Monday, December 5, 2011

7 Months


Not quite ... but he will be next week, and that's close enough.

This handsome little guy is 7 months! If you think it's whipped by for you, that's exactly how we feel.

He's a mover, a shaker, and has the makings of a Kate-part-2. Don't worry, that doesn't have us scared. We love our vivacious little lady, and are excited to add another handful to the pack:).

His top two teeth broke through yesterday and he's got the 'heavy breathing through his squinched up nose' look down pat. Now I've just got to catch it on camera.

These pictures are of him after our family shots last weekend. He was diggin' the up close and personal interaction with Mother Nature.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Family Pictures


We're not very good at getting family pictures. The last (and first) official one we got was when I was expecting Sophie and the twins were almost two years old. So I told Matt that we really needed to do a better job of documenting our brood.

We asked a friend take them, but in the end we dilly-dallied and then things just didn't work out. So we set up our camera on two 5-gallon buckets, placed our newly built bench (by Matt, for our under-construction laundry room) in the backyard, and snapped away.

Our first idea was to go to Matt's campus for pictures since it has some pretty cool backgrounds and possible props, but we were running out of time since Matt and Kate were going to a ballet in the afternoon. However, we knew if we didn't do the pictures then/now, we'd never get them done for a photo Christmas card.

Some turned out well, some didn't, but we're ALL in the picture! Hooray! I told Matt my level of expectation for family pictures has gone way down since having children ... I just want us all in the picture.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dresser starved

We've been dresser-starved for many months now.

Matt's parents gave us a dresser years ago that had three columns of drawers and so we put all three children in them. (not actually the children, but their clothes;). Sophie was short-changed in the deal since she got the narrow drawers, so with Joshua's debut, we either needed more baskets to store stuff, or a new dresser, and move Wes' and Joshua's clothes together.

So I scoured ads, craigslist, and second hand stores.

Here were our options:

Real furniture store item = too pricey and sometimes not the best material throughout the piece.

Big Box dresser = pressed wood (and I'm tired of going that route).

Build our own = a real option, but we've got many other projects we're juggling.

Second-hand item = another real option, but once again, redoing the piece becomes a time issue and I haven't mastered the talent of seeing 'potential'. I get hung up on how an item looks in its current state.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the blogs out there who show you wonderful things you can do by re-purposing an item. I'm all for doing it, but I mostly catch myself saying, "where do these people find the time to do all this stuff?" I have a hard enough time keeping my house clean, laundry done, church callings, regular home maintenance, parenting, etc., etc. How to find balance? That's the magical question. And how to stop comparing ones self to others ... blah, blah, blah ... this is a whole other blog topic.

Continuing with the dresser:).

One day I stopped at a second-hand furniture shop and saw a really ugly dresser. But somehow I saw its potential. It was well-built (a must for Mr. Matt) and had a price tag of $45. I asked the man if he'd take $40 and he said, "I still have to pay tax, you know." So I said, "okay, $42". and he said, "okay, $40". ??? "I was confused at his logic, but didn't question him, and paid him $40 smackeroos.

Here's our subject (with the drawers removed, but you can see them in the background)...

Wes was immediately in love. I told him in an excited voice, "Dad and I are going to sand it down and paint it black."

He promptly had a meltdown. He thought I'd bought him a Lightning McQueen dresser.

I was shocked. And I've found I often do this. I assume someone is on my same brain wavelength and are just as excited about something as I am. Then I thought to myself ... if I were a (then) 5-year old boy and my mom brought me home something that looked like the theme of a children's movie, I'd be pretty upset if she said we were going to ruin it by painting it black".

I know this sounds horrible, but we did finally convince Wes that the decoration had to be removed, mainly because paint was chipping everywhere and the dresser was pretty banged up.

So Matt and I started to sand, strip paint, and sand some more. And after taking off three layers of red, blue and pink paint, this beautiful piece of furniture was revealed.

We decided to put the old drawer handles on it, just because, and yes, we painted it black. Whenever we ask for suggestions for colors, Kate always comes up with 'rainbow', so I think we'll stop asking, and they've pretty much accepted that I love black.

