Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet Jack

Saturday we finally got everything finished up with this whole grass-planting project!!  Shawn had the kids out helping him finish the raking, and they were going as quickly as they could because we wanted to go to the lake later on in the afternoon.  They finished by 1:00, and then Shawn and I went to the local ranch store to buy some bales of straw.  We have found that if we put the straw on top of the grass seed, after planting it, that it comes up a lot better and a lot faster.  The straw keeps it from being blown away and holds in the moisture.

So here is what our yard looks like right after a planting:
It's kind-of nice to have a golden yard instead of a brown one!
These are our helpers, helping to spread the straw
And here is what it looks like a couple of weeks later!

It is coming up great and we are really excited.

Anyway, while Shawn and I  were at the store, we noticed a sign for free puppies.  We looked at them and they were pretty cute.  I must say that I am not a dog person and in the past  I have been known to say that we would never have a dog, but that was before I had a boy that I could tell was really dreaming about having one!  And a boy that I was sure would take complete responsibility for the dog and for training it to stay out of my future flower beds! (This also seemed like a good year for a puppy since I don't yet have those flower beds in use.)

Shawn really likes dogs, and when we saw the sign, we looked at each other, and I think we both knew that we ought to get a dog for Caden.  Caden had never come right out and asked for one, I think because he'd heard my opinion on the issue, so when we went right home and asked him if he would like to get a puppy, he said yes but tried to act indifferent to the idea. When it became clear that we were offering to take him to get one, he couldn't contain his excitement any longer.  He kept exclaiming about how excited he was.  We took him down to the store and let him take his time picking out the perfect puppy, without offering any opinions of our own.

It is really cute to see Caden and "Jack" together and see the delight on Caden's face.  He keeps saying that he just can't believe that he actually has a puppy! He is so thrilled with, and proud of this puppy, and it's fun to watch him care for Jack and wrestle with him and do all those things that boys and dogs seem to do so naturally. Caden has already started reading up on how to train him.  I think this will be the beginning of a great friendship, responsibility and learning experience!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Six years!

Isabelle was really cute about her birthday this year.  She sat down about a month before- hand and planned it all out- every activity, meal and how the cake would be.  I thought she might want a friends party, and told her that she could make a list of everyone or anyone at all that she thought she would like to have come to her party. She seemed very excited about this and ran off, but came back about five minutes later and showed me her list.  It said:  Shawn, Amy, Kami, Caden, Maddie, Nolan, Abram.  I asked her if she wanted any friends, and she said no.  I must admit that I was relieved, because that is so much more work!

For the next four weeks she reminded us that her birthday was almost here and said how excited she was several times a day.  How could we not get just as excited?  So.... that night after the kids went to bed, Shawn and  I sat downstairs blowing up several bags worth of balloons.  We scattered them in her room before we went to bed.

Later the kids filled up her canopy with a bunch of them.  (Maddie would like me to point out that her bed is sheetless not because she wet it, but because we went on a hike the night before, and she was too tired to shower her mosquito repellant off that night, and therefore had to wash her sheets the next morning.)

The big event she had planned for the day was to go swimming.  Shawn took the afternoon off work, and my in-laws were kind enough to watch Abram, who is scared to death of his own bathtub.  We had a wonderful time!

Maddie and Kami - I made them stop while they were going down the "river"
Maddie and Caden
Shawn and Maddie at the top of the slide
And Kami, Maddie and Caden
Isabelle and Nolan
Now, you'd think that I'd be taking more pictures of the birthday girl, it being HER big day and all, but this was her place of preference.  I would take her out for a swim, but she would always come back to this.  Lying in the sun trying to "get warm".  I said, don't you want to go have some fun?  She smiled contentedly and said, "I am having fun.  The sun feels sooo good!"  Nolan was generally in the water, though.

Caden worked for the last four days on a pinata for Belle, as that was one of the things on her list and it sounded fun to him.  I'm so glad it did.  I was so diligent in doing things like that for my older kids, and have just kind-of run out of steam for those "extras".  I'm so glad the older kids like to take over now.  Cade gave Belle some choices that he thought he could handle creating and she picked an ice cream cone- and wanted the ice cream part to be blue. 

Isabelle trying to give it a good "licking"
Caden took off the cone and just about spilled it open - not a real good action shot of him, though.

 Kami did the trick
Then it was on to cake and ice cream.  Isabelle and I had a great time making the cake together (she chose tie dye) but with all the excitement we left the cakes in the pans for too long and when we finally got them out they were a pretty sorry sight indeed.

