Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Birthdays and such

It seems like we are always eating birthday cake at my house. Maybe because we are. We've managed to work it out so that none of our children have to share a birthday month with any of their siblings. We have kid birthdays in January, April, May, June, July, September, and December. We mostly planned it that way. And we are on even numbers this time around... after K's birthday in January, we will be ages 0, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. I like it when things work out like that. It makes me happy.
Also pictured... K's birthday and "graduating" from preschool. S with baby B while we were in Santa Fe in May 2010.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

He's here!

Even though this post is dated "May 11", (that's when I intended to finish it) it's now December 2010 and our newest little guy (which is what we call him most of the time) is 8 months old. Baby "B" was born at 6:03 pm on Easter Sunday, weighed in at 8 pounds 6 ounces, and was 21.5 inches - my third biggest baby. Out of seven births this is the first time my water broke. I knew we had to go to the hospital but there were a lot of things to be done first! Unlike my husband, I was not in a big rush to get to the hospital. I knew all too well what I had to do. And... since it was Easter, I wanted to do the basket and egg hunt with the kids, I wanted to shower, and the kitchen needed to be cleaned. We managed to do it all and then got to the hospital at noon. Labor went extremely well - and surprisingly, it took the seventh one for me to realize what a good coach my husband is. Always in the past I preferred to be left alone to go through labor. This was the first time I didn't have an intrathecal or epidural and I give S a lot of the credit for coaching me through it. We made a good team. I felt like we worked together to bring B into the world.
You can see that all the other kids were more than thrilled that he was finally here. They came to the hospital to see him only an hour after he was born. He was quite alert. He seemed to be aware of everything and was trying to take it all in.
Proud (and tired) mom. B at one day old, just before we went home. One night at the hospital was enough for me.
And proud dad, with the one he always knew was waiting to come to our family, excited to meet him, finally.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


October 2009. I love Halloween! I always have, since I was a kid. Those of you who know me can't imagine it, but I was extremely shy, and dressing up for Halloween was a way to come out of my shell a little bit. I could be someone, or something, other than myself and I could blame any out-of-the-ordinary behavior on the character I was dressed as. Now I get to do costumes for a bunch of people every year! Fortunately for me, my kids are good sports and they let me dress them up. These are from the ward Halloween party at the church. Four of them were costumes that I already had (50's sock-hopper, cowboy/sherriff/bandit, witch, and angel). D's was a pre-made pirate costume that I bought, and Ni's fortune teller outfit was a result of thrift shop finds. I had a lot of fun putting them together.

I got double use out of the pirate costume. S and I got to dress up for a party at a friend's house. It was quite an accomplishment to get S to dress up as anything other than himself. In all the years that we've been married, when asked what he will be for Halloween he says, "I'm going as myself." So I made sure to get a picture of him as proof that it can be done. The question is, will he ever do it again? Hmmmm...

Here's our 2009 trick-or-treating group - all of my kids, with a few extras. We used to leave our house and go to other neighborhoods for trick-or-treating because the houses around here are pretty far apart. We thought that a "regular" neighborhood would be easier and they would get to go to a lot more houses. As it turns out, we tried our area a few years ago and loved it. It seems like more of an adventure to walk up and down long driveways, sometimes with very little light, and a lot of trees. We only have to go around our block, which is about a mile, and their buckets are full, and the kids are tired. It's perfect. The people around here give lots of candy because there aren't many kids out. The other bonus is that the group is never very far from home. We've created a new tradition.

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Fall preschool fieldtrips

One of the advantages of preschool is that someone else plans the outings for my child. This has never been one of my strengths. I tend to spend a lot of time, and usually enjoy, just staying home. So preschool has forced me over the years to get out of the house and see things and do things with my child. Even though I've done all these fieldtrips 6 times now, I still loved watching K experience all of them for herself. The first fieldtrip of the year was at the end of September. We went to the apple farm and learned all about apples and how to make cider. We got to pick an apple to eat, play in the yard, and see some fun farm animals.

Then we went inside for donuts and cider. (That's always been my favorite part!) The donuts were so good, I ended up buying a bunch of them to take home. I just couldn't stop myself!

