Monday, September 30, 2013

Nora at 17 months

Nora is 17 months, such a busy age, and almost old enough to attend her nursery class at church, which means I'll get to sit in and listen in my Relief Society class! And actually we've already started bringing her occasionally and either Scott or I will stay because she LOVES going to nursery and playing with the toys and eating snack, but she won't be official for a few more weeks.

Nora is hilarious and loves to make us laugh. She also thinks she's one of the big kids and copies everything they do and tries to do everything on her own. I think I've mentioned she refuses to eat if you try and feed her which makes for very messy meal times. Here she is doing a downward-facing-dog-pose type yoga move. She can hold this pose for quite some time.

Ah, and yes, this cute little face can sometimes be mistaken for a mini trouble maker. She enjoys pulling everything out of shelves, drawers, and cupboards. She finds it entertaining to pour out large quantities of liquids she can find in abandoned cups left on tables or other places. She loves to unroll toilet paper and splash in toilet water. She also loves to try out every toothbrush she can find and I have found her multiple times with three toothbrushes in her mouth all at once! And sucking on toothpaste tops must be tasty because she does that often. We're supposed to keep the bathroom doors closed to prevent some of this, but in a house with seven people, 5 of which are 9 years and younger, that's not the easiest thing to do. Here is Nora dressed in her pjs and ready for bed except for one thing...notice her hair looks a little matted down and slimy? That's because it's lathered in shampoo, on her dry head.
And lest you think she was able to do this all on her own let me assure you that she had an older and wiser accomplice: Jane, her three-year-old partner in crime. We decided to have an impromptu bathtime, even though it was late, we were already in pjs, all ready for bed.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture below but Nora is holding a stuffed puppy. This puppy moves it's head and makes a barking noise when you push a button on it's back. She loves this puppy. Besides her 'lovey' (a white handerchief) this is the only object she loves. She carries it around everywhere, gives it kisses and likes to hold it's head to her cheek.
Nora gives the best kisses. I'm sure I've thought that about each of our children when they're around this age. It's just so darling when they learn how to pucker their lips and boy does she pucker them. This little girl is so sweet. We love our Nori!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day-to-day

Do you ever wish you could stop time? I am wishing that a lot these days. The kids are growing up so fast, constantly growing and changing and I hope I'm doing an okay job of documenting everything for them to remember. I want them to remember the day-to-day stuff we do all the time, the quirky behaviors, the laughter, the sad times, the hard times, the special/sweet times. These pictures were all taken on different days and times in different settings but I thought they all captured something special that the kids will enjoy looking back on and remembering.
 
Jane, our three year old, has a lot of personality and is very strong-willed. We're trying to channel that energy in a good direction. She is also going through this stage where she still kinda needs naps but doesn't always want to take them and so I'll let her go days without but then she has melt down after melt down...and nap or not, she has the hardest time going to bed at night. She comes up with a million different excuses to get out of bed: I need water, I need to go to the bathroom, I need to give you another kiss, I need you to buy me brown shoes (that was one from earlier this week!). I found her passed out on her bedroom floor earlier this week and ran for my camera. She had fallen asleep with her leotard under her outfit and Elisabeth's snow cap on her head even though it was in the 80's. She loves that hat. And she still loves her very special yellow blanket which she is laying on.
 
 After school, Charles likes to take his snack outside to eat...I think because once he's done with his snack I have him get started on piano and homework and this way he gets a few minutes to enjoy the outdoors. He had taken Nora out with him so I peeked through the window and found them like this, sitting on the back patio bench, his arm resting on her shoulder, just looking out at the trees and grass and watching the squirrels...we have a lot of those, and bunnies!

 
 Nora is hilarious. She likes to make people laugh. She took a rag and stuffed it down her onsie and then went around and showed it to all of her siblings and me.

 
 

All gone!!

 
 
 
We have a shelf in our living room where we keep an extra set of cheap scriptures for everyone...their nicer ones in their church bags stay in their bedrooms and every night when we read scriptures together as a family, the kids race to see who can get the "mommy scriptures" first. Those are the scriptures I got from my young women's leader probably 13 years ago and she put a picture of my face on the cover. I told the kids I would make them each their own copy with their own face on the cover so as to avoid contention :).
 

The girls like their room to be clean and orderly. That being said, it is hard to make a bunk bed that is pushed up against the wall. So the girls have been sleeping on top of all their covers to avoid having to make their beds in the morning! They've been doing this for about a month. I'm not sure what they're going to do when it gets really cold...probably what Annabelle did in the picture below and that is to grab a throw blanket and cover herself with that.

