Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New stages

Sunday Abram went to nursery for the first time, which was bitter-sweet for me. (I thought that I would be whole-heartedly delighted!)  The sweet part is that  I now get to actively participate and listen to two whole hours of church!  The bitter part is that my baby is growing up. :(  I realized a few days before Sunday that he would be entering nursery, so I figured that it was also time to do something that I have been putting off: taking away his bottle.  I know, I KNOW that an eighteen- month- old shouldn't have a bottle, and I took it away from all of my other kids at one year.  But Abram reached one year and he was so small!  When I took the bottle away from all of my other kids they stopped drinking very much milk, (that was my excuse - really I just wanted him to still be my little baby) so I let Abram keep having a bottle before naps and bedtime.

What a ham!

Well, turns out that I was the only one that needed that bottle!  Abram is so happy to get to drink out of a real cup like the "big boys" that he hasn't even missed it.  He drinks his cup of milk before his nap or bedtime, delightedly waves good-night to everyone and off he goes!

And here is Isabelle on the day she graduated from kindergarten.  (She has a cute little graduation cap on her head.) She is suddenly worried about the "new stages" coming up in her life.  She has pulled me aside once a day to whisper these worries and concerns to me, "I'm scared to go to first grade."  "I'm scared to drive a car." "Do you think I'll survive swimming lessons?" "I'm scared to have a baby."  Thank goodness that she won't have to experience several of these stages for a very long time!!

First Reading

We are just so proud of our little Maddie!  Last week, a couple of days before school let out, we were all reading in our front room, and Maddie closed her Book of Mormon and announced that she had finished!  She has been reading at least a chapter just about every week-day since August, and a couple of weeks ago she announced her goal to finish before school let out for the summer.

 It's been fun to answer her questions, to see what she picks up on and shares with us, and to watch  her testimony grow! It's always amazing to feel how reading from the Book of Mormon sets me up for the day, but it's even more amazing to see the difference it makes in the lives of my children.  Among other things, their attitudes are better, they get along with each other, they're more willing to help and they're happy! There really is a power in that book.

Monday, May 23, 2011

practical persuasion

The end of the school year is winding down, and we're all getting excited for when school lets out this Thursday!  Meanwhile, it seems like there have been all sorts of end-of-the-school-year activities going on that have been keeping us hopping.

Today Maddie came home from school and wanted me to sit down beside her while she unloaded her many treasures, from her chuck-full backpack, that her teacher had allowed her to bring home at last.  Her pride and joy was a binder filled with many of her writings from the school year. She had me read every essay that she has written, and there are some great (humorous) writings in there!

One of my favorites was a persuasive paper that she had written on  "why kids need to have swimming lessons."  This was a topic that she came up with herself, by the way, and I have got to tell you, that it was a successful paper because I am convinced, even more than I was previously, that kids DO indeed need swimming lessons. 

Here are her hypothetical persuasive arguments:  "A lot of kids don't know how to swim so if they were reading in a basement and it flooded the kids would drown."  "You could be in the middle of the ocean fishing and your boat could sink and a shark could devour you if you don't know how to swim." "You might live by a pond and you would want to swim in it. Advice: If you did not learn how to swim, don't teach yourself!" "If you are in a car on a bridge with water under you and someone bumps into you, you could go flying out the door and into the water.  If you don't know how to swim the car could fall on top of you and you could get smashed. Advice: Learn how to swim, then don't get smashed." "When you get older, and you are in an airplane it could lose control and crash into the water.  The airplane could be on fire, and if you can't swim away from it, you could get burned."

Are you convinced?   I was reminded that I hadn't signed up for lessons yet, so I got that done today:).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

random pictures

Almost every time I sit down to take my pictures off my camera to put them onto my computer I find some surprise pictures, compliments of Isabelle.  She just grabs up the camera whenever she takes the fancy, and without my knowledge goes on a picture-taking spree. Some of them are really good for comic relief:

But I've got to say that all the pictures that are half-way decent on my other blogs were taken by her! She is able to capture life, so simply, as it is happening. She took these next two pictures:

 I love this picture of Nolan

Maddie with a baby kitten

This is where I find Maddie almost every nice day now that Shawn has pruned these trees.  Up in the branches enjoying a good book.