In October, on the second fieldtrip of the year, we went to the nature center and checked out different kinds of trees. K really loved learning about the trees. She talked about it for weeks afterwards. She was excited to know that the trees had names and she went around telling everyone what they were and what they looked like. Here she is with a Beech tree, an Oak tree, and (I think) an Ash tree. I would've only taken one picture of her with one tree, but she insisted on being in a picture with each one. It's as if she made three new friends. There was one problem with this trip - it was freezing outside and we were not dressed for it. When will I learn that the weather around here is unpredictable and that winter temperatures sometimes show up in the fall.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boating in September

We have a friend with a boat that kept offering to take us out on the lake. This was supposed to be our last hoorah for the summer, but it just never seemed to fit into our "busy" summer schedule. So, to make it up to my kids, and keep my promises, we picked a day that looked like it would be sunny, I took them out of school a bit early and we went boating. Mid-September wasn't all that warm anymore, so fortunately for us the tube kept them high enough out of the water that they didn't get very wet. We all had a blast.

I have a bunch of silly kids! There was some posing going on while we were moving. K was even brave enough to get out there - as long as she was with one of her big brothers, that is.

The lake was pretty empty, so the kids all got a turn driving the boat. They loved it. It was good practice for when we get our own boat... some day... maybe... we'll see... a person can dream, right?
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Four schools this year!

September 8, 2009. Here are all the kids on their first day of school. This was the year I have been anticipating since K was born. I knew it was coming. This is the year that I would have 6 kids in 4 different schools. Hectic? I'd say so! The day starts with D getting up before anyone (5:30 am) to be picked up for seminary around 6 am, then he's off to high school from there. I can't believe I have a high-schooler! Am I old enough to have a child in high school? Anyway, next out the door... Na and J. They catch the bus at 6:50 am. Na's last and J's first year of middle school. Finally, Ni and E get up and get ready for the 8 am bus ride to elementary school.

On September 9, 2009 K started preschool. She was very excited. She is my sixth child to go to the same preschool. We love it there and the teachers are amazing. It has been the perfect introduction to school for all my kids. Of course, I had to get a picture of her outside the school. I've done this with each one of them and it still surprises me how small they look.

Here she is just outside the door ready to go in.

All I had to do was put her next to her teacher and she was happy to let me leave. She almost didn't look up from her game to wave goodbye to me. She was very ready to start preschool and I knew she would do great.

As a side note, and adding the new baby into the mix, I figured out how things will go for the next 5 years of schooling. I'll have 6 kids in 3 schools for the next three years, with a baby at home. And as if that isn't busy enough, it gets even better. For the 2013-14 school year, I'm back to 4 schools again (college, high school, middle school, and elementary). Are you ready?! The 2014-15 school year is going to knock my socks off. I will have one child on a mission, one in college, two in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school, and one in preschool. I've been saying this a lot lately, but I feel it applies here so I'll say it again...

"What Am I Going To Do!!!?"

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

7 and still sweet!

Last September, about a week before school started, E turned 7 years old. Where has the time gone. I remember, like it was yesterday, the day she was born. It happened to be labor day that year - how appropriate. The first thing I noticed about her when I saw her for the first time was that she looked a lot like me when I was a baby. Finally! Up until then none of my babies looked much like me. I was thrilled. Before I had her I used to say that we needed to keep having kids until I got one that looked like me. (Well that, and we always said we were going to have 6!) She is and has always been a very sweet girl. She was a good baby and fun to have around. Her sweetness was most noticable when I had K. From the time K was a newborn, one of E's goals has been to make K happy. Every time K, as a baby, would do something like hit her with a toy or pull her hair, she never got mad and would only reply, "Oh, K___." She is very sensitive to the feelings of others. When we announced that we would be having another baby (number 7), she was so excited that she couldn't stop smiling, clapping, and bouncing up and down on the couch. She told me that she would help me - and she has. She also finds every opportunity to hug and kiss me. I sure have loved having her as a daughter. She's a good one!
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Friday, March 5, 2010