Charles was playing touch football at school, on the grass, was running down the sidelines with the ball under his arm and got 'touched' or shoved really hard and he fell out of bounds onto the cement, head first. I was told he was a bit dizzy afterward, but other than that and the big goose egg on his forehead, he seems to be fine.
Annabelle and Jane, just snuggling on the couch.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New table and tv

We've been wanting to get a bigger table for years, one that seats at least 8 since there are 7 of us, and we finally did it! And I love it! It's new which is weird for us....nearly every single piece of furniture in our home from couches to beds to tables to piano (if you can call that furniture) etc, we bought second hand but we decided that for a table for our size of family with how many kids we have we wanted to make sure it was a good, strong table with nothing wrong with it that would last us forever. And so we got this solid mahogany table with a bench and 5 chairs. It also came with two leaves which would make it a 12 seater so family, come on out! We can now sit comfortably around our table and not feel like we're sitting on one another...though that was nice and cozy :). I also love that this table is distressed and has knots and cracks in it because when 3-year-old Jane took her fork to it the other day and was scraping it back and forth, it looked like it was supposed to be like that :). She still got in trouble and was no longer able to use a fork for that meal or any metal utensil which made her pretty mad. I'm sure we'll have lots more scratches and things in the future and that's okay.

This table really is much more than just an eating area. I work on my stuff here (blogging, preparing my talk or working on church calling, etc), we play games here, have family conversations, the girls play dolls on here, heck I even saw Jane dancing on it one day, which is not allowed by the way, but our 3-year-old is in a stage where she thinks being disobedient is hilarious... we're working on that; lots of time and patience.
I thought Annabelle had the most darling expressions while we played 'headbands' as our activity for Family Home Evening (at our new table :)) so I snapped a few pictures of her when it was her turn and she was deep in thought, trying to figure out what picture was on her head.




We also got a new tv because the color went out on our big boxed one this past week...Scott has been wanting to get one of these flatter screened type tvs for years so he was not sad when it finally died and we had to get a new one. I love it mostly because now we can do our google hangouts with grandparents (like Skype or facetime) on a much bigger screen so it's a lot easier to see and hear rather than everyone trying to crowd around the tiny computer screen. Oh and have I mentioned we got a roku a little while ago? It's this box that connects to wifi and hooks up to the tv. You pay a one time fee of $80(could be a little more or less depending on which box you choose) and then you get different channels on your tv and you can stream Netflix if you have it or hulu. Our favorites are Mormon Channel, BYUtv, PBS kids and Pandora (a music station). It's pretty cool and then you don't have the monthly cost of cable which we've never had anyway; I wanted to be able to watch general conference from home (we were spoiled in UT and had it on our antenna) and now we can!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hurt lip and broken toe

Jane loves to 'help' her baby sister Nora. Her idea of helping is really not very helpful and usually ends with one or both girls in tears. One afternoon Jane was 'helping' Nora walk a little faster from one place where Nora was to another place where Jane wanted her to be. Jane was pushing Nora from behind, Nora tripped and fell forward, Jane fell with her and Jane's teeth caught Jane's top lip as her lip smacked into the back of Nora's head. It was very bloody and got all over her shirt and the front of her dress. I was a little worried at first with the amount of blood, but luckily she allowed me to ice it and we went through a couple pieces of ice, while she lay on my lap and watched a Barbie movie.
A couple of days later we had another accident; I guess I should say, I had another accident. I was walking in a friends house, socks on, no shoes and I stubbed my toe on a wooden stool. It really hurt, but it usually really hurts when I stub my toe and I can usually shake it off within a matter of seconds. But this time was different. It started to feel numb after awhile and it hurt at the same time, hurt enough that I walked with a slight limp trying to avoid putting pressure near my toes, and when I drove our family home, I killed to push down on the gas or to brake. By that evening it was nice a bruised and a little swollen. After I dropped off the three oldest at school the next morning, Nora, Jane and I went over to Urgent Care to have an x-ray just to be sure that's what it was and that nothing needed to be adjusted. Our suspicions were correct and there was a break, or a chip out of the top of my long toe next to my biggest toe.

We had to wait quite awhile to be seen and for the x-ray to be taken etc, but the girls entertained themselves by opening all the drawers over and over again and hiding in the cupboards.


The first day was painful, the second was a little painful but much better and by day three I was feeling pretty good. The doc just taped my toe to the shorter one next to it and said to keep it taped for a couple of days, and then I iced it a couple of times and elevated it a couple of times, but other than that I was still able to cook and clean and get all my normal stuff done which was nice. I think this may have been my first ever broken bone. Is that right Mom? Now, almost a week later it's fine unless I someone touches it or I try to bend it...then I get this weird numbing sensation mixed with some pain and uncomfortableness, and I was able to go for a speed walk the other day and use the elliptical all without any pain or discomfort which was nice.


 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Denver area surroundings and recent floods

The area of Colorado we moved to has trails and parks everywhere. I love it and so do the kids. We have several within walking distance to our home.


