Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in review

January - Oliver joined our family and we were all instantly and deeply in love with him. He is NEVER allowed to be alone unless he's sleeping and we're hoping that it doesn't turn out to have a negative effect on his personality. Mum came to be with me during the last week of my pregnancy and to help out with Oliver and the other children.



February - Mum was with us all month long and she was the greatest support when certain aspects of being a mother once again hit me hard and were a challenge. Gary crashed the van, was thankfully fine and neither one of us got much sleep.



March - Nathan turned 5. I went on a quest to catch one of Oliver's first smiles on camera and finally succeeded. Life was all about how to juggle the numerous and very different needs of 4 children. I was exhausted.



April - We decided to buy a house. It was an exciting time yet we were daunted by just how many neighborhoods and homes there are in Colorado Springs. We decided to narrow our search to 5 bedrooms and the task seemed less daunting. We found the "perfect" home for us but it wasn't in our current ward boundaries and the kids would have to change schools. But no matter how I tried to keep looking, I was scared to lose the house. So we offered and the decision was made. We terrorized a Macy's employee looking for a new sofa.



May - Leia turned 9 and added attitude to her list of talents. Spencer turned 7. We moved in to our new home.


It's 4 years old. 3100 square feet. 5 bedrooms. 3 bathrooms. Landscaped in front and back with a hot tub. Three car garage. Lots of hardwood floor (alleluia!) The street is a horseshoe shape so only the people who live on the street drive on it so the kids are safe. It's one block from school. There's a huge empty family room downstairs that is full of potential. I have a room to put all my books in affectionately named the library although it's far from deserving such a grand title. It took me all of a couple of weeks to go buy paint and get out the ladder to reach the top of our 10 ft ceilings. We spent a lot of time in Pier 1, World Market, and Lowes. We can see ourselves here for a very long time. Gary's Mom came out to visit. Gary started a new job.

June - I injured my foot from wobbling around on the top rung of the ladder. I hobbled around for a while and then it got better. I thought about my Dad a lot. Gary really enjoyed his new job. We felt very blessed.

July - The kids and I began to go a little stir crazy in the last few weeks of the summer holiday. I was trying to get Oliver on a nap schedule which proved to be difficult with everyone around all the time. Spencer split his head open for about the third time but since we've been around the block and back with this sort of thing, it wasn't very traumatic. I made some new friends.

August - School started again and the kids love their new school and teachers. Nathan had a few problems with what was expected of him behavior wise. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and Gary fixed the hot tub which had suffered when our house was on the market over the winter. Oliver went on a pacifier strike for a couple of weeks and somehow managed to become more adorable than ever.

September - Mum, Rachel, Max and Cate came to visit. We had a fabulous time and I really enjoyed driving up Pikes Peak, going to Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City, and just spending time with my family. Hanging with the cousins was a big treat for the kids. Oliver had to have his first hair cut at 7 months old, probably a year before any of his siblings had to have their first hair cut.

October - I spent a lot of time planning when and how I could get to England since it has been 2 years since I was there last and not for the happiest of reasons. I began to concoct a plan. Gary's Dad and his stepmom Cinda came out to visit over Halloween.

November - I did a month of Thanksgiving again. It was good to do because I realized just how blessed I am. Gary bought me tickets to go to England to visit my family with Leia over Spring break. I ate way too much over Thanksgiving and re-dedicated myself to eating healthily. I braved Black Friday albeit at a much later start time than most people and Leia and I saw Tangled. I got the majority of our Christmas Shopping done. Everyone in the house but me got a horrible stomach virus.

December - I enjoyed a very relaxed and stress-free Christmas season. Leia and I got excited and started making plans for our upcoming trip. Gary and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. I started a little work out routine in the house as well as eating smaller portions of healthier foods. I feel great and my clothes are all looser. I think this is the first time I've ever felt thinner and more in control right after Christmas, as opposed to the other way around.

Looking ahead to 2011:

Our upcoming trip is much on Leia's and my mind.

Oliver turns 1 at the end of January and I can hardly believe it.

I plan to make sure that I continue to take care of myself. My body has been on loan to the children on and off for the last 10 years and it's time that I make taking good care of it a priority.

We would like to be able to do a few things around the house.

Spencer is going to be baptized in May.

We are going to travel to Illinois over next summer and as well as reuniting with family we hope to visit Nauvoo.

Today....








Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

My kids never cease to amaze me. Each year I think it's going to be the year that they wake up at 4am and wake us up too. But so far it's never happened. I certainly wasn't as good to my parents. Last night we told the kids we did not want to get up before 7am and sure enough they quietly woke us up at 7am on the dot and before then we hadn't heard a peep out of them. I had made up my mind that I wanted to just play with the kids and enjoy the day without spending hours in the kitchen so we purposely made more food yesterday when we had friends over to eat with us, play games and celebrate. There were tons of leftovers.

It was a lovely morning. We opened presents and all got what we wanted. Gary built legos and more legos with the boys. Leia and I baked cakes in her Easy Bake Oven. We web cammed and spoke with family. Nathan could NOT tear himself away from his Nintendo DS.

At about 2pm Gary was looking a little stiff from all the building and I was feeling a little green from all the foods containing cream cheese and sour cream, not to mention the chocolate I got in my stocking, and the honey baked ham. So we decided to take a walk to the park so Nathan could try out his new scooter and Spencer could drive his RC monster truck. The weather here is consistently great and I don't think (for an English girl) that I will ever get tired of sunshine in the middle of winter. We all felt much better afterwards and it gave us some extra steam to clean up all the mess. And boy was there a mess. We were knee deep in it.

Once the mess was cleaned, Leia and I played Guess Who, the boys and Gary played Operation and then I got the trifle ready. Nathan and Oliver went to bed exhausted and Gary, Leia, Spencer and I have been eating trifle and watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I now feel exhausted. I never sleep well the night before Christmas as I am excited for the kids. The hot tub is calling my name. It will be the ideal way to finish off the day.

Here are some pictures:

Before the carnage. Doesn't it look exciting?

Black Cherry trifle.


Spencer at the playground with his car.


Off walking.

Leia in a new sweater and hat outside the front door, waiting to go on the walk.



Oliver waiting to go on the walk with his new musical toy.



Legos.

Microscope from Nan and Grandad Foster.



Ooooh, what do I do with this?

Leia's ready to get on the plane tomorrow!


As soon as Nathan opened up his DS he was lost to us.

Pure delight!

Scrapbooking, no REALLY!

Look at that face. I could eat him up.

Oliver discovers the fun of a stocking.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Crazies

Today I took a photo to send to my grandparents in England for Christmas. I really feel like my irritating habit of poking my camera into my children's faces at every turn is paying off. The minute the older three got home from school I rushed them outside, put Oliver in Leia's arms and commanded them all to smile. This was literally the first or second shot and I love it. Looking at this photo makes me happy. You'd never guess that these four angels can be a serious handful when they want to be!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm not sure I could think of one more thing right now!

