (It was one of two extra set that was kicking around from our Christmas surplus stash). "I want that pink mermaid! I want that lego present Ariel present!" Ok! Go poop in the potty and I will get you that present! And then it just clicked and now she is a potty training machine. She has not had one accident on the floor - There have been two wet accidents in the morning in her pull up but that is okay. She's been doing so good, then today she did #2 in the potty, so yes! Here is your lego!
I don't fear rewarding her too early, cause I really think she's really got it down. But just in case, I did tell her that if she goes poop in the potty lots more times, then Daddy has a surprise for her too that he will give to her after he gets back on the airplane. Should be enough motivation to get the habit established since he doesn't get back till Monday. Go Natalie! Thank you for being easy to train!!! You win the prize so far for easiest trained toddler, thank you!
And a few pictures of her asleep in Joseph's bed from a few days ago
 I thought she looked like a little angel. 
 Pretty Natalie <3 p="">

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Budding Entrepreneurs

It's week two of spring break. The older kids had spring break last week, so that is when we take the family trip, cause the younger kids don't have a ton of homework to make up if they miss school. So it was Las Vegas last week, they got back Wednesday, and then Wes, Abi, and Lily all went to school on Thursday and Friday before they started another spring break week, this time for them. After the trip, the older kids mostly slept the rest of their spring break days away. But not this kid:
The kid on the right there is my kid Wes. In this pic above I told them to pose, saying "Pretend you're talking about where your next appointment is..." So Wes spent his break in an up and coming car cleaning business. It was his friend Christopher's idea, and C asked Wes if he wanted to be his partner. C's parents gave him a small business loan to buy the wagon, small vacuum, cleaning supplies and even car air fresheners. They were at work all day yesterday and earned $100 bucks! They also had return appointments today for cleaning cars and pulling weeds. I saw them out there working and though it was just cute, in their little baseball caps and everything pushing their wagon. Here they are eating some chocolate - they went halves on a mega Mr. Goodbar candy bar.
That was my master plan for spring break - go to Walgreens and stock up on giant candy bars to use as bribes/incentive to get the kids to clean. Abi has been my best worker as usual (she took a little break with our visitors here, but today she's been in the zone, I really don't know how she works so fast! On my way back from buying Abi her reward (and a few extras) I saw Wes and C out working so I drove by and sold them a candy bar. Yeah, I could have just given it to them, but since they're rolling in the dough I figured I'd sell it to them at price to get my money back. So today they were again out working for several hours and again earned money. Wes is just a little in shock I think with how well it worked... much faster than the lemonade stands and kid garage sales he's tried over the years! Christopher got a larger percentage of the profit 60/40 cause he bought all the stuff and isn't going to make money until he pays his parents back (So impressed with my friends teaching their kids these life lessons/skills!) Way to go Wes and Christopher, I admire your entrepreneurial spirit and wish you all the success in the world!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Broken Wood Thing

We had a sequence of events after school today that went like this:

Ethan was playing with some silly puddy. He threw it on top of my wood decoration thing that is on the high wall by the stairs - (the wall that you can't reach cause the descending stairs are in the way.) As he was reaching for the puddy it looked like he might try to put some of his weight on the wood thing. I, knowing the wood thing was only held up by two nails, was worried and came to help. As I tried to take the wood thing off of the wall, I shook it too much and the nail came loose and the hole got bigger. It did not look like it would be safe to put it back on like that. In an extreme lack of judgement, I decided we'd use two small Command hooks to hold it up, apparently forgetting how heavy the wood thing was and/or forgetting how poorly the Command hooks hold things. So Ethan helps me put up two hooks (cause he has longer arms than me, I couldn't reach the holes. It was really hard to put the nails up years ago...) We get them level, we lower the wood thing onto the two hooks, and we walk away feeling triumphant that we got it on so perfectly. I got rock Daniel. Little kids are in my room watching tv. Big kids are downstairs doing homework. After a few minutes, we hear a crash and fall and tumbling of something down the stairs that sounds sooo bad. I realized what it was. I go to see the damage. My wood thing - one of the only decorations in the house and one of the few that I really liked, was in pieces at the bottom of the stairs. I liked it cause the wood is spaced so that it looks the same as the headboard in our bedroom, thus making me happy thinking it tied things together in this wood theme. But now it was busted up and many of the plastic ornaments broken, lucky for us they were not glass. Sigh, I felt depressed and defeated. I was too sad to be mad. I really liked it. I never got a picture of it though, and now it's gone. So sad. But, then, perhaps there is someone that could redeem my wall thing. I text Corey's dad. Owen and Daniel were both asleep now, so I load the pieces in the car and take it to Corey's parent's house.
Wayne takes a look and we start to work. We pull out the staples and he had all the right tools.
He put some wood glue on the bottom shelf and we put that in clamps and he said he'd go to the store to get some screws, and he thinks we can save it. Thank you Wayne! We'll be back in a few days to help put it back together. Tonight after I got home I figured out that if I put the metal tool box one of the stairs, I can put a stool on the stair and tool box and it is level enough (and if I balanced enough) that I can reach the wall and hammer in the nail, yay! Wish I had done this the first time rather than just trying to reach and use command hooks, so stupid of me. We are lucky that no one was on the stairs, someone could have really gotten hurt.

