Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's Your Fault

We had a good little talk with the kids tonight about one of Corey's favorite topics: Problem Ownership! And it might have clicked for some of them today better than it would have otherwise because of an unfortunate series of events today. Part of it began at 2:54, when Joseph felt a prompting to text his saxophone teacher to verify what time Ethan's lesson was. Joseph and Ethan alternate weeks that they take lessons, and today was Ethan's turn. When it's Ethan's turn, Joseph usually drives Melodie out to her flute lesson at the GMS before turning back to Skyline to take carpool home. So, unfortunately, Joseph was driving the car at the time he got this inspiration. By the time the car had stopped and he could have texted, it had slipped from his thoughts.

Around 1:00 Corey asked me "Lesson at 3:30?" I said that yes, 3:30 was the time that I had on the calendar, but that I would verify with Joseph. When I did, Joseph said 4:30. Corey wasn't sure that was right, Joseph said his last lesson with Ray was at 4:30 so he thought it was at 4:30. Corey wasn't so sure, and told Ethan to verify. Ethan verified by also checking with Joseph. So Ethan didn't leave for his lesson. I'm not sure when or how they found out that the lesson was indeed at 3:30. Maybe Ray texted to see if they were coming? Anyway, around 4:15, Corey comes bursting through the front door with Ethan. I wasn't sure why they came through the front door. Corey told me later that it was because the garage door opener, which is a bit unreliable, did not open for him to park the car inside the garage. Anyway, so they come crashing through the door, Corey tells me to keep the kids away and quiet as possible cause they were going to try to do a quick Skype lesson with Ray, since this was Ethan's last chance to get tips before the All State Jazz band auditions with are due tomorrow. So, ok, I try to get Owen distracted and away from Corey... "Let's go downstairs!" They were happy to follow me. Joseph was home and told me regretfully that he had a thought to verify the lesson time. He felt bad, but I said don't worry, it wasn't his fault. If Joseph is getting the inspiration, then Ethan and Corey could be getting it too - Joseph at least heard the thought. Anyway, Joseph didn't have too much time to sit and feel bad - he was putting computers in the car to take to the church where the Burmese LDS branch meets for church so he could use MM software to teach them English for his Eagle Project. Following me so far? Ok. So, I'm with Joseph and the kids in the basement, Joseph says bye and leaves, and 2 minutes later I get a phone call on my cell from him. Maybe he forgot something... "Yeah Joseph?" There was a very brief pause, followed by "Mom, can you come outside for a second..." And then I knew... it quickly all clicked in my mind... "Oh gosh, you hit dad's car didn't you...." I didn't talk or listen more, I just quickly went up the basement stairs and out the garage. Joseph was waiting. As you'll recall, Corey came through the front door, cause the garage opener didn't work. I didn't know at the time why he did that, I thought maybe he was going to hurry and leave again. Anyway, I looked at the cars and thankfully it was not as bad as I thought. It wasn't a full on bumper to bumper hit, it was a Corey's car's left front corner got scraped by Joseph with the Fiesta's back right corner. It appeared to be mostly cosmetic. Joseph had been putting computers and monitors in the back of his car, so rather than walk back up to open the garage, he tried his luck with his garage opener, which is also finiky, and it just so happened to work. He usually checks, but he didn't check behind him other than in the mirror, and our garage slants down, and Corey's car is low, so he didn't see it until he heard it. This is unfortunate. So I get the car keys to move Corey's car. As I open it, I hear what now is probably the most annoying part of the damage here - the hit must have moved the front piece of the car back a 1/16th of an inch and now the driver's side door pops when it's opened, from where the metal hits where the door hinge is, if that make sense. That is unfortunate, cause it will be a reminder to Corey of this unfortunate series of events each time he has to enter or leave his car. Missed lesson, stupid garage openers don't open half the time for some reason, Joseph didn't look... We are giving ourselves the impression that we are a bit dysfunctional. And I guess we kinda are on several levels. We're doing a lot of things great, but we're falling short in lots of areas too. We can do better and we need to do better.

After Corey and Ethan were done with the quick skype lesson, I told Corey what had happened with the cars. And then tonight before bed, we talked with the kids about taking responsibility for your problems. He used this collection of most rude contestants on Britain's Got Talent to show how for all people, it is best to just take advice and sometimes criticism and chastisement from people in authority. And don't talk back, blame, or make excuses, cause all that does it make you look stupid.
Joseph, who's fault is it that you hit the car? "Mine" "Yes, it's totally your fault." Corey was thankful he took responsibility and didn't make excuses. Good job. Ethan, who's fault is it that you missed your lesson? "Mine" "Yes, it's your fault." We were glad that they weren't making excuses or passing the buck, as sometimes happens around here. (I love demotivators, they always make me laugh)
Corey shared a few other examples of problem ownership as he talked about his business and problems there... and he talked about the other kids - like Wesley at his jazz band lesson yesterday where he didn't have his trumpet. And Mel's lesson today where she actually made lots of improvements because of her commitment to herself and to Corey last week to practice for 2 hours a day. So, we'll keep taking steps forward, probably keep getting knocked backward on our bottoms, but we'll keep getting up and trying again. I'm glad I have been doing the Courage Challenge, cause usually I'm feeling guilty and apologetic for all the ways I'm falling short, but right now I'm keeping track of my WINs and so even though I'm not doing perfect, I'm doing pretty darn good and feel good about how I'm handling my current challenges. So that was our day. We'll get through this! And Ethan introduced me to "Alone Again" tonight, a song he likes to listen to when he's feeling sour. We've been humming it tonight, might be fun to make up our own lyrics, it's a good melancholy little tune. So, tomorrow will be a new day with new challenges.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Breaking the Rules

