Saturday, April 29, 2017

April Pictures Recap

Just a few more pictures from this month that I didn't share yet... During General Conference, Ethan fell asleep.
I think it helped Mel stay awake, as she played a game of "Let's see how many things we can put on Ethan before it wakes him up"
Lily left me a note to fix one of their Strawberry Shortcake dolls. She wanted me to make an arm, "atleast a paper arm or somethen like that" (made me smile)
Natalie painting a beautiful picture!
Owen woke up early and was downstairs with me as I exercised. He tried to help me write down my scores. Cut kid, up on his tippy toes.
Hyrum, a master builder, has been helping his little sisters make really cool lego houses.
He's really good. 
Here's a video where he shows inside the houses.

I love their creativity.
Owen loves Daniel. Here he is being affectionate as we waited to get their passports. Also, Owen has started to sleep on the floor sometimes with Natalie... the cycle continues.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Busy Birthday

Today is my happy birthday. I was pleased that I made it through the day without binge on junk, cause it was a pretty stressful and busy day. The only thing I wished for was for Joseph to win SBO, cause he really wanted it and had worked so hard and we all know he'd do a great job. So, it was a normal busy morning. Corey had business calls and stuff, so he wasn't able to come to the SOW (Skyline Office Winners), so I loaded up all the kids and got kids out of school so we could all go and cheer Joseph on. Long story short, he didn't win. (Thanks for nothin' Birthday Bunny! Boo!) But he took it like a champ. He looked like he could have let himself cry if he wanted to, but he kept a brave face and was gracious as he congratulated the winners and his other friends that won. Here he is with one of his BBFs Scotty
We all felt bad/sad for him, and I got a little teary as I hugged his sweet running mate who wasn't able to hold back her tears. So sad. But a good life lesson. Some doors are closed to us, and even when we work and pray for them to open up, they just don't budge. I texted my family that if Joseph won it was a sign that things will be okay with Corey's work at MM, but if Joseph loses, and Corey finished the sentence... "Then we're all losers..." But my sister says J's loss is not a sign, so we'll see. Sigh, so sad.

After that, I took down some of the posters, not sure what we'll do with them. Then we headed home. Corey was busy and in a rush all day, and I picked him up over at his parents house around 6 and we rushed out to the airport to meet Gary and his wife and give him some $ and computers for the office in Brazil, Gary is going down to Brazil next week for 10 days for some important meetings and stuff. Also, they are laying off some people and you have to pay severance in Brazil if you have layoffs, so Corey was working all day trying to pull that rabbit out of his hat. Corey miraculously came up with the money and as he gave it to Gary along with come computers that the office guys might sell for cash, Gary looked a bit taken aback asking if it was all legal and said "Do you know how foreign this is to me?!" to which Corey replied "Do you know how normal this is to me?!" After that we called my mom and filled her in on some of the stuff going on with work for Corey. My family is doing a fast for Corey and my BIL who is looking for a job too. Then we went out to Bombay House for some Indian food for my birthday dinner, Good stuff (not as good as India House, but pretty good, and closer to where we were at to pick up kids later...) A card from my mom that gave a good sum up of the day:
So, it was a little crazier than normal, yet kinda what what I expected as far as what my birthdays have been like these past 20 years, taking into consideration an increase of craziness just cause life keeps getting bigger and busier. 41, I'm 41, getting up there! Weird.

For my gifts, I got a few cards from Abi and a picture from Sophi. My mother brought by cake and a card and Corey's parents gave me a card too when I saw them at the SOW. Wesley had an idea and has been working on it, but our printer is not helping him very much. He asked for my help with the printer and had to ruin the surprise by telling me what he's trying to do. So, he wanted to print up a picture of each kid in the family and have them write me a letter on the back of their picture. But the printer is being soooooo slow, so he'll send it to print again, and again, and again....
He ended up "accidentally" printing up 35 pictures of Sophi. Sophi looked at her hair in the picture and with the sun shining on it, it did look a bit lighter on the right side (Sophi said it was "orange" and then looked at me with great alarm "See, I do need to eat chocolate! My hair is turning orange!" Corey often teases her that she has to eat chocolate everyday to keep her hair dark brown, and now Sophi really believes it is true! Just another day in the life with kids.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Joseph's Campaign Video

Once again I have a lot of catching up to do on the blog here. I'm usually running a week behind. Will try to catch up this weekend. But for today, Joseph had the assembly at school today where they got to show their campaign video. He had to finish it and turn it in over 2 weeks ago, but we couldn't upload it to YouTube until after the assembly. Now that the assembly and voting are over, we get to share it. We all thought he did such a great job! You probably should review the original La La Land Trailer to appreciate what a great job he did choosing the scenes and editing the video... (watch here) Ok, now you can watch their "Skyline Land" version:

Seriously impressive, don't you think?!?! I've put Joseph in charge of making all of our future family reunion video mash ups. Joseph, below is a video of what I'm thinking I'd like them to be like

And another one, ...just FYI...

