Sunday, May 30, 2010

A typical Sunday afternoon

Apparently, Elisabeth got a hold of my camera Sunday afternoon and snapped some pictures in the kitchen. Here's what our kitchen typically looks like on a Sunday afternoon (keep in mind we have church from 9am-noon, so generally we make it out of here in a rush).

The contents of the counter: water bottles, napkins, phone, tortilla chips, bouncer, dish rag and more. All three of the big kids get into the pantry on their own when they're hungry or feeling like a snack, so we usually have either tortilla chips, croutons, granola or crackers out on the counter or table for a good part of the day.
the kitchen table: water bottles, milk jugs(don't worry, it's wasn't left out since before church started), rags, bibs, bowls etc.

Elisabeth also took a picture of our backyard through the screened window and our cookbook/purse shelf:
And here are some photos taken by myself. Jane in her cute Sunday dress, hanging out in the bouncer while I make faces at her:

And dad, snoozing on the couch
The older kids aren't in any of these because they like to spend a lot of time out in the backyard playing. I should have also included a picture of us baking something, because we still do that just about every Sunday. Today we made blonde brownies. Yum!

Mother bear instincts

For those of you who are mothers, I'm sure you've all experienced in some way, the mother bear instinct. It's that feeling of protection and defense that seems to kick in when your child is hurt or being bullied in some way.

The other day, Elisabeth and all the other kindergarteners had lunch at school in the cafeteria as a trial run for next year. We packed up a sack lunch for her and she wanted to bring some juice in a juice box, but we didn't have any. So I told her she could put juice in her Cinderella sippy cup that she takes to bed with her so water doesn't spill in her bed. She put her lunch and her Cinderella cup in her back pack and headed off for school.

When she got home I asked her how lunch went and she said, 'good.' But then she looked down and then looked back up to me with tears in her eyes and said, "the other kids were making fun of me because I had a sippy cup." I looked at her lovingly and told her that I was sorry that happened. And then I told her perhaps she could tell them it's not a sippy cup but that it's her water bottle, just like I carry a water bottle with me everywhere. Then she asked if we could get a smaller one just like mine for her to bring with her lunches when she's in first grade, and I agreed.

She went on to tell me that one of her friends in school, didn't really want to be her friend anymore. I asked her why she thought that, and if this friend had done or said something unkind and Elisabeth told me that this friend didn't want to play with her anymore and found another close friend. Elisabeth said she went over and tried to play with them but her friend whispered to the other girl not to play with Elisabeth. Again her eyes filled with tears as she told me the story. She had also told me a few days before, that this same friend and another girl had been making fun of her size, because Elisabeth is smaller than most kindergarteners. My mother bear instincts kicked in, I felt a huge wave of sympathetic emotion pass over me, and I wished so badly that I could be there by her side during those times, to help protect her from everything in the world that is unpleasant and unkind.

I gave Elisabeth a hug and a kiss and told her how much I loved her. I told her to recognize the way she felt now, and to be sure never to do that to anyone else. Not even to the friend who was causing the pain. And then I helped her to see how very loved she was by so many others and then we switched gears and played 'house' for awhile.

Our kids are getting to an age where their friends are beginning to have some influence in their lives, and it can be really hard, as parents, to watch. I know these situations weren't a HUGE deal, and I'm sure it's going to get infinitely worse as they reach their teenage and adult years. I really hope that throughout their lives we remain close and that I can get to know their joys and help them through their challenges, and hopefully rear them up in a way that they will learn to make good decisions on their own, with the influence of the Lord in their lives. I'm still learning how to control my mother bear instincts and I'm learning how to best approach sensitive topics and how to best teach the children to be the best, most honest, kind, hard-working people they can be, but it's definitely not easy. Hopefully I'll have it figured out before all my kids leave home.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Are you serious?"

