Family Pic 2015

Family Pic 2015

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Tidy Fairy

I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I needed to blog about the Tidy Fairy because she is part of our family history.  Besides, my brother commented that the Tidy Fairy at our house is a lot nicer than the one that came to our house growing up.  Growing up, the Tidy Fairy used to visit our house (unannounced) and box up the things that we didn't take care of or put away.
For some reason, Tidy Fairy really never put in an appearance at our house until after I had Abram. Just before I had Abram, Shawn started a new job that required him to travel extensively, so I was on my own quite a bit with a new baby and the other kids to take care of.  I noticed pretty quickly that I could (barely) manage to squeak by getting meals and laundry done, but I was having a difficult time getting to the deep housecleaning, because by the time I got everyone's "stuff" put away Abram was crying or else it was time to run someone somewhere or stop and make a meal. The kids were doing jobs, but nothing ever seemed as orderly as I like it to be - they weren't picking up after themselves!

I tried quite a few things, but I don't enjoy being the nag or the bad guy, and one day I realized that I needed to locate the Tidy Fairy and request her help in getting our house all tidied up.  Luckily I was able to make contact with her, so I sat the kids down and explained her method:

For a while, the Tidy Fairy would come daily to our house, but we had no way of knowing when she would arrive, and if something wasn't put away, she would take it and box it up.  It may or may not be returned at a later date.  The kids asked what would happen if it was an important book for school, or something?  I told them that they could inform me that it was missing and I would talk to the Tidy Fairy and we would come to some sort of an arrangement.  They could probably do an extra job or something to earn it back.

As it turned out, Tidy Fairy didn't ever have to take much before the kids learned to put their things away.  Sometimes, when the house looks like it needs help, I tell the kids that I wouldn't be surprised if the Tidy Fairy made an appearance, and the house miraculously gets cleaned right up. Sometimes, I have a little one that doesn't want to help clean up, but as soon as the Tidy Fairy is called, (they hear me talking to her on the telephone) they hustle around and start cleaning like crazy. Occasionally, one of the kids will even get so worried about someone else's stuff disappearing that they do them a service and take care of it for them. Then they come tell me what they did "just in case the Tidy Fairy comes."

Kami and Caden seemed to know right off who the Tidy Fairy was, but the younger kids have spent a great deal of time pondering about it and wondering what the Tidy Fairy is like.

One day, my friend Beth came over to visit and was helping me with the dishes and sweeping up the floor while I held a very fussy Abram.  It had been one of those days. Later in the evening, I mentioned to the kids that Beth had come and that she had been so sweet to help me with some housework.  To my surprise they immediately exclaimed, "She's the Tidy Fairy, isn't she?! "  After all, she had been cleaning our house! When I said no to that, they started naming off my other friends as possibilities.

I love the fact that I never have to be the bad guy. I mention if something needs to get done, and if nothing happens, the Tidy Fairy takes care of it! I try to notice when the kids have had a pretty long streak of keeping things nice - I tell the Tidy Fairy how great the kids are doing, and the next time she comes around she leaves them a little something for their efforts.  This also works as a way to remind them that the Tidy Fairy is still checking up on them and that it pays to keep things clean.

I know the Tidy Fairy wouldn't work out for a lot of families, and that's probably why she doesn't visit everyone's house.  But she's sure great for ours!!  If you're interested in contacting her, just know that she is a lot like Cinderella's fairy godmother.  You have to wait until the next time that you feel especially overwhelmed and hopeless and (voila!) she appears.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The next Louis L'amour

One of my favorite things are the stories that my little kids write.  The other day, Nolan and I stapled together some papers and I asked him what he wanted to write a story about.  He decided on "cowboys".


He decorated the outside and drew some cute pictures on the inside:
Nolan just got an interest in drawing this week and has been drawing picts. of our family, etc. There aren't a lot of extra details, but he spent a lot of time on the messed up hair and whiskers on the cowboy on the left. :)
I thought this "bad cowboy" looked particularly villainous :)
Then he dictated a story to me while I wrote it down for him.  He was certainly at no loss for words, and I had to keep telling him to stop for a minute so that I could get everything written down just how he said it.  All of the kids have enjoyed his story, and it's something that I want to remember, so here it is:

"Once upon a time a cowboy was walking. Then he heard a noise and it was a drunk cowboy.  The good cowboy hid behind a rock because he didn't want to fight the drunk cowboy. (Refer to picture #1 for illustration)

The drunk cowboy was walking and making sounds and the good cowboy shot the drunk cowboy.  Then an indian shot the good cowboy with an arrow.  Then another cowboy that was his friend saw the indian and he busted down the indian.

The cowboy was walking with his horse and he was going on a hill.  He heard a noise and it was an animal.  And it was a moose.  It was two daddy mooses.  And he shot both of them.  Then he kept riding and he heard another noise - it was a chicken.  It was like, "cock-a-doodle-doo!"  But he didn't shoot it because he knew it wouldn't hurt him.  Then he was at the barn.

