Friday, June 23, 2017

Wii Morning

This week Hyrum suggested that he would like to begin again our tradition from last summer of free Wii time from 7-8 am each morning. It was a good way to get them out of bed. So I said sure. This morning they (Hyrum, Wes, and Abi) got up extra early (6 am) to make Lily breakfast in bed. Then they went down to play the Wii. I went on my morning walk and my little friends (Owen and Daniel) were awake when I got home. I took them down to the kids playing the Wii so I could get breakfast ready. Then Natalie woke up and joined them too. I thought it was a pretty cute sight to see the seven of them sitting there together.
I took a quick video of them too. It's cute... Wes let Owen hold his control, cause Owen likes to hold it. And just sit there (such a good big brother). Wes tells Hyrum to look for "the mini" whatever that is, and when Hyrum goes there, he dies and all the kids say "Nooooo...." (:49) followed by Owen with a five second delay before he imitates them... (:55)

I loved how Hyrum held Natalie as he played, and how they take turns passing Daniel around. They are great little helpers and siblings to each other (most of the time!) I'll update later with more of Lily's birthday festivities.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Birthday Eve Pampering

Owen likes to go on walks. Corey takes him on walks, Wesley does, Hyrum does, Abi does... Owen could go for a walk all day and all night. Owen was pretty clingy tonight with Corey, but Corey needed to get some more work done, so luckily Owen consented to let me take him on a walk. Sophi came too. It was dark outside and was a nice summer night.  I had taken Owen and Daniel earlier but Daniel cried most of the time, he doesn't like walks as much as Owen. But Sophi and Owen were a pleasure to push. I decided to push them till they were ready to go to bed... I figured maybe 4 laps. But then I stopped and visited with one of our lovely neighbors on my first lap. We stayed and talked for probably 30 minutes. Owen and Sophi got out of the stroller and had races with each other up and down the sidewalk. We finally said goodnight, then we walked home. When I came in, the house was still but not quiet. I put Owen to bed, Daniel was already asleep, I walked around the house to see where everyone was. Mel and Ethan were practicing their instruments (this was at 10:30 at night mind you! Yes, they had had all day to practice, sigh) As I looked around the house, I couldn't find where Hyrum, Wesley, Abi, or Lily were. I asked Corey. I looked in the rooms again, this time I didn't pass by the rooms with the light off, as I had previously passed by the girls room cause it was dark. I turned on the light. And then I laughed out loud at the surprising sight.
There was Lily in her pampered birthday glory. And I am thinking this will definitely be a new tradition that all the kids will want to cash in on! Abi was rubbing Lily's tummy, Wesley was massaging her feet.
Hyrum, I was told, was "the butler", hence the bowtie! He was at her command, playing her music and Studio C sketches with his phone.
Hyrum might have been starting to feel a little tired, Lily looks high on energy though. Tomorrow is her big day, she's turning 8 years old! The kids had a great day to day from my parenting perspective (we have a little competition going on). They were pretty helpful around the house, much better than most of their days this summer. It gave me hope for the next 2 months and with my job at trying to run this house. Wesley won 1st place, Abi 2nd, Mel 3rd, Ethan 4th, Hyrum 5th. Hyrum usually does better with cleaning, but he and Ethan got really into legos today and so they didn't clean much.
Plus he didn't do music again. Tsk tsk! But the castle they've been whippin' up is really cool. They decided to do away with the Lego houses and have been making a really fun castle for their little sisters. They call it "Lego Kingdom." I think your little sisters are going to have fun with it! Atleast until they accidentally break it.
Ethan also was clear to let me know he was not "playing legos" - he was just "building legos". He does not "play" legos, he's too old for that!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beautiful Summer Morning

There was such a beautiful sunrise this morning!
Which was followed by seeing beautiful roses on a morning walk outside.
I just love roses! 
I'm glad we have neighbors with roses, cause we haven't had any big ones yet... the deer keep eating them I guess. I haven't see the deer, but all our rose bushes are just clipped/bit off stems. :(
 Sooo pretty!
Then I came home to see this beautiful creature asleep in my room.
(Why are babies so beautiful?)
I finally got a pac n play crib out for him. Yay, Daniel, you lucky boy, you have a bed! Are you excited you have a bed? 
...not that anyone else around here uses them... as evidenced by these four girls who were also asleep on our floor this morning...
That makes six kids in the room... plus two adults. I think we could rearrange things around here and do something else with all that space we use for "beds" and "bedrooms"... who needs those?!?! 

