Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Friday, January 27, 2012

Snow at last

We finally got our first real snowfall of the year on Thursday, (only about three inches) and the kids have really been enjoying it. I've been enjoying the cute snowman I can see right out my kitchen window whenever I'm doing the dishes:

Everyone went sledding today and the kids made the discovery that Jack is a really good sled dog! The kids would hook him to the sled and get the ride of their lives. He would sometimes keep going after the hill ended, taking the rider on a high adventure long run snaking through trees and going full throttle. Everyone was particularly impressed that he could pull the sled back up the hill with the rider on board! Boy was that a discovery -the kids were thrilled that they didn't have to walk back up the hill and Jack appeared to be loving every minute of it.

Fun times.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Starfish of the week"

Since Isabelle is a summer birthday, her class just celebrated her half birthday at school today. When it's your birthday at school, you get to be "starfish of the week" and when you're six, this is a VERY big deal. Every since she brought home a paper about it, she has thought of next to nothing else!:) Last night she told me that she "for sure" needed a bath that very night so that she could be sure she didn't "stink" for her big day. She got up early this morning to scramble around and collect all of her favorite things to bring to show her class:

(A white board that she likes to pretend she's a teacher with, her bumble-bee doll, her picture scriptures, and her "star blankey" that she has had since she was a baby.)

It was just as exciting for me, as for the kids in her class to see what she would pull out of her bag next. I had no idea what she had packed. I was particularly surprised that she would show her blankey - she even showed them how she had rubbed the corners down to nothing when she was younger.

The boys and I arrived, with treats, just in time to experience her big moment. I wish I had brought my camera, it was so cute.

Isabelle stood up in front of her class smiling her sweet little dimpled smile and told the class all about herself. I particularly liked the part where she told them that her favorite book was the scriptures, and then pulled out a picture scripture book that she had stowed away in her backpack. She said, "my favorite story is about Jesus being born." Then she stood up there for several minutes while she located the pictures of this event, and all of the kids were craning their necks trying to see the beautiful pictures that she held up.

Then the kids got to ask her ten questions. They got right down to the quick of the important things like: What's your favorite lipstick? (sparkly) What's you're address? What's your favorite word? (school) What's your favorite thing to do? (run) What's your favorite song? (gummy bear)
What's your favorite place? (the town we live in)

It was so fun to go see Isabelle in the spotlight feeling special.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Maddie's our girl that cart-wheels and stands on her hands everywhere she goes. Whenever we're in a building with a long hallway or open space, she has been known to ask me if she can do a cart-wheel really quickly.

With the new year came the writing of goals for the year. One of Maddie's goals was to learn to do a front hand spring. She has been pretty serious about teaching herself, which made us a little nervous, so I went in a couple of weeks ago to sign her up for a tumbling class.

Maddie is beside herself with her good fortune, and Shawn and I are so excited for her. It is so fun to put your child in something that you know they will truly enjoy. I went to pick her up at the conclusion of her first class and was surprised to see one of the instructors already spotting her through a back handspring. They don't seem to waste any time, so I think she just might make her goal this year!

Learning to talk

I had never really given much thought to all the work that goes into learning to talk; well, I hadn't given much thought to it until the last few months.

Abram turned two in November, and the day he turned two he still wasn't saying much of anything. I've had other kids wait for a while to learn to talk, but once a kid turns two, and still isn't talking, I start to worry. (Isn't that a mother's job?:) Particularly with Abram I was beginning to worry, because he wouldn't even TRY to repeat words that we would ask him to say. Happily, he "kissed the Blarney Stone" soon after his birthday and we haven't been able to get him to be quiet since!:)

Meanwhile, we started learning Spanish a few months ago. Everyone has taken their lessons at their own pace - Kami generally does a lesson as she gets ready in the mornings; Caden also prefers to take his lessons while he's walking his dog in the mornings before school. Shawn is moving the slowest on them because he only takes a lesson when he's traveling (One to get where he's going and another on the way home.) I take my lessons whenever I can fit them in throughout the day - if I catch a quiet moment at home or when I'm driving kids around. I'm surprised by how much the kids, and even Abram, have picked up from that! I am almost finished with Spanish I. (Which has taken me MUCH further than Spanish I in Highschool ever did!)

It has been so interesting to be in the process of learning a language at the same time that Abram is in the process of learning one as well. It's fun to watch him as he talks and see the wheels turning in his little head the same way that I can feel my wheels turning when I take a lesson. This learning process is just the same for both of us! (I think we're at a similar language level.)

When I'm taking a lesson, sometimes I have to hear a word repeated as many as ten times before I remember it. I've noticed the same is true for Abram. Sometimes we pronounce the words slightly wrong. Sometimes we use words in the wrong context. When we're trying to think of what and how to say something, our speech is halting and slow. It's hard to string more than three or four words together at a time, and we're pleased with our accomplishment when we manage it.

