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.


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.


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!