"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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Magical Place

The Library is a magical place. Just imagine, you walk in and are immediately met with millions of resources for learning and exploration. All you have to do is fill out a form, get a card, and they let you borrow whatever you want! You just promise to bring it back at a certain time, and then you go back and borrow even more stuff!

The kids and I made a Saturday excursion to the local library. They get very excited when I tell them we're going there. I remember loving the library so much when I was a kid and I loved how they had (and still have) a cute little knook with tiny couches and chairs made just for kids.

I have decided to get qualified to be an API leader/educator and there are several books I have to read and write reviews about to become one. Luckily the library has almost all of them so today I went and checked out three. That will keep me very busy for a while. That was my main focus in going there, but as always we left with more supplies than we could carry. We checked out several Valentine books and we found some really great science experiment type books. I'm excited about trying some of that with the kids. We also found a movie for our Saturday movie night. We love the library!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baking Bread

A goal of ours this year is to practice self reliance. We are so very far from our goal with food storage and water. In fact, we barely have much of either. But we want to start getting good at things that will help us be self reliant in the future. This spring we are putting in a garden and we're going to get good at actually growing stuff!

Also, I want to master the art of baking bread. We need to increase our wheat supply and get a grinder, but in the meantime I'm learning to make bread that is not only nutritious, but also tastes great! Making any yeast bread from scratch takes skill and I've gotten very frustrated with it in the past. Today I made two loaves and I am very proud to say that they are soooooo very yummy.

Hailey and I mixed up the dough while Ethan was in school. She had fun helping me measure flour and knead it. Then we let it rise for the first time while we went to pick big brother up. This is the finished product tonight. NOT for the carb counting psychos! There are three cups of flour in each loaf! I've also got sourdough starter fermenting and I'll try my hand at that in a few days.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Morning Devotionals

Mornings are not my thing. And how my morning goes, well that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Most days if the morning is good for us, the rest of the day follows suit. Now that Ethan is almost five years old, I decided it was high time that we started having family prayer and scriptures in the morning. Evenings are always very busy and it seems that even though we have family prayer, scriptures get put on the back burner. So I figured that since we always have a little extra time in the morning, we should start utilizing that time.

Some of my most spiritual and treasured memories come from early morning seminary. I loved the feeling of peace that it gave me during the hectic school day. I want to invoke that same daily feeling into my own home, with my own kids. Even though they are little, we started to have a morning devotional after breakfast. It isn't anything long and fancy, but it really sets the tone of the day.

As soon as breakfast is over with and before the TV goes on, we head down to the front living room and get away from distractions. The kids and I say a prayer and then we read a few verses from the scriptures. It has only been about five verses at a time, but that is plenty for tiny minds to sit through and talk about. Then we sing a favorite primary song, give each other hugs and kisses, and go about our day. I can tell a huge difference in how this makes my days go and there seems to be a little extra "something" floating around the house. What a blessing this has been to us!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

It caught up with me!!!

My Wants

Right now I am trapped at home with sick children. It is January, snowing, freezing cold, and gloomy outside. The smell of vomit is permeating my house. At least one person has been throwing up since Thursday.

The kids are all asleep upstairs and while I should be doing laundry (that's right...it's caught up to me again!) I am sitting here at the computer drooling over certain items I'd like to have. But as it stands, we have no money for anything, especially not anything frivolous and fun. Not even a dime left over at the end of the month after paying for essentials. But still, I dream. The more I learn about the Silhouette, the more I want one! I am not materialistic by any means, but I'd really love to have one of these. It would make card making and scrapbooking so much better!

