"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 30, 2008

Texas Temple Trip

On Thursday afternoon Lauren and I flew to Texas. Cody stayed home with the kids and let me have a mini vacation. Sadly, however, the second I left them I missed them terribly and it was hard to feel like it was a vacation at all.

Leighann went through the temple on Friday and I had the pleasure of going with her, along with my parents and a lot of close friends. This is the first time I've gotten to go through the temple with a sibling and it was an awesome experience. I'm so proud of her for the person she is an the good choices she has made. I know it's not easy to be "good" in this bad world, but I think she's done a great job. She enters to the MTC on July 16 so she and my parents will be coming back up this way when she reports.

We all went to dinner after the session and it was soooo very late when we got home but it was all worth it and such a wonderful time. My sister was so gracious to come along and baby sit Lauren while we were in the temple. She was unable to go through with us but she stayed with Lauren outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Thanks Evelyn!! Ev and I got to visit quite a bit all weekend and it was nice. We fought like cats and dogs growing up and it's nice to be friends as adults.

The weekend was great and I hated to leave and come home, but I really missed Cody and the kids. It was a very late flight and we didn't get settled into bed until 3:00 Texas time but it all worked out fine.

The Flores Family

Some good friends of the family came up from Houston to go to the temple with us on Friday. I have known Frank and Rachel Flores for as long as I can remember. They were in our ward in Houston (they are still in that ward) and she was my primary teacher many moons ago. It's great that even though my parents don't live there anymore, they still stay in touch with old friends. It was so neat sitting by Sister Flores in the temple and it was a lot of fun having them stay with us.

I kept apologizing to them about the chaos and inevitable messes from kids, but they were so sweet and happy to be there. It was great visiting with them. When we go down to Houston in August to visit we are invited to crash their house and we will likely take them up on the offer!

Don't you love The Gov's tie? This is his traditional Father's Day tie made by my kids. He wasn't able to go to church on Father's Day but we wore it on Sunday. He is a great sport!

Soak Up The Sun

Swimming is in my blood. It is something that I have to do in order to live and through out this blog I've made many references to my love of the water. When I go to my parents' house my favorite thing to do is take a dip in the pool and this trip was no different. I had a lot of down time because I only had one child and when she napped I swam! I am getting a really great tan as a result.

On Saturday my parents hosted the ward primary swim party and it was a lot of fun. Lauren napped during the whole thing and I got to play in the water the whole time. It has been a long time since I let myself go and acted like a kid in the pool. I did all of my old tricks off of the diving board and I learned how out of shape I am. Things that never phased me before left me feeling old, tired, and very sore. But the kids got a kick out of me teaching them things like hand stand drops and jack knives. Oh how I love summer!!!

Cousin Adoration

My sister's kids could not get enough of their little cousin. This weekend was the first time the girls got to meet Lauren and they absolutely adore her. Poor Lauren barely got a moment's peace! They were so good to her and took great care of her. I think Lauren pretty much adored them too! Thanks Lilly, Kaylan, and Alyssa for being such great helpers to me.

Notice how tan Lilly is (the one on the back). I can't believe how dark that child gets from just a few weeks in the sun! I am kind of jealous.

First Blue Bell

This is always an occasion to document. The first time a baby tastes Blue Bell ice cream is a very big deal and Lauren had her first taste on Saturday. She could not get enough! Nothing beats their mint chocolate chip flavor, except maybe all of their other flavors!! I couldn't shovel the stuff into her mouth fast enough. Sorry the picture is kind of blury and she doesn't have her mouth wide open. My brother had a hard time catching one of those shots.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100 Random Things About Veronica

I've been reading "100 things" about some friends on their blogs and I thought I'd take a minute to talk about myself too. This blog is 95% about my husband and kids but I'd like to take the spotlight for once. I also TAG anyone with this same post, if you've got an hour to kill.