We also lucked out and moved into a community with a pool. It closed Labor day but until then we were going at least every week. They have a big pool and a kiddie pool which made it easier for me to watch all the kids alone because the big kids were in the big pool with their life jackets and then Nora, Jane and I would sit in the kiddie pool together.
The temple is in Centennial, which is about a 45 minute drive south of here, without any traffic. In traffic it'd be more like an hour and a half. This is a smaller temple and it's not just right there where you can see it for miles, like I'm used to...I couldn't see it until I was in the neighborhood. But when you do see it, I take in a deep breath and smile because it's beautiful and just the sight of it makes me so happy! I love the temple; it's about my favorite place to be other than our home. They have a new temple video which is the same as the old one, and yet so different. I love it. I learn so many things while in the temple and receive inspiration and guidance for our family and other faucets of life. Temples are built and being built all over the world and I'm glad that we have so many now so that people everywhere can attend.
 
As many of you are aware, since it's national news, we've had a lot of water and flooding in this area over the past week. Our family is fine. The area where we live is kind of on this giant hill so our home, school, stores, work, everything has not been affected by the flooding. We have gotten a lot of rain, I feel like I live in Seattle again, but with more hard rains instead of just lots of drizzling. Since I don't watch the news I wasn't aware of the flooding for a couple of days until friends were talking about husbands getting home late because of road closures from the flooding because we do have friends whose husbands work out of Boulder. Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested to know how we're being affected here by the floods. I'll let you know if anything changes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Learning new things

This last week Scott allowed Charles to help him mow the lawn. I'm excited for the day when he's old enough to take over that responsibility :). And Elisabeth should do it too; when I was growing up we lived on an acre and my dad would divide the back lawn into three sections for Fred, me and Becca to split...the other two siblings were already out of the house. I actually don't mind mowing the lawn, it's kind of a nice, mindless yet active task that's enjoyable as long as it gets done in the morning before it gets too hot.

 Nora is just over 16 months but she thinks she's one of the big kids. She is always trying to do things on her own and is quite put out if you try and speed things along by taking over. Meal time is one of those things that is allowing me to practice lots of patience. I want her to learn how to feed herself with utensils and all that good stuff, but sometimes I watch her and think, "oh, that's going to take awhile to clean up"...so I'm learning to be patient and to let things go and instead grab my camera and document these fun, sweet, learning moments :). And doesn't she look so cute with that spoon in her little hand?
 Oop! She decided it was hard to get some of it on the spoon and resorted to using her fingers.
 And now a little bit of both. And she is covered in granola and yogurt : face, arms, hands, bib, clothes and hair. Nice! I have decided to forgo granola with milk with this little one because milk is a lot messier than yogurt and quickly runs like a stream all over the place. And if she decides to throw it off her tray it's disastrous and all over everything within several feet whereas granola with yogurt seems to stay put for the most part.
 I mentioned before that none of my kids have every attended an out-of-home preschool before and people ask how they do when they first start kindergarten. So far, they've all done great and adjusted easily. But, I think that also has a lot to do with the fact that they have 4 other siblings at home plus they've attended church every Sunday for years and went to their own separate 2 hour Sunday School class since they were 18 months. So anyway, Annabelle loves school. She loves her teacher. She loves learning and being involved and she's doing great. Here are her list of sight words that she's supposed to have down by the end of kindergarten. When she gets home from school, and after we eat lunch, we read off all the words on here. The one's on the right side of the cupboard are the ones she has down and can say without sounding them out. When she learns another word from the left side, she can move it over to the right. They're just up there with some tacky.
And a picture of our studious little Annabelle working on her homework after school. She especially loves homework when she gets to use crayons :).

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Visiting Teacher

The hardest thing about moving, for me, is leaving all my dear friends behind and then starting over, not knowing anyone again. That being said, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormon) definitely helps. Why? Because we have local wards and groups all over the world and when you move some place new, there are always people there to help you move in, people to show you around and get you situated, people who share similar beliefs and ways of living who reach out and become fast friends.

Before we moved I contacted our new bishop in Colorado and he gave me the phone numbers of a couple of women in the ward who he thought would be good to talk to while I tried to figure out schools etc. They were so sweet and emailed and called me several times with all sorts of information. Within a very short time I had very good recommendations for a school, piano teacher, pediatrician and dentist.

Another thing that is very special about this church is that we have something called 'Visiting Teachers' and 'Home Teachers'. Visiting teachers are two woman who are companions, put together after prayerful consideration from their leader, who go visit three (more or less) specific women each month and share with them a gospel message. Home Teachers are the same thing except it's two men who are put in a companionship that visit 3 (more or less) families each month and share a gospel message.