1. I am thankful that I did this again. There's nothing else like it. I feel so blessed.

2. I am thankful that it is the start of December tomorrow. Advent here we come.

3. I am thankful that this is my last post of the month. I won't lie and say doing this every day is easy because there have been days where it's taken me 30 minutes of soul searching to come up with something that is genuine. But it's worth the effort as I said.

4. I am thankful for the friendship Nathan and Spencer share. Tonight I could hear them laying in bed talking quietly to one another. Eventually I had to go downstairs and tell them it was time to go to sleep but it brought back some treasured memories of Rachel and I talking late when we shared a bunk bed together.

5. I am thankful for the internet. Often I have complaints but overall it has done a lot to shrink the world for me and help me to be able to reach out to others and in turn to feel connected to dear friends and family who would almost be lost to me otherwise.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grumpy

I didn't have such a great day today but I don't have the energy to re-hash it all. I'm pooped and just do not want to be in front of a screen for any amount of time. So it's going to be lame.

1. I am thankful for Gary who is now doing the dishes. I guess that's not lame but I've said it before.

2. I am thankful I got some pressies wrapped today.

3. I am thankful for a couple of hours in which I get to do nothing if that's what I want.

4. I am thankful that I managed to get to Wal-mart before 9 this morning. It was so nice not to encounter lots of people. I DID NOT want to see people first thing this morning.

5. I am thankful that something I thought was going to cost $14 turned out to be only $4. Sometimes it's the small things.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday

1. I am thankful that Gary is recovering well.

2. I am thankful for the opportunity to go to church without Oliver. Whilst I'd love to say that I want to spend every waking minute with my lovely baby, it's just not true. Since Gary was staying at home I left Oliver with him and was actually able to enjoy the meeting a little more. Church is during naptime and Oliver won't settle so he is often grumpy and squirmy. Leia, Spencer and Nathan are pretty well behaved these days and once upon a time I wasn't sure if I'd ever say that.

3. I am thankful for my normal routine again tomorrow. I love celebrating but I appreciate the everyday things as well.

4. I am thankful for a sprinkling of snow. Nothing else makes me feel quite as Christmassy.

5. I am thankful for a sweet note of appreciation from one of my little class members today.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Play yard

Today has been interesting. Gary and I travelled to our Temple in Denver and didn't make it through our visit because Gary experienced a sudden on-set of the stomach flu which all our kids have had over the last few weeks. It's actually a LOT more of a story than that but I'd rather not write about it here. Send me an email if you want the details :)

Anyway we're finally settled in for the evening. Gary is battling a fever and other lovely symptoms so I am getting my leftover Thanksgiving food on, just in case I am next. Bring on the pie!

1. I am thankful that Oliver's grandma bought him a play yard for Christmas. No more Christmas ornament casualties and I can get things done around the house without worrying that Oliver is going to ingest or worse, choke on a piece of lego.

2. I am thankful that we have friends who offered to watch our children so that we could go to the Temple, even if we didn't really do what we set out to.

3. I am thankful that our kids love their Nativity playset so much. It's so hard to teach kids about Christ, his birth, his life, and what it means when Santa and presents take center stage. I enjoy seeing the wooden figurines all scratched and bashed up from use.

4. I am thankful it was in the mid 50s today and sunshiny. The kids had fun at the park.

5. I am thankful that my sister lives close to my Mum. I know that when my Mum experiences the ups and downs of life, she has Rachel there to share them with. A phone call is not the same thing.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday.

1. I am thankful for a wonderful day with my daughter.

2. I am thankful that going out on Black Friday was surprisingly stress free.

3. I am thankful for Disney. Tangled was amazing and perfect entertainment for a 9 year old who is so often bombarded by inappropriate things.

4. I am thankful for leftovers.

5. I am thankful that my tired children are in bed and I can now spend some time with the hubs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So I had to open my big mouth and blog about how thankful I was that Oliver hadn't gotten sick exactly three hours before he woke up covered in vomit. He then proceeded to unload every 20 minutes or so until about midnight when even though he was dry heaving we had to put him back to bed as we were all exhausted. And then Leia came upstairs feeling very panicked about something she couldn't articulate very well. After two unsuccessful attempts to get her to go to sleep in her bed she came to bed with us. This is something that has only happened one or two times in her 9 years of life so I knew she wasn't happy. She fell asleep in our bed and Gary was able to transfer her to her bed eventually. I think it was just a symptom of a weakened state from not eating yesterday. Today Oliver puked several times and Leia ate very little. Gary and I are tired. We are hoping for a decent night's sleep tonight. Gary has the boys all day while Leia and I are doing a little Christmas Shopping (after 9am of course) and going to watch Tangled.
Happy Thanksgiving to us!
But the day has actually been lovely. We feasted and played games and watched Christmas Movies.

1. I am thankful that Oliver is sleeping peacefully now. I will be even more thankful if he keeps down the 2oz of formula I coaxed hom to drink after he threw up the last time.

2. I am thankful for a husband who is happy to spend time with three small boys so I can take Leia out shopping tomorrow.

3. I am thankful for my beautiful family and holidays spent together. Of course I love to see my extended family but a day spent with Gary and the kids is enough and more for me. Hearing them laugh during Home Alone gives me a huge sense of peace and contentment. They are appreciative of my efforts to make the holidays special and they are a lot of fun to be around.

4. I am thankful for my home. Renting for two years recently was fine but not the same as living in a house that is yours. It's easy to take it for granted as we did during the 8 years we lived in houses we bought. I am really enjoying living in a house that's ours again. It's a big blessing.

5. I am thankful the kids have so far kept to the morning behaviour contract. Much less bickering has been the welcome result.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sickness, a scare, and getting what I want.

Last night just after 11pm when Gary and I had BARELY fallen asleep, Leia came silently into our room and reached out and touched Gary's neck. Gary thought he had a large bug crawling on him and reacted as you might expect, instantly scaring the crap out of me as well. Leia had thrown up and had come to us for comfort and a bowl. All day today she has been layed out on the couch looking like death. She is looking somewhat better this evening after a bath and some Tylenol, and hopefully she will be in top form tomorrow so she can eat some turkey.

1. I am thankful Leia decided that Daddy was the one she needed to wake last night. Needless to say he has asked her that should she need us tonight when we're in bed, could she please say something like "wake up Daddy" instead of her other approach.

2. I am thankful that the kids got over this virus thing more or less before the holidays. No one likes to be sick over the holidays.

3. I am thankful that the virus seems to have missed Gary, Oliver and I. NO ONE likes a sick man (they are ALWAYS on death's door) or a sick puking baby.

4. I am thankful to have found the time to prep for the meal tomorrow. I should have minimal cooking to do so that I can just relax, which even the cook deserves to do on Thanksgiving right?

5. I am thankful that I got the last lego set on the shelf this evening. Spencer wants a specific set for Christmas, and I decided on a whim that with Black Friday coming up I better get it now before they are sold out in stores for the next few weeks. I'm not the type of person to get up at 4am and race people to get a $5 discount either.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

$100+ for one family meal - sounds reasonable right?