So there it is. Wes and Joshua's new clothing abode. And although this post makes it sound like I did a lot of work, it was really Matt who provided most of the elbow grease. I think he's growing tired of me bringing home 'my' projects that 'he' has to finish.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decor

(This is a post from my radio blog, thus the reason why my voice is a bit more formal and less familiar regarding my children... it's set to appear on tomorrow's entry).

Wednesday 11/16/11

I haven't taken the time yet to be an extreme couponer, but I'm just like everyone else and try to score a deal every once in a while. I was so excited to do that yesterday with something I've been eyeing for a while.

Remember the wall map that I ordered to put up in my son's room?


(www.amazon.com)

Well, I wanted something equally educational for decor in my daughters' room. So I've been eyeing this solar system decal set for a few weeks now.



(www.kohls.com)

Well as luck would have it, I got a $10 promotional gift card in the mail with no strings attached, EXCEPT that the item must be $10 or more, before sales tax. No Problem!

So I looked at the solar system online and SCORE!!! It was on sale this week.

Here's the break down ...

$22.99 regular price

$11.49 sale price

-$10.00 gift card

= $1.49 pre sales tax


WooHoo! Imagine me doing my happy dance/pump fist:).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thought process of a 3-year old

Sophie's and my breakfast conversation this morning ...


Me: Sophie, do you want to eat your french toast?

Sophie: 'Cause, I want to eat a hotdog, cause there's no more apples."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fog Delays

In Connecticut there were snow days for 1 or 2 inches of snow ... here there are fog delays. Most interesting.

We got a prerecorded phone call this morning at 5:15 a.m. stating that school would be delayed by one hour.

Believe me when I say I LOVE IT! I wish school started at 9 a.m. everyday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Different Journal

My radio self is pretty much common knowledge to friends and family. But something I haven't shared, and wish I could somehow merge with this blog, is my blog on my radio page.

At the start of the year, my new boss (who is now my old boss) asked me to start blogging every day as another way to 'connect with my listeners'. So I started to do it, and I've loved it. I haven't been totally faithful to the every day suggestion, but have blogged fairly consistently.

It's very different from this blog (at least I think so), and has more 'daily doings' on it; projects I'm working on (or would like to work on), articles I find interesting, recipes I've tried and liked, blog links with ideas.

Now I'm realizing I really want to figure out a way to get what I'm writing over there, over here. I guess because it's a good personal journal for me (of sorts). But the problem is, habitually I'll put a start date and an archive/expiration date, so many of them are gone. I'll have to find out if they're gone gone, or saved somewhere out there in the internet blue yonder.

If you're interested, here it is. (Really have to get a new profile picture though:)).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life and Festivities

We've really tried not to over-schedule ourselves, but now we're entering the age where children's activities often overtake the family's activities. But it really is a fun time of life.

This week has been crazy and fun, and now that it's Saturday night I'm happy to sit and breathe, now that the bulk of crazy is over. So here's part of our October.

Since I nearly had a breakdown when Wes and Kate started school, I decided to be involved in their classes as much as possible. Their teachers have been great and very responsive to my many emails and questions.

I was able to go with Kate's class to a pumpkin patch. I knew her class was diverse, but actually being there and seeing it was pretty amazing. Jasmine, Jaire, Le'Donte, Samuel, Malachi, are just an example of some of the school friends she talks about. She's one of four Caucasian children in a class of 24.


Wes' class on the other hand is pretty much 50/50, and I'm not exactly sure why or how they decide who's in whose class. His teacher is a seasoned educator and I know she's been requested by several of the parents, and so maybe that has something to do with it.

So far I've been pleased with both of their experiences. The lesson plans are the same, but maybe executed a little differently from each other. But it seems to be going well.

I emailed both their teachers last week and asked if I could bring in a Halloween treat, so Sophie and I were running around at the end of this week, getting everything done for that, also for Halloween costumes, Fall Harvest Festival items for the school, church responsibilities, along with regular home responsibilities.


