Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kami's new look

Can you notice anything different about this smile?
Yep, Kami got braces on today. Caden was supposed to as well, but his ended up not coming in - so he will get his next week. I just kept putting this off because braces are SO EXPENSIVE!! BUT, Caden came home last month and told me that lately, ever so often when he is talking, he accidentally whistles through the space in his front teeth "and it's really loud!" He found it rather humorous, but me...I decided that it was time to 'get her done'.

Poor Kami was our guinea pig, as usual. I never had to get braces, so I had no idea what she was in for. Not only for the contraption they make you endure while they place the braces:

But also for what you feel like after you get them on. She couldn't eat most of the lunch that I sent to school with her - I guess you need foods that you don't have to chew much for the first couple of days after getting them on. Poor girl- But she'll surely have some beautiful teeth in a couple of years!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And out it came!

Isabelle has had a pretty loose tooth and yesterday she decided that she wanted Shawn to pull it. That's a new experience around here - usually our kids take care of losing their teeth by themselves. Shawn couldn't get hold of Belle's tiny tooth with his big fingers, so he tried dental floss. Too slippery. So he tried thread and out it came! We're excited to have a toothless smile around these parts once again:)

Monday, March 26, 2012


We sure had some beautiful weather around here this last week and we're all pretty excited about the prospect of an early spring: (picture by Isabelle)

We haven't had an early spring around here for at least five years! Saturday we pulled the canoes and bikes out of storage, and embarked on our first canoe rides of the year.

The kids and their Gee cousins anticipating a ride:

Shawn, Isabelle and Nicki:
Caden, Ali and Maddie:

The water is still pretty low, but no one got stuck:

Nolan and Josh looked like such cute little "buddies" during their whole ride:
I'm always too nervous to let friends or cousins, who come over, ride in the canoe if Shawn isn't home. When he's there I know that he could rescue anyone from a capsized canoe (I'm not too confident about my own abilities in that department). Just when everyone was getting out of the canoes I heard some serious whooping from Shawn. I ran to see what the big ruckus was all about, only to see Shawn crawling out of the "very cold" water! He was the first to try it out this year:) (His canoe went over as he was getting out!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spelling Bee

A couple of weeks ago, Maddie was chosen as one of the kids in her class to participate in a spelling bee that was put on by the city. Top spellers were selected from all of the surrounding schools and she would be competing against 59 other spellers. She came home so excited to participate, and particularly to win one of the cash prizes that would be given to the top six contestants. I didn't want to deflate her, but I also didn't want her to be too crushed if she didn't place, so I kept reminding her that she would be doing really good just to make it through the first round.

Well, her spelling bee was tonight and she kept spelling all of her words perfectly and ended up getting third place! She is a pretty excited little girl and is $20.00 richer! (Winning placement from left to right) :

Maddie, unbeknownst to me until today, had invited her grandparents and her Aunt Kelley and cousins Alison and Nicole to come, so along with her own family she had a good cheering section. I wish I'd remembered to take pictures before they all had left. It was nice of them to come and help her feel so special! Yay Maddie!!

St Patty's Day

Shawn and I came home from a meeting last night to find the kids hard at work putting together their Leprechaun traps. I had been wondering if they would do anything this year, but wasn't going to remind them either!:) Kami and Caden were spear-heading the whole operation, helping the kids build their traps and such.

Shawn decided that he wouldn't mind getting some of the leprechaun gold for himself, and put together a trap, too (with the perfect leprechaun bait):

(Don't worry, the trap has never been used:) Unfortunately, his trap was probably the most unsuccessful, because the next morning (to the delight of the little kids) we found that it had been tripped with this "blarney stone" left in place of the coin:

When the younger kids went to bed, Kami and Caden made some small leprechaun clothing, (a vest and a shoe) tripped their traps, and left behind evidence that something had been caught and then escaped. They also dug through all the dolls and found a couple of red-headed ones, cut some of their hair off and left it in some of the traps as well. They were laughing and having a good time. (I wish that I'd gotten some pictures of them!)

