Monday, November 29, 2010

Snapshots of GA

The crew in the car. Yup, I did the 14 hour drive home all by my lonesome. There was some screaming, but then I calmed down and we were okay. :) Actually, the kids were all really good. And a little bit of preparation goes a long way. I had gotten some little presents at the dollar store, and would chuck them one every few hours. And I broke the time up with movies, coloring, snacks, and stops. And I had everything I need to hand back to the kids within arms reach. I'm an expert at chucking to the back seat. :0) My favorite thing for car trips is our travel ticker on the ceiling. I write the names of some of the cities we pass through on masking tape, and we have a little car that we move along the road. So the kids know how far we are from our destination. It was my friends idea a few years ago, and she even sketched me the little car. I laminated it (of course!) and still use it every trip. Thanks Rachel!
We went to Georgia to visit my sister Dawnelle. Hi Nelly! These pictures are sorta backwards in order, but oh well. We did a lot of this.
See, look at me sewing! This is when I fired out my kids Halloween costumes. I loved sewing at Dawnelle's house because our kids would all play and basically leave us alone to sew. Woohoo!
My sister, as much as I love her, is a weirdo. Here we are trimming the tree before Halloween. She's got no principles.

Proof for these next few pictures that I did not have the camera. :)Shooting water rockets of the back porch. Both of my girls got clobbered in the face. I mean, we were watching them shoot up and then fall! Why are we not moving out of the way? I mean, oh, poor babies! {sympathetic face}
Staying well out of the way now.
The kids had craft time too!
Walking along a nature path that Dawnelle was sure was filled with hooligans hiding and waiting to snatch us and/or our children. Like any hooligan would be thinking that two ladies with six small children would be an easy target. :) We be crazy like mother bears, yo!
Mass bath. It's a good thing they have an extra large tub! :)
Playing in their backyard. I loved the backyard and so did my kids!! I want one!
At one of Carter's baseball games. Those were just a hoot! It was so fun to watch all these little kids running around in their uniforms. Carter has a good arm on him! Brighton really enjoyed watching and practicing with Carter at home. I'm not very sports minded; I really need to think more about getting my kids involved in sports.

Our main purpose in going to GA was to get all our stuff of our storage unit (being Dawnelle's garage) and bring it back to IA. Bit of a bummer, but at least I got a trip out of it! Being with my sister and her family was tons of fun. I stayed for about a week and a half, and it was over way too soon. Hopefully living in Georgia will be in our future!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kicking the habit

What will we do for comfort?

Both of my girls have sucked their thumbs. Brighton stopped when she was five, using sheer willpower and the promise of a special dinner with dad once the thumb callous was gone. Logan had a pacifier at nap and bedtime until this past summer. He was sad when I took it away, but after a few days he was fine. A few months ago, Spencer starting sucking his index finger when I lay him down for bed. Can I hope for just a passing phase?

Brooklyn is having a hard time giving up the thumb. She was all set to stop sucking it when she was five years old, but now that the magic age has arrived, she's decided that she'd rather stop when she's six. I don't make a big deal about it, but she's started doing it more and more: at computer time, movie time, in the car, during reading time... it really does need to stop. So I tried this. (The seller is on vacation, but you should be able to get a good idea of the product from the pics.)

I really liked the idea of the soft thumb cover. First problem: Brooklyn is a tricksy girl, and slipped it right off. So I sent it back to be resized. Second problem: She started sucking her other thumb She told me that at first it felt funny but after a bit it was fun. Greeaat. {Shouldn't there be a font for sarcasm?} So I tried a reward- every day that she leaves the thumb cover on, she gets a piece of candy at bedtime. That worked for one night. We tried putting a glove over the other hand, to keep her from sucking that thumb. I don't want to buy another thumb cover! This morning she wakes up so excited to tell me that she didn't suck either thumb last night, instead she sucked her finger! And I have to laugh because she's telling me like it's the best idea ever and I should be so happy!

And I decided, not for the first time, that this girl is going to do whatever she wants to.

With one of her many bug friends. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

My new favorite sound

Brighton was in a helping mood and vacuumed the stairs for me this morning. And I decided that I love the sound of my kids running the vacuum! It really did put a smile on my face. And reminded me of when I was younger and all of us eight kids would be doing our morning chores.

