Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lias Turns Three

Elias turned 3 with a big boy birthday party of presents and fishing. Poor kid is stuck in the middle of the birthdays so hasn't really gotten a party of his own.

He did share his toys nicely and take his spankings like a man.

Since he got a new fishing pole, we headed down to the pond and caught some nice guppies with him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grandpa Donovan's Birthday

(Grandpa and almost all the grand kids (clockwise Ava 7, Lydia 4,

Brielle 4 months, Elias 3, Nathan 5, Gordie 8)

For my dad's birthday we celebrated with tons of chocolate. That's about it. Oh, and a few steaks and baked potatoes too but really, the chocolate was the hit. Yum.

Dad and 1/2 of his grown kids (l-r Steve, Laurel, Dad, Lynnie, Leanne)

My dad is 59 years young and just bought a motorcycle this year. The beard finally gives away his age. My dad has become a huge help now that my kids are a little bigger and has watched my kids (overnight!) a time or two, not to mention numerous little trips. Elias keeps telling me that the "Grandpa with the noter- cycle is coming over" whenever I mention a grandpa.

Leanne and Grandpa and Baby Brielle


Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Day of School

As I sat sad at the hospital thinking about Nathan and Ava starting school, John was snapping these pictures. They sure don't look too sad. Lias missed them a little but mainly just had fun making Grandpa a birthday cake with Auntie Leanne and Bay-ve Bee-elle(Baby Brielle). Nathan must have learned a lot cause tonight he read me half of "Green Eggs and Ham" pretty much all by himself. Both claimed they had great days and are excited to go back tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Really, could you ask for a better place to raise kids? Tomorrow is a big day. We'll have more kids at school than at home and that just feels weird and a little wrong. Natey is excited but pretty nervous and I'll admit, I choked up tonight when we were putting him to bed. It doesn't help that tomorrow I have to be to my clinical at 8am and it's an hour away, which leaves someone else to take my baby to his first day of kindergarten. Not cool.

Luckily, he's got the next best option (or maybe the best option to him). Dada will escort both kids to their first day, drop them off, kiss them goodbye and have to do the leaving. Something tells me he's not gonna cry since he already told me he thinks they should just take the bus.

But I'll be there to get them off and can't wait to see if they're excited. Both have great teachers and are totally comfortable with the school. Their classrooms are literally 10 feet across the hall from each other, which sets my mind at ease for some reason. And 2 days a week I get off school at just the same time they eat lunch so I'm pretty sure I'll be a regular there. But still.... 2 in school?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shake It Baby

When I was a kid, my family lived in Japan for about 4 years. I was relatively little, 3-7, but we have tons of home videos and it's talked about so much that I really have some cool memories of the place. Some of my most vivid memories involve preparing for earthquakes and I can still remember crawling under the table in our kitchen with our whole family and our dad telling us in a serious voice, "This is where we all should meet if you ever feel an earthquake." So you can imagine my horror when, as a 6 year old, I found myself stark naked, standing in the shower watching the entire bathroom sway. I screamed my head off and everyone thought I was hurt but really I was terrified that I wasn't under the kitchen table.

So fast forward 24 years to this afternoon and I'm peacefully doing my homework on my niece's bed in my older sister's house in middle of suburban Virginia. I start to feel the bed shake and immediately I think my kids are somehow shaking it - you know the feeling when a kid climbs into bed with you in the middle of the night and it's dark and you can just feel them coming up? It was that kinda feeling but my kids were all at the park with my awesome sisters. So my immediate next thought was, "There's a mass murderer under this bed in my sister's house and no one is even home to hear me scream."

After about 5 seconds I realized this was more than the bed shaking, since now the walls were going too. It felt like an earthquake but, come on, this is Virginia, not Japan, right? Wrong. After 15 seconds I was pretty sure I had felt this before, and all my childhood memories of hiding under my desk at school during earthquake drills came rushing back. I realized I should go outside so, of course, I grabbed my laptop and walked on out to talk with all the neighbors who were also wandering outside. And like any sane person, I next googled "Stephen's City earthquake" only to find nothing so thought, "Wow, that was weird" then went back to studying. Only when my sister's came home and I realized they had totally missed it did we get online to hear about the 5.8 tremor that had an epicenter about 50 miles from the farm. Crazy world, huh?