This was Isabelle's favorite present that she received. A Ken Barbie doll - something I never would have considered wanting or getting for my kids.  She asked me for weeks if I would get her a Ken barbie.  Then when she unwrapped it she acted embarrassed and set it aside really quickly.  But  I notice that she has played with it a great deal today.  I guess she just wanted a family.;)

The last thing on her list was to have the family sit down with her and watch High School Musical, which had the older kids and (let's be honest) Shawn and I groaning.  Isabelle loves this show.  She confided to me recently that she just loves all of the "loving parts" in it. I must admit that I ended up enjoying watching the show, but the real reason was that I watched Isabelle's face the whole time.  She was so into it! Boy do we all love this girl!!

Isabelle's big day finished up with her grandparent's Gee bringing over her birthday present. They always bring a card with the amount of money (in one dollar bills) that the kid is old, and also a certificate to go out to lunch with them.

We had fun celebrating Isabelle's birthday.  A lot of the fun about it was that she remained enthusiastic the whole day.  I heard her exclaim at one point, "This is the BEST day of my life!!!"  And "This is SOOOO fun!!"  


After working until we felt like we were going to drop Saturday (Shawn on the yard, and me on the garage), we decided to go get a hamburger for dinner as a reward for our hard work.  We were going to have a date, but then we decided to bring Isabelle along for her birthday date with her mom and dad.  Usually we do this the day of the birthday, but Isabelle had big plans laid out for the big day, and we were worried about running out of time for everything.

This may look like Shawn was working in the office all day, but actually, this is his out-side work shirt of choice right now. :)

Some of MY activities

Lately I have been working around the house or yard and I look up to see Shawn taking a picture of me.  I think it's impressive to him when I take over doing jobs that he has traditionally done in the past.  He is so busy, though, that out of necessity I have taken some of them over.  I really hesitated about doing this.  I mean, will he always and forever more expect me to do these tasks (that I don't enjoy much at all) just because he knows that  I can do them now?  Well anyway, they needed doing, so I decided to quit playing helpless female and get them done.;)

This is me rototilling up a sparse planting of grass so that we could start all over.:(  This weekend Shawn got it all raked again, and I replanted.  Now,  I realize that the state of our grass may not be of interest to anyone but us, but we have finally figured out a system and it is coming up great!  And by golly, next year we will have some fairly good grass that should only get better from there!  Projects that take a lot of time and effort can be so overwhelming, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the completion of them.  Nothing!!  We always have a gazillion projects going on around here, maybe because of that feeling of accomplishment, but I have also noticed that our marriage thrives on projects.  We love them and working and dreaming together on what to do next.

This is me pressure- washing our front porch that is a magnet to all the exposed dirt and mud around here. I actually quite enjoy that job.

This is Caden and I this last weekend finallly cleaning out the garage.  I was worried about tackling the garage because then  I knew that Shawn wouldn't know where any of his tools were.   I told Caden that he would be asking me for years to come where a certain tool was and all that  I would be able to say would be "draw me a picture of it" because I don't know all of his tools by name.

But, like I said, Shawn has been so busy, and when he's home I like him to help with the yard.  Who knew when this garage cleaning would be a priority?  So Cade and I finally got everything out of boxes and found a home for everything, and bought organizers for everything that didn't have a home and it feels so good!`

I must say, that it was nice to find all these pictures on the camera, because some days you forget everything that you get done, and feel like you haven't accomplished much.  Maybe I'll assign my kids to follow me around the house one day and take pictures of all that I do. ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bear legs

As we were driving home from the Carousel a little while ago, Maddie began lamenting that people are really beginning to notice her hairy legs.   Having been an Amazon woman myself, once upon a time, I could totally relate with her pain.  I asked her who had been noticing and she said, "Everyone!  Most recently Gracie Bair.  We were sitting in church and she said, "whoa! You have a lot more hair than me!"  (I did mention that she could wear her tights that she has been refusing to wear during the summer.)

