Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

It was our year to go to Thanksgiving in Oregon!  I didn't grab many pictures - in fact the ones that were taken were taken by Shawn - he did a pretty good job capturing the chaos of a family of ten; most of whom are now married with many children of their own. This year six of my siblings and their families were there, bringing the group to a total of 46. (Counting two friends and two neighbor/friends that came as well.)

Because of the size of the group, my parents have started reserving the church for Thanksgiving dinner, and it works out great.  We eat in the room right next door to the kitchen, and as the little kids finish up, they can go play in the gym, leaving the adults to talk and be able to actually hear each other!

I needed to include this picture of my sis-in-law Ori.  She had her baby two days after this picture was taken.  They were sure it was another  little boy, but surprise!!  They're two boys and two girls now.
Me, Katie and Judy Brazofsky, a family friend.

After the dinner we did some fun projects with the kids - made snow globes, and painted Christmas ornaments.
Nolan showing off his slew of salt dough ornaments that he painted
 We also stood around the piano for awhile while mom played and we all sang Christmas carols. It sounded just like a huge choir.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to be exact.:)
Then all the older kids did some swing dancing:
Kami and Eli giving it a whirl with stunts and everything!
And everyone played in the gym some more - bike riding, basketball, and adults giving kids rides on carpet squares:
Being around my family could never be considered dull.  They are such fun people!
We all went home around 7:00 after a full and fantastic day.  On Friday and Saturday, two of my other siblings and their children showed up and we got to see them as well. Bring on Christmas now!  Those Christmas carols and gathering with family has got me in the spirit!!

Our happy birthday boy

We left for Thanksgiving a little early this year, leaving after school let out on Monday and allowing the kids to miss the last day of school on Tuesday.  One of our reasons was that Abram's birthday was on Wednesday, and no one thought that it would be a very happy birthday for him traveling all day strapped into his car seat!

Abram had a happy birthday in Oregon, getting reacquainted with his Grandpa and Grandma Kerns and a gazillion other cousins.
Strawberry shortcake cupcakes - he ate the frosting!
I'm sure that Abram didn't understand the significance of the day, and we were all more excited about the event than he was, but he did keep saying, "I two!"  We surely do love this little boy with his sweet and entertaining personality!  I don't think he has any idea how lucky he is to be the youngest of six and have five doting older siblings that give in to his every whim and shower him with attention. Happy birthday, Abram!!

Gathered in

Every year after canning is over,  I think that I will be able to remember how much I put up of what.  Every fall, I find that I can't remember, and I start all over trying to figure out how much of everything will get us through a whole year. Last week I just finished cooking up and bottling all the pumpkins (that I got to before they froze), and thought that this year I would take an inventory.

Pears: 58 quarts
Peaches: 141 quarts
Applesauce: 45 quarts
Huckleberry Applesauce: 5 quarts
Apple Butter: 7 quarts
                    20 pints
Stewed tomatoes: 22 quarts
Salsa: 80 pints
Pumpkin: 20 quarts

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kami!!

 Today Kami turned FOURTEEN!!  Fourteen?!  Wow.  I can't believe that it's been that long since she was a new baby and we were trying our hand at being parents for the first time.  Kami has always had a laid-back, cheerful disposition - the perfect personality for all of our parenting experiments and parenting learning experiences. She's very accepting of everything we do, is forgiving, grateful, and always a lot of fun and a patient entertainer to all of her siblings.
opening gifts
All of the girls (plus Abram) salivating over a box of nail polish that she got.
 As usual, at our house, her birthday celebration started the evening BEFORE her birthday with Shawn and I blowing up a bag-full of balloons which we then scattered all over her bedroom while she was sleeping. Then, at lunch time, Shawn and I pulled her out of school and took her to Applebee's. (Her choice.)  Grandma Gee came and sat with the little boys, so it was a really great time being able to talk and relax and enjoy lunch together.
Grandpa and Grandma Gee, Kami and her Great Grandma Shirley -when they came over to bring her a gift
At school, her friends had her locker all decoriously decorated by the time she arrived, but she didn't seem too excited about getting a picture of it for me so that  I could see it:(

Some of our favorite things about Kami are:
1. Did I mention that Kami is fun to be around?
2. She is so sweet.  Yes, she has a bad day here and there, but her bad days are like my in-between days.
3. She's a good friend.  To her school friends, her siblings and to Shawn and I.
4. She gets a kick out of her little brothers and sisters.
5. She seems to have a talent for everything that she tries/does.  I always wonder how that would be?  I recently took some pictures of some of her artwork:
Which one do you think is prettier?:) She loves to draw in her spare time. She is also a good athlete and musician.
6. She's obedient, tries to do what's right and has a testimony.  She has already read the Book of Mormon five times (not counting the readings with the family.)
7. She has a lot of friends, but if someone asks, she tells them that her best friend is Caden.  They really are very close. If I want to know a good idea for a present for Kami, I ask Caden and vice versa.  They may not tell me what they want, but they seem to tell each other everything.
8.She's always challenging herself to do a little better at something and to work a little harder.
9. She's really good at having a positive out-look on everything, and building people up.
10. She has great, creative ideas!!

We love you, Kami! Happy birthday!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dinner at our house

We sat down to dinner tonight - dinner as usual.  Our dining room amplifies noise and our kids are NOISY!!  I recognize that it's noisy, but I get used to it- or just give up trying for anything different because I'm usually in survival mode with Shawn gone.  Shawn, on the other hand, has been gone every day of the week except for weekends lately and I think he has become a little bit unaccustomed to the noise.  What do you think?
He kept requesting that everyone quiet down, or at least limit the noise to talking. (Several of our kids make noise for the sole purpose of making noise).  Before we knew it, Shawn left the table and came back with these ear things- that we usually wear when we're running noisy equipment.  He said, "You guys might not believe this, but I can hear everything at just the right volume now."