I'm sure that before too long, I'll still be talking halting Spanish while Abram will be speaking as fluently as can be. He does, after all, have the advantage of being immersed in the language. But I now have a greater appreciation for all the work and energy that a tiny little child puts into learning to talk.

Satin sheets

Our bed sheets were beginning to look a little worn, so when I walked into Ross and saw some quality sheets at a reasonable price, I bought them. They were satin sheets, and looked really pretty, and I imagined that they'd be wonderfully comfortable to sleep in.

They haven't been very popular with us. We slept on them for three nights and I felt myself getting grouchier and grouchier with each passing day and each sleepless night. I finally told Shawn that I had tried giving those sheets a decent chance, but I couldn't get used to them and fall into a good, deep sleep when I slept between them.

He said, "I don't like them, either. I can't sleep because I feel like I'm trying to hang onto the bed all night so that I don't slide out!" That just really struck my funny bone - sometimes the things he says makes me laugh for days afterwards. Either I need to velcro the sheets AND his pajamas, or get some different sheets!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scares at night

This evening I was having a hard time motivating the little kids to get ready for bed. Isabelle said that it really wasn't TOO much past their bed time. (We start getting ready for bed at 7:30 because we get up so early in the mornings.) I said that I hoped that they were in bed before 8:00 because I was afraid that I would turn into a witch after that. Nolan's eyes got big and he hustled off to get ready for bed. I always tell the kids that I turn into a witch when it's a school night and they still aren't in bed at 8:00. I really do. Turn into one, that is. The humorous thing to me is that Nolan takes it very literally and it scares his pants off when I say it.

A few nights ago, I was awakened in the night by Isabelle, who had had a bad dream. She crawled into bed with me to tell me all about it. I don't know why, but I find children's dreams to be very interesting. She said that in her dream she had been walking down the hallway towards the bonus room, and right in front of the bonus room door stood a witch. (Where did that thought come from?!):) She got past the witch and inside the bonus room where she saw me, dead on the floor, with a bloody forehead. That was her dream. Kids really do have scary-sounding dreams. Where do they come from?

The other dream that she told me was funny. She said that in her dream Caden had wanted to eat a whole bowl of ranch dressing, but he must have known that he'd have to sneak THAT, so she said that he was sitting on the couch eating it with a blanket over his head so that no one would see him.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Grandma Shirley

Saturday while I was shopping, Shawn called to tell me that grandma had just had a serious stroke. He went right up to the hospital, and when I got home, we all went up. After about an hour, we took the kids home and then Shawn and I went back to sit with grandma and all of the other family members around here until 10:00 that night. I wish that we could have been there when she passed away - it just seems like you should be surrounded by those you love and who love you when you leave this life. She passed away around 3:00 in the morning. She was the neatest woman and such an inspiration to me in my life in so many ways, particularly of someone who never complained and who was always kind in what she said to, and about others. It's going to be a hard adjustment to not have her here anymore - we usually saw her at least every Sunday, and usually even more often than that. It's a Gee family tradition to meet on Sundays at grandma's house and catch up and visit with each other, and she always had yummy treats for everyone.

Grandma Shirley's Obituary

Verna Shirley
Verna Browning Shirley, 89, passed away peacefully at Madison Memorial Hospital Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, from a stroke.
She was born July 1, 1922, in Lewisville to Archie William and Neona Kinghorn Browning.
She always felt blessed to go through life with her twin sister and best friend, Verla (Clark). She also had an older brother, Archie Basil, and two younger brothers, Darwin and Jerry. She grew up in Annis and attended Midway High School.
All of the family helped on the farm, and she and Verla also learned homemaking skills as they helped their mother keep house.
Verna and Verla sang together on many programs as they were growing up.
Verna met Gordon Shirley from Salem at Riverside Gardens, the popular teen dance spot of the day. They married on Sept. 18, 1942, in the Salt Lake Temple. Three months later, Gordon was drafted into the army. He spent the next three years serving his country while Verna worked and waited at home, writing daily letters.
When World War II ended, Gordon returned and they settled near Rexburg to begin their life together. Gordon was a fine builder and Verna cared for their family. Five children were born to them: Marilyn, Linda, Ann, Lyle Gordon and Joyce.
Verna was a superb homemaker, and kept an immaculate house, sewed for her little girls and cooked delicious meals. She worked hard to create a beautiful yard that all who passed by could enjoy. She loved flowers! She also enjoyed music and sang with several groups over the years.
Life was good, but there were challenges to face. Many saw her and Gordon as examples of faith and fortitude as they cared for their youngest child, who required help for every need for 36 years. They also helped care for Ann, who contracted multiple sclerosis as a young adult. Her greatest sorrow was when Gordon passed away in June 2010.
During her life, Verna served in many positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Primary, Young Women and Relief Society.
She enjoyed shopping, gardening, visiting with Verla every day, Lawrence Welk, family gatherings and supporting children and grandchildren in their activities.
She was a kind and gentle woman who gave the best she had in everything she did.
She is survived by her children, Marilyn (James) Gee of Sugar City, Linda Shirley of Provo, Utah, and Lyle Gordon (Laurelyn) Shirley of Boxborough, Mass.; as well as 11 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren; her twin sister, Verla Clark of Rexburg; and a brother, Jerry V. (Karen) Browning of St. Anthony.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; daughters, Ann and Joyce; her parents; and two brothers.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, at the Stonebridge LDS chapel with Bishop Dan Hanna officiating. The family will receive friends Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Flamm Funeral Home and again from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment will be in the Sugar City Cemetery.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nolan's naughties