 I asked her what she says when people comment on it, and she said, "I just tell them that at least it helps keep my fair skin from getting sunburned!"  We all burst out laughing, and she said, "What?!  It's the only thing that I can think to say that people will be jealous about!"  We all laughed harder, and then Isabelle said, "Why don't you just tell Gracie Bair that maybe you should be the bear?"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Two suprises from Caden (in one day)

Friday while we were at our local library, Caden approached me and asked me to come to the front desk because he wanted to get his own library card and an adult has to consent to it.  (This is just in case you don't want your kids to get into reading, I think.)  I had to give the librarian my signature on several things, and then she asked to see my library card.  Caden had just taken it out of my purse that morning and neither of us had put it back.  I said, "Oh!  Caden, we're going to have to sign up for it another day."  But then- this was his first surprise of the day - he said, "Wait!  I think I might know the identification number on your card!" He then squinted up his eyes , while he thought really hard, and spieled off a 14 digit identification number.  And the number was right!  The librarian and I were both shocked!  I asked him how he knew that number and he said that he had looked at it before.  Well, I was pretty impressed, because I do not remember numbers- even when they're telephone numbers of good friends that  I talk to regularly.  I'm pretty bad that way, so I was very impressed with his memory in that regard.

That night we took the kids to the movie Cars 2 at the drive- in movie.  Afterwards, we were just turning onto the main road, and accelerating to get home to a very late bed time, when we heard something fall off of the top of the car.  (The top of the car is where half of our kids watch the movie on top of fold-up mattresses and sleeping bags.)  Shawn said, "What was that?!?!"  Caden exclaimed, "That was my library book!"

Let's just say that I relate to this kind of memory a lot better!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The way things go from a child's perspective

I  was cleaning out a drawer this morning and found a book that Isabelle wrote and illustrated earlier in the year.  I thought that I had better put it on my blog before I can no longer figure out what it says.  They get past the phonetic spelling phase so quickly!  This book is titled : Princess Book, and was written for me and Shawn:

When do you think the princess will come out, because  I wonder.  Tell me.  Oh, tell me!!

When the princess would, she found a prince.

Then they got in love.

Then they had to get married, (Had to??!!) so they got married (no picture for that page.)
Then they had kids.

But that year, later, their house got burned down.

So they had to build a castle.  (What a sacrifice!) They did.
This is a castle still in the building phase.

That day, later, they had a baby.

It came out. (She had to add that little detail because of the picture before of the pregnant princess.)

(At this point Isabelle ran out of steam illustrating her book, but luckily the story part was written first and because I know you are waiting with bated breath to hear how it turns out, I will add her ending.)

Then the first baby got married.  They loved each other. So they had a baby.  The end.

She left a couple of pages at the end to tell about herself:  "The author has short hair and when she wrote it she was 5.  Her name is Isabelle.

Creative crochet

Maddie has really been into crocheting.  She even got a crochet book from the library and learned a few more things from it.  One of them was something about how to crochet in circles.  She got going and was doing pretty well at first, but then something went awry.  In classic Maddie-Pollyanna- fashion she turned her moment of frustration into something wonderful. She said, "Oh well!  This could be a nose warmer!!"  I'm thinking that she could sale these like pancakes this winter! (Ha ha.)

This girl keeps me laughing with the funny things she says and does.  Yesterday she was on duty watching a very crabby Abram while I made dinner.  After much painstaking effort on her part, she finally got him happy.  Not long afterwards, Isabelle and Nolan came downstairs and started poking him and trying to play with him and he was beginning to get upset all over again.  Maddie promptly told them, "Leave him alone!  He has a personal bubble!!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We just spent a fun evening with our wonderful neighbors.  I love these people!  I didn't get a picture of so many of them, but here are a few.  We barbecued and had a swimming party.

Heather and Patty - the super fun ladies who were the first to jump in the water!
Caden and Peter
Madeline, Kami and Caroline

Nolan, Isabelle and Shawn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

Some of you may not know that I was born on the bicentennial of the United States, which caused my parents to wax very creative indeed and name me Amy Erica! (If you drop the "y" this spells America.)  The effect of this, and I'm sure many other things, is that I have always loved and appreciated our country and love to celebrate on the Fourth of July.  I have read so many books about our founding fathers and the sacrifices that they made, and have the greatest admiration for their lives and intelligence and courage!  They were inspired individuals with so much talent and ability, who I am sure were raised up to do the work that they did. As I read things that they wrote I wonder why they sound so much more intelligent and more dignified than the leaders of today. (Or than me for that matter.) Education seemed so much better then.  They read and understood harder documents and writings, their vocabularies were better and they talked at such a higher level and expressed themselves so much more clearly than the people of today.  They were also more ambitious deep thinkers, because they taught themselves things that we would only stoop to learn if forced to do so in a classroom with the threat of an "F" hanging over our heads. And they weren't just learning it all so that they could be glorified by man one day.  They did it for a much higher and noble cause. I could go on about them all day and you could read my book.  But don't worry...