While we're talking about scrapbooking and such, I'm also wanting one of these. I have always been a film snob, especially when it comes to SLRs. But I'm slowly being won over to the digital SLR side. I've had my eye on this camera for so long and I'd love to have one. It will likely never happen as long as life continues like it is. But it's fun to think about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So Let It Be Known

As of this very second, I am 100% caught up on laundry. No heaping piles waiting to be washed or folded. This is a huge day for me. And I should note that I've gotten caught up all while fighting a terrible illness (between me AND two of the kids).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hailey's Birthday- Round 2

Today was Hailey's actual birthday. I truly do love my kids equally, but there is always a different feeling in my heart on Hailey's birthday than there is on the other kids' birthdays. If you know what we went through to get Hailey here and what we went through afterwards, you can understand what I mean. January 19th 2006 holds a lot of mixed feelings with it. So much took place surrounding that time and sometimes I don't know how we survived it. But when I look at Hailey today, I thank God that we did and that we have grown from that experience. And my feelings toward Hailey today...well let's just say I can't look at these sweet pictures and not get a lump in my throat. I love her more than I'll ever be able to describe in words. I am so thankful to be her Mommy and to get to watch this bundle of happiness grow each day. She truly is a ray of sunshine.

It was perfect timing that today was MLK day and Cody had the day off from work. We got to lazy around a little and have fun doing nothing during the morning. Then Ethan headed off to Luke's house for a play date (those boys are becoming fused at the hip!). I loved that I could spend one-on-one time with Hailey while Lauren napped and Dad did guy things. I gave her a birthday manicure and pedicure and french braided her hair while we watched "Ariel's Beginning".

Then we picked Ethan up from Luke's house and we all ate dinner at McDonalds. This is a rare treat for the kids and all day Hailey had been saying "I can't wait to go to Old McDonalds!" I love that she calls it that. After dinner and playing we swung by Baskin Robins to get an ice cream cake. At home we had another celebration. While we sang to Hailey she led the music and sang LOUDER than anyone. It was the cutest thing!
Showing off her newly painted hands and feet.

Happy birthday Miss Hailey- we love you!!!

Campin' Out

Cody's parents (AKA Grandma and Papa) gave Hailey a mini camping set for her birthday. It included a tent, backpack, flashlight, water bottle, and head band. All of it had butterflies printed on it too. The kids spent Saturday night camping out as they watched movies and ate popcorn. That is my kind of camping! Ethan and Hailey have also slept in it each night since she got it. What a great gift!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hailey's Debut

I can not believe three years have passed already! Hailey's birth in itself is not anything dramatic, but it was by far the most dramatic pregnancy and recovery. I supposed the good Lord spared me an eventful birth for that reason.

She was due to be born on January 30, 2006. But we had elected to do a repeat c-section so it was scheduled for January 19. My doctor, Mike Draper, had a policy that if he electively took a baby a day before 39 weeks we wanted to do an amnio to make sure that baby's lungs were developed enough. I guess he had seen his share of 38 weekers born with premature lungs. Even though I wasn't as big as I was with Ethan, I was by far more uncomfortable. The days leading up to her birth were agony and I told Cody on many occasions that I would flip out if the amnio came back badly, because that would mean I would have to wait even longer to expell her from my body.

Cody's Aunt Lyn volunteered to come over and stay with Ethan the day of the birth, so she showed up early that morning and we left for the hospital. They got us in for the procedure as scheduled and to my surprise it wasn't bad at all. I felt a little prick when the needle went in, but it wasn't painful at all. The technician said she could see the baby's hair on the ultrasound! I was beaming with excitement. The amnio was over and the real fun began. We had to wait almost three hours for the results and I wasn't aloud to eat anything, despite how ravenously hungry I was. I had been instructed not to eat anything after mindnight the night before. Cody headed downt o the cafeteria to get breakfast with out me.

I decided to walk around a little to kill time and that's when the pain started. I had been warned that sometimes teh trauma from an amnio can trigger labor...and it had for sure! I began having regular contractions as I walked the halls. I sat out in the waiting room and timed them. Five minutes part. They weren't too uncomfortable at this point, but I really began praying that we would get good news about the amnio because no matter what, this baby was not going to stay put.