This morning Wesley made a blueberry smoothie for breakfast. Melodie, who was finishing her homework by the computer in the study, asked Wes if she could have some. Though it was against the family rule, I, the enforcer of the "no food out of the kitchen" rule, took a cup of the shake outside of the kitchen and gave it to her in the study. I handed it to her and told her to be careful. I assumed she ate it, she finished her homework, and then they got in the car and I took them to school. I returned home again and carried on with my day. This afternoon, shortly after Daniel woke up from his nap, I was in the kitchen milling wheat into flour (using food storage). The kids were walking around the main floor playing with toys and bouncing little balls and doing whatever it is that toddlers do. I was left uninterrupted for over 15 minutes, which should have been a warning in itself. And then Daniel toddled in to the kitchen to greet me. He had blueberry on his face, his feet, his hands.... Oh drat. I grabbed him in a way that he couldn't touch me with his mess. I walked to the study to survey where the damage was and what was the cause. Ah! It was Mel's blueberry smoothie! Up to the tub Daniel goes. I gathered my supplies so I could begin clean up after Hyrum was home to help watch the kids. So that is fun. I shared a polo video of this with my family. My mom and sisters were all worried that the shake had been spilled on the computer, so they were relieved that it was just the carpet. And I wasn't too bad to clean it up. I'm not finished yet, but it looks pretty good considering it's dark purple juice on a cream colored carpet. I'll give it another scrub in a bit after I vacuum the messy room... cause the study is Mel's job and she's a bit overbooked with her time, so it hasn't been getting done. Daniel helping me scrub after he got out of the tub...
No, actually he came with freeze dried blueberry slobber on his chin to remind me what he's capable of, then he took my scrub brush and fled the scene.
Cute little guy. One more thing, this morning was able to go to study group. Owen and Daniel and Natalie were all being noisy in the room, so after trying to take them into the nursery several times, I eventually gave up and went into the nursery with them, where they nicely played. A good friend, who knows the details on most of our business drama, came in to offer to watch the kids so I could go in to the discussion, which was so nice. Instead the two of us talked for a bit and I got some perspective and ideas for how we can best go forward. We continue to search and pray to hopefully, somehow, get ourselves to the mainland and "rest of the blissful shore", whether that's by abandoning this sinking ship or if we're able to somehow make it seaworthy. We'll see. Hope we get something figured out before Christmas or we're gonna be having a repeat of Chile. ...which wasn't bad by the way. The kids' Chile wish list, Chile Tree, Chile Christmas Eve, Santa at work, and Christmas morning  ... That is probably one of their more memorable Christmases. It's all about creating low expectations, ha, which should be pretty easy for us right now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Retakes

It's picture retakes at the elementary school today. So I thought I'd post the school photos that are going to be replaced. I'm not having them get retakes cause I don't like these. I'm having them get retakes cause I didn't order anything and couldn't find their photo ID numbers. So I just ordered pictures online last week and they gave me a new ID number that I had to give them to bring for retakes. Of course after I ordered the packages (just the class group photo) then I found these proofs with the original numbers. Figures.
But I told Abi that if she doesn't need retakes to get her class photo, then to just give them our receipt. But I think Abi wanted to try again with her picture. I remember often getting retakes of school pictures. 
I told Lily to show her teeth with her smile today. We practiced a few times. I liked Sophi's but she didn't like the hair in front of her face. She's going for the same kindergarten smile, cutie - "He said to do a big smile!!"
Poor Sophi - when she got home from kindergarten today I wasn't here. I was waiting for her at the bus stop - I just missed her. I was visiting teaching at a house right by the bus stop and didn't hear the bus go by and I missed her. It's dropping off earlier than it did in September when I timed it on my clock. So she was walking home when I was walking out the door. Luckily a neighbor, Barbara, was walking up the street - "Are you looking for your daughter?" Yes. Barbara had been out pushing a grandbaby in a stroller and saw Sophi. They were walking the same way so Babara walked down the street with her. So I ran home, got Sophi, then walked back to Michelle's house. She looked a little red eyed, like she did when she got lost in the tree farm. Sorry Soph! I won't mess up like that again, I feel so bad when I'm not here and they don't know where I am or what's going on.

So, we walked back to my friends house. Once a month in our church, we are assigned to visit and check in on some sisters. My companion Amy and I visit Kay and Michelle. Amy shared part of a message from Sister Eubank from the past general conference. One thing that Sister Eubank shared that I loved is this quote from President Kimball:

“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world."

