Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pathetically wimpy

I am currently in a pathetically wimpy state, and am trying to do something about it.  At least my kids aren't laughing at my efforts.  Here is my little support group after I showed them how to "bicycle":

DSC01657 MLG 

I did 20 situps and thought I was done for.  Not really, but it was pretty bad.  I couldn't find my abs after the girls were born, so at least there's been some improvement!  I wonder how long it will take before I can do 100, now that I'm actually working on it...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Escape Artists/ Professional Nap Evaders

We've gone through periods of relative calm at naptime, and brief periods of chaos. But I am one determined/stubborn woman! I refuse to give up that time just yet.

Before we got the toddler beds, we went through a stage of "take off the sheets, all of your clothing, and your diaper". Then we got the toddler beds and had a respite. All was calm. The novelty eventually wore off, and the girls were exploring again. This meant taking everything within reach (which was more than I ever would have imagined) out of the linen closet and building a nest with the blankets. They also took dresser drawers out and strewed the clothing all over the room. I tried giving them quiet things to do, but the destruction was still more interesting than whatever I provided for them. So this was my next attempt.


I moved the dressers so that I could basically split the room in half, and use gates to block off the opening. (Notice "gates" plural"--I knew one wouldn't hold them.) Well, two won't hold them either. If they really want to get out, those gates can come down fast. This is their other method of escape:


They can't get under the gate, but there is a gap of 5-6 inches between the leg of the dresser and the gate.

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Don't let these sweet faces fool you! These girls are dangerous...

I know that nearly any means I can devise cannot contain them, but the girls are learning to choose to stay in. Sometimes when I go to get them, Gwyn (who is the instigator) says: "Mama, are you happy? I stayed in the gate!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lana to the rescue!

I had all the kids bundled up and loaded into the van just so that I could drop off a couple of things that were due at the library.  I hate to do all that work just for one brief stop, so I decided to take them in to the local thrift store and look around.  Thankfully, they're at an age now where they are pretty obedient, and stay with me very well, so it's actually nice to go places with them.

At the thrift store, I decided to buy them a little vacuum cleaner.  At the checkout I could see how excited they all were and quickly ran back to get one more.  (They were only $1, and I could see that my life would be easier if we had two to take turns with.)

DSC01604 The kids spent the rest of that day vacuuming the house (or riding on the vacuum cleaner).


The next day, I cut Everett's hair "just like Dada's", per his request.  In spite of my efforts to keep the cut hair off of him, Everett was really itchy and uncomfortable.  I finished up, and as he fussed, told him that I would get the vacuum cleaner right away.

Well Lana took off like a shot and raced back as fast as her little legs could carry her, the little vacuum in hand.  It was great to see how eager she was to help her brother.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet Gwyn



Of all of my children, I would say that for her age Gwyn has the greatest desire for independence. She wants to do it herself! While the other children accept almost any affectionate gesture and enjoy it, Gwyn sometimes doesn't want to be bothered. She also doesn't seek those things out as much, but she'll sometimes just come and sit quietly beside you. Recently, she has started to put her arm behind you and pat or rub your back, or just leave her arm resting there. I guess she's copying me. Often I have one child on my lap, and one on either side with my arms around them.

DSC01638 Gwyn


Gwyn seems to be especially sensitive when I am hurting. She'll look into my eyes like she's trying to communicate her love and concern without speaking, and give lots of hugs or lay down beside me and snuggle.

Gwyn sleeps with a great big teddy bear we call "Buddy Bear". The other day I woke up with a migraine, and as soon as Gwyn knew, she brought me her Buddy Bear. She was beaming when I snuggled up with Buddy Bear, because she just knew it would make me feel better.


*Edited to add: Soon after I wrote this, Gwyn became by far my cuddliest child. It seems like as soon as I pin something down about these kiddos, they change and it's no longer true.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Love - written Wednesday January 21st

It is amazing how much you can love a baby before it is even conceived.

baby 5

Yesterday I saw baby #5, a tiny embryo, by ultrasound.  I saw the little heartbeat.  I was relieved to learn that baby #5 was indeed just one baby, though I would have been happy with whatever number Heavenly Father blessed us with.

What I didn't know then was that baby #5 was smaller than he/she should have been.  I don't know exactly what was wrong, but today we lost our tiny little one.  I was 7 weeks pregnant.

It was a hard day.  It was very scary at first.  I was blessed to have my husband and little ones comforting me.  I got lots of extra hugs and snuggles today, and was surrounded by sweetness and unconditional love.