Around noon we received word that the baby's lungs were fully mature and the surgery was on. They got me into the pre-op room (which doubled as a recovery room) and I changed into my gown and got hooked up to an IV...after only a million pokes! They put me on a fetal monitor and sure enough, I wa s having regular contractions that would rise and fall on the screen. Around 1:00 Dr. Draper got there and in a little while we were in the operating room. I made the mistake of insisting on walking myself into the OR rather than being wheeled in. I walked in an imediately saw the tools and equipment that would be used to cut me open and I almost hit the floor.

After receiving the spinal and being catheterized, the surgery began and I was able to stay pretty calm. It was a much different experience from Ethan's birth. At 2:05 p.m. Hailey Jane made her apperance, fat and beautiful with a head full of black hair. 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 inches long. More than two pounds smaller than her brother had been! She was wrapped up and brought over for me to see and my finger softly stroked her face. Oh she was so beautiful and I thought my heart would explode from my chest! I couldn't believe that I had been so blessed as to now be the mother to TWO perfect children!

Now if they would just hurry up and put me back together so I could get back into the recovery room and hold my precious girl!

You can click on this link to see a montage of her birth. Don't worry- NOT GRUESOME!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbFcYTu8Mh0

Hailey's Princess Party

We celebrated Hailey's 3rd birthday on Saturday. This was her first time to get a friend party and she had very specific requests. She wanted all of her friends from nursery and she wanted princesses and a castle cake. I hated that we couldn't invite more people, but we figured that the 10 little girls in her class (all under the age of three!!) would be plenty of guests and overwhelming enough.

Seven of the ten girls invited were able to come, plus a few cousins and Kaden and Tanner from next door (Hailey's true loves). We made princess crowns, ate pizza and cake, smacked a pink pinata, and opened some presents. Then all the princesses were sent home with nail polish, a princess phone, stickers, and some bling. I was grateful that some of the moms were able to stay and help, so thanks ladies!
This cake doesn't look like it was supposed to, but I'm no professional by any means. I did it out of love, even if it looks like an earthquake hit it. It was a beast to make but it tasted good and that made it worth it.

Happy birthday Hailey! We can't believe you have enriched our lives for thee years already. We love you more than you'll ever know!

Just Like Mom

Hailey Jane is so much like me that it's spooky. It seems that every time I turn around and watch what she is doing, it's like I'm looking in a mirror. Her mannerisms, her personality, even the naughty and obnoxious things she does to get in trouble are things I used to do. It's all genetic. Lately her favorite thing to do is push a chair across the kitchen floor, fill up the sink with soap and water, and do the dishes. This is something I hope she continues to love as she gets older, but I'm sure her enthusiasm will fade. She got a tea set for her birthday and her new love is washing all the tiny pieces. Wow, right up my ally as a little girl. And I should mention that doing the dishes TOPLESS makes it all more fun!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ethan & Luke

Ethan hit a new milestone on Friday when he had his first playdate with a friend from school. For the last five years all of his playdates have been in Mommy and me groups, structured play group at church, baby sitting swaps with neighbors and friends, or with kids who have a mom that I am friends with first and foremost.

Luke has been in Ethan's class since last year and he has talked about him a lot in recent months. They are both Star Wars nuts so that gives them in instant bond. I know Luke from school and I know his mom in passing. The boys have been planning a playdate together for weeks and almost every day when I pick Ethan up he and Luke have been playing while they wait for parents, and when we go to leave they yell something to each other like "Make sure you mom calls my mom..." It's so cute and grown up.

Luke's mom, Wendy called a few days ago and said "We have got to get our boys together because Luke won't leave me alone about it." So Friday was the day. Luke played at our house from 11:30 to almost 5:00. They played and played and when Luke left, it looked like a tornado had hot the house. I'm glad to see Ethan venturing out to find his own friends. I know he's capable of forming relationships with people with out my help, and his friendship with Luke is proof of that. Ethan has a standing playdate for next Thursday at Luke's house and he is already taking about it non-stop.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Days With Cousins

Last Monday and Tuesday I watched Carson and Cole all day. Courtnee was in a pickle because their babysitter had to make an emergency trip back to Germany because her mother was dying. So the boys didn't have a babysitter for two days. Ethan and Hailey were so excited when they heard that their cousins would be coming over. Wow! What a couple of days.