That quote stood out to me as I was pondering some decisions and opportunities. That quote is one of the reasons I keep this blog public. That idea goes along nicely with this quote from the Chosen that I wrote down years ago: “If a person has a contribution to make, he must make it in public. If learning is not made public, it is a waste.” ― Chaim Potok. I don't know who stumbles across my thoughts and little joys and trivial trials here, but for those that do, I hope to reflect the righteousness of someone who is trying to follow the Savior. Jesus Christ and his gospel and teachings bring light and happiness into my life. I hope to be an instrument in God's hands to shine a little bit of the light of Christ into the lives of others as I share little bits of our life and what I'm learning in my journey.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chores for Me, Chores for Kids

So... Daniel had a mid-night explosion every night/morning for the past 5 days. But today, thankfully, I woke up to an alarm instead of to that poor kid crying cause he was dripping messy and his skin was on fire again. Yay, I hope it's over. Seriously though, yesterday I had a major recovery nap. First day of the sickness was on~ Wednesday morning: 6 am explosion. I was driving carpool, so I came home to only find half of the mess left to clean up (the laundry half). Abi and Corey had taken care of the kid half. Thursday morning: poopy blowout at 3:30 a.m. and again at 6. Friday morning: 3 a.m. repeat. I changed his diaper like 6 times that morning! Saturday morning: 3 a.m. not bad, didn't need to do laundry or change Daniel's clothes, just his diaper. But then the blowout came at 4:30. He cried and he cried while I cleaned it up the mess and he wanted to be held, Corey slept through it, Joseph came to my rescue. Owen did for about 20 minutes and then he was up. So I was up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I took Mel to the bus for GMS at 7, and that is when they went back to bed. Then I went back to bed too. Woke up at 9, woke the family up and we tried to have a productive day. And did a good job. Sunday: D's bed prepped with towels, small mess, didn't write the time on that one, just changed his clothes. and so I didn't have to do all the blankets or his pillow. Then we all took a good recovery nap yesterday afternoon. His rash was doing better too and I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn't be poopy again in the morning. This morning ~ thankfully it was over. I even made it out on a morning walk. Hooray, the storm has passed.

The kids are doing so good at doing chores and it's making a huge positive difference in how the house runs. I typed up a little weekly planner for the kids and we go over it on Sunday and they earn money and with that credit they can buy clothes or gum or ice cream. Here's a link to my 2nd draft. I modified them again this week by typing up an individual one for each child with their personal routines typed up and their name typed on. Abi, Wes, and Hyrum have kept on top of their checklist and chores so well, I'm so impressed you guys! Abi keeps the kid bathroom looking great everyday. Hyrum and Wes's room has been spotless the past month, Joseph and Eth have improved but still have clothes left on the floor most days. The girls room would be messy (cause of Lil, Soph, and Natalie) but Abi cleans it up everyday. (Mel is too busy). So Hyrum and Wes and Abi are the kid role models. They got their monthly reward this past weekend for all their hard work in October. Hyrum and Wes didn't want to spend any $ so they just got Wii time. And I took Abi out to Red Mango for a treat, taken from her earnings - $6.
 She's such a good girl. 
Ethan hasn't earned enough money to cover his debts, but I'm a softy, so I took him to the thrift store today to buy some pants. "I don't have any pants!" he said. He did have some, but none are the style he likes - not tight enough on the ankles. K, so since these pants were going in his "debt" column on the kid cash spreadsheet, I said he only had $20 tops, and that's also $20 that is only good at a thrift store. I only do thrift store for these kids and for me. Maybe someday we'll step things up and go to Old Navy or something nice and fancy like that. Or they can all go get a job and then shop for whatever they want wherever they want by themselves. But if it's on my dime and my time, I ain't taking you to a place that is nicer than where I buy clothes. So it's the DI, Kid to Kid, or Costco. Ethan was okay with that. Unfortunatley Kid 2 Kid didn't have anything he like. He doesn't want denim jeans, isn't that weird? Seems like everyone should have a pair of jeans... So he tried on black pants and texted me a few pictures of himself. I just grabbed pants that looks skinny and had tight ankles. They were all too tight.
Well I guess that it is good that you're not a size 2... cause you're taller than me now and you have size 10 shoes... I should hope that you don't fit into a size 0/2 pants... I'm glad you're growing. and I went to search some more. We found him some Gap courderoy pants and some other pair of jogger-ish looking pants. And I got a sweet black adidas jacket for $7 bucks! I was stoked. I like having the time to search for thirft store finds.