I've got to thank Isabelle for the next three pictures, too:
Just working in my little rice paddy:)
My job is to rake all of the rocks out of the dirt all over the yard (I think that I took about 10 wheelbarrow loads off of this one piece).  I just finished this section and now we have grass planted as of tonight.  Yipee!!

Kami is really good at catching the turtles in our pond - then she brings them inside and gets the little kids all excited.

Shawn and Nolan leveling out the ground for grass

Caden burning some brush on our island
I know this isn't the greatest picture, but Caden has started the work of clearing all the old logs and things off from our land across the pond.  Shawn tells me that a job like that would have been a dream job to him when he was Caden's age, so he has set Cade to work on it.  Caden is at an age where he often has a lot of extra energy, which often results in lots of obnoxious noises and hyperactivity.  ( This has been so interesting to me because he has been so calm his whole life.) Anyway, this job keeps him from coming out of his own skin and saves our sanity!
Maddie and her Uke
We want all of our kids to play a musical instrument, but when Maddie got old enough to start the piano, she wasn't very excited about the prospect.  She told me that she already played an instrument!  "I play the ukelele!!"  She couldn't think of anything else that she wanted to play, so we went ahead with piano.  Now, one year later, she is still unimpressed with piano and she says, "I just want to play the electric guitar, mom!!!" 
Meanwhile, she keeps practicing that uke!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's something about a dad

 Just as soon as the snow melted around here, the kids were after Shawn to get their bicycles out of storage, so we went and got them one evening, and then Isabelle, (who I don't think got to ride her bike at all last year, everything was so hectic around here,) immediately asked Shawn to take off her training wheels.

He left on a trip right after that, and Isabelle asked me to go help her learn to ride the thing.  We tried and tried to get her to ride it for about an hour, but nothing was coming together, and my back started hurting from having to bend over and hold onto her seat as we went up and down the driveway.  When Abram woke up from his nap (I was so relieved!) I told her that she would just have to practice on her own, or get her training wheels back on for awhile.
I told Shawn about it and he said, "Oh... it sounds like she just needs her dad."

Turns out he was right!  He summoned her outside this evening to practice on it and she took right off.  I asked her what was different, and she said, "He just told me to pedal like mad, and it worked!!"  Then, afraid that I'd feel bad that I hadn't been able to teach her after working and working and WORKING at it, she said, "Don't feel bad, mom.  Everybody has different talents, and that's just one of dad's talents!"

While I was grabbing some pictures of Isabelle, I heard Shawn invite Nolan down to the pond with him "What do you want to bet that I can skip this rock clear across the pond?"

And when he did it, Nolan, (who has been very cross for the last couple of days) was giggling with delight and trying it out himself.

I'm so glad that I don't have to raise this family all on my own!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother of the year!!

Sometimes you feel like you are really on top of things as a mother - you realize that you've said or done just the right thing at just the right moment, given your children just the right amount of attention and love, were able to be kind, generous, supportive, or any number of wonderful motherly attributes, when you didn't feel like doing or being any of those things.

Then there are so many moments mixed in that you completely flunk as a mother and you realize over and over again that it is a very good thing that it "takes a village to raise a child" so-to-speak.  And that there is a higher being watching over us all.

One of my horrible mothering moments happened last night as we were visiting at Grandma Shirley's house (one of the extended Gee family weekly traditions.) Suzette suddenly interrupted her talking and began looking out the window and trying, unsuccessfully, to say something.  We could tell that there was something shockingly horrible going on outside, so we jumped up and looked to see what it was.  And there, across a fairly busy road, was our little Abram (he looked so tiny) standing and looking at the horses that have been fascinating him for weeks and weeks.

Apparently, one of the many children who were there last night had left the outside door open just long enough for him to escape.  And I didn't even notice! I had not idea he wasn't in the house! Obviously I have no picture to share with you of the event, but I will tell you that is one picture that will be indelibly imprinted on my mind forever.

Thankfully, he headed over to see the horses, (and didn't get hit by a car in the process) because if he had gone in the other direction no one would have seen him, for one thing, and he could have fallen into a ditch.

 Shawn and I were sick all night and are sure that we'll have nightmares for weeks about the whole incident.  It's almost like it is worse the longer I think about it!   I don't know what  I would do without our sweet little Abram, and  I can't imagine how hard it would be to lose a child, but especially to lose a child because of my lack of vigilance!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another try

Evidently blogger was having some problems last week, because my entire entry about Kami's last track meet was deleted along with several comments from my blog before that - very strange.  Has that ever happened to anyone?  Give me some advice if you've learned anything about how to get entries back, or how to keep it from happening again, etc. Anyways, I'm just letting you know in case you already read that one, so that you don't have to read it again!

