Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Friday, April 26, 2013

quick takes *that ended up making a long post* kid style

Finding me in the house one day to exclaim, "mom, I like me because I am happy!"

 Enjoying how he calls our Suburban the "mis-un-burpin"

Shirtless today just as Isabelle arrived home from school with a friend, he hustled me to find him a shirt saying, "Hurry!!  I don't want them to see my MANLY chest!!!"


Crying inconsolably and incessantly today because it was the girls turn to have friends over and he "didn't have anyone to play with!!!! WHAAAAA!!!"  (That whaaaa was him, not me:)  Finally he sniffled, "I just really need a hug!"  After a long hug he was miraculously all better:) Hugs heal a lot with this kid.

For the last three months or so, Nolan has taken his Book of Mormon with him all over the place.  He tries to read what he calls "one square" a day. Which is one column on a page.

Background on this next one:  Shawn keeps a mattress under our bed, all handy to pull out quickly, because almost every night his back starts hurting and he ends up sleeping there instead of in our bed. In the mornings if we are slow to scoot it back, the little boys love to play on it.  Well, the other night Shawn went to check on the little boys and there was Nolan curled up on the floor on a tiny little blanket beside his bed... being just like his dad:)


This one is amazing... Yesterday morning Isabelle became the first member of our family to finish reading the Book of Mormon ALL BY HERSELF at the age of seven!!!  She has been persistently reading one chapter a day for well over a year now (I don't think she was as consistent during the summer.)  We also finished again as a family a week or so before that, so she has some readings under her belt before she gets baptized!!

Isabelle has once again been organizing her life with self improvement charts.  She designs charts with six or seven columns and corresponding days of the week.  The charts that I know of that she currently has going are: teeth brushing - because she wasn't remembering in the morning, clearing her plate from the dinner table, and practicing the piano. She is ecstatic every time she gets to mark off another day.

She is currently reading her first mystery, a Nancy Drew, and was so scared at bed time that she is going to be sleeping with me tonight:)


Mads was in desperate need for a hair cut, so the other night after putting the little kids to bed we straightened her hair, so that I could see what  I was doing, and cut off about three inches.  It was about to her waist, when it was straight, and that length had been her goal so she was not happy to cut it off. She has refrained from washing her hair for three days, and we do straightening touch-ups every morning, and she can't keep her hands out of it.  It feels so good to her to be able to run her fingers through her hair and brush it without it turning to frizz.  She also looks so pretty with her long, healthy, shiny hair...but ...I  always miss her curly hair when we straighten it... it just seems to be a part of her personality!

She sprained her wrist pretty bad just in time for a gymnastics recital...luckily I watched my volleyball coach tape my own wrists every single day before practices, because I was prone to wrist sprains, so I know how -and have been- taping Maddie up as well.

I love that she likes talking to me.


Caden has a summer job that he is SO excited about!  He will be working for Shawn's Uncle Kerry as a farm hand up in Driggs, Idaho, changing pipe and fixing fence.  Kerry has been hiring his grandkids, but needed an extra boy and I think since Caden is friends with his grandson, he got the offer!  He will be gone all week, living up there, and come home on the weekends. We are excited for him and it is such a blessing that he has a job, but it will be strange not to have him here as much - he is a fun and handy kid to have around!

I need to blog about the great job he did on our greenhouse...

Cade went on a camp-out tonight that he was NOT excited about. He is now the oldest deacon in his quorum with a group of extra rambunctious, extra young-acting boys.  To make it more exciting for himself, he marinated some steak for his dinner, got some potatoes all ready to cook a certain way, and mixed up some dough for some skillet bread.  He took care of all the planning and doing himself and anticipating his dinner he seemed a lot more happy about going:)


Getting closer to her license - She could have gotten it in March if she'd had all her hours. I think she said that she has about 14 hours more to drive. Shawn has been really good about taking her out for drives on Saturdays to get even more experience in for her.  We have a hard time with her getting to drive during the week because our Suburban's light doesn't show up that shows what gear it's in, so she usually waits for Shawn to get home with his car and practices more in that.

