Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Night

1. Earlier this week I turned on some music to have in the background while we were cleaning. I was singing along to the song and Brynlee said, "Mom please stop. I know you really want to sing, but they do it better." !! Put me in my place ;)

2. I have been getting hives off and on throughout the day from the time I wake up to going to bed. I can't figure out why they are everywhere, I can't seem to have any consistent triggers. I will wake up and get out of bed and feel them start to flare up! It's really weird and they drive me absolutely crazy sometimes with being so itchy!!

3. Tonight I went to my first choir practice. It's a stake (volunteer) choir, we are performing 8 (I think?) selections from Handel's Messiah, gearing up for an Easter performance. It is fun to be in a choir again, it's been years!! I have a long way to go in learning the music. Big difference from your average hymn at church ;). I'm grateful Kenny is supportive of me participating and takes care of everything at home so I can be a part of it. I do love music so much even though I've never been very talented at it.

4. We borrowed P90X3 from my friend and started it this week. I haven't been able to move any part of my body without pain and discomfort for 3 days. It's that bad. But SO good, too. Hard to swallow how horribly out of shape I am compared to what I used to be able to do. But we're slowly getting back into it and it feels great. Funny when the kids try to copy me or do it alongside me haha.

5. A word about our neighbors. I have felt bad for a long time that we have such poor relationships with all of our neighbors. There's only one family that we've had more than one conversation with. I honestly wouldn't recognize any of them if I saw them out in public. So at Christmas time we went around to 5 or 6 of the homes and tried to deliver a plate of cookies, along with our family's Christmas card so they'd know our names and faces a little better. It wasn't very well received by most, but it helped instigate a relationship with the family next door. They in turn invited us to a surprise party for the dad several weeks ago. And on MLK day this past Monday, their boys were outside playing basketball. They have twin 9 year old boys. For some reason they were NEVER, (and I do mean never) outside during the summer. But we were outside playing and they invited Tyler to play with them. (This was before we got dumped on with snow and were having glorious spring-like weather). Anyway, all of this to say that Tyler had such a good time with them, and they with him. I was feeling so grateful that he finally has some friends close by and I'm sure that was the first of many play-dates, especially once it warms up. There's a big difference between playing ball with your mom and little sisters, and a couple older boys. He learned a lot and is challenged, all while having the time of his life.

6. Last night Kenny and I were commenting on Briggs and how he's been doing, we're trying a different formula again. And I said, "ya know in about 6 or 7 months we're going to be saying 'Remember when Briggs used to spit up ALL the time and it was so hard?' and then we'll laugh about it and it will all be just  a memory." Then this morning I fed him a bottle and we were all dressed and ready to go to church. After the second or third time of him spewing all over himself and me, I cursed out loud. So much for my "positive" thinking.

7. Tyler lost his 4th tooth on Saturday morning. He was pretty pleased. :) I just love how within one or two minutes of losing his tooth he wants to call my mom and tell her all about it. He knows she will be so happy for him and make him feel good. Grandmas are so great.

8. As I mentioned earlier, we were having such unusually warm weather for January. What little snow we had, had melted. And while it was still cold, it was usually above 32 degrees. But this weekend we sure took a turn and got a lot of snow and very freezing temps. I can't complain though, this is what January was supposed to be like the whole time!

9. Last night we broke our financial fast. We totally caved and went to the store. I can't tell you how bad I missed fresh fruit! Oh it was so delicious. We've almost eaten it all, it's obvious we missed it. We learned a lot though, and definitely saved a lot of money. We'll know how to be better prepared and equipped for the next time we do it. Maybe in 5 months or so. I think it's a good exercise. We are much more conscientious about the food we eat and there's a lot less waste, which is always a good thing.

10. Kelsey seems like such a big girl to me all of the sudden. I can see how much she's grown and matured in the last few months. She's able to play much better and for longer with her older sisters, as an active participant. Not only that but I can see when she exercises restraint in her temper, or will start to act up and quickly changes her mind to do what's right. She doesn't overreact nearly so much or so quickly. She can see the benefits of being obedient and kind, and communicates more clearly her needs and wishes. She is such a cute little girl and we just love having her around the house to keep us all laughing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Getting Through January

