Sunday, February 23, 2014

Our Family: Week of 2/17-2/23

For President's Day, Mike worked both jobs, we cleaned and caught up on homework.

Our RS President brought us over the makings for root beer floats.

We have so many sweet friends who are keeping us full of sugar.



After a 4-day weekend, the kids happily went back to school on Tuesday, Mike sleepily went to work, and Josh and I got started on the massive pile of laundry in our living room.

I figure I nurse Sam for about 8 hours every day.

That takes a serious chunk out of time I have to get stuff done.

I love nursing him, and it's completely worth it, but it's a time commitment for sure.

Which explains the huge pile of laundry we plowed through.

In-between feedings, Sam slept on the chair next to me in the living room while I folded.

Occasionally accompanied by Josh.

And (somehow) when my back was turned, that Sam went and snuck a Red Vine.


(Kind of reminds me of this stunt that Grace pulled on Josh when he was a baby).

Except, while Grace was trying to torture, Josh was just trying to "share."


Mike's day off this week was on Wednesday. 

He let me sleep in a little (felt so good!) and went to Harbor Freight.

He came home and told me he was going to take care of the weeds.

I was super-happy and (shocked) that he had volunteered to take care of them.  

Until I saw the super-cool tool he had bought to take care of the weeds.

Fire makes weed killing bearable, apparently.


On Thursday, we went to Zumba in the morning, for the first time in over a year.

And afterward, I felt just a bit like myself again.

(The whole postpartum thing is pretty hard for me).

That afternoon, Josh went ahead and T.P.ed Sam while I ran back to our room to answer the phone.

FYI, I will no longer be answering the phone.



On Friday I made my kiddos extremely happy when I told them we were going to the library.

We haven't been since before Sam was born.

And because we used to go once a week, these kids were dying for some new books.

When we got home we whipped up some stir-fry for dinner.

Foreign Friday was delayed because I had a ton of veggies I had to use up, and stir-fry is the best way to get them used up... next Friday we have plans to learn about France.

Josh adores stir-fry.

I found him on the stove sneaking leftovers out of the pan before I had put them away.

We picked up Mike from work at 7:30 then went over to Krispy Kreme so these guys could redeem their report card "As" for some free doughnuts.

And until Adam can be convinced that getting good grades and studying are beneficial to his life, free doughnuts are an awesome motivator.


On Saturday, we watched from the sidelines as Grace cheered for the volleyball team.

We went straight from the game to D.I. to pick up Mike... who ended up having to work an hour extra.

I will not complain about having his job (because what an enormous blessing having a job is), but being salaried means we never really know his schedule, because every day he either stays later or goes in early.

Normally, it's not a big deal (other than us having to wait in the car longer), but we had plans that night!

Luckily, Kristi and Mike were very gracious hosts when we showed up over an hour late for dinner (we got lost, too).

We had a yummy dinner and the kids had fun playing together.


On Sunday I asked Grace to hold Josh after church while I made lunch.

She (and Josh) went ahead and introduced him to their most favorite toy in the house:

Our red chair.

It spins better than the teacups at Disneyland.

I quickly rescued Sam.

(He has had quite a week).

That evening after scriptures and prayer, Sam started crying to be fed.  I had dinner dishes to wash, a kitchen to clean, and another enormous pile of laundry to fold.

And you know the best part of not letting your kids watch TV ever?

That when you offer to let them watch Cake Boss with you if they will fold laundry, they all happily oblige, and that laundry gets folded/hung/put away in no time because they are SO excited to get to watch TV.

I'm going to have to try that again one of these days.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Our Family: Week of 2/10-2/16

On Monday, I realized it had been 4 weeks since Sam was born.

So, I decided to be a big girl and clean my entire house... scrub tubs, dust, organize the closets, sweep, mop, etc.

Which means that now when someone visits I will actually let them in my house... rather than making up an excuse as to why they should stay outside.


Now, I need to deal with the million weeds that have popped up in the last month and clean the van.

And by the time I get those done, it will probably be time to scrub the bathtubs and mop the floors again.

That evening, Adam finished his black history project on Nelson Mendela.  Grace did her spelling homework.  Josh rode his bike around the house.  Sam ate and ate.