My mom probably just loved the sound of all that vacuuming, dish washing, dusting, wiping off- all done by her kids.

I think I need to have some more kids --- and some more vacuums. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween happened!

Sadly, this is the best and only picture I have. I am just kicking myself now- but I'm hoping Grandma and Grandpa have better ones. I made the costumes while I was in Georgia visiting my sister Dawnelle. (Which was awesome, and needs its own post :)

Brighton is Princess Tiger Lily, Brooklyn is Tinker Bell, Logan was Peter Pan, and Spencer was a lost boy. Who had already lost his hat by the time we took this picture.

Our ward had a trunk or treat on Friday, we went door to door on Saturday, and celebrated James' birthday on Sunday. It was a sugar filled weekend!

I'm not a huge fan of the sweet treats- my kids don't get them daily- so I wanted the candy to be kept at a minimum. They all had a lot, so I told the kids that I would pay them five cents for every piece of candy they gave me. Brighton gave me a dollar's worth and Brooklyn parted with 30 cents worth. Logan said no. :) Of course, I do a little after bedtime sneaking. But it goes straight in the trash. I'm sooo not tempted by store candy. I'm not going to waste my time with second-rate treats. But if it's Dove chocolate or something homemade... that's another story. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My little Spencer boy is one!! His loves right now:

Dancing- he loves to shake his bootie. He'll get mad at you if you turn it off.

Mooching food- if you have it, he wants it. He loooves to eat with silverware. He can be a picky eater though. He usually likes the first 5-6 bites and then he's done with that course. I have to be pretty inventive. Some of his favorites are black beans and olives. Weird kid. :) You can see from the pictures that grandpa is an easy target.

Blankie- he gets his blankie at bedtime and he's always excited to see it. He loves to wrestle and chew on it. I usually find him sleeping curled up on it. Spencer also started sucking his index finger (!) about a month ago. Right now it's just when he goes to sleep, and hopefully he'll grow out of it soon.

Walking- he's been walking for a few months, and is pretty fast at it. He loves being able to follow the kids around.

Driving in the car- he sits next to Logan and those two are just silly together. He loves to look out the window.

Babbling- he talks to everybody, and it sure seems like he's saying something serious.

Spencer is such a sweet boy, and we all sure love him. Although I love my teensy babies, this age is fun too. He loves to try and do new things. Like buckle his seatbelt. :) Silly sweet boy.


Little update on what we're doing: we're still looking at buying a house. This whole process takes forever!! I would love to be in our own place by Christmas, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. We're working on consolidating our student loans, saving up money and finding a lender. We've mostly just looked at houses online and spent some time driving around neighborhoods. I don't want to talk to a real estate agent or go to an open house until we have a loan approved. And we're also busy getting other grown-up things figured out like health insurance. Sometimes I just want to go back to being a student! It's all I've known for the past ten years. This is all crazy new stuff.

We'll be leaving for Georgia this Friday to load up all our stuff and drive it back here. Well, James is doing that anyway. I'm going to stay and play for a while! Yay!!! The kids are all really excited. My sister and I are going to be working on Halloween costumes while I'm there, and I'm looking forward to having a crafting partner. Happy Fall everyone!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

umm, Hi!

I've been such an absent blogger this summer. I have several good reasons that I won't bore you with. :) The summer has been filled with lots of fun activities, so I'll give you a quick rundown of the highlights:

homemade pinata
happy birthday Logan
local zoo
short and expensive haircut
starting school
first steps
potty training
terrible but cheap haircut
two trips to Nauvoo

Whew!! After tres months of being apart, James flew back to join the family in Iowa at the end of July. He has been working at Best Buy part time while he continued the job search. We've been apart too many summers. I think 4 or 5. It's just not good for us, we need to stop doing it! There have been lots of ups and down as far as the job search. James would get an interview and our hopes would be high for a few weeks, and then would slump down when he didn't get the position. It's been an awful and emotional roller-coaster. But last week he was offered a position at Genesis Medical here in Davenport IA. So yay!

Um, is it awful that I spent several days being really depressed about this job? It's a great job, really exciting for him. But I'm kind of bummed about it being here in Iowa. What is that about??? We moved all our stuff to Georgia, we felt so sure that that was where we needed to end up. And although the job is great, it's not like our financial worries are over. But there, that's enough complaining. It's going to be great, and we'll make it work and continue to have faith. That's what we Mormons do, right?!