1. I was born and raised in Houston, Tx.

2. I went to the 2nd largest high school in Texas.

3. When I was seven years old I stole a package of red Lee press on nails from Safeway and felt guilty about it for a year. I never wore them. In fact I hid the unopened package between the piano and the wall. Don't ask me why I chose that location to hide them.

4. I am number four of seven children.

5. I am a second generation member of the church in my family. My parents are converts.

6. I just turned 28.

7. My family moved from Houston in 1999 to a tiny town near Fort Worth. But I still call Houston home.

8. I met my husband on the internet!!

9. I was married 2 months after I turned 22.

10. Cody (husband) and I have the same order of kids in our families, except my youngest sister who throws things off. Both of our families go: boy, boy, girl, girl, boy, boy...and then my line ends with another girl.

11. My middle name is Noelle and I love it. Actually I am a big fan of my first and middle name.

12. My hair is naturally dark brown and that is how I choose to wear it also. I think that a person's natural hair color is the most flattering to their skin tone. God knows what he is doing with color.

13. Right now my hair is cut at my chin and I hate it. I had short hair once before when Ethan was small and I swore I would never cut it short again. I don't know what I was thinking this time.

14. I have DDD cup boobs, DD when I am not nursing or pregnant. I wish I was a C cup.

15. I absolutely love nursing babies and am a huge advocate of it.

16. I am a chronic insomniac. I was a wonderful sleeper until I was 10 weeks pregnant with Hailey. Then something went terrible wrong and I lost the ability to sleep. No joke, LOST the ability to sleep. 3 years later I am finally re-learning how to sleep efficiently. It is amazing how little sleep I function on.

17. My husband and I do not sleep in the same bedroom. Ever since I developed a sleeping disorder we have not been in the same bed. At times I feel like we are room mates because of this. I LONG to be normal again and fall asleep with my husband and wake up together. I envy people that are able to do this. Maybe one day we will be a normal couple again :(

18. I am a firm believer in attachment style parenting.

19. I have 3 incredible children relatively close in age.

20. I want a 4th child before my youngest turns 2.

21. When I was in youth my favorite day of the week was Wednesday because I loved YW activities.

22. My first real crush was on Dan Bos. He was in the neighboring ward that met at our building. That is another reason I looked forward to Wednesday nights.

23. Dan never knew I was alive.

24. I have never been to another country, nor do I have the desire to go. I am a home body.

25. I have had 3 c-sections and regret it terribly.

26. I love hot chocolate.

27. I hate the snow. Even at Christmas.

28. I only like Christmas because I have to feel like a good mom. Otherwise, I do not like it and would likely boycot it. I hate the commercialism behind it, but I love the Christ aspect of it.

29. July is my favorite month and 4th of July is my favorite holiday.

30. I am a HUGE planner. Check lists, schedules, charts, etc. I hope to instill this into my children.

31. I long to move back to Texas. I try not to think about it because it makes me so homesick.

32. I have a brother in prison who will be out on parole this September. Despite him being a convict, he is an incredible guy with an incredible testimony of the gospel.

33. When I was a kid I planned every Family Home Evening every week and it drove my siblings bonkers.

34. I can't wait to gets my kids really involved in FHE. I still love it! They are getting old enough now that they sort of get it.

35. Schlitterbahn is the most magical place on earth.

36. I was on swim team and I miss it.

37. I was a lifeguard and I managed pools/facilities for a few years. I also taught swim classes.

38. I have done CPR on a person and revived them.

39. I have never broken a bone, but always wanted to when I was a kid so I could wear a cast.

40. I almost had my tonsils taken out once but I chickened out. Now I am glad, despite chronic tonsillitis during the winter. If God did not intend for us to have certain organs He would not have given them to us. I am looking for a medical alternative to surgery to fix the problem.