Update - Saturday 4/8: I texted Wayne tonight realizing I hadn't come back to help put together that pile of wood pieces I left on their kitchen table. He said it was all finished. He's so nice. I picked it up after taking Ethan to a church dance up by Churchill. It looks great. And I will put it up with better nails.  stayed and visited.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Healthy Habits Challenge

Corey it out of town again, he left Sunday. He'll be gone for a week and scheduled to return next Monday. Usually I turn to sugar to help me cope. But not this time around! Yesterday I started a healthy habits challenge instead, go me! It is the brilliant idea of Anne, the mother of a great big fun and fabulous family that was in our ward when we lived in Virginia. It is great, and I'm thinking I might try something similar with the kids here at home (starting my summer vacation plan of attack!) I thought I'd share how it works here in case anyone wants to join the group or just do it on your own. Hyrum and I are doing it together separately from the facebook group with a few more categories we added. Anyway, here's the how to of the points from the post she shared:
Alright ladies here is how the points will work.
1 point for every cup of water you drink. (8 oz)
1 point for every fruit or veggie serving you eat.
1 point for every 10 minutes of exercise you do.
2 points if you don't eat after 7pm
1 point if you don't eat after 8pm (it's one or the other or no points if you eat after 8)
-1 points for any serving of soda, junk food or treat.
You can also choose two more personal goals to earn a point each day. It can be for health or any other purpose. For example, flossing, scripture study, journal writing, organizing or anything else you want to work on. You can earn 1 point each day for these two extras. (A total of 2 points a day)
We will check in each morning and you can report your daily total. But, at the end of the week, choose your six best days and total those up for your weekly score. That means you can have a free day, but you don't have to decide which day that will be until the week is over.
Each Monday morning we will also have a weigh in and you can report the percentage of weight loss you have achieved.
Any questions?
I'm excited!! Anytime during the next two months send me in the $10 and we will have some cash prizes in the end.
Good luck everyone!

So, yesterday was a great day. I started keeping track of my points on Saturday and Sunday in preparation. And had to minus -7 on Saturday from my total for when I finished off my stash of Red Button Trimple Chocolate Ice cream (ok, and my stash of Strawberry White chocolate. I had two stashes that I bought while Corey and kids were gone in Las Vegas! AND I hardly shared any of it!! (I had to a few times when the kids caught me, and I gave Corey a bowl) Kinda sad, what a naughty mother I am! But ya gotta do what you can to cope sometimes, even if it is pathetic...) So Saturday's total was 16. I tried to redeem my ice cream binge with a 5 mile jog that night when the boys were gone at Priesthood session. That was an hour long and got me 6 points. Then on Sunday I got 11, I had to -5 pts that day for having more than my fair share of cookies that Mel and Abi baked between Conference. So, I was ready to be on the ball yesterday cause I didn't like having to minus those points. It helped, as evidenced by my not even feeling tempted to buy my weekly Almond Joy at the checkout after my errands yesterday! I got 27 points:

  • +12 water
  • +6 big breakfast salad with 7 veggie servings
  • +1 fruit
  • +2 dinner veggies
  • +2 exercise
  • +2 no food after 7pm
  • +2 for personal goals (vocal prayer and gospel study)