What a sweet, little innocent face:)  This boy is going through a really picky phase where he won't try anything new or anything that he decides looks suspicious. I even let him help me make the green salad tonight and he was trying to snitch some of everything we put into it.  Once we sat down, he wouldn't even taste what he had been eating! And he wouldn't try the sweet potato because it was orange- I know he'd like it; the rest of us do!  Anyway, he spends the first ten minutes of dinner crying at the top of his lungs at his big "dinner disappointment", while the rest of us try to coax him, trick him, (or force him) into trying his food. He spends the last ten minutes or so making REALLY loud noises that he supposes are really entertaining to the rest of us. (Well, he's so cute that it generally is...not the noise, but the faces, etc. that go with it.) He  never really eats a thing and wakes up exceedingly cranky in the mornings, on a very empty stomach. Maybe I should break down and let him eat something else, but I AM DETERMINED TO WIN!!

Towards the end of dinner, I generally feel someone massaging my feet, (everyone in my family knows that this is one of my favorite things) and notice that Nolan has slipped beneath the table to pamper me a bit.  He works on me for a while, as  I "ooo and ahhh", and then he moves on to do everyone else... one at a time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Tuesday morning when I woke up, I wasn't feeling very good.  Caden had felt sick for a couple of days the week before, and hadn't had an appetite, but it had never really amounted to anything, so I figured that I probably had the same thing.  Since I didn't think it was going to be a very big deal, I kept cleaning and going about my regular day, but little by little I felt worse and worse...and worse.  It wasn't long before the little boys found me lying on the couch, and there I remained until I had to pick up the kids from school to take them to their piano lessons. Having to sit up and drive made me think for a moment, "Maybe  I should cancel their lessons.  This is really miserable." But then I thought, "This sickness isn't a big deal.  I will be just fine." And I was - right up to the moment that Kami and Caden climbed into the car.  I said a feeble hello, and then something suddenly hit and as they climbed in one side of the car, I opened the door on the other side and was sick on the parking lot.  The kids and I were all pretty surprised! (I think I embarrassed the kids a little bit, too, because their peers were walking by as this was going on - luckily none of their friends!!) We started seeing the humor in it as Caden began describing the shocked faces of the kids who turned around and then kept turning around and turning around again when they saw what I was doing.

I had the flu all week, and it was an interesting experience.  When my kids were younger, I got really sick one time, and I remember feeling like it was so unfair for a mother to ever get sick, because even though I was more sick than I could ever remember feeling, I still had to stay on my feet, feeling completely miserable, and take care of the little kids.  I still had to get them drinks of water and change diapers and make lunches and help them wash their hands.  Things that sound small, but are so big when you're under the weather.

Well this time, when we got home from piano, the kids told me to go lay down and then they took care of everything. (Shawn had left town that morning to be gone for the rest of the week.) Caden called someone to give him a ride to scouts - without me saying a word about it.  Kami called her YW advisor and told her that she wouldn't be coming to mutual because she was going to stay home and take care of her mom.  Maddie started making something for dinner, under Kami's supervision, while Kami whisked through the house putting piles of laundry away and cleaning up after the little boys.  At one point, Maddie took something up to the bonus room where Isabelle and the little boys were playing, and I heard her say, "Isabelle, it would be really nice if you'd tidy up in here. You don't have to, but it would be really nice." The girls fed everyone and got everyone to bed and I found myself thinking that it was practically a pleasure to be sick nowadays, because I could actually be sick! It wasn't very wonderful while they were at school each day, but it was such a relief when they'd get home.

This is completely off the subject, but is something that  I spent a lot of time looking at during the week, as it is right across from the couch.   I made these silhouettes about a month ago and I am still so excited about them!
I especially like looking at the little boys.  You can't see it, but Nolan has hair sticking up and I love Abram's chubby cheeks.

Our second snowstorm of the year, but the first that looks like it will stick, came Friday night. The kids were outside enjoying it before it was even fully light outside:

And I need to include this picture of Shawn.  This is how you garden when you live in Idaho AND when you have to travel so much that you miss all of the good gardening weather:)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An INCREDIBLE disclosure

Have you ever wondered why our family moves so OFTEN?  I mean, the longest that we have ever lived anywhere has been three years...

It's called the relocation program, people!!  The relocation program.

Yesterday morning I sent my little girls off to school looking like ordinary children dressed up for an ordinary halloween. 
Isabelle wanted to be Sleeping Beauty for school. I made this costume years ago for Kami, and it has been very well-used since then.

We try to keep up the image of living the ordinary, hum-drum American life.

But the Friday afternoon before I had thought,  "What the heck!  This is Halloween!! Let's just go as we really are...INCREDIBLE!!"  Then I had to do some scurrying around to put together and find all the uniforms that we used to wear on a regular basis.  I was completely baffled to find some of those pieces at our local D.I.! (Don't quite know how those managed to get out our front door...)  I had to sew up a few things and put back together logos and such.  It's been too long.... FAR too long.
back row L-R: Frozone, Jack-Jack, Mrs. Incredible, Mr. Incredible, Violet. Front row L-R: Dash, Syndrome and Edna Moe - I think that's her last name - (Our fashion designer)- boy did I have to call on a lot of assistance from her.
Jack-Jack and Dash

The boys and I heading off to fight crime at Isabelle's classroom party!

Mr. Incredible being his regular incredible self (sigh). It's so easy to vacuum underneath the furniture with him around.

Man was it great to stop living behind a facade-even if just for the night- and show how truly SUPER we are!