Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Monday, February 28, 2011

This and That

I ran to get my camera because everyone was wrestling Shawn and Abram was right underneath him (being protected), but by the time I got back, Abram had already moved on to listening to Kami's i-pod.

I'll tell you what, these little boys rule the roost around here!  Look below at how delighted he is that he finally got it all to himself. (spoiled!!!)  He and Nolan get everything their little hearts desire from Kami and Caden - any treats they bring home from school, piano practicing candy that they get at piano lessons - they wait like little vultures out in the car and demand it the second the kids get in.  They also beg them to play with them because these older siblings are so much fun!!  Caden set up a race track for Nolan last week and Nolan asks Cade first thing in the morning and first thing when he gets home from school to play it with him.  Caden always complies.  Nolan has realized that for some reason, he can keep the car on the track better when Caden's with him.  He hasn't realized that Caden secretly runs the control for Nolan's car so that Nolan can be really good at it!! 

This is Maddie's 3/4ths- of- the- way- finished ecosystem model

The finished product....I just wonder how many kids choose to report on a mole when their teacher tells them to choose a mammal to do a report on?  She is such a funny girl!  She made this whole thing out of salt dough, and although we let it dry for a few days it was still just a little bit squishy when she went to paint it.  Hopefully mold will just add to the over-all effect!:) Maddie is a very independent person and if I, or anyone else, has a good idea about how to do something, and share it with her, we have to be very sly and make her think that she came up with the idea herself, or she will do something completely different.  She is that way about everything- hair-do's etc.  She did allow me to help with her hair yesterday, because she wanted it straightened and that is something she hasn't learned to do by herself.

So here's the little cutie-- proud of her model and her straightened hair, heading off to school this morning.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One is fun

I am in love with my baby boy! ( I love the other boy in this picture, too, but this blog is all about Abram.)  I love the age that he is (he turned 15 mos. yesterday) and his cute little personality and how he's beginning to mimic everything and develop his own little quirks. I keep thinking that I need to record the little things that I have been noticing and enjoying, because at our house this age is the calm before the storm!  And sometimes during the storm, it's easy to forget the fair weather, so-to-speak.

The things that I'm loving:
- The way that he pats my back when I hold him, and drapes himself all over whoever gets him out of his crib in the morning (the kids argue about who gets to get him up)

-The way he's trying out new faces -scowling and sticking his lips out when he wants to "talk" about something or just look silly (we call them trumpet lips- not so sure why).

-Watching his little hands and fingers make the signs for "more", "please", "down" and a few others.

-When the kids get on the bus in the mornings, the boys and I watch out the window until they're on their way.  We always say, "goodbye kids!  We love you! Have a good day at school!"  Abram was watching me intently yesterday, so for some extra drama, I also blew three loud kisses.  He immediately blew some kisses too.

-Yesterday Isabelle was teaching Nolan all of the songs that she's learning at Kindergarten.  They would practice them in another room and then come perform them for Abram and I.  After they sat down from their first song performance, Abe went and stood where they had been standing and did the hand motions that he had seen them do!

-The way he gets scared of things now.  I must have a sick sense of humor, but it cracks me up to see what he gets scared of, and I know it's mean, but sometimes I have to do it again so that I can see his reaction.  He is scared to death if anyone blows up a balloon - that one I didn't repeat.  The one that is so funny to me is that he is terrified of some life-size baby-dolls that the girls keep in some clear storage boxes upstairs.  He is scared/fascinated by them.  He was pointing and talking about them one day with his little lips stuck out (looks like he's whistling when he does this).  I thought he wanted a better look at them, so I got them out of the box.  He looked at their weird eyes flapping open and closed and went running- terrified- to the other side of the room.  He still keeps trying to talk to everyone about them, but if we start to open the lid it's over! It is kind-of creepy if you think about it from a 1-year old's perspective.  What are some babies doing just laying there all the time, anyways?

-That at this age, a baby can go straight from laughing to crying and vice versa.  I was doing laundry the other day and Abe was beginning to get fussy, but I was SO CLOSE to being done! I decided to take a stack of clothes and make a run for it and put it away before he could catch up to me.  (I can't carry him and put things away at the same time; he throws everything on the floor.) Sure enough I was back before he'd even left the laundry room but he was MAD and crying!!  I decided to wait outside the door and scare him, and after his startle, his cry turned instantly into a laugh. He figured that I'd just been out there waiting to play a game with him. Why can't I get over things that quickly?

