Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School and Bead in Nose

Here are the kids, having lunch at Costco with me, the day before school started back up again. We were having a celebration because of a good dentist check-up for everyone (a few months ago, whoops!) so they got some extras like smoothies and ice cream, which we normally wouldn't do. 

The big kids went back to school Tuesday and Jane starts kindergarten a week later, which will be this Wednesday. I'm really hoping and praying that she will feel comfortable and do well because she has a really hard time leaving us to go to her church class on Sundays...and actually she doesn't go without a family member being with her. We need heavenly help for that girl. 

I have mixed feelings about the kids being back at school. I love having them home with me,  and I love that we're not so busy in the summers. We don't really have to rush here or there or anywhere; the only thing we have to strictly follow on the the summer schedule are piano lessons. Also, since Elisabeth is old enough to babysit, even though they were home all summer, I didn't have to load up all the kids and take them with me on my errands, but rather, I'd usually take one so that we could have some one-on-one time during errands which I also really liked. Having big kids is great! 

On the other hand, It'll definitely be quieter, with only Nora around all day, which will be nice sometimes and probably lonelier sometimes, especially for Nora. The house should be able to stay cleaner longer which is a good thing. I should also be able to keep up a little better with my family and food blogs; my food blog has been especially hard to keep up over the summer because I don't feel like staging pictures and writing out recipes; I'd rather be talking with the kids and taking them on outings, which we did a lot of :). The kids have adjusted well to being back at school so that's helped with the transition. I really do love having them at home with me and am excited to get them back each late afternoon.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to mother these children. 

This past week Charles cub scout group made rockets for part of their pack meeting and they each took turns blowing them into the sky.
Friday, as I was putting Jane and Nora into the van so we could go to the stock supply store to pick up crown molding and baseboards for the bedrooms downstairs (which are coming along nicely), as I lifted Nora into her car seat, I noticed something pinkish in her nose. I took a closer look, stepped back so I could look into her face and asked, "Nora, do you have a bead in your nose?" She looked down, sad and ashamed. "Did you put it there?" Same sad expression. "Oh dear. Well, let's go back inside and see what we can do." I called a couple of friends to see if they had any ideas on how to get it out, and I called Scott who suggested tweezers. I decided to give it a shot because I really didn't have time to wait in a doctors office nor did I want to spend the money if I didn't have to. After the first two attempts to pull it out failed(first attempt she said tickled, second attempt she said kinda hurt), I was starting to feel a little sweaty and anxious, and worried that I was pushing it up further. I said a quick prayer and told Nora I'd give it one more try and to hold still a minute while I just moved her nostril around to try and get a better look so I could see if I could get a better grip on it. Prayer is a power thing. We got that sucker out and we all cheered and then took off for the stock supply store. I do not know how she was even able to get that big bead up her tiny nostril.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rope Course, Chef Brad, Appendicitis, Red Cross Babysitting Online Course

This past Wednesday, Scott and I took Charles on a date...he chose an indoor ropes course. The course was short but we had 50 minutes, so we did the course over and over again and got pretty good by the end. Charles and I raced up a rope stairway about 6 times. He won 5 of the 6 races, and I really only won because his foot slipped through a space and he went down, getting a rope burn on his leg. But still, I won one! Scott raced once, but his stomach had been hurting all day so he took it easy. After the course we went out through 'the rainforest' which was a jungle gym. 

 My upholstered headboard arrived earlier in the week and we put it together. I had been wanting one for awhile since I like to read my scriptures in bed in the morning and I like to read other material at night, also in bed, so I wanted a comfortable back. My friend and old neighbor Desi told me about this one on that ships free and had an amazing price! I love it!
 Thursday evening are busy for us because Annabelle and Charles have piano, Scott and Charles have cub scouts and Charles has baseball games right now. Add in that BYU education week was this week and Maren, Amanda and I planned to go together one evening for a half day and Thursday was the only day that could possibly work for the three of us. It's a good thing Elisabeth is old enough to babysit because I needed the support of her and Scott to go. But as we drove down to BYU, and Amanda drove us down there (about 45 minutes), Scott called saying his stomach was feeling even more painful and that he thought it was his appendix. How he received that impression was completely divine inspiration; he had come home early and when he got home, he went into our room and prayed for help so that we figure out what this so we could help him get better. He said that as soon as he finished the prayer the thought came to him that it was his appendix. I suggested that he call a nurse and do a little research online which he did, and then he drove himself to instacare at the hospital. In the meantime I called the piano teacher and canceled the kids lesson, got into my first of what was supposed to be 4 classes, and texted back and forth to Scott and the kids and my neighbor Kim, making sure we had our bases covered in case Scott needed to stay at the hospital awhile longer.