So we're looking into buying a home, and boy is that another stresser. I go between wanting to close my eyes until it's over and needing to know every single thing about the home buying process. I currently have five books from the library about real estate. :)

I'll try to be better about getting on the computer and keep ya'll posted. Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes from everyone!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Atlanta Situation

For those who aren't in the know, I thought I'd fill everyone in on what we are doing.

About Atlanta: Way back when, oh- six months ago? When James was applying for jobs at the end of his semester, we felt impressed that we needed to be in the Atlanta area. We also were pretty sure that we would not have a job beforehand and would just need to go out there and get one. I'm not sure if that last part was inspiration or just knowing how the Lord works with us. We're not one of those families where things end up in our lap. I guess we have more we need to learn about faith, and Heavenly Father likes to give us those opportunities. :)

So for the month of May, as soon as James was done with his degrees he drove down to Georgia to start looking for work. Not a ton of luck so far, but we keep hearing there is potential and companies are hiring. I packed up the house and kept the kids {mostly} happy until the end of May, when James flew back to help load up the moving van and drive our stuff down to Georgia. My sister has been awesome and is letting James stay with her and all of our stuff is just sitting in her garage. Thanks Dawnelle!

Right now I am staying with James' parents in Davenport, which is right on the Iowa/Illinois border. We're going to give this situation a month and then evaluate. We still feel like Georgia is right for us- we figure if we stay close to the spirit the Lord will let us know if we're not doing the right thing anymore. But we still feel good about Atlanta- who knows why?! This has been a good lesson in faith for me especially, as I like to have everything planned out and organized, and James not having a job is stressing both of us out. But we've been blessed with great family that are letting us take over their homes, and hopefully we'll catch a break soon. I don't always have access to a phone here and being on the computer is harder, so I won't be blogging as much. But we've restocked our adventure jar, and I'll have pictures to blog as soon as James gets a job and we get to our new house in Atlanta!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This I'll Miss: Cyride

Maybe it's my home schooled upbringing, but I love riding on the bus. It's one of our favorite adventures!

The kids love not being in car seats, the novelty of all the seating, and especially all the big windows to watch the world pass by.

When we ride, we usually have the bus to ourselves. Probably because we go during the day and usually only to the mall or library. I can't figure out any more routes than that. :)

(Side note: Really, is there anything more difficult to read than a bus schedule? Each time, I have to call James to be sure I'm reading it right and usually feel frustratingly thick in the head. Probably because I can never figure out my north and south. :))
I love this small town and how safe I feel. Somehow, I can't picture me riding the bus with all my kiddos in Atlanta. We ♥ Cyride!

Monday, May 24, 2010

This I'll Miss

This is the children section of our library. I know, right? In all my years of library-going, I have never been to a better library! :) The board books are in a fun alligator shelf, which is low to the ground for easy kid access. And there are tons. That whole thing is full, with extra bins underneath for more. There are also puzzles in there that you can check out and take home.
There is a puppet theater with two bins full of fun puppets that you can check out and take home.
All the picture books are in these great shelves which make it easy to flip through and find the one you want. There are pictures marking where the character books are, like Dora and Spot.
Logan's favorite things to do at the library- play with the trucks and the Lego table behind him. There is also a computer kiosk, and several fun stations throughout the area that change every few months. The rest of the library is equally fabulous. We are so going to miss this!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

M&M's make the best incentives

That is really the only reason I ever have a bag on hand. I don't like bribing with candy, but sometimes it just works best, ya know?!

My latest application of the M&M incentive has been at dinnertime. Lately my kids have had a real problem keeping their bottom in their chair. They have to jump up to look out the window, make sure their toy is where they left it, look at their calendar, and a myriad of other silly reasons to be up out of their chair and not eating their meal. So I give them five M&M's at the beginning of the meal, and take one away each time they get out of their seat. At first most of them got taken away, but after a few times they're catching on. I only give them three now, and not every day. I like the idea of using this for politeness too.

Kids are so much more aware of their actions when chocolate covered candies are staring them in the face!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The new face of Brighton

Yes, at age 6 Brighton needs glasses. :( Like mother, like daughter.