The kids had so much fun together so Carson ended up spending the night Monday night. Cole is still too little for sleepovers. But then Courtnee was back over bright and early at 7:30 Tuesday morning dropping Cole off. I was completely exhausted...to say the least, when Tuesday night arrived. The house was a disaster but we a good time terrorizing the place.

The kids actually stopped playing for a while and they all watched "Star Wars" while I made dinner on Tuesday. The small break was nice for me!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving Day we went over to Aunt Brenda and Uncle Jack's house. I had a terrible cold and mu nose was clogged so I couldn't taste anything. It killed Thanksgiving for me, but at least I didn't over eat! It was a fun day of doing nothing. We lazied around, ate, lazied around, ate some more, played outside, took silly pictures, played games, and ate some more.

We all made Christmas cards for the wounded soilders in the VA hospital in Washington. We tried to get the kids to help because they were supposed to be cards from KIDS. They all got bored pretty quickly, so the adults took over and it turned out to be really fun! We each tried to out do each other to see how "kid like" we could make our cards look. You know by spelling things wrong, make incomplete and run-on sentences, stuff like that.

And of course it's alwasy fun to beat up on Uncle Philip! He takes it like a champ. These next two pictures are inside jokes but my family will love them!!

After we left the cousins' house we went to Grandmother and Michael's house. Grandmother is too old and tired to make the trip out to Tolar and since Michael was on lock down, they both stayed home. But it was nice getting to visit with them. This was the first time since Michae's release in September that I got to see him. Wish we could have visited more. Ethan sure adores his big uncle.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Fun in Texas

Here's some every day fun from our Thanksgiving trip to Texas.
A wagon ride...
Shootin' with Gov...
Playing down at Granana and Gov's pond...
And paintball!

The Stockyards Train Ride

The day after Thanksgiving it was rainy and cold, so we decided to do something fun and indoors. We headed out to the stockyards in Fort Worth to ride the train. It's an old fashioned retired passenger train that is used for tours now. The ride lasted about forty five minutes and we had a great time! We'll have to remember that for next time.

Blue Steel or Magnum? You Decide.

On Thanksgiving day we were all goofing around and all the guys flashed me their best Blue Steel expression. Or at least they tried to. Even Ethan got in on the posing!

The Barbie House

Hailey and Lauren have played non-stop with the Barbie house since Santa brought it for Christmas. It is so big that they have to stand on stools to reach the top story! Hailey has started using the house for her animals more so than for her Barbies. I often times find a giraffe or a tiger in the bed or even in the doll sized bath tub. It's so funny seeing these girls use their imaginations!

Christmas Weekend in Idaho

We didn't think we'd be able to make it to Idaho like we had planned. On Christmas day a terrible blizzard blew in and most of the inerstates closed down. So we spent all day in Christmas lazying around instead of driving to Idaho.

But by some miracle, parts of the roads opened again on the 26th...but only parts. We had to be very careful and sneaky as we made the trip that afternoon. What should have been a 3 1/2 hour drive ended up taking us eight hours. What a day! Grandma and Papa we happy to see us and we were happy to be out of the car.

Grandma was especially excited for the kids to open their present from her. She made the most adorable and beautiful piggy banks for the kids! They are ceramic and have their names painted on them. Now this has really motivated us to get shelves put up on the kids walls (a project that has been on our list since the house was built!) They have collected some very beautiful keepsake items over the years and we are in desperate need of safe places to display them.

The kids had a lot of fun making a mess with the packaging surrounding their piggy banks. I'm still finding shredded paper in shoes and bags!

