Friday, August 29, 2008

Will it make you strong?

Each time we sit down to have a meal together as a family, I am bombarded with "I don't want that, that, or that" from Harris. He is extremely picky and it has been very difficult to get him to eat even the plainest of things, like carrots, potatoes, or even corn. Well, with time I knew I had to figure out a way to convince him to at least try these foods and after many failed attempts, we finally came up with a winner; "This will make you strong."
We found Harris' motivation. He loves sports, especially football, and if I can somehow relate his food to football or another sport, then he's miraculously game and his attitude turns 180 degrees. Just today for lunch we were having quesadillas, carrots, and oranges. He refused to eat the carrots until I explained that carrots will make your eyes really strong so you can see the football from really far away. No lie, he listened, and within seconds said, "Ok!" and ate all his carrots and then asked for more. After eating his carrots, he then pointed to his quesadilla and said, "But this won't make you strong, will it?" I replied, "Yes, the cheese inside will make your bones strong so you can kick hard and the tortilla will fill your tummy up so it won't hurt while your playing." He again then shifted gears and ate all of it. He even turned to Brigden and told him he wouldn't be strong because he hadn't finished his oranges yet.
Hmm? Is this logical or emotional? What a joke, so now each meal my mind starts turning before he even sits down asking myself, why is this meal good for Harris and how will it make him strong? I need a course in nutrition for I fear I might be running out of good sports related explanations soon. Well, at least for today, lunch is over and eaten.

Two of a Kind

This week has been quite a shift of gears as Halen has been gone all day for first grade and therefore left Harris and Brigden home alone with me. They have quickly adjusted to her absence in becoming best buddies and playing really well together. This morning as they were getting ready Harris wanted to get dressed just as Brigden so he went and picked out his clothes to match Brigden as best he could. I think he did a pretty good job. They were so proud of their "matching" selves.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Halen's First Day of School & Birthday

This week has already been a busy one. We were so excited to send Halen off to her first day of First Grade on Monday! She had been talking about this day all summer and thought it would never arrive. She was really bummed in the beginning of the summer because she didn’t know anyone in her upcoming class, but at the last minute, one of her best friends was moved into her class and therefore she felt a little more comfortable at the thought of going back to school. We went and visited her classroom last week and were able to find her desk and this really helped calm her jitters and let her know she was welcomed and had her own place in her new classroom. She was so excited! When the actual day came she was up and ready to go; dressed and with her chores done at least an hour before she even had to leave. She couldn’t wait.

When she returned home she was still glowing, literally. "It was a great day" she said and gave us a report on all the upcoming fun she would be having in her class with her new teacher. She didn’t go a full day on the first day, since everyone had an early out day, but went for her first full day on Tuesday. This could have been an interesting experience, but wasn’t because to break up her first long day she was able to celebrate her birthday at school with her class. Tuesday was her 6th birthday. She’s been counting down to this day for months. She was able to open her presents in the morning and then even had time to play with them before she had to head off for the bus. Then at school she got to hand out treats and receive cards from all of her classmates.

When she got home, we continued the celebration as she played with her new toys and made her cake. It began as a real disaster. So much, that as I was making it, a friend who was over just sat and laughed, with me of course, and wondered how I would ever pull it together in the end. I just reassured her a couple inches of icing can fix and cover up anything! I learned from my mother that it doesn’t matter what the cake looks like as long as you just add more icing to smooth out the rough edges. Well, Halen was worried too as she watched me, but alas, it turned out good enough. I wouldn’t say superb, but just good enough for a 6 year old who just wanted a beautiful blue Cinderella like gown on her Barbie doll.

Here she is just six years ago as we were getting ready to bless her in her blessing gown in October of 2002.

Here are a few fun specifics about our current Halen:

Her favorite foods are shredded bbq chicken w/ rice, mac-n-cheese w/ hot dogs, top ramen noodles, reeses pieces cups, and chocolate ice cream.

Her favorite toys are her barbies and polly pockets.

Her favorite television shows are Hannah Montana, Full House, Super Why, Spongebob Squarepants, and So You Think You Can Dance.

She loves to organize her dolls on her bed, color, please her parents, play with friends nonstop, dance, and sing. She will make up her own songs and music and dance the afternoon away as her friends watch on as her audience. She’s not as shy as she lets on.

She is a huge motherly sister and watches over Brigden and Harris constantly.

Even though she is always asking for a friend to play with, she loves her alone time as well and can color by herself for quite a while when she’s in the mood.

