Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Great news!!!

Sometimes all of the bad news in the world wears me out.  Sometimes I have to take a break from listening to it on the radio, or reading about it in the paper.  I can't help it.

Last night, I went to bed completely exhausted after helping my husband and two oldest kids get ready to leave on a pioneer trek.  I was ready to fall right to sleep, but then I saw a "newspaper" rolled up and tied with some pink yarn, lying on my bed!  And I tell you what, reading it was very energizing!! This is news I would enjoy every day of the week:

Apparently, unknown to the rest of us, during all of their free moments yesterday, Isabelle and Maddie were busy publishing their first newspaper!

It included a lot of the important things:  Ads, Weather forecasts,  book recommendations, a recipe that they have made and loved:


Exciting stories:

I don't know if I can wait a whole week to have this cartoon and "special writing" resolved!!

There was a spotlight on Isabelle:

I love the "see threw stomach" and that they put that she is 8 and 11/12 years old:)
Included was a picture of that young lady!:

I can't wait for next week's edition!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Crazy kids

I frequently find interesting videos on my phone.  This one was taken by Caden; he and Kami enjoy Pace in some funny ways.

You can watch their latest here.

Crazy kids.

Friday, June 20, 2014

10 months!!

Pace turned ten months old yesterday.  How in the world could the time have gone by so quickly?! In my mind he's still 2 - 4 months old. I am so happy that we have this little boy in our family; we all love him so very much!

The ten month old face:

He has more hair than any of our babies have ever had - he's already had one hair cut!

He has been sleeping through the night for a whole month and wakes up with a cheery little disposition that is irresistible! 

We love his chubby hands, and feet and cheeks!

He can crawl speedy quick, and pull himself up to furniture and walk along it. Sometimes he balances for a moment before holding on to something again.  He has two teeth on the bottom, two about to break through on the top, and an appetite that we hope the teeth come through quickly and help him with all the foods he wants to eat with the family:)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I expect the kids to really chip in and help out around here.  I have a pretty high standard of cleanliness, and if the kids don't help out, I would be cleaning all. day. long.  And into the night.

I know that these little bodies are capable of being great helps, with some direction and high expectations. I hold cleaning "schools".  I began these schools when Kami and Caden were 5 and 4 respectively. We began with "bathroom cleaning school."  I brought them into their bathroom with me, and had them watch me clean the bathroom while we talked about each step and how to do it. I wrote out each step for them (they were very early readers, which came in handy!) and hung it on the inside of the cabinet door.  The next time, I watched them clean it while we talked about each step and how to do it.  As time went on, if I inspected their job and noticed that a mirror was very smeared, or things weren't quite neat enough, I would call them back to re-do, because I knew that they knew, and the job needed to be done right. They became great little bathroom cleaners, and cleaners in general, as they attended this "school" in every room of the house.

Fast forward about eleven years.  Kami and Caden are still great cleaners; but I have noticed lately that the younger kids were doing less-than-ideal work on jobs.  I have the house divided up into "zones", and the kids usually rotate through them each week. Recently they decided that they would rather do it this way:
They are also expected to do their bedrooms each day, and a more thorough cleaning of their "zone" on Saturdays.

 As I was saying, I realized that some of these younger kids really didn't know my expectations for each room.

Recently I made my expectations for these jobs more clear, and made doing the jobs more appealing.  How? Well, the kids around here can't get enough of dry-erase markers, so I bought a pack of them, covered their job descriptions with contact paper, and they mark off each job as they go. Strangely enough, that, and the idea that there is fun to come after the work, is all that it takes to get my variety of kids up and moving with minimal complaint.

Once again, it turns out that kids just need some direction and understood expectations.  As they work away, I do a few jobs in each of the rooms, as well: clean all the toilets, keep laundry going, vacuum, mop (but not all of these every single day!!) etc.  AND THEN in a matter of a couple of hours we take off and have a great day of fun!

The house looks amazing!!!!...for a few hours.  And that few hours happens only when we have gone to do something fun OUTSIDE of the house:) Does it still get cluttery during the day?  You bet it does!! But I figure that a once-per-day cleaning is plenty!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The things they say volume 5

Or maybe I should title this "The things Abram says" because it's mostly things he has said.
Abram having trouble getting dressed Sunday
Abram wanted a snack the other day, and Shawn was taking a snack break as well, so he took care of it.  He asked Abram what he wanted, and Abram requested cheese (melted) on bread.  Shawn put two slices on a cookie sheet, because he decided he wanted some of that, too.  Abram said, "I want two pieces." Shawn said, "This is snack time, not lunch time.  Just eat one, and then get a fruit or something." Abram thought for a moment about how to get around this one and come out with the two pieces for himself, and then he said, in a sing-song voice, "Dad! Remember! Mom is worried about your fiber!!" (Which, yes he has heard Shawn and I have that conversation.  Shawn eats terribly un- nutritious foods while he is traveling.)

Abram came out from his room the other morning and announced, "I'm going to be a colored man today!" I was a little shocked for a second until I looked at him.  He was wearing as many bright colors as he could find.

Another day, he was wearing a black cape around and saying in a sinister voice, "The black mama!!"  He meant "The Black Mamba" a line from Mega Mind if you've seen it.  Again, a little shocking until we realized what he was trying to say.