We ended up going to 3 out of the 4 classes and leaving early, because during classes Scott found it was appendicitis and that they wanted to do surgery that night. One note-worthy class that I loved was Chef Brad's class on grains and healthy eating. We were going to see him the 4th hour when he does actual food demonstrations, but we'll have to save that for another year (apparently he goes every year to BYU ed week). He's pretty much a celebrity in our house, as we have seen most, if not all of his cooking shows. Amanda and Maren were so sweet to offer to come back with me early (I was going to call my aunt or cousin who lived near by to bring me home); we had been looking forward to this night out for awhile so I appreciated their kindness and positive and cheerful attitudes. I love our friends.
 They dropped me off at the hospital and when I got in there, the nurse told me that Scott just went into surgery and that I couldn't go in, but that it'd be about an hour and I could just wait in his room. I went in, found his keys to the truck and drove home (only 5 minutes) to check on the kids and grab a book and a cell phone charger. It was 930 and the 2 littlest were asleep and the three oldest were in bed, but not quite asleep and they all came out to see me when I got there and had lots of questions, and I got a full report; they did everything that I asked them too including dinner (sandwiches and granola...I don't let her use the oven yet), reading scriptures together, getting the girls all ready and in bed by 8pm and getting themselves in bed around 9. I was so grateful to the Lord for watching out for them and us and that things were going well considering the situation. I went back to the hospital and waited about 20  minutes before Scott came back in. He was awake but a little groggy because they had put him out for the surgery. They said that once he was feeling better and could eat a little and get up to use the bathroom, that we were free to go. He waited about an hour before he decided to eat something and then ate slowly at first, taking little naps in between eating his crackers and then his sandwich, but by 1am we were out the door and headed home. This guy is amazing and did great and is feeling so much better but is still sore.
 That same day Elisabeth finished her online Red Cross babysitting basics course and we printed out her certificate.
 This girl is so motivated to do things and diligent when she learns...she's amazing. Good job Lis!
 We've been working on our basement bedrooms since we've moved here, replacing sheet rock for paneled ceilings, and putting a hallway in one of the bedrooms because you have to walk through it to get to the back bedroom and we want them finished by the time my family comes to visit for General Conference the first weekend in October. We've made timelines for ourselves to help us stay on track, and Scott was worried that we wouldn't make it with his surgery. But, I told him not to worry, he'd taught me how to tape and mud the day before and I got some good practice in and was ready to keep going on my own. I got to work the following day and he came down after awhile to check my progress...and then he jumped right in :). Stinker. I told him to listen to his body and stop if he got to tired or sore, but he stayed with me for a lot of it and helped out. It tired him out and he rested after ward but he really is doing much better. He took Friday off of work and then worked from home Monday, but went back Tuesday.
 And I've jumped ahead of myself, because these pictures are from Friday night and Saturday. We had planned on sleeping in the tent Friday night before school started but with Scott's injury we decided to sleep inside but we let the kids sleep out in the tent.
 Saturday our friends the Scott's, invited us to 7 Peaks which is a water slide park in Provo. I took the kids for a couple of hours later in the day, after I worked on the ceiling for a bit. They all had a good time running around with friends in the water. And that was the rest of our week and the last week of Summer Break!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dry Wall Ceiling, Peaches, and Baseball

 Oh, house projects. They feel like they are never ending. And they probably never are. I think there will always be something we will be working on, wanting to improve. That's how we should be with ourselves as well, continuously growing and improving. It makes sense. But boy, it's a lot of work! Right now we are finishing the ceiling in Elisabeth and Annabelle's room.
Saturday, a week ago, Scott, Brian and Joe (neighbors) put the sheet rock up one night. It was so nice to have their help because it went so fast!

Nora likes to get sheet music out and 'play' the piano. Sometimes she'll set the timer and turn on the metronome as well :). I love seeing her tiny little feet and legs dangling down on the front of the bench. 