Shortly after I got home from my walk, the kids got up early to play the Wii. That is a "please wake up" strategy carried over from last summer that Hyrum wanted to start again. They were up at 7 playing, then at 8:00 they helped me cut up fruit for breakfast. Most of the kids are enjoying eating healthy. Except for Ethan, who likes it in theory but not so much in practice. He was trying again to scrounge up money from his siblings, again, to order pizza. Something weird that happened today was that a huge bird, I swear it was a condor or vulture, and a hawk, flew down close to our house and then I heard a big splat and there were guts all over the car and driveway, they almost hit me! I thought one of the birds crashed into our house and exploded, but I didn't see it's dead body on the roof. Then I saw the hawk fly away and eventually figured out that they must have been fighting over some animal corpse and the splat sound was that hitting the van. It smelled sooo bad. Like there were flies swarming around the splats within seconds of it landing. The kids came over to see what was going on and all reacted the same way - covering their noses in disgust as they smelled the grossness and as I cleaned it up with the hose. And I'll pretend, children, that it can serve us all as a little reminder to not eat dead animals. Ugh. As I was cleaning that up, Wes came out to tell me that Sophi thew up all over the ottoman. I didn't mind, cause I was sure it wouldn't smell as bad as the animal guts on the car and driveway. I was also glad she didn't get any on the carpet, yay. So that was my lovely morning and weird gross evening. Hooray for summer days ~ :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Going Vegan

We're on a health documentary video binge. We watched the Netflix video "What the Health" probably three times over the weekend with the kids. I say probably 3 times cause we'd have to start it over for a kid that came late or watch it again for a kid who wasn't home. So, it's helped us further indoctrinated ourselves to go vegan for our health's sake. Here's the trailer for it.

We also watched "Cowspiracy", so we're going vegan for the earth's sake too. Cowspiracy is done by the same filmmakers, and was made before the one above, so that might be better to watch them in that order cause Cowspiracy kinda leads into the other one. So, we're pretty much sold on the terribleness of the Standard American Diet for our health and for the earth.

We're also convinced as a matter of principle... Corey taught the lesson on the Word of Wisdom yesterday in Sunday School. The Word of Wisdom is the code of health for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think Joseph's decision last month to give up meat might have prepped us for this lesson and the conclusions we both came to as we studied it. So, Corey did a great job teaching, I think he's a natural. I need to send out a huge thank you to my dear friend Kathy O for taking Daniel out so I could listen and participate. And I think I behaved myself, I didn't go crazy with comments but did accidentally attempt to jump ahead of Corey's outline a few times. It was a great discussion. Overall it was very good and Corey only had one regret, which I'll get to in a second. I was kinda bummed we didn't get very far in reading the section through. I really wanted to go in to what the Lord says about eating meat, so here's what I think would have been discussed if we had time and my 2 cents:

I bet if you ask most members of the LDS church what the Word of Wisdom says about meat, they'd say "Eat meat sparingly." And yes, that the first thing said about it in verse 12 (D&C 89:12). Then we would have asked "Is there anything else?" then someone would have raised their hand to say "Eat it in times of winter." Yes, that is in verse 13. Anything else? We did talk about D&C 49:18 where it says that if anyone says man should not eat meat, that man is not ordained of God. Right, so you can't tell another person they cannot eat meat. Other than that? Yeah, that about covers the meat topic. But then! we would have pointed out the first part of verse 13 "It is pleasing unto me that they NOT be used..." You can eat meat, it's not forbidden, but it pleases God if we don't use/eat meat?! Is that a new thought? It was for me a few weeks ago. Now that might not settle well with most of us, cause I recognize that meat is considered the main course in our culture... everyone uses meat at almost every meal... Honestly, I had never noticed that part before this month... (Any comments about the comma would have seen an answer by quoting one of the early brethren of the church, referenced in this article by Jane Birch) And as to these two points "sparingly" and "in times of winter", there is all sort of wiggle room there. How often is "sparingly" like a little bit at each meal? Once a day? Once a week? Each person could interpret that for themselves. And "in times of winter" ... I've heard it said that the Lord told the pioneers that cause they didn't have refrigeration in summer time to keep the meat from spoiling. So since we have refrigeration, we're okay to have it in summer time now cause it won't get us sick. Besides, in our world today, that is what summer is all about - let's have a BBQ! "Honey, fire up the grill!!" Our family for sure has been there every summer and we just had a bbq with friends on June 2nd that we had scheduled before we started to think about this meat subject. Anyway...