Mike slept to get ready for his night job.

And I (grumpily) envied him.


On Tuesday, we had some friends visit who brought the best baby gift Mike has ever received:

Girl Scout cookies.

Adam worked on the "Art" Webelos pin at Scouts that night.  Mike dropped him off and then went back into work for 4 hours (a sweet friend brought Adam home for us).  Josh got hit on top of his head with a hoe by our visiting friends on accident (there was blood, but luckily, it was a small cut).

I re-discovered the beauty of the store-bought rotisserie chicken.

And of store-bought Valentine's (they went with Fun Dip ones).


For the past 2 weeks, I have been super-spoiled/blessed.  Sam tends to get up around 5:00am.  I nurse him until 5:45ish, get the kids and Mike up, get breakfast and lunches going, etc.  He has to be at work at 8:00, so he has been dropping the kids off at school at 7:45, going to work (while I go back to bed for a little more sleep... Josh is a night owl/sleeping in kinda boy), and coming home at lunch, so I can have the van to drop him back off at work and pick-up the kids.

And pick him up from work an hour-and-a-half later.

It's worth the extra sleep I tell ya!

On Wednesday, he had to be at work at 7:30 (and the kids can't be at school until 7:45), so I had to be a big girl again and stay up and bring them all to work and school.

It made me feel like I deserved a Thin Mint for breakfast.


Josh went outside to play in the sandbox (like he does almost every day) and drug in 1/2 pound of sand with him.

Like he does almost every day.

Seriously, I'm surprised that sandbox has any sand left in it at all.

Cheerleading practice, homework, chores, piano practice, and dinner all happened that evening.

Mike left for mutual.

Then Adam reminded me he had been assigned to bring a Valentine box to school the next day.

(Not his fault; he has reminded me every day since it has been assigned; I just kept putting it off).

So, we started to work on it.

Then Grace told me she had one due, too.

So, we started to work on it.

They both had class parties, so we made pretzel Valentine M&M hugs (here) for them to bring.  They were adorable.

We got finished with it all waaaay late.

Then Grace confessed she had lied; she had just wanted a box because Adam had one.

It had been so insanely hard to make both Valentine boxes, get Josh ready for bed, take care of Sam, clean up dinner, get things ready for the next day, and make the party treats by myself.


She's lucky that she wrote me that note last week about my hair.

Or she wouldn't be here with us right now.



On Thursday, we got Valentine boxes, Valentines, treats, and kids to school; Mike off to work.

And then we went to the doctor for Sam's 1-month well check.

Baby boy is BIG!

11 pounds 15 ounces and 23 1/4 inches long.

Almost 100th percentile for each.

I adore that chub.

And his beautiful blonde/brown/red hair.

(Auburn, maybe?)

Josh and I ran errands, came home, had lunch, took care of Sam, talked to Mike, and went back to pick up the kids.

They were laden with treats, Valentines, and lots of stories of their super-fun day.

We quickly ran to Target (I had accidentally shoplifted earlier in the day, so we went to right my wrong.)

Darn having kids who notice these things!


We came home, where Josh lamented that he didn't have a party.

So we had a little family pre-Valentine party, which involved us eating too many treats from kids' school parties, reading Valentines and dancing.

Afterward, Grace held a crying Sam so I could get a few things done.


On Friday, there was no Valentine-themed breakfast or lunch.  My kids didn't wear pink or red.  And Mike had to work late, and wouldn't be their for our traditional family dinner.

And it's okay.

In years' past, I would've sacrificed the 4 hours of sleep I'm getting a night these days to make it the most special Valentine's Day ever.

I've matured/gotten lazy/become realistic/value my 4 hours of sleep too much to make that happen.

And it's okay.

Instead, we stayed home and cleaned bedrooms, while blasting our essential cleaning music (iHeart Radio Kid-Friendly Pop).

Josh played in the sandbox and cleaned the entire backyard by himself, making a nice place for the kids to ride their bikes around.

That evening, we had our traditional meatloaf Valentine dinner, and when Mike got home, the kids opened small gifts from us.


On Saturday, we headed to downtown Las Vegas, to the Emergency Arts Center.