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Career

Earlier this week Wesley asked me if I would like to come to his College and Career Readiness class (I think that's what the class is called...) to talk about my "career" as a homemaker. It took a little bit of finangling, but I said I could do it and today I did. I had to go withdraw Sophi early from school to take her with me, cause my "presentation" would be at 11:20, which is the time that she usually gets home from school on Fridays (short day)

Last night I wrote down a few notes about things that my career allow me to do - clean, cook, sew, give haircuts, plumbing, read and teach history, time management, organization, blog, etc. This morning I gathered my blog books and a few yearbooks and scrapbook photos. I set an alarm for 10:15, an hour before I had to be there. Time set for 10:15 to remind me to begin to get my 3 little friends ready, hoping it would allow us to be in the car and on our way to pick up Sophi at 10:30, then by 10:45 hopefully we'd have Sophi in the car and be on our way to Churchill. I planned to arrive at Churchill at 11, giving myself 20 minutes to get me, my little friends, and my heavy bin of books to get up to classroom 307. Wouldn't you know that Daniel and Owen both fell asleep on the drive to the school! I called it though, figures...

I dropped my bin off at the door then went to park the car. Owen woke up but D was still asleep and so I carried him. Owen had to keep hold of his blanket, but Sophi and Natalie helped me drag the bin up the ramp. The ramp goes right by the cafeteria windows. I have total hope for the future of the world, cause a sweet wonderful young woman ran outside and offered to help me. She carried the bin inside and was just the sweetest girl. I want to be like her! See someone who needs help? Go help them! She's my hero. I don't know how to find out her name though. But young girl, I love you, you're awesome! She helped get us to the cafeteria door where Wesley and his cousin Jordyn found us. They helped us take the kids and bin up the stairs and to room 307 with 4 min to spare before the first bell rang.
It was an hour long process but hooray, we made it! We killed a few minutes walking the halls. Natalie and Sophi tried opening the big kids' lockers...
11:20 - time for class to begin. It was a short day, so I was given all the class period time if I wanted it. Wesley's teacher asked him to introduce me.
Sophi shyly stayed close by my legs, Natalie played at a computer, Daniel was happy to go to whoever, and Owen kept his blanket and big brother close by.
I said my little spiel, the kids asked questions, and it was fun! They asked what a typical day looks like for me. Right now that's being an alarm clock starting at 5:30 a.m. and managing kids the whole day, while I try to fit in time to blog/clean/cook, etc. I told them that they haven't met yet the most important people in their life - their kids. Being a parent is fun and challenging and rewarding and I love it, I firmly believe I've got the best job hands down. I passed out my blog books for the kids to look at. I said that I have no idea what my mom did when I was growing up, and my kids are probably totally unaware of most of things I do, but I've got a lot of it documented! So at some future day if they want to know what I did all day and/or how I managed our life, I'll tell them to go google it, ha. Wesley's classmates came and adored Daniel a bit before the bell rang, and then they and we were off to face the rest of the day.
Three students helped take my bin of books out to the car and Wes brought out Owen, and that was that. The night before, Hyrum was complaining... "Hey! Dad already went to talk to Wesley's class! And now you're going too?!? How come you never came to my class?!?! You only had 9 kids back then, now you have even more! How come you can do it now but you couldn't do it then, huh?!?" I agree Hyrum, if I was overwhelmed then I should still be overwhelmed now. But I've only just figured out to how to manage my life. I can't go back in time, but I'm happy to come talk to your class now if you'd like!

Also, my kids have been attending jr. high here at Churchlil for the past 6 years (Joseph started in fall 2012) and so this is another perhaps pathetic milestone in that it was the first time that I've gone in the school further than the auditorium and actually entered a classroom. (That's my second pathetic milestone this year, woot!)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sick Toddlers

Poor Owen and Daniel have got some bug that they are both fighting. Yesterday, after I took the jr. high carpool, I came back to find Daniel in the tub, a messy pile of clothes for me to wash, and a big mess in his crib. Daniel, it appears you are sick. Owen's got the same thing, but luckily I catch his before it's overflowing. So I didn't go to study group yesterday cause I didn't think I had it in me and I didn't they'd enjoy it. So we just chilled at home (I caught up on the blog big time, caught up September, and today I finished October! I'm not behind anymore!!)  So last night I put them both to bed pretty early for us - Daniel at 7:30, Owen at 9:30. This morning at 3:20 am I struggled to wake up and understand what was happening - Daniel was crying again. I make him a bottle, then I smelled the air as I went to give him the bottle... ugh. I felt around in the darkness - his pjs, gross, and then his bed. Yep, you need a bath. So he took a quick rinse in the tub, I threw all his bedding in the wash, wiped off his crib and put a towel down for him, then put him back to bed. Thankfully the towels there caught the 6 am blowout. That all made it harder to "rise and shine" this morning. I was late waking up the high school kids so they were a bit late. The day has kinda been dragging for all of us - evidenced by these two looking especially exhausted in the PBS kids tv chair...
Daniel didn't look very comfortable so I tried to move him. He doesn't do sleeping transfers and woke up. Natalie chastised me "Mom! You can't bug Daniel when he's sleeping!!" I know, sorry. I won't do it again.
So other than that wee hours of the morning interruption, things are good. Tomorrow I'm giving a little presentation for one of Wesley's classes on my career as a homemaker. Should be fun. I'm not really prepared, but I think I should be able to handle it without a poster or slide show presentation. Hopefully my 18 years of experience will allow me to handle 30 min of unscripted talking. I'm super lucky to be a stay at home mom. I love it and think it's the best. I love getting things done around here feeling productive and I also love days where we can take it easy and relax a bit more, like today.