The leprechauns also found some chocolate-filled gold coins in one of my decorations, and only gave it back because the kids figured out the treasure hunt that they left behind. (And they didn't make it easy, I can tell you!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Love at Home

(Isabelle has taken to sitting with an elderly widow in our ward, Afton Wilcox. It is so cute. Afton wraps her coat around the both of them, and they sit snuggled up together throughout the meeting. It's really great for all three of us. Afton likes to have someone to sit with, and Isabelle doesn't have to resort to teasing everyone in sight to fulfill her need for more attention during the meeting than I can give to her with two rambunctious little boys.)

Anyways, my sis-in-law, Kelley had this idea to make "I love you because..." frames and the idea appealed to me because I have always liked to write notes! To make one, you type or write "I love you because..." on a paper and slip it into a frame. Then, you write with dry erase markers on the glass of the frame so that you can change up the message as often as you want. I loved the idea so much I made one for all of my reading kids and Shawn back in January. I try to make it part of my daily routine to change the message on them every day, but the truth is, I get it done about four times per week. I write only sincere messages - not manipulative ones (you know- none of those things that you are sometimes tempted to write just so that your children will hopefully start doing them:).

I have loved this! I'm the type that can see wonderful qualities and things that I love about my children, but I don't tell them as often as I should. Doing this has also brought to my attention that I probably RARELY compliment some of my children. This isn't because I don't love them as much as the others, but because they are going through a more difficult stage and it can seem that there isn't as much to compliment. I didn't realize this until I stood in front of one child's "board"(as we call them) for quite some time before something came to mind that I could write on it:( Knowing that I will soon be writing on it again encourages me to keep looking for all the things I love about them.

One day the little girls came home from school and I hadn't written anything on their boards yet. I asked if they could wait just a minute before going upstairs because I needed to write on everyone's boards still! Maddie said, "Oh. Mom? If you don't mind I'd like to hurry and write down what you wrote about me yesterday. I've been writing down everything in a special notebook and I haven't recorded that one yet." I couldn't believe how much it meant to her! It was another witness to the truth of what I had written the day before: "I love you because... you are grateful for everything you have and get to do."

The power of sincere praise and love is amazing! I can compliment Caden on the amazing amounts of good things he is able to accomplish in the time that he has and the next day he does twice that amount. I can compliment Kami on what a wonderful, kind and patient sister she is and she becomes an even more amazing older sister! The interesting thing is, that I'm not expecting the kids to do more or to do better - I'm happy with the efforts they're already making!

I read a book about "The five love languages" one time, and I have noticed that those in my family who have "words of affirmation" as their primary love language especially love these boards. I can tell that they feel so appreciated and loved!

I love the times that I go into their rooms to write them a new message only to find that a sibling has beat me to it and written a love note to their brother or sister. I love reading what Shawn writes to the kids (he tries to take a turn on the weekends). I love reading the notes that Shawn writes to me before leaving on a trip and I love reading the notes that the kids sneak in and write to Shawn and I. Kami wrote us such a sweet note one day that we couldn't bring ourselves to erase it for days!

Anyways, I thought I would share in case anyone else wants to try this out. Thanks for the great idea, Kelley!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An unsavory experience

Sunday morning I was supposed to meet Shawn at the church at 8:30 for a meeting that we were supposed to attend together. It had been a hustle-bustle morning trying to get everyone ready enough that I could leave them and then still have them ready for our 9:30 church, but I breathed a sigh as I left the house that I had done it!

I was nearing the end of our long driveway when I began to hear strange sounds emanating from the right rear side of our suburban. I thought I heard a scrambling sound and then a "thump". My first thought was that our cat was on the top of the car, so I stopped the car so that she could jump off. I didn't hear anything, so I pulled slowly ahead once again. And again I heard a thump. This time, I got out of the car and walked around the back end to see what was going on.

You can imagine my shock when I saw our dog, Jack, chained to the right rear wheel of our car, strangling, because his chain was wrapped up so tight around the wheel. I started yelling for Caden, but of course he couldn't hear me. I was trying to lift Jack and untangle him and trying to find a way to detach him, but couldn't find anything, and I felt like time was running out because Jack was trying with all his might to breath!