January is by far my least favorite month, every single year. There are no holidays to brighten this cold, dark month. It always seems like the very longest month of the year. But the good news is we've already made it a little over halfway. So I know we're getting there! :) I think a couple things that make it seem even longer is because of our restrictive goals! For example, we are doing a "no sugar" for January. Even the kids are in on it, and I told them they'd get $5 if they could go the whole month. But it had to be their choice. So far, Madison and Kelsey chose to have treats instead of hold out, which I expected :) (though I should mention it has been twice the whole month which is still really good). But I've been so proud of Tyler and Brynlee as they have continually exercised amazing self-control for their young ages. They understand the prize is going to be more worth it to them than the immediate gratification of a cookie or something, and they're staying strong. I'm so impressed. Another thing is that we're doing a financial fast this month. That's where we don't buy anything during the whole month. Between Christmas in December, and 4 birthdays plus Valentines in February, our bank account needs a little break in January. We've been wanting to try one for a while, just as a good exercise in restraint and lessons in frugality. It's proved to be a good thing for our wallets and our minds as we are reminded of what we actually need and what we buy "just because". We are sure running low on food though, and the fresh fruits and vegetables have been gone for a while. Frozen and canned are just not as good, but they'll do for another 10 days or so.

Brigham is doing better and better and it's such a blessing. He is so huge and we all love him so very much. His reflux is so so much better that it's nearly gone. He's sleeping longer stretches and is generally a happier baby. He is strictly formula fed now, which was a pretty hard transition for me. But it's been so much better for him, and therefore for the rest of us. The first Sunday I was giving him bottles instead of nursing him, a lady of course had to disapprove and remark about how much better breast milk is for babies and suggest things that I could have done. It was hurtful, and made me think I was not doing what I could have or should have, etc. But Kenny helped remind me that we had tried everything for almost 5 months and this has been the only thing that's helped him! Of course I believe in breast feeding, and I understand that it's usually the better option. But I don't think it was worth it for my pride to continue trying to nurse him when he handled it so poorly, making the rest of us miserable. He's still a healthy baby, only now he's happy too! And just for the record I certainly don't hold it against this well-meaning woman. She's a friend, and I know she's just inclined to speak her mind whenever she sees fit. I've worked with her enough to know how she is and I'm not offended. It was just an emotionally fragile time over a sensitive topic. Anyway. Briggs sucks on his fingers to help himself go to sleep now and it's like my favorite thing ever. He never did take to the pacifier, none of my kids did. But at least he found his fingers!!! I love it. He's still somewhat lazy and doesn't seem to anxious to get going anywhere. He can only roll over one way, still doesn't roll from back to front. But that's alright. He'll get it. He has the most adorable laugh and his siblings just love to play with him and get him laughing. He's got us all wrapped around his chubby little fingers ;)

At church I got called as the Bear Den Leader in the Cub Scouts! Cub Scouting is a whole new world to me that I've never known anything about. But I'm excited to learn and Tyler will be joining cub scouts here in less than a month so it will be fun to go together every Wednesday night. These boys are a fun age! Also I'm the Relief Society Pianist. This Relief Society does an opening and closing song, which is a little strange to me, but oh well :). I'm finally getting more comfortable with playing in front of people, thanks to Primary breaking me in. I'm certainly not much better skilled, just not lacking quite as much in confidence.

This last Friday (the 16th) Kenny and I got to go on a date! Our first non-temple date in quite a long time. The Stake Presidency put on a dinner for all the Elders Quorum Presidents and their wives in the stake. It was so sweet of them and really fun to get to know them better. I hadn't met all the other people from the various wards (some of which I didn't even know existed) so it was a good evening. Nice to get a break for a couple hours and have someone serve me dinner! :) Briggs slept the whole time we were gone so the babysitter had nothing to worry about which was a tender mercy. We did have to pay the babysitter, which broke our fast a little. But the dinner itself was free so that's good! I also had dessert that night and broke the no-sugar thing. But when the stake pres. himself serves you a piece of dessert his wife made, you don't say no :).  

On Saturday I took Tyler to a "It's Great to be 8" activity at the church. All the kids in primary that are 7, and turning 8 this year got to attend. It was such a great idea! They talked to them about all the great things happening when they turn 8. First an introduction to Cub Scouts for the boys, and girls achievement for the girls. But the main focus as on their upcoming baptisms. They talked about their bishop's interview and how the big day is going to work, let them walk down in the font and see the dressing room, etc. I felt like it was so smart and they'll all be much less intimidated and more prepared for their baptisms. 