Yay, I'll take this help for as long as it last me!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sunday General Conference Story

One of the reason that our guests from Chile came to visit us in Utah was so they could attend General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were able to get tickets to attend two sessions in the Conference Center - on Saturday morning and Sunday morning. So, on Saturday morning Corey took them all the way downtown and they spent the day there. But we missed clearing plans with each other last night and thus we didn't know what they needed on Sunday morning. Luckily Abi is an early riser and she came in my room at 8:00 and told me that they needed a ride to Trax. Corey had been in his office working late and then up until 2 talking with Ethan and Joseph. So he was beat. So I got up. They were ready and I just wore my pjs (which is my daily lounge wear as well) and got in the car to take them.

As we drove down the street, we noticed the garage was open on the house of one of our wonderful neighbors known around the world as Elder Christofferson. The car looked ready to go, I joked to Angela "Hey! We know where they are going! You should get a ride with them!" as we drove past. I turned the corner and was ready to turn toward the street that heads to Trax, when I found myself pausing, and turning the opposite direction. Angela pointed the way I didn't go, asking "Isn't Trax this way?" "Yeah... but..." oh boy what am I doing?!?! I turned on the next street to drive back into our neighborhood... "Um, let's go see if they are still there... Vamos a ver si tengo el coraje a preguntarles.... (We'll see if I am brave enough to ask them...)" Angela and her girls were quiet as we drove up. Their car was still there, we noticed a light in the garage from a fridge door being open, so they weren't both in the car yet.... I turned the car around and put it in park and got out. Then the car started to back out of the garage and walked over to Sister Christofferson's side of the car that was closest to me, waving and signaling that I wanted to talk to them. She put down the window. I think I ended up saying something like this: "Hey! So I was just taking my friends to Trax and wanted to know if you could give them a ride?" She looked at me a bit concerned and said "...We can't..." Maybe in my brain I was saying the right things but I obviously wan't clear cause as we exchanged words, they thought I wanted them to give my friends a ride to Trax station, Doh! "Oh hey neighbor! I noticed you were leaving your house today so thought I'd see if I could save myself a trip by having you take my friends somewhere..." When I realized what I had asked, I said "Oh no no, they are going to the Conference Center!" "Oh! They have tickets? Well yeah! Have 'em jump in!" Phew!! So I waved for them to come out of the car and come hitch a ride with my friend the apostle! I told Kathy "They are from Santiago Chile..." I don't think they knew who my "friends" were when I asked but I knew Elder Christofferson spoke Spanish cause he served a mission in Argentina. I wish I had a picture of them as they came to the car, it was super cute. Elder Christofferson opened the car doors for them and to move his briefcase. They had big nervous smiles and shook his hand as he asked them their names. They had some major "WOW!" expressions on their faces, It was a great moment. They got in the car, I went to the back as Elder Christofferson put his case in the trunk and closed it "Thank you so much Elder Christofferson, this will be a real treat for them!" And that was it, I got in my car and got out of the street so they could leave and off they went. Fun!

I came home and bounded up to our room where Corey was still in bed. I jumped on the bed and propped myself up on my side, looking at him. He opened his eyes to see my big grin and I said "Guess WHAT!" 

He smiled as I told what happened, then I apologized "I'm sorry for all the work you had to do with going to Vegas and everything just to have me steal the highlight of their trip to the US away from you in 5 minutes!" He was happy I was crazy brave enough to go back and ask. As we listened to conference, I felt like Elder Rasband's story about putting his foot in the door was a little what had happened to me. I'm glad for them that they had such an experience. I'm sure it will be something they always remember. They got back during the second session. We were up in my room listening to more speakers. (And this here photo below is what happens if you're a boy and your sister catches you sleeping through conference.)
Mel played the "lets see how many things we can put on Ethan without waking him up" game. Tape on his head, saxophone mouthpiece cover thing on his nose... stuffed animal, ball, toys.... So that is what we were doing when they got back home after their trip down town with Elder Christofferson. Angela told me that he and his wife were "Muy simpatico" and also said that they took them underneath main street where they park their cars and then they rode a little golf cart with them to the conference center. They also ran into President Nelson there. :) So fun for them. It will definitely be a highlight of the trip. But they have said that the thing they will miss the most when they go home is Daniel <3 p="">
Angela and her daughters were super cute as they were admiring him after scriptures one night. It looked like a nativity scene. They are spending this week up in Idaho and will be back next Monday. I took Corey to the airport after the morning session yesterday, he is in Brazil this week and will be back next Monday too. Here is a picture "las ninas" drew with the kids outside of our family. Corey and I were happy with how young we looked, ha.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Classic Skating