I didn't feel like I had time to even leave him, but I finally ran over to the Jonson's because at the end of our driveway their house is actually closer than our house. I rang the doorbell and couldn't hear any response, so I started ringing the doorbell multiple times and knocking. Greg finally answered the door and ran to the rescue (he used to be an EMT) . Boy do I love our neighbors! He cut Jack's collar off and Jack was, thankfully, just fine.

I thought that I would be late for my meeting, but it turns out that the whole incident lasted only 5-10 minutes at the most. Seemed like forever while it was happening. I arrived at my meeting a little shaky and a lot distracted!

So why was Jack chained to our wheel, you would certainly be asking? Well, Jack has taken to being the world's best watch dog, which is a nice way of saying "nuisance barker." He'll bark for 45 minutes to one hour straight every night, take a fifteen minute barking break and then start all over again. We have lots of critters creeping around outside, during the night, where we live. I get used to his barking and have learned to sleep through it, but where Shawn is gone so much of the time, he comes home and can't sleep a wink. So when Jack really gets going and won't be quiet, he takes him out to the garage.

The first time that Shawn put Jack in the garage, he tied him over in a corner where it didn't look like there was anything he could chew up. The next morning we discovered that he had chewed our garage door sensor right off of the door. After that, Shawn tied him to the wheel because a wheel was about the only thing he couldn't chew up. The only problem was, that I had NO IDEA that he had moved him that night. The night before, we had a lot of couples over for dinner and to play games and I went to bed exhausted and didn't even hear Shawn get up. (Although Shawn says that when he got back in bed I said, "thanks".)

Shawn felt really bad about putting me through that experience, but he still couldn't resist a chance to tease. He said, "Boy! I'll bet Jack's going to be really scared the next time I tie him to the tire." Um... I didn't think that was very funny. I snapped that Jack had better not ever be tied to that tire again! Only to look over and see him smiling at me. Seriously. Stuff like that is always so much more traumatizing to the person that it happens to.

Incidentally, Jack must be a lot smarter than I would think a dog could be, because he has apparently put two and two together. He'll bark a few times and stop now. Shawn went out last night to praise him after he stopped barking and he slunk around the corner of the house, thinking that Shawn was going to take him to the garage, we think. Poor old dog. We were both traumatized, but hopefully some good will come of it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

looking ahead

I looked out my window today to see Caden and his good friend Nathan Powell as they walked their fast offering route. They looked so sharp and it made me think ahead to when they are missionaries!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dad joins the blogging world

Ever since I was a little girl, if I got up early enough in the morning, I could count on it that my dad would be sitting on the couch reading his scriptures, indexing conference talks, or typing up his thoughts for the morning with his type writer perched on his lap. He would make room for me, and when I sat down, he would wrap me up in a blanket, kiss and squeeze me tight. Then he would focus back on the work at hand, stopping occasionally to pat me, hug me again, and tell me how much he loved me.

A year or so ago, dad had one of his books published; "The Speaker's Index To 40 Years of General Conference" which was a result of his doing this every morning and every conference for years. I have used his "indexes" ever since my first talk - it is the greatest resource for speaking or giving lessons to my family or at church.

When I left home for college, I remember feeling so homesick, and going to the mail box and being so happy to find a letter there from my dad. He always wrote one letter and mailed it to all of us kids - the same letter typed up, and then signed "love, dad" in his own hand. If a brother was currently on a mission, we could count on one letter a day. If not, we still usually got two or three newsy letters per week about everything that was going on at home. Dad is the letter writer, mom's the telephone talker.

For the last year we haven't heard from dad that much - for some reason he was having a hard time getting his letters printed off. He was feeling bad about that, and also wanting to share his writings with us. He says that some day he is going to present us with books and books of his writings and journal entries - we already have a lot of them and use them A LOT - but he says that it recently occurred to him that when we get them all at once we may not read them right away. He wanted us to be able to benefit from them in our lives right now. So... my dad has started a blog!

I am loving it. Every day he has something new on it, and every day it is just what I needed to hear/read. My dad is amazing!!