She loves unprovoked attention.

She has a red skirt that she would wear every single day with her brown boots if her mommy let her. She’s not much of a tennis shoes kind of girl, regardless of her mother's endless attempts.

She is extremely thoughtful, kindhearted, service oriented, and a pure jewel to have in our family.

We are so blessed to know her and look forward to many more years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Oh My Mozarella!

So lately as I've been trying new recipes that won't break the budget and I thought it might be fun to try to make homemade pizza. My mom made it every Friday when I was a kid and we loved it so I figured since I love restaurant pizza so much, I could at least try the homemade stuff and see if I could do it or if it would be worth it. Well, luckily I have a breadmaker that had a recipe so I just threw the 5 ingredients in, pushed a button, and then 1.5 hours later I had fresh pizza dough and 20 minutes later after adding toppings, each to our individual desires, we had some great pizza.
Now, I won't say that it was gourmet, but it was actually really good. What surprised me is that it only cost me a few bucks a pizza, literally, I did the math because I wanted to make sure that my work would be worth the effort and savings. It was. A really large pizza only cost me like $2.50 Crazy!!! Anyway, my second greatest discovery in the process was Mozarella Cheese! As strange as it sounds, I have never just had a bite of a chunk of Mozarella cheese. Now, I've had string cheese, and cheese cubes and whatnot, but not a chunk of a soft moist block of Mozarella purchased at the store. After I shredded the cheese for the pizza, I took a bite and without realizing it I was immediately transformed to some peaceful tropical beach with the warm sun blazing on me as the rushing waves serenaded my relaxing moment chewing cheese! I know...I know, get a grip! Crazy, eh? But hey, I think I've found my latest food craze...a bite of Mozarella Cheese! Wow Baby!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Major Catchup on Posts!

So I know this is crazy, but I had the time and energy and so I went for it. I've updated my blog with 9 posts from the past two months and if you're bored enough you're welcome to read them and catch up on our little family life. Get yourself a good snack and Happy reading! Thanks for your patience on my absence!

Say Goodbye to Sweet Centerville

Over the last year, I've been able to help my dad go through the boxes in his house as he prepares to sell our family home. We moved into the home in 1991 and had tons of wonderful experiences including energetic fights, teenage parties, family home evenings, door step scenes, porch sitting evenings, volleyball games, movie nights, schmoozing, quick breakfasts as we rush out the door to the bus stop, and just plain living.
Dad was able to finally sell the home and therefore closed on the deal this last Wednesday. As we were packing up the final odds and ends, it was not only difficult to say goodbye to the house itself, but it was also difficult to say goodbye to one more piece of my Mother. Not only was the house decorated by my Mom, but the house was made a home by my Mom. It resembled her in almost every way. It was also was to say goodbye because she passed from us in this very home. I never thought I would see a house where someone had passed as so special because the movies make it out to be as something spooky and scary, but in this instance, it wasn't. It a very special house to me. It was sad to me to think that while in her bedroom that I was standing in the place where she had last been on earth alive and I would never stand there again. Once again, losing one more piece of her. It's interesting because it's almost as if my Mom didn't just die on October 27, 2006, but dies over and over again as I encounter these types of experiences. I know depressing, but true.
Anyhow, it was a wonderful place to grow up and very difficult to say goodbye, but so we must. Here we are as we are finishing helping for the very last day at that house with Dad and Megan.

Megan with her styling new haircut, Dave, Me looking my best after long days of moving and cleaning, Brigden, Harris, Grandpa Chris, and Halen.

A Soccerific Father's Day!

This year I was able to give my father a father's day present that was different than most of my previous presents. I included a letter to explain the gift, which I've included below:
June 13, 2008

Dear Dad,

I’ve been amazed at the growth in our relationship over the past 15 years, maybe that’s because that is when I finally grew up and became more adult-like, who knows? Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you how much I love, admire, appreciate, and need you! You have intensely helped me in so many ways these last few years through so many different trials as well allowed me to be there for you when necessary. I thank you for both of these things. You’ve been my rock in my stormy life, besides Dave, of course.

I’m so grateful my children have such a wonderful grandfather that loves them and even demonstrates it. I’m so grateful my husband has such a loving father figure in you that he feels so comfortable to come to when in need of help, advice, or just plain friendship. You are a great example to him. He loves you dearly!

