Sunday, June 28, 2009

My imperfect Sunday...

My imperfect Sunday actually started on Saturday, which I spent chaperoning Youth Conference... which is seriously one of the most boring jobs ever (You're not a youth participating and not in charge so there isn't much to do). I came home with a migraine, took Excedrin, and was up until 1:00 thanks to the caffeine in it (and thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly--I love That Thing You Do!). Oh, and did I mention that Christian decided to make eclairs that night for the ward choir practice the next day?
So--Sunday morning, Christian made breakfast and finished his eclairs (approx. 6 hours worth of work altogether, mounds and mounds of eclairs) while I get 4 kids ready, got myself ready, and finished prepping my YW lesson, including cutesy handouts and tape-in quotes for the girls' scriptures. Off to church (only 25 minutes late), racing with Christian, who had to drive separately, while I explain to Nathan why it isn't smart to race Daddy to church on Sunday ("I like to win!" he said). I pulled in first, by the way.
At church, we make the usual desperate attempt to make our kids sit nicely and pay attention and not be too distracting for the people sitting nearby. Then I taught my YW lesson on--what else?--how to keep the Sabbath day holy...abd realized that I left my lesson and handouts at home. Oh, the irony....
After church, I completely lost Nathan. Looked all over the building and couldn't find him. Grabbed Christian out of choir practice to help me look and we eventually found him. In the van, buckled in.
"I'm first! I did it first! I win!"
Good for you, Nathan.
We ended the day with a fun dinner with our good friends, the Wesels (also the family who sit behind us and are routinely disturbed by our crazy kids).
An absolutley crazy day--but every time I thought I ought to be angry or break down, I couldn't help but laugh because it was just all so typical and ridiculous. I can't believe tomorrow is Monday again!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good times

This was one of those days...a trip to the dentist with 4 kids in tow, no neighborhood friends available to play when we got home, and it was hot and muggy. But I had one of those moments, when the kids were playing on the slip'n slide and Aaron was running around in his diaper showing off his adorable belly, when I realize just how much I love my kids. I probably complain about them more than I talk about the good stuff, so I thought blogland should know that I really do love my kids.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nathan's Happy Birthday

Finally 4! I had to disappoint Nathan by telling him he has to wait another year to start school, but otherwise, he had a great birthday.
Friday, the day before his birthday, we had some friends over for dinner so we served his cake early--its always better to share, especially since I made a dirt cake to serve a dozen people. I thought it turned out pretty cute (it even had gummy worms). The kids helped me make the flowers out of colored licorice (strengthened with kabob skewers), starbursts, gummy fruit slices and toothpicks.
On Saturday, Nathan's real birthday, we started the day off with gifts before taking him to get his pictures taken. We haven't had a nice picture of Nathan taken in years because I haven't know what to do with his hair...how sad is that? He had a blast, laughed the whole time, and I think we got some great pictures. If you're interested, you can check them out here (just type in my name for the customer name and click on view images). After that, we went to the Celery Flatts trails with the big kids and Daddy on bikes to ride a few miles on a gorgeous day. Rachel and Nathan still use training wheels, but they're getting much more comfortable. Next thing, we headed out to our friend's house for the ward ice cream social, where the kids got wet, ate lots of candy, jumped on the trampoline, and played with a parrot and horse-sized dogs. They came home thoroughly exhausted, but happy.
We so glad we have Nathan--he's a sweet kid, loves to laugh, and is a great friend to his siblings. Here are a few photos of Nathan through the years (and with his weird hair...).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

MULA

Christian was home all week for his Mandatory Unpaid Leave of Absense...aka--forced unpaid vacation. Although we are grateful that his company chose to do extra vacation rather than more layoffs, we really do prefer to get paid.
We had a long list of things to do this week--a list that would have been longer if we were getting paid this week (refinish the deck, go on vacation...), but long enough. Monday morning I woke up with the feeling that we were already behind and that there was no way we'd get to everything. So, I did the smart thing for once, and started with the most important projects. Monday afternoon I started painting the girls' room, and successfully turned a simple and cheap project to something much more involved. A few months ago I picked out what I thought would be the perfect color for their room--it was a neutral greenish color that matched both quilts and the wood trim. Then I saw a mis-tinted paint that seemed close enough and proceeded to add every leftover scrap of paint in our garage to try to make it into the color I originally wanted. As I began painting, I didn't like it. I panicked for a few hours, trying to decided if I should just go back and buy the original color, turning a budget project into a more than usually expensive one, but decided to stick it out. I mixed some more colors into the mis-tint and finished up a second coat. By morning, I really liked it--paint colors look so different when they dry. Its much more cheerful than the crayon-and-white they originally had. Drama over.
For my birthday, Christian bought tickets to the Parade of Homes and on Tuesday we found a babysitter so we could go together. I'm so lucky that Christian enjoys doing that sort of thing with me. We saw a few places we loved, got a bunch of new ideas, and laughed at a few really stupid details (a toilet seat visible through a window directly over the front door of a half a million dollar home???). I went again by myself later on in the week to get my $'s worth.
Also during the week, we visited the Air Zoo (free!), used Hannah's reading coupons at Pizza Hut, used the Celery Flatts trail/parks three times to run/ride bikes/play, attended the weekly ASL class/ YW night, had dinner with friends twice, worked on our garden and yard, celebrated Nathan's 4th birthday and got his picture taken, attended the ward's ice cream social, spent 4 hours visiting teaching 2 people, and Christian spent the last free afternoon helping some friends fix up their basement after a flood.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trying to be nice

We moved Nathan's bed back into the boys' room with Aaron.
Hannah was thrilled! She said,"Now I'll only have one pest to deal with!" (meaning Rachel).
"Pest?" I asked.
"A lovely pest!"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A good day

So--its officially summer vacation! (Only, it seems as if no one has told the weather that it is summer break--we haven't had to water our garden is days because of all the rain)

We made it one day before Rachel asked to go back to school.

