31 May 2010

Cousin Sleepover

This Sunday we had Joel's brother Josh and his wife Liz and their two girls over for dinner. Their oldest daughter, Julia, is smack in between Abigail and Collette (age wise). She and Abigail are very good friends. Collette sometimes becomes a third wheel but they do a pretty good job at including her in their fun. I was a little nervous about how late these three would stay up. Apparently, the key to having a successful sleepover is to make the sleeping arrangements so fun that all they want to do is stay there. Joel and I pushed the girls' beds together and then just flipped the blankets around so they were facing the width direction so all three girls could easily fit and no one would fall through the crack (literally and figuratively). They thought this was so cool that they were ready for bed by 7:30. This was not the time they fell asleep but they did stay in there from that time on with only a few exceptions.

They were up bright and early but have overall been wonderful to be around and enjoyed each other a lot. I'm so glad that they have cousins so close to their age that live close.

28 May 2010

Collette turns 5

On May 20th our Collette celebrated her 5th year with us. I thought it would be fun just to take a quick look back at the last 5 birthdays we've celebrated for her.

Ok, ok, this isn't exactly when she was born but for now, it's one of the earliest I could find on my computer. I think she's about 6 weeks old here with Abigail.

Here is Collette turning 1

And 2. I think we didn't do very much for her on her 2nd birthday. We had recently moved to Boulder and didn't know many people. But here she is, eating a cupcake in her pj's.

Here's us celebrating with our family in the backyard on her 3rd birthday

We had a nice combined birthday party for her and her cousin Izzy for her 4th

This year we went buck wild for her and had a bunch of different celebrations. What a great girl she is!

Here is Collette being silly. I thought this picture captures a lot of Collette's silliness. Our house would be so dull without her around.

And I think to date, this may be my favorite picture of our great little girl. We love you, Collette!!

19 May 2010

The growth on my leg

I am often unable to move well these days. Usually when I try to, it's like I have this 20lb growth on my leg. But when I look down, I see this guy. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty cute face to look down at but there are many times where it makes it very difficult to get around... because he doesn't want me to pick him up, he wants me to give him my finger so he can walk around with ease. He knows how to walk on his own but he would MUCH rather have me hold his fingers.

But there are so many times where it's hard to resist-- look at that CUTE face!! Could you turn him away??

16 May 2010

Clean Up, Clean Up

Yesterday, we hosted family to celebrate Collette's and Isabel's birthday. It was great to have everyone over. And we spent Friday getting ready, cleaning up the backyard.

The girls were being great helpers, cleaning up every detail - sweeping and wiping things down. They really helped their parents put our house in its best light. Thanks Abigail & Collette!

13 May 2010

Up and running

When we moved into this house we were left with a housewarming gift so to speak from the previous owners. They left their hot tub. With a tiny bit of yucky water at the bottom. I don't think they ever used it. They were "pretty sure" it worked if we just bought a new power cord. At first, I wanted them to get rid of it before we moved in. But Joel easily convinced me it could be fun if we got it up and running. So, I agreed to keep it and see what we could do with it.

So, Joel dumped it over and took out all the really yucky stuff. I did a deep clean of it and then started searching places we could buy a new cord for it. We ordered a new one and kept our fingers crossed that that really was the issue. Those cords aren't cheap!

But it worked and after a few reading lessons on how to take care of a hot tub and trip to the local pool/spa shop we've got ourselves a bonafied working and relaxing hot tub! The kids are in heaven and have had so much fun the last two days. They are in and out of it a lot. Joel and I have had our share of enjoyment as well. We're excited about it and love that the kids have something that wears them out at the end of the day. Here are some shots of them enjoying it and then the after shot... what happens after playing in the water, a nice bath, and some comfy pj's!

09 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

I just wanted to post about my Mom. I'm not sure if I ever have done a post just about my Mom. For Mother's Day, I thought I would let her know how much I appreciate her both for her to see and others (and since mail doesn't get delivered on Sunday, I have to give her SOMETHING today :)

There really isn't any way to write or tell the relationship with my Mom. I'm not even sure I can do justice on a blog post. But I want my Mom to know I love her. I'm so out shape on writing well, I decided to do a list for every year I've been on this earth of things my Mom has taught me or memories that have helped shape who I am.

1. She taught me the importance and enjoyment of a clean home

2. Acceptance of people for who they are

3. The importance of nuturing

4. Stand up for what you believe in

5. How to cook-- she's a great cook!

6. The importance of a warm chocolate chip cookie on a bad day

7. Every child loves a good story. She has taught my children this lesson already and often it's all my kids want her to do. Tell a story, Gma!!

8. When in doubt, go camping! We were always camping as kids. Probably more because it was the cheapest way to "vacation" but whatever the reason, my childhood is filled with camping trip memories and I love it.