-He loves to tease!  He waits beside the stairs until he has someone's attention, then takes off! (He knows that we don't like him on the stairs by himself.)  He shakes his head back and forth as he heads into the bathroom to play in the toilet.

-When I lay him down for a nap or for bedtime, he has to find a corner of the blanket to stick in his mouth.  He prefers a blanket that I made for him before he was born.  It was supposed to have a pirate theme: red and white striped flannel, blue water-looking flannel and red flannel with a small pirate print.  Turns out that it looks more like an American flag.  Anyway, one day I tried to give him another blanket that had rounded corners and he went nuts because he couldn't find a corner.  By the time he makes noise in the mornings or after he wakes up from his nap, all the corners of his blanket have been found and are as soggy as can be. He must lay in there for a good fifteen minutes just sucking on the corners of his blanket!

-I don't know that I love this part...  Some days loading the dishwasher is just too much work with my little "helper" so I wait until his nap.  When that isn't an option, I can count on him sitting on the door for as long as I'll let him.  Yesterday, as I loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, he got out clean dishes and loaded with me.  So as  I load I am also unloading.  Then he gave up on dishes and went to the desk and brought back staples and a gluestick and promptly loaded them.  Anyways, a five-minute job turns into fifteen.  Yesterday I breathed a sigh of relief as I finally closed the door... and he began to cry.  The fun was over for him!  He's the same sort of helper all through the house.  The kids are always dumping blocks out of their shoes, I find socks that he has brought from the laundry room and deposited in the drawers of our end tables and Shawn's work shoes turned up in a drawer in our bedroom.  It makes me smile with each discovery.  Our little boy is "cleaning"!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My brother

We've had my little brother here visiting, with the three-day weekend, and just sent him home.  I love it when he comes and get so excited for him to visit and love the chance to spoil him with fun activities and good food.  As excited as I get, my excitement doesn't even compare to the delight of my kids when they get to spend some time with him. 

My little brother Eli is only a few years older than Kami.  I was already away at college when he was born.  I come from one of those mormon families where I have a niece that is older than my youngest brother and a nephew that is the same age! (which, by the way, has worked out great for Eli because they are some of his best friends).  I used to wonder what kind of a relationship we would have  - would I seem more like an aunt to him, or a sibling? 

Eli, Kami and Caden

I didn't feel like I got to know him as well as I would have liked, what with only seeing him on visits when he was often off with his nieces and nephews, until last summer.  He came for a visit while we were finishing up our house and painted two beautiful murals in two of the kids rooms. We have great memories of sitting in the bedrooms and watching him work and talking and laughing.  I helped him with some of the easy stuff, and as we worked we talked, and we must have a similar humor, because I laughed more and harder than I had in a long time - my stomach muscles were sore all while he was here!  I feel like we became true siblings last summer.

Nolan's "cowboy" mural

closer detail of the above picture

He did the most amazing job, and the kids absolutely love it!!  Even more amazing is the story behind my brother.  When he was five years old he was at a birthday party and someone was opening a gift with a knife.  Eli got too close behind them, waiting to see what was inside the gift and the knife went right in his "good" eye - his other eye is what is called a "lazy eye".  After this incident, he went through surgery after surgery to keep reattaching his retina.  He used to have to wear really thick glasses and was really excited to get contacts a couple of years ago - I think he's legally blind without contacts or glasses - he can correct me there, if I'm wrong.  Anyway, I can't help but wonder how amazing his artwork will be after the resurrection when he's already this good?!

This is the "princess mural" that he did for my little girls.
This picture caught a little glare, but you get the idea.

Eli is a very strong, compassionate and loving person, perhaps because of his place in the family and perhaps because of the things that he has already gone through in life.  He makes everyone feel important and special from the oldest to the youngest in our family.  I am so glad that he's my brother!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our latest projects

I have a very unique challenge here at our house.  I have a daughter that is only about an inch shorter than I am, but about 10 inches smaller around.  Shopping for her is such a trick, because height-wise she should fit in women's clothes, but everything falls off of  her.  In sizes that fit around, everything is too short.  Around Thanksgiving time I started getting the itch to sew something, and was thinking of making something for her since her birthday was coming up.  As I was looking through patterns  I was delighted to see that there were some patterns that actually had a size that fits her perfectly!!  When Shawn is on the road I have been enjoying sewing after I put the kids to bed at night, and Kami's wardrobe has been benefiting. (She's the one that needs it right now.)  The first dress I gave her for her birthday and it's probably my favorite:

Hmmm... Someone really needs some photography lessons.  None of the cute details show up and the dress looks black and it's really purplish blue, which is a great color on her.  The second dress:

Somewhere in between those two dresses, Kami told me that she wanted to learn to sew something, so she sewed clothes for some 18" dolls that Mads and Belle were getting for Christmas.  Here are a couple of the outfits.  She did a great job!!

