Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Talent Show and Debt-free!

Elisabeth performed Fur Elise in a school talent show last week. She did very well. We're hoping that next year both Elisabeth and Charles will get to perform something. They also have a recital coming up next month which they are both preparing for.

And switching topics completely, last week Scott and I made the final payment on our van which means we no longer have any car payments and besides our home, we are debt-free! Wahoo! We've always had car payments and for a while we had a school loan to pay off as well so this is nice. It's been a long time coming and we've been making extra payments on the van all year and were able to pay it off a year and 3 months early! It feels good.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Night time

Our kids range in age from 9 down to 1. Our 9 and 7 year old like to stay up a little later and read once the younger girls have gone to bed. We actually have established a sort of system for going to bed that works really well for us since we have two bedrooms that all five kids share. We have found that if all three girls who share one room, go to bed at the same time, they will stay up for a very long time just chatting. So Nora and Jane go to bed first(they don't share a room) after we have family scripture and prayer....usually around 730pm. The three oldest get books out and read quietly. About 15 minutes later Annabelle joins Jane in her room. Jane is three and no longer takes naps so she is out within a very short time after laying down, as long as she's the only one in the room. About 20 minutes after Annabelle goes to bed, Charles joins Nora in their room and Elisabeth goes to bed in the room she shares with Annabelle and Jane. Here are Elisabeth and Charles reading; I thought it was sweet how their feet were touching.

Once the three youngest are in bed, Scott and I usually do some cleaning for a few minutes, making sure everything is in it's home, and then we relax and visit, read together etc. Monday has become my laundry day which means Monday night Scott and I have a laundry folding party and sometimes we'll do it while we watch a movie or Studio C on BYUtv. Now that we have 7 people to do laundry for I usually have about 6 loads to do in a week. Not too bad. Flashback: I remember back in the day, during our first couple years of marriage, going to a Laundromat, putting in coins, and waiting for our laundry. I am grateful we can do laundry in the comfort of our own home, especially since there is SO much more of it that needs to be done. Elisabeth helps fold sometimes too; pretty soon she'll be old enough to do her own laundry!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nora at 18 months

 Nora will be 18 months at the end of this week! She is a very active and curious little lady. She's always getting things down, taking things off shelves, and out of cabinets, leaving a trail wherever she has been. She grabbed this nearly empty bag of tortilla chips off the table after we'd finished dinner and dumped out it's contents. Crumbs everywhere! But look at how sweet she is in the picture below, she's trying to pick the crumbs up and put them back in the bag! Thanks Nora, but I think we'll use the vacuum.
 I know this next picture isn't of Nora but Jane and Annabelle are eating one of Nora's favorite foods and something she has for breakfast every morning so I thought I'd include it. They are eating my home-made granola with plain Greek Yogurt and a little agave. Yum!
 It's amazing how young they can learn how to use our little ipods and smart phones and all those touch screens! Nora thinks our new tv is a touchscreen so we've got Nora-sized finger prints all over the bottom left corner of the tv which is where she can reach. I haven't tried to clean them off yet because I think those tiny fingerprints and handprints are precious and they don't last very long.
 Nora is a climber. This is the absolute worst. Why? Because she falls. All the time. And I'm not really sure how to prevent her. We push all the chairs in hoping to deter her but she's strong enough she can get them out. I'm considering putting them all on top of the table, I'm just afraid she might pull them on herself and that would be painful. So for now she climbs on the chairs and climbs on the table and falls off and hits her head multiple times a day and I catch my breath every time and am worried that one of these times she's really going to hurt herself. Or maybe I'll just completely take out all the chairs and put them in another room each morning. If anyone reading has a good idea let me know...we have two tables but I'm not as concerned with our dining table because it's on carpeted floor and gives her a little more of a cushion when she falls.
Nora's 18 month stats:

weight: 20 lbs 7.5oz 5%
height: 31 1/2 inches (I think it was between 25 and 50%)

We have a new doctor since we've moved, well a group of doctors, and we've liked them so far. Nora is a healthy little girl. She got three immunizations, which was not a happy time, but she's okay now, though her thighs were a little sore for a day or two after.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elitch Gardens

We had a work party at Elitch Gardens this year which is an amusement park. It was fun to see the kids enjoy the kiddie rides. I went on one roller coaster with Scott and was done. My stomach is just not cut out for things like that. We had a nice time and enjoyed getting to know the other couples a little better.