Today I stopped to think about how much money I was spending on food for one day (Thanksgiving) and it blew my mind. Here is our menu.

Appetisers

  • Crab Rangoon
  • Spinach dip in Hawaiian bread
  • Smoked Paprika and Garlic dip with vegetable tray
  • Devilled Eggs
  • Little Smokies

I'm also putting out pistachios and clementines which will likely get eaten as well.

Dinner

  • Turkey which will have been brined and gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cranberry stuffing
  • Glazed carrots
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole

Dessert

  • Apple pie and cream
  • Prism Cake (a jello dessert that has become tradition in our house)

The kids will also want me to make them pancakes for breakfast and I've also bought some Italian soda from World Market.

I can at least comfort myself with the fact that the leftovers should last us a few days as well, so that I don't feel completely disgusted with myself. I estimate I spent at least $100 on the festivities. Is this normal people out there? I hope someone can let me know. I've done Thanksgiving for years now but not often stopped to weigh in on the excess of it all.

All that being said I LOVE to cook and will thoroughly enjoy the whole day. It's just a pity that it's going to be so cold because Gary won't want to put up the Christmas Lights on the house, something that takes all morning and keeps the boys out of my kitchen and my hair.

1. I am thankful that Gary has a good job.

2. I am thankful that my children have all that they need and more.

3. I am thankful that I've never been hungry unless it was a choice (dieting etc...)

4. I am thankful for the tradition of Thanksgiving. Even though the history behind the holiday makes me want to raise my eyebrows, the practice of giving thanks is commendable and something we should all do more often.

5. I am thankful that although my house isn't as perfectly put together as I'd like, it makes up for it in other ways. I have a centerpiece for the table on Thanksgiving which is an apple dressed up to look like a turkey that Leia made. Even if I don't have a completely matching set of dinner plates or even a gravy boat, the food will taste just as wonderful if not better because I'm cooking for 5 amazing people who I'd rather spend time with than anyone else.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On raising children.

I know I'm supposed to be feeling thankful all month but this morning I need to vent just a little. Sometimes I feel I was dealt a difficult family dynamic. Having a girl for my eldest child and then three boys to follow. Leia craves my attention, she craves time away from her brothers from time to time. She is the ultimate girly girl with plenty of tomboy thrown in. She's a contradiction, she's complicated and emotional. Add to that three boys who love noise, wheels, lego battles, fun, fun, fun. (Well Oliver at 9 months is not quite there yet but I can tell he's going to be just like his older brothers)

This morning was a case in point. Because I was closing my eyes and trying to block out the chaos and noise - it was only 7am afterall, I don't know exactly how things went down. There was a lot of screaming, slamming doors, and tears. The word "butthole" was used maybe more than once. You see Leia doesn't want to be disturbed in her bedroom first thing in the morning yet she feels it's okay to stand in the doorway of Spencer and Nathan's room and ask them questions etc... This then invites them to engage with her and then all out war ensues.

Mornings have been a struggle for a while. My long running and hardly ever adhered to rule is that little people need to stay in their bedrooms and remain quiet until 7.30am when it is time to get up. We have a sleeping baby and Mommy who don't want to be jarred out of peaceful slumber by slamming doors and insults and/or an all out party. Perhaps I am asking too much but I lean toward the philosophy that I spend much of my waking hours serving my family so the least they can do is remain quiet until 7.30am. Being woken up like that really makes me feel grumpy and it's hard to shake. I was less than nice to everyone first thing and when Leia tried to apologise for her part in the proceedings I got even more angry and she was in floods of tears. Nothing irritates me more than apologies every morning for disobeying my one rule when I know tomorrow is going to be no different. When I was a kid I was taught that saying sorry meant you didn't do it again. The definition's a bit different in our house.

So TV was banned and will continue to be during the morning for Nathan and also after school. I also came up with this off-the-cuff idea that I am hoping will work. Leia and Spencer have Wednesday through Friday off school and I would REALLY like not to have to be woken up early on those days.
I drew up a contract laying out what I expect. All three kids have signed it and dire consequences await those who break their contractual obligations.
Here is the contract.

1. I will remain quiet until Mom or Dad get up to include no shouting, screaming or slamming doors.

2. I will stay out of any bedroom except my own which also includes no standing in doorways to ask questions or make observations.

3. I will not come upstairs and take food or any other items from the kitchen, living room or library.

I have three signatures indicating that they understand the expectations and they are prepared to give up any or all of the Thanksgiving festivities like movie going, cooking, shopping, game playing and Christmas decorating should they decide that bothering each other before 7.30am is more fun. It sounds extremely logical and a total no brainer to me but kids don't always operate logically.
Of course I won't be able to ban all the things I've promised to because I love them too. I am just hoping and praying that having TV banned for the whole of today will convince them I'm serious and that they will make good decisions.
I must say it's hard to guide your children. To help them to respect each other and those around them. It gets harder the older they get because they become susceptible to outside influences as well. I'm glad I have the strength to see this through and the desire. I think it's very easy to begin parenthood lightly with a head full of gorgeous babies but the reality is far from romantic. You have to be committed to the hard work and heartache that accompanies the responsibility. That's not to say it's not rewarding. It's the most fulfilling and joyful undertaking of my life.

1. I am thankful to be the mother of 4 healthy and energetic children.

2. I am thankful for the support of my husband in this journey. Together I think we can do anything.

3. I am thankful for the support of my extended family in the raising of my children. I often call my sister and mother needing desperately that little bit of advice or at least a sounding board for my latest discipline technique.

4. I am thankful that I have blogged about many of the struggles I've had in motherhood. Maybe wisdom will result from all this eventually and I can pass it on when my own children are parents.

5. I am thankful for the way I was brought up. I don't remember the specifics of how I was disciplined at all but what I do remember is the feeling that was in my home. It was unfiltered love and security. One place I always wanted to be was home and now approaching Christmastime I think about it a lot. About my Dad cooking Christmas dinner, about my Mum lifting me up as a very small child to open a door on an advent calendar, about my Dad drawing clues and placing them around the house so we could find an early gift on Christmas eve, and about the treats we'd make on Christmas Eve that I still make to this day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I don't have much.......

I am sitting here tonight literally racking my brain. I feel like anything I might say today would be repeating some form of something I've already said over the last 21 days. And some things I feel like saying sound horribly conceited. So I'm going to be really lame. Hopefully I'll be a bit more creative tomorrow.

1. I am thankful that my husband is rubbing my feet right now.

2. I am thankful for sweet and salty chex mix.

3. I am thankful for hot chocolate and a good book.

4. I am thankful for my down filled duvet and pillows.

5. I am thankful that Gary is now unloading and loading the dishwasher without me having asked him to. I know - don't hate me because I have an amazing husband.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter

Today while Gary and I were walking around the mall with the kids I suddenly decided that I couldn't wait until next weekend to see Harry Potter like we had previously decided. I got Gary to drop me at the movie theater. He watched the kids while I saw the movie and now he has gone back this evening to watch it himself. Normally I might not want to go see a movie alone but not so with Harry Potter. It's ALL about the movie. I really couldn't care less who was sitting next to me. I'm a fan.