I find myself using this, "Are you serious?" phrase a lot lately. For example, when:

*Annabelle took off her diaper and then pooped on the floor in her bedroom
*Charles ate from the parmesan can again and dumped it all over himself
*Annabelle pooped in her underwear while outside and then took off her underwear and the poop dropped in our grass
*I change Jane's spit up clothes and give her a bath and as soon as she's dressed she spits up all over her and my clothes, again
*Charles hit Annabelle's hand with a baseball sized rock, on purpose
*Elisabeth constantly cries over things of absolutely no importance(though in her mind they're obviously very important)
*I've just scrubbed the kitchen floors and table/counter tops and Elisabeth walks through with her dirt clod shoes and makes a trail of dirt clumps through the kitchen, down the carpeted floor to the bathroom.
*I've finally gotten Jane down for a nap and Elisabeth/Charles/Annabelle run in the house and slam the door and Jane begins to cry.
*I've made exactly what a child requested for lunch, but when it's ready, that same child begins to cry because apparently they've forgotten what they've asked for while I was making it, and have now decided that they really want something else.
*the librarian tells me we'll have to pay $25 for losing the audio cd that went with a children's book(The book costs less than this, but they have to buy it from their vendor; needless to say, we won't be checking out children's audio books any more)
* I look at the mountains of laundry that need to be cleaned
* I look at the mountains of laundry that need to be folded
*Annabelle is eating crayon
*Annabelle is eating dirt, again
*Charlie is eating sidewalk chalk, again

Oh, and the list could literally go on, and on, and on, and on.....(But just know that I am writing this with a smile, so although sometimes it's exasperating, I do find the humor in it all)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jane's two month appointment

Jane had her two month check up and these are her stats:

Weight: 10 lbs 14 oz, 51st percentile
Height: 23 inches, 74th percentile
HC: 15.4inches, 55th percentile

She's turning into a nice plump little baby! I love her chubby cheeks! She received three shots in the leg and got a total of 6 immunizations. Not fun. There was a lot of crying(I don't blame her; I probably would have done the same thing). But she's okay now.

I talked with her pediatrician about her cow milk sensitivity. She said the best thing for me to do would be to get off dairy completely for a few months(this sensitivity doesn't usually last too long in babies and is usually gone by around 6 months for most) but if that seemed too hard I could also try a probiotic which often times is a powder you mix with breast milk and feed to the baby. I've been told it's a little pricey, so I think I'll try and go off dairy for a little while first. Maybe later we'll try the probiotic. The main symptom for her cow milk allergy is excessive spit up. Except when I have ice cream or sour cream, then she also gets really, really fussy and has even more spit up. I've tried to go without dairy for about a week now, but so far, today is the only day where I actually went 100% without dairy. Not on purpose of course. I just forgot that a frozen yogurt pop was dairy one day, and another day I wasn't thinking when I put some cheeto puffs in my mouth, and another time it was some butter in a recipe and cream of chicken soup in another, and then sweetened condensed milk. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But I'm sure once I've done it for a week or so, it'll get easier.

More from Deceptively Delicious

Making the puree for some recipes: spinach and carrots

We tried a few more recipes from the cook book, Deceptively Delicious. They all turned out pretty yummy, but two of the three recipes weren't so 'deceptively delicious' looking. All the recipes have you add some sort of vegetable or fruit puree into them and you're not supposed to be able to tell that it was ever added. I didn't do a very good job covering up the spinach puree on our pita pizzas. When I pulled them out of the oven and put the baking sheet on the table, Elisabeth immediately said, "Ew! What's that green stuff?!" I told her that it was, "nothing, just part of the pizza sauce." Which was sort of true because I did a little mixing of the pizza sauce with the spinach puree. But I made them all try it and Elisabeth actually really liked it. Charles and Annabelle didn't eat much, but Charles is not a big pizza eater anyway because he doesn't love red sauce. And Annabelle wasn't super hungry. But I really liked them and once Jane is over her cow-milk allergy, I'll definitely be eating this again.

Next were the applesauce muffins. My kids love muffins, especially ones that don't have chunks of other foods in them (veggies, nuts, raisins etc), and ones that have a crumble topping, so these were a hit. You add carrot puree to the recipe and it was completely hidden in look and taste.