To wrap up the meat discussion, we would have said "Has anyone ever noticed verse 15?" (Cause I never had...) Let's see, it says: And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

In the printed copy, the word "these" has a footnote referring the reader back to verse 13, so the Lord is talking about animals and the flesh of beasts. So that there is telling us that God made these for us to use ONLY IN TIME of FAMINE and EXCESS OF HUNGER. My kids get a little cranky when they fast each month, and they might feel they have excess of hunger, but we've never been in a famine. In my whole life, I've never experienced famine. That's the Lord's counsel for when to eat meat. Hmm... there is not a lot of wiggle room with the famine part. Basically, my take away, is that meat is only to be used in emergencies. Kids, when we're so hungry we're ready to go eat your pet guinea pigs, that is when it would be okay to eat animals. One comment was made in class that if it hadn't been for eating meat, many of the pioneers wouldn't have made it across the plains. That was where we could have had this whole meat discussion, but time was short and Corey agreed and we moved on. So his one regret was that he didn't counter that comment with something like "That is true... if you are starving like the pioneers were, the Lord would give his consent that we eat meat to survive. But, none of us look like we're starving... it's rather quite the opposite!"

I never would have thought that I wasn't keeping the Word of Wisdom, but I don't think I have been - atleast not this part of it, not for my whole life! But we didn't realize what it was saying, even though I agree it's as plain as plain can be... why didn't I see it? Did I even study this before? I have been keeping it to the best of my knowledge, but now that I know more (and if you're still reading, I guess you might know more now too, sorry?) ... now that I know more, I'm going to obey it. I'm not buying meat, milk, eggs or cheese anymore. We live in a time of abundance, I have so much fruit and vegetables, wheat, grains, and wholesome herbs available for my family to eat! IT'S AMAZING!! As Joel Fuhrman says in his book "Eat to Live" on page 58 - 61, he talks about how wealthy nations are the ones dying from dietary disease, and poor nations die from hunger or poor sanitation problems. Starting on page 61 (all emphasis mine) -

"The diseases of poverty are mostly infections diseases and are found in areas of the world with compromised nutrition. Heart attacks and the most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) are found in rich societies where nutritional extravagance is the rule. Nowhere in the world today can we find a society that combines economic wealth with a high intake and variety of unrefined plant foods. CAN YOU IMAGINE the HEALTH POTENTIAL of a society that would be able to enjoy excellent sanitation, emergency medical care, refrigeration, clean water, flush toilets, and availability of fresh produce year round and yet avoid nutritional ignorance and nutritional extravagance? WE HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY TODAY! An unprecedented opportunity in human history the opportunity to live a long and healthy life without feat of disease. This opportunity can be yours!"
me>
I want this opportunity for myself and my children, for my parents and family! I don't need meat or animal products to stay alive, we have so much available to us. I don't need to kill or cause excessive use and abuse of them for my life to continue nor for my health to be well. Not to mention that that eating them causes cancer (watch Forks Over Knives" on Netflix or read the China Study) or to mention the horrible lives the poor animals live which end in their early death and slaughter. (a few sad ones on youtube, viewer discretion advised: Farm to Fridge - don't let your kids watch that one, baby chicks on egg farms male chicks ground up alive, the hens live such sad lives, :(, chickens raised for meat (so sad, try not to cry... poor baby birds), cows raised for meat, dairy farms - I feel so sad that the baby cows are taken from their mothers so we can have their milk, it's just not necessary!) I think the baby birds we had in our back yard has helped with this whole process of thought for me. One baby bird died and I bet the parents didn't cry like I would have if Daniel died, but still, they have instincts to want to live and to take care of their young, to feed their babies, can't we let them? It's just sad on so many levels. We humans need to be better stewards.