We went to the school carnival last night and also to our neighbor's church's trunk or treat. This afternoon we went to a set of girl and boy twins birthday party, which was a Halloween costume party too. So we've definitely had our fill of the season. On Monday we'll go to a nearby town with some church friends where the old part of downtown really goes all out for Halloween and it's a popular spot for trick or treating.

As for costumes ...

Here's Wes as John Henry. He's wanted to be him for two years now, and we finally did it. So simple, don't know why I didn't do it earlier. But it's one of those costumes where people have to ask you what/who you are. And even then, most people have to ask you who John Henry is/was. One man at the party today asked if Wes was the Brawny paper towel man ... haha!


Kate is not a planner, and didn't seem to have any ideas for a costume, except the standard princess. I told her she should 'branch out' a little. For about 5 minutes she was going to be Angelina Ballerina, and then decided against it. So after hearing more suggestions, she settled on being a cat. Score for me! Another easy costume.


My mind wasn't even on a costume for Joshua, until I found this site, and whipped up a pumpkin hat in literally 6.3 minutes flat:). I think I'll be revisiting this pattern for dress up hats for Christmas gifts for Wes.

Sophie's had her costume for a year. We hit the after Halloween sales last year and she and I both got witch hats. She was happy to finally get to wear it. We paired it with a Halloween shirt that used to be one of my neice's. Then Friday afternoon we made the skirt after it donned on me that you wouldn't be able to see her cute striped tights if she was wearing jeans, which was our original plan. I know, I'm a real planner;). But this 'how to' no-sew pattern was the winner and really only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Re-reading this makes me think that I'm giving my readers the idea that I can just 'whip' things together in no time. Ohhh, don't be fooled, I'm not as seamless as that, it's just a good thing there's the internet and people who do the thinking part for me.


I think she looks adorable.

I'm so excited to be at this time of year. I love Autumn, the holidays that come with it, sweaters, hot chocolate, football ... you know the list:). We love Thanksgiving at our house, and it's Wes and Kate's birthday. Then of course Christmas, and we have family scheduled for a visit then too! It's amazing how when you live away from family, visits like these are so anticipated. And they motivate you to get projects done. Hopefully we'll soon have pictures to show you the progress along the way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Classic Cereal Face


This is Joshua's reaction to his first taste of cereal, documented at 7:45 a.m.-ish, Sunday morning, October 16, 2011.

Love the complete and utter look of "what in the world are you doing to me, Mom":).

He was very concerned through the entire experience.

(And I'm loving Sophie's one-eyed, large-nosed pumpkin in the background:)).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where did 5 months go?

I just can't believe that our baby is 5 months old! I know parents say this all the time, but wowzers ... time just zips by at amazing speed with little people under the roof.

Joshua is the sweetest, most content little baby we've had. He's a great mix of what Wes and Kate looked like as babies, although I'm thinking he'll fall more in line with Kate in the end.


He's long and big and just way too cute to be real sometimes. The finger sucking wasn't just a temporary thing, it's pretty prominent in his life now, and I don't mind one bit. I love to hold him side ways in the crook of my left arm. In go his fingers, and he and I are just happy little larks.


We haven't started him on cereal yet, probably a project for tomorrow, mainly because he's cloth diapered, and I haven't been ready to enter that stage of cleaning the diapers with goo that's people-food, and not just mother's milk. No explanation here on what that all means. If you're dying to know either google it or call me;).


He's super strong and just yesterday started the rocking back and forth on knees and hands action.


His lower gums are swollen and he's been a bit more drooly lately, so teeth are on the way. Our children are early teethers, although he's about a month later than the others were.

Gotta love this picture. My friend gave him some cute pj's, and I put him in them one night even though he wasn't quite big enough for the age range yet. By morning when Matt went up to get him in his crib he found him like this.


Joshua's first hair cut was last month. He was born with such beautiful hair, which promptly fell out, all except a lovely Mohawk, which I talked about in a previous post. Well the Mohawk kept growing and his other hair wasn't filling in, so it looked all stringy and straggly, and so off it came. Now he has a cute little do that's finally starting to fill back in.


He is the most kissed and hugged person in our family. Wes, Kate and Sophie just adore him. He's got a huge mouth, like Kate, and so his smiles are just perfect.