41. I have gotten pregnant 3 times of different forms of birth control.

42. I love my eyes. Color, shape, everything about them.

43. I think global warming is a load of crap. 5% factual, 95% crap. I belive that the earth is in fact going througha cycle, but it is not human caused like many peopl think.

44. I usually cried on the last day of school each year. I am the most sentimental person I know.

45. I am the ultimate chronicler. Journals, pictures, memoirs, you name it. I love to document things that happen in my life.

46. I love to write. I CLEPed my writing classes in college but wish I hadn't because I love writing so much.

47. I played musical college. It took me a while to pick a school and stay there. I ended up at the U of U.

48. I love to wear make up and can't stand to leave the house with out it.

49. I love perfume and feel naked with out it.

50. I love big earrings.

51. I don't like cookie cutter housing developments, but sadly we live in one. All of the houses are beige, which is not my favorite color for a house. But it is a good starter house.

52. I love to golf but I'm not good at it.

53. I doin't like trends. When I see that Hollywood has adopted a new way of doing something (like going greem for example) I diliberately run the other way. I hate how phony trends are.

54. I am terrified of plumbing on swimming pools. Drains, paipes, etc. This is ironic because of all the swimming I did and how many pools I maintained. When I swam and was in a lane that went over a drain, I would clinch my eyes and swim super fast over the drain. When I swim in a new pool for the first time I always have to scope out where the drains and pipes are first. I gives me the willies!

55. I would die for Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream.

56. I think that tan fat looks way better than white fat, so I always try to be tan.

57. I would like to have six children.

58. I drive a 2005 Toyota Sienna LE and love it!

59. I am terrified of one of my children dying.

60. I co-sleep half the night with my baby.

61. I believe babies are supposed to be worn.

62. I have a wonderful relationship with both of my parents.

63. I was married in the Salt Lake temple.

64. I love to wear bright colors and I think most people do not look good in neutral colors.

65. I will not dye my hair when I start graying (I do not have a single gray hair on my head, but I think gray hair is beautiful).

66. My husband is starting to get a gray spot above his ears and I think it is so cute.

67. I would home school my children if I weren't afraid of them being social retards.

68. I appreciate the stretch marks on my stomach and I see them as a badge of honor.

69. When I was 14 I was caught shoplifting a week before Christmas.

70. I love Halloween but I hate that it is in the fall.

71. I love Snickers and Milky Ways.

72. I am fascinated by outer space and I love studying about galaxies, stars, and planets. I am blown away at how large Jupiter is.

73. If I had to chose between a sexy quarter back and a science nerd who is brilliant, I would pick the nerd every time.

74. I LOATHE psychiatrists and most psychologists.

75. I have had two substantial stays in the psych ward both during my pregnancy with Hailey and postpartum. The docs (psychs) in that place are as sick or sicker than
the patients.

76. I have all the seasons of "Saved By The Bell" on DVD (except the dumb New Class ones...lame!). I have seen them each a million times and within the first 10 seconds of any episode I can tell you exactly which one it is. BTW, Cody has the exact same birthday (month/day/year) as Mario Lopez (AKA Slater)!

77. When I was 16 I had a pretty rebelious streak and I quit going to seminary even though I was the president. One night at 8:30 my seminary teacher came over to my house and kidnapped me. He had his three small kids in the car (his wife was at some meeting at church). The kids were in their pjs and he took me to Dairy Queen to get ice cream. He talked some sense into me that night and things turned around for the better. I owe so much to Jerry V. He in a big way saved me. He and his wife were at our sealing and I will always consider them family.

78. I cry at the drop of a hat. I think I must have over-active tear ducts!

79. Jack Weyland's "Charlie" is one of the saddest stories every thought up. Just thinking about that movie can make me bawl like a baby....okay stop thinking about it!!

80. I am a people person and I think I have a gift for making a person feel comfortable around me. At least I have been told this!

81. My mom has a PhD in pharmacy. She is one of the most gifted people I know.

82. Six of the kids in my family have blue eyes like my mom. I am the only kid who got my dad's green eyes. I feel a special connection with him because of that.