Abram joined me while I was out dead - heading flowers a couple of evenings ago.  He asked what I was doing, and I explained to him.  Soon he wanted to help.  "Here is a dead head!  There are lots of dead heads out here!!"

Friday night we were coming home early from Maddie's soccer tournament.  She hadn't been playing for awhile because she wasn't feeling well (later she ended up vomiting and was still sick the next day) and Pace was ready to be finished watching. I should report here that Maddie's team never won a single game all season!  Those poor girls - they were always hopeful, but without hope.  For half of the season it really bothered Maddie, but then she got philosophical about it.  She says that they are undefeated if you take off the "un".

Anyway, on the way home, we were listening to NPR because I am really cool like that:) They started playing sound tracks to the Toy Story movies. Isabelle, Nolan and Abram were so excited!!  Isabelle said, "Turn it up really loud, mom!!"  I did.  Then she said, "Can you unroll all the windows?!" No doubt imagining that everyone would think we were so cool to be driving around with that music blasting out of our windows! I am so cool that I tried to do it before I remembered that I am uncool enough to be driving a car that has a broken door.  None of the control panels work on the driver's side. I just can't decide whether I am cool or not???  I spend a lot of time worrying about this.  Haha.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

mysterious disappearances

When I get to the other side, one of the first questions I am going to ask is: WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THE SOCKS?????!!!!!

Yesterday I worked my way through the sock drawer looking for mates to all the socks there-in. There were all sorts of great socks to be found...

...none of them, however, had matches. Why don't socks disappear together? I'm sure that I have at least one sock of every single pair that we bought this year.

I guess it's a good thing that mismatched socks are the style these days.

Oh yeah, they can't mismatch in any old way, they have to mismatch in a certain perfect way that I haven't caught on to yet...

Thursday, June 12, 2014


we bought our first much-needed teenager car:

The teenagers were both at work, and Maddie claimed the privilege of getting to be the first "kid in the family to drive the car".  She drove it clear to the end of our driveway!:)

I've been stranded a lot over the last year because Kami has needed a car, and taken mine.  She had what's called "zero hour" seminary - early morning seminary to all of you out- of- towners:) I could never take her and drop her off because I was needed to make lunches and get the little kids on the bus! Most of the time it worked out okay, except for a few exceptions (like when Nolan called home and was sick at school).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

summer routine

Yesterday Kami started her summer job up in Driggs, Idaho.  She leaves for work at 6:30 am; Caden left for work today at 7:00.  In the past, summer has meant waking up when I'm ready; there is no tight schedule of when to fix breakfasts or lunches or hair.  That isn't the case this year, but I am enjoying how things are going anyway!

It's really perfect, because Pace wakes up at 5:30, and I wake up while I feed him a bottle.  He goes back to sleep for awhile, and I help Kami (and Caden if he's working that day) get off. Then, I get ready for the day before the younger kids wake up.  I am so thankful to have energy again this year!!

Also, the last couple of years it has been tricky to balance summer activities that the older AND younger kids can enjoy.  I don't have to worry about that this year. Kami and Caden have appropriately moved on to activities that they should be doing during the summer, and I am left to put all of my energy into my younger kids.

I questioned each child about what goals they have for the summer, then we formed names for each day of the week so that we would accomplish what we want to during this quick 2 1/2 month time frame we have to work in. The kids really like knowing what to look forward to each day during our "structured time". For instance, ALL of my girls want to learn to cook and sew better, so on "Make-it Mondays" we cook and craft. Last week it was all cooking; this week there was some cooking, sewing, and a new fun project. The kids had mentioned that they wanted a path to their swing, so yesterday we made stepping stones:
mixing cement
We found some pans at the D.I. for .25 cents, lined them with waxed paper and poured some cement into them:
Then the kids went to town decorating their stepping stones:

Abe's creation - he had been painting before we started this project, and decided to add some paint to the cement:)
Kami brought back shells for the kids, from California, so many of the stepping stones are covered in a mosaic of shells. There is also a lot of hand prints and stones marked with "2014".  I love it!  Now we are waiting for the cement to cure so that we can dump it out of the pans and make our path!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I walked in the door from exercising yesterday morning to this cute sight:
Isabelle was up and ready for the day, complete with her hair fixed ALL BY HERSELF!:)
It really made me smile and whip out my phone and take a picture of her right there on the spot! I love those cute little braids!  She is sporting the look again today, and has dubbed it her "Pippy Long-Stockings hair-do".

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Warms my heart

Well, the kids finished school!  I spent a groggy first day of summer vacation after hosting an end-of-school party from 11:00 to 3:30 for Isabelle and her friends, and from 8:30 - 12:00 for Kami and her friends.  We got to bed by 1:00 am, only to be up for the day with our little guy five hours later.

So, in our spare time we have enjoyed sitting around perusing the new year books.  One from the Middle school, one from the Junior High, and one from the High school.  And when I opened up that High school year book, I can't even describe how happy it made me to see this:
and this:
and this:
and this:
and this:
Squished in amongst all of the signatures from her peers were little notes from her siblings that she had collected.  Isn't that the neatest thing?! I love this girl!  I appreciate so much how she loves and values her family and the relationships that she has with us.  I am so blessed to be able to claim her as my daughter and we are all blessed by her good example, love, and friendship.

This week she is headed off to Disney Land with her school orchestra.  We're all going to miss her so much!