(Sophie's saying, "hurry Mom, he's getting away!")

We love you Baby J!

Shenandoah


All summer long Kate was after us to go camping. So finally last weekend we did it. Matt took off early from work on Friday and we packed up, picked Wes and Kate from school and headed to Shenandoah National Park.

Until last year I had never heard of Shenandoah other than in John Denver's Song Take Me Home with the line ... "Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River," but didn't realize it was a National Park.

We arrived in the early evening and stayed at a nearby camp ground in Front Royal, VA, because there was no vacancy at the park's camping sites.


Everyone was in heaven, even Joshua ... prop him up for a few pictures and he's ready to go in his little USU Aggie coat:).


I was concerned about the cool temperatures at night, especially with a little one, but it was pleasant ... not warm by any stretch, but comfortable enough that the mountain of blankets and sleeping bags we brought didn't need to be fully utilized.

In the morning Matt made one of his signature dutch oven dishes, sweet rolls, with some hot chocolate, hard boiled eggs, and we were good to go for a day in beautiful country.

It was absolutely gorgeous ... 100 miles of rolling mountains, leaves just starting to turn, stunning look-outs, and not too crowded roads and hikes.


We stopped about mid-way through the park and decided to take a short 1.8 mile hike to a waterfall. It was the shortest hike in the bunch, we thought that best, so our children could handle it on their own.... minus this little cutie who road first class on his mama's back:). (I told Matt I'd take the baby so he'd could do mule pack duty in case one of the bigger kids needed a hand;)).


Just a side note here. Wesley is not a walker. Any time he can ride his bike, ride in a car, or in some other mode of transportation, he's much happier. So we were a bit concerned about the hike, until I remembered a Utah mountain hiking trip from last year.

So here's how we phrased it, and how the conversation went, more or less:

Us: "We're going to go see a waterfall."
Wesley: "Do we have to walk?"
Us: "We're going mountain climbing."
Wesley: "Mountain climbing? Really?"
Us: "Yep."

That did it ... he led us the entire way and kept telling us to stop taking so many breaks:). Amazing what a little rephrasing will do to one's perception. But to be fair to us old, out of shape people, it really was vigorous exercise. Matt said, "if we did a hike like this every day we'd drop some serious poundage." (my paraphrasing, I don't think I've ever heard Matt say 'poundage'.)

(here's a nice shot of some random man's back, but he'd just fallen and smashed his knee pretty hard on the rock by Kate's head and so we figured he needed a rest without us disturbing him;)).

By the time we got back to the van it was early-mid afternoon so we hopped in and drove to Luray
Caverns
. I was glad this was not like the Timpanogos Caves, with a 45+ degree hike for over a mile or two. This one you paid your money, walked around a wall, down 50 or so stairs, and there you were, at the front of the tour.


It was pretty cool. I keep saying this, but I hope our children remember at least some of these things they're seeing.

Back at camp we cooked, cleaned up a bit and hit the sack. This was a much less desired night for me, at least. I had a pounding headache that didn't leave until about 4 a.m. and I think I'm too old to be sleeping on the hard earth;).

Sunday morning we rose early, took hot showers (gotta love that), dressed in our Sunday best, amid stares from fellow campers who probably thought we were wacky, and headed out to the local Front Royal ward.

We knew something was wrong when we to the parking lot and there was one car there at 8:57 a.m., for a 9 a.m. church start. Luckily the car contained missionaries. Matt talked with them and found out it was Stake Conference in nearby Winchester, VA. and it started at 10 a.m.

So back to the campground we went. As we pulled into our site and I hopped out, our neighbor campers looked at us funny, and so I verbalized what they were thinking and quipped, "That was quick!"

We raced around like crazies, breaking down camp as fast as we could. We figured there was no sense in going north to church 35 minutes, turn around after church, break camp, just to turn around and head NE home.

We were a tad late, but were able to get settled in for a nice meeting with Pres. Tingey, the former Washington D.C. Temple President, as the guest speaker (I thought he was the current, but a quick search on the church temple pres. site says he was just released in Aug.)