She rescues me almost every day from a demanding little boy or two.  When I am trying to work on something (like dinner) and have an upset boy clinging to me, she usually says, "Do you want to play with me?"  And they always do because she always does something fun with them.  I appreciate the help SO much!! And I appreciate that I don't have to ask her, because then I don't feel guilty about it:) And some evenings, when I am particularly tired after going all day and taking care of dinner, she says, "go sit down, mom.  We will take care of cleaning up dinner."  She is very insistent about it and organizes the other kids and has it done and sparkling clean in no time. No one should have any children until they have a Kami in the house!!!

Right now she is my reason for blogging at 11:30 at night.  She and her friends are watching a movie that I think still has a ways to go - they hung out for a long time before starting it.  Shawn isn't here and I am on full-time duty - no nodding on the job;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The big achievement trophy

The last couple of months have been busy for Kami as she has gotten ready for piano AND violin festival (which are held on the same day.) She had a long (6-8 page) difficult piano piece to memorize, plus another piano piece to memorize, plus two violin pieces to memorize.  She said that she felt like her brain was fried.  But she did it, and as this time was her 15th festival, she received her big statue of Beethoven. (I believe the other composers that you can choose from are Chopin and Mozart.) Her grandma Gee, who is her amazing piano teacher, brought it over just the other day:

As you can see, he's so handsome that she'll probably want to sit and stare at him all the time and she won't get all the practicing that she needs to done anymore:)

Kami loves music, and it's fun to see how much progress she is making in it, and the enjoyment that she gets from it. Also last week she tried out for a highschool choir, "Musettes".  *BRAVE!!*  She had her Aunt Suzette come over and help her get a song ready.  She just found out this morning that she made it! I think it's great that she is developing talents that she will be able to enjoy her whole life! Another thing that is really neat to me is that while she develops these talents she is also getting closer to, and spending more time with, extended family members - people that bless her life with love and a good example!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More blue!

 Yep, the boys are going to dominate the family:) I wasn't too surprised, because I can't think of any boys names that I like, and that's usually a sure sign that  I will have a boy.  Whenever I can't think of a girl's name I have a girl, and vice versa.  So... if you have any good boy names feel free to share, otherwise I am afraid that Shawn will name him something like Lysander or Salmon - old family names that he has always liked and always mentions when I am drawing a blank. EEP!

Abram and Nolan both had their hearts set on having a little sister, so when the ultrasound lady (sonographer?) said that it was a boy, Nolan said, "Darn!" . Abram said to her about three times, "I wanted a little sister!!!" as though she could change the out-come or something. But then later, she caught a picture of the baby "waving" at us and Abram began beaming and excitedly waved back at the baby. He has sounded excited about a baby brother ever since:)

The good news is that the doctor thinks I am a week further ahead than we originally thought.  The bad news is that I am doing my regular HUGE weight gain, and she said I need to be careful *I already am!*  (It's inevitable, I am afraid).  She told me to stop eating anything after dinner.  She said to drink almond milk because it's less calories.  She said if I eat cereal to eat Kashi Go Lean. She said to eat more protein and less carbs.  Check, check, check.  I already do them all.  Plus I don't eat sugar.  I guess I'd better curb my appetite even more...I am the only person I know that has to go on a diet and eat less calories when I'm pregnant than when I'm not.  Sigh. But the good news is that if I am one week further ahead than I thought, that is one less week to gain three or four more pounds. HA!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sharing five

1. Can I just tell you how much I have been enjoying cleaning lately?  I was so worried all while I was feeling sick and unmotivated that maybe I had really turned into a lazy person - seriously I was really worried about it!  But since I have regained some energy and motivation I have been spring cleaning like nobody's business and I have the world's best helper *Abe* who has been enjoying every second working together, and so have I! 