Nora did not like any of the kiddie rides, not even the carousel or the train. She cried nearly the entire time we were on those. Maybe in a year or two.

Charles was thrilled on every single ride he went on, though neither him nor Elisabeth would try out any of the bigger rides even though they were tall enough...they were by far the biggest kids on the kiddie rides :)!

I thought Lis and Char might try the normal swings, but they would not. They did enjoy the kiddie swings though! A bonus to having all your 5 children wanting to ride the kiddie rides is that we can all stick together the entire time and/or not split up or wait while the older kids do the big rides.
Charles' favorite ride was the motorcycles that went around in circles. The day started out warm, but we knew it would be pretty cold once the sun set so we packed jackets and hats, and I'm glad we did.

We were there for 6-7 hours; Nora slept for about an hour in her stroller. She was a good sport. I love the black snuggle pack things that came with our stroller. They button on and zip up like a sleeping bag so the girls stay nice and warm and there's no breeze in between the legs.
Once the sun set the kiddie area of the park cleared out so our kids could run from ride to ride and go on the as many times as they liked and all sit together, never waiting in a line. Because it's October the lines were never very long but still, it was nice to have this area of the park mostly to ourselves.

They also had a shooting ball dome/room thing. They have lots of these gun type things where you put in soft balls and shoot them at people. Here are Scott and Jane, loading up and getting ready to shoot me and baby Nora in the stroller :).
We went on the carousel one more time before we left the park....Nora still didn't like it.
We had a fun time together at the park and are grateful to Scotts' work for funding this activity!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Date night with Lis & pix of sweet Nora

 Elisabeth and I went on a date to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2". She had received a $5 gift card for AMC theaters at school so we used that toward part of our evening. We took the picture below in their giant bathroom :).
 We take each of the kids on a date a few times a year, which ends up being about every month with the five kids, though we don't take Nora just yet. We do one of their dates around their birthday and that one is a little more expensive, like this one :). Our other dates are low key and less expensive like to get frozen yogurt, shopping for something they need or something like that.
And completely switching topics, here are a couple of cute pictures of Nora. She does this thing right now that I love where she'll walk up to me (or scott) and hug my leg and just hang there for a little while. In these pictures she's also holding her 'love' which is a white handkerchief.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Haircut and Cinzetti's

 I gave myself bangs again last week (see mirror image in picture above) because my baby hairs are out of control...again...for the millionth time. I may be exaggerating a little but sometimes it feels like a million times, so I cut bangs to cover the ones up in the front.

I also took about three inches of hair off of 5-year-old Annabelle. She asked for a cut and it was getting so long and hard to comb through, so we did it. I called my cute little sister Becca to get a few haircutting tips, watched a youtube video on how to cut layers and then we were on our way.
 Sadly, most of her baby curls went with the cut.
 Lovely lady! I was pleased with the way the layers around the face and the long layers in the back turned out.
 I think it was about three inches I took you can see it with a comb for comparison.
 Later that night we took the kids to Cinzetti's for dinner. It's an Italian buffet which is something I'd never experienced before. When we first sat down and the waiter was telling us about all the many stations and foods available I whispered to Scott, "we should come here every month!" I said this because he loves Italian food, there were so many options, all of which sounded so good AND every Monday and Tuesday night kids eat free which is very cool for our family of five kids and probably not so cool for the owners. Anyway, once we were done eating and I was practically laying in my chair because I could not sit up straight comfortably from all I had eaten, I said to Scott, "maybe we should only come once a year or on very special occasions." Buffets seem to encourage little or no self restraint and I fell victim to that idea.
 It was yummy.
 The kids favorite part was the pizza and the 16 flavors of ice cream. They each tried a couple.
It was shortly after this dinner outing that I decided to follow the example of a missionary who is serving in our area and go sugar-free for awhile. If only I could do this long-term like I have done with chocolate (almost 11 years now!) then I would be a very happy woman. I personally feel so much better when I'm not eating rich or high fat foods. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Service and Fondant Polka Dot Cake

We have a sweet lady in our ward, Sister Murphy, who is always knitting cute things for children. She made the girls lots of flower hair clips and head bands, a couple of blankets and she's knitting all of our kids little snow hats. Nora is wearing hers in the picture below. That picture was taken while at an amusement park and unfortunately Nora threw it off her head sometime during our trip to said park and we were never able to find it again...I looked everywhere we were and checked the front office in case someone had brought it in but no luck. I'm sure it's in good hands and will still be worn and loved because it's a lovely hat.

