Friday, April 29, 2011

Spoiled Rotten

That's me!  This year Michael has totally spoiled me.  Not only did I get a dozen roses for our anniversary but I also got an ipad!  Yes, that's right!  I have been coveting one for a long time now knowing that I would never own one.  I have even tried on multiple occasions to win one but with no luck.  Then, all of a sudden, Michael told me that he was going to get me one for our anniversary.  I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.  I ordered it today.  It will get here next week.  I don't know if I can wait that long, although I don't think I have a choice :)  I actually felt really guilty purchasing it.  I have never spent that much money on just me - especially when it was something that wasn't a necessity.  I am still drumming my fingers wondering if I should have done that even though Michael said to.  I asked him (over and over) if he was sure it was all right.  He said yes, but the guilt is still there.  Of course I feel guilty whenever I spend money on myself.  You should hear the conversations that go on in my head when I am debating a purchase for me.  Anyways, back to the spoiling... :)  I even get a cool red case for it.  It will fit nicely in my Miche Bag purse that Joyce gave me (love them too).  I have never felt this spoiled in all my life.  Money (or lack of it) has always been such a huge issue.  It still is, but some of the pressure is off now and we are able to enjoy things a little more than before and that feels good.  I grew up without money.  I have begun to raise six kids without money.  Finally there is a little extra and we can do things like go to McDonalds or take a trip to Grandma's and not have to worry so much about how we will afford it.  I have never felt that before and it is a wonderful feeling.  It makes me that much more grateful for Michael.  He has given up things that he loves in order to do things that are needed to support our family.  He works long hours and misses out on lots of family time - something that he wishes he didn't have to do.  Yet, each day he is up and going again so that we can have what we need and enjoy some of what we want.  It's not the fact that he gave me an ipad that makes me feel so spoiled (although it adds to the feeling :) it's the fact that he is willing to give so much to make these things possible.  What a wonderful man I am married to!  Now you may be thinking, what did this wonderful man get for our anniversary?  The answer - tires.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies

 As I have mentioned before, baseball season is well underway.  We have been practicing for weeks.  Maddi had her first game tonight (they won) and the boys have their first games next week.  Maddi plays for the Yankees.  She's number 2.


Zane plays for the Phillies.  He's number 6.


Zeke and Dillon play for the Dodgers.  They are numbers 2 and 3, respectively.


This is me.  I play taxi driver, cheerleader, coach, and vending machine.  I don't have a number.  

Olivia and Makenna just play where ever and whatever they can while they are being drug from field to field.



















It keeps things crazy busy but we do enjoy it.  The weather isn't always the best.  We've been rained on, snowed on, frozen and blown away, but occasionally we will have a nice day which makes it all the more enjoyable.












11 Years

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary.  I can't believe all that has happened.  Michael and I met just over 11 years ago in a potato field.  It was harvest.  I was piling potatoes and working in the office for one of the farmers north of Rupert.  Michael was driving tractor for the same farmer.  The last night of harvest he was the last worker that we took dinner to.  That was the first time I met him although I had heard a lot about him.  The other workers in the office would tease me about needing to meet him because he was the only single male that spoke english!  Shortly after harvest the farmer I was working for moved me to his potato packing plant to work in the office there.  That was near the end of October I think.  When beet harvest was done Michael, too, came to work at the plant in the maintenance crew.  That was towards the end of November in 1999.

We went on our first date a few days after News Years.  We were together every day after that.  We took our lunches together and spent our evenings together.  After the first week, we both knew that we wanted to stay together.  It was just one of those things.  I didn't know a lot about him, but I just felt he was who I had been looking and hoping for.  We bought the engagement ring by the end of January.  He didn't give it to me until near the end of February.  We were married two months later.

We had a lot of opposition to our marriage.  It was hard to deal with.  This was supposed to be a happy time, yet there was disappointment in the reactions of some.  Our love for each other and the strong knowledge that we knew we were to be together helped get us through it all, along with the support of some of our family.

The next 11 years seemed to come and go quickly and at the same time, last forever.  We have been blessed with 6 beautiful children.  They have changed our lives and changed who we are.  It has been extremely hard and heart breaking at times and overflowing with joy other times.  The roller coaster never ends and I don't think that I want it to!

