Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ode to Ben

You know what I LOVE?

When Ben snuggles up to me, then starts patting my back. It is the sweetest thing!

You know what else I love? When I make a smoothie and Ben runs to the drawer full of cups, and pulls out one of his very own sippy cups. He then stands at my feet, cup in the air, waiting for his cup to be filled.

I love it when I come walking into the house and Ben comes running as soon as he hears my voice, huge grin on his face, reaching his hands up towards me!

Or when he walks up to me, smacks my leg, squawks at me, then emphatically raises his hands up high as if to say, "I want you to pick me up....right NOW!"

I love the way Ben laughs. I love to see his funny little sense of humor. I love the way he tries to tackle me and smother me with kisses when I am sitting on the ground....even if I am trying to read scriptures to the other kids.

Then there's bedtime.

Usually Ben goes in the crib and then I tuck Luke. Ben watches as I give Luke hugs and kisses, then stands up and starts making popping sounds with his lips....his way of asking for goodnight kisses. I kiss him goodnight and he squeals and laughs. I love it!

But you know what I love most of all???

None other than the little guy himself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let the creativity juices flow

Maddy had a great Christmas. So great, in fact, that she wrote Santa a letter to tell him thank you for the best Christmas ever! I already mentioned the hula hoops....a huge hit! However, she also got a great big supply of art "stuff". (I'm not sure why the big guy is getting all the praise. After all, she did get the art stuff from ME.) J/K I am a big Santa fan, you know!

Anyway, she LOVES her art supplies. Almost daily, Maddy pulls the supplies out (much to her daddy's dismay). You see.... art supplies = big mess!

Her art "stuff" consists of paper, markers, stencils, stickers, feathers, glittery stuff, pipe cleaners, etc. All the kids join in on the fun.

A couple nights ago, the art supplies came out and the kids began creating. On this particular night, they were all interested in the pipe cleaners. Are you wondering what in the world a pipe cleaner is? Well, it's a fuzzy sort of wire stick that you can bend into shapes. And it is altogether possible that they aren't actually called pipe cleaners. I'm not exactly a craft expert, you know!

They look something like this.

And this is what Josh made with his.... a personalized necklace made completely out of fuzzy wire sticks. It was an early birthday present for Maddy.

Maddy was so thrilled with her gift that she decided to make something for Josh in return. Don't ask me what it is, because I have no idea! But, she was quite proud of it.

Ahhhh, those sweet moments when they are nice to each other does my soul good. We have our fair share of taunting on the one end (Josh) and whining on the other end (Maddy), but who wants to blog about THAT?

They really are great kids!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Yesterday after Josh's basketball game we were running out to the car. It had been raining and was wet and soggy everywhere.

Luke's grandpa was helping him out to the car. Luke turned around and called out, "Watch out for the muddle puddles, Grandpa!"

Then last night, we went to our friends' house for a birthday party. There were lots of kids running around playing. We gathered them all together when it was time to eat. I told Luke to sit on my lap and be quiet so we could have a prayer and bless the food.

He looked at me, bowed his head, and said, "Hea-nly Fadder...I'm not hungry."

And off he went.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Say Cheese

One day, Luke and I stopped at one of those photo booths in the know, the ones where you pay a couple bucks and they take four shots of you.

Well, apparently Luke thought it was fun, because the next time we were in the mall, he wanted to stop again. But I wasn't too hot on the idea of spending a couple bucks every time we walked by the photo booth, so we moved on.

Who needs to pay for photos when you can take them for free yourself?! At home, we created our own photo booth, which consisted of me holding the camera at an arm's length while snapping pictures of us making silly faces. We had fun taking pictures and then laughing at them. Even Ben wanted to get in on the action.

You gotta love digital cameras!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Will we miss it?

The other day, amidst the chaos in our home, Brek looked at me and said, "So, do you think we will miss it someday?" (referring to the chaos)

I thought for a moment, then replied, "Yes."

The house will be cleaner, the laundry will be significantly less, the noise level will be drastically reduced....but we will miss it.

Because we will miss them.

Along with the chaos comes so much joy. Families are the best!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Mighty Fortress

Luke is going through a phase.

A phase which I hope he grows out of soon.

I will call it the fort building phase. In case you don't have kids, or maybe you don't have fort building kids, allow me to explain.

Building forts (in my house) includes pulling all the pillows off the couches (as in more than one couch!) and stacking them in random ways. Usually it also entails running from room to room to gather more pillows.