1. I am thankful for Harry Potter. It has made me laugh and cry over the years. I hesitate to name my favorite book as I love so many but I think the Harry Potter series is a serious contender.

2. I am thankful for a husband who will go along with my whims.

3. I am thankful for a quiet evening to get my lesson for tomorrow prepared. I enjoy having Gary around but sometimes it means I get nothing productive done. Now my lesson is prepped, I can enjoy my Sunday morning by making pancakes for the kids and just relaxing.

4. I am thankful to live in a place where I can drive 20 minutes and be in the middle of the mountains, but also where I can get to Super Target and back in 20 minutes. Sometimes I feel spoiled.

5. I am thankful for a chat about East Anglia with a nice couple in the movie theater. I am always ready to talk about the place I grew up and love with those who also appreciate it. I am always surprised by how small the world is these days. I'm glad it's that way or I might be more homesick.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lets dance!

When I was pregnant with Oliver I listened to a lot of dance music particularly in the car when I had carpool responsibilities. When Oliver hears a beat these days, he starts bobbing his head up and down. I really think he likes music with a beat just like me. I'm not sure how much I believe when it comes to things like that but sometimes things seem to be too much of a coincidence - like the fact that Spencer will eat half a can of black olives like it's candy and I ate olives when I was pregnant with him. It's not like he could taste it or anything in there, yet he likes them quite a bit.

1. I am thankful for dancing babies.

2. I am thankful that my children will eat a bowl full of green salad and ask for more.

3. I am thankful for baby sleeping bags. Oliver flops around like a freshly caught fish throughout the night and as a result has been tossing off his blanket and waking up early with cold legs even though he's got footie pajamas on. He can't possibly get cold in this fleece sleeping bag I bought for him today. Bring on an extra hour of sleep :)

4. I am thankful that the kids don't get homework on a Friday night. I once thought naively that I would never have to do homework again once I had finished school. Ummm...so much for that.

5. I am thankful that Gary knows computers. My computer decided to show me the "blue screen of death" this morning. But it's no big deal for me. Gary'll sort it. I know you're jealous.

Yesterday

*This is yesterday's post due to coming home late and having to take painkillers to rid myself of sinus pain and then collapsing into bed.*

Yesterday at church we had an evening for the sisters based on the parable of the ten virgins from the bible. It was extremely enjoyable with ten sisters posing as either foolish or wise virgins. Of course we are meant to remember and heed the 5 virgins who were wise but the 5 who were foolish gave such funny presentations, I think I might remember them a bit more vividly.

1. I am thankful for humor. I laughed a good deal last night and I felt great, despite being unwell.

2. I am thankful for the way we serve each other in my church. Last night we had a meal served to us and then of course we had the ten little presentations. A lot of work went into last night and all I had to do was show up and be entertained and uplifted.

3. I am thankful for a tender moment with Leia when I got home. Because we had to get dressed up for the evening, Leia was more than usually interested in what I was going to be doing. She had waited up for me and wanted to hear all about it. I sat on her bed with her in her room and told her the parable and what we did during the evening. When I was leaving she said "Mom, I like to hear about the stories Jesus told. Can you tell me another one tomorrow night?" You bet I can!

4. I am thankful that I got the majority of my Thanksgiving shopping done yesterday. I had a $10 coupon for World Market and so I got 6 bottles of Italian soda and some wonderful turkey brine for free. Target was also out of a couple of things so I'm glad I have it sorted early so that I can track down those items before it's too late.

5. I am thankful to have been able to talk to my brother yesterday. I haven't spoken to him in months due to the fact that he only has a cell phone which is uber expensive for me to call and we are hardly ever online at the same time. Yesterday the stars aligned and we were on the computer at the same time and were able to have a little chat. I miss my family and it made me super excited about March when I get to hug everyone rather than just look at them on a computer screen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Health

About 4 years ago I started getting sinus infections. I would be congested for a while and when it wouldn't go away, I'd see the doctor and get some antibiotics. A few months later, I'd be congested again and so on. I struggled with it for a few years and even went to the dentist one time, convinced I needed a root canal in any or all of my upper teeth to be told I had a sinus infection. Two years ago I was in England and helping my Mum to go through some of my Dad's things, to determine what could be donated, kept, thrown away. On the plane out I had experienced severe pain on the ascent and descent of the plane. It literally felt like my head was going to explode. I cried. In amongst my Dad's things I found a nasal spray that Dad had used for years to prevent something called nasal polyps that he had had removed several times. On a hunch, (and using someone else's prescriptions is not something I advocate) I used it for the remainder of my stay. I got total relief from all my symptoms. On the plane ride home, I felt no pain whatsoever. Needless to say, I returned to my doctor who prescribed me the spray and I have never been without it since. Well while my Mum and Sister were visiting in September, the nasal congestion came back with a vengeance. I upped my spray usage and it appeared to go away. A few weeks have gone by since then and I have been regularly using my prescription which has prevented congestion. But about a week ago I began to get pain along my jaw. Pretty bad pain that has kept me up at night. I thought that the gap between two of my upper molars was wider than usual and since the pain seemed to be worse on that side I assumed I had broken a tooth or needed some pretty extensive dental work.
Going to the dentist causes me to break into a cold sweat. I'm not exaggerating when I say I would ALMOST rather go through labor again than be worked on at the dentist so you can believe me when I say I did not make the appointment with my dentist without a LOT of inner dialogue with myself and several days of prevarication. It was my imagination etc.....
Well at the dentist today, following an xray, teeth tapping, teeth poking, prodding, air being blown liberally around we came to the conclusion that it is another sinus infection. So I'm back with my good old friend amoxicillin feeling really rubbish, a bit embarrased and a little depressed. Ongoing health problems are just no fun. Whatever way you look at it, facing a lifetime of treatment for anything is no joke. But that being said, I have so much to be thankful for.

1. I am thankful that I didn't have to have any kind of dental procedure done today. The cost of dental work is frightening enough but the way I feel in the chair is indescribable.

2. I am thankful for antibiotics. If I have to go through another week of feeling as if Santa's elves decided that the inside of my head would make a great workshop this year, I am going to go crazy.

3. I am thankful for a small understanding of what my Dad endured each and every day of his adult life. Sinus problems barely scratch the surface of the health problems my Dad had to face yet he faced them with courage.

4. I am thankful for friends who'll come over at a moment's notice to lend a helping hand when needed. What would we do without them?

5. I am thankful that Gary's work schedule allows for juggling. When you have small children, a fixed schedule could be tricky. If I need Gary to take a few hours off at a certain time he can make up for it during the rest of the week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marines

1. I am thankful that Spencer's stomach virus has only been a 24 hour thing. His appetite has been subdued today but he will be back at school tomorrow.

2. I am thankful for the bond that Spencer and Oliver have. Leia mothers Oliver, Nathan just gets in his face and makes loud noises but Spencer really plays with him. And the look on Oliver's face when Spencer is talking to him. I'm really looking forward to seeing how their little relationship develops.