Kami finished up her track season this Tuesday and Wednesday.  She accidentally ran in the wrong heat, because while Shawn was giving her some words of encouragement they didn't hear what the announcer was saying, so when Kami's friend told her to that she was supposed to run right then she had to take her word for it.

Luckily there was another girl in her heat that ran it at about the same pace as Kami, so they were able to give each other a good race.  Kami ended up getting another personal best with a mile time of 6:22 and ran the 800 M run in 2:44.

I thought she'd be pretty happy about her time, but when she finished she looked like this:

Sorry, but I don't know how to rotate this

Turns out that she had figured out that she was in the wrong heat and was afraid that her time wouldn't be counted and what- not.  (Which wasn't a huge deal because once the girls from the other heat had run, she was in fourth or fifth place.)  She did a great job, though, and we are very proud of her! I wish that the season could go a little bit longer so that we could see what she is really capable of, because she has managed to improve her time by about ten seconds every time she runs!

Kami ran into her second cousin at the meet, so I grabbed a picture:
Kami and Stephanie
This is Shawn's cousin's daughter, and Kami usually just sees her at family reunions or at a sports event like this one, but they're always excited to bump into each other!

Anyways, Kami has had a really fun season with friends,
Kami and her good friend Megan
and an awesome support and cheering section from family.
Her Gee grandparents, Aunt Kelley and Uncle David (and Bronson and Josh) and Aunt Suzette also came to her meet last week.  Thanks for all the support and cheering, everyone!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A surprise at the doctor's

Abram has had a terrible time with his skin ever since he was born.  I think he was about three-four months old in this picture, and his skin had gotten so bad that the whole first layer of skin had come off on both sides of his face, and he had long red, gooey sores there, and rough skin everywhere else, in place of soft kissable baby skin.  I tried everything I could think of (in this picture I tried Neosporin, covered with saran wrap, to hold it on) and anything that anyone recommended: Cetaphil, Vanicream, etc.  Nothing worked.  When the skin covering his entire body became raised and red, we took him to the Dermatologist. (I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but all the moms "in the know" claimed that nothing could be done for really bad eczema.)

It turned out that the skin covering his whole entire body was infected, and he was prescribed an antibiotic, and a whole box of things for his skin.  We still use his skin regimen every day and if I forget for even one day, he wakes up with his red, itchy, rough skin.

Well, for the last month he has had some bumps that have formed all over his body that look like white moles or something.  At first he got one on the back of his neck, then on his hands, chest and a few on his face. At first I just thought they were unsightly moles and felt bad for the little fellow, but when they kept appearing I got a little worried and finally took him back to the Dermatologist.

Abe's hands after the medicine caused his bumps to blister.
He said it was some kind of a virus, kind of like warts, that he was probably more susceptible to because of his skin problems.  He told me that  I could try pinching them off, but he didn't recommend it because it could scar really badly.  So then he very quickly touched each of them with some liquid-type of medicine, and we were good to go.

When I got to the front counter all set to pay my $30.00 co-pay,  I was told "that will be $212.00 - your insurance paid most of it."  What??!!  That was some expensive medicine, and I would have appreciated knowing how expensive it was, in advance, because I would have chosen to pinch them off myself, as I can't see how it could cause worse scarring than the sores he has now.  Is it really O.K for doctor's to tell you how much something is going to cost AFTER the fact?  Grrr... I think I have learned a painful lesson.

Meanwhile, Abram is very excited to show everyone his owies, so at least he got some satisfaction from it all.

Daddy daughter time

A month or so ago, a note came home from school about an orchestra field trip all the way to Utah.  One of the boxes at the bottom of the page said, "I would love to be a parent chaperon".  Shawn crossed off the words "love to", checked the box, and sent it back to school with Kami.

The orchestra was headed to Utah for a competition, and then they were going to spend the rest of the day at Lagoon.

Shawn may have crossed off that he would LOVE to go, but I could tell that he was pretty excited to go on this field trip with Kami as the big day drew nearer.  I don't know, it may have been the little things, like calling to talk to her while he was traveling so that they could plan what treats they wanted to bring along, that tipped me off that he was getting excited. And needless to say, Kami was excited all along.