 Monday for our family home evening activity we went out and picked peaches off our peach tree. There are SO many, we barely left a dent!
 And we made peach smoothies for dessert! Yum!
 7 year old Annabelle taught our FHE lesson. She used a story from the Friend Magazine about prayer and dealing with challenges. I loved the questionnaire she put together and handed out to everyone to check our understanding :).
Later Monday night, once most of the kids were in bed, Scott and I (and Charles) took down two of the pieces of sheet rock because Scott realized he didn't connect one of the lights to the switch on the wall, so he fixed that wiring and we put it back up again.
 Jane discovered the MP3 player this week and has been spending some of her free time listening, singing and dancing :).
 Tuesday Elisabeth has piano lesson. While we waited for her to get out this week, Annabelle was concerned with starting at a new school next week, that the other 2nd graders would know how to tell time on a clock with a face on it really well, and she wouldn't be as good. So we found a receipt in my purse and practiced figuring out time.
 Charles has baseball games for the next few weeks (short season), every Tuesday and Thursday evening. We have to divide and conquer some Tuesday nights when piano and baseball overlap, but we always try and make it to at least part of the game on Tuesday. Charles loves playing baseball, though I'm pretty sure he loves playing all sports. At this age, when they're in outfield, the only kids who touch the ball much are the catcher and pitcher, and most the boys get walked, so it's not super exciting to watch yet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Provo and date night with Elisabeth

 Last Monday we went down to Provo to have family home evening with my aunt, uncle and cousins. We had dinner and then went swimming.

 Since we were only a few miles from BYU and we've been wanting to get down to campus since we've been back to UT, we decided this would be the perfect time. I showed the kids where Scott and I met, where our first date was, where we lived during our early years as a family, the classroom I was in when Elisabeth first rolled over..I love that about BYU, how they support families while still being competitive with academics.

 We didn't get over to BYU until around 8pm which meant it was a late night for us and we didn't get to do and see everything, but we plan to go back and hike the Y and visit a couple of other places in the area.
 Changing topics, Scott and I have made out a calendar that has one date a month on it with a child so they can get time alone with mom and dad (got this idea from my old BYU roomie Natalie, who lives in ID). We got a babysitter for the others since Elisabeth is our babysitter, and she decided to go out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes. Good choice! We had a lovely evening together and nice dinner conversation.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sprint Triathlon

 Scott and I participated in our first ever sprint triathlon a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun! We loved training together in the early mornings and being with a large group of people for the race (around 250-300) was energizing. It was actually more of a mini sprint with a 1/4 mile swim (300 meters), a 6 mile bike ride and a 2 mile run.

As we trained, we timed ourselves on the different events, and we looked at the stat sheet from last year so we knew who we'd try to stay close to in time (or beat :)) to help us figure out our goal time. We decided we'd shoot for 45 minutes total. Scott and I started the race together in the pool and stayed together for the swim, Once we got on our bikes, and I was in front, we got separated. I didn't want to turn my head around and look back, afraid that I'd biff it like before and re-injure myself so I just did my best. When I dropped my bike to start the run, Scott was nowhere in sight, so I took off running. I later learned that he was having some difficulties with his bike shifts; his bike is used and though it's fast, being a road bike, the gears were always weird and the brakes are horrible. My good friend Elisa, who is a fast runner, did the race with us as well, but she started the swim about 10 minutes before us in another group so I didn't see her much.
 The run was the hardest part. It's the last event and after riding so hard on the bikes for miles, when I got off my legs felt like lead. But because we'd been training, I knew what it felt like to keep a pace for an 8 and 9 minute mile, so even though my legs felt so heavy and it was hard, I pushed myself, and prayed, a lot, like I usually do when I'm pushing myself, and I was given an added measure of strength and hope as I finished my race. I ended up finishing at 43 minutes and 20 seconds, which meant I ranked 26th in the race and 5th in my category (women ages 31-40)! My swim time was 7:45, Bike 15:28 and the run was 17:47. Scott came in very close to our 45 minute goal at 46:26 which was ranked 53rd. His swim time was 7:27, bike was 16:57, and the run was 19:44. Now we have times to beat for next year!

 The race was supposed to start at 7am but we didn't start til 730-745ish because of the different swim start times (we swam in an outdoor city pool), and they had a bit of a late start anyhow. When we finished the race, I biked home(only a mile or so), got the kids in the van, and drove back so the kids could be with us during the awards and have some refreshments which they enjoyed.