I don't understand everything, but I know that what happened was the will of our Father in Heaven.  I also have faith that we will be blessed with another healthy child at some point.  For now, I will blanket the ones I do have with my love, and help them to feel the love of their Heavenly Father, who sent them to us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Little Sunshine

For dinner tonight I experimented with a new recipe (from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook). It was pork chops cooked in apple juice, topped with a sauce made from cranberry sauce, orange peel, a little bit of onion, and some of the apple juice that was cooked with the pork. We also had mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas.

Gwyn asked for more.
"More what? More peas?" I asked.
"More potatoes?"
"More meat?"
"Well then what do you want?"
"More sauce."

Yesterday we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and Everett asked for bread. Mom apologized, saying that she didn't have any bread. Everett's reply: "Well then why do you have a toaster?"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kids (and husbands) have it good

I was sitting next to Cary, folding laundry. I turned to him and said, "Wouldn't it be nice if... Oh wait--clean laundry DOES magically appear in your drawers!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Christmas things, that is... I think I'll finally be done with Christmas after this post!

Soccer/ball pit, Christmas aftermath, and new matching outfits:


I made church bags for each of the kids, and got them each some special things to go inside. They were so thrilled with these that the first week they had them in church, they mostly just clutched them on their laps. Now they are enjoying the contents of the bags, and showing them to anyone who walks past, saying "I have a bag!"


Cary teased me about those bags. He wondered why I wouldn't sew a button on his pants, but I would sew all of these on for the kids! I mostly figured he could do it himself, but I decided to be a nice wife. I did all his mending and wrapped it up as one of his gifts this year.

Here's Lana and a new baby doll. This baby makes sounds--some happy, some sad. I'm guessing this is Lana's reaction to a sad sound, just before giving a kiss.


Everett was thrilled with his robe and a new set of tools and tool belt. He wore the hard hat for at least three days after. Gwyn is in the background wearing her new PJs.


Lastly, here are some of my favorite decorations this year:


Unfortunately, I wrapped up two unfinished gifts. Like I said, I was in over my head. One was a quilt for Cary and the other was a photo project for my Dad. I'm finally getting back to work on them. I need to set a new deadline or I may never finish!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Sweet Family

DSC01577 I thought I should point out that Jolina wasn't the only one who spoiled me on my birthday!  Cary and the kids decorated the house, shopped for thoughtful gifts, wrapped them, and got me an ice cream cake.  They even did a fairly good job of keeping things secret.  Gwyn spilled the beans on one gift, but I think they did great for their ages!

The kids were so excited for me to open the gifts and knock out the balloons they had decorated and hung for me.  Seeing their anticipation, and happiness in doing things for me made my birthday very special.  These things make me want to work hard to be a better mother.  I am raising little gifts from God.

More Christmas...finally

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas!  I was so happy that we were able to spend time with both of my brothers and their families, and my sister.  It's been a while since we've all been together.  Five babies have joined the crew since our last group photo.  (They all came in 2006.)

I love having my sister here.  I wish we could be together more often, but I'm happy that she has made her own way.  She spoiled me on my birthday with a bunch of new clothes, which I never buy for myself.  (Much of my winter wardrobe consists of hand-me-downs of hers.)  She also took me out to lunch.  It was great, and I think quite therapeutic.  And the restaurant gave me free chocolate cake for my birthday--rich chocolate with chocolate icing, swimming in a pool of hot fudge...mmmmm.  We only ate a tiny sliver there and still felt guilty.  I was so happy to just drive around and talk.

My brother Jim and his family came for Christmas too.  We loved having them and their kids over to play.  It's funny how my children get along so much better when there are three other children here!

We also got to go over to Jordan's house for Pumpkin Soup and a Ping-Pong Tournament.  I was recovering from a stomach bug, so I didn't play, but still had a great time.

One evening we had a family council with just the four original kids and our parents.  We were all really giddy at first, because it has been over ten years since the last one!  We felt like we were in trouble or something.  It was really good though.  *We found out on January 7th that my Dad's cancer has not shrunk with the chemotherapy, but it has not grown either.  His doctor believes that the cancer would have doubled again by now were it not for the treatments.  He had his last one that day.

Though our family can't always be physically close, I feel that we are very emotionally close.  I am so blessed to be in this family, where we all love and care about each other so much.  Counting both sides of the family, I am now blessed to have 9 wonderful sisters, 9 brothers, 15 nieces, and 4 nephews.