Two weeks ago on the 18th of March (perhaps as a warm up before his Las Vegas adventure...) Corey took lots o kids and our 3 Chilean friends to Classic Skating for some fun. They had a ball. The highlight of the afternoon was when Natalie met Ariel and Rapunzel.
Corey said their costumes looked really legit and wondered if the Disney corporation/trademark was okay with people out there posing as their copyrighted characters. It was really fun.
Corey had a lot of work to do as always, but soon was in full fun father mode and they had a great time skating, timing each other in an obstacle course, and stuff like that. Cata got the most tickets of anybody
Angela said she had only gone skating two other times in her life, and broke her leg both times. She made it out injury free this time with the help of the skater (the walker for skating).
That isn't the best pic but that's the one Corey sent me, I shall update later. Also Corey has a few videos that he hasn't uploaded yet but I'll update with the links here later.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Toddler Pedicure

I got a kick out of seeing Sophi clipping Natalie's toenails last week on Ethan's birthday. Natalie was laying there all comfy cozy on a pillow while receiving her pedicure, talking outloud as she pointed to and named the colors on the Birthday banner that was hanging up ~
Sophi was working very diligently on Natalie's toes. It was a cute moment.
I get a little nervous when they want to clip their own nails and toes, but Sophi's ready for independence in this area. She hasn't hurt herself yet, but I get nervous cause, as stated below ,it can be..
I made Daniel bleed once, I'm sure I've done it to other kids once or twice but I don't remember, but Daniel is fresh in my mind, I felt so bad! So far Sophi hasn't hurt herself and she didn't hurt Natalie here, so I guess I'll let them keep trying and learning.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bike to School

Wes and his friend Christopher are enjoying the nice weather. They've biked to school together a few times, on the days that Wesley doesn't have band and doesn't have to bring his trumpet. I was a little nervous about them crossing the busy street. So I went out for a morning jog and was on my way back when they were leaving. I told him to strike a pose~
Then I ran down the street with them and make sure they made it across allright. Wes was laughing as he saw me running with all my might in effort to keep up with him as he pedaled lightly on his bike. Yes, it is fun being the fast one. I like it when the kids ask to walk home from church and get out of the car, and then want to race, and I don't put the gas on at all, just put it in drive and the car is able to beat them. So Wes, I know how you feel. I'm okay that you're faster than me. When he got home after school, he sat down in a pant with a red face, as he said "I didn't quite realize when I biked to school that I'd have to bike back home!" The hill goes down on the way to, but it's a BiG uphill on the way back. Fun kid, I like Wes

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Leader of the Pack

So, here I am again in a too quiet house. A big part of me misses the loud and busy fun of family life, as it is the daily life I've come to know and love. Another small part of me feels like 3 days is not a long enough break. There is still so much I need to do and haven't done, and those things soon will be on the back burner again cause I've only barely almost taken care of the basics these past 48 hours. Oh well. So, I'm am here alone with Daniel (who is kinda sad about all this quiet)...