The kids' school has an annual fundraiser each year where they have each kid paint a picture on canvas, get the Emergency Arts Center to donate their building for the day, and hold a silent auction to raise money for the school, while the choir and cheer teams perform to provide entertainment.

And, honestly, I would rather pay for a cute piece of my kids' art then a box of frozen cookie dough, so I love it.

I felt very brave, parking downtown, walking the 6 blocks with Sam in my Moby, and Josh gripping my hand tight, with Adam and Grace close-by.

They were all a little nervous.  Downtown Vegas is artsy/vintage.

And slightly creepy/dirty.

As we were walking along, we saw Container Park.

It's a way cool park + shopping center built entirely out of containers.  And it has been on our we've-got-to-do-this-now list since it opened in December.  We were tempted to go check it out, but didn't have time. Now that we know where it is (and I feel much braver about doing Downtown by myself) we are going ASAP.

Container Park is so cool.

(Most especially the slide.  And the fire-breathing praying mantis.)

Anyway, once we saw Container Park, a place that was kinda familiar to us, we all relaxed, found the Emergency Arts Center, and got Grace to her coach.

We watched the cute JV Cheer girls perform their darling dance:
 Walked around, talked to friends, and bid on Adam and Grace's artwork.

Sam started to fuss, so we walked/chased Josh (he was feeling much more brave) back to the car, and headed home to feed him.

At home, I fed Sam, the kids played, and we had grilled cheese for dinner.


On Sunday, I taught Sam all about "selfies."

I am almost itch-free (yay to Allegra + Zantac + time + lots of prayers), and the weather has been pretty warm, and we haven't been sick yet this winter (huge blessing), so I think I'm heading back to church next week.

Mike, Adam, Grace, and Josh all walked in the front door and each handed me a couple of Hershey kisses they had saved from their Bishop's-office-candy-jar-raid.


(And, if the Bishop is handing out chocolate rather than Dum-Dums these days, I will definitely go back to church next week).


After changing clothes and eating lunch, the kids headed out to the sandbox where they re-created Lehi's family traveling across the ocean to the Promised Land:

And went out front to play basketball.

And played soccer inside.

I love that Sam only sleeps well if he is in the living room, with everyone playing, laughing, yelling, and kicking soccer balls around him (I guarded him, don't worry).

We finished the day with a visit from friends (who brought us cake + cookies), dinner, baths, scriptures, prayer and bed.

After they were asleep and the kitchen was cleaned, I fed Sam while I watched Blackfish on Netflix and bawled.

I'm not even what I'd remotely call an animal lover, but baby orcas should not be taken away from their Mamas!

I think that means that I'm a hormonal mess.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our Family: Week of 2/3-2/9

On Monday, I looked at our schedule and realized for the first time in months, we had no doctor appointments for the entire week.


So, Mike made good on that Mexican lunch he had promised me (that was supposed to happen after my "last" doctor appointment before I had Sam), and we went out.

Josh, Mike and I had fun... but we still haven't found good Mexican food in Vegas.

That night for Family Home Evening, we put together Valentine-themed gingerbread houses, with the supplies my Mom left us (we didn't have time to make them with her while she was here).

Thanks, Mom!

Afterward, Mike hurried off to go sleep (he works nights Sundays and Mondays, along with his day job at D.I.), and I left to take care of Sam.

Grace made me the sweetest note ever:

Josh went ahead and decorated the cupboards with the leftover candy and frosting:

Later, I went to clean it off and he asked that I leave his "decorations" on until after Valentine's Day.

So, I am.


On Tuesday we went to Adam's (last... sad!) Blue & Gold Banquet + cake auction.

And my camera wouldn't work, darnit!

He made a delicious Texas Sheet cake to auction off... and we won this one:

(Camera worked the next day, of course).  ;)


On Wednesday we had cheer practice.

I tried timing it really well, so that Sam wouldn't need to nurse until after it was over.

It worked!

Grace and the other cheerleaders are perfecting a darling dance that they are performing at the art gala next Saturday.  It's super-cute!  (Hopefully, I can record it).

Mike had mutual that night.

Sam likes to crazy-eat from about 5:00 to bedtime, which makes dinnertime tricky.

So, I went ahead and did something horrible called: macaroni & cheese with frozen corn dogs for dinner.