The most recent recipe I tried was for chicken nuggets. I have a really good chicken nugget recipe that I normally use all the time and in it you use bread crumbs just like this recipe, but in my recipe, you bake them in the oven. In this Deceptively Delicious recipe you fry them in olive oil on the stove. If anyone has any tips to offer on how to fry foods and keep the bread crumbs on, I'd love to hear it, because so far, my few attempts at this method of cooking has always been unsuccessful. Same with when I make meatballs. I can cook them just fine in the oven, but if I try and cook them on the stove and roll them around to cook all the sides evenly, they end up no longer resembling meatballs but instead just look like some cooked ground meat. And I use egg to help try and keep them together. I don't know. Oh well.
Anyhow, these Deceptively Delicious chicken nuggets ended up looking really kind of disgusting with all the green spinach underneath and crumbled up everywhere. Though the recipe did say you could use either spinach or sweet potato puree, and I'm guessing Jessica Seinfeld used the sweet potato puree because the picture in her book of these chicken nuggets were perfection with absolutely no green showing....and her bread crumbs all stayed on and were a perfect golden brown color and evenly distributed over the chicken. But, the good news is that even though they looked nasty, they still tasted great and in fact all the kids ate the servings I gave them and Elisabeth and Charlie asked for more.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spilt juice

Charles spilled his cup of juice on the table and began licking it up. I didn't want him licking the table so I handed him a straw. And he drank most of it up. I'm glad we didn't waste too much.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Scott's dad gave him another guitar(he had given him his 3/4 sized one awhile back) when Scott went out to NC for a visit. And it's a full sized guitar.

Scott's teaching me how to read guitar music. I've figured out enough chords to be able to play one of Taylor Swifts songs. But it only has 4 chords in the whole song. It's sure fun though at night to pull out the two guitars and learn and practice together.

We're also reading a book right now called Basic Economics. I love doing things with Scott and spending time together. It's fun that our interests and disinterests have become similar in many ways, over the years. I love being married to my best friend and getting to spend time with him every night. He's pretty wonderful.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Milk sensitivity

So, I decided that eating carmelitos was not such a good idea when I'm nursing a baby that has a milk sensitivity. I know now that milk, ice cream and sour cream make her spit up a lot and not feel very well. I'm going to cut out all dairy for a few days and then experiment with some cheese to see if I can possibly add that back into my diet. I should be fine with out the others though; I do have milk with my cereal every day but I actually prefer soy milk so that shouldn't be a problem. I hope that she can handle cheese though because otherwise I'm going to have to come up with a new dinner menu because we love things like enchiladas and tacos and lasagna. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carmelitos and Dulce de Leche

So you know when you buy caramel at the store, sometimes it's also labeled as Dulce de Leche? What I'm wondering is how come I never put it together that caramel or Dulce de leche is cooked sweetened condensed milk . I mean, I speak some spanish(my dad is from Mexico and has an extremely thick accent and speaks 'spanglish' for heavens sake, so I should know some), I understand more than I can speak, and I knew that the translation means sweet milk, so I wonder why it has taken me 27 years to figure this out. Anyway, we had a cool relief society class on ethnic cooking last week and one of the dishes was a Chilean cake that was so tasty and pretty simple. She explained how to make caramel from the sweetened condensed milk: you take the milk in the sealed can and boil it for three hours. That's it. Cool huh?

Now, switching gears a little: I remember eating a dessert many years ago that left quite an impression on me. Sister Nye, my sweet next door neighbor all growing up, made this dessert and I got the recipe from her at that time. Now, it has chocolate in it and since I gave up chocolate some 7 years ago, I thought I'd never be able to have this dessert again. But last week I read through the recipe again and realized that the only chocolate was the chocolate chips and that can be easily substituted with white chocolate chips. So Sunday we made Carmelitos with 2/3 of it white chocolate and the other third chocolate. It is AMAZING! Better than I even remembered. I mean, it's so good that I'm humming to myself as I chew each bite. Now you're wondering why I'm writing this on my Dulce de leche post and I'll tell you. It's because you use a whole jar of Mrs. Richardson's caramel, and even though I didn't substitute it with a boiled can of sweetened condensed milk, the thought did cross my mind. And so, there you have it. And here is the recipe just in case you want to give it a try. But, I will warn you that this is definitely not a healthy treat, it's rich and very addicting.


2 c flour (I use whole wheat)
2 c oats
1 ½ c brown sugar
1 tsp soda
½ tsp salt
Mix above ingredients and add 1 ½ c. melted butter

Press 2/3 of this dough into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle over top:
2c chopped nuts
12 oz milk chocolate chips(I make half pan with white chocolate and butterscotch)

Heat 1 jar of Mrs. Richardson's butterscotch caramel in microwave for 1 minute and then add 6 Tbsp flour to it. Pour over pan(avoid edges) and crumble the remaining dough over top and bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jane is 2 months

Jane will be 2 months on Wednesday this week. I rarely put bows on her, or cute outfits...she usually just wears sleep gowns since they cover her hands and have an open bottom, making diaper changing that much easier. So since she was in a normal outfit and had a bow on (for at least a little while) I thought I'd take a few pictures of her and of course when I pull the camera out, everyone else wants to join in. So here are some pictures of the kids this week.