Business wise, things are the same, aka the company and us both have no dinero. Good news is that having no money helps me not waste money! We cut our family expenses by a third during October! And I trust November will be even less, go team. I'm on a spending freeze and trying to use food storage and what we have with just a little bit of extra stuff. I try to point out to everyone that we're broke but they're kinda used to spending money they don't have. I guess I was too but they all do it more than I do. Mel saves money, Wes and Hyrum are savers. Joseph is normal. Eth and Corey are kinda spenders. Last time I went to Costco I should have renewed our membership but I said I didn't budget for it and had a look of panic on my face. I was at $197 and couldn't do more. So the lady was nice and paged a supervisor and let me checkout on a store account or something. They said to save my receipt cause it wasn't stored on our membership # and that it wouldn't go toward our cashback. I was okay with that. But now I can't go to Costco until we have $. Need to ask my neighbors if they can pick me up a few things on their next Costco run. The new consulting job Corey started on Oct 30 has a 4 week pay delay, so we should have $ again on Nov 27th. Of course then we'll be catching up on things like Nov rent and other bills that are waiting (we have nice landlords). Anyway... that's what's going on there ~ we're still waiting to be delivered, not waking the master asking him why he's sleeping, we're just letting him sleep and trying to not let the ship sink.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What's Important Now?

Hooray hooray, I just finished blogging September! AND I'm not behind at all for November yet, so that's another hooray I get. I only have like 6 posts to catch up on for October, so this is all very very good. I'm loving the courage challenge I started on October 2nd. I still have 3 more weeks of it, yay! I'm excited about the things that I've been learning over the past month. I have lots of notes I could search through for reference if I wanted to attempt to share them. I might even be able to put things in my own words or off the top of my head, cause hopefully I'm internalizing some of these things. I would recommend Holly's coaching to anyone (here's her facebook page, here is her website). As far as I can tell, I only signed up for this 7 week challenge. It cost $79. The reason why I signed up was mostly for the accountability aspect of it. Being accountable to others helped me a lot during the first facebook Healthy Habits challenge I did in the spring. And that was why I tried to host one again in the summer. So I was just looking for some help, and figured if this provided that, it would be worth the cost. And this challenge has helped me a ton, but not in the ways I originally hoped when I signed up (for exercise and diet). It's been just a life changing miracle. One of the lesson questions we had to answer was "If a miracle took place in your life during the night, when you woke up, how would you know?" I said my house would be clean, no clutter on floors, kids bedrooms clean. Well it's happened, and that is a miracle. It doesn't just stay that way without effort, but we work at it everyday and for at least a few moments every day, each room in our home is clean. :)

Holly's next challenge coming up in December is a "Jump for Joy" challenge for 21 days, I think that one is focusing on exercising. I couldn't find it online, but she mentioned it in one of her periscope videos. When I did the 7 week challenge, I didn't sign up for a monthly membership to the community, so I don't know if after this 7 weeks is over if I'm out and can't even log in? Or if I'm in but can't log into some sections or lessons or just not the current lesson/challenge? But, I know that before this Courage Challenge, she had a "Take Back Your Mornings" Challenge, and during this challenge I've been able to go look at those lessons and videos, SO - from what I'm guessing.... you don't have to join the community for $30 a month, just join the challenge in December and check it out and listen to the videos and see if it works for you!

And I've been watching myself and my life.... waiting to see if I'm going to fall back into the old ways or if this new way is really working. And I think it is! Cause (get this...) my bedroom and my bathroom have been consistently clean for the past 4 weeks. That, my friends, is huge. My "in the zone"-ness has been able to persist even following the interruptions cause by an outing to Moab, persisted even with a houseful of sick kids, and persisted though one of the most stressful weeks of my life (we still don't know how that's gonna end btw)... I was able to navigate my way through the past month and have cleaned my toilets each Tuesday morning! I planning and praying, I'm cleaning and blogging! I'm managing myself - something I've wanted to do for years but never really knew how. Here is the Daily "Journey Journal" that she uses. I used that for a few days to see what I used  and what I wanted to add - then over the weekend I typed up my own version here (that fits on one side of a sheet of paper).
So, there's my little shout out to Holly Rigsby to thank her for changing my life for the better, she's taught me how to take care of What's Important to me Now in my life - What's Important Now = WIN! I'm getting a lot of WINs in everyday, some big and some small, but each WIN helping me move forward closer to what is important to me.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Colorful Art