The kids were thrilled.

I can't say the same for Mike.



On Thursday my camera officially died.


I got the kids to school, Mike to work, took care of Sam + Josh, and got back to school on time to pick up the kids.  They even all had jackets because it was raining.

I was pretty happy and feeling like a decent Mom, until Adam ran out and informed me it was his turn to take home the class pet, Cosmo the white tree frog.


And that he was out of food.


So I got to haul Sam and a large aquarium down the street, while threatening Grace and Josh to stay close to me while we walked.

It kinda sapped the good-Mom feelings from me.


On Friday, with the Olympics happening, I thought it would be fun to learn about Russia.

We are supposed to use Fridays for learning, projects, homework, etc.

I normally use them for park fun and grocery shopping.

But, I decided (with learning about China last week and all), we are going to have Foreign Friday from now on... because I'm nerdy like that.

We learned, and made beef stroganoff and blini (Russian crepes) for dinner.

We sat down excited to watch the Olympics, until we remembered that we don't get NBC.

(We don't watch TV at our house, apart from a little PBS for Josh and our Saturday movie night.  It works best for us.  I thought it would just take some antenna-moving, but apparently, we just can't get NBC).


And it's not even online, which is lame!

We had a fun night of Russian food anyways.


On Saturday, Mike had the day off, so we ran errands and cleaned and watched Grace cheer at a volleyball game.

That night, we watched Hercules (in honor of the Olympics) and had frozen pizza.

We headed to a park, because the kids have been dying to ride their bikes somewhere other than around our house and neighborhood, and the park has a nice walking/riding path. 

It was beautiful, and the perfect way to end our day.

[Hives update: Still itchy arms/back/stomach... rash on arms/back.  But, I decided to switch to Allegra (I was taking Zyrtech) and Zantac (which is a H2 antihistamine... in case you ever wondered).  And it seems to be helping the itch.  Wahoo!]

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our Family: Week of 1/27-2/2

When we were in the O.R. having Sam, Mike dropped the camera on accident.  Luckily, it still worked that day.  Since then, it's worked off/on... and now it's not working at all.  We have a service plan, so I'm sending it in to get fixed.  But, I was trying to pull pictures off of it, so sorry this is late (and for the lack of pictures this week and next).


On Monday morning, Grammy left.

And as she was getting ready to leave, I realized that no "thank you" in the world could begin to describe how much I appreciated her being here while I had (and recovered from having) Sam.  That I didn't worry for a second while I was at the hospital, knowing they were in her care.  That I knew that they were being loved and cared for... and spoiled with fruit snacks, while I got better.  :)  That my house stayed cleaned, my kids stayed fed, that everyone got to where they needed to go, and the laundry stayed done with all of her crazy-hard work.

That because of the sacrifice she made, I could take time to love on Sam and recover and go to the E.R. and feel good enough to take back over today.

So, even though it's not nearly enough: Thank you, Mom!


After she left, we got ready to take Sam to the doctor for his 2-week well check.

Baby boy is doing sooo good!  He weighed 9 pounds 14 ounces (got the birth weight back and then some).

He had his 2nd newborn screening, a Flash bandage on his heel that made Josh envious, and we headed off to run errands.  It was my first time leaving the house in a car in over a week, and I was excited!

Unfortunately, I forgot the part about breastfeeding where I spend 45 minutes of errand time, sitting in a car nursing, while Josh and Mike go grocery shopping.

His chunky cheeks are worth it.


On Tuesday, Adam's math teacher (Mr. G) tracked down Mike at drop-off.

He had told Adam (several times) that he wanted to talk to me, and I've made every effort to completely avoid him.

He introduced himself to Mike and told him how much he likes Adam.

You guys!

A teacher likes Adam!


Adam got bumped up from 5th grade math to Mr. G's 6th grade math class a few months ago.  And he adores Adam's love of knowledge.  He wants Adam in his reading class next year so he can push him to reading books that are out of his comfort zone.

(And I've looked at Mr. G's reading list this year... full of Dickens, Twain, Austen, etc.  The guy loves classics.  Which makes my heart pound).