I gave Shawn and Kami a few instructions the night before they left: for Kami to make sure she brought her camera, and for Shawn to take pictures of Kami playing in the competition, with her friends, with him, and at lagoon. Here's the best picture:

Kami and eight of her friends were assigned Shawn as their chaperon, and the day before they left, one of her friends that we have never met said, "How will I know which one is your dad?"  Kami quipped, "Oh.  He's the hot one!!" They got a kick out of that, and Shawn's buttons were popping off just hearing about it.

I think this is the picture I requested of Kami playing, but don't look too close (she's not in the picture.)

The orchestra took first place in their division and also won an award for good behavior, so they were thrilled. Shawn said they were "acting like they'd just won the state championship in basketball, or something" which surprised him because he had always imagined the arts to be more cultured and refined and there were kids that were whooping it up and hollering and there were boys from other schools that he noticed acting all macho about something they won. He had figured that just happened at sporting events.
Here is the back-side of Kami and all of her friends.  I always wanted documentation of that.

Next was lagoon, which I am sad to say was not documented by pictures at all.   Kami forgot to bring her camera, and I'm posting what I got from Shawn's cell phone :(

At lagoon, Kami showed how much she was like her mother and absolutely HATED every second of it. Shawn figures that there is only one kid in our family that would enjoy it and that would be Caden.  Anyway, although Kami didn't go on too many rides, she enjoyed hanging out with her friends and said that her favorite part of the whole trip was actually the bus ride home.  They had a long day, from leaving at 6:00 in the morning to arriving home at 12:30 last night.

Monday, May 2, 2011

weekend stuff

Saturday Shawn and the kids worked on cleaning up the trees to the side of our house.  Shawn pruned them and had the kids drag all the limbs off to where they were later burned.

Everything to the left of Shawn had been pruned thus far.
This was the stand of trees we were working on, just to the right of our house.

Abram was as happy as a clam and seemed to be feeling the freedom of being outside in the dirt and mud and also seemed to possess a gift for finding the worst things around the yard to get into.  He kept me hopping.  I think he's the only one in the family that would prefer not to have a lawn put in, so that he could have a great, big mud wallow for the rest of his days.
A cauldron filled with mud

I made a picnic lunch and brought it and my camera outside to capture the progress of the moment.  Nolan had me take picture after picture of him using his "big muscles". 

The kids were working hard...

and so was Shawn.

And here's our Maddie, always decked out for any occasion.  (Can you tell that she's into the Little House books?) It's probably a good thing that she has such a flair for strange get-ups, because I'm sure the ones like this save her fair skin. 

I need to share a quick story about Maddie.  Today she was telling me about another book that she is currently reading, where a girl's father died because he cooked some fish wrong.  She told me that he was a duke and just really didn't know how to cook and told me everything else about this whole sad incident.  Her take on it was this:  "This just goes to show that people need to learn how to cook BEFORE they become a duke, so that later in their lives when they become a duke they already know how!"  I'm glad that she has learned that it's important to prepare for the eventualities of life :)  Stay tuned for when we become dukes...

Next Shawn took some of the kids with him and they canoed over to our island to do some pruning and clean-up there.  Shawn moved some brush and discovered a Mallard duck's nest with about eight eggs inside!  Shawn felt really bad that he had moved the brush that was sheltering their nest, but was afraid to put it back for fear that the eggs would get broken.  We thought the duck would abandon her nest, but later that night, Shawn went to start his slash pile on fire, and the duck flew off ( He decided to wait on the fire). She has been sitting on her nest ever since- I am so excited to have baby ducklings swimming around on our pond!  Can you find her?
I can't believe how well Mrs. Mallard can disguise herself!  Right in the middle of this picture is a dark shadow- that's her nest- and if you look above that, you can see her head and beak.  Try pointing that out to little kids who want to see where she is!!
Our island is to the left of the water here.  In the late spring, when things finally warm up around here, the water level rises up to the trees.  I'm excited for that to happen.

At dinner I asked what color the duck eggs were.  Shawn said, "I don't know, it's kind-of hard to say.  What color do you think they were, Belle?  Kind-of a yellow color?"  She said, "More like blue."  Caden jokingly said, "Why don't we compromise and say that they're green?"  They agreed that they were kind-of green.