So there ya go, that's my new cause. We're going a bit radical here. But we should all be able to avoid early death and heart disease and diabetes! So that should help us keep our heads up. I haven't decided on school year lunches policy. I don't want to support the horrible unhealthy choices my kids have at school (see minute 55 in the video above), so we'll figure that out when we get there. And maybe after eating amazingly all summer the kids will want to keep going with it themselves. I'm not forcing them to not eat any animal foods, they are free to choose to have it at friends houses or social gatherings, but I will not be buying it and bringing it into our home, only very sparingly (I do have plans to buy some ice cream for the birthday's this weekend for Lily and Wesley) so that's where we're at right now! I'm very happy with it and don't have the conflict that I usually have as I prepare foods of "This isn't good for you guys but I guess if you want it and it makes you happy..." but NOW! The milk has been gone for almost a week and we're eating bowls of wheat berries or brown rice with rice milk and fresh cut up fruit for breakfast! Today I made a green smoothie, I don't feel conflicted, I'm preparing food, and it's good food! We're starting our whole food plant based diet for everyone, yay!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Morning Exercise

Corey's out of town, so I haven't been doing my morning runs outside in the morning. It's okay, cause I don't feel like running lately. And I don't want to get on the treadmill either. But Daniel woke up at 6 this morning, so I fed him and then thought I'd go catch two walking buddies at 6:30 - Kathy and Lisa. They are both super fun, and they'd admit they are both chatter boxes! When we walked up to them, and even as we walked, Daniel had his head turned 90 degrees and was just watching them the whole time, either wondering who these two strangers were or wondering if they'd ever stop talking. We finally wore him out, but he wouldn't let himself lay back. We tried to pad his cheeks with the blanket. We were laughing pretty hard at him:
Doesn't he look irritated with us - all the noise, making him go exercise outside... just.so.annoying. After he gave us this look, we were able to get him to lay down and he took a quick morning power nap for 20 minutes as we finished the walk. He's so cute.

Yesterday morning I got outside too. Wesley and I had talked about going on a morning hike. I told him if he wanted to do it, we'd have to go early and be back before the sun was up. He was game. I woke him up at 5:10 and this little trooper got up right away. He's one of my easiest kids to wake up. So off we went, we were on the trail at 5:36. Hike selfie!
We made pretty good time at first, so I thought maybe we could go to the waterfall. It's been a few years since I did that hike though, and I forgot how long it was. And how steep it was! At first I said we'd hike 40 minutes and then turn around and come home. But we kept going, and going... We had a few gospel parallels along the way - one of which was about enduring to the end and the belief that the hard work will be worth the reward.
"Let's go for 10 more minutes, I can hear it the river, I think we're close!" We ended up going for an hour and a half, we got to the waterfall at 6:55. 
We made it! 
After we took a quick picture, I got a text from Mel at 7:10 asking how much longer we'd be gone. Doh! I woke her up before we left so she could go sleep with Daniel and watch him if he woke up, which he did. I told her to wake up Hyrum to help. Mel had to babysit at 7:50, so Wes and I booked it down the mountain trail. It's always a lot faster coming down than going up. We were at the car at 7:50 and quickly drove home. It was a great way to start the morning. I love summer mornings!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Angel Friends