Luke is still a beginner builder, and his forts usually end up looking something like this.

This a fort built Lukey-style. Or in other words, it is a great big pile of pillows. Usually the creation looks a bit more.... well.... fort-like, when the older kids join in the fun. And on the grand scale of fort-building, this fort is actually quite small, having used pillows from only two rooms.

My response to the forts usually goes something like this.

Day one: I think to myself, "I am glad they are having so much fun. They are being so creative! I'll just let them play and have fun, and we'll pick up the pillows later. Because really, big deal!"

Day two: I think to myself, "Wow, forts again? They sure are having fun building forts. Do they really have to use all these pillows, though?"

Day three: I think to myself, "Oh man, forts again?! Didn't I just pick up those pillows?"

Day four: I say right out loud, "Luke! Not again! I just picked up all those pillows. No more forts!"

And so it goes. Hopefully I will have a brief reprieve from the land of forts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The best Christmas present EVER!

For Christmas, kids often ask for that one and only thing they have been wishing for. Perhaps an American Girl doll. Maybe a new bike. Maybe a RipStik. This year Madelyn asked Santa for that one thing her heart had been yearning for....a hula hoop. More than anything else, she wanted a hula hoop!

On Christmas morning her joy was complete when she found not one, but TWO sparkly hula hoops awaiting her.

Shortly thereafter, the hip swinging began. Soon Maddy was able to walk across the entire length of the basement....while swinging the hula. She could even go up and over obstacles. Impressive, I tell you!

The other kids have joined in the fun. Syd and Josh are both quite proficient at the hula hoop. The kids have started branching out, trying things such as the neck hula (swinging the hula hoop around their neck), and the double hula (swinging two hula hoops at the same time).

Today Madelyn had show and tell, and she wanted so badly to show her hula hoops. Problem was, they wouldn't fit in her backpack. But, being the fantastic mom that I am, I agreed to bring them to her at the agreed upon time.

The time was 2:45. I arrived outside of Madelyn's classroom just in time. As soon as she spotted me, a huge grin spread from ear to ear. That grin did not leave her face throughout the entire show and tell.

When it was Maddy's turn to show her treasure, she walked to the front of the class, ducked her head, and quietly told the class about the new hula hoops. My crazy and very talkative little Maddy....shy in front of her class.

After her brief explanation, the class was allowed a few questions. Maddy beamed as she got to call on her classmates. She answered each of their questions with a very happy "Uh-huh."

After the questions, her teacher asked if she would care to demonstrate. I was surprised to see her shake off the shyness and begin doing the hula for her class. They ooohhhed and aaahhhed. She beamed!

I am so glad I was there to witness the showing of the hula hoops. It was one of those moments you treasure as a mom. The kind that make you also smile from ear to ear!

Tonight I came home from mutual to find Sydney and Maddy casually swinging hula hoops, with the timer set for one hour! They could have done it, too....if only they didn't get bored.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Smile

Often times, I go about my day doing the normal day to day things, unaware of the suffering that is going on around me. I am absorbed in the life of my little family, taking care of their needs, hoping for their safety and well-being.

But then there are those who are just hoping to make it through another day. For one reason or another, their days are filled with heartache, worry, pain, and name a few.

Today I have practiced with my kids, cleaned the kitchen (several times), done laundry, exercised, fixed meals, ran errands. You know, a typical day. Meanwhile, my friend Lana was shaving off what little hair her daughter Emma had left. One more reminder that her daughter has a life-threatening illness. So much for the ordinary, cancer-free life that was hers a few months ago.

I sometimes finish out my day feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. But I am sure Lana would take my exhaustion and stresses ANY day. On top of the normal worries that come with raising a family, Lana (and Jeff) are dealing with leukemia and all that comes with it....and there is a lot that comes with it. It is one bumpy road.

It makes me feel like I should focus more on the positive each day. My troubles are nothing compared to Lana's. I need to be more grateful for all the good around me, not take it for granted. You never know how quickly things can change.

Tonight I stopped by Lana's to drop off Ty who had been playing with Luke. My kids stayed in the car, and as we drove away, Maddy asked, "Who was that in the pink clothes?"

I told her it was Emma.

"But she didn't have any hair," was Maddy's reply. She wasn't bothered by the fact that Emma had no hair. She was just confused.