We thought those would be a good way to work up to sewing something bigger.  Last week she finished sewing this skirt:

front view

and back

She likes having the new outfits, but I don't know that she loves to sew.  Let's just say that I had to keep encouraging her to finish the project!!  But she did it, and both of us passed off some personal progress to boot!

While we're on Kami's creations, I thought these rings were creative and cute and the girls felt so modern wearing them:

You've got to notice the cool nail designs that Maddie is making, too!  :)
Kami made them out of crepe paper and then we Mod Podged them.  She made one for all the girls, even me:)  I even wore it to church with the rest of the girls, even though Shawn thought it was a little "juvenile" for me...

After all, it matched my shirt that had roses the same color all over it!!  And ladies, what do you do when  your preschooler makes you a macaroni necklace?  We wear them! And this is way better than a macaroni necklace!  Thanks to Kami for making us all feel so glam!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts on Valentine's Day

 My Valentine had to leave for Boise yesterday after church because a new doctor insisted that this was to be his start- up day in one of the clinics.  He must not be a very romantic doctor!!

Valentine's Day just really isn't the same without Shawn here.  Take breakfast for example.  When we want something besides oatmeal on a school morning at our house (oatmeal is our version of cold cereal around here - everyone just helps themselves) we team up on getting the kids off to school and Shawn makes it.  In the past we have done the heart-shaped pancakes, but today I figured that with making lunches and helping with hair the first two kids to catch the bus would miss it if I did anything fancy.  Caden came into the kitchen about the time that I reached this conclusion and asked if we were doing the pancakes.  I could tell that he was anticipating an extra-special day and therefore a better-than-oatmeal breakfast, so I told him that I was making scrambled eggs and toast.  He asked if I thought we should turn the eggs pink. (No thanks.  I've seen enough farm-fresh eggs with a little bit of pink in them for that to sound or look appetizing!!)

Let me just say that I  love Valentine's Day!  It feels like a very special day of the year to me, but I'm not entirely sure why.  When I cast my mind back over the years of Valentine's Days, the first one that I can remember was HORRIBLE!!  I was in the fourth grade, and the boy I had a crush on mailed me a box of chocolates.  My whole entire family then knew about it and it was embarrassing and humiliating.  I felt completely sick to my stomach and hid them underneath my dresser and didn't look at or eat any of them for MONTHS!!  And do you think that I ever talked to or thanked that poor boy?  No way!! Maybe my good feelings about the day began when my mom had a new baby brother on V-day.  Or maybe it was in the eighth grade when my dad sent me (I can't remember if it was balloons or flowers) as a gift to the school.  Then in highschool it was so exciting to receive gifts from people, too.  (O.K, boys!)

I would have to say that to the extent that I love Valentine's Day, it makes Shawn cringe.  When I mention anything about Valentine's day, he always says, "It is such a sad day.  There are so many lonely people who don't have anyone."  He is always so sensitive about things like this... yet another thing that I love about him.

Whether it's a sad or happy day, we have some fun traditions that have evolved at our house.  Ever since we were first married I have put hearts around the walls or in the windows of our home every year.  When Kami was about six, she and Caden were helping me to hang them up during the first part of February.  I started entertaining them by making up lovey poems about them and everyone else in the family and we wrote them on the hearts.  Since then we have made up and written poems on the hearts every year.  Here is a sampling of some of the great poetry from this year.  Let me tell you, there is talent here!!!
Caden to Kami:  Roses are red, leaves are green, everyone agrees that Kami is lean.
Maddie to Caden: Caden is tough and awfully bough (we loved the spelling of buff )
Maddie to Abram:  Abram makes faces, we like them a lot.  And he makes you smile if you want to or not.
Maddie to Isabelle:  Isabelle is a princess, someday her prince will come, then she will get her true love's kiss, and he won't be a bum.
Isabelle to Shawn and I:  Mom and dad are married.  Do you know what married means?  It means you sit around and kiss.  That is all you do.
Isabelle to Kami: (phonetic spelling included) I love Kami cus she is so pride that no one can evin git thair eyes off hre that a prins cud evin kiss hre.
Isabelle was very into the prince and princess and kissy stuff in her writings.  So as you can see we've got some real budding talent here.