Here are Nora and Julia. We've watched Julia a couple of times and she does really well at our house with my girls which I think is a relief for her mom (Julia likes to be at home with mom so we're happy she feels comfortable here)
 Nora and Julia are about the same age and like to do the same types of things: eat, put on shoes, put on necklaces, follow mom and do what she's doing, eat some more :).
 This is my sweet neighbor Desi. She has 4 kiddos and we swap babysitting each Tuesday morning so the other one of us can volunteer in our elementary aged children's classes. And here she is helping me (read: she's working while I'm watching and visiting with her)make a Dorothy dress from the wizard of Oz, for Elisabeth for Halloween. She's making it from Elisabeth's old night gown. I'm really no good at sewing so I'm grateful she's willing to take this on.
 My friend Mine was wanting to make a birthday cake for her daughter's first birthday and I offered to help. She came over one day and we made the frosting and marshmallow fondant, we covered the cakes and added polka dots. It turned out very cute. So many little acts of service everywhere we go! You can't help but feel loved and it's contagious! If you're ever feeling down, do a service for someone immediate lift in spirit takes place! And when someone serves me I can't help but feel an increased amount of love for that person. So you see, it's a win-win situation!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Tree, General Conference and pictures of our home

 The weather is beautiful here in Colorado right now. Mornings are, sunny, crisp and chilly and the afternoons are in the mid 70's. After I drop the three oldest off at school, Nora, Jane and I like to go for walks around the neighborhood and take in all that is around us. Last week we started noticing Halloween and Fall decorations, so we decided to put ours up once we got home. I saved the Halloween Tree ornaments the kids and I made a couple of years ago and so Jane, Nora and I walked around the yard in search of branches to make our tree. We found the perfect branch, it was dark in color, long and had lots of branch shoots. Pictured above is Annabelle with our neighbor Kiley.
 The kids wanted to take pictures with it.
 When we were talking to family this weekend they were asking about different rooms in the house, what floor things were located etc and I thought I'd take a few pictures of the house to help them visualize.

When you open the front door this is what you see: living room off to the right and the dining room behind it, stairs in front that lead to the upstairs three beds and 2 baths, and then off to the left is a coat closet and a hallway that goes to a bathroom, laundry area, family room and kitchen which connects back around to the dining room. There is also a door with stairs off to the left that leads down to the unfinished basement where we keep the kids toys, our food storage, the elliptical machine and all our other storage stuff.

 This is the laundry room next to the bathroom on the ground level of the house.

This is the family room....I took a few of these pictures during General Conference :).

 And I didn't really bother to clean before I snapped these pictures :). During the Sunday sessions of conference we pull out our old Friend magazines, paper, scissors and glue or tape in this case since we were out of glue, and the kids like to make poster collages.
 Jane crashed on the coach during the last part of conference.
 Wow, what a mess! But it really kept them entertained and I was able to listen and take in everything during these two sessions on Sunday...Saturday we were able to listen too but not as well. I don't really make and keep New Years Resolutions but I'm much better at making and working on General Conference resolutions. As I'm listening to the speakers, and they are all uplifting and edifying, things come to mind that I would like to work on to better myself and come closer to Christ. I jot those impressions down and then once conference is over I pick a top few to really work on. I've come a long way over the years and I still have a LONG way to go! :)

I like that the kitchen looks onto the family room. Scott and I were able to cook a brunch for our family while we watched General Conference and we could eat at the kitchen table and still watch conference :). But just so you know we normally do not allow the TV to be on while we eat, this will be the twice-a-year exception.

Moving back to pictures of the house, here are the stairs that go up to the bedrooms and baths.
 This is the bathroom the kids use upstairs, it has a shower and tub.
 Charles and Nora share a room.
 The three oldest girls share a room. Elisabeth sleeps on the top bunk, Annabelle on bottom and Jane in her toddler bed. It's a pretty decent sized room so it works for them. Elisabeth's only complaint is that she has to share with three-year-old Jane who likes to takes all the clothes out of all the drawers when she's looking for an outfit (sometimes multiple times a day) and then Elisabeth feels like she needs to clean it up so she can have a tidy room (they are required to have a tidy room as part of their normal chores each day in order to earn their dollar for that day).
 This is the master bedroom and bathroom.
 It has a separate toilet and walk in closet which is nice, but I wish it had a door into the bathroom because if either Scott or I wake up at different times and we want to shower and get ready we feel like we're disrupting the other. But it works for now and we really are so blessed.