After church we drove about another hour and some and stopped for a picnic lunch on the D.C. Temple grounds. So beautiful - couldn't have asked for a better weathered weekend.


Anyway, that was our trip; So fun, and worth the 8 loads of laundry afterwards.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Close call

When my mother in law visited us in May she counted the trees in our front yard. It's an amazing number, something like 21 or 23. The backyard is pretty much the same. All in all there are pines, oaks, dogwoods, a tulip poplar, a couple flowering fruitless trees and a pretty Chinese maple.

The pines are massive, easily a few score years old. They're big enough and our soil is basically sand, which means pretty wimpy root grasping situation. So storms like Irene had us, and our neighbors, worried about the safety of our homes. Matt and our neighbor have been in the process of cutting down the ones that aren't quite as massive and foreboding.

A couple Saturdays ago they were at it again, chain saws in hand, which was to go. They chose a mid-sized pine in the back, and planned where to fall the tree. To skip all the details, it didn't fall where it was supposed to and nearly crushed our shed. Luckily they maneuvered and manipulated and were inches, or centimeters, away from destruction.



Our children have strict rules when Dad gets out the chain saw, but we had a front row seats to the action from our family room windows.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let the games begin!

We've never had Wes or Kate in sports until this summer. Mainly because we've had the habit of going for 3-4 weeks during the summer right smack dab in the middle of tee ball or soccer season. So because our travel was local this summer we signed 'em up.

The first was tee ball. It was an interesting set up. We thought it was going to be teams and actual playing but it was more of basic instruction and drills, which was okay too. They're excited for next year to actually play games.


They just started soccer this month and are loving the go-go nature of the sport. Matt and I never played soccer but now that it's a mainstream sport we figured it would be a fun Fall activity. They have no problem getting right in the middle of the crowd. The problem they have is scoring in the right goal and on the right field:). There are three fields side by side by side and the games tend to blend.



Here's to Saturday mornings at the soccer field!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where did it all go?

When our babies are born they come out looking like a haircut should be ordered soon. But they go through the losing hair bit, just like all other babies. Joshua's has been quite the process though. It's almost the exact opposite of a man who loses his hair on top, but keeps it on the sides. He's kept a really nice Mohawk and lost almost everything else.

From this ...


and this ...


to this ...

this ...


and this ...

can you see the receding hairline, and the makings of a comb-over?

Here's to hoping it grows back:).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We're seeing a pattern here ...

None of our children have been thumb or finger suckers ... until now.

This little guy tries to get his whole hand in his mouth but usually falls asleep with 2-3 fingers in. We'll see if it continues:).

Monkey see, Monkey do

This week has been busy in the news world in Cache Valley and I've spent more time on my cell phone than usual. One of these days I was positioned next to my front room window, right where the cell reception was the best (Sprint has much to be desired in my neck of the woods). I was intently listening to a police official give me story details when suddenly I heard what sounded like a prayer being said behind me. I turned around and saw Sophie standing behind Joshua in his doorway jumper thingy. She had her hands on his head and was giving him a blessing. I had to stifle a laugh.

Funny girl.

I think those back to school blessings made an impression on her.

Laughing

Sophie's got a talent that the rest of us haven't yet figured out how to master ... she can make Joshua laugh almost at the drop of a hat. I'm not really quite sure how she does it. He'll give the rest of us smiles up the ying-yang, but Sophie gets most of the laughs. Maybe it's because she's close to his size, but whatever it is, it's really fun to watch.

Sometimes I think she thinks he's her own personal doll. She'll dress him up, snuggle next to him, push him around in the stroller, and other things, which need a whole post to themselves.

Here's how I found him the other day when I walked into the family room, decked out in her Sleeping Beauty sunglasses. Wish the picture was a little more clear.

Good thing he's so obliging:).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Record it

This has happened a couple of times, and I've finally got to document it...

We've tried different methods of reading the scriptures as a family. Currently we're trying to get Wes and Kate a little more involved with actually reading, or repeating, because they're not quite up to reading the scriptures on their own yet. So Matt or I will say a phrase, and they'll repeat it.