I'd say about 80-90% of the time, you'll find Annabelle sporting some sort of dress and fancy shoes. In these pictures she is wearing a Cinderella dress and Snow White dress up shoes.

Jane has been sleeping really, really good for the past week or two. When she goes down for the night(the actual time varies day-to-day), she'll have one really long sleep which lasts anywhere from 7-10 hours and then she'll wake up, nurse and then go back to sleep for another 3 hours or so. I'm surprised at how long she can go and she doesn't even suck any of her fingers which is what helped our other three sleep through the night.
Since she sleeps next to me in her bassinet and I nurse her in bed, after her last three hour sleep period, I'll many times get up and start my day and let her finish her nap in my bed. She looks so tiny and cute sleeping in our queen sized bed.

And here are a few pictures of Jane and then with Annabelle. As you can see, Jane was quite content alone, but when Annabelle got close she suddenly felt a little uncomfortable.

Oh, I'm so comfortable and relaxed
I'm a happy little girl
Uh-oh, I see Annabelle coming my wayWhat is she going to do? I hope she doesn't poke my eye again when she's trying to point out my body parts.

She's touching my head
No touching!
Oh and by the way, I am constantly getting our kids names confused these days and calling them by one of their siblings names. The ones I mix up the most are Jane and Annabelle. But I'm not too worried about it because my parents still get me and my sister Becca's names mixed up and we seemed to have turned out all right.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The tub of vaseline is now empty

Char helped me clean up Miss Annabelle's lovely art work. It took a whole lot of toilet paper to scrape off the layers of vaseline on that open cabinet there and on her body and clothes. I paid Char a dime and we put three beans in his jar since he so willingly helped me out. I know, I'm a big spender. He was very pleased and told daddy all about it when he got home from work.

What is it about kids and their love of things like vaseline, desitin and peanut butter? I think all of my kids have gotten into these things at some point in time and wiped and smeared them all over everything they can possibly reach as fast as they possibly can before mom finds them. And yet, when I make pudding for them to finger paint with, they are all of a sudden shy and don't want to get the messy gooey stuff on their fingers or hands but insist on using a spoon and being very clean about it. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


From looking at these pictures of Charlie resting so peacefully in his bed, you wouldn't know that the other 14 hours of the day when he's awake, he literally runs wherever he goes. I'm not sure if he even knows how to walk. The boy is in constant motion....maybe that is the reason why he sleeps so well at night....he's all tuckered out. Oh, how I love to watch our children sleep.
Sometimes he does pause to do something sweet like this: sharing his ice cream cone with his little sister. She calls him "Car"....can't quite get the "ch" sound for his name yet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A busy weekend, but not without blessings

Scott was out in North Carolina this weekend, like I mentioned earlier, and was able to do some fun things with his family: temple sealing, beach, birthday party, catching up with an old friend etc.

My dad flew out from Seattle at the same time to visit us here in Utah. The weekend was busy and a little crazy without Scott, but I got through all right, though we probably won't ever have him travel again for several days at a time while we have 4 little children, one of which is a newborn.

I did experience a few blessings this weekend:

1.Blessing number one; we made it through Saturday.

Saturday afternoon my dad took me and the kids out for lunch and ice cream. As I was half way through eating my bowl of ice cream, I remembered that the last couple of times I ate ice cream, baby Jane projectile vomited a couple of times over the next several hours. I didn't finish the ice cream, but knew that it was probably still too late and that Jane would most likely have a hard time that day. And she did. From about noon on, she was really fussy. She didn't ever want to be put down and wouldn't sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. Finally about 1am, she fell asleep, and stayed asleep. And no projectile spit-up but more spit up than normal and some was 'curdley' looking.