Guess what I did today?! I am bragging on myself cause I'm very proud of this ~ today I actually framed not one but two of the kids' pictures and put them on the wall!! I'm not sure if this is where the pictures will find permanent residence, but I'm still very proud of myself for trying and taking a step in the right direction.
The top picture is one that Lily did two years ago when she was in first grade. The second picture is one Hyrum did last year in his art class. Way to go me, we've been here at this house for 5+ years and now the big main wall that is the center of focus when people walk in the house is not completely bare! Hooray for small victories. I'd really just like to hire someone who knows what they're doing to come decorate this whole place. Someday...
Now there are two little pictures! Wa-hoo
And they kinda match the other painting!
...and the colors of the ornaments on the wood thing on the stairs...
I was able to fix the ornaments after they broke in April, detailed in that link above. Most of these things represent the Young Women values and/or go along with quotes that I like - like the gold train (2nd column, second row) represents Good Works and is also a symbol of a quote I heard once that "A loaded train won't jump the tracks" - if our life is pulling a heavy load of good things (like this big family) then we won't find ourselves getting off track from what is important in life. One more colorful painting... the hand art that we made two years ago...
Hmm, I think I'm seeing a theme here... It appears I like bright rainbow colored things. Perhaps I'm trying to channel a little bit of Zion into our home? (See Rainbow and also I love the Joseph Smith Translation for Genesis 9:21-25!) Yeah, I like rainbows and bright colorful things. "Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style." - Billy Baldwin

Monday, November 6, 2017

My Little Boys

Last week was like every other week, in that I was a busy mom. My busy mom life includes waking up at 5:30 every morning to get the kids out the door for school. I am so happy that daylight saving time has ended! It's nice to have it be a little more light in the morning. The extra hour we had also allowed for a bit of a more relaxed Sunday morning yesterday. These two little boys were ready for their nap after church.
I fell asleep on the floor with them, it's nice to just crash sometimes - drop where you are and sleep!
Owen is pretty attached to that Sunday shirt. I got him and Daniel new Sunday slacks and vest and button up shirt a month ago. Daniel pooped all over his at church so I was in the bathroom changing his clothes when I heard Owen was freaking out in the hallway. He was having a power struggle with Corey over at the drinking fountain. Owen wanted Corey to hold him, but Corey wanted Owen to stand on the stool to get it. Corey also offered a glass of water, but Owen didn't want it. I held him to get a drink, but he still wanted Corey to do it or something and so basically Corey just stood in the hall during all of sacrament meeting with Owen screaming at full lung capacity. I ran home to get new pants for Daniel so I didn't catch any of testimony meeting, which is a bummer cause testimony meeting is always good. But some Sunday's are like this. After that big battle at church, I didn't have the heart to take off Owen's beloved Sunday shirt.  Last week he was freaking out when we tried to take it off of him. He wore it the whole day last Sunday and on Monday morning I took it off before he got his breakfast cereal all over it, and he was ticked. Then I hid it and it remained hidden until yesterday morning. He was excited to put it on. But I didn't even try to take it off after church, Owen had already endured a hard struggle so we just layed on the floor and I rubbed his tummy. Daniel joined us during his nap-halftime.
I took off O's shirt this morning without too much of a fight. It had dinner food on it from last night and then after dripping his strawberry banana smoothie all over it during breakfast, even Owen was able to tell that it needed to come off and be washed. Yay, I'll wash it and hide it away until next Sunday. I hope he doesn't have a hard time when he outgrows it and it's passed down to Daniel!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Leaf Pile Fun

Today was a good day in my book cause we were outside together and we got some yard work done. As is usually the case, most of the children got distracted. But if I have atleast one kid helping me, I don't mind. So during the morning shift, Wesley was my biggest helper and leaf compactor. He jumped in the garbage can for me and did a great job smashing the leaves down, I think I could hire him out! Hyrum played with Owen and Abi helped me off and on and took Daniel on walks when he got fussy or bored. When I have helpers around, they are usually more than eager to help by watching their little brothers. I am more than happy to let them, cause I work faster than they do anyway and I enjoy the break from Mom duty! So, Wes and I cleared the front yard, and then I kept working while they started to ride on the skate board. Wes soon abandoned me to joined them and a new game was created. They are still discussing what the official name of this game will be, since it's going to be a keeper, but I'll just call it the Leaf Pile game for now. Yesterday I had raked the leaves off of the grass into several piles. The kids moved all the leaves from my piles and more of the leaves that they raked into a big pile at the end of the street. And then they drove the skateboard down the street and straight into the pile.
They laughed at how they would disappear in the leaves. Here's a little video of our fun -

They soon were wearing various layers of protection - yard gloves for their hands ("Don't get holes it the gloves!") and when they started going head first they got their ski helmets, just in case they hit one of the rocks that block the path on our dead end street.
It doesn't look like such a big pile height wise, cause we were going for a deep pile horizontally. So you can't tell how bit it is from the angle I was at, but it's a big pile. Trust me. So I spent a better part of today clipping plants and raking leaves, and the kids played together outside. It was fun to watch them. I was glad that we were all outside together. I love to see them get along.
I don't love seeing them fight, but there was a bit of that too. Abi accidentally pushed Hyrum too fast and he got his arm scraped, so then he started to chase her and that was when I turned and saw him look like he was about to beat her with a pole. No, Hyrum, you are not allowed to hit your sister with a broom handle, even if you feel it's her fault that you got hurt.