A day at the spa

(Last August)
I walked into the computer room to find this... There's nothing like a grown man wearing pink sunglasses and having his hair done by three little girls. K had two of her friends over for a play date. They really wanted to do someone's hair and S agreed to let them. What a good sport. He actually looks happy to be there. At the end of it he had water dripping down his face and shirt. Good times!
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Road trip to Florida

One week after finding out we were going to have another baby, last August (2009) we headed down to Celebration, Florida to visit Aunt Jessie and Uncle Ken. The kids got to watch movies in the car on the way. Oh, how I have loved that little DVD player for long car rides. It makes me wish we had one of those when I was a kid. What a great way to travel. It's amazing how quiet it gets and how the kids are never as needy when we put on a movie.

It was a long time in the car but we broke it up into two days. We stopped at a hotel, one with a pool, of course, for some much needed swimming and relaxing. We had to get two rooms because of the size of our family. We had a boys room and a girls room. It worked out nicely. It was a fun stop.

Here we are at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Jessie was able to get free admission for us for the day. The water rapids ride was one of the few that I got to go on because of the pregnancy. We went on that one a couple of times because it was so hot that day. We also decided to catch a show to get out of the heat. We went to Finding Nemo - the musical. It was a mini stage production of the movie. S was skeptical about it, but it turned out to be a very entertaining show. We all loved it and were really glad we stayed long enough to see it.

We rode bikes to check out downtown Celebration. It was a fascinating town. Walt Disney designed it to look a certain way - like a picture-perfect place to live. S thought it looked a little too perfect. I liked it. It was very neat and tidy. There were standards that the residents had to keep for their own houses and yards. The bushes had to be cut a certain way, the lawn could never get too long, etc. It was an interesting place to visit.
Here we are relaxing by a pond while the sun went down. The boys were anxiously watching for an alligator to come out of the water. We saw one in this very pond earlier that day. We found ourselves checking for alligator eyes in every body of water we would pass, no matter how small. Apparently they are everywhere down there.

The next-door neighbors were out of town and let us use their pool. Uncle Ken came up with "pool surfing". The kids would jump from the edge of the pool onto a boogie board and he would pull them across the water to the other side. They got pretty good at it and would've kept going, had Ken's arms held up longer. He got pretty tired.
Here we are out on the town again. We visited a stuffed Gator on display and the kids had fun with that. K would not put her head in his mouth. He looked a little too real for that, I guess.

We went to a local pizza place for dinner.

After Pizza, while on our way back to the house, K came across a dog that she just had to meet. We learned that his name was Rufus. For a couple of years she was a dog for Halloween and I made her a dog tag with the name Rufus on it. Why did we pick that name? She had a favorite knock, knock joke that she liked to tell when she was younger. "Knock, Knock. Who's there? Rufus. Rufus, who? Rufus (roof is) on fire, get out of the house!" So we thought it was funny that she got to meet a dog that was actually named Rufus. It was a highlight of the evening.

Here are some random pictures of hanging out at Aunt Jessie's house. D loves sleeping with dogs. This actually happens a lot. S and Ken enjoyed their "Simply Lemonade" - a new thing S discovered while we were there. K, hugging the dog, and trying to get close enough to the cat (curled up on the top of the chair) to pet him. I don't have a picture of it, but the kids played the Wi a lot, too. We were on vacation and anything that was going to keep them from waking me up too early, was fine with me.

Striking a pose with their new t-shirts and sunglasses. Lookin' good!

We visited a place called Gatorland. First we had to get a picture inside the giant mouth outside the front entrance. Inside the park, the kids posed with a real alligator and a real snake. J really wanted to be the one to have the snake draped around his neck. K would only get in the picture if she was far away from both. K got a kick out of the bright red birds. Right in the middle of the park was a play area with water spraying out of everything. Perfect for the hot Florida weather. S and J stood right under a sort of shower thing and got completely soaked from head to toe.

This was one of my favorite moments there. K, seeing how wet her daddy was, tried to help him out by squeezing the water out of his shorts. It was very cute.

Na posing with a rare albino alligator, and the kids check out a giant tortoise.