On the bright side, we didn't have any damage anywhere although Culpeper, VA, which is our main stomping ground, had quite a few buildings damaged. And on the really bright side - this canceled Nathan's first day of kindergarten which delayed my sadness at letting my little man go off to school and let me blog about this instead. Hopefully these aftershocks will keep down (we haven't felt a single on of the supposed 4) and we'll all sleep well tonight.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

T-Rex on the Brain

Tonight as I was wedged between Nathan and Lias, trying to get them to sleep, Lias and I had this conversation.
"Mama?" in a teeny tiny whisper that I could barely hear. I ignored it three times since 5 seconds earlier I was listening to his deep breathing and lip smacking, usually sure signs that he's close to crashing. Finally I gave in so Nathan didn't get hear and get all riled up.
"What?" I replied in a tiny whisper.
"Do's T-Rexs have 'ands (hands) to open dowrs(doors)?"
"No Lias, all the T-Rexs are dead and their hands don't work to open doors."
"Ok", then deep breathing and he's out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

9 Years

Life is Grand.

Especially after all this time…

We've decided we're not big present people, so instead of getting all worked up about finding something for each other we just don't. And nobody is offended (although I might buy myself a new pair of shoes with all the dough we saved). We also aren't big "do anything" people so tonight we went hiking in the Shenandoah National Park with all the kids. We took a fancy picnic dinner of fried chicken, slushies, biscuits and string cheese and ate to our hearts content. Then we played on the rocks over the non-essistent river (big drought) and prayed that no one would split their head open. Everyone had a great time and we even spotted a bear on the way down the trail. Really, what more can you ask for in an anniversary?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I love Summer

It's 8:45 am, there are 9 bodies in my house and I'm the only one awake. Amazing. All three of my babies are snuggled into my bed, where I snuck out of an hour ago to do laundry and try to study. The air-conditioner is going full blast so I'm shivering in my undies, folding, and grateful for the white-noise it provides while the kids are piled under our winter comforter that gets a year round job thanks to John and the air-conditioner. My 4 sisters and my mom have been here for the past 3 days, on and off, with the constants being Leanne and her beautiful 3 month old Brielle, and Sarah and her precious tiny 2 month old, Caroline. Ava is in baby heaven, holding, dressing, changing, playing, showering these two. And we're all in sister heaven blabbing, blabbing, staying up way too late, eating and soaking up the company. Life is nice….

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can someone tell me why this song won't leave me alone?

You know how you watch a movie and it sucks you in? Well, I don't watch many movies so when I picked this one instead of a nap on the flight home from Iceland, I was more than ready to give up on it and get my nap if it didn't suck me in. It did. I don't know why, other than the music and the whole country lifestyle thingy. Hard decisions about big life events coming up so it must have hit a cord. Whatever it is, I can't stop listening to this song and all the others he sings. Something about it…..soulful and twangy…. speaks right to me.

(PS. This was the only video I could find but it's a little PG rated so be careful if your kids watch!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Vikings are Coming, the Vikings are Coming!!!

In honor of our upcoming Iceland trip, Nathan and Lias are having a Viking themed joint birthday party. This is the protocol get up, minus the shield. All brought to you by cardboard and duct tape and a mother's imagination. Nathan has been raiding villages all night long.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One year down

Took my last final for the first year of nursing school today. I'm so ready to have a summer again and hang out with the kids, uninterrupted playing or surfing the internet, actually sleeping and seeing my husband a little. It's been a crazy 8 months but now it's done and for that I'm glad. I feel like I've learned a ton and yet hardly scratched the surface of what I'm supposed to know. I got my first B at a community college. Yuck. And failed tests galore only to find with the curve I'd A'ced it. Yuck again.

Be prepared for a onslaught of post sometime the future. I have a whole fall and winter's worth of pictures begging to get out. But my bed is begging for me to get into it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the Strength within

This little girl is so strong, yet fragile. She amazes me daily with her insight, her devotion to us and her desire to want to do what's right.

She's always looking out for someone else, trying to right a wrong or make someone happier. I had one of her little friend's dad tell me the other day that she was destined to be a diplomat when she grew up because she can defuse any situation and it's true.

She's in love with babies, absolutely obsessed and still dresses them up each day and brings them to me to watch all day while she's at school. Daily,I let her down or make her cry when I bark at her or loose my temper and nightly I pray for forgiveness and hope I haven't crushed her little spirit.

Last week she wrote, illustrated and delivered this lesson entirely by herself for Family Home Evening:

"doow (do) you nowe (know) how (who) are profit (prophet) is? he is Presint Monsin. HF (Heavenly Father but she used the abbreviation HF) sprks (speaks) to Presint montsin he tells him to tell us to be good this weekende are Profit will speek to us he will tell us the things that HF tollde (told) him to tell us."

Her testimony is fragile but strong -just like her personality -and she's eager to learn. Her faith and desire are so real that they make me want to do better and be a better person for her.