83. I LOVE photography. I dabbled in it in high school and college and absolutely love it. Even though film is out dated, there is still something magical about working with film and spending time in a dark room. I inherited this from my dad! He is an excellent photographer.

84. I love playing Barbies and can't wait until my girls are old enough to play with them too. I already have a mad collection waiting for them!

85. I play the piano. I find solace in it and it's how I unwind. When my hubby hears me playing he knows that I am trying to relax so he makes sure the kids don't bother me. It's MY time and I'm grateful for his understanding of that. I would love to teach piano lessons. Maybe I will one day when I have a better piano.

86. I am very much in love with Cody. My heart still skips a beat when I see his number show up on caller ID during the day, or when I hear his car pull in after work.

87. I play guitar and one time I wrote a mean song about my little sister and sang it for her while I played. That was so mean of me. What a terrible way to use a talent!

88. My toenails never grow past the quick. I don't know why...maybe the break off. They are short and I never have to trim them.

89. I mow the lawn barefoot, as I do almost every activity when I can. I love mowing the lawn and doing yard work. They is something very theraputic about it.

90. I MUST have a clean kitchen and a scrubber/polished sink. It does my heart so much good to have things clean in there.

91. I am the happiest and at peace when my house is clean. Cody doesn't understand this about me. I can not wind down at night until the kitchen is clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right?
When I came home from the hospital after having Lauren, it was 10:30 at night (long story as to why it was so late.) I walked into the house and it was the worst disaster I have ever seen. I had a melt down. I did NOT need to come home to that! To this day Cody does not understand why I went nuts when I saw the condition of the house. Come on fellow mommies, you get it...don't you? Tell me I'm not alone in feelig like this!

92. I wish I was a better cook. I probably could be if I had more time to devote to it.

93. I don't like Mac 'n Cheese, unless it is MY homemade recipe which is amazing.

94. I love to sew and I wish I had more time for it. I love to make my girls' dresses.

95. I love the feeling of warm pavement beneath my bare feet.

96. I love being pregnant. I don't feel good while I'm pregnant. (in fact I am sicker than a dog for four months and had to go on an IV with Lauren) But I try to cherish every moment of it. The day after the baby is born I cry hard because I miss it so much. Pregnancy is so amazing to me.

97. I wish my family knew how much I love them. My siblings and I don't talk that much and we've never been very touchy feely with each other, but I hope they know how much they mean to me. I don't want any one of them missing from Heaven because I don't think it will be Heaven without them there.

98. I love watching funny movies with Cody because he makes me laugh so hard. Even if it's not a particularly funny thing to me, it suddenly becomes hilarious when Cody starts splitting his sides. I love it!

99. Cody is my best friend. We have been through so much together, but there is no one else on earth that I would rather walk through Hell with than him. I'm so lucky to have him by my side. He is an incredible father to our children and partner to me. BTW, he is 6 1/2 years older than me!!

100. I have had the pleasure and blessing of KNOWING and having a good relationship with all four of my garndparents. Not many people can say that. My mom's mom is still living and she is 91 years young. She is an amazing person!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lauren 9 Months

Where is the time going? I can't believe it was nine months ago that this sweet girl came into our lives. I can't even describe the joy she has brought to us. Today she had her 9 month check up and she continues to be a dainty thing. Here are her stats:

Weight- 17.3 pounds = 24%

Length- 27 inches = 32%

Head- 17.5 inches = 67%

This baby girl is thriving! If I could freeze time right now I would. Oh how I love this age. Here are some things about her that I don't want to forget.

-She is very much in love with my boobs. I started teaching her the sign for "milk" and now when she sees me she always does the sign.

-She is always in the bed with me during the last half of the night. Most mornings I wake up to her grabbing at my chest with one hand and signing "milk" with the other hand. She is saying "Okay Mom, I'm ready to eat! Get those things out for me!"