At the barn he goed to the house and it was black and all these bullets were there and he saw this little, teeny fire and he blowed it.  And the bad guys were still in there.  He threw them up on the house and they fell off on their face and got all bloody.  He killed them because they were bad."

Where he's learned about "drunken cowboys" and gotten all of these violent ideas I'm not so sure.  I suspect it's from his 'Bonanza' reruns:)  We are all getting a kick out of his story and language usage like "busted down".  I've got to say, the story holds us spell-bound from start to finish!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Medalists

Today Isabelle came home from school with the "Olympic Reading Medal" for knowing all of the sight words that she needs to know for the first grade.  This was supposed to take some work and practice, but she is such a great little reader that she passed off all of the packets as soon as she got them.  She was pretty excited - go Isabelle!!


Later, Kami called home all out of breath and excited because she got first place in her cross country race!  Wouldn't you know it - the race that I couldn't make it to.  I guess this time they had the girls and the boys teams run together which was helpful to her, because she usually runs with the boys in practice and was therefore able to tell what pace to keep up.  She is anxious to hear her time because they didn't know what it was, but she heard a father telling his daughter that the girl that won came in in ten minutes. (In Junior high here they run just under two miles at their meets.)  She definitely gave it everything, because she felt good and sick after the race.  At the end one of the spectators told her to run faster: "they're gaining on you! Don't let them catch you!"  Kami was very worried and started running even faster, thinking "I'm not getting beat now!!"  Then she kept hearing footsteps right behind her, and she glanced down just as she saw a long and very hairy leg enter her line of vision.  Then she mentally relaxed thinking, "Phew!  I'm still the first girl!!"  It all sounds very exciting.  I wish that I had been there!:(  Our air conditioning just went out on our car and it didn't sound like a good idea to drive all my kids for two hours to watch the meet only to turn around and drive home again after having gotten out of the car for fifteen minutes.  I would have had a mutinous crew, I'm afraid.  But yay!  We're proud of our Kami!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Little boys

I was up all night with a sick little Isabelle, and since I'm out of energy to get anything else done, I think I will catch up on a few blogs!  I have been enjoying my time with my little boys every day- it seems like I spend more time with Nolan, because Abram has a long nap.  During his nap, Nolan and I take up with our "Gee- school preschool".  This is the preschool that I have done with all of my kids, and we take it very seriously! We have a lot of fun, but there is also a lot of hard work mixed in.  This is Nolan right after we finished a session the other day:


 My mom called, and while we were talking, Nolan fell right to sleep on the bar stools where we had been sitting and playing - in an educational way of course - and working.:)

Some days, Nolan helps me with MY work:
He talks my ear off and shares good ideas like that he thinks there should be "good day" kisses and not just "good night" kisses!  We have definitely tried to slow down the hustle and bustle enough in the morning to fit those in!

Some days, we can't resist the beautiful fall weather, and we get Jack off of his leash and go for a walk around our place and down through the tree farm.  It is so cute to hear Nolan call to Jack over and over:  "Here Jackie! Jackie! Come here boy!" He says it with a pause between each word.

Jack has been teaching the boys all sorts of new behaviors.  When Jack thinks he can get away with it (Meaning the adults or older kids aren't looking) he nips at the little boys.  They always say, "Jack is biting me!"  We try to get Jack to behave better, but we tell the boys that he's just playing and nipping at them. The other day, it looked like Nolan bit Abram.  Shawn said, "Nolan, why would we think it was O.K for you to bite?  We don't let Jack get away with that."  Nolan said, "Oh dad! I was just nipping at him a little bit."

Some days the boys run around the house playing cowboys and indians:

Diapers can be incredible holsters for guns- who would have guessed?!? Why the cowboys of the wild west didn't think of it, I don't know!

Occasionally, while the boys are playing, the Tidy Fairy arrives (I'll have to blog about her sometime) and if the house passes inspection, she leaves a note and a treat on everyone's bed.
Isabelle and Maddie's notes
Kami, Caden and Nolan's notes
 This is always exciting for Nolan and also for Maddie and Isabelle when they get home.  Somewhere along the line Kami and Caden have lost their delight in such things.  (sigh.)