I'm happy for her that now she can see things she didn't even know that she was missing out on, like leaves on the trees. As soon as we walked out of the office she was so excited because she could see the car! She likes to take her glasses on and off to see how she can see things differently.

I'm sad for her that now she has to bother with glasses. Having to be careful with them, yearly check-ups, higher prescriptions, not being able to see when you wake up in the morning. All the stuff that I had to deal with from age 8 to age 20. When I got 'em lasered, yeah! My vision was really bad. -8 is legally blind and I was -10. When I was shopping around for Lasik a lot of the "bargain" places said that they hadn't seen anyone with eyes as bad as mine. No thank you, I'm not gonna be your guinea pig. When I was younger, my worst nightmares were not being to find my glasses and not being able to see anything. It was really emotional for me when I got up from the chair after Lasik and I could see.

So sorry that they couldn't fix my genetics as well as my vision. Oh, well- she looks cute, right?!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Spencerspence

Yeah, I know. I come up with great nicknames. :) I also have little ditties that I sing to my babies, unique to each one. Spencer's is "Spencer, Spencer, it's gonna be okay" sung to the tune of Daisy, Daisy. Logan's was to the tune of La Bamba. I'm a genius!

This picture is after a recent haircut. His fluff was getting out of control. :) I need to get a video of him crawling. Seven months and already crawling! It's mostly an army crawl, but he gets around. I had to stop swaddling him and that made for a rough week. He also was getting two teeth, one of his top front and an incisor, at the same time! Same rough week. Made for even more rotten sleeper. I think it's getting better though.

I'm such a push-over with this little guy! I was so much tougher with my girls. I think it's because I know how quickly this stage passes. I love my little babies. I love nursing them and holding them when they sleep. And I know how delicate and precious they are.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

a great find!

Found: One small bird's nest.
Where: On a recent trip to Grandpa and Grandma Hall's house.
Also found: One (1) small cracked blue egg. Empty. Egg has been replaced with acorns for this photo.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

my solution

I don't want to sit around being depressed all month, so this is what I've cooked up. To keep me and the kids excited, we have an adventure jar! I've filled it with fun things to do, such as get a sno cone, go on a nature walk, have a pretend movie theater, and so on- enough to have an adventure a day for the month.(except for Sundays, when we'll rest from our adventures. :)) Each day one of the kids get to pull our adventure out of the jar. They've been really excited so far.

Today's adventure: Ride the bus to the library!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

a sense of impending doom...

The kids have been so snarly today! Picking fights, whining and so on. And I've been a tad snarly too, having a hard time being patient. Spencer has been his usual cheerful self, but he did take a short afternoon nap. Maybe that was his way of showing how upset he is that daddy is leaving on Saturday to spend the next month in Georgia looking for a job.

Sometimes I don't realize how much I look forward to him coming home, and the cheerful way he pitches in and helps out. How he tickles the kids until they can tell him where their femur is. How he teases them and they've learned to hardly ever take him seriously.

We're all going to miss him. Ain't no sunshine when he's gone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fairy Visitor

Brighton lost her two bottom teeth! She had been wiggling one for weeks, and I didn't think she was ever going to get it out. I told her about the toilet paper trick (put a piece of toilet paper over the tooth and pull. Rocket science.), she tried it and it worked! We had just discovered that her second bottom tooth was wiggly the day before. I went upstairs to put Spencer to bed and she tried toilet paper on the second one and pulled it out!

She was so excited about A! FAIRY! COMING! TO! HER! HOUSE! that she made this little fairy sized envelope to put her teeth in. I was sure she would lose her teeth as she kept taking them out to show dad, Brooklyn, the man out walking his dog, etc. But she ended up with both of them that night and the tooth fairy left her two dollars!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trees are budding...

This was another fun activity that I tied into their school work.

Take a piece of paper and add a paper trunk.

Cut out 1" (ish) size squares out of tissue paper

Dab dots of glue in a branch like pattern and have kids scrunch up tissue paper and press onto the glue dot.

This is Logan showing his tissue paper ball. He loved this part!

Brooklyn sticking her "leaves" on.