I'm really quite nervous for this summer. My kids love school--they've had great classes and teachers so far, and I'm still not very good at the whole discipline-thing. One of my goals for the summer is to work on chore charts with the kids. Hannah is usually pretty good about doing the things I ask, but Rachel is pretty good at pretending she doesn't know what I'm asking.

The other day I was in a bit of a rut (emotionally speaking) and I thought about what makes a good day for me. I think the best kind of days include good parenting moments, time with the hubby and/or good friends (both useful in their own way), housework (yes, even though I am not a great homemaker, I love the feel of a clean house), and some sort of craft/decor project. Today, so far, I've done pretty well--after a disastrous early morning, I've tidied up all the public areas of the house, played games with kids and spent time with each kid, and finished a few projects. Ok...that means its time for Christian to come home from his work-trip to Cleveland/Cincinatti/Detroit, or for someone to call or stop by.... (anyone? anyone? I guess I can wait until yw tonight.)

Here are a few of the craft projects I've been working on:

I love my kids' teachers--they have been amazing. Whenever I hear people talk about homeschool (and I know there are plenty of good reasons to homeschool) I think that there isn't anyway I could provide the same great experiences as they've had in public school. For my gifts to the teachers and bus driver (Rachel has an awesome bus driver), I bought a few bunches of flowers from Sam's Club, raided my craft paper for cards, and tied it all up with some cute ribbon. I think they're pretty cheerful, and I even had some leftover to brighten up my kitchen! (The bowl holds some of the roses from our yard--Hannah wanted to make a bouquet)Cute hairbows are all the rage, and I found a very simple tutorial to make felt-flower clips that I love...
I finally bought and hung frames with the kids' pictures (don't look closely--I know we're missing a picture of Nathan. We haven't had professional pictures of him taken since he was younger than Aaron is now, and I thought it might be weird to put those up). It makes me happy whenever I see this arrangement!
I finally finished this Swedish weave baby blanket for my nephew, Isaac. Its been on my to-do list since he was born, and now....he'll turn 2 in a month. :) Christian's mother used to make these for all the grandkids, and when she passed away there were over 30 of them...but with family of 13 kids, even 30 isn't enough. She taught me to make them after we lost Rachel's. I've made 4 of them so far (3 for my kids--Hannah has one from her grandmother--and this one for Isaac). So, DeAnn, should I ship it to you or just give it to you when we're both in Utah?

And we finally have a garden! This is our 3rd or 4th try...we usually get a handful or tomatoes or, last summer, a measly 5 strawberries, but this year we have tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, squash, pumpkin, watermelon, and spinach and they all seem to be doing well!

Happy summer vacation, everyone!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The faces that make me crazy

I'm loosing my mind and its not my fault.

I'm blaming them:


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to me....

Yesterday was an awesome day. Just knowing the day was special seemed to make it that way. I started off the day with a great breakfast--an amazing chocolate cake with 2 kinds of ganache (milk choc and semi-sweet), fresh strawberries, and whip cream. Even though Christian hasn't lived at his parents' home for over a decade, he still hasn't learned to cook for a small family (as if 6 is small)...so he made two of these gorgeous cakes. After breakfast I went to the gym for an hour (elliptical, weights, treadmill). That should help. I spent the afternoon washing the kitchen floor and talking on the phone with my older brother and Dad, who I usually only speak to on major holidays, so it was really nice to catch up with them. In that afternoon, our awesome babysitter came over (Christian even called her for me--he arranged the whole thing) so we could head over to Kalamazoo's Greek Festival which was...a let down. Mostly just booths to sell tourist junk. But there was fun dancing, music, and good greek food. To get in, because it was around dinner time and alcohol was being served, we had to show ID. I didn't bring my purse, so I didn't have my ID and didn't get a handy budweiser bracelet...instead, I got these big X's in permanent marker on my hand. Apparently, even at 28, I'm still not old enough to drink. I may never be.That evening, we watched Angels and Demons. I loved it! Much better than the Da Vinci Code movie, and it made me want to travel to Rome really badly...with all the extra vacation time Christian has this year, we ought to be able to go...if only it wasn't this stupid forced, unpaid kind of vacation...I'm not Catholic and don't have much experience with the religion, but as I watched the movie and thought back to the last conclave, which I remember watching coverage of on tv, I thought that while there are good and bad people in every religion and every country, there are also a whole lot of people with a whole lot of faith and devotion trying to do good things. I also want to go to the churches and cathedrals I studied in art history, see the art and stand in the presence of all that intelligence and inspiration...maybe it could wear off on me.
Yeah, I got that from a Tom Hanks movie.
Anyway, good day, happy birthday, awesome family...and thanks for all of you who sent cards and facebook greetings!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fathers and Sons

Although I didn't find out about it until the day before, we had our Fathers and Sons camp out this past weekend. It's actually the first one that any ward I've lived in (Since Robyn and I were married) has held, so this was the first opportunity for me to introduce Nathan and Aaron to the excitement...



Nathan loved sitting around the campfire - almost as much as walking around with his flashlight...

Aaron spent much of the time munching on cookies and staring at the world around him.

The kids had a great time.



Aaron was fascinated by the tents.

The boys played quite nicely together.

Although I was able to borrow a tent from a friend at work, we still don't own any sleeping bags, so blankets it was...

Aaron thought it was pretty silly inside the tent...sleep was hard to come by

A morning shot - you probably can't tell, but they're both at least a 90 turn from where they started

And you can't have a proper fathers and sons outing without a little horseplay - Aaron won this round, Nathan ended up on the ground