Aren't those the funnest family reunion videos you've ever seen! I first found them at my friends blog in this post here - and there are more videos! 2010. 20112013, 20152016. Now with Joseph's newly developed skills at editing, well hey, we should be set to go! Wesley and Hyrum can fly the drone cameras. And unless we get any dancers in the family I guess I'll take a shot at the choreography. We just need to find a good cabin to film at. Dad and I will start working on that. :)

So I told Joseph that his campaign video set the standard pretty high for them if they win it. So he might be busy pulling all nighters again making videos this next year, we'll see. Good luck tomorrow. This ain't junior high though, so mom and dad don't get a heads up for tomorrow like we did for Joseph and Ethan at Churchill, drat. So we're all going to just have to go and see. I've asked for him to win as my b-day present. We'll see if Santa or the birthday bunny get it for me. :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Life and Logistics

Last week, I was brushing Sophi's hair and noticed what looked like lots of little scratches and scabs on her back. Not sure what it could be from - from brushing her hair and having the brush scratch her? It was kinda weird. Also seemed like there were some bruises... So then I started giving her a head to toe inspection. It was then that I noticed her teeth, and this little girl definitely had a cavity. A big ol' hole on the bottom left side. Darn it. I guess I should be glad it's just one hole, cause I don't think I've supervised her brushing at all since Daniel's been born, and that's been, oh, 7 months now. So I called the dentist, our good friend Bill. He and his lovely wife just happen to both be from our high school class and another pair from our grade that got married. I was able to schedule a visit for today. Corey's been super swamped with a string of urgent events at MM and his consulting this week. I had a little logistics crisis myself today as the afternoon wore on and I realized 1) Joseph wasn't going to be able to drive down to LBB (Little Big Band) like he usually does on Wednesdays when he goes to Lyceum, cause today he had a school rehearsal. 2) Ethan stayed home sick but still had to go to LBB. 3) I had to get Hyrum from school at the same time as I had made Sophi's dentist appointment which was scheduled for 3, and 4) Couldn't get a hold of Corey to see if he could help....

I called my parents, they were both out downtown running work errands so they couldn't help. I called Corey's dad, and as I started to explain my situation, he stopped me and said "Give me an assignment. What can I do to help?" I thought that was awesome. He didn't need to know the details, just give him an assignment. So I'm going to remember that for when I'm a grandparent. I asked him to get Hyrum, then meet us somewhere so I could give him Ethan, and then if he could take them to LBB while I took Sophi to the dentist? It worked out pretty smoothly, except that after we left home Hyrum called to tell me he didn't have the Tenor Sax, I remembered that it was at home, so I had to turn around and go get it. I called the dentist to tell them I was running late. Then they called me 10 minutes later and asked where I was. By that time I was turning down the street and so we were there in 1 more minute and rushed in 15 minutes past her appointment time, hoping I wouldn't have to reschedule and come back to get her tooth fixed. Bill was a hero and did the job lickity split and fixed another cavity that he found. Sophi did awesome, much better than Abi when she got one of her very loose teeth pulled out... Abi fainted and had to be on oxygen for 20 minutes. Sophi was giggling as she got her tooth drilled! Sophi, you did great.
And after that I was happy that I'd survived the day. Things are super stressful for Corey right now. They haven't had any sales for over a year. They are laying off some people at their Brazil office. Corey and I are hoping/praying the business will survive.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Creative Sophi

The weekend is over and the week begins anew on Sunday nights when it is time to gather together once again for family prayer. We don't have a consistent place where we gather, but many times it is at the top of the stairs between the bedrooms, like it was tonight. Come together people! The sooner we gather the sooner you can all head to bed. And when I wake you up on Monday morning you'll be wishing you had gone to bed earlier, so come on! Wes and Daniel waiting for people to gather...
We had a special treat tonight: Wonder Woman joined us!
There she is, Wonder Woman! with her magic lasso! Joseph using his phone while he waits, which is typical of the teens here.
Nice headband Sophi, I was impressed once again with her creativity. Pretty good what they're able to come up with just by scrounging around in their closets and in the costume box. Sophi took the crown part off of a Sophia the first crown, leaving the headband part. Silver necklace makes a matching lasso, then red shirt and shoes and blue leggins and voilĂ : wonder woman.  Cute little girl.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spiritual Enlightenment - Stake Conference