We had a lot of fun on Saturday afternoon. Kenny got out the ax and trimmers and went to chop down some of the dead trees in our backyard. He cleared out a big section of the yard that is just overgrowth and burned all the branches. He was out there till way past dark. Came in to eat dinner, then went back out when I don't even know how he could see what he was doing. It makes him so happy to work outside. He said, "man it feels good to just chop down a tree!" haha. Of course the kids were out there a lot "helping" him and learning. He taught them how to safely carry the ax and how to chop and trim, too. It was a really wonderful day with lots of family work time, indoors and outdoors.

My dad got called as the Stake President in Houston, TX. I am not surprised at all, as he is one of the greatest men I know. But I'm excited for him and for my mom and the good they will do there. I have been so blessed with such awesome parents. I'm very grateful for their service and examples.

Madison had her work cut out for her! Haha, of course I didn't make her do all these dishes herself. But she sure did help me with all of them! She's a great dish washer. And of course she's wearing her princess dress.

Kenny's helping Bryn swing the ax because it was a little heavy for her to do alone. 

The first tree he chopped down all by himself! :) Not very big, but still very proud.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kid things

Tyler is extremely helpful with Briggs. He's also the only kid strong enough to carry that big lug. In the car he sits in the front-middle just so he can help with the baby. He plays a version of "peek-a-boo" with him. Only he doesn't realize that's what he's doing and he calls it "Isolated World". He said, "See? When I put a blanket over Briggs it makes his eyes go really wide and he goes quiet. He likes a little alone time for a minute, then I take it off. It's his own isolated world in there."
I sometimes wish for my own little isolated world. ;)

Brynlee cried for probably an hour or two the other day because she just decided she wanted a cat SO BAD. It was pretty touch-and-go there for a while but I think she's realized she is going to live, even without a cat in our home. :) Poor girl. I know it's a very real desire but I will not cave. I went against my better judgment with a puppy and we all saw how long that lasted! I told her when she grows up and has her own house she can have as many cats and dogs and everything else that she wants. I'm such a nice mom.

Let's talk about Brynlee's prayers. They're pretty funny. She says things like "please bless Heavenly Father and Jesus", "please help Kelsey to stop picking her nose" (granted, that's a very real problem). "Please help Briggs to never spit up or cry ever again." (I have the same prayer...) I love to hear her thoughts in prayer form.

Madison got a CTR ring at church the other day and I saw her wearing it. I wanted to see if she remembered what it stood for so I asked her, "What does that ring help you to remember?" She replied, "That I'm a princess."
Not exactly what I was going for, but I suppose that's a very good thing for her to remember, too. :)

The other day Maddie really wanted to make a fort and was determined to do it by herself. So she got out all the blankets she could find and laid them all across the couch.
And that was it.
She was pretty proud.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A well-documented Saturday

Saturday, January 10th. In the morning we were slow going and did some Saturday cleaning. Then everyone went off to different activities and I pulled out my camera. I decided I should take a pic of what everyone was doing at that very minute, just as a fun comparison. This was at 11:14 a.m.

Madison was finger-painting

Brynlee was painting the pieces to her birdhouse. It was a Christmas gift.

Kelsey was also finger painting

Tyler was doing his first lesson in French on Rosetta Stone

Kenny was burning some calories ;)

Briggsy was snoozin

Later that morning we had a big dance party to some Glee songs on youtube. Bryn showed off some twirling for me while I practiced with my camera on her.

And Briggs got some air

 He's such a cute little chunk. His laugh is to die for. Seriously it's so cute. And those rolls. Are you kidding me?! :)

Tyler has been wanting to make pancakes ALL BY HIMSELF for us, so he did that for lunch. He made cinnamon pancakes and did a great job. a few more times and I don't think I'll even have to supervise ;)

After lunch I couldn't take it anymore and told everyone to get their coats on because mommy needed some sunshine!!! So we drove to the park a few minutes from our house and the kids got so excited when they realized they could run out on the frozen-over-lake and go as far as they wanted. Tyler especially was so enthralled with how deep the ice was, the big cracks, and the air bubbles we could see underneath. It was so fun. Then we played on the playground for a while, and played tag for a while, and finally went home. Oh it was good to get out! It's so helpful to have Kenny there to carry Briggs around. He's so heavy. And when he tends to him I actually get to play--really play--with the kids. I really love babies but sometimes it's nice to be free too.

Cute Bryn and her skinny little chicken legs underneath that big coat. :)

I'd love to come here at night when they turn these lights on. If only we had ice skates we could skate on the ice like normal people :)

That night we played games and had dinner and baths, and I put sock curlers in the girls' hair. It was a really great family day. I love the weekends.