After lunch and a big break for music, we were out again at 4 to finish up in the back yard. We have a LOT of pine needles. It could take us months to put these out via the garbage every week. The needles don't cooperate with the leaf bags though. So a new strategy has me thinking we can become modern mini Hopewell mound builders. I put pine needles in a mound-like wall around the dirt area. In another month or so, we could have a winter nature battle and see which is stronger, earth or water. - with a snow fort with snowballs on one side, and a pine fort with pinecones on the other side. Or atleast maybe it will give the little kids a new place to get creative in their play this winter. One more month of fall but it's getting cold and we can all feel that winter's almost here! I hope winter goes by quickly, it's my least favorite weather season. I'm already missing fall and looking forward to spring.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Leaf Swim

I just so happened to check the weather last night while planning (thinking of exercising), and I saw that the forecast calls for rain. That gave me a new task for my list today, cause we have a lot of leaves outside. We have three cottonwood trees west of our lot that give us lovely shade and green all summer, and lost of leaves in the fall. Today I went out to tackle them. It started to sprinkle as soon as I went out - hey! There wasn't rain on the forecast for today! It did make me work more quickly. I could tell Daniel was having a new experience, as he had a confused look on his face trying to figure out where this invisible misty feeling was coming from. Thankfully it didn't last long and nothing got too wet, including the kids.
Daniel was so cute crawling around in the leaves, he seemed to love the noise.
(It was so cute!)
He looked like he was swimming in it, doing laps back and forth across the grass. 
Melted my heart. 
Love you, you cute little boy!

Owen was close by with his binky and blanket. He seemed to enjoy being outside too.
Natalie helped me rake by doing her best to take leaves from the piles I was attempting and move them back up the hill. It was cute.
I spent about an hour and got the lawn cleaned off well enough where the big problem is. I've let the leaves do damage to the lawn in years past. Despite my efforts, we usually still have a collection of wet leaves left on the lawn from fall through the winter and into the spring. This year I'm glad I'm on top of it (cause I'm becoming unstoppable!) and so hopefully with a little help from my crew tomorrow we'll be able to get it done before it rains.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sweet Trick or Treaters

This Halloween has been easier on us this year than we've experienced in past years - junk food wise. I didn't buy a lot to give out, so thankfully we don't have a lot left over there, yay. Also the older 5 kids didn't go, yay! So that's another reason there is less junk around here to throw me off the wagon. I did really good yesterday and didn't have one treat until we stopped at a neighbor's house so Sophi could use the bathroom, and then I was offered and accepted an Almond Joy. It was downhill after that - I had another Almond Joy, then a Kit Kat that I had originally intended to save for Ethan. Then I continued to just have "one more" treat of my candy hierarchy. Chocolate, cookies and cakes are my vegan weaknesses. I do fine if they're not around. Unfortunately during Halloween, they are all around. Luckily Abi's an aspiring healthy eater and gave most of hers away last night. Lily has a good stash, and Sophi and Natalie didn't get very many treats last night, being the sweet and un-greedy toddlers that they are. Plus they shared them with Owen and Daniel last night, which was so cute, so most of them got eaten last night, yay.
I'm glad I got this on film, cause it was precious. Natalie dumped out her bag of treats and Daniel saw it and came over. I was expecting her to gather the treats in her arms and shield them from her encroaching sibling, but instead she saw "Aww! Daniel!" and welcomed him in. Then Owen came over too, she again sweetly said "Some of these babies want to eat treats too!" Then taking a treat from Owen she said "I will help you!" and she opened his tootsie roll "Ok Owen, here! There you go!"

Then she opened another one. She is so sweet, hope this fairy butterfly gets sweeter every year. With this video documenting her sweetness now, I think we will be able to show her and keep her being a good girl like she was in 2017. In this next video she was cute too, showing me with tickled surprise that Owen just gave her some chocolate! I guess not realizing that it was hers to begin with? Pretty adorable. Another funny thing in this second clip - Corey decided to head over to a neighbors house to check on Abi and Lily. He put on his coat and announced his intentions to depart. He invited Sophi "Do you want to come with me?" Owen looked up, saw Dad putting on a coat. "DAD!!" he called out. Then he got up with a "I'll come..." We all laughed, since Corey's usually trying to get a break from this little man. Yes, Owen, we could have called that you would want to go with Dad, being as you're his little shadow. It was nice that he was calmly proactive instead of screaming in terror that Corey might leave him. Just a sweet "I'll come..." - that's a good improvement, thank you Owen! Corey laughed too, "I guess he speaks English!"

Oh, one more thing on the business front - so I took Sophi and Natalie around the neighborhood, Corey stayed home with Owen and Daniel, and the older kids stayed home to pass out goodies to the trick or treaters. As we were on our way back home, we met Corey pushing Owen in the stroller. Corey said me that he'd just heard back from Brazil. They were going to talk today at noon. I haven't gotten the full report yet, but we'll see if it means our free fall comes to an end as we hit the ground, or if we grow wings and fly, or maybe our flag will give us flight! We're keeping that flag flying.