As I was preparing this gift, I was able to reminisce on my youth and enjoyed it very much. I want to thank you for all the sacrifice you made for us, your very large family, in every aspect, food, shelter, necessities, as well as sacrificing your time and energy for us in our extra curricular endeavors. My heart swells when I think of my past activities because I always knew my parents were there for me on the sidelines! That meant a lot! Thank you!

So that you will fully understand this gift, this is something Mom actually had started for you. She told me about it once and was extremely excited to give it to you. In helping you clean out the storage room, one day I came home with various boxes of old items that you no longer needed. Upon going through these boxes, I found this “project” of hers amongst scrap material and knew instantly what needed to be done. Therefore, this is not only from me, but actually from Mom, since she had already started the project and, interestingly enough, left behind notes on how she wanted the project finished. I finished the project exactly as she had designed therefore you can know that this is the gift she wanted you to have, but just wasn’t able to give to you herself.

This is a picture of the quilt my mother designed for my father of one or more soccer jerseys from each of their children and most were coached by him. What a family heirloom! We love soccer as a family and this quilt shows it! Now the only question is which jersey(s) belongs to which child?

Halen looses 2 teeth

In June, Halen lost her first tooth. It became loose very quickly, but painfully loose at dinner time. She wanted it out because she couldn’t eat without crying, so I called my brother Corbin and asked him how he pulled his daughter’s tooth out. Here were my tools. What do you think I did?

We used the floss to tie around the bottom of the tooth and then wound the floss around the hammer so I had something to hold onto as I quickly yanked the tooth out of her gums. We counted to three and then it was over. She was so scared, but barely even felt it happen it happened so quickly. The only problem was that it flew across the room and we had to go searching for it. We did find it though. That evening she placed it under her pillow awaiting her prize from the tooth fairy. It was so unexpected and late in the day, that all the tooth fairy had for her was a $5 bill and was too lazy to leave for the store to change it into single bills. The tooth fairy did tell me she hoped Halen wouldn’t recognize the difference between a $5 and a $1 because she didn’t deal with money very often. The tooth fairy gave her the money and then gave the tooth to Halen’s mother to keep.

A few days later, Halen lost her second tooth using the same surgical procedure, but this time, the tooth was lost! We couldn’t find it anywhere, but then I realized I could replace the lost tooth with the first saved tooth and then sent Halen to look in a certain corner of the room for the placed tooth. Halen did so and retrieved it and then later the next morning couldn’t find the prize from the tooth fairy. Well, that was probably because the tooth fairy forgot! As I realized what had happened as she came out of her room that morning I told her we should go back and look again. I picked up the pillow and slyly handed her the pillow with a pillow case and told her to look in the pillow case because the prize might have slipped in the pillow case. It had, this time the tooth fairy was prepared with a few dollar bills. Wow. That was a close one. Thank heavens we get a break from the tooth fairy for a bit because we are obviously not very good at it, but becoming better and better at saving close calls.

Halen's Dance Recital

This last June, Halen participated in her dance recital. She just loves it and I love watching her. It brings back such good memories. I’d love for her to continue in dance, but struggle knowing exactly how to go about it without building a large ego while we’re at it. Such is the quest. Anyhow, here she is all decked out and in her own inspired ‘striking pose.’

Dave laughs at me as I excitedly tell him how well she did in her dance at the recital. He warns me not to become a "Wanna Be Dance Mom."

Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Sometimes I have such proud moments when I see Halen taking after me and my freakishly organized nature, but then other moments I feel real sorry for her because I hate to have to see her be prisoner to such expectations of herself. Regardless, she has them and ‘like mother, like daughter.’ Here she was so proud of her perfectly cleaned and organized room that she made me take a picture of it. She even pointed out how she placed her slippers perfectly next to her bed so they were ready and waiting for her.

Oh, sweet "stuck in her mother's perfectionistic personality prison" Halen!

6 kids, ages 5 and under

Blake, Harris, Niki, Marissa, Halen, and Brigden

Wow, there’s a reason that people don’t usually have 6 children within a 4 year time span. Around July 22nd, Dave and I took care of Corbin & Diane’s 3 girls while they vacationed in New York. Although it was a ton of work for us, the kids had the most amazing time of constant play with their cousins! Here is one shot of them in our backyard swimming, excluding Maliya and including our neighbor Blake. It will be fun in 10 years and look back on this picture and see how they’ve grown.

The End of the Tree Cutting Era!