2. Blessing number 2; I made it through church with the 4 children, on my own.

I was tired Sunday morning, but happy because Jane was obviously no longer in pain. I got myself and the 4 children ready for church and we were there, on time(another blessing), at 9am. My dad didn't come because, at age 83, it's really hard for him to walk which is a little embarrassing for him. Anyhow, I said a couple of prayers before hand that I would be okay by myself, and everything went amazingly well. Jane slept the entire 3 hours(something she hadn't done for quite some time) which was such a blessing, especially during that first hour when we're all together with the kids because I didn't know how I'd be able to manage if she was fussy: I could take all four kids in the nursing room with me, or just take the two babies and hope that Elisabeth and Charles could sit nicely on their own....yikes, I'm not so sure about that. Anyway, I didn't have to deal with that because baby slept and the kids sat as reverently as an almost 6, 4 and 2-year-old could possibly sit.

3. Blessing number three; Scott arrived safely on Sunday afternoon.

4. Blessing number four; we made it through those four days unscathed.

It was busy, busy, busy, but we did it. There were times I would completely forget what I was doing. For instance, Jane pooped one evening and so I brought her back in my bedroom to change her diaper. I laid her in her bassinet, got out a diaper and a baby wipe, undid her sleeper and onsie and then was set upon by three crazy children who needed me right that instant. So I stopped what I was doing and went to help them. Probably 45 minutes to an hour later, once the other three were in bed, I went back into my bedroom to change into my nightgown and noticed Jane lying in the bassinet, awake and half way undressed. That's when I remembered that I had begun to change her diaper, but forgot to finish. Well, at least she was happy lying there by herself, undressed and not crying.

5. Blessing number five; Jane slept for 9 hours straight Sunday night to Monday morning! She's never even come close to doing this before. It was such a wonderful thing, I sure hope she does it again some time soon.

6. Blessing number six; Dad was here and was able to hold baby Jane and visit with us!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deceptively Delicious

I got this book, Deceptively Delicious(the one by Jerry Seinfeld's wife), from Kelley and Jericho for my birthday. They have some neat information in there with tips and tricks on getting your kids to eat healthier foods. One idea I liked was setting out a bowl of fruit or veggies about an hour before meal time, so that when you have your starving kids come into the kitchen begging for food(which mine always do), you won't mind if they're snacking before dinner because they're eating carrots and other things that are great for their bodies. So now I'll have a bowl out of fruit during the morning and early afternoon, and a bowl of veggies and dip out later in the afternoon. It has worked pretty good so far, and it's nice because since it's out and so easy, I'm snacking on it a lot more too.

Here's a picture of the fruit bowl (grapes and strawberries for today) and my homemade whole wheat bread. I've just started slicing the entire loaf at one time and storing it in the store bought bread bags so that it's easy and convenient.

We tried out one of the recipes from Deceptively Delicious this week and loved it. We made frozen yogurt pops. They're better than the homemade frozen juice pops because the texture in these is a lot creamier, almost like an ice cream bar. And you can't suck the juice out and be left with a piece of ice on a stick, which is nice.
Frozen Yogurt Pops- sweetener modified by Elisa

2 c plain lowfat yogurt (or whatever yogurt you have on hand)
2 c frozen berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)
pinch of stevia or 1 Tbsp real maple syrup, raw honey or frozen juice from concentrate

Combine yogurt, fruit and sweetener in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze 2 hours. Makes 8 popsicles. (And Scott, if you're reading this I'm sure you'll notice that I misread 'freeze 2 hours and makes 8 popsicles' and instead told you we needed to freeze them for 8 hours. Whoops! That's okay, it was still a nice treat we were able to enjoy the next day.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daddy, we miss you already!

Scott flew out to NC today so that he could attend Kelley and Jericho's sealing this weekend. We're glad he was able to go out and be supportive of his family, but we miss him already. It was just too expensive to fly all 6 of us out there, otherwise we'd be right there with them. Fortunately, my 83-year-old dad decided to come for a visit while Scott is gone so that I wouldn't have to be all alone with the kids.

Some phrases I've heard repeated throughout the day:

My dad-"Charles has a lot of energy." And even though I'm almost 60 years younger than my dad, and have quite a bit more energy, I'd have to agree. It's 8pm now and I feel like I'm about ready to go to bed.

Annabelle -"Ah daddy?" (translation: where's daddy?) and then she'll answer it herself with, "airplane! In sky!"