3.I am thankful to have had Spencer around today for some rare one on one time. When Oliver went down for his afternoon nap I asked Spencer what he wanted to do. I offered him video games, TV, etc... and he decided to cut up a cardboard box and make something else out of it. Sometimes you wonder as a parent if you're getting it right and I am encouraged by my kids' desire to play outside, make things, and build forts out of furniture. It's not as easy for my neat freak self to accept some of these activities when watching the TV or playing video games is quiet and mess free but my kids are imaginative and interesting so who can complain about that?

4. I am thankful that I noticed that Oliver had something in his mouth before he choked today. Spencer had been playing with legos and Oliver had popped a tiny one in his mouth. I did that quick sweep of the mouth (which is quite dicey when your baby has 8 teeth) and removed the offending lego. No harm done. I have nightmares about dealing with a choking baby - enough said!

5. I am thankful for my freezer. I just don't want to cook tonight but I can still have a meal ready in 5 minutes anyway.


Here is a picture of Spencer playing a game of "Marines" with Oliver today. These are the moments I never want to forget.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Puke.

Spencer has thrown up three times and counting since he got home from school. Gary has cleaned it off the carpet a couple of times and now he's gone to bed accompanied by a bowl. Looks like he'll be home tomorrow. Trying to keep him away from Oliver will be the trick. The last thing I feel like dealing with is a throwing up baby.

1. I am thankful for a quiet house by 7.30pm. This normally happens most nights and when it doesn't happen I miss it. With a full day every day I need the time to re-charge and feel able to be that home maker, mother, and wife my family have come to expect. The person that always has meals planned and prepared at the right time, makes sure everyone always has clean clothes in their closets, makes sure no one has to tolerate a dirty toilet, listens and solves all problems, and is always fun to spend time with. Perhaps that homemaker, mother, and wife is a little on the idealized side but that's what I strive for and feel like it's within my grasp as long as I have time to be just Sarah. Tonight I'm fighting a headache and craving chocolate but by the time 11pm rolls around and I have had time to read, watched a bit of tv, had some chocolate, and maybe gone in the hot tub I'll feel as close to Martha Stewart as is humanly possible.

2. I am thankful for a stronger understanding of what my parents did for me and my siblings and sacrificed for us. When I was a child and I asked my Dad what he wanted for Christmas, he would say "peace and quiet". I always thought he was a grump when he said that but I had no idea what three noisy children were really like. Yet despite that craving for peace, we were allowed to be ourselves and my Dad spent coutless hours driving us around to all our social events when I'm sure he would much rather have been sitting at home by the fire reading a bible commentary. He always listened to my often hysterical teenage problems and provided me with just what I needed to hear. My mother and my father worked so hard to give us the things we wanted and I'm sure I never showed them the gratitude I should have. I hope that I will always express those feelings now I am an adult. If my children feel the same way about me as I do about my parents then I will have succeeded.

3. I am thankful to have tracked down a book I once had and somehow lost. I have been wanting to make an advent calendar for my kids, one that's a touch more exciting than the chocolate filled ones and this book had a pattern in it to make one. I was on Amazon last night and I found a copy. I can't wait to get started on the project even though I probably won't get it done for this year.

4. I am thankful for a garage that can fit our vehicles AND store all our stuff. Not having to scrape iced over windows or go out in snow to warm up the car is such a blessing.

5. I am thankful that my kids will be as excited about their $10 stockings as anything else they might get this Christmas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When Gary takes his laptop into the bathroom.....

1. I am thankful to have three bathrooms. Growing up we had one and I won't forget it.

2. I am thankful to have been able to spend a little time with Leia in the kitchen today. She helped me make dinner and she loved it.

3. I am thankful for my desire to be creative. It's one of those things that I think is essential to my sense of well being.

4. I am thankful that Spencer, Nathan and Oliver have a strong male role model in Gary. I know that under his influence they are going to be good men just like he is.

5. I am thankful that Oliver sleeps 12 hours a night. I have a sore throat today and the prospect of a good night's sleep to combat aches and pains is so wonderful when I can't take a sick day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Looking ahead to tomorrow.........

1. I am thankful for our friends who invited us over for dinner tonight. We had a really nice time.

2. I am thankful that I had time to make a big batch of baby food today. I will be able to feed my baby healthy food throughout the holidays, while we all lay around stuffing ourselves.

3. I am thankful that I also managed to clean my shower and wash my floor somewhere in this busy Saturday.

4. I am thankful that church doesn't start early, at least for the rest of the year. It means that Sunday is truly a day of rest for us. I'm not excited about starting at 8.30 am next year. I think I'll have to come up with an action plan to make that work.

5. I am thankful for my calling at church. The little people I teach are so funny. I will be sad to have to lose them all and get a fresh bunch in January. But no doubt the new bunch will also be adorable.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The end of the week.

Why is it, that Gary can be sat on the couch doing absolutely nothing and I am in the kitchen up to my elbows in dinner (hot open oven, serving up without a hand free)and suddenly all the children need me to get them things or do something for them?

Today has not been the greatest day ever. Some weeks just leave me feeling drained and today was the culmination of one of those weeks. I am TIRED. Oliver is going through a phase where he can just scream for half an hour at a time. This is not upset screaming, this is exercising his voice/exploring cause and effect type of screaming so I'm not upset with him but it does put me on edge and give me a headache. Oliver is also in the throes of a pretty good cold. I think that's a major reason for me feeling drained. He is just fussy a lot of the time and taking care of him is a messy business with all the green snot which gets in his hair when he's sleeping, together with all the drool from all the teething he is doing.

About three weeks ago I decided to try grocery shopping online. I did it for three weeks and it's not the cheapest way to go about things since there's a delivery fee on top of the cost of the groceries but it's certainly convenient. I immediately fell in love with the process. I spend a little time in front of my computer (as I do anyway in the course of a day)and the next morning, along come all my groceries, right into my kitchen with no effort from me. I've done it now three times. Well today was grocery shopping day and I decided that I needed the extra $10 to spend on holiday stuff like stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce etc.. and so I took Oliver and off we went. About half way around I remembered why I turned to online shopping in the first place. Because I HATE grocery shopping with a passion.
Oliver was just not feeling wonderful due to the cold and so he was crying practically the whole way around. I wouldn't give him my shopping list or my pen so he would start to scream. I would give him another pen or another piece of paper but it wouldn't do. He wanted whatever was in my hand and nothing else. I got plenty of sympathy from passers by but any mother knows that's not really appreciated. Nor the "oh poor baby" remarks. Dragging a loaded-down cart to the car in almost freezing temperatures knowing Oliver's cheeks are getting windburned is no fun either. Neither is unloading it all. I think it's back to the online shop next week.

And you know how yesterday, the love the other kids have for Oliver was something to be thankful for. Well today I could seriously do without it. Since he's grumpy he's often best left alone. He'll be quietly sitting there and one of the others will swoop in on him and he's screaming again. AHHHHHHH!