I am alone because, as I said yesterday, Corey left on Sunday for a trip for spring break. He took with him 10 kids and 3 Chileans. So, he called me Sunday night after the first leg of their journey and said he thinks he's officially reached his level of difficulty. Lol. I apologized for not going, he said it was okay... as he said he appreciated that I went along for our other 4 crazy international adventures. I was just feeling really frazzled on Saturday, and after listening to Sister Bonnie Cordon's talk, and realizing I'm off balance, I knew going on a trip is not going to give me any relief. Vacations with kids are a lot of work during the trip and a lot for mom when it's over (laundry and trying to get kids to unpack). I had originally planned to go with them, and I probably would have gone, but he just booked a trip to Brazil again and will be leaving me on April 1st for 8 days. I said I could probably manage Vegas okay, but anticipated that I'd be running really low on fuel during the week after when he was gone. He obliged. I had to call several friends to see if it was okay for me to not go, cause I've never abandoned Corey like this. He abandons me, but I'm on my home turf when he leaves. I wouldn't like to be abandoned on the road. Here is a picture of Corey from the last time he abandoned me, this time for business in Seattle. That time it was just for 4 days.
So they are enjoying their second day in Las Vegas, mostly swimming I assume. Later this week I'll try to post pictures of anything exciting that transpired. One detail of the adventure that I do know about was from Sunday night. When I called him at 5:30 to see their status, he said they were checking in. He sounded a little frazzled himself and said he needed to go. When he called me later, he told me about what it was like checking in to the Hotel in St. George. He used our timeshare, and Worldmark is pretty verbally strict on occupancy limits. Corey is an obedient guy, so he takes it seriously. (That was another reason why I didn't go, we were 16 with me and we only had room space for 14 cause Daniel and Owen count.) At the desk they had him fill out on a paper the names and ages of each person who was staying. He let her know that this was one of the reasons his wife didn't come, because of their strict policy. He said this hoping to get a little bit of sympathy and his room key and parking pass. He said it trying to point out to the check in lady that he was in charge of this trip, with all the people he just listed, all by himself. As he's trying to fill out the paper, the lady invited him to attend a presentation to win a prize. "I don't think I'm going to be able to..." said the single father with 10 kids and 3 Chileans in tow. She asked him again and again and again. He looked at her with pleading eyes that said "Really? Look, just give me my parking pass..." "You can come by yourself!" she offered. He said he felt bad that she was so lacking dignity to keep asking him to come when he should have obviously seemed a little high strung already. His look again said "Will you show mercy please?" She reminded him of the prizes... "You could win $1000 dollars!! Wouldn't your wife be happy if you came home with $1000 dollars?!?" "I'm probably not going to come." "Well it would be really great to see you..." I was laughing as he was telling me this. He said "We should just show up there, all 14 of us, that'd teach her..."

So, Corey's been a trooper. He called yesterday evening as he was on his way to the store to try to figure out something to feed everyone to eat for dinner. Been there, poor guy, sorry I couldn't help. His parents are down there with his sister and her family, and he said they came by tonight with pizza for everyone, which was very kind. To my sweetheart, thank you for your sacrifice in doing this trip alone and letting me stay home for a little quiet time. We miss you, see you tomorrow!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Las Vegas

Corey and the kids and our 3 Chilean friends headed down south yesterday for a few days of fun in the sun. They left after church to go to St. George, where they spent last night, and then today they are going the last little bit to arrive in Las Vegas. They will be there for two night and are coming home on Wednesday.

On Saturday I felt a bit exhausted. The "this is insane" point hit me when I went to get a fork for a kids to eat with and once again saw that EVERY spoon and fork and knife were gone from the silverware drawer! I had a clean load of dishes that needed to be put away, as well as a completely full sink of dishes waiting for their turn in the dishwasher and I was just like "I just can't keep up!! It NEVER STOPS!!" So my already frazzled mood was topped off by not being able to leave the house for the Women's Broadcast. At 6:00, I gave myself permission to be excused and I went into my room where I gave kids a bath and had other interruptions as I tried to watch the broadcast on byutv. The first talk shared was about how we need to "Trust in the Lord, and Lean not..." She continued: "In English the word lean has a connotation of physically listing or moving to one side. When we physically lean toward one side or another, we move off center, we are out of balance, and we tip. When we spiritually lean to our own understanding, we lean away from our Savior. If we lean, we are not centered; we are not balanced; we are not focused on Christ."

I thought how I definitely am feeling off balance. I'm gonna topple over from being so dizzy. I need to slow down and take a breather. I've been running on all cylinders since Corey's February trip to Brazil at the beginning of February, followed by him being on business for two more weeks in Seattle followed up with several weeks with our house guests that are still here, on top of the whole 11 kids we have with all that they require and such... Just trying to keep this family afloat.... But I was not looking forward to a "break" by going on a trip. Maybe I could stay home? Oooh, that sounds nice. Yes, I did experience some relief when I thought of staying home and not going with them. Would that be okay? Corey would have all the older kids to help, plus Angela and her girls. If I ever did want to take a break, this is my chance. Corey was in his office working when I went in and asked if I could toy with the idea of staying home. "Of course" was his reply. I still felt a bit guilty, mostly for feeling like I was abandoning him. I called several friends to ask their thoughts and to help me be brave enough to let them go or tough enough to accompany them. But none of my 911 girls were answering their phones! I finally got through to Rachael, who thought I was very wise to recognize my limits and gave me permission to listen to and follow those feelings. Sigh, that feels good! Then I called Susan, who shared some thoughts and said they'd be fine, stay home and take a break! Then I finally talked to my twin sister (haha) Nicole yesterday morning (yes, it was Sunday morning and I hadn't packed but I was still not fully committed one way or the other...) and she said that if Corey was honest in saying he wanted me to do whatever would fill my cup, then I should stay home.