Annabelle- "Ah daddy home?" and after I answered this one for her a couple of times, she will now answer it herself with, "atter church!" (translation:after church)

Oh, and one of Charlie's favorite things to play with are sticks, but he has to keep them outside. So what's the next best thing for inside play? Grandpa's cane, of course! It's even a dark brown color and resembles a stick.

See you Sunday, Scott. We love you!

Mother's Day interview

Elisabeth and Charles filled out these Mother's Day interviews during a primary(church) activity:
(the first answer will be from Elisabeth, which she wrote and I will spell it just as she did. The second answer will be from Charles who had an adult write his answers out for him.)

My mother is ______ years old. Answers: "27", "26"
My mother likes to ____ Answers: "Play whith me", "Hold jane"
My mother's favorite food is____ Answers: "simin rols", "pasta salad"
My mother's favorite sport is_____ Answers: "soccer", "frisbee"
My mother's favorite color is_____ Answers: "all the colrs", "pink and red"
I love it when my mother____ Answers: "makas me a pictr", "when she lets us hold Jane"
My mother is great because ____ Answers: "I love her", "she's really good at making cakes"

They were both right on all of them, besides the first one...but I was 26 a month ago so he was close. Thanks guys! I love you, too!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Uncool part II

But we have a new culprit: Annabelle.

Me and the kids were sitting at the table in the kitchen, eating lunch. Annabelle finished her lunch, surprisingly fast, and wanted down. I let her out of her high chair. She went into the living room and, I assumed, must have occupied herself with some very interesting task because she was quite content. The kids and I were having a nice conversation as we ate lunch and it wasn't until we were finished that I decided I'd better look around the corner to the living room to see what Annabelle was busy doing. We've been leaving our lap top under the couch in the living room. She had pulled it out, opened it up and taken off over half the keys, and a couple of other little plastic pieces that went under the keys! I was SO not happy. I swept her up into my arms and quickly placed her in her crib so that I wouldn't be further frustrated by her presence. I tried, in vain, to put everything back together. I didn't have much time because Elisabeth needed to be off for school, so we just put all the pieces into a ziploc baggie and put the lap top back in my bedroom in a safer spot. Then I took a few deep breaths and went to speak with Annabelle who had been crying and repeatedly saying, 'mommy,' and 'rorry'(translation: sorry). I calmly reminded her that she is not to touch the computer ever, and then I let her out. She has been in time-out maybe once before, so they are a big deal to her and she gets very upset.

Once Elisabeth was in school and the other children were sleeping(minus Charlie who just has quiet time), I called Scott and rehearsed to him the particulars of the situation and then tried again to put the computer keys back together. The keys snapped into place this time, fairly easy(and I type without looking at the keyboard so the letters were easy to get back in place but I had to do a google search later for where the function and alt keys went), but Annabelle had taken off a couple of plastic pieces that went under the keys, and those were a little more tricky. It was as meticulous as threading a needle but harder because there were a couple more steps to it. But, it's all fixed now. And I feel a little bad that she was crying so much and felt so sorry, because really, Scott and I shouldn't have left the lap top in such an easy to reach location for a 2-year-old. And sometimes I need to remind myself that it's just a 'thing' (though an expensive 'thing')that can be replaced. Though of course, I'll continue to teach the children that we want to care for our things, no matter how cheap or expensive they are. But I don't need to be a freak about it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


My four-year-old son was alone outside with a large stick and a wild imagination. He got a little carried away.
Must be some villainous tulips we have, indeed.

And they were so beautiful before. Perhaps that was the problem: Maybe these beautiful flowers of ours were causing some pride within me, and I needed someone to crush it to pieces....literally. Well done, Charles :).

Monday, May 10, 2010


1. New and improved(for our family) bean jars
We're doing bean jars again, but I'm changing things up a little. Before when we did the beans jars, each child had their own jar and every time they did something good, they'd put a bean inside, and whenever they didn't listen or did something naughty, they'd have to take one out. Once the jar was full of beans, we'd let them pick out something from the dollar store or something like that.