We have moved many times.  Sometimes just from house to house, sometimes across country.  Our first year of marriage brought two moves, two jobs and one child.  Our second year brought another move and another child and the opportunity to be sealed to Michael and our children for time and all eternity in the House of the Lord.  Our third year brought child number 3.  Year four brought a new job and a move far away from all that we knew.  It was a hard move but a necessary one.  We needed to go and be our own family, learn to rely on each other and establish our dreams and goals in life.  Year five brought another child and a move back home and back to a previous job.  Year six brought child number five and another move.  Year seven brought a miscarriage, two moves - one across country again, and back to the same job there.  Year eight brought us our last child and many wonderful memories and fun times.  Year nine brought yet another move and another job.  It was an extremely hard move.  The hardest I have ever had.  I still, 2 1/2 years later struggle with it.  Things stayed quiet for year 10.  No moving, no children, a few broken ribs, a few trips to the emergency room, but nothing life changing.  Year eleven however, brought change again.  New job, cross country move, two new schools, and another in town move.  It brought us closer to family, which we love, but farther from dear friends, which we don't love.

Over the years, I have changed.  I have gone from short hair to long, thin to not so thin, newly wed to mother of six, country life to city life, small little hyundi to 8 seat expedition.  I have left my 20's and am now half way through my 30's.  I look for potties instead of bathrooms and I snuggle in blankies instead of blankets.  My idea of dressing up involves pants without elastic waists and my night out on the town is fast food followed by Walmart.  I love it though.  I am so blessed.  I am so grateful that I met Michael when I did.  I was ready and he was ready.  We didn't know what the future held but we were ready to take it on together and we have.  We have come so far and done so much - maybe not in worldly standards, but in what matters most to us.  Michael works hard and takes care of us.  He is patient with me and doesn't get mad when I go to town and come back with more than just the necessities.  I love home so much and I am so glad that I have him to share my life with.  And just like 11 years ago, we are ready.  We don't know what the future holds but we are ready to take it on together!

Zeke

Zeke is always coming up with hilarious things that he says.  The way his little mind thinks always keeps me laughing.  Here are a few of his latest conversations.  The first one was last week when we had a little hail/sleet storm.  The second one was Tuesday night after he had eaten some Goldfish for a snack.  The third was from this morning.


Zeke comes running in the house, "Mom, it's raining little white balls on my head!" 
Me: "That's called hail."
Zeke: "I have to get my jacket."
Me: "Why don't you just come inside until it stops?"
Zeke: "No, I like playing in it. I just need a jacket because the little white balls hurt my head when they hit it."




Zeke: "Mom, if you kiss me right now you will get some Goldfish crumbs."
Me: "What?"
Zeke: "I just ate some Goldfish and there are some crumbs on my lips so if you kiss me you can have some crumbs."
Me: "I don't want to have any crumbs off your lips."
Zeke: "Why not? Don't you like Goldfish?"

Me: "No, not really."
Zeke: "Oh, okay."



Me:  "Do you want anymore Coco Roos in your bowl?"
Zeke:  "They're not Coco Roos they are Coco Puffs.  See (pointing to the words) Coco P-Puffs."
Me:  "Oh, right. Coco Puffs."
Zeke:  "I know 'cause I read it yesterday too.  I even read it with my eyes closed!"
Me:  "Wow!  You read it with your eyes closed?"
Zeke: "Yes.  It was (in a higher voice) AAWESOOOOME!!"


He's dead serious when he says these things.  He brightens up my days in a way that no one else can.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sheep and Lambs