So, Sunday morning... we went to church (and I dressed Daniel in a new little onesie Sunday shirt I got! Isn't he so cute!!??) No Sunday shoes yet, so he's not totally ready for work yet.

Of course he can't be totally respectable in his slacks and tie when he's got a pacifier clipped to his collar anyway!
The kids stayed for the whole block with me. Corey came and got some things ready. When church was over we came home, I helped them pack up, I didn't pack for myself or Daniel, and soon they were ready and I let them leave without me. I still felt kinda guilty. So I snuggled with Daniel and we took a nap and woke up at 5:30 and called to see where they were at... I figured they were probably half way, and Corey told me they were just checking in at the hotel in St. George. Wow! Well, if it's that quick, I could still come down! I called my mom to see if I was crazy to think I should still go (I did have two cars at my use...) but if I did go down I'd need to find someone to take care of the guinea pigs. But my mother talked me out of that silly idea and I finally accepted that I was going to miss out on the fun but I was also going to have a quite clean house to myself for the next 72 hours. I've never done this!

So here I am, in a quiet and fairly clean house. Some of the things that are awesome: I haven't taken the garbage out at all today! I did the dishes today and will not do them again until everyone comes back! And I haven't had to pick up any shoes or coats or socks on the floor! I shampooed the carpets with the Kirby vacuum, and it looks nice. I didn't have to put out towels on the wet carpet cause no little feet are running around on it.
I gave the tub in the kids' bathroom a good shinning too, and realized as I scrubbed that I haven't done that since our last visitor Kiran was here last spring. I should probably clean it more than once a year, but I don't see it much so it doesn't bother me. Plus if I wait till it's nice and gray then even the teenagers notice and appreciate how nice it looks.

One drawback is that the house is so quiet that Daniel is a bit concerned and has become a bit high maintenance... if he is awake and I'm not giving him my full attention (or vacuuming) he's quite upset. Thus he's looked like this for a good part of the day.
Isn't that the cutest little "I'm freaking out" face you've ever seen? Silly boy. Please let it be known that this fit did not produce any tears, just a red face. He just wanted to scream at me cause he missed out on swimming. Sorry buddy, I can't promise that I'll make it up to you by doing anything fun here this week but don't you worry, I'm sure you'll see Vegas someday.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pocket Squares

Last night, as the final event for Ethan's birthday, he came to dinner with Corey and I on our date night. We treated Ethan to a special dinner at the Roof Restaurant. Here we are after the meal -
We've decided we will take each child to eat at the Roof one time before they leave our family for their life in the big bad world. Tonight was Ethan's turn. It was a feast. He says he feels bad that he ever liked McDonald's. It's okay Eth, we need to know the simple to know and appreciate the extravagant. Opposition teaches us that there is differences between ok, good, better, and best. Tonight was the best meal. We dressed up. Corey even donned a pocket square! But let it be known it was actually a checkered Stance sock.
The "pocket square" was inspired by a video Joseph and Corey watched last night. Joseph came home from hanging with friends, he shared the lastest Lyceum video with Corey (see Joseph at 3:28!). Followed in the playlist by another Lyceum video starring Gentri. Followed by another video featuring Gentri talking about the amazing pocket square, which Corey found fascinating! So fascinating, in fact, that they stayed up past 1 a.m. watching and learning and having their eyes opened to this new world of men fashion. Tonight, since we were going some place fancy, he wanted to play along. But at the same time, since he honestly doesn't care, he had to do it in a sarcastic way... thus he carefully put one of his black and white checkered socks in his pocket, making sure it had a nice triangle like folded tip pointing out. It was funny. Ethan was embarrassed but was also laughing, telling Corey he should be ashamed and someone is surely going to notice that it's actually a sock. "I'm wearing a sock to prove that I don't care...." We joked that Corey was brilliant cause his pocket square could double as a place to stash desserts before we headed out. After we left and were driving home, I looked up the video on Corey's phone so I could learn from the masters. Check out the background music at 1:30...