Brighton's finished product. She wanted a swing on her tree. :)

We'll definitely do this again! We could do pink and white for spring blossoms, and fall colors later on.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What to do on an overcast day...

Has anyone seen this book at their library? I just love it. It's a story about a town that was tired of the gloomy weather, so the baker decided to bake some sun bread so the sun would come out.
We love to bake sun bread on an overcast day.

The book has a good recipe on the back cover, but any bread recipe will do.

side note: Isn't that age when kids cannot give a sincere smile for the camera just fabulous? When pretty much every picture taken of them makes them look deranged and slightly crazy? Love it.Our finished products. Brighton decided to make a sun cat, Brooklyn a sun teddy bear, and Logan smooshed together a flower.

The best part? After we took our bread out of the oven, the sun came out. Success!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth...

The tooth fairy will be making her first appearance at our house pretty soon. She's been waiting to come for weeks actually, Brighton is a bit of a non-wiggler. Her permanent tooth got tired of waiting for space and came in behind. She has orthodontia in her future, that's for sure. :)

But I was wondering, since a precedent will be set here for the whole family, what's the going rate for your tooth fairy? I remember getting a buck a tooth and $2 for molars. One glorious week I lost four molars and was rich!

But ended up with bus tokens. (love that book!)

So, how much?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If you give a child a chore...

they're going to get distracted. :)

Golly, do kids have the shortest attention spans ever?! I'm not asking a lot from them. We don't have to be ready to catch a bus at 7:30am, or to really ever go anywhere before noon. (Which is one of the reasons I home school.) I just want them to be ready for the day by 10:30, so we can start school.

Is that so hard?

Apparently. :)

If I send Brooklyn upstairs to get dressed, she spots the dress-ups and decides to be a ballerina.
If I ask Brighton to make her bed, she finds the book she hid under her pillow and reads for a half hour.
Logan is better, but I have to help him with his responsibilities. Get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, clean room. I help him with all that.

The girls though- come on! I made them responsibility charts, so I can just ask them to check their charts instead of constantly nagging.

This is one of those kid things that I think is funny bordering on frustrating.
I'm not really complaining, just venting. Kids! :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fairy Tea Party

I went to a Fairy Tea Party a few years ago at the Provo Library. It was so fancy, it was more like the fairy prom! I thought it would be really fun to do on my own, with my girls and their friends. I need something to look forward to during the ugly months of February and March. My family swaps valentines every year, and the kids and I always have fun making valentines. But after that fun is over, I'm just waiting and waiting for spring to get here.

So I decided that the first Saturday of March will now be the Fairy Queen's Annual Tea Party!

I invited six of my little girls' friends and asked three older girls to be my fairy helpers. I even sent save the date's out before the invitations.

{So posh!}

My three fairy helpers came over a few times before the big day to help me plan the menu, make wings, and plan the activities. My helpers were so great, and I could not have done it without them! Thanks to Fiona, Camilla and Ella who definitely do not read my blog. :)

Brighton and Brooklyn were really excited for a looong time, and had fun helping me with craft ideas and fancy food planning.
My helpers came about an hour early to help set up. After all the fairies arrived, we sat down and each fairy introduced herself and told us what kind of fairy she was. Then we had a talk on fairy manners before sitting down for lunch. I made little sandwiches (jam, ham and cucumber) and cheese scones served with lemonade. My fairy helpers were great here serving everyone.
This little girl on the right, Anne, was such a cutie! She stayed in character and always referred to me as "Fairy Queen". So sweet, I loved it! :)

We did two crafts- fairy wands and crowns. I liked the crown idea - using foil to make designs, but the wands didn't go well. I got out glitter, and it turns out that I can't handle the glitter.

After the crafts we had treats. I made little cupcakes, little cookies, cake balls and raspberry mousse. Fancy and fun! We had time for a little parade/dance and that was it. Two hours was a good time length. I have plans to make a fairy dress in the future, but this was the best I could do with limited time. My girls loved my skirt, which is actually a slip. Don't worry, I was wearing pants underneath. :) I also didn't get to decorate my house like I wanted to, draping tulle and putting flowers everywhere. All of my kids took turns being sick and throwing up the week before. Brooklyn actually spent the party watching from the couch because she had thrown up that morning. I'll have to make sure they know not to do that next time.

Now I get to plan for next year! :)