We began our Independence Day bright and early with a family breakfast at gramdma and grandpa's house. 

Afterwards the kids played with cousins for awhile:
playing PIG
Abram and Ainsley
playing kick ball

Then we went to the parade
L-R: Sam, Isaac, Nolan, Maddie, Abby, Ali
Nicki, with her 3-D movie sunglasses (what a hoot), and Belle.
The man who showed up to the parade with a snake - all the kids had to touch it.

During the afternoon the kids and cousins swam in the pond, I made a potato salad and brownies and some sugar cookies that the kids decorated.

Then we all met up at Terry and Kristi's house for dinner and some more great time with the family.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy moments

There have been some things that have happened around here lately that have made me happy when they happened and make me happy when  I think about them:

1. The first one I was reminded of when I decided I wanted to blog and had to get Caden off the computer first.  I thought he would be on Google Earth, one of his favorite things to do on the computer, but then he told me that he needed to finish his "batch" really  quick.  He was indexing names on family search.  This is one of the things that he does now, mostly on Sundays, and I think it's really neat.

2. I get the giggles sometimes, during the week, when I think about something that happens in sacrament meeting every week.  I don't know if I have mentioned that our bishop's wife comes and sits by us every week.  She started this with the intent to help if it was needed, and I must admit that at first I wondered if it would be a help or make things harder.  It has turned out to be a GREAT help!  A couple of weeks after she started sitting by us, Nolan and Abram were fighting for my lap and fighting over everything in the diaper bag.  I suddenly had an inspiration and said, "Nolan, why don't you go lay your head down on Sister Powell's lap and have a nap?  She likes to have kids nap on her."  He walked right down and put his head on her lap and went straight to sleep. (Our meetings start at 1:00 and sacrament mtg. is last, so he is very worn out by then.)  Every Sunday since then, he falls asleep on her lap every week.  Almost every week when he wakes up, she has a pile of drool on her lap. ( She is really doing a service, let me tell you.  I do feel bad about the drool.:(  When my brother Matt was here, he asked Nolan, "So who was that lady that you were sleeping on in sacrament meeting?"  And Nolan said, "It's Sister Powell.  She REALLY likes people to sleep on her lap."  Matt said, "Would she like it if I slept on her lap?"  "No, really she just likes me to."   Last Sunday she told me that he walked over to her first thing and said, "Don't feel bad if I don't sleep on your lap today."  But later he felt tired and ended up falling asleep on her after all.

3. Kami is such a fun girl to these little kids!  They love it when she plays their imaginary games with them, and I can see why!  Yesterday I was cleaning the bathroom and found a paper that she had written on as she played a game with Nolan and Isabelle.  It said,

"Cook and our fellow servants,
    We have decided to run away. We can no longer endure staying under the rule of Sir Ralph.We will return when we have gathered our army to gain back the kingdom.  We will miss you all. Wish us luck."

She didn't play with them for a very long time, but got them started down an imaginary road.  Then she took off to do something else, and Isabelle and Nolan were left playing, over in the shade of the trees,  that they were running away. It was cute to see them as they walked and planned with their heads close together -plotting out the next turn of events. Kami always knows just what will appeal to their imaginations.

4. A couple of nights ago, Nolan decided that he wanted to have a sleepover... with Caden.  Caden pretended to be very excited about the invitation and kept saying, "This is going to be so fun!!"  He slept on Nolan's lower bunk and they told stories until Nolan announced that he was sleepy.  They had such a great time!!:) My kids being friends and enjoying each other is the biggest payback of parenthood.

5. Yesterday Shawn spent the better part of the day raking rocks out of out yard.  Yes, we are still trying to get grass in. (sigh) This rock-raking business is hard, back-breaking work! It was killling me off.  Luckily Shawn is taking it over for me.:)  When he finished for the day, he walked over to the porch and laid down on his back, which apparently was an instant invitation for the kids to climb all over him.  He was exhausted and told them not to climb on him.  Nolan immediately laid down beside him, observed his dad and arranged himself just like him, and when Isabelle came close, he said, "Don't climb on me."

 He always wants to be just like his dad. For now. When he gets older though, the competition is on!  He wants to be "stronger and taller." But hopefully he'll always be just like him in the fundamentals.:)