Corey said after pointing out the music "Can you hear the momentum building?!" and we hung on in suspense for the big climax at 1:40 when the square goes in the pocket! Hear those trumpets sound! That is the moment, that is what it's all about!! We were laughing. Oh, fashion! I laugh at it as I am wearing my black t-shirt and green skirt that have been my go-to formal attire for the past 6 years... I probably should become more fashion aware... (But one more note that might prove these kind of things do not matter: I don't see these men wearing any pocket squares!)

So, then we drove past a very interestingly dressed guy crossing the street wearing bright leggings and other current fashion trends. His ensemble was impressive. I said "Corey, if you really don't care about what you wear you'd put on an outfit like that!" Corey's quick reply "But that guy DOES care... He just cares about the wrong things..." which had Ethan and I laughing again. Corey is so funny, I love his whit. On our date nights I try to remember to bring along a paper and pencil so I can write down all the funny things he says that make me laugh. Love him. And I'll probably get him some real pocket squares for Father's day or his birthday just for fun.

Friday, March 24, 2017

School House Rock

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. First I had a Visting Teaching meeting here 10 - 11:30, then we had to end that cause Hyrum had an Orthodontist appt at 11:45. Those are usually fairly quick but we didn't leave until 1:30 cause they accidentally broke a bracket off as they put in the new wire. And... since we had to wait longer for them to fix that, and since they weren't busy, I decided to get myself a consultation. I never had braces but do have a little area of my teeth that bugs me and a few other small things I wouldn't mind having fixed. So now I know what that would require if we ever have the money to do that (I'd like Invisalign, which is pricier, so we gotta wait a bit for that, we're still recovering from paying for the Fiesta to get fixed...) SO, after that was done we rushed home cause Abi had her School House Rock play at 2, and cause I had to take Mel to the bus at 2 for her flute lesson downtown by the U. I went home, grabbed Angela and her girls to go with Hyrum, dropped them off at the school, came back for Mel, and was just going to drop her off and then head to the performance, but she missed the bus and was now going to be late if she waited for the next bus, so I took her to the U. I decided I could go to her play today (which I did). As I came back from taking Mel, Hyrum called that the play was done, so straight to the school to pick them up, then home to shove some food in my mouth, wait for Ethan to come back from his party, take him to his lesson with Ray, home from that at 7, take Wes to a concert at Brighton, home for a bite of food, then off to pick up Wes at Brighton and pick up Mel to Special Needs Mutual and yay, I was finally home at 9 pm and felt like I'd run myself ragged. I was spent!

So this morning I was able to go do my parent duty and watch Abi's school performance of School House Rock. I usually struggle a bit in my attitude when it comes to school plays and performances, (sorry children). (But your Dad does too.... he just couldn't bring himself to sit through the whole Halloween concert at Churchill this year. Sometimes you can only watch the exact same show for 3 years in a row before ya start going insane,) But we hadn't been to School House Rock since 2013, so we were ready to do it again. Luckily the older kids were already out of school for spring break, so it was nice that I didn't have to bring all my toddlers with me. I took Daniel, Corey came and joined us and saw Abi's debut singing "Three is a Magic Number" and then he had to leave. But I got a video of the other songs she was in (on top of the box for Conjunction Junction here holding a gree train car with the word AND on it)
Abi did a good job. I'd upload the videos but I can't get on youtube anymore. Another thing Corey messed up in his tampering with the router. I'll request he try to fix that so I can upload and embed videos again. I'm also hoping Corey has some better pictures on his phone that I can post - will update later!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