Today as the kids and I were packing to get ready for our trip to Idaho, I started debating about what to do on Sunday.  It's Stake Conference there (for those of you who don't know, we have this conference twice a year and it's when all the members in the area meet together instead of in smaller groups like we do on other Sundays.  There are usually hundreds of people there and our church leaders teach us).  This time it is not going to be one of our usual Stake Conferences.  It is going to be broadcast by satellite from Salt Lake and it will be for the whole region.  They are usually very good and I really enjoy going to them.  However, for some reason, the thought of dressing up the kids, taking them to a two hour meeting and all that will be involved with it just didn't sound appealing.  I have been tired lately and I guess I wasn't in the right mood today.  I expressed my feelings to Michael and he said to do whatever I wanted about it.  I tried to tell myself that it wasn't that big of deal.  People do it all the time and they are good people.  It won't make me "bad".  Growing up, I was taught that God comes first and we should ALWAYS try to do our best and choose the right.  Today, however, I was putting that out of my mind.  As I was in the middle of saying that maybe it wouldn't be that big of a deal, Olivia came running up to me. I looked into her eyes and the thought came to me, "What will I be teaching her and the others if I skip church?  What example will I be setting for them?"  They had all packed their church clothes without any question.  They know on Sunday we go to church and for the most part, they enjoy it.  They know the importance of learning about Jesus, keeping the Sabbath Day holy and making good choices.  Yet here I was, their protector and teacher, questioning the importance of church attendance this weekend.  
As I looked at Olivia, a talk from one of our leaders, Richard J. Maynes, came into my mind.  I quoted it in my Sunday School class a few weeks ago and this afternoon it came back strong.  He was talking about our responsibilities as parents to teach and lead by example, about how much influence we have over our children and what our actions can do.  He quoted a poem by C.C. Miller titled "The Echo".  It says:
’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.
What I do today, will affect my children for good or bad.  I can be the sheep that leads my little lambs back to our Father in Heaven or I can be the sheep that causes the heavens to weep as I lead my little lambs astray.  I can read the scriptures to them, take them to church, teach them of Jesus, and show them obedience.  Or I can do the opposite and leave them without the guidance and direction that they will need to make it through this life here on earth.  
These children that I have been blessed with are not really mine.  They have been given to me from a very loving Father in Heaven.  They are His children.  It is my responsibility to see that I do all in my power to help them return home safely to Him.
In the Bible in Ephesians we are taught to "...bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."  In the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi it says, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ...that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says, "But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth."  All through the scriptures we are taught to teach our children, to be examples to them and to bring them back to live with God again.  
This Sunday I am going to church.  I want to live up to the stewardship that my Heavenly Father has given me in caring for his children.  I want to be the kind of sheep to my little lambs that will lead them safely home.  

Schedules

Last night I got our third and last baseball schedule.  It covers the next 8 weeks.  As I mentioned before, I have four children playing on three different leagues and on three different ball fields.  Michael works 2 out of every three weeks.  My back ups (Spencer and Dad) are coaching golf and track.  They will be available at times thank goodness, but necessarily ALL the time.  I got out my trusty calendar and wrote down all the games and some of the practices (still waiting on a few practice schedules).  I want to stop now and bring out the fact that I am CRAZY!!  I must be!  Why else would I be doing this?!  Just kidding.  Although by the end of it all I may be crazy.  I want to share my schedule with you.  I know it's really no big deal and I'm sure a lot of people do it although I have found no one around here yet.  Their max is two kids.  I am thankful that all six are not playing this year.  I'll start sharing with next Tuesday's schedule.

April 26 - Dance 4:30 - 5; Maddi practice @ 6pm; Dillon and Zeke practice @ 6pm
April 27 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Maddi pictures @ 5:30, game @ 6pm ; Zane practice @ 6:30; Pinewood Derby weigh in 7 - 8pm
April 28 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zeke and Dillon practice @6pm; Pine wood Derby 7pm
May 2 - Zane practice and pictures 5:45
May 3 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Dance 4:30 - 5; Zane game @ 5:30; Maddi game @ 5:30; Dillon and Zeke game @ 5:30
May 4 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane game @ 5:30; Dillon and Zeke game @7
May 5 & 6 (I get to go on a field trip with Maddi to Cody, Wy so Michael has to deal with the games and practices)
May 9 - Zane game @ 7pm
May 10 - Field trip to SLC zoo with Dillon and Makenna 7am - 6pm; Maddi game @ 5:30; Zane practice
May 11 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane game @ 7pm; Zeke and Dillon game @ 7pm
May 12 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Maddi game @ 5:30; Zeke and Dillon game @ 5:30
May 16 - Zeke and Dillon game @ 7
May 17 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane game @ 5:30; Maddi game @ 5:30
May 18 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane practice
May 19 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane game @ 5:30; Maddi game @ 5:30; Zeke and Dillon game @ 5:30
May 23 - Zane game @ 5:30 ; Zeke and Dillon game @ 5:30; Maddi game @ 5:30
May 24 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane practice; Maddi game @ 5:30
May 25 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Zane game @ 7; Makenna Hershey Track meet practice
May 26 - Preschool 12:20 - 1:12; Maddi game @ 5:30; Makenna Hershey Track meet
May 31 - Zane game @ 7pm; Zeke and Dillon game @ 7pm
June 1 - Zane practice; Maddi game @ 5:30
June 2 - Zeke and Dillon game @ 5:30
June 3 - Zane game @ 5:30; Maddi game @ 5:30
June 6 - Maddi game @ 5:30
June 7 - Zane game @ 5:30
June 9 - Maddi All Star Tryouts

