Friday, April 28, 2017

Busy Birthday

Today is my happy birthday. 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.

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. 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 discountcontactlenses.com 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!
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