 Our other tradition is to make giant oatmeal raisin cookies, stack them with doilies between them and deliver them to neighbors. This tradition began, interestingly enough, in high school.  For an FBLA fund-raiser me and my good friend Marji Hill had to deliver cookies to people and wear a cupid costume.  It was very humiliating, and the humiliation was made even more poignant when our picture appeared in the local paper the next day.   I always have the kids wear cupid outfits and they love it so far - how long do you think that will last?

The excitement for the day happened right before we went out to deliver our cupid cookies.  I saw a florists van driving slowly around the neighborhood - It drove down past the house then turned around and came slowly back towards the house.  Maddie and I were in the front living room and I squealed and said, "I'll bet your dad sent me flowers!!"  We watched but the van turned into the Jonson's driveway, and the driver got out and delivered the flowers to their house.  I was still convinced that those flowers were supposed to be for me! I told the kids that we would go there first to deliver cookies.  The kids rang the door bell and stood there and stood there, so I finally crossed the road to see what was going on.  I could see the flowers through the window, and Belle was reading the tag on them "deliver to Amy Gee."  Evidently no one was home, so I reached in the door and took my flowers!! Maddie was saying, "Honestly, mom!!!"  I knew they were mine.....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some weekend fun

    When Shawn has been doing a lot of traveling, we try to fit in as much fun as possible when he gets home.  It isn't ideal to have him gone, but we sure had a great time this weekend! When he got home Friday night we all made and decorated sugar cookies and danced to the music that Kami and Caden were simultaneously downloading from the computer.  Saturday morning we got up before the kids and went and exercised together, which is one of my favorite things to do with Shawn.  ( I ought to note that we got up before MOST of the kids.  It is a rarity to wake up before Caden, who is generally up and ready for the day - showered and all- by 5:30 - 6:00 at the latest!!)

   That afternoon, after some more family time and after doing all the
responsible things that come with a Saturday, Shawn and I went cross-country skiing.  Such a blast!!  And such a great activity to do together...


               Out in the beauty and solitude of nature, enjoying each other's
company uninterrupted.  Such a needed thing after being alone with my kids for the better part of the week!!

And here are some beautiful white swans to which the cell phone camera didn't quite do justice.  Last week there were two moose!!  The river was also filled with mallard ducks swimming and weaving and chasing each other and looking so happy to have a sunny day at last!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The fast faster

Woo hoo!! This is fun!!! I think I'll slap up another post! 
I woke up Sunday morning and mustered up all my courage and discipline to fix some breakfast for my three little non-fasters, while fasting myself.  I asked Nolan what he wanted for breakfast, and he acted suprised and said, "I'm not eating, I'm fasting!"  Well, I figured that wouldn't last long, so I started fixing something for Isabelle. Nolan was lying on the couch, and as he heard Isabelle request some toast he began moaning, "I'm soooo hungry!!"  I thought "good.  That means that he'll come eat with Isabelle and I can get out of the kitchen sooner."  I asked, "Oh.  Are you ready to eat?"  "No! Mom, I'm fasting!"  I decided to have a teaching moment and teach him about fasting with a purpose, and then let him in on the little secret that he hadn't been fasting anyway so he might as well come eat something.  I asked, "did you start your fast with a prayer?"  He said yes.  I asked what he had prayed for?  He answered that he had said a prayer that he would be able to start remembering to say his prayers every morning!  I picked my jaw up off the floor and showed more respect for his sweet little fasting efforts.  The only thing was that once I switched gears he was ready to eat.  So I guess he fasted the amount of time that a three year old should fast!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Once there were some snowmen!

We have been enjoying this lane of snowmen for a couple of weeks now!! A couple of weeks ago we had a wet snowfall, and after the snowplow went by it left big balls of snow.  The kids decided that their project for the next day would be building snowmen.  It was cute to see them all out their working together.  The little ones were the designated snowball haulers, and were pulling sleds around loading up snowballs.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture.  I guess I was too excited to be getting something done!

I thought it was creative that the kids molded the faces on their snowmen -  so that they could mass produce faster! 


Kami, Caden and Maddie are big Calvin and Hobbes readers, and they were hoping to get all the way down to the neighbors house, and make a "house of horrors" like Calvin did in the cartoon.  Our neighbor is a pediatrician and they wanted to build (in the middle of his driveway) a snowman lying on the ground like it had been hurt, and a group of snowmen standing around looking at it.  They ran out of steam before they got that far.