So here's the setting tonight, with Wes repeating along with Dad ...

Matt: "And behold, there are many.."
Wes: "And behold, there are many.."
Matt: "who are already lost..."
Wes: "who are already lost..."
Matt: "from the knowledge of those.."
Wes: "from the [mumble, mumble].."
Matt: "knowledge of those."
Wes: "knowledge of those [yawn]."
Matt: "who are at Jerusalem."
Wes: "who are at Jewuslum [mumble, yawn].
Matt: "Enunciate please."
Wes: "Enunciate please."

At this point I burst out laughing.

Wes looked at me startled, and then turned red, realizing what he'd said.

I couldn't help it. It was funny!

We only have them read two verses, so it's not like it should be torture, but it's probably time to change it up since this way of study has lost it's appeal ... [insert a little yawning and whining.]

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day


So many emotions today. Sophie and I spent most of it just looking at each other, wondering what to do next. I felt like half of me was missing. The clock never moved so slowly.

Dramatic phrases, I know, but when two from your household leave for the day, it makes quite a difference; especially when they're the chatter boxes and energy of the family.

It's funny how opinions change. I used to think all-day kindergarten was a good concept, but now when MY children are in it, I'm not a fan at all. Another thing that I will have to get used to is the comparisons of teachers. I almost think it would be better to have them in the same class so I wasn't comparing one against the other (teachers, I mean). I wouldn't know any better. Ignorance is bliss, right?

We're letting them ride the bus for the first week and then I'm planning on taking them. A 45-minute bus ride to and from school, with a bus change in the middle, is too much for 5-year olds.

Kate, our excessive-energy child, even said I should give her a 'no sleeping pill' so that she wouldn't be so tired coming home. Well good grief, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.?!?! Anyone would be tired!!

Okay, enough with the negative vibes:). They had a great time and came home full of stories.

Here's such a sweet picture of Sophie. She was completely crushed that she couldn't get on the bus and go to school with Wes and Kate. She got dressed in the morning with them, put on her backpack, and just figured she'd do what she's always done ... be the triplet in a set of twins.


Bouncy boy


We've got great neighbors; next door, across the way, kitty-corner, down the cul-de-sac ... we couldn't have picked a better place. The neighbors down the way are in the midst of cleaning out their garage so their vans can park inside.

We have been on the receiving end of many of their baby and toddler things.

The latest is this bouncy chair thingy that hangs in the doorway. Coincidentally I was looking at these on amazon.com over the weekend. Great timing!

Joshua's loving it, and I'm having a heck of a time keeping Sophie from sending him spinning or swinging:).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Era

And I'm not talking about the church magazine ;)...

Wes and Kate are five and entering Kindergarten. I've been very uncertain about the whole thing for more reasons than one, but here we go!

Despite threatening the delay of opening day by Hurricane Irene, our school called this afternoon and reported it will be open and ready for Day 1, tomorrow. My opinion so far, and we've only gone to open house night, is that Wes' teacher impresses me more. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by both their experiences. You'd better bet we'll keep close tabs on the situation.

Meanwhile, Matt and I have talked a lot in the last few days of how this marks a change for our whole family. I'm so wishy-washy about the whole thing, but am so excited for them. They are ready for the next step. Pictures to follow:).

Monday, August 22, 2011

So big

Time just flies, and I'm amazed that we're already to these milestones in Joshua's life.

So for documentation purposes, he officially turned over from back to belly on Saturday, August 20.

He's such a strong little guy. He's also been very spitty lately and regularly soaks the front of his outfit by 10 a.m. Today I put a full bib on him, the kind you put the baby's head through so it has a front and back. I don't think he was a fan since it kept tangling his rolling over progress. A couple of times it looked more like a superhero cape than a bib.

What a sweet baby too. He's completely captured all of our hearts!

Some other things about J ... he losing hair and has not only the traditional bare spot in back, but a couple of funny looking bald patches on the side behind and above his right ear. And boy, talk about a serious cowlick (is that really how it's spelled), it's the swirl of all swirls. Funnier still is that the hair grows really well there and is poofy. It's pretty endearing:).