As I’ve previously mentioned, Dave and I spent almost every Saturday, and many other weekdays, this summer cutting down trees. We counted the stumps when we were finished and found we cut down a minimum of 35 trees with an average 2-3 foot stump diameter and a height of about 50-60 feet each. After each tree was cut down with the help of a long cord, an enduring chain saw, and a 4-whe

eler, Dave would then cut the tree into firewood as I would collect and transfer the cut off branches and fire wood to the backyard separated piles. We were able to cut down approximately 2-3 trees each day of 8 hours or so of work.

Within the next few weeks we’ll be renting a chipper to chip all the branches and then we’ll be able to have Dave’s brother come over and pull all the stumps out with his excavator. We can’t wait because putting in a sprinkling system seems like child’s play compared to this other stuff! I can’t wait to only have to put in a sprinkling system and plant seed. Let’s just hope it happens before the winter. If not, what’s another winter with no grass, eh? I’ll tell you, annoying and frustrating but very patience building, cuz sometimes that’s all I need to learn is another patience building trial! (Sarcastically said!)

Here is Dave cutting off the branches of a fallen tree.

Here is our backyard of many tree stumps. The builders of the home decided to plant approximately 35 poplars along the east side of our .45 acre lot. We figure they were trying to create a wind barrier since the wind blows from the east to the west, but are sure they weren't sure what they were doing because the large poplars didn't stop any wind and not only did they perfectly shade our neighbors entire front and back yard from 2:00 pm on each day, but they provided us with mountains of leaves to collect in the fall. It only took one fall of cleaning up leaves for us to confirm our decision in getting rid of all of these purposeless trash trees.

Here is Dave forcing a smile as I force myself to document these tragic tree removal memories!

This picture was taken when we only had 6 trees left. We were so excited to be close to being done. It took us about 3 Saturdays to finish cutting down those 6 trees.

Here is Dave starting his angle cut which allowed us to determine which direction the tree would fall.

Wow! What a change. I can actually stand on my front porch and see my neighbors to the east of me. I love it. I can watch my kids ride their bikes and know where they are without having to hope they'll return after they pass into the forest's view of my past tree border.

An Amazing Water Transformation

Halen and Harris have always had a fear of water. It was only just a year ago that I was able to pour water over Halen’s head in the bathtub without her screaming bloody murder. They have taken swimming lessons for years at local public facilities, but haven’t seen much growth in overcoming their fear of water. It’s been a huge frustration of mine because I would find myself wasting my money as I took them to local large water parks only to watch them not even dare go down the baby slides, go any deeper than knee deep water, or much less let water splash on them by other participants actually enjoying the water. Well, this year we encountered a huge transformation! A friend of mine in my neighborhood put on her own swimming lessons and she did a phenomenal job. Harrris and Halen went from the previously explained condition to jumping into a pool unassisted and therefore covering their entire bodies with water and having to swim to the side of the pool in only 8 lessons. Just this last weekend we went to the Roy Aquatic Center with my brothers and sisters and it was such a drastic change from our past. They were so safe, happy, and wet!!! I loved it. I took a bunch of pictures because I was just so in shock and so happy! I couldn’t believe my children were acting like normal children.

Halen couldn’t stop asking me to watch her swim with her face in the water and then turn over and float on her back. Harris couldn’t stop asking me to watch him go underwater and open his eyes underwater. It was so much fun! We stayed there for 6 hours and would have only lasted, after me coaxing them into staying, about 2 hours in years past. What a change!!!

Halen went down a small water slide for the first time ever!

Here Harris is lying face up while the water pours down on top of his face. Huh? Crazy!!! What a difference! Thanks Angie, our wonderful swim teacher and friend!

June 27th Visit to Lagoon

I know this happened a while ago, but as I slowly catch up on the past, I came across these pictures and just had such great memories of such a wonderful evening at Lagoon. My brother Cardin was in town and we chose to spend our afternoon at Lagoon for our Stake Lagoon day. Corbin and Diane taught me how to enjoy Lagoon for FREE. We joined them as the kids rode the carousel at least 5 times each, the train at least 3 times, and then enjoyed all of the Lagoon shows. It was a little difficult explaining to the children why we couldn't ride the other rides since they weren't on the FREE list, but after a few tries, they finally let it go. I would love to go in the future on a full ride pass, but for our first family Lagoon trip, this was awesome! The kids loved the carousel, and I was even surprised how much I loved the relaxing ride just being with them. The joys of parenthood!!!