Lately everything has become a toy to Abram.  It is fun to see his imagination developing.  Here he is playing with two "car" mixers.  He and Nolan frequently lose track of their favorite cars, and then I find them in the most unexpected places that no one would ever think to look for them, like balancing in the needles of a shrub, or inside my bathroom drawers.  Wherever I find them, I know that they have had high adventure!! There are all sorts of exciting sound effects going on while they play.

practicing

Every morning I think that I hear Shawn blowing his nose somewhere, but it goes on and on, and I soon realize that it is only Caden practicing his trumpet. (Shawn does blow his nose with some force - I hope he doesn't mind me sharing that!;)

I like these pictures of Nolan forming his mouth to play the trumpet:)

Most of the kids in Caden's school begin band in the fifth grade, but we figured that learning the piano was plenty as far as practicing time and everything else goes, so Caden has been taking other elective classes.  Until this year.  This year it was either take orchestra, band, or a class of "stomp" (some sort of dance class) one trimester, "child care" the next, and  I can't even remember the third one.  Caden wasn't interested in taking child care - come on! He has plenty of experience with that!  And he was completely mortified by the idea of taking stomp.:)  I am wondering why they don't have languages or something useful to learn? Anyways, that left learning another instrument, so he chose the trumpet.

He is behind, but we figure he will be able to catch up quickly and even be one of the best trumpet players - as long as he practices every day.  The last couple of days, I have even been able to tell what songs he is playing. He's coming along!!

x-country


The season has begun, and Kami is LOVING it!  She says that it is even better than track because the scenery changes and keeps it interesting.  We found out from the first meet that the Jr. High only runs 1.7 miles as opposed to the 3 miles that they run at a meet in high school.  Kami came in seventh at her first meet. Just look at this swarm of runners!


This was at her meet last weekend, and the first cross country meet that I've ever been to in my life.  I was wondering how they can start 100 people out at the same time and still make it fair for everyone!! 
I really like this sport - you get there, they run for 10-15 minutes, and you head home.

I did have one funny story, but maybe I shouldn't admit to this!  Last weekend the meet was around dinner time, so I decided that it would be fun to bring a picnic to eat at the park afterwards.  From lunch time on, I worked on putting it together - I made chicken salad, and rolls to put it on and some things to go with it.  Before we left I took quite awhile packing it all up and making sure that I had everything.  After the meet, we got everything out of the car and were just sitting down to enjoy our dinner when Shawn said, "where's the chicken?"  Sure enough, I had left that home in the refrigerator.  We loaded everything back up again....

Part of me thinks that I will hate to look back on this and remember the state of my mind at such a relatively young age, but the other part of me believes that  when I've really lost it I will delight to look back on things like this and remember that I remembered everything BUT the chicken!:)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

She's nine!

Before I begin my narrative of the day, let's take a look at a super sweet birthday girl

And another one:

The night before Kami turned four or five, Shawn and  I snuck into her room after she had gone to sleep, and hung balloons all over her ceiling.  Since that time, if we remember to get some balloons before the big day, we do something with them the night before.


Maddie is a very light sleeper, so we didn't bother putting any in her bed room.  Instead, we threw some into the living room and when she came down the next morning for scriptures, there they were!
Shawn and I and the two little boys brought cupcakes to her at school, and then her plans after school were to have a weinie roast out across the pond:

Love this pict. of Caden.  Usually he won't let his personality show on camera:)
But this is a better picture of Mads
After dinner we went into the house for birthday cake.  Maddie wanted a lady bug cake, and wanted us to make it together.  Our red food coloring had dried out, so we headed to the store to get some more.  Along the way she admitted  all sorts of naughty stories about herself.  My favorite is that when she is into a good book she can't fall asleep at night for thinking about it and wondering what will happen next, so she sneakily reads it until it is finished.   I asked her how she gets away with it with us checking on them before we go to bed and what-not, and she said that she pretends to be fast asleep whenever she hears someone on the stairs!  She admitted that she's pretty grouchy the next day, but no one's the wiser. :)  She has become quite the little book worm, and sometimes, when I notice that she has just finished a book, I have to tell her not to start another one for at least another day so that she can get outside and play and do other kid activities.

Any way, we finished the cake:
 and she was delighted with it and it was just lovely.

When Caden was a baby, I took a pretty serious cake decorating class - how to decorate wedding cakes and what-not.  My motivation was that  I wanted my kids to have really fun birthday cakes.  Well, I spent several years making super fancy cakes for the kids on their birthdays until I realized something.  I wasn't enjoying my kids very much on their big day, in fact, it took the better part of the day to decorate the cake and I had to spend most of my time trying to find diversions for the kids so that  I could work on it .  I also realized that my kids could have cared less about the fancy cake I made - what they really wanted was to plan and decorate it with me.  So...we usually get on the Family Fun web site a couple of days before their birthday, and they figure out which cake they want to try.


Around the time of the cake eating, Maddie got a phone call from her cousin Gracie to tell her that she had a cousin born on her birthday!  I heard Maddie say, "Your little sister is probably one of my best birthday presents!"  We don't know the name of the new family addition yet - I think we remembered to ask about everything but that - but congratulations Evan and Jodi!!  The night before, Maddie had asked to talk to Jodi, who was going in to get an induction on her birthday.  She told her, "I just want you to know that children born on September 7th are very delightful!"

Maddie is right.  We love her cheerful disposition and her enthusiasm for life.  I don't know what we'd do without her sweet, positive, fun, tender little personality in our family!!