Then Gary walked through the door after work and let me know that he forgot to tell me it was game night tonight and he wanted to leave in a hour. I think how I felt instantly showed up on my face. He later told me he had decided not to go because he had to help a friend out with his resume and that he would do that tonight. I think he knew I was at the end of my rope. So that's what I'll begin my list with. Forgive the other lame stuff. Today I'm stretched a bit thin.

1. I am thankful that Gary could tell that I needed him this evening without me having to say anything. I know without a doubt we are all his priority.

2. I am thankful that the kids will be in bed soon. I need quiet.

3. I am thankful that we got a replacement part for our phone set-up today. The line has been terrible this whole week and it's totally annoyed me. Now the line is crystal clear. May it stay that way.

4. I am thankful for fudge covered mint oreos. It's one of those holiday limited editions that I wait for eagerly each year. It will be just the thing this evening while I'm watching one of my favorite TV shows Medium.

5. I am thankful for locking door knobs. I installed three today to keep my kids out of our storage room, the spare room and the game closet. That's a story for another day. Suffice it to say, I wish my children were always obedient but sadly they are not.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4th Grade Musical

A few months ago, Leia asked if she could audition for a part in the 4th grade musical. I said she could and she got a part and had to practice every Monday morning EARLY. I didn't enjoy the early mornings so much but I could tell Leia was having a blast with it. I didn't really have a clear idea of how big the part was or anything. I'd ask her once in a while how things were going, whether she knew her lines etc... I think this was a manifestation of my own anxieties. If I were in a school musical program I think it would have been on my mind rather a lot. She showed no such anxiety.

Tonight was the performance for parents and she had by far the largest part. She said all her lines with complete confidence, she projected her voice and sang wonderfully. She was having a great time. I love it. I would have been paralyzed in front of all those people at her age. She's a little star. After the musical she said to me that she was a bit disappointed because she was hoping it was going to be a play with scenes and acting. I told her to hang on. There will be plenty of opportunities for those kinds of productions as she gets older. It seems we might have a performer on our hands.

1. I am thankful for Leia. She's infectious in a good way. I can't help but smile around her. With a house full of boys she is my little piece of pink in a very blue landscape. She gives me a reason to buy earrings, easy bake ovens, shoes with rhinestones on them, cross stitch kits, dresses, books about fairies, snow globes. She likes what I like and we can curl up on the couch and watch Dancing with the Stars together. I occasionally step on a polly pocket in the dark which are a lot less painful than legos.


2. I am thankful that my children are so happy in their new school. When we moved in May, I was concerned about a tough transition but I worried for nothing.


3. I am thankful that the performance is over. Early mornings where I have to get up and back to the school twice in between caring for my children is hard. And now it's getting really cold. As we walked back home from the school this evening the wind was biting. My head and ears hurt so bad when we got home I had to take ibuprofen. It's like that in the mornings too.


4. I am thankful for the love my children have for each other, more particularly for Oliver. They are constantly concerned about his well being. Spencer sat by him tonight through the whole performance and kept turning the stroller so Oliver could see and he kept clapping his hands for him after each musical number. Each time they have been apart from him or it's Oliver's bedtime/naptime, he is showered in hugs and kisses. Oliver is one lucky little baby.


5. I am thankful that we live a block from the kids' school. Mornings and afternoons are a sea of cars and busyness. We can avoid all that craziness and in the winter months it's not so far that they freeze to death getting there and back. They can also have a little bit of responsibility as I trust them to walk home together.


Here are some pictures of Leia in action.






No Cavity Club

Here's Nathan with his Dentist. This is the picture they took to commemorate the no cavity club winner this month. Nathan is such a joy. Such a sweetheart. He deserved to be singled out. It certainly doesn't happen often in a house with 4 kids. And he's still in his pajamas from pajama day at school. Ordinarily my kids do wear regular clothing each day - I PROMISE! :)



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turkey and Mango Picadillo for dinner anytime...YUM!

1. I am thankful that the kids had pajama day at school today. That way, when Gary was out at bedtime, all I had to organize was teeth brushing.

2. I am thankful for a dentist that makes things fun for my kids. Nathan won a prize today for being in the no cavity club and I'm sure it's going to help prevent the phobia that literally cripples me whenever I so much as think about having to go to the Dentist.

3. I am thankful for being able to buy mangoes all year round, and indeed all kinds of exotic fruit and vegetables that don't grow anywhere near here.

4. I am thankful that I can ask my sister to lend me something and in a matter of a few days it gets from her door to mine - a distance of hundreds of miles. It's incredible.

5. I am thankful that I can stay at home with my baby. Gary suggested I might like to work outside the home today and the chill I got imagining Oliver spending his time in daycare was not pleasant.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The first snow fell today!

1. I am thankful for a growing circle of friends in my new Ward. We have only been in this Ward since July and I feel like I am meant to be here. I'm not sure I've ever felt so much a part of a group so quickly.

2. I am thankful for the book club I am in. Not only are the members willing to read the books each month, but we have such wonderful discussions. Since joining the book club I am positive not one meeting has ended much before 10pm. I feel renewed.

3. I am thankful for books. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I would have anxiety if I didn't have books in my house and unread books sitting there on my "to read" shelf. This might be a little on the "perhaps I need to talk to someone about this" side but I think of books as my very good friends.

4. I am thankful that my mother has bought my children so many books over the years. Together with the books I have bought, they literally have hundreds of books and could probably read a different book each night all year long. I often see them reading on their own and even if I sometimes have to coax them to reach the 20-30 minutes asked of them by their school teachers each day, I know they are developing something which will give them joy for their whole lives. Sharing books with Leia that I read when I was her age is wonderful.

5. I am thankful for a well insulated home. The snow started to fall today and after my furnace came on in the early morning it hasn't come on since. I remember sitting in the last home we owned and feeling the cold air seeping through the walls. There isn't a single draft anywhere in this house and our energy bills reflect it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lunch....amongst other things.

Today Gary took the questionable book to school and talked with the principal about it. As a result the school are creating a shelf in the library with books on it that may only be checked out with a parent's permission.

1. I am thankful for the outcome of Gary's chat with the Principal. Contrary to what you often get told by the media, I don't think public schools/the government are trying to fill our children with immoral knowledge. Our school has proved that it welcomes involvement from parents and is not going to support the teaching of topics that parents don't want taught. But what I have taken from this in particular is that we need to remain extremely involved in our children's lives and it is worth flicking through innocent looking library books.

2. I am thankful for change. With daylight savings time making it darker in the evenings, it brings my children inside and closer to us and our influence over the winter. As opposed to the influence of the boy next door they love to spend time with, who has a much more colorful vocabulary than we would wish our own children to have.

3. I am thankful for technology that closes the huge gap that exists between me and my family. An hour's chat with my sister costs next to nothing and with webcams I can soon see her new house for myself in real time without actually being there. It means I can live here happily while still being as close as ever with my Mum and Sister.

4. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had living here to experience different cultures. For example I had never had a cheese quesadilla until I moved here. I could mention tons of other stuff but lately I've just had a thing for quesadillas.

5. I am thankful that when I washed the covers of my sofa cushions today they didn't shrink. That one's a little lame but it's mostly the little everyday things which add up to a contented me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Sunday to remember.

1. I am thankful that I got to hear Elder Russell M. Nelson speak today in person at our Stake Center. Not only does he have an awe inspiring testimony but I enjoyed how he spoke about his 10 children, the first 9 being girls, and how you could just tell how much he enjoyed visiting with us. Gary got to shake his hand and chat with him. I of course had to take 4 fidgety children home after having to arrive at the Stake Center more than an hour ahead of time just to be seated in the overflow. Had we wanted to sit in the chapel we would have had to be there at 6am when the meeting began at 10am.

2. I am thankful that I got to have a nap this afternoon. I was all excited to get to stay up an hour later last night but even though I technically turned out the light at 11pm my body felt like it was midnight and as such was overtired and I couldn't fall asleep. And then when I did get to sleep, Oliver was messed up and woke up at 4.45am. After trying to settle him down again, I couldn't get back off to sleep until about 6.30am and then we had to get up at 7.30am to get ready to be at the church by 8.30am to then wrestle with the kids all through the meeting. I'm sure you've all got the picture that I was TIRED by about 2pm and my wonderful husband kept the kids quiet while I slept.

3. I am thankful for an evening spent around our firepit with good friends. Our children love each other and played really well together in the dark corners of the backyard while we laughed about all kinds of things. The smores were pretty good as well.

4. I am thankful that Nathan still wants to cuddle with me. Spencer is over it already but tonight around the fire Nathan sat on my knee and wrapped both arms tightly around me and put his cheek next to mine. A sweet moment.

5. I am thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Long Stratton - here Leia and I come!

Today I booked tickets for Leia and I to travel to England to visit with my family during 10 days of her Spring Break from school next year. Originally we had planned to take the whole family during next summer but quickly realized the scope of that plan. In order to justify the immense cost (6 transatlantic peak price plane tickets, rental car, spending money) we would have to stay for at least three weeks - the entirety of Gary's work leave at that point. And there would be no time (or money) to visit with Gary's family over the summer. Instead, Gary is going to take 7 days off work to take care of the boys and Leia and I are going by ourselves, leaving time and money for other adventures as well. Excited is too mild of an adjective to describe the way we feel.

1. I am thankful that Gary works hard for our family so that we have all the things we need and some things we really really want as well.

2. I am thankful that I will have a 9 year old companion when I fly to England. Last time I went, I was by myself and going to my father's funeral. This time the reason for our travels will be for fun and there's really no one I'd rather spend 10 hours in an enclosed space with than my daughter.

3. I am thankful to have spent my childhood in one place. Long Stratton is an anchor for me. The home I return to is associated with so many beautiful and happy memories.

4. I am thankful that tonight we put the clocks back. I can either choose to stay up an hour later or get an extra hour of sleep - decisions decisions.

5. I am thankful for discovering a completely inappropriate library book that Leia had checked out of the school library BEFORE she had a chance to read it. Gary can now take it to the school principal himself to ask why our 9 year old daughter has access to books that cover topics such as safe sex, masturbation, sexual attraction, and wet dreams unbeknownst to Gary and I. Leia and I have had the "sex" talk on a level which I felt was appropriate to her age. Since she is not likely to enter puberty for about another 4 years (judging from my own experiences) I reserve the right to delay giving her an all access pass just yet.

Friday, November 5, 2010

70 degrees outside - it is November right?

Today I was in Target (there's actually not too many days that go by without me setting foot in there) and the cashier was a man I would say was in his 50s, fairly heavyset, and not blessed by particularly good looks. But the minute he finished with the previous customer and turned his attention to me, he smiled. And that smile was amazing. I didn't want to look away. It simply lit up his whole face and just by looking at him I was filled with joy. What a gift. I know I have a "nice" smile - who doesn't? But I know it's not like that one.

1. I am thankful for that moment in Target.

2. I am thankful for amazing weather today. My kids really love playing outside and as I sit here typing I keep seeing Leia in a witch costume streaking past my open front door. Tonight I can sleep with the windows open - something that always promotes a more peaceful and I'm convinced, healthier sleep for me. This is always something that delights me each year here in Colorado. This is our third fall here and it couldn't be more beautiful.

3. I am thankful that Colorado is our home. In the beginning the move was very hard for me. I had to leave behind family and friends and deal with personal and financial issues at the same time. We're now into our third year here and I'm in love. No disrespect to Ohio but there's no real comparison to the beauty that is here. And the weather. Sunshine 300 days of the year, white Christmases, indian summers. Me and Colorado like one another.

4. I am thankful that tomorrow is the weekend. I get my whole family together for two days.

5. I am thankful that Oliver is picking up his pacifier and deftly popping it back in his mouth these days. It's a useful skill for a baby.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just another sinus thing :(

I've not been feeling very well today so I'll keep it short.

1. I am thankful for modern medicine. 800 milligrams of ibuprofen goes a long way.

2. I am thankful for a nap when Gary got home from work. I just couldn't face the homework/dinner chaos. Gary even cooked!

3. I am thankful that Spencer learned a lesson today. Even though he got a bruised face, he may make a different choice next time and no amount of nagging from me gets that result.

4. I am thankful for the good health of my children.

5. I am thankful that I can grocery shop online tomorrow. The thought of facing King Soopers or goodness forbid Wal-mart when I'm not feeling well is HIDEOUS!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nine months

1. I am thankful that my children remind me of the simple joys to be had in our lives. Joys like splashing in a bathtub.


2. I am thankful that each morning I am greeted by this gorgeous face. How could I ever be in a bad mood?


3. I am thankful that although Oliver is cutting two more teeth to add to the six he already possesses at only 9 months, he goes through this process like a champ. If it weren't for a diaper rash (which in all honesty I can only guess is related to teething) I would hardly be able to tell.


4. I am thankful that Gary is willing to get up and give Oliver his early morning bottle. I hate getting up in the mornings and even though I have to get up an hour later to get the other kids ready for school, Gary usually settles Oliver down for me so that I can get that done without the pressure of a hungry screaming baby.


5. I am thankful that we decided to bring another child into our family. Oliver was the last piece in the Asp family puzzle. He is so loved by each and every one of his siblings (often to the point of suffocation). I think of his life growing up surrounded by all this love and attention. I am happy for him that he will be so cherished and special and I pray that he will not let it go to his head!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The election is over!

Today I have been watching the midterm elections unfold. I find it all to be somewhat obscene. The endless advertisements telling half truths, twisting things people say, preying on the uninformed and people's emotions. And the fact that it all costs millions of dollars while the number of families living below the poverty line in this country also reaches into the millions upsets me. I believe in Democracy, yet somewhere I think we have strayed. Can the important issues facing our country be solved when to each political party, the opposition is an enemy to be fought, with as much wealth and power as can be obtained? Is the word coalition something that will ever be a part of politics here?