She has turned the tide on John being her favorite and now I have the honor, but I'm floundering to try to fill big shoes. I have big plans this summer to hang out and really enjoy each other. We're gonna learn to sew a little, play a little barbies and babies and plan a birthday party, for starters. I love my curly girly (hair compliments of one patient Auntie Laurel who introduced her to rollers. She bounced around all day.).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A tale of 2 poops

1. My little man - I guess I really can't call him a baby anymore - pooped all by himself in his little potty tonight. He didn't even call me in until he'd tried to put it into the toilet all by himself, which was ok by me even though he made a tremendous mess. That is one of the best faces a mother can ever experience, watching your little baby so excited and proud of himself that he went all by himself and was successful. It is really priceless and I'm so glad that he waited 2 whole days to let me have the joy - and the fun of cleaning him and the potty and the toilet and the floor all up at 9:25 at night when I have 3 hours of homework ahead of me and I wished the kids were asleep at 7:30. It's a constant battle to want to see them and spend time with them and experience their little lives and know I have homework looming over me. I only have 33 more days of this first year left. I'm just taking one week at a time and trying not to let anyone die or be emotionally damaged in the process. Poor Lias has probably been ready to potty train for 2 months but I haven't found the stretch of time to help him. I don't think we can go backwards from here so here we go! Ready or not!

2. Two weeks ago we started clinicals at school which means I'm actually in a "hospital" setting now. Actually, it's just a nursing home but at least it's with real patients. On my very first day, my patient - a 94 year old dancing lady who doesn't walk or even stand very well - was having some incontinence issues. To make a long story short, on the way to getting her to the bathroom she ended up sitting on my lap instead of falling on the floor and breaking her hip. Lets just say I was sandwiched between a dirty bed and a dirty bum. Poor lady but she didn't fall and for that I'm still glad. Best part of all was we got to go to a seminar after our time at the nursing home and I didn't have a change of clothes. It felt like I was back on the farm, covered in crap after a hard days work. My classmates were pretty disgusted but it really didn't bother me. Needless to say, I did order a second pair of scrubs that afternoon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nathan and the Gospital

Every night we all gather on Nathan's bed to read scriptures and say family prayers. Nathan used to be our least compliant one - blame it on his constant need to move and fidget and roll on someone, etc - but lately we've turned a whole new corner with this kid. No longer does he test our patience with sitting still but instead with his incessant request to read more after we've exhausted our time. He is all about reading and soaking it up and trying to understand anything we tell him. He answers even the most abstract questions that John throws out to him and 99% of the time he's right, even if he can't quite say the words. It's very humbling and slightly amusing to hear a 4 1/2 year old trying to explain the Atonement, resurrection and the meaning of righteousness.

Last week we accompanied John down to Duke to sit in the hotel with he went to class and eat his fancy foods and try out the local kids museums. I gave the kids the task of packing their own bags of entertainment for the trip. It wasn't until we got to Duke that I noticed the two - and only - items Nathan had packed to entertain him: His Spiderman costume and.. his Book of Mormon. We attended a ward down in Durham where the vast majority of the testimonies were from kids and after watching the 5th one go up, Nathan turned to John and said he wanted to go up also. So up he went and fearlessly and loudly declared his love for the "Gospital" to all the congregation. Such an amazing spirit for such an intense little body.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Sad Rooster Story

I just posted this on our family website and figured it was a nice snapshot of our lives, so enjoy:

A couple of months ago Nathan went to feed the chickens the scraps and I heard him screaming. I walked out and he was screaming about a rooster that he said attacked him so I told him to kick it really hard. Then it jumped on him again and I ran up and booted it around the yard a few times to teach it a lesson. Unfortunately, I didn't realize John and all his guys were at the office watching the whole spectacle. Luckily, a few days later John got frustrated at a final he was taking and walked out to feed the chickens, only to be attacked by the same rooster. Lets just say the rooster messed with the wrong person at the wrong time. And that's the end of my rooster story.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where to start?

Each day I write blog posts in my head - while driving, taking a shower, watching the kids do something funny - and each day they never materialize on this site b/c I never get around to putting them down. So tonight may be random, but it's a snapshot in our lives.

Today was absolutely gorgeous. 65 degrees and sunny enough that we played outside at Ava's school recess (I had 35 kids playing duck, duck, goose) and even walked up to the bus stop to get her. Cinnamon followed us the whole way, avoiding Lias's advances with his stick sword and Nathan didn't have to cover his ears at the highway. Ava was so excited to see Cinnamon when she got off the bus and kept telling me that "this is kinda like the movie Milo and Otis, Mama!" Eli rediscovered the fun of throwing rocks into the creek and we all got very excited for spring.