This time I'm trying something different for the sake of Charlie. He does really well with positive reinforcement. So putting beans in a jar for good behavior is great, but taking them out for bad behavior didn't work so well. So I've decided to change things a little. Now we have one "Smith Family Kids" bean jar instead of individual jars and we only put beans in the jar. We don't take them out. When they listen the first time we ask them to do something, or if they do something kind or thoughtful or helpful etc., they get to put a bean in the jar. Once the jar is full, the kids get to pick a fun family activity for us to do: bike ride, hiking, family movie night with popcorn, game night, camp in the backyard etc. We've just started it this week, but so far it's going really well. Like I said, the main reason for doing this is for Charlie(or actually it's for helping me to help Charlie), and he's doing really good. He's listening now the first time I ask him to do something so that he can put a bean in his jar(probably 70% of the time now, which is about how often he remembers we're keeping a bean jar), which was one of our biggest challenges in the past. I'm hoping that all this training will stick and some day in the future all of our children will be great listeners from all their practice.

2. Money chore jars
The two oldest kids are at an age where they are wanting and asking for everything they see in stores. For the past year or two, I've always told them, 'maybe for your birthday or Christmas'. Charlie's birthday is within a couple of weeks of Christmas which makes waiting for that time of year really hard sometimes. And Elisabeth is really good at bargaining and making compromises. So we decided to try something new. They're old enough that they can do some daily chores, which they do and have been doing for some time now. Things like, make your bed, clean up the toys in your room, pick up your clothes and put them away, clear the table after meals. Now I've added a money making element. If they're on top of their normal daily chores, then they have the chance to do some money making chores. These are the money making chores for now: take out the trash, unload the dishwasher (both of those are worth a dime each), pull weeds for 5 cents a piece(when they get older and can pick more I'll probably lower that amount to a penny a weed), spot clean the walls (price depends on how much they do but probably between a dime and a quarter), tidy the bathroom (dime), and get Annabelle to pee or poop in the potty is 50 cents each time. Once they're older and have practiced doing some more challenging chores with mom and dad like laundry and cleaning the toilet etc, then I'll make those the money chores and these easier ones will be added onto their daily chores. But for now, those more challenging chores need to be done with adult supervision and so I don't feel like they deserve money for them at this point. I want them to learn at a young age, the value of money, how to save, pay tithing, be frugal, etc. and I can't think of a better way then actually giving them a little to work with. This is a very new thing for us so I'm sure I'll make adjustments in the future, and I'd be glad to hear any advice/tips that you might have and what's worked for you or for a friend of yours, type of thing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

6 weeks

Jane is six weeks today. I can't believe how fast the time has gone since her birth, and yet, it also seems like she's been with us forever and it's hard to imagine life with out her...and I'm glad for that. Jane is such a sweet little girl and we love having her in our home and as a member of our family.

She's been sleeping a little better at night. For the past week or so she's been doing a 5 hour stretch and then a three hour stretch, usually around 3am and 6am. So that's not bad at all. Her day time sleeping is interesting. She sleeps fine during the day, but not in her bassinet or in the crib. She sleeps the longest, during the day, when she's lying in her bouncer on the kitchen counter where all the busyness and chaos happens. When she does fall asleep in there, if I try to move her to her bassinet or move the whole bouncer back into my bedroom with a closed door, she's up within just a couple of minutes. I guess she likes to hear the noises her brother and sisters make during the day; I think that's a good thing, it would be hard if she only slept when everything was quiet. But at night, she sleeps fine in our dark, quiet room, in her bassinet, which is beside my bed.

Jane is at the point now where she will turn her head toward you when you speak to her which is fun to watch. She also smiles, especially when you touch her cheek with a binki or with your nose. She makes some cooing noises which are absolutely adorable, and I try and coax her to do more by copying the sounds she makes.

Jane is still nursing like a champ and from the look of her face and her thighs, I'm sure she must be up a couple of pounds by now. At her 2 week appointment she was up several ounces. They won't see her again until she's 2 months, so in a couple more weeks. I'll post the stats here when we get them.

All in all, everything is going wonderfully and we sure are enjoying our time with baby Jane. Four doesn't seem to terribly scary anymore. I still haven't taken all four out to a public place alone, and I don't think I will for some time still. I have absolutely zero desire to do so. Instead, we play at home, do art projects or play board games, write letters and cook and clean, and we go out in the backyard or to friends houses. We're having fun and it's not stressful for me when we're in the comfort of our home, where Jane can lay and rest while we play. And when she does wake up, we all sit on the couch and take turns holding her and making faces at her and kissing her soft cheeks.