Generally, when the kids this age help out, it really slows things down, but Abram and I have got a real system going.  He loves to clean mirrors, sinks and toilets, so on the days when we are cleaning bathrooms, I let him scrub the toilets with the toilet brush while I wipe the toilet down with Clorox wipes.  Then, when I'm ready to scrub it, I set him to work "cleaning" the mirrors - so that he doesn't notice that I don't think his job is satisfactory. His favorite part is just to spray the cleaners:) When I'm ready to go over those mirrors, I just move him to some other ones.  We're always together, talking away, and I can't believe how he'll clean for a couple of hours straight with me just because we're together (plus he's probably lonely being the only one at home with me).

I realized recently that cleaning is kind of a hobby of mine when I was at the library and was checking out some "how-to books". I always grab some of those that have to do with my interests.  I couldn't resist checking out a book called "How clean is your house?".  I love getting books like this and learning new tricks and tips and getting more motivated just from reading them! This works for anything, I have discovered.  If you don't feel like you're being patient enough with your kids, for instance, just check out a parenting book - suddenly you just shape up because the book's on your mind and you've learned a few more "tricks".

2. Another thing that I love about cleaning is all of the goings- on of your children that you were unaware of:
I found this on the floor in the toy room - CUTE!

3. The kids have this thing where they call each other their names spelled backwards.  It is so funny that they even thought of it, for one thing, and that they remember their names and say them all the time for another, and that everyone *mostly everyone* is OK with -in fact gets a kick out of -being called by these names.  For instance, if I were Isabelle, I don't think that I would relish being called "Ella-bossy" Which is what her name ends up sounding like when spelled backwards (ellebasi).  But she does - she beams whenever they say it. They all get a real hoot out of Abram's- "Marba" ... well all but Abram.  He is the one that takes exception to being called his backwards name:) They call Kami "EEmack" and Caden "Nedac".  For some reason, though, Caden's nick-name for Maddie is Patsy.  He always calls her that... not sure why?

4. For the last couple of days, Abram has liked to say "at least" before many of his sentences.  I have to say, that it's been pretty endearing to Shawn and I when he says, "At least you're my mom!" or "At least you're my dad!"  While I am on things that he says, I think it's cute that he calls our suburban the "mis-unburpin" :)

5. In other news, we get to go find out what we're having tomorrow!!! Boy or girl?  I have no idea what to expect.  Either one will be really nice since we have an even split in the family right now, although I think it would be fun to have a girl again since our last two are boys....and since I really want to knit and crochet projects for this baby, and girl things are just more fun.:) But I guess I'm kind-of expecting a boy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring break part 2 -the misery of it all:)

During the last session of General conference we left Jodi's house - we figured we could listen to the rest of General conference while we drove to our night- time destination.  And we WERE able to hear all but the last ten minutes before we lost the signal. HOWEVER, we were painfully reminded how important it is not to try to travel on Sunday when at all possible:

I know.... I KNOW!!...but we rationalized our way into doing it because spring break around here always has conference right in the middle.  This was our rationale: If we did the camping part first, we were afraid that we would all be too tired and grouchy, stinky and dirty to listen to conference afterwards... AND we were spending time together as a family...  AND there didn't seem to be any other time to do it...

But halfway between Price and Green River a light came on that said that our car battery was low.  Then it kept getting lower.  Shawn and I looked at each other and said, "this is what we get for traveling on Sunday!" Which we try to avoid but sometimes do on our way home from visiting family in Oregon and such, but somehow it felt different since we were on our way to a camp out.

(Some of Caden's entertainment while we waited...and waited....):
Some of Caden's entertainment while we waited...and waited...
LUCKILY we were able to make it back to Price and LUCKILY a car parts store was open and they were able to change our alternator, which had given out, so that we didn't get stranded somewhere in the desert far from all civilization and no cell phone coverage!

We pulled into Goblin Valley after dark that night, set up the camper and had a decent night of sleep.  HOWEVER the pregnant lady in the group realized that while she HAD taken into consideration that she probably wasn't big enough to be uncomfortable camping out yet, she failed to consider that she needed a bathroom several times during the night, and the bathroom was a long quarter mile walk from our designated camping site. hmm...cozy...The pregnant lady, who happened to be me, just in case you didn't clue in, ended up lying there in misery until 3:00 am when I felt Shawn stir around a little.  Then I asked him to accompany me on the trek to the bathroom.  When we got back from that invigorating little walk, Abram had a coughing attack for half an hour straight, but when he finally quieted down we fell into a deep sleep until our early bird Caden got up to get the camp fire going the second that 6:00 rolled around.  He actually has to force himself to stay in bed until then most mornings.