The 2 boys and I actually made it to story time today and turned out to be the only ones. It was fun and Nathan read me a whole Bob book by himself with hardly any prompting. He's taken off with reading and is leaps and bounds above where Ava was at this age. I think it's cause he's self motivated and also cause he's been so exposed to it from Ava's schooling. Any which way, it's exciting to see him excited and to really think that he'll read well before kindergarten, if I give him the tools. He's using the Headsprout website and jumped ahead and read the story for the lesson 30, even though he's only made it through 10 lessons. His favorite thing to tell us right now is "I know that" - as in "Nathan, don't tease Lias" - "I know that" or "Nope, the letter M doesn't say www" - "I already know that, Mama". It's funny cause he obviously doesn't know that but he's so full of himself that he just blurts it out. He's changed tremendously over the past 3 months and someday's I wonder where my twerpy Natey went. Today while I showered he practiced "random acts of kindness" (his preschool is big on this) and made my bed, his bed, Lias' bed and matched a bunch of socks. He's actually fun and it's fun to watch the transformation.

And speaking of readers - Ava is full speed ahead! We've had a set of Fancy Nancy books from the library since Christmas and she just decided the other day that she could read them. She read 3 in one day and amazed me with her perseverance and patience. Today she spearheaded our Groundhog Day celebration and got the boys and I together to listen to her poem. Here it is in all it's 1st grade glory:

"groundhog groundhog cum (come) out will you plays (please). I hope you downt (don't) see your shadow plays (please) dowt (don't) see your shadow plays (please)."

It is accompanied by an awesome picture of her and Cassia looking down into the groundhogs hole while he was still asleep.

Last night we had a whole saga when her fable she made and illustrated got accidentally thrown away with the leftovers at IHOP. It was recovered, but not without grease stains all over but someday soon I hope I'll get it up here for posterity's sake. I feel sad and glad at the same time, but she's definitely moved into the school kid years and mostly left her baby stages behind. Her main excitement right now is waiting for the postman to bring her Kaya American Girl doll that she bought with her Christmas $ from Papa. Her cousin Abby gave her all the books and we're already on the last one, book 6, and it's been very fun to spend nights reading with Ava until way to late on a school night. She's way into her apperance lately and is begging me for bangs, cause she thinks mine are cool.

I keep trying to tell her they're kinda annoying but we'll see where we end up. Sorry for the lack of quality pictures but they are the biggest hamper to my blogging so they may have to take a back seat for awhile.

Elias - he's the baby and still lives the role. He's such a lovey dovey little thing wrapped up in a naughty baby too. We are trying to get him to sleep in his own bed but somehow one of us ends up with him draped around us each night. He's actually growing taller (I thought he'd be our shrimp for ever) and losing his baby fat, which just makes me downright sad. He's a tyrant, yelling at Nathan in the car that he's not allowed to sing I'm getting Nuttin for Christmas or Follow the Prophet but then turning around and decreeing that it's ok if Ava does. Sometimes we humor him but lately we've been telling him to hush. We've found a new technique for disciplining and it involves pulling ears and when he's naughty he'll come into us looking sad covering his ears. The funny thing is that we've never even pulled them hard, but just the threat scares him into sadness. He's got a nervous habit of biting his nails down to stubs and uses that as his soothing method, to the point of he's falling asleep with his hands in his mouth. He's an incredible talker, but super shy too - today he actually talked at lunch in Ava's school and the kids looked at him amazed. He claims to like preschool and willingly hangs up his jacket and waves goodbye. He can pick out his letter "E" all over and the other day he actually wrote it. Crazy. He's a doll and still so yummy to kiss.

As for me, I just took a test that I thought would take 30 minutes and it took the whole stinking 2 hours and I still feel like I failed. School is my sanity, gives me a little break from the house when John's gone for weekends on end. I love what I'm learning but still feel torn between being gone and ruining Lias and Nathan's childhoods. But then we have a snow week where we're stranded home for 4 days straight and I think I'll go insane so I decide it's good to be in school. We have the "should I quit" conversation about once every 3 weeks and it gets to the point where I don't even study for 5 days since I'm sure I'm not going back, then I regret that when I have 1 day to get ready for the test. We're in the hard stretch of it but we can see the end in sight and that's where we keep pushing for. We're surviving but I don't think we'd do this again if you gave us thousands of dollars.

As for John, I just have one word. Russia. I'll leave that you your imagination. Adios and goodnight.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The day has arrived...

So today as I stood in the kitchen making bread in my brand-spanking-new Bosch mixer that Santa brought me, I couldn't figure out if I should laugh or cry that I've turned into my mother. The day has arrived.

That thing rocks! My bread is awesome - even the kids and John noticed it and we ate an entire loaf for lunch today. I finally feel redeemed for the past 6 years of making bread and it being so-so - burnt on the outside and doughy in the middle- it wasn't just my fault as a crummy bread maker after all! Now we'll all gain 15 lbs instead of losing 15 from eating all these dang carbs. Yum!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Little Post-Holiday Cheer from Lias

Lias got pretty good at most of the Christmas songs this season. I caught him singing this one while I was in the middle of vacuuming. He's pretty cute and I'm pretty impressed that I finally got a video on here!