When Adam got moved to this math class he told me that Mr. G. told him how smart he was and that he liked having him in his class... and it changed Adam.  I highly doubt that Adam talks to friends in Mr. G's class or would even think about debating him, because this teacher took the time to get Adam, and Adam respects him for it.

When Mr. G talked to Mike, and they came home that afternoon and told me about it, Adam was just glowing and was an absolute doll the rest of the day.  Not one complaint with chores, homework, or piano practice.

It's been making me think a lot about meaningful praise and trying to be better at really understanding my kids.


On Wednesday, Josh and I made some (more) play-dough.  We had made the green glitter while my mom was here.  We made yellow today (Josh has plans for red, blue, orange, and purple - for Grace).

I found the recipe here (it's my favorite of the play-dough recipes I've tried).  And, be warned, it's addicting.

That afternoon I went to the doctor to make sure things were looking okay with my c-section incision.  She told me I was okay to drive, but not to lift anything more than 10 pounds until 6 weeks.

I thought it was 2 weeks, darnit!

I need to stop lifting Josh pronto!


On Thursday, I took all of the kids to the store by myself.

A triumph!


A long time ago, before I was pregnant, I was a fun mom.

I tried to be fun once again on Friday by celebrating the Chinese New Year.

We made homemade fortune cookies, decorated with horses and Chinese lanterns, and made Chinese food for dinner.

I didn't factor in the time it takes to pick up Mike for work, or for nursing every 2 hours.

So, we ate dinner at 8:00 at night.

I was frustrated.

I think my next "fun Mom" idea needs to be a little more realistic... and simple.

Like, letting them have sugar-y cereal for breakfast.



On Saturday, I felt super-brave and took all 4 kids out by myself to Henderson for Grace to cheer in the crazy-cold and wind at the soccer game.

Adam and Josh played on the playground.

Sam screamed the entire time (probably because I had him bundled up in multiple blankets head-to-toe to protect him from the afore-mentioned cold and wind).

Afterward, the kids played on the playground some more, while I nursed Sam (I thought it would be better for the kids to play in the cold for 45 minutes rather than be stuck in the van).

I mean, maybe not better for their health; but most definitely better for my mental health.


I was covered while I nursed, but with the wind (and so many of Adam's school friends around for the game), Adam told me he was pretty nervous about the blanket flying off, which made me grin.

Because I also would have died of embarrassment had my friends witnessed my mom nursing when I was 10.


We stayed covered and modest, though, so it was all good.

And, since we were out in Henderson for the game, we went to a place I've put off going to for almost a year:

The Scout office.

Adam's Cub Scout shirt has been progressively getting shorter and shorter and tighter and tighter for the past year.  I also had a number of patches and badges and arrow points I needed to sew on it.

Recently, I was reading his book and read that once a boy is a Webelo he can graduate to the "brown" Boy Scout shirt AND the only badge that was to be worn with the brown one was the circle Webelos badge (no arrow points or Bobcat/Wolf/Bear badges).

I was psyched... he needed a new shirt anyways (it would be silly to buy a new blue shirt for 5 months of wear before 11-year-old Scouts) AND if we went to the new one, I didn't have to sew on all of the badges in my pile!

(Don't judge me.  Please.)

We got it and I sewed on the patches/badges that DID go on the new uniform.

I even opened up the pile of belt loops that he has earned for the past year and put them on his belt.

(We aren't judging here, remember?)

He looks very Scout-ish.

And all ready for the Blue & Gold Banquet next Tuesday.


On Sunday Sam and I stayed home from church.

Drug Allergy Update: The hives are gone, but I still have a rash and am incredibly itchy all over.

I mean, that's not why we stayed home from church (I'm keeping him away from other humans with all of the sickness-es going around for as long as possible).

Just an update for ya.


Afterward we (and by "we" I mean Mike) made snacks and we watched the Superbowl together, interspersed with rounds of Apples to Apples Jr. (Josh's new favorite game that he insists on playing daily, though he has no idea what he's really doing.  It's fun).

It was a fun family day filled with laughter, teasing (Grace and I were cheering for the Broncos), spiritual feeding, and Doritos.

And some napping, too.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 2014 Scripture & Quote

February 2014 Scripture:
Colossians 3:12 "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;"

February 2014 Quote:
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."  -Aesop