Justin stood in line and paid his own money to be able to sit on a real alligator. His hands are covering up the tape around its mouth.
Another small note about this particular day, we got to experience something new - our car got broken into while we were in Gatorland. When we got out to the car we noticed the doors weren't locked. We always lock the doors, so we were suspicious. Then when we opened the car, things were pulled out from under the seats and the glove box was shut but with something sticking out of it. Upon further investigation, we realized nothing was taken except some medical supplies that were in the middle console. We had a couple of nice leather pouches loaded with things like epi-pens, needles and anisthetic, suture kits, and a few other things that only a doctor would have access to. It was a very strange feeling to be robbed and knowing that some stranger was touching our stuff. Fortunately we didn't have anything else in the car that was worth stealing - it was all back at the house. It did make me think of all the times I have left my purse and wallet in the car because I didn't want to carry it. Not doing that again! We were quick to count our blessings after that happened and glad that our whole car didn't get stolen. That would've really put a kink in our vacation!

Next stop, Aquatica. This was the water park associated with Sea World. It was a lot of fun. I did get to go on a lot of the rides there, which was nice, but K and I spent most of the day riding around in the river. We just kept going around and around. We wore life jackets and it was fun letting the current carry us along. After a very long, tiring, fun day, we left before the park closed because there was a storm rolling in.

The four oldest kids wanted to try the Skycoaster in Kissimme and were able to talk the two dads into doing it with them. They went in groups of three. The kids were excited and the men were scared. S was sure that they were going to die, and Ken (trying not to throw up) prayed the whole time they were being pulled up. Basically, they were strapped into harnesses then connected to a giant cable. Then they were pulled up to the top of a 300-foot pole. When they reached the top, one of them had to pull the rip cord (D and Na got to have that privilege) which sent them free-falling for a second before swinging over a small pond. It looked fun and I wished I could do it. S also wished I could've been the one to go... instead of him - again, the pregnancy. Oh well. We were impressed that Ni would do it at only 9 years old. She didn't seem scared at all. S and J looked like they were going to be sick the whole time, D looked like he was trying to be a tough guy, and Na couldn't stop smiling and laughing. And Uncle Ken must've spit into the water 10 times - apparently trying not to throw up. Funny how different each person's experience was.

Here, they are wearing their free t-shirts. You can see the pole in the background and the two poles that they would swing in between over the water.

This tire, and three more like it, held up a small truck. It was at the Skycoaster place. The truck actually looked pretty silly on top of these enormous tires. It was a fun picture, though.

We did a lot of bike riding while we were there. There were many trails through the woods and around town that were scenic and very peaceful. On our last bike ride we came across a family of ducks. Glad it wasn't a family of alligators, we decided to stop to check it out. I happened to have a bag of pretzels with me (because anyone that knows me, knows that I don't go anywhere without food) and the ducks came right up to the kids to eat out of their hands. It was cool.
Well, I have finally reached the end of our Florida trip. We were glad we went. We had a fun time as a family, got to visit relatives, and see a new place. Family vacations are priceless.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Goodbye minivan... Hello Fusion!

August 1, 2009 was a big day for us. Car shopping was first on the list. We used the government's "Cash for Clunkers" incentive program to buy a new car. We got money toward a new car by trading in our less-fuel-efficient car. The van was good to us. S was more sentimental about it than I was. That was the car that he drove to work. It was affectionately known among his colleagues as "the RV" - the Ratty Van. They all gave him a hard time about not driving a more sporty car. We are the type that like to save up for big things, like new cars. What a concept, right? Good things come to those who wait. We were glad we waited since we were able to get a really great deal. The kids had a chance to say goodbye to it before we left that day. We ended up with another Ford, but this time a whole lot smaller than our Excursion. I guess we're Ford people (whatever that means). The other reason that it was a big day... it was the same day we found out we were going to have another baby. Good things come to those who wait... I already wrote about that news back in November so I won't go into that again. I titled it "Thrown for a Loop". That's still the best title. I am now 8 months along and growing bigger and more uncomfortable with each week. With my blog lately, I feel like the DVR. I'm trying to catch up to "live TV". I have quite a few things to write about before I'm to the present time. I'm getting closer.

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