Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Too much reading and Linger restaurant

 Elisabeth, Charles and Annabelle received priesthood blessings from Scott on their first day of school. Nora jumped up on the piano bench when they were done and folded her arms and closed her eyes....I guess she wanted one too :).  They look so sweet when they fold their arms and close their eyes...not that I ever peek during prayer :). Jane wanted her picture taken too.
 I found several pictures on my phone that Jane and/or Nora had taken during the day when the kids were gone at school:

We pulled out our water table and the girls splashed and played....
 ....while I sat in a camping chair and finished reading the Divergent series. I read WAY too much this past week which is not good. I normally read for about an hour a day, 30 minutes before the kids wake up, from my scriptures, and then 30 minutes later on while Nora naps, usually from a nonfiction book...I've been reading Thomas S. Monson's biography called, To the Rescue, for awhile now. Anyway, I decided to read this series after Scott and I saw the Divergent movie last week. The first Divergent book was pretty good, but a bit more violent than I would have liked(more violent than the movie which seemed odd), the second book was hard to read because the narrator/main character was so irritating, and selfish that being stuck in her head for 500 pages was difficult....kinda like the 5th Harry Potter book. I have a hard time liking Harry in the 5th book! The third Divergent book started off better than the second but then there is some really inappropriate and under-age behavior that I cannot tolerate, even if it is just implied, and then to top it all off, the ending was HORRIBLE! It put me in a bad mood. I was frustrated that I spent a lot of time reading these books and didn't become a better person from it or didn't really gain any insight or understanding. I'll choose my book(s) more carefully next time.
 The girls also rode bikes and cars around our driveway while I sat and read. See, lame mom. Sitting and reading for long periods of time while missing out on all the fun with my girls.
 While Nora naps, Jane and I do school time together. Right now she writes her first and last name and then numbers 1-4, and then we'll recite numbers 1-20. She remembers 1-12 on her own but as soon as we switch to the teens she has a really hard time. After school time we have quiet time and I'll read her a couple of books and then she usually plays with dolls or draws or does puzzles and I read or write or work on my next Primary Sharing Time lesson for the children in our church. We're usually in our front room during quiet time. We have lots of big windows in that room and I love all the light.
 Sister Murphy from church pulled me aside a couple of weeks ago and said, "If you make me your peanut butter popcorn (it's an all natural version) I'll watch your kids one night so you and Scott can go on a date." Are you kidding me?! Done! She came over this weekend and watched the kids while Scott and I went to dinner at Linger in downtown Denver and then we saw The Giver at the theater. We had a very nice evening, the food was wonderful and the movie was good and clean! For the most part, I prefer to watch movies at home rather than in theaters. For one, it's a lot cheaper, two, I can lay down with a blanket and snuggle up to Scott, and three, I have a remote control in hand and I can fast forward anything unpleasant and/or questionable.
 Back at home, Sister Murphy warmed up food for the kids (burritos) and then Elisabeth put Jane and Nora to bed (I love that she's old enough to take care of things) and then the older three kids and Sister Murphy watched the third Harry Potter movie while snacking on regular popcorn and peanut butter popcorn. The restaurant, Linger, featured yummy items from all around the world. Scott and I ordered a greek salad, a rice and lentil crepe with potatoes and peas, and some sort of African chicken dish that's inside of a pastry; the first two are pictured here. Oh and I forgot to mention that we stopped by Little Man Ice Cream after Linger since it was on the way to our car :), and we got an oatmeal cookie ice cream in a waffle cone that we 'shared'; in reality, Scott had a few bites and I ate the rest :). It was SO yummy, I loved all the cookie bits inside.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Disney Frozen Cake

 I did another Disney Frozen cake this past week for a friend of ours. Click here to see the one I did for Annabelle's birthday last year(and there's a picture tutorial).

 The Frozen characters came from the Disney store and that icicle on the top tier was a ornament from my Christmas tree that I stuck on a kabob stick with hot glue. It's all done in butter cream icing, the top tier is 6 inches and the bottom 9. I'd always wanted to do a cake covered in roses or rosettes because it looks so elegant, and I've always wanted to do a cake that was several shades of one color so this one was fun for me to experiment with! I used one cup icing for each shade of blue and I used the color electric blue from Ameri colors to color them all. In one cup I put 1 drop of color, in another 3 drops and in the last 6 drops. I really liked the way it all turned out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to school and Life at Home

 The kids are back at school and enjoying it so far. The night before their first day they all packed their lunches so they'd be prepared. Annabelle packed half her lunch but she's not a sandwich fan so I warmed up some black beans for her in the morning and stuck them in a thermos. Now we have a fifth grader, a third grader and a first grader!
 We went to Walmart to get our school supplies and I told them they could each pick out one new outfit if their outfit totaled around $10-15 each (Walmart is cheap, so I wasn't too worried). They even got their outfits to match; I knew the girls had planned for matching outfits but Charles just picked a shirt out he liked and it went well with the girls.

 Annabelle did really well on her first full day of school. She enjoyed having two recesses, going to PE and eating lunch at school. Though when she got home she said she was starving so I think we'll need to pack her a bigger lunch!

 I like this picture below: Charles is trying to stick out his chest and sit up very straight in order to document that he's taller than his older fifth grade sister :).