Business Update - Corey sent me a text around 1:00 today with the following info:
Good news - the committee approved the deal. They also disbanded the committee to give more authority to move faster. One investor insists he meets with an IT guy to talk about IT needs of English schools. Not a big deal, and not related to M0vieMouth. R will see if Corey can talk to that guy later. Bad News - Last week the Brazilian Federal Government passed resolution 3922 that puts restrictions on asset managers who have money from pension funds. It has literally stopped the flow of money for this investor and other financing funds. R is meeting with the finance minister on Nov 9th in Brasilia to discuss. If not resolved, this VC's entire business is in jeopardy. R belives it will be resolved, but he needs some time to figure it out. Hopefully just a couple of weeks, but they don't really know, could be longer. (Ok, seeing as this "lets move on this fast" deal with it's "we'll get back to you in a few days" ended up taking 3 weeks, a projected timeline of a couple of weeks after Nov 9th means this thing is definitely going to be 3+ months before it's close to being resolved, Isn't that fun?! Ya gotta love government regulations, ugh.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

The kids had a fun day today. Although that's pretty easy when it's Halloween, right? The morning started with me using my exercise time to do hair and makeup on my girls. I was grateful for the quality time with them, and can I just say how incredibly long all of their eye lashes are! You're welcome, my daughters. I just want you to know that your father's eyes were one of the first things I noticed. I know you're grateful I chose a man with such lovely lashes, that was key in all of you getting those pretty eyes. I put mascara on all of them and just wow, if my lashes looked like that! Mine with mascarea barely look like theirs without. Ok, let's take a picture!
Sophi is Elena of Avalor, she got this costume from Corey for her birthday. She's just been waiting for this day!
Lily is a ballerina -
And Abi's getting older, so she didn't want to do the princess route this year. She's a pirate. AND she wore my boots! They were a little big on her, but still, how did this 4th grader get so big?! She shares clothes with Mel! She's already a young woman.
So after getting them out the door, I hurried and got the little kids ready so we could run out the door to see the parade. Natalie was still asleep. Luckily Corey was able to stay home, so I left her and took Owen and Daniel. Unlike past years, today I made it over with plenty of time to spare, go me. I saw each of the kids, they saw me, so I got credit for attending and my duty was done. Then we headed out.

I grabbed Abi on her way out the door so she could hold Daniel while I adjusted Owen, and took another picture...
One more picture when we saw Sophi in the hall watching the parade. Owen was excited "Sophi!!"
Sophi insisted on wearing her dress up plastic shoes. I told her that I thought her feet would get too cold and could even hurt from wearing those plastic shoes, but she had to be true to the costume and told me when she got home that her feet did not hurt. Ok, I'm glad.
After Sophi got home, I took her to an eye doctor appointment. They did vision screenings at the school and she got 20/50 in one eye and 20/80 in the other. They said I needed to take her in for an eye exam and bring back a signed note. So I made an appt. I was hoping it was just a fluke from her not understanding what was going on. Her eyes weren't that bad, but the opthamologist said it would be good for her to patch her eye again, 2 hours a day. So we're doing that again until her follow up appointment in 4 months. They dilated her eyes so the appointment took 2 hours. I was glad it's not a busy office. I was pretty tired after though. So were the kids! But the day's not over yet! Get dressed again, we're heading over for dinner at the neighbor's house. Wes was a "cool kid".
Owen and Wes eating pizza. Sophi and Natalie posing on the stairs for me.
I took Abi to get a costume yesterday at Kid2Kid and while we were there we saw this little snowman outfit... I couldn't resist buying it. We were excited to dress Daniel up and he didn't disappoint!!
He was the cutest little Olaf there! One funny part was when our old ward bishop came in a big black gorilla costume. Owen grabbed Corey's pant leg and panicked. Not our little D though - Daniel looked fear in the face and held his ground.
The gorilla jumping around trying to get some sort of a reaction...
It was so funny!! 
Daniel didn't wet his pants, but he did spill his little cup of water.
Then the gorilla decided to wait for some pizza. Unfortunately for our meek little 2 year old, the gorilla was in line behind Owen.
Owen, you sure you've got a good enough hold of dad's leg?
Dad! Dad!! That gorilla's looking at me again!!!
He didn't yell or freak out, so he's getting braver. It's okay to stay close to dad, you were very brave Owen. All the little kids lined up for a picture. All the big kids still eating pizza.
It was pretty cold so we decided to keep the little ones home. Daniel would have been fun to walk around with, but he can't walk in shoes and so his feet would freeze in his socks. Owen was no good - he wanted Corey to hold him. You can't trick or treat if you won't walk buddy. So they stayed home.
Abi ran off with friends, Lily went with her friend Isa, I took Sophi and Natalie around. Wes joined us for a bit and then they went to watch a movie. So it was just the three of us going around the neighborhood and it was really cute. Not a lot of people home, so the kids mostly took treats from bowls.
We're going to try to get these kiddos to bed now, so I'll post a little more tomorrow, I got two cute videos of the kids after we got home from trick or treating. They are fun, love these kids
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