9. Be educated.

10. Sound educated.

11. Don't sound self righteous.

12. She is the reason I can be a tad melodramatic at times. Yes, I'm calling it genetic.

13. She was always a great example of being in control of your money and managing it well.

14. That every once in awhile, skipping school and spending the day shopping with your Mom is more important than anything learned in school that day.

15. She taught me that the last thing I would ever want to do is try to talk to her while she's on the phone. I'll call this genetic as well. I can't stand when my kids try to talk to me when I'm on the phone.

16. She taught me how to be creative and use my imagination. Probably because we were the last generation of kids that were forced to play outside and not come home until street lights went on.

17. The importance of my sister. My Mom had the horrible misfortune of losing her only sibling to war. Through all the fighting my sister and I did, she always pointed out that she would one day be my best friend.

18. That taking a typing class in high school would be one of the best things I could do for myself. I believed her then and am so grateful now!

19. When you say you're bored, you'll get a handful of chores.

20. How fun an entire mud puddle city outside can be.

21. That crying just to cry is ok and needed sometimes. It's important to feel.

22. She taught me how to eat an elephant.

23. She taught me that “this too shall pass.”

24. A love for entertaining

25. She taught me to love books

26. She's a wonderful example of loving the aging generation. She appreciates them so well and takes such good care of them

27. After having children my Mom taught me that laundry can wait. Take a shower, feel good about yourself.

28. Respect is earned through love, trust, and patience not by demanding it.

29. By a wonderful example, my mom taught me how to be a great mother.

30. Go to church

31. My Heavenly Father loves me

32. My Savior and brother, Jesus Christ, loves me

Here's a picture of my Mom and me (and my niece Paige) on my graduation day from college.

Here is us at my wedding reception
From Laura & Joel's reception

And because it's mother's Day here are all the mother's in my immediate family. My sister, me, my Mom, and my Grandma. Love these strong women!!
From Laura & Joel's reception
Update: fixed the two wedding photos.

05 May 2010

Wicked Stepmother

This is how I feel these days. I feel like I'm constantly nagging these kids all day long. I don't feel like I get to have much fun with them. Most of my day is spent trying to keep up with things, like laundry, cooking, driving, cleaning, laundry, driving,feeding a baby, naps, driving, grocery shopping, helping with homework, laundry that sometimes it feels like my only interaction with my children is to tell them what they're doing wrong. And they do wrong things all day long!!

When something is starting to happen where I have to intervene, say someone is going to kill someone else (ok, ok, maybe not kill but hurting someone else in my house is not ok and maybe I treat it the same sometimes) or getting Abigail to do her homework, or getting the kids to clean up their messes, or getting Ben to let me change his diaper, or getting Collette to follow my directions, or getting Gabe to eat a meal in one sitting, or explaining over and over why they can't watch TV, or keeping Ben from taking Sharpie to my couch, or..... You get the point, it's endless.

But more and more I just feel like that's all I do with my kids. I feel like I'm not a very "fun" Mom to be around a lot of the times. I love my kids. I want them happy and healthy and I want them to be good people and kind and in the end, productive members of society. Am I helping with all my rants and raves? I surely feel like it in the moment. Kindness starts at home, right? So I have to be a drill sergeant with them and pound it into their brains that kindness to their siblings will lead to kindness outside of the home...right?? I don't want to pay the extra money to the water company because Collette insists on watering the fence and telling her once doesn't work for some reason.

Usually when these things start and something is bothering me I tell them, "Please stop doing that because I don't want to get upset with you but if you keep doing it, I will eventually get upset and I don't think it will take too long." But do they listen? Usually no. Usually I have to get upset and I honestly don't want to! I want them to listen the first time and be done and move on to being a fun Mom. Why? Why don't they do what I tell them to??

Am I the only one out there that feels like that's all they do all day long? Is it because I have 4 children close together? Is it because I have children who don't take me seriously? Is this just what I signed up for and didn't know it? In all honesty, I think part of it is that I am no subscriber to being my kids "friend". I am their mother and they have friends at school. But I do want to enjoy my time with them and I want them to enjoy me. And I don't have much else going on in my life (with what extra time?) I was venting to my friend Julianne the other day about how it's hard with 4 kids because that's all I do. I don't have very many friends that call me just to see if I can hang. I don't do much of anything outside of these kids and this house. Maybe my patience thins because I'm surrounded by this all day long. That being said, there are times when I think I have a lot more patience than others might have and I'm not doing too bad. And then something happens and I get upset again :(

Any words of advice? Anyone out there reading this and know how I'm feeling? How about just anyone out there reading this?

03 May 2010

Outdoor dining

It is nice to eat outside with the family in our own backyard.