I explained that Emma had a very bad sickness and the medicine she needed to help her get better made her hair fall out. I then said, "But didn't she look great!"

They all agreed!

I then told them....

"Emma is beautiful, and you know why? Because she always has a beautiful smile on her face, and people who smile are beautiful."

How true it is. Emma is truly beautiful and makes me feel happy when I am around her. Thank you Emma for sharing your beautiful smile with me all the time!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random Thoughts

I am feeling so not creative.

Nevertheless, there are a few thoughts running around in my head. And I must jot them down.

I love my calling! Seriously. I am the laurel advisor, and it is one of the best callings. It's not always easy breezy...I mean I do teach every Sunday. But other than that, I get to be around and have fun with the youth. And let me tell you, they are amazing! I am so proud of them and all the good they are doing. Yesterday, Brek and I went with the youth to the temple. What a great day!

OK, here's a random question?

Why do you suppose babies feel compelled to throw things? When Ben is done eating, he squawks at me (his way of asking me to get him down). However, if I don't respond quickly, like within 10 seconds, he just starts picking up any remaining food and tossing it. Now really, what possible good can come from that?!

And then yesterday, out of the blue, he threw a phone right at my face (from close range I might add!) I seriously thought he gave me a fat lip. He laughed...ha-ha...what a fun game!

That leads me to my last question....

How can you be mad at a giggling baby???


They are just too loveable!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hair Troubles

THIS is the one thing I don't like about gymnastics!

Every time Syd has a gymnastics performance we have to put her hair in spiderwebs. I am what you might call "hair challenged." I can handle the basics....straight hair, pony tail, pig tails. But anything beyond that is a major stretch! Last year it was french braids for clogging, and this year it's spider webs. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone!

However, once it's done, she does look very cute. AND she is very fun to watch. She is quite the little gymnast!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

December Recap

Soooo, December is crazy. We all know that. Some of us are more prepared than others. I was not quite as prepared as I had thought, and therefore, I was running like crazy trying to get everything done! Anyway, as a result of the craziness, my blogging became sporadic at best. Not that nothing was going on, but I had no time to spare. And now I am playing catch-up. Big time!

So, I am warning you right now....this is one big long post. One of my favorite accomplishments of the year was getting my blog printed into a book. It turned out great, and I am thrilled to have it. It is my journal/scrapbook for the past year. I plan on doing this every year....hence the catching up.

And now on to the goods.

First, there was basketball. So what's the big deal you may ask? Basketball is like an everyday thing around here. But this time, it was Syd playing. This year she decided to cut back on dance classes so she could play basketball. She absolutely loved it. She loves to run, and she is afraid of nothing. She was tenacious on defense, stealing the ball often. She chose her own attire, which was often times quite unique. While the other kids were wearing basketball shorts and tennis shoes, Syd would wear her capris and crocs. She informed me that she could run much faster in her crocs.

Syd is all about being fast. This picture, though dark, captures the real Syd. Whenever she had to run from one end of the court to the other, she would sprint. What fun!

The next event was Maddy's school program. The first graders did a Christmas program, and she was so excited about it. She was mostly excited to have everybody come watch her. As she walked into the gym and took her place, she began looking around. As soon as she spotted everyone, a huge smile spread across her face and she waved and waved. Very cute!

Then there was a quick photo shoot of the kids so I could send out Christmas cards....late, of course. I told the kids to run in and jump on my bed, and I started taking pictures. They were there for maybe a total of 3 minutes, and I am amazed that I actually got ONE semi-descent picture out of the million I took! Ben was pretty much ticked about the whole thing, and the other kids just wanted to make crazy faces, poke each other, and stick their hands and feet in the air. Anyway, here are a few pictures to show their true colors!

This was the one and only picture of the bunch that turned out OK...with the exception of my screaming baby!

Syd and Maddy are taking ballet (only) this year. For their Christmas concert, they got to perform part of the Nutcracker. They were thrilled! Josh ended up being a part of it as well when their teacher asked for any brother volunteers to play the boy parts. Scott said NO WAY, but Josh is always up for anything! I love that about him, and he still continues to surprise me.

Along with his original part, he got to be in a Russian dance, which was very cool! Sydney definitely has a flair for performing and we loved watching her. Madelyn is more shy on stage, but she always has the cutest smile on her face!