Nolan was just as good as gold leading up to Christmas:

...and then a couple of days AFTER Christmas he was naughtier than he has ever been one evening.  I'm wondering if this was pre-meditated behavior.  Did he consciously think: "I'll be really good before Christmas so that I can stay on Santa's good list, and then right after Christmas I'll be really naughty because I'll have all year to make up for it!"
It's possible that those very thoughts were running through his head right here at this very moment:)
Actually, I know he's not THAT manipulative - the late nights and parties and junk food were starting to wear on him.
Look at these angelic faces
On this particular night, Shawn and Caden had left to go watch the last Harry Potter (the only two in our family who are interested in that show) and the girls and I decided that it would be fun to play their new game, "Apples to Apples".  Nolan wanted to play, too, so I told him to come sit by me and be on my team.  He said, "No!! I want to do it all by myself!"  I explained to him that this was a game that you had to know how to read to be able to play it all by yourself.  He sniffed,  "Well, then I'm not going to play!!"  And stood glowering at us from the doorway for some time.  Then he disappeared, and we forgot all about him until I noticed that Abram needed a new diaper. I hollered down the stairs to Nolan, asking him to bring up the wipies.  He responded, "I can't. I did something really bad and I'm trying to fix it!"  (Cute!) I asked him what he did and he told me that he had put melted candle wax (from my scentsy candle) all over the wall. (Not so cute) He was busy trying to scrub it off with a cloth. (Cute again)

We got that all taken care of, but he still had a defiant, "I'll-show-you-guys" kind-of attitude and was trying to pick a fight over anything that was said.  It was way past bed-time, so I said, "You know what?  You just need to go get into bed now."  "NO!!" he responded.  I responded by starting to count. He responded by running into his room and slamming the door shut. I responded by thinking, "Hmm...How serious will it be if he doesn't brush his teeth and use the bathroom?  I decided that I didn't want to have to change his sheets the next morning, so I tried to open his door and get him to go take care of those things.  The door was locked.  I asked him to unlock the door.  "NO!!!", he responded.  I responded by counting.  He responded by ignoring my counting.  I responded by telling him that if he didn't unlock his door he was going to be in a lot of trouble!  No response from the other side of the door.  I went and got a bobby pin, and stuck it into his door, but it wouldn't unlock.  From the other side of the door, Nolan gloated, "I'm holding the button down so that you can't get in! I don't want you to get in because I don't want to get into trouble." (smugness in that little voice) OOdalalee!! I was pretty steamed!! He could tell and he finally took me seriously.

A few days ago, Nolan developed a serious limp.  At first we didn't really take it seriously, but he kept it up for at least three days, and never forgot to limp.  We figured he was faking it, and went along with it, but at the same time he kept it up for so long that Shawn started to say that maybe we should take him to the doctor.  Nolan started to look mournful whenever we discussed it.  He worried that perhaps he had cancer of the blood and that was why he had so many bruises on his leg. :)  Then one day I heard Nolan screaming upstairs, obviously in a great rage.  In front of his fury ran Isabelle as fast as her legs could carry her.  She reported that Nolan had confided in her that he had been faking about his leg all along (he was angry because she said that she was going to go tell.)  Wait a minute.  Did I actually say that he wasn't very manipulative?  We found this pretty funny, and especially that he had limped around for so long that it was a hard habit to break and he had a slight limp for a couple of days after that!

So far today when he didn't get exactly what he wanted exactly when he wanted it, he told me "I wish that I could go to school.  Then I wouldn't have to see you anymore!!"

Currently he is back to his penitent, loving self, and I think I'd better go give him an extra dose of extra-loving attention so that he can do better today!