 Jane and Nora miss them during the day but they're also learning to play together which is nice. And even though it's only been a couple of days since they started back to school, we're already seeing a noticeable difference in Nora's behavior which is great! When Nora naps I get to have some one-on-one school time with Jane which is nice too.
When I dropped them off at school the first day, I told them I brought my camera because I wanted to have a picture of them actually at the school, and they protested, not wanting to be embarrassed at school, that sort of thing, but I quickly and quietly said, "If you look at the camera and smile then I will only take one picture." So they did and we got a good one on the first shot!
I have been joking with friends that now that I only have two kids at home with me all day that I have so much freedom which makes it sound like having the children in school is wonderful! But in all honesty, I really miss having them home with me. I like being with them. I like not having to worry about what their school and peers might be teaching them about morality and right vs wrong and things of that nature. But that being said, I also know that we're here, on earth, to be tested. I know that we're here so that we can learn to choose the good from the bad and prove to ourselves where we stand and what kind of life we will live now and in the hereafter and that in order to do that, the kids need to live in and be a part of our community. And so Scott and I do our best to continue to teach them at home; when they ask questions we answer. We have family home evening lessons every week where we talk about values and principals and we talk about current issues and possible solutions. We pray each day and we teach them to pray. We read scriptures together and individually and we teach them to go to the scriptures and to the Lord in prayer for answers. He knows us best and loves us best so we hope to instill in them early on in life that He should be their guide. Being a parent gives me a small glimpse into what it must be like to be our Heavenly Father, sending our children out into the world to learn these valuable and critical lessons about life and agency, giving them their freedom and yet always being there when they turn to us for questions or help. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's important.

Below are a few pictures I found of our three oldest when they were a bit younger, about 5 years ago. I thought it'd be fun to post these along with their school-aged pictures above. Love these kiddos!!

My, how they've grown!

The time really does go by too fast!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nora's pix, Outdoor movie

The kids are back to school today! I'll post pictures of their first day back later this week. They're all a little excited to go back, but not very :). I think they'd all homeschool if I let them. We've enjoyed not having to be anywhere at any specific time this summer. We have a greenbelt behind our house and sometimes, after all our chores were done, I'd find a nice shady spot under a large tree and read a book while the kids rode their bikes and scooters along the paths. So peaceful and relaxing!

I found several pictures on my camera this time around with pictures 2 year old Nora took. There were so many pictures of feet: her feet, my feet, Scott's feet, anyone's feet really. I guess feet are common in her picture because she's so short and feet are more at her level.

 When we drive to one of the two libraries in the area we pass by Fred Dr. Fred, this is for you Bro :). And I always think loving and happy thoughts when I pass by :).
 I'm not sure who took this picture and what exactly Jane is trying to portray. Looks like Anna from Frozen with two, 2 lb weights and a stool.

 Our old BYU friends, the Millers, live in the Denver area and came over for dinner and a movie in the park last weekend. We watched the Lego movie which we'd seen before and really liked. I found all of us quoting lines from the movie over the next couple of days.

 Another Nora selfie; this time she got her face in the photo rather than her foot.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Westy Fest

 Last weekend we attended Westminster City's Summer festival. There were lots of vendors selling food and other products, a live band/group(acapella group)  and lots of free activities for kids. The kids enjoyed kayaking,

 jumping around in the bounce houses,

 and holding ferrets. I think Charles wants a ferret now.
 I love this picture below of Nora. She really wanted a turn, multiple turns actually.
 She wasn't sure how to hold on to it well; it was pretty long.
 But she got it to stay still for a bit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer is almost over

Summer is almost over and school will begin in a week! For the most part, I really like having the kids home from school. They're fun to be around and they've gotten into a good routine of getting chores and piano etc done in the mornings/early afternoon and then in the late afternoon we play for a bit with neighbors or around the house or at parks. BUT, that being said, I am SO looking forward to taking only two children along with me to the grocery store or to run other errands. Shopping with all five is ridiculous; Sweet Nora is crazy all on her own and when you add 4 siblings in who sometimes tease or annoy or don't give her exactly what she wants, she's turns into this high-pitched, very loud screaming mini person. It's enough to make anyone go crazy. See, here we are at Costco, grabbing a few things. Oh yeah, and I have I mentioned she refuses to sit in the shopping carts?

And you can see the 'boss' in these pictures; she's the one with the monkey on her back. It used to be so much simpler when I had just one or even two. If my one child started to throw a fit in public then we just picked up and left immediately. But now that we have five, and three are older and work hard all morning and afternoon to clean and do chores and get things all ready so that we can go out and do a few things later in the afternoon before dad gets home, and then we have this two year old that starts screaming, then what do we do? We don't want to just pick up and leave after all that hard work and time! So we give her whatever she wants in order to make her be quiet so that she doesn't ruin our plans. So I suppose her bad tendencies are our creation.  I'm hoping to get her tantrums under control once the kids are back in school because I'll be able to leave immediately, once again, if she starts acting up in public.

As long as we're not in public places that require you to be mindful of those around you, then we're totally good :). Mostly we're home which is fine, and the park is a great place to hang out too, especially a park that has very few others occupying it's facilities.

See, here's our destroying angel now. While the kids play at the park, Nora and I get a lot of one-on-one time together. I spend most of the time pushing her on the swings and we also like to take selfies with my camera.

 Jane is sure going to miss having Annabelle gone all day. I can't believe we'll have three in school ALL day! Hopefully we can also teach Nora to be a little better at sharing and playing nicely so Jane will continue to have a buddy around.

I'll get a lot more one-on-one time with Jane during Nora's nap which I'm looking forward to. And take a look at Jane's chin.
 Ouch! This picture was taken a week after a grocery store accident (see, public places are bad for our family right now), so it's looking better. Story behind the chin: I was at Safeway with all five of my kids and Jane was skipping around in front of the cart and somehow Charles bumped into her or tripped her or something and she landed smack down on her chin. It was a very hard hit. Poor girl! So I held her while the older kids took turns pushing our cart, which sometimes doesn't work out so well. I think they have a hard time judging space and distance correctly.
 And thank goodness this little firecracker girl still naps because that's the only time of day mom get's a little bit of respite. Happy Summer!