Along with all this Maddi will also be having at least two practices a week, usually on the weekends.  Sorry to bore you with all the details but I thought you should know that if I seem to drop off the face of the earth, I really am still here - I'm just at the ball field or driving children from field to field or back tracking through my day to try and find where I left my head :)  In all actuality I am glad that they get to do it.  They love it and I'm glad I get to stay home and be a part of it.  And while we may be running too may directions at once and going through the drive thru more than I would like, it is a great experience for them.  One I am glad they get to participate in.  Will I do it next year?  Of course!  As long as they want to.  Even though I know it is a good thing will I still go crazy?  Most likely :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter, a Little Early

With Michael working next weekend and me taking the kids to Idaho for their spring break next weekend, we deiced to celebrate Easter this weekend.  The kids wanted Michael to be a part of it and I didn't want to try to do the Easter Bunny stuff while on vacation.  The kids were so excited.  They cleaned the entire house and the boys even vacuumed.  Saturday was a very busy day.  I had church that morning for two hours, then a baptism that afternoon to go to.  Michael took Maddi and the others to baseball until I got done.  I took the other kids home while Michael stayed with Maddi.  That evening Michael and I got to go on a date while my parents watched the kids.  Even with all that, they got all their stuff done so that all would be ready for the Easter Bunny's visit.  Sunday morning was torture for those who woke up early (Makenna) because they couldn't go into the dining room (the Easter Bunny always leaves their treats at their spot at the table) until all the kids and Michael were up.  Their favorite prize from the Easter Bunny was Bendaroos.  They spent all morning after getting ready for church, playing with those things.  I would recommend them to everyone who has kids.  They are great!  They can stick to walls and windows but they leave no mess, they never dry out and they can be used over and over again.  Anyways, it was a fun time as always.  I love to see the kids still innocent and believing.  I love to get them surprises that I know they will love.  I love to see their faces with their initial reaction.  I love planning and preparing for it all.  The Easter Bunny even left Michael some treats at his spot.  Olivia noticed that the Easter Bunny moved the silverware bucket into my spot so he would have more room on the table for their stuff.  She thought it was funny that they all got treats and I got spoons!  Here are a few pictures from the morning.
Before the kids came out.

Olivia and Zane with their buckets

Zeke, Dillon and Maddi checking out their prizes

Makenna and Zane with their things


Zeke and Dillon putting their Bendaroo artwork on the wall

More Bendaroo artwork.  You should see our wall today!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy 8th Zane!


On the 13th we celebrated Zane's 8th birthday.  It was a big day for him.  He took cupcakes to school.  For dinner we had hotdogs and mac and cheese (his choice).  Then we went to my parents house and had cake and ice cream.  He wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

On top of all the normal birthday celebrations he also got to go interview with the bishop for his baptism.  He is very excited to be able to get baptized.  He also got to join cub scouts.  Adding to that excitement is the fact that it is just in time for the pine wood derby!  He already has his car made and ready to go.

 Michael also decided that he was old enough to have his very own BB gun.  We went out shooting that afternoon.

By the time he went to bed that night he was on cloud nine thinking he was pretty neat stuff!  We are so blessed to have Zane in our family.  He is very sweet and a good helper.  It's been fun watching him grow and change this last year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One on One in the Kitchen


 As a mother of six children, one of the greatest challenges I have is to find ways to have one on one time with each of the kids.  Now that Michael's work schedule is more demanding, it is even harder.  One of the things I have started is one on one in the kitchen.  Each week one child gets to pick a treat they want to make.  On Sunday afternoons, that child and I go into the kitchen and make it.  No one else is allowed in to help.  No one else gets to lick the spoons, bowl or beaters.  When it is all done, that child gets to share what we have made with the rest of the family.  It seems to be a fun way to sneak in some together time and in the end, everyone gets something yummy out of it.  This week Dillon got to be the one in the kitchen.  He made Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, some with pecans and some without.  He seemed to enjoy himself and I loved being able to spend time with just him.  The other kids enjoyed the finished product and we even took some over to share with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Spencer.