Our camping spot:

pretty, isn't it?
After a fabulous breakfast prepared by Shawn;

we set off to explore Goblin Valley. It is beautiful and amazing!! Our first attempt at exploring it was foiled three different times by family members needing to go to the bathroom, unfortunately not simultaneously.  (Little boys and pregnant ladies can't plan for these things) So, after trekking up a hill to an outhouse, we would get back to the valley only to have to trek back up again. Meanwhile, those left in the valley were told not to venture far, for fear of losing them or not being able to catch up to each other! When we finally all finished with the trips to the bathroom, a huge wind/sandstorm came up. SOMEHOW, with crying little ones, limited visibility and painful sandblasting-on skin and in eyes- we made it back to the car. Shawn read a book out loud to us as we waited it out and in about half an hour we were able to head back out to explore.

Caden and Maddie:


l-r: Caden, Isabelle, Nolan, Kami, Abram and Maddie - we found all sorts of caverns and the kids were mountain goats climbing everything in sight:


The valley is actually made up of tons of formations like these

The "Three Knights" above.

Around lunch time another storm started brewing.  We made it back to camp just as it started to rain...and rain... and rain.  Well, I guess it WAS spring break!! After sitting in our camper eating lunch and reading our book for a couple of hours while it poured rain and got colder and colder, and more and more miserable we decided to drive over to the ranger station and find out the forecast for the next day.  We had hoped to visit Arches State park the next day, but when we found out that it would be more of the same weather, we took a vote, packed up and headed for home. Another time, I guess!

We were well-equipped for a long, late drive home with lots of books on tape.  We listened to all of Maniac McGee, some Agatha Christie mysteries, Louis Lamour, and Sherlock Holmes. We stopped for dinner at IHOP - I don't think I have ever let any of us out of the house looking the way we uncombed, no make-up (on me and kami), shorts on Isabelle and Abram -even though it was snowing at the time- because all of their pants were either muddy or dirty, and no shoes on the three younger kids because they couldn't resist the red mud when it rained and they were CAKED with it. We were a motley crew indeed.

Whew! Athough it was miserable staying awake late into the night after being on sleep deficits for days, it was so wonderful to arrive home and crawl into our cozy beds and to wake up and get everything put back together before school started again today.  It was nice to cut everything short after all:) Lots of memories, and sometimes when events don't go perfectly those are the best memories to recall and laugh over!!

Spring Break part 1

I recently suddenly realized that this spring break might be the last time that I would feel like going anywhere for quite some time, so on the first day of spring break, which also happened to be my birthday, we all piled into the car and headed for Utah with a camper -borrowed from my friend Amber -trailing behind us.

Our first plan of action was to visit family members, temple square, a dinosaur park and listen to General Conference...which we did:

First stop was the dinosaur park and museum:
A display of robotic dinosaurs that actually took steps!

We ran into the Hoy family, while there, who used to be in the same ward as us back in Idaho.  We hadn't seen them for about six years and were surprised to see how their family had grown! Sylvia and I are both due with #7 at the end of August.  It's a small world!!

There were life-size dinosaurs of all kinds scattered throughout the park that the younger kids found particularly fascinating

Then we stopped off and saw David and Kelley Gee and their kids and also got a tour of their nice, new house. This was the only picture I have to document that - Maddie with Alison, who is exactly one year younger and has passed her up! (And Maddie's tall for her age!!)

The next day we started out from Shawn's sister Jodi's house and took the frontrunner to SLC to visit temple square:
Abe was pretty excited about riding the train!!

That evening we went to see my cousins David and Kellie Knowles and their family - Dave and Kellie took Shawn and I to dinner and then we stayed and visited for awhile.  Once again, I was negligent about using my camera. (arg!) I loved visiting all these people that we love in Utah!