I admit that most things in my life have a gospel parallel. When I listen to the "we know the way" song on Moana, to me it sounds like a spiritual song about our journey on earth. I hear gospel teachings with a lot of Brandon Flower's songs. And when I go to Costco and have a van full of food, all I can think of is how in the world the Jaredites prepared for their trip to the promised land? They were going off to sea, not knowing how long the trip would take! They were in their boats for almost a year!! Today is my Costco day - I go there after I drop off Wesley for New Bop, It gives me a good hour to shop for food. And I have to go to the store each week to feed my family. How in the world did they do it?! It amazes me.
So, continuing with my spiritual thoughts... we had Stake Conference this weekend and it was great. We had a visiting general authority come, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the we apostles. I went seeking guidance and feel like I got answers.

I've already been thinking and wondering if we're done having kids (my poor husband). On Saturday night, Corey didn't go cause he had to pick up Ethan and Hyrum from a Jazz concert. So, at that Saturday night adult session of stake conference, Sister Renlund spoke on how the Lord needs women who have faith to make things happen. It might mean not seeing the end, it may mean being uncomfortable. Ok, seemed like and answer to me! Does that mean I need to make more kids happen, even when it makes me uncomfortable? I don't see the end right now (the end in heaven) but I can have faith that it will be worth it. All I'll take with me is my family. She also said "my job is just to be grateful." It's hard, but we can cheerfully submit to all the will of the Lord (Mosiah 24:15) and be grateful.

Then on Sunday, The kids were crawling over Corey in the meeting and he got up to take them out. I took Daniel out at one point and we met in the hall and then the foyer. Usually it will be Owen, Natalie and Sophi that go out, but Lily was with him too. An elderly couple in the foyer looked at us and joked "You're got your hands full!!" to which Corey replied "This isn't even half of them!"

Corey told me later that he didn't get anything out of conference "cause of all these kids!" I told him I got a lot out, and I was there right with him and with all those kids. We can still get answers and guidance when we have restless children on our laps. I know it's harder for men and especially maybe for Corey, who was the youngest of 3 children growing up. Hee didn't have a lot of prep for these 11 kids, but he is doing so great, I wish I could help him not be so frustrated by the mess and noise and busy-ness of it all.

So, before we had that conversation, I continued to get more answers about what we should do. Sister Renlund spoke on Sunday about chicken necks (a story I'd heard before - Elder Renlund shares the chicken necks analogy in his "Spiritual Stability" talk. So chicken necks are things that trick us and lead to our captivity and death. She said some chicken necks of our day are:
1) Being stirred up against that which is good (and I wrote in my notes "children are good")
2) Thinking that "I'm doing good enough" and we don't worry or try to do more
3)  ...I missed the third one.
The she said we need to Settle, once and for all, in our hearts that we will do the things which the Lord shall teach and command us (JST Luke 14:28). Settle once and for all "I'm going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ." And how do we do that? We 1) feast upon his love 2) feast upon his word 3) Feast upon that which perisheth not. She asked "When do we feel his love? During sacrament, prayer..." What does not perish? Back to yesterdays thoughts - family! Our covenants! Those are the things we take with us after this life. It is something Corey and I learned the first week we were married in our Teachings of living prophets class - we had to do a research report on Birth Control. The counsel from President Kimball (in bold here) has stayed with me my whole life "I have told tens of thousands of young folks that when they marry they should not wait for children until they have finished their schooling and financial desires... They should live together normally and let the children come." I know my sweetheart is stretched very thin right now with work, but the counsel remains that we should let the children come.

Here are my notes from Elder Renlund's talk. He talked about our conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and our ministry. When President Monson feels burdened, he goes or wants to go to nursing homes and give blessings. "If you've felt the atoning love in your life, even so I would that ye should remember and always retain in remembrance. The difference between the wise man and the foolish man - the variable is the foundation. The rain and floods descended upon them both. We can expect storms and rain in life. But if we are on a rock, we will make it through the storm. That goes along with another talk I listened to today - "Stay by the Tree" by Kevin Pearson. Life is hard with lots of kids but I think most of our stress is cause of Corey's work, it's hard being an entrepreneur. But we are not just supposed to "hang in there" as we work through this. "Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him." We need to constantly be working on our making the Rock of our Redeemer our foundation!