Corey's gone in Boston this week. So he's missing us celebrating his birthday with him today, so sad! The kids are sad we're not having cake and ice cream today, but we'll get more than enough treats next weekend as we celebrate Lily and Wes. I'm sure Corey and Joseph are having a great time in Boston, so we tried not to be sad. What could we do that would be of service to him and help him be happy when he gets back home? Well we all know the answer to that! Let's go and get this house in order! Hey, this is what I wanted for my birthday! yay, better late than never! Actually Corey's birthday started off with Wes and I getting up shortly after 5 am to go on a hike, it was great, will post about that tomorrow. But today was a great cleaning day, mostly because of an angel friend who came over with her three sweet girls and helped us clean and do yard work for 3 hours! Jen, you're the best!
Yesterday, after taking Melodie downtown to a GMS rehearsal, I called Jen just to chat as I drove on the freeway past the exit to their house. As we visited, I shared some of my "How do I get on top of my life" questions and she offered to come help us clean today as a birthday gift from all of us to Corey. True friends are the ones this would drop everything and come help you clean. I probably have more friends like than her that I realize, I need to be brave enough to ask for help. So yeah, Jen is the best of the best. She is so happy and fun and just an inspiration to be around. I want to be like her. She was cheering for the kids as they weeded, shouting out praises to the kids that kept working even though they were hot, and just encourages everyone in the best way. I need to figure out how to do that! So with Jen here, a miracle was worked upon the house and everyone was happily helping and cleaning. We finished around 1 and they had to take off. My kids took a break cleaning, but were back on it again later. We're going to try and keep it clean all day tomorrow until Corey gets back around 11 pm. Happy Birthday Corey. (You and Joseph still need to send me some pictures!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Paper City

Lily has been lost in this game this week. She calls it "Paper City". She's made all sorts of houses for her city and will set them up against the window in her bedroom or in the front room.
And here are some of her paper people and animals...
I think this game started when Hyrum and Wesley were making paper airplanes. (They've been having distance contest throwing planes off the front porch this past week) I'm guessing Lily saw a paper that had started to be folded for a plane and noticed how it looked like a little house, and then her imagination took off from there.
I love it Lily, such a great creative and simple game! It makes me think again I need to just get rid of all the toys in the basement, cause this creativity is what I want for you kids

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Creative Lily

Lily is quite the creative genius. She is the girl version of Wesley and his imagination. He was always dressing up (cowboy) and playing games in costume (zoo keepers). Lily is his equal. These past few months, she's always coming up with games and leading her little sisters in how to properly prepare themselves for the activity. She's always ready and up for a game of picnic!
Of course there is strawberry shortcake (first picture here) which they've continued to play since November. The most recent game today was Star Wars, where Lily dressed Sophi up at Rey.
I helped with the hair, but they did that whole tp thing by themselves. Very resourceful.
Oh, and Lily is showing you that she lost another tooth int he pic above.
Here Sophi and Lily are playing My little Ponies - they had to turn sideways to show off their tails. Below is the often played princess game, here with Daniel as the current prince...
Another one - Beauty and the Beast. Lily got Natalie all dressed up as Belle in a yellow dress, but when it was time for the beast to proclaim his love, Natalie-Belle wanted nothing to do with him!
Also, this is one of my favorites - the Elf Girls. We have Lily and queen elf, Sophi as Fire Elf, and Natalie is Water and Ice Elf. The Elf games was actually started by Wesley two years ago. Wes and Hyrum are the ones that make most of the amazing crowns. But Lily helped with the outfits and ensemble. Cute girls, I love to see their creativity! Summer is off to a good start.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Family Pictures 2017

I got the link to our family photos this morning, yay!!
All my ducklings in a row...
I'm still going through them, but I'll update this with the individual pictures soon. :) In other exciting news, this little guy started crawling today!
We were all very excited. For Owen, the key to crawling success was Blokus pieces. For Daniel, it was the bright colors of the LED night light. He is so cute, he's growing up! (noooo!!)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Discovering the Word of Wisdom

Yesterday morning, I was sharing with Corey (and any kids that were in the room with us) some passages from the book "Discovering the Word of Wisdom" by Jane Birch. I highly recommend it!
I happened upon this book recently after my Healthy Habits challenge ended. I wanted to keep being accountable to a group of people or friends cause I think that really helps me stay focused. So, before starting my own group, I thought I'd check if there was another one on facebook that I could join. I found the Word of Wisdom Health Challenge. I joined it and it didn't end up being the accountable group I was looking for, but it did lead me to that book above which has opened up a world of knowledge for me. It talks about how a whole food plant based diet fits so well into the Lord's Word of Wisdom and has led me to researching and reading so much, I'm really excited about it! Here is their website that shares lots of great testimonials and stories