-She has major separation anxiert now. When I leave the room she gets very sad. She wants nothing to do with anyone but Mommy.

-She is eating solids and loves it, even green beans. We start off each morning with a bowl of fruit and rice cereal. She gets very impatient as she watches me make her food. I guess this goes to show that a baby will do something when she is good and ready and not a minute before. One day she decided she was ready to eat cereal and hasn't looked back.

-She ADORES her brother and sister as they do her. Today in the doctor's office she laughed as she watched Ethan and Hailey be "The Two Stooges" wacking each other on the heads. They can always make her laugh.

-She sits up with ease and yesterday she sat up from lying down for the first time.

-She Army crawls everywhere and she is very close to doing the real crawl. She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks a little and then falls down.

-She LOVES the water. When Ethan goes to swim lessons and we walk into the pool area, Lauren starts freaking out and wants in the water right then. The mere sight of water makes her so happy. She is a mermaid!

-She is still toothless.

-She can entertain herself for a long time just by talking to herself and playing with her toys.

-Everyone who spends more than 5 minutes with her comments on how happy she is. That's why we sometimes refer to her as "Baby Jesus". I doubt the Savior himself was any happier as a baby.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Movin' On Up

For the last few shopping trips Lauren has sat in the seat of the cart with no car seat. In fact, her car seat has not been taken out of the van in about two weeks. She is to the point now where she is happiest when she can sit up and look around.

Today at Costco when I sat her in the seat of the cart she got very excited and started laughing and kicking her feet. It makes me a little sad that she has crossed this milestone. Every step that she takes toward independence makes me want to put a brick on her head to keep her from getting bigger.

Notice two funny things in this picture:

#1- Ethan is clinging to his map for dear life.

#2- Hailey has a purse. She has started taking a purse with her everywhere. Today when I said it was time to go she came toddling out of her room with her purse on her shoulder. I love this kid.

The Navigator

Ethan has a thing for maps. I think he inherited this gene from me because I have always been fascinated with maps too. When I was a kid my family was always taking long road trips somewhere and my dad had a box that he put in between the front seats of our full size van. That was the navigator seat and I always sat there. Yes, this was back in the day when babies moved from a car seat to a big person seat at age 2 and kids sprawled all over the car floor to sleep. Remember those days? Yes [GASP] I sat in the front row with no seat belt and a make-shift seat!!! My parents should be in jail. Ha ha.

Anyway, on these road trips I spent much of the time looking at the atlas and navigating which way to go. Of course my dad already knew the route, but he was nice enough to humor me and let me dictate the trip. I loved to scout out rest stops along the way and I always got excited when we would approach and interchange. I thought it was amazing to watch the map in my hands come to life on the road.

So Ethan must have gotten his love of maps from me. He even likes to draw his own maps of things and then make his toy cars act out the pretend route. This summer when we go to Texas we are going camping. I checked out the Cleburne State Park website and found a map of the park. I printed it off and Ethan foud it. He was thrilled to death when I told him we were going camping, but when he saw the map he was over joyed!

He has carried the thing around with him all day. It is so funny listening to him say stuff like "Okay mom, now this is the road we take to get into the camp, and this is where the tent goes, and this is where we go fishing..." I love it! Today we ran errands and he took the map with him, of course. He has barely taken his eyes off of it all day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Singles Ward Reunion

On Saturday night we had a 30th Ward reunion/birthday party for Rich. Lynnae invited us over to celebrate him turning 31. This is the ward that Cody and I were in before we got married and I have to say it was very interesting at times. The movie "The Singles Ward" must have used our ward for material! So many parallels. It worked out great that we all paired off with the guys (who were already good friends) and got married because since we were all friends before getting married, it is easy to stay friends after. We haven't gotten together in about two years and it was well overdue. It's fun to see ervyone grow up and expand their families! We all have at least two kids now. Thanks Lynnae for inviting us over!