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Car Troubles

     This weekend, my brother's family was supposed to come and visit.  We were all excited.  My kids couldn't wait to see his kids and I was going to get to remeet (I know, not a word) two of my nephews and meet for the first time one of my nieces.  Then Wednesday or Thursday their van broke down.  They had just gotten it out of the shop.  It supposedly got fixed. Last night I went over to my mom's house.  When I got there she was just getting off the phone with my brother.  I asked how he was.  She said frustrated.  I guess they had gotten their van back only to have it break down on his wife Friday morning, leaving her stranded on the side of the highway.  As with most young families it seems, money is tight and these unforeseen things really add an unwanted burden to life.  It made me think about our car troubles a few years ago.
     It was February and we were on our way to church.  At that time, church was 45 miles away.  It was cold, as it always was in South Dakota that time of year.  We got about 10 miles from home and our van died.  We couldn't get it started long enough to get home.  We sat there in our not so warm church clothes trying to call someone to come get us.  We finally got a hold of someone and made it home.  We had to get a new engine.  Money we DID NOT have.  We finally found a good used one and got it all put in.  In the meantime we had borrowed a friends Excursion to get around in.  After a few weeks and a lot of money, we got our van back.  A few weeks later, I had left early (6 am) to go to the store.  It was freezing cold outside - still.  The store was 30 miles from home.  On my way home, about a mile onto the interstate, my van made a horrible knocking noise and then died.  I was stranded on the interstate in 45 below windchill.  I called Michael and then waited.  I was so frustrated!  I was freezing, mad, upset, very glad I didn't have my little kids with me, and very emotional.  Why, why, why was all I could ask.  We were trying to be good.  We were trying to live right.  Why was all this happening?  I waited there for almost an hour.  I loaded all the groceries into Michael's work truck (when he got there) and we left the van and headed home.  Dillon had been sick and he ended up throwing up in Michael's work truck (can we say new four door dodge?) which only added to the frustrations of the morning.  Later that day they hauled the van back to the shop.  It needed a new engine - AGAIN!  I couldn't believe it.  Luckily the place we got the last engine from let us get a different used one, no charge, since it had been less than 30 days.  We did, however, have to pay labor which ended up being alot more than we had hoped.  Our savings was cleaned out, our checking was cleaned out, we even had to borrow from Michael's dad because we had absolutely nothing to our name.  I had almost a feeling of devastation.  We had moved back to South Dakota because we felt that was where we were supposed to be.  It was going to help us get out of debt and relieve us of that financial burden, yet everything seemed to be against us.  I kept asking and wondering why.  Trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and why it was so hard.  The answers to those questions never came.  I still don't know why it all happened.  I don't know the answers to alot of our "car troubles" that we've had in life.
     Why, after being led to Astoria did we have to leave?  Why didn't things work out in Sioux Falls causing us to have to leave again?  Why are things still hard here?  Why can't I be back in Hendricks with the friends I love so dearly?  Why do we have to pay $1500 a month in rent so that financially we still struggle and can't seem to make ends meet?  Why did our house fall through so we had to rent?  Why does Michael have to work a job that requires him to be gone for so long?  Why can't chocolate be an effective weight loss food?  Just kidding.  Seriously though, I have these questions and I have them a lot.  The answers?  I don't have any. I don't know why all these things happen.  I don't know why money is our life's challenge.  I don't know why my friends have to be so far away.  I don't know why we have to live in a place where we have to live in town and lose the freedom that we loved so much - along with the horses, cows, haystacks and other country experiences.  All I know is that we survive.  Some how we make it through.  There's help when we need it, strength we didn't know we had.  Some decisions have been very hard.  Some we wish we never had to make.  But we did and we survived.  Do my days get long and lonely?  Yes.  Do I miss my friends and my husband?  Yes.  Do I miss the long, hot days at the barn with the 4-H kids?  Surprisingly yes.  Do I still feel that this is where we are supposed to be doing what we are supposed to be doing?  Yes.  Does it make it any easier?  Not always.
     I guess, after all this I have begun to learn that even if I am doing my best to live a good life, I will still have hard times and challenges.  I will still have car troubles, but I will survive.  When I was first in Ireland as a missionary it was hard.  We walked all day everyday trying to find some one to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to.  At night I would come home and my feet would hurt so bad.  They would be so swollen that my toes couldn't touch the floor.  In the mornings when I would first stand on them I would have horrible sharp pains shoot through my feet and up my legs.  I remember praying.  I would remind Heavenly Father that I was here doing His work and that I would appreciate it if He would take away this pain.  Then one morning, after repeating this prayer and reminding Him yet again of my pain, He finally answered me.  He showed me that while I still had the pain, He had given me the strength to get through each day.  Even though it hurt, each morning I had the strength to get out of bed.  I was able to go out for 12 hours a day and walk on those sore feet.  He had not taken away my pain, but given me strength to endure it.  Eventually my feet toughened and the pain went away.  I have been able to draw on that many times since then.  All of these other challenges that I have faced and that I face now will turn out okay.  It doesn't ease the pain of the experiences, but it gives me the knowledge that I will survive and have the strength I need.   We are always going to have car troubles.  There are going to be times when we feel stranded and alone on the side of the interstate in 45 below weather.  There will be times when each step causes pain that we don't think we deserve to feel.  We may never know the reasons why.  But we will always survive.  We will always come out stronger.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sometimes It's Important