School Friends and Teachers

Last night Corey told Ethan that he would let him have a social gathering celebrating his birthday. So Eth got on the phone to see who could come and what time and where, a lot of logistics involved. He was on his phone again this morning and then came down at 10:30 a.m. to announce it started and was starting NOW and we need to go. He walked over to Corey's office door, where Corey was on a business call, and tried to get in and tried to knock... I told him he couldn't interrupt. "But Dad has to take me! Everybody is already going to be there!" "You can't interrupt, you have to wait." Corey kept on his phone call and so we woke up Jospeh to see if he could take Ethan, Dad will come down when he can." Corey got off his call shortly after 11 and was able to head down, then he was on calls most of the time there during the gathering, which I think is totally fine. Corey already put in his Skating time at Classic with a full group on Saturday. I was running kids to errands at the orthodontist, and Abi had the first of her School House Rock performances. I was going to go, but Mel missed the bus to her flute lesson so then I had to drive her to the U for that. Corey and I were both very busy as usual. We met home at 3:45 so I could take Ethan to his lesson with Ray, and we snapped a picture with his friends before Corey and Jospeh took them home.
I took Ethan to his lesson where I heard another funny story. So, he and his friends have a group called the T-Rex Gang - they even have shirts they wear. Well there is an Asian student named Nathan who saw Ethan in his shirt and teased him a bit and decided he would start his own group. He called it the "Asian Mafia" and now the Trex Gang and the Asian Mafia pretend that they are rival gangs. So, after Ethan got his contact this last Friday, kids at school were teasing him that he looks Asian without his glasses. Well, with that label Ethan asked if he could also join their Mafia. Nathan looked at him and thought for a second, then said "Squint your eyes..." Ethan did:
Nathan asked "How many fingers am I holding up?" Apparently one of the rules is you have to have very squinty eyes but still be able to see. "Three!" Ethan said proudly. He was in! Well, there was another right of passage. He has to eat all the different types of Chinese candy that Nathan smuggles into the school in his backpack each day. Ethan says Nathan's locker is just jam packed of candy and he's always sharing it with everyone. Ethan has now tried them all. He wasn't able to swallow some of them and said only one of them tastes good. He showed me a few of the wrappers in his pocket from the candy allotment for that day as proof.
So now Ethan is a member of the Asian Mafia too. He walks around and nods his head to his friends in the hall as he says "Ni hao! Me gusta China!" So the Asian Mafia now is a group of Asian guys and Ethan. There is one Asian student at their school who was denied membership. A girl asked if he could join, Nathan thought and said "Let me ask the Elders..." He did, and then got back to her. "The Elders don't approve." "What? Why not?!" "Cause you're a woman." We thought it was pretty funny and gender biased of the Mafia. Teenagers...

Ok, two more stories. So in Ethan's English glass, their teacher is pretty politically correct. Nathan is in that class. They received an assignment to each choose an object that represents them and do some creative writing on it. Ethan compared himself to a saxophone. Nathan chose... a banana. "Cause they are yellow on the outside and white on the inside" and then he expounded on it in from of the class. The teacher did not like that, but what can you do when it's the person that belongs to the cultural minority making the racist remarks about themselves? Needless to say he got away with it.

Last story from a school: Ethan helps at school in the "popcorn room" during athletic events. Some girls came up to order popcorn. Ethan served two of them, then asked one of the two if the third girl wanted salt on her popcorn, and then the third girl turned around and in some irritation asked him "Did you just assume my gender?" Eth was caught off guard that he caused offense... "Yeah... but you are, aren't you?" "Yes, but somebody might not be..." He rolled his eyes "Fine" and turning back to the two girls "...does 'it' want some salt?" That exchange supplied Ethan with comebacks for a few days later he was in his math class and the topic of Mormons came up. The teacher there, who is atheist, pointed out Ethan saying "Well you're Mormon..." Ethan protested: "What!? Did you just assume my religion?!" "You're Mormon, I know you are." "No I'm not" "Your brother gave me a Book of Mormon!" "I'm less active!" Ethan protested. "No you're not..." "Ok, fine, I go, but I identify as less active..." (How junior high teachers survive working each day with smart aleck kids like my Ethan is impressive to me.) Then the teacher said "I know you're Mormon." "How do you know?" Eth asked. "You've got this look about you..." to which Ethan quickly replied "It's called 'the Spirit'" and that is where I think he dropped the mic. Pretty funny kid, he's super clever. We're taking him out to dinner tomorrow for his birthday. I think he's had a good one, and that's enough Ethan stories for today!

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!
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