Take a look at the size of these kids. Ethan is only a few months older than Charlie and Aidan. He is a big boy!

Don't worry, Aunt Kara. Your cute little outfit was not ruined. Oxy Clean took every bit of chocolate out and it still looks like new!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Sending a shout out to my wonderful dad! I love you oodles and am very grateful to have you as a father. Happy Father's Day!!! -Mud Bug

Today we had a nice and low key Father's Day. The odd thing about church is that in Sacrament Meeting there was no mention of fathers, other than a tiny bit in the welcome and it was mentioned in the closing prayer. The primary didn't sing and nothing special was given to dads. And the talks weren't at all related to the holiday. Cody was a little irritated and I was bummed because I was hoping to get to see Ethan sing for the first time with the primary. Oh well, maybe next year.

Ethan gave his first talk in Primary today! He did an awesome job and we are so proud of him. Cody and I were expecting a little apprehension from him about getting up in front of everyone, but let me just say he has come miles and miles since those first few weeks in Sunbeams. Read this
post and you'll understand what I mean! He talked about daddies and what they do for us. I found pictures of dads doing various things and Cody helped by holding the pictures and telling Ethan what to say. Great job E-Buddy!

Cody of course wore his home-made tie from the kids. Ethan and Hailey had a lot of fun decorating ties for Dad, Papa, and the Gov. Ethan even did all of the writing himself! Hailey had fun pouring glue and glitter on them and then slathering them in jewels. Cody is a good sport to wear such a thing!

For dinner we had grilled steaks (a major treat in our house), pan seared asparagus, baked potatoes, rolls (from scratch), green salad, and chocolate cake (from scratch) for dessert. I don't usually do that stuff from scratch but today was special and my man is worth it. Home-made is so much better! But by then end of the evening I was beat. We love you so much Cody and we're so blessed to have you as our leader. You are my best friend and I couldn't have asked for a better partner and father to my children.

Honestly, this was the best picture I could get of them after church. They were restless, tired, and hungry! Including Dad :)

I love watching them read together at night. Cody is an awesome dad and never tires of entertaining and loving our brood.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Joy Of Jackson

Gina and I started doing a kid swap once a week several weeks back. It's a nice way for Mom to get a little break two mornings a month. One Tuesday I take Jackson, then the next Tuesday Gine takes Ethan and Hailey. Ethan had speech this past Tuesday so we swapped today instead. The kids think Jackson is a rock star. They adore him! They have been looking forward to Jackson coming to play for days.

This morning Ethan said "Mom, let's get cheeseburgers and eat lunch with Jackson." I toted the four kids with me to the post office and I got some looks from people. I'm sure they thought I was crazy for having four kids so close in age. But the kids were so well behaved and they walked in and out of the post office holding hands. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that. After the Post Office we got burgers from Wendy's and went to a really great park. The kids and I love exploring new parks and there are so many fun ones around our area. It was an incredible morning! Slightly chilly in the shade, so I made sure to spread our blanket in the sun. The kids had a blast playing. When we dropped Jackson off at his house Hailey threw a royal tantrum. She loves the kid! We can't wait to play again next week, Jackson!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Painting Pots to Pink Floyd

.....say that three times fast! Today was in the low 50s for a large part of the afternoon. It is June!!! Give us a break already! I am slowly running out of ideas to keep kids happy inside. Enough is enough and we are sick to death of cold weather. Today has been very windy so it only made things colder. We decided to paint terra cotta pots and plant seeds. I gave the kids their own pots to paint and let their imaginations soar. We needed a little music and what better tune to paint to than Pink Floyd. We were in a state of zen all afternoon. It was very relaxing and very stimulating at the same time. Ethan and Hailey even painted Lauren a pot of her own. They add a nice and wacky touch to the kitchen. It will be fun to see these things grow in the next few weeks.