Sometimes things that don't normally seem like an important thing to do become very important.  We get so busy and so socially acceptable that we forget little things that can be important and uplifting.  We think, "that won't look proper" or "what would someone say if they knew" or "that would be too self centered".  Maybe, maybe not.  I think there are somethings that are okay to do every now and then.  It won't make us less of a person.  It won't ruin our social status and it won't turn us into a selfish, self centered snob.  In fact, it could make us more of a person.  Here's my list of 20 things that, while are not an every day occurrence, bring me joy and have great importance in my life.

Sometimes it's important to:
1.  Wear high heels with your jeans when you drop your kids off at dance or baseball.
2.  Eat chocolate straight out of the bag.
3.  Look at yourself in the mirror and know that you look good.
4.  Curl up on the couch and read a book when your laundry is stacked to the ceiling and all the dishes in the kitchen are dirty.
5.  Cry during a Disney movie.
6.  Snuggle in bed with your little angels until 10 am.
7.  Eat cereal in bed.
8.  Dress up to go to the grocery store.
9.  Go to the park and swing like you did when you were a kid.
10. Eat cookie dough dipped in chocolate and LOVE it!
11. Have a Toy Story marathon and sleep in the living room.
12. Go shopping by yourself and for your self.
13. Paint your toenails bright green.
14. Have ice cream for breakfast.
15. Talk on the phone with your best friend like you did in high school.
16. Tell secrets and pinky swear to keep them.
17. Have a chore-free day for the whole family.
18. Jump on the bed.
19. Let a three year old put lip gloss on you and her and then go to town together :)
20. Wear your pajamas all day long.

Now be honest, don't you think SOMETIMES these things are important?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Makings of a Princess and Zeke

The other morning Olivia insisted on having her hair curled so she could be a princess.  She also wanted pictures taken of every step of the process and of every angle of her head.  Here's how our morning went...

This is obviously with the hot curlers in.  We only had one incident when Zeke decided to touch the little metal piece that heats the curlers.  A few tears, some cold water and we were all better.  The Princess ate breakfast while her curlers cooled.

This is just after taking the curlers out.  She thought it was cool that her hair looked like it had snakes in it.  Notice in the front view she had put "lips" on just for the picture!

Admiring herself in the mirror

 more lips for the front pose
the back (as you can see the curlers really didn't do that much)

Cheese!  I'm a pretty princess!

Zeke felt left out during all the pictures and hair fixing so he decided to get in on the fun.  He had his hair spiked and then posed for the camera.  He also wanted to make sure I got a close up of the cut on his head.
 Not sure what these two faces are all about but that's all he would give me!

 Side view (he wanted all angles too)
Pretty serious ouchies huh?