So I read it outloud to Corey, and Ethan was in the room listening too, and at one point, Corey and Ethan were fighting back a little against what I shared, I can't remember about which subject. I know what I was reading goes totally against the Standard American Diet (appropriately acronymed as SAD) of our Western culture and what is "normal" food for a normal life. But like I said, I'm getting excited about this stuff. I kept reading. Around 1:00 the home phone rang. I had a phone right next to me and went to answer it, but it had stopped ringing and didn't show anything on the caller ID. Oh well. Then I hear Corey pick up the phone. He was talking so someone, It forwarded to his cell for some reason. It does that occassionally if I don't answer, and sometimes it's weird and forwards even when I am ready to answer. Anyway, I asked him who it was. He said it was a sister in our ward who teaches awesome Sunday school classes. She called and asked Corey if he could substitute and teach the Gospel Doctrine class for her on the 18th. Fun! (Corey is an amazing teacher and really don't have many opportunities, but year ago when we were at BYU he was asked to teach a class on helping teachers be better teachers and I remember it was so good. I also think he'd be an awesome high school music teacher. Anyway...) So I was excited he's going to teach a class, I love seeing him in action. I asked "What is the topic?" Brief pause... "The Word of Wisdom..." I thought he was joking. "Are you Serious?!?!" Well how about that! So Corey asked me to read to him a little bit more from my book and I happily obliged, and he was reading it on his own a little bit today too. He's got two weeks to prepare and I'm going to send him lots of stuff. He'll do great and won't be as fanatic-y as I would be... I wondered if she would have asked me had I answered... I'm glad that Corey gets the chance to study this though and we'll see if we come to the same conclusion!

In other news, Ethan received his patriarchal blessing this evening at 5 pm. It was really great, the future is in good hands, (even if he can't be trusted with the baby...)

I'm so grateful that we have so many kids and that we get to listen in on the great blessings that are and will be given to them!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pictures at the Park

We got family pictures taken today. This was an important even cause it was with all of Corey's side of the family, and we haven't had one with all of us since I think 2006 when Wes was our baby. It's a big task to find a day that works for everyone, so we were glad we got it figured out to make it happen! Of course, before getting pictures taken comes the great task of finding coordinating clothing for the crew...
After rummaging through their closets I took a quick trip to Kid to Kid. Then we had a good pile of options. We all had to endure some give and take to make it work. Abi had to wear Mel's shoes for the sake of coordination. She also wanted to wear the dress that I got for Mel, so Lily took the dress I got for Abi and we scrounged around for her ensemble in the brief hour between when she got home from school and when we had to leave. I also didn't realize that neither Ethan, Hyrum or Wesley had a pair of blue jeans. So we got some straight leg blue jeans out of storage, but they were just too out of fashion for them to be able to wear and bear it. But I didn't have time to go shopping for jeans for 3 boys, so I got out the sewing machine and did a quick line up the side to stitch them up skinny and it worked good enough, so we told them no one would notice and called it good enough for pictures. Of course the denim was not stretchy "skinny jean" demin, so the boys could hardly get their feet into them which made me laugh tonight when some of them needed assistance to get them off (Hyrum!)

We got pictures taken at a little park in Holladay that is a street over from the Holladay Lions Recreation Center.
It was cloudy and sprinkled on us a little bit at first, and then it was breezy for a little bit more, but shortly thereafter the sun came out and we're hoping we got some good shots. I will post them soon! I love capturing these moments in time.

Owen was a sad boy again like he was last year. That's okay though, Lily was our sad child in the pictures in 2014. It's good to have a kid that makes a stink, it keeps it real. Speaking of children mis-behaving in family pictures, this little video from LDS Apostle Gary E. Stevenson was really great to watch. Been there, and the more distant in the past it becomes, the more it becomes a funny and happy memory.


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