It was so great spending time with this awesome family, too; they are so much fun - we stayed up way too late both nights that we were there and they spoiled us rotten! Later on, when things weren't going too well on our camp-out, our little hopefuls kept saying, "do you think we can go back to the Grover's house?"

sis- in- law Jodi, husband Evan, and kids L-r: Gracie, Hannah, Adelle, Sander and Eden
Girl cousins l-r: Hannah, Kamille, Gracie, Adelle, Madeline and Isabelle
Boy cousins (plus Hannah:) tallest to shortest: Caden, Sander, Nolan and Abram (showing off his little watermelon:) I promise he didn't get that idea from any pictures he's seen me posing for!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pulling it off

Last week I got a phone call from the principal of the elementary school.  She told me that she had some exciting news- Isabelle had won first place in the state of Idaho for a handwriting contest that 285,000 kids had entered!  What are the odds?!?! She said that the Houghton-Blouser (not even sure if I have that name right - I will have to check later)- handwriting company would be sending a representative to present Isabelle with an award at 8:15 on April 3rd.

So, today we drove all of the kids to school after the presentation so that they could all be there to see surprised Isabelle, who didn't know a thing about it, as we were supposed to keep it all a secret, receive her award. She got a big medal and a huge bag- full of fun hand-writing supplies. She looked like a very happy little girl! A write-up about it is supposed to be in the paper soon - i will have to add that later.

The handwriting rep, Isabelle, and Mrs. Rogers her teacher

Isabelle's teacher this year is just awesome-definitely one of the best that my kids have ever had - and she received an award too.  I thought I would share the funny little story behind Isabelle winning:

This handwriting contest was not mandatory - the teacher sent the contest home with the kids and they were to do it on their own time. Isabelle brought it home all excited and started practicing on a piece of paper before she wrote on the real thing.  Isabelle's papers don't usually have the neatest handwriting, so I gave her some tips.  She got tired of it after a few minutes and never did finish it up.  A couple of weeks later she came home and told me that she had finished her handwriting competition paper at the last minute.  She said that Mrs. Rodgers had told them that it was due.  She had leaned over to her friend Cambrie and said, "Darn! I wanted to enter that contest but I never got it done!" She said that her friend instructed her to just "hurry and do it while Mrs. Rodgers is talking." So she did. Last minute.  And I saw it when it was sent home a month later because she won for the school.  And it really looked great. So much for having one of those teaching moments that you get to tell your child to look at how hard they worked and see how it paid off!! Yeah, I don't think I will be pointing all of this out to Belle:)

Being presented with the award
Anyways, we're glad that when it counts, she knows how to write beautifully!! Way to go Belle - we're proud of you and you made a very exciting moment in our day!

Monday, April 1, 2013


My sister, her husband and eight children came to visit for the tail-end of their spring break this weekend!  It was so fun to have them here so we could spend time and celebrate Easter together!

 Gracie and Madeline:

I couldn't get over how there are so many tall "kids" around when we all get together these days-just look at all these teenagers:
l-r: Caden, Ila, Kami, Abby, Emmie, Isaac, Levi

 These older kids stuffed (and ate a lot of candy from) eggs and hid everything for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Katie and Steve:

 Too bad I'm not better about taking pictures - then I might have one of their faces:) As it is, I raided Caden's camera for pictures this morning:) But I thought that I would just say that Steve is awesome!! We all just love him and he is the perfect person for everyone in their family. I am so amazed and grateful for how everything has fallen into place in their lives! He loves Katie and every one of her kids and every single one of them love him, too. (I did post pictures from their wedding back in December if you want to go look at those:)- even though they're just crummy cell phone pictures:)

After the hunt getting ready to divvy up eggs:
The group of "younger kids":
l-r: Nolan, David, Abram, Gideon, Madeline, Gracie, Isabelle

There were a lot of us, and it was a crazy and fun time! We had Easter dinner, everyone went and played soccer at the park, visited, the kids watched a few movies, Katie and I went on a walk, the cousins all enjoyed each other and it was a great visit!!