Another thing in my notes from Elder Renlund - he shared about how one time they took a vacation to Hawaii and they paddled kayaks in the ocean out to an island. He had used different Kayaks in his youth and wasn't used to these kinds, so he felt a little off balance and top heavy and had a hard time with it. Once they got to the island, he collapsed on the beach for 10 minutes trying to catch his breath. After he caught his breath, the instructor/guide came over to him in preparation for their return trip and said "If you keep your momentum going you'll be fine." He could have said "Well of course you had a hard time! You' fat and out of shape!" But he didn't say that, he conveyed love. And he taught me when I was ready and receptive for instruction. That made me think of Corey too. I shouldn't pressure him into more kids when he out of breath and not receptive, and I need to convey love, not judgement. The last thing he said was "I invoke a blessing upon you that, as you remain faithful, you will see miracles in the lives of your family members. You will find you and happiness in the Savior of the world." That was a great promise. It was a wonderful meeting, I love the gospel, I love the Church, and I love Jesus Christ, my rock and my redeemer!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Friday

Another Friday... another week of school survived, but just barely. Wesley was reading a book tonight, face flat in the book. A comic book too, so it should have kept his interest, but I guess that's the exhaustion these kids feel. Heck, even the kids that don't go to school feel it, as shown by Owen below.
Well, his might not be school exhaustion. But I think he tries to get sleep on behalf of his siblings. Owen was being a little couch potato here watching cartoon on pbs. Funny little guy, he looks comfortable.
Tonight Melodie attended a concert at GMS in support of one of her classmates. We dropped Melodie off there and then went to eat at Rodizio at Trolly Square. We had a coupon and I wasn't particularly hungry but we were feeling like reminiscing about Brazil tonight. I had somehow forgotten about farofa! I was full when I went back for one more taste and saw the farofa and just had to get some with beans and rice. We need to have that stuff imported or find a store where they sell it here. As of now we do not have any plans in place to go down. Owen's and Daniel's passports have arrived but we haven't applied for Visas yet.

After stuffing ourselves, we went to pick up Mel at GMS. We went inside and I really liked all the quotes they had in the halls -
Although they made me kick myself for not being more musical. Hopefully my self taught piano lessons in Brazil can help redeem my brain. Although I haven't kept up with it since we've been back.
Perhaps that's another mark for the pro column to go to Brazil again - we probably won't have may distractions so if the kids bring their instruments we can all just go deep and play music all day. I'll have Mel teach me some flute!
Joseph really wishes he played piano. Perhaps I'll grant his wish upon his younger siblings and will get them started with lessons. It's important! I think I'll go play right now and see if I can remember any of the simplified hymns I started learning almost exactly two years ago!

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.

Wednesday, April 19, 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.

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

Easter Egg Hunts

We got together with friends and kids in the neighborhood this past Friday for an Easter Egg hunt. Melodie taught Owen the ways of the Easter tradition - First find the colored eggs ~
Look, there is candy inside!! (See that little smile!)
They had the hunt divided among 4 houses and yards, with each yard for a different group of kids. Abi and Lily were good to hunt for their eggs by themselves.
Enjoying the spoils... 
Hyrum helped Natalie and Wesley helped Sophi.
We had a hard time finding 12 eggs for Sophi. She was walking around with 8, then 9 for a good 15 minutes after everyone else was done. But she stuck with it and had a can-do attitude and eventually found 12.
All that hard kid work paid off.
On Saturday we had another hunt at our house with the Utah Hibberts. We all gathered at our home and my mom provided the chocolate loot. Along with some chips and fruit roll ups and such to add a little variety.
Owen found a bag of Cheetos with his name on it and he was good for the afternoon.
He is a cute little guy. 
Over the years I have become increasingly low key when it comes to the egg hunt tradition. This year I was only slightly embarrassed that my kids just used Walmart grocery sacs to gather their eggs. Mostly I just thought "Hey, that works!" I tried taking a few pictures but then decided to just do a video and grab still shots from that later. I haven't done the stills yet, but here is the video.

Then yesterday after a wonderful day at church, we went over to Corey's parent's house for a nice visit and dinner together. Life is good.

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. Neither Corey nor I have had glasses, and thus we have not ever worn or bought contacts either. 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
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