When I was younger, especially as a young, single adult, I didn't really appreciate visiting teaching. It was more of a chore, something that needed to be done each month. But for many years now I've developed a love for visiting teaching. I love that I instantly have several friends. I think I'm a fairly friendly and social person but I also have a large family that takes up most of my time so I really don't get much of an opportunity to get out and visit with others. This is another reason I love visiting teaching and the entire Relief Society organization, because not only is there a huge emphasis on the home and family but it also allows me to develop meaningful friendships outside of the home with other women, friendships where we lift and strengthen one another. I'm grateful I was asked to be a visiting teacher within a couple of weeks of moving because I've already made four wonderful friends. This church, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is the foundation for everything my family does and for who we are. It is the anchor in our lives amongst change and sometimes chaos in the world around us.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chores and Around the House

I got my new laptop!!! It's so much smaller and lighter and faster than my last one! I love it! My last one was a Toshiba that weighed around 6 lbs, had a ginormous cord with a ginormous battery (which was the main reason it died...the battery weighed so much it was always pulling on the cord and caused some problems...we even replaced the battery and cord twice). This one is an Asus, it's small (I think the screen is 11 something inches) and light and the battery is teensy compared to my last. And I think it's pretty cool that it's a touchscreen like our smart phones. Now, on to my post.
 
I have mentioned here before that I keep chore charts for the kids when they were not in school and I love those chore charts. They help the kids stay on task and make us feel like we're still being somewhat productive :). Well, since we've moved here and started school again, I've been having a hard time getting the kids up and ready and going in the mornings. I was sounding like a broken record with how many times I was having to repeat myself to, 'do this' and 'get this done before we go' and 'did you do this?' etc that I was getting irritated and frustrated with the kids for not being on top of things and one morning in a moment of desperation and on the verge of insanity, I quickly dropped what I was doing in the kitchen ( helping someone put together a lunch while repeating orders and reminding them to 'hurry!'), ran up to my room and typed up this daily chore chart for each of my three school-aged kids,  printed them out, and stuffed them each in a clear plastic sheet cover. It literally took me 5 minutes to do the whole thing so I know this was a stroke of inspiration from the Lord because I wouldn't have thought of these things on my own this fast. Anyway, they have two lists: "Before School" and "After School". They have a list of things they need to complete and check off and at the bottom of the 'before school' list it says, "leave for school, 7:55" which I later told my kids means that the 'before school' section must be checked off by 7:55 (we actually don't need to leave until a few minutes after 8) and if everything is checked off by that time and then if they finish their after school things, each day they can earn a dollar. But only if all those things are done. I also informed them that if you don't finish your stuff by 7:55, you still have to do it before school, but you won't get the dollar...I made that rule a week after I made these charts because someone didn't finish their list on time and so that someone would not unload their section of the dishwasher because they knew they hadn't earned a dollar anyway and then I would do it while they were at school. By the way, this is working great! I love lists and things like this that help me and the children be productive. I makes lists for myself all the time, too.
 
Here is a picture of Annabelle 'unloading' her section of the dishwasher. I say 'unloading' because many times she'll get in her own world and have the forks and spoons etc be dads and moms and she ends up playing make-believe while she unloads :), it's actually pretty fun to watch. She's a cute girl.

 

 
 Here is a random picture. When all the kids were at school one day, Jane came down in her swimsuit, grabbed a leotard and proceeded to put the leotard over her swimsuit. Her swimsuit has a little skirt at the bottom so it didn't work out great.
 She is always coming out in the funniest little outfits! The other day we went to our local grocery store and it wasn't until we got out of the van that I realized she had taken off the clothes we had put on her that morning and was now wearing her sparkly and ruffley Tangled swimsuit over black tights. She looked pretty stylish :). If only I had gotten a picture.

 

 
 And the last picture is also kinda random but it's another 'around the house' pic. We finally got all our pictures up and the only new thing I did was I created a 'family shrine', if you will, which is basically framed pictures of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, or our parents and siblings. I love it because even though we live far from our families, having these pictures front and center in our family room draws our thoughts to them more often and the kids talk about them more. We had a couple pictures of family around before, but not like this. I saw something like this in a movie I recently saw, Parental Guidance, which was my inspiration.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cooking Again

 Once we got settled into our new home, we decided to bake some cookies and bring them to our neighbors and introduce ourselves. Here is Nora, watching impatiently for the cookies to be done so she can eat one.
 We've had a couple of months of craziness with trying to show and sell our house and then moving and so I really haven't made home-made meals on a regular basis until just recently. We were eating out at least once a week and we had a lot of spaghetti and other throw it together in a few minutes, types of meals like scrambled eggs or sandwiches. It was so fun to actually update our menu again and plan out the entire week. I loved being able to spend time in the kitchen again, doing my thing :). 
 This is a new favorite and a sort of copycat of Mongolian Grill (our fav place to eat in Washington). Basically sauted veggies with noodles, brown rice and sauce (and a meat if you like...we did some chicken), and peanuts on top. Yum!