Aunt Bree and Uncle Cam gave Hailey a princess purse set. She was in Heaven!
And Daddy looked smashing in Hailey's new glasses.
But we think Hailey looked better.
Ethan approves of his pig!
SNOW SNOW SNOW!!! Everything was covered in white and the kids had fun sledding on the hill outside the house.
It was a short and sweet weekend, but thankfully the roads were in better shape for the drive home. We had some tuckered out kiddos!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Musical Resolution

Music has alwasy been an outlet for me. Whether it's blasting a sappy love song on the stero to heal a broken heart or sitting at the piano and playing hymns. It soothes me. Ask my husband...when I'm sitting at the paino and am engrossed in something, don't bother me because I'm probably in a foul mood or in deep thought. Lately I've been at the piano a lot and I've found comfort in it as I've grieved the last two months over our baby. For me it really is true that when words fail, music speaks.

As I've spent time at the piano recently I've decided that I'm good, but I'm not nearly where I'd like to be. Here are some places I'd like to get to.

1. Master playing and singing at the same time. This may sound easy, but it's like patting your head while rubbing your belly. It can very difficult but I want to get good at it. Not so I can be a lounge singer, but so I can say "I can do that". I guess for bragging rights if for nothing else.

2. Master every single chord, and gain a better understanding BEHIND chords. I understand some of the theory, but I want to know more. Right now I'm at the point where I can play most songs as long as I have the music in front of me. But if it's not written on a staff on the page, I can't play it. I want to be able to see the written music and then automatically know how to jazz it up with better knowledge of chords.

3. Improve my sight reading ability. Enough said.

4. Get to the point where I can play by ear. I know this is years and years down the road, but I have always envied people who can do this. Recently I said to myself "Why can't I be one of those people? No reason that I can't".

5. Have the money to one day buy a good piano. Right now I have my grandmother's piano and while I'm grateful to have one at all, it is in pretty bad shape due to age. It is so old that it won't hold a good tune anymore because it's been tuned so many times and the peg holes are stripped. And like I said I"m grateful to have it and it does the job to let me practice. But one day I'll have a new one- I WILL!!!

By the way, yes those top two pictures are of me. That is me at age seven at my grandmother's house- same piano I have now. Love how stupid I look? And then there is me in 7th grade. I miss the cumberbun days!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Best Friends

It was one of those moments tonight that tugged at my heart strings as I watched them play in the tub. Few things in life are sweeter than watching these girls become best friends. Only twenty months and two days separate them in age. Lauren was a surprise and we thought Hailey would be our last child. After an incredibly eventful and complicated pregnancy with Hailey, we had been warned by doctors not to have more children. But what do doctors know anyway? Lauren is living proof that the Lord is in control and He does things in His way and His time. We can't imagine life with out sweet Lauren and I know Hailey can't either. I hope they will always be close like they are now. I feel so blessed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Pee Pee Princess

In the last year, I have attempted potty trainging Hailey on a few occasions. I've read three books on the subject and I know the theories, but each time I approached her with it she was very hesitant. So I would back off and we'd try again in a couple of months.

On New Years Day, I was putting Hailey in a dry diaper that morning and she said "Mom, I want to wear my pony underwears." So I said okay and I let her run around in it, fully expecting an accident. But since Santa brought us a really good carpet cleaner, I wasn't nervous at all.

Well, the morning went by and no accident. Near lunch time Hailey marched herself right into the bathroom climbed up on the toilet, and TINKLED!! Not only that, she wiped herself and pulled her pants back up all on her own. The only thing I had to do for her was reach the soap so she could wash her hands. The rest has been history since then. She even POOPED in the potty by herself!! That shocked me beyond belief.

It goes to show that two kids (siblings at that) can be polar opposites. It took months to get Ethan to even sit on the potty. God has taken mercy on us this time around. We are so proud of our Hailey girl!