Finally...on to Christmas. Christmas Eve was spent in Twin Falls at Cory and Kelly's house. Kelly's home is always so beautiful, and she always has so much yummy food. We did a Christmas program with the kids. All the kids participated, except Luke. At one point in time he did have a costume on, but quickly decided he would much rather continue playing upstairs, and discarded his costume. Brandon and Emily (brother and sister) were not exactly thrilled to be Joseph and Mary, but did as their grandma asked.

There were violin and piano musical numbers, and lots of singing. Then the kids all opened their traditional Christmas Eve gift...PJs. (Shocker, I know.) Finally we loaded up and headed for home, excitement growing by the second!

Once home, Ben went to bed, and one of my favorite Christmas traditions began. Each year in our family, we draw names. Then you must make a gift for that store-bought gifts. This has been such a great thing for our family. It is always hard trying to help everyone get their gifts made, but it is ALWAYS worth it! We exchange those gifts on Christmas Eve (separate from all the craziness on Christmas morning). It is the gift everyone is always most excited to give. This is actually a tradition that was begun by my mom.

Here is a quick overview.

Sydney made for Josh. She took all of his papers, letters, cards....any memorabilia I had saved from the time he was born, and compiled them into a book. This was quite a project, which required much help from me. It turned out great!

Scott and Josh made for Madelyn and Sydney. They each made the girls a cute magnetic board for their bedroom. The boys weren't too thrilled when I dragged them to Elise's super Saturday to make their gifts. But they survived and their gifts turned out very cute!

Madelyn made me a coupon book, full of all sorts of great things like cleaning her room, unloading the dishwasher, giving me hugs, etc. She made the whole thing by herself. She cut the pages, came up with the ideas, wrote on and illustrated each page. Very cute!

Brek made Scott a wake skate. I know....who makes a wake skate?! Well, Brek does. Brek is the type of guy who can pretty much figure anything out. Scott loved it!

And last but not least, my gift for Brek. I made Brek a CD of myself playing the violin. You may think this is wierd, but Brek loves it when I play the violin and I knew this would be something he would love. Brek's friend Brian recorded me and borrowed some amazing mics from his friend. It turned out so much better than I had expected! So many people helped me....accompanists, people who watched my kids, people who gave us the use of their home to record, and of course, Brian. I was SO excited to give my gift to Brek, and he loved it!

Once we had opened our homemade gifts, the kids happily went to bed, knowing Santa wouldn't arrive until they were sound asleep!

Finally, Christmas morning arrived. I heard the kids calling my name. I had instructed them that anything before 6:00 was too early, and to check the clock before waking us up. They were obedient and woke us up at exactly 6:00 am. We usually gather in the guest bedroom upstairs (where the boys sleep on Christmas Eve) and all head downstairs together to see what surprises await us. I headed up with the kids and we waited for Brek. They had already woken up Ben, but he didn't seem to mind. They were SO excited they could hardly stand it.

Once dad showed up, we said prayers, then made our traditional stop on the stairs so I could take their picture one last time. Apparently, the flash was quite bright!

FINALLY the kids ran down to see what Santa had brought for them!

Madelyn was thrilled. She had received not one, but two hula hoops! All she had hoped for and more!

The first gift Luke opened was a book, and he was thrilled. In fact, he had no desire to open any other presents until he had read his new book.

Santa gave Scott a new air soft gun, which apparently was a bit more powerful than we had anticipated. Brek was wondering what Santa was thinking?! Perhaps Santa will get a bit more help next year!

Oh man! It doesn't get much better than this!!

And finally, last but not least, here are a few pictures of the huge drift in our back yard. The week of Christmas was snowy, freezing cold, and windy! I love snow, but I could do without the wind. The combination of the two makes for lots of drifts. The drift in our backyard went almost to the top of the fence, making it possible for the kids to step right over the fence then run down the other side. The drift was hard enough they could walk right on top of it!

As they looked out one day, they discovered this huge drift, and next thing I knew they were all throwing on coats and running outside. The wind was still howling.

I had no idea Madelyn had run outside barefoot until I looked at these pictures! What was she thinking?! No brain, no pain I guess.

By morning, the drift in between my house and the neighbors actually did go to the top of the fence (a good 6 ft.), completely covering it. (I wish I would have taken a picture then!) Roads were blocked everywhere. Brek spent a whole day trying to help people clear their driveways with one of his blowers. It was crazy!

So, there you have it. December in a nutshell....

or in one very long post!