Monday, January 5, 2015

December Wrap-Up

It's hard to believe 2014 has already come to a close. There's a few more things I wanted to mention for our record. 

--Our ward boundaries got changed around. We got moved into the Wasilla ward, at 11 a.m. We're having fun getting to know some more wonderful people. Kenny got called as the Elders Quorum President and is jumping in and getting right to work. He's got a big load on his shoulders and I'm grateful for all that he does. He is good at balancing lots of stressful things, much better than I am. 

--Tyler and Kenny read The Giver together. It took them a few weeks, just reading a chapter a night. It was a really good experience for both of them and led to great discussions with Tyler about free agency, friendship, etc. That sweet boy even cried a couple times throughout the course of the book. The friendship between The Giver and Jonas was especially touching to him. Shortly after they finished reading it, it came out on movie (in Redbox). So we rented it and after Kenny and I watched it to make sure it'd be okay for him, we let him watch it. They had changed a lot of things from the book but it was still fun.

--Briggs continues to be the hardest baby I've ever had. I've never felt so incompetent as a mother and just, at a loss as to what to do for him. I don't like to go on about it much. I'm hoping if I just have pictures of him being happy and cute, I will forget how dang hard these last  (almost) 5 months have been. I keep thinking that we're on the edge of getting better. But I'm still waiting.

--We haven't had very much snow this year, which is very unusual. It's also been fairly warm, comparatively speaking. Still winter of course, but not as harsh as in the past. We don't get outside nearly as much as I would like because of the baby. So we're sure grateful for the extra space we have in this house, compared to last winter. They sure do have fun whenever we do get a good snow, though!

Made some fun colorful bubbles one morning. Of course, Mads and Kels are in their princess dresses

This should be in November...I had to hurry and snap a picture of it before we got rid of it. We missed several days but it was still a fun activity and helped us to focus on our blessings.

Thankfully, we don't have CC during the month of December. It was a welcome break. But this is a picture of a fun science thing they all did. Every week they would learn about various parts of the body and color/cut them out. then at the end they put them all together inside a tracing of their own body. The girls had one too.

I love her curly hair :)

Rollerblading in the garage helps to get some energy out!

A common scene with lots of little mommies in the house.

On our way to Anchorage one morning.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Day

We had been up pretty late setting up Christmas. Then Briggs woke up during the night to eat. Then at 5:30 I get a text saying that my brother Tim was on a google chat!! He's on his mission in France (finishing up in march). So I slowly rolled out of bed, very tired, and snuck into the laundry room to chat on my cell phone so I wouldn't wake anybody up. My stupid phone wouldn't let me see anybody except for my own picture. But it was still really great to be a part of the family conversation and hear everybody. We are sure excited to go pick up Tim in France with some of my other siblings, and parents. when I got done talking I quickly made the batter for the crepes and stuck it in the fridge. By then Briggs had woken up, and then a few minutes later all the kids were ready to come down. Tyler said he had woken up so many times during the night, hoping it was time! :). I love that excitement and remember it so vividly from my own wonderful childhood.
Waiting to come downstairs...
 I didn't take any pictures of them opening presents or anything, but I sure enjoyed it all with them. We started with stockings and they checked out what was in there. Then we had breakfast, and started a new tradition per Tyler's request, of Christmas Crepes! It was yummy. Don't forget the bacon :). After breakfast we went back and they opened Santa stuff. After checking all that out for a while, we then moved to gifts under the tree. They each drew a sibling name and were so excited for the gifts they gave each other, and for what they had gotten for Kenny and I. Doing it this way (with breakfast in between) helped to drag it out a little bit longer instead of having everything be over within 10 minutes :). It was a very magical Christmas morning and everyone was happy. We stayed in our pajamas most of the day, and didn't change until later in the afternoon. We also got a few inches of snow that fell thick and heavy all while we were opening gifts. It was a beautiful, white Christmas :). Kenny and Ty shoveled the driveway together and I made Christmas dinner of ham and au-gratin potatoes and sparkling cider. Growing up we always had that meal on Christmas Eve, but we've decided to change it to Christmas day since there's never anything going on that day, and there's always a lot to cram into Christmas Eve. It's less stressful that way, for us. I neglected to get any pictures of it I guess.

New legos and a fabulous Shark book

I just love when they're all playing nicely together

Checking out daddy's new gift--a gas fire pit.
Overall it was a very successful Christmas! We are so very blessed and do not forget that everything we have comes from God.