1. I am thankful that the election is over. The advertisements have intruded into our lives for weeks now and I don't know how to answer the questions my children have about the character assassination that has characterized them.

2. I am thankful for Democracy. Even though I've said what I have, we have the freedom to cast our vote in peace and in full confidence that our voice has been heard.

3. I am thankful for a place where I can buy a few little English items that make some of my favorite Christmas traditions possible.

4. I am thankful for the anticipation that November and December bring. It means looking forward to gathering around the fire, planning surprises, cooking for and taking care of those I love, music, laughter, games, etc... It's my absolute favorite time of year despite the cliche.

5. I am thankful that I have a husband who has done college level math to help the children when they can't understand their math homework. While I could still complete their homework easily myself I have no idea how to explain the methods in a way that makes sense to them. Without him I'd be at sea.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Month of Thanksgiving

So last year I posted 5 things I was thankful for each day during the month of November. It made me feel fantastic so this year I'm going to do the same.

I am reflecting on the weekend we just enjoyed. Dad and Cinda drove out from Illinois to visit with us. Getting Grandparents and Grandchildren together is always special and this time was no different. It was a really great weekend.

1. I am thankful for Gary's family. With the absence of my own family, it is wonderful to know that if we ever need anything, Gary's family is here for us. Whether it be something as trivial as help fixing seals on the bottom of garage doors or something as important as help when one of our children is sick (They rushed out to help when Spencer was hospitalized at 10 months old), I know they will be there for us.

2. I am thankful that Gary works for a family oriented company and that he enjoys his work. Trick or Treating at his work on Friday was fun.

3. I am thankful that I managed to get Leia to her Play practise this morning. We both woke up late but we made it there in the nick of time. She would have lost her part to someone else if we had missed and she would have been devastated. I would have been even more devastated if I had been the cause of her losing her part.

4. I am thankful to have Nathan home each morning. He is such a sunshiny person. Not everyone can appreciate him as his exuberance and lack of impulse control can be tiring but there is not the tiniest mean bone in his body. He is ready to love everyone and be friends with everyone.

5. I am thankful for this photo. It's not often you can get everyone looking the same way at the same time. It may not be perfect but it's pretty darn close.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween fun!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


And here are my gorgeous lot in their Halloween costumes. I could eat them up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bathing, big boy style!

Oliver has finally given up the bath sling. He's been a late sitter upper. I would say that he's only been doing it consistently for about a week and he's 8 months old. But there are perks to sitting up as Oliver found out tonight. Sitting in the tub meant lots of splashing and he was quite excited by it.

video

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eight months

Oliver just turned 8 months old. I have a picture of each of my children at 8 months old on the wall. Why 8 months? you ask, as did Gary when I added Oliver to the wall this afternoon. 8 months is such a fabulous age as far as I'm concerned. They've just learned to sit up and have become very interested in holding things and exploring them. You can put your baby on the floor and they will sit there for hours it seems playing with anything you place in front of them. They can't go anywhere. They babble, smile and giggle and still drink mostly milk so there isn't any food issues. They still take two naps a day and sleep 12 hours a night without waking up. He's a joy to be with. This is the picture I selected for the wall.


I've started to notice a few changes in his little personality over the last week. He used to be so free with his smiles to strangers. Now he's not so sure. He might reward someone cooing over him with a half smile and glance in their direction but then he hides his face or just looks away. And if he gets excited or angry he balls his little fists up and literally quivers. Today he was in his high chair waiting on me to give him some banana. I was standing in front of him cutting pieces of the banana into chunks for him but he wanted the whole banana. He reached out for it and when he didn't get it, out came those fists and the full body shake. So I gave him the banana. I was really hoping for a laid back personality this time but I guess strong willed children is just my lot in life. Either that or it's an energizer bunny a la Nathan.

I also picked up Oliver's Halloween costume today. Nathan is a skeleton and I was going to have Oliver match him but then I saw the bat costume and I thought matching the black would be fine. He didn't seem too keen on it but it was about 80 degrees in the house this afternoon and the costume is like a felty material. Oliver also has a big head so even though I bought 9 months, the head piece is snug.

Here's a few more shots of the cutest baby on my street, and probably my entire neighborhood.

He's really filling out. Must be all those bananas.

I always find that being outside gets me some great shots. He definitely did not love the feel of grass and I had to work harder to get a smile.

Who knew bats were so adorable?

Such a helpful child. He was pointing out something I missed when I vacuumed earlier.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Three weeks, 168 dirty diapers!

Three weeks of exhausting, smelly, noisy, craziness has finally come to an end. It was also one of the best times of my life as it always is when my Mum and Sister come to visit. They left yesterday and I've felt a little hollow. I've exchanged a lot of noise and tiredness plus three lots of stinky diapers for a much quieter and more organized house but somehow I think I'd exchange it back again for another squeeze of my niece Cate's cheeks or to hear my nephew Max say "Sawah". Going out to lunch with Mum and Rachel wasn't so bad either. My waistline might not agree but worrying about such pedestrian concerns is not high on our list of priorities when we get together! Here's a little of what went on.

I love to see my dinner table surrounded by my family. Around it AND on top as you can see. Oliver doesn't like to be ignored even if he's already had his dinner.

Cate enjoying the water table.


Look at these two characters in a shopping cart. It was all good fun for oh, say 2 minutes!


Mum took this picture of Spencer in Manitou Springs. She has a knack for catching the kids "au naturel" you might call it. Whenever my camera gets turned on, the cheesy smiles get turned on too.


We drove up Pikes Peak. That was a wonderful day to include a picnic, unparalleled views, and small children running around at the edges of precipices!


Grandma Shirley having fun with the newest additions to her brood.

Auntie Rachel made each of the kids a darling apron with their initials on. It instantly made them chefs in training. Maybe I can convince them to don them for some house cleaning as well....



A game of horsey always goes down well with the rabble!



We did quite a bit of this in the evenings. With six kids to field, can you blame us?


This boy has a special place in my heart. He wasn't so sure about his Auntie Sarah this visit, requiring a TINY bit of persuasion for a hug and a kiss. However, he was decidedly less reticent when he realized I had control of the DVD player in the car.


BFFs!



Another special place in my heart opened up for my new gal pal Cate. She's pretty cool.



An attempt at a group shot. Not exactly successful. At the ripe old age of 7 months, grass is simply FASCINATING.

Every time we'd lose sight of Cate we'd find her looking at herself in my mirror. I can't blame her. I spent most of the visit staring at those dimples.

Cate was very fond of her Auntie. SQUISH!

One day we went to the Mall and discovered that you can go in a hurricane simulator for the bargain price of $2. Who thinks up this stuff?

Oliver's first taste of ice cream. You would have thought it was extremely cold or something.


Cuddles.


This picture is completely illustrative of Oliver and Cate's relationship. Much as I'm loathe to admit it, she could take him any day of the week.

Finally got a picture where you can see all their faces. Aren't they a good looking bunch?

We're hoping to do this again, with all the kids next June. I can hardly wait!