Later that day, Scott and I were tired, our legs felt a bit achy, so we relaxed at home and in the late afternoon we took the kids to Walmart so they could each pick out a new outfit for school which starts up again in a week! We didn't want Nora to feel left out since she is the only one not in school, so we got her an outfit too. She chose this cute exercise outfit that she wears all the time...which is fine with me because it's better than what she used to wear all the time which was her rapunzel swim suit.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day to do of Summer

 Elisabeth, our 11 year old, has discovered Pinterest and fallen in love :). Her favorite boards are probably birthday party and hair themes. Sundays we have a little more time in the mornings to do our hair since church doesn't start until 1pm, so we've been experimenting with some of the Pinterest hair styles. Here are a couple we've tried recently and liked.
I keep a Menu board in our kitchen and update it weekly, usually Sunday night, with the family. I'll ask if there are any requests and will try to accept most unless it's something we've just had the previous week or if I don't have the ingredients on hand and don't think I'll get them in time. Friday or Saturday is always homemade pizza night. Here's our menu for the week: 
 I love all the extra time we have in summer to do various activities. For Elisabeth's activity days last week, they made omelets in a bag (for camping). One day she asked if we could make them for lunch. Why not? The kids had fun mixing up their bags and adding their toppings.
 It takes longer than most omelets, about 1/2 hour total when you consider the time it takes to bring the pot of water to a boil and the 13 minutes of cooking time, but we were able to cook all 6 omelets at once. I just used a clothespin on a marshmallow prong to keep all the bags together.
 This is what they looked like coming out of the bag, then we topped them with salsa or ketchup.
 One morning, as Charles and I pulled up to the house at 9am after a quick stop at Sprouts, he took one look at Nora who came out to greet us and said, "uh, not really surprised to see her in her swimsuit already." Agreed. She wears that thing every single day. And like her ruby red slippers? 

 Since Elisabeth and Charles are now at an age where they can be very helpful (specifically thinking of babysitting and mowing the lawn and weed whacking), we've decided to start them on a monthly allowance...we're also doing this because we want to teach them money skills, how to save, tithe, and value their things. So every month, at the end of the month they will get paid $20 if and only if they've kept up on all their normal daily and weekly chores (piano, unloading dishwasher, clean room, making bed, clean bathroom etc) plus, if Charles took care of the lawn mowing and weed whacking all four weeks and Elisabeth babysat for all our weekly dates plus whenever I had to run errands. Elisabeth babysits a ton so I don't think she'll ever not make her $20 and Charles could make less if he missed a week doing the lawn (basically $5 each time he mows/trims). They are required to give 10% to tithing and 40% to long term savings (which will go to car, mission, college etc), and the other 50% is theirs to keep, but we encourage them to always save a little so they can buy a friend a birthday gift if they're invited, or go to a movie etc. Right now the three oldest are trying to save for a kids laptop, so they are working toward that. Since the older kids are getting a regular income, we told the younger girls that if they get all their chores done, they can pick a 'money chore' from our list and earn a dollar for that chore. I have a chart up on my fridge where I keep track of who does money chores during that month and we'll pay them all at once of the last day of the month. The little girls really don't do much from the 'money chore' list, though I imagine if there's something they decide they really want, they'll do it.
 American Red Cross has a babysitting training online for kids ages 11+, that Elisabeth is working on right now. It's around 4-5 hours of work and you can pause and resume when you have time, with tests throughout. There was a $30 fee and once you've completed everything you can print out a certificate that says you've completed the course. I am so happy that Red Cross has this online training because the information is so helpful to new babysitters and lots of things they teach are things that parents already know and may not think to advise your child who has just become a babysitter, but that may not be common knowledge for them.
 This book is amazing! I am reading it right now and am loving it. It's uplifting and inspiring and so very useful in so many areas of life.
 Since we've been back to Utah, we've gotten together just about every single week with our friends the Ludwig Family who live in the same city but aren't in our ward or stake or neighborhood area. I met Elisa when we first moved here, at a library, during story time. We were both very pregnant, both just moved into the area, both loved to go for walks and exercise and both are named Elisa, so we hit it off from the start :). Our kids love playing together.