Off to Jackson Hole

The day has finally come!  Maddi has been waiting for months for it to arrive.  This morning at 6:15 I loaded her up in Grandpa's car and away she went to meet the bus.  The GATE (Gifted and Talented) group is going to Jackson Hole for 4 days.  Grades 4 - 7 are going (I think).  They will stay in lodges and sleep in their sleeping bags.  We had a tough time trying to fit everything into one little suitcase.  They had to have all sorts of layering clothes and snow clothes.  We finally put all the bulky stuff (snow pants, rain gear) in to her backpack and told her to use that as a pillow!  It sounds like they will have a lot of fun.  It is supposed to be cold and snowy the whole time but I don't think that will bother Maddi.  They will be outdoors a lot of the time.  They may even get to go snow shoeing and stuff like that.  She is sooo excited!  I am excited for her, but a little nervous.  I have never sent one of mine away like this before.  If they have gone overnight anywhere it is to a friend's or grandparents' house.  I won't be able to talk to her at all over the next four days.  She will be fine.  My biggest concern is that she will lose her lunch money for the trip home Saturday and her gift shop money from my parents!  Here's a picture of Maddi all packed and ready to go this morning.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bird Nests



Last weekend when we went home to Idaho, Michael's mom gave me this cute idea that she had found in a magazine somewhere.  Using peeps, jelly beans, pretzels and almond bark you make a birds nest with a bird and some eggs.  We were going to do it this last weekend with cousins but ran out of time so we did it tonight for family night.  The kids really got into it and used every last pretzel and peep.  We ended up making 50 of them!  Letting them dry took a lot of self control but I finally got them distracted until they were ready to eat.  Here are a few pictures of all the fun!







Maddi Made it to the Majors!

Being the insane mom that I am, I signed up four of my kids to play baseball this spring.  Zeke and Dillon will be on the same league and hopefully the same team.  They will play two games a week on one field.  Zane is in a different league on a different field.  He will also play two games a week.  Maddi is in yet another league on another field also playing two games a week.  Games are played Monday through Thursday.  Michael is gone two out of three weeks.  I have a feeling, there will be times when I will be a little frazzled trying to get four different kids to three different fields on the same night!  The kids are excited for it though so I guess I will have to make it work.  The most excited of the kids is Maddi.  In her league, once you hit 10 years old, you have to try out.  There are two leagues, majors and minors.  The coaches come to try outs and score you according to your performance and then they do a draft.  Those good enough to go to the  majors are drafted onto a team.  Those not, stay in the minors.  Maddi has never played baseball.  She played softball two years ago.  It's basically the same, but there are some differences.  The kids here all play minors when they are 9.  Baseball starts at age 5.  I wasn't sure how Maddi would do.  She is a great little athlete, but she hasn't had the exposure like some of these kids.  My brother Jon went with us to try outs.  Maddi did awesome.  He was really impressed with her ability.  I told him she was lucky because she didn't inherit my athletic disability!  She ran the fastest in her group, caught the best, swung the best and threw the farthest and straightest.  You would have never known she hadn't played in two years.  Yesterday her new coach called and said that Maddi had made the draft to the majors!  Her coach was very excited to  have Maddi on her team.  She said she grew up playing baseball and softball so she loves to see girls out there doing it.  Maddi was so excited!  She is one of two girls (according to the coach) that made the draft.  The majors is a more competitive league and the age range is 10 -12.  I am really proud of her, so is the rest of the family.  Practices start next week and games start in May.  If anyone is interested in an autographed picture, we will be distributing those soon :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Naptime With Daddy

One of Zeke and Olivia's favorite things to do when Michael is home from work is to snuggle up with him and eventually fall asleep.  They miss him so much when he is gone.  When he is home they just want to be close to him.  Friday, Michael surprised us and got off early.  They were in between jobs so his work day was shortened by several hours.  At one point we all (me, Michael, Zeke and Olivia) ended up in our bed snuggling and watching TV.  Eventually I had to get up and Olivia followed me.  Zeke stayed with Michael.  When I came in later, I found this:


Isn't it so cute?  Later Michael managed to wiggle out of Zeke's arms and get up.  Apparently though, he didn't stay up for long.  I went to go find him to ask him something and I found him like this:


I'm not sure how this happened and how well Michael slept, but Zeke looks rather comfortable!   Zeke claims he was never really asleep, just resting his eyes.  He said he was trying to sleep but couldn't.  I'm not sure I believe his story.  I have many pictures of the kids sleeping with Michael.  From the time they were babies it seemed to be a favorite past time for them all, Michael included.  I love these little passing moments.  Nothing can replace naptime with Daddy.